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DOWNTOWN CROWD FEBRUARY 2020 CONTENTS
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9 Hi, my name is Gina, and I’m a Pensacon virgin. Blasphemous, I know. As someone who reads for pleasure and is always in the mood to explain grammar rules, I’m no stranger to the word “nerd.” To be absolutely honest, I originally thought Pensacon was for a different type of nerd or someone more nerdy than I am? Once I spoke with the Pensacon founder Mike Ensley and scanned over this year’s celebrity guest list, I realized I fit in with this group way more than I thought. For one, I adore Avatar: The Last Airbender and its spin off series The Legend of Korra, so when I found out Janey Varney, the voice of Korra, was coming, I was ecstatic. When I was interviewing Ensley for this issue, I knew just about every Brated horror flick he referenced, including the best worst movie of all time Troll 2. Even when I sat down with local cosplayer Lauren Mills to learn about the inner workings of cosplaying, I was fascinated.
sacon after parties that anyone in Pensacola can attend. Downtown Crowd and I will be at Pensacon this year. You can find me dressed as Lois Lane. Yes, I will be a journalist disguised as a journalist. We’ll be taking the time to chat with some of you all at Pensacon, too. Follow us on social media @DowntownCrowd to keep up.
This month, Pensacola was blessed with a celebrity unrelated to Pensacon. The legendary cartoonist Ron Campbell is coming to Pensacola to sell drawings from some of his hit shows, such as Scooby Doo and The Flintstones. You can read that profile in this issue.
This month’s Military Matters section features stories about marginalized veterans. The HER Foundation created an exhibit to feature female veterans in the Pensacola area for Women’s History Month. You So not only did I realize I’m a bit can learn more about how you more nerdy than I thought but can be a part of “We See You” also that literally anyone can later in this issue. Fort Pickens’ find something to relate to or en- new exhibit is highlighting Afrijoy at Pensacon– whether they can American soldiers from the claim the nerd title or not. Just Civil War. We also feature pholike anyone can find something tos from the exhibit. to enjoy in this issue whether you have tickets to Pensacon or Anywho, I’ll see ya nerds at Pennot. We interviewed some of this sacon. year’s most interesting celebrities and compiled a list of Pen-
28 09 The Toonist Who Shaped Saturday Morning TV 13 5 Questions with Creatives: Vy Nguyen 14 Coslayin'
17 The Original Conman 24 Post-Con Shindigs 26 Calendar 28 Military Matters
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The Toonist Who Shaped Saturday Morning TV By Josh McGovern
Humble beginnings and an ending just as sweet. Ron Campbell influenced a culture in the best way possible. For nearly 60 years, this cartoonist changed the way we spent Saturday mornings. Our eyes glued to the TV set, watching morning cartoons with a bowl of cereal in front of us-Scooby Doo, The Smurfs, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Rugrats. You know the names and you know the faces. Campbell created memories that stuck around from childhood to adulthood. He is an icon of animation, and we were fortunate to have the chance to interview him.
Around the age of seven, a small thought gave Campbell a career path. That same small thought also changed a culture. Like most of us, Campbell’s experience with cartoons began at a young age. But whereas most of us first saw animated cartoons on our family’s TVs, Campbell first witnessed dancing animals and other drawn characters on the big screen. Growing up in Australia, Campbell went to movie theaters on the weekends. And always before a gritty Cassidy western or a movie with the singing cowboy himself, Gene Autrey, cartoons filled the screen for young kids in the audience. Campbell was captivated.
“I remember my very first memory of these cartoons was that they were real. I didn’t understand where these animals lived,” Campbell said. “I’d been to the zoo and they weren’t there. And I’m telling my great grandmother about it and I remember her telling me, ‘Ronnie, they’re just drawings.’ Drawings? And the idea came to me very early in life, ‘You mean I can do drawings that can come alive?’” Young Campbell kept this inspiration. In the Sidney Victorian Library, he stacked books to the ceiling in hopes he’d learn everything about animation. When the time came, he went to art school in Mel-
bourne, Australia. Campbell knew he wanted to be an animator. After graduating from the Swinburne Art Insitute, he faced a brand new world. Television swept the nation. And where animation once had no market, it suddenly seemed possible to earn a living as a cartoonist. “I was able to sort of learn how to make cartoons through television commercials, and by doing you learn,” Campbell said. Campbell learned more than animation from his stint in television commercials. He learned how to storyboard and write scripts. He learned editing, photography, DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM | 9
that the hippies adopted because it reminded them of their stupid LSD trips”, Scooby Doo, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Winnie the Pooh, Rocket Power, and he even worked on the last hand drawn animated cartoon Ed Edd and Eddie. “So, there I was at the very early days in the late 50’s doing black and white cartoons for American TV on Popeye, and right at the very end, the very last scene, the very last show, the very last episode done by hand,” Campbell said. “When I look back on it now somehow, amazingly, I see that I was there at the beginning of Saturday morning television
When I look back on it now somehow, amazingly, I see that I was there at the beginning of Saturday morning television and there at the end of Saturday morning television.” music and other crucial skills. Campbell became a jack of all trades and one of the few masters. This talent didn’t go unrecognized. King Features, the American media company, swooped in and took Campbell on board as a cartoonist. During this time Campbell worked on notable characters Popeye, Crazy Cat and Beetle Bailey. Timely and consistent, Campbell worked hard and found large success working for King Features. That’s when a call arrived one midnight from the New York TV and movie producer Al Brodax. Brodax had recently sold a show and wanted Campbell to direct the episodes. “That’s great, Al. What’s the show?” Campbell said. “It’s the Beatles,” Brodax said. “And I thought for a minute,” Campbell told us in the interview. “‘Bea10 | DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM
tles? Al, insects make terrible characters for toon shows.’” The Beatles TV show lasted 39 episodes. When it was over, doors opened and Campbell flourished. With job offers piling up, Campbell uprooted from his home country and moved to the big lights of Hollywood. Cool McCool followed the Beatles TV show, and soon after arriving in the United States, Campbell took on an animation role on the popular show Big Blue Marble, which is one of his favorite and proudest works. Campbell continued his career working numerous roles in the trade. His credit listing stretches a mile to include every project he played a pivotal role in. Rugrats, the Yellow Submarine, which Campbell described the art style as “psychedelic art
and there at the end of Saturday morning television.” Saturday morning television may have ended, but even in retirement, Campbell keeps the spirit alive. To this day, fans can see Campbell on his frequent tours nationwide.
He brings his artwork to sell, most notably paintings of his own creations. Hand crafted cartoon characters for giddy adult fans reminded of simpler times and faces they used to love, each with a unique certificate of authenticity. Pensacola fans will have the opportunity to see Campbell and buy his work Feb. 25 and Feb. 26 at the Artel Gallery. “People become like a child. They remember the happy times as a child. And everybody has happy memories of Saturday morning cartoons. Even if your childhood was an absolute misery, you still have happy memories of that Saturday morning cartoon period.”
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When people think of art, images of white canvases covered in complimenting hues and handsoff museum exhibits come to mind. When people think of makeup, they might immediately think of Tai Frasier's makeover montage scene to an iconic pop song in the film Clueless. For Vy Nguyen, a Pensacola native, art is a hands-on venture with new canvases every day. As a makeup artist, Nguyen utilizes palettes, brushes and blenders just like a traditional painter— except the faces of her clients are her canvases. As a child Nguyen always loved to draw and dreamed of being an artist when she grew up. Midway through studying for medical school, Nguyen decided to pursue her passions full time and become a makeup artist. Her work can be found showcased on her Instagram @ngvyenxo. Where did your knowledge and passion for makeup and beauty originate? Did you receive instruction or are you largely self-taught? I am fully self-taught when it comes to makeup. I started dabbling with makeup in high school. The first makeup tutorial I ever watched was how to do winged liner by Michelle Phan. At this point I honestly watched it because it was interesting. That was when the beauty world started to change. I found more interest in makeup in my early twenties and became obsessed with it. I would buy a new product every other week. I mostly learned by seeing different makeup looks on people through Instagram and would try to replicate the look myself. I was asked to do bridal makeup for the first time ever in 2012. It blew my mind that someone thought I was good enough to do makeup for such a special day. I think that was when my passion and love for makeup started. Who are some makeup artists that influenced you or helped guide you as you established yourself? Some artists that have influenced me are Michelle Phan (of course, she started the YouTube makeup tutorials!); Desi Perkins; Lex from MadeYewLook; Mykie from Glam&Gore; and Patrick Ta. Makeup is a very competitive industry. Did you have an affinity for other artistic outlets before you found your passion in the industry? When I was younger, my favorite thing to do was draw. I would draw every day after I came home from school. I remember telling my parents when I was in the third grade that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. They didn’t take me seriously, of course. When I reached middle school and high school, they pushed me to take classes that would help me go into the medical field. So, I did as they asked: I stopped draw-
ing and taking art classes. I was torn because I wanted to make my parents happy, but I knew that I would never be happy if I continued in the medical field. I finally found it in me to tell them I wanted to do makeup full-time. They were heartbroken, and I could see it in their eyes. But now, they see how happy I am and how good I am at what I do. I believe doing nails, makeup, lash extensions, and permanent makeup (tattoo) is another form of artistry. I may not paint on a paper canvas, but I do paint faces and nails, and that’s basically the same thing, right? How do you find inspiration in your day-to-day work: choosing color palettes and designs? My everyday makeup looks for myself, and for my clients, are more natural but also glam. I love neutral/ warm tones, soft pinks and nudes. I rarely do dark heavy makeup for myself or my clients unless it’s requested to achieve a certain look. Most of my clientele come to me because of my soft tones. I like to call my look a “soft glam.” Your work is largely focused on beauty makeup, but your Instagram has some spooky, gothic style FX makeup looks. When did you start branching into FX makeup? My interest for FX makeup didn’t really start until the last couple of years. For Halloween for the last 7 years, I would always try to search for different makeup looks to do. I always found FX makeup so interesting and challenging—I think that’s why I started doing the looks because they were a challenge. I mainly do FX looks just on myself to challenge myself and see how far I can go with it. I get my ideas from different makeup artists on social media. The looks tend to be dark and somewhat scary, but I feel like that’s mainly what FX makeup for Halloween should be: to see how scary I can get. DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM | 13
WITH LAUREN MILLS By Gina Castro Let’s get straight to the point. There are a lot of opinions about cosplay out there. For some people, just the thought of putting together a new cosplay gets their creative juices flowing. Others are absolutely fascinated by the cosplays people come up with but can’t imagine trying it themselves. And,
of course, there are the people who sum up all cosplayers and comic con goers as “weirdos.” But hey, no harm no foul. There are people who have made millions by being weird. Just ask Weird Al. Whether you’ve been cosplaying for years or even considering it, local cosplayer Lauren Mills wants you to know “Cosplay is for everyone.” “You can be whoever you want. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise," Mills said. "It’s for fun. That’s the whole point. You have something you enjoy, and you want to emulate that. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about that.”
Use light, breathable materials Have a bathroom plan Pack pins and clips in case of wardrobe malfunctions Make gear/props easy to carry Dress comfortably 14 | DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM
Mills started cosplaying when she lived in San Diego, which was 10 years ago. She said she fell in love with it after going to the San Diego ComicCon, but she started seriously cosplaying four years ago. “I think for most cosplayers, it starts out as a serious love for Halloween and costumes,”
Mills said. “Eventually, you start knit picking your Halloween costume. And then you ask yourself, ‘Why only dress up one day out of the year?’” After moving to Pensacola, Mills realized that through cosplay, you can be anything or anyone you want to be. You can be a demogorgon from Stranger Things. You can put your own spin on a character, too, such as the gothic version of Hermione Granger from Harry Potter. You can even cosplay a genre. One of Mills’ favorite genres to cosplay is steampunk, which is a retrofuturistic subgenre that combines historical elements with anachronistic technology. “Steampunk is one of my favorites to cosplay because you can mix in post apocalyptic and fantasy elements to it,” Mills said. “It’s a way you can create your own character and just have fun with it. There really is no wrong way to do it.” Mills starts her steampunk cosplay by building it around a single color, which in this case was a teal green. From there, she gathered pieces with colors that complimented the green color. Mills tends to incorporate her creme corset and ruffled skirt for her steampunk cosplays. She rearranged the ruffles of the creme skirt, which she bought from a steampunk designer, so that the
However, Mills lucked out when she started creating her Monster Hunter World cosplay. She was able to find someone selling their version of that cosplay for scraps online. The costume was torn, falling apart and unacceptable for wear, but Mills said it was better than starting from nothing. Mills took several screen-
You can be whoever you want. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s for fun. That’s the whole point." shots of the armor in the game to make the armor the correct size and shape. To make the bulky armor light weight, Mills used 5mm EVA foam and contact cement to glue the parts together. Mills s aid that it’s important to consider comfortability and functionality while constructing your cosplay especially if you plan to wear it to a convention. You don’t want to have heavy armor weighing you down for hours.
One of the most challenging elements of cosplay is replicating something that doesn’t exist in this world. Mills said that aspect is especially difficult when creating video game cosplays. “The video games ones are a little bit harder as far as getting help from like preexisting material," Mills said. "Most of the video game ones are made from scratch.”
To authenticate the cosplay, Mills spent a chunk of her time mixing acrylic paints until she got the colors to match the video game's. The acrylic paint transforms the EVA foam from a soft imitation of armor to armor fit for a monster hunter. Superhero comic book cosplays can make a good beginner cosplay because they tend to be spandex based. Once you make or buy the
Cosplay Must Haves
Photo by JMLewis Photography
skirt cascaded around the shape of her body. To capture the scifi element of steampunk, she added pointed latex prosthetic ears and bronze metal wings. The backpack that holds the wings was made in a company in Canada. Mills had a team of people in a metal shop help her make the wings out of aluminum siding and then powdered the wings with a copper color. Her belt is made out of cheap faux leather that she painted to match the color scheme. Since steampunk is more broad, you can find pieces online to build your cosplay off of.
ugh all of the Sharp fabric sheers to cut thro fabric easily and quickly. ate the armor A heat gun to help you manipul and prop material. keep your Contact cement or hot glue to e. costume and your mind in one piec l that you eria mat le Thermoplastic is a malleab cosplay. There can use for various parts of your so do some are several types of thermoplastic, works best research to figure out which type for your project.
spandex suit, you just have to add accessories and BAM! You have a super suit. “Comics are a little bit easier because there usually is spandex involved and subliminal dye printing and then you can make accessories to make it more vivid and more comicy looking," Mills said. "It depends on where the idea and base comes from.” Mills’ strategy for cosplaying her favorite comic characters is to purchase a spandex suit and then create accessories to accentuate the character she is cosplaying. Mills created Marvel’s version of Hela, the goddess of death, by sewing lycra fabric, which had the design already printed on it, together. Lycra fabric is
a great fabric for cosplay because it molds to your figure and the inside part of the fabric feels cool and soft on the skin, which is good for longterm wear at conventions. Mills purchased the spandex suit for her cosplay of Phage, a character from Spider-Man, from Herostime. She made the face shell out of vacuumformed thermoplastic and used magnets to hold the eyes on. Mills used istamorph thermoplastic to make the claws, which she sculpted by hand. She then glued the claws to the fabric. If you would like to see more of Mills’ cosplays, check out her Instagram @CosplaysByLo.
DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM | 15
THE ORIGINAL CONMAN
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH PENSACON FOUNDER MIKE ENSLEY By Gina Castro If you were to ask a Pensacola local “What is Pensacon?” you would, honestly, get hundreds of answers, but for the most part, you would be told that this comic convention is unlike any other. With a celebrity guest list that always delivers and venues spread throughout downtown, it’s hard to talk about anything but Pensacon during the month of February. Throughout the years, Downtown Crowd has made a point to focus its February issue on Pensacon, but we realized that we haven’t taken the time to get to know the mastermind behind Pensacon. Mike Ensley grew up right here in Pensacola. His interest in science fiction, horror and fantasy, or “the nerd world” as he likes to call it, began with an obsession over Batman at five years old. Ensley found himself captivated by reruns of the 1966 live action version of Batman. Once he discovered Star Trek and Star Wars, everything in that genre opened up to him. By 11 years old, much like the cast of Stranger Things, he was bewitched by Dungeons and Dragons, which ultimately led him to his first convention during his eighth grade year. The convention was in the Holiday Inn behind University Mall, neither of which are there today. His mom dropped him off in a bustling room of people playing D&D. He walked around talking to people and ended up
photo by Guy Stevens
chatting with world renowned Star Wars artist Dave Dorman, back when Dorman was just a kid from Destin. And just like that, Ensley was hooked. “Once I was old enough, I would go to everything from small local things to DragonCon to San Diego Comic Con and everything in between,” Ensley said. “I always kind of thought I would like to do this and run a convention one day.” Eventually, Ensley decided to make a career out of his passion. He went to Pensacola State College for journalism and became a graphic artist. In 2001, Ensley and his longtime friend Chip Chism started their own tv show Nightmare Theatre, which is similar to Mystery Science Theatre 3000. Ensley played the minor demon DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM | 17
Baron Mondo Von Doren and his sidekick was masked wrestler El Sapo de Tempesto, played by Chism. The two friends shot the show on home video equipment, edited it themselves and bought time to air it on local lease-accessed programing. They also made and sold their own commercials. Nightmare Theatre hosted Ghouls Gone Wild Weekend on Spike TV in 2006. The show is now on PBS in five different cities and five different stations both in Florida and Tennessee. Ensley credits his years of hosting events for Nightmare Theatre at local movie theatres and nightclubs for helping prepare him to host Pensacon.
So, Ensley hopped right on it. The first thing Ensley focused on was inclusivity. “The first thing I wanted it to be was all inclusive,” Ensley said. “That's why I didn't just go after anime guests or just after Star Trek or Star Wars. I wanted to have a little bit of everything, so we have the writers, the artists, the tv celebrities, movie stars, costuming and gaming all under one roof.” So, Ensley reached out to artists he met throughout the years and planned a one-day event at the American Legion Hall, but as word spread and Ensley wrangled in actors from Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica, the event grew to a two-day event at two major venues: Pensacola Grand Hotel and Pensacola Bay Center.
The first thing I wanted it to be was all inclusive... I wanted to have a little bit of everything."
“We did a lot of events with Nightmare Theatre. It helped me learn how to do an event, certainly not at the scale that I do now, but it got my feet wet,” Ensley said. The one concern that was holding Ensley back from doing Pensacon was the culture. He wanted to make sure that the comic book and fantasy culture was at a point where this new convention would have plenty of support. As Marvel Universe started releasing movies like Captain America and The Avengers around 2013, Ensley saw his chance to launch Pensacon, so he decided to test the waters through a small Facebook page. “It seemed like, at that time, the culture was right, so I just tested it. I started a Facebook page and asked if anyone would be interested in this,” Ensley said. “Within a week or so, we had over 1,000 people on the page indicating that they were interested in the convention.” 18 | DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM
“The first year I kind of expected about 3,000 people, but we ended up with close to 11,000 people,” Ensley said. “Then it just grew from there and doubled again in size the second year, and it's just steadily grown and grown.” Although Pensacon’s first year had thousands of local supporters, it also had naysayers. “A lot of people were very skeptical when we first started,” Ensley said. “They thought Pensacola wouldn’t be able to support something like this.” But Ensley stayed motivated. He went door-to-door on Palafox asking businesses to take a chance on Pensacon. “People said ‘yeah we’d love to be a part of it,’ so that first year, we had probably six or seven restaurants and bars doing their own parties at their own places,” Ensley said. “That was all it took.”
Today, Pensacon has become not only more inclusive on a genre and pop culture level but also on a community level. Ensley selects celebrity guests from a wide range of fandoms but also pop culture icons that just about anyone can connect to, such as this year’s guest Weird Al Yankovic. Pensacon’s venues take over all of downtown—from the Saenger Theatre to the Rex Theatre to the UWF Historic Trust buildings. Even businesses like the Fish House and Perfect Plain go all out with their themed after parties. But most importantly Pensacon makes an impact on the individual. “People have connected and found each other through Pensacon. One of my pharmacists actually met her husband at Pensacon, and they got married,” Ensley said. “We’ve had several engagements.” So whether you are coming to Pensacon to kick it with some celebrities, make friends or maybe find love—thanks to Ensley—Pensacon is the place for you.
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PEOPLE OF PENSACON
KEITH Q&A WITH DAVID By Gina Castro
Keith David made his first appearance on the big screen in the science fiction film The Thing. Forty years later, he has played hundreds of roles in films and tv shows. David played Frank in another science fiction classic They Live, but in recent years, he has been playing the lead role of Bishop James Greenleaf in the hit tv show Greenleaf. David is also a voice actor. His deep commanding voice narrated the popular 90s cartoon Gargoyles. He also plays the voice of the mysterious black cat in Coraline. Before making his appearance as a celebrity guest at Pensacon, David talked to Downtown Crowd about what drew him to acting and the evolution of science fiction films, but not before pulling a voicemail prank on us.
Let me transition us to another way you’ve made a name for yourself. You are well known for your distinct deep voice. How did you get involved in voice acting? Voice acting was something that always fascinated me. As a child, I always loved watching the animal kingdom and all of those documentary series like that. It always fascinated me. Some of my favorite actors William Conrad, John Forsight and Aussie Davis, they were always wonderfully engaging in their voice roles, and I wanted that, too, so I strived to bring that sort of influence into my own career. Hi, David. Thank you for making time to speak with me, but before we get into this, I wanted to let you know your voicemail greeting really had me going. I thought it was you on the other line, not a recording. I do it for the laughs. I’m glad I could make you laugh. You have been acting for around 40 years. That’s a long career. When did you realize you wanted to be an actor? I realized I wanted to be an actor from the time I was two years old. I was always a singer. I used to sing and entertain the troops when my family would do bus outings in the summertime. I knew I was a singer, but at one time, I wanted to be a minister. I realized that very early in my life, and then I wanted to be a lawyer, and then I wanted to be a pediatrician. I wanted to be all of these professions that I had seen on television. I realized I could be an actor, and I could do all of that. I was very blessed to be able to play a preacher on television. It was the fulfilment of a lifelong dream 20 | DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM
actually. I experienced God as being good everyday. You were in the science fiction classics The Thing and They Live, and you’ve been a part of several sci fi films since. How do you think sci fi films have evolved over the decades? Certainly the visuals have become far more graphic and “real.” Between the animation and CGI, the overall look of these films have been so magnificently enhanced. It used to be that what existed in somebody’s imagination was only experienced as being “real” according to the quality of the animation. Now, the animation is so good that the look is so much more film like. Today, anything that exists in your imagination can look like reality; therefore, the story is that more enhanced because it looks real like it really could happen or even has happened. More so than in the olden days when the audience’s active imagination had to be further engaged.
You have done several voice acting roles such as Apollo in Hercules and the black cat in Coraline. How do you find the voice of your characters? I try to take hints from the author and how the character expresses himself but also the look of the character. I look at how the character is built, where he produces the voice from and then there are the suggestions from the director. But a lot of it I take from how my imagination is sparked by the look of the character. You have managed to play a role in just about every genre from thrillers to comedy to family friendly. Do you have a favorite genre to play a role in? Work. Work is my favorite genre. I’m fortunate that I get to play in different genres. I’m also fortunate that my training allows me to explore different genres, so I feel blessed and fortunate that I get to experience that. It's an engagement in that creative imagination. I love the opportunity to explore different characters.
Since Disney+ has come out, a lot of fans of the cartoon Gargoyles, which you narrate, have been asking for a reboot of the show. Have you heard if a reboot is in the near future? I’ve wanted that for 25 years, but that's not my decision to make. If it were up to me, we would have been doing it for the past 25 years. If I have anything to say from a desire level, I would do it any day any time. Whenever you come to conventions like Pensacon, what do you look forward to the most? Getting a chance to engage with the fans. You know actually shake someone’s hand and look them in the eye and say thank you. It’s a wonderful opportunity. I enjoy seeing what my fans recognize me from. I get a lot of recognition from The Thing and They Live.
KATHY KATHY NAJIMY NAJIMY
By Gina Castro
From playing Sister Mary Patrick in Sister Act to playing the voice of Peggy Hill in King of the Hill, Kathy Najimy is an actress with a diverse career. She has found her place in several beloved films and tv shows. Perhaps one of her most recognizable roles is the goofy witch Mary Sanderson in Hocus Pocus. Downtown Crowd was able to catch up with Najimy for a short interview back in October right before she caught a flight out of New York City, and no, she doesn’t fly by vacuum anymore. Apparently, it’s not as convenient as it looks. Najimy told us about her favorite roles throughout her 35 years as an actress, her time as an activist and her new show. Hi, Kathy. Thank you for squeezing us in today. Let’s jump right in. You’ve played a lot of roles in various genres. What are some of your favorite roles throughout the years? Oh my gosh. I’ve done a lot. I really liked the King of the Hill a lot. King of the Hill is really good writing, and I really love good writing. So, that was one of the highlights. I did a two woman feminist play for 20 years on and off of Broadway with two HBO specials called The Kathy and Mo Show, and that is one of the things I am most proud of in my career. It’s interesting because I have been fortunate enough to also do a Broadway show called Dirty Blonde about Mae West. I played May at 18, 35, 50 and 85 years old. That was so challenging but so fantastic. I loved it so much. For me, it really depends on the writing of the script, not that I like one over the other. Do you have any roles that you found particularly challenging at first? I did a part on a tv show called Chicago Hope, which is a hospital drama. I played a bipolar surgeon. It ended up being so fulfilling—really difficult but so fulfilling. That was quite a journey to find her. I played a surgeon with bipolar, so I had breakdowns. I went crazy in the hospital. It was an arc, so it had some depth to where she
would go, but she ended up having a lobotomy. It was great. I loved it a lot. Do you have a project you are working on that you are excited to be a part of? I have a new one coming out. I’m on a Disney Junior series called Rocketeer. It’s a remake of the movie from the 90s, but this time, the rocketeer is a girl, which I really love. And the family is lebanese. I’m lebanese, so everything about it is so fantastic to me. I play her mom. We get to talk about how our family eats arabic food, and I run a restaurant in the town. It’s just a very heightened version of the original story. You know, I think this really works with what is happening in the world now about ethnicity and getting female characters into the traditionally male character roles. I love voice over because there is no hair, no makeup, no wardrobe fitting and no line memorizing. I love voice over. It works really well with my life because it gives me time to do other things I love to do like activism. I’m a feminist. I have a lot of projects that I direct and produce that have a lot to do with equality. I love jobs that give me time to do those things.
I didn’t realize you are an activist. What kind of activism do you like to be a part of? I’m a feminist, so I care about the safety and equality of women and all humans. I work a lot for women’s rights, women’s self-esteem, LGBTQ rights and I am pro-choice. I’m an animal person. I got PETA Humanitarian of the Year one year because I love animals. We’re trying to abolish carriage horses in New York right now, which I am seeing as I drive down the street to the airport right now. I just do what I can to make society more compassionate and equal. You’ve expressed that you care about body positivity and women’s self-esteem, so how did you feel being a part of the feminist film Dumplin’? Oh, that was so fun. I had a lot of friends in that, so it was a really great time. I saw them all last night because they were starring on what is called The Morning Show, which is a new Apple series coming out. I had fun on Dumplin’. The dance at the end with all of the drag queens was great to be a part of. I have known Ru Paul since he was 19 years old, so I knew a lot of those drag performers that was just a ball of fun.
Let’s cycle back to Pensacon. What do you enjoy most about attending conventions like Pensacon? It’s always interesting to see the diversity and the fans and which projects they connect to the most. A lot of the time, it’s fans from Hocus Pocus or King of the Hill. It just depends. It’s always a surprise.
DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM | 21
PEOPLE OF PENSACON
MEESKA, MOOSKA Q&A WITH BRET IWAN, THE VOICE OF MICKEY MOUSE SINCE 2009 By Dakota Parks
There is no character quite as nostalgic as Mickey Mouse. He is not only an American icon, but his voice is one that people of all ages recognize. The man behind that voice, Bret Iwan, has been a Disney fan since childhood. Coincidentally, Mickey was an influential part of Iwan’s life long before he assumed the role in 2009 after the predecessor, Wayne Allwine died. Iwan grew up drawing Mickey, which later inspired his career in illustration and graphic design. Iwan went to school at Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota, FL. After spending five years with Hallmark as a graphic designer, Iwan stumbled upon the job posting for the Mickey voice understudy. Now, Iwan has focused his career on preserving the legacy of Mickey while upholding his career and passions in design and historic preservation. What does the typical day in the life look-like for you? I can only imagine that you keep very busy from all of the TV shows, commercials, and Disney parks. The fortunate thing about Mickey is that he works A LOT. So, with that, that means I have a lot of work to do. So, a typical week really can range from one to three recording sessions. It varies on the time of year and how many projects are going on. As big of a Disney fan that I was going into this, I had no idea the number of projects that I would be working on. It’s everything from a simple commercial to a video game, a holiday album, theme park shows or a TV show episode. With the increase in technology and apps, there are a lot of interactive stories and special features like the Google Home or Apple watch. Infact, I just put on my Apple watch last night to go for a run and clicked on the running app and all of a sudden Mickey [on the watch face] says, “it’s five o’clock!” I was like, “gosh! Leave me alone.” So, what do you do to unwind from all of the work? Well, free time is a funny term for me. 22 | DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM
I’m someone that rarely sits still. I just like doing things, creating, being active. I actually run my own design company called Bungalow Modern here in LA. I work on everything from historic home renovations to restaurant designs to individualized antique restorations. In terms of hobbies, I am a huge railroad aficionado. I still do art for fun, so I enjoy plein air landscape painting. I’m restoring an antique truck, so that keeps me very busy. They’re diverse, but they’re all very similar. At the core of it, I love anything that ties back to nostalgia and preserving history. Those are big passions of mine. Mickey kind of fits into those very nicely, because he is such a beloved, historic and nostalgic character for so many of us. Do you have any advice for someone going into the competitive industry of voice acting or advice for young, aspiring voice actors? Sure. Not only is it competitive, but it has changed so much even in the 10 years that I've been a part of it. With the increasing technological advances, it’s really competitive. I give all credit to Bill Farmer, the voice of Goofy, for this quote. He will often say when teach-
ing students, “it’s not voice acting, it’s voice acting.” Voice acting truly is acting. You’re not in front of the camera. You don’t have the benefit of emoting through expression or action—it's all in your voice. So, my first piece of advice to anyone pursuing any creative career is to take advantage of any class that is around you. It doesn’t have to be in New York or LA, it can be in your hometown. But if you want to be an artist, take art classes. If you want to be an actor, take acting classes. Immerse yourself in that world. So, I guess in summary: classes, workshops, demo reel, agent and then hopefully jobs. Is it weird hearing your own voice in the parks? Oh yeah, it’s totally weird. I have gotten a little bit used to it after ten years. Initially, I can remember the first time I went to Disneyland and the parade came by and it was my voice. I realized then, that Mickey was never going to be the same for me. You know, now I’m so invested in that character in a way that I never imagined. I can’t help but hear myself in the character. When I hear the performances at the park or on TV, my memories are triggered by them.
I can most often tell you what I was feeling that day, what the weather was like, were my allergies bad, what did I think about the project—all of these things come rushing back to me. I’m a fan, after all, so if I go to Disneyland, I'm going as a fan. I just want to get my churro and ride Big Thunder Mountain like anyone else. But then I see Mickey, and I’m like “oh! I’m a part of that now. It’s weird.” Do you have any career highlights or memorable moments over the years? I’m continually surprised when I get to meet people who have been so influential in my life and career path. Whether that’s Disney animators, Imagineers or anyone else involved in the process of Disney magic. Truly, some of the most impactful moments have been witnessing how powerful the character of Mickey is and how moved people are by him. People identify him as a friend and sometimes even more than that, essentially family, because he is such an ingrained part of our culture. I always knew what he meant to me and how impacted I was by the legacy of Walt, but now being a part of that and seeing it first hand is incredible.
By Dakota Parks Known far and wide for his roles in Starship Troopers and Frighteners, Busey got his start in the world of acting at age five on set with his father, Gary Busey in the 1978 film Straight Time. The younger crowds, however, probably recognize Busey for his most recent role in the Netflix Original series, Stranger Things. Busey premiered as the cast newbie in 2019 in season three, but quickly received an Internet outlash as the public reacted to his character, Bruce, a wise-crack journalist for The Hawkins Post known for giving women in the office a hard time, especially Nancy Wheeler. You starred in your first film with your father as a young child, correct? Did you always want to get into acting? I was actually five in that first movie. It was with my father, Gary Busey, Dustin Hoffman and Kathy Bates for the film Straight Time. The film was about Dustin Hoffman’s character Max Dembo, the jewelry thief getting out of jail and in the very 1970s vigilante way, cruising around town getting vengeance. My father’s character was the failed get-away driver that got busted. So, Max Dembo’s first stop out of jail is to basically go over and take out my dad’s character. So, the directors wanted to make my dad’s character more sympathetic so that the audience would feel a little more bummed out, so they gave him a wife and a kid— that's where I come in. Kathy Bates played the mother, and I played the child of the get-away driver. It was a great experience. But then my parents thought it was best not to subject me to the rigorous life of the entertainment industry. So, they steered me away from that as a kid. As you got older though, is acting something you wanted to pursue again? Or was it just something your father happened to influence? A little bit of both really. I spent my childhood on film sets. When I was about 17, I went off to college. My plan was that I was going to be a studio session drummer—the guys that get called in to do pop songs for young girls that are coming up through the ranks. But by then, it was the late 80s, and
the drum machine had really exploded. I realized, while I was in college, that there really wasn’t a future in being a session drummer because it’s so cheap and easy to use a drum machine. Then, on a whim, I took an acting class in college. And really, I took the class for an easy credit, so that I could have something easier to do than chemistry. I wound up really taking to it and really liking it. I think it was a way for me to experience what I had seen so many people doing on set but to experience it in a nonconsequential environment. I realized, “hey this is pretty fun,” so I moved back to Los Angeles to study acting. Did your father influence any of your acting when you went to school? My father just motivated me to keep going. When I first started going to acting classes, I would share breakthroughs with him. I would tell him, “guess what I learned today, Dad.” But, rather than him saying, “hey that’s great—good for you,” he would retort with “well you know, back in the day, when I studied with James Best, we used to do this and this.” He made it into kind of a pissing match. So, I ultimately went and studied with James Best, and the guys he studied with so that now I can agree with him and confirm his retorts. What movie or show do fans recognize you the most for? Starship Troopers and The Frighteners. Those are like a set of twins; usually they come out in the same breath together: “Hey I loved you in Starship Troopers and The Frighteners!” Interestingly enough,
those movies were released back to back, so I guess I was just really doing something right in 1996. Well, for the younger crowds that know you from your role in Stranger Things, what has that experience been like for you—working with such a young cast? Oh, it was great. It was the kind of the thing I wanted to do for a long time—to get to work with people that are young and a part of the pop culture fabric. That’s something that actors always want to do, especially when they first start out. We all want to be in that project that everyone is talking about; the project that’s really shaping culture and fans. Stranger Things was like hoping on a train going a 100 miles an hour. It was established and already very popular, and that’s not something that many people get to experience. It’s rare to experience being on a show that’s that phenomenally successful, but it’s also rare to just hop on midstream in season three. Especially, because I was already a fan of the show. I was thinking to myself, “man I would love to be a part of that show, but it’s already up and running.” To be brought on as a new character was very exciting.
a twisted sense of humor.” And, then to have the reactions we received on Twitter! People tweeting: “Oh my God, we must kill Jake Busey!” It was crazy! But then again, that’s what acting is. You’re just playing a character and serving the story, and that was fantastic. Speaking of comedies, our art director here at Pensacola Magazine actually shared one of your sitcoms with me from the 90s: Shasta McNasty. Do you ever go back and watch those shows and movies? You know, I haven’t, only because that’s a show that doesn’t have any real access. It’s only on VHS. The show premiered before digital, so it kind of got lost. I have some old tapes in boxes, but I don’t even have a VHS player anymore. Shasta McNasty was just guys being wacky and doing anything they could not to work, but still pay the rent. So, yeah, that was a fun show. I would say that those years were some of the best years of my career.
What would you say your biggest career highlight would be, or perhaps just a memorable moment in your career? I’ve had a lot. Meeting some of the people Your character, Bruce was certainly a I never thought I would meet in my life. I memorable character at that. You kind of would say, oh, the year of doing Starship played the role as almost a villain. Troopers was very impactful on my Yeah, I did and career. It was an I didn’t even ensemble of a realize it at the cast and a really time. The role rigorous shoot. was more of a Shooting Shasta wisecracking McNasty and dude that being nominated was maybe a a People’s little bit of a Choice Award for class clown that was really making fun of exciting. Getting people. But, in to go to awards the way they show and do the put the show whole tuxedo together and thing was fun. edited it with Meeting Jimmy Photo courtesy of Netflix the music and Stewart on the scenes, it really made my character guy MGM grand 737 airplane back in the 90s this awful villainous person—it was brilliant was incredible. He was in like a full-white of them to do that. They never told me to tuxedo and a cowboy hat. Lots of very act like this hateful guy that nobody can memorable moments over my career. stand, they just said, “you’re this guy with DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM | 23
Post-Con Shindigs By Dakota Parks
Prepare yourselves. The beast of Pensacon is awakening... And it loves a shindig. Wingding, jamboree, jive, whatever you call it—it's a party! While downtown Pensacola bursts at the seams with capes, cosplayers and even a furry or two by day, the nightlife scene metamorphosizes into jam-packed decorated bars, themed fandoms and most importantly: specialty drinks. Some people like to dress up like their favorite characters—others like to drink like their favorite characters. Even if you aren’t a drinker, the mock-tails and costumes are still all the rage. While there are just too many venues downtown to capture, here’s a look into a few of Pensacola’s happening afterparty locations for Pensacon!
It’s like the fate of the Jedi, or perhaps, really coordinated planning that the monthly Gallery Night happens to fall on the first day of Pensacon. Naturally, Gallery Night is Pensacon themed! In addition to the usual artists, merchants, nonprofits, stage performers, food trucks and drink specials, Gallery Night will be decked out with costumes, cosplayers and special events at your favorite bars and restaurants.
Fish House, Atlas Oyster House & The Deck Bar Five nights of Pensacon afterparties! Starting on Wednesday and running to Sunday, The Fish House will be transformed into Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and 24 | DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM
Wizardry, Atlas will feature the world of Star Trek and The Deck Bar will be transformed into the Cantina from Star Wars! 11:00 a.m. – Until (each day and night). The Fish House will be transformed into Hogwarts with potions, Quidditch, wands and Diagon Alley. Want a selfie with a life-size Dementor? How about a photo with your own “Have You Seen This Wizard?” poster? Are you curious about which Hogwarts house you would be placed in? Well, the Sorting Hat has you covered. Drink specials at the Fish House include The Goblet of Fire, Veritaserum, Butterbeer and more. Atlas will be transformed into scenes from Star Trek with a galaxy that will take you beyond the final frontier! Want your picture taken with authentic props from the motion picture? How about a photo from the Captain’s chair? Atlas will showcase a life-size original Borg movie prop, original translights from the deck of the Starship Enterprise and an original movie prop of the ship. Drink specials at Atlas include The James Tea Kirk, Mind Meld and the Warp Core Breach.
The Deck Bar will be transformed into the Star Wars Cantina fit for pilots and various dangerous aliens. Want your picture taken Han in Carbonite? How about hanging out with a couple of Jawas? Have your photo taken at the galaxy wall for the ultimate Star Wars photo op. Don’t miss out on the first night of Pensacon festivities on Ladies' Night on Wednesday for $2 drinks at the Star Wars Cantina!
Play isn’t playing around with their Super Mario themed bar. Expect a video game paradise complete with floating mushrooms and mystery boxes, piranha
plants, power up stations, green warp pipes and, of course, creatively named cocktails. The menu includes the “The Blue Shell” (strong enough to knock anyone from first to last place), the “Bullet Bill” (this turbo cocktail will zoom you from last to first), the “Starman” (it will make you invincible) and green or blue Jello shots. And rounding it all out is Play’s always available award-winning signature drink the "King Koopa Cup." As if the arcade and signature drinks aren’t alluring enough, your drinks will be served by bartenders clad in Princess Peach and Mario and Luigi-inspired outfits.
Odd Colony Brewing Co.
Odd Colony is transporting patrons to “The Upside Down” with their Stranger Things themed brewery. Don’t worry, there won’t be any Mind Flayers or Demogorgons stalking you. The taproom of the brewery will be dressed up with Stranger Things propaganda like the telltale Christmas lights and letters with a subtle ambiance of 80s music playing. (A weeping Winona Ryder next to the Christmas lights not included.) The event space of the brewery will be turned into the Upside-Down world for patrons to explore. As if that isn’t enough, there will even be a special release beer perfectly paired to the infamous Eggo’s waffles commonly eaten by Stranger Things’ own character, Eleven.
Perfect Plain Brewing Co. & Garden & Grain
Perfect Plain is channeling David Bowie himself for their 1986 cult-classic movie themed venue inspired by Labyrinth. It’s so good, you won’t want to find your way out! (Deep down, we all want to dance on those stairs while Bowie chases us in
musical harmony.) Starting on Thursday, the taproom of the brewery will transform into the Labyrinth. Choose up or down as you sip on their collaboration beer with Pensacon, the Chilly Down Fruited Ale; roam through the Goblin City in search of the Babe with the Power while indulging on the Goblin King’s favorite cocktail; and don your best mask and challenge your wits against the Four Guards to get into the secret Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball. Each night has a different event: from “Drink and Draw” with comics and
trivia night to the masquerade ball influenced by Venetian tradition, Celtic faerie and goblin lore.
Cabaret is going to the dark side... but there aren’t cookies or light sabers. However, there are drag queens! Inspired by your favorite evil and malevolent villains, Cabaret is embracing the Dark Kingdom of Pensacon—the bad sides of everything good. Don’t worry though, it’s not going to be too dark in there. No dark side party is complete without a GLOW party. Under the blacklights, there will be a kaleidoscope of neon fluorescent clothing, glow sticks and even paint. While the attendants will be glowing under the lights, the queens will be glowing up on stage. Guest stars Lauren Mitchell, Yvonne Davina, Kendyll Michaels and the nationally awarded character entertainer Judas Elliot will be performing. Don’t forget your neon clothing and dollar bills for this illuminating afterparty location.
Seville is firing up the dance floor for their annual Pensacon VIP After Party. After a long day at the Pensacon Headquarters in the Pensacola Bay Center, the party moves to downtown Pensacola’s, #1 nightspot, Seville Quarter. Seville Quarter is one of Pensacola’s biggest party spots with outdoor bars, an indoor piano bar, live music and a popular dance floor. From 9 pm-12 am, on Friday and Saturday, the after party will be filled with Pensacon fans, guests and tourists. The best part about it? Pensacon VIP passholders and 3-day pass holders will receive FREE Admission to Seville Quarter throughout the entire Pensacon Weekend. Come have a drink with your favorite Pensacon Celebrities, stay and party the night away. DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM | 25
CALENDAR Love at First Bite February 6, 2020 Join the "Friends of FavorHouse" for a Tasting of Delicious Sweet Treats by local area chefs, bakeries, and restaurants. Located at V Paul's Italian Ristornate. There will be a cash bar, signature cocktail, and door prizes. Celebrate Valentine's Day a week early! Purchase tickets at FavorHouse or FavorHouse.org. Pensacola Symphony Orchestra: From Hollywood: John Williams and More February 8, 2020 From Star Wars and Star Trek to Jurassic Park and Lincoln, this Pensacola Symphony Orchestra concert highlights beloved movie music from Alan Silvestri, Michael Giacchino, the legendary John Williams and more! Tickets start at $23 and may be purchased online at PensacolaSymphony.com, by phone at 850.435.2533 or in person at the Symphony Office, 205 E. Zaragoza Street. Pensacola Record Fair February 9, 2020 The Pensacola Record Fair is a vinyl record show hosted at Vinyl Music Hall the second Sunday afternoon in February 2020. Brought to you by Dj Dad himself. Dj Dad is here to provide you with the largest selection of records Pensacola has to offer! A vast number of tables topped with bins and bins of records to dig through throughout the lazy Sunday afternoon. February 9, 2020 12PM-4PM Black Violin: Impossible Tour 2020 February 11, 2020 An American hip hop duo from Florida is comprised of two classically trained string instrumentalists, Kevin Sylvester and Wilner Baptiste, who go by the names Kev Marcus and Wil B. Kev Marcus plays the violin and Wil B. plays the viola. Mingling hip hop and classical sensibilities is what gives them their distinctive style. Archaeology on Tap: A Sticky Situation February 12, 2020 Join us for our "Archaeology on Tap" program at Odd Colony Brewing Company to hear FPAN's Barbara Clark give her talk "A Sticky Situation: Turpentining in Florida." Barbara is the Director for FPAN's Northwest and North Central regional offices. She is a Registered Professional Archaeologist who specializes in historic archaeology, 19th and early 20th century. Her interests include the turpentine and lumber industry, specifically focusing on the social aspects of "camp life." 26 | DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM
Experience UWF with Jeff VanderMeer, author, "Annihilation" February 14, 2020 The Experience UWF Downtown Lecture Series and UWF’s STEAM2020 presents the STEAM2020 opening keynote address with Jeff VanderMeer, award-winning and New York Times best selling author. VanderMeer’s radical narratives reposition science, fiction, and nonhuman perspectives with an eye toward finding new ways to think about our world. Here, he will explore what it means to be a storyteller in the age of climate crisis and how this overlap with other disciplines. VanderMeer is an award-winning novelist known for his emphasis on environmental themes. His critically acclaimed New York Times-bestselling Southern Reach trilogy won the Shirley Jackson Award and Nebula Award. The trilogy prompted the New Yorker to call the author “the weird Thoreau”, and was published in 35 countries, with Paramount Pictures releasing a movie in 2018. The lecture is from 6:30-7:30pm at Pensacola Museum of Art. Valentine's Day, Murder Mystery Dinner February 14, 2020 Treat your loved one to dinner and a show all rolled into one! Located at Frazier’s Country Wines on 3130 Barrancas Ave. Tickets $40 and the event is from 7pm-9pm. The murder mystery dinner theater is presented by Improbable Cause. EmoProm: ‘Pensacola’s For Lovers’ Edition February 14, 2020 EmoProm ‘Pensacola’s For Lovers’ – Emo/Punk/ Screamo Dance Party! Bring along your Top 8 and scream along with our DJ to all your favorite punk/emo/underground songs of the past decade. This special edition of EmoProm will be Valentines day for singles and couples, together we all sing. We’ll have specialty themed cocktails, FREE prom photos with our photographer, and we’ll even crown an EmoProm King & Queen! General Admission * Standing Room Only * FREE for 21+ * Additional $5 Cash Surcharge At The Door For 18-20. CATS February 15, 2020 The record-breaking musical spectacular by Andrew Lloyd Webber that has captivated audiences in over 30 countries and 15 languages, is now on tour across North America! Audiences and critics alike are rediscovering this beloved musical with breathtaking music, including one of the most treasured songs in musical theater— "Memory”. Winner of 7 Tony Awards® including
Pensacola Opera Presents: Easy to Love
February 13, 2020 Pensacola Opera presents a very special one-night only concert featuring the songs of Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Rodgers & Hart, and Rodgers & Hammerstein. Selections from Kiss Me Kate, Showboat, Cinderella, and more will be performed by our incredibly talented Artists in Residence. Members of the Pensacola Children’s Chorus, University of West Florida singers, and Pensacola Symphony join us to create a night of beautiful music that’s so easy to love!
BEST MUSICAL, CATS tells the story of one magical night when an extraordinary tribe of cats gathers for its annual ball to rejoice and decide which cat will be reborn. Kids and Kritters Parade February 15, 2020 The tenth annual Kids and Kritters Parade is set for 2 p.m. in the Casino Beach parking lot across from Sidelines on Pensacola Beach. There is ample free parking and spectators are encouraged to attend. Bring a bag to haul your beads and trinkets home. The fun begins at 1:30 p.m. when the talented troupe from Dancingly Yours headlines in the pre-parade show. The Kids and Kritters Parade, a walking procession for people and pets, starts at 2 p.m. with the Gulf Breeze Cub Scout Pack 11 presenting the colors. Grand Marshals are Burma Davis and her horse Jesse, followed by the Krewe of Kids’ Royal Court and krewe members. The parade is open to anyone who would like to participate. Registration begins at 1 p.m. To participate, you must wear a costume, and bring your own Mardi Gras throws. For additional details, route information and entry forms, go to PensacolaBeachMardiGras.com. Argos Suit Up! February 16, 2020 The University of West Florida is partnering with JCPenney to participate in the Suit Up program, a national initiative designed to assist students in building a professional wardrobe for job/
graduate school interviews and future employment. Want to avoid the lines on event day? Visit JCPenney the day before Argos Suit Up! (Saturday, February 15th, 2020) and find items you are interested in purchasing. Take them to the register and ask the cashier to place them on hold for event night. At UWF, more than 65 percent of students demonstrate the need for financial assistance. The average cost of a business suit is more than $200 which is unaffordable to many students. Through fundraising efforts and generous donations, the Office of Career Development and Community Engagement will purchase gift cards to JCPenney that will be distributed to current students and recent alumni (graduated in 2018 or 2019) who demonstrate a need that aligns with the mission of the program. Please visit uwf.edu/suitup for more information on the gift card application process and chance drawings on event night. Lauren Daigle World Tour February 20, 2020 Two-time GRAMMY Award winner Lauren Daigle, who has sold out every one of her shows to date, will open 2020 with her first headlining arena tour, the “Lauren Daigle World Tour.” It follows nearly 70 sold out performances that have taken place since the release of her GRAMMY Award winning album, Look Up Child. The “Lauren Daigle World Tour” features an all new stage production, design and set list that will be highlighted by Daigle’s raw vocal power and stage presence. She’ll fea-
ture some of her hits, including her latest single “Rescue” and the double-Platinum selling #1 single “You Say,” as well as tracks from her previous platinum-selling album, How Can It Be. Annual Krewe of Lafitte Mardi Gras Parade February 21, 2020 The only illuminated nighttime parade in Pensacola! The crowd can expect to be entertained with marching bands, lighted floats and great throws as the Krewe of Lafitte kicks off Pensacola Mardi Gras celebrations. Bare Hand Collective's Makers Market at Odd Colony February 21, 2020 Part of our mission as a non-profit is to help give local makers a platform to expand their business, so come out and mingle with your local small businesses! If you're interested in becoming a vendor please email Rachel Eidson via email@example.com. Sign up deadline and vendor payments are needed no later than 02/14/20. All market vendors will be featured in Odd Colony's event space towards the rear of the brewery and outside along the alley. Mountainfilm on Tour - Pensacola February 21, 2020 Mountainfilm on Tour brings a selection of culturally rich, adventure-packed and incredibly inspiring documentary films curated from the Mountainfilm festival held every Memorial Day weekend in Telluride, Colorado. The tour will soon visit Pensacola at the Museum of Commerce on February 21 with films that explore themes connected to Mountainfilm’s mission of using the power of film, art and ideas to inspire audiences to create a better world. Doors open at 6 pm for food and social time, with films beginning at 7 pm. Ballet Pensacola Doubleheader – “Paquita” and “Rocketman” February 21-23, 2020 Ballet Pensacola’s Doubleheader will pique the interest of the dance community whether you are a classicist or prefer your movement more athletic and edgy. The timeless classic Paquita is the creation of French composer Édouard Deldevez and Ludwig Minkus and Paris Opéra Ballet Master Joseph Mazilier. It was first presented at the Salle Le Peletier by the Paris Opera Ballet in 1846. Choreographed in a classical Spanish style, the Paquita Variations have become a standard in American ballet companies’ repertoire. With a stage full of classical tutus and a show of bravura technicality, this first half of the Doubleheader is sure to please. The evening closes with a world premiere of “Rocketman,” a ballet inspired by the
move and by the life and times of Sir Elton John. From the grandeur of a Grand Pas de Duex and corps de ballet to the rough and ready expression of the artistic and personal experiences of a generation’s icon, Ballet Pensacola provides a broad, exciting and captivating glimpse into the balletomane’s current viewpoint. Tickets are available for purchase for $22 - $34, plus applicable facility fees, through the Pensacola Cultural Center Box Office at 850-432-2042 or www.pensacolalittletheatre.com. Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade February 22, 2020 One of the country's original celebration sites, Pensacola hosts this family-oriented Mardi Gras parade in the historical downtown area. Crowds catch beads, doubloons and moonpies galore as they are thrown from floats! Krewe of Wrecks Mardi Gras Parade February 23, 2020 Mardi Gras parade with an island atmosphere! The Krewe of Wrecks Parade will have the best floats throwing beads, candy and doubloons. No one leaves the island without beads! After parade, parties are everywhere and the biggest is on the boardwalk, at the shell, where the revelers wait for the results of the judges and trophies to be awarded. Of course, the music is playing, and partiers are dancing! Rain or Shine! The parade route begins at Avenida 10 and Via DeLuna, runs west and disbands at the Gulfside Pavilion in the Casino Beach parking lot.
branch of the West Florida Public Library, 239 N Spring Street in Pensacola. For more information, visit Emerald Coast Equality LGBTA Democratic Caucus on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Joe Bonamassa February 26, 2020 Two-time GRAMMY-nominated blues-rock sensation Joe Bonamassa today announces U.S. tour dates for spring 2020, as he gears up for his summer tour embarking on major venues across the East Coast and Midwest in North America. Hailed internationally as one of the greatest guitar players of his generation, Bonamassa has almost single-handedly redefined the blues-rock genre and brought it into the mainstream. Located at the Saenger Theater at 8pm, ticket prices start at $73.
5th Annual Cardiovascular Symposium February 28, 2020 Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute (BHVI) will host its 5th annual Cardiovascular Symposium at Sanders Beach Community Center at 913 South I St. in Pensacola. Doors open at 7:45 a.m. The program begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. Structured for physicians, nurses, case managers and allied health providers, the symposium provides the opportunity for health care professionals to enhance their skills and learn about innovative practices for cardiovascular care. Speakers include experts from BHVI, Nemours Childrens Hospital, Mayo Clinic, Philips Research and VITAS. Continuing education hours are availPop-up Opera able. Online registration is available through Feb. February 25, 2020 10 at eBaptistHealthCare.org. More information Pensacola Opera Artists in Residence, Bizhou is available at 850.469.5736. Registration is reChang, soprano; Emily Triebold, mezzo-soprano; quired. Aaren Rivard, tenor; Corey Gaudreau, baritone; and Steven Variames, pianist/coach; will ser- Hot Glass Cold Brew: Scott Darlington enade you with a number from their next perfor- February 28 mance just prior to the Historic Pensacola Trolley Join us for a fun, “Great Gatsby,” themed fundTour. Located in Wayside Park on east side of raising event featuring guest glass artist Scott Hwy. 98 at mouth of Pensacola Bay Bridge. Darlington! Wear your glitz and glam attire, hint of Gatsby flair, or just come as you are and Educational public forum on proposed anti- enjoy the ambiance of this fun event! We will LGBTQ state legislation have 20s jazz music by Joe O and friends, gorFebruary 25, 2020 geous themed decor by Fiore of Pensacola and Emerald Coast Equality, the local chapter of the tablevogue, beer by Pensacola Bay Brewery, and Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus, will host light food fare. Scott Darlington has been workan educational public forum on the recently ing with hot glass for more than 30 years. He has proposed anti-LGBTQ state legislation. The pre- taught workshops around the globe, including senters will discuss the eight bills attacking the Canada, Japan, Pilchuck, and Penland. Scott will rights of LGBTQ Floridians that have been filed also be offering the workshop Sculpting Secrets in Florida’s 2020 legislative session and how the Revealed on February 29-March 1st for masterdiscriminatory legislation impacts the LGBTQ ing the bare bones methods for sculpting glass. community and its allies. The forum will be held on Tuesday, February 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the main
PENSACON February 28-March 1, 2020 Pensacon 2020 is an all-inclusive comic convention located in the heart of Pensacola that encompasses many genres of the fan community. Expect Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, Comics, Anime, Gaming and much more! Please visit www.pensacon.com for more info. Gallery Night February 28, 2020 Gallery Night is going Pensacon themed! Break out those capes, costumes and furry tails. In addition to the usual artists, merchants, nonprofits, stage performers, food trucks and drink specials, Gallery Night will be decked out with costumes, cosplayers and special events at your favorite bars and restaurants. I Pink I Can Run February 29, 2020 Join the Krewe du YaYas for our 7th Annual I PInk I Can Run run/walk for breast cancer awareness at The Flora-Bama from 9am-1pm. Great course, awards, after-party, fun and cause. All proceeds from this event stay local and benefit The Keeping Abreast Foundation. Admission: $30 until packet pick up and race day at which time the rate increases to $35. Pensacola Symphony Orchestra: Russian Spectacular February 29, 2020 Sweeping Romantic melodies meet exotic themes in this annual Pensacola Symphony Orchestra celebration of music by Russian composers. The interplay between soloist and orchestra will be on display when cellist Bion Tsang performs Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme. We will also explore this beloved composer’s works further with his beautiful Sleeping Beauty Rose Adagio and Waltz. The evening will close with Rimsky-Korsakov’s dazzling Scheherazade, the colorful suite inspired by the beguiling princess in The Arabian Nights, featuring Leonid Yanovskiy in one of the most recognizable concertmaster solos in the literature. Tickets start at $23 and may be purchased online at PensacolaSymphony.com, by phone at 850.435.2533 or in person at the Symphony Office, 205 E. Zaragoza Street. Ice Flyer’s Schedule February 7, 2020 Quad City @ Pensacola 7:35 February 8, 2020 Quad City @ Pensacola 7:05 February 9, 2020 Quad City @ Pensacola 4:05 February 14, 2020 Macon @ Pensacola 7:35 February 15, 2020 Macon @ Pensacola 7:05 DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM | 27
Nancy Bullock-Prevot, the CEO and Founder of The HER Foundation, partnered with Kate Treick Photography to capture what women veterans look like in the Pensacola community through "We See You."
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MILITARYMATTERS AN ARMED FORCES NEWS SECTION
Seeing Women Veterans in 2020 The HER Foundation Hosts “We See You” Photography Exhibit By Gina Castro
Women in the United States have been serving in the military, legally, since 1917 during World War I. Although women have been in the military for more than 100 years, veterans like Nancy Bullock-Prevot, the CEO and Founder of The HER Foundation, believe women veterans don’t get the same amount of recognition that men veterans do. “Whenever holidays where the military is being recognized come around, most campaigns will put up billboards or ads with the service member being a male,” Bullock-Prevot said. “With my organization focusing on women veterans, I wanted to do something to recognize the women veterans here.” To recognize women veterans in the Pensacola area, Bullock-Prevot created a photography exhibit featuring the portraits of 100 local women who have served in the military. The photography exhibit is called “We See You.” Bullock-Prevot partnered with Kate Treick Photography to capture what women veterans look like in the Pensacola community. “The main thing is for our women to know we see them and we appreciate them,” Kate Treick said. “Some women served, and they were very visible in their positions. Others served and now they are serving as a mom, a business woman or in some other capacity where their veteran status doesn't get mentioned very often.
Regardless of where a woman is in her life, we just wanted to let them know that we appreciate them and the service they have done for the country and that we see them and acknowledge them.” Treick said her goal as the photographer for this project was to show the authentic and true version of each woman she photographed. She asked each woman to come to the session dressed for whatever chapter they are in their life, whether it’s a mother, a business woman, etc. Treick said women came in various outfits and some women brought momentos from their service. Bullock-Prevot was inspired to do this exhibit after she attended the Women in Military Service for America Memorial last year. The memorial displayed photos of women from all of the branches of service doing different things in their occupations. Bullock-Prevot reached out to the artist in hopes of bringing that same exhibit to Pensacola, but she never heard back from the artist. She also reached out to Veterans Affairs (VA) to see if she could get its photography exhibit “I Am Not Invisible,” a photography project that aims to spotlight women veterans, to come to Pensacola. However, Bullock-Prevot never heard back from the VA either, so she decided to start her own version here in Pensacola.
“I think it makes it more personal because it’s women here that are veterans that people get to see,” Bullock-Prevot said. “Rather than me bringing in someone else's work and other women from across the country, its our own women from right here in Pensacola.” The exhibit will be during Gallery Night from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm on March 20 in the lobby of the Studer Community Institute. The exhibit will be shown again in the same location from March 23-27. The exhibit will also be in the Cordova Mall the whole month of May for Military Appreciation Month. This exhibit has been paid for through sponsorships, and if any funds are left over after the exhibit, they will be donated to HER Foundation’s The Faith House, which is a home for single female veterans. “We See You” is still accepting sponsors for the exhibit. If you are interested in being a sponsor, email email@example.com. If you are a woman who has served and would like to be a part of the exhibit, go to katetreickphotography.com, click the “Community Involvement” tab and then “Veteran Portraits.” You can find information about The HER Foundation’s other upcoming events on its website honorher.org
DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM | 29
NAS Pensacola Fire Department Ready to Respond Written and photographed by Jason Bortz
Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola Fire Department was amongst those who responded with immediacy following an active shooter incident on the installation Dec. 6, resulting in the deaths of three service members and eight military and civilian injured. “Our emergency response teams responded in a way that is a direct reflection of what we represent as a fire department,” said Daniel Chiappetta, NAS Pensacola fire department chief. “The efforts displayed were professional and I couldn’t be prouder of our men and women for the effort they put forth.” Medical personnel for the fire department arrived at the scene of the incident, focused directly on tending to the injured and prepared them for transport to local hospitals. Preparation for an incident of this nature requires the fire department to undergo hours of training, which includes meticulous attention to detail. “We train continuously, and our goal is to make sure that our personnel are trained to the point that when something of this nature does happen – that it’s just a natural response for them and it’s all part of the job,” said Chiappetta. “There are times where incidents are more 30 | DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM
chaotic than others, but our personnel performed superbly.” Chiappetta emphasized the importance of the rock-solid relationship that the NAS Pensacola fire department has with Escambia and Santa Rosa County fire departments through their mutual aid agreements. “One of the key factors to our success as a cohesive unit is the fact that we have excellent rapport with the fire departments in the local community,” said Chiappetta. “There is a mutual aid agreement in place where the county calls us for support as we do them in times of need. Several of our personnel volunteer in both Escambia and Santa Rosa County and quite a few of our individuals are not only fire fighters, but also fire chiefs, assistant chiefs and battalion chiefs for the counties. This relationship is one that helps both fire departments by giving and receiving mutual aid.” The NAS Pensacola Fire Department is on call for all emergencies and supports the local community and installation, to include at this time of the year transporting Santa Claus around the installation. “We try to continue to carry on the holidays and traditions the best we can by bringing cheer to everyone on the installation,” said Chiappetta.
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New Exhibit at Fort Pickens Will Highlight African American Soldiers in Pensacola during the Civil War The National Park Service has just opened a new exhibit on December 14, at the Fort Pickens Discovery Center. The special exhibit highlights the 25th United States Colored Troops (USCT) that served in the Pensacola Bay Area during and immediately after the Civil War. The exhibit will be open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through May 15, 2020. The exhibit will feature life-sized portraits of seventeen members of the 25th USCT, Company G, which were created by artist Shayne Davidson. The portraits are based on a locket-sized photo album which includes a photo of each man and all but one of their names. The original album is in the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. The album was originally shared with Ms. Davidson by the great granddaughter of Captain William A. Prickett, the original owner of the album. “The men in the album bravely participated in a pivotal event in our nation’s history,” said artist Shayne Davidson. “It was a privilege for me to research their lives and create their portraits.” Over a six-month period, Ms. Davidson created the incredible portraits and genealogical research on the men, which is displayed next to each portrait. In addition to the portraits, original artifacts
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Photos courtesy of National Parks Service
from the USCT will be on display. An 1864 Fort Barrancas Muster Roll lists each of the seventeen men in the portraits as well as the other men of the company. Additional artifacts on display include a harmonica fragment, a book owned by a member of the 25th USCT, a recruitment song sheet, and more. The muster roll and harmonica fragment are two of over 500,000 objects preserved in the park’s museum collection; other objects on display have been loaned to the park for the exhibit. The temporary exhibit, the first of its kind at Gulf Islands National Seashore, will feature the service of African Americans during the Civil War like never before. “We are proud to host these incredible works of art and artifacts which connect the stories of these brave men to
the areas preserved by the national seashore,” said Superintendent Dan Brown. The timing of the exhibit is especially timely as the nation recognizes 400 years of African American history. The United States Colored Troops were segregated units of black men, led by white officers. The units were formed after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 officially authorized African Americans to serve in the US Army. The men of the 25th USCT were among the nearly 180,000 black men to serve during the Civil War. Learn more about the United States Colored Troops and the 25th USCT on the park’s website. The Fort Pickens Discovery Center is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is located in the heart of the Fort Pickens Historic District just a short walk from the historic masonry fort. The center features exhibits on the natural and cultural history of Santa Rosa Island and the defenses built on the island over the centuries.
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Acting Secretary of the Navy Visits NAS Pensacola First Responders
By Jason Bortz | Photo Naval Air Station Pensacola
The Honorable Thomas Modly, acting Secretary of the Navy, and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith visited Naval Air Station Pensacola Dec. 10 following the active shooter incident Dec. 6. During the visit, Modly and Smith praised first responders from the base and the surrounding community for their response to the situa-
tion and the care they’re providing for all who are affected by this incident. “I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to the brave men and women for what we ask you to do every day,” said Modly. “Your immense bravery in the line of fire undoubtedly saved the lives of many. Today, as a Navy we grieve for those who were lost and we continue to stand by those
who were wounded.” Department of the Navy patrol officers and master-at-arms with the Naval Security Force were the first responders on the scene and confronted the shooter. NSF was joined by officers from the Escambia County Sheriff's Office who assisted with the eventual takedown of the shooter. In the end, three Sailors and the shooter were killed and eight individuals were injured. “Our Security Force responded immediately and their quick reaction prevented the situation from being far worse,” said Lt. Steve Pakola, security officer, NAS Pensacola. “We train for these types of situations and their performance was exceptional. They displayed unbelievable bravery when confronted with the shooter, but they performed their job without thought of the risk they faced.” Following a short tour of the base, the pair joined members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and Naval Air Station Pensacola for a leadership brief. The brief is meant to increase interagency communication, coordination, and support for one another.
Pensacola Council of the Navy League Hosts The Annual Military Recognition Day The Pensacola Council of the Navy League of the United States invites the community to the Annual Military Recognition Day Luncheon and Margaret Flowers Civic Award Ceremony on Feb. 22 at 11:30 a.m. at Skopelos at New World Landing in downtown Pensacola. Military Recognition Day honors military members who have demonstrated significant community service. The honorees are nominated by their commands. Each nominee is rec34 | DOWNTOWNCROWD.COM
ognized ceremoniously, with one outstanding military community service leader selected for the prestigious Margaret Flowers Civic Award. Margaret Flowers is a retired civil service employee who left a legacy of service to both the U.S. Navy and her community. The guest speaker is David Harmer, President/CEO of Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge. The Master of Ceremonies for this event is WEAR TV 3 newscaster Dan Shugart.
The cost is $15.00 per person and $200 for a table sponsorship. Table sponsorships pay for five personal guests and five active duty military guests. For reservations and to sponsor a military member or a table, please contact Carla Cuilik at 850-436-8552 or email email@example.com by Feb. 11.
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The clock won’t start ticking on your Membership until the Pensacola Club opens – but you can start shopping on BJs.com. All BJ’s Memberships are subject to BJ’s current Membership Terms, ask in-Club or go to BJs.com/terms. *Offer is valid for the Pensacola, FL, Membership Center only, may not be combined with other offers, not redeemable for cash, nontransferable and only good for new Members who are active or veteran military personnel. Plus sales tax where applicable. Offer is contingent upon your enrolling in BJ’s Easy Renewal, and you authorize BJ’s to charge the debit/credit card first used at BJ’s after accepting this offer, an annual recurring charge in the amount of the then-current Membership fee for all active Memberships on your account, plus tax where applicable, on the first day of the month your Membership expires. Expires: 3/31/20. **BJ’s Membership Cards and BJ’s Gift Cards will be mailed to the address on file and may take up to 3 – 4 weeks to process. Coupons will be mailed prior to Club opening. Market Code: MIL382
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