verge downtown augusta
leon redbone exclusive | matt aitkenâ€™s hope | the vision of da2 | celebrate five years with sector 7G bikers keep broad street safer | visual acoustics everyone loves a parade | more good news | FREE
verge / february 2010 / 3
Matt Aitken Shares His Hope An intimate conversation with District One Commissioner
Riverside Cycles Embraces Downtown
d(a)2 Finds It’s Voice
These men love motorcycles and their neighborhood
The Downtown Augusta Alliance visions 2010
Paine College Prepares for Homecoming The week-long festivities celebrate 128th anniversary
The Minister’s Cat is a Funny Cat New Improv Comedy group gets a start at Le Chat Noir
Good Old Country Boy Makes Good Ash Bowers stands firmly on the cusp of success
Nick Laws Keeps the Music Coming The five year road to Sector 7G’s success
Leon Redbone Believes in the Past Renowned musician pays homage to Ms. Lee Morse
Harp and Flute Duo Bring Harmony Tuesday Music Live’s latest concert promises beauty
The Lokal Nominee List Is In What musicians will get voted as this year’s favorites?
5 7 7 15 17 17 18 27 32 33 33 33 volume two issue twelve
smatterings discover downtown & meet your d(a)2 theatre : le chat noir’s clean house spoken word : poetry out loud art : walter cummings film : visual acoustics pipeline : february’s highlights on the flip side : 48Volt and L.i.E. cut the fat : part seven film : spirits in the night beers locals like on the horizon : grassroots gospel conference on the cover: portrait of a club owner by katie mcguire
4 / february 2010 / verge
verge / february 2010 / 5
verge publisher Matt Plocha editor Lara Plocha pipeline editors Claire Riche web guy Mr. Verge photographers Katie McGuire Chris Selmek
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smatterings / notes from the publisher There is so much to do in February and, if you looked at the calendar, it would make your head spin. There are so many special events and holidays packed in this, the smallest of months, it will be amazing if we get any sleep. Here are a few of my favorites: February is American Heart Month, American History Month, Black History Month and Children’s Dental Health Month. These are ongoing and month long events. Many are being celebrated right here in Augusta – a perfect opportunity for you to get involved directly with your community. Help celebrate any or all of these great events and make a difference right here in your backyard. On the more absurd side of things, HoodieHoo Day is on the 20th. You are supposed to go outside to shout “Hoodie-hoo!” to scare away winter and make way for spring! I expect to hear you all out there screaming. We’ve had enough of the cold stuff to last a couple of winters. This is the South already. This month, we also celebrate Gum Drop Day (don’t tell that to Hershey, that company was found in February in 1894). We also have National Humble Day which coincides with World Thinking Day on the 23rd, hmmmm. February has Love Your Pet Day and Valentine’s Day. Chinese New Year, 2010, is the year of the Tiger. Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood debuted in 1968. We have Random Act of Kindness Day, No Brainer Day, Polar Bear Day, Ash Wednesday, Purim, Mardis Gras and the proverbial favorite Super Bowl Sunday. A few famous people celebrate birthdays this month: Langston Hughes (1st), Rosa Park ( 4th), Hank Aaron (5th), Babe Ruth (6th), Charles Dickens (7th), Laura Ingalls Wilder (7th) , Abraham Lincoln (12th) , Susan B. Anthony (15th), George Washington (22nd) Levi Strauss’ (26th), Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (27th). Many great people with vision and commitment to their community and their country were born in February. Are there any local heroes that you know that have a birthday this month? Celebrate with them in grand style. Celebrate their life and their commitment to what they are passionate about. Ask how they are making a difference and how you might be able to get involved with them. It is your community too. The relevance of the two paragraphs above are pretty amazing. If the birthdays we celebrate of famous people do not occur, we are not reminded of the great accomplishments in their lives and the impact that each had on our
society. Instead, we look to muddy up our day with things like Love Your Pet Day and World Thinking day, these should happen every day yet we as a society can make a national day of this that or the other thing like there is no tomorrow. My personal recommendations would be a “Love Your Neighbor Day” and “I am Going To Make A Difference in my Community Day.” These two days would be great! Instead, let’s get distracted with unimportant things in life while our community falls apart around us because we are not involved as much as we could be and use those distractions as our excuse. My challenge is to free yourself of the “clutter” (or “fuzzy land” as a good friend of mine puts it) and get to the heart of the matter. Start with your family and friends and move on to those that you come in contact with every day. What a better place we would live in and a stronger community we would be building if this took place. I myself have decided to put my Polar Bear back in the Arctic freezer where it belongs. How about you? As you look through this month’s verge, there are a lot of ways to get connected with your community. We are also proud that this month we have been blessed with a rare “one on one” interview with none other than Mr. Leon Redbone. This is truly a special treat for you, our readers, and we hope you enjoy the interview. With the many special events ahead this month clear your calendars now, and then fill them up with all of the great things going on downtown. You do not have to wait until the 22nd to “think” about it. Kick off your February with a night out during First Friday and don’t look back until the 28th. February 28th is Public Sleeping Day – woo-hoo! (Just celebrating, dear; doing my part to help with awareness) I’m tired just thinking about it all and March Madness is about to get started up. On a non-activity related topic, I wanted to remind everyone that it is still critical to support your locally owned and operated businesses in your community. We lost some great staples of the downtown community in January and that should be an indicator to just how important the 3/50 Project really is. We are saddened by the news of two more store closings in the downtown district. We wish our brothers and sisters well in their next endeavor! Shop Local Augusta! That might be defined to you as downtown local or Evans and Martinez local, Aiken local or wherever you might call home
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cover artist: katie mcguire’s vision “Graffiti can define a space, but also a generation. With Sector 7G, Nick Laws has provided a safe venue to attend shows. I can appreciate his work having spent much of my youth watching bands in gritty venues. Walking in Sector, I saw this wall of graffiti that appropriately defined the environment and the generation of eager music lovers. Photographing Nick sitting in front of the wall only seemed appropriate.”
local. As the year marches on, stick to the 3/50 Project and your local community will benefit. The numbers do not lie. This local drum beat moves past the wallet and on to doing good things in your community. Are you helping build a stronger one? Are you involved? Get involved and look for the chance to make a difference. I have challenged you before and I will continue to do so. Many opportunities are out there for relief work and assistance programs. There is a mountain of relief and aid efforts for the people of Haiti and here locally there are many chances to get involved with that cause. The vivid pictures coming out of Port Au Prince have us. They are ingrained in our memory. We as a “People” and as a country know how to rally when the cry comes in the night. Now listen and look locally. There are a lot of people in similar situations right here in Augusta. Find them and help to make a positive difference in their life. We do have many immediate crisis issues here locally that cannot go unnoticed. I know that there are not enough hours in the day to remedy all of our communities needs overnight. However, pick a cause that strikes home with you and give it your all. Your energy and enthusiasm to help will be rewarded ten-fold. The change that you can make in someone’s life can be dramatic in their time of need. So, while you are off thinking about how you can help your community more or how to get involved, remember to pray first and act second. One day you might be the recipient of a random act of kindness (celebrated in February) that would change your life. Here – have a Gum Drop. See you downtown. Matt
advertiser index 10 30 26 34 28 35 4 30 6 4 2 8 22 30 8 20 32 6 12 8 8 16 12 22 16 20 24 4 4 6 22 28 36 28 16
1102 Bar & Grill 1102 Back Bar Events 8th Street Tobacco A.B. Beverage - Bud Light Artistic Perceptions Boll Weevil Cafe The Book Tavern Brigans Cartridge Doctor Casella Eye Center CSRA Bidal Expo Downtown Dental DuJuor Fine Foods Edge Salon Elduets Treasures of the World Halo Salon & Spa Health Central Le Chat Noir The Loft Manuel’s Bread Cafe Moon Beans New Moon Café PeachMac Perry & Company PowerServe Rock Bottom Music Rooster’s Beak Sanford, Bruker & Banks Sho Ane Bridal & Formal Stillwater Taproom The Well The Well - Grassroots Gospel Windsor Fine Jewelers Woodrow Wilson House Zimmerman Gallery
6 / february 2010 / verge
verge / february 2010 / 7
Sixth at Watkins
212 Eighth Street
Furman Jewelers is the last of a dying breed, according to owners Kent and Fran Strickland, an expert watch and clock repair shop in a world gone digital. There is beauty and craftsmanship in the pieces of the largest clock supplier in the CSRA, including grandfather and mantle clocks. “We’ve got a lot of old pocket watches out on display too,” said Kent. “A lot of people bring by their upper end quartz watches that are too expensive to throw away, and we’ll fix anything about them that can be fixed.” Prices vary based on the problem, ranging from a $5 band repair to a $47.50 complete cleaning. The shop also makes house calls so you don’t have to drag your old wall clock down to the store. Furman Jewelers is open 10 am to 5 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. They close at 1 pm on Wednesday. Appointments only
559 Watkins Street
The Boyhood Home of President Woodrow Wilson
The fireplace room is one of the coziest places to eat lunch in all of Augusta, according to Helen May, who along with her sister, Michelle, has run Sixth at Watkins for 32 years. “We eat out a lot and we know what we like,” said May. “We just want to give our customers the same great service we always look for.” The restaurant is home to many very dedicated customers who enjoy the atmosphere of the 150 year old building. The recent addition of a bar also allows them to serve beer and wine while preparing their homemade dishes, like Turkey Pot Pie or the Sixth Street Sampler, which features Chicken, Tuna and Fruit Salad along with a muffin. Sixth at Watkins is open Monday through Friday from 11 am to 2:30 pm, but is not open in the evenings except to parties of 50 or more. Reservations and details: 706.722.8877
The name “Thomas” is etched into a pane of glass in the living room of the building at 419 Seventh Street. Experts say the handwriting matches that of a young Thomas Woodrow Wilson, who dropped his first name before becoming President of the United States in 1912. “Tommy spent the formative years of his childhood in Augusta, years that would affect him for the rest of his life,” said Rich Howe, one of the tour guides employed by Historic Augusta, Inc. Tours are available on the hour from 10 am to 5 pm on Tuesday - Saturday, and usually cost $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for K-12 students. However, in honor of Presidents Day, February 15, Historic Augusta will be offering free tours for all age groups. Information on Augusta history is available in
on Saturday. Details: 706.722.2932
419 Seventh Street
the book shop. Details: historicaugusta.org
Fox’s Shoe Service 218 Seventh Street
Grover Fox has been fixing shoes since before he was out of school and his father owned the store; Fox’s Shoe Services has been in the family for 69 years. “We wait on a lot of people and we have some customers who have been coming here for years,” said Fox. “Then, as the kids grow up they need repairs too, and we end up staying in the family for another generation.” Shoe repairs can range from $28 to $48 depending on what needs replacing, but the store also handles belts, luggage and any other leather product. “If it’s worth fixing, we can do it,” says Fox. A shoe shining chair sits in the main room for customers in a hurry, but most repairs can be done overnight. The store is open from 10 am to 5 pm on Monday through Friday. article and photos by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK
ben casella, newly elected / meet your d(a)² board The Downtown Augusta Alliance is a member-based non-profit group of downtown business owners and residents joining together to promote downtown Augusta as a destination and neighborhood. Over the next several months, verge will introduce you to each of the 2010 Board of Directors. Ben Casella is one of the newer members on the board. Name: Ben Casella Position: d(a)2 board member Day job: Ocular disease specialist with Casella Eye Center How long have you lived in Augusta? I was born and grew up here. I moved away for college in 1999 but moved back down here upon completion of my residency in 2008, so I was gone for about a decade. I always knew that health care was for me, though I was never forced into it. It just happens that ocular disease was my specialty, and we have a lot of it downtown so I was able to come work with my dad at the Casella Eye Center. You can’t beat having family to back you up when you need it. What does the Downtown Augusta Alliance mean to you? The purpose of the d(a)2 board is to steer our organization in the right direction and continue our grassroots effort to bring improvements to downtown Augusta. If you look at the Downtown Development Authority and the Chamber of Commerce, I think you’ll see that we are the only organization that goes to individual businesses for their input before making decisions. We see that what’s good for downtown will be good for each of our individual businesses; I don’t think there’s a single member of our board who is on it just to push their own company at the expense of anyone else.
Why did you decide to become a member? Upon moving back here I saw a group of progressive young people and found their vitality and “get up and go” infectious. You can either help your downtown or wait around for change to happen, and I think history has proven activity to be the best choice. What do you see as your role on the board? We all have a responsibility to incoming business, but my role is still evolving and will continue to evolve as we continue meeting and as d(a)2 and I determine how I can best serve our community. What do you have planned for February? There’s going to be some exciting happenings with downtown restaurants and such related to romance coming in March. And as always, we’re looking forward to the Master’s playing through Augusta the first week of April. What is your favorite thing about the downtown area? The biggest thing that surprised me was how much it’s all changed since I was in high school. The Pizza Joint was here, but not much else, and there really wasn’t any reason for me to come down. Since then there has been this cultural renaissance downtown that’s infused the community with life so that it’s a great place to spend five days out of the week, or more. What are some of your favorite places in downtown Augusta? My wife, Laura, and I love Nacho Mamas. We also love the Stillwater Taproom and the Bee’s Knees. You’ll find me at New Moon coffee shop at least five days out of the week. For more information on how to get involved in the Downtown Augusta Alliance, visit dasquared.com or catch Ben downtown. interview and photo by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK
8 / february 2010 / verge
verge / february 2010 / 9
matt aitken / the new district one commissioner reflecting on the path he’s traveled to get to city hall
Newly elected District 1 Commissioner Matt Aitken became a Christian at age 29, in jail, while serving a 15-year sentence for a felony drug conviction. After his release, he went back to prison to minister to inmates, as had been done for him. “Instead of going in the back door, I was let in the front door. The inmates get a kick out of it, because they know about coming in the back door. I walked in the front and out the front,” muses Aitken in a recent interview for verge.
“In prison, you get the chance to see who really loves you.” – SUGE KNIGHT Released early, in 1990, Aitken recalls his time in jail as a positive experience because of the dramatic change it produced in his life: “It got me away from drugs. I used to sell dope, use dope, and drink a lot of booze. It was a point in my life where, really, I was tired of that, but it was hard to get out of it. A lot of people get trapped and it’s hard to get out until something traumatic happens in their lives—something has to break that grip, that stronghold that’s on them and jail was it for me.”
“In my mind, in my heart, I had a peace that I could walk with confidence and comfort.”
The words of an ex-inmate, visiting the prison with a prison ministry, initiated the transformation of Aitken. He remembers the man’s testimony fondly: “An ex-inmate shared his testimony about what God did in his life and I said ‘man, if God can do it for him, He can do it for me.’ I owe a lot to him for him just giving his time to go back into the jails and minister to the broken men that really do need some help. Years later, I got to met him at a Coalition for Prison Evangelists Conference and I told him I am doing the same thing he’s doing.”
It was the word of God that sustained him while serving time. “I remember when I was in maximum security reading the Bible one day,” says Aitken, “in the Book of Daniel ‘Some of the wise shall fall, so that they may be refined’ [Daniel 11:35]. It was through the prison process that I was refined to be restored back to society. When I read that, it just overwhelmed me with goodness. I started crying, but they weren’t tears of sadness they were tears of joy. It’s going to be all right. It didn’t change my 15 year prison sentence, but in my mind, in my heart, I had a peace that I could walk with confidence and comfort that I hadn’t experienced because I was in that other prison, of bondage, of that lifestyle. I’m not looking over my shoulder anymore—that’s a good peace to have.” “People can be in prison outside,” says Aitken, distinguishing between spiritual and physical bondage, “A lot of people are in that prison right now, right in this area right here. Once I gave my life to the Lord and I felt the freedom of his love in my life—I was free. Even though I was still locked down I had a peace.”
“He who opens a school door, closes a prison.” – VICTOR HUGO
“When the warden told me I was getting out I had to ask him three times because I didn’t believe him,” says Aitken about his
learn how to cook like a pro
Manuel’s Bread Café is offering its first cooking class on Monday, February 22 at 7 pm. You’ll learn to prepare a four course meal: Gnocchi and Shrimp, Nicoise Salad, Beef Burgundy, and Chocolate Mousse – with Manuel himself leading the class. Wines will be paired with each course. Only twelve spots are open and the cost is $75 per person, which includes wines paired with each course. Call 803.380.1323 to reserve your place.
release on April Fools’ Day, 1990. Shortly after, he began his prison ministry at the Stockade near Lake Olmstead: “I went to the Stockade weekly, on Saturday nights; and we would do a couple special events a year, a Christmas program and a spring concert out on the yard for the inmates. We had about 30 volunteers for those special events. I brought in a singles ministry a few times and a few churches.” When he was pardoned in 1997, Aitken was then able to move the ministry over to the county jail; and was dismayed that inmates are not educated on the pardoning process for felony offenders: “Someway we need to help people understand that there is a process you can go through. In District 1, especially, a lot of people I run into don’t know about the process you can go through. In Georgia there is an application process to get your rights restored. I went through that process. I had to put together a life plan and letters of recommendation, from the pastor, and community leaders, and arresting officer, chaplain of the jail and my boss.” Aitken feels privileged and awed that he is able to go back and make a difference: “Sometimes I had the whole jail out, it would be about 75 people. I had never spoken in front of or read in front of anyone. I would just read the Bible and break it down with what I knew. My testimony, with me coming out of where I came from, really resonated with people.”
“It is all one to me if a man comes from Sing Sing Prison or Harvard. We hire a man, not his history.” – MALCOLM FORBES
all of it totally and trust God,” says Aitken, who can identify with released inmates that have little to look forward to on the outside: “They don’t have a job. They don’t have a network of people who love them outside of what they know, and the people there look worse than [before they went to jail].” Aitken believes strongly in focusing more effort to assist exinmates in rebuilding their lives. He mentioned the coming construction of the TEE Center (the Trade, Exhibition, and Events Center) as a possible way for Augusta to improve aftercare: “Some way we have to create chances for men coming out. With the TEE Center being built, I have asked the companies in charge of the construction if we could give men that are qualified a chance. We have a transition center right around the corner and men are looking for work; and they are in a controlled environment that will help them transition into construction jobs. When I got out of prison, that’s where I started out, in construction.” As a city commissioner, Aitken hopes he can improve the lives of all in District 1. His experience, on both sides of the bars gives him the compassion and the knowledge necessary to be an effective leader. Though, as he notes, it takes more than one man to get the job done. Aitken continues his full time job outside of serving as a commissioner; working diligently in local ministry and serving as a member of The Coalition of Prison Evangelists. But, at the moment, every constituent in the district can look to this new leader and find renewed hope that anyone can find hope and reinvent a new future.
“When I got out I made my mind up” to “break away from
museum decreases hours, needs support
Given the many economic challenges facing the Museum, starting this month, the Augusta Museum of History will be reducing its hours of operation. The Museum’s new hours will be Thursday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 1 pm to 5pm. The Museum will be closed Monday through Wednesday. All programs, including Brown Bag, that have been scheduled will continue
through the remainder of the year. Also, the Museum Shop and the Research Library will no longer be open to the public. The museum is located at 560 Reynolds Street. Details: 706.722.8454 or augustamuseum.org
new tourism videos showcase augusta’s allure
The Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB) recently premiered eleven new destination videos as a part of a new campaign
by P.M. ROGERS photo KATIE MCGUIRE
quick clips to reach out to potential visitors online. Visitors will be able to see all that the city has to offer before they arrive in Augusta. Check these videos out and send to your out-of-town family and friends so they can see what they’re missing: AUGUSTGA.ORG FACEBOOK.COM/VISITAUGUSTA YOUTUBE.COM/VISITAUGUSTA.
10 / february 2010 / verge
verge / february 2010 / 11
a biker’s dream turns into reality on broad riverside cycles bring new commerce, safety and vision
Ernie Muller, the general manager of Riverside Cycles at Fifth and Broad, wants everyone to know there’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Tommy Arriola. “Before we moved in, this building was very run down and it was a very bad neighborhood to go walking in,” said Muller. “Thanks to Tommy setting up shop here and putting cameras out to keep an eye on the sidewalks, we’ve essentially extended Broad Street another five blocks to where it’s safe and comfortable to go shopping.” Arriola is more modest about his accomplishments, but he does have a dream:
to own and operate the finest motorcycle shop in Augusta that is built by bikers, for bikers. Riverside Cycles opened Independence Day 2009 at the corner of Fifth and Broad and, in the six months since its grand opening, has become the best independently owned motorcycle shop in the CSRA, according to Muller. “No other facility comes close,” said Muller. “What sets us apart is we have a full service department for metric cruisers like Kawasaki and Yamaha. We have two techs, one devoted to Harley and one devoted to just metric cycles, so we can do almost anything.”
Riverside Cycles boasts a $60 synthetic oil change, probably the least expensive service around according to Muller, and offers many cycle parts that are hard to find as well as a full line of clothing and safety gear. “We want to keep the place low key, a place a biker can come in and feel comfortable,” said Arriola. “We don’t feel like we’re doing anyone a favor by helping them with their bike, they’re doing us a favor by coming in to see us.” Arriola has made Augusta his home since getting out of the Army in ’86. His three sons and two daughters, who make up two out of the three Riverside Girls featured in the store’s calendar, grew up here and he sees it as his duty to do good by the town that raised them. “The building we now occupy was a really run-down and abandoned building until somebody bought and then tried to resell for a profit, only they couldn’t because it was so ugly,” he said. “I finally got around to looking at it one day and when they took me inside I thought, ‘my god, this is the building I’ve been looking for’.”
a Riverside Cycles Mechanic works on a chopper
“We’ve essentially extended Broad Street another five blocks to where it’s safe and comfortable to go shopping.” quick clips
one in three local children are at risk of hunger In a recent sobering press release, Golden Harvest Food Bank reported that one out of every three children in Richmond County are at risk of hunger. But, the BackPack program, an ingenious solution, distributes healthy, nutritious meals to chronically hungry students to take home over the weekend when they will not have access to free and reduced school meals. The meals include wholesome, prepackaged foods easily prepared by small hands. BackPack is funded in part by private donation and local community support, and requires help to continue operating in your area. Please consider making a donation to the BackPack program, and support a growing student near you. Online at goldenharvest.org/ donate or by mail: Golden Harvest Food Bank, 3310 Commerce Drive, Augusta, GA 30909 (100% of your donation is tax deductible and goes directly to food distribution).
the yellow bike project cycles into action
Chris Cary is passionate about things that turn on two wheels – and moving people around downtown. He’s bringing the Yellow Bike Project to downtown Augusta – modeled after similar projects in Decatur, GA, and Austin, TX. The mission is to create better access to biking, including maintenance services, education and reconditioning donated bikes for public use. Part of the project includes a community bike shop where anyone can come and learn to fix their bike from experienced volunteers. And that’s the key – volunteers. If you are interested, email Chris at ccary64@ gmail.com or facebook “Augusta Yellow Bike Project.” And look in March’s issue for more information on this green-friendly, community minded project.
augusta helps haiti through music - saturday, 2/6 Twelve bands are coming together to raise much-needed funds for Haiti Relief on
Arriola met Muller through a mutual friend shortly before the shop opened; and are now very close. Muller originally came to Augusta to manage the Augusta Dodge dealership and says his 25 years of experience selling cars helps him when dealing with customers in the store. They have already organized several rallys and events, including the Poker Run to benefit Threshold to Freedom, a women’s recovery home, last November. They hope to
host another event in March once the weather warms up. In addition to helping local businesses and charities, they also hope this will pave the way for their more grandiose plans. “In two or three years we would like to start a Rally on the River and turn Broad Street for one week into Daytona Beach,” said Arriola. “There are businesses in Daytona that literally only open during the two weeks out of the year they are having a bike rally, and I think it would bring in a lot of money and put Augusta on the map if we did the same thing here.” In the meantime, Arriola hopes to be able to retire from his job in the construction industry and focus on tending the shop full time. “This place is a dream to me,” he said. “I’ve had other dreams in my life, like sailing the seas and restoring old cars, which I’ve done, and now this is something I really want to make work.” Riverside Cycles is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. and is closed Monday. photos and article by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK more RIVERSIDECYCLESAUGUSTAGA.COM
Saturday, February 6th at the HD Lounge (corner of 12th and Ellis Street). The music starts at noon and continues all day with a superb local line-up of: Twice Removed, Blurring the Line, Vox Inertia, John John’s Heavy Dose, StillView, 48 Volt, The Vellotones, False Flag, Silent Resolution, Elysium, 2 More Miles, and a special acoustic performance by members of Shotgun Opera. Cover charge for this 21+ event is $5.00 and a 21+ event. All proceeds will be given to the Haiti Relief Fund of the Red Cross.
Jackets Stadium near Lake Olmstead.
ed turner and number 9 benefit for humane society
Mackenzie Marr, a sophomore at Davidson Fine Arts School, won first place in the Symphony Orchestra Augusta’s annual youth competition. Mackenzie performed the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D Minor. Daniel Allen, also a sophomore at Davidson, was awarded second place. Daniel performed on violin the first movement of Symphonie Espagnole, op. 21 by Edouard Lalo. Marr will perform with the SOA during the Young People’s Concert series later this year.
Ed Turner and Number 9 will perform for the first time in 5 months at 7:30 pm with four dates to choose from: March 5, 6, 12, and 13 at Fort Discovery. Tickets are $25 each and are all-ages, general admission only. The band will play three sets of some of the greatest songs ever recorded by the Beatles in the band’s annual benefit for the CSRA Humane Society, the “no-kill” shelter located behind Green
Ed Turner and Number 9 has raised over $135,000 in the 4 years for local charities. Said Turner “We are thrilled to be playing our fourth series of shows for the dogs and cats at the Shelter. This is the Shelter’s biggest fundraising event and we hope everybody will come out with their friends and families to party with the music of the Beatles.”
davidson students sweep SOA youth competition
12 / february 2010 / verge
verge / february 2010 / 13
the year of advocacy / downtown augusta alliance a broader vision for 2010 includes action, events and networking not only between Downtown Augusta Alliance members but also with those involved in the community. The long term goal is to “enable people to stay in the loop about everything that affects downtown,” Hutchison says. The history of the Alliance began with the decision to defund and dissolve the Main Street Augusta program. Main Street was responsible for First Friday (among other things) and many people feared the monthly arts celebration would go with them. Out of this concern evolved the Downtown Augusta Alliance – a fully independent organization with no ties to taxpayer money. The Downtown Augusta Alliance has become an integral, active part of downtown life, striving towards making downtown what it is truly capable of becoming. This group of concerned business owners, employees and residents has a vested interest in the welfare of the city – and they act upon it. 2010 is shaping up to be the organization’s busiest year yet (keeping in mind they’ve only been around for three). Incoming president David Hutchison shares the year’s vision based on the outcome of a recent Board of Director’s brainstorming session. Hutchison, who owns The Book Tavern, believes d(a)² is poised for more action, more events and more involvement in the decisions that affect downtown business. For the past three years, the predominant thrust of d(a)² has centered on driving traffic into downtown businesses. “This is still a major role we play,” Hutchison admits, but the group has broadened its scope. The Alliance is now in a position to get involved with advocacy, ready to speak out on important issues. The downtown agenda, as a whole, is the overall concern of the Alliance, including everything from the TEE Center to the proposed Hyatt to parking meters and “concerns that haven’t reached our ears yet,” Hutchison says. The Alliance’s roughly 100 members put d(a)² in a position of influence. The Alliance recently flexed some muscle in regards to the parking meter controversy. Working with the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), the Alliance hosted a Q&A for its members to express their concerns, get some answers and offer alternative solutions. Hutchison says the Alliance is not against parking management, but wants to move away from parking meters and towards addressing safety, lighting and other factors to help solve the issue. By coming together, the Alliance provided valuable feedback to the DDA regarding what the downtown business owner sees as parking management solutions. Having run a number of successful events over the last three years, including Discover Downtown and the Jingle Bell Jaunt, d(a)² will have its “own flavor for this year,” with plenty of ideas in the works. An important focus will be on communications;
downtown development authority plans revision to parking management proposal The Downtown Development Authority has extended its data-collection efforts in conjunction with its proposal to install a limited number of meters in on-street parking spaces in downtown Augusta. In the weeks ahead, additional public meetings will be scheduled to continue the productive discussions about how to make downtown Augusta a better place to live, work and play, including how to coordinate the needs of downtown customers, workers and residents for safe, convenient parking. The DDA will continue to identify a variety of alternatives to
“Being independent had certain advantages,” Hutchison says. “No one gives us money,” he goes on to say, reveling just a bit in the freedom and pride this offers an organization like the Downtown Augusta Alliance. This also eliminates the possibility of behind the door dealmaking or undue political pressure, something many Augustans fear.
“In the end, the Downtown Augusta Alliance stands for the
Today, the D o w n t o w n Augusta Alliance includes owners of businesses such as Vintage Ooollee and International Uniform. Ooollee Bricker, who runs the vintage clothing store on Broad Street and joined the Alliance a year ago, enjoys the way d(a)² allows her to invest the amount of time she can afford while implementing suggestions and helping one another. “They are very receptive,” Ooollee says, granting part of the closeness of the group to its small size with everyone pitching in. She joined the group because she saw d(a)² doing great things for small businesses such as her own.
betterment of downtown, bringing life
wants parking meters curbside while leaving the median free. d(a)² is a place where he can voice these opinions. But, Daitch also feels people aren’t proactive enough about downtown, and he looks to offer his view on what can be done to help downtown thrive. Under the past leadership of Lara Plocha, Daitch feels the d(a)² has done well and he hopes they will continue to focus on a few well planned, consistent events. Consistency keeps something alive and Daitch uses First Friday as an example. “First Friday was a bust at first,” he says, but now “you can’t stop First Friday.” In the end, no matter what a person’s view, the Downtown Augusta Alliance stands for the betterment of downtown, bringing life and business to the city. With new president Hutchison at its head, d(a)² is setting its eyes on bringing change to Augusta while still focusing on the major issues that plague people to this day. But for those who want to know more about what the DA 2 stand for, just ask any of the members, all who are more than willing to explain the benefits of people with similar interests banding together in the hope of keeping downtown Augusta thriving and exciting. For those who haven’t joined, the Alliance predominantly attracts businesses and property owners in the downtown district, but offers options for residents and those simply passionate about downtown. by D.H.L. photo CHRIS SELMEK get more DASQUARED.COM
and business to the city.”
Before Fred Daitch first joined the Downtown Augusta Alliance, he admits he “didn’t know what they did.” Since becoming a member a few months ago, the owner of International Uniform has participated in the Alliance events, including the Jingle Bell Jaunt and Martinis & Mistletoe. For Daitch, a big supporter of downtown who admits he will “do what it takes to bring customers” to his store and downtown, the cultural heart of Augusta has a “lot of life and opportunity.” He supports the CADI program to make downtown cleaner and safer and he
on-street parking throughout the downtown area and plans to produce a comprehensive catalog of locations and pricing for these options along with a map. DDA Executive Director Margaret Woodard said the amount of public interest the proposal has generated is producing a surge of interest in downtown improvement that merits further dialogue before the proposal is offered to the City/County Commission. “During the discussion on parking meters that began on Dec. 17, a large number of thoughtful, valuable ideas emerged on how to make downtown a better place to live, work and play,” Woodard said. “Many people voiced their suggestions for better downtown quality of life and a strong desire to see downtown’s revitalization gain even greater momentum. We want to continue collecting these important observations and incorporate them
before taking our next step.” Woodard said the public opposition that has emerged since the DDA proposed parking meters for downtown has adjusted the authority’s parking management strategy. “The parking proposal was just that,” Woodard said. “It was a suggestion for how we might manage our parking resources better using recent research and cutting-edge technology. Our proposal was intended to initiate discussion, gauge public sentiment and incorporate new ideas emerging from the public dialogue before implementation begins.” In a recent meeting with the Downtown Augusta Alliance (DA2), the DDA listened to the input of the thirty or so business owners present. DA2 president David Hutchison said, “I want to have a parking problem because
David Hutchison (left) talks to a StreetSmart Rep
that means we have a successful downtown.” But he doesn’t feel that downtown is quite at the tipping point for meters - yet. “We need to enforce the current laws and find alternate solutions to increase parking availability,” Hutchison went on to say. “If downtown Augusta doesn’t have parking meters at some point, then downtown will have failed. But we need a road map of strategic steps to take before we get to that point.” Brenda Durant, executive director of the Greater Augusta Arts Council, challenged those present, “We who live and work downtown are causing this problem. We have decided it is our right to park in front of our business or loft. The best enforcement we need to do is enfoce ourselves.” The first public meetings will be held on February 4 at noon and 6 p.m. in the White’s Building at 936 Broad Street.
14 / february 2010 / verge
FEBRUARY 7 to 14 : PAINE COLLEGE & MORE
community / it’s homecoming
FEBRUARY 12 to 27 : LE CHAT NOIR
theatre / clean house
paine college celebrates 128 years le chat exposes more than dirty laundry
Every year, Paine College hosts an exciting array of special events during Homecoming Week from February 7 to February 14. The 10th Annual Scholarship Masked Ball is a big part of the celebration. But central to Paine’s Homecoming Week is the annual parade which winds its way through downtown from Laney Walker to Ninth Street. The student’s Midnight Breakfast (Sunday, 2/7) begins each Homecoming Week at Peters Campus Center Dining Hall. The Residence Hall Step Show follows on Monday night as students compete, performing musical numbers against each other. Other featured events include the 29th Annual Conference on the Black Experience (Tuesday, 2/9), the Homecoming Ball at Candler Memorial Library (Tuesday, 2/9) and the 128th Founders Day Convocation (Friday, 2/12) to honor outstanding members of the college. A central theme during the week is sporting events. Friday brings the second annual Alumni Golf Tournament at Forest Hills Country Club and the Paine College Family Reunion with the Alumni Basketball Tournament. The night culminates in the 10th Annual Scholarship Masked Ball and the Homecoming Concert. Saturday’s famous Paine College Homecoming Parade begins at 10 am on Laney Walker. The Homecoming Basketball Game for the Lady Lions follows the parade and then men will take on the Tuskegee University Golden Tigers. The week finishes off on Sunday with the HBCU Gospel Explosion. With so many different events going on, it is hard for people to decide just which ones to attend. But, this year many of the events are free – those that are not designed to raise money for student scholarships. Under the new administration of Dr. Bradley. Paine College has had a “change of vision,” as Director of Public Relations Natasha Carter explains. Paine College is striving to be a “regionally recognized premiere liberal arts college.” The desire is for students to have access to great education and this is where granting scholarships comes into play. The annual Alumni Golf Tournament is a good example of the college’s new vision, with the money earned going towards golf scholarships and the golf program. The highlight of Homecoming Week is the parade. “It is an age old tradition,” Carter says of the parade. Over the years the parade has grown larger and larger, involving community members from all walks of life who both participate and come to watch. Members of the local high schools, middle schools, radio stations, and civic groups are all a part of the parade as well. The atmosphere is a great time for all, with excited students, alumni, and community constituents all enjoying the parade. Rain or shine, the parade will go on and the events are family friendly. The family and friendship element of Homecoming Week is a core value of Paine College. Thus Homecoming Week is geared towards all ages and is an opportunity for Paine College alumni to see one another. “Everyone loves a chance to get dressed up and listen to good music,” Public Relations Director Natasha Carter says. People “turn out in droves” for the student events. But “above the parade, above the masked ball” the real focus of Homecoming Week is the basketball date FEBRUARY 7 to 14 game against the Tuskegee U. Golden Tigers. venue VARIES The Homecoming Week celebration offers the show PAINE COLLEGE multiple events that are open to the public. Paine College wants the wider CSRA to know HOMECOMING WEEK about Homecoming Week. They want to share cost VARIES “the things we enjoy,” as Carter puts it, in addition to the goal of providing education to full schedule paine.edu/events/ young people.
plan to go
by D.H.L. photos PAINE COLLEGE
“I had been blessed with an innate, a built-in, quality of design composition--of composition, not just design composition. It’s a mystery.” –Julius Shulman
Le Chat Noir director Doug Joiner knows from past experience that a lot of the patrons who come to their performances are looking for “something outlandish.” Yes, he says, “we’re edgy but we don’t try to shock people. That’s a misconception.” Shock value has nothing to do with what we do, Joiner finishes. Clean House is no exception. Clean House, which took second place to winning a Pulitzer Prize and has built a reputation around the country, is performed by five actors, of whom Matilda is the main character. Joiner calls the show “Steel Magnolias for smart people.” It is a delightful, romantic comedy taking place in “metaphysical Connecticut” Joiner explains. The spirit of Clean House is the “most loving play involving infidelity,” Doug Joiner says. Director Joiner personally chose the cast of Clean House and directs the play, written by Sarah Ruhl. The character of Matilda is played by Nicole Swanson and first time actress Jane Ellis plays Ana. Swanson knew Doug personally but had never worked with him in a play while Ellis joined the cast after “Nicole’s husband spoke to me at church,” she says. For Jane Ellis, a teacher for forty years, the experience and thrill of acting was unexpected – and a once in a lifetime event. Though she claims she is still nervous, there is something about Ellis’ down-to-earth personality that is engaging – and should translate to the stage. The initial plot seems simple enough: Matilda, a maid, is hired to clean Lane’s house. Joiner explains the play is much deeper than that as uncovers “dirt hidden in the emotional landscape” of the other characters. Darkhaired Swanson (as Matilda) says of the plot:
“I like the story. It’s very charming the more you understand it.” Perhaps this charm is what has drawn this group of actors together. The overall feeling at rehearsal is one of subdued concentration and familial bonding. A lot of work goes into getting a play ready, which takes a little over a month to prepare for opening night, including building a set. “Each set has its own complexities,” Joiner says about the creation process. This is just one of the steps on the road to the play’s premiere. When it comes to the study, performing, and history of theater, Doug Joiner remarks that as Americans, “we are still infants.” In the end, what makes Le Chat Noir so different from other theaters isn’t just that their plays are complex and challenging on multiple levels, but that, as director Doug Joiner so aptly puts it, their performances are not disposable. Eighty to ninety percent of Le Chat Noir’s productions are Augusta premieres and often unfamiliar to local theater fans – a reason in itself to see February’s production of Clean House. by D.H.L.
plan to go dates FEBRUARY 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27 venue LE CHAT NOIR the show CLEAN HOUSE showtime 8 PM tickets $25 more LCNAUGUSTA.COM
verge / february 2010 / 15
schrödinger’s cat / where funny meets spontaneity
new improv comedy troup brings on the belly laughs
What is that? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It’s a bird plane! I hate those! Their messes can cover your whole car! “Freeze!” A performer in her chair becomes inspired and takes the place of another on stage. She copies her predecessor’s position as a person looking up into the sky, and restarts the scene with a completely new plot. “What is that?! Is it a bird? Is it a plane?” she inquires of her scene partner as she jumps around the stage. To the audience it seems obvious that she’s trying to reference Superman, but then her scene partner answers: “It’s a bird-plane!” The audience laughs. Undeterred, the jumping actress replies, “Oh, I hate those! Their messes can cover your whole car!” Hysterical belly laughter is heard from the audience as the scene continues, now consisting of a discussion on how to clean the giant messes left by bird-planes. Suddenly, one of the performers stalls mid-sentence and a robed judge in the front row of the house blasts a bicycle horn, while the rest of the judges yell, “Die!” Michael Ray, the group’s musician, keys a classic “Wah-wah-wahhh,” and the scene is over. This is Schrödinger’s Cat, a group of a dozen or more local performers who meet at Le Chat Noir on Wednesdays to hone their improvisational skills and have some good fun. The group is co-directed by Gary Dennis, who hosts, and Krys Bailey, who runs lights. Dennis is hesitant about the ‘director’ title. He explains, “When we say we’re directors, we just mean we’re in charge of content. We decide which games are played, and when. The rest comes from the performers’ heads.” The group has been around for five months now, slowly building up its number of players and games in an informal setting. The people who come hear of it by word-of-mouth. Many players are Le Chat alums and also appear in the alternative theater’s performances throughout the year.
The players arrive each week, chat and prepare for the challenge, free drinks and fun. This last dress rehearsal, however, is all business. Gary Dennis gives the performers a pep talk about the upcoming performance, their first for a public audience, and the crew sets up costumes and props. The show is ready to begin. The players come out and divide into two teams, currently named What’s New, Pussycat? & Your Mom’s a Beach! Then the judges arrive, dressed in long robes and carrying numbers. Gary Dennis obligingly coaches the audience to boo them. There’s a coin-toss and the winning team challenges the other to a game (which changes after each round). Each team then plays a short-form improv game. Situations are chosen by the audience. At the end, the teams are humorously given points by the judges, who demonstrate varying levels of bias, and the next round starts. Even those who are not improvisational aficionados are sure to recognize and enjoy some of the games the group plays, including Helping Hands, where one performer stands behind another and acts as his arms throughout the scene. Other favorites include the Alphabet Game, Freeze & Justify (which was responsible for the opening scene of this article), and Lines from a Hat, where the performers must insert lines the audience has written for them in the middle of their scene. Those who attend the performances are guaranteed an interactive experience. The audience is constantly asked for scenarios in which to place the performers in and, often, get to participate in the games themselves. The audience even gets to help the actors “warm up” by counting down from five before every game. Improv is an exciting field, sometimes even more so for those who aren’t on stage. Michael Ray, keyboardist for the local band My Instant Lunch, has become the official musician for Schrödinger’s Cat and adds a great deal to the variety and overall effect of the show. He admits that improv is a new experience for him and it is as improvisational for him as it is for the actors. “I spend most of my time trying to keep up with the performers, and hopefully to stay a step ahead of them.” The group’s next performance will be on Friday, February 5th at Le Chat Noir, and admission is $5. LCNAUGUSTA.COM by MARCUS PLUMLEE photo KATIE MCGUIRE
FEBRUARY 8 : DAVIDSON FINE ARTS SCHOOL
poetry out loud / davidson students compete “I ask them to take a poem and hold it up to the light like a color slide…” - BILLY COLLINS’ Introduction to Poetry
Once a year in Washington, D.C., over fifty high school students converge from points across the nation. They come not to spell competitively, to display their science projects, or to replicate the inner-workings of the United Nations. They come simply to recite words and to invoke in an audience the ideas and emotions writ down by hundreds of years of poets. But why? Print media is dying! Action movies and reality television are the preferred entertainments of the day. No one writes letters or sonnets anymore, do they? Emails and text messages exist to express all of our feelings, right? Pshaw! say those at the National Endowment for the Arts. Poetry lives on! Have you never heard of the “rap”? Ask any hipster walking on downtown streets what “slam poetry” is, and you will learn what is still “in”. The NEA is helping to
curb the above apocalyptic dystopia by annually holding its Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest; its stated aim: “[to] encourage the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance.” That is why, during the month of January, thousands of students across the nation were memorizing the words of such poets as William Blake, Gwendolyn Brooks and, of course, Billy Collins, for their classroom competitions. In most situations, one student from each high school literature class is chosen to advance to a school wide competition. At Augusta’s own Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School, this school competition is a highly anticipated event. Held in the school’s main theatre on February 8th, it will feature twentyone classroom champions. Each will recite a poem for the audience and judges, and from those twenty-one, the ten best will be selected. Those ten will recite yet another poem, and from them a school champion and runner-up will be chosen. The champion will have a chance for the
final event’s $20,000 prize, as he or she attempts to make it through regional and state rounds. Nancy Sladky, the sponsor of Poetry Out Loud at DFA, believes that attendees of the competition will appreciate “all of the different takes and perspectives on poems that you may not have appreciated the first time you heard them. Every year, people come up to me and tell me how much they loved the performance of a poem that they never quite understood or appreciated.” So, if you still believe that poetry has a place in the 21st century, if you believe that hearts and minds can be won with words and not advertisements, if you believe that our nation’s youth can rise up and become their generation’s voice through art and literature, make your way down to Davidson and sit back while the words of the world’s greatest poets wash over you, flowing from the mouths of the next generation. Admission is $3. Need more details? DAVIDSONFINEARTS.ORG | POETRYOUTLOUD.ORG
by MARCUS PLUMLEE photo FILE
16 / february 2010 / verge
verge / february 2010 / 17
vergelive.com thru FEBRUARY 26 : SACRED HEART
art / camíno de santíago a walter cumming exhibit
FEBRUARY 10 : IMPERIAL THEATRE
film / visual acoustics
the modernism of julius shulman
“I had been blessed with an innate, a built-in, quality of design composition--of composition, not just design composition. It’s a mystery.” –Julius Shulman
A modern-day couple sits on benches surrounding a weathered European statue. A fashionably dressed twentysomething chats on her cell phone as she walks past the magnificent arches of a tall building. An owl with the reflection of the moon in his eye looks up into the night sky. Simple moments, images. Solid lines and colors. Paintings that are straightforward in their content, but that invite the viewer to observe for many minutes, contemplating the artist’s choices in style, technique, and perspective. This is the work of Walter Cumming, who is featured this month at the Sacred Heart Cultural Center in the exhibit ‘Camíno de Santíago’, which is the name for the pilgrims’ route that travels through much of Europe to St. James’ tomb in northern Spain His exhibit includes watercolor and pastel pieces from his recent travels through France and Spain by bike and on foot. Chronicling with art his journey through an ancient landscape in a modern world, Cumming captures with precision the juxtaposition of old and new. His tourists, unchanged and often relaxed in their regal surroundings, do not realize that they are now works of art. Mr. Cumming, a native Augustan, was a resident illustrator at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for 28 years, where he was heralded as one of the few illustrators in American newspaper art to have bridged the gap from brush, ink and easel, to Macintosh. He chose to leave the paper in 2008 to pursue a full time, independent career, and in his final year at the paper won both the Best of Cox portfolio for illustration and first place for illustration in the International Society of Newspaper Design. Since then, he has opened several exhibitions in both Georgia and Wyoming, where he earned his graduate degree. Mr. Cumming’s art captures his sense of adventure and focus. His depiction of tree leaves and water is often opaque, causing the viewer not to focus on the small details, but instead the overall presentation and effect of the piece. One might call him an impressionist. He defers, “All I can offer is what has always come naturally for me. I draw and I paint, by hand, what my eyes see, sometimes very quickly, but always as honestly and accurately as form, light, perspective, and anatomy demand. As a jazz musician, I use techniques of improvisation, spontaneity, date THRU FEBRUARY 26 harmony and balance in composition in my painting. Ideally, my task as an artist is to venue SACRED HEART convey a range of personal emotions and the show CAMÍNO DE SANTÍAGO: perceptions about my subjects; from awe, empathy, admiration, drama, grace and dignity WALTER CUMMING to outrage, comedy, tragedy, satire or mystery. open MON to FRI 9 am to 5 pm The rest is up to the viewer.”
plan to go
cost FREE more WALTERCUMMING.COM
by MARCUS PLUMLEE
art ‘CATHEDRAL’ by WALTER CUMMING
Julius Shulman captured on film buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Pierre Koenig, Richard Nuetra and other landmark 20th century architects. And while his name may not be familiar to most, his photography most certainly is. Eric Bricker wanted to even out the reputation. Bricker and Shulman met by chance in Los Angeles, 1999. “I wanted to rent a specific apartment, so I invited the owner over to meet myself and my (then) fiancée in hopes of getting bumped to the top of the list,” Bricker says. “I was working as an art consultant and needed some vintage photos of San Francisco… it just so happened that this woman was neighbors with Julius Shulman.” This mutual acquaintance led to an amazing friendship. “I was blown away by his work, but also by him, his sense of authenticity. I wanted people to meet this remarkable man. And that’s what led to Visual Acoustics.” Shulman never had intentions of being a photographer. His photography merely began as shooting with a typical Kodak camera, his subject being whatever was around him. Yet his innate sense of place and visual correctness led to a remarkable style of photograph. His images capture the instinctive beauty of not only buildings, but of moments. In a 1990 interview, Shuman discussed his art: “I was being interviewed at NBC. The man picked up a picture from the group lying there, it was a landscape I had done in Berkeley of a windswept tree up on the hills. He asked, ‘If you went back there today, could you do it better, since this was taken apparently with your Vest Pocket Kodak?’ ‘It’s not the camera,’ I remember exclaiming. And I pointed out how the windswept tree, as it was leaning over, the tip of the tree, the most remote area of the tree, was hanging down close to the ground, but it seemed to be pointing to a curved row
of trees in an orchard, way in the distance, and it made a perfect “S” curve in the composition. And I said, ‘There’s nothing you could change about this picture.’” Director Eric Bricker Some may label the film an artsy documentary, perhaps placing it in a niche too slim to fit into. Yet Visual Acoustics is quite the contrary: it is the documentation of an art form, but it is more so that of a remarkable person. Bricker explains: “His photographs are very cinematic. I wanted people to see his art on screen, but I wanted people to see him on screen. I wanted people to get to know him. So I used him as a portal to modernist architecture and art.”
“The film is doing what I intended to do: speak to those already seeped in the matter, but to also turn people on to it. To meet this guy and see this world he’s been in, helped shape and create, and walk out wanting to know more.” by ASHLEY PLOCHA photos SOUTHERN ART FEDERATION
plan to go date FEBRUARY 10 venue IMPERIAL THEATRE the show VISUAL ACOUSTICS + POST FILM Q&A with DIRECTOR ERIC BRICKER showtime 7 PM
18 / february 2010 / verge
movies at main monday nights • 6:30 pm augusta main library
highlights from the pipeline
JAN 8: A RAISIN IN THE SUN Walter Lee Younger is a young man struggling with his station in life. Sharing a tiny apartment with his wife, son, sister and mother, he seems like an imprisoned man. Until, that is, the family gets an unexpected financial windfall. Not Rated, 129 min. (‘62)
Winter Jam 2010
newsong • third day • newsboys • FIREFLIGHT tenth avenue north • sidewalk prophets • revive february 11 • james brown arena • 7 pm $10 at the door
JAN 15: DO THE RIGHT THING It’s the hottest day of the year in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, and tensions are growing there, with the only local businesses being a Korean grocery and Sal’s Pizzeria. Mookie, Sal’s delivery boy, finds himself at the center of the action. R, 120 min. (‘89)
Christian music’s largest annual tour is studded with award winning acts including NewSong, Third Day, the Newsboys, Tenth Avenue North and Fireflight. The tour makes a Thursday night stop at James Brown arena.
The Little Colonel
february 5 • morris museum of art • noon • free Charming from beginning to end, The Little Colonel (and the book it’s based on) captured my heart as a small girl. Watch the film, then join Morris Museum of Art director Kevin Grogan as he peels back the layers of this archetypical Shirley Temple classic film in an interactive dicussion. themorris.org
JAN 22: GEORGE WASHINGTON Set in a rural Southern town, George Washington is a stunning portrait of how a group of young kids come to grips with a hard world of choices and consequences. During an innocent game in an abandoned amusement park, a member of the group dies. Narrated by one of the children, the film follows the kids as they struggle to balance their own ambitions and relationships against a tragic lie. R, 89 min. (‘00)
visit vergelive.com for the complete pipeline of february’s downtown events
“Our vision has always been to bring together great music, the Gospel message, and a low admission price in some of the biggest venues in the country,” said Eddie Carswell, NewSong founding member and Winter Jam creator. “We want families and youth groups to enjoy a night of top-notch entertainment that serves a greater purpose. jamtour.com
february 8 • bell auditorium 7:30 pm • $40 to $50 The charming, witty and always entertaining writer and humorist Garrison Keillor takes the stage at the Bell Auditorium for one night only. Best known for his popular radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, Keillor, true to his radio form, spits out hilarious anecdotes about growing up in the American Midwest, the aging process and “late-life fatherhood.” With his dry sense of humor, he captivates audiences as he delivers his stories with class, charisma and wisdom. online at bellauditorium.com
A Victorian Valentine Family Fun Day february 13 • augusta museum of history • 11 am free for members or with paid admission
Stop by the Augusta Museum of History and get in the mood for love. View the Museum’s special display of Victorian Valentines from the 1850 to 1910, ranging in style from fringed to pop-up to penny postcards. Get inspired to create your own Victorian Valentines to take home. Then, show a little love by decorating a special valentine for soldiers recuperating at the Center as part of the VA Medical Center’s National Salute to Veterans. augustamuseum.org
verge / february 2010 / 19
more to see more to hear more to do
Hairspray! The Musical
february 15 • bell auditorium • 7:30 pm • $47.50 to $57.50
by Ashley Plocha, Davidson Fine Arts
january 2 to 21 • morris museum of art Art and romance. A perfect combination. And on this Valentine’s Day, it’s free (Sundays are always free at the Morris). While perusing the highly acclaimed collection of Southern art, check out the new crop of budding Southern artists in the third annual juried exhibit of area high school art students. Above piece by Ashley Plocha, senior at Davidson Fine Arts. themorris.org
It’s 1962, and pleasantly plump Baltimore teen Tracy Turnblad has only one desire - to dance on the popular Corny Collins Show. When her dream comes true, Tracy is transformed from social outcast to sudden star, but she must use her newfound power to vanquish the reigning Teen Queen, win the affections of heartthrob Link Larkin and integrate a TV network - all without denting her ‘do! It’s the return of Hairspray, the Broadway musical-comedy that inspired a major motion picture and won eight 2003 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The New York Times says, “If life were everything it should be, it would be more like Hairspray. It’s irresistible!” broadwayinaugusta.com
Gypsy: The Augusta Players Stillhouse Hollow
february 26 • stillwater taproom • 10 pm • $4 As Stillhouse Hollow, Nathan Griffin, Joel Meeks, Jess Perkins and Scott Calpin exemplify the bond of great musicianship and are on a path to make their mark on the traditional American songbook. The Tennesse-based band released their debut album Dakota last year. Jon Sobel of blogcritics.com says: “Their signature sound has a ragged charm, acoustic and old-timey, with banjo, mandolin, harmonica, and upright bass more prominent than guitar.” Standouts [from Dakota] include “Strollin’ In,” which suggests the Byrds’ country period; the jaunty “Painfully True”; and the silly, sadeyed “Pimp Hand.” stillhousehollow.com
february 26 to 28• Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center friday & saturday at 8 pm • sunday at 3 pm • $35 The Augusta Players are branching out and moving Gypsy to Columbia County for this run of Gypsy. The downtown-based theater company consistently puts on high-quality theatrical performances and Gypsy promises to put them over the top. With a stellar cast (Debi Ballas as Mama Rose, Melissa Canas and Dave Bellmer (both above) as Louise and Herbie), this masterpiece is filled with one show stopping musical number after another. An artful blend of vim, guts, humor and irony, Gypsy is a musical sensation that no one who loves musicals or theatre should miss! augustaplayers.com
get more VERGELIVE
20 / february 2010 / verge
verge / february 2010 / 21
FEBRUARY 20 : JAMES BROWN ARENA
ash bowers / country boy come unstuck
with the hit single “stuck” and a full album on the way, he’s going to the top It’s almost 8 a.m. in Nashville and Ash Bowers has already begun a day of interviews. “I’m an early riser and I commute to Nashville [from Jackson, Tenn., his home], so it’s best for me to get in the game at a normal time and hit the trail,” he says. “On the road, you have to catch the morning drive on radio to do interviews, either by phone or at the station. So I’m always up early, but it sure beats turning a wrench or digging a ditch, and I’ve done more than my share of both.” Bowers was 8 years old when he became mesmerized by the movie Great Balls of Fire!, which depicts the life of Jerry Lee Lewis. He had already expressed interest in the guitar, but the biopic created an obsession with the piano, which he still plays, albeit “not as much as I should,” he admits. He threw himself into music, doing the aforementioned jobs by day and playing the ubiquitous four hours a night, four nights a week, tip-your-bartenders-and-waitresses gigs that exhausted him but also seasoned him as a live performer. During this time, he began the 260-miles-a-day commute to Nashville, where he cut demos and joined a crowded pool of singers and songwriters vying for a deal. Bowers stood out, with his poignant lyrics, rich voice and sincere charm. He was signed to Broken Bow/Stoney Creek Records and the release of his debut album, produced by the legendary Buddy Cannon (Willie Nelson, George Jones), should come sometime this spring. Since then, life has and hasn’t changed for Bowers, guitarist Brandon Kirk, bassist Brian Kingsly, keyboardist Lucas Leigh and drummer Jason Kirkimillis. They’re still up early and working long hours, night after night, but now there’s airplay, national tours, recognition for hard work and the roar of arena crowds.
“I’m very thankful. I can’t imagine it getting any better than this, and I’ve got a feeling it’s going to.”
Ash Bowers spoke with verge in advance of his Augusta performance. VERGE: You began singing in church. It’s said that the best musicians come from that background. Why is that? ASH: I don’t know, but it seems to be true. Believe it or
not, I still play in church when I’m home on Sundays. I enjoy making that joyful noise for the Lord to thank Him for the talent He has given me. It’s a great thing, and it gave me the opportunity at a very young age to be in front of people. It’s where I cut my teeth. Country music artists seem to go from the church to the bars every time! It was a good place to get comfortable playing piano and singing. When I started playing guitar, I would find the hymnal and sing a few gospel tunes. It was a very small church and there was opportunity to play any Sunday I wanted to.
VERGE: Did your mother buy you your first guitar? ASH: She did. She bought it before we got a piano in
the house. It was an acoustic guitar and I was probably 7 years old. I had it for a week and it somehow ended up under the recliner. When the recliner folded up, it busted the guitar. Then I got into piano. She bought me a piano from the church. It was an old upright with keys falling off. They were getting a new one, and they told her that if she could pay to have it moved, she could have it. When I was 13, she bought me a Yamaha guitar at a yard sale and I played it until I completely wore it out. My mother was always very supportive of my playing music. She was always behind me.
VERGE: What is the most important lesson you have learned from your mother?
ASH: Family first. She raised my sister and me singlehandedly. She was, and is, a very dedicated mother, and I hope to be that kind of parent. She was always 100 percent family first and very strong. She would have gone to the end of the Earth to keep happiness in our family, and that’s something that can’t be taught in a rulebook. She practiced what she preached. She had to be both mom and dad to us. I could talk about her all day and still not say enough about her. VERGE: Tell me about your band. ASH: All of my guys are from Jackson. I didn’t come to
Nashville and find players or studio musicians. I played bars with these guys on the same circuit, the four or five bars that had live music every night. We cut our teeth together, have known each other for years, and that makes a difference when you have to get on a bus and live with people. I’m very lucky, especially as a new artist, because sometimes you have to throw a band together. I’m thankful that I have my guys. I always tell them that they’re above my gig. They’re incredible players, good guys, they aren’t any trouble and I don’t have to worry about what they’re doing or if everybody knows their parts .
it was time to do vocals, Buddy said, “Just go in there and sing.” He let me be Ash. He never once said, “Do this,” or “That way would be better.” He never tried to push anything on me. It was a very pleasant process, and when I got my first mastered copy I thought, That’s me. It’s everything I hoped it would be. He took what I do and made it the best that it could be. That’s what a producer should do. A lot of times an album ends up being the producer’s record. Not this one. I’m proud to have had the opportunity to work with Buddy. When you listen to this album, you get to know me a little better, and that was the whole point of making it. by ALISON RICHTER photo FILE
plan to go date SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20 venue JAMES BROWN ARENA the show WIDE OPEN TOUR: JASON
VERGE: What did Buddy Cannon bring out in your
ALDEAN + LUKE BRYAN + ASH BOWERS
ASH: I’ve heard so many people perform live, and then
showtime 8 PM
they get a deal and turn into something they’re not. I was always scared that if I got a deal and worked with a big producer, that would happen to me. I had written most of my record before we cut it. We cut the tracks, and when
tickets $24.75 to $34.75 Jason Aldean
buy tickets JAMESBROWNARENA.COM
the best local music of ‘10 / lokal loudness awards show Suspense is in the air: who will win the 2010 lokal choice music awards at this year’s festivities. With seventeen categories (from favorite local band to favorite drummer), this annual ceremony could get bigger than the Grammys. Find out why Chairleg received nominations in 10 categories! For a complete list of nominees, see page 31 . Then, go to the show and celebrate the winners in person:
date SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20
venue SKY CITY
the show A MYRIAD OF LOKAL BANDS + THE LOKAL LOUDNESS CHOICE AWARDS showtime 8 PM Dave Firmin: The Endalls
at the door $5
get more VERGELIVE
22 / february 2010 / verge
verge / february 2010 / 23
sector 7G / nick laws rocks it out for five years his mantra of taking it day-by-day equates to staying power
“We try to focus our attention on the
things that matter
Onstage a group of young men hurl their bodies around while effortlessly pounding out crushing chords that bounce off concrete walls into the mostly pre-adult crowd that has gathered to share yet another night of communal rock bombast. This audience may have arrived from different points across the surrounding area but, within the confines of the four multi colored concrete walls, they are one. The scene is played out in similar all-ages venues across the country and, to no surprise, rock ‘n’ roll has been the voice of the young since Elvis Presley and the Beatles first drove teenagers (and parents) crazy with unbridled music and onstage intensity. While the skull-crushing sounds on this particular night may not be their parents’ rock ‘n’ roll, the crowd at downtown all-ages venue Sector 7G shares in the same sacred energetic interplay between audience and performer that has existed for decades. Since opening its doors at 631 Ellis Street on February 25, 2005, Sector 7G has been host to many such moments. Now on the verge of celebrating five years as Augusta’s premiere allages music venue, owner Nick Laws looks back on the venue’s simple beginnings and exciting, though sometimes tumultuous, existence. “After the Hangnail Gallery closed, the all-ages scene was without a place to call home,” says Laws. “Matt Lawhorne and I were renting the building on Ellis St already for band practice, so we had a location. I was somewhat experienced in running sound and was in school for business management, so it all fell into place nicely.” As the rehearsal spot for Augusta band The Sixth Hour, the former laundromat near the corner of Ellis and Seventh streets had undergone a massive transformation courtesy of the eager band mates. The virtually unusable building was turned into a long wide open space perfect to house the sounds of loud music. Having a building was a plus, yet still left the daunting task of recruiting bands and attracting a regular audience. “At the time we were set to open, there was another venue set to open called Jams,” says Laws. “Ultimately it didn’t work out for them and they then became Jams Booking, which is still very active at Sector 7G today. When they didn’t open, they moved all the shows they already had scheduled to Sector 7G. This gave us an instant start. We hit the ground running and we were really
lucky to have those great shows to get us going. The kids just started coming out like we’d been there for years.” Capitalizing on Jams’ misfortune turned out to be beneficial for Laws and Sector 7G and for Jams as well. Both would go on to play a key role in the continuing popularity of all-ages music in Augusta. While it hasn’t been an easy ride, Laws attributes a large portion of the venues success to its patrons doing the necessary proper things to help keep Sector 7G open. “We’ve had difficulties with some of the authorities as any club will,” says Laws, “but we’ve been able to make necessary changes to keep everybody happy. Luckily the kids that come out to Sector 7G have always had a respect for the venue and understand that in order for it to stay open, they have to follow the rules.” According to Laws, the thought of being around long-term was far in the back of his mind. He opted to take the process of building up Sector 7G one step at a time. To this day, the owner of Sector 7G continues to marvel at just the thought of an allages venue being around for so long. “If you had told me we’d be open 5 years later,” says Laws, “I would have been surprised that anybody could keep an all ages venue open that long. But I suppose if I didn’t feel like it was going to be successful then I wouldn’t have opened Sector 7G in the first place.” An independent business celebrating a fifth anniversary doesn’t happen everyday. Without the benefit of resources that many larger businesses possess, it takes a bit of ingenuity and extra work especially when it comes to keeping up with the ever changing trends in youth culture. Without the means to exploit every possible marketing strategy, Laws has simple used a minimalistic approach to turn Sector 7G into a popular place for area bands to play and a must-stop for many nationally known bands. “We try not to overcharge for shows,” says Laws. “We don’t have an unlimited budget, so we try to focus our attention on the things that matter to music fans and musicians, like a quality sound system and decent stage and light setup. Also, we get people who really know how to promote the shows and make sure people know about what’s going on at Sector 7G.” As in any all-ages venue, the faces change as the kids grow up and
to music fans and musicians.”
Laws says that the patrons are just one of the many things that have changed since the venue first open its doors in February of 2005. “There really isn’t anything at Sector 7G that hasn’t changed. Admittedly we started small and did a few stupid things, but I’m proud to say that we’ve never rested on our laurels for long. Even now after 5 years I’m looking for ways to improve everything and I think that’s what keeps me excited about it.“ Laws mentions never having had a “grand vision” for Sector 7G and continues to take things one step at a time. But even this day-by-day approach hasn’t kept him from at least contemplating new possibilities for the venue’s continued growth. A growth that, if Laws has anything to do with it, could extend beyond the brick and mortar that currently stands at 631 Ellis Street. “I’d like to focus on expansion both physically and online,” says Laws. “Perhaps a second location for bigger shows. An even bigger picture could be a place where not only Augusta people go online to check out live streaming and recorded shows, but the whole world. A building no matter how big it is has limits of its capacity, but the internet knows no bounds.” Yeah, it’s been five years since Sector 7G first let in a crowd of kids in need of a home to vent their youthful angst in a way that only rock ‘n’ roll has the power to do. Laws has seen every kind of local, regional, and national band imaginable (his personal favorite to date being a over-the-top event featuring California band Green Jello and tour mates Radioactive Chickenheads and Rosemary’s Billygoat). From the worst of shows to the best of shows, he wouldn’t have it any other way. When asked his feelings about how far Sector 7G has come in five years, Laws, in his unique mellow manner, contemplates momentarily before simply stating: “I am proud of what it’s (Sector 7G) evolved into.” Sector 7G celebrates five years of rocking the all-ages crowd on February 25. Get your butts down to 631 Ellis Street and join in the celebration as Sick Sick Sick, The Chiltons, TTHW, and more rock the house. For more details and a schedule of upcoming shows: SECTOR7GAUGUSTA.COM. by JOHN “STONEY” CANNON photo KATIE MCGUIRE
24 / february 2010 / verge
verge / february 2010 / 25
FEBRUARY 28: FORT DISCOVERY
leon redbone / pays tribute to lee morse
the reclusive jazz & blues artist speaks out on the current state of music Leon Redbone has been a vital part of the music industry — without actually being a part of the “industry” — for several decades. In addition to his unique musical style, eclectic repertoire and engaging performances, it is perhaps his reluctance to partake in the “industry” side of music that has enabled him to maintain and continue building his fan base and remain musically relevant. Redbone is no stranger to the CSRA, having performed here in the past. His return this month is being billed by presenter Augusta Amusements as “A Tribute to Ms. Lee Morse,” a remarkable singer from the 1920s — an era that factors significantly into Redbone’s style and which many of his recordings celebrate. Fittingly, Morse was also no stranger to Augusta, having performed at the Imperial Theatre in February 1926, five years before the formation of the original Augusta Amusements. When archiving the history of women in music, there is a tendency to backtrack no further than the 1960s. Lee Morse, in fact, was a singer, songwriter and guitarist, and thus a trailblazer for generations to follow. The time line, however, gets lost in translation, particularly as each generation’s homework becomes more contemporary in its stopping point. While we all cite a reverence for the music of the past, that past often stops at Meet The Beatles or, on a good day, an earful of Delta blues, a genre that was first recorded around the same time that Lee Morse was breaking ground. “The cutoff point is interesting because it should be extended about another 20 years, or even to the bottom end of that scale,” Redbone tells Verge. “A lot of people now know Lee Morse based on the Internet, and that’s consistent with how people function today. The Internet is the modern-day oracle. It is now possible to communicate with Lee Morse through one person who put up a site that has since fizzled.”
indirect fashion, and some want to be people of today and are not interested in anything that has gone out of fashion. And then some people like to wear old clothes, so I guess the concept of society hasn’t changed that much. That’s my theory, and maybe it’s wrong. The only thing I can say is that Lee Morse was an incredible singer who could take a song of her choosing and somehow find how to put that song across using her abilities, talent and quality of voice.”
And that, he agrees, has become the state of music as a whole. “It’s very curious how we define what’s going on now,” he says. “It’s completely different from 80 years ago, and even 8 years ago. Things changed rapidly. There’s a new method by which to try to impress people: You, too, can be on the Internet and well known in a week and for a week, and it makes no difference because there are plenty more of you out there. That’s why labels have dissolved as a concept. Everybody can be in front of millions of people overnight. Ultimately, we have to expand the horizons of talent, and redefine the concept of talent, and there you’ve got everybody participating. It changes the questions ‘What is music?’ and ‘What is the point of music?’ and creates a larger market, as opposed to Lee Morse, who was a diamond, not another bauble or shiny stone. She was a naturally talented individual with quite unique vocal ability, and she was sought after by most songwriters to promote their material. Writers then were interested in finding people who could put across the songs they were writing and publishing. There was a genuine interest to promote great songs and great performers.”
Redbone’s appreciation of all things historical makes him the perfect artist for Mike Deas, president of Augusta Amusements and selfdescribed “friend of historic downtown theaters.” Because of his fascination and respect for the city’s past — its old theatres and the individuals who built them and booked their shows — he began researching their past and discovered all the documentation, minutes and records of Augusta Amusements.
Finding artists who not only appreciate but also incorporate such classics is rare. Save for Redbone and, interestingly enough, David Lee Roth, whose solo albums ventured into some of these gems, the material is left to the perennial dusty vaults. “Most people are interested in the modality of today as a means of existing, and anything passé is of no use to them,” says Redbone. “It’s a character issue. Otherwise, everyone would have their head in a book and try to learn something every day. It would be a different kind of society. Some people are interested in what they’re told to be interested in, in an
“I saw the empires these men built, both here and across the country, and I wanted to bring all of this information back to inform people about the powerful resources of these men, as well as to bring more entertainment downtown,” he says. Deas is really doing it the old-school way: booking one event at a time — so far, two Elvis movies and now Leon Redbone — on tickets that include multiple entertainers and family friendly content. Between his admiration for Redbone’s talents, his discovery of Lee Morse’s Augusta concert, and the immediate tie between both artists, it all made sense. He knows the risks involved with promoting shows in Augusta, as this town is notorious for walk-ups, and sometimes not enough of those for a break-even. “It’s nerve-wracking,” Deas admits, “but I took this leap of faith because I grew up here and I’m a firm believer that we can make it work.”
“Most people are interested in the modality of today as a means of existing, and anything passé is of no use to them. It’s a character issue.” - LEON REDBONE
plan to go date SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 28
Leon Redbone performs at the Paul Simon Theater at Fort Discovery on Sunday, February 28. Showtime is 7 p.m. and will begin with local talent Rusty Lindberg, ventriloquist, and the Southern Blend Barbershop Quartet.
venue FORT DISCOVERY THEATER the show AN EVENING WITH LEON REDBONE: A Tribute to Ms. Lee Morse showtime 7:00 PM tickets $25
by ALISON RICHTER photo FILE
buy tickets AUGUSTAAMUSEMENTS.COM Lee Morse 1924
more LEONREDBONE.COM | LEEMORSE.COM
26 / february 2010 / verge
verge / february 2010 / 27
on the flip side / L.i.E and 48 Volt John “Stoney” Canon and Jacob Beltz delve into the Augusta music scene, taking a look at two musicians virtually “on the flipside” of the musical spectrum. In their own words, artist share their personal musical make-up and thoughts on the other’s different style – exposing the similarities as well. Starting off this ongoing series are musicians from a pair of bands obviously different – drummers Brian Allen of Americana group 48Volt and Michael Dinkins from the metal band L.i.E.
Metal band L.i.E. is quickly becoming known for their unique take on heavy metal music. Blending elements from seventies pop, modern-alt and traditional heavy metal, the band has managed to keep melody in its music – a feat many local metal bands never screamed to attain. The six member band recently released their debut album, Eviction, of sixteen tracks that as one fan said, “is extremely catchy.” Crossing over genres has gained the band some unlikely fans – as well as kept their hardcore metal friends.
48Volt slammed onto the Augusta music scene as the headline act for 12 Bands of Christmas 2008 and recapped their stage show at the Festivus of Bands this past December as the grand finale act. In less than two years, 48 Volt has dominated Augusta music stages, progressing from their former Americana act, American Skin which also won much local acclaim. 48Volt isn’t content to rest on their laurels; all the members agree that the new formation has not reached its full potential. The band continues to fine tune their original songs while constantly improving the approach they take to Americana music.
DRUMMER | L.i.E.
Michael Dinkins, formerly of The Haeighties, joined the band in 2008, bringing even more diversity to L.i.E.’s complex sound. STONEY: What made you decide you wanted to be in L.i.E.? MICHAEL: I went out one night in February 2008 to the old
Playground to promote a show for my 80s cover band, The Haeighties. Seeing Dale [Lowe] and Jo [Bone] there with their new band playing got my attention because I hadn’t seen either of them in a few years. My first impression of the band was “wow, this is a really big sound.” They were still a very young band in need of considerable tightening, but all the ideas were cool, the songs were catchy and edgy and the band was energetic. I enjoyed the mix of natural vocals with the growl/squeal stuff and the central role that the keyboard played so that it wasn’t entirely guitar dominated. After The Haeighties appeared that it wasn’t going to continue, I learned that L.i.E. was looking for a new drummer. I got that excitement and felt like they had a good thing in the works that I could really get behind. STONEY: What do you feel you contribute most as a
member of the band?
MICHAEL: I try to contribute anyway that I possibly can in
all aspects. I think I’ve helped push the band to do things they wouldn’t have otherwise done musically. As far as drums go, I definitely give the band a more tighter, heavier feel than they had previously and have gotten them more comfortable with being more willing to experiment with music. I’ve gone as far as to compose whole sections of some songs to teach the other guys, including the violin part for most recent song that we’re calling “Boring Movement in D Melodic Minor” for the time being (not sure if that’ll change once vocals come in to play). STONEY: What do you feel sets L.i.E. apart from other local bands? MICHAEL: Other than the obvious instrumental make-up (a hardrock/metal band that relies heavily on keyboards and is now incorporating a violin into the mix), we do a good job of providing a crossover/fusion of the accessible mainstream rock with more extreme elements of metal while maintaining a good diversity of style with touches of the symphonic, progressive and, occasionally, downright ludicrous. STONEY: What about 48Volt do you feel would be attractive to the fans of L.i.E.? MICHAEL: It’s hard to say why the 16 year old metalhead that digs a song such as L.i.E.’s ‘Egomachine’
would also enjoy 48 Volt’s ‘The Girls of West Texas.’ Musically speaking, there is very little, if anything, similar between the bands. 48 Volt is honest, good, memorable songwriting. Their songs add up to be more than the sum of their parts, each with its own unique story to tell. 48 Volt, similarly to L.i.E., works to bridge styles, in their case often fusing outlaw-style country and western with rock, and their live show is rather entertaining, often making a stripped-down song seem much bigger, especially when joined by Steve Allen on additional percussion and Henry Winn on lap steel and violin (hey, there’s a similarity!!), and Brian Panowich is one of the best local frontmen around period. ‘Lights on the Boulevard’ is my personal favorite and quite honestly, one of the most poignant songs I’ve ever heard.
DRUMMER | 48VOLT
Brian “Stak” Allen is Volt’s drummer and a leading engineer of the composition and delivery of the band’s songs and performances. JACOB: What made you decide you wanted to be in
BRIAN: That doesn’t really apply to me, because 48 Volt was born out of American Skin. We all felt, though, that we wanted to go in another direction. So, essentially we all left the first band and formed the second together. It wasn’t so much of a decision on my part, but a natural progression for all of us. I really enjoyed playing as American Skin, but we all wanted something different and there’s no question that we’ve made more progress since the move. We have gained the respect of our peers, which is something I felt we never had before. And we have hit some milestones such as the 12 Bands [of Christmas] recording from last year, so I think it’s “mission accomplished” so far. JACOB: What do you feel you contribute most as a member of the band? BRIAN: I’m a pretty big component of the song-writing, but we all are. I hear melodies in my head pretty readily, and we use that a lot of the time as the vehicle to jumpMichael Dinkins (left) and Brian Allen (right) start the process. There have been times when I’ll come up with the first couple of stanzas of a song and we’ll take it from there. So, I contribute in that sense and also kind of a rhythmic sense. I’m very no nonsense and I’m the guy when the bus breaks down in the back pushing it. But everyone in the band will agree that we all contribute equal parts. JACOB: What do you feel sets 48Volt apart from other local bands? BRIAN: Our personalities are all so strong and unique at the same time that it really affects the outcome of our song-writing. And as far as what sets us apart from other bands, I believe it’s the song-writing. It’s a tough nut for every band to crack, because The Beatles set up the blueprint for rock-and-roll songs pretty well, but it’s amazing how hard it is to follow the blueprint. You have to write a good hook for the melody and a chorus that is catchy, but you also have to throw the left turn in here and there. The difference between being good and being great is having the guts to cut out the crap and I think we are getting a pretty good handle on that. JACOB: What about L.i.E. do you feel would be attractive to the fans of 48Volt? BRIAN: The main thing for me as a fan of L.i.E would be their fearlessness. We share practice space with them; we’ve been able to see them grow from the beginning to now, and it’s amazing how much they’ve grown. L.i.E has always shown fearlessness in that they actually make melody and well written parts to their songs and successfully do it within the realms of “hard” music. It’s really hard to mesh those disparate elements together and they do what a lot of heavy metal bands can’t do. Their lead singer, Tony Miaco, is such a great front man and really knows how to put on a show while keeping the music in tact. They have a great knack for song-writing, and I think fans of 48 Volt will be attracted to that if they feel adventurous.
get more L.i.E.
get more 48Volt
listen online DISCOVERTHELIE.COM or REVERBNATION.COM/LIE
listen online MYSPACE.COM/48VOLT
see them live THE PLAYGROUND BAR date SATURDAY FEBRUARY 13
see them live HD LOUNGE date SATURDAY FEBRUARY 6
why A benefit for the family of Jordan Leopard (formerly of Jemani)
why A benefit concert for Haiti relief through the Red Cross by JACOB LYNDON BELTZ and JOHN ‘STONEY’ CANON photo KATIE MCGUIRE
28 / february 2010 / verge
verge / february 2010 / 29
FEBRUARY 9: ST. PAUL’S CHURCH
the kimoni duo / one enchanted noontime
this harp and flute duo create beautiful sounds through a lovely friendship
Upon meeting in 2008, harpist Monica Hargrave and flutist Kimberly Felder-Scott felt an immediate creative connection that led to the formation of the Kimoni Duo. With a repertoire that covers baroque, contemporary, pop and jazz music, the two have performed throughout the United States. Hargrave, who studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Indiana University School of Music, is principal harpist with the Albany Symphony Orchestra and professor of harp at the University Of Georgia Hugh Hodgson School Of Music. Felder-Scott, a graduate of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and Oklahoma State University, is Chair of the Music Department at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. Monica Hargrave spoke to verge about the Kimoni Duo, their repertoire and performances, and the importance of music in our lives. What motivated the two of you to form the duo? Kimberly plays with the Tuscaloosa Symphony, and I was subbing with them. I introduced myself and said, “If you ever need a harpist, here’s my contact information.” Shortly after that, I was contacted by a gentleman in Winder, Georgia, for a concert. I asked him about booking a flute and harp and he was excited about it. I contacted Kim and it took off after that. It was a spiritual connection; how we both felt once we talked and put together a repertoire. The distance doesn’t hinder us. She’s in Birmingham and I’m in Atlanta, and we work so well together. We have so many things in common, from the music we like to the organizations we belong to.
“Studies show that students who are involved in music do better academically... Interconnection is key to keeping children engaged in being creative.” - MONICA HARGROVE
plan to go date TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9 venue ST. PAUL’S CHURCH: 605 REYNOLDS STREET the show TUESDAY MUSIC LIVE: THE KIMONI DUO showtime NOON tickets FREE or $10 with LUNCH buy tickets TUESDAYSMUSICLIVE.COM more HARP411.COM
How did you develop your repertoire and how often does it change? We change the song list probably each time we do a program. It’s hard to say in regards to whether that’s every two months or every six months. There’s no consistent time frame in between. We played in November, we’re playing in Augusta in February, we have a performance at the end of May. Every program is different. If we play a church worship service, we adapt our program to that. Augusta is a lunch series, a shorter program, so we’ll be as diverse as possible. We both seek out music from the traditional repertoire, but we’re always looking into contemporary composers and whether the repertoire can be arranged for our instrument combination. For example, if she likes something for the flute and it has a piano part, I arrange that for the harp. We’re not solely limited to what is already written for flute and harp. When do you rehearse? If we have a concert coming up, we try to rehearse more frequently. It’s a two-and-a-half-hour distance, so we take turns commuting. If I play with the orchestra, I come a day earlier to work on our stuff. Do you work only in person, the old-school way, or have you begun doing things electronically, with files and downloads? Oh no! We’re old school! Nooo! We need time to catch up, talk about our families, what’s going on in the teaching world. Oh no, no! She’d have to be in Europe for us to do that, and still I’d try to do it like, “Call me at 10:00 and I’ll put the phone down and we’ll rehearse!” We would miss the personal connection. You teach, have families and perform solo concerts. How much time are you able to give to the duo? We both do better with a full plate. You learn to be a better time manager when you have so much to juggle. When we get ready to come to Augusta, she’ll come in the
night before and we’ll leave early in the morning. When you ask about the connection between a group, whether it’s two people, four or however many, communication is key, and that’s something we definitely have. There’s no diva attitude. We’re always saying, “What do you think about this,” or “This is cool!” Even what we wear: “My purple works with your pink!” You’d think we had known each other for years. The flute is a common instrument, but the harp — not so much. Couldn’t you have chosen something a tad easier? My mother thought it would be different. I grew up in Michigan. She took me to concerts, pointed out the harp and asked how I liked it. I was a kid, and I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I don’t know.” She researched it and found a teacher who came and talked to us and said, “If your parents invest in this, you cannot change your mind.” I still tease my father and ask if he thought I would stick with it. I have parents call me and say, “Susie has expressed interest in the harp, and we don’t want it to be like ice skating, where she did it for four months and lost interest.” Fortunately, now you can rent an instrument. When I started, it was all or nothing: “We’re buying it and you’d better stick with this.” Some people want to play occasionally, or at a senior center or church. The gift of music — that’s what Kim and I are able to share with our personalities and musical expression. Music was always a passion of mine. I tell my students, “It’s not about black notes on paper. You’ve got to give music that heart.” With children spending so much time in front of computers, playing video games, music-oriented video games that don’t require actual instruments, and of course budget cuts for music education, do you worry that we are losing the art of music? Of course, I think that the first issue is budget cuts. Arts in school are always the first thing that gets cut. As a musician, educator and performer, I have to keep educating people about it, because studies show that students who are involved in music do better academically. The importance of music, and the overarching umbrella of classic music, the time periods — we have to continue being creative in how we introduce music to kids. Technology will always be there, the video games, but if they introduce a child to music and pull them in, it connects them to other things. I use as an example that the Beatles were talented musicians at a young age, and similarly, Mozart also wrote his own music at a young age. Interconnection is key to keeping children engaged in being creative. by ALISON RICHTER photo FILE
30 / february 2010 / verge
verge / february 2010 / 31
FEBRUARY 20 : SKY CITY
going lokal / annual music choice awards
seventeen great awards + five great bands = one great night
and the nominees are.... The 2010 Lokal Loudness Choice Awards adds two awards this year - bringing the grand total of lokal love to eighteen. Though the nominees are interesting in their own right, what we found even more intriquing are the categories. Each is named after a person or band that has played an important role in Augusta’s music scene. We thought you might be intrigued too:
Dixie Dregs Award for Favorite Lokal Band
Brandon Layton Award for Favorite All Ages Lokal Band
Science Friction Award for Favorite New Lokal Band
named after: fusion rock band Dixie Dregs, a group which originated in Augusta as Dixie Grit by guitarist Steve Morse and bassist Andy West. The band put out several popular instrumental albums from 1975 until adding vocals on 1982’s industry standard. ‘10 Nominees: 48Volt | Chairleg | Electric Voodoo | L.i.E | Shotgun Opera named after: young bassist Brandon Layton, a Lakeside High School student. Sadly, Layton died in an automobile accident on Riverwatch Parkway in 2003. ‘10 Nominees: Aralic | Beara | Chairleg | L.i.E. | Shotgun Opera named after: the late 80’s Graniteville, SC, rock trio Science Friction, one of the first area rock bands to gain a popular following by performing mainly original material and known for their fun rock shows and their list of Battle of the Bands victories. ‘10 Nominees: False Flag | Great Day in the Morning | My Instant Lunch NoStar | Twice Removed
here’s the skinny
Dorian Tauss Award for Favorite Lokal CD
what’s it about: Lokal Loudness presents its annual Choice Awards for 2010
named after: the late Studio South engineer Dorian Tauss. In addition to engineering sessions for James Brown and Edwin McCain, Tauss turned the knobs for then up and coming Augusta bands such as Symon Sezz, Science Friction, and Kingthursday. ‘10 Nominees: L.i.E. : Eviction | My Instant Lunch: Tales of Woah | NoStar: NoStar Shotgun Opera: Vanity | The Cubists: Mechanical Advantage
what’s new this year: The Choice Awards adds two new awards: the James Brown
1,000 Miles Award for Favorite Lokal Song
who’s definitely playing: A stellar line-up featuring 48Volt | Aralic | Bleeding Counter-
Paul M. Colohan, Sr. Award for Favorite Lokal Male Artist
Kat Turner Award for Favorite Lokal Female Artist
named for: one of Augusta’s popular independent songs, People Who Must’s “1,000 Miles”. The song saw airplay on area radio stations and during regular rotation hours on Channel Z. ‘10 Nominees: Chairleg: Mecha | Jemani: Glitterbone | L.i.E.: Ego Machine Suns Collide: Cubing the Glean | The Cubists: Fire in the Backyard named after: the late Paul M. Colohan, a jazz drummer whose career included performing in the Washington D.C and Augusta areas. Colohan’s love for music would continue through sons Kelly and Steve and grandson Collin previously of Veara. ‘10 Nominees: Jo Bone | Dave Firmin | Matt Lawhorne | Dave Mercer Carey Murdock named after: 80’s and 90’s Augusta songstress Kat Turner. With her gritty yet soulful voice and ability to mix country and rock, Turner was Augusta’s Americana artist before the term was even coined. In 1995 Turner released her sole Augusta CD Stages. ‘10 Nominees: Eryn Eubanks | Allison Foster | Deb Hemingway | Tara Scheyer Tracey Steele
Robbie Ducey Award for Favorite Lokal Solo Artist
Steve Cheeks Award for Favorite Lokal Vocalist
named after: the Robbie Ducey Band’s namesake. Ducey has been performing locally and regionally since the 60’s fronting several bands before forming the Robbie Ducey Band, a group that has explored styles such as rock, southern rock, and the blues. ‘10 Nominees: Jacob Beltz | John Kolbeck | John Krueger | Will McCranie | Billy S named after: Steve Cheeks, former front man for such bands as Mr. Fun, The Knuckleheads, and The Steverinos. As proficient on bass and keyboards as he is on vocals, Cheeks has also produced many area and national acts. ‘10 Nominees: Dave Mercer (Shotgun Opera) | Tony Miaco (L.i.E.) | Josh Pierce (Bleeding Counterfeit) | Chris Robinson (Twice Removed) | Larry Sprowls (Chairleg)
Reed Scott Award for Favorite Lokal Miscellaneous Instrument
named after: Reed Scott aka Augusta reporter Scott Hudson. Before becoming a news hound, Hudson was the leader of Augusta band Optimod and a driving force behind Lokal Loudness moving from print to online media source. ‘10 Nominees: Chris Anderson (False Flag) | Jacob Beltz (Solo) | DJ Fugi (Twice Removed) | Dale Lowe (L.I.E.) | Henry Wynn III (Multiple)
Matthew Keenan Award for Favorite Lokal Guitarist
named after: the late South Carolina guitarist Matthew Keenan, formerly of popular 90’s area rock band Symon Sezz. Formed out of the nucleus of fledgling band Kaos, symon Sezz would release two popular local CDs as well as fan favorite bar song “Gimme.” ‘10 Nominees: Michael Baideme | John Berret | Matt Lawhorne | Blaine Prescott Dean Massaro
Award for Hip Hop/Soul Artist and the Brenda Lee Award for Americana/Country Artist.
the when and where: February 20 • Sky City (1157 Broad Street) doors open at 8 pm • cover $5 • 21 and up feit | L.i.E. | My Instant Lunch
why you should go: You’ll be the first to know who’s number one in Augusta? The real question is: why shouldn’t you go?
Chris Hardy Award for Favorite Lokal Bassist
named after: Chris Hardy, former bassist for Augusta bands Nervous Boy and Sylvia’s Advice and one of Augusta’s top music instructors and musicians ‘10 Nominees: Jo Bone | Ryan Griffis | Chris Libby | Dave Mercer | Danny Rankin
Chris Watkins Award for Favorite Lokal Drummer
dieAgnostic Awards for Favorite Lokal Hard Rock/Metal Band
David Bradberry Award Favorite Lokal Rock Band
James Brown Award for Favorite Augusta Hip Hop/Soul Artist
Brenda Lee Award for Favorite Augusta Americana/Country Artist
named after: the late Chris Watkins, drummer for Augusta band Dogwood and several other area groups, until his passing in 1999 from a heart ailment. ‘10 Nominees: Brian Allen | Mike Brower | Brian Caplette | Michael Dinkins Eric Rinker named after: popular 90’s Augusta all-ages hard rock band dieAgnostic. Formed out of the ashes of several area metal bands, dieAgnostic eventually morphed from a speed metal band into a technical heavy prog band before heading to New York. ‘10 Nominees: Chairleg | L.I.E. | Shotgun Opera | Suns Collide | Twice Removed named after: Augusta musician, engineer, producer and Haunted Pillar Records founder David Bradberry. As an engineer, producer, and label head, he released three important compilations of Augusta music featuring artists such as Hundred Year Sun, impulse Ride, and Mary Jane Jones. ‘10 Nominees: 48Volt | Bleeding Counterfeit | Great Day in the Morning My Instant Lunch | NoStar named after: James Brown, influential artist who not only created the music genre known as funk but also was influential in many other musical genres in particular hip hip, becoming the most sampled artist in the genres history. ‘10 Nominees: Flaco | Jemani | Rebel Lion | TBUC named after: Brenda Lee, who was discovered on a touring edition of ABC-TV program Ozark Jubilee in Augusta. In the sixties Lee had 37 US chart hits, a feat only topped by Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Ray Charles and Connie Francis. ‘10 Nominees: 48Volt | Patrick Blanchard | Dew Hickies Eryn Eubanks & The Family Fold | Jerry Graham Band
find out more at lokalloudness.com
32 / february 2010 / verge
cut the fat /i’m a loser baby part VII getting back on the bike
“I didn’t just jump back on the bike and win. There were a lot of ups and downs, good results and bad results, but this time I didn’t let the lows get to me.” – LANCE ARMSTRONG It has been said that some things in life are as “easy as riding a bike.” By the same token, it can also be said that it can be just as easy to fall off a bike. The hard part it appears is getting back on the bike after falling off and skinning your knee, not to mention your confidence. A little over a year ago, I got back on the proverbial “health” bike and, to be honest, I have lost count of how many times I have fallen off. Between hitting a wall of feeling lost after winning Health Central’s Biggest Loser contest, a couple of trips to the hospital due to what my friend Scott Terry calls “treating my temple like a pool hall,” and psychological venting during the holidays, I have probably spent just as much time off the bike as I have on it. But I know that I am not alone in dealing with the difficulties of trying to lose weight; so I do the only thing I feel that I can do – get back on that bike. I must first come clean to all of you that have followed my progress and even helped with your support. The Christmas holidays put quite the dent in my weight loss mentally and physically. I am extremely fortunate to have survived the whole ordeal with no significant weight gain and a renewed enthusiasm to jump back on the saddle seat and pedal forward. No one said it was going to be easy and while I’ve tried to take these articles and present them in a way that would make anyone feel confident about losing weight and possibly even enjoying some of the ride, I’m pretty sure I never said it would be easy. I find myself much in the same place I was this time last year – only 130 plus pounds lighter and breathing a lot easier. Sure there’s still more weight to lose and that smoking habit to kick, but now I have that confidence of having lost quite a bit of weight to push forward. See even little triumphs are important for they are the building blocks to bigger victories. Proof that all things are possible even when it doesn’t seem so. Once you accomplish losing weight, it makes it hard to tell yourself that you CAN’T lose weight. By now you must be wondering “why all the bike analogies?” Well, as a creature of habit, I find that I work best with little goals along the way. I started a year ago with a Lenten promise, jumped over to taking on Biggest Loser, moved on to walking a 5K and now, after a time of coasting, I am ready for my next set of goals one which includes a long charity bike ride and sky diving on Father’s Day (which I can only do if I am under 250 pounds). So if your New Year’s resolution this year was to “get back on the bike,” I personally challenge you to not only get back on but enjoy the fruits of that bike ride. Sure you may fall off a time or two; but if you don’t get back on, you’ll never be able to see all that life has to offer you with a healthier body, mind and soul. I may be a loser baby…but even losers enjoy having someone along for the ride!
here’s the skinny the big picture First weigh-in date: April 14 Starting weight: 405 Biggest Loser Final Weigh In 354 As of 1/1 314 twit stoney’s progress & cheer him on: www.twitter.com/stoneycannon editor’s note: John “Stoney” Cannon will continue to chronicle his attempt to “Cut the Fat.” To keep track of Stoney’s mission check out his blog page at http://fatkatfitness.blogspot.com by JOHN CANNON photos KATIE MCGUIRE
verge / february 2010 / 33
MARCH 6 : THE WELL AUGUSTA
on the horizon / the grassroots gospel conference What if following Jesus means going home? What if mission means staying where you are? This is the grassroots gospel: digging deep in the context and culture in which God has placed you. The WELL is hosting the first Grassroots Gospel conference on Saturday March 6th from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, in conjunction with the Acts 29 church planting network. It is a gathering for pastors, ministry leaders and servants in the church and community to be equipped to fulfill the call of contextualizing the gospel in local culture.
Ray Ortlund, Jr.
Jeremy Carr, pastor of The WELL, says, “The goal of the conference is to re-energize those who are in the trenches in hopes that churches will revitalize, new churches may plant, and Christians will see their life as a calling – it’s not “selling out” to get a 9 to 5 job... it’s a calling!”
Dr. Eric Mason
The conference is split into four sessions, each led by a different pastor or bible scholar, and focuses on “intentional indigenous ministry.” Carr explained the meaning: “Essentially [it means] ‘bloom where you’re planted.’ Far too many people put their gospel calling on the shelf when they feel ‘stuck’ or when the more glamorous foreign ministry ideas don’t come to fruition. Many folks ‘settle down’ and mistake that for
film / spirits in the night
‘settling’ rather than seeing it as God’s placement of them in a context and culture to live out the gospel. The key verse is Luke 8:39 when Jesus says to a man he’s just healed: “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him. The conference is designed for any Christian; whether a pastor, leader or Christian who is living life in the workplace or school. Carr hopes the day also results in “the beginning of new local partnerships as well as deepening of existing interchurch relationships.” The sessions are: Dig Deep in Context with Jeremy Carr of The WELL (Augusta GA), Dig Deep in Scripture with Max Rogland of Erskine Theological Seminary (Columbia SC), Dig Deep on Mission with Dr. Eric Mason of Ephipany Fellowship (Philadelphia PA) and Dig Deep with the Gospel with Ray Ortlund Jr. of Immanuel Church (Nashville TN). Register at GRASSROOTSGOSPEL.ORG. Seating is limited to 150 people and costs $20 per person. The WELL Augusta is located at 1285-B Broad Street. by WYLIE GRAVES
beers locals like
dr. ben tastes founders brewing co.
Well, February is now upon us. No matter what Punxsutawney Phil saw, this writer predicted six more weeks of dark and hearty brews a long time ago. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the occasional IPA or Blonde Ale. It’s just that the dark brews are so near and dear to my soul that I am always sad to see the cold season go. So, let’s bundle up with a deep and smoky brew for as long as we can. Below are some darker selections from Founders Brewing, a Grand Rapids, MI, establishment that offers some great seasonal brews and some that are great all year long.
When I first walked into the Miller Theater all I could do was stare. The entrance was enormous and reminded me of so many movies I had seen. Huge dancing murals, water fountains from another era, and an air of history were all around me. I had never been in a place that used every square inch of itself to tell a story. The Miller has that effect on everyone. Just ask Fred Kight and Brian StewART. They stepped into the Miller with the intention of producing a ten-minute music video. When they walked out, they were making a movie. Though they have led very different lives, Kight and StewART both felt compelled by the Miller. “I, for one, was awestruck,” says Kight. “It was absolutely magnificent.” The feeling was the same for StewART. “Something inside me screamed, ‘ You have to do more with these surroundings!” Having both realized a deep need to create something in the majestic Miller, Kight and StewART came together to figure out how to get it done. Kight had a background in theater and access to the equipment necessary to make a film, and StewART had imagination. It wasn’t long before they had not only Kight’s Canon XL, but also a boom, a stedi-cam, and all the software they needed. StewART says, “ I basically saw the entire film in my head and the more I visualized it, the more excited I became about making it
happen.” Between the two of them, they soon had a script and, with the blessing of the Augusta Symphony, they began filming. According to StewART, the film is about a girl who is dealing with the death of a loved one and is eventually contacted by the spirits of singers, actors, and entertainers from the past whose souls are trapped within the old, condemned theater. In order for them to escape, song and dance must be performed on the very stage that honored their talent so many decades ago. Partly to free the spirits and partly to escape from her own troubles, the girl and her band bring the theater to life one last time. Kight and StewART hope to premiere the film in April, and have talked to Coco Rubio about showing it at Sky City. Not only will the film bring the Miller to a whole new generation, it will also showcase much of downtown Augusta. Mellow Mushroom was the setting for one signigicant scene and another walking shot features many historic buildings and hot spots on Broad Street. Businesses such as Vintage Oollee, Costumes by Michelle and Modish Salon have also done their part to contribute to making this project happen. So keep your eyes open for a premiere date, and don’t be surprised to see a few downtown faces playing major roles in the film. by SAMANTHA TAYLOR photo BRIAN STEWART
DIRTY BASTARD SCOTCH ALE | Not to be confused with my brother’s concoction, the Sh*tty Bastard (vodka and lemonade served at room temperature), this brew will paradoxically not offend the taste buds and goes down as smoothly as any Scotch ale I’ve had. The smoky nose and malty flavor complement the blend of seven hops quite remarkably. The blend of hops becomes a bit more robust as the flavor lingers, making this brew dirty in all the right places. It’s 8.5% alcohol by volume, so pace your self with this one, and don’t get freaked out by Old Tom Morris’ evil twin on the bottle. BREAKFAST STOUT | Listen to this: “Double Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Stout”. That’s right, folks. The people at Founders Brewing may have come up with the perfect breakfast. The bottle even halfway spoofs Mikey from the Life cereal commercials. Don’t be fooled, however. The rich and full-bodied savor makes this a not-for-the-children stout. The tastes are all strong and significant in and of themselves, but their seemingly bullish combination with one another – for whatever reason – just works (beautifully)! Since I see patients in our clinic by day, I’ll probably stick to the occasional chocolate croissant and mint tea from the New Moon for breakfast. However, the next time I’m feeling like “breakfast for dinner,” I know what to reach for. IMPERIAL STOUT | Yes, yes, and yes! I’m giving this darkest of dark stouts
two thumbs way up! It pours and tastes so smooth you’ll have a hard time pulling away from that first sip. The taste finishes with just enough of a barley bite to give you something to think about. The entirety of this brew is superb, and it would do well to polish off virtually any meal or to serve as the perfect appetizer. Not all stouts are this diverse, so consider your selves officially lucky that we have this one in town. I know I do. One other point about this brew – tell me you don’t think the bottle is Vatican seal meets Masonic seal. Think about it.
These and more brews from Founders Brewing and countless others can be found at Eighth Street Tobacco (corner of Eighth and Ellis). by BEN CASELLA Ben Casella wears his seersucker pants before Memorial Day and his pink tie after Labor Day. He does, however, drink beer seasonally. Not to do so would truly be a faux pas.
34 / february 2010 / verge
verge / february 2010 / 35