proves growing power of 'Option B'
By DAN CONOVER
BarCamp Charleston volunteer
Special to CharlestonCurrents.com
22, 2009 -- When we started our outreach for BarCamp
Charleston back in the summer, the event's organizers figured
Job No. 1 would be explaining what a BarCamp was. I'm not sure any
of us quite grasped how rapidly the Lowcountry would embrace this
strange and new (to us) concept.
now October is slipping by, the Lowcountry's first BarCamp is only
days away, and here we are, scrambling to accommodate demand. We
figured we'd be able to find 200 participants, most of whom would
wait until the final days before registering. But we wound up registering
our first 200 participants almost a month ahead of time, added 50
more slots, then watched those disappear like cookies at a kindergarten
we find enough sponsors to cover our costs? We worried about that,
too. Then we maxed out our Platinum sponsorship slots and added
six more Gold, Silver and Bronze sponsors.
of which begs the question: In the midst of a recession, in a community
that celebrates its legendary wariness toward "novelty,"
why did something as odd as BarCamp generate such buzz? Such enthusiasm?
you're not sure what BarCamp is, welcome to a very nonexclusive
club. Take me, for instance. When local organizer Chrys Rynearson
first approached me, I told him I'd be happy to help, but that I
didn't see myself participating. "BarCamps are for programmers,"
I told him. So began my education.
the original BarCamps (circa 2005) were put together by computer
programmers for computer programmers. But as its "unconference"
ideal spread into a global phenomenon, BarCamps morphed into truly
diverse reflections of the communities that hosted them. Is it any
surprise, then, that the Charleston camp looks like it will have
a heavy dose of culinary and visual arts?
makes a BarCamp a BarCamp isn't its topics, but the "unconference"
concept. Unlike standard professional conferences, where paid organizers
hire celebrity speakers and make their profits selling tickets,
an unconference stands the distinction between expert and audience
on its head. BarCamps are free events based on the idea that there's
a lot of knowledge out there, and that everyone has something to
is why the 250 people who show up on Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Lowcountry
Innovation Center will each have the opportunity to present a session
(not that they have to). It's why the format is open, inclusive
did BarCamp Charleston take off? I think it's because, despite all
the cynical, fear-based mass-media messages to the contrary, people
like getting to know each other. We like learning and collaborating
and trying new things. We're curious. We sincerely want to make
this home of ours a better place, but we'd prefer to do that without
making a fuss.
local mass media have ignored the event because it was "too
weird" or "just some geek thing," but do the math.
Our success demonstrates how strong Charleston's peer-to-peer networks
and new-media outlets have become. It shows the vibrancy of our
knowledge-based and creative-sector economies. Other events live
or die on mainstream coverage. For BarCamp, it was Option B.
if you procrastinated and missed open registration, check by the
Web site, http://www.barcampchs.org/,
for waiting-list information, and we'll pass out cancellations if
any come open. And if you were thinking about sponsoring but weren't
sure, drop us a line and we'll talk about 2010. Because for the
ideas that drive BarCamp and our emerging economy, 2009 is just
signs, bad signs and the fighting 'Seceders'
ANN THRASH, editor
22, 2009 -- Political signs are up all over the Lowcountry as the
Nov. 3 elections draw near, and every candidate wants his or her
sign to stand out. But some of the signs around our home turf in
Mount Pleasant are standing out for the wrong reason: We can't read
them. And it has nothing to do with our 47-year-old eyes, which
work just fine, thank you very much.
19 candidates for Mount Pleasant Town Council this year, no doubt
there was special pressure to come up with signs that don't look
like everyone else's. But on a couple of the signs we drive past
on a daily basis, it's really impossible to read the candidate's
name. Probably the hardest signs to read are the ones with the candidate's
name in pink on a green background. I won't say the candidate's
name not only because I don't want to embarrass anyone, but because
I honestly don't know what it is. Standing still, in good light,
sure, it's readable. But driving by in a car at 30 or 35 mph, which
is the way most people see these signs? It's just not working.
also a hard-to-read sign that uses some darker shades of blue and
green -- and I'm not talking here about the mayoral candidate with
the big blue and green signs that suggest you vote for him "because
America begins at home." (What's up with that in a town election,
by the way?)
red and blue are perennial favorites for campaign signs not just
because they're the colors of the American flag, but because candidates
have learned over the decades that they work - they're at-a-glance
colors that contrast well with a candidate's name in bold white
type. Another effective color combination that seems to be popular
this year is yellow and black (yellow signs, black type). Those
signs stand out among the red-white-and-blue masses and are easy
to read as well.
signs you like, just remember to vote, vote early and vote often.
GIFT FOR THE FOOTBALL FAN: Halloween is next week, and you know
what that means: Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Christmas
and Hanukkah are going to be here before we know it. If you've got
a college football fan on your holiday shopping list, here's a great
gift idea. A new book called "Glory on the Gridiron: A History
of College Football in South Carolina" is sure to be a hit
not only with fans of the game and Palmetto State teams large and
small, but also with those who love the passions, traditions and
rivalries that make college football in the South a religion for
so many folks.
Nov. 3 at 7 p.m., the Charleston Museum is hosting a talk and book
signing featuring the book's authors, Dr. Fritz P. Hamer and John
Daye. You can buy the book and get it personalized all at the same
time. The book covers not only the major-college programs at South
Carolina and Clemson, but also looks at smaller schools such as
The Citadel, South Carolina State and -- yes -- the College of Charleston,
among others. It delves into the state's first recorded intercollegiate
match between Wofford and Furman in 1889 and traces how football
has evolved into a big-time, multimillion-dollar business in the
state. Key rivalries, players, coaches and personalities are part
of the story, of course. And where else could we learn that "the
Seceders" was once a football team nickname in South Carolina
-- and not at all for the reason you might think?
more information about the book signing, which is free, call the
museum at 722-2996, ext. 235, or visit
Thrash, editor of CharlestonCurrents.com, can be reached at: email@example.com.
us a letter
a comment or want to vent? If you have something to
say about leadership in South Carolina, the state of baseball
today, good barbecue or something about your community's government,
drop us a line to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please send no more than 200 words and include contact information
(phone number, hometown) so we can get in touch with you.
public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents
to you at no cost. In this issue, we turn the spotlight on Charleston
Green Commercial, a full-service commercial property management
company that pays attention to detail, provides exceptional personal
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Paws in the Park, walk to benefit Animal Society
Charleston Animal Society's Paws in the Park and Walk for the Animals
fund-raiser will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Hampton Park
on Oct. 24, with a variety of events, exhibits and activities for
people and pets. The daylong event includes a fun walk team fundraiser,
games, vendors, food and live music.
walk will take place from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. round the circle at
the park and will feature teams that have raised funds for CAS.
There's still time to register and take part in the walk; just go
here online. Participant registration costs $10. Anyone who
wants to sponsor a walker can also do so through the Web site; walkers
who raise more than $200 will receive a Paws in the Park T-shirt.
raised at Saturday's event will support the Charleston Animal Society,
which provides food, shelter, medical care and compassion to more
than 12,000 homeless animals each year. Last year the agency placed
more than 5,450 animals in new homes or reunited them with their
owners. It also spayed or neutered more than 6,000 animals and provided
rescue efforts for animals that had been treated cruelly. The CAS
also teaches more than 3,000 local students each year about the
importance of empathy and compassion for animals and people.
Buy Local Week planned for late November
Local First will sponsor the third annual "Buy Local Week"
from Nov. 30 through Dec. 6, just in time for the traditional kickoff
of the holiday shopping season. The weeklong grassroots campaign
encourages Lowcountry residents to "think local" when
considering where to make purchases, buy local goods whenever possible,
and support the businesses that keep our community unique.
several events planned for Buy Local Week are a screening of the
documentary "Independent America: Rising from the Ruins,"
an "Eat Local" night, and a holiday stroll/window-decorating
contest. The festivities wrap up on Dec. 6 with a "Buy Local,
Be Local Bash" at The Landing at Shem Creek. Details on these
and other events will be forthcoming in the next few weeks.
says in a press release that the buy-local movement has provided
a note of hope during otherwise difficult economic times for many.
"The Department of Commerce reported in December 2008 that
retail sales overall were down a record 9.8 percent over December
of 2007. In contrast, a survey conducted by the Institute for Local
Self-Reliance found that cities with active 'Buy Local' campaigns
reported much stronger holiday sales than those in cities without
such campaigns," the release states. "Independent retailers
in these cities reported an average drop in sales of 3.2 percent,
compared to a steeper decline of 5.6 percent for those in cities
without an active Buy Local initiative."
more information on LLF or to get involved in Buy Local Week, go
to this Web site or call Executive Director Jamee Haley at 740-5444.
issues call for entries for 2010 gallery shows
Saul Alexander Foundation Gallery in the Charleston County Public
Library is now accepting applications for entries for juried art
exhibitions, solo or group, for the calendar year 2010 at the Main
Library downtown. Preference will be given to work that reflects
the experiences and viewpoints of South Carolina residents.
applicants must return the completed application form by Oct. 30.
Copies of the form are available
online here or can be picked up in the administrative offices
at the Main Library, 68 Calhoun St. For further information about
the gallery and the application process, contact Becky Melancon
ask for public's input on plan
of Charleston officials are asking those who live or work in the
Holy City, as well as those who frequent the city, to take part
in a short online survey to help plan Charleston's future.
Department of Planning, Preservation and Sustainability is updating
the city's Comprehensive Plan, the backbone of all city planning.
PP&S developed the online survey in conjunction with public
meetings held in the last couple of weeks. The survey -- available
here online -- takes only 5 minutes to complete and will be
available online through early November.
need as much input as possible from people around the city,"
says a press release from Christopher Morgan, director of PP&S's
Planning and Neighborhoods Division. "Please share this link
with friends, co-workers, e-mail lists, neighbors or anyone who
cares about Charleston's future."
us your opinion
If you have a review of a book, movie, restaurant or local arts
endeavor, please send no more than 150 words to editor Ann
Thrash. Make sure to include your name and full contact information.
on the Cooper River, Mepkin
Abbey has a diverse history. In its early life the property
served as the seven-thousand-acre rice plantation and family home
of the eighteenth-century statesman Henry Laurens. Surviving traces
of the plantation include a family cemetery and a large oak avenue.
1936 the noted publisher Henry Luce, who established both Time and
Life magazines, purchased the property. While living at Mepkin,
Luce and his wife, Claire Booth, hired the architect Edward Durell
Stone to construct several buildings on the site, including a forester's
lodge, a laundry building, a pump house, and a farm manager's house,
made mostly of brick. Stone received his training at Harvard University
and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and spent his early
career designing houses in the international style. The buildings
at Mepkin reflect his modernist sensibility.
Luces also hired the landscape architect Loutrel Briggs, designer
of many important gardens in South Carolina, to create a formal
composition of camellias and azaleas overlooking the Cooper River.
In 1949 the property was donated to a religious community in keeping
with Mrs. Luce's wishes. By the 1960s the property had become a
monastery that housed the Trappist monks of the Cistercian Order.
The site includes an austere Cistercian church in the shape
of a cross. In its transition from a rice plantation to a monastery
and farm, Mepkin Abbey reflects an unusual blending of tradition,
modern aesthetics, and spiritual transcendence, making it one of
the most unique places in South Carolina.
Excerpted from the entry by Lindsey Gertz. To
read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina,
check out The
South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used
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sneaking up on us, and there are enough fun and/or spooky events
going on around town to fill a trick-or-treat bag. Here are five
kid-oriented activities that have "BOO!" written all over
House and Hayride: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 22 to Oct. 30, McMahon
Park Playground (Cleveland Street near Hampton Park). Here's an
event for the older kids; it's only for those older than 12. The
cost is $1 per person for the Hayride and $2 per person for the
or Treat at the Library:
2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 30, Charleston County Main Library,
68 Calhoun St. If one day of trick-or-treating isn't enough for
the kids, the Charleston County Library has just the ticket. Youngsters
age 11 and under can trick or treat their way through the library,
starting in the Children's Room.
or Treat in the Park: 4
p.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 30, Hampton Park. Sponsored by the city of
Charleston's Recreation Department, this is a free program for
kids 12 and under with trick-or-treating, jump castles, hay rides
through the park, magic shows and theme-decorated vehicles full
a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Oct. 31, Tiedemann Park Nature Center, 38 Elizabeth
St. Free Halloween program looking at bats. Do they really suck
blood? How do they hunt? Kids will learn all of that and more,
and will make a "bat craft," too.
at the Poe Library:
Noon Oct. 31, Poe Library, 1921 I'On Ave., Sullivan's Island.
Where better to spend Halloween than at the library named in honor
of Edgar Allan Poe, the man who came up with ghastly tales such
as "Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Tell-Tale
Heart" and the mysterious "Gold Bug," which is
set on Sullivan's Island? Kids are asked to create their own mask
at home and bring it to the library for a contest. Prizes and
refreshments will be part of the fun. More info: 883-3914.
keeping up appearances
is governed more by appearances than realities, so that it is fully
as necessary to seem to know something as to know it."
Webster, American orator, lawyer and politician (1782-1852)
in the Swamp: 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Oct. 23 and Oct.
24, Cypress Gardens, 3030 Cypress Gardens Road, Moncks Corner.
Haunted boat ride through the swamp at Cypress Gardens; participants
will be dropped off on a haunted walking trail through the woods.
Includes campfire and marshmallow roasting, storytelling, a game
room for kids, lighted pumpkin trail and music. Food will be available
for purchase. Event is not recommended for young children or those
with weak hearts. Tickets: $15 (includes general park admission).
More info: 553-0515 or online.
of Sleepy Hollow': 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 and 3 p.m. Oct.
24 and Oct. 25, Sottile Theatre, 44 George St. Charleston
Stage opens its Piggly Wiggly Family Series with Washington Irving's
spooky classic story about a headless horseman and his ghostly ride
through the hamlet of Sleepy Hollow. Family-oriented production
is described as "scary, but not too scary" by director
Marybeth Clark. Tickets: $19 adults, $15 students; call the box
office at 577-7183 or order
Picnic: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 25, Dill Sanctuary, 1163
Riverland Drive, James Island. The Friends and Needed Supporters
(FANS) of the Charleston Museum will host their annual family picnic,
which includes nature walks, live bluegrass by the Eagle Creek Band,
a Lowcountry dinner (fried chicken, ham, red rice, etc.), a
touch tank with marine animals, games, hayrides and demonstrations
by experts from the Center for Birds of Prey. Cost (all-inclusive):
$15 FANS member adults; $20 nonmember adults; $7 for children; free
for ages 5 and under. Advance reservations are required; call 722-2996,
ext. 264, or register
online through the calendar.
Charleston Style: 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays, Sept. 30
through Nov. 18, Culinary Institute of Charleston's Palmer Campus,
66 Columbus St., Charleston. A series of short courses celebrating
the many facets of entertaining with a focus on Charleston style
and traditions. Guest presenters include hosts, event professionals,
authors, collectors, stylists and other specialists known for their
distinctive contributions to local hospitality and tourism. Light
beverage and cocktail samplings will be provided. Cost: $149. More
ONGOING AND SOON
Pleasant Voters Forum: 7 p.m. Oct. 26, Mount Pleasant
Municipal Complex, 100 Ann Edwards Lane. Sponsored by League of
Women Voters of the Charleston Area and the Charleston Metro Chamber
of Commerce. Mayoral candidates Joseph M. Bustos, Gary K. Santos
and William D. Swails will make statements, and audience can ask
questions. The 19 Town Council candidates will make short statements.
Free and open to the public.
Graham Dance Company: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27, Gaillard Auditorium,
77 Calhoun St. The Charleston Concert Association opens its 73rd
season with the Martha Graham Dance Company, a modern-dance company
called "one of the seven wonders of the artistic universe"
by the Washington Post. Tickets: $25 to $99; on sale at the Gaillard
box office or order
online through TicketMaster. More info: http://www.charlestonconcerts.org.
Education Summit: 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Oct. 28, the College
Center at Trident Technical College, North Charleston. The Charleston
Metro Chamber of Commerce's Education Foundation will host the 14th
annual Business Education Summit. The theme is "Building the
Pipeline" within the public schools so that all students graduate
equipped with the knowledge and skills to further their education
or go directly into the workforce. A representative from the Ford
Motor Company's Next Generation Learning Communities program will
outline its national model and discuss why the nine communities
in the Ford network have been successful in transforming their schools,
and why Charleston has been invited into the network. Cost: $50
for educators, $85 for others. Registration
is online here.
of Palms Voters Forum: 7 p.m. Oct. 28, Isle of Palms
Recreation Center, 24 Twenty-Eighth St., Isle of Palms. Sponsored
by League of Women Voters of the Charleston Area and the Charleston
Metro Chamber of Commerce. Mayoral candidates Richard Cronin and
Jimmy Ward are expected to take part, as are City Council candidates
Barbara Bergwerf, Marty Bettelli, Ron Denton, Barbara Gobian, Sandy
Stone and Douglas A. Thomas. Free and open to the public. Audience
may submit questions at forum for candidates to answer.
Red Party: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Oct. 29, Old City Jail,
21 Magazine St. The American College of the Building Arts will present
the party, during which the always-spooky Old City Jail will be
transformed into a rich red venue. Attendees are asked to dress
in red and wear masks. The event features a raffle and silent auction
with items such as luxury trips to Africa and the Caribbean. DJ
Arthur Brouthers will provide music for guests to dance to on a
color-changing, illuminated dance floor. Open bar; food by Carolina
Catering. Tickets: $55 in advance, $65 at the door. To purchase,
call 577-5245, visit
online or e-mail
or Treat in the Park: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 30, Hampton
Park. Free event sponsored by the city of Charleston Recreation
Department. Kids up to age 12 can trick-or-treat in a safe, family-friendly
environment featuring hay rides, jump castles, magic shows and theme-decorated
vehicles full of candy.
at the Museum: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 30, Charleston Museum.
A special Halloween-season edition of the popular event will feature
glimpses of rarely seen animal mounts, fencing demonstrations, a
colonial nautical touch table, new historical figures, and an elaborate
scavenger hunt. Kids will be able to make Halloween crafts, learn
about the Museum's funerary collection, and more. Costumes welcome.
Cost: museum members, $10 per adult, $5 per child; nonmembers, $20
per adult, $10 per child; under 3 get in free. A light pizza supper
is included with the ticket price. Registration (required): online
or 722- 2996, ext. 264.
Sisters, Adversaries': 3 p.m. Nov. 1, Gibbes Museum of
Art, 135 Meeting St. The Charleston Chamber Opera and the Gibbes
Museum of Art are partnering for an hourlong program that explores
the diversity of female relationships in some of opera's most beloved
stories, including "Madama Butterfly," "Carmen"
and "Suor Angelica." Featured performances by soprano
Patrice Tiedemann and mezzo soprano Lara Wilson, with narration
by actress Terry Bell-Aby and piano accompaniment by musical director
Steven Morris. Tickets: $10 for museum members and students, $20
for nonmembers. Purchase online, at the Gibbes Museum Store or by
calling 722-2706, ext.18.
Business Summit: 7:30 a.m. Nov. 4, College Center at
Trident Technical College. Charleston Metro Chamber's annual Small
Business Innovation Summit and Expo showcases new ideas, technologies
and small businesses in the region. Keynote speaker will be Rieva
Lesonsky, former editorial director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Conference
includes breakout sessions on topics such as business planning,
funding, marketing, social media, branding and technology; an exhibition
hall; networking luncheon; and the presentation of awards in the
New Ideas SC Contest. Registration at 7:30 a.m., program from 8
a.m. to 4 p.m.; awards reception from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Cost: $125
chamber members, $225 nonmembers; includes a continental breakfast,
luncheon and closing reception. More
Workshops: Nov. 7, Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting St.
As part of the new exhibit "Aisle Style:150 Years of Wedding
Fashion," the museum and professional calligrapher Natasha
Lawrence will offer two workshops on calligraphy: Introduction to
Calligraphy (10 a.m. to noon) and Wedding Calligraphy (1 p.m. to
3 p.m.). All materials are included: a calligraphy pen to keep,
a workbook, practice paper and more. Cost: $25 for museum members,
$30 nonmembers, per workshop; $5 discount if taking both workshops.
Registration (required): 722-2996, ext. 235, or online
Luncheon: Noon to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 12, Trident Technical
College Complex for Economic Development. The Charleston Regional
Development Alliance's annual luncheon will feature a talk by David
Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times and
the author of "The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and
the Challenges to American Power." Book signing will follow
the luncheon (copies will be available for purchase at the event).
Tickets: $60, available
Polar Plunge prep
Homes for Christmas
Enjoy holidays sans lbs.
Instruments of Hope
Armas: Latin biz expo
Be a principal
Women at Gibbes
new food show
on car tags
way of tithing?
over on Sanford
off a little
is time for courage
place for prejudice
fun at Halloween
to old clunker
to squeeze in
on holiday lights
a tourist here
lists of year