Open mic has a proud tradition in Jacksonville dating back a couple of decades — and then some. I emceed nights at Fusion Café and Fuel in the 1990s, and, of course ,Al Letson (who has gone on to accomplish as much as any writer of his generation) had his night at Voodoo years ago.
To borrow a phrase from Sonny and Cher, the beat goes on, in the form of the Cypher Open Mic Poetry and Soul, held at Da Real Ting Café every first, third, and fifth Thursday of the month. Hosted by DJ Monsta and Ill Clinton — names familiar to those who know what's happening in Duval — this is a showcase for talent and is worth checking out.
Doors open at 8 p.m., and the show starts at 9 p.m. The show ends at midnight. Entry is $5 all night long, 18 and older. There is a full dinner menu, and for those who need liquid fortification, there are 3-for-1 well drinks, which is a drink offer that no reasonable person can refuse.
On April 4, the WB will be in the house, recording the event for a local program. The smart performer would show up tomorrow, do a poem or a song, then bring it back in April for the cameras.
In the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s arrival in St. Augustine, Cathedral Arts Projects students will perform their interpretations of what it’s like to live in Florida — April 27 and 28 at the University of North Florida’s Lazzara Performance Hall.
CAP presents its annual production with the theme “Viva Florida” as Northeast Florida students showcase their talents in theater, ballet, step, ballroom dance, African dance, violin, ukulele, percussion and chorus.
The young performers’ creativity has stemmed through their own exploration of Florida’s history and natural beauty, said the Rev. Kimberly Hyatt, executive director of the Cathedral Arts, in a press release.
Performances are scheduled for 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. April 27 and 2 p.m. April 28 at the Lazzara Performance Hall. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door.
CAP is the largest free afterschool program in Duval County for students participating in the performing arts. CAP is funded in part by The City of Jacksonville; Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville; State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs; the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; and the National Endowment for the Arts, according to CAP.
Legendary singer-songwriter, poet, actor and cultural phenomenon Bob Dylan arrives in May, but for those who want tickets, the time is now. Dylan performs with support from Dawes, 7 p.m. May 5 at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. The $40-$60 tickets go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. March 22 at Ponte Vedra Concert Hall and the amphitheater. Those who bought tickets to the Gamble Rogers Folk Festival have a pre-sale opportunity, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. March 20, only at the amphitheater box office. Members of the nonprofit Friends of the St. Augustine Amphitheatre may purchase tickets 10 a.m.-10 p.m. March 21 at fosaa.org. 1-800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com, findmytix.com.
The Cummer Ball gala will feature chandeliers and glasswork from 36 Jacksonville University glass and ceramics program students, faculty and alumni on March 16 at The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in Riverside.
The chandeliers will be sold at a live auction during the event with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the museum.
“I’m into engaged learning opportunities, and this is that and more. It allows the students to display what they’ve done, and then to have it critiqued directly in the marketplace, with a sale being the best final critique,” said Brian Frus, a JU assistant professor of glass, according to a press release from the university.
The auction will feature 21-year-old students Aly Volk’s “Iceburst” and Kayla Socha’s “Silly Lilly.”
“I love that we got to do this. We don’t get an opportunity like this anywhere else, to show our work,” Socha said.
Any chandeliers not sold during the ball will be sold at the Cummer’s store afterward.
Donald Mills has five different chandeliers being auctioned off, including “Green Room,” “Plum Purdy” and “Autumn Vines.” Mills said he feels more accomplished knowing that there is a utilitarian aspect to his project.
The ball begins with cocktails at 6 p.m., then the live auction follows at 7 p.m. The evening will continue with dinner and dancing and live music from the Tangee Renee band.
For more information on the JU Glass and Ceramic program visit http://www.ju.edu/cfa. To learn more about the 2013 Cummer Ball, visit http://www.cummer.org/2013-cummer-ball.
Janet Bawcom's performance at the Gate River Run was worth $17,000.
For the young fans she gave high-fives on the race course, smiles were free.
"It's an accomplishment if I can make that kid smile," Bawcom said of sharing the moment with children on the race course before she even had the lead.
After running side by side with Alisha Williams for 7 miles, Bawcom broke away to win her second consecutive Gate River Run title on Saturday, March 9, in Downtown Jacksonville.
In the men's race, Ben True pulled away from Bobby Curtis in the final mile and held on to win his first River Run title, ending Mo Trafeh's three-year run as champion.
"Once I knew that Mo wasn't making the move, I knew it was going to be more of a tactical race," True said. "I was looking forward to it.
"I figured it was going to come down to Bobby and I for a kick."
True finished in 43 minutes, 38 seconds, while Bawcom ran it in 49:44. True could not erase the elite women's head start of 6 minutes, 35 seconds, but he and Bawcom each won $12,000 for claiming the U.S. 15K national championships.
Bawcom is 2 for 2 at the race and hasn't allowed a man to pass her at the River Run, claiming an additional $5,000 for the equalizer bonus each time.
The Brooks Rehabilitation Challenge Mile drew a record 298 competitors, including former Jaguars player Richard Collier, who was paralyzed from the waist down after suffering multiple gunshot wounds in 2008. Collier finished the mile race in 9 minutes, 45 seconds.
After the race, he teared up while talking to reporters and said the race was tougher than he expected.
True, who returned to the River Run after a second-place finish in 2011, beat Curtis by two seconds. Three other men — Ryan Vail (50:18), Sean Quigley (50:20) and Christo Landry (50:21) — finished within eight seconds of True.
The 34-year-old Bawcom, who went by Janet Cherobon when she won her first River Run in 2012, beat Williams, 31, by seven …
Country duo Florida-Georgia Line performed a free show March 7 for a large crowd of Jacksonville University students, faculty and their friends and family.
Recently endorsed by superstars Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, Florida-Georgia Line, Tyler Hubbard of Monroe, Ga., and Brian Kelley of Ormond Beach, started their careers playing open mic nights and writing music after crossing paths at Belmont College in Nashville.
The band members talked about how it all began in an interview before the show.
“We met through a mutual friend, got together and started doing our thing. We realized we had a cool thing going with our voices,” Hubbard said. “I don't think we ever expected it to quite happen this fast. We had big dreams and big goals. We had our fingers crossed and we still do.”
After college, the duo set out to make a name for themselves, cramming their equipment in Kelley's Chevy Tahoe and hitting the road. They played acoustic shows and did a number of odd jobs to support themselves along the way. Mowing lawns and cleaning cars, the duo kept pursuing what they wanted to do — make music — with no plan B in the works.
With the release of the duo's first EP in 2010, they began to gain momentum, and the crowds at their shows started to expand. It was May of last year when the boys from opposite sides of the border released their EP titled "It'z Just What We Do," which included the hits “Cruise,” “Get Your Shine On” and “Tip it Back.”
The duo quickly caught the eye of labels when their single “Cruise” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country Music chart after a mere 19 weeks, climbing to that spot faster than any band since 2006. It sold 100,000 copies even before the band was signed. In July 2012, they signed with Universal Republic Records.
Florida-Georgia Line pumped out all of their hits under the newly opened Larry Strom Amphitheatre on Dolphin Green …
St. Augustine chalk walk organizers are seeking sponsors and volunteers for Paseo Pastel.
The chalked promenade will take place on the grounds around the city parking garage and St. Augustine Visitor Information Center, beginning with an event party 7 p.m. March 22 and continuing through March 24. This event is part of many designed to celebrate the city’s 450th anniversary with a theme of “St. Augustine Living Heritage.”
Organizers say this event is a first for the city, and they plan to schedule it annually through 2015, the year of St. Augustine’s 450th anniversary. They expect 70 artists will be drawing on 4-foot by 6-foot sections of sidewalk 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. March 23.
Visitors can watch as the artists work, then see the finished art March 24 before it is washed away. Admission to the Chalk Walk is free.
Lee Jones, the chalk walk’s featured artist, has participated in chalk festivals across the U.S. Jones hosted a free chalking workshop on Feb. 23, allowing the public to try out chalk art.
Artists participating in the Chalk Walk will be competing for cash prizes. Local businesses will also be involved with the event, which is still seeking more sponsors. Live music will be provided as additional entertainment throughout the weekend.
For more information on St. Augustine’s first Chalk Walk or to get involved, visit the website or email the organizers.
From getting hacked with a lawnmower blade by Billy Bob Thornton in the classic "Sling Blade" to once being described as Johnny Cash's favorite country singer, Kentucky-born country star Dwight Yoakam is versatile.
He's successful, too. The 56-year-old Yoakam has sold upwards of 25 million albums worldwide over his four-decade career. He didn't disappoint a packed house at The Florida Theatre March 5.
Yoakam blasted his hit "Honky Tonk Man," the song that introduced the singer to the masses, to an enthusiastic crowd. Yoakam's 1986 cover of the Johnny Horton original reached no. 3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, and its music video was the first country music video to ever play on MTV.
When Yoakam strutted his signature shuffle, he received bursts of applause from the crowd. He performed tunes from his early albums, "Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc." (1986) and "Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room"(1988), to his newer albums, "Blame the Vain" (2005) and "3 Pears" (2012).
"Thank you all for listening to our new stuff and giving it a chance," Yoakam said. "We didn't ask you guys beforehand, so I guess you didn't have much of a choice, though."
Yoakam peppered the set with these quips and other funny anecdotes between songs.
"A Heart Like Mine", a single off of "3 Pears," was voted the 39th best song of 2012 by Rolling Stone -- and for good reason. The song is adventurous and it transcends genre, as Yoakam has done his entire career. It's catchy, offering a twangy steel-guitar riff during the verses, and drawn-out indie rock style chorus. The "hook" of the song sticks in your head for hours after you hear it.
Yoakam's lead guitarist, 39-year-old Gene Jaramillo, wore a rhinestone blazer and looked like a last-second fill-in Yoakam picked up from some punk-rock band. He didn't play like one, though. Jaramillo added incredible leads to Yoakam's classic and current songs, without overpowering them.
Yoakam couldn't finish the show without …
Beginning March 9 at The Dive Bar in New Orleans, Jacksonville duo Flagship Romance will hit the road on a cross-country tour. Jordyn Jackson and Shawn Fisher will make a stop at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, to perform March 14. Joining bands Man on Earth and Gone by Daylight for most of the tour, they will continue to California and back to the East Coast.
Flagship Romance just finished filming a new music video for Charity Water that will be released March 22 on World Water Day. Charity Water’s mission is to bring clean water to developing countries.
This tour will be a first for Jackson. Because they only found out about the tour a few weeks beforehand, the band has not ironed out all their plans, including where they will sleep. They are planning to play some “living room shows” for friends in hopes of making some extra gas money. With friends in most of the cities they are playing, they are confident that everything will work itself out. Traveling by car, Jackson is concerned about driving through the snow.
“We are Florida people. We don’t know how to drive through snow,” Jackson joked in an interview with Folio Weekly.
Flagship Romance will make stops in Colorado (March 26), Michigan (March 29), Indiana (March 30) and Ohio (April 1) before traveling back down the coast. In Chicago, they will perform March 28 at the Hard Rock Café. In New York City, they will perform in another showcase that includes The New Velvet and Tommy & The High Pilots on April 8. The tour also includes planned stops in Arizona, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
The tour hits Charlotte on April 12, Chapel Hill on April 13 and Atlanta on April 14 before the duo returns home in time to begin One Spark on April 17 in Jacksonville. To follow the duo on their adventure, visit flagshipromance.tumblr.com.
Jacksonville native and award-winning vocalist Lauren Elise was featured on the side of a race truck on Feb. 22 during the NextEra Energy Resources 250, a Camping World Truck Series event at Daytona. Elise’s photo appeared on the side of Jennifer Jo Cobb’s No. 10 Koma Unwind Chevrolet truck at Daytona International Speedway.
Elise, 16, currently has airplay on gospel radio stations but is hoping to cross over to country radio. She will be appearing at the next NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky., on June 27 along with Cobb’s race team.
Elise is known for her outreach program, “Be Significant” #PositiveImpact campaign. Her campaign is designed to offer a voice of change and hope for those affected by bullying or thoughts of suicide.
For more information on Elise or her “Be Significant” campaign, visit laurenelisemusic.com and besignificantcampaign.com.