Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Is it hot in here, or is it just me?

 Joe Pasta is my go-to place for a dish of chicken parm.

Or veal.


Garlic bread.

A mini pizza. Crunchy salad

Sitting at the bar, I was startled when I saw the chef create several intense bursts of flame. Not sure what he was preparing, but I asked him to tell me when he was going to make it flare again.

He came over soon and asked "Are you ready?"

My camera and I braced and WHOOSH!

I don't think it was my meal - or a bowl of spaghetti - in the dancing flame.

A nice dining tradition when going to a show at the Performing Arts Center, is stopping to eat in Centre Pointe at FATZ CAFE.

It's on the edge of Tanger Outlet Shops and has always been a treat.

The grilled salmon with skewered veggies, served over rice is a favorite. And, for dessert,  I tried the peanut butter and chocolate pie.

The Oreo cookie was a special surprise.
A new place I knew as a favorite food truck now had moved indoors on upper Meeting Street by the off ramps of the Ravenel bridge.

 Hello, My Name Is BBQ was larger inside the building than I expected.

But, then, food trucks usually do not offer dine-in seating.

Oh, it still has its "meals-on-wheels" and appears at food truck rodeos but the inside move intrigued me.

I stopped in on a Saturday evening on my way to the Music Farm and had them create a Pork on Pork meal for me by adding bacon to the Holy City BBQ menu item.

You really can't get too much of a good thing.

They offered the largest variety of barbecue sauces I have ever seen. Mild to hot to outrageous. Mustard, tomato and Jalapenos. Hit the link and check out their menu.

(Click on the photos to see more detail.)

I have heard comments around me like "Hah, He must be a blogger." when I take out my camera to snap a shot of my meal.

I usually hand the commenting person my card.

It says I DO have a blog.

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

I Just Heard A Story.....

The Unchained Tour big blue bus pulled into downtown Charleston a few nights ago. I had my ticket to ride.

Four "story tellers" were on board for short hops from Savannah to cities around North and South Carolina for about 10 days..

This is the third time the bus has hit the road on its mission to talk to the people and support independent bookstores.

This stop at the Charleston Music Hall was sponsored by Blue Bicycle Books, around the corner on King Street.

George Dawes Green from Savannah, the founder of and the man behind the oral tradition tour,  welcomed the full house and promised an entertaining evening of music and stories. He delivered.

Peter Aguero was wearing jeans, sneakers and a distinctive mustache.

He was the emcee and introduced each tale teller.

Peter also told his story of his spectacular success with women - well, one in particular - when he was in college.

The college, he later decided , was a good one to drop out from.

He said he was small as a youth and then got much larger as he grew up.

A lot larger.

Rachel Kate Gillon and Joel T. Hamilton, a local duet, provided musical interludes throughout the evening.

The format was simple: several stories were told, music and an intermission and then two more story tellers in the second half.

A nice audience participation surprise asked us to put our name on a slip of paper during the break and three would be selected at random to present a one-minute story.

I filled out an entry but it was not drawn. Pity, I had a great story ready to dazzle in the true spirit of the evening.

Dawn J. Fraser, is from Trinidad by way of Brooklyn

She told a charming story of feeling left out and ignored.

That was not exactly the charming part. 

After several confrontations, the story ended with her feeling at home and at peace within herself.

Dawn's tale involved a dog named Marley. And dreadlocks. And her extended family of Trinidadians.
Edgar Oliver is the small gentleman with the booming, theatrical diction and delivery!

Even though Peter had alerted us, we still were surprised by the lilting musical tone of Edgar's voice as he shared a twisting tale of mistaken identity and a bogus sense of imminent danger.

His story recalled an adventurous evening walk in New York City. And no, it was NOT a dark and stormy night.

It involved the headwaters of Avenue C, a potential missing person named Aaron, shady characters possibly lurking in the shadows and was delivered in a delightful, enticing manner.

We were hanging on every word.

I have a copy of AMERICAN GODS so was somewhat familiar with the writings of Neil Gaiman, our final presenter of the evening.

He has an insightful piece about his joining the blue bus magical tour and I invite you to click on the link.

His delivery was smooth, with an English accent, and covered an event in his childhood in an abandoned stately manor where he learned a few steamy jokes from older kids.

He used the new material to regale unsuspecting friends and eventually involved his school master, the owner of the school and his shocked mother.

Hint: always know your audience.

The moral of the story he said was learning the awesome power of words.

Blue Bicycle was site for the after-party.
The "Bus Named Wanda" drew attention.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

This is the first time I have tried
to group several photos together.

During the intermission, smokers smoked.
It was OK to go online but still buy books.
At the end, the cast took bows..and a video.

Hopeful 1-minute story tellers names.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Five" equals "Three"....

Went to see  Ben Folds Five at the Performing Arts Center last night. 

Great time watching these guys reunited after a 13-year gap of being apart.

 They also released a new album yesterday so we heard a mix of the old, the new and in between.

This was my fourth time seeing him on piano.

Over the years, I caught him in Atlanta and here at The Joe during WaveFest but he was solo.

He appeared a few years ago at the PAC with a back up band but here he was now with his two original partners who had started it all in the Rock & Roll '90s.

Welcome back.

Back when I first started going to concerts, it was advised you sit on the left side if a piano was featured. 

Well this what I was told for classical music. Going to the symphony.

That way, you see the hands of the player and the keys.

Good advice because I had not watched his hands before as he played and banged and slammed the keys!

I also know that he often ends a show with a toss of the piano stool at the sturdy Baldwin.

He did indeed. He tossed it so hard it bounced.

The drummer and bass player were not that violent.

But all's well that ends well.

The music was terrific, the banter was warm and friendly and one audience member was invited up on stage to sing "Philosophy,"

Let's just say it was obvious the fellow was not a plant, placed in the audience as a gimmick. He alone set Karaoke back about 50 years.

The Baldwin piano took a pounding but, as you can see in the link above, that's just the way Ben plays it.

Ben Folds was VERY fan friendly. 

He stayed onstage and shook hands and signed albums that were handed up to him.

If you don't know him and his sound, go online and listen.

I'm really glad my 2nd row seat was on the  left.

Watching his left foot keeping time with the beat was spell binding ...and exhausting!

(Click on the photos for more detail.)

As often happens, I was probably the oldest person there last night.

That simply adjusts the numbers when they think about their average fan.

(Please click

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Monday, September 17, 2012

We'll Always Have Parris....Island.

Yesterday I got as close to Parris Island as I've been in about 50+ years.

One hot and steamy July afternoon all those years ago, I stepped off the bus from Charleston at P.I., stood on the famed yellow footprints and was officially greeted.

Welcomed was not the right word.

At that point, the Marines took over my young life. Well, them and the ever-present sand fleas. 

I think my Reserve unit spent about a dollar bus fare to ship me to Boot Camp down in Beaufort County.

But, most of the 16,000 young men (and women) annually arrived at MCRD (Marine Corps Recruit Depot) by train and, for many, their first taste of The South was Yemassee, S.C.

 Apparently the train station is still an important part of the small town and a large fading mural depicts the glory days of steam locomotives.

My mother grew up in Yemassee and told me she and her 3 sisters often would wander down to the station - about when the train was due - and enjoy the sight of fit, virile young men trooping from the train and being assembled for the short bus ride to Parris Island.

Yeah, Mom mentioned that.

 A Charleston native - even at 18 - knows summer here is hot, hazy and humid so I am surprised I agreed to enter Boot Camp in July.

Fellow recruits from far away places like Ohio and New York also were amazed at my profound stupidity.

After I had signed up and joined the local Reserve unit, I was sworn in one evening in a ceremony downtown at the Gloria Theater.

Today it's known as the College of Charleston's Sottile Theater but my night there, standing on stage with a few other young recruits, is remembered as the premiere of the new Jack Webb movie called "The DI."

As we sat in stunned silence, the other newest recruits and I watched a scary, pretty accurate depiction of what we were about to face. Yikes.

 (Click on the photos for more detail.) I did NOT take the photo of the friendly Drill Instructors. That came from the internet. My palms still get sweaty when I see just one in uniform.

 As a footnote, many years later I met Jack Webb while I was working at Universal Studios. He was shorter - and nicer - than he appeared in the Marine Corps movie.

At least I didn't salute him.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

HEY...up here please!

"Here lies the remains
of my last paperboy.
He died by torch
when two-days in a row,
he missed my porch."

Customer service is a curious thing.

For example, delivery of your daily newspaper.

You ask that it be tossed onto your porch. Not hidden in the yard somewhere.

Not in the bushes, wet with dew. Not in the shadows, hidden from view. ON THE PORCH.

It's a simple concept: the company prints the paper each day and I pay them to bring it to me to read.

We could all go down to the paper's office to pick one up but that would be be bad on morning traffic.

I buy the product. I send the money where they want it. Odd that I would be particular about where I wanted to take possession.

After weeks of GOOD on-the-porch service, for several days I started my day roaming the front yard, looking for what I had bought.

Maybe there was a change in carriers? Perhaps the new guy made a bad decision?
Injured his or her throwing arm?

I like to think my sign is helpful. A reminder.

(Click on the photos for more detail.)

My brothers and I all were newspaper carriers when we were growing up on the peninsula.

We knew we were selling a product and a service.

And, that was before the internet.

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Sunday, September 09, 2012

Just Pour It On ...

As part of its 10th anniversary, the Pour House has presented it's annual mural painting contest.

And a whole lot more.

A stellar musical line up for a week of entertainment.

The murals - out front on Maybank Highway - and on the deck.

And a brand new restaurant called The Lot.

The Wednesday night I went there, the energetic sextet Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears filled the room with a happy crowd.

Well, earlier a "Dead" tribute band played on the deck so many probably stuck around.

A 3-piece brass horn section is always a treat.

When a group plays a straight long set - without a break or intermission - you get all the joy without the wait.

I appreciated this even more because my evening had already included a Thai dinner.

And the movie Killer Joe across the street at The Terrace theater.
People think it's easy being retired. The hours sometimes are long but I sleep in the next day.

(Click on the pictures for more detail.)

Go to the club and restaurant and check it out yourself.

You'll enjoy it.


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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The "Peach House" on IOP

A friend of mine owns a house at the beach that she rents out.

She recently had it repainted so she asked me to come and take some updated pictures.

Renters were confused when the house color didn't match what they had selected in the ad.

She is a "hands-on" type landlord and responds quickly to feedback from her paying guests.

"I advertise as the owner - I don't use a rental agency - so I can charge less for a real bargain seaside," she explained.

She and a few other nearby owners cooperated and built a swimming pool exclusively for their guests.

"That has been very popular, especially for families with young children" she smiled.

The Guest Book in the living room shows visitors really appreciate her pet friendly approach.

The spacious 4-bedroom, 3.5 bathroom floor plan means more "humans" can split the cost and bring along Fido for a true family getaway.

Combined with convertible sofas, the place can accommodate 10-12 people.

It comes with a wealth of amenities so vacationers can really relax and either cook there or pop out to nearby dining spots.

There is parking for 6 vehicles, so there's no shortage of parking.

The lower space is shaded with tables, chairs and several rope hammocks were just hanging around.

The beach is a short stroll away and wasn't very crowded the afternoon I walked around, looking for angles to display the house and its surroundings.

Offshore, a Para-Sail was quietly soaring and floating in the bright blue sky.

A nice day at the beach.

(Click on the pictures for more details.)

As Summer comes to an official close, check out prices for beach rentals.

We live in an area where the outdoor season lingers even as the humidity sinks.


And for that, we thank you.

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