Articles I've written about various adventures,  projects, along with interviews of amazing people I've had the pleasure to know.

The Conversation:

Richard Borders

Current feature as published in ARBUS Magazine
by Jim Alabiso

For over fifty years, Richard Borders has been the creative force of the Gemini Light Show. He created the first concert touring light shows for The Who, Pink Floyd, The Doors, and Jimi Hendrix, to name a few. He invented the first live video projection and laser systems for entertainment, including lasers that could draw pictures on clouds. Five years ago, he landed on Jacksonville’s music scene.

“Makerspaces are not new, the concept is just new to the Jacksonville Public Library (JPL). It’s a place for people to come, collaborate and make,” says Shawana Brooks, arts and culture developer for the Jax Makerspace.  Jennifer Giltrop, JPL interim director, elaborates: “Making things, from movies to music, art to apps, robots to radios, novels to needlepoint.  Whether you are a novice or expert, a student, hobbyist, inventor, entrepreneur, or artist, it’s a place for anyone interested in hands-on opportunities to explore, collaborate, and create.”

“Makerspaces are not new, the concept is just new to the Jacksonville Public Library (JPL). It’s a place for people to come, collaborate and make,” says Shawana Brooks, arts and culture developer for the Jax Makerspace.  Jennifer Giltrop, JPL interim director, elaborates: “Making things, from movies to music, art to apps, robots to radios, novels to needlepoint.  Whether you are a novice or expert, a student, hobbyist, inventor, entrepreneur, or artist, it’s a place for anyone interested in hands-on opportunities to explore, collaborate, and create.”

In 1897, when an Australian opera singer became ill, Auguste Escoffier, her chef and fan, created a dry thin toast to settle her stomach. Her name was Dame Nellie Melba. The culinary landscape is a buffet of recipes with such stories behind their names: Beef Stroganoff, Beef Wellington, Lobster Newberg, Bananas Foster, and the Arnold Palmer to name a few.

In 1907, another opera singer became an international success at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden in London. She went on to perform at the Metropolitan Opera House and the Chicago Opera. Her name? Louisa Tetrazzini, also known as the Florentine Nightingale, born in Florence, Italy, in 1871.

My grandfather, Nicholas Sabatini, was a fan of this coloratura soprano. And so it was, in the late twenties at New York’s Delmonico’s restaurant, he created Chicken Tetrazzini.

Performance artist Mal Jones and visual artist Overstreet Ducasse were asked by  the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, to participate in a cultural exchange pilot program in Bristol, England.

I Still Matter is a grassroots organization of volunteers who are living with mental illness or have loved ones who are. The organization was founded by Carmen Joyce, executive director, who moved to Jacksonville from Central Florida in 2011. During that time, she was struggling with manic depression and grieving the loss of her father.

“I knew I needed to pull myself out of my isolation, so I asked a few friends to meet me at Chamblin’s Uptown to make art. I Still Matter’s focus on mental health came from the real, honest conversations from individuals attending the small groups,” says Joyce.

Julia DeArriba-Montgomery began 3D printing back in 2009, with a plaster based printer in the Digital Media lab at Florida State College at Jacksonville. An interdisciplinary artist, DeArriba-Montgomery says, “It’s freeing to create work that could live off the computer screen.” She likes mixing different mediums together, “trying to find just the right recipe.”

I’m at a local coffee shop with a friend working on a project. We wrap up and head out. I’m unlocking my car door when I hear a woman across the street yell the word “Watermelon.” I turn to look at her. The woman looks directly at me again and yells “Watermelon.” Then clickety-clack proceeds up the street with her shopping cart full of things. I’m stunned and my friend looks at me in disbelief. It’s not important for the purposes of this article why watermelon is significant, but it is. A lifesaving message I needed to hear at that point in my life. I see her again a year later and run down the street to catch up with her.
‘Miss? Miss!” I shout.
“My name is Jay. Jay,” she says, correcting me.
Then she shuffles away. Jay becomes the seed for All the Angels Come. Just don’t ever call her “Miss.”

Are you a machinist, or an artist?
I tell people I’m a machinist, but most people know me as Metal Mark. That name came from when I was in college. I started a club to promote my and my brother’s metal band. I’d run around campus just destroying an acoustic guitar. It was the most brutal pummeling earache metal that you could possibly induce upon people. So I became Metal Mark. I like to listen to metal while I make metal. It makes it work better.

When I saw how much Mila's work and her Ghost Stories piece for Coldplay's album of the same name embodied water, I knew interviewing her would be life changing. 

When I saw the artwork for Coldplay’s Ghost Stories, I was taken by the mythology and discovered Mila Furstova for the first time. Mila etches in Perspex, often creating multilayered pieces. Enamored, I looked at her body of work, including the Flow Series, of a woman in the water. It is featured in last month’s story, “Apo Helios” (Jan/February). Mila, who resides in Cheltenham, England, balances an exhibition in the world’s largest venue – the album cover, motherhood, art and business. She will soon release her new series, Motherhood; to be shown at the AGallery in London. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Mila Furstova for Arbus.

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© 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 by LEAP Collaborative & Jim Alabiso