Isa Barrientos

Art Walk Returns

After an 18-month hiatus, Art Walk will return to Downtown Jacksonville on Oct. 6. The event, programmed by Downtown Vision in collaboration with local businesses, has occurred every first Wednesday of the month since 2003, drawing thousands of people into the wonder of the urban core. The organization took the time off as an opportunity to breathe new life into Art Walk. An updated layout features three hubs: James Weldon Johnson Park will host Downtown Vision’s programs, the Jessie Ball DuPont Center will curate local art and performers with a focus on equity and community, and the VyStar Breezeway will …

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Virgo Season Horoscopes

For Virgo Season, this month comes bearing fruits of focus, routine, and service. Work on your health and clean out your refrigerator. Happy harvest everyone. VIRGO  An elusive character came and went with the summer sun. The departure’s part of a lesson you need to learn, something healthy, habitual and close to home. Surround yourself with as many flowers as you can afford.  LIBRA  There’s virtue in the way you speak, in the way you are. Time will open up for you to express yourself the way you’ve been wanting to. Think about what the message is before you say …

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August Bartender of the Month: Blair Redington

Blair Redington is a staple at San Marco’s upscale watering hole, Town Hall. If Blair Redington were a drink, he’d be a whiskey neat: there’s a touch of redolence under the bite in his deadpan tone. His warm, straightforward service could only come from being the local barkeeper for as long as he has – when it comes to the neighborhood, he’s seen it all from behind the bar. Twenty years ago as a high school student at Bishop Kenny, Redington started bussing tables at a San Marco restaurant led by Chef Tom Gray. His family home was just a …

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Ghost Town

Take a trip to Cassadaga, Florida’s portal to the other side.  Tucked away in between Daytona Beach and Orlando, just off of I-4, sits a sleepy little town of about 300 people. It was founded in the late 1800s by George Colby, who traveled to Central Florida—at the instruction of his spirit guide—to create a spiritualist center. Past the surface of its old Florida charm, in the Victorian homes’ entryway reading rooms, there are spirits floating alongside psychics, being summoned out of those who come seeking them.  The Spiritualist Camp is a small community in itself, originally created as a …

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Celebration of Life

Artis Gilmore on his storied basketball careeer, growing up during Jim Crow and the death of his daughter. You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. At 7-foot-2 with size 18 feet, basketball legend Artis Gilmore has a stride that stands for itself. His footsteps are as light as air as he nods gracefully under each doorway. His presence is silent yet palpable. Gilmore was born in 1948 in the small town of Chipley on the Florida panhandle. He grew up poor, living in a three-room house with dirt floors that …

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An Emerald Unearthed

As downtown development moves from fantasy to reality, Groundwork Jacksonville is increasing park space and connecting neighborhoods.  The Emerald Trail broke ground earlier this month with an ecological restoration project at McCoys Creek. The greenway will link 16 neighborhoods in the urban core with about 30 miles of bicycle/pedestrian trails. Groundwork Jacksonville raised private funds to build the trail’s masterplan in collaboration with the community and PATH Foundation. City Council adopted the plan in 2019, and last month they voted to double the gas tax and allocate $132 million in construction funds to the Emerald Trail. This took a cut …

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Living with History

Raymond Turknett creates models of American nostalgia and Jacksonville history.  Raymond Turknett’s roots in Jacksonville’s Westside go as deep as the 1700s. The end of the Wesconnett portmanteau is attributed to his family name; the neighborhood was made up of family farms until the Naval Air Station was built nearby.  By the time Turknett was born in the early 1950s, suburban sprawl was set in motion. Schools and subdivisions, parking lots and gas stations cropped up on what was once the rural land between Blanding Blvd. and the Ortega River.  This new landscape inspired much of what would become Turknett’s …

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Hit the Lights

An inside look at how Hit The Lights, one of Jacksonville’s newest full-service production studios, flipped the switch during 2020. If you were a regular at shows before the pandemic, you’ve probably experienced the sensory feast that is a show by Hit the Lights Productions. The production company worked mainly out of Mavericks for the first couple of years, and through the waves of the Landing closing, and 2020, turned into a one-stop-shop for artists from building records to rehearsing them to performing them live. Rob York is the mastermind behind the operation, which started as a lighting company (thus …

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The Wonderful World of Water Polo

Jacksonville Water Polo brings the Olympic sport to the First Coast.  The water glitters neon blue. Numbered spheres move back and forth, treading water, chasing the ball unnumbered and moving toward the goal posts on either end of the pool.  All of the spheres but one are heads attached to bodies. The one without the number is the ball. Moving underwater, they’re camouflaged under the illusion of refraction. Referees can only make calls on what’s visible in the air between splashes. A game of grabbing, kicking, dunking and pulling lives freely beneath the surface, where fouls are made even with …

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What’s in a Name? A Lot.

The changing of Lee High School’s name will go to a vote this Spring. Robert E. Lee was an American general best known for leading the Confederate troops in the Civil War. During and after his surrender to the General Ulysses S. Grant and the Union armies, his name became synonymous with the Confederate cause, a symbol of Southern nostalgia.  Lee opposed the dedication of Confederate names and monuments, saying they would perpetuate the Civil War and hold the country back from reconciliation, but a statue was erected in his name in Virginia in 1883. The battle flags that the …

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