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Get Local Tallahassee: Deadline to apply to be a KCCI Catalyst is Friday

Learn about it online at www.kccitallahassee.com

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We are big fans of KCCI. It’s an incredible opportunity afforded our community by the Knight Foundation that other communities simply don’t have. If you get chosen to be a catalyst, you join a cool group of local people to imagine and complete a project to make Tallahassee an even better place to live. Every year The Village Square’s OUR TOWN series features the cool work of KCCI catalyst projects in our Fast Forward Tallahassee program.

Surely, you want that to be you? Deadline to apply is Friday. Tick tock.

Florence Snyder: Surely it was inevitable that the boomers would create TGIO (thankfully, in Tallahassee)

There’s not much to smile about in this Summer of Tsuris. Governor Rick Scott has fled the jurisdiction as Dream Defenders occupy the Capitol. Deck chairs are being shuffled at the Department of Children & Families. The Agency for Health Care Administration is using the children it warehouses in geriatric nursing homes as an excuse to bash Obamacare. Obscene “compensation” pours into the pockets of shameless officers and directors at Florida Blue.

So it was a welcome and altogether unexpected surprise this weekend to see hundreds of old folks dancing down Broadsway at Florida State University’s Opperman Music Hall.

That’s not a typo. “Broadsway” Productions is the second act of self-described recovering lawyer Elise Judelle and Peggy Brady, who recently retired after a 21-year run as Executive Director of the local Council on Culture and Arts.

Judelle and Brady are in show business full time now, and this weekend was the world premiere of a cabaret they call TGIO (Thank God I’m Old). For two solid hours, Broadsway’s troupe of singer-actors took an unsparing musical look at all manner of unfinished business people contend with in the 4th quarter of their lives. The characters portrayed come from the songbooks of pop, rock, and country, as well as the Great White Way, and the stakes are high, because time on the clock is running low.

The Judelle-Brady spirit of “hey kids, let’s put on a show!” made for a great performance, but even more interesting was the audience.

The 442 seat venue was close to full of local retirees. Some of the faces were recognizable, but most were unsung heroes of generations of state workers, educators and journalists who served Florida in the decades before it was the world’s leading exporter of late night comedy.

The token young person in the room was cast member Kelly Staver Elliott, who sang the role of a beloved granddaughter in a reimagined version of “For Good,” a signature song from Stephen Schwartz’s “Wicked.” More often, Elliott was camping it up as a sweet young thing who catches the eyes of over-the-hill men armed with high hopes and a few hits of Viagra.

Audience emotions were toyed with in ways not generally associated with attorneys like Judelle, who spent much of her career doing the mind-numbing work of a bond lawyer at Bryant Miller Olive, the firm founded by the late Gov. Farris Bryant.

Show-goers toggled between uproarious laughter and barely-muffled sobs. There was a relaxed camaraderie in the audience that one used to see in the halls of power back when public service was an end in itself, and not a pit stop on the path to a lucrative life of influence peddling and no-bid contracts.

At intermission, people who used to be bold-faced names worked the room. They recognized people who, long ago, did real work competently at metal desks far removed from the corner offices of agency heads and managing partners. Unlike today’s “executive leadership teams” who always have their eyes on the name tags, looking for someone more important to talk to, they greeted old subordinates as equals, and asked after their children.

Judelle and Brady’s Glee for Geezers seems destined for future performance on the road and on the Internet. But on opening night, it felt like it was the audience that should be taking the bow.


Florence Snyder is a corporate and First Amendment lawyer. Contact her at lawyerflo@gmail.com

It’s SUMMER @ the Square: We’re wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’ and plannin’ and dreamin’…

Screen shot 2013-05-19 at 11.28.07 AM Summertime is finally here. While – absent our normal breakneck programming schedule and without new blog content – it might look a little like we’re taking a siesta* at the Village Square we’re really busy planning for our 2013-14 season. We’re taking stock of past programming and imagining new ideas (tickler: some have to do with incoming asteroids…) Since our last-of-the-season Fast Forward Tallahassee program on May 6, our thinking about future possibilities has already taken us to California and Washington, DC. (Please do contact us if you want to weigh-in as we’re doing all this thinking, we like to hear from you.)

Oh and on the “wishin’ and hopin'” front, it’s OK with us if while we’re summering at the Square, Washington DC goes right ahead and fixes itself, starts to function the way our founders imagined they might, addresses one or two of our BIG FAT problems. But just in case that doesn’t pan out, we’re putting our money on neighbors just like you (in hometowns just like this one) to show Washington what America’s made of. In a nation “of the people, by the people, and for the people” maybe that’s exactly as it should be?


Photo credit: Andy Wilson

*Legal Disclaimer: There will probably be a few actual siestas taken before we return next fall. Vibrant civic discourse can be tiring…

OUR TOWN town hall meeting: Photos are in!

Find out more about this program and listen to an audio recording HERE. Get on our mailing list so you don’t miss next year’s “Speed Date” click HERE. See photos as a set on Flickr HERE.

Speed Date Your Local Leaders 2013: The photos are in!

Find out more about this program HERE. Get on our mailing list so you don’t miss next year’s “Speed Date” click HERE.

Fast Forward Tallahassee: What’s new? BEST

Screen shot 2013-05-01 at 5.36.22 PMOne of the best perks of my job is that people are always sending me wonderful things. I get the best articles delivered to my inbox almost daily, by a wonderful group of citizens. I’m always flattered that they thought of the Village Square when they think of citizenship.

The perks of our Fast Forward Tallahassee program (next Monday 5.6, register now as we’re filling up fast) are a little different, but just as good. I get cool things sent to me about what’s new in our hometown. Since we’ve started our OUR TOWN series, you should know that I’ve loved Tallahassee more. Here’s the latest thing I love. If you don’t know already, we have BEST. That’s Bike-East-Shop-Tallahassee. It’s a partnership between cyclists and participating local businesses, who give discounts to “healthy customers who don’t clog up their parking lot with cars.”


You can become a cyclist and you can become a participating business.

They take trips, including an upcoming May-cation.

All this creativity made me realize that we need a Bike-Eat-Shop-Tallahassee page on our TallahasseeWiki. We’ve got lots about biking in Tallahassee, we’ve even got “Daycations” and “Staycations.” We hope you’ll join us this summer at CampWiki (all the adventure, none of the bugs) to write some crazy cool pages like BEST.

And we hope you’ll join us for Monday night’s Fast Forward Tallahassee to learn about other new, exciting and creative things going on. Right here. Right now.

Isn’t it great to share a city with creative people?

The Crier: News from the Village Square (Fast Forward Monday!)

Read the newsletter online here.

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News Release: Village Square continues “Our Town” Series with “Fast Forward Tallahassee”

(Get info and register here.)


For Immediate Release
April 30, 2013

‘Fast Forward’ Forum Focuses on New Projects, Business and Ideas

(TALLAHASSEE, FL) – April 30, 2013 – Hometowns with a “sense of place” are vibrant, engaged, growing and economically successful. They are places people want to live and raise families.

There are new reasons every day why this describes Tallahassee.

On Monday, May 6, The Village Square hosts “OUR TOWN: Fast Forward,” a spirited look at what’s new and what’s coming in Tallahassee. The program will be moderated by WFSU’s Tom Flanigan.

Co-sponsored by Knight Creative Communities Institute (KCCI), Leadership Tallahassee, and the Tallahassee Democrat, “Fast Forward” will be fast-paced. Six presentations follow a PechaKucha format (Japanese for “chit chat”) with a maximum of 20 slides that advance automatically after 20 seconds. There will be a question-and-answer segment, and a lightening round for the audience to share information about new projects, ideas, events and restaurants around town.

The evening will feature a presentation by Florida State University President Eric Barron on “Entrepreneurial FSU,” a discussion on what’s new on our college campuses presented by Town and Gown Project Director Mike Pate, and a look at the future of Lake Ella through the KCCI project “EllaVate.”

Also presenting are Ed Murray of NAI TALCOR on “Cutting Edge Business” in Tallahassee, Laurie Hartsfield of KCCI on “Our Creative Community,” and Joy Watkins of the Community Foundation of North Florida on “Our Nonprofit Community.” Lee Daniel of Visit Tallahassee with share the top ten reasons people will want to visit Tallahassee and Jay Revell of Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority will present on what’s new and coming downtown.

The program is part of The Village Square’s “Our Town” series, aimed at growing an informed and engaged community, and is made possible by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Fund at the Community Foundation of North Florida.

“Our Town: Fast Forward” will be held Monday, May 6 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church at 211 N. Monroe Street (enter at rear Calhoun Street entrance). It is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Participants are asked to make a reservation and to present their printed ticket at the door, and are invited to bring a take-out dinner or purchase dinner at one of the food trucks parked outside St. John’s from 5:00 to 5:45 pm.

Those who are unable to attend can watch the program livestream at www.Tallahassee.com or follow an online discussion on Twitter, hashtag #TDvsq. For more information, to see a full list of program participants, or to RSVP and print your ticket, go to www.tothevillagesquare.org or call 264-8785.


One week: Fast Forward Tallahassee

web-slideshow-ff2013We’re excited about next Monday night’s Fast Forward program, the second in our new series about the latest, greatest, newest around town. If you missed last year’s you missed a lot. This year you’ll be able to catch FSU President Eric Barron on entrepreneurship at FSU, former Democrat publisher Mike Pate on the newest on our college campuses, Visit Tallahassee’s Lee Daniel on new reasons why people will want to visit Tallahassee, Jay Revell on “Fast Forward Downtown” and more… Check out the whole program and reserve your seat by clicking here. Bring your favorite take-out or grab dinner at one of the food trucks parked outside St. John’s. Oh and dessert and coffee is on us!

Join us Tuesday for “Immigration & the American Melting Pot”

We’re delighted that Tuesday’s discussion will be moderated by Rabbi Jack Romberg of Temple Israel. Get more information on the panel, the program and reserve your seat by CLICKING HERE.romberg bio

TODAY is the last day for early bird pricing for “Immigration & the American Melting Pot”

To get more information and reserve your seat before the dinner prices go up CLICK HERE. We also still have a few scholarship tickets left (email us at scholarship@tothevillagesquare.org).


PRESS RELEASE: Village Square Hosts Forum on Immigration

For Immediate Release April 17, 2013

“Immigration and the American Melting Pot” examines national, state and human issues

(TALLAHASSEE, FL) – April 17, 2013 – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio now occupies the pivotal position in whether sweeping immigration reforms soon become law. Next Tuesday evening, Rubio’s General Counsel since taking office, Len Collins, will join a headliner panel at The Village Square’s Dinner at the Square program, “Immigration and the American Melting Pot,” to discuss proposed reforms and the human and policy dimensions of the immigration crisis. Collins left the position on Friday to return to Tallahassee to practice law at the statewide law firm Broad and Cassel.

Reform of the immigration system – considered on both sides of the aisle to be profoundly broken –represents a unique opportunity for cooperation on substantial legislation at a time when hyper-partisanship has made even the most routine acts of Congress impossible.

Joining Collins on the panel is State Senator Anitere Flores (R-Miami) who chaired a series of 2011 immigration hearings and worked on a bill to tighten Florida’s immigration laws; Antonio Ginatta, advocacy director for the US Program at the international organization Human Rights Watch – specializing in the policy and legal issues that impact immigrants; and FSU President Emeritus and past American Bar Association president Sandy D’Alemberte.

D’Alemberte is currently representing “DREAMer” Jose Godinez-Samperio in his case before the Florida Supreme Court. High school valedictorian, Eagle Scout and FSU Law School graduate Godinez-Samperio was brought to America from Mexico at age nine by his parents; he is petitioning for the right to join the Florida Bar in order to practice law, a right currently denied him due to his undocumented immigrant status. A decision in the case is expected shortly.

“Immigration and the American Melting Pot” will be held on Tuesday, April 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church, downtown. The program is the last in the Dinner at the Square 2012-13 season titled “E Pluribus Unum,” exploring issues that unite and divide us as Americans.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Rabbi Jack Romberg of Temple Israel.

For more information or to purchase tickets, go online to www.tothevillagesquare.org, call 590-6646 or email info@tothevillagesquare.org. A limited number of scholarship tickets are available.


News from the Village Square: Immigration program in one week

Read all about our upcoming program “Immigration & the American Melting Pot” BY CLICKING HERE.

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