by brenton crozier
I trust the team of astute EU writers to handle the most vital aspects of improving the River City and giving proper accolades to the deserving. Heroes are like anything else in that they are as varied as favorite foods, artistic preferences and theories on how fast hotcakes really sell. Getting down to the nitty-gritty of it, my local heroes would have to include the decision makers that made 9A and the Park Street exit off I-95 happen, Mossfire Grill for having such fantastic fish tacos, Chamblin BookMine for always having what I’m looking for and Cummer Museum for making Tuesdays free.
My heroes may present me as being a tad shallow and self-serving, but don’t you get sick of hearing about faithful public servants, champions of some cause or another and individuals that went against the grain to make a difference? Seriously, entertainment, food and traffic are no laughing matters. Think about what a difference a well-fed, highly-entertained and traffic-less society would make. Now we’re talking progress that I can get down to!
When thinking about bringing Jacksonville around, nurturing its evolution, or simply making it a cooler place to live, I think about the artists of the community. Not as heroes, let’s face it artists are usually a vulnerable lot in need of constant praise all the while admonishing it. I’m speaking specifically of the artists that forwent the temptation to move to bigger ponds in an attempt to strike it big. There are a number of local artists that enrich and care deeply for the area and have accepted that a day job is just how it’s going to be.
This leads me to my point, as meandering as that diatribe was, to a hometown artist that has recently moved into national waters, but is keeping headquarters right here: Al Letson and his nationally-aired public radio show, State of the Re:Union.
Although State of the Re:Union is a radio show, it also has a burgeoning multimedia presence that will continue to grow with each new episode. The radio show profiles a new city or town to discover what is creating community in that certain area and highlights unique cultural, educational, economical and political efforts and stories from the area. The website will mirror the show in that you will not only be able to visit the main SOTRU site, but a site dedicated to an area profiled in the radio show.
The second SOTRU episode featured Jacksonville and was titled, “Jacksonville: Bold New City of the South?” It explored some weighty themes dealing with race, but also discussed some of the area’s unique groups like the Zombie Bike Collective, featured prominent Jacksonvillians sharing their thoughts on the city and Al’s spoken-word performance on reaching a place where he not only embraced Jacksonville as home, but grew to truly appreciate it for its diverse offerings in landscape, people and activity. You can find the Jacksonville sub-site at:
The important thing moving forward is going to be showing support to something that’s going to be such a positive light nationally for Jacksonville. The website encourages user participation and contains podcasts of the different shows, articles about innovative local businesses, groundbreaking churches, trend-setting nonprofits and so much more. It’s a great site and a great show-and as we all know, positive national attention means great things for Jacksonville, especially economically.
Get on the site, read the articles, watch the videos, listen to the show, give your feedback and become a fan. I’ve had the pleasure of working in an unofficial capacity with the show, but am definitely a fan, and am proud that Jacksonville is home to something that so many around the country have celebrated and will soon come to celebrate.