The Tree House Picture Show

It has a new name and new equipment, but the same dedicated staff. Movies 4 in Gulf Breeze—now Tree House Cinema—is back.

Tripp Jordan had only been working at the theater for about six months before he decided to take a giant leap from employee to owner in July.

“I always wanted to have my own business and bring this theater to a great place,” he said.

Jordan took out a loan to purchase brand new digital projectors and audio equipment, which was long overdue. The theater’s choices in movies to show were rapidly dwindling as 35 mm film became harder and harder to find.

“My soul is on the line,” Jordan said.

Previous owners and management thought of raising funds via Kickstarter since upgrades costs tens of thousands of dollars per screen, but it never came to fruition.

The projectors not only give more film options, but prevent technical mishaps and give the audience a better movie experience.

“It’s about the films first and foremost,” Jordan said.


Tree House Cinema Manager Dylan Carroll worked the film projectors in the past year he’s worked there.

But Jordan is looking to do more than buy projectors. With a background in cooking, he sees the theater becoming a hang out by offering more snack options, coffee, beer and wine. Already Jordan has added a few table and chairs to give the theater lobby a café feel.

“A lot of the times, I’d see people coming out of a movie just standing around,” he said. “I want to create a place that’s kind of nostalgic where you can come see a great movie and have a drink with your friends without breaking the bank.”

Helping to create his vision is Dylan Carroll, who just stepped into the manager position after working at the theater for a year-and-a-half.

“Potential—that’s the word for the theater,” he said.

Carroll said he remembers coming to the theater as kid. For a time, it was the only movie theater in Gulf Breeze.

The small theater, tucked away in a small shopping plaza, didn’t and doesn’t look to compete with the big screens to the east and west. Instead, it has always strived to provide locals an alternative by showing limited release, independent films with a mix of new releases. And as ticket prices skyrocketed at big theater chains, you could always walk out of Tree House Cinema—then known as Movies 4 or Cinema 4, without spending a fortune.

Even with the newly-installed equipment, Jordan and Carroll said they want to continue to show the same quality movies with a few surprises, like incorporating anime in the lineup.

“There’s a place for IMAX and 3-D—that’s just one of many different ways to see a movie,” Carroll said. “But a movie like ‘Boyhood,’ I don’t want to see that film blown up. It should be in a 125-seat capacity theater, in that intimacy.”

“We’re going to try to show a mix with two or three art house films, family movies and a blockbuster,” Jordan added.

Dylan Carroll

Dylan Carroll

Choosing movies for the four-screen theater can require a lot of time. But for movie buffs like Jordan and Carroll, it’s fun.

“We watch trailers all day at work,” Carroll said with a laugh.

Jordan sees Tree House Cinema to be a “community theatre,” collaborating with other organizations and even being a place for local filmmakers to showcase their work.

“Already we’ve worked with more organizations in the past two months than we have in a year and a half,” he said.

And just as the new cinema looks to engage with its community, it will need the community to reciprocate to ensure its future.

“We’re relying on the people,” Carroll said. “We have a lot of loyal customers who come in, but also a lot coming in by accident. Even on busy nights, I’ve thought ‘These seats should be sold out.’”


As seen in Independent News

InWeekly Pet Issue


Instead of posting the stories like normal, I want to share this issue of InWeekly with you because it’s so great (as they always are).

In the third annual Pet Issue, you can learn:

how to turn your pet into an internet star. (By the way, follow my cat on Instagram) Page 13

how to give your pet CPR. Page 14


how to mourn your pet. Page 15



‘A Glimpse into a Different World’

For anyone who’s been having a little cosplay withdraw, Blue Morning Gallery is featuring some of your favorite pop culture characters in its new exhibition, “The Art of Pensacon.”

Since the first convention took over Pensacola with costumes and comics last February, it seems that Pensacon has made a lasting effect on the arts and entertainment community.

“We were having such a good time during Pensacon weekend seeing all of the costumes during Gallery Night that one of our artists, Jim Sweida, decided to contact Pensacon staff and see about doing a show,” said Connie Wendleton, president of Blue Morning Gallery.

“The Art of Pensacon” is a different type of art exhibition for Blue Morning Gallery—or any gallery for that matter—as it presents convention culture in a downtown art gallery.

A fan of Wonder Woman for years, Wendleton said she’s excited to see some comic book art, as well as introduce the gallery to a whole new set of artists and viewers.

“We’ve had guest artists before, but never had this kind of show before,” she said. “It’s a real breakout. I’m excited. I’ve been reading comics since I was old enough to know what those little bubbles said. I still have some of my ‘Wonder Woman’ comics.”

“The Art of Pensacon” will feature four artists: two visiting comic book artists and two local painters.

A comic inked by John Dell.

A comic inked by John Dell.

John Dell, based in Louisiana and from the Escambia County area, has been working in the comic book industry since 1986 working with smaller, independent companies and then transitioning to Marvel and DC Comics. He’s worked on well-known titles such as “Superman,” “Batman” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Mitch Byrd, from Mississippi, has lent his distinct style to titles such as “Green Lantern,” “Spawn” and more. He currently works for 3 Alarm Comics and was the selected artist for the Pensacon 2015 logo.

Pensacola-based painters Johnny MacPhail and Ashley Waner were both volunteers during Pensacon weekend.

The convention was an inspiration for Waner’s art, which is typically nature-based.

“It made me feel empowered to do what I wanted to do,” she said. “All of the different types of art I saw were inspiring.”

When she was contacted for the show, Waner immediately went to work on several paintings including Jack Nicholson as The Joker from the 1989 movie “Batman” and Kit Harington in his famous role of Jon Snow from the HBO series “Game of Thrones.” Those two paintings will likely be her picks to show.

MacPhail will have two oil-based paintings in the show—portraits of the popular “X-Men” character Wolverine and of everyone’s favorite meth-dealing teacher, Walter White, from “Breaking Bad.”

“It should be a pretty interesting exhibit,” he said. “I hope it shows that there are other artists in Pensacola that don’t just do beach paintings.”

While comic books can easily be disregarded as a form of art, Waner said comics are just as much a medium as painting or sculpting. In fact, they’re referred to as the ninth art in France.

“There are a lot of world problems reflected in comics, which make them relatable,” Waner said. “In a way, the artist is saying how they want the world to be through their comic.”

The artist said she hopes that visitors to the show will view comic book and comic book-inspired art differently. As a fan of comic book culture, Waner said she already has notes and sketches done for future comic-book inspired pieces.

“I hope that they find an image they relate to—take that image, take it home—and bridge that gap between comic books and art,” she said.

As comics are re-imagined through reboots, movies and TV shows, “The Art of Pensacon” also introduces timeless characters through a different outlet.

“The exhibit gives the characters a fresh, new take for younger generations to reach back into the past,” she said. “It’s a glimpse into a different world.”

The art also gives a fresh, new take for gallery viewers.

“I would hope that we see new faces,” Wendleton said. “The idea of any art gallery can seem so stodgy, but we are one of the friendliest.”

But a different kind of art on the guest artist wall could be just the thing to invite kids of all ages into the gallery.

“Comic art speaks to the child in all of us and makes us feel young,” Wendleton added. “You see and think of things differently.”

This won’t be the last collaboration between Blue Morning Gallery and Pensacon. Wendleton hinted about another event scheduled for the fall.

During the next Gallery Night on Aug. 15, you can expect the kind of fanfare that Pensacon does best, with some costumed characters and a lot of fun. All of the involved artists will be at the gallery for the event.

But outside of the convention world, would the artists be willing to show their true nerd status in cosplay?

“In a heartbeat,” Waner said. “Wouldn’t be a question.”

As seen in a very cool issue of Independent News 

‘A More Equal Pensacola’

1982149_325207457604524_9207185200293103506_nSince kicking off the first Pensacola LGBT Film Festival in 2012, the non-profit event has been growing as the overall support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community continues to grow in the panhandle and beyond.

But with growth comes cost, and to help sustain the free event, film festival organizers are asking for support to an Indiegogo campaign. The goal was set at $10,000 and ended August 2.

“We know Pensacola has come a long way in the past few years, but we still have an uphill battle on the road to equality,” said one of the festival founders, Sara Latshaw in the campaign video. “This film festival is just one way that our community can come together to show that we are welcoming and ready for a more equal Pensacola.”

Latshaw, who is also the North Florida Regional Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has said the event is not specifically for the LGBT community, but “for the entire community.”

“The Pensacola LGBT Film Festival is a great experience for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities,” added volunteer Jess O’Leary. “The films we select show not only LGBT stories, but human stories. Everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, can enjoy our festival.”

The festival has been a huge community effort with volunteers and interns contributing to the event’s success. Volunteers O’Leary and Christin Campbell helped Latshaw get the Indiegogo campaign off the ground to ensure that the festival can continue to be free to everyone. Funds will also go towards a website.

“There has been a lot of support and good feedback from the community so far, which is always wonderful to hear. With the film festival, we hope to show that Pensacola is a welcoming city that is ready for progress,” O’Leary said.

Incentives such as t-shirts, VIP tickets and the chance to be a juror are included in the campaign. Donations of any increment help fund the event.

“Anyone can help fund the Pensacola LGBT Film Festival with the click of a button. It’s an easy and accessible way to get involved,” said O’Leary.

As seen in Independent News


The Case for Birth Control


Since June 30—when the Supreme Court ruled that companies such as Hobby Lobby could refuse to pay for some forms of contraception that violate the religious tenets of business owners—it seems that you can’t mention birth control without getting an opinion on the giant craft store.

What the case means
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, or the Hobby Lobby Case as it is often called, has sparked many an op-ed and news story since the chain store filed a suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District in Oklahoma over the federal mandate to provide specific forms of contraceptives such as Plan B, Ella and IUDs.

Under the Affordable Care Act, all qualified employers (those with 50-plus full-time or full-time equivalent employees) need to provide health care that includes all forms of contraception at no cost.

The evangelical Christian owners of Hobby Lobby—the Green family—aren’t denying coverage of contraception, but more specifically the forms of emergency contraception. The quote used in many stories says their “religious beliefs prohibit them from providing health coverage for contraceptive drugs and devices that end human life after conception.”

Dr. Julie DeCesare, obstetrics and gynecology residency program director and associate professor at Florida State University of College Medicine, said the case doesn’t just make her worry about birth control, but women’s health in general.

“Our health is getting worse, not better,” DeCesare said.

More than birth control
The FSU obstetrics and gynecology residency program is housed at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola.

As a member of the nation’s largest Catholic non-profit health system, the hospital does not offer contraceptive care unless it is needed for a medical purpose, which is then brought to an ethics committee for discussion. DeCesare says she is respectful of the hospital’s beliefs.

Off the top of her head, DeCesare said she believes that of the women that come to the clinic for family planning, about 25 percent are medical needs.

She lists all of the uses that birth control offers beside the self-explanatory one.

“If a woman has irregular bleeding or blot clots, metabolic syndrome, acne—that’s a huge one—or endometrial cancers, birth control can treat it,” she said.

In some cases, IUDs—which Hobby Lobby does not cover—can save a woman from endometrial cancer.

“When we’re limiting availability to treatments that could prevent cancer, we’re taking a step in the wrong direction,” she said.

For 32-year-old Carol Rice, birth control isn’t an elective medicine. It’s an imperative daily routine.

“I was diagnosed with Stage IV endometriosis the beginning of 2012,” she said. “Since then, my doctor has had me on a strict birth control regimen. Birth control helps keep my disease under control—it prevents the disease from spreading, which causes severe pain and possible surgeries.”

DeCesare also mentioned the use of birth control for women with developmental delays. A woman with severe autism, she said, could have hygiene issues during menstruation.

“Birth control offers cycle patrol. Sometimes a woman doesn’t get her period at all,” she said.

As a parent of a mentally handicapped daughter, Janet Castellano sees birth control as a necessity.

“Some parents of handicapped daughters use birth control because if you think of it—if they are in a residence there is always a chance of something happening, and it is used as a protective measure,” Castellano said. “I know of someone whose sister was institutionalized with autism and was raped, so I would venture to say that it’s not just the mainstream girls that the Hobby Lobby case would affect.”

Getting covered
It’s arguable to say that if an employer doesn’t give you the benefits you want, or if the hospital doesn’t offer the care you want, you can just go somewhere else. However, with the U.S. unemployment rate at 6.1 percent and less than half of the country’s states offering Medicaid expansion, it’s hard to be choosy about your job or your doctor.

There are a few options for care for those under insured or without any insurance. Sacred Heart Women’s Clinic, Escambia Community Clinics, Inc. and Escambia County Department of Health offer care based on ability to pay.

“In this economy, it’s just important for women to know they have access to care,” said Sherri Hutchinson, press secretary for the Florida Department of Health.

The out-of-pocket cost of birth control can vary. Some prescriptions are as inexpensive as $4. An IUD can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000 out-of-pocket.

The health care mandate on birth control has not only provided more access to birth control for employees, but has made it more affordable.

“My birth control would have been $1,800 out-of-pocket, which I was prepared to pay,” Yasmin Massey said. “Instead, it was covered thanks to ACA and now I can spend that $1,800 in our local economy instead of lining the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies.”

Babies vs. Birth Control
No matter how expensive birth control is (no matter its purpose), giving birth and then raising a child are far more costly. According to the CNN Money website, it costs an estimated $241,080 to raise a child in the United States. The cost is up 3 percent from 2011 and doesn’t include the cost of college.

In 2011 the national average charge of giving birth in a hospital with no complications was $10,657. Medical bills are on a short list of reasons that Americans apply for bankruptcy.

“Fifty-one percent of pregnancies are unplanned [in the United States],” DeCesare said. “It’s appalling.”

Without easy and affordable access to contraceptives, it no longer becomes the patient’s problem, but everyone’s problem.

“Everyone has to take on the burden,” DeCesare said. “It’s not just a women’s issue. It’s a societal issue. Wouldn’t it be better to not have the children you can’t take care of?”


Birth Control Breakdown
•IUD (Intrauterine Device) is a small “T”-shaped device inserted into the uterus. IUDs work mainly by affecting the way sperm move so they can’t join with an egg. The cost is between $500 and $1,000, but they last up to 12 years.
•Implant The implant is a matchstick rod inserted in the arm releasing progestin. Cost is $400 to $800 and lasts up to three years.
•Patch The small, beige patch sticks to your skin releasing the same hormones as the pill, estrogen and progestin.
•Pill The pill is taken every day to release estrogen and progestin, which keep the eggs from the ovary. Cost varies.
•Shot One shot in the arm prevents pregnancy for three months. Cost $35 to $100 per injection, plus any exam fees.
•Sponge The sponge is made of plastic foam and contains spermicide and inserted deep into the vaginal before intercourse. Cost is $9 to $15 for a pack of three sponges.
•Vaginal Ring The ring is a small, flexible ring a woman inserts into her vagina once a month. The ring contains the same hormones as the pill. Cost is $15 to $80 a month.
•Morning-After Pill You can use the morning-after pill up to five days after unprotected sex. There is also an IUD insertion. Cost is $30 to $65 for the pill and $500 to $900 for the IUD.

Information provided by

Where to go
For comprehensive, low-cost care, these are a few of the clinics you can visit in Pensacola.
•Sacred Heart Women’s Hospital Located at 5045 Carpenter Creek Dr. in Pensacola, directly behind Olive Garden near Cordova Mall. For appointments, call 416-2400 or visit
•Escambia Community Clinics, Inc.There are nine locations in Escambia and Santa Rosa County. Visit or call 436-4630 for more information.
•Escambia County Department of Health Visit for locations or call 484-5040 ext. 1125 to make an appointment.

As seen in Independent News

See the Classics in a Classic


Just like the beach and road trips, keeping cool inside a movie theater is a summertime ritual. However, if you’re not too keen on popcorn flicks, why not stick to the classics?

Back for its third year, the Saenger Classic Movie Series will begin this weekend.

“The public has really become pretty faithful followers of the series,” said Kathy Summerlin, marketing director for the Saenger Theatre. “The first year we averaged about 550 in attendance. The second year, we increased our attendance by about 45 percent averaging close to 800 in attendance.”

For anyone who hasn’t had the chance to visit the Saenger Theatre, the movie series is the perfect introduction. Tickets are affordable and you don’t have to dress up.

“It also gets foot traffic downtown on the weekend when normally summers are a little less busy because a lot of the locals are heading out to the beach for entertainment,” Summerlin added.

And if you haven’t yet enjoyed a film that was made before the Internet was even imagined, you’ll find the films are timeless—even classic.

“We are not allowed to compete with the local theaters with first-run movies either,” Summerlin said. “So we are somewhat limited in what we can show, but we prefer showing the classics. It just fits with the atmosphere of the Saenger.”

And since the Saenger is just as packed as a blockbuster opening, it’s safe to say film fans enjoy the movie choices as well.

“I think people are hearkening back to a slower-paced time when we weren’t bombarded with cell phones, social media, emails, etc,” Summerlin said. “They just want to unplug and see a movie on the big screen the way movies were meant to be seen. We have one of the largest screens in Pensacola besides the IMAX screen at the Naval Aviation Museum, and it’s just nostalgic.”

For the second year in a row, the Saenger has made the movie series an interactive event by letting the community choose the films to be shown.

“It’s our way of letting the public speak out and choose exactly what they want to see,” Summerlin said.

This years picks run the gamut from westerns, comedies, thrillers and more. And for just $5 a pop, you can see all of them. Not a bad way to spend the summer.

Saenger’s Classic Movie Series

July 12 “Yankee Doodle Dandy” 1942
James Cagney, famous for his gangster films, shares his singing talents in this musical that tells the story of renowned composer, actor, playwright and songwriter George M. Cohan.

July 19 “Psycho” 1960
Perhaps one of the most famous Alfred Hitchcock’s films, the story involves a woman on the run, a creepy motel and even creepier innkeepers.

August 2 “King Kong” 1933
See the original “King Kong” that spawned several remakes throughout its 81-year history.

August 9 “Rebel Without A Cause” 1955
James Dean plays a troubled teen who has just moved to a new town. Think of it as the “Twilight” of the 1950s.

August 16 “American Graffiti” 1973
There’s no spaceship or gold robots, so you might be surprised to know that this film was written and directed by George Lucas. The film pays homage to his teenage days in the 1950s.

August 23 “Dr. No” 1962
You might think of Pierce Brosnan or Daniel Craig when you think of James Bond, or 007. But the original was Sean Connery.

August 30 “How the West Was Won” 1962
America’s cowboy, John Wayne, or The Duke, leads this story that depicts the Gold Rush, the Civil War and the industrial revolution.

September 6 “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” 1963
This adventure comedy follows an all-star cast (Mickey Rooney, Spencer Tracy and Ethel Merman to name a few) as they search the country for some treasure.

September 20 “Vertigo” 1958
Another Hitchcock classic tells the story of a retired San Francisco detective getting back into the investigating game to follow an old friend’s wife.

September 27 “Blazing Saddles” 1974
From the crazy mind of Mel Brooks, “Blazing Saddles” is about a corrupt political boss who hires a black sheriff to ruin the western town. But all does not go as planned.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturdays
WHERE: Saenger Theatre, 118 S. Palafox
COST: $5


As seen in Independent News