Yesterday, I wrote about what I did Friday, so it's only fitting that today, Sunday, I'd tell you about Saturday, February 2, the day Michael Feldman brought his "Whad 'Ya Know?" to the Florida Theater. This beautiful old theater is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and has been an entertainment venue since 1927.
Saturday is my favorite day for listening to WJCT, NPR's local station. It starts with Car Talk, going into "Wait..Wait, Don't Tell Me", then Michael Feldman, followed by "This American Life". A great broadcasting day.
As a First Coast Society member, I got advance notice to the live radio performance, followed by a VIP reception. I ordered two tickets as soon as I made sure I could clear my schedule for that day.
One of my dance instructors, Tom, who is an NPR fan, had a birthday the end of January, and I asked him if he wanted to see Michael Feldman as his birthday present. Which is how we found ourselves driving the one-way streets of downtown Jacksonville in a nearly futile search for a parking spot. We finally pulled into a lot that charged $10, and still left me holding a citation after the show. We had to stand in line (a long line) to pay by credit card. I had to key in the parking space number, and then the display said "take receipt". So I grabbed the receipt and we went to the theater. I totally missed the small print that said "display on dashboard." Oh well. Calling to contest it will give me something to do the next time I have a couple of free hours.
Our seats were in the second row, directly behind three seats that were no-shows. Or they hadn't sold them. I don't know, all I know is that there was no one sitting in front of us. The stage in that beautiful old theater was liberally decorated with Florida memorabilia, including a sunbathing pig, a stuffed emu, and some gator stuff.
Feldman, who looks just like he sounds, warmed the audience up starting about 15 minutes before program time. He seemed to genuinely enjoy himself, which made it lots of fun for the audience. He wore a U of Florida Gator shirt, which delighted about half of those present. He sang "Don't be Cruel". (The Florida Theater was the site of one of Elvis Presley's first shows.) He had a good time, we had a good time. Announcer Jim Packard later got to try singing a bit of Elvis, fortunately during a station break, when we were not actually on the air. When he asked "Whad 'ya know?" we were instructed to respond "Not much, Y'ALL"
The contestant taking the quiz was smart and funny as well, though she showed some of the oblivion these contestants do demonstrate...an inability to recognize when Feldman is trying hard to steer them to the right answer. Ultimately, they did fine and won the prize.
Then he walked around the aisles interviewing random folks, and answering questions that had been submitted by the audience.
He interviewed Mark Woods, columnist for the Florida Times-Union, mostly about the recent political primary. Later he interviewed a J.T. Touchstone, a young man whose job it is to capture nuisance alligators. It was interesting to note that he had all his arms, legs and fingers. He was pretty young, though. He said the biggest gator he'd caught was about 13' long, and that he then skins the gator, and takes the head, feet and meat to sell. When asked about the feet, he said they are used to make back-scratchers. That'd be a nice little conversation piece.
His last interview was with Joan Peoples, an owner of Clark's Fish Camp, who admitted that she probably bought alligator meat from the previous guest. She brough samples of rattlesnake, gator, eel and antelope for Feldman to try. He nibbled, but Clyde Stubblefield left his drum set to come forward and sample most of the delicacies, though none with huge enthusiasm. Plates of tidbits were passed around the first few rows.
A musical interlude by local songstress Rebecca Zapen was a wonderful surprise. She is a classically trained violinist with a sweet, pure, clear voice. She and her band did a couple of numbers, the second of which she wrote about her sister, Andrea.
The second quiz contestant was a guy with two first names (Tony? Steve), who is a musician, and in fact had been a studio musician for Rebecca Zapen's first album. Fate or coincidence. You decide. He was also pretty entertaining, and he and his telephone partner did well on the quiz.
Afterward, we went upstairs to a very nice reception buffet, with a variety of salad and sandwich offerings. Dessert was goodies from Peterbrooke Chocolatiers. So good. I had a big chunk of their chocolate-covered popcorn. To die for. Chased down with a couple of good lagers.
What a great way to spend a day.
Come again, Michael Feldman!
[Image of Feldman and guest from a previous show at the University of Iowa]