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yeah, we made this publisher Matt Plocha editor Lara Plocha events editor Sarah Childers copy editor Andrea Bennett contributors Alison Richter, Alison Ryan, Amy Swann, Anne Lovell Swan, Ben Casella, Christopher Selmek, Derek Berry, Dino Lull, Elizabeth Benson, Gabi Hutchison, Holly Birdsong, John Cannon, Jonathan Karow, Karen Farley, Leah Deslandes, Mariah Gardner, Michael Swan, Nora Blithe, Skyler Andrews, Stephen Delaney Hale


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by chad cole

JEZEBEL: Chad Cole’s His artwork is part of The Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art’s first biennial exhibition of artists who have shown their work in the Institute’s Creel-Harison Community Art Gallery through May 25.

The next issue of VERGE hits the newsstands on

MAY 16

Look for our outdoor boxes or find your copy at Publix | EarthFare Kroger | Bi-Lo and more than 150 locations in the CSRA



REVISITING A PREVIOUS STATEMENT Listen up. It’s Better Hearing and Speech Month Approximately 12 percent of the United States population has significant hearing loss. That is almost 38 million people.

Each May, our nation’s attention is focused on better hearing and speech. This event has been around since 1927. Organizations across the country gear up to provide assistance and access to improving the quality of life for Americans suffering from hearing loss and speech difficulties. With hearing loss becoming more common in the U.S. as younger people lose hearing because of noise exposure and the baby boomers age, Better Hearing and Speech Month has become even more important as a means of reaching those reluctant to have their hearing tested. The American Speech Language Hearing Association website [] can provide you with facts and point you to programs that might assist. In 1982, the Hearing Loss Association of America joined the battle to help bring awareness and promote this important issue. May is also a month of community – starting with a few key events to celebrate. Cinco de Mayo is on the May 5 (for those of you who don’t speak Spanish). It’s a revolution of sorts. Mexico celebrates its victory over the French. On May 10, it’s National Clean Your Room day – what a great way to show Mom (hint: Mother’s Day is May 13) your appreciation. Coincidence? Maybe. We hope you are listening. That brings me to listening to our community. Listening and hearing can be two separate issues. Often we hear but do not listen. Hearing is important but listening is an art. When you listen, you absorb information. Information can help a community in many ways. Hearing is simply the act of perceiving sound by the ear. If you are not hearing-impaired, hearing simply happens. Listening, however, is something you consciously choose to do. Listening requires concentration so that your brain processes meaning from words and sentences. You see, listening leads to learning. That 12 percent seems pretty important now, doesn’t it? As a community, are we merely hearing or are we in tune and listening? Are we hearing what we want to satisfy our personal need or are we truly listening to the message of our community? During the past five years, we at verge have not only heard our community – loud and clear at times – but we have also listened to her. Have you listened? Augusta is calling you. Augusta is calling you to become more proactive, calling you to engage and calling you to become a part of something larger than self (for others – remember?). There are many things we can all be doing for our community but the most important is listening. We hope you not only hear the cry of our community but that you also listen and respond. See you out and about, listening to you of course. Matt “It is the province of knowledge to speak.

And it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” — OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES

4 May 2, 2012 | community driven news |

you won’t want to miss a page

the main feature

11 A Public Arboretum for Aiken 13 A Journey of Courage and Hope 15 Steeldriver Puts Spin on Bluegrass

Cataloguing hundreds of tree varieties nears completion

Author Sylvia Ramsey shares her story in newest book

Renown band headlines the Aiken Bluegrass Festival

17 A New Hope for Augusta 19 Mary Louise Hagler’s Green Thumb

Nonprofit focuses on developing relationships in Olde Town

Master gardener shares her love of plants in many ways

20 Jeff Birchill Creates Life from Stone Artist eschews modern machinery to sculpt his statues

heard around town 5 Aitken Announces Re-election Bid 7 Meet the Library’s Interim Director

music | theatre | art | film 25 27 28 29 31 33 34 35 35

Music: Steel Cross Theatre: The Sound of Music Festival: RockHer Art & Music Tour: The Downtown Loft Tour Festival: Art in the Park Film: The Film Reel Music: Sound Bites Music: Seladora Music: Dash Rip Rock

regular stuff 05 07 09 09 23 23 27 35 37 37

Heard Around Town LensMaster Buzz on Biz The Green Life Augusta Eats Beers Locals Like The Daily Planner Nightlife The New York Times Crossword Life Face First


here’s what inspires us

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” — STEVE JOBS


around town

what’s happening in augusta and aiken

[ GHSU dental clinic in peru]

The College of Dental Medicine at Georgia Health Sciences University is reaching across international borders to help improve the standard of dental care in Peru, a country with only one dental professional per 9,000 people and a 95 percent prevalence of dental cavities and periodontal diseases.

[ café 209 moves to broad street ] 209 Restaurant, Café and Catering has moved from the Riverwalk to 566 Broad St., a more visible location that coowners Cassandra and Glen Brinson say they hope to make its permanent home. Cassandra said the cost of overhead was another reason to move from the old location, which contained space they weren’t utilizing. The new location, which opened on March 19, is smaller and more conveniently located to parking, and Cassandra says regular customers have appreciated making the move and a few new ones have been attracted by the restaurant’s home-cooked fare and good service. “Most of our customers are very happy with the new location, and they all love the food,” she said. “We have been featured in Southern Living for our fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and collard greens, and we have other daily specials, like meatloaf on Wednesday and fish that is only available on Fridays. Everything ranges from $2 to no higher than $9, but from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. kids can eat for $2.09 with the purchase of an adult entrée.” 209 also provides catering for a variety of events, including meetings at doctor’s offices, corporate events and wedding receptions, and will rent out their facility on evenings and weekends. They are happy to provide meals to-go for customers in a hurry. 209 Restaurant, Café and Catering is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and will consider staying open later based on the number of customers coming in at the new location. For more information, visit their Facebook page or call 706.722.9692. | by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK

“I often speak of building bridges, bridges that will ensure the strength, relevance and excellence of the Georgia Health Sciences enterprise and of the many communities we serve,” said GHSU President Ricardo Azziz. “This bridge with Cusco is one of our farthest-reaching.” The collaboration between the university and the local health care community began in 2006 when Dr. Daron Ferris, a professor of Family Medicine at GHSU’s Medical College of Georgia, opened CerviCusco, a medical clinic to help treat and prevent cervical cancer in Peruvian women. The country’s pressing need for improved oral health care led to the opening last fall of a state-of-the-art dental clinic on the building’s third floor. Furnished with donated equipment and supplies, the clinic hosts skilled dentists and students from the United States and other countries who consult with the Peruvian staff to expand oral health care. “The inclusion of a dental clinic within CerviCusco represents the culmination of a process that will allow all GHSU students to participate in global health patient care, education and research,” Ferris said. “This comprehensive program positions GHSU as an innovative leader in global health education.” | by PRESS photo The CerviCusco clinic © GEORGIAHEALTH

[ j.b. white’s new condos ready ] City officials and interested residents toured the luxury condominiums at the J.B. White’s Building during its grand opening on April 26.

District 1 Commissioner Matt Aitken announced his re-election bid on April 18 at The Legacy at Walton Oaks, which is being billed as Augusta’s newest apartment community designed exclusively for active adults ages 55-and-up, and which Aitken sees as one of many signs of economic development in his district. Aitken was joined by Mayor Deke Copenhaver, Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles, Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle and Olde Town President Rick Keuroglian, among other supporters, at the small ceremony, during which he outlined much of the economic progress being made throughout his district, which includes downtown, Harrisburg and the city’s medical district. “It is with great pleasure I announce my re-election bid for Commissioner of District 1, after much prayer and conversation with my wife and chief campaigner,” he said, motioning to his five-year-old daughter Cecilia who proudly cheered on her dad at the event. “I love breathing life into our district. The concentration of leadership, creativity and infrastructure in District 1 should be lifted up and not restricted.”

The 51 new condos, which took two years to repair and complete, range from studio to three-bedroom models from $119,000 to $247,000. Mayor Deke Copenhaver and Margaret Woodard, the executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, both spoke about the advantages of having homeowners in the middle of downtown who would invest in and support their local community. Aside from the convenient location, adjacent to Casa Blanca Café and Sundrees Urban Market, each apartment offers wood floors, large kitchens with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, tall energy efficient windows and a state-ofthe-art entry system. The building behind J.B. White’s has been converted into a secure parking deck connected to the main building by a sky bridge so that building residents do not have to find on-street parking or be exposed to unpredictable weather while walking home.

[ aitken will run for re-election ]

The building is owned by Rialto Capital, which also owns buildings in New York, California and Oregon, and managed by Rex Properties. Adelle Dennis, a residential sales specialist for Rex, expects the 41 remaining unsold condos to go quickly and invites interested residents to call 706.722.4962 for more information. | by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK

In his speech, Aitken mentioned many of the developments going on in his district, including the merger of Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University, the incoming Starbucks and Rockwood plants, the sale of Fort Discovery and a new grocery store coming to 15th Street. Aitken is currently planning the second A Day in the Community, a free public event for children and families in Olde Town which will take place this summer. | by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK | community driven news | May 2, 2012 5

6 May 2, 2012 | community driven news |


lens masters thoughts and tips on photography from the pros


around town what’s happening in augusta and aiken

Landing an Assignment: Things to consider A common question that aspiring photographers often ask is: “Who do we approach for getting an assignment?” The (mis)conceptions about assignment photographers have always intrigued me, first as I was setting my feet on the loose sand and later in fascinated understanding of the vivid thoughts of the human mind. Here are some finer points that could help anyone trying to get an editorial assignment. create compelling pictures: Trust me, there is no magic to it. You need to keep observing and thinking to create new pictures. Build your work consistently and edit it to secure your name in front of the editors. A few shots here and there are not going to get you any attention. It is an extraordinary commitment to keep shooting and building a decent portfolio. Be aware of what kinds of images are routinely getting published in the publications that you desire to reach. Body of Work: Your work is a reflection of your commitment to the profession. Share your work with a few established people and get it reviewed. It is a good feeling to get critically evaluated rather than to obsess about your images. All of us have personal favorites, but the hiring editor/art director will be looking for something different and your work should be able to speak that language and communicate instantly. Editors look for consistency. You can be creative, but consistency with quality and reproduction capability of a particular style is important. Research: I cannot emphasize research enough. It helps a great deal when you get proactive and pitch a story with a good research behind it. Editors need to visualize the content and if they can be convinced that your idea is a good fit, you will get a call. Get some quotes on those working on the topic and demonstrate your ability to get under the skin of the story. Your enthusiasm should be seen in your pitch. Campaign and advertise: You need to put your name out there and hustle first to get in front of the editors. Agreed, you have an unrivaled passion and a keen eye for photography, but you still need those dollars to trickle in for sustainability. With the digital world, you have more ways than one to share your story so get savvy in words and actions.

editor/art director, speak confidently about the subject you are going to cover. If you are handed a story on Augusta Canal conservation, have an idea to fulfill the expectations. It gives confidence to the editor if you can share some interesting anecdotes, stories or personal thoughts about the topic. Most often the editorial will convey your personal interest in the project through your pictures. If you have concerns about certain types of work, be up front and make the editor aware of it. Don’t give them surprises. Contract and Budget: Ethics and business acumen are key strategies for longtime work relations. Understand your contract clearly and discuss with the editor his or her expectations and deliverables. Shrinking budgets and reduced operations are definitely playing a key role in the field of assignment photography. It is in your best interest to establish a long relationship rather than look for a one-time assignment. Delivery: One of the key elements of assignment photography is delivering on time and as proficiently as you can. Excuses – such as “I am still editing” or “Oh, I screwed up the shoot” – are going to seriously harm your reputation. Agree upon the medium of delivery – the web, DVD, etc. – and do your best to stick to the deadlines. Always remember a golden rule – “Be passionate about your images, but don’t be obsessed about them!”

Understand your assignment: When you get a chance to engage with the hiring D.K. Bhaskar is the founder of the Augusta Photography Festival and a Fellow in the Explorers Club. He is the author of The Fragile Forest; Inside Brazilian Amazonia and is has been published in Lonely Planet, Rolling Stone and elsewhere. He passionately believes in visual story telling.

LensMaster is a behind-the-lens look at the world of photography, prepared by members of the Augusta Photography Festival, Oct. 27 to Nov. 4. Submissions for this year’s photo competition are now being accepted. AUGUSTAPHOTOFESTIVAL.ORG

mashell fashion

[ meet the library’s new interim director ] Mashell Fashion says she has always used the same recipe for success: have a career you love, be the best that you can be, seize every opportunity that presents itself and become a member of the team.

very closely in the past, so I pretty much know what my responsibilities are,” she said. “I just have to rely on the outstanding talent we have on our team to make our mission happen.”

This simple formula has taken her from the elementary school playground, where she said she always had a fascination with books and libraries, to become the new interim director of the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library.

Fashion recognized Linda Cavenaugh, the library’s business manager, who she says she always trusts to explain any financial matter she doesn’t understand; Technical Services Director Roberta Wilder; Community Service Director Sherryl James and Nancy Carver, the information head of public services. Fashion says she expects to lean on this team of talented individuals over the next several months, and that she is confident in their capabilities.

Fashion was appointed to the new position by the East Central Georgia Regional Library Board on March 5, adding library director to her list of job titles, which already include assistant director, extension librarian and children’s center director. She has been working at the main library branch since 1984 and expects to hold the interim position for the next six months to a year, but has yet to determine whether she wants to pursue the position permanently. “One of the advantages I have is that I have been working with many of these staff members since I started 26 years ago, and I know a lot about the full operation of this library,” she said. “I have not made up my mind about staying, but hopefully doing this job will give me a better idea of whether or not I want to pursue the job.” Part of Fashion’s new duties is to attend regular meetings of the Regional Board, which is in the process of forming a search committee to advertise the position. She would not say why former director Theresa Cole left the position, only that she saw it as her responsibility to use her talents to make this branch the best it can possibly be. “I have worked with the former directors

In Fashion’s quadruple position of director, assistant director, extension librarian and children’s center director, she is involved with the administrative aspects of running the library including providing children’s story time here and at the outlying branches, managing payroll for all library employees, administering health benefits and acting as safety officer for the library. She also has been involved in acquiring grants to benefit the library system, such as a Community Redevelopment Block Grant for the Wallace Branch Exterior and a $13,000 Community Foundation grant to help with the summer reading program. That program will kick off May 19 with a block party at the Headquarters Library from noon to 3 p.m. Ninth Street next to the library will be blocked off for tents, arts and crafts, and information about the many programs available at the library. Fashion says she hopes to set up similar tents at the Saturday Market, beginning May 5. For more information, visit ECGRL.ORG. | by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK | community driven news | May 2, 2012 7

8 May 2, 2012 | community driven news |

the buzz on


what’s moving and shaking in local business

living the

green life practical ways to be more eco-concious

Create a Natural Rain Garden to Reduce Storm Water Pollution

Spring is here and that means we can expect a lot of rain in the coming months. In rural areas, the rain that falls on forests and pastures is absorbed into the soil and stored as ground water, which helps prevent flooding. In urban areas, such as the Central Savannah River Area, much of the vegetation and topsoil has been replaced by impervious surfaces such as roofs, driveways, sidewalks and streets. Consequently, the rainfall that used to be absorbed into the ground is collected by storm sewers that send the water runoff into nearby lakes, rivers and wetlands. This runoff carries with it a toxic brew of heavy metals and oil compounds from automobiles, road salt, lawn fertilizer and pesticides, tons of loose dirt, bacteria, viruses and trash. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the water bodies we use for swimming, fishing and drinking.


In mid-March, Great Clips added a new store in the Food Lion shopping center on Belair Road and hasn’t stopped cutting since – with approximately 700 haircuts done in one week alone. In late May, the franchisee will be opening another store in the Daniel Village Shopping Center on Wrightsboro Road. Expect to see postcards and coupons in the mailbox for half-price or lower services in an effort to win customers away from other salons, including the Daniel Village Barber Shop nearby.

FITNESS GURU ON A MISSION Kim Mathews is on a mission – and that is the

name of her new studio in downtown Augusta at 216 Eighth St. She will specialize in Zumba fitness and also offer yoga and belly dance. “What’s unique about the studio is that members do not have to deal with enrollment fees or long and confusing long-term contracts. We offer a ‘pay-as-you-jam’ system, a punch card system and many other option for individuals, groups and private parties,” she said. Mathews has been a licensed Zumba instructor for three years, is a member of CSRA Zumba and has taught at various fitness studios in the CSRA. Initially, she is putting her toes in the water with limited classes. Zumba classes are offered Monday and Wednesday at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Yoga is on Tuesday at 6 p.m. and belly dance on Thursday at 6 p.m. Yoga and belly dance will be taught by fitness instructor Nicola Harris. This summer Kim will begin Zumba for kids ages 4 to 12, called Zumbatonic. For more information, call 706.294.7155,

LET’S PARTY ON, DUDE! A new franchisee in Aiken has joined the burgeoning customized party business – The Game Dudes, following a similar business model as William Gowen of Rolling Games Video, where the party comes to your doorstep. The company’s website ( makes an excellent presentation of the indoor fun that can be found inside its 24-foot gaming vehicle, which seats 12 and includes an indoor theatre, fog machines, laser lights and a plethora of the latest video games. The site says it creates “a virtual world that will set your party apart from anything you have ever experienced.” The Game Dudes also offers Rockband, Karaoke, dance programs and laser tag.


Ferrellgas, the parent company of Rhino Gas, is working on a propane program to retrofit 2,000 Dodge Charge R\T 5.7 Hemi engines. With tax incentives and the propane, customers could save more than $2 per gallon on gas. The blend of propane and gas would allow for 800 miles per tank full of gas. The vehicle is tailored for fleet usage, but individual use is also possible. The company says there will be no performance loss and the results are environmentally friendly. For more information, contact Marcin Grucela at Ferrellgas. 706.825.5339 Neil Gordon owns Buzz on Biz LLC, a company dedicated to highlighting business growth through newspaper, television, radio, and Web content. Story idea? Email

Building a rain garden in your yard is probably the easiest and most costeffective thing you can do to reduce your contribution to storm water pollution. A rain garden is basically a shallow depression filled with plants that collects clean rainwater from your roof, driveway, sidewalks and compacted lawn. The water filters slowly through the ground, and the plants “take up” nutrients and trace elements that might otherwise become pollutants. This reduces the surge of water running off the landscape and the amount of contaminants that are carried into our waterways. Building a rain garden is easy. The first step is to select a location for your garden. Ideally rain gardens should be located at least 10 feet away from your home in a naturally occurring low spot or in a place where your downspouts can be used to direct rainwater to your garden. The next step is to determine the size of your garden. If you are building your rain garden in a low spot, you can skip this step. Just make sure water regularly flows into the area during rainstorms. If you are capturing water from a roof or other hard surface, you will need to measure square footage of that surface and multiply it by the number that corresponds to the type of soil in your yard, 20 percent for sand, 30 percent for loam or 50 percent for clay. Once you’ve identified the rain garden’s location and size, you can lay-out your garden and dig a shallow depression that is approximately six to eight inches deep. The sides of your garden should slope gradually from the outside edge to the deepest area. The bottom should be flat like a saucer to prevent the water from pooling. Then, backfill the garden area with a soil mix consisting of 50 percent sand, 25 percent topsoil and 25 percent compost, and your rain garden will be ready to plant. Native plants are the best choice for rain gardens, as they withstand difficult growing conditions and require little care. Choose plants that will grow in both wet and dry conditions. Be sure to mix native ornamental grasses and sedges in with your perennial wildflowers to ensure the garden has a strong root mass that will resist erosion and inhibit weed growth. You can obtain additional information on creating a rain garden, including a list of suitable plants from Clemson University at and search for “rain garden manual.” Anne Lovell is an environmental consultant who lives in Aiken with her husband and three dogs. Her column, Living Green, focuses on practical ways to be more environmentally conscious. | community driven news | May 2, 2012 9

10 May 2, 2012 | community driven news |

creating a city-wide

arboretum in aiken 30-year project to identity and catalog the wide variety of rare trees in the downtown area nears completion

On the corner of Colleton Avenue and Beaufort Street, a quarter-mile from the center of downtown Aiken, stands a house enshrouded in shrubbery. In the front garden European fan palm, needle palm, dwarf palmettos, windmill palms and cabbage palms -the state trees -- stand like sentinels around the property. Among them is a 30-year-old marzari palm, whose seed was shipped from Afghanistan. This yard boasts endangered and rare species of plants, and these exotic and bountiful trees are what greets visitors to Woodlander’s Nursery. Out back, owner Robert B. McCartney plants flora from around the world in plots that stretch for half a block. He displays special plants at his nursery because he wants others to experience seeing such rare species. Nearly 30 years ago, with this vision in mind, he began work mapping out Aiken’s own arboretum. “An arboretum is a collection of trees that are normally of documented origin, and maybe you would see it as a zoo for trees opposed to animals,” McCartney said. When completed, the arboretum will incorporate all of downtown Aiken with a five-mile radius from the city’s center. But this one will be unlike conventional arboreta, which McCartney said “are just like a park, whereas ours is much broader and includes trees that have been here for hundreds of years along with very recently introduced and planted trees.” Aiken is unique in being home to more than 1,000 types of trees. Within those categories are hundreds of varieties of each tree. McCartney, with the help of city manager Richard Pearce and other city employees, aims to label the best examples of Aiken’s rare trees and publish a brochure of where to find them. “If you wanted to see a short-leaf pine, it would tell you where to go to see one. We’re certainly not going to try to label all the trees in Aiken, but we’re going to try to identify outstanding or special examples,” McCartney said. The most significant part of this plan is the introduction of the Colleton Avenue Tree Trail, a walk that extends from the Aiken County Library to Charleston Street. This feature of the city-wide arboretum will be especially useful for plant enthusiasts looking

“The diversity of size, form, leaf texture, bark, and flowers make what we have special.” — ROBERT MCCARTNEY

for unique greenery, McCartney said. “So many of our out-of-town visitors see things here they can’t see at home. We can grow subtropical things they can’t grow up there,” McCartney said. “We have a rather benign climate and reasonably good soil. A wide range of things seem to thrive here and be happy here. We seem to be in a happy zone here where a lot of things can be grown.” The trail will, according to McCartney, show tourists “things they’re not going to see at Wal-Mart or even at the standard nursery.” It will also offer a place to educate students who come downtown for a hands-on experience. Woodlander’s became an integral part of this vision when Robert and Julia Mackintosh – he a landscape architect and she a biology teacher – opened the nursery in 1980. During that first year, the couple partnered with McCartney, a wildlife biologist with a Master’s in Wildlife Management. In Aiken,

they found a climate where a great variety of plants could bloom, which would be good for business and prove great for the community. They began to plant with the city’s permission with the mission to beautify downtown. Now there is a different type of oak every 50 feet along Park Avenue and trees from as far as Mexico, the Middle East, and Asia, cultivated by McCartney and his team. “As a rare plant nursery, we had access to sources for these things and often times material that we decided to put in the ground with the city’s permission that would give us a source for propagating material for growing more of this particular tree,” McCartney said. “We realized we had something going here. We got the city involved and have been working on it ever since.” McCartney says he hopes that as the Colleton Tree Trail comes to completion, classes and locals and tourists will find some fascination

in the wild plant life within Aiken. “I think the aesthetics and the atmosphere it gives the town is great, and the diversity is an added advantage,” McCartney said. “You could plant a lot of trees to get oxygen and shade, but the diversity of size, form, leaf texture, bark, and flowers make what we have special. People come here to see our collection who wouldn’t normally come to see a municipal landscape.” McCartney says that plants are his passion and he wants to share it with anyone interested in seeing rare and beautiful trees. He also emphasizes that plants are essential to life. “Life as we know is dependent on plants and plants provide directly or indirectly all of our food. They make our atmosphere one we can breathe as opposed to the one on the moon or Mars. They provide shade, building materials, craft materials, and wood to build our entire society. They provide aesthetic values which is why people plant colorful and interesting things in their gardens,” he said. When the brochures are complete, McCartney said they will be available at the Aiken County Library and the Aiken County Museum. \by derek berry photo PRESS | community driven news | May 2, 2012 11

12 May 2, 2012 | community driven news |

local author shares

courage in memoir

sylvia ramsey shares her journey in overcoming adversity one step at a time

Local author Sylvia Ramsey grew up in rural Missouri, where she discovered early on that she had a love and a talent for written words, and “a need to write.” Encouraged by a mentor when she was 9 years old, she began pursuing her craft, and by age 12 she was writing short stories. Since then, hundreds of her stories and poems have been published in literary magazines. Ramsey has also overcome tremendous adversity, including being diagnosed with Stage T3 bladder cancer. A 17-year survivor, she is now vice president of the American Bladder Cancer Society and donates the proceeds from her books to the organization. She also is a communications professor and the academic resource center coordinator at Georgia Military College and advisor for the campus newspaper. Sylvia Riley recently published her fourth book, a memoir entitled Traveling a Rocky Road with Love, Faith and Guts. She spoke to verge about her career, and the courage and faith that have enabled her to persevere through trying times. Verge: The first and obvious question: With seven children, 27 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, how on earth do you find time to breathe, much less write? Ramsey: Our children are grown and they live from one coast to other. Unfortunately, I do not get to be with them often. There are two children of my own, and I gained five more when I married my second husband. Writing is a passion for me. Some people do a variety of other things in their spare time. I write.

“Survival and success is a constant battle, and giving up will get you nowhere. Like Reba McEntire, I believe that ‘survival requires

a backbone, a wishbone and a funnybone.’ ” — sylvia ramsey

Verge: Your background is in news and features. When did you begin branching out to poetry and fiction? Ramsey: I began writing short stories when I was about 12 years old. Poetry came much later. In college, I was on the speech and debate team. I competed in poetry interpretation and I fell in love with it. One of my majors in college was art, and I saw a parallel between painting and writing poetry. Paint is the medium for an artist, and the medium for a poet is words. They both paint what they see and feel. Once I started writing poetry, I was hooked on it just as much as I was art. I love being creative and it doesn’t matter what medium I use.

Verge: Did those forms of writing come naturally to you or did they require a lot of trial and error? Ramsey: I think it must have been a little of both. I had a mentor who encouraged me to write when I was about 9 years old. He was a news reporter on the local paper where I grew up in Missouri. Verge: How did you get from Point A to Point B, from newspapers to literary journals to becoming a published author? Ramsey: People who read my poetry said I should try to get it published. I ran across a competition that was sponsored by the Amherst Society, and I submitted a poem. I received honorable mention and a letter from the editor encouraging me to continue my writing. I had already fallen in love with poetry, so I continued. The first book originated from a short story that I wrote, but a few years later I wanted to write a book around the short story. That book didn’t even get finished until years later. It served mainly as an additional outlet for me. My poetry book was published first. I happened to be participating in an open mic, and there was a publisher present who really liked my poetry. They contacted me after the event, and that led to the first published book. Verge: You’ve had quite a life: You had polio, your mother battled mental illness, you were in an abusive relationship in which you were the caregiver, and you were both diagnosed with cancer on the same day. How did you survive all of this? Ramsey: My father was my guardian angel and was a fantastic role model. He was the biggest influence in my life. His father died when he was 6 years old. By the time he was 12, he was working to help his mother take care of his two younger siblings. He was a survivor. I also think that part of it is genetic. My ancestors were pioneers, and that mentality was transferred to me. I never thought about “poor me.” It was more like, “when you fail, keep trying until you succeed.” The word can’t means “I won’t.” Instead, I use the words “I’ll try,” and keep trying until I succeed! Maybe that is just the “ole” Missouri mule in me.

Verge: Was writing an outlet for the pain? Ramsey: Sometimes, but mostly it was a way to share my perceptual reality with others. Verge: You are a 17-year cancer survivor, and this, along with your cumulative life experiences, is the core of your memoir. When and why did you decide that this was the time to tell your story? Ramsey: Traveling a Rocky Road with Love, Faith and Guts, evolved out of my interaction with many other people who let life’s hard knocks keep them down. Survival and success is a constant battle, and giving up will get you nowhere. Like Reba McEntire, I believe that “survival requires a backbone, a wishbone and a funnybone.” Verge: The purpose of your new book is “to inspire others and show them how to overcome and survive.” So many people have given up and can’t find a way out of the darkness. How did you overcome rather than succumb? Ramsey: My first grade teacher wrote in my scrapbook, “smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone.” The nuns who cared for me when I had polio and in the hospital helped to instill in me that “can do” attitude. My father was an avid supporter, and there have been angels all along my life’s rocky road. One of my poems ends like this: “with love, faith and hope, I will not fear tomorrow, nor tomorrow.” Learn more about Sylvia Ramsey at SYLVIALRAMSEY.COM and about bladder cancer

and find support on the American Bladder Cancer Society page: BLADDERCANCERSUPPORT.ORG. by ALISON RICHTER photos PRESS | community driven news | May 2, 2012 13

14 May 2, 2012 | community driven news |

steeldrivers keeps bending

the rules of bluegrass group plays the aiken bluegrass festival on may 12

A new year brings new transitions for the SteelDrivers – Nashville’s renown bluegrass band welcomed mandolin player Brent Truitt to round out the lineup that includes Richard Bailey on banjo, Mike Fleming on bass/vocals, Gary Nichols on guitar/vocals and Tammy Rogers on fiddle/vocals. The change took place just as the band was preparing to record its third album, which was in progress at the time of this interview with Tammy Rogers. The members of the SteelDrivers have been making music individually and collectively for several years. Veterans of the studio and the road, their collective experiences bring a variety of genres to the musical table. While they are considered a bluegrass band, their diverse influences and backgrounds create a sound that bends a lot of rules. That makes for the excitement and challenges that keep each recording and performance interesting for all involved, says Rogers, and it’s what makes the SteelDrivers unique. Verge: Let’s start with an update. You’ve been through some changes again. Rogers: We did have another band change. Mike Henderson left at the end of 2011. We’re recording our third album, and the working title is Steel Drivers 3.0. It truly is the third updated version of the band. Gary came in a little over two years ago, then Mike left and Brent is in. He had been our only sub when Mike Henderson couldn’t do something, and he was our first and only call, so it was pretty amazing when he said that he would be into doing the gig full time. He fits in so well and knew the material, so it made the transition unbelievably easy. We built our career reputation as a band on original material, so it’s not like a lot of bands who may have a handful of tunes that they’ve written but the bulk may be old standard bluegrass tunes. We don’t do any of that. It’s all original stuff and it would be a lot for anybody to walk in and learn 40 or 50 songs now. So it was amazing that Brent, for the most part, had played all the material from the first two albums and a few things we had played but never recorded. He came in as we were getting ready to record the third album and it was pretty amazing timing, really. He knew us well enough and knew the philosophy of the band, and he felt pretty good about that. Verge: How far along is the new album? When is it going to be released? Rogers: August is what I’m told. We’re working with Luke Wooten again. He coproduced the first two and they were both Grammy-nominated, so what’s wrong with that formula? [laughs] We felt like it was the right thing to do to stick with him, and I feel like one of the cool and unique things about those records is the way Luke mixes them. Some of it has to do with where he places the instruments in the panning and how he doesn’t polish off all the edges, in a sense. I

know that it is different from other mixes that I hear. When you hear a SteelDrivers record, part of what makes it sonically distinct is that it doesn’t sound like every bluegrass album out there. After weathering the departure of two members, we didn’t want to lose that aspect of the sound of the band. To compare apples to apples, which you can’t, Chris [Stapleton] was amazing and Gary is amazing, Mike was amazing and Brent is amazing, but for the band to feel like we’re giving this as much credence and credibility and thought as we did on the first two albums, I wanted it to be as equal as possible.

“When you hear a SteelDrivers record, part of what

makes it sonically distinct is that it doesn’t sound like every bluegrass album out there.”


Verge: The band is referred to as bluegrass, but your backgrounds cross into country, Americana and even rock to some degree. Is it a blurred line sometimes in terms of definition? Rogers: Absolutely, and I don’t think I would have been interested in being in a band again if it weren’t broader than the typical bluegrass genre. I’m not putting down the genre; it’s just because I’ve spent the past 20-something years doing all sorts of music and I bring that with me. I think I would feel like I was in another little box if it had to be straight bluegrass, because that’s not who I am anymore, and I think everybody

in the band can say that. Again, it shows in the music, the songs we write, the way we approach and interpret the songs, the solos and arrangements, and that’s another thing that sets the band apart. When we sit down to work out a song, it’s not “How would a bluegrass band do this song?” It’s “How are we going to do this song? What’s best for this song?” That informs our decisions. We make musical decisions that way and that’s what’s kept me interested. I guess the only downside to that is when it comes time to get the band booked for some things it’s “Well, they’re a bluegrass band,” and for other things it’s “They’re not really a bluegrass band.” That can be an uphill battle. I know for certain in all the award things, the first years we were up for an Americana award, but we didn’t win it because we were so bluegrass, then we were up for a bluegrass award, but we didn’t win it because we weren’t bluegrass enough, and then the Grammys rolled around and they put us in with the country bands. The great thing is that someone in those categories thought we fit, because we were nominated, and it shows that we cross into almost anywhere you want to put us. Verge: You’ve been described as “Best nominees you’ve never heard of,” and “Under the radar artists you should know.” Are you the industry’s best-kept secret or is the secret finally out? Rogers: I think that most of the Nashville folk know about us, and a lot of bluegrass folk know about us, but when you take the whole musical world under an umbrella, we’re pretty unknown. I can walk into my local Harris Teeter and maybe twice a year somebody walks up and says, “Oh, you’re in the SteelDrivers.” It’s not like Keith Urban walking in there! Everybody knows Del McCoury, regardless of what genre you’re in, or so it appears to

me, but he’s 70 years old and he’s been doing it for 50 years, so I don’t know. A lot of it depends on your longevity and what kind of breaks you get. Who could have predicted O Brother, Where Art Thou? That put so many bluegrass and Americana artists in the forefront. If something like that happened again, sure, maybe we would be known more outside our genre, but you can’t count on something like that, so you just do what you do. We’ve had blips along the way. Adele covering one of our songs [“If It Hadn’t Been For Love”] — you can’t plan that or make that stuff happen, but it was a big deal for us and it drove a lot of people to our website and that’s been a huge thing. A couple of years before that, being on Conan O’Brien was big exposure for us and the Wall Street Journal article that was out before that, so we’ve had some blips that have been pretty big. I’d like to have a few more! by ALISON RICHTER photos PRESS

see the show WHAT The Steel Drivers at the Aiken Bluegrass Festival WHERE The Highfields 198 Gaston Road, Aiken WHEN Saturday, May 12 TICKETS $10 TO $50

MORE | | community driven news | May 2, 2012 15

16 May 2, 2012 | community driven news |

bringing change and

hope to olde town

new nonprofit focuses

Olde Town is the largest and oldest of Augusta’s downtown residential neighborhoods, comprised of 51 city blocks with houses and apartments that reflect the full diversity of the city. In recent years, however, the area has been plagued by many problems typical of inner city neighborhoods including drugs, crime and abandoned properties. But now there is Hope for Augusta, a Christian community development initiative with the broad mission of bringing life back to Olde Town through planning and partnership with friends of the neighborhood. Hope for Augusta has the goal of serving the city by offering Christ-centered hope, which Olde Town President Rick Keuroglian says he wants to accomplish by partnering with local churches, institutions and individuals who share the same vision, serving the underprivileged through mentoring programs, and by organizing renovation projects to help those in low-income housing. “Our mission is very broad,” said Keuroglian. “It has to be because we’re focused on helping the entire city by revitalizing this neighborhood through whatever means we can. We’re more focused on rehabilitation and redevelopment, and we’re trying to figure out how to break systems of poverty and crime that people can get stuck in if it’s all they’ve ever known.” Hope for Augusta, or City Hope Alliance, is a 501C3 nonprofit and an interdenominational community development organization that includes partners such as Christ Community Health Services, Heritage Academy of Augusta, Vision Pathways and Campus Outreach Augusta. “CHA is focusing on how to partner with people that are like-minded to keep lowincome properties in Olde Town,” said Keuroglian. “We want to be on the forefront of renovating properties and helping people have a plan to transition out of government housing.” According to Keuroglian and others, these

efforts to provide affordable housing and assistance in acquiring or repairing homes has already made Olde Town a more vibrant community because more people are able to live in and enjoy their neighborhood. “Just six years ago I drove around the blocks that surround our church and saw no one among the dilapidated houses except a few drug dealers,” said the Rev. George Robertson, the senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Augusta. “Now I walk down the same streets and admire the homes our leaders live in, freshly painted with flowers growing in their neatly kept lawns. The drug dealers are gone and widow ladies visit in the streets. The realized hope for Augusta is the hope the Gospel produces: ‘I will rebuild them as they were before … then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor … in the streets there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and gladness … and the voices of those who bring thank offerings’ [Jer. 33:8-11].” “I have been at work for many years with the inner-city, and it thrills my heart to see God raise up Hope for Augusta, who are not only transforming young people to be future leaders but they live in the same area, too, restoring and rebuilding the old historic neighborhood,” said District 1 Commissioner Matt Aitken. “The whole city is watching and the media are perplexed, life is coming back, drug dealers are leaving, kids are returning, and homes are being restored.

on restoring and revitalizing a neighborhood through building relationships

“We’re trying to figure out how to break systems of poverty and crime that people can get stuck in if it’s all they’ve ever known.” – Rick Keuroglian

This is real gospel work.” One of the principle initiatives of Hope for Augusta is Newtown, a youth Bible study group that meets every Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Heritage Academy. Though this program originally started as a small group in Keuroglian’s home, it has expanded to include mentors and students from First Presbyterian Church Augusta, The Well, St. Paul’s Missionary Baptist Church and others. “It was through working with these children that I first realized how deep was their need for tutoring and mentorship,” said Keuroglian. “If they can’t even read the Bible, then they’re going to have a much more difficult time responding to that message of hope, and we want to be able to help them in any way possible. At the core, what we want to be able to do is to bring a gospel message to the downtown community and serve this city by offering Christ-centered hope.” Hope for Augusta also offers mentorship programs for men and women, a pre-teen sports ministry and Reaching Higher, a tutoring and academic support program focused on math and language arts. Other programs the organization hopes to initiate in the near future include an Arts program that would include visual arts, photography

and comic book drawing, a job skills program for young people, and an urban community garden. “The project is really still in the planning stages, but the idea is to have a shared space for the whole community to get together and do some gardening” said Bryan Halterman, a consultant with the Garden of Eden project. “Augusta has several community gardens already and they have done wonders for bringing neighbors together to share organic foods. We haven’t seen one in Olde Town yet, but I believe that if we put a community garden right on Broad Street it would do even more to bring the community together and show others what we’re accomplishing.” The greatest desire of Hope for Augusta is that the organization becomes a resource for people interested in tutoring, mentoring or finding other ways to help their community. Through their local efforts, Keuroglian hopes to benefit Olde Town and the entire city. “We’ve taken a lot of time to figure out just what we’re going to touch,” he said. “If we don’t focus on the whole city with our partnership then I feel we are neglecting something. I think we are light-years ahead of where we were four years ago, and I want to see Olde Town be a beautiful place to live whether you’re black, white, rich or poor. I want to see kids have opportunities for a good education, and neighbors greeting one another in the streets. We really feel Augusta has a lot of potential. It been my favorite place that I have ever lived.” For more information or to become involved, visit, e-mail or call 706.262.8843. by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK photos COURTESY OF HOPE FOR AUGUSTA | community driven news | May 2, 2012 17

18 May 2, 2012 | community driven news |

mary louise hagler shares

her green thumb

make and take workshop at midtown market is just a small

part of what this gardener wants to share with augusta

Master Gardener Mary Louise Hagler is offering a Mother’s Day event at Midtown Market. Participants will make and take a floral arrangement to give to their mothers or any special woman in their lives, or just to keep for themselves. Hagler is well known in the CSRA for her many workshops, seminars and gardening articles. She spoke to verge about the upcoming event and her love for gardening, and offered some tips for individuals interested in “growing their own.”

“Once you get out and plant something, tend to it and watch it grow, you’ll develop the confidence to do more.” – mary louise hagler

Verge: Let’s begin by talking about the upcoming event at Midtown Market: What does it entail, who is eligible to attend and how much experience do they need in order to participate? Hagler: I thrive on sharing my passion for flowers and gardening, so after a bit of research on design workshops, I decided to add this to my repertoire of offerings. Each participant will leave with a complete design, and the confidence to conjure up more designs for their home and get-togethers. I will have all supplies and flowers needed to complete the take-home design. We also provide something to sip on and tasty treats. Floral design is an art form; you have to start some time, and never stop learning. If you have two hands and an open mind, then the class will suit you. Verge: Where did the idea originate and how did you pull it all together? Hagler: I offer similar workshops throughout the year, such as FlowerCamp in September and Wreath Workshop in early December. I’ve loved to teach since I was a little girl pretending to be the neighborhood teacher. I even sent the neighborhood kids home with a worksheet each week! I adore the ladies who work at Midtown Market. They have supported my movement to educate and entertain people about all things related to gardening. We decided that by joining forces for this lovely event, we both benefit. Verge: When did you discover gardening and plant life, and why did it appeal to you at that time? What keeps it interesting and challenging? Hagler: I don’t recall exactly when my love for plants and gardening struck, but I do remember bringing camellias inside to enjoy when I was in high school. I was taking a horticulture course at Aquinas High School, and amazed that this was offered as a course for credit! I learned a lot from Joe LeVert at Aquinas. My days are filled with activities that eventually bring me to a specific goal. If I did not set goals such as becoming a Master Gardener or a garden writer, I’d accomplish nothing. I keep a large index card with me every day that maps out my duties for the day — writing, research, grocery shopping, laundry, and most importantly, exercise. Well, I have family goals, too, so they are my most important challenge!

Verge: How did you learn the craft and skills of gardening? Hagler: Gardening is in my blood, a gift. My grandmother was a gardener and artist. My father always had something growing in our backyard. I will always remember growing ginormous sunflowers that seemed to go to the sky! Verge: You became a Master Gardener in 2000. What did that program involve and what does being a Master Gardener mean? Hagler: I cannot applaud the Master Gardener program enough. The three-month course, a few hours a week, is definitely worth the time and value. The speakers are from their area of expertise — they know their stuff. You don’t have to be an expert at anything to take the course, and you’ll finish with so much knowledge. Master Gardeners are a huge force in our area. They lend their expertise on various projects, guide homeowners in landscape quandaries, and volunteer scads of hours to the community. Giving back to the community as a Master Gardener has been one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. Verge: Your website indicates that you are developing “a no-nonsense guide to gardening in Augusta.” When will that guide be published and what will it include? HAGLER: Yes. I work every week on a bit of this project, the end result being a guide for people in the CSRA on what to plant and when. Specifically, plants that are purposeful, such as food and flowers. People are gardening more and planting what they intend to cook with or bring inside for enjoyment on the kitchen table. My goal is to complete the guide by the end of this summer. Please subscribe to the monthly updates [] to watch the progress on the guide and receive lots of gardening information and recipes.

Verge: Can anyone learn to garden, or does it really take a natural “green thumb”? HAGLER: I compare learning about gardening to piano lessons. If you do not have the gift or it does not come naturally, then you need to practice. Experiment with gardening. Once you get out and plant something, tend to it and watch it grow, you’ll develop the confidence to do more. Verge: What do you recommend for people who are new to the craft? How should they start – in addition to attending your workshops, of course! HAGLER: Just do it! I have a friend who has plowed up her entire backyard. She and her husband have no clue what they are doing, but they are enjoying the process together. Their son has become interested in watching the backyard transform into a “mini farm.” If you don’t want to plow up the back 40, then start with a container of herbs. They are pretty much foolproof – perfect for brown thumbs and beginners. Herbs give gardeners flowers, fragrance and cool new flavoring for food. by ALISON RICHTER photo by LEAH DESLANDES

take the class WHAT Make and Take with Mary Lousie Hagler WHERE Midtown Market | 2113 Kings Way WHEN Thursday, May 10 at 10 a.m. Friday, May 11 at 7 p.m. TICKETS $65, includes all supplies MORE Email Mary Louise at mlchgarden@comcast. net for details and registration information. | community driven news | May 2, 2012 19

sculptor jeff birchill carves

life from stone Stone carving might be one of the world’s oldest art forms, as represented by well-known specimens preserved from ancient Greece and Rome. These artists did not have access to today’s power tools and automatic drills, but created beautiful marble carvings with little more than a hammer and chisel. Jeff Birchill, a stone carver based in Augusta, has abandoned modern luxuries to create works in a similar style of his ancient predecessors. “I use hammer and chisel because if that was good enough for classical artists to create the beautiful artwork they did, then it’s good enough for me,” he said. “I don’t use pneumatic tools at all, where it’s just continually pounding at the stone. Most of the work I’ve seen done by power tools looks like someone let the power tool control what they were doing rather than using the tool to control the process. You can look at a brochure and tell if an artist was classically training or not.” Birchill says he prefers to think of himself as classically self-trained. After retiring from 35 years in the commercial art business, during which he designed more than 100 logos and received multiple awards for brochure design, Birchill set up a small workspace in his backyard and began sculpting pieces that currently sell at the Zimmerman Gallery for $850 to $6,000.

““I use hammer and chisel because if that was good

enough for classical artists to create the beauti-

ful artwork they did, then it’s good enough for me.” “We do very well with his work,” said Lea Glowny, the director of Zimmerman Gallery. “The children especially love his carvings and it’s great to see because they’re one of the few things in an art gallery we want them to touch. I think he’s a great artist with a great imagination, and he’s very hard-working.” “Nothing is more exciting than watching someone walk into a gallery and touch a piece of stone and their eyes light up,” said Birchill. “There have been several kids who run in and throw their arms around my animals, and the otter that’s currently in there has been kissed more than once. It’s a delight for me to see other people enjoying my work because that is the biggest reward I get out of doing what I do.”

20 May 2, 2012 | community driven news |

Most of Birchill’s carvings are of animals, which he attributes to a love of nature he has felt since he was 6 years old walking alone in the forest, but surrounded by animals. Beyond this connection with nature, he says he also has the unique talent of looking at a piece of stone and seeing the finished carving inside, before he ever sets a chisel against it.

“I take a

rejected piece of stone and bring the beauty out of it.”

“The first thing is I have to see the image in the stone before I even start,” he said. “I have pieces that have taken two or three years just for me to know what to turn them into. I let the stone tell me what’s in it and then, as Michelangelo said, ‘I just chip away everything it is not.’ ” Once he sees the image in the stone, Birchill does a pencil drawing to confirm that his design will fit, and that he can use as much of the raw stone as possible. Then he begins the real work of steadily chipping away at the stone, putting in a minimum of six hours a day into a process which can often take more than six weeks to complete. “You have to change the angel of your chisel with almost every tap of the hammer because the hardness of the stone changes,” said Birchill. “If it’s too shallow, the chisel bounces off the stone, but if it’s too deep either the stone will break, it will bruise, or the chisel will break. Accidents do happen, but fortunately they don’t happen too much for me anymore. It’s an intimate process between you and the stone and if you try to force it you will have an accident.” “Most of it is mental pressure rather than physical pressure,” he continued. “Yes, you have to stand for four to eight hours at a time but I enjoy doing that, and I’m set up outside so I can feel the breeze and the sun shining down on me. The real work comes with the finishing and polishing once you have the image cut. I often do six days of nothing but finishing and

polishing to get it done right. Your hands throb, but it’s worth it to see the finished carving before you.” Birchill sells everything he creates through the Zimmerman Gallery, with the exception of a few commissioned pieces. Last fall he was approached by, an international online art gallery who was impressed with his carvings and asked if it could advertise his work on its website, but nothing has sold yet.

get a prettier headstone what do you do with the old one?” he asks. “I take a rejected piece of stone and bring the beauty out of it.”

using the claw hand

Birchill is working on a carving of the biblical Eve surrounded by animals, which is the first time he has tried crafting a complete figure with a head. There is another headstone propped against his house that he says he keeps envisioning as a mother wolf and two pups. There are other projects he is interested in, including the possibility of creating an art garden for cancer patients at GHSU. The only thing he is certain of is that he will continue creating for as long as he is able. “It takes a special person to live with someone who is either working on stone, or whose mind is always mentally creating images in stone,” he said. “My wife knows that if I weren’t doing this, I wouldn’t be surviving. I feel that God gave me this talent, and if I didn’t use it I wouldn’t be honoring God.”

Birchill feels it is ironic that some native Augustans are appalled by the pricing on his carvings which are all done in marble, not granite – which has a silica base that can be unhealthy for the artist – or soapstone, which was popular in the Vancouver Indian Village where he and his wife did missionary work before moving to Augusta, because it is too soft. Good carving marble, he says, costs around $350 a pound, and one cubic foot typically weighs 140 to 150 pounds. The equipment, such as chisels and finishing paper, typically costs close to $150 per carving. On the other hand, he says people who visit from out of town usually cannot believe how inexpensive his carvings are. Most of his marble used to come from a rock quarry in Tennessee, which would sell scrap marble pieces to artists for relatively cheap, but the new owners won’t even talk to artists unless they buy in bulk. Many of the pieces Birchill is currently working on come from old cemetery headstones, when one chips or a family decides to have one replaced. “When a piece gets broken off or someone wants to

“I feel that God gave me this talent, and if I didn’t use it I wouldn’t be honoring God.”

using the hand rasp

Birchill doesn’t typically do demonstrations because of the mess it creates, but can be found at the Zimmerman Gallery most First Fridays, and he says he is open to taking a mentoring role with any new artists interested in stone carving. His Facebook page is public and contains many more pictures of his artwork. For more information, email Birchill at by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK photos courtesy of JEFF BIRCHILL

hand sanding | community driven news | May 2, 2012 21

22 May 2, 2012 | community driven news |

beers locals like a trio of beers to salute the goddess of may

Atop a hill in Birmingham, Ala., sits a large iconic statue of Vulcan, the god of the forge. I used to see this statue on my way to school every morning. Vulcan took but one wife, and her name was Maia (“the great one”). She was so popular in Roman mythology that she got her own month: May. At this point, you’re probably still wondering how I’m going to pull this allegory back into a beer column. Well, I’m not. So, let’s just pour a libation to Maia and move on.

from the fork of

augusta eats a genuine foodie takes on augusta’s fare one bite at a time

Deviant Dale’s India Pale Ale |

IPAs are not my forte. So, that I even tried and then chose to write about it, you know it’s got to be decent – and it is. The nose conveys a sturdy sense of hops that translates significantly into the taste. Sweet malts constructively interfere here and there, but the hops win out in the end, their decay nicely rounding out any sweet linger. Indeed, there exists that earthy, grassy aspect that hops convey, but the sweet malts come through just enough to dampen that hoppy bite. This is officially the first IPA that I would recommend all by itself.

Innis and Gunn Highland Cask | Innis and Gunn is known for

maturing its brews in the same oak barrels used for various whiskeys and rums. That being said, I am a huge fan of this brewer and Highland Cask is one of its best products. It’s an English strong ale (with the clear amber and moderate head that goes along with this style) that’s matured in casks used to mature 18-year-old Scotch. It’s a bit dryer and lighter than other Innis and Gunn beers I’ve had the pleasure of imbibing, but it’s a welcome addition at the states, especially for the warmer months. If you want something a tad sweeter, however, try the Rum Cask.

He’Brew Hop Manna IPA | Two

IPAs in one article?! Though that’s unheard of for my column, I thought I would throw the Hop Heads a bone of tow for once. Hop Manna conveys more of a citrusy nose than does Deviant Dale’s. The tongue is moderately dry with top notes of citrus zest that translate mildly into floral notes when you swallow and breathe out. Exodus tells us that raw manna tasted somewhat like wafers baked with honey, so this beer’s name must have been lost in translation somewhere because sweet it is not. These and more can be found at Aficionados on Eighth Street in Downtown Augusta.

by BEN CASELLA Ben Casella is a fan of mythology. However, despite the fact that his attitude toward beer has been described as Bacchanalian on more than one occasion, he prefers Greek myths more so than Roman.

Honey from the Rock Café Where

do I park? That was the question upon arriving at Honey from the Rock Café. It was raining, so I had to walk fast to get around the corner to the front entrance. No biggie: I’ve been through worse for a bite to eat. It didn’t take me long to realize this café was affiliated with the adjoining church, Whole Life Ministries. Ah, Honey from the Rock – I get it, my bible isn’t that dusty. As I ducked into the entrance, staff was waiting with smiling faces all around to help me in my quest for something good to eat and I felt welcomed. The young lady at the door described to me in detail how the café’s menu works and how to make my way through the food-service line. The café is set up in meal-line fashion – you look through the glass-covered steam bar and tell the food attendant which dish(es) you would like. Just like high school, but with much better food and décor. I must add that I have not experienced comparable service anywhere in the CSRA. The entire staff was polite and extremely attentive. This establishment gets an A+ for hospitality/service and could teach other area restaurants a thing or two about how customers should be treated.

Yes, this is a Church cafe. No, they don’t push the Bible on you (there are a few scriptures on the wall). The only thing these good people are pushing out is made-from-scratch, good ole’ Southern eats with wonderful service and clean surroundings. Everyone in the CSRA needs to give the cafe a try; I promise you will be impressed. This is without a doubt, my new favorite take-out spot! Many restaurants will advise you to take home some of their “homestyle eats” for dinner, but this is the only café that “take home” actually is homemade and is good enough for feeding your family on a regular basis. I mean, if I’m going to pay for take-out, it has to be quality and made from scratch – that’s money well spent and, man, is it tasty. Prices are fair. You can get an entire lunch for around $6 to $10, depending on your appetite. Honey from the Rock has a full rotating lunch menu, just like home, with made-from-scratch desserts, including ice creams. Honey from the Rock Café, 2621 Washington Road, is open for lunch Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 706.434.1098 or visit HONEYFROMTHEROCKCAFE.COM.

For lunch I chose an old Southern favorite: chicken and dumplings with broccoli casserole as a side, a roll and a glass of iced sweet tea. My plated choices looked appetizing – but I must admit I was thinking: “I hope this is enough food to satiate my appetite.”


The chicken and dumplings were fantastic, just like my grandma Ruth makes from scratch, comfort food at its best! The dumplings were of the rolled-out variety and the chicken broth warm, flavorful and light. The broccoli casserole was equally impressive. The wild rice in the casserole made it a hearty duo with the chicken and dumplings. The in-house prepared yeast roll was so tender and tasty I could have easily eaten three of them. It was also excellent for dunking into my warm chicken broth. The food was fantastic at Honey from the Rock Café – I just wanted MORE!!

by AUGUSTA EATS Augusta Eats is literally eating Augusta, from restaurant to roadside gourmet. Considered by some to be the original Augusta foodie, Augusta Eats has more than 25 culinary years under his (or her?) apron strings and has a deep-seeded love for all things tasty. Follow Augusta Eats on Facebook or visit AUGUSTAEATS.NET | community driven news | May 2, 2012 23

24 May 2, 2012 | community driven news |

steel cross shares

faith through hard rock

christian quartet focuses on bringing a positive message with their mix of southern rock and classic metal

Steel Cross will celebrate its third anniversary this summer. The band debuted as Sweet Fellowship, but changed its name a year ago when it began meeting with producers in advance of recording its first album. “They said that whenever they heard the name and hadn’t listened to the music yet, they thought they were going to listen to a gospel quartet,” says vocalist Ethan DeMore. In fact, Steel Cross is anything but – its brand of Christian hard rock is a combination of Southern rock roots and classic 1980s metal, with influences that range from the Allman Brothers Band to Van Halen. DeMore, guitarist Josh Guillebeau, bassist Ethan Olmstead and drummer Caleb Guillebeau were preparing to track a five-song EP in Atlanta with producer Scotty Wilbanks (DecembeRadio, Echoing Angels, Third Day) at the time of this interview. DeMore spoke to verge about how the group came together, their musical goals and their desire to share a positive message with their songs. Verge: When did this all begin and what were the odds of a band with two brothers and two Ethans? demore: We’ve been told many times that it needs to be called The Guillebeau Brothers or Ethan Squared! In middle school, I used to drive my four-wheeler to Josh’s house. He was a drummer and I was a guitar player and a singer. That lasted about two months. Josh and Ethan, and Caleb a little bit, were in an ’80s cover band. I was working at Center Stage Music and I had a gig but I didn’t have a band. They were going to help me out and we got Caleb to fill in at practice. He hasn’t left the throne since! He was 12 years old at the time. He’s 15 now and he is something else. Verge: How did Scotty Wilbanks become involved with the band? demore: Through Twitter! I started following all of Third Day and DecembeRadio and posting our stuff. Scotty sent me a personal message and said, “Your music sounds good. If you ever think about recording, let me know.” So, I instantly hopped on it. I went to Atlanta and met with him and brought him a file. He listened to it, and I said, “Before we spend $25,000 in the studio, is this music possible?” He said, “There’s enough crap out there already, and I’m not going to put my name on crap.” They had a concert in Atlanta, we went backstage so he could meet the band, and we went back a week later to get things nailed down for recording. Verge: An EP costs $25,000? demore: Yes. We’ve raised half the money. He’s not putting any time limits on us. We’ll work on it until it’s done and everything is the way we want it. We had met with another producer who is based in Nashville, and this was a huge price difference. I asked Scotty, “What are we paying for?” He said, “Not to be haughty, but me. I’ve been in the business for 22

“Our goal is to bring Christian music to people who normally wouldn’t listen to it, and make them realize that Christianity isn’t boring after all, and God doesn’t take the fun out of life.” — ethan demore

years. You’re paying for the ability for me to get who I need to get in here to back you up, and the contacts I have.” He’ll finish the EP with us, and when we raise the second half of the money, we get it mastered. We’ll commute to Atlanta to record. It’s going to take two or three months to do it, and that gives us time to raise more money. Verge: How often do you perform? demore: We mostly play on Sundays at churches and I do some solo gigs. This month, on the 27th, we’re playing the Columbia County Relay for Life from 7:30 until 10:00 (p.m.). The summer is booked with three youth camps, two retreats and some single shows here and there. We play three or four times a month, usually every weekend. Verge: When did you begin playing guitar? demore: I started playing guitar when I was 8 years old, taking lessons at Center Stage Music. I really started singing when I was in 10th grade. I was going to Abilene Baptist Church and that’s where it kicked in. The whole band thing started when we got together, playing little gigs here and there. Once we started writing originals, it set in that this was something we might want to pursue as a career. Verge:: Were you in many bands before this one? demore: I was leading worship with a band at Abilene and I had been in one other band. That was the start of Sweet

Fellowship. We played a little bit, and that was another praise band playing contemporary Christian music in churches, but other than that, no. Verge: How did you explain playing this harder style of music after coming out of churches and praise? demore: It was a definite change! I caught flack from Abilene because I was playing different places on Sundays and it was a different style of music, so there were some looks from people who didn’t hear the music. They wondered what it was about. But the ones who heard it understood. Verge: How difficult has it been to cross over to secular rock ‘n’ roll audiences? demore: The market is tougher and we know that. We’re getting more church gigs; people are more open to it. But it’s still a tougher market because our style of music isn’t in every church and you have to look for the venues. Our goal is to bring Christian music to people who normally wouldn’t listen to it, and make them realize that Christianity isn’t boring after all, and God doesn’t take the fun out of life; there is some excitement in it. Our main goal is to get our music out there in a way that some people normally wouldn’t have heard it. We do have a blast playing. It’s a whole lot of fun and I hope we can make a living out of it, but our mindset is to do it for God’s glory. by ALISON RICHTER | community driven news | May 2, 2012 25

26 May 2, 2012 | community driven news |


daily planner


may 2 to may 19

[ THE HILLS ARE ALIVE ] The Imperial Theatre comes alive with The Sound of Music on May 4 to 6 presented by the Augusta Players as their 67th season finale. The Sound of Music is Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s most successful musical, winning six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Musical Score. It was also the last musical the duo wrote together. Written in 1959, the autobiographical storyline is based on the life of Maria von Trapp, who recorded her story in the memoir The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. The love, passion and family devotion that unfolds against a backdrop of tyranny and war continues to strike a chord with audiences. The music is equally capitivating and memorable: “Climb Every Mountain,” “Do-Re-Mi” and “Edelweiss.” The Augusta Players version is directed by Debi Ballas and choreographed by Carrie Anderson, with musical direction by Lori Van Lenten. | PRESS

WHAT The Sound of Music WHERE The Imperial Theatre | 745 Broad St. WHEN May 4 and 5 at 8 p.m. | May 6 at 3 p.m. TICKETS $15 to $41 BUY 706.826.4707 or AUGUSTAPLAYERS.ORG The Daily Planner is our selective guide to what is going on in the city during the next two weeks. IF YOU WANT TO BE LISTED: Submit information by email (events@vergelive. com) or by mail (verge, P.O. Box 38, Augusta, GA 30903). Details of the event - date, time, venue address, telephone number and admission price - should be included. Listings included are accurate at press time, check with specific venues for further details.


5.2 THEATRE VELVETEEN RABBIT Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre; 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.; $3; 2500 Walton Way; 706.737.1625 AUG.EDU


a writer for The Augusta Chronicle presents “Changes in Augusta in the Last 75 Years, My Observations.” Augusta Museum of History; 12:30 p.m.; free; 560 Reynolds St.; 706.722.8454




the untamed landscape and animals of the old Wild West and create a painting inspired by a surprise in the box. Advance registration required. Morris Museum of Art; 10 a.m.; $4; 1 10th St.; 706.724.7501 THEMORRIS.ORG


Find unusual handmade pieces from local artisans, including potters, woodworkers and jewelry designers. Morris Museum of Art; noon; free; 1 10th St.; 706.724.7501 THEMORRIS.ORG




about about our six-legged friends by catching and releasing insects with bug nets in different areas of the park. For ages 5 and up. Preregistration required. Reed Creek Nature Park; 4:30 p.m.; $2; 3820 Park Lane; 706.210.4027 REEDCREEKPARK.COM


Ministries; 7 p.m.; free; 2621 Washington Road; 706.737.4530 WHOLELIFE.ORG

Set during a live broadcast of a fictional TV game show, Game Show places the theatre audience in the role of the TV studio audience, in which members are picked as the contestants to play the triviabased game and win actual prizes. Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre; 6:30 p.m.; $25 to $40; 32100 Third Ave.; 706.703.8552 FORTGORDON.COM

Downtown Augusta celebrates the First Friday of each month. Art galleries display new works, performers take to the sidewalks, arts and craft vendors sell their hand-made goods. Family friendly. Downtown Augusta; 5 to 10 p.m.; free; Broad Street; 706.826.4702 AUGUSTAARTS.COM


than 100 thoroughbred lobsters compete in this annual event. which includes music, rides and food. Newberry Street Festival Center, Aiken; 6:30 p.m.; $5 to $10, ride bands $20 to $30; 126 Newberry St. NW, Aiken; 803.649.9500 LOBSTERRACE.COM



celebrates National Historic Preservation Month with an annual, intimate look inside historic buildings in the Downtown Historic District. Downtown Augusta; 6 p.m.; $15 to $20; 706.724.0436 HISTORICAUGUSTA.ORG


extreme theater games are sure to delight any mature audience member. Le Chat Noir; 8 p.m.; $8 to $10; 304 Eighth St.; 706.722.3322

Liberty performs blues, jazz and Americana. Enterprise Mill dock; 7 p.m.; $25; 1450 Greene St.; 706.823.0440 AUGUSTACANAL.COM


article on this page. Imperial Theatre; 8 p.m.; $15 to $41; 745 Broad St.; 706.826.4707 AUGUSTAPLAYERS.ORG


Trained volunteers lead 2.5mile, 1.5-hour hikes through wetlands and scenic outlooks. Phinizy Swamp; 9:30 a.m.; free; 1858 Lock and Dam Road; 706.828.2109


enchanting landscape of the historic plantation by moonlight. Redliffe Plantation; 8:30 p.m.; $10 to $128; 181 Redcliffe Road, Beech Island; 803.827.1473




features artist Annemarie Kipar of Bali, Indonesia, exhibiting jeweled batik wall hangings and bed covers. Midtown Market; 5 to 8 p.m.; free; 2113 Kings Way; 706.364.8479



GOOD CAUSE MILES FOR GILES 5K Blanchard Woods Park; 7:30 a.m.; $25; 4600 Blanchard Woods Road, Evans; 706.306.1059


Peruse the offerings of local farmers, artisans and other vendors. Eighth Street Bulkhead; Saturdays only; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; free; Corner of Eighth and Reynolds streets; 706.627.0128 THEAUGUSTAMARKET.COM


provides scholarships for girls in third to eighth grades who want to participate in the GOTR program. Kroc Center: 8 a.m.; $25; 1833 Broad St.


Center Park; 9 a.m.; free; 7022 Evans Towne Center Blvd., Evans; CSRAMC.ORG


covered dish lunch. Old Line Primitive Baptist Church; 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; free; 3646 Old Petersburg Road; 706. 863.1707

TOUR DOWNTOWN LOFT TOUR See listing on May 5.

Downtown Augusta; noon


paintings reflect her life during the Civil Rights movement. Arts and Heritage Center of North Augusta; 1 p.m.; free; 100 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; 803.441.4380

discover more events and classes @ | community driven news | May 2, 2012 27


daily planner

[ rockher for lexie’s legacy ]


Female artists from throughout the CSRA will have an opportunity to display their talents at the RockHer Music Fest on May 10 at Sky City. The showcase will include bands, acoustic groups, paintings, photography and mixedmedia artwork by women of Augusta. “There are so many awesome female artists around here that I don’t think get as much attention as they deserve, so this is an opportunity not only for the artists to feature themselves but also for music lovers to discover some local bands that they may enjoy who they had never heard about before,” said John “Stoney” Cannon, the creator of Lokal Loudness, an online guide to local music. “Musically, I think the guys usually get more attention because they put themselves out there more and rock ‘n’ roll has been a traditionally male-dominated art form for a long time, but when females step up they can rock just as hard as their male counterparts.” Bands will include She N She, the Vicky Grady Band, Allison Foster and more, and Sky City will be decorated with Kate Anderson’s paintings, Leah Deslandes’ photography and Stephanie Forbes’ tattoo art. “Sky City is always putting art up on the walls, so I asked Coco Rubio if it would be okay to feature female local artists for this show and he thought it was a great idea,” said Cannon. Cannon’s goal is for this event to represent the best of Augusta’s music scene, which he claims is one of the best in the country because of the “incredible” talent of Augusta’s artists, collaboration between artists and the support given by the community.

STEPHANIE FORBES “You open your eyes and you see it,” he said. “I would put this music scene against any other place in the country because we have some really talented artists here, but the other thing we have that most places don’t is a sense of camaraderie among the artists, who support each other and their music even while they’re making music. You can see it every weekend in the bars when each place has a different band playing and they’re all drawing a crowd.” Along with albums available by most of the bands present, artists will be selling things such as homemade jewelry and art, which Cannon describes as “one-of-a-kind works that make great Mother’s Day presents.” “Art-wise I think we’re going to have everything from painting, sketching, photography, as well as tattoo art and craft art,” said Cannon. “Not only can you come out to see a great show, which goes to support a great cause, Lexie’s Legacy, but you also have an opportunity to pick up some gifts before Mother’s Day.” RockHer Music Fest benefits the Lexie’s Legacy nonprofit scholarship fund. by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK

see the show WHAT RockHer Music Fest

WHERE Sky City | 1157 Broad St.

WHEN Thursday, May 10 | Doors open at 8 p.m. and the music starts at 9 p.m. TICKETS Free for ladies and $5 for guys


28 May 2, 2012 | community driven news |



THEATRE THE SOUND OF MUSIC See listing on May 4.

Imperial Theatre; 3 p.m.


Augusta Chorale. Paine College; 4 p.m.; $5 to $15; 1235 15th St.; 706.830.0991 AUGUSTACHORALE.ORG



Experience the thrill of the Kentucky Derby with Southern cuisine, homemade mint juleps, entertainment, a ladies hat contest, silent auction, raffles and outdoor games. Julian Smith Casino; 4 to 8 p.m.; $50 advance, $60 at the gate; 2200 Broad St.; 706.738.1358



Experience the romantic and tragic voyage of the Titanic with a gourmet dinner and entertainment, just as those did on that night long ago. Asbury United Methodist Church; 6:30 p.m.; $15; 1305 Troupe St.; 706.736.0061 ASBURYCHURCH.NET


See listing on May 4. Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre; 6:30 p.m.

Met. Regal Augusta Exchange Stadium 20; 6:30 p.m.; $18 to $24; 1144 Agerton Lane; 706.667.9713 FANDANGO.COM



Carl Purdy, the band promotes string instrument performance in bluegrass, country, oldtime, Celtic, gospel and blues. Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre; 7 p.m.; free; 2500 Walton Way; 706.667.4100 AUG.EDU


Band. River Stage; 8 p.m.; $6 for ages 13 and up; Eighth Street and Riverwalk GARDENCITYJAZZ.COM


THEATRE THE SOUND OF MUSIC See listing on May 4. Imperial Theatre; 8 p.m.



Steven Kendrick Jr. Partridge Inn; 5:30 p.m.; free; 2110 Walton Way YPAAUGUSTA. COM

Mary Louise Hagler. Read the article on page 19. Registration includes all materials, supplies, flowers, container, snacks and gentle guidance. Midtown Market; 10 a.m. to noon; $65; 2113 Kings Way; 706.836.2671


Visit website for lineup and schedule. Bring your lawn chairs or blankets for seating. Lewis Family Home Place; $15 to $20, kids 12 and under free with a paying adult; 1935 Lewis Family Road, Lincolnton JEFFANDSHERIEASTER.COM


She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) is the centerpiece in John Ford’s famous “cavalry trilogy” and stars Henry Fonda and John Wayne. After viewing the film, museum director Kevin Grogan leads a discussion. Participants are invited to bring a lunch. Morris Museum of Art; noon; free; 1 10th St.; 706.724.7501 THEMORRIS.ORG



with Jerrod Niemann, Ashton Shepherd, Carey Murdock & NoStar, Brantley and the Jeremy Graham Band. Augusta Riverfront Marina; noon; $25 advance, $35 day of show; 298 Prep Phillips Drive; 803.278.4849 TIXONLINE.COM



Laugh-out-loud musical tells the story of recent college graduate Princeton who move into a shabby New York City apartment where he meets Kate (the girl next door), Rod (the Republican), Trekkie (the Internet sexpert) and other colorful types who help him discover his purpose in life. Le Chat Noir; 8 p.m.; 304 Eighth St.; 706.722.3322 LCNAUGUSTA.COM








See listing on May 4. Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre; 6:30 p.m.

ART JEANETTE SHOEMAKER RECEPTION Pastel artist Jeanette Shoemaker uses layering and blending techniques to achieve a dramatic realism of light and shadow in her work. Aiken Center for the Arts; 6 to 8 p.m.; free; 122 Laurens St. SW, Aiken; 803.278.0709 AIKENARTISTGUILD.ORG

daily planner

Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center; 7:30 p.m.; $30 to $35; 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans; 706.447.7652

Rated PG 13. Headquarters Library; 6:30 p.m.; free; 823 Telfair St.; 706.821.2600




Includes music, food, drinks, arts and crafts and family fun. The day begins with a bicycle parade, starting downtown at Hotel Aiken and finishing at the Highfields. Camping is available. The Highfields; 4 p.m.; $10 to $50; 198 Gaston Road, Aiken



the listing on May 10. Midtown Market; 7 to 9 p.m.

course will be a challenging off-road route with numerous obstacles, a stream crossing, hills and plenty of mud. Old clothes and shoes are recommended. Must be 13 years of age or older to enter and one team member must be over 18. Register to receive team start-time. Fort Gordon; 8 a.m.; $25 to $35; Corner of Third Avenue and 30th Street EVENTBRITE.COM


the mysteries of outer space as naked-eye views of objects in the sky are compared with views through binoculars and telescopes. Ruth Patrick Science Education Center; 9 p.m.; $1 to $5; 471 University Parkway, Aiken; 803.641.3654





Cruz. Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre; 7:30 p.m.; free; 2500 Walton Way; 706.731.7971


A shorter, less challenging course for children ages 5 to 12. Register online. Fort Gordon; 8 a.m.; $10; Corner of Third Avenue and 30th Street EVENTBRITE.COM


Scheyer, a Southern storytelling singer-songwriter. Enterprise Mill dock; 7 p.m.; $25; 1450 Greene St.; 706.823.0440 AUGUSTACANAL.COM

Blanchard Woods Park; 9 a.m.; $15, register online; 4600 Blanchard Woods Drive, Evans ACTIVE.COM

discover more events and classes


[the loft tour returns] Downtown visitors will have an opportunity to view the architecture and interiors of 10 buildings of various sizes and styles during Historic Augusta’s fourth annual Downtown Loft Tour on May 4 and 5. The tour is self-guided and sites can be visited in any order, based on the maps handed out at the tour headquarters tent at the corner of 10th and Broad streets. A selection of appetizers from local restaurants will be available at each location, along with a representative of Historic Augusta to answer questions about the space. “The tour is to showcase downtown from a historical perspective because all these buildings have their own history which you learn about during the tour,” said Ben Casella, a board member of Historic Augusta and the new Downtown Augusta Alliance president. “There are a number of lofts on the tour that are either lived-in or completely raw or workedin, and it’s a fun way for people to see what it’s like to live and work in one of these solid, old loft spaces.” Sites along the tour include the Emporium, Reid Range Building and the Weir/Stewart Creative Firm. “Weir/Stewart took what was the Islands Bar and have turned it into such a cool space for their business. It epitomizes what you can do with the good bones of an old building,” said Casella. “With a little bit of effort and TLC, these buildings can all be made to be posh and inviting, and it shows people what great things they can do with these buildings.” The purpose of this tour is to encourage interest in the preservation and use of historic buildings in the Augusta downtown district and to kick off National Historic Preservation Month. All proceeds benefit the programs and projects of Historic Augusta Inc., a nonprofit organization with the mission of preserving historically or architecturally significant structures and sites in Augusta and Richmond County. | by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK

WHAT The Downtown Loft Tour WHERE Downtown Augusta | Tour Headquarters at the corner of 10th and Broad streets WHEN Friday, May 4 from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, May 5 from noon to 5 p.m. TICKETS $15 advance, $20 day of BUY Historic Augusta, First Bank of Georgia, Hill Drug Co., Mellow Mushroom or New Moon Café MORE 706.724.0436 or HISTORICAUGUSTA.ORG | community driven news | May 2, 2012 29

30 May 2, 2012 | community driven news |





the trees, insects and reptiles that can be seen in their natural habitat at Aiken State Park. Meet at Shelter 3 in the picnic area. No registration is required. Aiken State Park; 10 a.m.; free with park admission; 1145 State Park Road,Windsor DNR.SC.GOV

OUTDOORS CANAL DISCOVERY WALK: ART & ARTISTS ON THE CANAL View several of the sculptures on the canal’s lower first level with sculptor Kathy Girdler Engler, one of the artists who created them. Sutherland Mill parking lot; 10 a.m.; $2; 1450 Greene St.; 706.823.0440 AUGUSTACANAL.COM


Includes a raptor flight show, butterfly release, crafts and games. Columbia County Amphitheater; 10 a.m.; free; 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans; 706.312.7195 COLUMBIACOUNTYGA.GOV

Augusta Ballet gala pays tribute to the surrealist art movement of the 1920s and includes a creative menu, live music, dancing and silent auction. Gala dress is black-tie optional with guests encouraged to wear attire evoking the event. Proceeds fund Augusta Ballet’s programming including its collaborative fight against childhood obesity. Georgia Health Sciences University College of Dental Medicine; 7 p.m.; $125; 1430 John Wesley Gilbert Drive; 706.261.0555 AUGUSTABALLET.ORG

THEATRE AVENUE Q See listing on May 11. Le Chat Noir; 8 p.m.


Dale, author of My Pilgrim’s Heart and Hymn for the Wounded Man. Headquarters Library; 6 p.m.; free; 823 Telfair St.; 706.821.2600 ECGRL.ORG


Discuss As the Sycamore Grows, the true story of a 17-year abusive marriage. Headquarters Library; 6:30 p.m.; free; 823 Telfair St.; 706.821.2600


Rated R. Headquarters Library; 6:30 p.m.; free; 823 Telfair St.; 706.821.2600 ECGRL.ORG

5.13 5.17


sung by Bill Karp. Reservations recommended. Casa Blanca Café; 11:30 a.m.; $12.95; 936 Broad St.; 706.504.3431 CASABLANCATIME.COM


LITERARY BROWN BAG BOOK CLUB State of Wonder by Anne Patchett. Columbia County Library; 11:30 a.m.; free; 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans; 706.863.1946

pony rides, strawberry desserts, inflatables, games, entertainment, baked goods, frozen casseroles and book sales. Downtown Aiken; 10 a.m.; free; Greenville Street sidewalk between Richland and Hayne Avenues, Aiken; 803.644.1122


of an exhibit of photographs and memorabilia depicting the history of the Chinese community in Augusta. The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association will present a collection of oral histories from elders in the community. Headquarters Library; noon; free; 823 Telfair St.; 706.821.2600 ECGRL.ORG

CONCERT AIKEN BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL See listing on May 11. The Highfields; 2 p.m.


See listing on May 4. Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre; 6:30 p.m.

Presbyterian Church; noon; music free, $9 for lunch; 224 Barnwell Ave. NW, Aiken; 803.648.2662 AIKENPRESBYTERIAN.ORG

CONCERT MOTHER’S DAY Featuring Anthony Hamilton, Maze, Frankie Beverly and a tribute to Minnesota Fattz of Clear Channel’s Kiss 96.3 FM for his 30-plus years in public broadcasting. James Brown Arena; 6 p.m.; $57 to $67; 601 Seventh St.; 877.4AUGTIX GEORGIALINATIX.COM

CONCERT A D’OYLY CARTE EVENING: MUSIC OF GILBERT & SULLIVAN The spring performance of the Augusta Opera will feature the Opera’s chorus, soloists and orchestra, featuring excerpts the most popular works by Gilbert & Sullivan, such as The Pirates of Penzance, H.M.S. Pinafore and The Mikado. Sacred Heart Cultural Center; 7:30 p.m.; $25 to $35; 706.364.9114 THEAUGUSTAOPERA.COM




daily planner





Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews. Harlem Library; 4 p.m.; free; 375 N. Louisville St., Harlem; 706.556.9795


See listing on May 4. Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre; 6:30 p.m.



Arthur J. Phelan, whose collection comprises the exhibition Window on the West, discusses Western art and the process of collecting. Lunch by Shane’s Rib Shack. Paid reservations due May 16. Morris Museum of Art; noon; $10 to $14; 1 10th St.; 706.724.7501


out” celebration features free food, live performances, radio remotes and give-aways. 6 p.m.; free; Turpin Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard; 706.821.1754


See listing on May 4. Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre; 6:30 p.m.


Morris Davidson, rock-pop guitar and vocals. Enterprise Mill dock; 7 p.m.; $25; 1450 Greene St.; 706.823.0440 AUGUSTACANAL.COM

CONCERT CANDLELIGHT JAZZ with Lakeside High School and Lunar Octopus. River Stage; 8 p.m.; $6; Eighth Street and Riverwalk GARDENCITYJAZZ.COM




Register to vote in the upcoming November election. Friedman Library; 2 p.m.; free; 1447 Jackson Road; 706.736.6758 ECGRL.ORG


annual membership drive will take place in the gardens surrounding High Gate, the home of Trav and Kate Paine at 820 Milledge Road. The home was originally built as a summer home for the family of Hugh Nesbitt in 1810. Admission is by current membership in Historic Augusta. Memberships can be purchased at the door. High Gate; 6:30 p.m.; memberships from $50; 820 Milledge Road; 706.724.0436 HISTORICAUGUSTA.ORG


Aiken Choral Society with Dr. Kathleen Cartledge and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church choirs perform the oratorio, accompanied by a chamber orchestra, harpsichord and organ. St. Paul’s Lutheran Church; 7:30 p.m.; $15; 961 Trail Ridge Road, Aiken AIKENCHORALSOCIETY.ORG

THEATRE AVENUE Q See listing on May 11. Le Chat Noir; 8 p.m.

[ a day of all the arts ] Columbia County’s Art in the Park festival returns to the Columbia County Amphitheatre on May 5, featuring many of the region’s top performance artists, children’s activities and artists demonstrating their craft. Also returning this year is the sidewalk chalk contest, which will begin at 10 a.m. with artists of all ages coloring the cement panels surrounding the amphitheater. “For only $15, participants can purchase their sidewalk space and a box of high-quality artist’s chalk with all the good rich colors they need to create whatever they see in their mind,” said Cyndy Epps, the Columbia County Art program director. “Last year this was one of the biggest draws of the festival and it was really amazing to see the kind of art that was created. I’m hoping that this year we see more teenagers get out there and get themselves covered in chalk, because we always have children’s activities but we want all ages to be able to get out and enjoy themselves.” Almost 40 tents will be set up around the park housing different artists. One demonstration tent will also have a schedule of events that includes artists demonstrating how to draw caricatures, paint in watercolor, make jewelry and more. Food vendors will be serving hotdogs, hamburgers, Hawaiian ice and other foods. The stage will feature different artists, including the Columbia County Orchestra, Columbia County Ballet, Columbia County Choral Society and the Columbia County Artist Guild. “I’m really excited about most of the acts we’re going to get to see,” said Epps. “It’s our way of creating a venue for them to showcase themselves, as well as giving people an opportunity to come and have a cultural experience. There are several different types of dance groups returning this year that are well established as well as some lesser known artists who are trying to put themselves out there to get noticed.” by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK

WHAT Art in the Park WHERE Columbia County Amphitheatre 7022 Evans Town Center Boulevard WHEN Saturday, May 5 | 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. TICKETS Free MORE | COLUMBIACOUNTYARTS.ORG

discover more to do and see

@ | community driven news | May 2, 2012 31

32 May 2, 2012 | community driven news |



CONCERT GOOD OLD HARMONY Harmony River Chorus, the Garden City Chorus and Quartets from Lakeside High School. First Baptist Church of Evans; 8 p.m.; $10; 515 North Belair Road, Evans; 706.860.6022



daily planner


beverages are available for donations. Glenn Hills Baptist Church; 6 p.m.; free; 2877 Lumpkin Road; 706.373.7855


See listing on May 4. Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre; 6:30 p.m.

THEATRE AVENUE Q See listing on May 11. Le Chat Noir; 8 p.m.


Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Aiken Community Playhouse; 8 p.m.; $10 to $25; 126 Newberry St. SW, Aiken; 803.648.1438 ACP1011.COM



May 18. Aiken Community Playhouse; 8 p.m.



Sketch in the galleries with materials supplied by the museum. The Morris Museum of Art; 2 p.m.; free; 1 10th St.; 706.724.7501


Delbert McClinton, blues legend James Cotton, the country blues of Guy Davis, the Southern soul of the Randall Bramblett & Geoff Achison Band, and local Mama Says. Thomson; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; $25 to $35; one mile north of I-20 at exit 172; 706.541.9828 BLINDWILLIE.COM


creative camouflage through first-hand observation and games. For ages 5 and up. Preregistration required. Reed Creek Nature Park; 10 a.m.; $2; 3820 Park Lane; 706.210.4027 REEDCREEKPARK.COM


great prices. Appleby Branch Library; 10 a.m.; free; 2260 Walton Way; 706.736.6244 ECGRL.ORG


August. Hopelands Gardens; 7 p.m.; free; 1700 Whiskey Road, Aiken; 803.642.7650 CITYOFAIKENSC.GOV


toward fiction writers interested in improving their craft. Columbia County Library; 10 a.m.; free; 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd.; 706.447.8184



up a summer reading folder at the library’s outdoor block party featuring cotton candy, popcorn, ice cream cones, games, crafts, a sidewalk book sale, inflatable play zones, the Signal Corps Band and more. Headquarters Library; noon; free; 823 Telfair St.; 706.821.2600 ECGRL.ORG

excursion to the Savannah Rapids and headgates. Enterprise Mill; 5:30 p.m.; $21; 1450 Greene St.; 706.823.0440

OUTDOORS BOYD POND PARK Special programs held

at dusk. Visit the observatory and enjoy the view. Boyd Pond Park; 7 p.m.; free; 373 Boyd Pond Road, Aiken; 803.642.7559 BOYDOBSERVATORY.ORG

Peruse the offerings of local farmers, artisans and other vendors. Eighth Street Bulkhead; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; free; Corner of Eighth and Reynolds streets; 706.627.0128 THEAUGUSTAMARKET.COM



May kicks off the summer movie season with a definite blockbuster. Marvel Comics heroes recently featured in their own films come together to form the supergroup of superhuman heroes known as THE AVENGERS. Assembled by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) of the government agency S.H.I.E.L.D., the group includes Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, who picked up the role played on the big-screen by Edward Norton in 2008) with some help from their friends Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). This film differs from other depictions of superhero crime-fighting teams, such as X-Men or Fantastic Four, in that narratives from the recent Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and The Incredible Hulk movies came first and were woven together with unifying new concepts in the spirit of Marvel’s quintessential dream team of defenders.

Mississippi in the late 1930s to early 1940s, the photographs depict the rural poor and convey the want and worry of the Great Depression. Ends May 6. Morris Museum of Art; 1 10th St.; 706.724.7501

The reluctant heroes battle their own demons and each other before uniting to take on Thor’s evil adopted brother, Loki, who is trying to take over Earth in grandiose bad guy fashion. This 3D film is an origins story for the group of heroes, making it easy to follow for comic fans and series newbies alike. A promising aspect of this adaptation of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Marvel adventure is the presence of screenwriter/director Joss Whedon, who is most famous for creating the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel television series.


Credits from The Avengers were leaked online at the end of April, revealing a huge spoiler. Predictably, Whedon and crew are setting viewers up for a sequel. Iron Man 3 is also in the works and Downey has hinted that features dedicated to Johansson’s Black Widow and Renner’s Hawkeye could also be under way. Later this summer, comics fans will be treated to two of the year’s most highly anticipated superhero epics: The Amazing Spider-Man opens July 3 and Christopher Nolan’s Batman saga continues when The Dark Knight Rises opens July 20. AMELIA GRACE BROOKS: MURMURATIONS Featuring mixed media collage and sculptural works, Murmurations explores patterns of change, its title inspired by the shifting configurations of flocks of starlings and other birds. Ends May 25. Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art; 506 Telfair St.; 706.722.5495

JOHN FORT, GWEN MCDONALD AND JOANNE EVANS EXHIBITION Exhibition of highlights from the collection of Arthur J. Phelan offers an intriguing glimpse of the American West. Ends May 31. Aiken Center for the Arts; 122 Laurens St. SW, Aiken; 803.641.9094




Bring a chair and enjoy the games. Whitney Field; 3 p.m.; $5 to watch, $20 includes the social tent; Mead Avenue, Aiken; 803.643.3611 AIKENPOLOCLUB.ORG


film reel

Aiken’s grace, charm and elegance during a two-hour guided tour aboard a climatecontrolled trolley. Reservations recommended. Aiken Visitors Center & Train Museum; 10 a.m.; $15 per person; 406 Park Ave. SE, Aiken; 803.642.7631




Ends May 31. The Morris Museum of Art; 1 10th St.; 706.724.7501

go to

for more art exhibits to see, classes to attend and more to do

No movies opted to challenge the intimidating band of superheroes, with two May 4 openers arriving in limited release. Kate Hudson plays a carefree professional who is diagnosed with cancer and ends up falling for her doctor (Gael Garcia Bernal) in A LITTLE BIT OF HEAVEN. Whoopi Goldberg and Kathy Bates costar. Romantic themes also develop among a group of British retirees who elect to spend their golden years in THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL in India, which looks like a stunning resort in the brochure, but is dilapidated in reality. Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson and Bill Nighy star as some of the aging new residents of the building whose decidedly less-posh-than-expected living conditions cause them to grow and love in new ways. Shakespeare in Love helmer John Madden directs. May 11 brings another dark, Gothic collaboration between director Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. The creative duo’s work has included eccentric updates of Sweeney Todd, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. Their latest, DARK SHADOWS, revisits themes from the 1966-71 cult classic television series of the same name. Depp plays Barnabas Collins, a vampire set free after two centuries of imprisonment. He rejoins his descendants in the 1970s and again faces the jealous witch who had him buried alive in the 1700s. Michelle Pfeifer, Eva Green and Burton’s wife, Helena Bonham Carter, join Depp in this remake, which also features a cameo appearance from original series star Jonathan Frid who passed away on April 13. by MARIAH GARDNER, MOVIE GURU

depp turns vampire in dark shadows | community driven news | May 2, 2012 33


sound bites

the guy who put the “k” In lokal gets vocal about augusta’s music scene

On April 21, audiophiles celebrated the natural musical beauty of vinyl records on Record Store Day. Though it might surprise the music buyer who shells out dough for the latest CD at the nearest mega-chain to find out that mom-and-pop record stores still exist, we vinyl addicts are aware that these stores offer a great selection of vinyl. The continued popularity of vinyl has not gone completely unnoticed and various chain stores have also begun to stock vinyl. The creation of Record Store Day, a holiday of sorts for oldschool vinyl lovers everywhere, has helped to bring vinyl back into the audio mainstream, attracting musicians who spread advocacy and release vinyl products on Record Store Day. The amount of vinyls released this Record Store Day was staggering – it featured reissues, anniversary editions, singles, live sets, etc. From long-since-passed classic artists to today’s new stars, no vinyl stone was left unturned on Record Store Day. Sitting next to cool vinyl releases by Bruce Springsteen, David Bowe and Iggy and the Stooges was a rocking 7-inch 45 limited edition vinyl JAMES BROWN release. The record, featuring unreleased live renditions of “There It Is” and “Pass the Peas,” from the upcoming Live at the Apollo 50th anniversary release, is limited to 5,000 copies worldwide, making it a must-buy for both James Brown and general vinyl collectors. The cool retro cover sweetens the release and comes just in time for the Godfather’s birthday on May 3. What better way to celebrate than by going old-school with this cool new 45 record?

Speaking of James Brown birthday celebrations, Sky City is planning a pretty funky one on May 4, featuring original members of the JBs and the SOUL GENERALS kicking some live grooves and followed with the ever-popular First Friday ‘80s Night. The greatest emcee in the biz – DANNY RAY – is also scheduled to grace Sky City. The party is free for the ladies all night and $5 for the guys after 10 p.m. While I’m on the subject of free shows for the ladies, I would like to throw out one last mention for the upcoming RockHer Music and Art Festival on May 10 at Sky City (read more on page XX). This event, just before Mother’s Day, will be free for the gals, while the guys are going to have to shell out $5 to get in. But it will be well worth it: Proceeds benefit the Lexie’s Legacy Scholarship Fund at Augusta State University and the event will feature music and art from She N She, Jenny Jones, Vicky Grady Band, Allison Foster, Lark Gillespie, Leslie Raezer, the Storm Branch Band, Kate Anderson, Leah Deslandes and more. Looks like it’s time to get back to spinning some tunes on the old turntable. But, before I get out of here, remember to check out the Daily Planner in this issue of verge verge – or at VERGELIVE.COM – for a guide to some great upcoming live shows and, to keep up in between issues, stop by LOKALLOUDNESS.COM. And, of course as always … Make it LOKAL, Keep it Loud. John “Stoney” Cannon is considered the guru of “lokal” music. Check out his long-running Augusta music website: lokalloudness. com. Send any music news to

34 May 2, 2012 | community driven news |





COMEDY ZONE: SHAUN JONES @ Somewhere in Augusta | 8 p.m.; $8

SIAMESE DREAM The Smashing Pumpkins Tribute Band @ The Playground 8 p.m.

SIBLING STRING @ Joe’s Underground Café | 9 p.m. MAMA SAYS @ Wild Wing Café | 10 p.m.




genre Post Hardcore/Metal MUSIC The Voice of an Archangel (2007), Demo (2009) and

The Relentless Wanderers (2010)

HISTORY The band was formed in 2007 by Prichard and

Cody Landrum. In early 2010, Seladora went to Glow in the Dark studios with Matt McClellan and recorded the 12-track album, The Relentless Wanderers. After the release, Seladora began touring in support of the album. Then, midway through 2011, some of the members left the band and Prichard says he decided to “start from scratch.” Since then, Prichard and Kinard have been writing music with a new feel, searching for new members and preparing to release their next album with a supporting tour. “We have a bunch of new material that is bringing Seladora out into a new light. We still have some of that post hardcore/ metal feel that we usually have. But we are going a lot heavier and a lot softer at the same time. Our softer stuff is becoming dreamy – ambient super sleep soft – and our heavy side is more technical and well developed. Our music is definitely progressing into Seladora’s next stage,” Prichard says.

Beliefs Seladora is a Christian band but Prichard says, “we don’t want to abuse the label of a Christian band. It turns away the people that need to hear the message the most right from the start. We’re not trying to force any sort of belief down people’s throats. I don’t get mad if people don’t want to hear our music because of the message. It’s their choice.” At the same time, Prichard hopes the message the band carries is heard, while emphasizing that the music of Seladora is important. “I wish they could open their minds to our message but they have their own relationship with Jesus and I’m not one to say that they know him or not. I’m there planting the seed and if they don’t want to be there, they don’t want to be there. No hard feelings,” Prichard says. “It’s also about the music and the structure. We spend a lot of time on the music too.”

quirks The band name comes from the “most beautiful” words in the English language: cellar door. future “We are in the process of writing the new album

which should be recorded at 456 Recordings with Brian Hood of Mychildren Mybride this summer,” Prichard says. For now, it is just Prichard and Bacon recording all the parts for pre-production demos. In June, Seladora will play an old lineup reunion show which tells the fans that this band simply refuses to die, no matter what form it takes. Look for the new album, Theodicy, later this year.

upcoming shows June 1 reunion show at Sector 7G D.I.Y. FACEBOOK.COM/SELADORABAND by DINO LULL


JIM PERKINS @ Carolina Ale House | 10 p.m. IRRITATING JULIE @ Wild Wing Café | 10 p.m. JACKAROO @ Stillwater Tap Room | 10 p.m.; $5 FUNK YOU + DJ GRIFFEN EUBANKS @ Sky City 10:30 p.m.; $5

Members Ray Prichard, vocals, and Zach “Bacon” Kinard,

HOPE FOR AGOLDENSUMMER + SHAUN PIAZZA @ Sky City 10 p.m.; $5 ACOSTA @ Wild Wing Café 10 p.m.


SASHA’S BLACK & WHITE MAY BIRTHDAY BASH @ Club Argos | 8 p.m. DASH RIP ROCK @ Metro Pub & Coffee House | 10 p.m.

80’S NIGHT + JAMES BROWN BIRTHDAY BASH Art show by Chris Murray, music by members of The JB’s and The Soul Generals @ Sky City 8 p.m.; Ladies free, guys after 10 p.m. $5

MODERN SKIRTS + PONDEROSA @ Sky City 10 p.m.; $5

JIM PERKINS @ Carolina Ale House | 10 p.m.

SOUTHWOOD @ Wild Wing Café | 10 p.m.

SUN DRIED VIBES @ Wild Wing Café | 10 p.m.



JEROD GAY @ Wild Wing Café 10 p.m.

ROCKHER MUSIC & ART FESTIVAL Read the article on page 28. @ Sky City 9 p.m.; $5


JEREMY GRAHAM BAND @ Coyote’s | 10 p.m.


CINCO DE MAYO WITH EMORY LEE @ Wild Wing Café | 10 p.m.


BRANDON HOOKER DUO @ Wild Wing Café | 10 p.m.

TJ MIMBS @ Wild Wing Café 10 p.m. COMEDY ZONE: GRANDMA LEE + CHRIS KILLIAN @ Somewhere in Augusta 8 p.m.; $8


COMEDY ZONE: MICHAEL MACK + JAMIE MORGAN @ Somewhere in Augusta 8 p.m.; $8



DRIVIN’ N CRYIN’ @ The Country Club | 8 p.m.; $20

Guitarist and songwriter Bill Davis is a frontman whose caliber is among rock ‘n’ roll’s finest and most legendary, capable of whipping a crowd into a frenzy. With bassist Patrick Johnson and drummer Kyle Melancon, Dash Rip Rock is a power trio able to hold their own on stage. Dash Rip Rock received the honor of being in the 2012 inductees into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. Augusta gets another chance to rock with the hall of fame trio on May 12 @ Metro Pub & Coffe House | 10 p.m.




BABY BABY @ Sky City 10 p.m.; $5


MOORS & MCCUMBER @ Wild Wing Café | 10 p.m.

Rock have been wowing their multi-genre fan base since their live debut more than 25 years ago. In addition to its high-energy shows, the band has released 15 albums that have been snagged up by fans of rock, roots-rock, Americana, rockabilly, country and punk rock.

OLD MAN CRAZY @ Wild Wing Café | 10 p.m.




DASH RIP ROCK Louisiana country punk rockers Dash Rip

Spin referred to Dash Rip Rock as “undeniable the South’s greatest rock band” while the New York Times called the band “skillful musicians with a penchant for getting reliably wild.”




THRU May 19

MOBILE DEATHCAMP + HEMLOCK + CHAIRLEG @ Sky City | 9 p.m.; $ 5 to $ 8

FRIDAY, MAY 18 DANIEL LEE BAND @ Wild Wing Café | 10 p.m. FUNK YOU @ Stillwater Tap Room | 10 p.m.; $5 KILLER MIKE + FREEDOM BLACK + FUZZ JACKSON + GRINDHOUSE GANG + BROTHA TRAV @ Sky City 9 p.m.; $10; $12 day

for more concerts, parties and shows


SUNDANCE JENKINS @ Wild Wing Café | 10 p.m.

WEEKLY TUESDAYS Twisted Trivia @ The Playground Bar | 10 p.m. WEDNESDAYS Krazy Karaoke @ The Playground Bar | 8 p.m. THURSDAYS TANGO NIGHT @ Casa Blanca Café | 6 p.m. SOUP, SUDS & CONVERSATIONS @ The Fox’s Lair | 6 p.m. 4 CATS IN THE DOG HOUSE @ The Willcox | 6 p.m. OPEN MIC NIGHT @ The Playground Bar | 8 p.m.

FRIDAYS LIVE MUSIC EVERY FRIDAY @ First Round | 10 p.m. LIVE MUSIC EVERY FRIDAY @ 1102 Bar and Grill | 10 p.m.


1102 BaR AND gRILL @ 1102 Broad St.; 706.364.4075 CASA BLANCA Café @ 936 Broad St.; 706.504.3431 The COUNTRY CLUB @ 2834 Washington Road.; 706.364.1862 Coyote’s @ 2512 Peach Orchard Road; 706.560.9245 FIRST ROUND @ 210 11th St.; 706.828.5600 the fox’s lair @ 349 Telfair St.; 706.364.8278 JOE’S UNDERGROUND Café @ 144 eighth St.; 706.724.9457 Metro pub & Coffee house @ 1054 Broad St.; 706.722.6468 THE PLAYGROUND BAR @ 978 Broad St.; 706.724.2232 SECTOR 7G @ 631 Ellis St.; 706.496.5900 SKY CITY @ 1157 Broad St.; 706.945.1270 Somewhere in augusta @ 2820 Washington Road; 706.739.0002 STILLWATER TAP ROOM @ 974 Broad St.; 706.826.9857 WILD WING CAFE @ 3035 Washington Road.; 706.364.9453 | community driven news | May 2, 2012 35

36 May 2, 2012 | community driven news |

puzzle 1









18 20






27 31



35 38




43 45









Erma Bombeck’s Family Shares the Laughs 28




53 57
















Edited by Will Shortz | by JOE DIPIETRO | No. 0328 Across   1 Barbers’ aids   6 Like some batters 10 Hurry it up 14 Available for mugs 15 Added, in commercialese 16 Pizarro foe 17 Flirty one 18 Man’s labor? 20 Christina of “Sleepy Hollow” 22 Barbecue grill brand 23 Woman’s flippant remark? 28 Wrangler rival 29 “___ Miss Brooks” 30 Golden, in México 31 Not stay rigid 32 Sweet-talk 35 Garden decoration 37 Woman’s journalism? 43 NutraSweet rival 44 “___ Hall” 45 Spiral shape 48 Branches of study 51 “Is there something more?” 52 Lob’s path 53 Woman’s package? 56 You’re being attacked while under it 58 “Vive ___!”

59 Man’s

plank? revenue

face first Negotiating one calamity at a time

“I used to tell my daughter, ‘Just think, one of these days all of this will be yours.’ It wasn’t so much a legacy as a threat.” - Erma Bombeck When I met Erma’s daughter, Betsy, I neglected to ask her how she felt about her inheritance.

51 54















26 River

near the Leaning Tower source 27 Sound from a pound 66 Sea lettuce, e.g. 31 Conk 67 Something many a celebrity carries 33 Cambodian in public money 68 Towering 34 1974 John Wayne film 69 Pay attention to 36 Advanced deg. for 70 Skirmish musicians 71 Utah’s ___ Canyon 38 Bash on a beach 39 Make Down 40 Right away   1 Foldout bed 41 One of the Flying   2 Telephone key Wallendas with no letters 42 Actress Lamarr   3 Highest peak in Turk. 45 The Clash’s “Rock the ___”   4 Nuts-and-bolts 46 American Leaguer   5 Tiny bit since 1954   6 Splitsville 47 When mastodons resident? became extinct   7 Bygone muscle 49 Like some car amusement park   8 [Damn, this is passes frustrating!] 50 “Told ya!”   9 Talk and talk 53 Crash site? 10 In great supply 54 Floss brand 11 Powerless 55 Big name in travel 12 Lint catcher guides 13 Enmity 57 Sheepskin holder 19 Have 60 Dolt 21 Fish salted for 61 Warm lining bacalao 62 Laundry day brand 23 Andean stimulant 24 River to the Rhine 64 And the like: Abbr. 25 Iditarod transport 65 Look over 63 Magazine

This past weekend was the 2012 Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop in Dayton, Ohio, and the Bombeck family was in attendance. At each meal, a member of Erma’s family would stand and read one of their favorite essays written by Erma. Betsy read about the time she and her mother attended a basketball game. In the essay, Erma is delighted to spend time with her daughter. She is reflecting nostalgically on mother/daughter time when she looks over and sees Betsy on the edge of her seat, looking down at the man seated in front of her. When her mother asks what she’s doing, Betsy replies that her earring fell down the pants of the man and she’s waiting to get it back. After she was done reading, Betsy revealed that it wasn’t just a story. She had in fact, lost an earring down the man’s pants. She did recover it but she never wore it again! Erma died in 1996, the year I graduated high school. I did not know who she was at the time, but in recent years she’s become one of my favorite writers. Finding the humor in everyday moments is one of my favorite styles, and no one did it better than Erma. Her ability to take her reader from uproarious laughter to quiet retrospection makes me think that she was a woman

who loved as passionately as she laughed. That she could interweave those two elements so seamlessly in her writing is what made her one of our nation’s most popular humorists. When I signed up for the conference, I did not know that her family would be in attendance. Imagine my delight at meeting the people I’ve so often read about: It was like talking with Anne Shirley or playing with Scout Finch. What generosity on the part of the Bombecks that they shared their lives so openly with us and what an amazing legacy for Erma that the workshop in her name sells out each time it’s offered. Then again, is it any surprise we’re drawn to a woman who once said, “I have to believe you only go around once in life, but if you play your cards right, it’s enough.” Indeed in the case of Erma Bombeck, she beat the house. Nora Blithe is the author of Door In Face, a humor blog about all things that lay you flat. Read more at

a parting shot

papa joe’s banjo-b-que returns with headliner frontier ruckus on may 26 | BANJOBQUE.COM

Find the solution to this puzzle at VERGELIVE.BLOGSPOT.COM

Annual subscriptions are available for the best of Sunday crosswords from the last 50 years: 1-888-7-ACROSS. Share tips:

The next issue of VERGE hits the newsstands on

MAY 16

Look for our outdoor boxes or find your copy at Publix | EarthFare | Kroger | Bi-Lo | community driven news | May 2, 2012 37

38 May 2, 2012 | community driven news | | community driven news | May 2, 2012 39

May Issue A 2012  

people | places | art | culture | events the NEW generation of print media in Augusta & the CSRA

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