Friday, January 17, 2020

Elegant dinner served with Andy Warhol at the Cummer

On Jan.6th, patrons recently celebrated the start of 2020 with the Cummer Museum of Arts’ recent acquisition of works by artist and pop-culture icon, Andy Warhol.  You would have loved to join the Cummer as they journeyed back to 1977, when pant legs were big and disco ruled the world!  They honored this legendary American artist and reimagine the Terry Gallery as the famed Studio 54 club. Whether you were dripping in sequins, or chic in vintage Halston & mink, guests were ready to ‘Boogie Down Broadway’ during an evening of glitz and glamour at “The Art of Pop: A Warhol Dinner Party.”

All Dinner Party guests enjoyed an open bar of beer & wine; hors d’oeuvres; themed music from DJ Nick Fresh and a few disco dancers from the Jacksonville Dance Theatre; famed Warhol art; a gift shop full of exquisite gifts and other trinkets, and a delicious dinner.  Guests also enjoyed a private art tour along with a signature cocktail prior to the start of the evening.  Dr. Adam Levine, Director & CEO of the Cummer, welcomed his guests and made introductions throughout the party.

Please allow me to share some of the scrumptious items from the dinner menu: Shrimp and Lobster Salad with Pea Tendrils, Corn Shoots, Frisee, Purple Beet Puree, Champagne and Golden Tomato Vinaigrette topped with an Edible Flower.
Tomato Bisque Shooter, Gourmet Grilled Cheese Selection, Truffle Infused and Caramelized Onion. Fresh Herbs, Bacon, Gruyere and Provolone.
Mini Beef Sliders stuffed with mushroom Duxelle with Roquefort Cheese and a Port Reduction on Buttered Brioche Bun.  Roasted Stuffed Mushrooms with Spinach, Boursin & Panko.  Rosemary and Parmesan Crinkle Fries served with ketchup. 
Chocolate Fondue Station: Milk Chocolate Fondue, served with a selection of accompaniments: Angel Food Cake, Pretzel rods, Strawberries, Bananas, Peanut butter cookies, and Marshmallows.

You won’t want to miss the next Dinner Party on February 24th. entitled: “The Art of Power: An Egyptian Dinner Party

Ticket reservations are on sale NOW
Single Dinner:
VIP | $250 (includes a private tour from 5:30 p.m. - 6 p.m.)
General | Members $150, Non-Members $175
Young Professionals (40 and under) | Members $100, Non-Members $125

Art of Power and Art of Nature Bundle:
(one ticket to each dinner party)
VIP | $450 (includes a private tour from 5:30pm - 6 p.m.)
General | Members $275, Non-Members $325
Young Professionals (40 and under) | Members $185, Non-Members $235.

Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens

   829 Riverside Avenue
   Jacksonville, Florida 32204
   (904) 356-6857
Hours of Operation & Admission

‘A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum’ showing up at PBTS

Players by the Sea’s first classic musical comedy of the New Year opens very soon!  “A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum” has been called “Broadway’s greatest musical farce.” It’s a timeless comedy that dates back to its Broadway premiere in 1967. But the cast and creative team working on the production here at Players will stun you with their fresh talent and take on the classic.

The cast consists of 18 actors, spanning from teenagers to seniors. Some of them have studied theatre professionally and others just participate because they love being on stage.  The cast is ready to present their exceptional comedic talents with you!  Here’s who you can expect on stage for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum: {Pseudolus) – Al Emerick; (Hero) – Billy Speed; (Philia) – Julie Harrington; (Hysterium) – Paepaeala Pimienta; (Senex) – Allen LaMontagne; (Domina) – Amy Allen Farmer; (Marcus Lycus) – Christopher Humphries; (Miles Gloriosus) – Jimmy Alexander; (Erronius) – Jim Warren; (Gymnasia) – Chelsea Black; (The Geminae) – Shauna Clark and Anna Fleece; (Vibrata) – Kimberly Cooper York; (Tintinabula) – Amanda Jackson; (Panacea) – Charity Zappone & (The Proteans) – Jake McGraw, (Chinua) Richardson, and Kris Stam.

Al Emerick who plays Pseudolous says, “There’s a real diverse split between ages and experience but everyone is in this thing together and has been since the start.  Forum takes us back to Ancient Rome for a unique and unforgettable production.  Pseudolus, a devious slave, makes a deal to win his freedom by playing matchmaker for his lovesick master, Hero. Rife with pompous generals, domineering parents, and wiley courtesans, this hilarious Tony-winning musical is a non-stop laugh-fest with “something for everyone!”

Billy Speed, Jacksonville native, plays Hero.  He went to school for Music Theatre at Oklahoma City University, the same school that musical sensations Kristin Chenoweth and Kelli O’Hara graduated from.  But the ensemble also has teachers, a retired engineer, a dentist and high school students who help to complete the cast.  Despite different walks of life, each cast member has been able to come together through the production process, and bond over their love for the theatre.

“A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum” takes us back to Ancient Rome for a unique and unforgettable production. Pseudolus, a devious slave, makes a deal to win his freedom by playing matchmaker for his lovesick master, Hero.  Rife with pompous generals, domineering parents, and wiley courtesans, this hilarious Tony-winning musical is a non-stop laugh-fest with “something for everyone!”  Emerick says, “You should buy tickets to this show because you will have the opportunity to walk away in tears from laughter and your face will hurt from the smiles.”

A Funny Thing Happened
ººOn the Way to the Forum

Fri. Jan. 24, 2020  8 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 25      8 p.m.
Thurs., Jan. 30   8 p.m.
Fri., Jan. 31    8 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 1    8 p.m.

Sun., Feb. 2    2 p.m.
Thurs., Feb. 6   8 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 7    8 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 8    8 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 9    2 p.m.
Thurs., Feb. 13   8 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 14    8 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 15    8 p.m.

TICKETS: Tickets are on sale now at or by calling the Box Office at 904.249.0289. General admission is $28 per ticket and Senior/Student/Military tickets are available for $25. Thursday Nights are Student Nights at PBTS with $14 tickets for students with a valid student I.D. at the door.  Group rates are available for parties larger than 15 people. (PBTS will have a special celebration for the 24th so get your tickets now to experience the magic of Opening Night at the theatre!)

LOCATION: Players By The Sea Theatre
      106 6th Street North
      Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
      (904) 249-0289

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Come celebrate the legacy of Dr. MLK at the Cummer Museum

It will be a great holiday for parents to come to The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens with their children.  The museum will hold a special event in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 20, 2020.  The event will feature art engagement activities and special commemorations from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with free admission for all.  Free admission is made possible through grants and sponsorships from The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, JAX Chamber, and JEA.

Special highlights will include: art-making activities led by Museum educators, live music by MJ Baker, demonstrations by artists Traci Mims and Keith Doles, and complimentary trolley transportation between the Cummer Museum and the Ritz Theatre and Museum.  Ecumenical Prayers for Peace, coordinated with OneJAX, will be held at 3 p.m. at both locations.  The Prayer for Peace at the Cummer Museum will be accompanied by a performance from the Jacksonville Arts and Music School (JAMS) youth chorus and words from faith leaders from across the Northeast Florida community.  The Cummer Café will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Through hands-on printmaking activities at both the Cummer Museum and the Ritz Theatre and Museum, visitors will have the opportunity to contribute to a collaborative artwork expressing peace and unity, using artistic processes employed by the artists in the Ritz’s current exhibition, Through Our Eyes.  Guests can participate in this art-making project at both the Cummer Museum and the Ritz Theatre and Museum.

“The Cummer Museum is committed to being an inclusive arts and culture institution for all, and to provide opportunities for engagement on this important occasion,” said the Cummer Museum’s George W. and Kathleen I. Gibbs Director & Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Adam Levine.  “We are inspired by Dr. King’s life and legacy, and are honored to welcome the Jacksonville community on this day of reflection.”

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.

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

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Fourth annual Women’s March in JAX, FL

On January 18, 2020, Women’s March Jacksonville will host their fourth annual rally and march commemorating the 2017 March on Washington.  This year’s theme is “United for Change” and will focus on uniting the community as they kickoff a crucial election year.

“Since 2017 the energy and work of grassroots organizations, especially women, has put everyday people in a position to influence the local, state and national agenda.  We’ve seen a historic number of women running for office, and taking on leadership roles.  We now have the most diverse Congress in history, and we want that trend to continue” said Bonnie Hendrix, Women’s March Florida Executive Board, and Jacksonville Chapter President.

The day includes prominent speakers including political and local community leaders, a march to the courthouse, grassroots organizations and presidential campaigns tabling, food trucks, music by Mama Blue and DJ KiKi, and diverse vendor product sales.

Join them for another powerful day of action, centering their messages, and uniting their community for change.

What: United for Change - Rally and March
When: Saturday, Jan 18, 2020, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: Hemming Park, 135 W. Monroe Street

Speakers: Sen. Audrey Gibson; Rep. Tracie Davis; John M. Phillips, Award Winning Civil Attorney; Donna Deegan, Candidate US House District 4; LaShonda “LJ” Holloway, Candidate US House District 5; Heather Gupte, ACLU Florida Board; Andrea Reyes, Top Rated Immigration Attorney, Women’s March Jax Board Member.

Sponsors: A Woman’s Choice Inc.; Reyes Legal, PLLC; The Women’s Center of Jacksonville; Equality Florida; Phillips & Hunt, Committed to Justice Law Firm.

Are you ready to ‘RENT’ some space at the Times Union?

Who owes RENT?  Who forgot to pay the RENT?  Why did they name this fabulous operatic musical - RENT?  Well, the Times Union Center for the Performing Arts Moran Theater is hosting this show in Jacksonville, FL this week.  You might deduce the answers to these questions if you’ve purchased your ticket.  Please let me know your answer (you may want to read page three of your program to get a clue to Who’s Who).

The singing, acting, stage presentation, sound, costumes, lighting and choreography are straight from Broadway; well done and well presented.  The orchestra is slightly concealed onstage and this five-member ensemble is phenomenal.  Kudos go out to the members of the band - Bravo!

A Little About the Opera: “Based on Puccini's 'La Boheme', 'Rent' tells the story of one year in the life of friends living the Bohemian life in modern day East Village, New York City, 1989-1990. Among the group are our narrator, nerdy love-struck filmmaker Mark Cohen; the object of Mark's affection, his former girlfriend, Maureen Johnson; Maureen's Harvard-educated public interest lawyer and lesbian lover Joanne Jefferson; Mark's roommate, HIV-positive musician and former junkie, Roger Davis; Roger's new girlfriend, the HIV-positive drug addicted S&M dancer, Mimi Marquez; their former roommate, HIV-positive computer genius Tom Collins; Collins' HIV-positive drag queen street musician/lover Angel; and Benjamin Coffin III, a former member of the group who married for money and has since become their landlord and the opposite of everything they stand for. Shows how much changes or doesn't change in the 525,600 minutes that make up a year.” —Anonymous, IMDb


Thurs., Jan. 16  7:30 p.m.
Fri., Jan. 17   8 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 18    2 & 8 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 19   1:30 & 7 p.m.

TICKETS: for RENT 20th Anniversary Tour start at $48.50, plus applicable fees. Tickets can be purchased at our box office from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, by calling (904) 632-5000, or online 24/7 at Discounts for groups of 10+ may be available by calling (904) 632-5050.

LOCATION:Times Union Center Performing Arts
Moran Theater
      300 West Water St.
      Jacksonville, FL 32202

'Mike Epps' brings crew to JAX for one nighter

Comedy heavyweight "Mike Epps" brings “The Fabulously Funny Comedy Festival” to VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. on Jan. 17 at 8 p.m.  Epps will lead the show with an all-star lineup including: Sommore, Gary Owen, Michael Blackson and Haha Davis.  The celebrated entertainers will bring down the house with their sharp wit, unbridled humor and hysterical storytelling for a comedy show fans won’t want to miss!

Highly praised for his performance in the Netflix comedy “Dolemite Is My Name” starring opposite Eddie Murphy, Epps is generating an extraordinary amount of buzz among his peers for being not only one of the funniest comic actors in town, but also for his burgeoning dramatic talent.  This summer, Epps released his latest standup special “Mike Epps: Only One Mike” (Netflix), and dropped his single “We Goin’ Out” feat. Big Boi and Sleepy Brown.  Up next, Epps will be starring in the Netflix comedy series “The Upshaws” with Wanda Sykes, “The House Next Door,” sequel to the 2016 film “Meet The Blacks” and “Last Friday.”

About Mike Epps: Mike Epps has generated an extraordinary amount of buzz among his peers within the entertainment industry for being one of the funniest comic actors to emerge in the Hollywood scene. During a performance at LA’s Comedy Store, Epps caught the attention of Ice Cube. This led to the first of three feature films they would do together: the cult hits “Next Friday,” "Friday after Next," and “All About the Benjamins.” Other features include the Hangover franchise, “Girls Trip” “Faster,” “Hancock,” “Lottery Ticket,” “Next Day Air,” “Roll Bounce,” “The Fighting Temptations”, the Resident Evil franchise, “Bait”, “How High,” “Dr. Dolittle 2”, "Talk to Me", and "Guess Who?"

About Sommore:
In her more than 20-year career, award-winning comedienne of “Chandelier Status,” Sommore, has become a trailblazer for women in the comedy business as one of the most successful comedians in the U.S. and abroad.  Sommore has been featured in a number of hit films including "Soul Plane," "Something New" and "Friday After Next."  Her all-new self-produced comedy special, "A Queen With No Spades" recently premiered on Showtime.

About Gary Owen: Having performed to sold-out audiences in all the major comedy clubs and theatres across the country, Gary Owen is one of America’s most beloved comedians, having been proclaimed by Ebony magazine as Black America’s “Favorite White Comedian.”  Audiences can see Owen in his most recent comedy special, “I Got My Associates” currently on Showtime.  Last year, Owen starred in his own docuseries “The Gary Owen Show” on BET, which chronicled his dynamic and interracial family life with his wife and children in small-town Ohio. Film credits include “Meet The Blacks,” “Think Like A Man,” “Think Like A Man Too,” “Ride Along,” “Little Man,” “Daddy Day Care,” and “College.”

About Michael Blackson: Michael Blackson aka ‘The African King of Comedy' has been entertaining audiences all across the country and around the globe for more than a decade.  Blackson’s comedic appeal grew from his involvement with BET’s “ComicView” series and HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam,” “Showtime at Harlem” and “Live in Hollywood.”  Shortly after getting his big break starring opposite of Ice Cube and Mike Epps in “Next Friday,” Blackson released his top-selling sketch comedy CD entitled “Modasucka Welcome to America.”

About Haha Davis: Detroit-born and bred Haha Davis found his passion as a comedian/internet sensation in 2013 by creating funny Vine videos and Instagram clips.  His hilarious characters soon caught the eye of celebrities, including Chance the Rapper, and in 2015 he was featured on the tracks “No Problems”, “All Night”, and “Blessings” on Chance the Rapper’s album Coloring Book.  In 2017, Haha’s catchphrase,” Dis Finna be a breeze” became a pop culture sensation that was adopted by celebrities and athletes on social media from Snoop Dogg to Tom Brady, which ultimately led to a music video collaboration with Snoop Dogg based on the phrase.

  “Mike Epps”
Fabulously Funny Comedy Festival

DATE: Fri., January 17, 2020
TIME: 8 p.m.

TICKETS: VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena Box Office, or
Prices range from $52 $59, $75, $125.

LOCATION: VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena
     300 A Philip Randolph Blvd.
      Jacksonville, FL 32202
      (904) 630-3900

Sunday, January 12, 2020

‘Love Letters’ communication at the Alhambra Theatre

This two-man play is a mature WIN at the Alhambra Theatre & Dining.  This play is excellent for anyone who remembers writing letters to someone dear, mailing them and waiting for a response to come back.  It wasn’t as simple as it is today - only being a keystroke away, but letters had meaning and it took thought and time to grab some paper & pen, and make a trip to the post office.  This presentation brings back fond memories.  Younger people might not “get it”, but the more mature audience will enjoy a reminder of times gone by.

Producer (and usually Director) Tod Booth* (Andrew Makepeace Ladd III) and Booth’s real-life-actress wife Lisa Valini* (Melissa Gardner), give much meaning to this presentation through their flawless reading, and heartfelt facial expressions.  Lisa’s jewelry and both their outfits are grand and add enjoyment for the eyes while listening to their extensive dialogue.

There is no music nor dancing, but most people could not read for two hours and express the love that a couple of characters held for each other that spanned a number of decades.  Imagine taking a journey of two young people through many years of school, graduation, jobs, love affairs, military commitment, growing families, life’s entanglements, and finally death.  That’s what Love Letters is all about.  It’s a mind game of an exciting journey.

Making her Directing debut, Jessica Booth* who did a wonderful job, behind the scenes at bossing her parents around the stage.  Take a look at some funny outtakes from her preopening experience.

As noted in the Playbill’s Author's Note: This is a play, or rather a sort of play, that is designed to be read aloud by an actor and actress sitting at tables, in front of a group of people, with no special set or memorization.  In performance, the piece would seem to work best if the actors didn’t look at each other until the end.  They listen eagerly and actively to each other along the way, as we might listen to an urgent voice on a one-way radio, coming from far, far away.

Chef DeJuan has not disappointed, especially with his famous Roasted Prime Rib.  This writer is not a fan of lobster, so the Monk Fish was not a favorite (don’t google it before you try it - the fish is hideous looking).  Both the first course selections are delicious, but the salad’s dressing tasted and looked like thousand islands.  Still it was tasty.  The Broccoli & Cheddar Soup is well seasoned and (as with most of Chef’s meals) did not require additional condiments.  For dessert, both the Carrot Cake and the Warm Pear Cobbler are hits.  Bon Appetite and enjoy the Show!

* denotes Actors’ Equity Association

Love Letters

DATES: January 9, 2020 through February 9, 2020

SHOW TIMES: Evening shows Tuesday through Friday start at 7:50 p.m.  Doors open at 6 p.m., and dinner is served until 7:30 p.m.  Saturday Matinees begin at 1:15 p.m.  Doors open at 11 a.m. and the brunch served until 12:30 p.m.  Sunday Matinees are at 1:50 p.m.  Doors open at 12 p.m. and the meal is server until 1:50 p.m.

DRESS: “Business Casual”, or “Sunday Best”.

TICKETS: Prices range from $38 – $66, but for “Love Letters”, the Alhambra is offering a special pricing package in honor of this Booth family moment, two tickets for just $89..  Often following a show, the cast will make an appearance in the main lobby for an informal meet and greet.  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 on line, or by calling (904) 641-1212.
     **Prices do NOT include gratuity, professional photos, nor orders from the bar**

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