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Bless his heart, Poppy's got a show!


Also in this Issue:

Military Matters

an Armed Forces News Section


h t i W h c u o T n i e t d i Ge S e n i n i m e F Yo u r







Pensacola Little Theatre Presents

Winnie -The-


From the stories of A.A. Milne

Dramatized by Kristin Sergel

Directed by Stephen C. Lott

March 20-22, 26-29, 2020 850-432-2042


Produced by special arrangement with THE DRAMATIC PUBLISHING COMPANY of Woodstock, Illinois







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DOWNTOWN CROWD FEBRUARY 2020 CONTENTS Publisher Malcolm Ballinger

Editor’s Letter

Owners Malcolm & Glenys Ballinger Executive Editor Kelly Oden Editor Gina Castro

Gina Castro, Editor

Art Director Guy Stevens Graphic Designer Garrett Hallbauer Editorial Assistant Dakota Parks Editorial Interns Josh McGovern Sean Williams Advertising Account Executives Paula Rode Paula@ballingerpublishing.com Geneva Strange Geneva@ballingerpublishing.com Becky Hildebrand becky@ballingerpublishing.com For advertising rates or news tips contact Phone: 433-1166 · Fax: 435-9174 DOWNTOWN CROWD is published by Ballinger Publishing. Offices located at 314 N Spring St., Ste. A, Pensacola Florida 32501 Published by Ballinger Publishing

Downtown Crowd is locally owned and operated. It is published monthly for distribution in Pensacola, Florida. All Right Reserved. Reproduction or use of the contents herein is prohibited without written permission from the publisher. Comments and opinions expressed in this magazine represent the personal views of the individuals to whom they are attributed and/or the person identified as the author of the article, and they are not necessarily those of the publisher. This magazine accepts no responsibility for these opinions. The publisher reserves the right to edit all manuscripts. All advertising information is the responsibility of the individual advertiser. Appearance in this magazine does not necessarily reflect endorsement of any products or services by Ballinger Publishing. © 2020

The first time I experienced sexism I was just 10 years old. My mother enrolled me into a co-ed soccer team at a YMCA. There were only two girls on the team, myself included. On the first day of practice, the coach told us to do a warm up lap around the field. Running was always my favorite thing to do, so I was the first to turn around and begin jogging. Within seconds, a crowd of boys, my own teammates, ran in front of me and slowed down to prevent me from passing them. Each time I picked up the pace, they would pick up their pace. I have always been competitive, so I saw the boys’ action as them challenging me to race. I went around the boys and sprinted to the end of the field where my coach stood. As I stood there panting, waiting for the boys to catch up, my coach looked down to me and said “I’ve never seen a girl run that fast before.” I remember being so confused as to what he meant by that. Running has always been my thing. It never occurred to me that boys are inherently better at running than I am. It never occurred to me that running was a boy thing, not a girl thing. Running is for everyone whether you are black, white, short or tall. Running has never been a man’s thing even back when Bobbi Gibb, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, was being


chased down by the marathon’s staff for simply being a woman. Running isn’t a man’s thing especially today. Allyson Felix beat Usain Bolt’s 2013 record of 11 gold medals at the World Athletics Championship. Felix secured her 12th gold medal in the mixed-gender 4x400-meter relay in October 2019, which was only 10 months after her emergency c-section.


The fact of the matter is, someone’s sex should never be a limitation as to what a person can accomplish or experience. March is National Women’s History Month, so we worked with several women-owned businesses, such as Pure Pilates and Jo Rich Beauty, to show how sex-based streotypes often prevent men from enjoying some of these businesses’ services.


We also looked into the history of the male-dominated brewing industry. Women from several breweries in the area collaborated to make one brew, and all proceeds will be donated to Lakeview Victim Services & Trauma Recovery. We hope this issue helps start discussions about sex-based streotypes. Follow us on social media to join the conversation @DowntownCrowd.

G. Castro

28 8 Women Brewsters Unite for Philanthropic Collaboration 11 5 Questions with Creatives: Tabatha Hamilton 12 Three Heads are Better than One

19 Its Not Weird, Bro. 28 Backwards Southern Hospitality meets Social Media Persona 30 Calendar 32 Military Matters

ON THE COVER: Poppy Garcia shows his femine side. photo by Guy Stevens


women together and why brewing is such a dynamic learning experience. “It’s been nice to see just how many women are involved in the local brewing community. When I first started in the area about three years ago, it seemed like every beer event I went to would just be me and a bunch of men,” said Breite. “I think that you’re starting to see more and more women in the industry in various positions. My background is actually in marine biology. I went from water chemistry and fish into beer. I really like that it’s a kind of a mix between science and art. If you can really understand the science behind it, you can really manipulate it and create the flavor and art that you want out of it.”

Women Brewsters Unite for Philanthropic Collaboration by Dakota Parks • photos by Garrett Hallbauer Beer has often been credited as a catalyst for human civilization and technological invention from the creation of refrigeration to origins in math, commerce and Capitalism. While today, brewing remains a male-dominated profession, men didn’t join the business of brewing until the Industrial Revolution. Historically, women were responsible for brewing beer—they were called brewsters. However, a 2014 Auburn University study found that women make up a mere 29 percent of the brewery workforce. Odd Colony Brewing Co. is highlighting this workforce gap with a philanthropic brewing collaboration designed to unite women across the local brewery scene. On Feb. 11, nearly 15 women from nine different breweries came together for a women’s collaboration brew to launch on the March 8 V-Day celebration at Odd Colony. 8 | DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM

To celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, Odd Colony is releasing their specialty collaboration beer, a dryhopped wheat ale with chamomile and Pensacola-grown tangerine peel. Along with the beer release is a performance of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues. Ensler’s play explores sexual experiences, body image, reproduction, vaginal care, menstruation, sex work and other women’s issues through diverse story-telling. All funds raised by the beer and event are being donated to Lakeview Victim Services & Trauma Recovery. In addition to raising funds for Lakeview, Odd Colony purchased the Pink Boots Blend of hops from Yakima Chief Hops, who donate $3 per pound to the Pink Boots Society Scholarship Fund. The Pink Boots Society is a nonprofit organization that supports women working in the brewing industry.

Katie DeSantis, taproom manager for Idyll Hounds Brewing Company, clad in her Rosie the Riveter-esque outfit with bandana, curly hair and rubber brewing boots described herself as a “brewery mother.” While two breweries couldn’t make it to the brew, the eight breweries in attendance were 3rd Planet Brewing, Idyll Hounds Brewing Company, Emerald Republic Brewing, Big Top Brewery, Alga Beer Co., Perfect Plain Brewing Company, The 5 Barrel and A Little Madness Brewing Company. As women took turns lugging 300lb barrels of wet spent grain, others shoveled grain out, measured the hops and tied off the cotton muslin bag for brewing. One woman even shoveled grain out with her baby strapped to her chest in a baby carrier. Along the way, the women asked each other questions and learned steps of the brewing process that many of them had never been a part of before. While all of the women present were involved in the brewing industry, their specialties ranged from bartenders, managers, owners and even marketing. Of the 15 women present, only one was a full-time brewer, which demonstrates how much can be learned through collaborations. Rachel Breite, brewer for 3rd Planet Brewing, explained the importance of bringing

“I would say that we’re all definitely overrun by men in our companies. I call myself the ‘brewery mother,’ because it’s just me and a bunch of boys. In the brewing industry, everyone is kind of forced to wear a lot of hats and learn a wide variety of jobs within your own brewery,” said DeSantis. “I think that’s where women really succeed in this industry because we’re able to take on many roles. I think that’s also what’s cool about this brew because this is one of the few times that we can all get involved and learn the process. Even if you don’t know much about brewing, you can still help clean and maintain the tap room.” Eniko Ujj, taproom manager for Odd Colony, also emphasized the passing of knowledge and constant learning. “There hasn’t been that many collaborations between breweries in our area, so it’s really neat to see one of the first collaborations brought about by women. Bringing people together, sharing information, encouraging possibilities for future collaborations,” said Ujj. “Brewing is a field that keeps you constantly learning, because there are so many dimensions that can go into brewing.

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Eniko Ujj, Odd Colony taproom manager and Brandi Rodriguez, Odd Colony bartender measure hops during brew while other women take turns scooping grain out.

Like, introducing local agriculture into brewing. So, I’m very interested in growing plants and learning about local agriculture and foraging. It’s this wonderful web of learning.”

and men are sometimes speculative of them until they taste them. I love pushing those boundaries and making people rethink gender—not just with alcohol, but with everything,” said Ujj.

When asked about the societal gendering of beer and the tendency for beer to be labeled a “man’s drink,” participants in the brew described how breweries can actually break down barriers and allow both men and women the opportunities to try new flavor profiles.

The International Women’s Day collaboration beer is breaking down those gender stereotypes by highlighting the diversity of women within the local brewing community, bridging the gender gap in the male-dominated profession—all while raising money for Lakeview Center and the programs that support victims of domestic and sexual violence. The VDay event featuring beer and The Vagina Monologues will be held at Odd Colony on March 8 starting at 7 pm. Suggested admission is $5.

“I don’t think that anything should be gendered—there should be no gender involved with choosing what you like—especially what you like to drink. It’s funny because we have two pink beers on tap





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Local artist Tabatha Hamilton prides herself on her characteristic doodle style. Her unique take on reality speaks to fans, each wanting to see themselves or their loved ones presented in a cute, cartoony style. Tabatha’s art thrives on her Instagram account, @tab_does_art, where she draws commissioned works, typically family portraits, in her distinct style. Tabatha’s style is influenced by a variety of comic book artists and other cartoonists, and it has definitely made inroads in the Pensacola community where she has steadily garnered a dedicated group of fans. Recently, these fans have even come from across the world, showing the worldwide, shared appeal her doodles create. Tabatha has also drawn for more than Instagram, having already been commissioned for magazine covers, logos, and more. Tabatha’s creative doodle brand is a local favorite with a bright future ahead of it. Why do you draw in your particular doodle style? How did you develop it? My constant doodling throughout life has led me to develop this particular style that allows me to simplify my subjects while still capturing their unique characteristics! The positive feedback from friends, family and patrons has really inspired me to keep up what I’m doing and strive to constantly improve my skills as an artist to give the best doodle I can! What has been your biggest influence? A person, or a particular piece of art? I really get inspired by the work of Lucy Knisley, a comic artist; Brian Kesinger, an illustrator for Disney; Fiona Staples, another comic artist and my sweet, baby angel husband Famous Gabe of Hula Moon, a tattoo artist and mural painter! Are you self-taught, or did you attend some kind of art school? Drawing has always been a part of me, and it’s all I’ve ever remembered doing as a kid. It’s just been a very natural thing for me. I’ve tried the school thing, but it really wasn’t for me. But I’m not opposed to learning new things and new techniques!

How do you “market” your art? For example, do you take commissions or do freelance work? How does social media play into your art? I’m constantly doodling for myself and friends, but the majority of my work is comprised of commissioned projects promoted by word of mouth and social media. Social media has really helped me spread my work to all sorts of people– not only to the locals of Pensacola but also people in different states and different countries. It’s always exciting to see where my doodles will travel! What is your creative process like? How long does a typical drawing take you? My drawing supplies are always on hand no matter where I go, but home is where I always feel the most comfortable creating. I usually sit in bed with all my pets and play a “True Crime” podcast or movie while I draw. The process of making one of my doodles can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few days depending on the commission and subject.



Three Local Businesses Combine to Form Nomadic Cafe

by Josh McGovern • photos by Guy Stevens

One restaurant in Pensacola is changing the game. Two heads are better than one, but what about three? Each with their own unique start-ups and ambitions. Nomadic Eats, Big Jerk Soda and Mrs. Jones Coffee joined forces and established a combined location for their unique cuisines and drinks: Nomadic's Cafe.

“Our primary coffee product is a cold brew coffee concentrate,” Stephanie Jones of Mrs. Jones Coffee said. “When I began my business, I just couldn't understand why more people did not have cold brew concentrate in their fridge at home ready to make coffee beverages.”

relationships with one another. Nomadic Eats replaced common brand sodas with Big Jerk Soda, and Mrs. Jones Coffee put her head together with Big Jerk Soda in a collaboration project. Jones met Russell from Nomadic Eats by being one of his regular customers.

“Being a locally owned and operated soda company makes us unique,” Ryan and Jennifer Eaton, owners of Big Jerk Soda Co. said. “We like to say we have something for every taste. Personally, we have a soft spot for our Ginger Beer that started this whole thing.”

“We were actively looking for a space to rent together when I met Randy at Nomadic Eats,” Jones said. “We were all at the same point in our journeys in which we wanted to scale up and serve our customers more.”

The trio met at markets when their businesses were young. The owners didn’t start as friends, but over time, they established good 12 | DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM

“The goal when we originally set out to find a shared space with Mrs. Jones was to have our own space to make our products so we weren’t at the mercy of someone else’s schedule for our pro-

duction and bottling,” the Eatons said. “Having a retail storefront was really just a bonus but not a priority for us. Once Nomadic Eats was in the mix the retail side became more of a focus.” This relationship became more than a collaboration; some might call it a merger of three businesses. But whereas some mergers may play host to an awkward transition, Nomadic's Cafe saw a fairly seamless union. “Our brands seem to match so well together, and we all had very similar visions,” Nomadic Eats owner Russell said. Efforts to make Nomadic's Cafe a unique eating destination in Pensacola are passed around fluently between the owners. Likeminded and focused on the same

“The greatest benefits of the location are being in the ever expanding downtown area and being able to work whenever we want instead of after hours at someone else’s space,”

kitchen inside is used mainly for prep and storage. The three owners chose to steer away from the formalities of a full-service restaurant. Mrs. Jones Coffee and Big Jerk Soda products are offered in a wider variety inside the building, but to grab some grub means going outside to the food truck and grabbing a beeper. The international fusion cuisine is cooked outside in the truck where Russell and his crew feel most comfortable. “We’re not giving up the food truck life. That’s what we are built on,” Russell said. “All around we create a casual and lively environment.” Above all, the owners are more than happy to share their products with each other. “My favorite Nomadics menu item is the Hot Chicken Taco. I eat entirely too many of them. From Big Jerk, I like to combine the Sparkle Motion sparkling water with a splash of the Lavender Lemonade,” Jones said.

goal, Big Jerk Soda, Nomadic Eats and Mrs. Jones Coffee don’t see each other as competitors, but more importantly, as partners working for the same goal. “It’s really easy working with them. We are all like-minded in a lot of ways and we all want to work together,” the Eatons said. “I can say that I have the best business roommates ever. Each has been so kind and accommodating,” Jones said of her coworkers. Nomadic's Cafe is bigger than each business alone, but this hasn’t changed the ways in which each company is run. In fact, it has allowed more freedom for creativity as well as directly affected profits. Making the shift to retail in only a year created brand new sales

opportunities that just weren’t possible before. Being limited to local markets put Big Jerk Soda and Mrs. Jones Coffee in a tight spot. Establishing a permanent retail site provided the edge for all three companies needed to survive in Pensacola. Each of the businesses’ regular customers now have the opportunity to experience two other local establishments. Now with a set destination, customers are more likely to try new foods and drinks. And in the bustling downtown area, business is good. “The greatest benefits of the location are being in the ever expanding downtown area and being able to work whenever we want instead of after hours at someone

else’s space,” the Eatons said. “We are also super excited to have the space to expand and increase production to keep up with the demand for our products.” “We had been slinging cold brew coffee at Palafox Market for over a year, but that was only one day each week,” Jones said. “With the new space, we can provide our customers with more opportunities to get their caffeine fix.” Nomadic's Cafe operates differently than the average restaurant. Nomadic Eats opted to maintain a fast and casual style by keeping their food truck at the permanent location. While the option is available to cook inside the building, the

“Ryan loves Mrs. Jones nitro Every Day Blend cold brew and Nomadic Eats' hot chicken rice bowl, extra hot. Jenn can't get enough of Mrs. Jones King Cake Cold Brew and could probably eat a Nomadic Eats hot chicken taco every day,” the Eatons said. “My favorite Big Jerk Soda is probably the blueberry peach, Mrs. Jones is always different flavors of nitro coffee on tap, I’d say the king cake is my favorite at the moment,” Russell said. Sharing is caring. For Big Jerk Soda, Mrs. Jones Coffee and Nomadic Eats, sharing is a means of business. Nomadic Eats brings the food, Big Jerk Soda brings the refreshments Mrs. Jones Coffee brings the buzz. Each company offers uniqueness in their own form, paving the way for an ultimate dining experience that’ll change the way we dine out entirely.


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THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS Trotting the Line between Communities and Basketball Courts by Sean Williams The Harlem Globetrotters are bringing their worldfamous skill, showmanship and community outreach to Pensacola at the Pensacola Bay Center on March 15. Another stop on their “Pushing the Limits” tour, Pensacola will have an opportunity to see the record breaking stunts the Globetrotters are normally known for while also having a chance to see the team break another world record–a goal for each stop in their current tour. While famous for their ability to effortlessly mix skill with basketball, the Globetrotters provide more than a fun weekend show. With a commitment to showing the fun of basketball and team play, each of the Globetrotters set out to be a role model for children of all backgrounds. One player, Hops Pearce, came to Pensacola ahead of the show to do just that as he read stories, taught tricks and answered questions at the West Florida Public Library on Feb. 19.

Skydiving basketball dunks, stories-tall shots, warm-ups in the dark and basketball on ice are just some of the many stunts the Globetrotters are known for. With their current “Pushing the Limits” tour, the Globetrotters aim to add to their already impressive 22 world records at each tour location. Each new record attempt during the tour will be performed live, a feat following the Globetrotters’ tradition of wowing audiences across the world.

But, beyond the basketball court, the Globetrotters have built their reputation on community outreach that matches the quality of their basketball skills. With a smile, Pearce explains that the Globetrotters’ greatest achievements happen when players are “giving back to the community and making other people smile.” For Pearce, the most memorable moments with the Globetrotters have all been off the court, not on it, a sentiment reflected in his seemingly countless stories of

how he’s interacted with communities and impacted the lives of children in need, and he makes it clear that each player on the team has their own such stories. Pearce notes that this ability to reach global communities derives from the Globetrotters’ penchant for recruiting the best players for that job: “Our front office does a great job on seeking great humans first and good players second.” Alongside community outreach, the Globetrotters are

constantly working toward setting and breaking records by performing a number of trick shots. Recently, the Globetrotters have set the world record highest basketball dunk by having player “Hammer” Harrison make, and achieve, the attempt from a 13,000-foot drop. Likewise, Pearce himself has attempted basketball shots from eight stories high–and made each one. Yet, the Globetrotters have been breaking barriers and touching DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM | 15

“IT’S REALLY ABOUT OUR ABILITY TO REACH BACK INTO THE COMMUNITY AND HAVE A GENUINE LIKING FOR MAKING OTHER PEOPLE SMILE— THAT’S THE MOST UNIVERSAL STAPLE OF BEING A GLOBETROTTER. IT DOESN’T MATTER IF WE’RE PLAYING IN CHINA, EUROPE OR AFRICA; WE ALWAYS GET THAT RECEPTION. THAT’S WHY MY TEAMMATES ARE SUCH GREAT PEOPLE.” communities for far longer than Pearce has been a part of the team. Throughout its 94-year history, the Globetrotters have broken color and gender barriers. “Nat ‘Sweetwater’ Clifton became the first African American to sign an NBA contract through the Globetrotters, so that makes us responsible for breaking the color barrier within the NBA and, really, within the sports world,” Pearce explains, “and, fast forward to 1985, Lynnette Woodard was the first female to sign a pro contract with an all-male basketball team, so that makes us responsible for breaking the gender barrier as well.” Today, the Globetrotters boast a varied team of international, multiracial and multi-gendered players. Pearce refers to some of his newest teammates who signed from places like Poland and China, clarifying that “the Globetrotters are from all over. A lot of people think that we’re all based in one city–that’s completely false.”


Pearce refers to these benchmarks, past and present, with a notable “we,” showing the connection each player has toward their fellow Globetrotters throughout the team’s history: “It’s so much more than being great at basketball like whether we’re dunkers or dribblers or shooters. It’s really about our ability to reach back into the community and have a genuine liking for making other people smile–that’s the most universal staple of being a Globetrotter. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing in China, Europe or Africa; we always get that reception. That’s why my teammates are such great people.” The Globetrotters continue to innovate and amaze at any one of their myriad games, hospital and school visits, and public speaking opportunities. Children and adults of all ages continue to flock to the Globetrotters’ shows and events, and the Pensacola community can count itself among them. For more information on their Pensacola show, go to harlemglobetrotters.com.

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HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED how an interest, an experience or even a color becomes something for only men or only women? Did a single person make this decision and we all just decided to follow? Consider the colors blue and pink. People today use the color pink to signify that the sex is female and blue to signify that the sex is male, but it wasn’t always that way. In 1918, the trade publication Earnshaw's Infants' Department declared that the color pink was for boys because it was a stronger color, while blue was for girls because it was more delicate and dainty. Earnshaw’s wasn’t the only

one. In 1927, Time Magazine created a chart of sex-appropriate colors for boys and girls based off of the leading clothing stores: Filene, located in Boston; Best & Co., located in New York City; Halle’s, located in Cleveland; and Marshall Field, located in Chicago. The chart indicated that pink was the ideal color for boys and blue was best for girls. The narrative didn’t change until the 1940s, which is the time of the baby boomer generation. Society has taught us to divide ourselves based on our sex, but there are no set rules. The world will not end if we break down those bound-

aries. Although divison based on sex does have it’s reasons, such as professional sports, someone’s sex should never be a limitation as to what a person can accomplish or experience. Since International Women’s Day is March 8, we decided to focus this spread on how sex-based stereotypes often get in the way of men enjoying some of the services these local womenowned businesses offer. We also used this spread to open a discussion about the challenges around men embracing their feminine side. America has made numerous strides for women’s rights, and society is becoming more con-

scientious of sexism against women. Even a lot of the negative connotations surrounding feminism have subsided. However, there is still a way to go in understanding how feminism isn’t just a women’s thing. Feminism is the equality of the sexes, so in today’s world where it is okay for a woman to be CEO or the breadwinner, it should be just as acceptable for men to be stay-athome dads, drink a daiquiri or call themselves a feminist. We hope this issue helps start discussions about sex-based stereotypes. Follow us on social media to join the conversation @DowntownCrowd. DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM | 19

Mellow Out, Man. A study from Promundo and AXE found that men ages 18 to 30 feel pressured by society to fit in “The Man Box,” a social construct of male identity that teaches men to prove their masculinity by ignoring their need for self care and mental health. In 2019, Male-centered brands such as Gillete and AXE have made advertisements as an effort to call out this toxic masculinity, but there needs to be more of an effort to change that narrative.


A lot of guys don’t do anything to their skin, and that can lead to aging faster. I feel like most men don’t realize the importance of skin care.”

Joellen Rich, the owner of Jo Rich Beauty Bar located downtown, said that despite the fact that the majority of her services are gender neutral, her clients are mainly women. “They can benefit from everything we have. Men can benefit from facials, chemical peels and hyaluronic injections,” Rich said. “It's important for them to take care of their skin just like it is for women. A lot of men don’t even wear sunscreen, and that's so important.” A study by CDC found that men are less likely to put on sunscreen than women are. Rich said that estheticians are trained to be able to spot issues like melanoma on the skin.

estly, I think it’s because men don’t look at it like something masculine to do. It’s always been kind of a women’s thing to treat herself and to care for her skin,” Rich said. “I think that’s why we don’t get a lot of men here. I don’t think men have a lot of education on it.”

Jo Rich Beauty Bar offers a wide range of facials that men can benefit from such as an anti aging facial, a brightening facial and even the bar’s specific men’s facial. “Hon-

Rich also explained how the bar’s facials and massages can help people unwind from life’s daily stress, which is important for self care. “It doesn’t matter if it’s labeled a feminine

Kevin Deschenes tried a facial at Jo Rich Beauty Bar for the first time, and he said that he found the experience really relaxing and that he would like to do it again in the future. “A lot of guys don’t do anything to their skin, and that can lead to aging faster,” Deschenes said. “I feel like most men don’t realize the importance of skin care.”

thing. It's just self care,” Rich said. The study from Promundo and AXE found that many men don’t discuss mental health because they believe it’s not masculine. Felipe Muñoz, the owner of Empathic Practice, a local business focused on an alternative take on wellness and well-being, said that he believes the reason that the majority of his clients are women is that men are taught to ignore their feelings. “Men are taught by society not to be in touch with their emotions, to not be sensitive, and to power through their emotions,” Muñoz said. “There is a lot of prejudice against men who take care of themselves.” Empathic Practice has teamed up with other wellness providers to organize a schedule of events that offers a relaxing activity every day throughout the month of March. “I’m putting together this challenge to raise awareness around how we all should be in touch with our feelings, our body and be more aware of our surroundings and relationships,” Muñoz said. To learn more about Jo Rich Beauty Bar, visit jorichbeauty. com. To see the complete schedule of Empathic Practice’s March Mindfulness, visit www.empathicpractice. us/MarchMindfulness.

I think men have to get over the stigma that it's a female thing. There are so many famous, nationally known athletes who do it. Kobe Bryant was one of the very first people who ever took a viral picture of him doing pilates, back when he was rehabbing his ankles.”

Do You Even Pilates, Bro? Pilates was created in the early 20th century by German immigrant Joseph Pilates. Pilates struggled with asthma and other illnesses, so he dedicated his life to improving his physical strength. He became a major athlete through gymnastics, body-building, boxing and jiu-jitsu. Pilates believed that mental and physical health were interrelated, so he created pilates to strengthen the human mind and body. Despite the fact that pilates was created by a male athlete, pilates managed to become an exercise predominantly practiced by women. Even just a quick Google image search of “pilates” will show you dozens of photos of women doing pilates, with the exception of a few men. If you search “pilates” on YouTube, you will also see predominantly female youtubers teaching pilates. In fact,

Downtown Crowd isn’t the first publication to notice that pilates has been somewhat labeled as “a woman thing.” The publication Very Well Fit made the point to include that pilates isn’t just for women in its “Top 5 Myths About Pilates” article. SparkPeo-

ple, the largest online diet and healthy living community, wrote an article specifically on how men can benefit from pilates. Susan Waters, the owner of a local pilates studio called Pure Pilates, said that the majority of her clientele are women. However, Waters said that she does have male clients, but they are more likely to do one-on-one sessions than participate in class sessions. “In general, most of the men who come in are mid 50s up to their 70s coming from post injuries,” Waters said. “We have some guys who come in who are runners and they want to stretch and get better run times. We have another population of men that have a list of

surgeries, back pain or bad posture and are doing rehab.” Waters believes pilates has become more popular among women because when Pilates moved to the U.S., he opened a pilates studio and trained a lot of dancers, who happened to be mainly women. “After he passed away, those original students moved across the country spreading the message, and they were women,” Waters said. “He did work with a couple men and that helped spread the movement. It just developed into something that's more for women.” Waters explained that pilates is beneficial to anyone no matter the body type or sex. Pilates is a low-impact exercise that aims to strengthen muscles while improving flexibility and targeting the core. “You have to be able to have a balanced muscle development pattern to stay strong, so doing something that's a little less impact and focuses

more on balancing the posture and muscle tone is only going to help whatever sport you are in,” Waters said. “You are only as strong as you are flexible.” “I think men have to get over the stigma that it's a female thing,” Waters continued. “There are so many famous, nationally known athletes who do it. Kobe Bryant was one of the very first people who ever took a viral picture of him doing pilates, back when he was rehabbing his ankles. Tiger Woods has done it, Shaquille O'Neal has done it. A lot of people have made it famous, especially the NFL players.” University of West Florida graduate student and Pensacola local Nyralda Lindsay-Bradley tried pilates for the first time with Waters at her downtown studio. Bradley said that he found pilates intense and challenging. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most challenging, Bradley rated pilates a 10. “It was a new experience that I quite enjoyed despite my initial hesitance,” Bradley said. If you would like to learn more about Pure Pilates, visit purepilatespensacola.com.


“As long as I compose myself as a gentleman and honor my family, if I want to drink a Kiwi spritzer, who is the world to judge me?”

“Every professional kitchen is dominated by men,” Justine Gudmundson-McCain, the owner of the local bakery Bluejay’s Bakery, said. “There is a very old school stereotype that women belong in the kitchen unless they are getting paid for it, then it's a man’s job.”

Treat Yo'self. In everyday homes across America, women are more likely to do chores like cooking and grocery shopping than men are. The Bureau of Labor Services found that 80 percent of women are the usual meal preppers and grocery shoppers. However, when it comes to cooking at a professional level, men tend to dominate the field. The Census Bureau found that 77.6 percent of chefs and head cooks are men.


The Census Bureau also found that the average male salary for head chefs and cooks is $38,992 and the average female salary is $27,843, which is a difference of $11,149. There is also an issue of representation of female professional cooks on popular cooking shows such as Chef’s Table, which is a television show on its sixth season about the most renowned chefs in the world. Up until season five of Chef’s Table, only 12, out of the 42 chefs on the show, have been women. However, Chef’s Table’s season five and season six have made an effort to include more women and people of color.

In recent years, there have been more women enrolling in Culinary Institute of America than men by just 51 percent. McCain said that she believes this slight change is a reflection of the younger generation changing the narrative. “It’s only recently that women have become more prevalent in the cooking field, and it is more socially acceptable that they be a part of the pastry world than the culinary world,” McCain said. Change can also come to the at-home cooking dynamic. Although men seem to be more drawn to barbequing and grilling, men can also try their hand at cooking other meals. There are several cooking classes through Bodacious’ So Gourmet at sogourmetpensacola.com.

Drink Whatever you Want. Stoli, a popular vodka brand, conducted a study on 1,475 legal drinking age American consumers as part of its #DrinkWhateverYouWant campaign, which encourages millennial men to drink whatever they please. The study found that 74 percent of the men claimed to enjoy flavored cocktails, but 63 percent said they avoid them in public because they are afraid of being picked on by their peers. Zachary Kemmler has been a bartender for the past 15 years, and a bartender at Pot Roast and Pinot for a few months. “From a general standpoint, men order beer and then women look for something like a cocktail,” Kemmler said. “However, that’s definitely changing. I think women are starting to order more beers and IPAs, and men want to experience the flavor of a cocktail.” Kemmler said that the bar’s spiced hibiscus margarita is ordered only by women. “Definitely women.

Probably for the color of it, the way it’s presented, the garnish on it,” Kemmler said. “More women see it and think, ‘Oh that’s pretty,’ so they order it.” Upon asking a handful of men in the community about their drink choices, University of West Florida student Josh McGovern said he orders either a beer or a rum and coke because that’s the drinks he sees his brother drink. Local artist "Yeet" Bigley said he sticks to beers or gin and tonics. “Women drinks tend to be more complicated with ex-

tra garnishes and colors, but I guess I could order a girly drink,” Bigley said. On the other hand, local artist and our pastry chef model Gregory Pierre said he drinks whatever he wants. “I’m not your typical guy. I’m bisexual, so for me, I choose what I like, personally,” Pierre said.

Pierre believes that once he discovered his sexuality, he broke free from what a stereotypical man is and couldn’t care less what society thought about him. “I don’t know the ‘world,’ so I owe the world nothing, when it comes to me expressing myself,” Pierre said. “As long as I compose myself as a gentleman and

honor my family, if I want to drink a Kiwi spritzer, who is the world to judge me?”


Just R o ll W ith It:

Cicl o v ia P ens a c o l a by Dakota Parks • photo by Garrett Hallbauer

Ciclovía takes its origins from Bogotá, Colombia, where every Sunday from 7 am–2 pm, the streets are shut down, spanning 75 miles for a motor-free, free-for-all with bicyclists, runners and walkers galore. The weekly ciclovías in Bogotá attract approximately 2 million people—around 30 percent of Bogotá’s population. The car-free initiative, dating back to the 70s, has inspired thousands of events around the world, including Pensacola. 24 | DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM

On March 28, thousands of citizens will be embracing the clean air and empty streets from 10am to 3pm downtown Pensacola. The streets certainly won’t be empty though. In addition to Ciclovía, the Gulf Coast Science Festival will be set up in Seville Square for their expo day and the vegan-inspired VegFest will be tucked in the Community Maritime Park. Admission to all three vents is completely free and open to the public. Just picture it, East Garden Street stretching down Palafox Street shut down, covered in wheels. All wheels are welcome: bicycles, skateboards, roller skates, roller

blades, unicycles, penny farthings— even Heelys if you still have a pair laying around from the 2008 heyday. Ciclovía Pensacola has been reoccurring since 2017 and growing in numbers as the years go on. The directors of Ciclovía Pensacola were expecting a relatively small crowd their first year but were shocked when nearly 10,000 people showed up. Last year in 2019, the event brought in the biggest crowd yet at 15,000 people. Rand Hicks, chairman of Ciclovía Pensacola, explained the synchronic mobility of the event: “They

“ We want to bring as many people to Pensacola as possible so that they can see our beautiful downtown center. And, to be a symbol for the coming generations getting healthy, staying healthy and having fun outside.”

Ciclovía also features nearly 60 vendors that represent the mission of the event: to promote health and fitness. Everything from bicycle shops and bicycle organizations, yoga studios and Thai Chi instructors set up shop. The only parameters vendors are given is to fall into

The directors of Ciclovía are also partnering up to ensure that riders and participants naturally filter over to the Gulf Coast Science Fair and swing by VegFest for a bite to eat.

Here are the locations and times for each festival:


ly Own l a e oc



For the children, they will be hosting a “slow ride” through the festival. The Escambia County School District is bringing 60 loaner bikes and helmets for kids without bikes to borrow. They plan to take the slow ride down the side streets to avoid the heart of the activity down Palafox Street.


“Well, you don’t have to do anything! You just let people be people, and they’re happy, and they’re moving. We have a couple of things to keep the street flowing," said Hicks. "For instance, if you start staging too many events, like a band on the corner of a street, people will stop to watch the performance and cause a clog in the street. So, we have moving entertainers, like the PopUp Opera or the Pop-Up Gospel that performed in previous years while walking down the street.”

“We want to bring as many people to Pensacola as possible so that they can see our beautiful downtown center," said Hicks. “And, to be a symbol for the coming generations getting healthy, staying healthy and having fun outside. When they see each other, everybody has a smile, and that’s what unites them.”


When asked how they keep the streets from descending into chaos with all of the moving parts, Hicks explained that you just let people be people.

the umbrella that is Ciclovía. The event also impacts commerce by bringing hungry and thirsty citizens past some of the best eateries and shops in downtown Pensacola.


shut down the streets and shut all of the engines off, so the air gets cleaner, people are moving, walking, running, skateboarding, biking, dancing, practicing karate and yoga. Everything you can imagine happens on the streets. It’s all about movement and all about fun. And, you’re cleaning the air while you do it, so there’s no pollution going up into the sky. Each year, we’re continuing to build the community spirit, showcase Pensacola and increase the longevity of happiness for our citizens.”

n it y

iv r D

Ciclovía — Palafox Street & onwards 10 am-3 pm Gulf Coast Science Festival: Expo Day— Seville Square 10 am-2 pm VegFest—Community Maritime Park 11 am-6 pm



We proudly serve all local residents and businesses and honor all active military.


Military Discoun t

Monday - Friday: 9a.m. to 5:30p.m. Saturday: 9a.m. to 3p.m. Closed Sunday 551 S Fairfield Dr. Pensacola, Fl 32506



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Fix your bow ties before you order a martini, shaken not stirred. The biggest party in Pensacola returns with plenty of love on April 4. Spying a new theme, the Pensacola Little Theater is hosting a 007 style cabaret titled Cabaret: Shaken Not Stirred. Each year, the theme shakes up and renews. But, the annual Pensacola party always excites, transforming the Pensacola Little Theater and subsequent block into a full-scaled entertainment complex, indoor and outdoor. The Cabaret features numerous bars and themed rooms boasting extravagant performers in classy dresses, suits and styles celebrating the iconic James Bond films: Diamonds are Forever, Goldfinger, Casino Royale, From Russia with Love, and more. Each room at the event is expected to represent each of the classic Bond films. Sid Heath, PLT’s Executive Director said, “Guests will seamlessly wander from room to room, not knowing what to expect as they turn the corner.” Party-goers can expect a black-tie affair for a good artistic cause. All funds raised

by the Cabaret go right back to the Pensacola Little Theater to improve experiences not only for those involved in the theater but also for the guests and patrons. “The funds raised through Cabaret go right back into that local talent, allowing PLT to keep production ticket prices low, offer outreach programs that inspire children in underserved and at-risk communities and provide the entire community with culturally diverse educational opportunities,” Heath said. “A large portion of the proceeds directly funds our travelling theatre troupe, Beyond Boundaries, which takes free arts education into Title I schools, nursing homes, community centers, libraries and more.” PLT is a nonprofit community theater located downtown on Jefferson Street. Known for countless productions and events in their owned and operated Pensacola Cultural Center, PLT’s annual Cabaret party aims to support local artistic talents and entertainers.

Its beginnings trace back to the 90s when the Pensacola Cultural Center planted itself in the cultural hub of Downtown Pensacola.

“It’s the most unique party you’ll experience in Pensacola – and we are well on our way to selling out of all 600 tickets again,” Heath said.

“Pensacola is so blessed to have such a pool of talent, so we get together to show it off every spring!” Heath said.

Regarded as the biggest party of Pensacola, the Cabaret’s planning is not taken lightly. Dates have been considered and set all the way through 2022. Heath and the PLT Board congregate the day after each Cabaret and plan the next year’s theme. An odd job, for sure. Previous Cabaret themes included cities, decades and colors. This year’s James Bond motif isn’t the only classic film to take center stage. In 2019, PLT hosted a Phantom of the Opera themed Cabaret, doubling as a masquerade party. Pensacola residents took a trip across the Atlantic in 2018 for that year’s Midnight in Paris Cabaret.

All Cabaret tickets include admission, open bar, catering and entertainment. Guests will enjoy a live band, performances by Ballet Pensacola, Powell Entertainment as DJ, string instrumentalists from UWF, aerialists, drag performances and much more. VIP passes are available for purchase granting guests access to other numerous secret rooms. Tickets sell out quickly, and with limited tickets allotted, Heath advised first timers to get their tickets in advance.

PLT is known to be tricksters when it comes to the annual party. Keep a golden eye out for amazements. Teasing secrets along the way, Heath said that this year’s James Bond Cabaret is no different

from the ones that came before it. Surprises are bound to reveal themselves throughout the night. I asked Heath if he’d be willing to reveal a few of the party’s top secrets, and he responded with a polite but stern “No.” “We never give away our secrets, but we do guarantee you’ll be thoroughly surprised with the flow of the evening and what will pop up from time to time. Guests will enjoy libations, live music, exclusive performances, and much more – from drag shows, aerialists, flash mob dancers, ballerinas, singers, pianists, live orchestras, sketch artists, hair stylists, ice sculptors and beyond.” PLT sets out with a mission each year to promote the arts in Northwest Florida. The PLT Cabaret does so in celebratory fashion, creating a fun atmosphere for people to enjoy artistic endeavors. When asked about James Bond puns, Heath kept in touch with the night’s good humor and fun saying, “Bond puns are always allowed! Bond guns, however, are not.” Keep that in mind when putting on your blazers and painting your fingers gold.



VER THE LAST YEAR, local Pensacola artist Poppy Garcia has been working day and night, often falling asleep most nights with a canvas in his lap to prepare for his upcoming art show “Bless Your Heart: Bless This Mess” at the Pensacola Museum of Art. Part sculpture, part painting, part illustration and part performance art, the exhibition opens March 13 and runs until April 26. Inspired by the contradictory nature of Southern hospitality, the vast variances in human nature and the identity crisis of social media and art, Garcia’s body of work shines light on the very interaction of art, artist and art lover. The bulk of Garcia’s show is what he calls “contemporary iconography,” or roughly 100 free-form character studies. Created without any preliminary sketching and done entirely on the spot, the paintings illustrate the wide variety of humans, which Garcia hopes attendants will relate to when observing them.

Backwards Southern Hospitality meets Social Media Persona: A Poppy Garcia Art Show by Dakota Parks 28 | DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM

“They’re kind of based on interconnectivity and this idea of like automatic painting—the same way people do automatic writing. I just kind of let them create themselves in a way and let whatever happens, happen,” explained Garcia. “I just really want people to identify with these pieces in a way that is kind of outside of the normal artistic dialogue. I’ve been a part of artistic academic programs and a lot of structured artistic endeavors, and in a lot of ways, the art almost gets lost in this over-specificity and need to explain— need to understand everything. So, I wanted to create a body of work that could speak for itself and kind of give people the room to find themselves in the work as opposed to putting the work into their own box.”

The other large portion of the show includes Garcia’s work, “Thoughts and Prayers,” which inverts the concept of Southern hospitality and flips it on its head. “It’s kind of funny growing up here. I was born and raised in Pensacola, and I still went by most of my life thinking ‘bless your heart’ was a term of endearment,” said Garcia. “Only to later realize that was only the case maybe a quarter of the time. I feel like the piece represents the current social climate that we all exist in. I think that people really want the best for ourselves and each other, but the best is different depending on who you are.” In addition to the paintings, illustrations and sculptures, Garcia is placing an important message on sustainability. Many art pieces include found objects as well as recycled and donated art supplies. “If there is any group of people that doesn’t really think about their footprint, in some ways, it’s painters and artists. A lot of the things I usually use aren’t the best for the environment. Upon creating this body of work, I’ve tried being more environmentally conscious,” said Garcia. “After this, I will be more sustainably focused. A lot of the canvas, the paint, even the paper in the illustrations is antique paper that belonged to my grandfather— almost everything I've used in this show is recycled or donated.” The “mess” in the show title can also be seen as a representation of Garcia’s artistic process. He explained that he produces some of his best work under the pressure of a deadline and the chaos of getting everything ready in time. He is hosting a painting party and a workshop for the general public to try and show others just how his process works. He also explained that he wants to be physically in the

photo by Guy Stevens

exhibit to interact and talk with observers about his art. “I’ve gotten a lot of questions from just posting the unfinished pieces on social media. People asking about my process and how they’re created. I’m not the kind of person to hide my process,” said Garcia. “If people have questions, I'm happy to answer them. I figured it would be a really cool opportunity to show people how things are made and to help them make their own.” Social media has played an important role in the creation of this body of work. Garcia explained that he is an isolated artist that thrives off being alone in his creative process, but modern artists don’t have the luxury of complete radio silence because they must market themselves and create a

”I kind of relish in the opportunity to avert people’s focus and play with this strange identity that we’re able to create online. We have become so focused on these imaginary characters that we create of each other; you don’t know anyone just because you see them through this lens of social media.” social media persona. On April 3, Garcia is putting on an art performance that symbolizes the juxtaposition of art and social media. “The better part of last year and this year, I took a step back from my social media presence because I was so focused on this body of work. Before then, I was on there almost daily putting my face out there and giving this weird performance to this character that I've created as an artist. It's such a strange time for the performative arts because as an artist, 20 or 30 years ago, people were not having to promote themselves the way that we do now,” explained Garcia. “Now, you’re your own art dealer and running the whole show. So, I kind of relish in the opportunity to avert people’s focus and play with

this strange identity that we’re able to create online. We have become so focused on these imaginary characters that we create of each other; you don’t know anyone just because you see them through this lens of social media. It doesn’t give any window to reality.” Garcia’s multidisciplinary art exhibit is breaking those windows of reality by placing commentary on a large facet of human nature. He wants to expand the artistic dialogue and bridge the gap between artist and art lover. Stay tuned for days Garcia will be in the exhibit to interact with fans. You can check out his work on Instagram @thepoppygarcia


CALENDAR Empathic Practice March Mindfulness March 1-March 31, 2020 As a way to promote mindfulness in our community, Felipe Munoz of Empathic Practice has teamed up with other wellness providers to organize a schedule of events that offers a relaxing activity every day throughout the month of March. Two activities will be highlighted for every day of the month and attendees are encouraged to go to as many as possible and fill out a bracket-like calendar. Some events include Sunset meditation, beer tasting and meditation, yoga, and breathing workshops. For a complete schedule of events visit: www. empathicpractice.us/MarchMindfulness/ Speed Friending at Emerald Republic Brewing March 4, 2020 Join us for a night in which getting friend-zoned is 100% the plan. It's time to get chatty, slightly uncomfortable, and do it all completely IRL. No screens to distract you, no other conversations to hang onto - just an envelope, some prompts, and a room of new faces to - hopefully - turn into your new BFFs. Sign-up starts at 6:30. Rounds begin at 7:00. Jersey Boys March 5, 2020 This is the true story of how four bluecollar kids became one of the greatest successes in pop music history. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide – all before they were 30! JERSEY BOYS features their hit songs “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll,” “Oh What a Night” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” “THE CROWD GOES WILD!” cheers The New York Times. The JERSEY BOYS creative team comprises two-time Tony Award®-winning director Des McAnuff, book writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, composer Bob Gaudio, lyricist Bob Crewe and choreography by Sergio Trujillo. Lunch & Learn “Copyright and the Artist” with Fuller Brown March 5, 2020 Fuller Brown will be discussing what copyright means to the artist and its purpose. How to protect your art 30 | DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM

through copyright and keep yourself out of trouble with other artists copyrights. Lunch service will be provided from 11:30 to 11:50. We have limited seating for this discussion. Lunch included (provided by Culinary Productions)Call or stop by Quayside Art Gallery to register, payment is required upon registration. Hours M-Sa 10 – 5, Su 1 – 5; 850-4382363. Cox Diamond Invitational March 6, 2020 - March 8, 2020 The 7th installment of the Cox Diamond Invitational will feature Michigan State University, Samford University, University of Louisiana, and Troy University. This round-robin style tournament will take place March 6 – 8 at Blue Wahoos Stadium in Pensacola, FL. 43rd Annual McGuire's St. Patrick's Day 5K March 7, 2020 RUN or WALK! Everyone is Welcome! 5K CERTIFIED COURSE (3.1 miles) Starts and finishes at McGuire’s Irish Pub in Downtown Pensacola. You must be able to run or walk 3.1 miles in under one hour. The course will open to traffic at 10 a.m. Stragglers will be picked up by McGuire’s bus. Improvable Cause March 2020 March 7, 2020 Improvable Cause is Pensacola's only professional improv comedy troupe! Performing the first Saturday of every month at the Pensacola Little Theatre, IC's shows are completely unscripted and totally hilarious! Everything is created in the moment with audience suggestions, so each show is different! IC shows are edge-of-your-seat theatre where anything can happen (and usually does!) Pensacola Vintage Collective: Vintage Clothing Market March 7, 2020 Join us for a mega vintage clothing market right here in Pensacola! We are bringing together a great variety of vintage clothing sellers to bring all of you an excellent experience in buying vintage clothing from the 1940s - 2000s. Located at Odd Colony Brewing from 11am-6pm.

International Women’s Day Celebration March 8, 2020 Join Odd Colony Brewing Company for our special-release women’s collaboration brewed beer and production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality. We will be releasing a beer brewed by women in the beer scene in Pensacola and the surrounding area with this years Pink Boots Society Hop Blend. Admission is a suggested $5 and all proceeds will go to Lakeview Victims Services and Trauma Recovery Program. Community Block Party/Opening Reception. March 13, 2020 Join the Pensacola Museum of Art for a community block party celebrating the opening of our two new spring exhibitions: Bless Your Heart and The Members Show. The party includes live mural painting, the Nomadic Eats food truck, drinks by Odd Colony Brewing Company, and the Members Show awards ceremony. The opening of Poppy Garcia’s first solo museum exhibition Bless Your Heart: Bless This Mess also coincides with the reception. The artist immerses visitors into a world of colorful absurdity through painting, illustration, and performance. Harlem Globetrotters March 15, 2020 On the heels of taking their unparalleled entertainment to capacity crowds overseas, the Harlem Globetrotters will return to North America with their oneof-a-kind show at Pensacola Bay Center on Sunday, March 15 at 2 p.m. Featuring some of the most elite dunkers on the planet, exceptional ball handlers, and Guinness World Record holders, a Globetrotters game is more than just basketball – they are the ultimate in family entertainment that will bring smiles and fan interaction to people of all ages. Don’t miss it!

Pop-up Opera March 17, 2020 Pensacola Opera Artists in Residence, Bizhou Chang, soprano; Emily Triebold, mezzo-soprano; Aaren Rivard, tenor; Corey Gaudreau, baritone; and Steven Variames, pianist/coach; will serenade you with a number from their next performance just prior to the Historic Pensacola Trolley Tour. Located in Wayside Park on east side of Hwy. 98 at mouth of Pensacola Bay Bridge. Comics and Mental Health with Author Ellen Forney March 19, 2020 On March 19, cartoonist Ellen Forney will speak about Comics and Mental Health as part of the Visiting Writers series at UWF. The event is free and open to the public. The event is free and open to the public and will take place at the Museum of Commerce. Cartoonist Ellen Forney is the author of the New York Times bestselling graphic memoir, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me, the story of her diagnosis and struggle with bipolar disorder, and Rock Steady: Brilliant Advice From My Bipolar Life, a guide to maintaining mental health. She collaborated on the National Book Award-winning novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and was awarded fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Artist Trust, Hedgebrook, and Civitella Ranieri. Gallery Night March 20, 2020 The theme for March’s Gallery Night is Dancin’ In the Streets. Galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and bars open their doors to the night air as visitors and locals flood the streets to enjoy music, art and cuisine. Café tables set out on brick sidewalks are the perfect place to enjoy a coffee or cocktail, as the sounds of live music and a spirited crowd fill the air. Families linger in the downtown parks, playing around the beautiful fountains and historic oaks. Inferno Burlesque March 21, 2020 Inferno Burlesque at the Vinyl Music Hall brings you the hottest acts in burlesque and variety from New Orleans! Event is 18+ * Additional $5 Cash Surcharge At The Door For Under 21 * General Admis-

sion- Seated And Standing Room Only * Seated Tickets Will Be On A Strictly First Come/ First Serve Basis With The Exception Of Front Row Ticket Holders * However A Seated Ticket Guarantees You A Seat In The Selected Seating Area * Posted Times Are Door Times- Events Generally Begin 30-60 Minutes After Doors Open 3rd Annual GSA Drag Show March 27, 2020 Hosted by the Gay-Straight Alliance of Pensacola State College, the annual drag show is ALWAYS a good time. They showcase and support local drag performers from Pensacola and the Gulf Coast. Come and experience drag as an art form and bring the kiddos as our shows are always 100% family friendly! Proceeds go directly to the Gay-Straight Alliance at PSC and help us fund our yearly activities. Pensacola Humane Society Fur Ball March 28, 2020 This black tie event supports the work of the Pensacola Humane Society to find homeless & neglected animals their furever homes. The Fur Ball includes a cocktail reception, dinner, music, silent and live auctions, entertainment and a Puppy Parade. Blue Angels Practice March 31, 2020 - April 1, 2020 The world-famous Blue Angels are based at NAS Pensacola, and can be seen practicing over the Museum at NAS Pensacola select days throughout the year. Practice times vary so check the schedule below prior to planning your visit. Practices last about 55 minutes, and admission to is FREE and open to the public. Ice-Flyer's Schedule: Friday March 6, 2020 Fayetteville @ Pensacola 7:35 Saturday March 7, 2020 Fayetteville @ Pensacola 7:05 Sunday March 8, 2020 Fayetteville @ Pensacola 4:05 Friday March 20, 2020 Knoxville @ Pensacola 7:35 Saturday March 21, 2020 Knoxville @ Pensacola 7:05


KEEPING CHAPPIE’S LEGACY ALIVE Exclusive Q and A with Children’s Book Author Sharon Gaston by Gina Castro

Pensacola has made a name for itself in numerous ways, especially through its connection to the military. The Naval Air Station has become the primary training base for most naval flight officers, and, of course, NAS is the home of the nationally recognized Blue Angels. But what some people don’t know, is that Pensacola is also the hometown of America’s first African American Four-Star General in the armed forces, which occurred in 1975. General Daniel “Chappie” James Jr. grew up right here in Pensacola, but many people, even pensacolians, are unaware of James’ incredible accomplishments. However, children’s book author and Pensacola native Dr. Sharon Gaston is trying to change that. Gaston was a part of the first graduating class of Booker T. Washington in 1983. Gaston’s father served 30 years in the military and retired from NAS. Gaston said that she was taught only a few times about James. Gaston’s longtime friend Clifton W. Curtis, founder and president of the Chappie James Flight Academy, suggested the idea for Gaston to write James’ story. 32 | DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM

The book release for Thou Shalt Never Quit: The Story of General Daniel "Chappie" James Jr. is going to be at the American Legion Post and is scheduled for April 5 from 2 pm to 5 pm. Ater April, books may be ordered at www.lulu. com and www.docpublishing.org. Did your background as an educator cause you to want to write children’s books? That’s part of it, but I’ve been writing since I was probably seven years old. I was always writing stories and performing them for my family. I’d draw pictures and entertain them until they were just sick of me. My mother would say, “Oh, you are so wonderful. You could do a one-woman show! Now, please go sit down!” Anyway, as a teacher, there were certain books that I wanted to read that I couldn’t find on the shelves, and I was like “start writing!” So I started writing character education stories based on things my mom used to say to me as a child like “Clean your own house!” which means “Mind your own business!” or “Don’t burn your bridges” or “Misery loves company.” What was it like growing up here

General Daniel “Chappie” James Jr.'s grand daughter and son, Brit and Claude, supporting Sharon Gaston, the author of Thou Shalt Never Quit: The Story of General Daniel "Chappie" James Jr.

in Pensacola and being a part of the first class to graduate from Booker T. Washington? You know, if there’s one thing I love about Pensacola it’s the beaches. It’s the one thing I miss. I made some great friends when I was 10. We went from elementary to Workman Middle School together to Booker T. We were always together. The class from 1983 was like my backbone, you should see the support that they have been sending me. One of my classmates is a teacher in Pensacola, and she came by my house and brought a bottle of champagne and a card. I

met some wonderful friends. It was fun. I learned a lot quickly with my father being on the base. We would go out to the base a lot, you know to the museums and to see the Blue Angels. But I never learned a lot about Chappie James in school. In 1975, James became the first African American to reach the rank of four-star General in the armed forces. That must have been huge news in Pensacola. Do you remember how you first learned about James? The first memory I have is at age 10

MILITARYMATTERS driving down Alcaniz Street. The only thing left of his family home, which his father built with his own hands, were the steps. Someone in the neighborhood painted “Chappie’s first steps” on there, and I thought “Who’s that? Who’s Chappie?” because no one taught us about Chappie James. No one really talked about him. I remember in the 8th grade, I had one teacher, Mr. Edwards, when I attended Workman Middle School, he talked a little bit about Chappie James. But that was it. As I got older, we used to go to a club called the Ambassador Club downtown, and they had pictures of Chappie James in there. One of my father’s friends was in the Air Force stationed at Eglin, and he talked about him. But there was never a curriculum about him or learning about him, it was just through hearsay. It was interesting doing the research and finding out all the information about him. You have mentioned the Chappie James Museum of Pensacola a few times. Is that where you first started piecing together James’ story, or did you reach out to his family? I did not talk to family members until after I completed the book. I didn’t even meet them until I went to the Chappie James Gala at Pensacola. We were commemorating the 100th anniversary of his birthday. His family told me that the research in the book was good. I searched on the Internet, I got books, and I read through and found information. There were a couple of people I talked to like the lady at the museum, Mrs. Robinson, who knows a lot about Chappie James, and Mr. Ellis who is the president of the board at the museum. I went on a tour there and got some information, too. So I incorporated a lot of that in my book. How did James’ family react when they heard you had written a book?

They are endorsing the book. His youngest son, Claude, is still living. He is in Arizona. They told me the book was wonderful, and they were happy that I was keeping Chappie’s legacy alive. Claude’s daughter handles public relations, and she said that she loved the book, too, and she’s sending me a written endorsement. I also gave a copy to City Councilwoman Anne Hill, and she loved the book, too. She told me that she’d give me an endorsement. While you were researching James, did you find something about him that really captivated you? Oh yes! I was double-checking facts and making sure it was true because some of the research doesn’t talk about Chappie. He was expelled from Tuskegee before he was to graduate from the university because he was fighting. Some of the research I found said he graduated when he was supposed to. So, I called Tuskegee University to confirm what’s true, and they said that he was suspended for fighting and that he didn’t receive a degree until almost 25 years later. I thought that this was a good piece for character education for children because it shows that you can turn your life around and live a life of dignity and self worth. He definitely did it. He was self motivated and didn’t want to disappoint his family. That’s something that stuck out to me. He had two months left before graduating. It’s amazing. You have written dozens of children’s books throughout the years, but why did you decide to tell James’ story in the form of a children’s book? I love reading children’s books because you learn so much from reading children’s books. Children need to learn about him. They need to have something that they can read at their level. I targeted children aged 8 to 12. Even if it’s a good read-aloud book for teachers

or parents, I wanted students to be able to pick it up and read it. Older students as well as adults can pick it up and enjoy it. There are questions in the back that they can use for class discussions with teachers to really do that close reading and understand the nuances of the story. I also added a glossary so that they can understand vocabulary. I think children need to be able to hear this story – especially young African American children in Pensacola – to see a role model like this was in their hometown and is being honored. I don’t think a lot of people even know about the museum on Alcaniz Street. I would like to get in touch with someone from the school board so that I can give them a copy and see if it can be incorporated in the school system as a part of social studies or something. They can read it and go to the museum to learn more about him. You drew the illustrations for this book as well as wrote it. Did you have any inspiration for the illustrations of this book? S: Yes, I always do illustrations for my books. I tell my students that my drawings aren’t the best, but they’re mine. If you can make shapes, you can make a picture! I was thinking about my nephews as I was drawing. I looked at pictures of him and thought to mimic that and see what I could do. I used pictures of Chappie like one in particular where he was getting his fourth star and it was Chappie and his wife, Dorothy, and the oldest son, Daniel III. I looked at that picture and thought “Okay, let me draw this and make it the best that I can.” I’m proud of myself. I will say that, I’m proud of myself.


MILITARYMATTERS mitment to our veterans and their families.” Military Friendly® scored nearly 1,700 schools who completed its survey by using an outside advisory council that provides perspective on criteria, methodology and weighting. A third-party auditor then verified the results. Award levels are defined as: Top 10 Gold – A ranked list of the Top 10 in a category based on a numerical score. Gold – within 10% of the last ranked organization in Top 10 Gold. Silver – within 20% of the last ranked organization in Gold.

UWF earns Gold-level Military Friendly Distinction The University of West Florida has been recognized as a gold-level University in the large public school category in the annual Military Friendly Schools list for 2020-2021. UWF was the only large, public school in Florida and one of two in the nation to earn the gold distinction for success in helping veterans make the transition from the military to school and, ultimately, rewarding careers in the civilian world. “‘Military-friendly’ is who we are as a University,” said UWF President Martha D. Saunders. “We take 34 | DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM

pride in earning a gold-level honor and will continue to serve those who have served, are serving, or will serve our country, in a variety of meaningful ways.”

Veterans by U.S. News and World Report, Military Friendly Spouse School and Purple Heart University by local chapter of Military Order of Purple Heart.

This ranking joins a number of accolades that distinguish UWF as an institution committed to sustained success for veterans, active duty members of the armed forces, future Army and Air Force officers and other military affiliated students. Accolades include Military Friendly® University designation for over 10 years, Top 20 for Best Colleges for

“To be recognized by Military Friendly® year after year is a testament to our dedicated and caring staff,” said Lori Milkeris, director of UWF’s Military and Veterans Resource Center. “Everyone in this office has walked in similar shoes one way or another. When you come to UWF, you are not alone, you’re with family. This honor affirms our com-

Bronze – within 30% of the last ranked organization in Silver. Designated – These organizations are deemed Military Friendly® based on survey results. Military Friendly Schools awards colleges and universities that demonstrate positive education outcomes for veterans and their families. Only 625 schools received Military Friendly® distinction for 2020-2021. To see a complete list of this year’s award winners, or to learn more about Military Friendly ratings and how to participate, visit militaryfriendly.com For more information about the Military and Veterans Resource Center, visit uwf.edu/mvrc.



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In 1943, just four days before Christmas, a badly damaged B-17 Bomber piloted by 21-year-old 2nd Lieutenant Charlie Brown flew over Nazi Germany. Half of Brown’s nine-men crew were wounded or dead. This was their first mission. Then suddenly a moment commonly referred to as “the most incredible encounter between enemies in World War II” took place. One of the most advanced fighters of the era pulled up on the bomber’s tale. It was a German Messerschmitt fighter piloted by 22-year-old 36 | DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM

2nd Lieutenant Franz Stigler. Stigler was a former airline pilot from Bavaria who never intended to fight in World War II. In an incredibly act of bravery, Stigler chose to spare Brown and his crews’ lives by escorting the B-17 out of Germany, which was a treasonous action in Germany. Once the bomber was out of harm’s way, the German fighter pilot saluted and turned to fly home. Stigler did that heroic action with the knowledge that if he were caught, he would have to face a firing squad. The two

pilots met 40 years later and remained friends up until they passed away. Today, that B-17, now named “Ye Olde Pub,” tours the country to tell this amazing, true story. Ye Olde Pub is flown and restored by the Liberty Foundation, a 501C3 nonprofit. The Liberty Foundation works to raise donations for these WWII planes to keep flying instead of wearing away in a museum.

to keep these airplanes hopefully out of museums,” Ray Fowler, a combat-veteran F-16 fighter pilot in the Air National Guard and Liberty Foundation volunteer pilot, said. “It’s getting harder and harder because the costs are so high, and I think this year, you’re going to see several of these airplanes, and possibly even this airplane, go off because the insurance is getting to be so expensive to keep them in the air.”

“We hope to keep the airplanes going. The foundation’s plan is

Fowler said that the insurance for this plane is $200,000 alone,

and the gas in the B-17 is 200 gallons and hour. The B-17 can hold up to 1,700 gallons of gas. This plane has four engines, which are about 60,000 dollars a piece, and you get 1,400 hours out of the engines. Each engine gets 40 gallons of oil, which totals to 160 gallons of oil. Since the radial engines are not very efficient, they burn a lot of oil and gas. “If you flew it one hour, that’d be more than $200,000 an hour,” Fowler said. “The more we can fly the airplane, the

“Sometimes they would fly long, deep strike missions, and they would have to take more gas than bombs,” Fowler said. “They couldn’t even fill it up with bombs because they needed the extra capacity for gas.” As if what these war heroes did wasn’t challenging enough, Fowler also described just how young and inexperienced some of them were. “They gave them to 19 year olds with 100 hours of flying time,” Fowler said. “At 19, you were in charge of a crew of nine people, with only 100 hours of flying time and you’re taking off in a 70,000 pound B-17 going off to war. Pretty amazing what those guys did.”

more we can divide out the overall cost.” The Liberty Foundation is touring the country with the Ye Olde Pub and a P-51, which is described as “the sports car of the sky.” People can experience what it’s like to fly in one or both of these planes. Liberty Foundation has already visited Pensacola, but you can go to LibertyFoundation.org for their complete tour schedule. Fowler said that the B-17 is historically the most famous bomber that’s ever been built. It was great for daylight bombing, but a lot of lives were lost in B-17s. “To just think of the numbers, over 50,000 airmen were either killed in action, missing in action or prisoners

of war just in the B-17 alone,” Fowler said. “It had a crew of 10, and every time one was shot down, that was ten men that went down in the airplane. Early in the war, two out of three airplanes would be shot down in any given mission. They built 12,732 of them. Now there’s less than a dozen flying.” Fowler described what it was like to fly in a B-17 bomber during WWII. Each B-17 had a total of 10 crew members. The plane would fly at 30,000 feet on oxygen, and the temperature is 40 below zero. The planes were not pressurized, so the crew would wear electric suits to keep warm. The military didn’t want to weigh the plane down by adding bullet

proofing to protect the crew, so the plane’s walling is paper thin. “Everything was about fuel, bombs and bullets on this airplane to get it to the target,” Fowler said.

Fowler is a combatveteran F-16 fighter pilot in the Air National Guard and a Liberty Foundation volunteer pilot. He has been a pilot for 22 years.

Once the plane was in flight, the crew had to stay in position. The only positions who had seats were the pilot, the bombardier, navigator and radio controls. The other six crew members had to sit on metal, and missions could be anywhere between six to 10 hours long. The father of Don Brookes, the founder of the Liberty Foundation, was a tailgunner. A tailgunner is the

person who shoots from the very back of the plane. Fowler said that the tailgunner was the least safe position on the plane because that’s the position opposing planes always aimed for. The ball turret is the position located at the under belly of the plane. Fowler said that the shortest person in the crew was always placed in this small, cramped position.

Fowler, who has been flying for 22 years, said that the difference between flying a B-17 and a plane today is like night and day. “The biggest airplanes are all hydraulically boosted, so they feel very light on the controls,” Fowler said. “Whereas on this airplane, there’s nothing hydraulic. You have to use a little muscle to move the plane around. So when people flew formation, it had to be unbelievable when they put 100 planes in formation for hours at a time. It had to be a lot of work.”


Court Protects Historic Pensacola Cross:

A historic World War II-era cross in Pensacola, Florida will remain standing thanks to a victory at the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals today. In Kondrat’yev v. City of Pensacola, an atheist group sued the City of Pensacola to remove the monument, which has been standing since 1941. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in American Legion v. American Humanist Association, protecting a World War I memorial cross in Bladensburg, Maryland, the Eleventh Circuit ruled that the cross is constitutional, acknowledging that that it has become “embedded in the fabric of the Pensacola community” and that removing it could “strike many as aggressively hostile to religion.” The Bayview Cross is one of over 170 displays in Pensacola parks me38 | DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM

photo by Garrett Hallbauer

Eleventh Circuit takes cue from Supreme Court, upholds historic WWIIera cross morializing the City’s diverse history and culture. In 2016, four individuals represented by the American Humanist Association sued the City, demanding the cross be torn down, even though three of the individuals do not live in Pensacola and the fourth has held his own ceremonies at the cross. The trial court and an earlier decision of the Eleventh Circuit reluctantly agreed that the cross was unconstitutional under the notorious Lemon test, which has often been successfully invoked by anti-religious plaintiffs to push religion out of the public square. Earlier this year, however, the Supreme Court ordered the Eleventh Circuit to rethink its ruling in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in American Legion, which finally scrapped the Lemon test in cases involving longstanding symbols.

“The Supreme Court has now made clear that religious symbols are an important part of our nation’s history and culture,” said Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel at Becket. The 78-year-old cross was built in the City’s Bayview Park in 1941, as the U.S. prepared to enter WWII, as a place for the community to unite. Since then, Pensacola citizens have held community events such as Easter sunrise services, Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day remembrances, and other voluntary gatherings at the monument, which has become a significant symbol for the Pensacola community. “Pensacola is a city with a rich and diverse history. The Bayview Cross is an important part of that history as a symbol of our community’s coming

together during a national crisis,” said Grover C. Robinson IV, mayor of Pensacola. “We are pleased by the court’s ruling in this case, and today we celebrate our long-awaited victory and the preservation of the Bayview Cross.” In the June 2019 Supreme Court ruling upholding the World War I memorial cross in Maryland, Justices cited Becket’s friend-of-the-court brief multiple times. Becket has also successfully defended a statue of Jesus in Montana commemorating fallen World War II soldiers, a historic cross artifact at Ground Zero, and a Pennsylvania county seal.

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