Tom Waits Glitter and Doom Tour

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I’m feeling a 70’s resurgence this month.  Newly back from New York and having seen the best band ever formed in life, Blondie, and now revisiting my Tom Waits collection in light of tonight’s show (which I cannot afford $85 to attend), I’m feeling pretty musically groovy this week.

Waits is performing at the Times Union Center for the Performing Arts Moran Theater (whew) at 9 p.m. tonight and if you don’t think that’s a big deal, you are confused.

I remember the first time I heard Waits.  I would’ve bet money he was a 60 year old black man.  Not so.  His voice sounds cured by years of whiskey and hollerin’, but he’s a good ol’ west coast beatnik with blues so smooth it’ll make you cry.

I’m not sure if tickets for tonight’s performance are still available, but if they are and you’ve got the cash to spare, you should check it out.  I found out that the tickets are paperless, you only need show your id and credit card at the theater.  If anyone goes, please let us know how it rolls.

Nicole Middleton at First Fridays

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Jacksonville is lucky to have an abundance of people creating and organizing events.  Whether it’s Burro Bags, Sunday Sixers, Community Festivals or new bands on the scene, 20-somethings are establishing an environment of artistic dedication and urban development.  Nicole Middleton is just another part of the mix. 

Nicole’s artwork is showing up all over town and she’s painting like a maniac in order to keep it that way.  She’s a little lady but she does big work.  Nicole is a dear friend of mine and agreed to answer some quick questions via e-mail last night.  Here’s what I got:

Who are you?

Nicole Middleton.  Shorty.  Artist.  Mom.  Fashion, music and art lover.  Jack of all trades.

What kind of artwork do you create?

Awesome.  (Mostly watercolor animals with some acrylic mixed media thrown in for good measure.)

When did you begin making art?

When I was a kid.  Drawing Ninja Turtles a thousand times pays off!

Why did you choose skeletons?

I think the parts of animals you don’t see are interesting.  You don’t realize what goes on underneath the skin.

What’s your typical atmosphere for creating?

Some Mates of State playing, some green tea and my seven year old talking my ear off.

Where has your artwork been displayed and where is it displayed now?

It has been displayed at the Pegasus Gallery in St. Augustine and is now located at Cafe 11 in St. Augustine and Raglands in Five Points.

Do you have any upcoming shows?

Yes!  Other than First Fridays in Five Points this week, I’ll be at the TSI art show July 11th, and Bogda August 2nd.

Who’s buying your work?

Lots of different people!  Everyone likes animals.  Mostly awesome people, really.

How tall are you really?

Five foot one and three quarters of an inch.  (Aside: I don’t think that’s accurate.)

Why is First Fridays in Five Points so great?

Everyone goes, there is dancing in the streets, djs, free booze, awesome stores with the best stuff, and fun people!

I bought a wolf from you and commissioned another.  Where is it?

Listen hoe, I’m working on it.

Leave me some last parting words.

Shake and bake!!

Find Nicole and her artwork at First Fridays this week, which always proves to be a good time.  Bring some dough and add a piece of art to your collection.  Nicole will soon have an Etsy site, but until then you can see her work at www.myspace.com/birdsnoctopi.

Can You Hear the Buffalo Tears?

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In a land far away drop the tears of a beast onto a barren field.  All around trees sway in unison to the beat of their thud on the hard, dry ground.  Such is the way of Buffalo Tears, bringing music to the lands in melancholic rhythm and ever-wistful chords.  Maybe you’ve seen them or maybe you’ve heard them.  This is their story as told by their people.

Who is Buffalo Tears?

We are the downtrodden and disenfranchised, the children whose voice must be heard through the voice of past and distant generations; and Brandon, Janie, Adam and Joey.

So you still have a girl drummer?  That’s awesome.

No, you’re awesome.  We love women.

How did you come up with ’Buffalo Tears?’

Sometime ago a buffalo bust was bought at a second hand store.  Wine and some free association later we have Buffalo Tears.

What kind of music do you play?

White funk (Adam); Stage fuzz (Brandon)

What inspirations do you draw from?

Soccer, football, soccer (Joey), my mom (Janie), the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 00’s (Adam), nothing in the past 18 years, I am horribly bored (Brandon).

How did Buffalo Tears form?

You know how kids meet; ice cream socials, IRA meetings, love-ins.  Officially, we meet at an Asian-themed opium den.

Who’s your favorite local band/who’s your favorite band in general?

After the Bomb, Tuffy’s beautiful voices, Black Kids’ post-Motown sound, Lazerstar, Face Eraser, Fruit Machine.  Jacksonville has a lot going on right now in terms of people playing music.  In general, Arthur Lee, Stax Records, 60’s and 70’s punk.  Brandon wakes up every morning to Nillson’s “It’s Over.”

What’s been your favorite show to play?

We once played outside at the Orange Park Town Hall midday.  The wind was in our hair.

Where are you going next?

We are currently self-recording demos.  We are going to record an ep.  Play the Southeast.  Become Internet darlings.

Tell me about the shows this weekend.

We will be playing Friday at TSI with the Recalls.  Then Sunday we will be one of the hundred bands playing at the Pearl for the Community Festival.  It’s gonna be amazing.

Leave me some last parting words.

A very lonely German man once spoke of unification.  I don’t think it panned out very well for him.

Check out Buffalo Tears this Friday at TSI and Saturday at the Pearl.  We’ll have more on the Community Festival just for you tomorrow.  Thanks to the guys and gal of Buffalo Tears for taking some time out to answer questions.

Happy Birthday MOCA Jax!

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Nobody throws a birthday party better than an art museum and nobody celebrates birthdays harder than cake makers.

Last Friday night I attended the celebration of MOCA Jacksonville’s fifth anniversary downtown.  If you caught the previous post about this event, I mentioned that I would be assisting Chef Katie Dumphy of Tasteful Creations for the evening.  I did just that.  And ate a lot of cake, too.

Set-up was from 4 to 6 Friday afternoon.  Of course it was pouring, but five of us arrived at the loading dock of the museum and managed to get everything inside with no problems.  I went upstairs with boxes of cake and saw other chefs working on their masterpieces.  I felt like I was at a Food Network Challenge.  It was excellent.

After set-up, I went home and got ready for the party.  I was able to bring two friends to also assist the chef, so we arrived back at the museum at 7:30.  It had been completely transformed. 

Hors d’oereves  were being served downstairs and there was a dj and dance floor on the upper level.  A station had been setup for guests to create their own party hat and decorate sugar cookies.  Upstairs was full of people mingling and admiring cakes.  All 12 of the cakes featured were complete masterpieces.

I loved all of the cakes, but my particular favorite (besides Chef Katie’s) was done by the chefs at Etiquette of Chocolate.  Coincidentally, I had just gone to Etiquette of Chocolate with my family a couple nights before the event to check out the shop and meet the chefs. 

The Etiquette of Chocolate cake is pictured below.  Each level of the cake was dedicated to a different artist.  The artist’s name was written on the layer next to his design.  Of the five layers, my favorites were Warhol and Murakami.  The cake was a true piece of art.

Chef Katie’s cake was a contemporary abstract design.  It was well executed and very colorful.  The cake was chocolate with cheesecake swirls.  It was the most delicious cake that I tasted all night.

The evening concluded with the awards ceremony followed by some song requests I was dying to hear and dancing.  By midnight we were all packed up and ready to go.  I had a most excellent time and recommend the party next year!

Here’s to five years for the MOCA downtown!  Cheers!

Inside the Circle at the Florida Theatre

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If you missed viewing Inside the Circle Sunday night, you missed a great documentary, great break dancing and a great drum line.  And it all took place inside the Florida Theatre.

I sat around reading most of the afternoon and watching the looming clouds that never opened up until I left for the Festival; at which point, the sky fell in. 

I parked, quickly ran into the theatre and found a seat upstairs next to a B-Boy team that had more energy than anyone should ever have on a Sunday evening.  Their clapping and screaming got me fired up about the film, though, and it was especially entertaining when any one of the boys would see someone they knew on screen or when Florida was mentioned.

The film was well executed and entertaining.  I love learning about interesting sub-cultures and the way they exist.  Watching the lives of B-Boys on screen was revelatory mostly because it removed me from everyday living and threw me into another social scene.  I came away with so much knowledge about a facet of life that I knew nothing about.

Marcy Garriott is my new favorite person.  She is the director and producer of Inside the Circle.  She and members of the film answered questions from the audience.  Garriott is a slender blonde with a soccer-mom type appearance, a far stretch from her B-Boy counterparts on stage.  When asked how she came to be involved in the B-Boy scene, she stated that she found it fascinating and began to follow competitions.  She was slowly accepted by Romeo of B-Boy City (an organization that holds competitions) who agreed to be a part of the documentary.

The film and question and answer period were followed up by an introduction to the Theatre’s Plan B.  Originally, a street party was to be held but because of the rain, the party was moved indoors.  As this was being explained, a drum line started in the downstairs lobby and the audience moved out.  I was able to look over the balcony and get a couple shots. 

When I started down the stairs, a group of teenagers had created their own B-Boy circle complete with moms taking pictures and boys taking turns.  I stood around and watched for a bit and then headed downstairs.  The Theatre had turned into a massive dance party.  The drum line was getting down, the B-Boys were getting down, the old people were getting down and I was trying to take as many pictures as possible.  I apologize for the bad views though, I’m pretty short.

This year marks my third Film Festival attendance and I have to say it just keeps getting better.  Jacksonville is lucky to have such an awesome event.  The Florida Theatre, as usual, is a gracious host and throws a fun party.  If you couldn’t get out to any events this year, make sure to do so next year.  You won’t be disappointed.

Rest in Peace Robert Rauschenberg

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Famous Neo-Dada artist Robert Rauschenberg died Monday in Tampa, according to Jennifer Joy, his representative at PaceWildenstein gallery in New York.  The Associated Press ran the story today.

Rauschenberg was an American artist who came onto the scene in the 1950s transition from abstract expressionism to pop art.  Most known for his “combines,” combinations of non-traditional materials and objects from modern life, Rauschenberg also sculpted and choreographed.  In 1984, he won a Grammy Award for best album package for the Talking Heads album “Speaking in Tongues.”

Rauschenberg, along with Jasper Johns, is often cited as being a forerunner of American Pop Art.  By 1962, Rauschenberg was beginning to implement the silkscreen method for transferring photographs onto canvas much like Andy Warhol.  Rauschenberg was a supporter of the artists who exploited popular culture wholesale, such as Andy Warhol did with tomato soup cans and Roy Lichtenstein with comic books.

When asked about dying, Rauschenberg is quoted as saying, “I don’t ever want to go.  I don’t have a sense of great reality about the next world; my feet are too ugly to wear those golden slippers.  But I’m working on my fear of it.  And my fear is that something interesting will happen, and I’ll miss it.”

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to view some of Rauschenberg’s work at MOCA Jacksonville, which is a part of the museum’s permanent collection.  In my opinion, Rauschenberg is one of the greatest American artists that lived.  His influence on the American art movement in the 1950’s and 60’s is immeasurable.  His impact on the art world will be missed but never forgotten.

Thanks to Joey for letting me post this even though its relativity to UJ is not apparent.

Rolling Out the Red, The 2008 Jacksonville Film Festival

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It’s that time of year again!  The Jacksonville Film Festival is my favorite time of the year.  It comes and goes so quickly that I’m left wondering if it really even happened.  Last year was no exception to the awesomeness that occurs!

The festival begins Thursday evening, May 15, at the Florida Theatre with the Opening Night Celebration and the Southeast premier of Crazy, an independent feature based on the life of legendary Nashville guitarist Hank Garland.  Director, producer and writer of the film, Rick Bieber, will attend the opening night, along with some of the actors.

Things just get better from there.  Friday night is another Southeast premier!  Meteoro, a Brazillian film, will be screening at the Theatre followed by the Samba! Salsa! And Swing! Party at the Jacksonville Landing, which is included in the price of the film ticket.

Saturday is the Hollywood Night Film Presentation with the screening of The Year of Getting to Know Us, a film starring Sharon Stone, Jimmy Fallon, Lucy Liu, Tom Arnold and Ileana Douglas.  The film is about a successful New York journalist forced to face the realization that if he does not learn how to feel, he will face an empty life.  This is the film I’m most excited to see.

Sunday night is going to be oh so hot at Hip Hop for the Masses!  Inside the Circle is screening beforehand at the Theatre and sounds like a really cool film.  It’s a multi-award-winning documentary about two talented B Boys who are best friends and become rivals when they join competing break dance crews.  Hip Hop for the Masses is a street party right outside of the Florida Theatre with B Boy circles, live graffiti artists and a hip-hop stage with guest DJ’s and performers.  Heck to the yes!

Visit the Film Festival site to find out about the other films that are showing.  I can’t testify enough as to the amazingness of this event.  Thanks to the Florida Theatre and the sponsors for making it an undoubtably good time.  Don’t miss out!

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