Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Health care during a COVID-19 pandemic


Where in the world has Ms. “V” been?  For those of you who like details - here it is.  It has been awhile since I’ve been on social media and it was a little difficult getting back; but I’m alive and getting better every day.  The devil tried to take me out, but God has many more great years in store for me and mine.

Our Granddaughter came to visit for the Summer this past July.  We have been surrounded in a “Bubble of Protection” (Job 1:10) that God has for us.  It wasn’t until August 20th that I began to feel chills and fever from a UTI.  Because I’ve had so many of these, I had an antibiotic on hand, but it had no effect.  I packed to go to ATL for that weekend, feeling a little better, but still was weak and not myself.

It took me a week and wanting to sleep all day that I got a virtual conference with a doctor on the base.  A urinalysis confirmed that the infection was still present.  The antibiotic that was prescribed for me was wrong.  I became weaker, lost my balance a couple times and fell to the floor.

God gave me enough strength to enjoy our Grandchild although I wish that I was feeling 100% instead of 35%.  Well, things were getting worst instead of better.  When you’re nice to people and talk as if you have sense, you will obtain favor.  I called the base and got an appointment on Sept. 9 with a doctor who would be saving my life.  This same doctor called me the next morning at 6:30 a.m. and told me to go straight to the nearest emergency room; that the base is not equipped to handle AKI (Acute Kidney Injury).

Van and I were in the ER from 7:15 a.m. as they started IV’s for my dehydration.  My veins were so small that I now look like a ‘pin cushion’.  Talk about being tested for FEAR, before I went to my semi-private room, my blood pressure had risen to 175/98.  They took it twice and I prayed that I wouldn’t stroke out.  It came down immediately after that.  God is so faithful and always there.

More testing came to my Faith as my room was right next to the Kidney Dialysis room.  I was asked so many questions and was given a Sonagram of my Kidneys and Liver (to make sure that the Hepatitis C was still cured and no harm was done in that organ.  The CAT Scan didn’t reveal anything, yet one examination and a Sonagram of my legs indicated that I have a blood clot in my left leg.  I had Thrombophlebitis over 40 years ago when I was a nurse, and got treatments just as I’m getting blood thinners now.  I am gaining my strength daily and slowly gaining the 13 pounds that I’ve seemed to misplace; nonetheless, I miss going to the gym and my lack of muscle tone needs help.  I was discharged from the hospital on the 14thh and will be seeing an Oncologist for the blood, and a Nephrologist to follow up and make sure that I continue to heal.

Thank you to those who inquired about my wellbeing and for the prayers and thanksgiving to God.  Sometimes you just need to be alone with close family and not a lot of questions.  #TBR


Thursday, August 20, 2020

Safety at the Alhambra during COVID-19


It has literally been a month of Sundays since we’ve had a review on “Around Town with Ms. “V” due to the pandemic shutdown in March; nonetheless we thank God that we are alive and well.

Florida has only reached Stage 2 of carefully reopening some businesses with social distancing and having patrons don masks, yet we are proud to report that the “Alhambra Theatre and Dining” has complied to safely protect its patrons and their employees.

Masks are not required during your meal, but you are requested to mask-up when going to the restrooms.  Some people chose to have on their masks during the show’s presentation, but that’s entirely up to you.

Space between tables has been designed so that only you and people who are in your party, are sitting together.  Plexiglass is positioned throughout the showroom in order to separate one layer of tables from the next level of tables.  All servers are protecting you with their facial coverings and gloved hands.

Yes, you can still get your favorite alcoholic beverage brought to your table, and don’t forget to get your professional 5x7 framed photo taken with a themed background to commemorate your visit along with a memorable key chain.

The show “Grease” is fantastic.  When I asked if I should watch the original movie with my Granddaughter, it was suggested that I wait until after viewing the show, and she was so right (but it really didn’t matter).  A couple of the songs were different and of course, some of the scenes have been changed under the excellent production of Mr. Tod Booth.  The actors (some of whom you might have seen before), are seasoned participants as they act, sing and dance with the upmost precision.

The Alhambra Theatre and Dining is a small business that is doing everything that they can do tin order to maintain quality while presenting the best three course meals by Executive Chef DeJuan Roy.  Also, please be kid to your servers because they work hard to give quality service.  Tipping is allowed and recommended.  The only negative of my evening was the coffee that tasted like a weak tea, nevertheless, there’s still a Starbucks still open somewhere on the way home.

“Grease” may be sold out (even with the addition of three extra weeks); but in order for experience live theater, you may want to join the Alhambra’s Royalty Partners.  These Season Ticket holders, who have purchased tickets before the onset of the Coronavirus, get first preference to available seating.  Want to get out and continue to enjoy life?  Get your Alhambra Theatre & Dining tickets today.  Give them a call!

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

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens to reopen for phase II


The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens today announced its second phase of reopening, which restores community access to the Museum’s indoor galleries and exhibitions in a limited capacity, will begin on Tuesday, July 21, 2020.

This announcement follows the safe and successful first phase of reopening that began on June 20 with the historic riverfront gardens, light bites and beverage service through the Cummer Café and two pop-up locations of the Museum Shop. The Museum will continue to limit daily capacity across the campus for the foreseeable future.

“Since the Museum closed to the public in March, we have been diligently working toward the day when we could safely welcome the community back to our galleries to find comfort, inspiration and respite during this challenging time,” said Interim Director and Chief Advancement Officer, Kerrie Slattery. “We are grateful to be able to open our doors so that everyone can once again experience art, culture and connection, in a safe and socially distanced setting.”

To celebrate the reopening of the galleries and honor Northeast Florida’s military community, VyStar Credit Union will sponsor free admission for active duty service members and their families on July 25 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and July 26 (12 to 4 p.m.).

"VyStar Credit Union has a deep appreciation for our military, and we are proud to partner with the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens to sponsor free admission for service members and their families," said Brian Wolfburg, President/CEO of VyStar Credit Union. "We hope this provides a meaningful experience that celebrates the rich art and culture found in our community."

Members and guests are required to reserve a timed ticket in advance of their visit at cummermuseum.org/admission. Tickets are available in two-hour time increments, with dates and times for the upcoming week updated every Monday.

The Museum has implemented many safety and sanitation measures, including hand sanitizer stations throughout the campus, plexiglass guards for the front desk area and expanded daily cleaning and sanitation policies for all common areas and surfaces according to the Centers for Disease Control and Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines. All galleries now feature routes to direct the flow of movement and support social distancing. Transitioning to a timed ticket model provides additional time for cleaning and disinfecting throughout the campus, including high-touch surfaces. Museum staff, members and guests are required to wear masks.

The Cummer Café will fully reopen on August 1. Art Connections, the Museum’s interactive education center, will remain temporarily closed for remodeling.

For information about the Museum’s permanent collection, internally curated gallery spaces and special exhibitions, visit cummermuseum.org/visit/art. The Museum’s digital gallery experiences, virtual tours and online resources remain available to the community at www.cummermuseum.org/engage.


‘Cummer Museum’ helps special needs students through virtual program



“The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens” and “Connecting Thru Music” (CTM) have partnered to provide a unique learning opportunity for children with special needs enrolled in Duval County Public Schools’ Extended School Year (ESY) program: a three-week virtual series, “Live from the Cummer: Connecting Art and Music.” Music therapists from CTM’s partner, First Coast Music Therapy, along with Cummer Museum educators, will host two 30-minute classes, twice weekly.  During each class, these students and their families have the opportunity to explore the Museum’s artwork and galleries through lively and fun music interventions.

The virtual explorations, which launched on July 7, are presented live through Microsoft Teams at 11 a.m. and again at 11:30 a.m. for two different groups of ESY students, based on their ages and abilities. Each session includes a brief curated art tour (approximately five minutes) led by a Museum educator and information about the themes presented in the museum gallery. The music therapists engage the ESY students for approximately 20 minutes with songs connected to the theme and artwork. Additionally, these students receive art-making ideas that their families can work on together at home.

“We are focused on the need for a flexible and creative approach so that the children will have this unique opportunity to learn during these challenging times,” said Karen Demuth, Executive Director of CTM. “The added benefit of their parents being present because it is virtual adds a positive experience and promotes learning, bonding and fun.”

For many families, the summer break is a critical time to maintain the gains students have realized during the school year. “During these uncertain and stressful times, it’s more important than ever for the Cummer Museum to support the diverse needs of our local community,” said Kim Kuta Dring, Director of Education for the Cummer Museum. “This partnership provides students with differing abilities and their families with access to high quality artworks and experiences that promote self-expression, wellness and family stability – all important aspects of a child’s healthy growth and development.”

About the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens: For almost 60 years, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens has been committed to engaging and inspiring through the arts, gardens, and education. A permanent collection of more than 5,000 objects and historic gardens on a riverfront campus offers nearly 150,000 annual visitors a truly unique experience on the First Coast. Nationally recognized education programs serve adults and children of all abilities. For further information, including hours, visit The Cummer Museum.

About Connecting Thru Music: Connecting Thru Music is a 501c3 that partners with First Coast Music Therapy to provide music therapy with board certified music therapists and related music services which enhance the cognitive, social, emotional, physical, development growth of the children with special needs throughout Duval County and the Northeast Region of Florida. For more information, visit connectingthrumusic.com.

Florida Theatre welcomes corporate partner Bowing Oaks

The historic, nonprofit Florida Theatre welcomes Bowing Oaks as its newest Corporate Partner.

Owner of Bowing Oaks, Jim Efstathion, has a deep connection to the arts in North Florida, having moved to Jacksonville over 50 years ago to begin working with Ted Johnson and the Alhambra Dinner Theatre.  During his years in Jacksonville, Efstathion and his family have become familiar and welcome faces at the Florida Theatre.  “Each Christmas season for over a decade, The Florida Theatre became our second home as our daughters and their friends rehearsed and performed in the Nutcracker. Music, dancing and celebration have always been a part of our family’s DNA,” said Efstathion.

It was Jim Efstathion’s family that led him to create what has now become Bowing Oaks.  “Seven years ago, my wife Cheryl came up with an idea.  When most people were retiring, we designed and built a venue in a natural setting for one of our daughters to have her wedding. Bowing Oaks was born,” said Efstathion.  “Our booking manager Heather Canada Randall remarked, ‘If you build it, they will come.’  And boy did they.  With over 450 events held to date, Bowing Oaks is considered one of the premier wedding and events venues in north Florida.  In addition to weddings, Bowing Oaks is home to 1 Vibe Dance, an internationally acclaimed dance studio with thousands of participants attending classes over the last four years.”

“I know Jim has a long history of involvement in the arts and theatre as a practitioner and also as a supporter.  He knows the importance of the arts to business and business to the arts,” said Florida Theatre President, Numa Saisselin.  “The Florida Theatre earns 85% of its annual budget from its business activities, and support from the business community, like our new Corporate Partner Bowing Oaks, 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 Bowing Oaks: Located on five acres in the Bayard area of south Jacksonville, Bowing Oaks is the city’s premier wedding and event venue, with just the right blend of rustic elegance and modern convenience.  Bowing Oaks’s 3,200 square foot ballroom can accommodate up to 200 guests with an unparalleled sense of rustic elegance.  The venue is fully handicapped-accessible, has two spacious lounge/dressing areas for wedding parties, and a large catering kitchen.  Bowing Oaks also has two unique outdoor ceremony sites, and numerous locations to take amazing photos.

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