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NEAT PLANT. Take a look at the beauty of the spores (or whatever they are) emanating from this mossy patch on a South of Broad wall. Contributing photographer Michael Kaynard noticed the interesting plant on a leisurely Sunday walk on a picturesque day of sunshine and low humidity. More: KaynardPhotography.com.

Issue 6.30 | Monday, May 5, 2014
Get out and smell the, umm, ....

FOCUS Play about Mitchell set for Piccolo
BRACK Take a field trip in your yard
GOOD NEWS Water Missions, giving, Conroy
HISTORY Alexandra Ripley
SPOTLIGHT Morris Financial Concepts
FEEDBACK Rant, rave, send your thoughts
REVIEW One Street Called Easy ...
BROADUS What's this? Win tickets!
THE LIST Millionaires
QUOTE Opportunity
CALENDAR This week ... and next
   
TODAY'S FOCUS: BIG RACE

Local actress to star here in play about Margaret Mitchell
By MELITA EASTERS
Special to Charleston Currents

MAY 5, 2014 -- Charleston native and College of Charleston alumnae Saluda Camp returns in May and June for 13 performances of a one woman play about Margaret Mitchell during Piccolo Spoleto as part of the College of Charleston's Stelle di Domani Series.


Easters

The play, Mrs. John Marsh -- The World Knew Her as Margaret Mitchell, tells the story of the reclusive author's life before and after she became a publishing sensation. Written by Melita Easters of Atlanta and produced by Wing and a Prayer Productions, the play includes an audio visual component of rarely published photographs and newsreel footage from the movie's Atlanta premiere.

"I am thrilled to be returning to Charleston for these performances," Camp said. "I have been a fan of Margaret Mitchell and Gone With the Wind since I was 16. I wrote a high school term paper about Miss Mitchell and some of the material I quoted in that paper so many years ago is included in the play. The piece resonates very strongly with me."


Camp

Camp's post-graduate acting training was in London with Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, where Dame Judi Dench is the school's president and The Globe Theatre. Based in New York City, she has acted in several seasons with regional companies: The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and Connecticut Free Shakespeare.

Camp played Hollywood silent screen legend Marion Davies, in the East Coast premiere of The Cat's Meow, directed by Ed Dennehy. The film version by Steven Peros featured Kirsten Dunst in the role. In New York, Saluda has acted with The American Globe Theatre, Vital Theatre Company, Boomerang Theatre Company and New Light Theatre Project, among many others. She was also featured this year in a TV pilot called "Released" and starred in the short "Bite" which went to the 2008 Cannes Short Film Festival.

MITCHELL LECTURE

Playwright and producer Melita Easters will present a free lecture about Margaret Mitchell and the lasting legacy of "Gone with the Wind" and the David O. Selznick film at 2 p.m. May 24 in Theatre 220 on the College of Charleston campus. The lecture includes little-known facts about the making of the movie which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.

Largely in Mitchell's own words, the play is based on biographies of Mitchell, thousands of letters Miss Mitchell wrote and the one hour radio interview Mitchell gave in 1936. Research also included literary criticism and biographies of several Mitchell friends resulting in an engaging and historically accurate picture of Mitchell's life.

Camp first collaborated with me on the play for three readings at The Players Club and The Metropolitan Club in New York, where actress and play received standing ovations and high praise. Camp is preparing for the Charleston performances under the direction of Cailin Heffernan, who has directed a number of plays with strong female characters in New York and whose productions have been nominated for NYIT Awards. Ms. Heffernan has directed for regional theater, Off-Broadway and the New York Musical Theater Festival, New York Fringe Festival, Midtown International Theater Festival and Samuel French Festival.

"Proving it is possible for aura to emanate from words, the presence of Margaret Mitchell has been wonderfully resurrected in Melita Easters' compelling one-woman theater piece, Mrs. John Marsh - The World Knew Her as Margaret Mitchell. The two-act play, grounded in careful research and vibrant with personality, is both compelling story-telling and revealing history. The play masterfully celebrates one of America's most famous literary figures by giving her the spirit of life that gave us the book -- Gone With the Wind," said noted Georgia author Terry Kay. Kay is author of 11 novels including literary classic To Dance With the White Dog. He was known as one of America's best theatre and film critics during his tenure at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution for eight years early in his career.

During a performance of the play before an audience of Mitchell scholars and Gone With the Wind fans known as "Windies," the University of Georgia librarians who catalogue the expansive collection of her papers and two authors who have written books about Mitchell three years ago, the play and actress received a standing ovation. "Have you ever wished you could have met Margaret Mitchell? Here's your chance! The play brings the author of Gone With the Wind to life -- using Mitchell's own words to transport the audience to Atlanta in the 1930s and 1940s, where they witness some of the highlights in the life of Georgia's most famous author," said John Wiley, Jr., co-author of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind: A Bestseller's Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood.

The 13 performances of the play include five matinees. Reservations are available on the Piccolo Spoleto website: www.piccolospoleto.com

A former newspaper reporter and Georgia Public Broadcasting producer, Melita Easters is the writer and producer of the play. She has been a political and community activist in Atlanta for more than 30 years, including service as founding chair of Georgia's WIN List, a political action committee to elect more women to office in Georgia. She currently chairs the board of the University of Georgia's student newspaper, The Red and Black.

ANDY BRACK

Take a field trip in your own yard
By ANDY BRACK
Editor and publisher

MAY 5, 2014 -- If you haven't gotten out and smelled the roses -- especially after the Chamber of Commerce weekend we just had -- you need to get your brains checked.

Spring is busting out all over with all sorts of flowers out and about. The banks and car dealers have huge gladiolas in their flower beds. Double-knockout roses are flashing their red petals throughout grocery store and shopping center parking lots. And the dreaded pollen seems to have finally passed.

In our yard this week, a daughter and I tried to spy as many kinds of flowering plants as we could in one wild section. Here's what we found that had flowers in the yard and garden:

  • Pansies (with our heat, they're not long for this world.)
  • White clover
  • Marigolds
  • Pineapple sage
  • Thyme
  • Spiderwort
  • Confederate jasmine
  • Honeysuckle
  • Purple aster
  • Grape tomatoes
  • California poppies
  • Daisies
  • Toad flax
  • Common pink
  • Dandelion

There was one small purple flower and a tiny yellow one that we couldn't figure out for the life of us, despite perusing the state Bible for wildflowers, "A Guide to the Wildflowers of South Carolina," by Richard Porcher and Douglas Rayner.

Get out and look around. You'll be surprised what you'll find.

* * * * *

In the recent issue of our sister journal, Statehouse Report, there are two pieces that you might find interesting:

  • DSS giving state another black eye: This news story highlights how ABC News is expected to air a national story this week on the deaths of scores of children involved with the state Department of Social Services. It's painful to watch what's happening at the department, says a former executive who was fired last year. More than 300 children have died while involved with the department, according to sources. Lillian Koller, the agency's director appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley, is to be grilled again this week by state senators. Read more.

  • Consider changing S.C. constitution -- one way or another: This column highlights how the state constitution changed six times in the state's first 119 years (1776 to 1895) but not any, except for amendments, in the 119 years since. The column looks at whether change to the document with populist heritage should come via more amendments or through a new constitutional convention. More.

Andy Brack is editor and publisher of Charleston Currents and Statehouse Report. He can be reached at: publisher@charlestoncurrents.com.

FEEDBACK

Got a beef? Rant, rave, send your opinions

If you have an opinion on something we've offered or on a subject related to the Lowcountry, please send your letters of 150 words or less to: editor@charlestoncurrents.com. Please include your name, address and phone number for verification purposes. We look forward to hearing from you!

SPOTLIGHT

Morris Financial Concepts, Inc.

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. In this issue, we shine our spotlight on Morris Financial Concepts, Inc. It is a nationally recognized, fee-only financial consulting firm that helps you identify and align your resources, values and goals to achieve an enriched life. It does do not accept commissions or compensation-related to the products and service it recommends. Its counsel is based solely on what its professionals believe is best for each client.

GOOD NEWS

Water Missions staff from 10 countries to meet on safe water

Water Missions International is convening directors and staffers of programs in 10 countries to its North Charleston headquarters on Thursday to discuss plans for providing sustainable safe water and sanitation solutions for people in developing countries and disaster areas.

Staffers from the North Charleston organization will come from Belize, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Peru, Tanzania and Uganda to be at WMI's Global Summit. It will highlight success stories from the field, as well as the challenges they face in their daily efforts to deliver safe water.

"The obstacles these individuals overcome on a daily basis are not even on the radar of most people in the United States," said George Greene IV, President Water Missions International. "Contracting diseases like malaria or dengue fever, navigating roads that are not only impassible but washed out after a rain storm, and constant risk of violence, are just some of the real threats that these individuals deal with on a daily basis," added Greene.

The country program directors are Water Missions International employees, predominantly indigenous to the countries they represent. The directors, along with key members of their staff, are spending two weeks at WMI headquarters participating in training and planning workshops. During these workshops the group will develop implementation plans for the coming years.

"Whether we are responding to natural disasters, such as Hurricane Ingrid and Hurricane Manuel , or we are implementing a sanitation (latrine) project in a remote village like La Zarca, what we all aspire to do is transform communities around the world," said Johny Bermudez, Mexico Country Program Director.

Lowcountry Giving Day is Tuesday

"Lift the Lowcountry" is a special day of giving throughout the Lowcountry on Tuesday to expand the financial impact of gifts and create the opportunity for "a truly transformational day," according to the Coastal Community Foundation, which is organizing the event.

Lift the Lowcountry is part a larger national effort called Give Local America. Its aim is to encourage us all to make gifts that support causes we care about in our community. Part contest, part referendum, all good with over 100 community foundations nationwide working in concert to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the first community foundation. All are united in promoting local generosity.

Learn more and watch what's happening on the leaderboard in real time on Tuesday.

Conroy, Warley to discuss books, long friendship

"An Evening with Pat Conroy and John Warley" will highlight the books and friendship of New York Times bestselling writer Pat Conroy and author John Warley, who were classmates at The Citadel, graduating together in 1967. The writers will discuss their new books, Conroy's The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son, and Warley's A Southern Girl: A Novel at a special Piccolo Spoleto presentation on May 26 at the Holliday Alumni Center at the Citadel, 69 Hagood St., Charleston.


Conroy

Warley

Each is book is a story of the redemptive power of family. Conroy's newest memoir is at once a heart-wrenching account of personal and family struggle, and a poignant lesson in how the ties of blood can both strangle and support. A 2009 inductee into the South Carolina Hall of Fame, Pat Conroy is the author of eleven books, including The Boo, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, My Losing Season, My Reading Life, and, most recently, The Death of Santini. In 2013, Conroy became editor-at-large for Story River Books, an original fiction imprint of the University of South Carolina. He lives in Beaufort, S.C., with his wife, the novelist Cassandra King.

Warley's semi-autobiographical A Southern Girl: A Novel is set against the historical backdrop of Charleston's insular South of Broad neighborhood in a tale of international adoption and families lost then found anew through courage and perseverance. Warley's previous books include Bethesda's Child and The Moralist.

  • Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for seniors and students. More.
RECOMMENDED

On a Street Called Easy, In a Cottage Called Joye
By Gregory White Smith and Steven Naifeh

A light, amusing read about the adventures and misadventures of two writers who moved from big City New York to small town Aiken, S.C., to restore and live in a 60-room "cottage."Joye Cottage had been transformed from a small county inn into an 18 bedroom mansion by Gilded Age Robber Baron William C. Whitney after he married his second wife in 1896. By the time Smith and Naifeh discover the house, it had suffered from decades of neglect, with water snakes swimming in the regularly flooded basement, no working heat or air conditioning, and only one functioning toilet in 16 bathrooms. Aptly subtitled "A Restoration Comedy" much of the book relates their efforts to renovate the house with a large and eccentric crew of workers. From Mordia Grant, who captained the crew of day laborers by right of style, to Lucky Dale, chimney sweep and recycler extraordinaire, to Desmond Harris, housekeeper and Crisco devotee, they are a memorable crew. Also amusing is the authors' account of their attempts to sample the local cuisine, i.e., their introduction to South Carolina barbecue. There have been many books of this type published but this one is well done.

-- Marianne Cawley, Main Library, Charleston County Public Library

Find this and similar titles from Charleston County Public Library. This item is available as a book, audio book and downloadable eBook. To learn more or to place a hold, visit www.ccpl.org or call 843-805-6930.

An invitation: What Web sites, books or restaurants have you enjoyed? Send us a short paragraph review of why you liked a recent visit to a restaurant or a book that you recently read. Send to: editor@charlestoncurrents.com

SC ENCYCLOPEDIA

Alexandra Ripley

Alexandra Ripley was born in Charleston on Jan. 8, 1934, the daughter of Alexander and Elizabeth Braid. After graduating from Ashley Hall, she attended Vassar College on a United Daughters of the Confederacy scholarship.


Ripley

After receiving a B.A. in Russian in 1955, Ripley worked a succession of jobs, living in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Florence, Italy. In 1963 she returned to Charleston, where she held various positions from travel agent to tour guide to ghost writer. She returned to New York and began working in publishing and then moved to Virginia in the early 1970s to pursue a writing career. Ripley published her first historical novel, Charleston, in 1981 while working at a bookstore. She followed with a sequel, On Leaving Charleston (1984), and then two more works of historical fiction, The Time Returns (1985) and New Orleans Legacy (1987), the latter of which became a Literary Guild alternative and a Reader's Digest Condensed Book selection.

In 1986 Ripley was chosen to write a sequel to Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, Gone With the Wind (1936), by Mitchell's estate. In 1988 Warner Books successfully bid $4,940,000 for the publishing rights. On Sept. 25, 1991, Scarlett: The Sequel to Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind appeared in bookstores. It spent 16 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list, selling two million copies by the end of the year. The book follows Scarlett O'Hara Hamilton Kennedy Butler as she makes her way from Charleston to Savannah, Georgia, and finally to Ireland, where she restores her ancestral estate, raises her daughter, joins an insurrectionist movement, and marries an English earl before finally reuniting with Rhett Butler. Despite the heady sales figures and intense, if brief, popularity of Scarlett, reviewers uniformly panned the book. Ripley shrugged off the criticism, however, and continued to write after the hoopla over Scarlett subsided. She published two more historical novels, From Fields of Gold (1994) and A Love Divine (1996), which were both well received.

Ripley was married to Leonard Ripley from 1958 until their divorce in 1963. In 1981 she married John Graham, a rhetoric professor at the University of Virginia. Ripley had two daughters from her first marriage. She died at her home in Richmond, Virginia, on Jan. 10, 2004.

-- Excerpted from the entry by R.F. Stalvey. To read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina, check out The South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used by permission.)

BROADUS

What's this? (win more tickets!)


Here's a look at the inside of the fourth floor of 1 Broad Street as captured last week by photographer Michael Kaynard. The third person who correctly identifies what's under the ceiling will win a pair of vouchers to a RiverDogs game. So, what is it? Send your guesses to: editor@charlestoncurrents.com.

In last week's issue, Karen Garner of Dacula, Ga., correctly identified the Van Gogh painting recently acquired by The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The 1890 painting, "Green Wheat Fields, Auvers," is thought to have been painting after the artist's voluntary confinement at the asylum of Saint-Remy in France. He died the same year.

Others who guessed the painting correctly included Michelle Condon and Judith Carberry, both of Charleston,

Stump us. If you have a picture that you took that you think will stump people, send it along and we'll publish it as a mystery picture. Send to: editor@charlestoncurrents.com. Make sure to include your name and a description of the photo (in case we're not good enough to guess.)

More photos: If you want to see a neat photo of the rural South, sign up to receive photo emails at: www.SouthernCrescent.org. And tell your friends too!


SISTER PUBLICATIONS

We encourage you to check out our sister publications:

Statehouse Report -- a weekly legislative forecast that keeps you a step ahead of what happens at the Statehouse. It's free.

SC Clips -- a daily news compilation of South Carolina news from media sources across the state. Delivered by email about the time you get to work every business day. Saves you a lot of money and time. Sign up for a free trial subscription today.

TravelOrMove.com -- a fun, interactive site where you can input your travel or retirement preferences and find places you might not have considered.

Georgia Clips offers a similar daily news compilation for the scores of newspapers in Georgia's 159 counties.

GwinnettForum -- an online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.


ABOUT US

Charleston Currents offers insightful community comment and good news on events each week. It cuts through the information clutter to offer the best of what's happening locally.

Charleston Currents is provided to you twice a week by:

Address: P.O. Box. 22261 | Charleston, SC 29413

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© 2008-2014, Statehouse Report LLC. All rights reserved. Charleston Currents is published every Monday by Statehouse Report LLC, PO Box 22261, Charleston, SC 29413.

THE LIST

Millionaires per capita

South Carolina ranks ninth from the bottom on the number of millionaire households per capita in 2013, according to PMI. Here are some selected states from the list:

1. Maryland: 169,287 millionaire households, or 7.7 percent.

2. New Jersey: 242,647 households, or 7.5 percent

5. Alaska:
18,209 households, or 6.75 percent

42. South Carolina: 76,831 households, or 4.15 percent

49. Arkansas:
43,588 households, or 3.73 percent

50. Mississippi: 40,955 households, or 3.63 percent.

Six of the bottom 10 were Southern states. Only one, Virginia, was in the top 10.

QUOTE

Opportunity

"What most people don't seem to realize is that there is just as much money to be made out of the wreckage of a civilization as from the upbuilding of one."

-- Margaret Mitchell

OUR UNDERWRITERS


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CALENDAR

China talk: 5:45 p.m. May 5, Holliday Alumni Center, The Citadel, 69 Hagood Ave., Charleston. The World Affairs Council of Charleston will host Elbridge Colby, a fellow with the Center for a New American Security, to discuss "China's Growing Assertiveness in Asia: What does it mean for America?" A social session will start at 5 p.m.

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.

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.

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.

Art in the Park: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., May 11; and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., May 22, Old Towne Creek County Park, West Ashley. Artists of all skill levels ages 12 and up are invited to participate in this plein air painting opportunity in what will once become a full-time county park. Cost: $40 for county residents. More.

(NEW) CSO Gospel Choir: 5 p.m., May 24, Emanuel AME Church, 110 Calhoun St., Charleston. The Charleston Symphony Orchestra gospel choir will present a concert honoring Sadie Green Oglesby, a local African-American television pioneer, during Piccolo Spoleto. Tickets are $21 for adults; $11 for seniors. More.

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.

ONGOING

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.

FOCUS ARCHIVES

7/21: Troy: Dolphin's new owner
7/14: Waronsky: Message focus
7/7: Devaney: Winning poster prize
7/1: Dodge: Take 5 campaign

6/16: Pritchard: Anti-cruelty effort
6/9: Wentworth: Palmetto Poem
6/2: Mullins: Play on bishop's murder

DOUG BOSTICK: CIVIL WAR HISTORY

7/14: Nearly impregnable
6/9: Prisoners to Charleston
5/12: Change of command
4/14: Charleston capture?
2/10: Attack of the Hunley
1/27/14: Bleak conditions

ANDY BRACK

7/21: Problem with chamber
7/14: On being fair
7/7: Do more on civil rights
7/1: Great trip to Wyoming

6/16: All about chiggers
6/9: Hollywood drama at capitol
6/2: D is for dysfunctional

LAFOND, McQUAGE: ON SENIORS

4/7: Medication check-up
3/3: Read your deed
2/3/2014: Driving and being older

12/2: On the Personal Property Memo
11/4: Your time: great gift for seniors
10/7: Let's celebrate aging
9/3: Medicaid and your future
8/5: More on estates, wills
7/1: Estate planning myths
6/3: Pensions for wartime vets
5/6: Revocable Living Trusts
3/4: Resources to help seniors cope
2/4: On life estates
1/7: Next step in health care

KYRA MORRIS: MONEY

4/29: Community ag/fisheries
3/24: Let's invest in Charleston
2/24: Getting beyond jitters
1/27/14: Financial independence

12/23: And now there is hope
12/2: The "thanks" of Thanksgiving
10/28: Impact of rising bond market
9/30: What happens when rates rise

LEIGH SABINE: PLUFF MUD KIDS

4/21: ArtFields for kids
3/17: Spring break ideas in S.C.
2/17: Four great outings for limited times
1/20: Upstate wonders

12/16: More holiday fun
11/18: Winter activities to do
10/14: Four ways to preserve history
9/16: It's harvest time
8/19: Kids giving back

7/15: Childrens' museums
6/17: Interactive adventures
5/20: Birds, bees, butterflies
4/15: Signs of spring abound
3/18: Great local parks
2/18: What's new in Charleston is old
1/21: Blaze a trail in 2013
12/10: Great holiday adventure

SISTER SITES

 

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