Thursday, July 2, 2020

Being Black in 2020

This was on someone’s Facebook page, and I post this cautiously because I didn’t want to “stir the pot”, yet all people need to be reminded that the following things happened to Black Americans. After MLK died, Black folks got quiet, nonetheless with the “Black Lives Matter” movement we shall rise for equality. Remember, you can help to make a change in ALL the 2020 elections. You must VOTE! (some words have been changed or omitted by this writer) - VTP

“Black People can’t..."
Dear Social Media Friends,

I am about to say some harsh things and you may not like it. But I pray that you will pause your life and hear me. 

Black people in America are, ONCE AGAIN, grieving. We are hurting because YET AGAIN, this country sends the message loud and clear that we will never be equal. And a lot of you…my friends…don’t know about it, don’t care about it, don’t believe it, refuse to see it and at the very least, you aren’t willing to take a stand against it. How can you love me if this is where “we” stand? How can I walk hand in hand with you knowing that I will ALWAYS be treated differently? How can I worship with you, when I know that we are only one political FB rant/post away from you disregarding my life and the lives of those who look like me?  So yeah, I’m tired. Downright exhausted. But today I want you to pause, and if you are willing to go on a journey beyond yourself, beyond your interests, beyond your privilege…then keep reading. And if you don’t know these names, GOOGLE THEM! LEARN! Get a better understanding of why Black people, in and out of different circles, are NOT OKAY!  We have been murdered by white people in this country for CENTURIES!!!! And believe it or not, it’s still LEGAL to take our lives! So read, educate yourself. See why it’s downright TRAUMA to live in this nation as a black person…thinking about our every word and step, wondering if someone will feel so threatened by it that they take our lives. READ! And after you’re done reading…tell your friends, tell your family, tell your neighbors, tell those cops… And maybe if YOU speak up enough, maybe if you stop tolerating it, they will #STOPKILLINGUS! 

BEING BLACK IN AMERICA:
We can’t go jogging (#AhmaudArbery).
We can’t relax in the comfort of our own homes (#BothemJean and #AtatianaJefferson). 
We can't ask for help after being in a car crash (#JonathanFerrell and #RenishaMcBride). 
We can't have a cellphone (#StephonClark). 
We can't leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards). 
We can't play loud music (#JordanDavis).
We can’t sell CD's (#AltonSterling).
We can’t sleep (#AiyanaJones)
We can’t walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown).
We can’t play cops and robbers (#TamirRice).
We can’t go to church (#Charleston9).
We can’t walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin).
We can’t hold a hair brush while leaving our own bachelor party (#SeanBell).
We can’t party on New Years (#OscarGrant).
We can’t get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland).
We can’t lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile).
We can't break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones).
We can’t shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford) .
We can’t have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher).
We can’t read a book in our own car (#KeithScott).
We can’t be a 10yr old walking with our grandfather (#CliffordGlover).
We can’t decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese).
We can’t ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans).
We can’t cash our check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood).
We can’t take out our wallet (#AmadouDiallo).
We can’t run (#WalterScott).
We can’t breathe (#EricGarner).
We can’t live (#FreddieGray).
We can't serve our country (#VanessaGuillen)
We’re tired. 
Tired of making hashtags.
Tired of trying to convince you that our #BlackLivesMatter too. 
Tired of dying.
Tired, Tired, Tired.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

‘Fickling Construction’ teams with the FL Theatre

The historic, nonprofit Florida Theatre welcomes “Fickling Construction” as its newest Corporate Partner.  Though their Corporate Partnership with the Theatre is new, President of Fickling Construction, Alan Fickling, has been a supporter since 2012.  "My family and Fickling Construction have enjoyed Florida Theatre for many years.  We are happy to support the Florida Theatre and the variety of performances they bring to our great city throughout the year," said Fickling."  Our company has been part of Jacksonville for more than 50 years.  We're committed to the city and North Florida, and we're proud to have this partnership with Florida Theatre."

“The historic Florida Theatre is pleased to play its part in providing Northeast Florida with the music, dance and theatre programs that are part of what gives Jacksonville the unique character that we have all come to appreciate, and expect, as residents of a great city,” said Florida Theatre President, Numa Saisselin.  “The theatre earns 85% of its annual budget from its business activities, and support from the business community, like our Corporate Partner, Fickling Construction, helps to close that small budget gap every year and keep the Florida Theatre and its programs something special for our community.”

The historic, nonprofit Florida Theatre is sponsored by Community First Credit Union. For a complete list of upcoming events or to buy tickets visit the Theatre's official web site floridatheatre.com.

About Fickling Construction: Founded in 1965 and based in Jacksonville, Florida, Fickling Construction provide Preconstruction and Construction Services.  Their experienced and helpful staff knows how to make sure projects stay on schedule and in budget, with a focus on quality and not-only meeting but exceeding the construction industry’s best practices.

About Florida Theatre: From ballet and opera to contemporary pop, jazz, rock, country and blues the nonprofit Florida Theatre offers 200 cultural and entertainment events annually for every taste and age.  More than just an entertainment center, Florida Theatre is also home to graduations, awards ceremonies, lectures, business meetings and charity events that support the community's schools, churches, hospitals and civic groups.  As an anchor to downtown development along the beautiful St. Johns River, Florida Theatre draws 250,000 people to Jacksonville's center each year.  The magnificently restored Florida Theatre is recognized as one of the finest concert venues in the Southeast. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Florida Theatre holds special memories for four generations. From the Vaudeville acts and silent films of its earliest days to today's blend of performances of all kinds, the Florida Theatre has served as Jacksonville's premier entertainment center since 1927.

Thrasher-Horne Center has limited reopening



In response to Florida’s COVID-19 Phase 2 protocols, Thrasher-Horne Center has reopened its doors for rental events with limited capacity.

St. Johns River State College President, Joe Pickens states, “We are happy to be able to reopen Thrasher-Horne Center for rental events and continue our great partnership with Clay County.  The safety and well-being of our guests and staff is of upmost importance to us.”

Details of Thrasher-Horne Center’s reopening protocols include the following:

·         All visitors on St. Johns River State College campus are required to wear face masks.
·         Group gatherings must be 50 people or less.
·         Social distancing rules apply.

For a complete list of these protocols visit THcenter rentals for more information.  Protocols may be updated as CDC guidelines in Florida’s reopening phases change.

St. Johns River State College and Thrasher-Horne Center continue to assess the situation and will provide updates as they come available.  If you have any questions, or are interested in and event, please contact their Ticket Office at (904) 276 - 6815 ext. 1 or email them.

LOCATION: The Thasher-Horne Ctr.
      St. Johns River State College
      283 College Drive

      Orange Park, FL 32065


Come back to the Cummer Gardens - it’s safe


The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens invites you to come take a moment to experience the healing power of art in nature.  The Museum is excited to announce its reopening plans to welcome you back this summer, beginning in phases on June 20, 2020.  The first phase of the Museum’s reopening will provide access to the historic riverfront gardens; phase two will include reopening the Museum’s galleries and exhibitions.

June 20 through 21 | The gardens will reopen for a special FREE admission weekend for everyone in our community.  Timed tickets are required and must be reserved here.



  • FREE admission on Sat., June 20, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., sponsored by Florida Blue.
  • FREE admission on Sun., June 21, will be available from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
June 23 through 26 | The gardens will open to members only from Tues., June 23, through Fri., June 26.  Timed tickets are required and must be reserved here.

June 27 | The gardens will reopen under normal operating hours to everyone in the community starting Sat., June 27.  Timed tickets are required and must be reserved here.

In order to prioritize the health of our guests and our staff, and to minimize touch points and onsite capacity, all visitors must reserve a timed ticket for entry.  Tickets will be for two-hour time increments and are limited per time slot.  Be sure to secure your preferred time before tickets sell out.  Tickets for the upcoming week will be added every Monday morning.  Check back often for updates.

Tickets are free to members and children 5 and under.  Tickets for adults, seniors, military, and students are $5.  Healthcare workers and first responders (with ID) are free.  And don't forget, everyone can take advantage of their free admission days.

The galleries and exhibitions will reopen during phase two later this summer.  If you have questions or concerns please contact Visitor Experience, or call (904) 356–6857.

RESERVE YOUR TICKET TODAY: Your health and safety are the Cummer Museum’s top priority.  They’ve gone to great lengths to ensure the utmost safety of our visitors and staff upon reopening.  Click here to review some of the measures they’ve taken and will continue to take upon reopening.  Please be advised masks will be required – you may either wear your own, or one will be provided for you upon arrival.

Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
   829 Riverside Avenue
   Jacksonville, Florida 32204
   (904) 356-6857

Friday, June 12, 2020

Cummer Museum to host a Black Lives Matter Zoom discussion



Culture and conversation will be happening at the Cummer Museum of Arts & Gardens, in response to current events through the arts.  Throughout history, artists have used their art forms to amplify conversations surrounding the injustices that have shaped the country and world.

As part of the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens' focused efforts to continue to collaborate on initiatives with community partners, we hope you will join us on Tuesday, June 16, 7 to 8 p.m., for a FREE panel discussion on how the arts communicate a message to respond to current events.

The panel will be moderated by Wanda Willis, the Museum's Director of Community Development, and will feature an esteemed group of arts and culture leaders in our community.  Virtual guests are invited to register HERE to receive a Zoom link to connect with the panel discussion.  Space is limited; so, register today!

DATE: Tuesday, June 16, 2020
TIME: 7 to 8 p.m.
COST: FREE
MODERATOR: Wanda Willis, Director of Community Development for the Cummer Museum
PANELISTS: Shawana Brooks and Roosevelt Watson, Founders of 6 Feet Away Gallery.  Mal Jones, Hip Hop Artist and Creator of The Lyricist Live.  Erin Kendrick, Artist and Art Instructor at JAMS (Jacksonville Arts & Music School).  Adonnica Toler, Ritz Theatre & Museum Administrator.  Joy Young, Executive Director of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville.

Florida Theatre continues partnership with Main Street America


Main Street America Group, a Corporate Partner of the Florida Theatre since 2005, has announced its renewed support of the Theatre.

“Main Street America is proud to be a long-time supporter of the Florida Theatre as part of our commitment to support the communities where our employees live and work.  The Theatre’s mission strongly resonates with our employees, who are regular patrons of the Theatre’s great programming.  We are honored to associate ourselves with an organization such as the Florida Theatre, which has such a strong community presence,” said Dave Medvidofsky, Senior Vice President of Human Resources.

"The historic Florida Theatre is pleased to play its part in providing Northeast Florida with the music, dance and theatre programs that are part of what gives Jacksonville the unique character that we have all come to appreciate, and expect, as residents of a great city,” said Florida Theatre President, Numa Saisselin.  “The theatre earns 85% of its annual budget from its business activities, and support from the business community, like our returning Corporate Partner Main Street America, helps to close that small budget gap every year and keep the Florida Theatre and its programs something special for our community.”

The historic, nonprofit Florida Theatre is sponsored by Community First Credit Union. For a complete list of upcoming events or to buy tickets visit the Theatre's official web site.

About Main Street America Group: Founded in 1923, The Main Street America Group provides insurance to individuals, families and small businesses in 37 states, as well as provides fidelity and surety bonds in 47 states and the District of Columbia.  A.M. Best rates Main Street America with an "A" (Excellent) Financial Strength Rating, with a Stable Outlook, as well as an “a+” Issuer Credit Rating.  Main Street America writes business through eight carriers: NGM Insurance Company, Old Dominion Insurance Company, Main Street America Assurance Company, MSA Insurance Company, Grain Dealers Mutual Insurance Company, Main Street America Protection Insurance Company, Spring Valley Mutual Insurance Company and Austin Mutual Insurance Company.  Learn more about how we take care of our customers better than anyone else.

About Florida Theatre: From ballet and opera to contemporary pop, jazz, rock, country and blues the nonprofit Florida Theatre offers 200 cultural and entertainment events annually for every taste and age.  More than just an entertainment center, Florida Theatre is also home to graduations, awards ceremonies, lectures, business meetings and charity events that support the community's schools, churches, hospitals and civic groups.  As an anchor to downtown development along the beautiful St. Johns River, Florida Theatre draws 250,000 people to Jacksonville's center each year.  The magnificently restored Florida Theatre is recognized as one of the finest concert venues in the Southeast. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Florida Theatre holds special memories for four generations. From the Vaudeville acts and silent films of its earliest days to today's blend of performances of all kinds, the Florida Theatre has served as Jacksonville's premier entertainment center since 1927.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

'Whose Live Anyway?' heads to JAX next year

The Florida Theatre proudly welcomes the critically-acclaimed improv show “Whose Live Anyway?” on Friday, February 26, 2021.  The current cast members of the Emmy-nominated TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway? are proud to present their new improv tour: Whose Live Anyway?

“Whose Live Anyway?” is 90 minutes of hilarious improvised comedy and song all based on audience suggestions.  Cast members Ryan Stiles, Greg Proops, Jeff B. Davis and Joel Murray will leave you gasping with the very witty scenes they invent before your eyes.  Audience participation is key to the show so bring your suggestions and you might be asked to join the cast onstage!  Whose Live Anyway? showcases some of the improv games made famous on the long-running TV show as well as some exciting new ones, featuring musical direction by Bob Derkach.

All ages are welcome, but please note that some “PG-13” language will be used during the performance.

The historic, nonprofit Florida Theatre is sponsored by Community First Credit Union.  For a complete list of upcoming events or to buy tickets visit the Florida Theatre’s official website.

Whose Live Anyway
DATE: Fri., Feb. 26, 2021
TIME: 8 p.m.
TICKETS: $35 – $55


LOCATION:The Florida Theatre
      128 East Forsyth Street.
      Jacksonville, FL 32202
      (904) 355-2787


‘Jake Shimabukuro’ and ‘Orleans’ at the WJCT Soundstage this Fall

Jacksonville, Florida is making plans to bring you some upcoming entertainment to you.  WJCT, in partnership with the Florida Theatre, announces that “Jake Shimabukuro” will perform at the WJCT Soundstage on October 2, 2020 and “Orleans” will perform on Wed., Nov. 11, 2020.  Tickets are available for purchase at wjct.org/events.

Shimabukuro, an award-winning ukulele player whose works have topped Billboard’s World Music Chart on numerous occasions, gained worldwide fame when a 2006 YouTube video of him playing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” became one of the first-ever viral videos. He has collaborated with a wide range of artists, including: Yo-Yo Ma, Jimmy Buffett, Bette Midler, Cyndi Lauper, Jack Johnson, Ziggy Marley, Dave Koz, Michael McDonald, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Tommy Emmanuel and Marty Friedman.  His most recent album, “The Greatest Day” (2018), features new original instrumental compositions and covers of beloved songs by The Beatles, Ed Sheeran, Jimi Hendrix and Leonard Cohen.

Orleans, an American soft rock band, gained stardom during the 1970s topping charts with their iconic hit singles, “Dance With Me” and “Still the One.” The band’s name evolved from the music it was playing when it formed, which was inspired by Louisiana artists such as Allen Toussaint and the Neville Brothers.

The WJCT Soundstage presents live performances in a unique and intimate setting, from local and international touring musicians, as part of WJCT’s Jacksonville Music Experience.

“Jake’s enchanting musical style resonates with fans of various genres, and patrons will be amazed at Orleans’ performance of their chart-topping hits and unique pop/rock sound,” said David McGowan, President and CEO of WJCT.  “We look forward to welcoming Jake Shimabukuro and Orleans to the WJCT Soundstage, and thank our friends at the Florida Theatre for joining us in bringing these world-class musical artists to Jacksonville.”

“Our partnership with WJCT allows us to offer Northeast Florida music fans a unique concert experience that complements the theatre atmosphere. Together, our organizations share a commitment to presenting the highest quality events in a safe and engaging environment,” said Numa Saisselin, President of the Florida Theatre.

Ticket sales may be restricted to ensure social distancing regulations are followed. For more information about the WJCT Soundstage, visit wjct.org/jaxmusic.

About WJCT: WJCT is the community-owned and operated public media organization serving Jacksonville and the First Coast since 1958, using television, radio, digital media, and live events to help community members learn, share, and grow. For more information on WJCT’s in-depth programming content, log on to WJCT Online at wjct.org. Like WJCT on Facebook (facebook.com/wjctjax) and follow WJCT on Twitter (@WJCTJax) and Instagram (@WJCTJax).

LOCATION:
WJCT Soundstage
100 Festival Park Ave
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Come or go with an Alhambra meal

Experience the magic of the “Cinderella” menu in the comfort of your own home!  Take a look at the takeout menu options for Fri., June 12 – Sun., June 14.

Takeout Hours: Fri.: 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.; Sat. – Sun: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.; 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Family-Style Meal: Fri., June 12 – Sun., June 14 (4 servings).  Grilled Pork Chops - center cut pork chops, barbecue glaze, corn pudding, zucchini & squash medley, with dessert of Mini Dip & Roll - cake skewers with caramel, chocolate, brown sugar, whipped cream.  $55

Entrée Options for Fri., June 12 – Sun., June 14 (1 serving/each) Slow Roasted Tri-Tip Sirloin with natural jus, pan-roasted rosemary potatoes, roasted asparagus, cherry tomatoes, with dessert of Mini Dip & Roll - cake skewers with caramel, chocolate, brown sugar, whipped cream *GF* without dessert.  OR Glazed Salmon - glazed with garlic, honey & soy sauce, brown rice gratin, almonds, roasted wax beans, with dessert of Mini Dip & Roll - cake skewers with caramel, chocolate, brown sugar, whipped cream *GF* without dessert.  OR Grilled Pork Chops - center cut pork chops, barbecue glaze, corn pudding, zucchini & squash medley, with dessert of Mini Dip & Roll - cake skewers with caramel, chocolate, brown sugar, whipped cream.  OR Summer Barbecue Bowl - barbecue jackfruit, roasted corn, zucchini & squash, barbecue baked beans, topped with Brussels sprout slaw and fried corn chips, with dessert of Mini Dip & Roll - cake skewers with caramel, chocolate, brown sugar, whipped cream *GF* without dessert.  $20 each.

Click curbside-to-go dining-program or call the box office at 904.641.1212 to place your order and let us take care of dinner!

Price includes tax.  Gratuity not included – but much appreciated.  Orders may be placed until 11 a.m. on day of pick-up.  Quantities are limited.  Available while supplies last.

Cinderella

DATES: June 11 through July 20, 2020

SHOW TIMES: Please note, to accommodate the many young families attending this show, doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for evening shows and dinner will start at 6 p.m.

TICKETS: Prices range from $40 – $68.  Children 12 and under are $38 + tax.  Ticket prices include: a plated three-course meal that changes for each show, and is served directly to your table; a Broadway-style performance and complimentary parking.  Tickets may be purchases by calling (904) 641-1212.
     **Prices do NOT include gratuity, professional photos, or orders from the bar**

LOCATION: Alhambra Theater & Dining
       12000 Beach Blvd.
       Jacksonville, Florida 32246
       (904) 641-1212


Friday, June 5, 2020

Unrest in the Land of Opportunity

COVID-19, Protests, Unemployment, Violence & Hurricane Cristobal.  What’s next?  Where is the Love?  What do we do?  How do we survive?  Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” has a principle: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”.  Well, some things I just don’t understand.  It reminds me of an old song “Ball of Confusion” by the Temptations, just change some of the words.  We need God now more than ever.

I was 14 when I saw a riot while living in Philadelphia; and it wasn’t pretty.  I went to an all-black Catholic Elementary school and wasn’t allowed out at night.  I remember that the 2 grocery stores (Fagan’s & Barney’s) were burned down and other businesses on Ridge Avenue.  There was nothing wrong with the white people who owned the stores; as a matter of fact, they extended “credit” to those who didn’t have any money until their next government check was in the mail.  These store owners kept food on many a table.  I never thought that I would experience such looting and building burning nonsense again in my lifetime until now.  I am saddened.

White people are more apprehensive now than ever before (To To Where Are We?).  Some are afraid of retaliation or being seen as the enemy.  This situation is like “wearing a mask”.  Do we think of how wearing a mask is helping ourselves, or does wearing one help others around us?  What will I gain verses what someone else is dealing with?  How can I make this world a better place, is the question that we would be asking ourselves?  I’m tying to understand – are you?  How does the song, “We Are The World” come into play today?

Businesses have been looted and that causes more increase on unemployment, nevertheless, looting was not done by protestors, but by greedy, lawless, immature people who wanted to obtain something from nothing.  Because of their acts of violence, we have to earn the right to be respected.  Once again, all protestors are not rioters!

The “Pledge of Allegiance” still does not give equality for all.  Blacks have recited this poem for decades and it never pertained to black people.  We have tried to obtain liberty and justice for all, yet we haven’t started to get justice until these recent days.

Colin Kaepernick (and now, many others) are taking a knee.  It’s not about putting our hands over our heart and standing up tall.  We need to respect the American Flag for what it stood for.  The flag represents the lives that were lost during wartimes and the colonies that were set free, but are we all free?  Now we are fighting another war; a war of hatred that exists in the minds and hearts of some people.  If “taking a knee” during the playing of the National Anthem is wrong, consider it part of the “New Normal” instead of a sign of disrespect.  We are NOT disrespecting the American Flag, yet America is NOT being “Great Again”.  We are living in a time of change, and it’s time to SEE a difference made in our lifetime.  It would be lovely to exist in a land where you’re not judged by the color of your skin, but by the content of your character.

My heart aches for those biracial couples and their children who may experience racial slurs, criticism, or bullying.  This hatred has got to stop being spread from generations to generations.  Hatred seems to be another form of virus that is spreading throughout the land.

We live in a cul-de-sac and are the only blacks in the neighborhood.  Just like a place where we lived in New Mexico, we didn’t realize that we were the only blacks until we relocated to a city in the south.  I was respected more in Europe and Asia than I am living here in the US.  And it’s a shame that I am reminded of words spoken in the past, “If you don’t like it here, go back to Africa where you belong.”  Yes, I remember those thoughtless words and a tear comes to my eye.

The other day I was in Walmart getting supplies to make masks.  As I walked down the aisle (in the correct direction) a white man stared at me directly into my eyes.  He was unmasked and I could see the distain in his eyes.  I checked myself and made sure that my hair wasn’t making me look crazy √.  It happened again with another man standing in line.  I had to check√ again, I was standing 6 feet from him √, wearing my mask √, my deodorant hadn’t failed √.  You want to talk about “a new normal”, we are living in a “new abnormal”.  Things will never be the same again, and some things we hope will change for the better.  Nonetheless, I continue to smile beneath my  mask in hopes that they see the love of Christ through my eyes.


If any of my friends feel uncomfortable about what’s happening today, please listen to “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” - former NFL player Emmanuel Acho, as he tries to explain some of the issues that black men go through.  It has been awhile since I’ve had to think about inequality (2007), nevertheless, I will continue to pray and make changes whenever and wherever I can.


Thursday, June 4, 2020

ABBA MANIA return to the Florida Theatre

As Governor DeSantis reopens concert halls in the state of Florida, the Florida Theatre is among the establishments that will comply to government guidelines.  The Florida Theatre is pleased to announce the return of the world’s number one touring ABBA tribute concert, “ABBA MANIA”, on Thursday, February 25, 2021.

ABBA MANIA returns to perform the group’s biggest hits: "Dancing Queen," "Waterloo," "Mamma Mia,” "The Winner Takes it All," "Super Trouper,” “Fernando,” ‘‘Take A Chance On Me” and many more in this special live concert.

ABBA MANIA formed in 1999 and the show has been selling out theatres and concert halls internationally ever since.  This show has toured the world in its quest to bring the music of the Swedish supergroup to their millions of fans, old and new.

ABBA’s timeless songs were written to be enjoyed live and ABBA MANIA gives you exactly that.  Two hours of uplifting, dance inducing and sometimes heart-breaking songs, fully live with fantastic staging, lighting and effects.  ABBA MANIA is the perfect concert for lifelong, die-hard ABBA fans as well as the new generation of fans who never had the opportunity to see ABBA live.

Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid, collectively known as ABBA, dominated the charts for nearly ten years and enjoyed nine UK number 1 hits.  At their height they became Sweden’s highest export earners, amazingly, outselling Volvo cars.  ABBA Gold was continuously in the album Charts throughout the nineties and is one of the biggest selling albums ever.

“Beware of imitations…this is the real musical tribute!” – Polly Graham, Sunday Mirror

The historic, nonprofit Florida Theatre is sponsored by Community First Credit Union.  For a complete list of upcoming events or to buy tickets visit the Theatre’s official website, floridatheatre.com.

ABBA Mania
DATE:
Thurs. Feb. 25, 2021
TIME: 8 p.m.
TICKETS:  $29 - $50

LOCATION:The Florida Theatre
      128 East Forsyth Street.
      Jacksonville, FL 32202
      (904) 355-2787


At home with the Cummer Museum


The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is working hard on reopening plans to welcome you back soon. Our goal is to create the safest and best visitor experience that is centered around the highest quality works of art and historic gardens that are accessible and fun for everyone.  Their reopening phases will include the Gardens, followed by a full campus reopening.  As they continue to work toward finalizing a timeline for when they can safely reopen their doors, please be assured that they have been developing an extensive plan which implements the highest-level health and safety protocols to greet you.  To learn more, click here.

Florida conjures visions of a lush tropical paradise, with vast natural resources and endless opportunities for those most daring to try.  The cultural landscape, however, is a combination of nature and humanity; the landscape, from white sand beaches to murky swamps, provides the backbone; the inhabitants provide the culture.  Florida’s cultural landscape is light, bright, expansive, and ripe with potential, but also wild, untamed, ambiguous, and obscure.  Tour the exhibition here.

STAY SAFE, STAY SHOPPING: Discover unique gifts, including puzzles, books, jewelry, apparel, children's items, and more.  Now you can shop online anytime at the Cummer Shop Online Store.  The Cummer Shop is filled with items that are educational, inspirational, and fun.  The selections reflect the quality of the Museum’s Permanent Collection, Gardens, and Exhibitions.  Discount code for you as a member to receive the member 10% off is Member10.  You support our mission - proceeds from the Cummer Shop support exciting and diverse exhibitions and programs for our community.

ENGAGE WITH THEM: The Cummer Museum continues to provide comfort, wisdom, and the means for self-expression and connection through our virtual presence.  Visit here for innovative solutions to experience the Museum and its benefits from home.

‘Cinderella’ - first show since Feb.20th

The Alhambra Theatre & Dining announced it will open its doors on June 11 with Rogers & Hammerstein’s classic, “Cinderella.” With social distancing guidelines strictly enforced and capacity restricted to 50% occupancy, the Alhambra will continue its run as America’s longest-running dinner theater.  The re-opening plan took some juggling of seating charts and schedules, not to mention the patience of more than 10,000 guests who already had tickets for the remainder of the year, but the curtain will rise on June 11, the originally-scheduled dates for the Alhambra’s run of “Cinderella.“ The show is scheduled to close on July 26.  Patrons are asked to wear a mask except during mealtime.

Because of the social distancing guidelines related to COVID-19, the Alhambra will only be able to sell limited number of additional tickets.  The show was already 70% sold out when it suspended sales in late April.  Following the math of only allowing 50% capacity, the Alhambra actually added several matinee dates to accommodate the overage.

“We are thrilled to roll with whatever punches we need to open for our family of guests and staff,” said Alhambra Managing Partner Craig Smith.  He continued, “Our job is to provide the community a break from the day-to-day and give folks a place to go to make some memories. We’re grateful we get to do our job again and that our guests and staff are so accommodating.”

Adding the additional dates not allow the Alhambra to sell more tickets.  It simply gave them the opportunity to seat existing ticket holders, some who were asked to switch dates and tables.  “Our guests were ready, willing and able to work with us.  Our staff was willing to switch from days to nights when called upon.  Our kitchen staff was happy to add day time hours to an already-busy schedule.  It was really a great demonstration of being in this thing together,” said Smith.

Smith recounted that the most challenging part was figuring out what to do with the remaining shows on the calendar, including the nearly-sold out, “Grease.”  To do that, the Alhambra is moving its run of The Music Man to 2021 and replacing it with “Grease” from July 30 to September 20.  This adds two weeks to the original run of “Grease,” allowing for the Alhambra to accommodate its current ticket holders as-well-as take more reservations.

Said Smith, “We knew when we scheduled it that “Grease” would be a big seller for us.  We had the opportunity to accommodate the 12,000 “Grease” ticket holders and honoring our commitment to “The Music Man” by simply moving it to next season.”  The Alhambra will allow anyone unable to use their current tickets in their new seats and date as a credit for a future show.  “Love, Sex and IRS,” will run as planned in late September, and with matinees added to create more seating for what Smith expects to be a strong seller.

In compliance with local, state and federal guidelines for COVID-19, the Alhambra will heighten its usual high safety standards.  Staff will undergo training in safe service practices as well as what to look for regarding symptoms.  All staff will be wearing masks and gloves.  They have also been instructed to stay home if there is even a hint of a related symptom.  In an email to ticket holders, the Alhambra has asked customers to take the same precautions, and has offered to waive the “day of” transfer fee to those needing to change dates at the last minute.

In addition, the Alhambra will suspend for “Cinderella” and “Grease” its Opening Night Gala pre- and post-show celebrations in the lobby of the Theatre.  “We take for granted our usual processes because we’ve been at this for so long, so we’re having to review and change every contact point from food delivery to pens our guests use to sign their credit card receipt.  It’s been a good exercise for us in terms of efficiency.” Said Smith.  Complimentary Champagne and Hors d'oeuvres served at your table before dinner, on Gala evening.

Reconfiguring process is not new to the Alhambra, which had successfully pivoted at the beginning of the business closing period by switching from seated dining for 375 people to take-away and curbside delivery.  They later added dine-in options once the options were allowed.  The Alhambra will continue its curbside to-go dining program.

Cinderella

DATES: June 11 through July 20, 2020

SHOW TIMES: Please note, to accommodate the many young families attending this show, doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for evening shows and dinner will start at 6 p.m.  Adult and Children’s Menu can be viewed HERE.

TICKETS: Prices range from $40 – $68.  Children 12 and under are $38 + tax.  Ticket prices include: a plated three-course meal that changes for each show, and is served directly to your table; a Broadway-style performance and complimentary parking.  Tickets may be purchases by calling (904) 641-1212.
     **Prices do NOT include gratuity, professional photos, or orders from the bar**

LOCATION: Alhambra Theater & Dining
       12000 Beach Blvd.
       Jacksonville, Florida 32246
       (904) 641-1212

The Florida Theatre update during COVID-19


The next scheduled Florida Theatre show is The Orchestra: An Evening of ELO’s Greatest Hits, on July 11.  If that changes, it will be announced directly to the audience in a timely manner.  Their guiding principle is that the Florida Theatre will be open again when it is safe for the artists and audiences to do so.  They’re paying close attention to the best thinking in the sports, arts and entertainment industries on how to do this, and following guidance from the Centers for Disease control, the State of Florida, and the City of Jacksonville.  They are specifically working closely with the City of Jacksonville, who understand the importance of returning the arts and entertainment to the life of our city, but our mutual goal is to do it safely.  When they have more information about when, and any new protocols that the audiences should expect, we will share it publicly.

Due to the current global health crisis, these events have been rescheduled and current purchased tickets will be honored on the new show dates.



*The Florida Theatre will continue to update their website and social media platforms (Around Town With Ms. “V”) as new information becomes available.

LOCATION:The Florida Theatre
      128 East Forsyth Street.
      Jacksonville, FL 32202
      (904) 355-2787

One more takeout week at the Alhambra

Stay tuned for the next exciting post from the Alhambra Theatre & Dining here at “Around Town With Ms. “V”.  You won't want to miss it!

Take a look at the takeout menu options for Friday, June 5 – Sunday, June 7, 2020.  Takeout Hours: Fri. - Sun.: 3:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Family-Style Meal: Fri., June 5 - Sun., June 7 (4 servings).  Chef DeJuan's Famous Shrimp & Grits served with caesar salad, and dessert of Chef's kitchen sink cookies.  $55

Entrée Options for Fri., June 5 (1 serving/each) Herb & Crumb Crusted Cod with lemon beurre blanc, rice casserole, zucchini and squash medley, and dessert of chocolate peanut butter pie. OR Braised Pork Cheeks with natural pork jus, buttermilk mashed potatoes, squash medley, fried onions, and dessert of chocolate peanut butter pie.  $20 each.

Entrée Options for Sat., June 6 (1 serving/each) Aunt Mae's Fried Chicken with country chicken gravy, white rice, creamed peas, and dessert of blueberry crème brûlée with sugar cookies.  OR Spaghetti with Housemade Giant Meatballs, garlic bread, green beans, and dessert of blueberry crème brûlée with sugar cookies.  $20 each.

Entrée Options for Sun., June 7 (1 serving/each) Creamy Chicken Pasta with angel hair, artichokes, mushrooms, peas, tomatoes and pesto cream sauce, and dessert of white chocolate bread pudding.  OR Smothered Pork Chops with gravy, yellow rice, succotash, and dessert of white chocolate bread pudding.  $20 each.

Price includes tax. Gratuity not included - but much appreciated.  Orders may be placed until 12 p.m. on day of pick-up. Quantities are limited.  Available while supplies last.

To place your order, CLICK HERE or call the Box Office at (904) 641–1212 to order.

Separate orders required for each day. Menu subject to change, based on availability.  Photos are not exact representation of meal.  Question?  Please give them a call! They are there to help.

LOCATION: Alhambra Theater & Dining
       12000 Beach Blvd.
       Jacksonville, Florida 32246
       (904) 641-1212

‘Solidarity Day of Action for George Floyd’

The City of Jacksonville community will come together to remember George Floyd, and Victims of Police Violence and to call for the: Release JSO Body Cam videos, FDLE investigation of all JSO Officer involved shootings, a Citizens Review Board and increased Police Accountability.

As part of a community wide Solidarity Day of Action for George Floyd, Thursday, June 4, 2020, Women’s March Florida Jacksonville Chapter in partnership with 11 local organizations: Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, League of Women Voters, NAACP, NOW, New Florida Majority, National Organization for Women, Sister Hermana, ACLU, Bring It Home Florida, Jacksonville Black Commission, Clergy, Community Leaders will host a peaceful solidarity remembrance and press conference.

Women’s March is calling for the community to take positive, peaceful action on that day to express their sorrow, anguish, and disgust over the wounds of racial division in this country and to remember those who have suffered, and continue to suffer at the hands of rogue police officers.  Supporters have been asked to wear black in support of black lives, place signs in their cars with supportive verbiage, donate to local charities that support racial justice, and attend the Remembrance event in front of JSO.

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA
WHO:
Women’s March Florida, Jacksonville Chapter, in partnership with community organizations, and clergy
WHAT: Solidarity Day of Action for George Floyd, “In Remembrance”
WHEN: Thurs., June 4, 2020 @ 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) 501 E Bay St, Jacksonville, FL 32202
WHY: “In Remembrance” George Floyd
HOW: Peaceful Gathering

Thursday, May 28, 2020

🎶‪”We Shall Overcome Someday...black and white together someday”.🎵 “How long-not long”-MLK
It looks like we take one step forward and are driven two steps back. I looked into the eyes of a white police officer the other day (while donning my mask 😷) and he looked the other way.  I’ve gotten use to being kind and waving to the police as a way of saying “thank you for your service”, yet now, I must be cautious for not being misunderstood.

I have white friends and wonder if they will be a little standoffish when we see or speak with each other because they can’t see my facial expression through my 😷 (and Yes, I will continue to protect you and me with my mask). It’s an uneasy situation. 

I am reminded of a story that I wrote years ago “ToTo - Where Are We? (http://ow.ly/TtMO30qKmls), things are not the same as it was before. This is a #NewAbnormal.

I haven’t been led to make a comment on this situation until today. I too have a grown Son, and I pray for his safety. I pray that he won’t be a wimp or a wuss, but that he has the wisdom & grace to stay alive if he is confronted by the law. 

Yes, we should be upset that all this racial negativity is happening during this COVID-19 pandemic, yet we need to realize that evil is still lurking on this earth and violence and looting are NOT the answer. Those who committed a crime should be punished by the full extent of the law. #DoTheRightThing #PrayForPeaceAndUnderstanding #LibertyAndJusticeForAll. #CautiousButNotCrazy, #WiseYetHarmless, #WashYourHands, 
#FactsNotFear, #PrayedUp, #StaySafe, #FaithOverFear, #FactsAndFaith,
#TBR (Trust,Believe, Receive - from God)

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

‘Little River Band’ and ‘Lords of 52nd Street’ coming

The Florida Theatre is pleased to announce the return of classic rock hit-makers “Little River Band” with special guest “Lords of 52nd Street” to the Theatre on Saturday, March 6, 2021.  Florida Theatre members at the Ensemble Level and above can order tickets today.  Members of the Florida Theatre E-Club can use their code word to order tickets.  Tickets for Little River Band with special guest Lords of 52nd Street are now on sale.

Founding member of The Eagles, the late Glenn Frey, dubbed Little River Band “the best singing band in the world.”  Through the 1970s and 1980s, Little River Band enjoyed huge chart success with multiplatinum albums and chart topping hits such as: “Reminiscing,” “Cool Change,” “Lonesome Loser,” “The Night Owls,” “Take It Easy on Me,” “Help Is on Its Way,” “Happy Anniversary,” “We Two,” “Man On Your Mind,” “The Other Guy,” and “It’s a Long Way There.”

Little River Band made their American radio debut on WAIV in Jacksonville in 1976.  WAIV programmer Bill Bartlett, who was a huge fan of Australian rock and roll, was the first to play their now-classic song “It’s A Long Way There” on American radio.

Little River Band’s worldwide album, CD sales and digital downloads now top 35 million, and they were the first band to have Top 10 hits for six consecutive years.  According to BMI, “Reminiscing” has garnered rare status with over 5 million airplays on American radio, and “Lady” is close behind with over 4 million airplays.

The Lords of 52nd Street are the Legendary Original bandmates who recorded and toured the world for many years with the “Piano Man,” Billy Joel.  They helped to create one of the most recognizable sounds in music, recording the sax, drum and guitar solos on over 150 million albums sold.  They’ve performed all over the world for decades with Joel, in addition to having successful personal careers.

Led by Richie Cannata on tenor saxophone, Liberty DeVitto on drums and percussion, and Russel Javors on rhythm guitar, Lords of 52nd Street created a sound that helped change the face of music.  They’ve worked individually with multi-platinum artists, lending their talents to some of the greatest musicians in the world.  After over 30 years apart, the band reunited in 2016 and haven’t missed a step with their awe-inspiring performances.

The historic, nonprofit Florida Theatre is sponsored by Community First Credit Union. For a complete list of upcoming events or to buy tickets visit the Florida Theatre’s official website.

°°°°°“Little River Band”
special guest “Lords of 52nd Stree
t

DATE: Sat., March 6, 2021
TIME: 8 p.m.
TICKETS: $79.50, $59.50 and $39.50

LOCATION:The Florida Theatre
      128 East Forsyth Street.
      Jacksonville, FL 32202
      (904) 355-2787


Virtual camp at the Cummer Museum starts soon



The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens will debut a virtual summer camp experience for young artists, starting June 15, 2020.  Advance registration is required at cummermuseum.org/camp.

The 2020 camp schedule begins with elementary school camp (for students entering grades 1 through 6), which will run Monday through Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.  Campers can register for up to six themed weeks, which include:

• June 15 through 19: Rhythm, Pattern and Balance


• June 22 through 26: Land, Water and Sky

• July 6 through 10: Artful Animals

• July 13 through 17: Sculpt It

• July 20 through 24: Art Around the World

• July 27 through 31: Line, Shape and Color

A week-long middle school camp (for students entering grades 6 through 9) will be held July 27 through 31, focusing on printmaking and mixed media.

“This evolution of our popular camp programming provides a way for students to stay creative, while staying safe, this summer,” said Kim Kuta-Dring, Director of Education of the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens.  “Young artists will have the opportunity to observe and explore artwork in the galleries and gardens through live online sessions, experiment with different art media and showcase their creations in a virtual open house each week.”

Each camp day will include two hours of virtual class, time for campers to work on projects alone, one-on-one and small group time with an instructor and a 45-minute concluding session each day.  All campers will need access to an internet connection and a computer (laptop or desktop), tablet or smartphone.  Class sizes will be limited to 20 campers per class, with campers grouped by grade range.

Registration fees are $100 per week for Museum members and $115 per week for non-members, which include camp art kits containing all necessary materials and supplies for the week’s activities.  A limited number of scholarships are available; details can be found at cummermuseum.org/camp.

Details about future educational programs and classes for children and adults will be released in the coming weeks, upon confirmation of the Museum’s reopening plans.

Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
  
829 Riverside Avenue
  Jacksonville, Florida 32204
  (904) 356-6857