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TEDx Jacksonville: Let the ‘unknowing’ begin

Weren’t one of the lucky folks invited to the TEDxJacksonville event at WJCT today? Not to worry, I’ll be here live blogging all day so you won’t miss a thing … including how many times Al Letson says “hashtag.”

10:11 a.m. The event hasn’t started. But the show has … thanks to me. Media folks are sitting in the back on a riser about 3-feet-high, so our clickety clacking and bright screens don’t disturb the other audience members. I hiked up to the top and was setting up my computer when I somehow moved my chair back and fell right off the back of the riser.

brace yourselfFortunately, the good people around me were more concerned about making sure I was OK than taking pictures of me on my back, half on the riser/half off, green Converses in the air, cradling my precious laptop in my arms. I appreciate their kindness, but photographic evidence would have been nice. Instead, I have this picture of someone installing a new brace to fix the wall.

UPDATE: I was just informed Stephen Dare of Metro Jacksonville was kind enough to live blog my fall.

10:17 a.m. Co-hosts Al Letson, host and producer of the award-winning series State of the Re:Union, and Hope McMath, director of The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, welcome the 350-ish people in the audience. Letson explains the theme of this year’s event: “(un)knowing.”

“The things that scare us most usually come from the unknown,” Letson says. “We’re asking you today to step into the ‘unknown’ and rethink everything you know about the world.”

Does this mean I have to unknow how smoove Al is? Because I cannot unknow that. And happy birthday, Hope!

10:26 a.m. According to Warren Anderson, destroying the environment is like tearing pages out of the The Bible, Torah or Koran. “Turn off your phone, your computer, your TV. Grab your kids, your grandkids, the neighborhood kids. Take them to the Timucuan Nature Preserve and allow them to connect to something bigger than themselves, rest in the grace of the world, knowing this is where they belong. This right here is the holy land.”

10:50 a.m. In a pre-corded TED talk, Steve Howard of IKEA speaks on “Let’s go all-in on selling sustainability.” Watch here.

11:33 p.m. The artist formerly known as “Keith Haring’s Ghost” (aka Chip Southworth) speaks on “Art: A Powerful Conduit for Change.” “There’s a fine line between street art and vandalism,” Southworth says. Southworth discuss his status as a wanted man. Inspired by the City of Jacksonville’s failure to pass the HRO and Mark Zimmerman’s “not guilty” verdict in the killing of Trayvon Martin, Southworth began painting traffic light signal boxes.

LUNCH BREAK

TEDx Joseph Shuck1:15 p.m. Joseph Shuck of Antique Animals performs a song about Jacksonville (“whenever you’re in trouble, we’ll be there in a double”). Behind him a video of aerial shots of Jacksonville plays. “Drones can be cool,” he says.

 

 

 

1:30 p.m. In speaking on the importance of place, Ed McMahon of the Urban Land Institute says, “Place is more than a spot on a map. Place is what you makes your hometown different than mine. It what makes the physical surrounding worth caring about.

Summing up his talk on “Where Am I? A Sense of Uniqueness,” he says, “Remember this: the image of a community is fundamentally important to its economic well-being.  to econo well being. Every single day in America, people make decisions where to live, invest, vacation, retire … based on what a community looks like.”

1:48 p.m. Event co-host Hope McMath says, “And that is the talk that I think the mayor should see.”

1:45 p.m. In a pre-corded TED talk, Mick Cornett, mayor of Oklahoma City, speaks on “How an obese town lost a million pounds.” Watch here.

3:01 p.m. Hashtag count: 9. Failed attempts at doing a Justin Timberlake take-off “I’m Bringin’ Hashtags Back”: 1. (I kid because I love. At least I didn’t make a “Weird Al” reference.)

3:02 p.m. In a pre-recorded TED talk, actress/comedian Julie Sweeney speaks on “Let’s go all-in on selling sustainability.” Watch here.

3:10 p.m. Hashtag count: 10

3:11 p.m. “Our fixation on genitals is so entrenched [in society] it serves as a fundamental reference for how we relate to others. It keeps up bound to groups based a body part,” says Judi Herring, speaking on “Gender bound: Lesson from the world between.” When a child is born, she says, they are automatically put into the life track of a male or a life track of a female. But for the intersex child, doctors and parents choose to conform genitalia to “preserve psychological well-being.” As a reminder, it took 2,000 years for Copernicus to prove the Sun—not the Earth—the center of the universe.

3:25 p.m. Mama Blue takes the stage. “I don’t have anything deep to say about my songs except that they are seeds and I am grateful—and feel blessed—to be planting them in the most fertile soil in Jacksonville today,” she says. After the first song, she says she’s going to try not to “count” with her hips. “I don’t want to hypnotize anybody.”

3:39 p.m. Hashtag count: 11

3:30 p.m. “How much would you pay to save your memories, your cognition, your identity? … How much would you pay to keep your motor controls so that you could dress yourself, feed yourself, go to the bathroom alone.” Dr. Spring Behrouz of NeuroInitiative referring to Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease, respectively. Speaking on “The dynamic future of neuroscience,” Behrouz warns that the number of individuals diagnosed with both diseases will become dramatically higher as life expectancy increases. “There is no cure, but there is hope,” she says. “But we are warriors fighting these unfair diseases.”

BREAKING NEWS: Al Letson does a pretty impressive Mick Jagger impression—dancing, not singing. #smoove
tedx al jagger

5:07 p.m. In a pre-corded TED talk, French street artist JR speaks on “Use art to turn the world inside out.” Watch here.

#selfiegate is over. And without a restraining order.

“Today is a date which will live in infamy.” —Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941

First off, I am in no way comparing my own personal clash with Mayor Alvin Brown related to his refusal to take a selfie with me to the Pearl Harbor attack that killed more than 2,400 Americans. However, Oct. 23, 2014 will always be a date that I remember—as it is the day that marks the end of #selfiegate.

Since my announcement of #selfiegate this past April, I have always wondered how it would end. After posting about the rebuff all over Facebook and Twitter, I decided I would do the opposite of a selfie and photobomb Mr. Mayor whenever given the opportunity. This mission proved to difficult as he is usually surrounded by a bodyguard, photographer and other staffers. The fact that I was always sporting my signature orange glasses didn’t exactly allow me to blend in.

Knowing how much the mayor loves a photo op (which made his refusal of my selfie all the more puzzling), I started a Tumblr blog on all the things he would rather do than take a selfie with me including hula hoop, play lacrosse (and tennis) in a suit and tie and pretend to steer a ship. After more than 100 posts, I ran out of interest, mainly because I realized he’d pretty much do anything rather than take a selfie with me.

Cut to this morning. I woke up to find the mayor was a guest on WJCT, which just happens to be the day that I’m on First Coast Connect. What happens next can only be described as divine DeCamp intervention.

Long story short (is it too late for that?), DeCamp, director of communications for the City of Jacksonville, approached Mayor Brown as he was leaving the station. I can only imagine what DeCamp said to the mayor, but Brown walked right up to me, said hello and let me take a selfie with him. Yes, me, “the one who posts things.”

selfie with the mayor

‘Twas a bittersweet moment when I pushed that button and took the photo. I am happy that #selfiegate was resolved peacefully (i.e., without a restraining order). At the same time, I’m somewhat sad that it’s over.

In other news, I am nominating David DeCamp for a Nobel Peace Prize.

 

Events mentioned or not on 10/23/2014 edition of First Coast Connect

Today was a HUGE day in Jacksonville history. Because of the events that transpired this morning and the discussion with First Coast Connect host Melissa Ross, I was unable to mention many of the great events coming up this weekend. Here, then, are the events that I didn’t get to, as well as those I did.

Please note: event times, dates and locations are subject to change, so call before you haul (call the venue, that is, not me).

Thursday, Oct. 23
• Fresh Market Wine Gala
 (benefiting Mandarin Museum & Historical Society), 7:30-9:30 p.m. The Fresh Market, San Jose Boulevard
• Shaping Sound, 8 p.m., Florida Theatre

Thursday, Oct. 23-Sunday, Oct. 26
• Annie, times vary, Times-Union Center

Friday, Oct. 24
• Opening of “Beyond the Degree” art exhibit, 5-7 p.m., UNF Gallery of Art
• Halloween Party at the Casket Party (benefiting Jacksonville Historical Society), 8 p.m., old St. Luke’s Hospital and the Casket Factory, 314 Palmetto St.

Saturday, Oct. 25
• Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, 7:30 a.m., Jacksonville Landing
Superhero 5K & Fun Run (benefiting The Keystone Academy), 9 a.m., Nocatee, Ponte Vedra Beach
• Florida Black Expo, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Prime Osborn Convention Center
• Dogtoberfest (benefiting First Coast No More Homeless Pets), 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Metro Park
• Wine, Women and Shoes (benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida), 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Hyatt Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel
• Farm to San Marco Dinner (benefiting San Marco Preservation Society and Berry Good Farm), 3:30 p.m., Whatley Park
• Arbor”EAT”um Wine and Food Fest (benefiting Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens), 4-7 p.m., Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens
• Paul McCartney, 8 p.m., Veterans Memorial Arena

Saturday, Oct. 25-Sunday, Oct. 26
• NAS Jax Air Show, 10 a.m., NAS Jacksonville
• Beaches Oktoberfest, noon-10 p.m., Sea Walk Pavilion, Jacksonville Beach

Sunday, Oct. 26
• Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra: “Syphonic Sorcery” with the music of Harry Potter, 3 and 6 p.m., Times-Union Center
• North Florida Comic Con, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Ramada Inn Mandarin

Monday, Oct. 27
• My Favorite Cookbook: Featuring The Lee Bros., 7-9 p.m., Main Library
NOTE: Event is sold out, but a waiting list is available.

fcc_logo_stack_02Yours truly appears on First Coast Connect on WJCT every Thursday at 9:45-ish-ish. If you have an event you would like to be consider leave a comment below.

Events mentioned or not on 10/9/2014 edition of First Coast Connect

In case you missed my ramblings on WJCT’s First Coast Connect this morning, here are some of the events coming up this weekend.

Please note: event times, dates and locations are subject to change, so call before you haul (call the venue, that is, not me).

Thursday, Oct. 9
• Richard Marx, 8 p.m., Ponte Vedra Concert Hall (Funny article about Marx’s feud with a blogger...)
• Gov’t Mule, 8 p.m., Florida Theatre

Thursday, Oct. 9-Sat., Oct. 11
• Iliza Shlesinger, times vary, Comedy Zone

Friday, Oct. 10
• Zombiefest 2014 Killing Zombies for Charity, 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Video Game Rescue
• Wines of the World, 6:30 p.m., Main Library
• “Upbeat Pink: A Musical Tribute to Breast Cancer Survivorship,” 7:30 p.m., UNF Lazzara Performance Hall
Riverside Fine Arts presents Jax Jazz Greats: John Betsch and Longineu Parsons, 7:30 p.m., Church of the Good Shepherd
JSym presents “Sounds of Simon and Garfunkel,” 8 p.m., T-U Center

Friday, Oct. 10 & Sat. Oct. 11
• 
Garth Brooks with Trisha Yearwood, 7:30 p.m., Veterans Memorial Arena
Jaxtoberfest, 4-11 p.m. &  11 a.m.-11 p.m., The Shipyards
Für mehr Oktoberfest Geschehen, klicken Sie hier. (Google translate it. You’ll learn something.)

Saturday, Oct. 11
• Grand opening: Odyssey’s SHIPWRECK exhibit, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. MOSH
World Zombie Day, 2-7 p.m., Midtown Deli & Cafe
Book launch: In Search of Clara White, Storehouse for the People by Tim Gilmore, 6 p.m., Clara White Mission
• Earth, Wind and Fire, 7 p.m., St. Augustine Amphitheatre
Peter Case, 7:30 p.m., Mudville Music Room

Sunday, Oct. 12
Folio Weekly’s Best of Jax Street Party 4-8 p.m., Bold City Brewery
• Caring Chefs, 7-9:30 p.m., The Avenues

fcc_logo_stack_02Yours truly appears on First Coast Connect on WJCT every Thursday at 9:45-ish-ish. If you have an event you would like to be consider leave a comment below.

The calendar may say ‘October’ but in these parts it’s all about ‘Oktober’

 

Here’s an interesting Fakt: Oktoberfest — the real one, in Munich, Bavaria, Germany — actually starts in September and runs until the first weekend in October. That’s probably why the Germans don’t even call it “Oktoberfest.” Rather, they refer to it as “die Wiesn,” a colloquialism for “Theresienwiese,” the fairgrounds at which it’s held.

But we Americans have no problem changing a centuries-old tradition to better suit our own needs, which explains these local Oktoberfest events, which all take place in the month of October.

Art Walk Oktoberfest

October 1, 5-10 p.m. (extended hours)
Oktoberfest @ Art Walk
The second annual “biergarten block party” is headquartered at Hemming Plaza where you’ll find German-style grub, German-style music played by German people (Dan Witucki and Mein Heimatland Muskikanten Band), German-style beer and German costumes, along with a yodeling contest and beer stein-holding contest, with yours truly emceeing the ceremonies. FUN FACT: “Speckman” means “bacon man” in German.
FREE EVENT

October 3, 6-9 p.m. (VIP Preview Party)
October 4, noon-8 p.m. (main celebration)

Oktoberfest at Memorial Park
Memorial Park Association hosts Oktoberfest at Memorial Park (where else did you think it would be?) with proceeds benefiting the Memorial Park Association. Expect lots of craft beer, German food, chicken dancing, live music from The Swinging Bavarians and Frauen, Männer, Jungs and Mädchen (Google it; you’ll learn something) decked out in their finest dirndls and lederhosen. And don’t miss the crowning of the King and Queen of Oktoberfest!

October 4, noon-1 a.m.
Green Room Brewing Oktoberfest
Jacksonville Beach-based brewpub Green Room Brewing holds its own celebration of suds with live music from Firewater Tent Revival (band starts at 9 p.m.), Oktoberfest-themed dishes prepared with Green Room Brewery beers and the tapping of three Green Room Brewing’s Oktoberfest beers. Wear traditional Oktoberfest attire to receive a discount on beverage purchases.
FREE EVENT

October 4, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Oktoberfest at European Street Cafe, Jacksonville Beach
Already known for its selection of German beers, pretzels and good times atmosphere, European Street Cafe seems an obvious choice to celebrate Oktoberfest. The Jacksonville Beaches version features a dozen beers on tap in the festival area, authentic German food including “the gigantic Bavarian pretzel,” live music from the Hungry Five (1-4 p.m.) and Grandpa’s Cough Medicine (6-9 p.m.), photo ops with the famed Monster German Wiener and an hourly beer-hoisting contest (12-8 p.m.). P.S. Wear traditional lederhosen or dirndl and get a free beer.
FREE EVENT

tsi biergamesOctober 5, 11 a.m.-midnight
Oktoberfest/Bierfest Games
The folks at club TSI promise “the most intimate, authentic & rowdy Oktoberfest around. Starting at noon, attendees can enjoy a traditional Oktoberfest music, German food (including Bratwurst, Sauerbraten, potato pancakes, Königsberger Klopse and Gürken Salat) and German beer (keg tapping at noon), as well as the Bierfest Games (a team competition of barrel rolling, timed pint drinking, barrel tossing and Das Boot).
FREE EVENT ($40 per team to compete in Bierfest Games)

October 10, 6 p.m.
Jaxtoberfest 5K Beer Run
Runners, joggers, “sloggers” (my word for “slow joggers”) and walkers alike are invited to participate in this 5K race that involves drinking beer before crossing the finish line. There is also a costume competition in categories including Best German-themed, Best Beer Belly, Most Creative Tutu and Most Beer-tastic. The race starts and finishes at the Shipyards … just in time for you to enjoy post-run brews at Jaxtoberfest.

October 10, 4-11 p.m.; October 11, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Jaxtoberfest
Event organizers expect 50,000 attendees over the two days of this riverfront festival at The Shipyards. In addition to food and BEvERage vendors, a kinderfest area and beer tapping, and brat eating, flip cup and stein holding competitions, Jaxtoberfest features more than 15 bands on three different stages—from The Swinging Bavarians to The X-Factor semi-finalist Rion Paige.

Oktoerfest E. StreetOctober 18, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Oktoberfest at European Street, Riverside (Park Street)
See Oktoberfest at European Street Cafe, Jacksonville Beach list but replace “Grandpa’s Cough Medicine” with “Groove Coalition.”
FREE EVENT

October 18, 5:45 p.m.
Run4Beer Runtoberfest 5K
Running a 5K doesn’t sound like an Oktoberfest event, but when post-race beer is involved and the winners take home an engraved Warsteiner beer boot, it suddenly becomes one. The race starts and ends at European Street, Riverside

October 23, 6 p.m. (5 p.m. for VIP)
Folio Weekly’s Oktoberfest 2014
All of these Oktoberfest events are beginning to sound a lot alike what with their German food, oompah-pah music, chicken dancing and copious amounts of beer. But I think I can say with all certainty, that this event, held at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, is the only Oktoberfest celebration that features a mechanical bull. (How do you say “olé” in German?).

October 25
WOBtoberfest
Event organizers say, “If you can’t be in Munich, join the party here [World of Beer],” which makes even more sense considering the real Oktoberfest ends October 5. The event, hosted by World of Beer—Southside, features German fare, beer (with liter mug specials) served by “German beer maidens,” live music and the chance to win beer for a year.
FREE EVENT

October 25, 2:30 p.m.
Chug N Run 5K
Running after drinking beer or drinking beer while running just sounds like a bad idea to me, but considering this is the third such race this month, someone must like it. Part of the Beaches Oktoberfest, the Chug N Run takes place on the beach at the Sea Walk Pavilion. If you survive the 12-ounce beer before crossing the finish line, stick around for the post-race festivities at Beaches Oktoberfest.

October 25-26, noon-10 p.m.
Beaches Oktoberfest
See previous event but replace “mechanical bull” with “dog costume contest” and “moonlight screening of Ghost Busters.” Taking place at the Sea Walk Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach also makes it the only Oktoberfest event with an ocean view.

If I’m missing a local Oktoberfest event, please add any details in the comments section. Danke!

A day in the life of #speckhawk

If you’re sick of reading and hearing about my impending mohawk, stop reading right now because this entire blog post is about the day I got a mohawk. That day is today.

To remind you of why I am getting the ‘hawk, here’s the story in a nutshell. I held a RocketHub campaign to raise money so I can create The Greatest Website Jacksonville Has Never Seen (aka TheSpecktator.com 2.0). On the final day, I was still several thousands of dollars short of my goal and knew I had to do something extra kooky to get the rest of the cheddar. That day, I announced—on the radio—that if I met the goal, I would get a mohawk. And here we are.

Many people (OK, like five) expressed their disappointment that they couldn’t witness this follicular extravaganza in person (one even suggested I broadcast it live on USTREAM). While I’m sure there will be lots of pictures on social media, I thought it would be fun to live blog my day (because, in my opinion, live Tweeting can be annoying). Ready … go!

9:09 a.m. Just woke up. Only hit the snooze alarm once, which is almost unheard of in my world. I must be excited. Or have to pee.

10:15 a.m. Making a last-minute dash through Specktator HQ to make sure I have everything I need for the big day, which amounts to my phone, charger and an extra Klonopin, just in case. Feed the cats (who will probably run and hide when they see my new lid).

11:37 a.m. Too late to turn back now. Thanks to Heather of Daniel James Salon in Avondale , my hair is officially blonde … or part of it is anyway.

12:04 p.m. On our way to Hemming Plaza? I hear the folks looking forward to my public humiliation are growing restless.

12:31 p.m. At Hemming. I am greeting by applause. Probably because it’s so hot and everyone is ready to get this over with. After shoveling a delicious gourmet grilled cheese from On the Fly (thank you, Penny Kamish!) into my grilled cheese hole, it’s show time, and I take my seat. I’m not nervous. Until the buzzing of clippers start. As Heather starts going to town on my head, I see the looks looks on other people’s faces. Some are gasping. Some are laughing. One City Council member, who shall remember nameless, stood there with his mouth wide open. I read his lips: “I can’t believe she’s really doing this!”

I did.

12:50 p.m. Back at the salon for the rest of the transformation and I’m seriously thinking about starting an ’80s cover band because this ↓.

I can’t sing well or play drums or guitar, but I can hold down two keys on the keyboards just as well as Nick Rhodes from Duran Duran or that dude from A Flock of Seagulls (FUN FACT: AFOS lead singer Michael Score was a hairdresser.)

4:15 p.m. After three hours of “lifting,” coloring, cutting, foiling and non-stop selfie taking,  it’s time for Heather to bring the #speckhawk to life. Somebody cue up “The Whoville Song”!

 

IMG_0776

 

Since I’ll be heading off to my RocketHub celebration shindig, I ask Heather if she can try something a little more manageable or I’d have to get someone to drive me home since my hair wouldn’t fit in the car. She obliges with what would later be referred to as a Buster Poindexter bouffant.

 

5:30 p.m. Arrive at Intuition Aleworks. Commence drinking. Realize that a beer flavored with ghost peppers does not pair well with my spice-sensitive tastebuds (though I greatly appreciate Intuition dubbing the one-off “The Speckter”). Switch to King Street Stout, which is delicious and deceptively potent. Watch the looks on people’s faces when they see new ‘do for the first time. Take a gazillion selfies. Drink somewhere between 2 and 202 beers. Realize how lucky I am to know so many awesome people who believe in me enough to support my website—even if some of them threaten to take their money back because I had not gotten a “real mohawk … like Mr. T. (FUN FACT: There is no period after the “T” in Mr. T unless, of course, it’s at the end of a sentence.)

10:49 p.m. Call a friend to pick me up. Come home and pass out.

Events mentioned or not on 8/14/2014 edition of First Coast Connect

In case you missed my ramblings on WJCT’s First Coast Connect this morning, here are some of the events coming up this weekend.

Please note: event times, dates and locations are subject to change, so call before you haul (call the venue, that is, not me).

Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014
Rock’n’Blues Fest—A Tribute to Johnny Winter, 8 p.m., Florida Theatre
Cocktails for a Cause to benefit Clay Humane, 5-7 p.m., University Club

Thursday, Aug. 14–Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014
Jamie Kennedy, Comedy Zone

Friday, Aug. 15, 2014
Feel Tha Flashback to benefit JASMYN, 8 p.m., The Museum

Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014
Jamie Lynn Spears, 6 p.m., Maverick’s at the Landing
Panic! At the Disco—The Gospel Tour, 7 p.m., St. Augustine Amphitheatre

Through Aug. 24, 2014
Eat Up Downtown, 19 restaurants throughout Downtown

Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014
Save the Ferry Bike Ride, 9 a.m.–noon, Mellow Mushroom, Jacksonville Beach

Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014
BYO Lunch in Hemming—Dog Days of Summer, noon-1:30 p.m., Hemming Plaza
#mohawkmania

fcc_logo_stack_02Yours truly appears on First Coast Connect on WJCT every Thursday at 9:45-ish-ish. If you have an event you would like to be consider leave a comment below.

 

5 Things you didn’t know about Robin Williams and Jacksonville

Beloved, Oscar-winning Robin Williams died yesterday as the result of an apparent suicide.

And he was closer to Jacksonville than you realize.

MORK MINDY

Jay Thomas and Robin Williams

1. Williams starred in one of the most popular sitcoms of the late ’80s—with a Jacksonville University graduate. On Mork and Mindy, actor Jay Thomas (JU class of 1972) played Remo DaVinci who worked at The New York Deli that Mork used to frequent. In a related story, Thomas, a two-time Emmy winner also known for his roles on Murphy Brown and Cheers, appeared in an independent film called A Letter From my Father (aka Surfacing) which was shot in Jacksonville and written by Jacksonville-based writer/actor/producer/director Warren Skeels (also a partner in local creative production and pre-production company TigerLily Media).

2. The world’s most (in)famous Robin Williams impersonator has Jacksonville ties. Williams “clone” Michael Clayton lives in Fernandina Beach (or so ’tis listed on his LinkedIn profile page) and is booked by Jacksonville-based A Unique Entertainment. Clayton has performed as Williams all over the world and, according to his press materials, every casino in Las Vegas.  Clayton is so good, in fact, Williams sued him and his agent in 2005 for using his “moniker, voice and likeness to allegedly con charities out of money.”

3. Jacksonville was the first city Williams performed in after his health scare in 2009. After experiencing shortness of breath and related issues, Williams was admitted to the hospital and forced to cancel a number of scheduled concerts (doctor’s orders!). He made his return to the spotlight March 11, 2009 at the Times-Union Center.

4. There are 14 people named “Robin Williams” living in Jacksonville (according to whitepages.com). On a side note, I think anyone sharing a name with someone who makes the news for something tragic, illegal, salacious, embarrassing and/or otherwise questionable behavior should be given at least one day off so as not to have to listen to coworkers make stupid comments all day, like “Hey, Robin! I thought you were dead!”

5. A portion of a national park in Jacksonville is named for a character Williams played in a film. The naming of the Theodore Roosevelt Area, located in the Timucuan Historical and Ecological Preserve, has nothing to do with Williams, of course. But he did play Teddy Roosevelt in Night at the Museum and sequels Battle of the Smithsonian and Secret of the Tomb scheduled to be released later this year.

 

Jacksonville politicians compete (unknowingly) for the inaugural Hob-nobby Awards

politics as unusualFriday night, dozens of local political candidates (including those running for sheriff, city council, mayor, school board and hotly contested soil and water conservation board) chatted up hundreds of potential voters at the Chamber and WOKV’s annual Hob Nob event. Not only was it an opportunity to meet candidates (or their volunteers) face-to-face, but the event was capped off with a straw poll, the results of which you can read about over at WOKV.

As I have stated on numerous occasions, I am not—nor have I ever claimed to be—a political analyst or anything close. I never even took a political science class in college. (I do, however, do my research on the candidates and issues and vote in every election.)

What I am is an observer. And while my fellow hob-nobbers were shaking hands and gathering promotional materials, I was floating about (eavesdropping, spying, whatever you want to call it) taking notes on the issues that really don’t matter. That said, I hereby present The Specktator’s inaugural Hob-nobbies!

Please note: A mention of a candidate is not an endorsement. Besides, who really cares who I support?

jesse wilson for jax city councilBest Looking Candidate—under 40
TIE: Joey McKinnon, candidate for Duval Soil and Water Conservation Board, and Jesse Wilson (pictured), candidate for Jacksonville City Council At-Large Group 3

Best Looking Candidate—40 and up
Mike Williams, candidate for Jacksonville Sheriff

Remember, people, I’m an observer, not a political analyst.

 

 

chris oliver carBest Use of a Vehicle as a Promotional Tool
Chris Oliver, candidate for State Representative District 16
To be honest, I didn’t see any other cars or trucks with wraps or magnet signs, so Oliver won by default.

 

 

stickers

Most Prominent Swag (button)
Robin Lumb, candidate for Duval County Supervisor of Elections

Most Prominent Swag (sticker)
Lenny Curry, candidate for Jacksonville Mayor
Only time will tell if bigger is, in fact, better.

 

 

 

IMG_0402Best Display of Swag
Jim Love, candidate for Duval County City Council District 14 (incumbent)
See what he did there?

 

 

 

mike williams for jax sheriffBest Use of Campaign Signs
Mike Williams
If there were any question as to which candidate WOKV reporters were interviewing at the time, Team Williams made it pretty clear.

 

 

 

IMG_0371Best Cookies
Chris Oliver
Lisa King, candidate for Jacksonville City Council District 2, also had chocolate cookies at her table (hers were soft; I like a crunchier cookie). And U.S. Congressman Ander Crenshaw’s table had sugar cookies, which were good, but “all cookies are sugar cookies. A cookie without sugar is a cracker.” (That last bit brought to you by comic Gary Gulman.) #Cookiegate goes to Oliver.

 

holderfieldMost Visible Presence of Supporters
Jimmy Holderfield, candidate for Jacksonville Sheriff
Other candidates may have had more supporters in the house, but it was impossible to miss those stumping for Holderfield. (In other words, I’ve always wanted to use the word “stumping.”)

 

 

 

IMG_0410Best Dressed
Darryl Willie, candidate for Duval County School Board District 4
From the glasses to the shoes, Willie almost looked too cool to be running for office. The fact that he accessorized with a lanyard took the ensemble to the #nextlevel.

 

 

 

 

bondiMost Specific Bumper Stickers
Pam Bondi, candidate for Florida Attorney General (incumbent)
Clearly, Bondi is targeting “sportsmen” (pardon the pun) and female voters. Note to Bondi’s graphic designer: the 1970s called and would like its brush script font back.

 

 

 

IMG_0370Best Response to Taking a Selfie With Me
Robin Lumb
And I quote: “I’ve never done one of these before.” (And with this first-timer selfie, I have officially become a part of Jacksonville history.)

 

 

bill gulliford jax city councilBest Case for Barely Even Trying
Bill Gulliford, Jacksonville City Council District 13 (incumbent)
Despite an empty chair, no promotional materials (save a sign taped to the wall) or even a representative at his table , the City Council president still won the straw poll with 100 percent of the vote. Gulliford was at the event; he was just hob-nobbing elsewhere.