Hail to the ChIEF(S), PAGE 5 | copying the old masters for fun & profit, page 12 IVan neville’s dumpstaphunk, page 16 | dirty rotten scoundrels reviewed, page 26 Feb 24-mar 2, 2010 news, arts & Entertainment weekly free connectsavannah.com
MUSIC Making metal magic and musical mayhem with Skeletonwitch | 18
Glass half empty Special Report: Savannah’s water supply is threatened by growth and industry By patrick rodgers | 8
photo illustration by Brandon blatcher
You say you want a Design Revolution Road Show? We all want to change the world | 21
art patrol Lots of visuals going on around town, including kissin’ cowboys | 28
news & opinion
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Connect Savannah is a proud sponsor of the 2010 Savannah Music Festival
Hail to the Chief(s) It’s been interesting listening to some of the reaction to President Obama’s upcoming visit here March 2. Much like the hysteria over his Sept. 2009 speech to public school classrooms — a commonplace enough thing for presidents before him — the negative feedback has taken on an ugly overtone. The announcement of the visit on the Savannah Morning News website is a classic example. If you read the comments below the story, you see disgust not only with his administration, but with Obama as a person and with the very idea of his physical presence. Some sentiments seem to go beyond mere political disagreement and into a stranger, darker place. Things don’t have to be this way, and things haven’t always been this way. Leaving aside President George W. Bush’s visits to Savannah — a quick non-public appearance at the 2004 G8 summit and several campaign stops at military bases — there’s been only one really big, truly public appearance here by a president in recent memory. Or not so recent memory, since it occurred almost 18 years to the day before Obama’s upcoming visit. On March 1, 1992, President George H. W. Bush visited River Street on a campaign stop during his unsuccessful reelection bid. Unlike his son’s much more tightly controlled, limitedaccess visits here, during the first Bush’s appearance anyone who wanted to brave the crowd was invited and allowed onto River Street. It was the biggest thing that had happened in Savannah in a long time, and it transcended politics. Are you kidding? It was the president! I don’t remember a word Bush said during his hour-long speech on that sunny March day on the river, but one vivid, pleasant image of the day stayed with me. After the speech, I let the large crowd
disperse and took my time walking back to my car east on Bay Street with my oldest daughter, then about three years old. Bay Street was, of course, blocked off from all regular auto traffic because of the president’s visit. Other than people walking from the event, it was deserted. Suddenly a large black limousine came west on Bay Street, alone except for a motorcycle escort. As it passed, through the tinted windows I saw President Bush lean over his wife Barbara, wave and smile at us. We were just a couple of people on a sidewalk. He could just as easily have hidden behind those tinted windows as he sped past. But he chose to make the effort to reach out to us, and that moment remains in my memory. I ended up voting for Bush in that election, a vote I don’t regret for a minute. Regardless of how much things have changed since then, I’ll always fondly remember that brief, friendly wave from a president. It was quite simply An Important Event. As is President Obama’s visit next week. You can like it or not like it, but that’s the way it is. I never met James Holland, the retiring director and founder of the Altamaha Riverkeeper. But he is one of my heroes. More correctly: Holland was himself the Riverkeeper. He began the organization a decade ago as a lifelong crabber and waterman in the Darien, Ga., area tired of seeing his livelihood destroyed by chemical and industrial effluent into his beloved Altamaha River.
Fed by the Oconee, Ocmulgee, and Ohoopee Rivers, the Altamaha is the second largest watershed on the east coast and the only undammed major river in Georgia. As a hybrid river of both alluvial and blackwater origin, it’s also one of the most interesting waterborne adventures you can experience in the United States, hosting over 120 rare or endangered species. After posting an exemplary record of holding industries accountable all along the 14,000 square mile watershed, Holland retires from the Riverkeeper effective this April. His record of environmental stewardship on the Altamaha stands in stark contrast to the condition of the Savannah River, as documented in this week’s cover story by our own Patrick Rodgers. We all could learn a lesson from Mr. Holland, and his work will be missed, though his legacy carries on. For a heartfelt goodbye letter from Pierre Howard, president of the Georgia Conservancy, go to www.georgiaconservancy.org. For more info on the Altamaha Riverkeeper, which continues to protect the river, go to altamahariverkeeper.org. A couple of weeks ago, there were some errors in a column Robin Wright Gunn wrote about the First City Network’s Saturday Social events. Following is a correction direct from the author: “In the February 10th Hear and Now column, on the First City Network Saturday Social, I included incorrect information about one of the couples at the event, Gwen and Jo Ellen. The February Social was not the first that they have attended. Also, they moved to Savannah for a work opportunity for Gwen, not for Jo Ellen. I regret making these errors and thank Gwen and Jo Ellen for contacting me to set the record straight.” cs
Good vibrations on gay issues Editor, On Feb. 8, Interim Police Chief Willie Lovett met with me, the director of the Savannah chapter of Georgia Equality, and other members of the GLBT community. The members attending had
community on an ongoing basis. It is our opinion that Chief Lovett genuinely wishes to repair any real or perceived harm that the GLBT community incurred as a result of the incident. It was mutually agreed that the issue of city permitting must still be addressed with a view toward resolving this matter once and for
hear and now :
12 When is an Old
Master really a Young Gun? by robin wright gunn
8 environment 13 Blotter 14 Straight Dope 15 News of the Weird
Toto 24 theatre: isn’t in Kansas
anymore, he’s at the Johnny Mercer Theatre. by bill deyoung
27 The Hellblinki
feedback | firstname.lastname@example.org | fax (912) 231-9932 | 1800 E. Victory Dr., Suite 7, Savannah, GA 31404
been present at the leafletting incident on Oct. 22 2009 at The Trustees Theater. We are elated that there were many positive and very encouraging outcomes and the path to the future looks bright and promising. We were delighted by the gracious manner of Chief Lovett and his willingness to reach out to our
all! Chief Lovett stated that he will refer the matter to City Attorney James Blackburn for legal review and guidance. The ultimate outcome must provide for the protection of our quintessential constitutional right to free speech. Kevin Clark
Sextet is part of the grand ‘reopening’ of The Wormhole in the Starland District. by bill deyoung
18 Music 23 Food & Drink 28 Art 29 movies
FEB 24 - MAR 2, 2010 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM
by Jim Morekis | email@example.com
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News & Opinion www.connectsavannah.com/news
week at a glance FEB 24 - MAR 2, 2010 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM
this week | compiled by Patrick Rodgers | firstname.lastname@example.org
Week at a Glance www.connectsavannah.com/wag
Events marked with this symbol are things we think are especially cool and unique.
Wednesday Theatre: Call Forward
What: The Readers’ Theatre
series presents a staged reading of a new play by local playwright Pam Newton that explores attempts at connection and reconnection between a black woman and a white woman with a shared history. When: Wed. Feb. 24, 7 p.m. Where: S.P.A.C.E. Black Box, 9 W. Henry St. , Cost: Free Info: http://www.savannahga.gov/arts
Wired Magazine’s Chris Anderson
What: Anderson is editor-
in-chief of Wired Magazine and a successful author. He’ll discuss the new economy and how it translates to business future opportunities. When: Wed. Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m. Where: Trustees Theater, 216 E. Broughton St. Cost: Free
Film: Hired to Kill (Italy, 1972)
What: The Psychotronic
Film Society presents this low-budget Italian crime pic featuring a hijacked drug shipment, hitmen, a scape goat pimp, revenge killing and sweet car chases. For mature audiences only. When: Wed. Feb. 24, 8 p.m. Where: The Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave. Cost: $5 Info: http://myspace.com/ psychotronicfilms
An Antique Car Show on Saturday closes Armstrong Atlantic State University’s Homecoming Week, marking the university’s 75th year
Guerrilla Marketing 101 What: City-sponsored
workshop teaching how to create professional marketing materials for a business on a limited budget. When: Thu. Feb. 25, 10 a.m. Where: Savannah Entrepreneurial Center, 801 E. Gwinnett St. Cost: $25 Info: 912-233-9056.
Lecture: DJ Stout
What: Design consultant
and former Texas Monthly art director Stout offers up food for thought. 3rd installment in the Creative Seed Initiative Series. When: Thu. Feb. 25, 7:30 p.m. Where: Trustees Theater, 216 E. Broughton St. Cost: Free
Theatre: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
What: The Masquers troupe
presents this hilarious comedy about con men. When: Thu. Feb. 25, 7:30 p.m., Fri. Feb. 26, 7:30 p.m., Sat. Feb. 27, 7:30 p.m. Where: AASU Jenkins Hall Theater, 11935 Abercorn St. Cost: $15/general, student/ military/senior discounts Info: 912-344-2801.
What: SCAD’s Performing
Arts Dept presents Shakespeare’s classic tragedy of the title character’s rise to the throne. When: Thu. Feb. 25, 8 p.m., Fri. Feb. 26, 8 p.m., Sat. Feb. 27, 8 p.m., Sun. Feb. 28, 3 p.m. Where: The Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St. Cost: $5-15 Info: 912-525-5050. http:// www.lucastheatre.com/
What: Celebrates hand-
made comic books and Do-It-Yourself publishing. 40 vendors. Also includes demos on drawing, binding and more. When: Fri. Feb. 26, 11 a.m.4 p.m. Where: Pirates House, 2nd Floor, 20 E. Broad St. , Cost: Free and open to the public Info: www.scad.edu
‘Anthony Benezet and the Beginning of Atlantic Abolitionism’ What: Maurice Jackson,
author and professor at Georgetown University gives a presentation followed at 1pm by a book signing. When: Fri. Feb. 26, 12 p.m. Where: AASU, University Hall rm 158, 11935 Abercorn St. Cost: Free and open to the public Info: 912-344-3141.
for a complete listing
Potable Gold: Savannah’s Madeira Tradition
of this week’s music go to: soundboard.
What: Learn about the his-
tory of Madeira in Savannah (and sample a few kinds) at this recreation of an 18th Century Madeira party. For more info: 912236-8097. When: Fri. Feb. 26, 5:30 p.m., Sat. Feb. 27, 5:30 p.m. Where: The Davenport House, 324 E. State St. Cost: $20/person Info: http://www.davenporthousemuseum.org/
for a list of this weeks gallery + art shows: art patrol
Comedian Dan Adhoot What: Adhoot, a college
circuit mainstay, has made appearances on Comedy Central and Jay Leno’s show. When: Fri. Feb. 26, 8 p.m. Where: AASU Fine Arts Auditorium, 11935 Abercorn St. Cost: Donation of 2 canned food items Info: www.armstrong.edu
Go to: Screenshots for our mini-movie reviews
go to: happenings for even more things to do in Savannah this week
Freebie of the Week | What: AASU
Armstrong Atlantic 75th Anniversary Homecoming Week
celebrates 75 years since its founding. Many events are free & open to the public; go to www.armstrong.edu 22-27 Where: Armstrong Atlantic State University Cost: Free When: Feb.
Seacrest Partners Race for Preservation 10k/5k What: 10k/5k benefits
the Historic Savannah Foundation. When: Sat. Feb. 27, 8 a.m., Same day registration available at 7:30 a.m. Where: Starts in Forsyth Park at the renovated Fort Cost: $25 Info: www.historicsavannahfoundation.org
Polk’s Saturday Market What: Featuring a
variety of arts, crafts and specialty foods vendors along with all the market’s usual produce and local goods. When: Sat. Feb. 27, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Where: Polk’s Market, 530 E. Liberty St. Cost: Free Info: 912-238-3032. http://polksfreshmarket. com/
Design Revolution Roadshow
What: A program about
how design can be used to impact social change, with the ultimate goal of enabling and empowering the next generation of creative problem-solvers. Includes exhibit and presentation. When: Sat. Feb. 27, 10:30 a.m. Where: Trustees Theater, 216 E. Broughton St. Cost: Free Info: http://www.designrevolutionroadshow.com/
Fundraiser and Booksigning
What: The merchants
of Mercer Plaza host an open house featuring a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and a book signing with local reality TV star Ruby Gettinger. When: Sat. Feb. 27, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Where: Mercer Plaza, Wilmington Island Cost: Free admission, items separate Info: www.cancer.org/
What: A day of free dance
lessons in a variety of styles and health screenings. Sponsored by the Chatham County Health Dept. When: Sat. Feb. 27, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Where: Savannah Mall, Center Court Cost: Free Info: 912-644-5209.
Antique Car Show What: AASU Home-
coming closes with an antique car show. When: Sat. Feb. 27, 12 p.m. Where: AASU Sports Complex, 11935 Abercorn St. Cost: Free and open to the public
Savannah Shamrock Rugby What: Support your local
hooker, flanker and backs when the rugby club from Golden Isles comes to challenge the Shamrocks. When: Sat. Feb. 27, 1 p.m. Where: Forsyth Park Cost: Free Info: 912-441-4608.
What: A benefit for the
Rape Crisis Center featuring live music, hors d’ouevres, silent auction, raffle and more. Masquerade attire. When: Sat. Feb. 27, 6:30 p.m. Where: Savannah International Trade and Convention Center Cost: $75/person, $500/ table Info: 912-233-3000. http://www.rccsav.org/
Forest Steward Training
What: Patrick Grant of
Certified Arborist Services will teach how to plant and care for young trees, When: Sun. Feb. 28, 3 p.m. Where: Southwest Chatham Library Cost: Free Info: /www.savannahtreefoundation.com/
Film: Police, Adjective (Romania,
Proud Sponsor of the Savannah Music Festival
What: A critical favorite
and winner at Cannes. A police officer gets into trouble for failing to arrest a teenage drug dealer. Romanian with English subtitles. When: Sun. Feb. 28, 7 p.m. Where: Victory Square Theater Cost: $8 Info: http://www.reelsavannah.org/
Connect Savannah is published every Wednesday by Morris Multimedia, Inc 1800 E. Victory Dr., Suite 7 Savannah, GA, 31404 Phone: (912) 721-4350 Fax: (912) 231-9932 www.connectsavannah.com
The Valparaiso Kantorei Choir
What: The Kantorei is
a select religious choir of 31 voices led by Dr. Lorraine Brugh performing religious music from throughout the world. When: Sun. Feb. 28, 7 p.m. Where: Lutheran Church of the Ascension, 120 Bull St.
Monday ‘It Won’t Happen to Me’ What: A presentation
for teenage drivers and their parents to increase awareness and reduce crashes. The number one cause of teen fatalities nationwide is car accidents. When: Mon. March 01, 7 p.m. Where: Benedictine Military School, 6502 Seawright Dr., Cost: Free and open to the public
Theatre: The Wizard of Oz What: The classic tale of
Dorothy and her little dog Toto who are whisked away by a tornado and dropped in a whimsical land. When: March 2, 7:30 p.m. Where: Johnny Mercer Theatre Cost:$30-50 Info: savannahcivic.com cs
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week at a glance
Let’s Dance, Savannah!
FEB 24 - MAR 2, 2010 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM
week at a glance | continued from page 6
news & opinion FEB 24 - MAR 2, 2010 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM
A glass half-empty Savannah’s water supply is threatened by growth, industry by Patrick Rodgers | firstname.lastname@example.org
In a community surrounded by a network of rivers and marshes that segue to the ocean — and where streets are prone to flooding after even a moderate rainstorm — it’s difficult to imagine having a problem with the water supply. While north Georgia’s drought officially ended in June 2009 and was closely followed by widespread flooding in Atlanta, the state’s water problems are really only just beginning. The tri–state water wars between Georgia, Florida and Alabama have heated up like the environmental version of SEC gridiron rivalries. Meanwhile, southeastern Georgia has developed unique water problems of its own — problems that are a lot closer to our garden hoses and kitchen sinks than most folks realize. Despite its geography, coastal Georgia will not be immune to these problems, and within a decade we could be a severe drought away from disaster. It won’t be one issue, however, that potentially renders the water supply short of our growing demand. The problems that could compromise our water supply are as complex as the series of pipes and mains that deliver water to all the homes and businesses across the city. It will be a series of issues, including saltwater intrusion, industrial pollution and politics.
It begins with saltwater intrusion “It’s harder to convince people we’re running out of water when they’re surrounded by water,” explains Bob Scanlon, the City of Savannah’s Water Resources Director. “But we’re living all the time like there’s a drought because of saltwater intrusion.” Saltwater intrusion, the introduction of saltwater into our underground freshwater supply, is not a new problem. In fact, it might be the first water problem — the problem from which all other water problems will grow. It was initially recognized scientifically in the early 1960s, and by the end of that decade a cloud of saltwater was causing supply wells near Brunswick to be abandoned. Intrusion is caused by the demand placed on the Floridan Aquifer, which is essentially a huge underground limestone cavern that gathers and contains freshwater runoff from further inland. The Floridan Aquifer supplies tens of millions of gallons of very cheap, very clean groundwater per day to households and local industry alike across the Southeastern U.S. But the water levels in the Floridan Aquifer have been reduced faster than they could be naturally replenished, creating pressure that pulls saltwater from the surface down into those limestone chambers. There’s a second plume of saltwater in the aquifer under the northern end of Hilton Head Island that has also rendered numerous wells, including several belonging to the Hilton Head Public Service District, unusable. Although it’s dozens of miles away, the saltwater beneath Hilton Head is gradually moving toward Savannah because of ongoing pumping around the Savannah area. South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division (EPD) and several other agencies are currently studying what the effects of a third intrusion point off the shore of Tybee Island might also mean for the future of the Floridan Aquifer as a source of clean, reliable drinking water. “Is saltwater coming through the confining unit into the aquifer at these points around the island? The answer is yes,” says David Blaize, a Division Director of DHEC’s Water Bureau. “The second question, and the one we’re working on now is, what does that mean?” The new intrusion point was discovered in 2005 during analysis of the environmental impact of the proposed deepening of the Savannah River channel. The intrusion itself is unrelated to the potential deepening, however, and is a consequence of the depression created by pumping water out of the aquifer.
Life in the ‘Red Zone’ With the long term security of our aquifer in question, changes are underway to help slow the potential impacts, and on Jan. 1 of this year a series of mandates from Georgia’s EPD took effect to reduce the amount of water being pumped out of the aquifer. The reductions to the groundwater permits, which are regulated by the EPD, were based on recommendations laid out in a June 2006 report titled “The Coastal Georgia Water and Wastewater Permitting Plan for Managing Salt Water Intrusion,” known simply as “The Plan” to those who work with it on a regular basis. The area doing the most pumping — having the most effect on intrusion — and conversely seeing the least of its immediate effects was labeled in the Plan as the “Red Zone.” That area consists of Chatham and part of eastern Effingham counties. All of the water systems pulling groundwater in the “Red Zone” were mandated to reduce their draws from the aquifer back to the levels documented in 2004 and then subtract another 5 million gallons per day (mgd). According to EPD permits, the City of Savannah lost nearly 25 percent of its permitted average daily use, a reduction of 7.4 mgd from what had been allowed, and an actual reduction in use of more than 1.2 mgd (the City is permitted more than we actually use). In comparison, International Paper had its permitted use reduced less than 10 percent, or about 1.2 mgd. Savannah and International Paper are by far the two largest groundwater users in the area. The City has largely countered the loss of groundwater with highly effective, proactive conservation efforts, like
the low flow toilet voucher program and discounted rain barrels. “We’ve had a significant water conservation program in Savannah for 15 plus years,” Scanlon says. “We’ve seen reductions as high as 20 percent a household when they’ve switched to low flow toilets.” To help balance demand and permit allowances, the City has also increased the amount of surface water blended into the drinking water supply.
FEB 24 - MAR 2, 2010 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM
Additional analysis is pending, and Blaize says the hope is to have a report with a better understanding of the problem ready in a couple of months. Most scientific models projected that the saltwater under the northern end of Hilton Head would take around 100 years to reach Savannah. But “there’s evidence that the saltwater intrusion in the Bluffton area was moving considerably faster than what was being predicted,” says Scanlon. That potential third plume, considerably closer to the City of Savannah’s supply wells, could completely change the outlook for the Floridan Aquifer, and our ability to pull safe drinking water from it.
news & opinion
environment | continued from page
Blending: Not just for Margaritas Area residents have actually been drinking from the Savannah River for over a decade. In 1998, Savannah’s Industrial & Domestic water treatment plant came online with a potential total capacity of 62.5 mgd — enough to supply the City of Savannah, International Paper and most of the surrounding area with freshwater if need be. Early on, it was conceived as water insurance for the future — savings for the opposite of a rainy day — a time when we no longer had the ability to quench our thirst from the aquifer. Recently, the City has begun using more surface water, so much that the Savannah Main system, which feeds faucets from the historic district to the southside, is now about a 50/50 blend of surface and groundwater. Parts of West Chatham are drinking surface water exclusively, according to Scanlon. Though the concept of drinking water straight from the Savannah River may strike most of us as appalling at best, thanks to state–of–the–art treatment and monitoring systems, our surfacewater is not only safe, but tastefully tasteless as well. Savannah’s treated surfacewater has won taste tests at conventions held by the Georgia Association of Water Professionals. There are drawbacks to drinking surfacewater, though, including cost and long–term safety of the water supply. We might all be drinking nothing but surface water, except that the treated river water costs about three times as much per gallon as groundwater, which requires considerably less treatment thanks to natural filtration processes. According to data provided by the Environmental Working Group, water utilities nationwide spend about 19 times more on water treatment chemicals than the federal government spends on protecting the average person from water pollution. continues on p. 10
Shots of the City of Savannah’s Industrial & Domestic Plant, the facility responsible for treating surfacewater from the Savannah River. Over the last few years its supply has gradually comprised a larger percentage of local drinking water (courtesy City of Savannah).
news & opinion
environment | continued from page
FEB 24 - MAR 2, 2010 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM
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Industry along the Savannah River uses massive amounts of water.
In the draft of this year’s City budget, the cost of using more surfacewater has been slowly absorbed by rate increases over the past few years. From 2007–09, cost of water increased between 6.4 and 7.7 percent. In 2010, that rate hike will slow to a 5.25 percent increase, and is projected to grow 5 percent in 2011. It is, however, a necessary evil because conservation alone simply cannot save enough water to offset the mandated restrictions on groundwater while keeping up with the demand created by increasing population. In the future, if we’re unable to use the Savannah River and need to develop additional surface water sources, it will cost even more. According to “The Plan,” a study by the Sound Science Initiative several years ago found that developing other surface water supplies will cost five times more than groundwater per gallon. But is it possible that we wouldn’t be able to pull water safely from the Savannah River at all? Actually, yes.
Up the proverbial creek The prevailing wisdom concerning water use along the Georgia side of the Savannah River has been to drink from the Floridan Aquifer and dump industrial waste into the river. According to a report issued by Environment Georgia last year, the Savannah River was the fourth most toxic river in the United States. In 2007 alone, 7.6 million pounds of toxins were dumped into it. While that’s hardly flattering, the numbers could be misleading according to some water professionals, because the toxicity is measured by volume of pollutants dumped into the river rather
than the concentrations of those toxic chemicals in the water. For example, although more than 19 tons of known cancer–causing agents were dumped into the Savannah River in 2007, because they were diluted into the billions of gallons of water that flow down the river every day, those discharges are less likely to have adverse effects on the average citizen’s health. However, as demand for river water increases, it subsequently increases the concentrations of pollutants. “The more waste water you put in, the more important it is to remain with a good high flow level,” explains Tonya Bonitatibus, executive director of the nonprofit advocacy group Savannah Riverkeeper. “For example, if the lakes are keeping water behind, then you don’t have a lot of water coming through, and what you end up with is a higher percentage of the pollution coming down.” Demand for river flow will not decrease any time soon. Beyond the increasing water needs of the greater Savannah area, Beaufort and Jasper Counties in South Carolina pull about 20 mgd from the river. Other major consumers loom on the horizon as well. One of the largest users on the river is Plant Vogtle, a Georgia Power nuclear facility. The plant requires large volumes of water to help cool its two reactors. In 2008, the plant drew an average 66.7 mgd, of which about two thirds was evaporated and the other third was returned to the river. In non–drought conditions, Plant Vogtle currently uses about one percent of the average river flow. In 2017, however, Vogtle’s third and fourth reactors are projected to come online, and the amount of water pulled from the river on a daily basis will
leased its findings in a Dec. 2009 report. They estimate the water needs of the Atlanta metro area without Lake Lanier to be about 250 mgd in 2012, which would blossom to 310 mgd by 2015, and 350 mgd by 2020. Early estimates show proactive conservation efforts could net about 80 mgd. Even though IBT was noticeably absent from the task forceâ€™s short list of remedies, that didnâ€™t stop Perdue from telling an audience assembled in Augusta last December that they needed to stop being so stingy with the Savannah River Basinâ€™s water. If IBT was approved, during low flow, Atlantaâ€™s projected use would total 1020 percent of the total flow. â€œWe use this thing as a toilet, weâ€™ve got to continue to have the water to flush it,â€? says Bonitatibus.
Down the drain The thing that may hurt us the most â€” or help, depending on your perspective â€” is that these issues arenâ€™t going to affect the average person dramatically this week, or even this year. But without a doubt, the issue of where and how we get drinking water will continue to be one of the biggest issues in the state during this new decade. Some issues â€” like the third saltwater intrusion point â€” may turn out to be less harmful than suspected after more complete studies. Or just the opposite could be true. The same might be said about pollution in the Savannah River. Though the lower portion of the river is recognized as oxygenâ€“impaired, the EPD â€” who helps regulate what gets dumped into the river, and by whom â€” is currently conducting studies to see whether it is possible to revise the Total Maximum Daily Load of pollutants (TMDL). â€œWeâ€™re revising the TMDL, which had shown zero capacity available,â€? says Jeff Larson, EPD assistant branch chief for the Savannah and Ogeechee River Basins. â€œIt will ultimately show what poundage is available, if any.â€? The EPD is hoping to have the report done by May of this year, and will open possible changes up to public comment sometime before then. While there arenâ€™t a lot of clear answers right now, if weâ€™re not careful â€” both as individuals willing to take responsibility for our own water use practices and collectively in the water policies we set for the future â€” we could end up sending a lot of bright plans for the future down the drain. cs
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double to about two percent of the average annual flow. That reduction isnâ€™t that significant if the river continues to flow at a normal level. But if we experience another drought similar to the one that ended last summer, it could spell disaster. During the last drought, the river dropped below 30,000 cubic feet per second â€” average low flow â€” to 2500â€“3000 cubic feet per second. At these historically low rates, the pull from Plant Vogtle alone grows from two percent to somewhere between five and ten percent of the total river flow. â€œI donâ€™t think the Savannah River can afford to give up any water, because weâ€™ve already got an impairment for dissolved oxygen in the lower part of the river,â€? says Scanlon. â€œIf we reduce the flow, youâ€™re gonna increase the concentration of waste loads.â€? For a river that already has a dissolved oxygen impairment (oxygen-depleting substances are slowly asphyxiating the underwater habitat) and zero room left under its assimilative capacity (the amount of stuff that can be dumped into the river before it stops being able to naturally repair itself), that decrease in volume of water flow would have farâ€“reaching impacts. It could mean the destruction of natural habitat including, potentially, the harbor home of the endangered sturgeon. It could also render the river water undrinkable. According to the Saltwater Management Plan: â€œAssimilative capacity in area streams will be strained...This will be particularly evident in the area of the Savannah Harbor... The amount of oxygen demanding substances in the waters being discharged to the Savannah River and its tributaries below Augusta is of great concern even under current conditions.â€? Those dangers would be further compounded if Governor Sonny Perdue continues to entertain the notion of Interâ€“Basin Transfers (IBT) as a potential solution for metro Atlantaâ€™s imminent water crisis. Per the ruling of Judge Paul Magnuson in July 2009, Atlanta must stop using Lake Lanier as a water source by July 2012. Among the solutions on the table, Gov. Perdue has become oddly fixated with the concept of IBT, which is currently prohibited in the state. The idea is basically to pump water across the state from the Savannah River Basin to the Atlanta metro area. The Water Contingency Planning Task Force, appointed by Perdue, re-
11 FEB 24 - MAR 2, 2010 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM
Hunter Army Airfield
environment | continued from page 10
news & opinion FEB 24 - MAR 2, 2010 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM
Hear and Now by Robin Wright Gunn | email@example.com
In painting, what’s old is what’s new When “Secrets of the Old Masters” opens Thursday at Trends and Traditions Gallery, some of the paintings will look familiar to local art patrons. Fifteen of the paintings were recently on exhibit at the Jepson Center during the final weeks of the “Dutch Utopia: American Artists in Holland” show. But even if you’ve never seen these works before, they still might ring a bell — they’re remarkably accurate copies of several of the 19th century masterpieces that were part of “Dutch Utopia.” Seven adult painting students, ranging in experience from a few months to several decades, created the copies as part of a Telfair–sponsored class. “The idea of the class originated in my own studio practice,” says Carl Fougerousse, the class instructor. “I do master copies routinely as a way of studying techniques. The practice dovetails nicely with the initial mission of the Telfair as a teaching museum.” “We did not plan at first on having a show,” says Michael Wood, a student in the Old Masters class. “During the class, Holly McCullough [Telfair’s Director of Collections and Exhibitions] saw the pictures and said, ‘why don’t we hang them in Trustees Gallery?’ ” After that short show came down, the class decided to present another show that featured their copies, plus originals
Carl Fougerousse, class instructor for ‘Secrets of the Old Masters’
by some members and by Fougerousse. “The members of the class were so cohesive,” says Wood. “Carl is an exceptional teacher. We felt like people needed to see what came out of it.” During the eight week class, each student sketched and then painted a replica of one or two “Dutch Utopia” paintings of his or her choosing. “All the drawings took place in the galleries,” copying directly from originals, says Fougerousse. The students painted in the teaching studio space in the Jepson, to prevent the originals from being exposed to potentially damaging chemicals from the fresh paint. Once the students began the painting process, they would “bring the paintings back up from week to week into the gallery, to compare them” with the originals, says Fougerousse. For Wood, trying to match colors was
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a big part of the challenge. “It’s fun to sort of unwind the paintings into those color values,” says Wood. “Especially if it’s a large painting, I think of that poor fool grinding out those color pigments to make the paints when I can just squirt it out of a tube.” Art classes at the Telfair Museums are both “old school” and a new direction in programming. When the Telfair Academy was established in the 19th century, teaching art was part of its purpose, but phased out decades ago, according to Torrey Kist, Studio Programs Manager at the Telfair Museums. “We just reinstated the class objective in our mission only about three–and– a–half or four years ago,” says Kist. Now the museum offers classes and workshops for children and adults. Offerings this spring range from
“Drawing from Antiquity,” an eightweek figure drawing class taught by Fougerousse, to “Painting With Large Brush and Other Odd Implements” a daylong workshop led by Betsy Cain. Cain’s work is part of the “Painters’ Reel” exhibit that just opened at the Jepson. Her already–sold–out workshop will “explore new ways of approaching painting and mark making,” she says. “My paintings in the Jepson are done with a four-inch house painters brush.” In “Drawing for Antiquity,” Fougerousse will move students into the Sculpture Gallery of the Telfair Academy. They’ll make human figure drawings using the six plaster cast sculptures in the gallery instead of live models. “That space used to house 60 plaster casts and was really built and used for teaching the figure,” says Kist. “Over the years it evolved into exhibit space.” “It’s a tradition that’s been around for several hundred years,” says Fougerousse. “For one thing, the plaster cast models are immobile. Beginners have a lot of difficulty with live models that are shifting poses. And two, you don’t have to deal with skin color. It’s a stepping stone toward life drawing, where you have a moving form, a living form.” cs Secrets of the Old Masters Art Show Feb. 25 – March 31 Reception: Feb. 25, 4–8 p.m. at Trends and Traditions, 3407 Waters Ave. For class info go to telfair.org
Skidaway Island ntiques Show & Sale Friday & Saturday March 5 - 6, 2010 10:00 A.M. - 5:00.P.M.
March 5 - March 7, 2010
Sunday March 7, 2010 11:30 A.M. - 4:30.P.M.
Presented by: Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church Women Benefiting the Children of Savannah Location: Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church, 3 West Ridge Road, Savannah, GA 31411 Delectable Lunches & Desserts Daily Show Information: (912-598-9521)
Police Dept. incident reports
Just another weird, sad week
An officer responded to a downtown hotel in reference to trespassing. The manager said the establishment had hired the person several days earlier, but his erratic behavior, including paranoia, had caused them to fire him and tell him not to come back on the premises.
The next day they found him back on the property, talking to a security guard. The manager took the police woman to the suspect, who was in a back room, handcuffed with his personal items laid out in front of him. The officer took the handcuffs off and began to ask questions. The man said he came back to the hotel because he felt safe there. He also said he was under surveillance and his cell phone had been “taken over.” He said he was being tracked via the cellular device. Amongst his per-
sonal items was an Altoid tin containing a pipe and some ash. When opened, the officer “detected the odor of burnt marijuana.” The man said he hadn’t smoked since he’d been in Georgia. The officer asked the manager what she wanted done with the man, and she said she wanted him banned from the property. The manager then said the suspect was actually staying in the hotel and had personal items in a room, but the hotel had already gotten him a room at another hotel for the night. The manager told the man he was suspended from his duties and not to return. He signed a ban form and was then driven to the other hotel by the police officer. • A woman went to Precinct 4 to file a report concerning an altercation with her ex–boyfriend, who is also the father of her two sons. He came to drop off the children, but then told her she wasn’t getting them back until she talked to him. The kids were locked in his truck. The older of the two boys unlocked the door and she went to take them out, but her ex shut the door and locked it. He started cursing. He then started to throw a punch but did not follow through. The woman ran inside to
call 911, at which point he drove away with the kids. Once she called 911, the phone rang but there was no answer. She hung up and called her mother. The man returned with the children while she was on the phone. She told him police were on the way. He surrendered the kids. Then the dispatcher called back to see if she was ok. She told the dispatcher she was ok and the kids had been returned. She asked the dispatcher if they were going to send an officer to file a report. The dispatcher said ‘no,’ but instructed her to call if the man returned. The woman grabbed the kids and went to mother’s house. • A man called police to report a theft. When the officer arrived, the man said his fiancee had moved out yesterday and removed her own possessions as well as his flat screen TV. The broken–hearted, TV–less man was issued a CRN and advised of his options.
• Just shy of 2 a.m. on a Thursday, an officer was sent on a check subject call and found a woman determined by the officer to be mentally disturbed. The woman said she taken ecstasy and drank alcohol earlier in the evening. The woman was uncooperative, paranoid and upset. She had lacerations on her left arm, which she said came from punching a window. The officer called EMS to examine her. She tried to jump out of the ambulance before she could be transported. Once she’d arrived at the hospital, she told the staff that she’d also had some cocaine. After a preliminary examination, the hospital staff decided to send the woman to Georgia Regional for an involuntary evaluation. While attempting to handcuff her, the woman became combative and the officer required the assistance of several hospital staff to subdue the woman. cs Give anonymous crime tips to Crimestoppers at 234-2020
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All cases from recent Savannah/Chatham
13 FEB 24 - MAR 2, 2010 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM
FEB 24 - MAR 2, 2010 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM
news & opinion
the straight dope
Why do babies run fevers when teething? More important, why do doctors claim that they don’t? Is it just so stupid/inexperienced mamas won’t ignore a serious infection when they erroneously attribute a fever to teething? Or do the doctors lie because they don’t understand why it happens? That seems unlikely since they admit to not knowing why/how plenty of other things work. I just had to shell out a bit of cash for an ER visit that was seemingly unnecessary. The doctor herself admitted that the only cause she could find for the 103.4-degree fever was my son’s cutting molars. —Singaporecats2009 You’ll have to excuse me. If I took my kid into the ER with a 103-degree fever and the doctor blamed it on teething, my reaction wouldn’t be “Why were all those other doctors lying?” but rather “What’s up with this quack?” However, I concede that the belief that teething causes fever is a deep-rooted one. The ancient Greeks and Hindus thought teething caused illness; the Sumerians thought it was somehow connected to worms. In 1839 more than 5,000 deaths in England and Wales were attributed to teething by the registrar general, and in 1842 this same genius claimed nearly one in eight fatalities under the age of four were caused by incoming teeth. In 1894 a well-known dentist wrote, apparently seriously, “So deadly has teething become that one third of the human family die before 20 deciduous teeth have fully appeared.” Teething fears gave rise to all sorts of foolish remedies, including tying a penny on a string around the child’s neck, having a puppy lick the child’s mouth, placing a raw egg in a sock in a drawer, lancing the child’s gums, and administering purgatives, opiates, lead, or mercury salts. To be fair, infant mortality was high in the old days; it’s not like people were imagining these deaths. However, we see a pattern that persists to this day: if you couldn’t fig-
ure out what was wrong with a kid, you blamed it on the teeth. While most modern parents have gotten past the idea that baby’s first tooth is a holler to the angel of death, many think teething can cause fever, diarrhea, and infection. Recent surveys show that about 75 percent of parents of young children believe teething and fever are associated, as do 83 percent of nurses and 64 percent of pediatric dentists. What’s the straight dope? Thumbing through the sparse research, I note the following: • An Israeli study found that of 46 babies studied over a six-month period, 20 had at least a mild fever (99.5 degrees Fahrenheit) the day a tooth emerged and 15 had a fever of at least 100.4. The average temperature on tooth-emergence day was 99.7. • A study of 111 children who produced a total of 475 teeth found a notably greater incidence of drooling, gum-rubbing, irritability, and decreased appetite on or near tooth-emergence day, and one baby in six ran a temperature above 100. Then again, of more than 2,000 days where children had temperatures above 100, only 64 of those days were when a kid cut a tooth. Only one tooth made an appearance on a day when the kid’s temperature was above 103. • Both studies above relied on parents to take their child’s temperature and record symptoms. This kind of data has a high flake factor. • Recognizing such failings, Australian researchers observed 21 children at three day care centers for seven months. A dental therapist determined when teeth appeared and took temperatures. Staff and parents filled out daily questionnaires on symptoms. Results: (1) Most parents thought their kids had teething symptoms, and half thought they had a fever. (2) By and large the kids didn’t. An analysis of staff-collected data found no relation between teething and fever, and minimal relation with any other symptom. Conclusion: “It is time to relinquish our long-held cultural beliefs about teething [and] acknowledge that . . . tooth eruption is not strongly associated with significant symptoms” (Pediatrics, 2000). If you’ve got an MD blithely telling you a temperature of 103.4 is caused by an incoming molar, that’s a good sign you’re dealing with somebody who doesn’t know what’s going on, and you’d be smart to talk to someone else. CS by cecil adams
When Dexter Blanch’s dog nearly died from complications during spay surgery, he decided to use the event as inspiration and brought to market a chastity belt to give pet owners more control of their animals’ animal instincts. The Pet Anti-Breeding System harness is especially valuable to professional breeders who may want to keep a female out of one or more “heat cycles” without resorting to sterilization. So far, said Blanch, the belts have been proven effective, but he admitted to a San Francisco Chronicle reporter in February that horndog males pose severe tests by gnawing relentlessly at the leather straps that are crimping their style.
The Continuing Crisis
probably convicted) for running a $53 million Ponzi scheme in the Minneapolis area, he walked into a county judge’s chambers in December and offered to begin serving time. The judge explained that Cellette would have to wait until charges were filed and a plea recorded. • Timing Is Everything: Guido Boldini (and his mother Constance Boldini) pleaded guilty last April to soliciting a hit man to take out Guido’s ex-wife, Michelle Hudon, after a contentious child-custody battle in Keene, N.H. The “hit man” was, of course, an undercover cop, and the son and mother are now serving a combined 12 to 35 years in prison. However, unknown to the Boldinis, Michelle Hudon had been diagnosed with cancer, and in September, she died.
• The Importance of the Dictionary: Bright Ideas (1) When Donald Williams was publicly • An official in Shijiazhuang, China, sworn in as a judge in Ulster County, told Agence France-Presse in December N.Y., on Jan. 2, offices were closed, and that the city’s new “women only” parkno one could find a Bible. Since holy ing lot was designed to meet females’ books are not legally required, Wil“strong sense of color and different liams took the oath with his hand on a sense of distance.” That is, the spaces dictionary. (2) Merriam Webster’s 10th are 3 feet wider than regular spaces edition dictionary is so influential that and painted pink and purple. Also, atthe Menifee Union School District in tendants have been “trained” to “guide” Southern California removed all copies women into parking spaces. from its elementary schools’ shelves in • Lenoir County, N.C., sheriff ’s depuJanuary in response to a parent’s comties raided a suspected marijuana farm plaint that the book contains a reference in January and learned that the grow to “oral sex.” operation was all underground. The • “Texting” While Driving Is Not the 60 live plants were cultivated inside an Problem: (1) Briton Rachel Curtis, 23, abandoned school bus, which had been was sentenced to 12 months in prison buried, was accessible by a tunnel and by Bristol Crown Court in October for had a garage built on top of it. leading police on a high-speed chase while injecting heroin. (2) AuthoriThe Fragrance of Love ties in Scottsboro, Ala., in December First, farmer Dick Kleis of Zwingle arrested a man after a high-speed chase in eastern Iowa, composing a birthday during which he allegedly had methnote to his wife, arranged more than 60 amphetamine cooking in the front seat. tons of manure in a pasture to spell out (3) Long-haul trucker Thomas Wallace “Happy Birthday, Love You” in shortwas charged with manslaughter in Bufhand. Then, for Valentine’s Day, farmer falo, N.Y., in January after his rig struck Bruce Andersland created a half-milea parked car, killing the occupant, wide, arrow-pierced heart from while Wallace was distracted plowed manure at his farm near watching pornography on his the town of Albert Lea, Minn. laptop computer. Welcome “Now I’ve got my valentine!” • Too-Swift Justice: It is not back, warmth shouted wife Beth, when she first unheard of for someone to and sunshine! viewed the aerial image. commit a crime and then immediately surrender, usually Oops! for safety or for the comfort Helmut Kichmeier, 27, a of a warm jail cell (such as hypnotist “trainee” who appears Timmy Porter, 41, did in Anas Hannibal Helmurto in Britain’s chorage, Alaska, in October imCircus of Horrors, accidentally mediately after robbing the First hypnotized himself in January as he National Bank Alaska). However, was practicing in front of a mirror. Gerard Cellette Jr., 44, tried to be (Being in such a trance helps him even more helpful. Knowing that swallow swords on stage.) His he would soon be arrested (and
wife called Kichmeier’s mentor, Dr. Ray Roberts, who, as a “voice of authority,” was able to snap Kichmeier out of it over the phone.
Fine Points of the Law
(1) A death-row inmate has a right to question the fairness of sentencing jurors if they appear to be so friendly with the judge that they give him (and the bailiff) post-trial gag chocolates shaped like breasts and penises. The U.S. Supreme Court in January ordered a lower court to consider a rehearing request from convicted killer Marcus Wellons of Georgia. (2) Seattle-area resident Patricia Sylvester, on trial for vehicular assault in October, was declared “not guilty” by the jury, but her sense of relief faded. Polling the jurors, the judge learned that the verdict was not unanimous, as required by law. He sent them back to deliberate further, and Sylvester was this time unanimously found “guilty” (though of a lesser charge).
Least Competent Criminals
Lloyd Norris, 57, was arrested in Gwinnett County, Ga., in February and charged with mortgage fraud, after he tried to buy a house with “cash” consisting of a nonsensical $225,000 “U.S. Treasury” promissory note, supposedly “certified” by Secretary Timothy Geithner. Norris had prepared $1 billion worth of the documents on his computer and assumed that banks would not look too closely at them.
Sometimes, Men Just Have to Prove Theirs Is Bigger
(1) A 31-year-old man was stabbed in St. Cloud, Minn., in January. He told police he and another man were approaching each other on a sidewalk, and when neither man gave way, the other man stabbed him. (2) Scott Elder, 22, was charged with shooting a 24-yearold man in Savannah, Ga., in October after an argument that started when one of the two strangers sent a text message to a wrong number. The men agreed to meet in a parking lot to settle things. (3) Lankward Harrington, 25, was walking past a gardener in Washington, D.C., in October 2006 when grass clippings blew onto his clothes. At his trial in October 2009, Harrington was convicted of murder for shooting the gardener four times in the face. Said Harrington, on the witness stand: “He got grass on me. (I) take pride in my appearance.” cs By chuck shepherd UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE
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15 FEB 24 - MAR 2, 2010 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM
news of the weird
FEB 24 - MAR 2, 2010 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM
SEND IN YOUR STUFF!
by bill deyoung
Club owners and performers: Soundboard is a free service - to be included, please send your live music information weekly to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions? Call (912) 721-4385.
Justin Dick and Michael Redmond, longtime veterans of the Savannah rock ‘n’ roll wars, put Niche together last fall to celebrate the ties between punk and Southern rock (and they exist, don’t you know). Drummer Tim Clough is the third component of this loud, fast and occasionally twangy power trio (Dick is a guitarist, Redmond plays bass, and they trade off on the vocals, and their earlier joint projects included Two Days, The Bricks and Whiskey Dick). Opening this show is the “folk rock/psychedelic” duo Ancient Warfare, about which, sorry to say, I can tell you absolutely nothing. Listen & learn: www. myspace.com/nicheband, www. myspace.com/ancientwarfare. At 11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26 at the Jinx, 127 W. Congress St. $6.
Since the late 1970s, Conjunto Primavera has been one of the most successful norteno bands to come from the northern regions of Mexico. Still fronted by its founder, saxophonist Juan Dominguez, the band has topped Billboard’s Latin Albums chart five times, most recently with Que Ganas de Volver, and has been awarded several platinum albums. As with most Mexican norteno bands, Conjunto Primavera is primarily a dance outfit – the button accordion is a main instrument – but this band is also known for soulful, romantic vocals, thanks to the supple throat of lead singer Tony Melendez. Also expect rancheras, cumbias and boleros from this versatile – and quite nattily dressed – sextet. Listen & learn: www.conprimavera.com. At 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27 at
Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk
Ivan Neville once told a journalist how he named his band. “The guys were playing so nasty and dirty,” he explained, “we figured there is nothing funkier than a dumpster.” Neville, a singer and multi–instrumentalist, is part of the great contemporary musical lineage of New Orleans (his father is vocalist Aaron Neville ... his uncles are all Neville Brothers ... you can do the math). In the tradition of the Meters, the Big Easy’s legendary and unbeatable masters of groove, Dumpstaphunk lays on the funk, and lays it on thick — the music is like a heavy ladle of gumbo, like Parliament/Funkadelic without the wigs and wackiness, or, dare it be said, like the Neville Brothers without the jazz experiments, or the emphasis on Aaron’s silky crooning. This music is all about the bumpy, joyous ride, bay–bay. The direct line to the source of the deep funk is the band’s use of two, count ‘em, two bass guitarists — Nick Daniels and Tony Hall — and the eight– armed drummer Raymond Webber. Then there’s guitarist Ian Neville — he’s a cousin, Shoreline Ballroom, 40 Folly Field Road, Hilton Head. $40.
Those with a soft spot for the quirky acoustic–pop of Savannah’s own Dare Dukes would do well to check out the area debut of Andy Arch, from Boston, who performs as Tom Thumb. Arch writes lyrical
the son of Aaron’s brother Art, and he’s a fire–breathing monster. Ivan Neville plays piano, organ, guitar and lots of other things onstage — in the studio, he’s laid down tracks with the likes of the Rolling Stones, and toured and recorded with Keith Richards’ side project, the X–Pensive Winos. Dumpstaphunk has played at Bonnaroo, High Sierra and (of course) the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Each member has toured, sat in with or done session work with some of the baddest bands and artists in jam–band land, including Trey Anastasio, Dave Matthews and Gov’t Mule. “We’re very heavy on groove and funky rhythms and such,” Neville said. “But yet we’re a song–oriented band, we play songs with vocals because four of the guys in the band can sing their asses off, myself included.” Listen & learn: www.dumpstaphunk.com. At 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St. $15.
lyrics and melodic melodies (can I say that?), and like Dukes, many of his songs are deceptively simple, hiding a complex core that hints at deeper meanings. This is deconstructed, pureed folk/pop and, in the case of the Tom Thumb album The Taxidermist, the product of a creative and fertile mind with too many ideas at once: Arch wrote
all the songs and played all the instruments himself. “It’s great that people all over the earth can hear your music on blogs and buy it online,” he says, “but nothing beats getting in front of people and playing.” Listen & learn: www. tomthumbmusic.com. At 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26 at the Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave. Free.
Club One Karaoke (Karaoke) 10 p.m. Driftaway Cafe Chuck Courtenay (Live Music) Fiddler’s Crab House (River Street) Cobra Sex (Live Music) Hang Fire Thinkin’ Fellers Union Trivia (Other) 9 p.m. Jazz’d Tapas Bar Eddie Wilson (Live Music) Jinx Rock ‘n’ Roll Bingo (Other) With DJ Drunk Tank Soundsystem Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub Pat Garvey (Wed) (Live Music) 8:30 p.m. King’s Inn Karaoke Live Wire Music Hall Open Jam Night 8 p.m. Mercury Lounge Eric Culberson Blues Band (Live Music) Mulberry Inn Live piano (Live Music) 4 p.m. Savannah Smiles Dueling Pianos (Wed) (Live Music) 8 p.m. Tailgate Sports Bar & Grill Live Trivia (Other) Tantra Lounge Karaoke Wild Wing Cafe Open Mic w/Josh Wade (Live Music) Wormhole Bar Hip-Hop/ soul/R&B open mic with Ronald (Live Music) 9 p.m.
17 Hundred 90 TBA (Live
continues from p.16 Music) 8 p.m. Augieâ€™s Pub Georgia Kyle (Live Music) AVIA Hotel Gail Thurmond (Thurs) (Live Music) Piano & vocal 6 p.m. Dew Drop Inn Trivia Night (Other) 10 p.m. Fiddlerâ€™s Crab House (River Street) Bottles & Cans (Live Music) Jazzâ€™d Tapas Bar Trae Gurley (Live Music) Jinx Skeletonwitch, Howl, Iron Age (Live Music) Metal showcase 11 p.m. Kevin Barryâ€™s Irish Pub Pat Garvey (Thurs) (Karaoke) 8:30 p.m. Live Wire Music Hall Eliott Lipp, Nostalgia, M.O. Theory (Live Music) 10 p.m. Molly McPhersonâ€™s Scottish Pub Open Mic Night (Live Music) 10 p.m. Molly McPhersonâ€™s Scottish Pub (Richmond Hill) Karaoke (Karaoke) 9 p.m. Savannah Smiles Dueling Pianos (Thurs) (Live Music) 8 p.m. Sentient Bean Beloved Binge (Live Music) 8 p.m. Tantra Lounge Jason Bible (Live Music) 10 p.m. Wild Wing Cafe DJ Night (DJ) Wormhole Bar Elsa Cross (alt country/rockabilly) Gen Oglethorpe (Live Music) 9 p.m.
AVIA Hotel Gail Thurmond (Fri) (Live Music) Piano & vocal 6 p.m. Blowinâ€™ Smoke BBQ Jeremy Davis (Live Music) Jazz 7 p.m. Club 51 Degrees Threelevel DJs (DJ) Latin/salsa, electronica and todayâ€™s hits Coachâ€™s Corner Hidden Element (Live Music) 7 p.m. Dew Drop Inn Karaoke Docâ€™s Bar Roy & the Circuitbreakers (Live Music) 9 p.m. Fiddlerâ€™s Crab House (River Street) Eric Culberson Blues Band (Live Music) Jazzâ€™d Tapas Bar Gene Rene and Neavera Music (Live Music) Jinx Niche, Ancient Warfare (Live Music) Kevin Barryâ€™s Irish Pub Pat Garvey (Fri) (Live Music) 8:30 p.m. Live Wire Music Hall Ivan Nevilleâ€™s Dumpstaphunk (Live Music) New Orleans funk band 9 p.m. Mercury Lounge Josh Maul Blues Band (Live Music) 10 p.m. Molly McPhersonâ€™s Scottish Pub Georgia Kyle (Live Music) 10 p.m. Molly McPhersonâ€™s Scottish Pub (Richmond Hill) Jason Bible (Live Music) 8:30 p.m. Pour Larryâ€™s Hitman (Live Music) 8 p.m. Savannah Smiles Dueling Pianos 8 p.m. Sentient Bean Tom Thumb (Live Music) 8 p.m. Tailgate Sports Bar & Grill
AVIA Hotel Gail Thurmond (Sat) (Live Music) Piano & vocal 6 p.m. Club 51 Degrees DJ Envision (DJ) Dew Drop Inn Karaoke Jazzâ€™d Tapas Bar Jeff Beasley Band (Live Music) Jinx Damon & the Shitkickers, Bottles & Cans (Live Music) Kevin Barryâ€™s Irish Pub Pat Garvey (Sat) (Live Music) 8:30 p.m. Live Wire Music Hall Kosmic Mojo (Live Music) 8 p.m. Molly McPhersonâ€™s Scottish Pub (Richmond Hill) TBA (Live Music) 8:30 p.m. Savannah Smiles Dueling Pianos 8 p.m. Sentient Bean Killer Meteor (Live Music) 8 p.m. Shoreline Ballroom (Hilton Head) Conjunto Primavera (Live Music) Mexican Norteno band 9:30 p.m. Tantra Lounge Halcyon (Live Music) 10 p.m. Warehouse Georgia Kyle (Live Music) Wild Wing Cafe Joystick (Live Music) Wormhole Bar Hellblinki Sextet, Sinister Mous-
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TBA (Live Music) Warehouse Magic Rocks (Live Music) Wild Wing Cafe Rock Candy (Live Music) Wormhole Bar Kalibur, Swift Robinson, Unnamed (Live Music) 9 p.m.
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music FEB 24 - MAR 2, 2010 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM
Dew Drop Inn wed LaDIeS nIghT
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Mon poker nIghT
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continues from p.17 tache, Train Wrecks (Live Music) First Anniversary Celebration with the New York Disco Villains, Magazine Avenue, food and surprises. 8 p.m.
Tues DarT nIghT SaDa Dart League 8pm Luck of the Draw Tournament 11:30pm
11432 abercorn St 927-9757
Coach’s Corner Battle of the Bands Noon-10:30 p.m. Fiddler’s Crab House (River Street) Voodoo Soup (Live Music) J.J. Bonerz Josh Maul Blues Band (Live Music) 10 p.m. Jazz’d Tapas Bar Ray Lundy & Mike Walker (Live Music) Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub Pat Garvey (Sun) (Live Music) 8:30 p.m. Murphy’s Law Irish Pub Trivia Sundays 8 p.m.
At the Sentient Bean Thursday: White Stripey guitar and drums from Beloved Binge Warehouse Thomas Claxton (Live Music)
Jinx Keith Kozel Kaleidoscope (Live Music) Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub J.J. Smith (Live Music) 8:30 p.m. Live Wire Music Hall Elec-
tronica Dance Party (DJ) 10 p.m. Tantra Lounge TBA (Live Music) 10 p.m. Wormhole Bar Stand Up Comedy by Steve Hofstetter (Other) 8 p.m.
(Live Music) 7 p.m. Jazz’d Tapas Bar Jeff Beasley (Live Music) Jinx Hip hop night (DJ) Live Wire Music Hall Drum n Bass, trance, electronica jam (DJ) 10 p.m. Pour Larry’s Open Mic Tuesdays w/Eric Britt (Live Music) 9 p.m. Wormhole Bar Killer Meteor (folk rock) (Live Music) 10 p.m. cs
Doc’s Bar Acoustic Jam Night
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FEB 24 - MAR 2, 2010 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM
Chance Garnette (center) writes the lyrics for Skeletonwitch; he’s also the band’s vocalist.
Skeletonwitch, wooly boogers and the brotherhood of the bands by Bill DeYoung | firstname.lastname@example.org
From the other Athens — the one in Ohio — comes the brutalizing, ball–busting Skeletonwitch, one of the most popular indie metal bands now crossing the country with regularity, spreading the headbangers gospel to the faithful, one massive musical melee at a time.
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Skeletonwitch returns to the Jinx — Savannah is one of the band’s favorite destinations — Thursday, Feb. 25. The musicians first played here in 2004, on their initial trek out of the midwest, and it was then that they became fast friends with John Baizley and
the other members of Savannah’s own metal monster, Baroness. Baizley, in fact, provided the artwork for two of Skeletonwitch’s album covers. Non–metalheads will look at a few of this band’s song titles – “Sacrifice for the Slaughtergod,” “Feast Upon Flesh,”
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agers to be seen!” Beneath the skin — if you dig past the bombast and the scary stuff — Skeletonwitch’s music is technically complex and a lot more intricately put together than the casual observer tends to notice. “There certainly are plenty of bands that are just a bunch of noise, but there’s also a hell of a lot of bands who, if you really sat down and checked it out, there’s some really, really good music being laid down,” Garnette says. “Especially like the new Baroness album — they’re all over the place on that one. “Maybe they can’t get past the vocals — like with our stuff they’re like ‘Oh, this is just noise’ — but check it out on a pair of headphones or whatever, you can hear what’s actually going on.” In the early days, Skeletonwitch toured in a pickup truck, pulling their gear in a trailer behind. Now, thanks to a solid distribution deal with Prosthetic Records and a core of rabid fans from one coast to the other, they travel in a 15–passenger luxury van. Nobody’s holding his breath for a Lear jet, but things sure are better than they used to be. Garnette remembers when he and his bandmates first ventured out of Athens. “You go on your first tour and you don’t know what to expect. You think everyone from New York’s an asshole, and if you’re from L.A. you’re going to hate somebody who says ‘y’all’ and has a country accent. “But the music really makes a common bond for everything. I’ve only met a few assholes, and I’ve met a lot of the cool guys.” It’s a brotherhood with unexpected perks. “I was thinking about this the other day,” Garnette says. “We’ve become friends with the band Goatwhore; they’re like a sludgier black metal band from New Orleans. “I used to listen to them before I knew them. And the fact that I can just call those guys up and talk to ‘em now, that’s really cool.” CS Skeletonwitch With Howl and Iron Age Where: The Jinx, 127 W. Congress St. When: At 11 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25 Cost: $10 Online: www.myspace.com/skeletonwitch
wednesday feb 24
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wed feb 24 – 8pm, free
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Bottles N Cans monday mar 1
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fri feb 26 – 9pm, $15
Wagatail presents: an evening W/ ivan neville’s Dumpstaphunk friday night lights all dom. light beer $2.50
eliot lipp, m.o. theory, nostalgia College night
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19 FEB 24 - MAR 2, 2010 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM
“Submit to the Suffering” — and think yeah, right. Metal. It’s black and it’s ugly. What kind of people are these? That’s the sort of thing Skeletonwitch guitarist Nate Garnette is used to hearing, and like most hardcore and serious metal players, it makes him laugh. “I’m sure the old ladies that see us eating dinner in the truck stop just think we’re a bunch of wooly boogers,” he says, “but heavy metal guys are some of the nicest guys I’ve met. Willing to help each other out. “I don’t know how many times I’ve helped a band re–wire their trailer so they have brake lights. It’s what we all go through, living in vans and touring as much as we all do. I think it kind of makes us a brotherhood, and a lot of people don’t get that – they just see tattoos and beards and empty beer cans and think we’re a bunch of buttholes.” As far as the songs, “Evil imagery has always been something we’ve been fans of. If you can put what you like to see with what you like to hear, go for it. “None of us worship the devil, and I don’t even know which ones of us believe in God or not. It’s not really a topic of discussion.” Garnette writes most of the band’s music, while the lyrics are supplied by his brother Chance, who’s also the vocalist. “He just takes things from his dreams, horror movies, anything that isn’t something you do on a day–to–day basis, you know?” Garnette explains. “He’s got some pretty out there stuff. Pretty brutal stuff.” Skeletonwitch is rounded out by second guitarist Scott Hedrick, bassist Evan Liner and drummer Derrick Nau. In 2008, the band played the Blackest of the Black Tour with Danzig and Dimmu Borgir, and this spring they’ll hit the road with Cannibal Corpse, on the Evisceration Plague Tour. Skeletonwitch, because of its piledriver, punk–like attack, is usually categorized as a thrash metal band. However, says Garnette, “Metal is basically metal. We just call ourselves a metal band. We’re not just a thrash band, we’re not just a black metal band, we’re not just a tech metal band. We’re just a band that likes to combine those styles, you know?” Thrash, he explains, “is kind of an attitude, too. We kind of come across serious onstage, but I think we’re more thrash off the stage than we are on the stage. We like to drink beer, cut up and be stupid. Basically act like stupid–ass teenagers, even though there’s no teen-
feature | continued from page 18
culture Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution (Road Show)
Project H founder Emily Pilloton just wants to change the world by Patrick Rodgers | email@example.com (Above) Project H founder Emily Pilloton in front of the Airstream Trailer. (Right) A pair of glasses with an adjustable prescription. (Below) Some of the products being exhibited inside the trailer. Photos courtesy of Project H Design.
Like so many people who were tired of their nine to five jobs, Emily Pilloton dreamed of doing bigger things, of impacting the world in a positive way. Unlike most people, she did something about it, leaving behind a job to found Project H, a non–profit design group dedicated to re–focusing design away from materials and toward solutions for real world problems. Only two years old, the Project H team is already hard at work on homelessness in Los Angeles, foster home quality in Texas, and public education in North Carolina, just to name a few. Pilloton also just published a book called Design Revolution: 100 Products that Empower People highlighting some shining examples that marry good design with humanitarian ends. Instead of just going on a book tour, she loaded 40 of the items into an Airstream trailer and is now driving around to schools, trying to help inspire people, particularly the next generation of designers. After only a couple weeks on the road, Pilloton’s already crossed the United States from California to Southeast Georgia, and adopted a dog. On Saturday, she’s parking the Airstream in front of the Trustees Theater. We spoke with her over the phone as she drove from Texas to Louisiana last week. What’s the purpose of the Design Revolution Road Show? Emily Pilloton: The Road Show is a great collection of evidence providing some proof that design can make a
difference in people’s lives and in communities and in economies. The goal is not just to bring all this stuff to their doorstep, but also provide the tools for a 20 year old design student who wants to work on humanitarian design projects but doesn’t know how. Half of the goal is make the case for design as a change agent, and the other is to provide the tools to help people to do that. There’s no shortage of problems in the world that could be addressed by design, but how do you go about choosing the projects that your organization takes on? Emily Pilloton: We’ve been around for two years, and a lot of times the projects come out of the local teams that we have set up for specific projects. The projects come out of a very personal place. “My adopted brother went through foster care and I know how bad the system is. Maybe we should try and work with a foster care home.” That’s actually a project that came out of Austin. Ultimately, for us, it comes down to what we can tackle. Within a big problem like continues on p. 22
21 FEB 24 - MAR 2, 2010 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM
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FEB 24 - MAR 2, 2010 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM
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homelessness, our team in Los Angeles is looking at solutions for people living in homeless shelters. Instead of trying to tackle homelessness as a whole, they went in and picked apart the issue and asked, “Where could design have an impact?” When they started working with that shelter in particular, they met with them every week, on Sundays, all day long. It was six designers and six women who were living in the homeless shelter. They were as much a part of the process as the design team. If you’re meeting with the homeless shelter every week, it sounds like this is a pretty comprehensive process time–wise, and homeless shelters, among other socially overlooked groups, aren’t exactly rolling in dough. How do you keep the bills paid? Emily Pilloton: Not very well. We have 22 ongoing projects with basically $100,000 over two years and no paid employees. Technically, I’m a volunteer. One way that we keep our costs low is by using volunteer labor, which is not a great business model, but what it does is force those who are involved to either commit or fall to the wayside. We have very few people who are with us for a few weeks and then we never see again. The people who come to us know that it’s a lot of work. As far as project costs go, we’re not going to do anything that is exorbitantly expensive because we want to make the case that design can be accessible. We came up with this playground called Learning Landscapes. It’s a way for kids to learn math outside. It’s very simple space made from reclaimed tires and then we wrote this workbook on all these different games you can play within this space. The teachers love it. We’ve built six so far, and we’ll build 10 more this year. You’ve now got local chapters in a handful of metropolitan areas. How do these local chapters get established? Could a bunch of Savannahians, after seeing the Road Show, band together and form a new branch? Emily Pilloton: Actually no. We stopped using the term chapter because it implies anyone can start one. There’s no team that exists without a project. There’s no Green Drinks social group that’s gonna get together and talk about this stuff. They’re all basically satellite offices for our projects. We have eight local teams that have been around for two years now and are finally starting to work like clock work. It’s been a long road getting them there, and they’re
becoming more self–sufficient. We have a bunch of long term projects going on in rural, eastern North Carolina. Bertie County is actually the poorest county in the state. We have an informal 3–5 year contract with the school district to move there and essentially fix their district using design – both doing projects and teaching design. How did that come about? Emily Pilloton: That came about through the Learning Landscapes. We built the first one at a pilot school in Uganda. It was published in a couple different magazines and the superintendent from the school district saw it. This guy, the superintendent, is kind of visionary, and they brought him into the school district to make things better. We went and built four Learning Landscapes. We’re building new computer labs and designing a new high school campus. We did a county–wide broadband campaign. We’re trying to push to use some of their Title 1 funding to provide internet as an educational portal in all the homes. What’s the most surprising thing that’s happened to you since you hit the road with all this stuff? Emily Pilloton: We had this itinerary that started with 20 different colleges, and then partially because of our work with Bertie, we decided we really needed to have high schools in the mix. That was something we added kind of on a whim. We’re so glad we added the high schools because it’s a completely different conversation in a really refreshing way. Going to all these design schools, it’s not a hard sell, you’re preaching to the choir a little bit when you say, “design is great and design and can make a difference.” At every high school, I ask who has considered a career in design, and almost no one has. Then you take them out to the trailer and they’re like “oh, this is what design is?” They’ve probably never considered design as something other than the people who make iPods. They’ve never considered it as a way to solve problems. That’s been the most exciting thing for me. -cs Design Revolution Road Show When: Saturday, Feb. 27, 10:30 a.m.–4 p.m. Where: Trustees Theater, 216 E. Broughton St. Info: www.designrevolutionroadshow.com
The hilly country not too far north of Verona is home to one of my favorite everyday wines: Valpolicella. This pretty wine–next–door is made entirely, or predominately, from the Corvina grape. It doesn’t put on airs, and is comparable to Beaujolais or Côtes du Rhône in France – unpretentious regional table wines. But for astute label readers, one little one can signal the transformation of humble Valpolicella into something far more interesting. The word is “Ripasso,” which means “re–passed.” In the spring, after fermenting over the winter in the usual way, select batches of Valpolicella are transferred into casks holding the grapeskins that were left over after its big, bold cousin, Amarone, was made. This process of “re–passing” the lighter wine over the bigger wine’s squeezed skins adds body, color and flavor, and launches a secondary fermentation that boosts alcohol content and character. The fruity, complex and bigger–bodied Ripasso still drinks beautifully by itself and pairs very well with red meat, game or sharp cheeses. If you’re shopping for Valpolicella, take extra care to check the label. If the word “Ripasso”
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is there, you’ve got your hands on something completely different from the everyday wine. Recently, I enjoyed lunch with other members of the wine trade and Deborah Cesari, whose family has been making Valpolicella, Ripasso and Amarone near Verona since 1936. Mara Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso is a blend of 75 percent Corvina, 20 percent Rondinella and 5 percent Molinara, Its “re–pass” is done every January, and when the wine is racked in February it ages for 12 months in a dense Slavonian oak and flavor inducing French oak. After bottling, it mellows another 8 months before being shipped. While plenty of modern production and environmental standards are practiced at Cesari, these are still very much wines steeped in tradition, regional styles and, of course, represent this historically rich terroir. Mara Ripasso poured deep ruby colored in the glass. Its aromas evoked thoughts of ripe dark fruits, raisin and hints of chocolate. To taste, it is well–rounded and loaded with fruit. That careful aging process insures well–balanced flavors and very little influence from tannins. It’s a fun exercise to have friends over, crack open a bottle of Valpolicella, another of Valpolicella Ripasso and taste the two side by side. One caveat: Open the Ripasso a couple of hours in advance of tasting. This big wine requires a breather before showing its true colors. To view a video of Deborah Cesari talking about Mara Valpolicella during her visit to Savannah, go to YouTube, search for “savannahfoodie,” and select the video. cs
Tim’s restaurant hopping turns up intriguing and satisfying meals. He picks some experiences every week to share:
I kept waiting for the crowd to subside at Leoci’s before highlighting my meal there – but there seems to be no let up in sight! This Sicilian–born chef has fired up his wood oven and single handedly drawn a crowd to this typically quiet stretch of Abercorn Street. The breads from the oven are fresh, hot and salt–crusted. Mussels are sweet and smoky; pizzas are rustic and infused with the taste of oak–fired coals. Beyond the oven’s goodies, it’s refreshing to find so many made–to–order pasta dishes. On most days, there are a handful of choices that feature handmade pastas – which add an additional element of joy to this experience. On my last visit, I chose pair of half orders: a beautifully flavored bean soup and pasta carbonara – topped with an over–easy egg. The bean soup has taken a couple of evolutionary steps since opening and, regardless of its incarnation, is always nicely flavored with a variety of beans, a savory thin broth and freshly sliced scallion. The carbonara – which I’ve had with both handmade and dried fettuccine – is equally pleasing with either. While I prefer the rustic look and rich flavor of the handmade pasta, there is no mistaking the great flavors that rise from this dish. Fatty, cured pork, plenty of coarsely shredded Pecorino Romano cheese and an over–easy egg combine to create a heart–warming, classic Italian comfort food. On this day, the allocation of handmade pasta was dedicated to a special: lobster ravioli in Bolognese sauce. It looked and smelled delicious. Smart diners will call ahead for reservations. As the weather warms, there is ample additional seating on the expanded deck behind the restaurant. The growing wine list features some nice Italian choices. To watch a video of Chef Roberto talking about his brick oven, go to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojMnXxlMVps 606 Abercorn St./335–7027
Rancho Alegre did open early last week at 402 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., about two blocks north of the I–16 flyover. This second location of the Cuban–inspired restaurant (The other at 44 Posey St.) kicks it up a notch with bright, spacious and shiny new surroundings. I have no doubt that Juan Manuel Rodriguez will be guiding this kitchen. He has studied food all over the world – we’re fortunate to have such a talented chef bringing another shot of international flair to Savannah’s culinary scene. Early word from Savannahfoodie.com followers is that the tamales are extraordinary! CS
Southern Buffet Lunch $9.95 Monday-Thursday signature she-Crab soup · salad Bar · Macaroni & Cheese · Fried Chicken smothered Pork Chops · Chicken Fried steak · daily specials · drinks (non-alcoholic) $13.95 Friday Low Country Boil · Fried shrimp · southern Catfish · she-Crab soup · & More WindoWs at Hyatt savannaH · CoMPLiMEntaRy PaRKinG FoR aLL WindoWs LUnCH GUEsts For our full menu, visit hyattregencysavannah.com · Reservations: 912-721-4610 · 2 W. Bay St · Savannah
23 FEB 24 - MAR 2, 2010 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM
Let’s hear it for a good table wine
by tim rutherford | firstname.lastname@example.org
FEB 24 - MAR 2, 2010 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM
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Once more, with nostalgia: The cast of The Wizard of Oz moves down the Yellow Brick road ... again.
If ever a wiz there was
Onstage, The Wizard of Oz is a celebration of the 1939 movie classic by Bill DeYoung | email@example.com
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When the national touring production of The Wizard of Oz arrives at the Johnny Mercer Theatre March 2, Cassie Okenka will have walked down the Yellow Brick Road something like 340 times. Okenka, who just turned 24 last week, has played Dorothy Gale in this touring company since September of 2008. In fact, she’s been the only cross–country Dorothy, as this particular Wizard was actually conceived, and first produced, by England’s Royal Shakespeare Company on London’s West End. And then imported to the U.S.A. One of the most famous stories in all of American literature, The Wizard of Oz is based on the turn–of–the–century children’s book by L. Frank Baum. There’s probably isn’t a single living American who hasn’t seen the classic 1939 film, with Judy Garland as Dorothy, the innocent Kansas farmgirl swept away to the mysterious Land of Oz.
Therein lies the first hurdle for anyone attempting to stage The Wizard of Oz. How do you top the movie everybody loves? “It’s literally everywhere, so it’s a big task to take on,” Okenka says. “But it’s also fun because a lot of people haven’t seen this show onstage before. So it’s kind of cool to have it all happen before your eyes.” Her script, she explains, is an “almost verbatim” adaptation of the screenplay – it doesn’t attempt to shoehorn in the elements of Baum’s book that were left out of the film. “We kind of think of it as a celebration of the movie,” says Okenka. “There’s huge sets. The costumes are absolutely beautiful. Our witches fly, we have flying monkeys, fireballs get shot at the Scarecrow, our Tin Man’s hat pumps smoke. It’s a pretty big monster when you get down to it, creating it onstage.” As Dorothy, Okenka wears a simple gingham dress, her hair is in pigtails – and yes, she gets to dance around in a pair of ruby slippers. “As an actor, you’re given a character and you want to be that character as you and the director have discussed, and to
kind of honor anything that character has going for it,” she says. “Like you wouldn’t play Peter Pan as a mean little boy. “With Dorothy, you don’t want to replicate what Judy Garland has done because you’re not really creating anything. But you also don’t want to be different just for the sake of being different.” A Toledo native, Okenka is admitted musical theater junkie. “I actually started theater in 3rd grade, and I never had a moment of wondering ‘what do I want to be when I grow up?’” she reports. “It became something fun to do, then something extra–curricular, then it kind of just became ‘what I did.’ It wasn’t weird for me to rush home, grab food and go to rehearsal, or to dance class, or to voice lessons. It was just the norm for me.” Six months before she graduated from Ohio’s Baldwin–Wallace College with a musical theater degree, she auditioned for her first Broadway show. In a manner of speaking. “They searched all across the country through auditions and things, and 10 girls got picked to go through this rough, reality show–based audition to figure out who was going to take over from Laura Bell Bundy for Legally Blonde on Broadway.” Okenko made the Top 10, and was featured prominently when MTV aired
The Wizard of Oz Where: Johnny Mercer Theatre, Savannah Civic Center, 301 W. Oglethorpe Ave. When: At 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 2 Tickets: $30–$50 Phone: (800) 351–7469 Online: www.etix.com
25 FEB 24 - MAR 2, 2010 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM
Okenka-as-Dorothy: “You don’t want to be different just for the sake of being different.”
Legally Blonde: The Search For Elle Woods in June 2008. She didn’t make the final cut, and never got to play Elle Woods. By the time the show aired, however, Okenka was already a college graduate, living in New York and working her “survival job” as hostess at the Brooklyn Diner. Through a friend, she heard about the auditions for The Wizard of Oz. “I went in and sang ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow,’ and they said ‘Can you come back in a month?’” Okenka says. “I said ‘sure.’ “And so a month later I go back in, I have Dorothy’s opening monologue after the song, and for about six hours I’m going in and out of the room alternating with some other people. There’s another girl there. I go back in, I sing the song again, I leave the room, I go back in and sing the song again, I do the monologue. “You just have to invest in it for the day, but then as soon as you walk away you have to let it go, because you never know what could happen.” By September, she was bidding farewell to the Brooklyn Diner and starting off on her two–year trip from Kansas to Oz. And back again. And back again. And again. For Okenka, one of the perks of the gig is getting to work with her co–star, a tiny cairn terrier who has the “role” of Toto. “We travel with two,” she laughs. “You always have to have an understudy, just in case.” The two thespian canines, both rescue animals, are named Dusty and Loki (the latter dog was actually liberated from a puppy mill in Kansas!) Every night, every show, “Toto” responds to minimalist hand commands from “Dorothy.” The learning curve, Okenka says, was steep. “It was a lot more training me than training the dogs.” CS
theatre | continued from page 24
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