|Issue 1.30 | Monday, Feb. 23, 2009 | What is it about chocolate?|
CharlestonCurrents.com is a new online twice-weekly publication that offers insightful community comment and good news on events. It cuts through the information clutter to offer insight and news on the best of what's happening locally. More.
FEB. 23, 2009 -- They say the best things come in small packages, and this statement couldn't be more accurate than when talking about the concentration of talent in a small market such as Charleston.
There has been a great movement in our historic city to provide new platforms for talented individuals and organizations involved in various forms of the arts. The new Charleston Arts Coalition aspires to unite the creative arts community in the Greater Charleston region and provide a forum and virtual gateway for creative individuals, organizations and businesses, collectively described as "creatives." The coalition promises to facilitate and encourage collaboration on projects, exchange ideas, host special events, and promote creativity in Charleston through advocacy, outreach, promotion and educational programming.
Initially, the coalition was created as a short-term, multidisciplinary round table united by a purpose of promoting the idea of a "People's Art Center" and finding a new home for the Redux Contemporary Art Center, a non-profit gallery, studio and education center. This task evolved into a collective of Charleston's creative voices expressing the need for a kind of creative hub to advocate, promote and support creativity in Charleston.
"As everyone is being faced with difficult choices in this economy, the coalition strives to be a vehicle for expression, applying the basic principle that together we can solve problems, innovate with solutions and share creative genius with the community," says Jessica Solomon Bluestein, the president of the coalition.
From its inception, the coalition has been committed to a discussion. "We are not trying to tell Charleston creatives what to do; we are trying to start a discussion and want to hear what we all can do when united," Bluestein says. The coalition held a press conference on Feb. 20 at the City Gallery, followed by a celebration of Charleston's creative arts community. Considering the interest in the event, it is safe to assume that there is a true need for a local, grassroots organization that will serve as an ongoing round table where creative minds can collaborate. Friday's "Coalition Carnival: It's a Bloco" was a product of such collaboration.
"The very first coalition event united every creative art discipline: visual, performing, wearable and textile, graphic and literary arts, and much more," Bluestein says. "This expression of creativity by the people and for the people inspires a strong sense of community and celebration. When we talk about a coalition of creative minds and voices, we truly want to include every discipline. There isn't a word in the English language that would suitably describe such individuals and organizations as a group because they come from so many uniquely creative disciplines."
Interaction of creative disciplines typically evolves into truly inspiring events and programs, and that is what the coalition aspires to do.
The coalition is currently promoting an online survey to develop a better understanding of how it can best serve the community. The results will allow the coalition to cater future projects to local needs and to carve out a clear direction for the coalition to take in the future. To take the survey or learn more, go to http://www.charlestonartscoalition.com.
The next project for the coalition is the Web site CharlestonCulture.com, which will provide a virtual stage for local creatives. The coalition is also offering memberships for those looking for a new platform for expression and promotion.
Vladia Jurcova Spencer is the public relations chairperson for the Charleston Arts Coalition. She is the president of Stylee PR & Marketing, a Mount Pleasant based communications firm, and has been involved with the Charleston arts community since 2004.
FEB. 23, 2009 -- Three new books have recently caught our attention - and one of them won't be available until Saturday at the S.C. Book Festival in Columbia.
If you like history about our state, you'll want to pick up The Palmetto State: The Making of Modern South Carolina, by Jack Bass and W. Scott Poole (USC Press, 2009), both of the College of Charleston.
Poole and Bass, who is well-known for his works on U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond and the Orangeburg Massacre, explore three general themes: race and class, how the past influences the present, and the interconnectedness of politics, economics and society.
We've just started dipping into this work and have found it thrilling, particularly how it offers a context to better understand what's happening in today's politics. Of special interest is the examination of how South Carolina didn't experience the violence associated with the civil rights era that was all too prevalent across the South.
And we're learning things we somehow missed in the past or simply unlearned over the years:
To read an exclusive excerpt from the history, go to S.C. Statehouse Report.
* * *
on the reading table is Waiting for Lightning to Strike: The Fundamentals
of Black Politics, by Kevin Alexander Gray (AK Press, 2008).
a Columbia civil rights organizer who was Jesse Jackson's SC campaign
manager in 1988, offers a progressive - some would say radical - lens
to view politics in this collection of essays that have appeared in various
books and magazines over the last decade.
* * *
Finally is Andy Merrifield's The Wisdom of Donkey (Walker & Company, 2008).
No, it's not a book at Democratic politics. It's something completely different - a 245-page travel journal the author filled with musings about life, literature and nature during a month-long trek with a donkey named Grilbouille across the Auvergne region of France.
does one get a chance to dip into and follow entertaining thoughts on
various subjects, you actually learn quite a lot about donkeys, often
portrayed as the dolts of the animal kingdom. Instead of being hardheaded,
we learn donkeys are very adaptive. Not necessarily stubborn, they tend
to shut down when faced with a new situation until they can figure out
a logical way to deal with it. And they're quick learners who respond
well to patient positive reinforcement - something that might help a lot
of us more in day-to-day living.
Andy Brack is publisher of CharlestonCurrents.com. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter is Southeastern Galleries, a family-owned store that offers the best in upscale furniture in one of the largest showrooms in the state. The store's highly-trained professional interior designers offer complimentary design assistance for customers, including space planning, furniture and fabric selection, window treatments, wall coverings, carpeting and rugs. Design services involve working from architectural plans for new construction and in-home consultations for existing homes. To learn more about the outstanding furniture offerings and design help from Southeastern Galleries, visit the company online at: www.southeasterngalleries.com, or stop by its West Ashley location at 1885 Ashley River Road in Charleston. Phone: 556-4663.
Colonial Carolina camp to take kids back in time
Drayton Hall is offering a distinctively Charleston experience for kids this summer with its new Colonial Carolina Summer Camp. The program, to be held in two weeklong sessions, will give "camper-historians" a chance to better understand and appreciate what life was life for youngsters who lived at Drayton Hall in centuries past.
In addition to getting a special, up-close look at the plantation house, which was built around 1738, camp participants will learn how to make bricks, carve stone, create plaster designs, weave and dye cloth, use natural items to make colonial toys, and more. Days one and two will focus on "Building a Plantation," which includes a house tour and four different crafts, plus learning about rice cultivation. The following three days cover "Enslaved Culture," "The Plantation Household" and "Games and Pastimes." On the final day, campers will get to lead a private house tour for their parents, grandparents, or guardians.
The camp is open to children ages 5-12. Sessions are held 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, with Session A offered July 13-17 and Session B offered July 20-24. Drayton Hall's professional educators will serve as instructors. The cost is $115 per child per week for members of Friends of Drayton Hall, or $135 for nonmembers. The fee includes healthy snacks plus all supplies to participate in crafts and other activities.
Workshop to offer tips on creating a flexible workplace
The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce will offer a workshop this week to help local businesses create flexible workplaces that promote effectiveness and help employees succeed. The workshop will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Feb. 25 at the Charleston Area Convention Center.
For the second year, Charleston is one of about 30 communities chosen to participate in "When Work Works," a nationwide initiative on effective and flexible workplaces. Wednesday's workshop will give participants a chance to learn what other companies are doing to create a flexible workplace for their employees and how the changes have affected their organization. Speakers include past winners of the Alfred P. Sloan Award, which recognizes employers of all types and sizes for their innovative workplace flexibility programs and practices.
The cost for the workshop is $15 for chamber members, $30 for nonmembers. To register, go to http://www.charlestonchamber.net.
In addition, nominations are now being accepted for this year's Alfred P. Sloan Awards, and all sizes and types of local businesses are encouraged to apply. March 9 is the deadline. For more information on the awards, visit http://www.whenworkworks.org or call 1-800-966-2044.
Charleston artist Doyle to be featured on Travel Channel
Local artist John Carroll Doyle's famous blues musician series will make its national television debut at 10 p.m. Feb. 28 on the premiere episode of a new Travel Channel series called "Rissi Palmer's Country." The paintings, which hang in a Chicago blues club called Blue Chicago, will be included in a feature about the club.
Blue Chicago owner Gino Battaglia commissioned Doyle in 1992 to create five large oil paintings of black musicians playing the blues. Battaglia and Doyle have partnered in the years since to sell prints of the paintings through the club, in Chicago's O'Hare Airport and throughout the Chicago area.
A little culinary spice can be just the thing to help warm up a chilly night, and we certainly found what we were looking for at Mount Pleasant's Uno Mas restaurant last week. Excellent margaritas and fresh, warm tortilla chips with salsa were a nice starter while we perused the menu, and the margaritas were half-price on our visit. We liked the Camaron guacamole, which included tasty chunks of shrimp, and among the entrees, we found the lobster quesadillas and the shrimp enchiladas to be standouts. The service was terrific, too -- warm, attentive and informed, but not intrusive. Check out Uno Mas next time you want to spice up a night out.
(First of two parts)
South Carolina has been the birthplace of numerous rock music pioneers and nationally and internationally known acts. South Carolinians, particularly African American artists, were instrumental in the development of early rock and roll. The Dixie Hummingbirds, founded in Greenville in the late 1920s, were among the various African American gospel groups who influenced early rhythm and blues and emerging rock and roll of the 1950s. (The Hummingbirds had their own pop hit in 1973, appearing on Paul Simon's "Loves Me Like a Rock").
In 1953, South Carolinian Bill Pinkney helped the Drifters pioneer the rhythm and blues "doo-wop" style, later labeled "beach music," and in 1960 Ernest Evans of Spring Gully changed his name to Chubby Checker and introduced the nation to "The Twist." However, the South Carolinian with the greatest influence on popular music since the 1950s was the Barnwell native James Brown. Merging his gospel roots with a polyrhythmic beat, blaring staccato horns, and a vocal style that moaned, groaned, shrieked, and wailed, the "Godfather of Soul" created a performance style whose influence spread internationally; laid the foundations for funk, disco, and hip-hop; and inspired later rock musicians in both sound and spectacle.
Brown was one of the first performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. He was later joined by Pinkney's Drifters and Charleston-born James Jamerson, a bassist for Motown records in the 1960s and a member of Motown's famous in-house group known as "the Funk Brothers."
Joe Bennett and the Sparkletones were the first white rock and roll artists from South Carolina to reach national attention. Their sound was strongly influenced by the country and blues-based rockabilly style of Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and the early Elvis Presley. In 1957 the Sparkletones, a group of teenagers from the Cowpens area, released their million-selling hit "Black Slacks." Though years of successful touring and appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and American Bandstand followed, the Sparkletones failed to generate a second hit. Likewise, the Swinging Medallions of Greenwood are best known for a single million-seller. Their 1966 hit "Double Shot (of My Baby's Love)" has been labeled beach, frat rock, garage rock, and even protopunk, and earned the band the title "party band of the South."
Coming Thursday: Rockin' from the '70s to today
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You've heard the debate over our newest possible state symbol -- the right whale vs. the bottle-nose dolphin as our official marine mammal (first reported by our sister publication, SC Statehouse Report) -- and you probably know some of the other state symbols, such as the state dance (the shag) and the state dog (the Boykin spaniel). Here are a few state symbols you might not know about, along with the year they were adopted and some details from the S.C. Legislature's Web site.
State Grass: Indian Grass (2001). The Legislature recognized Indian grass -- Sorghastrum nutans, botanically speaking -- as "a native, nonnoxious plant with a historical, continuing, widespread, and beneficial existence in South Carolina."
State Waltz: The Richardson Waltz (2000). This was designated as the official State Waltz in 2000. A beautiful and soulful melody, this waltz is a memento of the musical tradition of the Richardson family, descendants of General Richard Richardson, and has for many generations played an unofficial but important role in the musical history of South Carolina.
State Folk Dance: Square Dancing (1994). "Square dancing is a traditional form of family recreation in South Carolina and is an activity for young and old which has been recorded throughout South Carolina's history. Square dancing is the American folk dance which is called, cued, or prompted to the dancers and includes squares, rounds, clogging, contra, line, and heritage dances," the state Web site says.
State Stone: Blue Granite (1969). "The blue granite stone of this state has been widely used to beautify all areas of South Carolina."
State Gem: The Amethyst (1969). South Carolina is one of three states where the good-quality amethysts can be found. "The curator of mineralogy for the Smithsonian Institute has graded one of the largest early specimens from this state as the finest seen in this country. Such stone now holds first place in the amethyst section in the institute."
"There are two laws of the universe: The law of gravity, and everybody likes Italian food."
'To Kill A Mockingbird': Today through Feb. 28, Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain St., Charleston. Charleston Stage production of Harper Lee's moving novel is directed by Julian Wiles. Tickets: $15-$29. For show dates and times, visit Charleston Stage online.
(NEW) PRC Job Fairs: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 28 (James Island County Park) and March 7 (Palmetto Island County Park). Seasonal and part-time employment opportunities include positions at the campground and cottages; food concessions; group services and picnic planning; the climbing wall; maintenance and landscaping; lifeguarding (ocean and waterpark); day camp counselors; adventure based counselors; boat, bike, and beach rentals; gate and ticket operations; and custodial services. Applicants must be at least 15 years old (at least 18 for maintenance and camp counselor positions). More info/online applications.
Food + Wine Festival Preview Party: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 27, Renaissance Charleston Hotel, 68 Wentworth St. Get the scoop on the upcoming festival while raising money for the Lowcountry Food Bank's Kids Café program. Hors d'oeuvres provided by Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q; wine provided by Whole Foods Market. Tickets: $15 at the door, cash or check; reservations not needed. More info.
CALENDAR: ONGOING AND SOON
Sea and Save: Throughout February, S.C. Aquarium, 100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston. Reduced admission fee of $10 for all South Carolina residents during the month, a savings of $7 off regular adult admission. Proof of residency required. More info online or at 577-3474.
'Uptown in Downtown Charleston': Throughout February, Saul Alexander Gallery, Charleston County Library Main Branch, 68 Calhoun St. Watercolors by artist Andrea Hazel, a native Charlestonian, will focus on the neighborhood people, corner stores and small businesses that becoming harder to find in downtown Charleston. The paintings are part of an ongoing series that reflects Hazel's love for her hometown and the streets where locals live and hang out.
BB&T Charleston Food + Wine Festival: March 5-8, various venues. The fourth annual festival highlights Charleston's distinctive restaurants, culinary history and cuisine while allowing guests to meet stars of the food world from around the nation, including chefs, authors, wine makers and pitmasters. Events include dinners, a gospel brunch, tastings of food and wine, cooking demonstrations (including a burger demonstration with Food Network star Bobby Flay) and more. MUSC's Children's Hospital is the signature charity for the festival. Details, tickets and more info: click here.
(NEW) Local Food Block Party: 6 p.m. March 7, Ted's Butcherblock, 334 East Bay St., Charleston. Sponsored by Ted's and Lowcountry Local First, a Charleston nonprofit that promotes shopping local, the event features food, beer and wine from local and regional purveyors, along with live local music. Cost: $25 (includes a plate of food, beverage and samplings). A portion of the proceeds will benefit Lowcountry Local First's Sustainable Agriculture Initiative, which works to strengthen local farms and producers by creating partnerships with local restaurants, institutions and the community.
RiverDogs Job Fair: 9 a.m. to noon March 14, Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park. Apply for game-day working positions, including ushers, ticket-takers and Kidz Zone staff, with the RiverDogs, the Class-A affiliate of the New York Yankees. More info: Jake Terrell, 723-7241.
Photographing Your Baby: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. March 15, Charleston Center for Photography, 654 King St., Suite D, Charleston. Portrait photographer Julia Lynn will lead this workshop, giving demonstrations and teaching students how to choose the right location for shooting, properly position the baby and get a great exposure every time. Aperture, shutter speed, ISO and lens selections will be discussed as well. Cost: $125. Register here.
Nature Photography Workshop: March 18-March 21. Through the Charleston Center for Photography, nature photographer Kenny McKeithan will lead a workshop called "Nature of the Lowcountry." Participants will travel around the greater Charleston area photographing various sites. Sessions include hands-on instruction for each student along with critiques. Cost: $300. Details/registration: http://www.ccforp.org or 577-0647.
Penguins 'n' Pajamas Family Sleepover: 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. March 20, S.C. Aquarium, 100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston. Sleep with the penguins at the aquarium on the night that the new Penguin Planet exhibit opens. Family sleepover will offer special chances to watch the penguins dive underwater, learn about penguin colonies and discover what makes them march. One adult required per two children attending the event. Reservations and advance payment required. Cost: $30 per member child, $40 per member adult; $40 and $50 for nonmember child and adult, respectively. Reservations: 577-3474. More info.
Mom to Mom Sale: 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. March 21, National Guard Armory, 245 Mathis Ferry Road, Mount Pleasant. Sponsored by three Mount Pleasant MOMS clubs (Moms Offering Moms Support), the sale will offer new and gently used children's, baby and maternity items from 80 different consigners. Ten percent of proceeds will go to Windwood Farms, a local group home for boys ages 5 to 16 who have been removed from their homes because of unstable family situations. Cost: $1 entry fee for sale. Details.
Walk for Water: 9 a.m. March 21, Cannon Park, downtown Charleston. Join Water Missions International for an educational, 3.5-mile walk inspired by the experience of women and children who are responsible for fetching water for their families every day. Walkers are encouraged to form teams and recruit as many supporters as possible. After the walk, enjoy refreshments and family-oriented activities and entertainment. More info.
(NEW) Pet Fest: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 28 and noon to 4 p.m. March 29, Palmetto Islands County Park, Mount Pleasant. Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission's annual pet event expands to two days this year. Dock diving will be featured for the first time, along with past fest favorites such as Lowcountry Dog magazine's "cover model contest," a dog show, Frisbee dogs, a microchipping clinic and several dog contests. Cost: $5 or three Greenbax for adults, per day; free for kids age 12 or younger, leashed pets and Gold Passholders. More info or 795-4FUN.
In this section, we offer a list of good reads that you might want to consider reading:
New local music CD
to old clunker
know you're from...
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