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Monday, March 04, 2024

The Florida Avenue 2022 year in review

Explore The Avenue's 2022 selection of arts, culture and entertainment news

<p>Shaquille O&#x27;Neal, also know as DJ Diesel, plays music for over 3,000 people at his Halloween party Monday, Oct 31, 2022.</p>

Shaquille O'Neal, also know as DJ Diesel, plays music for over 3,000 people at his Halloween party Monday, Oct 31, 2022.

Before 2022 ends, dive into our most powerful, heartfelt and colorful coverage of the year. We thank our readers and local community for trusting us in amplifying the cultural scene in Gainesville and beyond.

Rosewood descendant ‘Miss Lizzie’ shares her story with next generation

By Averi Kremposky

Lizzie Jenkins

Lizzie Jenkins reads a small excerpt from her new children's book "Lizzie’s Rosewood Race" Wednesday, Nov 16, 2022.

The publication of Lizzie Jenkins’ book follows statewide debates on book banning, age-appropriate class materials and race-related instruction in classrooms. In April, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law banning educators from teaching critical race theory, an academic concept that addresses systemic racism. Read more.

Long-standing music venue closes doors once again

By Kristine Villarroel


Two girls hug while listening to the band Heart Prevails at the Hardback Cafe’s closing party on Saturday, May 14, 2022.

On May 25, the Hardback Cafe closed its doors. Its community — reminiscent of one that gathered in 1999 — gathered again, this time for an eclectic event. Read more.

Gainesville Pride Festival returns for the first time since 2019

By Heather Bushman and Veronica Nocera

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Thousands of students, parents, children and Gainesville residents gathered in Bo Diddley Plaza Oct. 22 for Gainesville Pride Festival's grand return. The festival was canceled in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but attendees came back in full force — adorned in all colors of the rainbow and representing all sectors of the LGBTQ community. Read more.

‘Our truth is within our hair’: Falling in love with natural hair in Gainesville

By Eileen Calub

Denisha Williamson-Walker shampooes a client's hair at her Locs by Dee salon located at 4040 W Newberry Road Unit 1300 on Friday, Jan. 28.

As a child, Christina Demps sat on the floor of her parents’ bedroom, her head tipped back as her mother intricately braided her hair. When they could, they sat together on Sundays and prepared Demps’ hair for the next morning. But as Demps grew older, it became harder to find time. Read more.

‘Make art, not war’: Gainesville, UF community show solidarity with Ukraine

By Amanda Friedman


Millions of Ukrainians are now refugees as a result of Russia's invasion that began Feb. 24. While members of the Gainesville and UF community have gathered to protest, some have found a different outlet to show solidarity with Ukraine: art. A mural, Instagram account and Century Tower lighting are a few among the many artistic efforts to raise awareness. Read more.

Fifty and fireproof: The Hippodrome has more than an anniversary to celebrate

By Averi Kremposky


Mason Baria prepares a wig for the Hippodrome’s production of "Fahrenheit 451" Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2022. 

Every staff member who was forced to work part-time during the pandemic has resumed their full-time positions, Lynge said. In addition, across all theater programming areas — mainstage, education, cinema and events — there has been a steady increase in ticket sales. Read more.

LGBTQ+ nightlife, drag scene flourishes in Gainesville

By Amanda Friedman and Jared Teitel

Drag Queen.JPG

The downtown nightclub, located at 18 E University Ave, became Gainesville’s first gay club after opening its doors more than 30 years ago. It’s widely recognized as the heart of Gainesville’s LGBTQ+ nightlife. Read more.

Gators get real: UF professors, students reflect on social media app BeReal

By Lauren Brensel


BeReal is a social media app where users have two minutes to snap an unfiltered front-and-back-facing photo once a day. All 10 million of its daily active users receive the BeReal notification at the same time, but the alert is sent at different times every day — ideally offering a candid glimpse into the average person’s life. The app prides itself on its authenticity, but some UF faculty and students aren’t confident that goal is possible in a developed, digitalized world. Read more.

Kent Fuchs: UF president by profession, prankster in spirit

By Alissa Gary

First Week of Classes
President Fuchs stops to speak to Ally Fleischer, 21, UF criminology and family youth and communication sciences senior, while driving the UF Compliment Cart around campus on the first day of Fall semester, Monday, Aug. 23, 2021. Fleischer took a selfie with Fuchs on her first day of freshman year, too. When asked about the Fall semester, Fleischer said "I'm excited. I haven't been to class in 524 days."

UF President Kent Fuchs has served as the university’s president since 2015. He succeeded former president Bernie Machen, who was also known to walk around campus and interact with students during his tenure. He’s worked to keep up Machen’s tradition in more ways than one — typically through his pranks. Read more.

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