Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Drawing A Music Crowd

A fellah come down from Georgia.

Played us some "Dangerous Jazz" at the Pour House.

I had enjoyed Blair Crimmins and The Hookers before at a smaller venue - the Tin Roof - and was happy he was playing a larger room.

Be careful what you wish for.

"Well, yes, I'm pleased. Of course, a crowd this size would have packed the 'Roof' but they have a great sound system here, " answered Crimmins from Atlanta.

"We'll be back," he added.

On another night, at Home Team Bar-B-Q in West Ashley, was treated to some great harmonica by John Nemeth.

He just released 2 CDs.

One features the Blues and the other is a salute to Soul sounds.

Click on the Nemeth link to hear some of the tracks from both albums.

Looking around, I saw that it was "Take your child to work day" at Home Team.

I'm out in noisy and loud venues a lot and wear professional ear plugs to protect my hearing.

This young fellow is off to a good start.

Have to wonder if the man's wife knows where they travel when he's baby sitting??

Didn't know they made noise suppressors that small. Glad to see it.

Back at the Pour House for another fine show by Jimbo Mathus.

It was good to see he drew his usual large crowd.

The 45-year old Mississippi singer songwriter is best known for his time with the Squirrel Nut Zippers swing revival band.

But, around here, Jimbo has many devoted followers in the Lowcountry.

In fact a trio of guys in light colored suits came in just before the break.

One had on black polished shoes which stood out as the rest of the crowd was in shorts and flip-flops.

There was a LOT of hand waving and high fives between them and the singer.

It was as if his own cheerleader section had arrived. In suits and ties. Yikes.

At the end of the show, several of the well-dressed claque joined Mathus on stage and shared his microphone.

Guess he knew them.

(Click on the pictures for more detail.)

The music scene in Charleston is very. very good and it keeps me hopping around from place to place.

Some nights are golden and some are quiet.

Sometimes the music doesn't even start until after 11pm.

It's good to be retired and able to sleep in the next day.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Tomato sandwiches coming up...er, down.

So my son and his wife gave me a tomato plant hanger.

I had heard of these that grow the plant upside down.

No stakes needed and, since bugs come up from the ground, that should not be a problem.

Hung the thing on my front porch (gets sun all day) and started watering it every day.

Became routine: fill a watering can, step onto the porch to pick up the paper and water the plant. Neat.

Man. It was growing fast.

Within three weeks, little yellow flowers appeared. I understand they become the fruit.

My neighbors used to plant tomatoes and offer them around.

Nobody did that this year.

Or last year.

Now, I'm growin' my own "crop."

Of course, I will offer the excess to my neighbors.

Especially to the nice family across the street who invites me to bar-b-ques in their back yard.

I'll offer to bring over some fresh tomatoes this time.

(Click on pictures to see luscious views.)

Guess before I promise to dole out tomatoes, I'd better wait until I see something red hanging on the vine.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Be A Tourist In Your Own Backyard....

Well, I did know that Wild Dunes was toward the end of the Isle of Palms.

I had driven past the entrance.

Think I attended a party there once in a place that looked like a beach cottage.

WOW. My visiting daughter just spent two nights there and I was invited to join her.

Glad that I did. What a nice resort!

After a fine dinner prepared in her suite's kitchen, we walked down to the beach and passed this chair.

(Yes, I used Photoshop to take away the stairs they had climbed.)

She had asked me if there was a grocery store nearby that she could reach by bicycle?

Huh? I thought the Piggly Wiggly or Bi-Lo in Mount Pleasant at the other end of the Connector would be a very long way to pedal.

The desk informed us there was a Red & White store just before you reached the connector.

We drove there and picked up groceries.

Another thing I had not done before was take a Ghost Walk downtown.

Ooooohhhh. Eerie and spooky.

We walked back alleys and treaded carefully through graveyards.

The guide set the proper tone and, as darkness fell, we really got in the mood.

Diners at Poogan's Porch stopped conversations as we stood across the street - by the Mills House - and heard about "the lady in black.

She is reputed to "live" upstairs at Poogan's and particularly seems to like the ladies powder room.

Have you ever tried to explain a Joggling Board?

They seemed to pop up in strange places all over Charleston.

A carriage tour guide explained them best as a way that a couple could court "back in the day."

With or without parental approval.

As you bounced, you slid closer together.

Almost innocently.

Obey the Law of Gravity.

While it was not part of our night tour of haunts, we drove over to the Old City Jail.

Taking the next step to being scared.

We did not go in but had had it pointed out on an earlier carriage ride so knew it was close by.

I had recently taken the walk out on the new pier at Shem Creek so I was able to share that as well as a fine Thai meal downtown at Basil and sinful and decadent desserts at Rue de Jean.

Mais oui. Tres bien!

The ladies have flown back to Oakland and are back at work today.

It had been ten years since my daughter had visited Charleston although I've seen her in California a few times.

Out there I was the tourist.

(Click on the pictures for details.)

Even before she left, she was snapping pictures with her iphone and posting them on Facebook.

I'm not quite that adept yet but I sent her pictures today.

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

I am getting better at manipulating photographs.

It is fun to create an image of something that does not really exist.

Sometime, I combine several elements.

Or I erase something.

It's all illusion, and, if I do it right, it's believable at first glance.

I don't really like hot and spicy sauces.

But I can create the impression that I do.

Tilting the contents of a bottle of Texas Pete onto your tongue is easy...if you leave on the cap.

The stopper is "removed" using Photoshop.

And the dribbling fiery sauce is added by the same program.


That would have been painful.

And tough to swallow.

The image on the sign is real.

It is the international symbol for EXIT.

I merely changed the wording.

Whole different meaning now that adds a sense of urgency.

Makes you think about what you eat.

And where you are.

Here are two men carrying a pretty thick glass shower door up some stairs.

I am sure they would appreciate having some assistance.

Not much help to them on that day. I just kept out of their way.

But, now, I am able to make their task more transparent.

And raise a glass as I lighten their load.

(Click on the pictures for more detail.)

They say a photograph never lies.

WHO says that? Not I.

What you see is what you see.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Spoleto. A look back....

SPOLETO. A wonderful celebration-of-the-arts festival.

It's also very strict about photography and crowds.

This was a 2nd night performance by the New Orleans group "Rebirth Brass Band."
Sitting in the first row at the Cistern Yard , I could see barricades on both sides of the stage. And the stairs in the center front were blocked with a velvet rope.

About an hour into the program, the barriers were dropped, the dancing crowds surged forward and cameras appeared everywhere.

Including mine as I snapped the nine performers and the happy party that had just erupted.

Sometimes cameras are ignored and sometimes they are not.

The audience at the Sottile Theater for TRACES was amused when the announcer said "Keep your cell phone on so you don't miss a call."

Then he added"Take flash pictures although it might blind the acrobat and cripple him for life. "And "Shoot videos to show your friends and family what you enjoyed here today."

Tongue was firmly in cheek so my camera remained dormant. Well, until the end as we filed out.

I wanted to have a reminder of the former Gloria Theater I remembered from my youth.

(Click on the photos to see more details.)

Piccolo Spoleto is a slightly different story.

Lots of acts and not too much concern about cameras.

I enjoyed quite a few this year and that'll be in another post.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Oops. A small problem....

The good news - as you may recall - is my riding mower now starts easily.

It really cuts the grass great with its two new blades.

A Hanahan policeman had issued me a code violation warning because my "grass and/or weeds was higher than 12 inches."

David Guerry had come by with his Mobile Lawnmower & Small Engine Repair service to make things right. Now I rake the area before cutting grass to protect the blades.

I leaned the rake against a tree.

Yep. Bumped the rake, the handle lodged itself under the mower.

This stopped the spinning drive pulley, which then melted as the belt whirred around it.

It took Dave less time to replace the pully - and make adjustments - than for me to write this posting.

Stupid rake.

(Click on the photo for more detail.)

Dave wore one of his company shirts this time.

He said he bought 25 of them as an advertising and promotional item.

Need help? Contact Dave at (843) 343-4225. Or dguerry60@yahoo.com

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Monday, June 04, 2012

i like k.d. lang at spoleto

Man, the Gaillard Auditorium was packed last night with thousands of happy people,

I understand the capacity is listed as 2,730 seats.

At least that many people were there to applaud k.d.lang. Maybe even a few more squeezed in.

This, I believe, is the first time she has performed in Charleston and I hope she plans to come back.

The sound system was fantastic, the lighting was magical and her voice was delightful.

First time for me after hearing about her for many years.

Kleig lights framed the stage and martial music played the interlude before the show started.

Her producer announced that the Sousa-inspired music was selected by Ms. lang.

He added "Now that you know she chose it, I bet you like it even more."

She moved around the stage, favoring all sections, and was on the apron at the front edge a lot.

It was obvious she was enjoying herself and wanted to be even closer to her adoring fans.

The crowd sang along on many of her songs and shouted encouraging words of love and devotion.

I was fortunate to have a seat right in the middle of the front row so had an excellent vantage point to see, hear and take pictures.

Yes. the signs out front stated "No FLASH Photography."

My digital camera works well in low light so no flash is required.

Nobody had mentioned that k.d.lang works barefooted.

I was watching her emotional face as she sang.

It was quite a while before I noticed she was not wearing shoes. "Casual Friday" on a Sunday night.

This was certainly a Spoleto-level performer and a quality production.

However, toward the end of the show, security was suddenly in people's faces, telling them "No cameras allowed."

There was obviously a mix-up in communications.No obnoxious flashes had marred the show but even iPhones were being banned.

There was a nice moment when all the members of the Siss Boom Bang quintet came forward and joined lang for a close harmony number.

Two ladies seated near me were ready with a lang record album cover and a pen. They wanted an autograph and were eager to catch her eye.

We all stood at the end of the show and moved closer to the stage. I reached up and Ms. Lang handed me her guitar pick. Wow.

I hope the ladies got their album signed.

(Click on the photos for more details).

I am sure many in the Auditorium wanted to be in my seat in the front row. The secret is ............

Sometimes you get very, very lucky.

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Saturday, June 02, 2012

New & Old things on Patriot's Point....

It's been years since I went to a Party At The Point on a Friday afternoon.

I believe I was still working for the paper so more than 8 years ago.

I covered bars, clubs and music venues for InfoLine so I went pretty often

That's a long run for outdoor entertainment. On a beach venue with no roof.

Weather MIGHT be a factor when you have electrically amplified music.

But, Will Hoge draws a crowd, despite threatening clouds.

Just before he started, it got cooler and the wind picked up.

I noticed the giant inflated McDonald's promotional arches tilted back a bit.

It was safely tethered so it didn't fly away.

Dark clouds skittered overhead.

Menacing looking.

The view of downtown was becoming more and more dramatic.

All around me people stood waiting.

Or sat in their folding chairs, sipping beverages.

And eating tacos. Nice party. Then the rains poured down.

Yes. You're right.

I AM huddled under the twin arches.

The angle kept the rain off me and my camera.

And blocked the wind-driven sheets of chilly rain.

Many who had brought chairs now unfurled giant umbrellas.

Will Hoge continued playing as the sound man placed protective tarps over his equipment. There was no lightning so the show continued.

Suddenly a lady waded into the crowd around me and started shoving the arches to an upright position. There were vocal complaints of "hey, you're getting us wet!"

She responded "This is my exhibit and I'm taking it down to protect it."

I quickly scampered along the muddy boardwalk back up to the roof-covered patio by the resort hotel.

It was dry there but you couldn't hear the music.

As I drove away, I remembered that a new restaurant had just opened by the Omar Shrine Temple.

Hey, it was on my way home and I needed to dry off.

I ducked in to see what changes had been made to what had been called the Point Grille.

I had used its separate dining room for quarterly luncheons for about 5 years.

I chatted with Chuck Isenberg, the Harbor Breeze general manager, when I went in and looked around.

They had done a complete makeover and changed the whole dynamics of the main dining room and bar area.

I sat at the bar with a Holy City Pluff Mud Porter and talked to two patrons.

One was a frequent visitor (it had opened softly two weeks ago) and he noted the friendly staff and neighborly feeling.

I waited until the other gentleman finished off his grilled salmon and had his wine glass refilled.

"I see you took a picture of the wine bottle. You should actually try some. It's good," he commented.

Owner of a business in Columbia, he said he and his wife came to Charleston often, liked the old Grille and are pleased with the new dining spot.

He echoed praise for the friendly atmosphere and said the food was worth return visits.

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