Issue 6.24 | Monday, April 14, 2014
Here comes Peter Cottontail
chamber music concert has Flapper theme
APRIL 14, 2014 -- Chamber Music Charleston returns to Memminger Auditorium 7:30 p.m. Saturday for the grand finale performance of its Ovation Concert Series. The evening will capture the spirit of a 1920s Flapper Party with ladies encouraged to don their don their best flapper dress and gents to sport their smartest tux and fedora.
Guest pianist Andrew Armstrong will join musicians of Chamber Music Charleston in a program of music for piano and winds by Gershwin, Poulenc and Mozart.
"We wanted to capture the spirit of an evening in the 1920s, when music, art and fashion was evolving into new forms," explains Chamber Music Charleston director Sandra Nikolajevs. "Jazz music was exploding onto the music scene and old traditions in music were being traded in for new, modern styles."
The concert, which will be in the performance hall at 56 Beaufain Street, opens with music by the traditional classical composer Mozart, as a nod to the past. The program continues with music of Gershwin and Poulenc.
Of all the 20th Century American Composer, George Gershwin was perhaps the most successful at bringing jazz music to the classical concert hall. His Three Preludes in 1926 for solo piano is such a work that blurs the line between classical and jazz. The preludes were later transcribed for clarinet and piano and will feature Chamber Music Charleston clarinetist Charles Messersmith with pianist Armstrong.
The program continues with Francis Poulenc's Sextet for Piano and Winds and Mozart's Quintet for Piano and Winds with Regina Helcher Yost (flute), Briana Leahman (oboe), Sandra Nikolajevs (bassoon) and Debra Sherrill Ward (horn) joining Messersmith and Armstrong on stage. Poulenc created music that was whimsical and quirky, using the classical instruments in a new, modern way. The instrumentalists are called upon to play extremely expressively in one turn, and with great virtuosity in the next.
The Ovation Concerts have become a highlight of the concert season with special guest artists, exceptional chamber music and the transformation of the concert area into an exciting venue with wine, food and stunning décor.
Tickets for the 1920s Flapper Party are $25 for theater seating and $40 for table seating (table seating includes complimentary wine). Tickets can be purchased by calling 843-763-4941, online at chambermusiccharleston.org or at the venue 45 minutes prior to the performance.
museum is a wonderful sight that makes sore eyes
APRIL 14, 2014 -- When Alice Walton was a child, she painted watercolors of nature as she and her mother visited national parks across the country. But she found painting to be frustrating because, as she writes, she didn't think she could capture nature's beauty.
"Making watercolor paintings has brought Ms. Walton great joy over the years, and it also contributed to her deep appreciation for the work of professional artists," according to information at the museum. "Her initial interest in collecting watercolors grew into a fascination with American art, which soon inspired her to collect works by American artists in many media."
Fast forward a few decades and the grown-up Alice is now a multi-billionaire, thanks to her family's Walmart fortune. What does the art lover do? She spends millions to build a cutting-edge museum of American art in her native northwest Arkansas and more millions to fill it with hundreds of great paintings, watercolors, sculptures and more.
My father, a sister and I visited the museum Saturday during "Slow Art Day," an annual event in which you are supposed to look more deeply into a few pieces in the collection's paintings as you take in all of the museum's offerings. A one-word summary of spending four hours in the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art: "Spectacular."
If you haven't been to Bentonville, Ark., you might be surprised to find a town square that would remind you of downtown Barnwell or many other small Southern towns. There's a Confederate statue in the square, a courthouse across the street, a bank on the corner and a couple of lawyers' offices spilling onto sidewalks. But the comparison probably would end there because Bentonville and the millions of dollars energizing its local economy has one of the hippest hotels we've ever visited (21CMuseum Hotel), thriving ethnic restaurants and a multi-level building being constructed with one of the biggest cranes we've seen in a small town.
A couple of minutes away nestled in the Ozark landscape is the museum, a linked series of pod-like buildings held up by suspension cables over a pond in a gully. It's an unlikely geographic location for a museum, but it works wonderfully.
Like the downtown hotel, the museum is modern and hip, with a cafe called Eleven (the museum opened on 11.11.11) where you can get everything from grilled cheese sandwiches, to Portobello mushroom burgers to red beans and cornbread served with draft beer.
While the surroundings are magnificent, it's the art that draws in crowds -- for free. Here are some reflections on some of the hundreds of pieces of art that span from a 350-year-old painting of Virginia Indians and their village (you've probably seen this in a history textbook) to a neo-Realistic modern portrait of a timekeeper painted a year or two back:
Big names: You'll find many of the big names that span generations of American art -- Peale, Stuart, Sargent, Homer, Hopper, O'Keefe, Rockwell, Andrew Wyeth, Warhol, Jamie Wyeth, to name just a few.
Watercolors: A small room of the museum included, "At First Sight: Collecting the American Watercolor," a private collection of some of Walton's favorite watercolors. Our favorite was John Singer Sargent's "Nicola D'Inverno Fishing on the Val d'Aosta," a work that was about 11x14 inches, but had so much detail that the mind boggled. Look, for example, at the detail of the fisherman's face, which was about the size of a postage stamp, and how the white behind it showed frothy water.
Hopper. A small section of the museum was devoted to artist Edward Hopper, known for his stark, almost abstract geographic works of realism. Most enjoyable was a display of several sketches of what became "Journey to Blackwell's Island" (1928), which was on loan from the Whitney Museum of Art. Seeing the sketches and the artist's notes indicating the color of buildings was more impressive when you looked at the finished piece.
But the painting wasn't the best of Hopper's work in the room. That distinction went to a watercolor that was so precise that it looked like a photograph. "Roofs of the Cobb Barn" (1931), at right, is a Cape Cod scene that shows stark coastal landscape with the simple form of barn roofs. According to the museum's notes, "Hopper used light, color and form to render the rigid geometry of the barn buildings to harmony with the natural environment, creating a quite meditative atmosphere. The composition delivers an unexpectedly modern statement in the context of a realist landscape."
Rosie. Norman Rockwell's "Rosie the Riveter" (1943) was comfortably familiar and much better in person than in art books.
One thing stood out that we had never noticed: Rosie's shoe, which looked like a penny loafer, stood firmly on top of Hitler's "Mein Kampf," a sure statement intended to rouse patriotism if there ever were.
Dark palette. Artist Robert Henri's "Jessica Penn in Black with White Plumes" was an amazing portrait in how it guided a viewer's eyes to the subject's face through use of white elements that seemed to blink from a dark-on-dark canvas. "Henri introduced American audiences to a radical new mode of portraiture characterized by dark palette, gestural brushwork and spare compositions," according to museum notes.
While the Crystal Bridges museum is manageable in size, there's so much there that you have to take a time out during a visit to be able to soak it all in. One thing is for clear: I'll be back.
Got a beef? Rant, rave, send your opinions
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Plantation and Gardens
The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. Today we shine our spotlight on Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, founded in 1676 by the Drayton family. It has survived the centuries and witnessed the history of our nation unfold before it from the American Revolution through the Civil War and beyond. It is the oldest public tourist site in the Lowcountry and the oldest public gardens in America, opening its doors to visitors in 1870. Open 365 days a year, Magnolia offers its visitors splendid tours of nature and history and the role African-Americans played in the development of its award-winning Romantic-style gardens.
capture Charleston would be glorious!"
April 1864 was the beginning of the fourth year of the year and the issue was no more settled than it was when the war began in Charleston Harbor in 1861. The Union Siege of Charleston had stalled and the "seedbed of secession" was stubbornly avoiding capture. Indeed, by April 1864, many general officers in the Union army had serious doubts that Charleston would ever succumb to the constant bombardment and probing by the Union troops in the Lowcountry.
In mid-April, Jonathan L. Whitaker, a physician serving as a United States Army surgeon, was traveling by ship from Pennsylvania to Beaufort, South Carolina. As his ship was passing off the coast of Charleston, Dr. Whitaker writes to his wife, "About Sundown tonight we expect to pass in sight of the city of Charleston and Fort Sumter, those two celebrated objects which have been familiar to us ever since the war broke out. It will be great satisfaction to me to look upon these places even though they are still crowned by the flag of treason and Rebellion."
The conditions in Charleston were difficult for both armies. The Confederate troops suffered from dwindling supplies of food, uniforms, and medicine. Meat was exceedingly scarce. The majority of the Union troops were spread across the Sea Islands from Seabrook to Folly to Morris Islands. While their food and medicine were plentiful, their living conditions were brutal, living on sandy islands with little relief from the elements. A soldier with the Ringgold Regiment from Pennsylvania would write home, "We used scavenged pieces of boards and parts of cracker boxes to raise our tents above the sand." Many of the Union troops attempted to dig "basements" in the sand to gain some relief from the relentless beach wind, only to have their retreat invaded by salt water seeping in their space.
April 1864 became, for both armies, a time of transition in their senior command. On April 20, General P. G. T. Beauregard was relieved of command of the Confederate Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida to assist Robert E. Lee with the defense of Richmond. He had demonstrated an unusual resilience in his staunch defense of Charleston, and President Davis called on the Cajun general to do the same with the tightening noose around the Confederate capital.
Beauregard was replaced by replaced by Major General Samuel Jones. Jones, a Virginian, was a West Point graduate and a former professor of mathematics and tactics at his alma mater. Immediately prior to the war, he was on the staff of the Judge Advocate of the Army in Washington, DC. After Virginia's secession, Sam Jones served as chief of artillery and ordinance in the Provisional Confederate Army. He commanded the Army of Western Virginia from December 1862 to March 1864.
Like Beauregard, Union General Quincy Gillmore was also called to Virginia. Interestingly, Beauregard and Gillmore would immediately face each other again in the May Bermuda Hundred Campaign outside of Richmond. A clear indication of the growing sense of futility in the Siege of Charleston, the Union army and navy dramatically reduced their forces in the Lowcountry as more than eighteen thousand troops and several gunboats and the man-of-war New Ironsides departed for duty northward.
Major General John G. Foster replaced Gillmore in Charleston. Foster was an engineer in at Fort Sumter in April 1861 during the initial attack signaling the beginning of the war. The anger over the forced evacuation of their post by Beauregard was a memory that left Foster highly motivated to accomplish what Gillmore could not-the surrender of Fort Sumter and the capture of Charleston. Despite the many senior officers that now felt that Charleston could not be taken, Foster expressed his excitement over his new post by writing, "To capture Richmond would be grand, but to capture Charleston would be glorious."
Thousands of eggs ready for Magnolia's annual Easter hunt
Eggbert Hopps, Magnolia Plantation and Garden's mascot, has stuffed thousands of plastic eggs with candy and prizes for the 2014 Easter Egg Hunt on April 19.
Children will be divided into four age groups for the 30-minue hunts on the lawn next to the Peacock Café.
group -- children 2 and under -- will start at 10:30 a.m. The hunt for
3- to 5-year-olds will start at 11 a.m. An hour later will come the hunt
for children ages 6 and 7. Children from 8 to 10 will get their chance
to find a prize at 1 p.m. Space is limited. Please arrive 30 minutes before
a hunt time.
Group seeks community involvement with new program
The Humanities Foundation announced April 9 that a new project, the Community Involvement Program (CIP), seeks to expand participation by businesses, faith groups and other community organizations in the Foundation's Resident Services program.
The low-income families and individuals residing in the Foundation's affordable housing properties benefit from this program's efforts to provide supportive services, and educational and enrichment opportunities.
The South Carolina Aging in Place Coalition's (SCAIPC) and Northwood Baptist Church have recently provided excellent examples of ways to participate in the Community Involvement Program, according to a press release. First, on March 28, SCAIP Outreach Committee volunteers worked with the older adult residents of Grandview Apartments to plant a spring vegetable garden. In addition to these members donating their time, the Coalition also contributed plants and soil.
In another project, Northwood Baptist Church invited residents who lived nearby in Ivy Ridge Apartments to enjoy a March 30 outdoor block party along with their congregation.
Special spay/neuter discounts seek to thwart spring litters
finally here, Charleston Animal Society is working to quell one of the
unpleasant traditions of the season - litters of unwanted puppies and
kittens. During this time of year, unaltered females go into heat, resulting
in large amounts of young animals. Most often, they wind up at Charleston
Animal Society, which takes in over 90 percent of Charleston's unwanted
of God: The Revolution in Iran and its Consequences
describes Iran's astonishing rise from a desolate, impoverished and largely
illiterate country to wealth, westernization, and a strategically important
place under the half century rule of Pahlavi family.
But by the 1970s when the oil money poured in, our "modernization", their "Westernization" the Qom vs. Tehran mentalities were well entrenched. The Shah, surrounded by corruption and misguided in many of his attempts to militarize and stabilize his country, was not blameless. By the end of his reign he had alienated most of his people. But the clergy, who viewed Shia Islam as the only acceptable form of government, were able in 1979, with the return from exile of Ayatollah Khomeini, to overthrow the Pahlavis and thus began the "Days of God".
Post Revolutionary Iran, while theologically pure, became a pariah in the larger world with the American hostage taking, lost a war with Iraq, dissolved a once growing economy, and set Iran on a collision course with the West.
Robert E. Marvin
Landscape architect Robert E. Marvin was born in Colleton County on February 10, 1920, the son of W. R. Marvin and Alta E. Marvin. The grandson of a rice plantation farmer, he was raised on the 15,000-acre Bonnie Doone Plantation, where his father was overseer.
As a child, Marvin explored the Lowcountry marshlands and forests, developing an appreciation for the land and the natural environment. After observing the work of the New York landscape architects Innocenti and Webel on the plantation gardens, Marvin pursued a degree in horticulture at Clemson College. Following graduation in 1941, he served as a captain in the U.S. Army during World War II. He returned to study landscape architecture in the graduate program at the University of Georgia (both of his alma maters would later honor him with distinguished alumni awards). He married Anna Lou Carrington in 1947, and they had two children.
In 1947 Marvin established a private practice in landscape architecture in the town of Walterboro, the county seat of his native Colleton County but far from urbanized areas where most landscape architects tended to congregate. Early in his career he developed a guiding philosophy, "to create and design an environment in which each individual can grow and develop to be a full human being as God intended him to be." Despite the scarcity of work for a landscape architect in Walterboro, Marvin, supported by Anna Lou, set his standards high, determining that he would not be involved in a project without control over "everything outside the walls of the building." Sensitivity to the natural environment was essential to his work. "We need to knock the walls down and let nature in again," he stated. "[M]an needs to get out of his box that technology has created. He needs to wrap his arms around nature."
Because he structured his practice to be responsive to the natural environment of his native Southeast, Marvin focused his energy on regional projects. Some of his notable projects within South Carolina include Harbor Town at Sea Pines Plantation, Hilton Head Island (1969); Henry C. Chambers Park, Beaufort (1976); and the Governor's Mansion and Finlay Park in Columbia.
was noted for his sensitive design responses to the fragile Lowcountry
natural environment in which he worked. Uncompromising in his approach
to his work, he influenced the next generation of landscape architects
profoundly. Marvin was honored with numerous national, regional, and local
awards, including induction into the Fellows of the American Society of
Landscape Architects, the South Carolina Order of the Palmetto, and the
South Carolina Hall of Fame. Records of his professional work and awards
have been selected for inclusion in the South Caroliniana Library. Marvin
was one of the first landscape architects in South Carolina, and his career
spanned six decades. He died on June 25, 2001, and was buried in Live
Oak Cemetery in Walterboro.
Mr. Bunny expected Sunday
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Lonesomest man in town'
"It took South Carolina almost as long to run its primary elections professionally as it did to recognize the courage and legacy of Waties Waring, once described as the 'lonesomest man in town.'"
Worst cities for spring allergies
Pollen bothering you? Don't move to Kentucky.
Pollen has seemed worse this year than in the past, but there are 29 other metro areas where it is worse, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Here are some of the most challenging places to live for spring allergies:
"Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed."
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New park preview: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., April 16 and 30 at Old Towne Creek County Park. The park, not yet open to the public, offers a visit during the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission's Wine Down Wednesdays. Guest can enjoy wine, music and small bites while visiting the park. More.
(NEW) Bears: 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., April 19, Terrace Theater, James Island. The theater and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens will offer a local premier of "Bears," a Disney film that captures wildlife in Alaska. At the times listed, Magnolia will present a display of small animals, followed by the screening 30 minutes later. More.
CofC Concert Choir: 8 p.m., April 21, Grace Episcopal Church, 98 Wentworth Street, Charleston. The College of Charleston Concert Choir will offer its spring performance -- free for students; $10 for others. This year's concert will include music by Charles Ives, Pierre de Manchicourt, Johannes Brahms, Rheinberger and Eric Barnum.
Charleston Music Fest: 8 p.m., April 22, Recital Hall, Simons Center for the Arts, 54 St. Phillip St., Charleston. The College of Charleston School of the Arts will stage its season finale, From Baroque to the Romantics, with a stellar collection of musicians. Pieces to be performed are by Tchaikovsky, Handel, Chausson and more. Tickets are $30. More.
Bowling for Good: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., April 24, The Alley, 131 Columbus St., Charleston. Teams of four to six people will bowl for 1.5 hours to help support healthy babies and responsible mothers to benefit the Florence Crittenton Programs of S.C. Registration is $400.
Where the Wild Things Run 5K: 8:30 a.m., April 26, Caw Caw Interpretive Center, Ravenel. The race through the beautiful settings of the park is for ages 10 and up. There are free activities for kids starting at age 6. Online registration is open here.
E-Waste Recycling Rally: 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., May 8, parking lot near North Charleston City Hall, 2401 Mall Drive, North Charleston. Verizon employees will host an electronics recycling rally for local residents and small businesses that want to recycle old computers, monitors, TVs, computer cables and all sorts of electronic devices as well as glass, plastic and aluminum (no hazardous waste or things containing fluids). Random participants will get prizes.
(NEW) Musical cabaret: 8 p.m. May 9, and 8 p.m., May 10, with companion events starting an hour earlier. Location: James F. Dean Community Theatre, Summerville. Singers of Summerville and the Flowertown Players will offer a musical cabaret-style fundraiser with "What I Did for Love: 100 years of Show Tunes." More.
(NEW) Happily Ever After: 2 p.m. May 10, Charleston Music Hall, Charleston. Charleston Ballet Theatre is bringing "Happily Ever After -- A Tale of Dancing Princesses" to the city as its spring production. Tickets are $12-$30. More.
(NEW) RiverDogs Re-opening: 5:15 p.m., May 27, Riley Stadium, Charleston. Because opening night was rained out last week, the Charleston RiverDogs will conduct opening night festivities in the middle of the season -- on May 27. This second opening night will include fireworks, cheerleaders, a marching band and much more.
Westmark, photography exhibits: Through July 13, Gibbes Museum, Charleston. The museum will host two special exhibitions to keep a focus on contemporary art. "John Westmark: Narratives" explores the human figure in the Factor Prize-winning artist's large-scale paintings. "Beyond the Darkroom: Photography in the 21st Century" takes a look at photographic works acquired for the museum's permanent collection over the last 10 years. More.
Bird walks: 8:30 a.m. to noon, every Wednesday and Saturday. This is the time of year that a great variety of migrating birds fly through the Lowcountry so what better time to take part in one of the regular early morning bird walks at Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Ravenel. Pre-registration is suggested. Cost is $5. Walks also are conducted on James Island and Folly Beach.Learn more online.
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