Monday, March 28, 2016

Ravished grocery shelves before a storm??

Does this mean a huge "H" storm is on its way here?

Panic buying cleared out the shelves?

There's no coffee...or toilet paper? Yikes.

The dairy section is vacant too.

Oh, a few items are still there but it's mainly light bulbs.

Some weird sundries.

And umbrellas. Lots of them??

No, there was not a severe weather forecast. It was worse than that.

This Bi-Lo grocery store on
Remount Road announced several weeks ago that it was closing. Gone from North Charleston.

Shutting down.

Not refilling fresh produce or the depleted meat counter.

Shop quickly before it's all gone by the end of March, it was advised

It's a pretty, sunny day outside but inside it's pretty dark and bleak.

Found out that it closed because the lease was up.

I remember 20 years ago when some old homes and apartments had been razed to clear the space. Yet another strip mall, anchored by a major grocery store, but a financial boon for the neighborhood.

It's not a "food desert" like over by 10-mile viaduct - the old Shipwatch Square.

There's a nearby Food Lion a few blocks away in one direction. And a former Piggly Wiggly not far, going the other way on Remount Road.

Doscher's has been here a long, long time and you can talk to the butcher to have your meat cut as thick as you want...up until 2pm.

I live in Hanahan so I went to check out the nearest Bi-Lo and did my shopping over at Tanner Plantation on North Rhett.

Take a look at the reviews for that store. They pretty well sum up my experience. Nice store, friendly employees and excellent prices.

I even met a man stocking shelves, named Chris,  who had been hired the day before after his last days on Remount Road at the closed store.

It's actually a SUPER Bi-Lo.

Really, that is its name.

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

"When Old Is New Again..."

"Altered Narratives" was conceived by local photographer
Christine Eadie.
An accomplished photographer, she also has been known locally as the Charleston Tin Typist for several years now.

She explored this 18th-century art form and then started creating her own, most notably at Civil War re-enactments.

Christine took a sample "old school" photo of me last year at The Battle of Charleston.

Recently, she converted a trailer into her portable darkroom to make wet plate tintypes on the spot, right next to the battlefield.

That's how they did it back in Mathew Brady's day as he and others pioneered pictorial coverage of the War Between The States with horse-drawn facilities for developing wet plate photos.

Anyway, her growing skill with tintypes encouraged her to contact 11 other like-minded artists and photographers.

This talented dozen presents its collective "old-is-new" effort March 19 - May 1, 2016, at the City Art Gallery, overlooking the pineapple fountain, at the newly-renamed Joe Riley Waterfront Park.

Here is a close-up portion of a carbon-transfer 25" x 31" framed print titled "Angel of Fisterra," by Sandy King.

The city gallery is open and airy and well lighted for viewers of art.

However, taking a photo is a challenge because of the prints being framed with glass and there are multiple light reflections.

Most galleries do not allow photography so my preview look might be the exception.

I had a friend stand behind me to use him to block the reflected glare on "Metamorphosis."

But I started laughing when I saw the overall image his attempt made on the gallery wall.

I would have had him hold up a blanket if one had been handy.

The artists were there at this pre-opening event.

They answered questions about the media they used and  detailed the many arduous steps involved. This was not a simple digital camera experience.

Just a listing of the mediums and techniques used is impressive: tintype, palladium, gum bichromate and ziatypes.

Add in hand-colored black and white art to help define the hands-on approach of crafting a photograph from start to finish.

I talked with a few others who had built darkrooms in their homes long ago.

We refreshed our memories of the chemical smells, eerie red and yellow lighting and the craft of moving images around to create some result we had only in our mind.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

Saw only one person there at the gallery, snapping pictures with a Smartphone camera.

And that was just a picture of Eadie, posing by her exhibit.

Here is a replacement copy for the one I snapped of her concept of "Crossing Over." This lighting is excellent and no glaring reflections!

Let me add, that this is a wet plate collodion on aluminum.

Be sure to stop by the City Gallery and see for yourself. All of these look much better there!

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Kiss me..I'm Irish!

About 7 years ago, I was in Atlanta on St. Patrick's Day.

Attended a parade downtown and caught a shot of a street vendor offering his green-hued wares.

(I actually Photoshopped the figure on the Walk/Don't Walk sign to be a traditional color for the Day.)

Years later, during a St. Paddy's Day in Park Circle on Montague, I saw a costumed figure stride past me in a similar WALK sign outfit.

Maybe he had been the model for the original?

Yes, I am sure it was a male. A proud one.

I am fortunate in my travels to have spent nearly two weeks roaming all over Ireland, the Emerald Isle, but not on March 17.

Was there on the 250th anniversary of the founding of Guinness and the celebration called Arthur's Day.

A splendid occasion to lift a glass of cheer, er, beer, uh, a Guinness,  to toast the founder the storied brewery.

I did not dare to rent a car in Ireland.

Didn't wish to drive the narrow twisting lanes.

But I did see there were plenty of helpful roadside signs to help me find my way.

While in Atlanta, I saw that some fountains were turned green.

Savannah is a city that tried back in the 1950s to make its river  that color for the day.

It gave up because it was splotchy, streaked green and just looked silly.

Look closely at this fellow at a Park Circle celebration a few years ago.

He apparently is a proud Marine with the Globe & Anchor symbol tattooed on his right shoulder.

I never saw him actually drinking a beer but am pretty sure some had been consumed earlier that day.

Or when he ducked in and out of several bars.

And, speaking of bars that were open and part of the festivities, I stopped into the Madra Rua for a drink and a break.

I saw a reminder of the Auld Sod in the Gents bathroom.

(Or, the toilet or WC.)

In Ireland, for some reason, all of the toilets were on the floor below the bar level, or above. Steep stairs were always involved.

Having my camera with me - and being very shy - I still managed to snap a few happy faces while doing some Street Photography.

Such single pictures are supposed to quickly tell a story.

I think this one qualifies.

But some people are hesitant to show they are holding a beverage when having their picture taken.

My biggest challenge was trying to balance a camera in one hand and a filled beer cup in the other.

Simple solution - drink the beer then take the picture.

Looks like these two were about ready to replenish their beverages.

One thing I did NOT see today - so far - was a leprechaun.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

Have a safe fun day.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

One Bourbon, one Scotch, one beer...

George Thorogood and the Destroyers came to the Charleston Music Hall Monday night.

He blew the place away!

The crowd stood most of the show and sang the lyrics along with a smiling, grimacing, gyrating, grinning George.

He knew just when to stop singing and let the fans finish the rest of the song.

We all knew the story of "One 
bourbon, one Scotch, one beer" and we belted out the chorus.

I remembered the song featured his landlady who wanted "the back rent." He laughed and sang, "she'd be lucky to see the FRONT rent."

I fit right in with the older crowd and did my version of dancin' with his music.

He had finished singing about "the old clock on the wall," but the fancy lighting that travels with him on tour spelled out "B-B-B-Bad to the Bone" just as he hit the first chords.

This was another chance for the joyful audience to chime in and
raise our voices.

I mentioned the extravagant lights and lasers.

The Music Hall has great acoustics and lighting but a professional tour leaves nothing to chance.

Six metal columns of lights replaced the familiar star-studded back curtain and a second complete sound board was set up close to the usual one.

It was a colorful show and George came to the edge of the stage often, making eye contact with his loyal fans.

There was a lot of Mick Jagger swagger and hip motions throughout the show.

Glad I had seen the Rolling Stones a few months ago and could catch that.

One thing I did not catch right away was, before his encore, George had switched black t-shirts and now was wearing  a Music Hall one.

That was a good marketing move by the staff to offer him a nice clean shirt before he returned to the stage.

George said it was his first time in Charleston and he appreciated what a great venue we had and hoped it was the beginning of many trips here.

He thanked us several times for coming to his show.

Heck, I was having a great time and wanted to say "Thanks" to him!

A nice touch was at the end, he came up to the edge of the stage, took the hands of several ladies and thanked them for coming and said he hoped they had had a good time.

I think it's safe to say they certainly did enjoy themselves and have a good time.

I've seen Delbert McClinton do this extra step of thanking his fans at the end of a performance.

As we all started shuffling toward the exits, I glanced up and saw his sax player drape a warm robe over George's shoulders, as he followed him backstage.

A James Brown moment.

(Click on the photos and the links for more details.)

It was a busy Monday night. I now was on my way to the Pour House to see Rev. Peyton and the Big Famn Damily Band.

I really support live music. Hope you do too.

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Monday, March 07, 2016

Longest bar in town??

I get around town a lot and thought that The Roost in West Ashley had the longest bar.

That is, until Saturday March 5, when I went to see "Big Bill" Morganfield inaugurate the brand new Downtown Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ.

It's just off North Morrison Drive at 126 Williman Street. Actually, right behind Edmund's Oast. Look for the bright blue sign.

Sat on a stool at the new 56 foot-long bar, staffed by friendly, fast-working bartenders.

And the music started right at 10:00 pm featuring Morganfield, the son of Muddy Waters, continuing a long Blues tradition.

Was glad to see the construction was completed and the opening happened just before Spring arrived.

Was afraid that lots of valuable planning details had been lost in a missing Notebook.

Don't know if the $1,000 reward for its return was paid by an appreciative Aaron "Fiery Ron" Siegel.

He took the mic and welcomed the crowd to the "soft opening" of his third local operation.

I've enjoyed many hours of music, beer and BBQ in West Ashley and on Sullivan's Island at what used to be  Bert's,  a decades-long dive bar at Station 22.

At exactly 10 pm, the band started playing and we settled in for an evening of Blues.

I was told the harpist was the only member of Morganfield's band to come with him from Atlanta.

The place was packed, as people who had bought $60 tickets to attend the 6 pm to 9 pm Slow Meat Pitmaster Roast competition, moved inside to hear the music.

There was a barbecue team from Atlanta, two from Nashville and one from New York.

This competition was held last year and was a charity fund raiser event to open the new store.

I understand this one was NOT converted from a previous business but was built new from the ground up. I suspect the plans that had been done for Sullivan's Island were consulted because I noticed there are many similarities in the basic layout.

But with - I believe - a much longer 40-stool bar on the left side of the main room.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.) Thanks for hanging out with me. Keep supporting live music!

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Thursday, March 03, 2016

A Downtown EXPERIENCE...

It's called the Jimi Hendrix "Experience."

I've had "it" a few times before and even once in Washington, DC in Constitution Hall.

Chris "Whipper" Layton kept a steady beat for most of the show at the Gaillard Center last Sunday evening.

It was good to see Jonny Lang again.

His face showed he was really into his music.

It was fun trying to catch a special moment of his intensity with my camera.

And all this time I thought Buddy Guy had emotive facial tics as he played!

In fact, when they played side-by-side, it was great watching their interplay.

Buddy Guy did not do his famed walk through the crowd this time.

The Gaillard's 1800+ seats were sold out but most people were not seated, they were standing during the entire nearly three-hour show.

Anyone who was seated hopped to their feet as Zakk Wylde cornered the stage - both sides and in the middle - back and forth.

Then, he jumped from the stage and went up both aisles, playing like mad.

A crew member scampered behind Wylde, trying to keep the very, very long mic cord untangled.

You can see Zakk, playing in the midst of raised Smartphones, as he headed back down the aisle to get back onto the stage.

After waiting three years to be back in the hall, I am pleased with the diverse shows I have seen in this nice-sounding music center.

I was watching closely as Henri Brown sang and waited for the moment he would pop his eyes wide open and really connect with the audience.

These close-ups of facial expressions reminded me there have not been any JumboTron screens at any of the shows I've seen so far.

I have been sitting down front, close to the stage, but I wonder about those patrons high up and far away in the balconies.

There was a large LED-lighted screen on stage but it acted as a moving background for the performers.

There probably is a formula for what needs to be added for optimum viewing in a venue. I have not seen large screens for the audience in use either at the PAC (Performing Arts Center) although many shows have used them at the Coliseum.

So, I'll keep trying the get seats very close to the stage.

I like being able to see the subtle twinkle in the eye as a performer connects with the crowd.

(Click on the photos and the links for more details.)

I wanted to add a close-up shot of Eric Johnson, with his lime green electric guitar.

And Kenny Wayne Shepherd as his hair whipped from side-to-side in rhythm with his music.

People in the back may not have noticed these details.

Welcome back Gaillard Center.

Keep on supporting live music!

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