Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Party At The Point April 26, 2013 Rocked-Blue Monday Made It A Red-Letter Friday

Last night, if you got to the Point, it was no disappoint. The Party At The Point was attended by a record crowd for an opening night and the featured band,  Blue Monday, rocked. The great weather made it near perfect. I say near perfect because the no-see-ums made an appearance early on, but when the dancing started they departed.

I arrived around 6:45 pm from Summerville. The parking lot at the resort was already full. So, going in I knew it was shaping up to be a large crowd and a big night. Blue Monday had already took to the stage on the beach and were just beginning to warm-up. By the time the sunset, they were sizzling. While I was recording video, I got pulled into the dancing crowd by a couple of ladies by the name of Jules and Vicky and imprinted a few steps of my own into the cool sands.

Lizette, the lead singer for the group, was a definite crowd pleaser and motivator. At one point, she stepped down from the stage into the crowd. It was a move that impressed me. Her vocals were powerful and her range was expansive. In her bio, Lizette credits a friend with her move into singing where she relates, "It's all my friend's fault. Colette got me into this beautiful mess when I was nineteen." Matt, Joe, Woody, and Mike provide the instrumentals and accompanying vocals. The group flowed from one song to the next with precision.


Friends, family, kids and dogs all had a great time. A walk on the pier, which is a must, is always a relaxing and refreshing pause from the crowds and high energy on the beach.

I got some good pictures of the passing container ships that come close to the pier.

Couples use the pier as a place to take in a few moments to connect. "Mon amour pour toi est aussi grand que le monde."

After taking in the bay breezes and skyline of historic Charleston in the setting sun with the USS Yorktown and the Ravenel Bridge nearby, I was ready to rejoin the party on the sandy beach and get another cool one to place in the free koozie that was passed out upon entry.

The Party At The Point has everything we love about Charleston-water, sand, history, and southern charm. The fun has just begun. Every Friday at the same time each week the Point will be the place you will want to close out the work week and kick-off the weekend. Click on Party At The Point for the complete schedule. Enjoy the pictures and video. Then make it a point to join the fun.

Monday, April 22, 2013

"Get To The Point"-North to South, It's All A Great Time For Everyone

When someone we are engaged with in conversation rambles on about where they are going on a particular subject matter, we often say, "Get to the point." If you are from Ohio, like myself, getting to the point could mean something entirely different. "Get to the Point" was also an advertising slogan for Cedar Point, a world class amusement park located at the tip of a peninsula on Lake Erie in Sandusky. When I lived in Ohio, going to Cedar Point was a tradition I eagerly looked forward to every year.

We lived about two hours driving time from the park, so it was a always a full day excursion. We would get up at the crack of dawn to leave with enough time to make it for the opening and would stay until near closing. A complete day of flips, dips, over the top high-speed gut-wrenching plunges, and tennis shoe water-soaking rides accompanied by an entertaining dose of shows, games, and attractions.

Cedar Point has been around long time. It opened in 1870. It is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the United States. It features a world-record 72 rides, including 15 roller coasters making it the park with the third-most roller coasters in the world. It is the only amusement park in the world with four roller coasters taller than 200 ft - Magnum XL-200 at 205 ft, Millennium Force at 310 ft, Wicked Twister at 215 ft, and Top Thrill Dragster at 420 ft. It received the Golden Ticket Award for "Best Amusement Park in the World" from Amusement Today for the past 15 years. It is the "Roller Coaster Capital of the World". This year it will open with a 16th roller coaster called the GateKeeper at 174 ft. If you are a roller coaster enthusiast, Cedar Point is a must do.

I no longer live in Ohio. It has been some time since I have been to beautiful Sandusky and Cedar Point. I now live in South Carolina and beautiful Charleston, but getting to the point is still a priority, that is to say Patriots Point. There are no world class roller coasters on this point. Patriots Point is home to Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum and a fleet of National Historic Landmark ships, including the World War II aircraft carrier USS Yorktown. The old carrier has become one the state's major tourist attractions with more than 270,000 visitors each year.

Patriots Point also has a golf course, a hotel, and a collegiate athletic complex. The hotel is the Charleston Harbor Resort. It is host to the main reason I get to the Point, the Party at the Point.

The first installment of the weekly event for 2013 begins April 26th. The beach party offers you an opportunity to stick your feet into the cool sands of the resorts waterfront beach, revitalize yourself with a cool drink after a long day of whatever, and enjoy some music with Charleston Harbor as the backdrop. A long pier stretching out into the bay is perfect for taking a relaxing stroll to soak in the gentle, salty ocean breezes and viewing the shipping activities of one of the largest and busiest ports in the United States. Maybe, you will catch a glimpse of one of the many huge container ships passing close by.
The featured band on April 26th will be Blue Monday. The band is a 5 piece female fronted band performing music from the cool and fun music of the 80's. Music from bands like Journey, U2, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, and others. The band relocated from New York City after a successful 10 year run. The bands hard hitting classics will take you back into a 30 year old time machine. It is billed as a tribute to the MTV revolution of music. On May 3rd Daggermuffin, a Folly Beach based trio, will be the featured band along with Old You. May 10th will be the CofC Graduation Party with Long Miles. For the complete schedule go to Party on the Point.

This is a family friendly event. The gates open at 5:30 pm, and the bands start at around 6:30. Bring cash for admission and for the bar, and bring your friends too. See you on the beach.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Wreck On Shem Creek-A Hidden Gem With Interesting Ambience and Good Food

If it wasn't for the GPS, finding our way around the numerous turns and side streets could have been somewhat of a challenge. No large sign confirmed our arrival. Numerous trees draped with Spanish moss concealed the establishment. The only verification we had arrived at our destination was the GPS prompt and a wooden sign over a walkway leading to the waters of Shem Creek. The restaurant entrance was to the right of the walkway, a small wooden deck leading to a red door, but the allure of the waterfront seduces you to venture on down the walkway past the wooden, overhead sign where on the left , surrounded by low growing bushes, was the dilapidated remains of a weather worn, old boat.


The view of Shem Creek is splendid. Close by, a shrimp boat was moored on the wooden pilings along the water's edge. Across the inlet waters, on the other side, was the sprawling marsh of Shem Creek and the wooden walkway used by visitors for taking in the sights and sounds of the old waterway. Beyond, in the distance, I could see the pointed spires of the Ravenel Bridge standing tall in the darkening skyline of Charleston.

The name of the restaurant is The Wreck of the Richard and Charlene, so named in honor of the Richard and Charlene, a North Atlantic trawler that was destroyed by Hurricane Hugo while it was moored at the Wando dock. The story relates how during the fury of the hurricane the piling on which the trawler was moored tore loose from the bottom of the creek and became impaled on a nearby dock. After the waters of the hurricane receded, the ruined trawler sat for nine months, immovable until finally removed by salvagers, never to sail again.

The restaurant is in a dark, old building. Green awnings covered the side that faced the creek. The wood rails and posts leading down towards the water were weather beaten and gracefully grayed with age. Wooden benches and a few tables with chairs were scattered about. I took some pictures and breathed in the salty air and for the moment reflected on serenity of Shem Creek. I headed back to the front entrance.

Upon entry, past the red door, an old boat hung from the ceiling. At the hostess booth, a sign advised us that cell phone usage was prohibited in the dining area. We were greeted by the hostess and within five minutes escorted to a table with a good view of the water. Like the building, the interior was dark, unpainted and uninteresting. An old ship's wheel was mounted on one of the support pillars.

The tables were covered with paper instead of cloth and the chairs were uncomfortable. It was apparent ambiance was not a concern. Judging by the packed restaurant, the customers didn't care about the ambiance either. We looked over the menu that was handed us as the waitress greeted us and answered a few of our questions. Ordering here is different than what is customary. We were instructed to circle our choices with the provided red marker. This was primarily a seafood place, so on the menu there was a disclaimer about ordering red meat, basically saying "what you get is what you get" when comes to its preparation and cooking. For me, that would not be a problem. I am not much of a red meat enthusiast.

The Wreck was offering bottles of wine at half price. For my beverage choice I requested sweet tea and it was brought to me in a plastic cup. For my food selection, I chose the shrimp and scallop platter to be fried. The sides included red rice, a hush puppy, and a hominy square. When it was finally delivered to the table, the food was served on a paper plate. With the paper table coverings, paper plates, and plastic cups, it was apparent to me avoiding extra work such as washing dishes was part of their enterprise, and I don't blame them. The shrimp were very tasty and the scallops melted in my mouth. I was surprisingly pleased with the whole platter.

The view of the creek was lovely. The building was a wreck and I concluded that it is part of their ambience. The food was delicious. The service was good. The waitress was accommodating, although she had to be reminded about refilling my sweet tea in the beginning, but that was only once. I would recommend you give The Wreck a try, only bring cash with you, especially if you come in a group. The restaurant will not split the bill, which makes credit card payment difficult, unless you are planning on paying for everyone in your party.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Flowertown Players Present "Much Ado About Nothing"- A Humorous Shakespeare Play Done With Pirates

The first day of the Flowertown Festival had ended, which I had attended earlier. The Smoke at the Lodge was underway and I could hear the music of the bands playing across the street. I was now back in town to attend a play at the James F. Dean Theatre called Much Ado About Nothing. I planned on enjoying a glass wine before the show at Accent on Wine. I was surprised to see there were numerous parking spaces available on Hutchinson Square. I made the short walk from where I parked to Accent on Wine. It was packed with patrons. I engaged in some brief small talk and savored a glass of Pinot Noir. I was now primed and ready for the evening.

Much Ado About Nothing is a comedic play by Shakespeare about two pairs of lovers with two different approaches to their relationships and the part their associates play in their success in love. Benedick's and Beatrice's relationship is somewhat antagonistic because of their outspoken disdain for love and marriage. Claudio and Hero are two young people who are rendered near speechless in their love for one another, but there is villainy a foot. This is pretty much the premise of the play. Now, present all of this with pirate's as the characters. But these are sophisticated pirates and you will hear no "arghs" or "shiver me timbers".

Shakespeare's plays can be very daunting with its voluminous dialogue and biblical dialect. It takes a little time to acclimate your ears to the vocabulary and to navigate through the interchange to understand what is unfolding and if you pay attention, in time it makes complete sense. The last time I heard this much Shakespeare, I was watching Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

The cast of Much Ado About Nothing handled the Shakespearean lingo eloquently. There were no noticeable hiccups or bumps in their elaborately interconnected conversations and with all the action and movement on stage throughout the play, it all came off without a glitch. If there were any glitches, the cast and crew covered them very nicely. Chrissy Eliason, stage manager, did an excellent job in managing its coordination.

The play has a very large cast and its successful presentation was due to all involved. Cast members, Ernie Eliason(Don Pedro), Brent Dorwart(Claudio), Shannon Marie Johnson(Innogen), David Hatch(Benedict), Emma Scot(Beatrice) and Tiffany Eliason(Hero), portrayal of their characters was engaging. The sparring scene where David Hatch and Emma Scott crossed blades was entertaining and well choreographed.

I particularly enjoyed Adrianne Dukes's(Dogberry) and Dody Jean Gaston's(Verges) collaboration on the constable and the constable's partner. They reminded me of Laurel and Hardy at times. Adrianne's dialogue was particularly tricky since it consisted of malapropisms, which is defined as the use of an incorrect word in place of a word with a similar sound, resulting in a nonsensical, often humorous utterance, also known as a Dogberryism, so named for this character. She was also amusing both in her acting and costume.

Not to leave unmentioned, Ernie Eliason and Robert Venne did a top notch job on the elaborate scenery with its crow's nest. The portrait was a nice touch. I raise a mug of grog in a toast to the whole cast, crew and director, Alex Smith, for their hard work and a pleasant evening.

Spend a night at the James F. Dean Theatre in the coming week. There isn't much you can do about nothing, but Much Ado About Nothing is worth the effort to come on down to the theater for an evening, especially if you like pirates and Shakespeare. For a unique night of fun, the Flowertown Players are offering a Dress-Like-A-Pirate Night on Thursday April 11th. Dress up like a pirate and receive $10 off at the door. Purchase tickets here.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April In Summerville Is Jam Packed With Fun Festivals-How Sweet It Is

"Today is April 1st. Sweet tea in the afternoon to y'all. April Fool's day it is." Allegedly, in 2003 as an April Fool's joke, the Georgia House introduced a bill making it a "...misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature" to sell iced tea in a restaurant that did not also offer sweet iced tea on the menu. Needless to say, the bill never went to a vote. You can't accuse the Georgia House of lacking in humor.

In the early 1900s, sweet tea was an item of luxury due to the expensive nature of tea, ice, and sugar. A song has also been written by Cravin’ Melon called Sweet Tea where they sing, "Don't try to offer anything. What it comes right down to baby, don't tempt me; I'm where I wanna be, Cause on the eighth day, God made sweet tea." Listen to the complete song, cool.

Research has unveiled facts claiming Summerville as the "Birthplace of Sweet Tea", and that's no April Fool's joke. In honor of that designation, Summerville had its first Sweet Tea Festival in 2012. And speaking of festivals, April will be one of 2013's hottest months for festivals and events in Summerville. The traditional three day Flowertown Festival in Azalea Park begins on Friday, April 5th. It is one of the largest arts and crafts festivals and ranked as one of the Top 20 events in the Southeast. Over 200,000 visitors and residents will descend upon this historic, southern town honored by antiquity as the Flowertown in the Pines.

Summerville at one time was considered one of the healthiest places in the world for people recovering from respiratory illnesses due to its pine filled woods. While many of the pine trees that graced the landscape surrounding the town have bowed to the axe and modern machinery, many still remain. The shadows of these tall trees are the perfect host for Summerville's other spring time attractions, the brilliantly colorful azalea and the purple wisteria. Vines of wisteria can be seen intertwined with the branches of smaller trees throughout the town's district.

It all begins with the usual Charleston Bagpipers marching four abreast down historic Main Street where over 200 talented artisans from across the country will be displaying their wares as well as throughout Azalea Park. There is always something new. Last year, a replica of the Hunley was displayed at the entrance of S. Main Street.

Of course, there will be the usual sights and sounds. The group that highlights a musician playing the wooden pan pipes are a familiar attraction. The Flowertown Players will be returning with acting demonstrations and short skits performed on their mobile stage at their booth. The Children’s Jubilee located at the corner of 6th Street and S. Main Street offers fun activities and rides for children. The Taste, which features a surprisingly sumptuous and varied cuisine will give festival goers a chance to sample appetizers, main courses and desserts from local restaurants. Finally, musical performances are scheduled on the main stage in the park throughout the three days.

Later in the month, on April 27th, you can be Italian for a day. The first ever Lowcountry Italian Festival 2013 will be held in Summerville, also in Azalea Park, featuring authentic Italian food, drink, merchandise, live music and a Bocce Tournament - click on sign up sheet to enter or call Joe Stringer at (843)-452-1333 for more information. The Lowcountry Festa Italiana is an independent non-profit organization created by four families to promote awareness of Italian-American culture in this area. Admission is free, festival starts at 10 AM and ends at 8 PM.

If you are not interested in being Italian for a day, that same day of April 27th the Southern Flame—Southern Food and Music Festival will be held in The Ponds of Summerville. The musicians and bands scheduled for this celebration of Bluegrass and Rock are Dee Dee Cumbee 11 AM-1 PM, Common Ground featuring Alan Bibey 1:30 PM-3 PM, Hugh Price 4 PM-6 PM and Eddie Bush 6 PM-8 PM. There will also be a BBQ Cook-off. Click on entry form to compete. There is no entry fee for this festival, but a $10 parking pass purchased at the gate is required or go to tickets to purchase a pass at a $2 discount.

We are not finished yet. The 2013 SC Humanities Festival will take place on April 18-21. The theme of the festival is "The Birthplace of Sweet Tea and Southern Hospitality." There are many exciting events planned, including lectures, tours, and performances. Many of the events are free and open to the public, but several require tickets and advanced registration. One example is the event A Southern Sweet Tea Lunch April 20th, 12PM at the Historic Timrod Library. Go to ticket information for details. A full schedule can be down loaded here.

The weather has finally taken a turn for the best. Sunshine and good times ahead. See you around town. Be sure to say hi when you see me. Oh, one last thing; Much Ado About Nothing opens at the James F. Dean Theatre Thursday, April 4th. For the complete schedule go to Flowertown Players.