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Can the Music Festival top itself? I’ve seen a lot of concerts, but I never saw Elvis, or the Beatles, or Led Zeppelin, or Bruce Springsteen.

If any of them was or is any better in concert than Dianne Reeves, I swear I’ll eat my shoe. With a deeply soulful yet consummately professional show that was at least the equal of her Savannah Music Festival performance in 2007, Reeves had the crowd at the Trustees Theatre Friday night eating out of her hand, our anticipation whetted by an extended intro by her masterful quartet, all virtuosos in their own right. I’ve heard a lot of excellent classical musicians, but on Saturday night those memories were blown to dust by the Prazak Quartet in the Telfair. An all-Czech group playing an allCzech program with delightful abandon — as if their very lives depended on it — Prazak gives the lie to classical music’s stuffy reputation. It’s a modern affectation to hold applause until the end of an orchestral work. In the old days, when classical music was really popular music, it wasn’t a faux pas to clap between movements — audiences were supposed to show appreciation all during a concert. If ever a modern ensemble were to augur a return to those old ways, it would be the Prazak Quartet. Playing as a single organism, they

showed why Czech composers and musicians just have an extra, indefinable something. I didn’t get a chance to see the Portuguese fado sensation Mariza perform Saturday. But a couple of friends of mine who are notoriously hard to impress came away amazed, still hypnotized by her show an hour or two afterward. The almost overwhelming musical excellence in town for these three weeks has got me thinking, about the Festival and about Savannah. There’s literally no other place I can think of where you can sit so close to so many of the world’s great musicians in concert, at ticket prices that are largely very reasonable. Our Festival’s often compared to Charleston’s Spoleto, but that’s strictly apples-to-oranges.

Spoleto’s primary mission is to serve as an incubator for new and/or fringe performances. By definition, at Spoleto you will not always see the best of the best — the very, very good is often mixed in with the merely good. The Savannah Music Festival, however, is all about excellence. Featured acts may not always be the most popular musicians, but they’re certainly the best available. This commitment to excellence is a hallmark of the Festival under Rob Gibson’s tenure. See our interview with Gibson this issue, and check out a short video interview with Gibson along with several other Festival vids on our website at We have jumped into digital media big-time, and the videos you’ll see at the site are hopefully just a taste of what’s to come. In addition, at the website we are featuring the amazing photography of Geoff Johnson, who is generously and capably shooting stills at the Festival for us this year. PS: I know I promised a Bela Fleck interview this issue, but I decided to hold that till next week, as Jim Reed wanted to bring back our tradition of spotlighting Noteworthy upcoming Savannah Music Festival shows. CS

 An af8 Community: ter-action report

on this year’s changes to the St. Patrick’s Day festival. by linda sickler


Environment: A

waterman reflects on his recent naturebased field trip with some DeRenne Middle School students. by Michael neal

10 Hear & Now 11 Blotter

feedback | | fax (912) 231-9932 | 1800 E. Victory Dr., Suite 7, Savannah, GA 31404

Wild Wing bartender speaks Editor, Dear Connect readers and all Savannah citizens concerned with forming a fair opinion of the “Wild Wing Cafe Situation:” I, Shannon Lowry, am a 15-year veteran in the bar business. As much as I hate the term, or what it implies, I am a “career bartender.” I have been serving alcohol for 15 years, from coast to coast, and have never been convicted of any violation or misconduct whatsoever. These proceedings are making a mockery of what I do, what I have done well, dilligently, and professionally for the better part of my life. There is not a single person working at Wild Wing today that has committed any violation of proper procedure, yet we have all been made to live in an environment of fear, for our jobs, for the

security of our an economy that will not be kind if we are left unemployed. No one there has done anything wrong, but still, our city council has proclaimed a vindictive vendetta against this eastablishment and is hell-bent on finding any and every violation of a nearly impossible set of rules and standards with which they want to shut this business down... This is all so uncomprehensible to me. There are approximately 125 employees currently working there, and not to beat a dead horse, but, NONE OF US HAS VIOLATED ANY LAWS OR DONE ANYTHING WRONG. It is a fact, undeniable, that 3 times in the last 2 years, 3 individuals working at this establishment have mistakenly served underage; however, in all instances, the individuals responsible have been terminated immediately. With a staff of this size, and a business that does the volume that this one does, it is next to impos-

sible to prevent the occasional slip up, but the immediacy with which each and every violation has been dealt cannot be ignored. I do not disagree with there being repercussions for said infractions, but the vehemence and seemingly personal anger that this situation has been dealt with leaves me befuddled. I have lived many places and dealt with local governments regarding liquor sales and the bar business in general, and I have never seen such an apparent personal crusade taken against a business. Wild Wing Cafe caters to many city events, a diverse clientele of family and community groups, and I can say with 100 percent certainty that we make every effort to do so within the boundaries of the law. I’ve stated the size of the staff, but I haven’t touched on the people this affects in any kind of detail. Many who I work with support families on their wages. Many have made a career of this.

They have mouths to feed and mortgages to pay. They are people that will help you out in a bind and work really hard for everything they have. Does city council think about US in these efforts to shut this business down? I just hope that people realize that this is a strange and vindictive attack going on that involves a whole lot of REAL PEOPLE WITH REAL FAMILIES AND REAL LIVES to support, and I hope if anyone is in question about their stance on this issue, that they will make an effort to see the city council hearing so that they can see the harsh and seemingly personal way that this has been dealt with, and for God’s sake please don’t forget the many lives and families affected by this “scandal”. Shannon Lowry Bartender, Wild Wing Cafe

12 Straight Dope 13 News of the Weird 14 Earthweek


Dance: Savannah 26 Arts Academy

puts on an ambitious, full-length Cinderella. by linda sickler

15 Music 17 Savannah Music Fest 27 Art 28 movies


by Jim Morekis |

news & opinion

News & Opinion

editor’s note

Profile for Connect Savannah

Connect Savannah, March 25, 2009  

Connect Savannah, March 25, 2009