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And I love to tell other people all of the things I love about Jacksonville: events, restaurants, bars, bands, celebrity sightings, quirky factoids and, of course, the people who make it so interesting. I’m already doing some of this here and through social media. But I’m ready to take my ideas, as Mayor Alvin Brown would say, to the next level.

Help me create The Most Awesome Website Jacksonville Has NEVER Seen by supporting my RocketHub campaign. Click below for more info or to make it rain!

RocketHub-1024x313

 

 

 

Events mentioned or not on 7/17/2014 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).

Friday, July 18, 2014
Longineu Parsons, 9 p.m.-midnight, Dirty Reds, Neptune Beach
River City Men’s and Women’s Chorus, 7:30 p.m., Lakewood Presbyterian Church
Opening night of 33 Variations produced by The 5 & Dime, 6 p.m. dinner/7:30 p.m. show, The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens (show runs through July 27)
Opening night of RENT, 8 p.m., Players by the Sea (show runs through August 9

Friday, July 18-Sunday, July 20, 2014
First Coast No More Homeless Pets Mega Pet Adoption Event, 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Fairgrounds
Ancient City Con, times vary by day, Hyatt Regency Riverfront

Saturday, July 19, 2014
Show Some HeART, 6-9 p.m. at Shim Sham Room, Jacksonville Beach
Mad Cowford Improv: Way Off Broadway, 8 p.m., Theatre Jacksonville
License 2 Laugh Tour with Lavell Crawford, 8 p.m., T-U Center

Sunday, July 20, 2014
American Idol Live! 7 p.m., St. Augustine Amphitheatre

Misc.
Jaxsons Night Market is tonight (and the third Thursday of every month thereafter) at the corner of Laura and Adams Streets, 5:30-9 p.m.

And the Jacksonville Suns play the Pensacola Wahoos Thursday, July 18-Sunday, July 20 and the Birmingham Barons, Monday, July 21-Friday, July 25

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 7/10/2014 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, July 10, 2014
Lighthouse Dark of the Moon Special Ghost Investigation, 10:45 p.m., St. Augustine Lighthouse
Black & White: Photojournalism Panel Discussion, 7 p.m., MOCA Jacksonville

Saturday, July 12, 2014
Summer Splash, noon-midnight, CoRK
48-Hour Film Festival Best of Screening, 7 p.m., Florida Theatre
“So Freaking Funny Act 1” featuring Monique, Gary Owen and Charlie Murphy, 7:30 p.m. Veterans Memorial Arena
Lil Boosie, 8 p.m., Prime Osborn Convention Center

Sunday, July 13, 2014
Book Release and Signing with The Honorable James E. Clyburn for Blessed Experiences, 4 p.m., Ritz Theatre
STALKER ALERT: Congresswoman Corrine Brown and Mayor Alvin Brown are hosting the event.
Norman Studios presents A Florida Enchantment, 4 p.m., Hotel Indigo

Monday, July 14, 2014
Jacksonville Sharks, 8 PM, Veterans Memorial Arena
P.S. It’s a tribute to Woodstock AND White-Out Night so dress accordingly.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Dave Matthew Band, 7 p.m., Veterans Memorial Arena
Ray La Montagne, 7:30 p.m. Florida Theatre

Misc.
Happy Piña Colada Day! (Thanks for the heads up, Evin.) And happy early birthday to “Tiny Teague” who turns 1 tomorrow and Tonca, the alligator snapping turtle (and MOSH’s unofficial mascot) who will be 48 years old!

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 considered for the show or other promotional opportunities, feel free to email me.

 

Jacksonville had the Best Week Ever: June 30 edition

jacksonville best week everA new casino ship docks in Mayport and Forrest High school is no more … just a few of the reasons Jacksonville had the Best Week Ever!

1. According to CNNMoney, Jacksonville is the least stressed out major city in Florida. Using data including unemployment rates, commute times and divorce rates, CNNMoney ranked Jacksonville 23rd out of 55 major metro areas compared to Miami (7), Orlando (18) and Tampa (19).

2. The Jacksonville Armada FC is one step closer to becoming a reality with the announcement of open and invitational tryouts starting July 26 and 27 at the Patton Park soccer complex. In other news, there’s a soccer complex in Jacksonville called Patton Park.

Westside High School Jacksonville

Photo: @ben_America

▼ 3. Westside High School is officially Westside High School. Now if only Duval County Public Schools could make it official on their website.

4. Long-time First Coast News anchor Donna Deegan returns to TV as host of  JTA’s award-winning news program Making Moves. Her first show airs July 1.

5. Borrowing a line from Mayor Alvin Brown, City Councilman Bill Gulliford said the arrival of the Victory II casino cruise ship, which set sail on Tuesday, will “make Mayport a destination” (obviously, the “pass-through” part doesn’t apply to Mayport). The 229-foot-ship has three decks and holds about 600 people.

▼ And special congratulations to Jordyn Jackson and Shawn Fisher (aka Flagship Romance) for having the best week ever!

Flagship Romance Fee Fie Foh Fum flagship ship engaged

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “harmonic acoustic folk” duo released their first full-length CD Fee-Fie-Foh-Fum (and accompanying DVD) on Friday, performed two sold-out shows at the Mudville Music Room, and were featured in The Florida Times-Union, Folio Weekly and WJCT’s First Coast Connect. Oh, yeah, and Shawn proposed to Jordyn … on stage … during their Friday night show.

 

Do your homework, Duval County Public Schools!

From what I understand, Duval County Public Schools went through a lot of trouble (read: meetings and money) to change the name of Nathan B. Forrest High School to Westside High School, a process that looked to be complete with the replacement of the name on the school’s exterior earlier this week.

Westside High School Jacksonville sign

Photo: @ben_America

That is assuming you are standing in front of the school. To anyone on the Internet, though, it’s still Forrest.

Duval County Public Schools Homepage (as of June 28, 2014)

forrest dcs page
“Nathan B. Forrest High School” Homepage (as of June 28, 2014)

forrest homepage

Which reminds me … Forrest isn’t the only name in Jacksonville that could be considered offensive to some.

Events mentioned or not on 6/26/2014 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, June 26, 2014
Dave Koz and Friends Summer Horns, 8 p.m., Florida Theatre

MOSH After Dark: The Science of History and Wine, 6:30 p.m., Museum of Science and History
MOSH After Dark

Friday, June 27, 2014
Leon Washington Foundation Casino Night, 7-11 p.m., PRI Productions

Friday, June 27 and Saturday, June 28, 2014
Coming Out Monologues, 2 and 7 p.m., WJCT Studios

Saturday, June 28, 2014
Ms. Senior Jacksonville Pageant, 2 p.m., FSCJ Kent Campus
RelatedMs. Senior Jacksonville: Talent knows no age

Celebrity Basketball Game, 6 p.m., Paxon High School

Garden Concert: A Night of Americana, 7-9 p.m., Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens

Florida Gospel Legends Awards Show, 6 p.m., Florida Theatre

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 considered for the show or other promotional opportunities, feel free to email me.

Sen. Aaron Bean likes to swing … dance, that is

politics as unusualI’m no political pundit. I’m not even sure I know what “pundit” means. But I live in Duval County (and yes, I am registered to vote—and do exercise said right—thank you very much) and have a blog, so that pretty much qualifies me to make random (non-political) observations about the upcoming local political elections. 

Seasoned politicians know how important it is to tap dance, figuratively speaking, of course. But Sen. Aaron Bean, whose current term expires this year, cuts a rug of a different kind at this fundraiser for ElderSource.

FUN FACT: Bean and wife Abby (yes, that’s her in the video) were cheerleading partners at Jacksonville University.

Is the American Idol audition tour coming to Jacksonville?

That would be a no.

Of course, it’s possible that Jacksonville audition dates could be added to the schedule, but considering producers weren’t “wowed” by the talent when IDOL™ (you like the fancy new branding?) came to town in 2008, that’s not likely to happen.

american idol

Photo by Ken McCray

As for now, the closest place to audition is at the American Idol Bus Tour stop in Tallahassee, specifically, Florida State University, more specifically at Langford Green off Champions Way, July 20, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

More deets, including the fact that illegal drugs, hair dryers and weapons of any kind (not even swords from the middle ages—be they forged or carved) are not permitted at the auditions, can be found here.

And read about Jacksonville’s moment in the American Idol (I mean, “IDOL™”) spotlight: “Idol Chatter” (Jacksonville Magazine, Jan. 2009).

 

Ms. Senior Jacksonville: Talent knows no age

One of my absolute favorite events of the year is the Ms. Senior Jacksonville Pageant—and it’s coming up this Saturday, June 28, 2-3:30 p.m. at FSCJ Kent Campus, “F” Building auditorium.

If my recommendation alone is not enough reason to attend (i won’t be offended), check out the contestants themselves—all at least 60 years young. I cannot stress enough how amazing this event is: inspiring, funny, poignant, sassy, eye-opening, moving and highly entertaining, just like the ladies themselves

NOTETickets must be purchased in advance via Eventbrite. Tickets will not be available at the door.

Staci Anderson, 62, retired nurse
Talent: Singing
Childhood ambition: Become a nurse and a jazz singer
Life philosophy: “Remember whose child I am.”
First job: Yeoman in the U.S. Navy
What color represents you: “Green represents spring and renewal. It has a calming effect on the eye and produces a sense of peace. I like to think that I possess those qualities.”
Why do you want to be Ms. Senior Jacksonville: “Because I add value to the lives of others and can use this position to make a difference.”

 

Crystal Glass Molchan, 60, cosmetologist of 44 years
Talent: Drama
Childhood ambition
: Become a veterinarian
Life philosophy: “Life is what you make it.”
First job: Cosmetologist
What color represents you: “I like to think of myself as a chameleon, different colors for different days and feelings, but if I have to pick one, it would be red for my fiery spirit.”
Why do you want to be Ms. Senior Jacksonville: “It would be a pleasure to represent my hometown and seniors of surrounding areas at engagements, fundraisers and other community service functions.”

 

Joyce Johnson, 67, retired owner of motivational speaking/training business
Talent: “The Creation” drama
Childhood ambition
: Become a lawyer
Life philosophy: “Everyone is destined for greatness.”
First job: Substitute teacher
What color represents you: “Gold which symbolizes worth (dignity and integrity)”
Why do you want to be Ms. Senior Jacksonville: “To have fun doing something I have never done”

 

Carolyn Snipes-Neal, 60, retired
Talent
: Dramatization
Childhood ambition
: Become a singer
Life philosophy: “Respect yourself. It will always surface.”
First job: Member of a funeral home choir
What color represents you: “Purple. It represents love.”
Why do you want to be Ms. Senior Jacksonville: “Because I love Jacksonville, and I wish to show other seniors and the city that it doesn’t matter your size, skin color, language, whether you ride JTA or a BMW … there is so much we have to offer. If we get out and take a stand, you’ll find that seniors rock.”

 

Deborah Thompson, 67, business owner
Talent: Exercise routine
Childhood ambition
: “To be someone that my mother would be proud of”
Life philosophy: “Live, love and be happy”
First job: Clerk of the St. Louis Street Baptist Church
What color represents you: “Yellow because it’s bright and cheerful looking to me.”
Why do you want to be Ms. Senior Jacksonville: “To spread the word the women can age gracefully with proper diet and exercise”

 

Evelyn Tukes, 65, retired educator and administrator
Talent: Luthurgical dance
Childhood ambition: Become a teacher
Life philosophy: “Love God first and others too.”
First job: Teacher
What color represents you: “Yellow because it is a bright and beautiful color. It is indicative of me because I make the choice in any given situation to rise above darkness despite the circumstance. I choose to let my light shine.”
Why do you want to be Ms. Senior Jacksonville: “It is an honor to be of service to all mankind while using my skills and abilities to promote senior and youth services.”

According to pageant director Kenyonn Demps of A Seasoned Affair, the Ms. Senior Jacksonville Pageant, celebrating its sixth year in 2014, assists women with self confidence, public speaking, talent, making new friends and exploring the world of pageantry.

Channel 4′s Kumasi Aaron will emcee the event.

ALSO, 69-year old Dorothy Gordon is a special guest performer. Check out this video from last year’s pageant. No. Really.

 

 

Jacksonville had the best week ever: June 23 edition

jacksonville best week everIn homage to one of my favorite VH-1 shows of all time, I am proud to introduce a new regular feature, Best Week Ever: Jacksonville.

That said, here are some of the reasons Jacksonville had the best week ever…

1. The Orlando Sentinel named the Main Street Bridge (aka the John T. Alsop Bridge, aka The Blue One) one of the best bridges in Florida. And I quote (because I couldn’t make it up if I tried): “If other bridges put trekkers above it all, this one engulfs them with its labyrinth of blue steel that glows at night like sapphire.”

2. Chip Southworth (aka “Keith Haring’s Ghost”) will not face jail time or a conviction for criminal mischief. He was, however, ordered by the judge to pay the city $778 for damages to utility boxes and $300 in court costs.

khg before after3. Largely due to the publicity surrounding the aforementioned “Ghost,” the Cultural Council submitted a plan to the Downtown Investment Authority which would allow forms of street art, including painting those ugly gray utility boxes that Southworth painted and the city painted over.

 

4. With a 54-13 win over the New Orleans Voodoo, the Jacksonville Sharks kept their hopes for making it to the play-offs alive. The team also set a franchise record for the fewest points allowed in a game.

And special congratulations to First Coast News meteorologist/reporter/anchor Lewis Turner for having the best week ever! A clip of Turner doing his news thing was featured on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon on June 19.

Photos: Tonya Austin Photography

Photos: Tonya Austin Photography

On Saturday, the most charming man on color television had the honor of throwing out the first pitch at the Jacksonville Suns game (a nice effort, too, I’m told). And then he competed in a closest-to-the-pin chipping contest—on the field—against Suns manager Andy Barkett and golf instructor Marc Fagan.

When asked about Turner’s golfing skills, five-time Suns chipping contest winner Billy Speckman (aka my brother) said, “Languid and second place.”

In other news, I couldn’t be prouder of my brother for his use of “languid.”