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more reasons to choose local first

july 2009


verge / july / 3

contents 11

front porch: Anthony Esposito Combining passion & charm to improve Augusta

13

The How & Why of Choosing Local

23

Savannah River Gets A New Keeper

Downtown’s new and changing businesses offer more reasons to buy local first and generate economic growth

The RiverKeeper ensures a healthy river for all to enjoy

25

Eco Weekend of Wildlife & Fauna Discover the wetlands on the banks of North Augusta

31

The Loft Celebrates First Anniversary An intimate conversation with owner Adrian Estrada

33

VersaEmerge comes to Club Hollywood Talent and perserverance pay off for young punk band

35

The Galen Kipar Project Augusta’s own Kipar creates non-mainstream sounds

37

The Inkling Extends Deadline Fifteen more days to submit your original words & art

experience more

5 7 9 26 26 27 27 29 37 39 43 45 47 49 51 volume two issue five

smatterings quick clips discover downtown / cadi news gallery / cleo douglass soundcheck / the trachtenburg family onstage / candelight jazz on the river offstage /southern national drag boat races good chow / whistle stop cafe planet of sound / joycette’s listening pipeline / get plugged into july’s events i’m a loser baby / part III explore downtown / poet’s monument past times / the ESi building reverberations / horsepower a shot with pow pow on the cover: red sock / a porkchop original Leonard Zimmerman


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verge publisher Matt Plocha editor Lara Plocha pipeline editors Claire Riche Joyce Tahop web guy Andy Donnan photographers Katie McGuire Chris Selmek Editorial content of verge is the opinion of each contributing writer and is not necessarily the opinion of verge, its staff or its advertisers. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.

copyright 2008, 2009 verge all rights reserved verge is a free monthly publication verge is printed on 50% recycled stock. It may be recycled further, please do your part. contact us 706.951.0579 publisher@vergelive.com advertising publisher@vergelive.com got a story tip? editor@vergelive.com

smatterings / notes from the publisher December 16, 1773: The Boston Tea Party. A Revolution was started. A country formed and representation “for the people and by the people” began. A year ago, I wrote (on this page) that we should remember the sacrifice that our forefathers made for our independence. Remember the great quote by Benjamin Franklin: “Yes, we must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately?” Franklin’s words still hold true today as we face critical decisions here in our own community. Counter productive behavior and bickering leave no room for cohesiveness and growth in our community. We need bright minds and fresh ideas to move our community forward; not minds holding onto old habits which keep us floundering for growth. I can only imagine what our forefathers back in the 1700s were thinking: “we have to get together on this or we are all doomed.” Or do you suppose they thought “I abstain?” verge has been writing for sixteen months about how we, as individuals, can have a greater impact on our local community. Shop Local, Shop Local and Shop Local. Keep your hard earned wages right here in Augusta. Support your locally owned and operated independent business owners. Support your family, friends and neighbors. They really need your business right now. Help your local community to build a stronger local commerce area. Keep more of your dollars in the local market. Here’s the math, again, about what we have been saying: spend $100 at a locally owned and independent business and roughly $68 of that returns to your community. Spend $100 at a national chain and roughly $43 returns. Spend $100 online and nothing returns to your community. That’s a difference of $25 to $68 per every hundred dollars spent coming back to our community. Then, when our community needs a new school, bridge, more police, community center, job training assistance program, park or green space, our local government will be in a better position to provide that service to the community. There is more to making a purchase, dining decision or recreation choice than convenience. Yes, there is a time and place for that, however, we have made “fast and easy” a way of life that has greatly impacted our local economies. We have allowed large corporations to dictate what is cool, what is not. Large

free event listings pipeline@vergelive.com letters to the editor editor@vergelive.com mail 1124 Broad Street Augusta GA 30901 submit your ideas editor@vergelive.com

www.vergelive.com

retailers dictate what color is in and what is hip and trendy. Not the market. Large corporations only have one thing in mind and it’s not you (sorry to burst your bubble). If you have been what I like to call “consumer brainwashed,” read in the pages ahead how you can break this habit and be more involved in your local community. Find a more in-depth look at the 3/50 Project. Discover the new businesses that are coming to downtown Augusta and others that are changing to adapt to this newer economic time. Then, get out there and support them! Several efforts in the last month give me hope that people are listening and acting upon the needs of their community. The Golf and Gardens cleanup. The Gordon Highway cleanup. The Savannah River cleanup. The Augusta Canal cleanup. These are great opportunities to give back to your town. We use these resources every day. Is it too much to ask for beer bottles and fast food wrappers to be dropped in a trashcan rather than on the sidewalk or in the street? Our forefathers knew if they did not act soon, a way of life they longed for was going to pass them by. What are we waiting for? Someone else to step in? Someone else to fix it? We have great opportunity right here and right now to move Augusta forward on the path to great economic growth and prosperity. A Trade and Exhibit Center, a new multi-use Baseball and Entertainment Complex, a trolley system, development of the Savannah River (in a responsible manner) and, our most valuable natural treasure, our people. All of these projects are economic growth initiatives that can provide better schools, safer streets, more jobs, public green spaces and a greater sense of community. Creating a cleaner and more responsible downtown district that will be the economic life line and cultural center to the entire community is the starting point. I think our city commision would want to be known for the growth they brought to our entire community rather than for not showing up to meetings or abstaining from voting. Wouldn’t you? Over the past ten years, I have attended many economic development, city planning and vision meetings in and outside of Augusta to hear the same message: pick a geographic point on the map (traditionally the downtown district) and begin there. From that central point, all other surrounding areas will benefit and prosper.

From Chicago to Miami, Boston to Dallas. Seattle to Tampa. Not to be outdone: Columbia, Columbus, Greenville and Charleston get it. In those cities, we can see that initiative taking hold. Start the revitalization effort at a central point and grow our vision from there. We cannot be all things to all people all at once. It is impossible to accomplish. Then, nothing happens and we start working in reactive “fix-it” mode and not a proactive “growth” mode. I tend to think Augusta’s in the reactive mode currently. There are too many stresses and demands put on our local government to fix this that and the other with extremely limited resources. That $25 coming back to the local economy is starting to look important now isn’t it? Shop Local. There are several new opportunities to do just that in July and early August. In the downtown district, we will see the grand opening of a grocery store (DuJour) and a new restaurant (Rooster’s Beak). The relocation of two businesses to the downtown district (Nicole Madison’s Antiques and Flowers Xpress) Add these independently owned and operated businesses to the existing fold and you have something really special. A downtown that has more local options for you to find the product or service you might be seeking. FYI – did you know that there are over 30 restaurants in the downtown district? If you currently support locally owned and operated business, we would like to hear from you. Please write to us and let us know your experience(s) and how you keep your dollars in the local market. We will be reviewing all of the entrants and awarding a Shop Local Prize. Interested? See details at www.vergelive.com or email me at: publisher@vergelive.com for more details. I can’t wait to hear how you support your local community. Or, if you opt for not supporting your locally owned and operated businesses in your shopping habits, please visit one of the following towns. I bet their downtown districts and communities are really nice: Minneapolis, Bentonville, Hoffman Estates, Seattle, Union, Little Rock, Dallas, Scottsdale, and Richfield. That’s where your $25 per hundred is going. Maybe you can ask for a refund for Augusta while you are there. See you downtown! Matt

find what you want / advertiser index shops & galleries 48 4 12 32 16 29 34 42 22 14 6

8th Street Tobacco Andy Jordan’s Bicycle Warehouse (just the starting point) blue magnolia Brigan’s Land of Enchantment Costumes by Michele DuJuor Fine Foods Elduets Treasures of the World Flowers XPress Merry’s Trash & Treasures PeachMac Quilt Shop on The Corner

2 16 45 34 29

Rock Bottom Music Vintage Ooollee The Window Gallery Wine World Zimmerman Gallery

entertainment & events 38 20 46 28 24 44 30 8

1102 Back Bar AB Beverage: Fat TIre AB Beverage: Mothership Whit AB Beverage: Ultra Halo Salon’s Hair & Fashion Show Lokal Loudness Neptune Dive & Ski’s Wakeboard Open Woodrow Wilson House

restaurants & bars

services

36 6 52 10 32 51 20 38 12 4 20 18 34 48 22

14 6 8 32 50 46 4 16 10 6 8

1102 Bar & Grill Blue Sky Kitchen Boll Weevil Cafe Fat Man’s Cafe’ Joe’s Underground The Loft Manuel’s Bread Cafe Metro Coffeehouse & Pub Nacho Mama’s New Moon Café Moon Beams Rooster’s Beak Stillwater Taproom T-Boy’s Po’Boys White Elephant

Americana Tattoo Casella Eye Center Downtown Dental Georgia Academy of Massage Halo Salon & Spa Health Central Modish Salon & Spa Perry & Company PowerServe Sanford, Bruker & Banks Summerville Maids


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quick clips  andy jordan’s celebrates 35 years

photo DINOSAUR JR

dinosaur jr shoots new video in downtown When the popular indie band Dinosaur Jr. was in town for an April 21st Sky City concert, they took extra time to shoot a video for the single “Over It” from their new full length Farm (released on June 23). The video showcases the band members bike tricking & skateboarding it down Ellis, through the Jessye Norman Amphitheater and on the benches at Springfield Village Park on Reynolds. Impressive what tricks a couple of middle aged guys can do (until you read the director’s cut and realize they used stunt doubles for the hard stuff). Check it out on YouTube.com: just type in Dinosaur Jr. Over It.'  lexie’s legacy funds scholarship Lexie’s Legacy Scholarship

Fund recently reached endowment status with a $10,000 donation. Cofounder John “Stoney” Cannon handed over the check to Helen Hendee of the Augusta State Foundation (see photo). The majority of the funds raised were a result of direct donations and various fundraisers held in the downtown area. Lexie’s Legacy Scholarship provides financial assistance for young married women in college and was started in memory of Stoney’s daughter, Alexis Hayworth. To contribute or find out about upcoming fundraisers, visit www.lexieslegacy.org.

What started out as a passion for personal bicycling turned into a booming business venture for Andy Jordan thirty five years ago. And biking’s still his passion: we recently spotted Andy cycling down Broad Street on a pennyfarthing bike (pictured here). Andy Jordan’s Bicycle Warehouse focuses on matching customers with the best bike for their needs, while promoting the healthy lifestyle biking can achieve. Stop by to check out their new Giant bikes and offer a congrats. 527 Thirteenth Street

summer camp space still available

Are the kids getting restless? Got the mid summer blues? Send them to Fort Discovery’s hands on summer camps. Designed for kids from second to eighth grade, each week long camp has a different theme. Try “Jeepies, It’s The Creepies,” for some insect exploration or “RoboTech NXT.” Younger campers can explore dinosaurs, while older ones study photo KATIE MCGUIRE roller coasters. The camps are the week of July 6 and July 24. There’s still some spaces available. TO register, just pick up an application at the front desk, call Elizabeth Corley at 706.821.0614 or e-mail her at corleye@nscdiscovery.org.

 how a mullet can save a child Americana Artworks, White

a solid july for tourism The Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau is forecasting that July’s tourists will generate about 2.5 million dollars in direct visitor spending. Almost 2700 visitors will descend upon Augusta during the month including several family reunions (Posey, Johnson and Powell Grand), an AME Sixth Episcopal District Annual Conference and two sporting events: The Augusta Southern Nationals Drag Boat Races (right here in downtown Augusta) and the state junior tennis championship at Newman Tennis Center. (Food for thought: if each of these visitors came downtown and spent $50; that would be $135,000, of which almost $100,000 would recirculate in our local economy.)

Elephant and 1102 Downtown Bar and Grill have joined Halo Salon & Spa to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Oceans of Mercy. Stylists at Halo will be cutting mullets and rat-tails for $10 from August 1 to 8. All proceeds will benefit two charities. Keep your eye on www.mulletsforkids.com for full details and how you can participate (if you aren’t brave enough for the mullet). LLS was formed for one purpose: find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s Diseases and myeloma. Oceans of Mercy focuses on orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV / AIDS, through education, adoption and social services.

 cover artist: art born

out of grief brings joy

This month’s cover artist, Leonard Zimmerman (who paints under the nom de brush “Porkchop”) discovered art at an early age. He distracted parishioners on Sunday mornings by drawing on church programs. His parents didn’t mind because it kept him occupied. In spite of that primitive canvas, his parents saw his natural art ability and encouraged it by applying for his admission to John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School in Augusta Ga. From Davidson, he attended on to the Savannah College of Art and Design, graduating cum laude. After college, he pursued a career in graphic design and has many awards to his credit in the field. It wasn’t until the death of his partner, Brian, in 2006, however, that he dusted off his paintbrush as a means of dealing with his grief. “He is the rare artist who can work quite seriously in a whimsical way, and his paintings combine pop-culture kitsch with hard emotion and extraordinary levels of skill and talent. - Steven Uhles / Augusta Chronicle

local club lauded for wilson garden The Spade and

Trowel Garden Club of Augusta received two awards in May by the Garden Club of Georgia. The club was awarded the First Place Award in the Historic Preservation category and an Honorable Mention in the Civic Improvement category, both for their efforts in restoring and maintaining a portion of the garden at the Boyhood Home of President Woodrow Wilson with historically appropriate plant material. Funds for the project were provided by the Sertoma Club and a Community on My Mind grant. The Boyhood Home of President Woodrow Wilson is located at 419 Seventh Street in Augusta. Interested in getting involved with a local garden club? Contact Pat Hathaway, President of the Augusta Council of Garden Clubs, at 706.722.3018.

got news? we want to hear it

Whether it’s a new product line or an addition to your menu, a new employee or a new title, an addition to the family or a request for help, verge wants to hear from you. Send your “quick clips” to editor@vergelive.com by the 20th of each month for inclusion in the next issue. We’re here to help you spread the good news about your business.


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verge / july / 9

shop

discover downtown dine

Art on Broad

Sandwich City

Since opening in December 2001, owners Jim

Jack

and Kristin Tar have grown their Broad Street art gallery to feature over 50 artisans. According to Kristin, who has a background in graphic

play

live

Fort Discovery

Augusta Minit Print

state

Congratulations to The National Science

Jack Connell, owner of several downtown

representative, opened Sandwich City in 1972,

Center’s Fort Discovery who celebrated its

businesses, opened Augusta Minit Print in

and his restaurant seats 95 people, with a back

twelfth birthday in April! In 1985, The National

1965. For the past 20 years, manager Deanna

dining area that seats twenty. Sepia toned pictures

Science Center, a national outreach program,

Kitchens has worked with the Greater Augusta

design from Savannah College of Art and Design

of downtown Augusta dating back from the

was established by an act of Congress. Its goal

Arts Council and various organizations in

(SCAD), ninety percent of the art is provided by

1930’s hang from the walls. There’s a family

was (and is) to inspire the youth of America

regards to promoting Augusta events through

artists residing in the CSRA. Most new artists

atmosphere. Manager Raymond Gurley says,

by encouraging students to consider careers in

advertising,

are discovered by referrals and word-of-mouth

“We have a very loyal customer base, and I enjoy

STEM areas: science, technology, engineering,

printing. Kitchens and her staff service the

and the mediums vary from paintings, jewelry,

working here because I see and meet new people

and mathematics. “We want the youth of our

entire CSRA and they also provide free

pottery and candles. “We feature an eclectic

everyday in addition to visiting with some of my

community to see that these areas are enjoyable

pick up and delivery of commercial office

grouping of art that appeals to all people,” Kristin

old high school friends.” Diners gather around

and exciting and that they might consider these

supplies. Kitchens works with a wide variety

says. A variety of colored hand-blown glass

small tables, buzzing with conversation, selecting

areas as career paths,” says marketing director

of clients from local artists and bands to

globes hang from the ceiling made by Loretta

from a long menu (I think it’s possible to eat here

Julie Butler. The Center partners with Fort

chemical companies. “I have seen downtown

Eby, of Watkinsville, GA. Soy candles, by Alison

every day for a month and not order the same

Gordon and the US Army, including a volunteer

change throughout the years, and I enjoy it

Yawn, fill the store with cinnamon scents. Peter

thing twice). The salad plates are a big hit. Julia

program where soldiers staff and operate the

because it is a comfortable environment. I

Alsen, who was an active potter in Augusta for

Jackson, a food preparer since 1978, simply states,

Center. “The partnership is a very unique

feel like downtown Augusta is home to me,”

approximately fifteen years, contributes much

“They are homemade and delicious.” Choose two

situation.” Fort Discovery now contains over 300

Kitchens said. In addition to commercial

of his work as well. You can also find acrylic

“made from scratch” scoops of chicken, egg,

active interactive exhibits. “We have adult and

printing services, Augusta Minit Print

paintings by Bea Kuhlke and oil paintings by Russ

potato or tuna salad. It’s served on a bed of lettuce

student volunteers who primarily work on the

provides custom invitations for weddings,

Bonin. Jim and Kristin do custom framework

with tomatoes and a half hard boiled egg. You can

floor and make sure the children are safe. They

personalized Christmas cards, and all other

together as well. Jim, an oil painter himself, also

wash down this delectable meal with the popular

are a friendly presence in the building along

special occasions you wish to celebrate. Open

restores and revarnishes paintings. They chose

drink, Tiller’s lemonade named after former city

with our regular staff.” There is space available

from Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 5 pm.

downtown because “that’s where the arts are and

councilman, Harold Tiller. Sandwich City serves

for fall volunteer opportunities. Fort Discovery

706.823.6234 or minitprint04@bellsouth.net

we wouldn’t be anywhere else.” Open Monday 10

breakfast all day (7:30 am to 2:30 pm) and lunch

is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am

am to 4 pm and Tuesday to Saturday 10 am to 6

from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm. Monday through

to 5 pm and on Sunday from noon to 5 pm.

pm. 706.722.1028. www.augustaartistrow.com

Friday. 706.823.6237

www.nationalsciencecenter.org or 706.821.0600

1028 Broad Street

302 Tenth Street Connell,

a

former

One Seventh Street Georgia

328 Tenth Street

commercial

and

personal

by ANNE MARIE JOHNSON photos A. JOHNSON

cadi news / adjusted schedule meets budget issues The Clean Augusta Downtown Initiative (CADI) board of directors met for their quarterly meeting on June 12 to discuss a challenging operating budget for the remainder of 2009. Two factors are contributing to the nearly $20,000 deficit the program now faces. The nationwide norm is that two percent of taxes will not be collected during a given year. Augusta is currently facing a noncollection rate of approximately six percent (it was twelve percent a week ago; 2007 property taxes were due last November). In addition, the Augusta-Richmond County Commission has added a two percent fee on top of a 1 ½ percent collection fee to fund the program until the tax receipts are collected. This fee added $7000 to the operating budget. The board has voted to cut 40 hours per week in services – 24 in cleaning and 16 in safety. Each employee will be furloughed 5 hours per week. This temporary furlough should not compromise the program and will keep nine workers fully employed at 35 hours per week. Chairman Bob Kuhar says, ”Much of the success of the program to date lies in the fact we have had no employee turnover since last August. Our current team understands every inch of the district, has

been beautifully trained and have been a familiar face to property owners and the public. For those reasons, it is of vital importance to keep this team in place. Until these past taxes are collected and future fees negotiated, we have no choice but make these cuts to meet our contract obligations.” Margaret Woodard, director of the DDA who runs the program says, “Every effort will be made not to compromise any of the services this program offers. The current plan is to cut Sunday services altogether. During the week, the Clean Team will leave two hours earlier and safety ambassadors will begin their shifts two hours later. We will be monitoring this new schedule and make any adjustments necessary. This situation hopefully will be temporary.” Property and business owners may still call for escorts to their vehicles upon request 8 am until 7:30 pm Monday through Wednesday and Thursday through Saturday from 8 am until 10 pm. Assistance is available by calling 706.533.1229. by ELIZABETH RAND photos KATIE MCGUIRE


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verge / july / 11

front porch / anthony esposito passionate about bringing community together

“I would rather be

actively helping people.”

Anthony Vincent Esposito, 33, is one man, simply trying to better the downtown treasures for all Augustans to enjoy. His vision is simple: find those people in The Garden City of similar mindset and encourage them to find their individual “niche” to make it happen. After fifteen years away, Anthony recently moved back to Augusta. He went to Westminster from kindergarten to ninth grade, and then graduated from Westside High School in 1994. He graduated from UGA in 1998 with a bachelor’s in business administration and economics, then interned for the late Congressman Charlie Norwood during the summers of 1995 and 1996. Anthony quickly learned he did not want to be involved in electoral politics because it was constant campaigning. “It was an informative experience because it taught me that I would rather be actively helping people,” he says. In 2001, he received a Master’s of Education in Social Studies Education from University of Florida. After completing his education, he attended a national education conference where Kentucky Country Day School, a private school in Louisville, KY, invited him to teach. For three years, Anthony taught high school, then returned to law school and graduated from the University of Virginia in January 2008. The next two years found him working in an Atlanta law firm before returning to Augusta. On March 23, 2009, Esposito founded Growing Augusta the GreenWay, an environmental group geared towards creating and maintaining a more vibrant and progressive community. There are currently 64 members. “I just saw a lot of things in Augusta that needed to be done that don’t involve much money at all.” Esposito encourages participation in “low cost activities such as creating a database of the Augusta Public Transit (APT) bus schedules and routes on the Google Maps and letting people register the serial numbers on their bicycles with the Richmond County police for example. It cost no money to submit the data. I was willing to donate index cards and pens and I had friends willing to create the databases. Getting the grass cut, the three foot weeds that have sat idle for five months, it ultimately costs nothing.” Maintaining the Augusta Golf and Gardens visible landscape has become the rallying cry for Growing Augusta the GreenWay. Esposito, a passionate activist, strives to unite the community and raise awareness through speeches and presentations to the county commissioners and other local community service groups. He gets the word out through old and new media: his website – http://www.meetup.com/ growingaugusta, Facebook postings, emails, and phone calls. “We get volunteers from the CSRA, and they come in on their own free will and bring mowers, gas, trimmers, and work gloves – and we work.” In addition, he has developed a program, “Unify and Beautify Plan of Augusta.” He has paired up districts to encourage participation and diversity throughout the city. According to Esposito, this plan brings people together who have similar community service goals in mind while keeping the Augusta Golf and Gardens maintained. The grass cuttings will take place every two weeks. “We had thirty people show up for the first meeting, but there is no reason we shouldn’t have more,” he said. The group meets in different restaurants and libraries monthly to “brainstorm low cost, inclusive ideas that will improve the quality of life in Augusta. We announce the place and information about the

meeting a month before and it’s always on the website.” Esposito has fully embraced Augusta as his new home, especially downtown and its culture. “There are several blocks on Broad Street where you have local cuisine that’s hard to get anywhere else, coffee shops that know their customers. There is an active night life as well as the Savannah River along with its restaurants and Sunday Night Jazz.” He bikes and rides the APT bus for his primary modes of transportation. Esposito balances his community activism with personal hobbies. He picked up playing

acoustic guitar last year and taught himself through lessons, books and the Internet. He enjoys kickboxing and Brazilian jujitsu, reading evolutionary psychology and mostly non-fiction. “I think Augusta is blessed with resources like the Augusta Canal and the Savannah River. It’s a beautiful city.” Esposito wants to preserve these things so that we all can experience them for years to come. by ANNE MARIE JOHNSON photo KATIE MCGUIRE


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verge / july / 13

the downtown economy / change is in the air “So, I get something I want, help a local business, and benefit Augusta. That’s a good feeling.” Wall Street recently touted that the recession is officially over. It sounds good as a breaking news headline, but the truth, from a street level view, is that we are a changed economy and small business must adapt to survive and thrive. A reporter for CNN recently commented “no matter what happens on Wall Street, it’s not going to look good on Main Street for a while longer.” That being said, for those of us who held on and survived through 2008, there’s a cautious optimism and renewed confidence in the air. Walk around downtown Augusta and you’ll notice a change in the atmosphere. And I’m not talking about the wilting humidity and heat. It’s the buzz of growth as new businesses prepare to open their doors, while others expand and regroup to meet the challenges of this changed economy. verge is passionate about sharing the story of why choosing local is crucial to Augusta’s own economy. It seems to us that supporting our local mom and pop businesses, the backbone of our community, becomes even more crucial today. So, we challenged our writers to seek out those folks who were responding to the changing face of the economy in inventive ways. In the pages that follow, you’ll read more about the national 3/50 Project and discover new reasons (new and changing stores, restaurants and businesses) to choose local and choose downtown first. Realizing the economic impact that my little discretionary budget can have on my local economy has changed the way I spend my money. Think about it for a moment. If I spend $50 at a locally owned store, 68% returns to my local economy. It’s almost as though I’m donating $34 to making sure Augusta survives (however, I don’t think the IRS will let me count it as a tax deduction, yet). So I get something I want, help a local business AND benefit Augusta. That’s a good feeling. Hmm, I can feel my consumer confidence rising just thinking about it. EDITOR

save your local economy / 3 stores at a time Grab a pencil and piece of paper. Write down your three favorite local businesses. Now, flip your pencil over and erase each name. Would you miss them? In an effort to create awareness, Cinda Baxter, local businesswoman and founder of The 3/50 Project, teaches individuals how they can stimulate their local economy by spending $50 each month (total) on three local businesses they would miss if they no longer existed. Baxter’s worn the shoes of a national awardwinning retailer and understands small business from the ground up. As a consultant, coach, speaker, and writer, she offers her expertise through her consulting company Always Upward. And, as a passionate believer that no one succeeds alone, she aids all participants in the supply chain in building growth-geared partnerships with their customer accounts. Always Upward is more than just a brand. It’s Cinda’s mind-set. Her way of life. Her mission In March 2009, a former independent stationery storeowner of fourteen years, Cinda Baxter began proposing the economically sound concept what became The 3/50 Project. Baxter explains in a recent interview on the The Walt Bodine Show (KCUR), “The 3/50

project isn’t a life raft or an all or nothing way of life for these smaller businesses because it’s really about balance.” Baxter asks consumers to reallocate $50 out of their monthly spending budget to put into a local (brick-and-mortar) business. The meaning behind 3/50: “3” stands for three local (brick-and-mortar) businesses that a consumer would miss if they were to disappear. And “50” reflects if half of the U.S. population would commit just $50 from their regular monthly spending to locally owned businesses, it would generate $42.6 billion in revenue annually. What makes that $42.6 billion so significant is another number: 68, which symbolizes that for every $100 spent in locally owned and operated businesses - $68 or 68% returns back into the local economy through sales taxes, commercial land tax, salaries and business expenditures. Whereas if you spend that same $100 with a national chain, franchise, or “big box store,” the local economic impact drops down to $43 or 43% of that $100 spent. During the same show, Chris Lester, Senior Vice President of Business Growth at the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce brought

“We do make a difference - one way or the other. We are responsible for the impact of our lives. Whatever we do with whatever we have, we leave behind us a legacy for those who follow.” - STEPHEN COVEY

more insight into the importance and strength of small businesses. “It’s powerful to do business with your neighbor; it’s good for your community,” he explained. There’s tremendous value in doing business within your community that keeps the money flow circulating with the community. If you spend it in proximity with your neighbor(s), things turn over more quickly. Right now [3/50 Project] is an idea that businesses have begun to take on and certainly have begun to take on with a passion across the country. You may be already contributing to a form of paying it forward within your community by utilizing discount cards that local stores develop cooperatively to generate more business.

To see where Augusta’s economy stands, we checked out YourEconomy.org, a free research tool that enables visitors to take a closer look at business activity in their local communities. The project tracks businesses on three different levels: non-commercial institutions (governmental and nonprofit organizations), non-resident businesses (meaning businesses that are located in the area but headquartered elsewhere) and resident establishments (which are either stand-alone businesses in the area or businesses which headquarter in the same state). As the data populates, you can begin to see the importance of the value of small business and the value they add to the economy. read more of the story CONTINUED ON PAGE 15


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the downtown economy / new growth things don’t really have a price tag on it, but folks may bias more towards the local merchant. The fact is these big chains are efficient businesses. They offer good prices on a broad array of products.”

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13 In 2007, YourEconomy reported that out of 21,738 total businesses in the Augusta area, the vast amount of firms are small businesses: 89.4% employ one to nine people and additional 10.1% employ between ten and 99 people.

While the giant companies may drive the news headlines, the real economy is predominately driven by the 99.5% of small companies, most of which are locally owned and operated. Downtown Augusta’s economy mirrors that of the larger CSRA, primarily consisting of locally owned and operated small businesses. So, to restate the above question in the downtown context: what three local (brick-andmortar) downtown businesses would you miss if they were to disappear? Have you visited the 8th Street Tobacco Shop recently? It is the one that specializes in tobacco products, unique beverages and snack items. How about The Book Tavern who has carved a niche out for itself with new, used or really old books that gives you a $5 trade credit for every $25 purchase? What about the New Moon Café with its bohemian appeal or White Elephant with its delectable food? We surely all have our favorites as we venture downtown, but it’s important to remember the value these businesses offer in comparison with larger chain stores and restaurants. The economic benefit of choosing locally owned businesses is proven. Smaller stores also fill needs that big businesses have a tendency to overlook. Lester comments that, “sometimes it comes down to the value of customer service and the convenience of shopping in your own neighborhood. Those two

Local businesses provide a unique personality to the community that chain stores mask. To some, those local (brick-and-mortar) businesses are what truly define a community/ neighborhood. As Matt Plocha, publisher of verge, wrote in last month’s issue, “Downtown is a community for all of Augusta to enjoy. It is the epicenter and the very heart of the entire Augusta-Richmond County. It is everybody’s district and each of our citizens and our city commissioners should be actively committed to ensuring the health of that heart.” As a community, we should embrace a new mentality and avoid the pitfall of thinking “when things get tough, things get cut.” While our national government paves the road with the Recovery Act, local businesses across the nation are banding together to educate their community on the 3/50 Project ideals. Together, citizens can work towards a stronger future. Individually, citizens can deliberately choose where their money goes and, by choosing local, reinvigorate their local economy one dollar at a time. Find out more about the benefits of supporting locally owned businesses: The 3/50 Project | the350project.net The American Independent Business Alliance | amiba.net IndieBound | indiebound.org The Business Alliance for Living Local Economies | livingeconomies.org Or get involved with your own local downtown business association: Downtown Augusta Alliance | dasquared.com by HEATHER RANKIN

Sean Skala and Andrea Lombardo of DuJour Fine Foods

DUJOUR FINE FOODS| 1128 BROAD

Since moving downtown

almost a year ago, I’ve become slightly perplexed by the most simple of elements missing from the community. Whereas I can run and grab a bar of soap, a bite to eat or a cup of coffee less than a block away from my loft, what I can’t do is buy a gallon of milk, a stick of butter or loaf of bread at a local place. Or, should I say, couldn’t. DuJour Fine Foods is opening shop this month to serve downtown Augusta’s grocery needs. Co-owners Andrea Lombardo, graphic designer, and Sean Skala, former chef of White Elephant and Broad Street Market, are excited. “We want to provide the basic utilitarian items for downtown,” says Skala. Consider a smaller, homegrown version of Fresh Market (pre-expansion). With your day to day items like pasta, vegetable oils and toilet paper, DuJour will also provide fresh produce and deli items. Finding brokers through Oasis Gardens, their fruits and veggies will be mostly locally grown and organic. Skala doesn’t expect to have 100 percent local items. “We’re trying to have good products but stay open,” he says with a grin. “But we’re going to be a very seasonal grocery.” In order to keep fresh, quality goods in the store, the look and menu will change every now and then. DuJour also houses a small take-out deli to provide on-the-go sandwiches and meats. “Eventually, we’ll expand into salads, fruits, and pastas,” Lombardo explains. “But, for now, we’re just going to have the basics, get ourselves on our feet.” DuJour is an avid supporter of recycling. “We already have the programs to recycle print cartridges and batteries. We’ll also reuse bags and such,” says Lombardo. Bins will be set up towards the front of the store for customers to use regularly. The grocery plans on running very eco-friendly. They also want to be a very relaxed place. Exchanging fluorescent lights for rich red and yellow walls, the shop (currently) has a very Italian feel. Local artists will be displayed on the walls, and Lombardo is constantly looking for local creations. For now, DuJour’s hours will be flexible, but the owners plan on staying open Monday through Saturday. “We’re going to play it by ear for now,” says Skala. “We want to gauge a response and set our hours based on community activity.” Stop by DuJour foods for your milk, bread and butter! Located on 1128 Broad Street next to Shoppe 31:30. Email dujour@usa.com for more information.

by ASHLEY PLOCHA photo KATIE MCGUIRE

“Going local does not mean walling off the outside world. It means nurturing locally owned businesses which use local resources sustainably, employ local workers and serve primarily local consumers. It means becoming more self-sufficient and less dependant on imports. Control moves from the boardrooms of distant corporations and back into the community where it belongs.” - MICHAEL H. SHUMAN, GOING LOCAL


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story and photo by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK


verge / july / 17

the downtown economy / new faces & places

THE ROOSTER’S BEAK | 215 TENTH Downtown Augusta has a

reputation for cool, hip, and often times eclectic dining. No matter the type of food, you can be sure to find it somewhere in the historic district served up in a fashion that is uniquely Augusta. Rooster’s Beak, a brick and mortar take on classic south of the border taqueria fare, looks to fit in nicely with all the tastes of downtown while at the same time bringing something new and excitingly fresh to the area. Putting to use a combined thirty years of restaurant experience, owner Jonathan Marks and partner Daniel Cohen developed a plan to offer freshly made food in a fun atmosphere that even the most budget-minded of folks can appreciate.

SUMMERVILLE MAIDS | 111 TENTH When Stuart Rayburn first thought

about relocating his company, Summerville Maids, he had one qualification: “I wanted to purchase a building. And not a four-walled cinder block plastered in stucco.” For over a decade, Rayburn has watched his college roommates and friends sow seeds in the downtown area. “I worked at Nacho Mama’s, I tended bar at Soul Bar,” he reminisces. “I used to come downtown just to hang out at Metro Coffeehouse.” So, it was only logical that downtown be high on the wish list of locations. Rayburn recently bought the Harbor House building on Tenth Street and is on honeymoon with the place. Summerville Maids began in 2005 when Rayburn noticed a need for an exceptional, local cleaning service. While other companies touted the convenience of having a cleaning service, he noticed that a majority were chain-owned and remotely operated. Rayburn strongly believes that it’s more than mere efficiency that makes a business run properly, it’s being considerate towards your customers. “I’m not sure many companies really care. But we do,” he says. His company is founded on personal, client relationships and thrives on professionalism and thoroughness. Their cleaning services are custom tailored to the client at individually estimated prices. Summerville Maids is also taking an uber-eco-friendly approach to cleaning. They use all green products, buy in concentration to conserve plastic, and use cloth instead of paper. Most of their products contain a hydrogen peroxide base, which is bio-degradable. “We run on a responsible business platform,” says Justin Wade, new manager of Summerville Maids. Wade recently moved to Augusta from Los Angeles, California

and into a loft on Broad Street. But he says withdrawal from a more urban city hasn’t given him shellshock. He describes downtown as being the counterculture of Augusta: “I have it good. I have everything I had in California. I live in a nice, affordable loft in a trendy area, and am surrounded by beauty. We’re a block away from the RiverWalk! Everything is at your fingertips.” Wade is also an enthusiast about keeping it local. “I call it ‘Responsible Capitalism,’” says Wade. “Augusta has the opportunity to circulate lots of money through the community. And when you keep it in the community, you’re taking care of yourself.” Rayburn chimes in, “If you have a choice between franchise or neighbor, support your neighbor. We’re more resourceful. We have to be. We have less money, we work harder, we try harder, and we care more.” “We have such new opportunities; the economy is doing well for us. We offer quality service people are willing to pay for. We care. Our clients aren’t just numbers in a system – we genuinely want them to be happy and have value for their money. More than their money’s worth, even,” says Rayburn with a smile. Wade agrees, stating wholeheartedly. “I want to redefine the standard of what a clean house is in Augusta.” He smiles and proclaims: “Customer amazement! Not satisfaction! Amazement!” Summerville Maids is now located on 111 Tenth Street. They perform cleaning services for the home and business. Visit them at their new office, on the web at SummervilleMaids.com or call 706.830.3995. by ASHLEY PLOCHA photo KATIE MCGUIRE

justin wade’s top 5 cleaning tips  Declutter your life: “Live simply so others may simply live.”  Keep a consistently paced movement working in one direction: “It’s hard for people to clean their own houses. We’re always stopping to read a magazine we saved four years ago. Focus on

cleaning!” Use

green cleaning products:

“They’re just as effective and more earth friendly.

And don’t forget: top to bottom, left to right.” Maintain the house between cleanings: “Remove the excess clutter. It’ll make everything easier the next time.”

 Call: “706.830.3995!”

“When I was looking to open a restaurant originally I was looking to so something a little more upscale,” said Marks. “But people kept saying that I should do something that tastes really good, that you can make really fresh with good ingredients and that wouldn’t have people breaking the bank to eat there.” After considering already available downtown food options, such as wings and burgers, Marks decided to take the traditional taqueria idea of street corner Mexican food and bring it indoors. Rooster’s Beak will offer other freshly made food options such as daily off the wall items, salads and nachos, but the concentration will be on a combination of five traditional tacos. “Tacos just seemed like the best sort of choice for me because there wasn’t really a taqueria in Augusta especially downtown Augusta,” said Marks. “And the nice thing about tacos is that you can have lots of varieties from the more traditional that you might find on the street corners of Mexico or do sort of eclectic things with it and make it sort of different by using non-traditional ingredients. There’s just a lot of room to have fun with the ingredients. “ Those ingredients include local and regional produced items including homegrown herbs and seasonings. The goal is not to stray any further than Georgia or South Carolina for any items offered from the food to the Georgia-lina brews stocked behind the bar. Being locally based and supportive was a key element in their decision to open a restaurant. “When I moved back to Augusta I knew I was going to open a restaurant and the only place I wanted to do it was downtown,” said Marks. “Being born in Augusta I think downtown is great. I like what’s going on down here so it wasn’t really a choice for me.” “Downtown people are willing to try new and different things,” added Cohen. “They’re very open to different things and a very close-knit community where everybody supports everybody.” But perhaps Marks sums it up best: “You have all kinds of people down here. Downtown has personality and we want to have personality as well.” Look for Rooster’s Beak to open the beginning of August in the old Café 209 location on Tenth Street at the corner of Ellis. by JOHN “STONEY” CANNON


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verge / july / 19

the downtown economy / adapting for growth BLUE MAGNOLIA | 1124 BROAD

The forces of the continuing economic downswing have pushed many businesses into closure and consumers to penny pinch like Ebenezer Scrooge. Yet in downtown Augusta, sparks burn as locally owned shops try to retaliate and overcome the recession. blue magnolia is one such business and has undergone significant changes over the last six months. They’ve removed their contemporary furniture showroom, closing down the second side of the store which now houses Shoppe 31:30. “We opened in 2006 with the mindset of being a gift store - neat, unusual gifts for the neat, unusual people,” says Lara Plocha, who owns and operates the store with her husband, Matt (yes, they are also the publisher and editor of verge). “In 2007, we quickly expanded to encompass the total contemporary lifestyle, investing in modern furniture and accessories. But as the housing market declined, our furniture gallery became a museum. In order to survive, we made some hard decisions and backtracked.” Yet backtracking is not necessarily a bad thing for the blue magnolia. This month, they’ve introduced over 4,000 new items to the market. “We’re mixing in several exciting new lines in with our tried-and-true favorites,” says Plocha. From adorable toys to delicious chocolate, there is much to love about the selection. Escazu, their newest line of artisan chocolate bars, is based out of North Carolina, boasting all-natural, single origin (pure!) chocolate. Latin American in roots, Escazu offers bars with pumpkin seeds and guajillo, organic banana or cacao nibs, most in a deep yet creamy dark chocolate. Plocha says the customer favorite, thus far, is the milk chocolate bar with dark chocolate swirls, a perfect blend of rich and sweet. For those who carry their taste for unique flavor into the realm of bath and body products, try out Tokyo Milk Parfum Curiositie. Perfumes, soap and lip balm all wrapped in clever packaging with exquisitely blended scents are perfect for personal indulgences or chic gifts. Sparrow (neroli and citrus, crisp greens, gardenia and rosewood), Poe’s Tobacco (tobacco, tea leaves, amberwood and autumn apple) and Let Them Eat Cake (sugar cane, coconut milk, vanilla orchid and white musk) are a few of the delectable scents which delight the senses and transport you to foreign worlds. blue magnolia has not forgotten babyblue, its children’s section, in the boost. In fact, most of the items breach the lines of child/ adult play, from quirky little cameras to a whole new slew of Ugly Dolls. “Who doesn’t want to send a card about Facebook Intervention or the History of Cheese?” jokes Plocha as she talks of the new Fomato greeting cards. Two new lines that stand out are PlanToy and Woollyhoodwinks. PlanToy is a company whose eco-friendly toys are geared for infants and preschoolers. “The products fall in our philosophy that children’s play should be imaginative and non-battery operated,” Plocha expresses. From wooden wind-up mice and cars to toy tea sets and

“It’s just like I always say; if you want to find something weird you have to go downtown.”

- MARTIN GREMLINS 2

banjos, PlanToy goods have a contemporary edge perfectly mixed with creativity. PlanToy also manufactures their items with environmentally-friendly materials, including natural rubberwood, water-based dyes, recycled materials, and nontoxic glue. Woollyhoodwinks, a new line of stuffed creatures, are individually handmade (and, yes, a bit more expensive than your everyday stuffed animal). Straight out of San Francisco artist Jeff Root’s mind, each pal comes in a cute carton with several little surprises inside. With a store chock-full of fresh, fun modern gifts, Plocha couldn’t be more excited about the second half of the year. She is trying to maintain a more regular clientele who will keep coming back and has developed a savings program to sweeten the shopping experience at blue magnolia. “We don’t just sell stuff. We want to build relationships. Of course, we’re in business to make money, this is our livelihood. But we want our customers to be satisfied first,” Plocha explains.

To help cement that relationship, blue magnolia recently kicked off the Frequent Smiler Program. Right now, customers receive a smile for every ten dollars they spend. When they accumulate ten smiles, they receive a ten dollar gift certificate. Plocha chose StickyStreet.com to manage the program, an online customer loyalty system designed specifically to aid small businesses. blue magnolia has survived three years in Augusta, victory for a contemporary shop in the downtown area. While they’ve decreased their square-footage, the unusual shop still thrives with personality. “It may seem like we’ve regressed, but we haven’t. Cool gifts, cool place, cool price,” says Lara with an honest smile. “I know that sounds trite, but it’s just what it is.” Check out the blue magnolia’s new lines at 1124 Broad Street, Monday to Wednesday from 10 am to 6 pm and Thursday to Saturday from 10 am to 8 pm. Call 706.828.6550 for more information. by AURELIA SORENSON photos KATIE MCGUIRE

“The simple fact is: nurturing small local business ensures stronger economic communities. Locally owned businesses sustain our downtowns, create opportunities to connect, are active members of our communities and contribute dollars and time to local causes.”

- R.J. COADY, INDEPENDENT RETAIL


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verge / july / 21

the downtown economy / choosing local first FLOWERS XPRESS | 1046 BROAD

Flowers Xpress, currently located at 1350 Reynolds Street, reopens at 1046 Broad Street on July 15th. In addition to being a full service florist, Flowers XPress sells interior design elements and gifts, and delivers custom fresh and artificial arrangements to your door. Owners Bob and Kathy Norman hope the new location will put them closer to the downtown action and allow them to have fun with customers. “When we first moved in here (the Reynolds location), we thought we were getting into the downtown area,” said Kathy. “But First Friday doesn’t really get this far out, and we’d really like to be more involved with the people around here.” Kathy also says the new store should be attractive to many of the customers who frequent Artists Row. “Flower arrangement is a form of art, which is why we think we could find a home there,” said Kathy’s son and right-hand man Jamie Sullivan. “We do a lot of interior design, and my mom likes to do silk arrangements. We have a different style all our own.” Economic concerns also play a factor. Kathy says thirteen or fourteen stores have closed in Augusta just since they opened two years ago, and it will take creative thinking for business to survive these hard times. “Last August, when the hurricane [Gustav] hit and the market crashed, we noticed a 48% drop in sales right away,” she continued. “We’re on a slow rise now, but we’re noticing a shift to more local customers as the market changes.” The Normans have many ideas on how they can engage the First Friday crowd, including putting one of their shopkeepers in their mascot “Ace the Gorilla” suit and towing a wagon through the crowds to offer flowers several blocks away from the shop. Another proud addition to the Flowers Xpress family, “Miss Opal” Henderson, was the head designer at Fat Man’s florist for 35 years before they closed. “Between my mom and Miss Opal, this store has almost 100 years of experience to rely on,” said Sullivan. Kathy prefers a more conservative 60 or 70 years as an estimate, but is still happy to have Henderson on board. The Normans also hope to coax customers away from the habit of ordering flowers on-line. According to Kathy, most national wire services like FTD Florists, typically keep half of the profit in any order.

Customer Billy White sorts through a basket of fresh tulips

don’t even realize they’re only getting half the flowers they would if they had just called our store directly rather than order something off the internet.” By moving to the center of Broad Street, Kathy believes they will get more walk-in customers and plans to pass the fun (and the savings) on to them. “We want to play and be a part of Augusta,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of good ideas and I absolutely won’t do anything if it doesn’t keep being fun. We look forward to a lot more of those opportunities.” story and photo by CHRISTOPER SELMAK

“Wire service keeps almost half of whatever orders they place. It’s a shame that most people

NICOLE MADISON ANTIQUES | 1051 BROAD Nicole Madison Antiques, the largest antique furniture

dealer in Aiken and Augusta, will move from Washington Road to a more historic location at 1051 Broad Street for a grand opening sometime in July. Store owners Nick and Paul Henry say the new location has housed furniture and antiques since the 1800’s, and also fits with the old fashioned style of the whole downtown area. “It just seems to make sense for a business like ours to be a part of the historic downtown area,” said Nick Henry. “I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve seen a lot of improvements being made that are helping the Broad Street area make a comeback. It’s usually the first place people look for when they come into town and want to find something they haven’t seen before.” According to Henry, the 30,000 square foot building is ideal for their collection and the third floor will support the auction at which anyone may put their items up for bid. “If you’re trying to sell an antique piece of furniture, it really doesn’t make a lot of sense to do it by yourself,” said Paul Henry, who also serves as auctioneer. “Better to find someone who has a lot of experience and can get you top dollar for your item.” Their own collection, however, is priced to sell and in good, clean condition for any home or office.

“[Downtown’s] usually the first place people look for when they come into town and want to find something they haven’t seen before.”

- NICK HENRY

“A lot of people don’t think they would be able to afford the kinds of things we sell here,” said Nick. “But unlike a lot of other places, we base our prices solely on what we paid for the item. Everything is affordable and most customers leave feeling happy they stopped in.” The brothers still expect to do a lot of business through their website, www.uantique.com, which attracts more than 30,000 visitors a month. The new location across from Metro Coffeehouse is designed to appeal to tourists and other patrons of downtown Augusta who want to find something special. story and photo by CHRISTOPHER SELMAK


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verge / july / 23

saving our savannah / the new riverkeeper Someone once said, ““Like dreams, small creeks grow into mighty rivers.” Though the Savannah Riverkeeper, headquartered right here in Augusta, may be small, its vision and dreams are much bigger. And the impact, greater.

“Protect the water quality of the Savannah River, the integrity of her watershed and promote an enlightened stewardship of this unique heritage.”

Come back in time a bit and hear the story of how the first Riverkeeper organization was founded and who started it all. The spark started in New York during the seventies, a tumultuous time for the Hudson River. She was under attack on numerous levels, and quickly dying as a result. The noxious stew of PCBs, paint, raw sewage and heavy metals dumped into her waters was rendering the water quality abominable. A group of sportsmen, most of them ex-marines, banded together and said “enough is enough.” Many made their living as fishermen and the fish they were catching were too contaminated to consume (or sell). To solve the problem, they discovered the “golden ticket” that allows us to fight for water quality: two laws from the 1800s that give citizens the right to sue polluters destroying public waters.

- SAVANNAH RIVERKEEPER MISSION

From those two laws and the dogged determination of the rough neck crew, an organization, The Riverkeeper, was born. Today more than 126 organizations throughout the world bear the Riverkeeper name; each unique, each down-right determined, and each with the ability and will to protect their waters for the greater good. Now, the Savannah Riverkeeper wasn’t born out of quite as much fanfare, but it was born with the same dogged determination to speak on behalf of our own River, to fight tirelessly to protect and restore her for all. In 2001, Dr. Frank Carl and a small group of dedicated scientific professionals banded together to address the lack of thought given to the Savannah as a river and not just as an industrial and municipal water supply. From the beginning, the organization skipped to a different beat. It spoke up when injustices were found and had the will and means to stand up as needed to get the job done. It became even clearer that these tactics work. Since the Savannah Riverkeeper’s inception eight years ago, we have pulled over 120 tons of trash out of our waterways, trained over 400 volunteers in monitoring capacities, and successfully halted over 50 different pollution sources into the river. While there is much more that must be done to protect the Savannah, I’m confident that she is cleaner and healthier since the Riverkeeper came along. All of the Savannah’s problems are the Riverkeeper’s problems, and all of her people are ours just the same. From her headwaters in North Carolina to her mouth in Savannah, we work to protect everyone’s right to clean, fresh water, now and for the generations to come. The Savannah Riverkeeper consists of the same basic make-up as other keepers have throughout the world. We have a tiny staff (three full time employees), a wide membership base, and a diehard volunteer base. Without a doubt, our members and volunteers allow us the ability to get the job done. We represent all equally, and our diverse membership shows a similar pattern of support. Our volunteers are the eyes and ears of the river, the hands that help clean our waterways, and the people that help us daily overcome the odds. We are also lucky to have overwhelming support from our good friends at Sweetwater Brewery and their Save Our Savannah campaign, as well as many of the retailers, bars, and businesses throughout the Augusta area. Recent weeks have brought much change to the Savannah Riverkeeper. The Riverkeeper himself, Dr. Frank Carl, announced his retirement. Our organization would not exist if it weren’t for Frank, and it is no doubt that his knowledge of the river and her issues is unsurpassed. It is certainly the passing of an era and shoes that will be hard pressed to fill. As is the natural progression of things, a new Riverkeeper is to be appointed, and I am honored to say I have been chosen to step in and lead the way! Since “I” isn’t usually the best descriptor, maybe I should offer a bit more about myself and the future I see for our River.

My name is Tonya Bonitatibus. I am the proud mother of two little boys, a native of Augusta, a graduate of ASU, a proud Olde Town Resident, an avid outdoorswoman, a conservation minded environmentalist, and, soon to be, your new Riverkeeper. I have worked for Savannah Riverkeeper for almost three years and have proudly made it my career to protect the river upon which I grew up. I am down right determined to leave the Savannah in better shape than I found it for my children and grandchildren yet to come. During my tenure with the organization, I have served as the development director, creating and maintaining many of the programs you might associate us with today. A good example is the Save Our Savannah campaign (see the sidebar). My duty and mission is to change the way we look at our water resources, and help all of us realize that good water stewardship isn’t an option, it’s a necessity. The River is the absolute life blood of our community, and we must all treat her with care and respect. I am honored to have been chosen to serve as the new Riverkeeper, and hope my time spent at the helm will yield as much success as we have had in the past. So, now that you know who we are, what we do, and why what we do is important, we have something to ask of you: take the time to get to know us! Stop by our office and say hello (it’s the tiny white building next to the big boathouse on Riverfront Drive). Take time to check out our website, savannahriverkeeper.org, and/or join us at our next public event. You can even come and volunteer at our next big river clean up in October. Take the time to drop us a line. We want to hear from you, all of you, about issues, concerns, opportunities, and anything else concerning the River. And maybe, just maybe, if you’re so inclined you’ll think about joining us. We certainly hope you will join the ranks of people who understand the importance of protecting the mighty Savannah and are ensuring that someone is looking out for her best interest. Because the Savannah Riverkeeper would be nothing without her members, and exactly who could the river rely on if we were gone? by TONYA BONITATIBUS photo KATIE MCGUIRE

“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there someday.” - WINNIE THE POOH

photo KATIE MCGUIRE

save our savannah / one fish at a time In partnership with Sweetwater Brewing Company and Savannah Riverkeeper, several downtown businesses have banded together to raise funds and awareness for the protection of the Savannah River. Eighth Street Tobacco took it a step further by painting their storefront window in vivid colors to promote the program. Until July 15, you can “Give of Your Liver to Save the River” fish pinup program. Stop by any participating location (see below) and customize a blue fish for a buck or step it up to a red fish for five bucks. This year’s goal is to raise $25,000. All proceeds will benefit the Savannah Riverkeeper and its mission. Eighth Street Tobacco | 32 Eighth Street The Loft | 927 Broad Street Mellow Mushroom | 1167 Broad Street Pizza Joint | 1245 Broad Street Beamie’s on the River | 865 Reynolds Street


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verge / july / 25

wings & wetlands / three days of eco fun

At the entrance to Brick Pond Park there is a sign that states clearly and to all visitors that entering the wetlands involves a level of risk that the city of North Augusta cannot be held responsible for. Alligators, some as big as seven feet long, have made their home of the lake that also hosts turtles, fish and a variety of birds. It’s almost hard to believe that, three years ago, it was going to be a parking lot. “In the early days of Hammond’s Ferry, all this area was going to be filled in and used for lots,” said Bobby Bagwell, Hammond’s Ferry Project Manager. “After the initial assessment was done, we realized that it simply wasn’t cost effective. It was then we recruited some help from Dr. Gene Eidson, President of the Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy, who teaches restoration ecology and helped to develop the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, on how we could turn a liability into an amenity.” Following an $184,000 grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation and the development of a water treatment plant on the east pond, these wetlands have become a functioning ecology. It is in celebration of this that the city of North Augusta will host Wings and Wetlands July 24 through 26. The program will include guided tours of the wetlands, nature demonstrations at the North Augusta Community Center and will kick off with an evening of music on the riverfront at Boeckh Park. “This is the first time we’ve held this kind of celebration, which coincides with the first operational year of Brick Pond Park,” said Bagwell. Registration forms are available at www. northaugusta.net and at Hammond’s Ferry. Reservations cost only $35 per person after June 8, or $95 per family, and includes admission to the festival kickoff as well as a butterfly release at Living History Park, children’s activities and various exhibits. “This is an eco tourism event for our community,” said Tanya Strickland, one of the chief organizers of the event. “It’s our attempt to create an event the likes of which have been popular in other parts of the nation, because there are so many cool things around here and so many different kinds of birds to see.”

For an additional $15, visitors may participate in one of three tours going out from the Community Center from 9 am to 12 pm both days. Options include Wood Storks on Parade at Silver Bluff Audubon, a Swallow-tailed Kite Excursion in Allendale County, S.C., or a tour of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, opening just for the event. Guests may also take a “Walking Wing Watch” tour of Brick Pond Park for no additional charge. Seating in the vans is limited, and organizers have limited each group to 13 members in hopes that each person will take more from the experience. “People should come out to experience the wildlife and wetlands in the area,” said Strickland. “I’ve looked at a lot of the creeks and streams in the area, and you’ll see something different every time. For a lot of visitors, maybe they’ll see something they haven’t seen before.” A dinner will be provided at 5:30 pm on Saturday for $25. At that time Jeff Mollenhauer, keynote speaker and director of Bird Conservation at Audubon South Carolina, will speak about his new book “Birding South Carolina: A Guide to 40 Premier Birding Sites”, and will be available for book signings. Ten percent of the money taken in by the event will go to the Silver Bluff Autobahn Sanctuary, which is also providing two birds of prey for a raptor demonstration back at the Community Center following the tours, as well as allowing the tour of their facility. “This is about as far from the coast that Swallow Tailed Kites can be seen,” said Strickland, speaking of the Silver Bluff tour. “At certain times of the year, such as late July when this event takes place, you can actually see hundreds in one place. To be able to see that many Swallow Tailed Kites in one place is really amazing.” Following the dinner, a river boat will be available to tour the Savannah River at both 7 and 8 pm for another $15. Strickland initially expected a turnout of 100 people would be good for the first year of this event, but has since estimated there may be more.

“A lot of people are new to the area and may not know of some of these great places that are local,” she said. “For those people it would be a really good stay-at-home vacation that would give them a new appreciation for the area they live in.” If successful, Wings and Wetlands could potentially become an annual event. “We would love to do this every year and have a different community host each time,” said Strickland. “There are a lot of beautiful parks all across the CSRA, like Phinizy Swamp and the Turkey Federation, that would appreciate having the spotlight on them.” As for the alligators in Brick Pond Park, Strickland says she isn’t scared. “There are alligator, but we just don’t want anyone feeding or harassing them. They’ve always been there and we’ve never had any problems,” she said. “For anybody who wants to learn more about nature, or if they haven’t been to Brick Park Pond yet and would like a guided tour, this would be a great opportunity to get out and see something different.” story and photos by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK

wings & wetlands when JULY 24 to 26 where NORTH AUGUSTA DOWNTOWN AREA what A THREE DAY ECO EVENT includes demonstrations, explorations, interactive exhibits, art, music and more how much $35 (individual) to $95 (family) additional events $15 to $25 ages ALL AGES registration forms and full schedule of events NORTHAUGUSTA.NET more details 803.441.4246

“To be able to see that many

swallow tailed kites

in one place is really amazing.”


26 / july / verge

gallery

soundcheck

Cleo Douglass

The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players

There are four great loves in Cleo Douglass’ life: her family, serving God, teaching the Bible in sign language to the deaf, and painting. And when a woman filled with such spirit picks up her brushes, it’s only natural that the results are joyous, bright subjects.

Self dubbed as an “indie - vaudeville conceptual art - rock pop band,” Jason Trachtenburg sings, plays guitar and piano, along with his wife, Tina Pina Trachtenburg. She provides backing vocals and manages the slide projector, while their daughter, Rachel, who also rocks the drums, creatively combines collected slides from various estate and thrifting adventures into song concepts, executing a fascinating show that allows the visuals to actuate the music and visa versa. Together the trio makes up the group The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players.

Casa Blanca • opens July 3

“I love beautiful, happy things,” she says. “I want to paint things that make people laugh and smile.” With that goal in mind, she paints still life, nature, flowers, and even some abstracts reflecting motion and movement. This, too, makes sense, because motion and movement define everything that is Cleo Douglass. Tole painting, or decorative art, caught her eye when she was 32. Tole is usually found on furniture, so Douglass painted a toy chest, and then another, and pretty soon friends began requesting her work. She learned to build her own chests, cabinets and hutches, resigned from her day job and went into furniture design full time. “I moved from Nevada to Arizona when I was 45 and opened a shop,” she says. “I asked my husband to build my furniture and I did the artwork. Going to art shows and selling became very hectic, so I sold the shop.” Around this time, her daughter, singer Tomi Rae Brown, gave birth to a son, James, and needed a nanny while on tour with husband James. The Douglasses relocated to South Carolina to take care of their grandson. Tomi Rae moved home to Nevada with James Jr. after James Brown passed away, but the Douglasses opted to remain in South Carolina. “I’m 67 years old, we have friends here, and I was a retired nanny,” she says. “I went back to painting on canvas.” Although she calls herself “retired,” Cleo Douglass is anything but. She is always on the go, taking in activities with her husband, devoting time to her ministry, and of course painting. “I just love doing it,” she says. “I love the idea of making something that looks real even if it’s not realistic. It’s a struggle, but a fun struggle and a way of expanding my horizons.” Cleo Douglass’ paintings are on display throughout the month of July at Casa Blanca restaurant on Broad Street. Her works are also on sale at Midtown Market on King’s Way off of Central Avenue. by ALISON RICHTER art CLEO DOUGLASS

Sky City  July 30

Since 2000, The Trachtenburgs have toured their act throughout the Untied States and recorded the 2001 album, Vintage Slide Collections From Seattle Vol. 1, followed by 2005’s Adventures In Middle America Vol. 2. Their mouthful description is only a hint of the family’s creative ventures. Jason, also a solo artist, has released two albums on Orange Recordings, while Tina designs and creates the retro fashioned clothing worn at their shows. Rachel is a musician and actress, who has played publicly with The TFS Players since she was three. This year, Rachel released her own album titled, Rachel Trachtenburg’s Homemade World, a collection of songs from her television show of the same name. All three are also actively involved in New York’s 4th Street Food Co-Op. Their live show is best described as a “vintage throwback to a simpler, more self-sufficient, familyoriented time.” The Trachtenburgs create a unique balance of performance art and eccentric indie pop, embodying both DIY culture and conceptual fun. Their touring schedule calls for an average of 150 shows a year, allowing them to become “a really tight touring outfit,” according to Jason. The TFS Players have been the first unsigned band to play The Conan O’Brian show, performed with Kate Nash during her U.S Tour, and played Bonnaroo; all the while snatching up the hearts of quirky fans. Needless to say, their show is a refreshing break from the usual indie rock antics, just in time for imaginative, summer fun. Joining the party are local DJs Joycette and Cielo. Don’t miss it: Thursday, July 30th @ Sky City 8 pm. Tickets are $7. by JOYCE TAHOP photo THE ARTIST


verge / july / 27

onstage

offstage

Candlelight Jazz on the River

Southern National Drag Boat Races

With two months remaining in their annual summer jazz series, Candlelight Jazz on the River continues to bring jazz music intimately to the people and into the downtown community. The outdoor jazz concerts have proven to be an ever-popular series since the inaugural season by Garden City Jazz.

Over eighty speedboats from across the continent will compete in the 24th Annual Augusta Southern Nationals Drag Boat Races July 17 through 19, beginning at 8 a.m. at the Augusta Marina.

Eighth Street Bulkhead  Every Sunday

Every Sunday at 8 pm on Riverwalk’s Eight Street Bulkhead, founder Karen Gordon continues to delight music fans with an assortment of jazz performances. Grab your favorite blanket or folding chairs, pack a picnic (as down home or elegant as you wish), ante up a few dollars and enjoy the different flavors of jazz. July 12 | quietSTORM: smooth jazz from Karen Gordon’s own band, voted “Best Jazz Band” for two years by Augusta Magazine July 19 | Foster and Pulsar with special guest Straight Ahead. Rob Foster learned jazz at the feet of Chicago’s best, has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Brubeck and the Four Tops. He currently teaches jazz at Augusta State. July 26 | Preston and Weston featuring Sandra Simmons. The ever popular duo Preston and Weston serves up jazz with true soul while Sandra adds a sultry style all her own. August 2 | The Jazz Collective redefines jazz. The group’s fluidity comes from the ever changing line-up bringing diverse sounds and true talent. Look ahead to August and you’ll find the Mike Frost Trio, GPS and The Playback Band. Sounds Unlimited will close out the 2009 summer Candlelight on the River scene. Come enjoy the best of Augusta and Aiken’s local jazz performers with special guests each Sunday along the banks for the Savannah River. In case of rain, the party moves next door to Cafe 209 on the River. Admission is the small fee of $6. For a complete schedule and more information contact: www.gardencityjazz.com or call 706.821.1754

by HEATHER RANKIN art JIM JOHNSON

The Augusta Marina  July 17 to 19

Over the course of the three days, each of the high performance speedboats will be paired off in acceleration races over a measured quarter mile straightaway on water. “It’s pretty similar to NASCAR racing with the structure of the races and the power of the engines,” said Dayton Sherrouse, chairman of Augusta Southern Nationals Inc. “This is something you don’t see a lot on the east coast, and it’s summer time so this is a really nice event to bring your family to and they can walk around and talk to the drivers and crews in the pits.” Following the testing and tuning of boats at the riverfront, racers will pull their boats onto Augusta Common Friday night for the “Night of Fire”. “It’s pretty awesome because you’ll see jets of flame six or seven feet long shooting out of the engines of some of these boats, hence the name ‘night of fire’,” said Sherrouse. “It’s a really good promotional event for the race and it gets people interested who didn’t know anything about racing before.” Saturday is qualification day, with each boat receiving two or three chances to qualify for the finals, according to Sherrouse. Eliminations begin on Sunday, which will narrow down to just two boats per class racing for the championship. Tickets for the race are available for $22 in advance through tixonline.com, Georgia Bank and Trust, American Speedway or by contacting any committee member. Tickets purchased at the gate are $18 per day. Children ten and under are free if accompanied by an adult. “If you’ve never seen it before, you really cannot imagine the noise and the power put out by these engines, five or six thousand horsepower engines in each as two boats race up to 250 mph from a standstill,” said Sherrouse. “Sometimes it’s enough to almost shake the pavement down by the riverfront, and give you goose bumps as the boats zoom by.” by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK photo FILE


28 / july / verge


verge / july / 29

good chow / whistle stop cafe

the best pancakes ever are made in this little diner If Waffle House was boosted to the twelfth power, it would be The Whistle Stop. Nestled on the corner of Sixth Street and Greene, this cozy breakfast and lunch café has been around for almost fifteen years. Full of toy trains, 50’s miscellanea and vintage goods, Whistle Stop has the atmosphere of a roadside joint you might read of in a beat journal. It’s a small, intimate place, housing only a long bar and six booths, and the food is just like Grandma’s homemade breakfasts. The Whistle Stop’s breakfast is one you’ll keep coming back to. They boast a three dollar special: one egg (prepared as you like it), three strips of bacon, grits, toast or a biscuit and coffee. Everything is made to order and dripping with flavor. Not only do they have great biscuits, they serve the absolute Best Pancake Ever. It’s not your typical Bisquick fix. Thicker than your thumb and bigger than your head, these are pancakes Paul Bunyan would approve of. Of course, the taste train doesn’t stop there. The veggie omelet is chock-full of fresh mushrooms, peppers and tomatoes and given a liberal sprinkling of mozzarella,

cheddar and American cheeses. Their hash browns are the perfect balance between tender potatoes and crispy edges. Coffee is always at hand, ready to be poured into your cup. Whistle Stop also offers a good old fashioned Southern spread for lunch. Vegetable soup and cornbread, Philly Cheesesteak and hash browns, fried bologna, burgers, slaw: is there anything this place doesn’t offer? Granted, its hours are more tapered than a Waffle House. Open from 7 am to 3 pm excludes the possibility of a late-night pancake and coffee, but the café is run by a mere (yet extremely talented) two-person team. To dine at Whistle Stop for your first meal of the day will have you not only full and energized for hours, it’s an experience not to miss. The Whistle Stop Café, located at 573 Greene Street (the corner of 6th Street and Greene) serves breakfast from 7 am to 11:30 am and lunch from 10:30 am to 3 pm. Details: 706.724.8224

by AURELIA SORENSEN photos KATIE MCGUIRE


30 / july / verge


verge / july / 31

adrian estrada / ablaze in his loft The Loft celebrates its first anniversary on July 4

Independence Day 2009 (July 4) marks the one year anniversary of Adrian Estrada’s bar, The Loft Augusta. The 37-year-old has blazed a new trail for patrons to follow while weaving their way through downtown’s nightclub row. In an uncanny way, The Loft resembles the melting pot of America: bikers, punkers, rockers, hippies, thrashers, retro-ites, military guys, goths, regular Joes, and out-oftowners alike gather around the bar nightly. But bittersweet events along the journey nearly stole Estrada’s lofty dream. The original plans called for the bar to open in February of last year. The opening date kept getting pushed forward, due to renovations and remodeling falling behind schedule. The location caused another stir and raised a few eyebrows. Some superstitious types said the bar was situated on the “wrong” side of Broad Street. Others claimed that Augustans don’t like to cross the road and bar hoppers bounced a sole path on the opposite side of the street. People argued his business plan to a fault. Nay-sayers came out of the woodwork. What was this Texan thinking when he decided to open his bar in downtown Augusta, Georgia? our story begins Back-track to home-sweet-home El Paso. At sixteen, Adrian told his father he wanted to be a bar owner. He admits, “I’ve been a hellion since day one.” After high school, he went on to higher education and tearing up the campus at University of Texas, El Paso, while testing the possibility of a career in sports. “I tried to do the college football thing,” he recalls, “but I kept on getting hurt.” He found his life shifting direction as disillusionment in the crowded classroom experience took grip. Adrian left UT before finishing a degree and married his first wife with whom he parented his eldest daughter Stephanie. Finishing his studies on-line through the University of Phoenix, Estrada earned degrees in Business Administration and Electrical Engineering. A foray into the newly born telecommunications field found monetary demands still caused his young family to struggle. This was the nudge that pushed Estrada to join the Army Reserves where he spent thirteen years. Being Airborne earned him active duty time in Middle East Desert Storm operations and flew him into the unrest zone of Bosnia/ Herzegovina. But his good intentions met with defeat as his first marriage didn’t survive the time he spent fighting wars abroad. a texan in georgia Adrian moved to Atlanta after he served his country and telecommunications became lucrative. “I used to design wireless networks (for) Sprint PCS, Verizon, Cingular. (I was) Director for Metro PCS,” Estrada affirms by shaking his head. “I loved my job, but it wasn’t my passion.” Shortly after, he met current Loft manager and close friend Dickie Ertz. “We hung out. He was moving on from a relationship and I was coming out of a bad divorce.” The two men swiftly became friends and leased a bachelor pad. “We rented a huge house in an upscale neighborhood and pretty much got evicted.” The neighbors didn’t appreciate motorcycles and barbeque parties planted on the front lawn of their deluxe suites. Dickie eventually moved back to Augusta and Adrian stayed in Atlanta another two years. anniversary of love and sorrow Jump forward to real-time. It’s Monday, June 15, 2009: the day Estrada penciled in his interview with verge and a calendar day that’s bound by his heartstrings. So intimate, he confesses, “I had the date tattooed to my chest so I would never forget.” It’s the anniversary of his joyous marriage to second wife Zivile which took place in 2007. Paradoxically, it is also the sorrowful 2006 abduction date of his youngest daughter. “After I got divorced, I met… a girl. We lived together for two years,” Adrian shares about the union which bore his second child Lillianna. He warns, “Sometimes you just don’t know who your partner is.” Estrada is affectionately known by friends as “Big” due to his physical stature. But even this gladiator could not evade the unresolved helplessness and prolonged sadness from the emotional trauma of losing his daughter. He paused, then spoke, “She took my kid. She took off, left the country.” Adrian regained a glimmer of

Adrian and Zivile Estrada

“I owe a lot of thanks to a lot of people, we made it work.” hope as he continued. “At least now I know where she’s at,” and is looking forward to the day he is reunited with his little girl. a time for change After six years, Adrian felt he had done his corporate time with Metro PCS and the Atlanta firm agreed. Mutually tired of free-spirited hellion clashes, PCS bought him out, purchasing back his employee stock options and the years he invested into the company. “I had some rough things happening in my life,” Estrada defends. “I needed a change,” he pauses, “It was kind of crazy.” He took a two week vacation and visited Dickie. They had conspired about opening a bar on numerous prior occasions. Now was the time to act. Pulling PCS buyout cash out of pocket, Estrada signed a lease for The Loft space in January of 2008.

bands, eclectic entertainment, fundraisers (Save the Savannah and Lexie‘s Legacy), conventions, birthdays, anniversaries, funerals and even weddings fill the pub’s repertoire list. “A lot of people ….. doubted what I was bringing to Augusta,” Estrada shakes his head and grins. But his friends didn’t quiver and rallied support around him. “I owe a lot of thanks to a lot of people… we made it work.” Be part of the melting pot: celebrate the first anniversary of Estrada’s American Dream at The Loft Augusta located at 927 Broad Street on July 4, 2009.

story and photos by LARK GILLESPIE BARRETT

with a little help from his friends “Dickie, he’s gold,” Adrian presses about his right hand man. Metro Coffeehouse co-owners Kenny and Bobby Morrison shared their bartending staff with The Loft until it acquired a working staff of its own. Artist Daniel Foreman designed and built the famous zigzag bar from scrap metal. Wrought and glass tables add to the airy environment alongside leather sofas, large stage and three billiard tables utilizing an open floor plan. There’s room to move with ease. Adrian has built his bar on diversity. There‘s always a doorman because safety is priority. Different flavors of alcohol, genres of

Alicia Hussey tends bar


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verge / july / 33

versaemerge /club hollywood’s last punk show

a change of order rising from an obscure condition*

versaemerge

What makes it possible for one band to break through while thousands of others struggle for years to no avail? It’s the ongoing rhetorical question that musicians always ask themselves and wish they could answer. The members of VersaEmerge— drummer Anthony Martone, guitarist/vocalist Blake Harnage, guitarist Jerry Pierce, vocalist Sierra Kusterbeck and bassist Devin Ingelido— don’t know, of course, and Martone can only speculate. “You’ve got to be yourself, and you’ve just got to do it as legitimately as possible,” he offers. “That’s the only way that people will like you. If you’ve got it, you’ve got it, and that’s really my only guess. If I knew the answer, we’d be the biggest band in the world. I guess with everything that’s going on for us right now, we’re doing something right.” “Everything that’s going on” includes an EP, Perceptions, that led to a record deal with Fueled By Ramen/Atlantic Records, their recently released self-titled debut for the label, an endorsement from Ernie Ball for guitars and strings, international media attention and a slot on the Vans Warped Tour’s Ernie Ball Stage— no small feat for any band, and particularly for a band that hasn’t been together long and none of whose members aren’t all even old enough to vote. Age issues aside, Martone and Harnage have seven years of musical history behind them, with their roots in blues music. “Blake has been playing for 14 years,” says Martone. “We met on the first day of ninth grade. He heard that I played drums, he had a blues band and he asked

me if I wanted to jam after school. I said, ‘Sure.’ He said, ‘Oh, I play the blues.’ I said, ‘All right …’ and we’ve been together ever since.”

“sounds like it could be the opening music to a Tim Burton film”

From blues it was a steady road to becoming a rock band, which became VersaEmerge two years ago. Martone and Harnage went through a series of musicians and vocalists to reach their present lineup. When their vocalist was let go, they took a unique approach to seeking a replacement: they put the word out on Myspace. After sifting through at least 50 applicants, Kusterbeck, then only 16, was their choice.

- ABSOLUTEPUNK.COM

“powerful songwriting, shimmering guitar work and captivating vocals”

“We went through so many people; a lot of singers contacted us,” says Martone. “People who were in bigger bands, people who wanted to get out of their bands. Sierra had never been in a band. Her experience was in theater, and we helped mold her into what she is today, and she’s awesome. When she came onboard, she couldn’t drive. She didn’t have a license. She lived in Tampa and her mom drove her three hours [to Port. St. Lucie] to every practice.” Despite what may appear to be an easy road and so much happening so quickly, Martone hasn’t forgotten the struggles they endured to reach this point and solidify VersaEmerge. “A lot of members, a lot of changes, and at times thoughts that we were doing something wrong, absolutely,” he says. “There was a period of time

- SPUTNIKMUSIC.COM

when we had no singer, probably for eight or nine months, but we still practiced three times a week. We’d ask ourselves, ‘What are we going to do?’ We kept pushing. During that time, we graduated high school and we knew we were either going to have to make it or do something else. Our parents gave us a year to get signed or go to college, and we got signed six months after starting the band. “Blake and I had worked so hard for so long and music is all we wanted to do. It would have crushed us if we hadn’t been able to continue. We had the drive to find the right people, but it wasn’t easy. We’d find someone, and then either they didn’t have the playing ability, or they weren’t the right style, they couldn’t be in a band, they couldn’t go on the road—there was always something.” The dedication and willingness to endure the

hardships of the road are key to making a band work, he says. While the group is enjoying their first tour bus, up until this point they’ve been traveling in a van, driving, putting in the hours of down time for that hour onstage. “Being in a touring band takes a different breed of people,” says Martone. “We’re together 24 hours a day. We never leave each other’s side. We’re always doing band stuff. We have to, because if you lose your momentum, you lose your buzz, and we can’t let that happen. It’s the best job in the world, but it’s not for everybody. All those years of playing in bands, joining bands, trying to figure out the situations—if you want to have any kind of longevity, you’ve all got to be on the same level. We finally found the right people to do it with.” VersaEmerge will perform at Club Hollywood on July 27. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/versaemerge and www. fueledbyramen.com. by ALISON RICHTER photo GAGE YOUNG *the definition of versaemerge

see the show date JULY 27 venue CLUB HOLLYWOOD line up VERSAEMERGE + A DAY TO REMEMBER doors open 6 PM ages ALL tickets TBA buy tix AT THE DOOR


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verge / july / 35

the galen kipar project / defying the norm

galen kipar

When Asheville, N.C., resident Galen Kipar performs in Augusta, it’s a homecoming of sorts. The singer/songwriter/guitarist grew up here, performed locally and even established a singer/songwriter showcase series. College, however, took him to Brevard, and the call of mountains and fly-fishing, as well as his music degree, led to permanent relocation. While in college, he met guitarist Jon Morrow. They were enrolled in Brevard’s music program and performed in the college guitar ensemble. From there, the two began working together professionally; the lineup of the Galen Kipar Project solidified four years ago with the addition of drummer Jeremy Young. Three albums into their career with 2008’s Paper Sailer, and a live CD, recorded in Roanoke, Va., on its way this fall, Kipar sees growth and maturity in the music. “The first album [Change, 2006] was recorded during my senior year and the music is there, but I felt there were some production issues,” he says. “It wasn’t an album as much as a collection of songs. The second album [Why It’s Needed, 2007] was a much bigger effort. I finished school, had some money set aside for a project and was able to pay musicians to come in. I had more means to work with and more time to spend on it. Paper Sailer is more stripped down. The songs were written in six weeks, recorded a month later, and we took a ‘less is more’ approach because Why It’s Needed had heavy emphasis on production, so I wanted to come from another direction. The next CD will be the product of three and a half years of touring, showing how the songs have evolved as well as including some new tunes.” Kipar and his band perform in Augusta several times a year, and he has noticed some improvements in the music scene, particularly with downtown renovation and the opening of new venues. “It’s no small task,” he says. “It’s always a challenge; even the ballet went under, and the symphony has been struggling for years. It’s inspiring to see that there are some individuals who are working hard and trying to keep arts and culture in the city.”

“When you throw something out there that doesn’t fit the mainstream format, it’s a curveball.” Galen Kipar knows all about challenges. His band creates a unique blend of music that defies categorization. To add to the puzzle, depending on where and when they play, additional guest musicians sometimes join them, bringing in more sounds, styles and ingredients. And, there’s that whole “two guitars and drums” thing … “Jon and I both studied classical guitar, and that style is geared around fingerpicking, with the thumb playing the bass lines and the other fingers playing melodies and harmony lines,” he explains. “Jon and I would finish each other’s musical sentences, with one part on the upper register and the other covering the bass. That was our working formula our first three years. This past winter Jon made the transition to an eight-string guitar/bass, so now the bottom end is there and we’re still using the same formula at the same time. We try to create a certain sound.” Work on the club scene is steady now for the Galen Kipar Project, but it hasn’t been without a great deal of effort. “It was really difficult at first,” he says. “Having a booking agent opened a lot of doors with contacts and venues, and we’re finally at the point of getting booking requests. We don’t have to walk that road like door-to-door salesmen trying to pitch ourselves to someone who has never heard of us, and then to get the money we need on top of that. It’s never just one variable. There are so many that come into play to get a gig, and then how well the gigs go after you get them. Persistence definitely helps. Once we play a venue, people like it. They don’t necessarily know what to call it, but they enjoy the music, and that makes it satisfying and worthwhile for us and safe for the venues to book something that’s not the common popular style. When you throw something out there that doesn’t fit the mainstream format, it’s a curveball on some levels, so it’s been a challenge, but a good challenge, as we keep pushing and hoping for the best.” The Galen Kipar Project performs as a trio at Stillwater Taproom on July 17. Singer/songwriter Lyndsay Wojcik opens the show. by ALISON RICHTER photo COURTESY OF THE BAND

see the show date JULY 17 venue STILLWATER TAPROOM line up THE GALEN KIPAR PROJECT + LYNDSAY WOJCIK music starts 10 PM tix $4 ages 21 AND UP buy tix AT THE DOOR


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verge / july / 37

tone deft /joycette’s listening

say vandelay

Before the

turf war

A double fist of PBR,

the cubists

Coupling rock

eat lightning

With a nod

surrounded by friends in some small bar with

and roll mechanics with an undertone

end of July, their brand new EP Actor Meets

near tolerable acoustics is probably the best

of electronica, The Cubists edge the

Actress drops July 7 with a special record

way to see a Turf War show. A group of semi-

traditional box of sound, while remaining

release show at Sky City on July 10. The show

reformed ‘bad kids’ write lyrics that reflect the

faithful to its make. Their anticipated full

will welcome newest members Brad Morris

contrast of good vs. bad fun in a small town.

length release Mechanical Advantage is a

and Josh Mason and fellow pop rockers Veara

Their songs are an amazing collective of solid

nine track gem, displaying haunting, yet

will open.

rock and roll and shout-along lyrics that,

toe-tapping pop music, evocative of The

beneath the beer buzz surface, are genuine

Talking Heads and psychedelic crooners

thoughts of a kid trying to figure it all out.

The Flaming Lips.

City and send them off well with some home

Steadily recording with their bassist, Jeremiah

With added member Erik Kinlaw (Moniker

town energy! Pre-order Actor Meets Actress

Johnson and set to play more gigs out of

and Night People), the band has a few

now and you’ll also get a signed poster from

town, Turf War plays 529 in Atlanta with Hip

summer gigs, while working on new material

the band.

To Death on Monday, July 6.

as previewed on their MySpace site.

listen GHOST (FROM NEW EP) myspace.com/sayvandelayrocks

listen FOR THE LAST TIME myspace.com/turfwar

listen IT’S A CRIME (DEMO) myspace.com/thecubists

listen ALL THE WAY myspace.com/eatlightningga

see JULY 10 @ SKY CITY

see JULY 6 @ ATLANTA’S 529

see JULY 11 @ SKY CITY

see JULY 4 @ FIREHOUSE BAR

boys hit the Vans Warped Tour stage at the

If can’t catch them on one of their Warped Tour dates, then definitely catch them at Sky

toward song structures of the late 60’s and charming vocals and lyrics (like “girl, why don’t you ever go all the way?”), Eat Lighting steals your heart and reminds you of what it’s like to be a hopeless human in love. With completely contagious tunes and fun coordinated stage antics, Eat Lightning started their summer playing Social Canvas at The Morris Museum and headlining at Sky City. This Fourth of July, they’ll play Firehouse Bar’s quaint show space with other scheduled bands and DJs.

all above by DJ JOYCETTE

the inkling / deadline extended to july 15 Get read, get published, get your word heard. And, now, get fifteen extra days to submit your best works. In celebration of the art of the written word, verge is now accepting entries for The Inkling, a new literary journal discovering the best in local prose, poetry and art. Named in honor of the informal Oxford literary club of the 30s and 40s, which included famed authors J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, The Inkling desires to encourage pursuit of the written word, while providing mind-stimulating stories, essays and poems for general consumption. Entries must be received by midnight on Wednesday July 15, 2009.

The first issue of The Inkling will be inserted into September’s verge. The Book Tavern will host a “Meet the Inklings” wrap party on Thursday, September 24, 2009, from 6 pm to 8 pm. The public will be invited to meet the authors. A word of (tongue in cheek) warning. As J.R.R. Tolkien once penned, “I warn you, if you bore me, I shall take my revenge.”

The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect passion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it. - JULES RENARD (DIARY ENTRY FEBRUARY 1895)

All submissions should include a short biography and contact information. Send submissions or request the full set of guidelines: editor@vergelive.com or 1124 Broad St, Augusta, 30901.

great rules of writing by william safire Do not put statements in the negative form. And don’t start sentences with a conjunction. If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do. Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all. De-accession euphemisms. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky. Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.

original photograph submitted to The Inkling OLIVIA TAFT


38 / july / verge


verge / july / 39

pipeline / 7.3 to 7.11

movies at main monday nights • 6:30 pm augusta main library

friday july 3

n

Tommy OD & The Survivors

outdoors 

July 6: American Teen A documentary on seniors at a high school in a small Indiana town and their various cliques. Rated PG 13, 95 minutes (2008)

July Jamboree Concert & First Friday Car Show

Augusta Common • 6 to 10 pm • free Details: 706.821.1754 special 

Bleeding Counterfeit

blue magnolia • 6 to 9 pm • free Rock out at blue magnolia while checking out cool new stuff. Become a frequent smiler and register to win a bag chock full of blue magnolia goodies. Details: 706.828.6550

Sarah Carter Cunningham: Book Signing

June 13: Inkheart A young girl discovers her father has an amazing talent to bring characters out of their books and must try to stop a freed villain from destroying them all, with the help of her father, her aunt, and a storybook’s hero. Rated PG, 106 minutes. (2009)

n

First Friday: Red, White & Blue

Downtown Augusta • 5 to 10 pm • free On the First Friday of each month a celebration is held downtown on Artists’ Row. Galleries and studios remain open those evenings to debut new works, street vendors sell their wares, and bands can be heard all over. First Friday is a free, monthly, family friendly event in Downtown Augusta. details:augustaarts.com

n

Joe’s Underground • 10 pm

thursday july 9 outdoors 

sunday july 5

Music in the Park: Doug and the Henrys

outdoors 

Candlelight Jazz: Jerusalem Sound

8th Street Bulkhead • 8 pm • $6 Join us each Sunday along the banks of the Savannah River for an enchanted evening of jazz featuring regional and local jazz artists. In case of rain: Café 209 on the River. Details: 706.821.1754 or gardencityjazz.com. live music 

Years Spent Cold + Left to Vanish The Autumn Grave + Virulence + Roselyn

Hammond’s Ferry • 7 pm • free Details: 803.442.7588

David Mascaro Opening Reception Sacred Heart • 5:30 to 7:30 pm

Stillwater Taproom • 9:30 pm

monday july 6

n

live music 

Jeff Liberty

Joe’s Underground • 10 pm

Open Mic with Woody The Playground • 10 pm

friday july 10

n

Sector 7G • 7 pm

Sound & Visual: DJ Joycette & Live Painting by Erik Russell

Augusta Common 9 pm • $2 The Longshots / PG Details: 706.821.1754 live music 

Tropicabana Latin Club • 9 pm

The Book Tavern • 6:30 to 8:30 pm • free Meet the author of the new book: Two Are Better Than One.

Movies at Main: American Teen tuesday july 7

Club Sp@rks • 10 pm

Tara Tanksley-Stallings: Book Signing

Dave Firman

TFS Massive Rave

The Book Tavern • 8:30 to 10:30 pm • free Meet the author of the new book: Ladies Let’s Talk, about the tools needed to achieve personal happiness in Christ.

Wine Tasting

Wine World • 5 to 8 pm • $4 Sample a selection of three whites and three reds. $3 rebate on purchase of any featured wine. Details: wineworldsc.com art 

Loose Works by Chad Cole

Tire City Potters • 5 to 9 pm • free View the art of Chad Cole during this artist’s reception. Watch artists at work on canvas and the potter’s wheel. Bring the children to create their own works on paper. 210B Tenth Street. Details: 706.828.0334 or tirecitypotters.com

First Friday Fish Fry with 95 Rock’s Chris Fisher

Greene Street Library • 6:30 pm • free

Oblivion! DJ Gene & DJ Codec: Dark Electro Dance Party

Sector 7G • 8 pm

Joe’s Underground • 10 pm

wednesday july 8

n

Jazz on the Patio: A Step Up

outdoors 

Movies in the Common

Salsa Groove film 

art 

live music 

209 on the River • 6 pm

Wine Down Wednesday

Casa Blanca Cafe • 5 to 9 pm Buy a glass of wine, get one free and enjoy the complimentary cheese bar.

Brian McGee + Hollow Speed Stillwater Taproom • 10 pm

Pit Boss

Joe’s Underground • 10 pm

All Good Asylum

The Playground • 10 pm

saturday july 11

Jacob Beltz

Joe’s Underground • 10 pm

Drum Heads

Augusta 706.724.1172 Aiken 803.649.1919

live music 

Metro A Coffee House

80s Night

Sky City• 9 pm • $5

June 20: Twilight The best selling book lights up the screen with this beautiful tale about vampires, longing and trust. Rated PG 13, 122 minutes. (2008)

Jazz Collective Tribeca • 10 pm

Carribbean Dinner & Dance

Tropicabana Latin Club • 7 pm • $15

Tony Williams & The Blues Express The Loft • 9 pm

Daddy Grace

Joe’s Underground • 10 pm

Tommy D + The Survivors + Bayou Bleu The Playground • 10 pm n

saturday july 4 outdoors 

RiverBlast July 4th Celebration

June 27: Coraline Neil Gaiman’s book eerily relates the tale of a young girl who’s lured into an alter reality by a psuedo-mother. THe animation alone is worth it. Rated PG, 100 minutes. (2009)

Augusta Common • 2 to 10 pm Wander through the Independence Day arts & crafts bazaar, enjoy a variety of musical entertainment and activities for the entire family to enjoy. Head over to the Jessye Norman Amphitheatre for a patriotic concert and end the evening with a a spectacular fireworks display. Details: 706.826.0026 or nbcaugusta.com.

Riverside Cycles Grand Opening

Riverside Cycles Live music by Paisley Gordon, BBQ and family fun. Details: 706.945.1104 live music 

Annual Star Spangled Fourth Concert St. Paul’s Church • 8 pm See sidebar for details.

The Loft’s One Year Birthday Bash The Loft • 10 pm

star spangled fourth concert july 4 • saint paul’s church

The Riverwalk Series, Inc. (www.RiverwalkSeries.com) presents the 13th annual Star Spangled Fourth concert at 8:00 pm on Sat, the 4th of July 2009. The concert features favorite patriotic hits performed by a chorus & orchestra of 75 musicians under the direction of Keith Shafer and is held in the sanctuary of Saint Paul’s Church, site of the founding of the city of Augusta. This year’s concert will also include an Afterglow BBQ with beer and wine cash bar in the River and Berlin Rooms of the church complex. Tickets and information are available from the website or by calling the Riverwalk Series Box Office at 706-722-3463. photo LAURA COLEMAN


40 / july / verge

pipeline / 7.11 to 7.27 saturday july 11 live music 

The Cubists

Sky City • 10:30 pm • $5

Ladies Night

Tropicabana Latin Club • 9 pm

Santa’s Summer Vacation featuring Chairleg + Blood of an Empire + Whiskey Hellchild + Facedown Sector 7G • 8 pm

Greg Hester Band

art 

Artrageous! Family Sunday: The Be A Know It All Roadshow

Morris Museum of Art • 2 pm • Free The Spark: How Creativity Changed the World is a lively tale told through animation and live puppet action. Afterwards, use your own creativity to construct a sculpture

Sunday Sketch with David Mascaro

Morris Museum of Art • 2 pm • free Sketch in the galleries, with informal instruction provided by a professional artist. All materials included. Check-in in the activity room. live music 

Joe’s Underground • 10 pm

Mics & Cables

Augusta 706.724.1172 Aiken 803.649.1919

sunday july 12 outdoors 

Candlelight Jazz: quietSTORM

8th Street Bulkhead • 8 pm • $6 Join us each Sunday along the banks of the Savannah River for an enchanted evening of jazz featuring regional and local jazz artists. In case of rain: Café 209 on the River. Details: 706.821.1754 or gardencityjazz.com.

We Are the Union Sector 7G • 8 pm

monday july 13 film 

Movies at Main: Inkheart

Greene Street Library • 6:30 pm • free

Dave Firman

live music 

Joe’s Underground • 10 pm

tuesday july 14 live music 

Trasher

Joe Stevenson Band

Beer Tasting

Joe’s Underground • 10 pm

Wine World • 5 to 8 pm • $4 $3 rebate on purchase of any featured six pack of beer. Details: wineworldsc.com

sunday july 19 outdoors 

Candlelight Jazz: Rob Foster & Pulsar

TFS Rave

Morris Museum of Art • 2 pm to 3:30 pm $6 to $7 View paintings by Larry Connatser and create an acrylic dot painting. Open to children 6 and older and their families; all children must be accompanied by an adult participant. Register by July 15: 706.828.3867. live music 

Jeff Liberty

Music at the Morris: Tara & Kevin Scheyer

Wings & Wetlands

Family Artbreak: Dot Painting

Morris Museum of Art • 2 pm • free Enjoy Southern stories and songs by Augusta’s own Tara Scheyer with husband Kevin Scheyer on percussion.

Woodwind Reeds

Ruskin

Joe’s Underground • 10 pm

Augusta 706.724.1172 Aiken 803.649.1919

wednesday july 15 live music 

monday july 20

209 on the River • 6 pm

Music in the Park: Miriam Allen & Rod Knight

Greene Street Library • 6:30 pm • free

outdoors 

Hammond’s Ferry • 7 pm • free Details: 803.442.7588

special 

Wine Tasting

Wine World • 5 to 8 pm • $4 Sample a selection of three whites and three reds. $3 rebate on purchase of any featured wine. Details: wineworldsc.com live music 

Joe Stevenson

Joe’s Underground • 10 pm

neptune dive & ski wakeboard open

saturday july 25 augusta riverfront marina Neptune Dive & Ski is moving its annual wakeboard open to the Savannah River from Thurmond Lake. Expect to see incredible displays of agility and daring tricks from amateur and pro wakeboarders from across the country. Wakeboarding combines the techniques of surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding. Boarders invent their own tricks and try to outdo each other with spectacular flips. The fun gets started around 10:30 am. Join the crew for an after party at Sky City (starts at 8:30 pm). For details, contact Summer Young at Neptune Dive & Ski: 706.737.7900.

tuesday july 21 special 

Italian Wine Tasting Seminar

friday july 17 Art at Lunch: Howard Finster’s Paradise Gardens

Wine World • 7 pm Discover Italian wines with Clint Harris. Details: wineworldsc.com

John Kolbeck

art 

Morris Museum of Art • noon • $10 to $14 Tommy Littleton, a personal friend of the late artist and the administrator of the gardens, and Whitney Nave Jones, artist and gallery owner, discuss Finster’s Paradise Gardens Complex. Lunch by Dye’s Southern Catering. Register by July 15. live music 

live music 

Joe’s Underground • 10 pm

wednesday july 22 Jazz on the Patio: A Step Up

live music 

209 on the River • 6 pm

thursday july 23 outdoors 

Music in the Park: J-Man Band Hammond’s Ferry • 7 pm • free Music by J-man Band. Details: 803.442.7588

live music 

Stillwater Taproom • 10 pm

Dr. Acula + Autumn Black + Virulence Exsillium Eterna + Red Foreman

The Loft One Year Anniversary Bash with Pretty Little Things Peep Show

Mason Jars

Galen Kipar Projections

The Loft • 10 pm •$10

Joe’s Underground • 10 pm

Mudfish

saturday july 18 live music 

Tropicabana Latin Club • 9 pm

Harley Davidson Classic Cars & Cycles Show After Party The Loft • 8 pm

outdoors 

Boeckh Park • 7 pm Kick off this weekend of ecological learning and fun at the opening concert in Hammond’s Ferry. Register for the weekend’s events at northaugusta. net or call 803.441.4243.

Movies in the Common

Dew Hickies

Stillwater Taproom • 10 pm

Bad Habits

The Loft • 10 pm Joe’s Underground • 10 pm

Reed’s Brown Beret

The Playground • 10 pm

saturday july 25 outdoors 

Downtown North Augusta • all day • varied Discover winged creatures, reptiles and wetlands during this fun filled weekend of ecological exploration. Fun for the whole family. Get registration forms, full schedule of events and details at northaugusta.net or call 803.441.4243

Seventh Annual Neptune Dive & Ski Wakeboard Open

Riverfront Marina • 10:30 am • free This annual thrilling competition moves to the Savannah River. Details: 706.737.7900 special  1102 Back Bar • 10 pm to 2 am • $10 to $25 Featuring live music by DJ Joycette and DJ Rocky Horror. Get advance tickets at available at Halo Salon, 1122 Broad Street. Must be 21 or over to attend. Details: 706.828.4856 art 

Adult Artist Workshop: Portrait Drawing with David Mascaro

Morris Museum of Art • 12:30 pm • $55 to $65 Discover how to render the face from varying points of view using correct proportions and details. All materials included. live music 

Wakeboard Open After Party & Hyperlite Movie Premiere Sky City • 8:30 pm Details: 706.737.7900

L.I.E + X-mas + Valley of Maggido Pursuit of Angels + Red Foreman Sector 7G • 7 pm

sunday july 26 outdoors 

Candlelight Jazz: Preston & Weston featuring Sandra Simmons

8th Street Bulkhead • 8 pm • $6 Join us each Sunday along the banks of the Savannah River for an enchanted evening of jazz featuring regional and local jazz artists. In case of rain: Café 209 on the River. Details: 706.821.1754 or gardencityjazz.com.

monday july 27 film 

Movies at Main: Coraline

Joe’s Underground • 10 pm

Wings & Wetlands: Music on the Riverfront

The Playground • 10 pm

Salsa w/ DJ Rodriguez

Sector 7G • 6 pm

friday july 24

Stone Dogs

Sector 7G • 8 pm

Halo Salon Hair & Fashion Show film 

Movies at Main: Twilight

thursday july 16

Tropicabana Latin Club • 9 pm

8th Street Bulkhead • 8 pm • $6 Join us each Sunday along the banks of the Savannah River for an enchanted evening of jazz featuring regional and local jazz artists. In case of rain: Café 209 on the River. Details: 706.821.1754 or gardencityjazz.com. art 

Sector 7G • 8 pm

Jazz on the Patio: A Step Up

live music 

Miami Night

Augusta Common • 9 pm • $2 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factor / Rated G. Details: 706.821.1754

Greene Street Library • 6:30 pm • free

Batboy the Musical Auditions

theatre 

Le Chat Noir • 7 pm Bring a prepared solo. Details: 706.722.3322 live music 

A Day to Remember + Versa Emerge Club Hollywood • 6 pm

Need strings?

Augusta 706.724.1172 Aiken 803.649.1919


verge / july / 41

pipeline / 7.28 to 8.7 tuesday july 28 Batboy the Musical Auditions

theatre 

Le Chat Noir • 7 pm Bring a prepared solo. Details: 706.722.3322

thursday july 30 outdoors 

Music in the Park: Signal Corps Band Hammond’s Ferry • 7 pm • free Details: 803.442.7588

The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players

live music 

Sky City • 10 pm • $7

kids 

Toddler Time: Fabulous Found Objects

Morris Museum of Art • 10 am & 11:15 am free to $4 Learn how artists incorporate found objects into their art, and create your own collage. Register: 706.828.3867

friday august 7 outdoors 

First Friday

Joe’s Underground • 10 pm

friday july 31 live music 

Worship at The Well

Sub\li\mat: Dark Electro Dance Party

Mimosa Sunday

sundays 

Sunday Salsa Social

Joe’s Underground • 10 pm The Playground • 10 pm

monday august 2 outdoors 

Candlelight Jazz: Jazz Collective

8th Street Bulkhead • 8 pm • $6 Join us each Sunday along the banks of the Savannah River for an enchanted evening of jazz featuring regional and local jazz artists. In case of rain: Café 209 on the River. Details: 706.821.1754 or gardencityjazz.com. art 

Artrageous! Family Sunday: Tara Scheyer from the Mudpuppies Band

Morris Museum of Art • 2 pm • free Tara Scheyer presents a spirited sing.along featuring family favorites. Afterwards create musically inspired art.

Cotton Patch • 7 to 11 pm • free

Candlelight Jazz

8th Street Bulkhead • 8 pm • $6

Singstar Karaoke Club Sp@rk • 7 pm

Singstar Karaoke

mondays  tuesdays 

Club Sp@rk • 7 pm

Tuesday Trivia w/ Anil The Playground • 8 pm

Dr. John Fisher

Fox’s Lair • 9 pm • free • irish session

The Loft • 10 pm • free

Salsa Groove

Tropicabana Latin Club • 10 pm

ongoing exhibitions thru July 31 History Theatre Film American

Live Music

thru May 2011 The Godfather of Soul:

Experience: Tupperware Mr. James Brown

Jazz on the Patio: A Step Up

ongoing A Community That Heals

209 on the River • 6 pm

ongoing From Ty to Cal: A Century of

Baseball in Augusta

The Playground • 10 pm thursdays 

Open Jam Night hosted by Leonard The Playground • 8 pm

Casual Comfort: Hip Hop Night fridays 

saturdays 

Saturday Market on the River

8th & Reynolds • 8 am to noon • free Experience the real flavors of fresh spring produce, from apricots, artichokes, asparagus, and avocados to carrots, peas, potatoes, spinach, and strawberries, you can find it all at the Saturday Market. 1822 Broad • 1 to 5 pm $2 to $4 Last tour starts at 4 pm. Details: 706.737.2820

Jazz Collective

Broad Street Market • 8 pm

the Augusta National

GERTRUDE HERBERT Details: ghia.org

thru July 31 Tom Jones

Tropicabana Latin Club • 9 pm

Ezekiel Harris House Tours

ongoing Stories and Legends: Remembering ongling History on Canvas

Hammond’s Ferry • 4 pm to dusk • free Procure a variety of goods offered by local vendors in this North Augusta outdoor market. Enjoy live music in the beautiful setting of Hammond’s Ferry. Details: 803.613.1641

John Kolbeck

DJ On Point

Singstar Karaoke

Brick Yard Market

The Whites Building • 7 pm • $5

Bleeding Counterfeit

Club Sparx • 9 pm

Details: augustamuseum.org

Club Sp@rk • 7 pm

Boll Weevil Mimosas at lunch and $3.95 desserts all day.

DJ Brian J

AUGUSTA HISTORY MUSEUM

Fox’s Lair • free

Prize Pool Tournament

Morris Museum of Art • free

Box of Moonlight

Soup Suds & Conversation

Krazy Karaoke

Free Morris Museum Admission

Stillwater Taproom • 10 pm

Casa Blanca Cafe • 5 to 9 pm Buy a glass of wine, get one free and enjoy the complimentary cheese bar.

Manuels Bread Cafe • 7 pm

715 Broad Street • 10:45 am

Danger Muffin

Wine Down Wednesday

Summer Blast Concert & Car Show

every day

wednesdays 

Andy Jordans • 6:15 pm • free 12 to 15 miles on the Augusta Canal at a beginner to intermediate skill level. Details: 706.724.6777

Club Sp@rk • 7 pm

Tropicabana Latin Club • 9 pm Club Sp@rks • 9 pm

Mountain Bike Ride

Downtown Augusta • 5 to 10 pm • free details: augustaarts.com Augusta Common • 6 to 10 pm • free Details: 706.821.1754

Cliff Dyches

Final Fridays

thursday august 6

LUCY CRAFT LANEY MUSEUM

Details: lucycraftlaneymuseum.com thru August 30 The Daso Art Collection

MORRIS MUSEUM OF ART Details: themorris.org

now thru August 30 Southern Eccentric:

Paintings by Larry Connatser

now thru August 30 Stories to Tell, Memories

to Keep: Folk Art in the South

SACRED HEART CULTURAL CENTER Details: sacredheartaugusta.org

July 9 thru August 28 David Mascaro

get your event listed for free.

send to pipeline@vergelive.com by the 20th of each month.


42 / july / verge


verge / july / 43

cut the fat / i’m a loser baby part III the skinny on one dude’s mission to cut the fat

Inspiration - it can be the trickiest of things to find especially for a guy like me who is generally slow off the starting block. I imagine, that for most people, it is pretty easy to be inspired to do something you love, but to get motivated to attack a task that you know beforehand to be incredibly difficult is a whole other thing. Recently, I find that I encounter words of encouragement in my efforts to lose weight on a nearly daily basis. Such encouragement helps, especially on those days when I barely have the energy to walk out the door. Some days I’m not sure if I would have had enough of my own push to get up without the encouragement. But to be honest, I never thought or expected that my efforts to lose weight would be any sort of encouragement or even inspiration for anyone else to do the same. I have become acquainted with some pretty cool people at Health Central. We talk, laugh, cross our fingers for each other before we weigh in. For me, meeting these people has turned out to be one of the greatest benefits of my experience at Health Central. To me they are an inspiration for me to continue. Sort of a like a support group without all the paperwork and fancy title. It just never dawned on me that I may be to others what my friends, old and new alike, have become to me. I was dumbfounded one day when I was stopped on the track by a gentleman who expressed to me how much he was driven to get to the gym more after watching me come in day after day and walk the track. The word “inspiration” was tossed out and when our conversation was done, I found myself emotionally charged to finish my final laps at an increased speed. A few days later, while leaving Health Central, I was stopped by a nice lady who first paid me a compliment then added that she was encouraged to tackle each day with a more positive attitude after watching a bit of one of my grueling training sessions with Mike (Clark). Once again I was flabbergasted. I struggle each day to accomplish my weight loss goals and, at times, I must look like Fred Sanford staggering around on the track (I even chuckle to myself sometimes if I get a visual). To even think of myself as any sort of inspiration is very difficult and humbling for me. One afternoon after working out and feeling very whiney about my aches and pains I got into my van. During this moment of self pity, I witnessed something that has driven me forward ever since. Parked in front of me was a pickup truck with a wheelchair folded up in the back. A young man got out and, using the side of the truck to keep his balance, slowly made his way to the back of the vehicle, dropped the tailgate, sat on it before removing the wheelchair and placing it on the sidewalk. He then reached over and opened the chair before sliding in, then closed the tailgate. All this with barely any use of his legs. He spun around and took off down the sidewalk into the next part of his day. Here I was all self absorbed about how sore my legs were and how bad life sucked at that very moment and right in front of me this guy, with minimal use of his own legs, was making the best of life and barreling down Broad Street. Now THAT my friends, is inspiration. Since last month, I have moved beyond simply walking two and a half miles as part of my daily routine. In addition, I am now doing 200 crunches with weights three times a week and other workouts such as using the stepper the weight machines. It is a refreshing combination that a) keeps me from getting bored, and b) keeps me from backtracking into my typical mode of skipping workouts which only leads to eventually quitting. For this I have Health Central’s Mike Clark to thank. Together we are constantly coming up with ways for me to expand on what I am doing while staying within my realistic means. Mike has also shown me that minimal or no weight loss is merely a temporary thing and not a brick wall. This has been an asset as. over the years, I have typically found walls to be so frustrating that they usually lead to me throwing in the towel. Yes, historically I have been known to be a quitter and we all know how that old overused saying goes “quitters never win and winners never quit.” I have found that there are many winners who are members of Health Central and I am astounded and thrilled to even be considered one of them. As I head toward the July 17th finish line, I am equal parts exhausted, excited, enthused, and amazed. I know the journey continues well beyond the final weigh-in for Biggest Loser and my excitement builds as I think about goals and accomplishments I have planned for the future. The first step was getting started, then to stay on track. Now I see my goals drawing near, starting with the last fifteen pounds I need to lose before my final weigh-in, then dropping my already dwindling smoking habit directly after that final weigh-in. I picture a 5K walk in the fall, sky diving next year. I see many things on an ever growing list of “to-dos” that I will only be able to attempt if and when I accomplish this first task. As I’ve been told time and time again, “It won’t be easy.” Tell me about it! If it was easy I’d just walk laps with a 44 oz cold sweet iced tea in one hand and a double cheese burger in the other! But alas, I must settle for poultry and fish substitutes for the time being. My beverage shall be free of the sweet goodness of sugar. The calories burned must outweigh the calories eaten. I must fight off the evil temptations of fat and cholesterol. I must push forward until I have earned the right to say: “I’m a loser baby – you mind passing the rolls and the buttery spread?”

here’s the skinny the big picture First weigh-in date: Starting weight: 3-Month goal: Total lost (as of 6/21)

April 14 405 (yikes!) lose 50 pounds 35 pounds

the weekly journal week

5/25 - 5/31 6/1 - 6/7 6/8 - 6/14 6/15 - 6/21

laps

24 laps 26 laps 28 laps 30 laps

Friday weigh in

383 380 375 370

As of 6/21, Stoney’s lost 35 pounds! twit stoney’s progress & cheer him on: www.twitter.com/stoneycannon editor’s note: John “Stoney” Cannon will be chronicling his attempt to “Cut the Fat” over the next few issues. Join verge in cheering him on to victory: email your comments and encouragement to editor@vergelive.com.

by JOHN CANNON photos KATIE MCGUIRE


44 / july / verge


verge / july / 45

the monumental history of greene street / 09

Poet’s Monument

/ 700 Block of Greene Street presented by / Anna Russell Cole on April 28, 1913 as a memorial to four Georgia Poets with a presentation speech performed by Chancellor James H. Kirkland of Vanderbilt University location

The Poet’s Monument, located in the 700 block of the Greene Street median, possibly stands as one of the area’s more interesting looking monuments. Featuring four columns sandwiched between a massive three-tiered granite base with a nearly as impressive multi-tiered roof, the monument houses a huge piece of marble within the four columns. Each side contains the name and an accompanying quote dedicated to a different Georgia poet. Of the four honored 19th century poets: Sidney Lanier, James R. Randall, Father Abram Ryan, and Paul Hamilton Hayne, only Macon native Lanier is without direct association to Augusta. According to volume II of the 1914 book Georgia’s Landmarks, Memorials and Legends, Randall and Hayne ���lie buried in the city cemetery in a section known as Poet’s Row.” Lanier, a noted musician, poet and scholar, is perhaps best known for his poems “The Song of the Chattahoochee” (1877), “The Marches of Glynn” (1878), and “Sunrise” (1881). Labeled “Poet Laureate of the Lost Cause,” journalist/poet James R. Randall penned the famous Confederacy war song “Maryland, My Maryland.” Called the “Poet-Priest of the Confederacy,” Father Abram Ryan (best known for his famous poem, “The Conquered Banner”) founded The Banner of the South, an Augusta religious and political weekly in which he published most of his poetry. Paul Hamilton Hayne was a poet, critic, and editor who contributed to important Southern periodicals of the day like the Charleston Literary Gazette, the Southern Literary Messenger, the Home Journal, and Southern Bivouac. An additional marker honoring Randall was erected in 1936 and stands in the median in the 1300 block of Greene Street. by JOHN CANNON rendering ALEX McCAIN, III editor’s note: This is the ninth installment of a the history of the monuments that line Greene Street.


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past times / the ESi building

823 Broad Street sits next to the Augusta Common and is the worldwide headquarters for ESi, a crisis information management technology company. This striking white Classical Revival building served as the National Exchange Bank when it was built in the early twentieth century. Noteworthy details include the Georgia marble façade, large skylight, original Mosler bank vaults, and a historic Art Deco wall clock located above the front entrance. During the rehabilitation, care was given to keep the historical integrity intact while incorporating modern elements into the work space. The lobby area of the ESi headquarters retains much of its original appearance while the roof garden, automatic lighting, and high tech steel and office glass are examples of the modern twists.

the ESi building a brief history 1922 Built as the National Exchange Bank, Architects Mowbray and Uffinger of New York responsible for the Classical Revival style design

1952 Tunnel constructed to connect the bank vaults to a drive-thru teller building facing the 800 block of Reynolds Street.

1954 First National Bank and Trust Company of Augusta listed at this address in the city directory 1971 Augusta Federal Savings and Loan occupied the building 1989 The city directory indicated 823 Broad Street as vacant 2001 A tunnel is uncovered while work was conducted for the Augusta Common.

Historians claimed the tunnel was built

in 1952 to connect bank vaults to the drive-thru teller

2005 Purchased by ESi for their worldwide headquarters 2007 Rehabilitation completed and recognized by Historic Augusta, Inc. for a Preservation Award Today

Featured on the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s Spring 2009 Downtown Ramble

by ROBYN MAINOR rendering ALEX McCAIN, III Robyn Mainor is the Preservation Services Director at Historic Augusta, Inc., a non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve historically or architecturally significant structures and sites in Augusta and Richmond County.


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reverberations / horsepower 1999 – 2003

augusta music history 201

“I wanted to put together a band with people I liked playing with.” Years from now, when Augustans look back on the area music of the nineties and the early part of the millennium, they are sure to stumble into the wide range of colors and sounds that was the quiet, yet explosive growing music scene in Augusta. In many cases, music in the area mirrored the national aftermath of bands that had exploded out of locales such as Seattle and Athens. Hardly anything groundbreaking at first glance, but. beneath the surface, Augusta musicians, rooted in the sounds of artists such as Neil Young, The Birds, Gramm Parson, Bob Dylan, and The Band, began to congregate into bands that took the roots of classic rock and infused it with the sounds of old school Nashville. Groups like In Like Flynn and Supachief were spreading the gospel of Americana music before the term became popular to even toss around. Horsepower was one such band. Formed in 1999 out of the fading embers of Augusta band Snapdragon, area quartet Horsepower exuded the countrified sounds of Americana combined with a much heavier hand, giving a nod to rock legends like Kiss, AC/DC and the Rolling Stones. Labeled Americana by many, Horsepower was actually a group of musicians with a love for all things rock. Early performances included covers by the above mentioned rock acts and rousing renditions of tunes like James Brown’s “Sex Machine” and Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.” “We’d all played together in different combinations,” said guitarist and vocalist Keith Jenkins. “Dave (Swanagin – drummer) and I had lived together and I played with Grady (Nickel – vocals/ guitar) in 1261 and I’d played with Travis (Petrea – bass) since I was thirteen. I wanted to put together a band with people I liked playing with.“ Fortunately for Jenkins he was already playing with two very likeable fellows, Swanagin and Petrea, in the Tara Scheyerfronted, indie -label band Snapdragon. Having already played together in the band Jackson with Swanagin, Nickel turned out

Horsepower Band Members: Grady Nickel: guitar / vocals Keith Jenkins: guitar / vocals Travis Petrea: bass guitar David Swanigin: drums

Horsepower Releases 2001 Demo

to be the perfect final cog in the Horsepower machine. With a list of already notable musical accomplishments under their individual belts, including Jenkins’ stint in James Brown’s backing band and Swanagins’ run in national touring act The Groove Dogs, getting area shows would be a breeze for Horsepower right out of the gate. “It was no problem getting gigs,” said Jenkins. “I think the first time we played live we sat in on some of Grady’s gig at the Red Lion and we did one song – ‘Back on the Chain Gang.’ Our first official gig was at Joe’s Underground sometime in 2000.” With a set list that consisted mainly of covers, it would be just a short time later that the list of Horsepower originals would catch up and eventually overtake the band’s covers list. “Like any band when you first get together you don’t have a bunch of original material so we worked up a bunch of covers,” said Jenkins. “Grady brought in some songs that he had written for other bands so we had some original right off the bat and close into it we started writing songs as a band. By the end we probably had about thirty originals.” After recording some early demos at the start of 2000, Horsepower entered the studio in December to record the set of songs that would become their self produced demo CD. While not completely issued as an official release, the five song recording featured some of Horsepower’s strongest tunes and tracks “Pure”, “Make You Cry” and “Tupelo” would receive regular play on then local music radio program Homegrown. “We did that with Dave Bradberry,” said Jenkins. “We started recording in late 2000, maybe a year into the band, and we recorded through the winter. We did do some recording with Elliot Holden before that earlier in 2000 and we did some other various recordings later on. We had enough material for another album and we just didn’t get all of it recorded.” Armed with a new demo, the band hit Augusta in 2001 with a flurry of powerful live shows including the first 12 Bands of Christmas concert, picking up new fans with each outing and building steam along the way. By the time Horsepower hit the stage at the Imperial Theatre in the spring of 2002 as part of the Big Rock Stage Show, it was apparent that the foursome were more than just a mere alt-country or southern rock band. Topped off with a motorcycle and the now infamous horseshoe and lightning bolt sign, the band presented itself in bombastic rock and roll glory befitting an event called the Big Rock Stage Show.

- KEITH JENKINS

“We built that Horsepower sign that’s sort of gained a little notoriety of its own,” said Jenkins. “It’s hanging in my utility room to this day but for years it just floated around Augusta hanging in various stores and bars and finally I reclaimed it after one of the reunions at the Mission. As easy as it would have been to destroy it, it’s still together. Everybody was very careful with it and I really appreciate that.” For the next year and a half, the group continued to perform at area venues only steering out of town for the occasional show. Horsepower’s final show as a working band would be on the Savannah River in front of a rocking Augusta crowd at the Garden City Music Festival in 2003. The chemistry that had made the band so powerful was shaken when drummer Swanagin relocated to Nashville. “Dave moved to Nashville,” said Jenkins. “We tried to replace him and we were going to get Jamie Jones. Jamie actually did some gigs with us later on but, at that point in time, he couldn’t do it for whatever reason, so we couldn’t find a drummer. We definitely had some things we were looking for in a drummer and we just couldn’t find anyone that was the type of drummer we wanted.” While Horsepower, as a band, would only manage to gas up for a pair of reunion shows after the band’s breakup (an official reunion show in 2005 and a one-off show opening for Cracker in 2007), both at the now defunct club The Mission, individually the band members would each remain involved in music. Jenkins would go on to join the Pat Blanchard Band as well as continue to perform with James Brown until the music legend’s passing in 2006. Swanagin moved to Nashville and started playing with Billy Joe Royal and several up and coming Nashville touring acts. Nickel kept writing and recording and in time also relocated to Nashville. Petrea would go on to play with Augusta bands The Vellotones and Livingroom Legends before reuniting with Jenkins as part of the Greg Hester Band. As much as he digs his current place in music though, Jenkins continues to have a soft spot for Horsepower. “What I liked about that band is we kept coming up with music,” said Jenkins. “Grady would sometimes come in with three original songs and it was nothing for us to work up about four to five covers in a practice. We’d come out of a practice sometimes with about eight or nine new tunes. “

by JOHN STONEY CANNON, LOKAL LOUDNESS


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a shot with pow pow COCO CHANEL: Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.

everyday elegant forties

everyday elegant forties get the look the clothes Shoppe 31:30 the hair Sarah Boyette | Halo Salon and Spa the makeup Lauren King | Halo Salon and Spa the model Ange’ Desario | Americana Artworks the photographer Nick Fennewald the vision With a pow for style, Nikki PowPow combs the salons, boutiques and clothing racks of downtown Augusta simply for a love of “the look.” | Halo Salon


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July 2009