May 31, 2007

Sundown Poetry Series

Thursday evening I took my mother and daughter to the Sundown Poetry Series of Piccolo Spoleto. Hermine Stanyard was performing at the Dock Street Theatre courtyard. As my daughter had never been to a "real" poetry reading, I thought she would like this. She did.

Hermine Stanyard has published two books of poetry, Lingering Thoughts (1992) and Verses for You and Me (1995). Book three is on the way.

It is not the paper mill! It is pluff mud!

May 30, 2007

New Music

I was on my way to Barnes and Noble today for a Java chip Frapp. when I heard Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven on NPR. Well I just had to get a copy. I also got a cd to replace the cassette that I had from many years ago of Gregorian Chant. Check out my new music that I got today!

It is not the paper mill! It is pluff mud!

American Film Festival

Today I went to the Spoleto American Film Festival held at the Charleston County Library. The movie today was called Shine. Shine was made in 1996 and it is the true life story of David Helfgott. I must say that it was a tragic, riveting movie. It was so very sad. I cried or rather I tried to hold it all in . I could do it no more. When David, played by Geoffrey Rush, cried on stage after he had overcome his illness and was on his way to playing concerts again, I had to let it all out. It was the climax of the movie.

It was beautifully done and the music was excellent. I can see why it won an Oscar. Coming from parents who were just as toxic as David's was, it was kind of like seeing some of my early childhood. (Thank god I was stronger than he breakdowns here.) The movie was excellent and the auditorium at the library was not filled up. There were about 20-35 people there. It was a great way to get out of the heat. A movie will be shown every weekday at the libary at 1:00pm. The theme for The American Film Festival, this year is real life people and their lives. The movie tomorrow is Shakespeare in Love.

Based on the true story of Australian pianist David Helfgott, this delightful movie charts the early and traumatic early years. Telling the story in flashback we see David as he grows up and into a child prodigy while his father abuses him and his siblings with the memory of his childhood in Europe and the loss of his family in the concentration camps. David finally breaks away from his father and goes away to study overseas, he later suffers a breakdown and returns to Australia and a life in an institution. Many years later he is released and through several twists of fate (in reality even more unlikely than film portrays) he starts playing a piano in a bar before finally returning to the concert hall.

After the movie was over, on the way out I viewed the art exhibit there. It was called: Viewpoint: Charleston Kids With Cameras. The pictures were quite good. It is a good program that helps underprivileged youth ages 7-12 from the Meeting Street Manor Housing Authority Residence and the Charleston Developmental Academy. If you have the time check it out.

It was yet another great Spoleto day!

It is not the paper mill! It is pluff mud!

May 29, 2007

Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Juried Art Exhibition

Today for my Spoleto event I went to the Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Juired Art Exhibition. I spent about 2 hours at Marion Square just walking and seeing all the art there. Needless to say I did not see it all. At the Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Juried Art Exhibition I was actually able to speak to some of the artists. It was not crazy like the weekend was with so many people. We had room to walk and mingle without the pressing cramping of a crowd.

Since I had already seen the exhibit at the Visitor Center this past weekend I was thrilled to meet Marty Biernbaum who has Southern Pears on exhibit at the Visitor Center. I told her I had seen her work at the Visitor Center and thought it was a very interesting piece. At Marion Square I was able to see the rest of the pear collection. Very nicely done. The detail was great as well as the different "pear" scenarios. I was able to sign up for her mailing list. She will be having a gallery event later this year that she will be sending out invitations for. I would like to go.

I also got to talk to Will Hegler. His work was just amazing to me. He explained to my mother and I that it was a combination of mosaics, pointillism and stained glass. There was a picture on display of the new Ravenel Bridge that was just amazing. He told me that he submitted it to be the poster for the Bridge Run this year. While it was not chosen, he got an honorable mention. He then took out his portfolio and showed he the picture of the old bridge where it was chosen back in 2003.....I think that is the year he told me. The detail was something I just could not describe to anyone else. You have to see it to believe it.

We stopped at many other booths and spoke to a few other artists. The two most impressive to me were the two above. We stopped by Kent Ambler and saw his woodcut prints. We also went to the booth of the winner this year of the poster...Elaine Berlin. Caryn Smith also had some lovely works as well and so did Margaret de Ruyter Connell. We saw many more. We came to the booth or should I say booths owed by the Spencer's. I liked the work by Mrs. Spencer and not so much Mr. Spencer. My mother was the exact opposite. She liked Mr. Spencer over Mrs. Spencer.

The two pieces I like the most were kind of hidden away on the back panel. They were not there but there was a girl or young woman manning the booths for them today. On the left side and I forget the name now.. was a scene from Italy that had beautiful purple and pink fields of flowers. On the right was a picture the young woman called the "Italian cat." Those were my favorites by her.

There was so much art to see that there was no way to see to all in one day. A second trip will be required to see the rest. I know I will find some other marvelous works of art to marvel at when we return. It was another great Spoleto day!

It is not the paper mill! It is pluff mud!

Joe Pasta

Today after Spoletoing my mother and I ate at Joe Pasta. It is good casual Italian food. I had never been there before. Well, as soon as I walked in the door I was greeted by one of my former classmates from Bishop England from the late 1970's. I do not think that I have seen him since high school. That was a good sign. The place was packed and I think that the kitchen was on Spoleto overload. Our food was a bit slow in coming but when it did it was worth the wait. My mother actually had her pasta about 10 minutes before my Greek wrap came out. And we were actually served before a table of 6 got there food who were there waiting long before we must have arrived.

My mother ordered the build your own pasta: spinach noodles with Alfredo sauce and chicken. Muy bien! I had the Greek chicken wrap. It was marvelous! Would I eat there again. Yes. I give Joe Pasta two thumbs up and a big dab of pluff mud!

Joe Pasta : 428 King St, Charleston, SC

  • Cuisines: Italian
  • Average price*: $8
  • Tel: 843-965-5252

  • It is not the paper mill! It is pluff mud!

    Backyard Blooms

    It is not the paper mill! It is pluff mud!

    Phillip Simmons

    About a month ago I was in the Barnes and Noble in the West Ashley area and just by chance Phillip Simmons was there doing a book signing. I was elated. I got the chance to meet him and I got a signed copy of his book. The book is called Charleston Blacksmith, The Work of Phillip Simmons. He is a legend and if you have noticed any of the iron work in the Charleston downtown area, it most likely is his work.

    Phillip Simmons learned his craft from a local blacksmith named Peter Simmons, who ran a busy shop at the foot of Calhoun Street. In 1938 he got into the ornamental work you see around the city today. Simmons has fashioned more than five hundred decorative pieces of ornamental wrought iron: gates, fences, balconies, and window grills. In 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded him its National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor that the United States can bestow on a traditional artist. This recognition was followed by a similar award by the South Carolina state legislature for "lifetime achievement" and commissions for public sculptures by the South Carolina State Museum and the city of Charleston. For more about him follow the link.
    If you want a copy of the book I just got, check it out on amazon.

    It is not the paper mill! It is pluff mud!

    The Edge of America

    Memorial Day was spent in a very classic way. I debated on seeing the Constant Wife about a week ago when tickets were still available but decided to spent the day at the beach. I also felt like it would be impossible to go to a night Spoleto event as we would be exhausted from the sun. I was right.

    I loaded up the car and took my family to Folly Beach County Park. Folly Beach is one of my very favorite places to go regardless of the weather. Rain or shine. I love the beach in the rain. You find the best shells then. They are being thrown up from the bottom of the sea. The breeze on yesterday was constant and it was just right. Not too hot and not too cool. I did get a slight tan. I can see swimsuit marks on my shoulders. It was a great day of leisure. After four and a half hours we called it a day!

    It is not the paper mill! It is pluff mud!

    May 28, 2007

    Piccolo Spoleto 23rd Annual Juried Art Exhibition

    We went to the Piccolo Spoleto 23rd Annual Juried Art Exhibition on Sunday. It was a day of art, dessert and walking the Charleston Market. Luckily there is parking at the Visitor Center. We were unable to get into the front short term parking as it was full. I did not waste time driving around looking for a meter there. We went straight into the parking garage.

    The exhibit was lovely and I did find a few favorites. One of the best was a piece called Wisteria. You know I am all about wisteria! I just love it! As I walked around I saw that there was a little bit of everything. Even some very odd pieces. (I wrote the names down on a little slip of paper and put it in a safe place....who knows where that safe place is now) I guess I will just have to describe the pieces if I can't recall the name. I do remember Southern Pear. It was almost disturbing. They were pears with breasts. Very odd that one.

    The piece called Sistersreally was a contrast between ways of life and really brings home that it takes all types to make up this world. There were some mixed media collage pieces that were very pretty. I really like the one that had some bible verses worked into it. That was lovely. The detail was incredible. Some of the photography was excellent. There was only one piece that seemed really odd. It had the quality of a third grader drawing. No definition of fingers and toes. It was a person from the rear rendered like a school child would draw. That was the only one that did not seem to fit.

    Others were just a little scary--or so my daughter thought. These I do not recall names. I might have to go back there to get them. There was a painting on a back wall of a man on the stairs in a sort of greenish/blue glow. His eyes seemed to be on you no matter where you stood. He was always watching. Then there were some face closeups. One was a woman who had an eye and then 1/2 of a pair of glasses on the other. Odd. The other scary one was of a girls face with one distorted eye. I explained to my daughter that it was all art. Even the ones she thought looked a little scary. I explained the art forms out there were varied as well and this was all a part of exposing her and broadening her horizons. She actually went back to some of those and really looked at them again. (My job as mother was done)

    After that we decided to go to the Charleston Market and walk around. Can we say Spoleto Parking from HELL! We spent at least 45 minutes looking for a parking space at a meter or a parking garage that was not FULL that was close by. Finally I decided to just park at the garage near the bank. They charge more than anyone else I have seen but I just wanted to park at that point. They charge $1.00 for every 20 minutes. Crooks! I ended up paying them $8.00 for parking.

    We parked and went to Black Market Minerals and at first just window shopped. Who can do that in there. We ended up buying mood rings and other gemmed items. It was girly fun! We walked the entire market from end to end marveling at all the items on display. They before going home we had dessert at one of my favorite places Kaminsky's. It is a Charleston Must Go To Place when you visit here. Kaminsky's is a dessert and coffee cafe. They have a vast array of coffees that would rival Starbucks, as well as a full beer, wine and liquor selection. The desserts are made fresh each day.

    Most people go there for dessert. I had the Italian Creme Cake and my daughter had the Pound of Chocolate, chocolate cake. They were both out of this world! I had the house blend coffee. We had excellent service by the server who helped us. It is my place to go if I was having a bad day. Chocolate always makes things better. Chocolate and a tiara. After that we headed home all sugared and caffeined up! It was a great Spoleto day!

    It is not the paper mill! It is pluff mud!

    May 27, 2007

    The Reggae Block Dance: Piccolo Spoleto

    I have been to the Reggae Block Dance a few times in the past, but I had not been in the last three years. I was determined to go this year. As it usually is, it was at the Customs House. It was hosted this year by Osei Chandler and featured African drumming, dance and reggae music by the Dis n Dat Band and Grammy Award nominee PATO BANTON.

    I wanted to be sure that I did not have to stand so I left West Ashley around 5:30 as I knew that there would be no parking to be found. I drove around in circles for a very long time trying to find just one single parking meter open. NONE! I finally parked in the small lot on Market Street. I took my daughter with me and we walked on down through the throng of people to the Customs House. When we arrived there was still plenty of open steps left at The Customs House. We went almost to the top so that we were just about eye level with the stage. It was a beautiful night and the wind off the water was just heavenly. I would say we got there around 6:15 so we had quite a while to sit. The place began to fill up fast.

    The wind was picking up and thank goodness I wore long sleeves or I would have been a little cool. With that said my nose began to run and since I had changed purses to match my outfit I did not have all my normal things with me. I had no Kleenex with me. So I dispatched my daughter off to the closest vendor who was to the right of us under the white tent in the picture above to get me three napkins for my nose.

    I could tell when she asked that one of black women manning the booth was not going to give her the napkins. Her neck and body posture said it all and she was talking, talking talking with my child just standing there. I mean, it does not take but a second to say here is a napkin and give it to her. After about a minute of her standing there, I saw another lady at the booth hand my daughters napkins and she came back to me. I asked her what happened and she said the first old biddy (and that is me being nice) was all over her saying that the napkins were for customers and that she could not have them and when my daughter said okay and turned to leave, the one who was doing all the talking told the other lady at the booth to give my daughter the three napkins. As my daughter left, this same woman told her that she had better not see her buying food from any other vendor but her that night.

    Can you believe that? I was all ready to march back down there and give her a piece of mind and give her back some snotty napkins. I said no....I was not going to let this woman's bad attitude spoil my evening. She had just lost two customers. We had not eaten any dinner and we had been thinking of buying food from that booth. They were close to where we were sitting. Needless to say we went hungry that evening. On the way home we stopped at Wendy's and got a burger.

    The evening began with the African drumming and it was fun. There was a lot of audience participation with people going up on stage. Of course there was one wild and crazy guy in the front who was dancing all over, wildly as if he had no cares in the world. There is always one like that. He was over the top with the dancing. Very entertaining and I guess some of us were secretly wishing we could be that free and wild in public.

    The next performers were the Dis N Dat Band. I had not heard of them before. They were pretty good! Here they are.

    The act that followed this was a young man who attends The School of the Arts: Daniel Davis. He played a mean violin. He was absolutely out of this world with the talent and skill that he displayed. He played "popular" hip hop/vocal songs from current artists. He was excellent!

    Finally the main event: Pato Banton. He was wonderful as well. I was thinking of trying to make it over to his booth to buy a CD but the crowds were just overwhelming by that time. I would just have to get it late on line.

    I decided to leave before the show was over. I wanted to try to beat the crowds. We left about 10:25 pm which gave us just enough lead time to get out of the lot and get home. The Reggae Block Dance was great and of course it is one of the free events. You can't beat that. If you missed it this year, plan to attend next year. You won't be disappointed. Who can be disappointed with cool breezes and rhythmic reggae music to dance in the streets to? It was a night for reggae magic!
    It is not the paper mill! It is pluff mud!

    The Almost Three Hour Tour

    The Fort Sumter Tour. I have not been on that since a trip in grade school. I decided to go by myself to see it as an adult. It was very educational as I learned more than I ever wanted to know. One thing that the tour guys wanted us to be sure not to believe anymore was that the first shots of the civil war was fired from Charleston. It was not. It was fired from a fort in the area which was a signal for all the other forts to begin firing upon Fort Sumter. It was an overcast day, cool and very breezy on the boat. I picked up the tour right at the Charleston Aquarium near the IMax Theatre.

    As we got underway there were all sorts of other boats at sea as well. Ahoy!

    Here we are as we finally arrive. The trips to and from were delightful...all that fresh sea air!

    On December 20, 1860 South Carolina delegates to a special secession convention voted unanimously to secede from the United States of America. In November, Abraham Lincoln had been elected President of the United States with little support from the southern states. The critical significance of this election was expressed in South Carolina’s Declaration of the Immediate Causes of Secession: “A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all states north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of president of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery.” The Declaration claimed that secession was justified because the Federal government had violated the constitutional compact by encroaching upon the rights of the sovereign states. As the primary violation, the Declaration listed the failure of 14 northern states to enforce the Federal Fugitive Slave Act or to restrict the actions of antislavery organizations. “Thus the constituted compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slaveholding States, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation.” The Declaration expressed South Carolina’s fear that “The slaveholding states will no longer have the power of self-government, or self-protection, and the Federal Government will have become their enemy.”

    It is not the paper mill! It is pluff mud!

    It is Spoleto Time!

    It is the time of year that I love the most in Charleston. It is Spoleto time! It is my chance to go Spoletoing....yes I invented that word. Spoletoing! I get to dress up, play tourist and enrich myself in the cultural events around town. Last year I went to at least 10 events. I had a great time last year. This year I have my camera ready and will attempt to chronical my "tourist in plain sight" activities.

    About Spoleto Festival USA

    Spoleto Festival 2007

    Spoleto Festival USA was founded in 1977 by Gian Carlo Menotti, Christopher Keene and others involved in the Festival of Two Worlds as the American counterpart to that festival held annually in Spoleto, Italy. A Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, Menotti began the Italian festival in 1958 as a forum for young American artists in Europe. The festival quickly became a haven for a large group of artists, both traditional and experimental, who found the mix of dance, theater, opera, music, and the visual arts to be both exciting and stimulating.

    When the organizers of the Festival of Two Worlds planned an American festival, they searched for an American city that would offer the charm of Spoleto, Italy, and also its wealth of theaters, churches, and other performance spaces. Charleston, South Carolina was the perfect counterpart. The city is small enough to be dominated by nonstop arts events during the 17-day festival, but also large and sophisticated enough to provide a knowledgeable audience and appropriate theaters. Furthermore,Charleston has an extensive history of involvement with the arts from housing America’s first theater and ballet companies to housing the oldest musical organization in the country.

    Spoleto Festival USA has maintained traditions of the Festival of Two Worlds such as a dedication to young artists, a fascination with contemporary effort, an enthusiasm for providing unusual performance opportunities to recognized masters in their fields, and a commitment to all forms of the performing arts. Each year, audience members experience a broad range of artistic styles and forms, including classical ballet; modern and post-modern dance; opera; chamber, symphonic, and choral music; jazz; theater; and visual arts. Spoleto has earned a reputation for offering programs of the highest artistic caliber, supporting new and innovative works, nurturing outstanding young artists, and expanding public appreciation of the arts. This focus has brought the festival international acclaim year after year.

    It is not the paper mill! It is pluff mud!