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verge / july 2010 /
Olde Town, New Ideas
Neighborhood Association Prez Rick Keuroglian builds relationships
An Encounter with Chad Crews
Desperately Seeking Augusta
Rise of the TEE Center
Wonder Twin Powers
Hammond’s Ferry Builds Home for the New Economy
The weird, wonderful world of this local educator and magician As more tourists visit, what we have to offer may be disappearing Recent groundbreaking marks banner day for downtown Alex Weir and Daniel Stewart combine their talents to create great design
Architect Marianne Cusato brings affordable, green living to North Augusta
Wall of Sound
The Land and Its People
Le Chat Makes Room for Film
Southern Comedy on the Skids
The Written Word
Dead Confederate releases second album in August Vennie Deas Moore’s Lowcountry portraits show at the Lucy Craft Laney Downtown black box theater makes room for indie film room The Beards of Comedy aren’t your typical Southerners “A Voice in the Pasture”
5 7 21 21 22 25 29 31 35 37 38 39 39 41
volume three issue four
smatterings discover downtown, meet your d(a)2 chefspeak : sean wight at frog hollow tavern beers locals like : cool off with a good brew pipeline : july’s highlights art : willie cole at the morris museum of art music : rockshow booking music : otep on the flip side : bleeding counterfeit and science friction saturday market : katrina gray cut the fat : part 11 past time : old davidson school in progress : the emporium part v the last word
on the cover: fleurs de fiesta by lisa j. marks
/ july 2010 / verge
verge / july 2010 /
verge publisher Matt Plocha x215 editor Stacey Eidson x206 pipeline editor Amy Christian x205 staff writer Alice Wynn x316 Creative Director Jason Craig x307 Graphic Designer Dave Muñoz x213 photographers Katie McGuire Chris Selmek operations manager Maggie Lott x201 verge is printed on 50% recycled stock. It may be recycled further, please do your part. contact us 706.738.1142 email@example.com advertising erin.schuetze@ metrospirit.com got a story tip? firstname.lastname@example.org mail 700 Broad St Augusta GA 30901 submit your ideas email@example.com
VERGELIVE.COM verge is published monthly by Portico Publications, Ltd. and distributed free throughout metro Augusta. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers. © Portico Publications, Ltd. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Reader correspondence, photographs and editorial submissions are welcome but verge assumes no responsibility for the return of materials.
smatterings / notes from the publisher “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” Yogi Berra
Augusta is working on a plan for growth, but where will it take us and how are you involved? What is the plan? What is growth? Who plans it and why? Who benefits from that planned growth? Why? In other words: do we have a plan, or are we going to end up someplace else? Growth is defined in noun form as the act or process, or a manner of growing: development; gradual increase. The size or stage of a development. The transition from a simpler stage to a more complex stage. In adjective form, it is the action of denoting a business, industry or equity security that grows or is expected to grow in value over a long period of time. With growth comes gain. That gain can be good, bad or indifferent. Either way you look at it, it is growth, forward movement. It could possibly be a gain for a specific individual, organization, business or neighborhood. Growth can impact a community, city, county, state and nation, each hopefully benefiting along the way. As with any type of growth, you may be directly or indirectly impacted. Depending on the level of involvement you want to give, the benefits are satisfying, either personally or financially. How you are impacted all depends on what level of involvement you’re willing to put in. Some like to get their hands dirty and get involved in the grassroots area. Others like the high-profile media attention attached to it, while others might like to work behind the scenes. I myself dig deep with the things I am passionate about: community building. I, like you I am sure, also do not worry about who’s making money or not on certain areas concerning growth. I do, however, worry about responsibility of that growth. You can either be the guy in the ditch digging or you can be the person who owns the land that is getting the ditch dug. Along the way there are many levels in getting a simple ditch dug. You
cover artist: lisa j. marks
“Photography is a form of meditation for me.
First, there is the stillness and steady breathing required when focusing without a tripod on the microscopic and beautifully abstract elements of flora. There are the Zen moments when I am alone and isolated, dangling from a boulder above frigid water, trusting my intuition as I compose a shot. Creating allows me to feel connected with something bigger and completely outside myself, yet at the same time that which is so very much a part of me. When art is forefront in my life, I am a better person… healthier, happier, aware, more balanced and energized and more in-tune and intentional in my living. Finally, through photography I am able to reveal that which often goes unnoticed and hopefully encourage others to look deeper.
Lisa J. Marks’ works can be seen at Zimmerman Gallery | 1006 Broad Street FLICKER.COM/ PHOTOS/THEADAGIODREAM
have the survey crew, the architect and designer, the banker, the workforce, the management of the workforce, the suppliers of the tools of the workforce, the work crew, transportation of the work crew, the person or people managing the ditch being dug, the paperwork people, licensing and inspection. As you can see, in order to get a simple ditch dug, there can be a lot of people directly or indirectly impacted each with their own talent or resource. Now imagine a city that is in growth mode (Augusta). There are many people that live in and around this community that are being directly or indirectly impacted with many great projects starting or being completed in our community. Some are planners, some are visionary. Some are financers while some are the actual workers. No matter how you look at it, you are probably being impacted in one form or another. Your level of involvement will depend on how great or little that impact will have or be. I have always said that if you do not like the way things are, get involved and try to change it. If you choose not to get involved, please refrain from complaining (online) because it will be the same tomorrow. It’s easy to be a Monday morning quarterback when the outcome is different from what you expected. It is a completely different story when you get involved in the process and understand why decisions are being made. It provides one with better insight as to the specifics of that growth. Speaking of growth, we hope that you have noticed the new verge newspaper boxes out on the streets of Augusta. That is growth, and we hope the decision to have newspaper boxes has a positive impact on you and your ability to find our newspaper. We continue to provide you with great editorial coverage about our community and how you can get involved or deepen your involvement with it. Some of the highlights in this month’s issue that you might want to check out include a Home
for a New Economy, a new “green” home at Hammond’s Ferry. Check out the new home of Wierhouse Creative on Broad Street. Read the one-on-one interview with the band OTEP performing at Sky City in July (also you might want to check out the cover band Nimrod a Countdown to American Idiot, Red, White & Green Party. Also that night False Flag and Bleeding Counterfeit will perform). There is an interview with the restaurant owner/chef of Frog Hollow on Broad Street. I have not had a chance to go yet, but I am hearing great things on the street about their offering. Does anyone know the history of that section of town and why it was referred to as Frog Hollow? We would love to hear from you. As you can see, growth comes in many shapes, forms and sizes. Some are more of a grand scale and some are not. Some are high profile and some are not. Some will have an immediate impact on our community and some may not. Either way, I commend the folks that are involved in the process and look forward to helping promote the community that we are growing together. I encourage you to get more involved in the process of growing our community. We all have our very own unique talents and resources that will have an impact on the sustainable growth we are all seeking for the Augusta community. See you downtown at the Augusta Market at the River on Saturday mornings from 8 am to 2 pm. Matt
advertiser index 1102 Back Bar 14 1102 Bar & Grill 26 3 Monkeys Fine Gifts 8 8th Street Tobacco 32 AB Beverage 42 Al’s Family Restaurant 6 Augusta Canal Authority 34 Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau 6 The Book Tavern 18 Brigan’s Land of Enchantments 28 Casella Eye Center 30 Corey Smith 34 Curiosity Shop 8 Du Jour 43 Duncan Law Firm 28 Edge Salon and Spa 4 Elduets Treasures 28 Episcopal Day School 30 Fort Gordon 6 Grossman and Wilson 16 Halo Salon and Spa 36 Health Central 8 Historic Augusta 28 Inksanity 18 The Loft 10 Manuel’s Bread Café 30 Nacho Mama’s 18 New Moon Café 36 Ready to Wear Again 34 Re-Fresh 16 Rock Bottom Music 2 Sanford, Bruker & Banks 14 Sarah’s Pet Palace 6 Saturday Market at the River 24 Soy Noodle House 20 Stillwater Tap Room 38 Sunrise Grille 14 Vintage Ooollee 30 Windsor Jewelers 44 Zimmerman Gallery 22
/ july 2010 / verge
verge / july 2010 /
discover downtown dine
Du Jour Fine Foods
Perry & Company
The boutique known as Shoppe 3130 opened just over a year ago to raise money for the nonprofit organization of the same name. While that mission continues, the shop has also attracted a diverse clientele interested in the vintage clothing they offer. “Vintage is definitely in right now,” said store clerk Kadie Wasden. “That’s why we have to charge a little more for the older items, but all the items in here are either donated or handmade.” Shirts are generally only $3, while skirts and pants are $5. All money earned by the ministry goes towards running career development classes and a job resource center for women in need, as well as outfitting them with professional clothes for job interviews. The store is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Anyone interested in donating or volunteering may visit SHOPPE3130.ORG
Du Jour Fine Foods celebrates their one year anniversary this month with an expansion of their business. Right now, owner Sean Skala admits the Brooklyn-style cafe has a to-go focus, though people are welcome to stay and eat. Soon, he hopes to open a full-service cafe complete with an all new menu and waitstaff. Of course, Du Jour will continue to serve local favorites such as the Sweet Success, a turkey, bacon, avocado and Swiss cheese sandwich topped with locally produced honey mustard, as well as salads and other healthy options. “We have 25 to 30 different sandwiches and they all get ordered,” said Skala. “There’s nothing on the menu that we don’t find ourselves making at least once per day.” Du Jour is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday. DUJOURFINEFOODS.COM
With over 15 years at their Broad Street location, Soul Bar is an Augusta fixture that attracts locals as well as tourists. There always seems to be something going on, be it ’80s Night, P.O.P Life, Tacky Prom night or The Smokey James DJ Collective, playing a variety of hip-hop, soul and funk every Thursday. Not as well known, but still popular among the bar’s loyal following, is happy hour from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. every day featuring $1 Pabst and High Life beers, $2 12-ounce beers and $3 liquor drinks or shots. Customers must be over 21, and guys pay a $5 cover charge Friday, and covers apply when a band is playing. To find out about theme nights and performances coming up at the Soul Bar, visit SOULBAR.COM.
Perry Gunnells has over 28 years of experience hairstyling, and though his is the only name on the sign, it is the team of Perry, Wendell, Harry and Lance who delight in providing the best hair care to Augusta residents. Gunnells particularly enjoys helping ladies spruce up for big days like proms and weddings. “We’re really not a walk-in shop,” said Gunnells. “We take a lot of appointments and referrals, and our customers are usually so happy that they keep coming back.” The salon offers a wide variety of services, including cuts for both men and women, perms, waxing and tanning beds. A full hair coloring can cost upwards of $65, but most services are affordable and tailored to the individual. Call 706.724.0977 for appointments.
1026 Broad Street
1028 Broad Street
984 Broad Street
915 Broad Street
article and photos by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK
trey kennedy / meet your d(a)² board The Downtown Augusta Alliance is a member-based nonprofit group of downtown business owners and residents joining together to promote downtown Augusta as a destination and neighborhood. Over the next several months, verge will introduce you to each of the 2010 Board of Directors. David Hutchison currently serves as president. Name: Trey Kennedy Position: d(a)2 Treasurer Day job: Georgia Bank and Trust Banking Officer How long have you lived in Augusta: All my life. I was in Athens for a few years for school, but I love it here in Augusta. When I was in Athens I became attracted to the downtown atmosphere, and I would like to see Augusta have the same type of feel to it. I feel d(a)2 shares the same vision. What does the Downtown Augusta Alliance mean to you: It’s a group of individuals and businesses that share the same goal of the further revitalization of downtown. I see a lot of potential for it, and I hope this organization can be one of the contributing factors that helps downtown Augusta become everything it can be. Why did you decide to become a member: I had volunteered with Main Street Augusta and was involved with planning and logistics for First Friday, and through that met some of the folks who would go on to become d(a)2. Volunteering is where I got my first taste of downtown Augusta. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to it growing up, but now that I’ve seen what it can be I’d like to be involved in developing it. I’ve been involved with d(a)2 ever since their inception in 2007, and I plan to stay involved for many more years if I can.
What do you see as your role on the board: I’m involved of course with bookkeeping and budgeting. I’m also very interested in trying to establish our online presence. It’s a work in progress and should be finalized very soon, but it’s something I’m trying to be involved in. When you’re talking to someone, it’s easy to just direct them to a website, and that’s some info we’d like to get out. What do you have planned the future: In August we’ve got Discover Downtown, which has been very popular in the past and I believe this is the third time we’ve done it. We’ve had a lot of success with it inviting people to come downtown and receive “passports” full of coupons and goodies they can use at a number of the great businesses we have downtown. What is your favorite thing about the downtown area: I like the atmosphere. I like the familiarity of the faces of the business owners, and being able to walk into their shops and say hello. I like the community, and I see a lot of potential for it to grow. What are some of your favorite places in downtown Augusta: I love Nacho Mama’s, Boll Weevil and the Cotton Patch; I probably end up at one of those restaurants at least once a week. Oh, and definitely the new Soy Noodle House. If there were a chain, it’d be off it. For more information on how to get involved in the Downtown Augusta Alliance, visit dasquared.com or catch Trey downtown. interview and photo by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK
/ july 2010 / verge
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verge / july 2010 /
faces of downtown / rick keuroglian
building olde town by building relationships You don’t have to be in sales to understand, but you do need to know how to sell. To sell, you need a gift for gab and you need to know your product — the competitor’s product isn’t worth mentioning. The salesman asks questions — lots of questions — to crawl in your head and see himself standing next to the 1986 powder blue, beat-up truck telling you stories — lots of stories — and he hears your laughter in your ears, senses the wall drop and then he opens the door. Today, the air conditioning works. Rick Keuroglian, Olde Town Neighborhood Association president, has a different approach. “Selling is about building relationships with people,” he said about building trust through relationships, “by being myself.” He was a salesman. He sold medical equipment. He was a star salesman, won numerous awards and enjoyed a salary that matched his efforts. But eventually, the money and accolades were not enough for Keuroglian. He desired a more fulfilling career. “I want to develop people and places,” he said. “It is not about who I am. I want to leave a legacy. Not a legacy about me, but a place.” He grew up in a working-class household. His father was a bus driver and his mother a hairdresser. There were times the family needed food stamps to survive, so he can relate to the less fortunate. When the opportunity arose to come to Augusta and help revive a forgotten community, he took it. “I came to Augusta,” he said, “because First Pres was looking for someone to direct a historic church with a downtown vision.” He is now the director of community development for First Presbyterian Church of Augusta. When he arrived, he encountered a lot of people who were pessimistic about developing the area. “When I was given a tour, we drove real slow, and I thought, ‘This place has been let go,’” he said.
of the neighborhood. “I decided to rent in Olde Town and fell in love with it.” The house the Keuroglians live in was once owned by George Sanken, a German immigrant who started out as a grocery store clerk and eventually became a partner in the store. He then invested his money in property, became a dairy farmer and developed strong ties in the community. Keuroglian is inspired by Sanken’s story. He has found old milk bottles and Sanken ice cream trays on the property. He said that, “if you dig in the backyard, you can find twisted and broken glass from the 1916 fire.” Olde Town, or “Augusta’s first neighborhood” as it is often called, dates back to the 1800s. In 1916, a fire burned a large portion of the neighborhood and, afterward, many of the residents chose not to return, aiding the deterioration of the area. Today, the neighborhood is approximately 75 percent rental properties, according to Keuroglian, who wants to transition the rental properties into real estate for its residents. The idea being that when one is a renter and not a land owner, one is, in a sense, in a state of slavery. Keuroglian believes that by transitioning renters into property owners, the community will grow and be sustained for the long term, because residents will be more invested in their neighborhood. There is already a “strong community of property owners downtown,” he said, and the idea is to expand and grow that community in Olde Town.
“Look at the character of this place,” he
“You can walk to anywhere you want to be,” he said, expounding on the benefits of downtown property ownership. He walks his children to school. They attend Heritage Academy. He said he is proud his children attend Heritage because it is
said, speaking of the history and beauty
“a school that impacts the less fortunate.”
But he also saw the potential of Olde Town.
The private school has a sliding scale for tuition. Keuroglian said it is a pillar in the community and that, when all the “pillars are back up, the people will come back.” A two-year member of the association, Keuroglian is a dedicated resident of Olde Town. He continually challenges himself to ensure he is doing all he can to leave a legacy: “Am I really fully invested? Faithfully and fully present?” “I chaired a tour of rooms which brought people back downtown to see the beauty. I recognize I can’t carry it [the burden] alone,” he joked, referencing his favorite fiction, “The Lord of the Rings,” by J. R. R. Tolkien. “I am not willing to let go of this.” “I started a Bible study for kids in the neighborhood and, by reaching kids, it gives you a great opportunity to meet their parents,” he continued. “When you meet people, the stereotypes fall down.”
Keuroglian is pursuing a master’s degree through Wofford College. He sees Olde Town as “a place in transition.” “I took a huge pay cut to come down here and it’s the greatest decision I ever made,” he said. He is not selling Augusta a lemon, or even lemonade, given that he is a resident of Olde Town. He is selling the dream of a finer community, maybe even with children on sidewalks, in the high summer sun selling fresh-squeezed lemonade. Their sign is cardboard, cut out from a shoebox. In permanent marker, written in the unsteady scrawl of a child, complete with multiple crossouts and redos, is “LEMONADE ¢50.” by PM ROGERS photo KATIE MCGUIRE
10 / july 2010 / verge
verge / july 2010 / 11
front porch / chad crews: father, educator, magician
watch as he causes students to read shakespeare… voluntarily! chandelier looms over a small circular table in the center of the room. There is an overly realistic portrait of a young girl on one wall, and a very long horizontal mirror on the other. There is a part of the room blocked off from view by large, foldable wooden panels, not to mention a nice collection of shrunken heads. When I visited Chad’s website, I assumed he was going to be more of the card trick, pull-a-rabbit-out-of-a-tophat type. Suffice it to say, Chad is not your standard street illusionist. In fact, his preferred performance venue is a school auditorium. You see, Crews’ primary mission as a magician is not to merely dazzle or dupe, though he does both very well. He uses his skills to bring to life for audiences a world underappreciated but timelessly enchanting: the world of books. Crews performs well over a hundred shows each year at elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and libraries. His aim is to interest students in the classic works of literature. Students who attend Crews’ shows leave with not just starry eyes, but often with the library’s copy of such works as Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” or Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” He accomplishes this in his programs by bringing great stories to life. For example, in “Amontillado,” one of the characters finds himself chained up in a cave. Crews raises the real-life stakes of his presentation and chains himself up as well, effectively demonstrating Fortunato’s plight and the tension of Poe’s classic short story.
To the misdirected eye, Chad Crews would seem a prime example of the “everyman.” A former teacher of Earth science, biology and literature, Chad lives in picturesque North Augusta suburbia with his wife and two children. He is the pastor at Long Creek Baptist Church in Warrenton. He enjoys the works of authors Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. He routinely hangs himself upside-down in a straitjacket. If you visited his home, his beautiful wife Lindsay would answer the door. She would welcome you inside and you would see the living room with flat-screen TV, the kitchen with an open soda can on the counter. Upstairs you would visit the nursery — baby blue — and see the Crews’ newborn boy wriggling idly in his crib. Then you would stop. You would stop because you have noticed the dim, red glow emitting from the adjacent room. The man has his own magic parlor. I met Chad Crews in this room. He was with his 4-yearold daughter, Reagan, who enjoys listening to spooky music while her father works. Reagan leaves with her mother to watch a movie and I take in my surroundings. The room is lit entirely by candles, which throw dark shadows across the maroon walls. A low-hanging
Crews attempts to bring not only great stories to life, but also their creators. “Authors of Mystery and Horror,” one of Chad’s three current programs for middle and high school students, focuses on the lives and works of Edgar Allen Poe, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini. (Houdini, it turns out, wrote several books and dearly wished to be remembered as a writer.) Chad describes “Authors” for a promo on his website: “For four of them, their stories have made them into legends. For the fifth, his very life has become a legend… Take a journey to the other side, where the stories come to life, and the life of those who created them are revealed. Yet sometimes, fact is stranger than fiction.” Chad shares a story about the relationship between Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes) and Houdini, who were great friends for a time. Houdini often sought guidance from Doyle for help writing and publishing his books. One incident, however, put them on different sides of a heated argument: whether or not supernatural creatures and powers even existed. Houdini was very close to his mother and, when she passed, Doyle suggested to his friend that he attend a séance. Houdini was an avowed skeptic, but he decided to try it anyway. The spiritualist Houdini saw gave him a warm and loving message from his mother, who sent her best Christmas wishes. Two things about this encounter struck Houdini as a bit
off, however. First of all, the message was in English, and his mother spoke Hungarian; second, he thought it strange that his Jewish mother would send him Christmas greetings. From this moment on, Houdini dedicated most of his life to revealing the frauds of those who tried to disenfranchise others under the guise of “supernatural” powers. Doyle, a stout believer in fairies and all things unexplainable, didn’t stand for this, and the two spent much of the rest of their lives trying to debunk one other. In an age in which vampires have become surly teenagers, Frankenstein a cartoon character and Sherlock Holmes an action star, Crews tries to bring readers back to the beginning. He reminds students that the best special effects, characters and elaborate settings come from the imaginations of readers and writers. An avid reader himself, Crews’ interest in magic was sparked by his love for gothic and fantasy writers, from Houdini and Poe biographies, and from a magic book he bought for fifty cents when he was in high school. Says Crews, “I tell my audiences that good readers learn new things, meet new people and go on adventures. And that’s true for all books. Since I read Mark Wilson’s ‘Cyclopedia of Magic’ at 17, I’ve done just that.” Crews ends his shows with a disclaimer about his displays: He does not have supernatural powers (nor does he particularly believe in any, beyond what’s in the Bible). However, he says, “Some things are hard to explain.” As he speaks, a small bell in the corner of the room rings. With no explanation, I look back at Crews, who twiddles his thumbs and shows a hint of a smile. More information about Chad Crews and his educational programs can be found at CHADCREWSMAGIC.COM. by MARCUS PLUMLEE photos KATIE MCGUIRE
12 / july 2010 / verge
tourism/more tourists are seeking augusta
but what we have to offer may be disappearing
“We’ve lost almost 50 percent of our government funding from them over the last three years. And we’re hoping that will eventually be reinstated.” - nancy glaser, executive direcotr of the augusta museum of history
verge / july 2010 / 13
vergelive.com According to Barry White, president and CEO at the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau, tourism in Augusta is doing extraordinarily well. Not only was 2009 Augusta’s most visited year ever, with rates exceeding those of many larger and smaller communities across the country, but the rate of 2010 hotel rentals is already up one percent over what it was at this time last year. “Tourism means new money coming into our community,” said White. “It has a similar effect to new jobs. When new people come in, whether on vacation or for a business trip, they’re spending money the entire time they’re here, which supports local jobs and businesses. It is also supporting local government because they pay taxes on everything they consume.” The Convention and Visitors Bureau has conservatively projected that 2010 visits will hold flat with those of 2009. However, much of the attraction of the Augusta area depends on nine areas of interest, including the Augusta Museum of History, the Morris Museum of Art, the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History, Fort Discovery, the Boyhood Home of President Woodrow Wilson, Ezekiel Harris House, Meadow Garden, Augusta Canal and Phinizy Swamp. “These places are open year-round and they want people through their doors,” said White. “We market and promote Augusta as a visitor destination, and these places are what make us special, unique and different.” Unfortunately, due to financial difficulties, the government has threatened to take away many of the funds supporting these hallmarks of Augusta tourism.
“Because of the budget crisis in Georgia, the government was threatening to end the Georgia Council for the Arts, and many organizations including the Morris receive grant money from them,” said Nicole McLeod, director of marketing and public relations at the Morris Museum of Art. “This would have been a devastating blow to the arts, not only for the Morris Museum but for organizations all over the state.” “At one time, we were getting one third of our budget from city-county government, but now it’s close to 17 percent and everything else is private donations,” said Nancy Glaser, executive director of the Augusta Museum of History. “We’ve lost almost 50 percent of our government funding from them over the last three years. And we’re hoping that will eventually be reinstated.” These museums are not alone, but they are among the most affected by the current economy. The Museum of History in particular has had to cut two days off their hours of operation, and is now receiving less money from the AugustaRichmond County government than will pay their utility bill alone. “We had to make some major cuts in February, which unfortunately included laying off a lot of our staff and cutting our hours down to Thursday through Sunday,” said Glaser. “The issue with being open is that we have to hire staff to maintain the museum, and right now there’s no money in the budget to hire staff for Tuesdays and Wednesdays. If any more comes in, that will be the first thing that I look at changing.”
or even increasing. Both the Morris Museum of Art and the Augusta History Museum also continue to attract out-of-town residents both near and far to put dollars into the local economy. “We know there are people who have said that this museum is why they came to Augusta,” said McLeod. “There was a couple from Charlotte, N.C., who came to Augusta just because they found the Morris website and liked the way it looked, and we wish there were more people like that. And there were two women from Wisconsin last year who traveled to Augusta just to see the Jonathan Green exhibit we had on display.” “People have come for the James Brown exhibit from all over the world, including Ireland, Spain and Germany,” said Glaser. “Also, the local community has been enamored with the statues on loan from the Golf Hall of Fame that are set up in our rotunda so that everyone may get a look at them.” Possibly exciting further interest is a law signed by Gov. Sonny Perdue on June 2 officially transferring six statues of Masters golfers to the city of Augusta. At the same time, the Morris
Museum has seen a 38 percent increase in museum tours and a 76 percent increase in program attendance since they changed out most of their displayed collection in February. “The reinstallation of the permanent collection helped get people excited to come back to the Morris and see what they’ve been missing,” said McLeod. “We have about the same number of programs as last year, if not more.” The survival of these institutions may be essential to Augusta tourism, but both Glaser and McLeod are hopeful that the worst of the damage is over. “We’ve had to make adjustments to the way we do business, but we’re not alone in that,” said Glaser. “My feeling right now is we are out of crisis mode because of the changes we have already made. The cutbacks in hours, staff and the amount of time we spend helping researchers have to be maintained, but our mission is unchanged.” by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK photos eric johnson
community / tee center rising
Interestingly, museum attendance has not suffered with the cuts, holding even with 2009
The new Trade, Exhibition and Event (TEE) Center broke ground Wednesday, June 16, at 11 a.m., in a lot adjacent to the Marriott Hotel with Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver and nearly the entire Augusta-Richmond County Commission in attendance. The site for the official groundbreaking was strategically chosen over a foundational support for the new center, scheduled to be complete in 2012 and connect seamlessly with the city-owned conference center within the Marriott Hotel. “This is a very exciting day for the city,” said Copenhaver. “I know a lot of people have worked very long and very hard to bring this project to fruition, and today the entire city can celebrate that effort.” “When I came on board, we vowed to do all we could to move Augusta forward, and we have reached that goal today,” said Commissioner Corey Johnson. “I feel this is the largest milestone we had to meet in improving the entire city.”
When finished, the complex will be more than 200,000 square feet and include 40,000 square feet of exhibit hall space, a ballroom, a kitchen, a loading dock and storage space. Copenhaver also commented that this $38 million project is only part of a $340 million investment within a 5-mile radius in downtown, including the proposed TEE Center parking lot, the library reopening, the new dental school and more. He cited a Brookings Institution report that lists Augusta as having the seventh most resilient local economy in the nation. “Everything we are doing right now is very impressive for a city of our size, and you don’t see many others doing that at this point,” said Copenhaver. “Progress is being made throughout the city, and we thank everyone here for being a part of it.” story and photo by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK
14 / july 2010 / verge
Sanford, Bruker & Banks
Visit us online at www.sbbinsurance.com
Back Bar Entertainment JULY 2010 Friday July 2 & July 30 The Mason Jars
Friday July 9 Electric Voodoo
Friday July 16 Tony Williams Band
Friday July 23 The Endalls
Every Thursday Guitar Hero Get On Stage Like A ROCK STAR!!!
verge / july 2010 / 15
design /wonder twin powers activate
alex wier and daniel stewart combine to create great design You’ve seen the billboards (“Donuts? Are you kidding me?”), the event posters (especially that Venice is Sinking screen print you wish was hanging in your room), the campaign designs (I’m Board; Slap Fives, Not Wives). You’ve seen the packing peanuts come down from the windows at 1124 Broad Street. And you may have been lucky enough to explore the interior, chock full of vibrant posters, plastic Santas and numerous Addy awards.
But behind every Emerald City is a Wizard — and, for Wierhouse, two. verge is happy to introduce you to the two brilliant (and sort of wacky) masterminds behind Wierhouse, downtown’s extremely clever design firm: Alex Wier and Daniel Stewart.
and small agencies. I’ve learned a lot about what to do and, more importantly, what not to do. I’ve always been creative. It’s a bonus to be able to do it for a living.
DANIEL: About halfway through college, I knew that I had
VERGE: What attracted you to creative design? For us, it started with a love of music and skateboarding. Album covers and skateboard graphics were fascinating to us. We also grew up loving puzzles. A lot of graphic design is solving a problem. We are pseudo-artists. We feel more like mechanics than artists. Every now and then, you run into someone that’s both (like Leonard Zimmerman [a Wierhouse employee]) but, for us, we love solving a client’s problem or need through creative and graphic design. Also, it never gets old. We have clients ranging from liquor stores to hospitals. It’s all new, all the time. It’s also interesting to design within the “rules” or standards of a client’s brand. There are lots of challenges there. But that’s also why we do our screen-printed posters — almost no rules. Our posters are like design therapy.
VERGE: When did you decide to make this your livelihood?
to do something with design even though I had no training. I started designing fake albums and posters for friends as a joke. I managed to graduate and land a job at a small creative firm. I kind of had a knack for it and knew it was the right move.
cool people work with us. We’ve got an awesome team. The worst thing is the fleas.
VERGE: What has been your favorite project/ campaign? It’s tough to pick a favorite. Our campaign “Listen to your Heart” for University Hospital was really fun because it was a fun idea, and they went for it. Best of all, it won a regional Gold Addy for campaign. We’re proud of that one.
VERGE: How did Wierhouse come to be? DANIEL: Alex started the company in 2005. He had been a marketing director for a real estate company. Once he secured several clients, he decided to go out on his own. Alex and I developed a competitive friendship over the next couple of years. From 2005-2007, we were both winning the majority of the advertising awards in town. We also became fans of each other’s work. In 2008, rather than going out on my own and starting a competing firm, I became a partner at Wierhouse. The Wonder Twins activated. We’ve had success and have grown to five people in two years.
ALEX: I started out as a copy writer in Atlanta. I picked up
VERGE: What is the best thing about being the “principals” of The House? The worst thing?
design on the job, which is kind of unique. There aren’t too many designers copywriters out there. I’ve worked at medium
The best thing about being principals of The House is having
VERGE: You’ve got a very kitschy, 1950s style going on (in a good way!). We are inspired by classic design. We’re not big on trends. Editing and keeping things simple is tough. I guess things were just simpler back then. Paul Rand is probably our favorite designer. He’s the master.
VERGE: What everyday object inspires you? Porkchop inspires us. If you meet him, you’ll know why.
Visit WIERHOUSE.COM for more information on the design team and their work, or stop by 1124 Broad Street, downtown Augusta.
16 / july 2010 / verge
Affordability, flexibility, efficiency, functionality and style: These are the things todayâ€™s homeowners are seeking. And these are the things that award-winning designer and author Marianne Cusato had in mind when she created the Home for the New Economy. She introduced the home at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas to rave reviews. In partnership with the Leyland Alliance, the homes are now being built across the country. The first Southeastern Home for the New Economy held its grand opening at Hammondâ€™s Ferry in North Augusta last month, bringing new ideas about residential living to the CSRA. Marianne Cusato spoke to verge about bringing the home to the Augusta area, why it makes sense for Hammondâ€™s Ferry and her predictions about homeownersâ€™ changing needs in todayâ€™s economic climate.
VERGE: How did the Hammondâ€™s Ferry project come together?
CUSATO: I have worked with the master developers, the Leyland Alliance, for several years and they love the Home for the New Economy. They started building in Warwick Grove in New York and thought it would be perfect for Hammondâ€™s Ferry.
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Our homes are designed to fit within communities. The principle is sizing: how we live in space, use the rooms we have and think about what it connects to â€” not just square footage, but what is beyond that. We can live comfortably in a smaller space, especially when we can connect out. Hammondâ€™s Ferry supports the plan and design and what the homes are intended to do.
VERGE: How many prototypes were there for the Home for the New Economy?
CUSATO: This version of the house is an adaptation of the original design. I started designing it a year and a half ago and the original plan was 1,600 square feet. As I adjusted and tweaked, room sizes and details changed, but the overall idea and layout are based on the original idea. It continues to develop as we talk to builders and homeowners and ask what we can add to make it better. Weâ€™ve supported and encouraged homeowners and builders to see it, and they want to build it. They can tweak and adjust it and make it perfect. You can get started and develop ideas and there is always something someone wants to personalize. We wanted different modifications and adjustments for different areas.
VERGE: How did you come up with this idea? One day you woke up and thoughtâ€Ś
CUSATO: I woke up one day in the fall of 2009 VERGE: What made Hammondâ€™s Ferry right
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for this home? Did you visit the area prior to beginning development?
CUSATO: I havenâ€™t been to Hammondâ€™s Ferry, but I have known about it for several years, and the principles are perfect for the home: walkability, streetscapes, a feeling of place when you arrive. This design fits in well as part of a greater whole.
and said, â€œThis world is crashing down, and we have to start living in homes in different ways.â€? How do we downsize and allow for multigenerational living, with elderly parents or kids who come home because they have no jobs? I looked at how to develop a home to adapt to these different situations. I was looking at sustainability; something easy to maintain and keep cool and that would be the
â€œOur homes are designed to fit within communities.â€? marianne cusato
verge / july 2010 / 17
living / hammond’s ferry builds home
for the new economy
architect brings affordable home ownership to reality VERGE: Who is the target homeowner for this house?
CUSATO: This overall project of Homes for the New Economy nationwide is everyone. There are multiple life phases. This one is for a younger market. Warwick Grove is for 55 and up. It works for all ends of the spectrum. Typically, they run $100 per square foot to build. It depends on location, land costs and level of finish. We are all over. We are in Canada, on the East Coast doing very well, in Texas, South Dakota, Tennessee and New York.
VERGE: Are people finally catching on to not living above their means, and if so, how does this home help them?
CUSATO: They are. The homeowner in the right size. It was about keeping the plan as open as possible.
VERGE: How does the Home for the New Economy differ from other new houses?
CUSATO: We add a lot of programs into a small space. We’ve done things like how space feels to live in, and the sequence of spaces. There is a point of entry, which maybe some houses don’t have when they downsize. The practicality of it is it gives you a chance to arrive, take your coat off and it’s also a point of “now you’re in the house.” The living room and dining room have open floor plans with the kitchen connected and defined in its own space, so it’s completely connected to the whole house. We used a square footprint for the front of the house and an Lshaped connection for the diagonal line of sight through the kitchen. There are windows on all the walls. This allows the home to get natural daylight as many times a day as possible. Often, new construction only has windows in the front and back, but no peripheral vision. So here, any time the sun is out, you get natural daylight at all different times of the day and the space feels different. It activates the space.
VERGE: What are the environmental and economical advantages of this design?
CUSATO: The open windows on multiple walls create cross ventilation. That reduces the power bill. In terms of materials, I have a strong belief in low-maintenance material as a perfect balance between no and full maintenance. We use material like Hardie board, which is rot resistant, termite resistant and fire resistant. It is solid material and looks like wood, but it’s sturdier and you only need to paint it every 15 years. It has the look and feel of a nice, traditional wood home, but the durability is greater than that. The materials we are looking at are as durable as possible within a budget and easy to maintain and operate. For sustainability, the greenest building you can build is one that someone loves enough to maintain over time. People in communities like Hammond’s Ferry respond well to maintaining and keeping a yard up.
first one in Warwick Grove is moving out of a 5,000-square-foot home that got too big for her. People are starting to recognize that when their resources were abundant, it didn’t matter, but now there’s a real need to live within means. Sometimes it’s hard to do if something doesn’t fit your needs or is not something you are proud of. The challenge is building homes that people are proud of and have things they want, and they can live the lifestyle they want and are able to afford. It is a lot easier to come back to reality and be happy, and that links back to community. by ALISON RICHTER
the hammond’s ferry perspective a few moments with will greene Will Greene heads neighborhood sales at Hammond’s Ferry. A certified new homes specialist, he is part of the team of developers that worked with the Leyland Alliance, which develops new residential communities, to bring the Home for the New Economy to Hammond’s Ferry. “Marianne Cusato is very well known and has a national following,” he says. “We knew of her years ago. When this concept was introduced and she brought it to us, we thought it was a fantastic idea to have as another example of green building in the Augusta area.” In late 2009, builder David Blair came onboard to put the architectural plan in motion. He also made a few changes to the blueprint in order to customize the 1,800square-foot house to Southern climates. “You can build this house as many times as you want, and change the architectural style a little each time so that it is not a copy,” says
Greene. “It can be built over and over again as the market needs it.” Because it is an open-market listing, the Home for the New Economy at Hammond’s Ferry was for sale at press time, with several clients interested in the finished product. “The price is comparable to Hammond’s Ferry for square footage costs,” says Greene. “We do 90 percent or more custom homes, and the most important thing about this house is that it is comparable, even though they use more expensive material for energy savings. All of the houses here are built to architectural standards and extras for our neighborhoods.” Hammond’s Ferry is now six years old, with 83 homeowners living in the community and a total of 700 expected to eventually reside there. The Home for the New Economy is the ultimate neighborhood design, says Greene, not only because of its size and cost, but also because of its efficiency.
“We were able to bring down the cost because of the size, but there is no sacrifice on quality,” he says. “This house offers a young person or new employee to the area the opportunity to move here, or an empty nester to downsize. The firstfloor master bedroom is a hit. It is good for any age bracket and any income — we can get them in the house.” Green building is the way of the future, he says. “This home is all electric and very energy-efficient. Most of our builders go with thicker materials to absorb heat and cold, and the house is inspected and certified for proper sealing so that no air goes in or out. Homes today are built better and to higher standards than they were four or five years ago.” by ALISON RICHTER
18 / july 2010 / verge
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verge / july 2010 / 19
music /wall of sound
dead confederate releases second album in august
was worthless, so I took it to Jay’s and they got it working, but I had no amp. My friend and I took a practice amp with a speaker blown out, took the guts out, took car stereo speakers and built a box for it. When I brought it home, my dad said, “We’ll get you an amp.” I sold my go-cart and got an amp.
Growing up in Augusta, Hardy Morris was a pretty typical teenager: listening to music, active in sports. Everything changed the day he picked up a guitar. Now he’s the frontman for Dead Confederate, whose second album, “Sugar,” will be released on August 24 on TAO Recordings/Old Flame. The band, which includes bassist Brantley Senn, drummer Jason Scarboro, guitarist Walker Howle and keyboardist John Watkins, is based in Athens but live mostly on the road.
show booked. I was very conscious of it. There has to be a good flow and order to the track list, and, yes, people probably don’t think about that early on.
VERGE: You come from a musical family. [Hardy’s mother, Lillie Morris, is a painter whose work is exhibited in area galleries; she
“If you’d told me back then that someday I
out. Brantley had all the parts written, and
is also half of the musical duo Solstice.] When
would be touring overseas with Dinosaur Jr.,
we learned them, added things and changed
did you know that music would be your life?
playing festivals in Belgium and selling tickets
some of the structures. It was a different form
and albums in Holland and Paris, I would’ve
of songwriting, especially Brantley writing
HARDY: It was never a moment that I knew; it
called you a liar for sure,” says Morris. “It’s been
everything himself. It came out cool. We all
was just any time I took a step back and looked
such a slow progression over a long period of
liked what we heard.
at what I was doing, it seemed to be music. When I was younger, I did the same as a lot
time that it’s not too big of a shocker, but it’s interesting to wind up truly being your life. It’s
VERGE: Did the demos change much when
of kids — I played sports. But when I picked
pretty surreal at moments, but it’s something
the band recorded the final arrangements?
up a guitar, it all fell by the wayside. I always wanted to play, and I am always still working at
we work for and it’s a reward, too.”
HARDY: The way people play has an impact
it and exploring it. I see music. I write music.
Morris spoke to Verge about the making
on the end result. The way he did it was
I listen to music. I remember going downtown
of “Sugar” and the sound that is Dead
computerized drums and synths, and it’s
to the Capri Cinema and seeing bands, then
certainly different when our keyboard player
going home, trying to write, listening to the
and drummer play the actual parts. It’s very
album, then seeing bands, going home, trying
different from the demos.
to write, listening to the album, over and over,
VERGE: How do you see this album as a
the same pattern forever. It’s what I still enjoy.
progression from [debut album] “Wrecking Ball”?
VERGE: You selected 10 songs from a total of
I never have to make myself sit and play, or
20. Was it difficult to make the selections?
make myself go see live music, or make myself
HARDY: This album is a little different. The
go to a record store. It’s what I’m always doing.
first one was long and drawn out. This one
HARDY: We recorded a lot of music, but it
is shorter, to the point and more upbeat.
wasn’t difficult to select 10. It was a little tough
We wanted it to represent our growth and
to get the sequence in order, because the songs
transition, and we hope that comes across. It
are very different from one another and we
HARDY: There were two of them in our house,
happened pretty naturally. We got a lot of stuff
wanted it to come across the right way. We
and a piano. My mom tried to get me to play
out of our systems on the first album with
had to feel it out in different ways, but that was
piano, and I enjoyed it, but it was frustrating
lyrical, eight- or nine-minute songs that said
because I couldn’t read the music. It just didn’t
VERGE: When did you begin playing guitar?
click with me. Even with guitar, I was never
everything we wanted to say. This one is made
VERGE: Sequencing is something that some
one to learn Bob Dylan songs or cover songs. I
bands probably don’t think about when
would learn a song, turn the chords backward
VERGE: How was the songwriting process
they’re recording. When did you realize how
and write my own songs. My folks had these
different this time?
important it is?
two acoustic guitars and I wanted to play. I
HARDY: These songs were written the same
HARDY: I’ve always thought that way, from
because the music I was into was electric-
way — on acoustic guitar and bringing them to
the time I was doing home recordings that I
based. My parents wouldn’t get me an electric
the band — but some demos were more fleshed
gave to friends or for trying to get a band or
guitar, so I bought one from a friend for $5. It
up of small thoughts.
also wanted to play electric not long after that
VERGE: What are you using now? HARDY: My amp is a ’74 Fender Bassman. The band bought it. Walker paid for most of it. We were making our way to Florida and we played in Valdosta. We spent the night, and the next day we went to a music store and this old amp was there. The guy told us it came from a church. It was in mint condition, so we put our money together and bought it. For guitars I have a couple of Teles. I acquired a Strat and I’m trying to get it fixed up. Walker always played Strats, and when I’d break a string I’d use one of his. I like the way they play. Our pedals are made by Oliver Ackermann in New York City. His company is called Death By Audio, and his band is called A Place To Bury Strangers. They’re considered the loudest band in New York. The cops get called on them every time they play. Their music is dark and ominous and abrasive, but they are the nicest guys in the world. We did our first overseas tour with them early last year. He builds his own effects pedals and we used them a lot on the album and live.
VERGE: What appeals to you most about being in a two-guitar band?
HARDY: I wouldn’t want to be the only guitar player. My guitar playing is almost strictly rhythmic, so what I do is limited. A lot of bands I’m into have another guitarist and a keyboardist to fill it out. I’ve always imagined being in a band with guitars and accompanying instruments. To get that wall of sound, it’s a lot easier to have people to call on. I couldn’t do it alone. by ALISON RICHTER
20 / july 2010 / verge
verge / july 2010 / 21
chefspeak / meet sean wight
creates a gastro-pub with new frog hollow tavern
beers locals like cool off with a good brew
The point of this month’s article was to highlight beers made for drinking outside in the sunshine, breeze or whatever pleasant elements emerged as figments of my conveniently unreasonable imagination. However, as I type, we are in the fifth consecutive day of local temperatures above 100 degrees. Reality does, indeed, bite. If you haven’t already guessed, I’m typing in the comfort of my air-conditioned living room while I paw at the window, waiting for autumn to blow her sweet breath through these old oaks and loblollies once again. In the meantime, I’ll deal with the heat of the moment with a few choice brews that may just take the edge off of the saturated joie de vivre that is a stroll up Broad Street in July.
Anglers Pale Ale | The Uinta Brewing Company
of Salt Lake City has done what is nearly impossible: They have created a pale ale that I actually enjoy in its entirety. If you are that person (that one person) who repeatedly reads my column, then you know where I’m headed with this: they made it dark. That’s right — a hint of amber really takes the edge off of the hoppy bite that characterizes most pale ales. It’s Amber Bock meets IPA with this distinctly eminent brew. The malt blend dims the hops just enough to make me happy, but not enough to change the class of this interesting and agreeable dichotomy of a beer. Try it with something fried.
Hen’s Tooth | I know what you’re
thinking: The British don’t even know what summer is! Well, that may be the case, but Moreland Brewing of Suffolk, England, has created one of the closest things to a beer for all seasons that I’ve come across. This choice brew pours a red-amber color with a generous head, much like an Old Speckled Hen (not to be confused), but, as with other bottle-conditioned ales, it’s the yeasty undertones that surface to contribute the greatest to the overall integrity of the taste. Each sip is sharp with a relatively quick decay of taste, making a nibble of this brew oddly akin to plucking a string on a banjo (don’t ask — just trust me). Try it with an apple blossom from the Boll Weevil — trust me on that one, as well.
Most Augustans think of downtown living as Broad Street lofts and historic Olde Town houses. Some, however, recall Frog Hollow — a now nonexistent neighborhood that is the home of University Hospital. Chef Sean Wight called upon this piece of Augusta’s past as inspiration for his new restaurant, Frog Hollow Tavern. “It’s a tribute to the old working class,” Wight says. Besides making homage to Augusta’s past, Wight promises to bring a delicious new flavor to downtown. “Downtown has a lot of potential. It’s right there on the edge,” he comments. Wight graduated from culinary school in south Florida and landed in Edgefield, S.C., operating the Old Edgefield Grill for 10 years. There, he formed relationships with several local Southern farmers. His connections, combined with a love for local ingredients, are the key to his new restaurant. Wight beautifully pairs fresh produce with meat and seafood, creating an ever-changing menu. He calls it “sustainable,” utilizing what’s around him (pasture-raised cows and chickens, seafood straight from the net) to please the taste buds. “Ideally, Frog Hollow will provide a high-energy, Charleston-style experience,” Wight says. And with a spectacular proffering of top-notch wine and beers, it’s sure to become a watering hole for those who enjoy a drink without the smoke and music. When asked why he chose to become a chef, Wight simply replies, “I enjoy what I do — making something from scratch and enhancing natural ingredients.” If you enjoy amazing food (and amazing prices), visit Frog Hollow, downtown’s newest face for fresh flavor. Frog Hollow Tavern is located at 1282 Broad Street. For more information or to make reservations, visit Froghollow.com by ASHLEY PLOCHA photo KATIE MCGUIRE
THINGS IN THE KITCHEN SEAN CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT:
These and more quality ales, lagers and whatnots can always be found at Eighth Street Tobacco. by BEN CASELLA Ben Casella doesn’t think Anglers Pale Ale is really from Salt Lake City. He knows exactly two Mormons, and neither one drinks beer. Maybe that’s just Ben’s east coast naiveté. Maybe not. Who knows? Stay tuned…
from sean’s kitchen :
Peaches with Whipped Mascarpone Cheese & Basil Start with fresh & ripe peaches. I get mine from Sara’s stand on Highway 25, in Trenton, S.C. Ask for the Freestones; they make this dessert easier to prepare.
Red’s Rye P.A. | Ironically founded in
only 1997, the Founders Brewing Company of Grand Rapids has managed to carve out somewhat of a niche with a lot of their products: An interesting concept that isn’t just some over-the-top, in-your-face product that tries entirely too hard. Red’s is no different. To call this brew a true pale ale is, in my opinion, a misnomer. I say that because of the taste alone. The nose hints at all of the robust hops that a pale ale should convey. However, the rye really comes through when you take a sip and breathe out. These brewers, whether through careful research or luck (or both), have really come upon a unique brew that possesses distinct qualities from nose to exhale — a feat that is truly difficult to accomplish.
Good sharp knife (of course!). | My local farmer friends who keep me inspired | A good imagination and patience | the Internet | a good staff
2 ripe peaches, peeled and cut in half 16 oz of a sweet white dessert wine, preferably a Muscat 2 black peppercorns ½ cinnamon stick 4-6 oz of water 8 oz mascarpone cheese, whipped 4 large basil leaves, chopped 1 tsp of vanilla extract
Take the halved and peeled peaches and put them in a small pot. Cover the peaches with wine, water, and add the peppercorns and cinnamon stick. Gently poach for 30 minutes, being careful not to let the liquid come to a boil. Remove the peaches from the liquid and let stand at room temperature. Boil the poaching liquid down to a syrupy consistency; about five minutes but watch the pot! Whip the mascarpone cheese, adding vanilla extract and a little powered sugar too, if you want it sweeter. To plate, place a small dollop of the mascarpone on center of plate. Place peach half with pit side up, top with a large dollop of the cheese mixture and finish with some of the reduced syrup and a little basil.
22 / july 2010 / verge
highlights from the pipeline
Independence Day Celebration
Sunday, July 4 · The Augusta Common 4-10 pm · free It may not be called RiverBlast anymore, but that doesn’t mean that downtown Augusta’s celebration of the 4th of July will be any less enthusiastic than it has been in years past. Beginning later in the afternoon so residents can beat at least a little bit of the sweltering heat, this year’s celebration will include live entertainment, vendors, a kids area and more, and will, of course, culminate with a fireworks spectacular that is especially striking against the backdrop of the Savannah River.
Make a Splash Summer Reading Program Friday, July 1 · Main Branch Library 10 am · free
It’s not too late to join the East Central Georgia Regional Library System’s summer reading program, and with a brand-new library to check out, why would you want to be left out? There are programs for kids and young adults on all types of subjects, including an Embroidery for Kids class on July 1 taught be representatives from the Embroidery Guild of America. But there are summer events for adults, too, including a Water Your Mind summer reading program for those who want to read something besides “The Twilight Saga” (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Movies include “The Road” and “Invictus,” and classes including those on water conservation and organic gardening.
And, as usual, the city is expecting a big turnout for the festival. “It’s free admission so we hope to have a big turnout,” said Yolanda Marshall, who is a special events manager for the city. “Many people really enjoy that they do not have to pay anything to have a good time. We know that times are hard for a lot of individuals.” AUGUSTAGA.GOV
So don’t miss out: Visit the beautiful new facility today. ECGRL.ORG.
The 25th Annual Augusta Southern Nationals Drag Boat Race · Friday-Sunday, July 16-18
Savannah River · 8 am · $18-$30
Artrageous! Family Sunday: Go Big or Go Home
Sunday, July 11 · Morris Museum of Art 2 pm · free Join contemporary artists Ethan Brock, Chad Downard and Hollis Brown Thornton as they demonstrate the techniques used to create their works and answer your questions. Brock uses chemicals and fine pulverized materials to reflect social theory; Downard has a list of accolades as long as your arm and has a fresh approach to both painting and sculpture; Thornton uses pigment transfers and markers to create his modern perspective of the world we live in. Afterwards, join in on a collective art project. themorris.org
Similar to land drag racing; drag boat racing is an acceleration race over a measured quarter mile straightaway on water between two high performance race boats. During competition, boats are paired up and racers put the pedal to the medal to see who will be the fastest to the finish. It will be an exciting three days on the river, and children 10 and under get in free to watch these highpowered machines go head to head. While downtown, don’t forget about the Night of Fire at 7 p.m. Friday night on the Common. The Southern Nationals benefit the local chapter of the Georgia Special Olympics. AUGUSTASOUTHERNNATIONALS.ORG
Tony Howard’s Motown Revue
Saturday, July 17 · Imperial Theatre 7 pm · $10-$30 The sounds of Motown have transcended time. Songs like “My Girl” and “Tears of a Clown” have kept our feet tapping and smiles on our faces for over 40 years. And Tony Howard is keeping the legend alive with his Vegas-style singing and dancing extravaganza, paying tribute to the all-time greats including Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, The Temptations and Marvin Gaye. Last year’s sold-out show had the audience dancing in the aisles. “It was amazing, it really was,” said Tony Howard. Hosted by James Brown’s cape man Danny Ray, this fun-filled night of music will take you back and have you singing along with the tunes that defined an era. When you purchase any $30 Orchestra seat, you also receive two free drinks. Get your tickets as fast as you can, because this one’s going to be a scorcher. imperialtheatre.com
verge / july 2010 / 23
more to see more to hear more to do
“The Wizard of Oz”
Saturday, July 17 · Fort Discovery 7 pm · $10 It’s been more than 70 years since Judy Garland was forever transformed in American moviegoers’ minds into Dorothy, the Kansas farmgirl who dreams of good and evil witches, ruby slippers, the Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. But it seems like the adventures of Dorothy and her little dog Toto were brought to us only yesterday. Use your own imagination when you attend a screening of this Oscar-winning film — dress as your favorite character and walk the red carpet during this special event brought to you by Augusta Amusements. There will be a 2 p.m. matinee for families, and reserved seats for the evening show are also available. AUGUSTAAMUSEMENTS.TIX.COM
the mason jars
Friday, July 23 • Stillwater Tap Room • 10 pm • $4 It’s tradition in the South to sip cool lemonade or sweet tea out of old mason jars. Andy Colbert and Trey Pitts took that picture and turned it into the not-so-traditional Americana band The Mason Jars. This Augusta two-man combo is now in its fourth summer as one of the most rowdy, unique, original acoustic bands in the area, turning out three to four shows a week. Though Andy and Trey (and sometimes joined by percussionist Caleb Parker) aren’t the only good-time drinking guys; their fans are a “group of rowdy folks.” This raising-cane attitude is exactly what The Mason Jars want from a crowd.
There is something about the music of The Mason Jars that makes people get up and dance, no matter their age (but usually helped along by a good dose of beer). Recently, the band made their way down through Tybee Island, Edisto and Statesboro. It’s in these places where The Mason Jars really shine. “Out of town and miles from home,” Andy says that’s where the real fans come out. The fans buy albums, jump out of their chairs and take to the dance floor.
Saturday July 24 · Sky City 10:30 pm · $15 Not to be confused with the Black Keys, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or even Black Flag, this Atlanta band has gained some notoriety, be it because of barroom brawls with members of other bands, getting chased out of India or onstage boy-on-boy kissing action. Once their garage-punk twist on Buddy Holly-era rock ‘n’ roll and twangy country gets into your system, you have to admit, it’s pretty darn infectious. Hijinks aside, the band has managed to gain some critical acclaim. For their 2009 release “200 Million Thousand,” Spin magazine heralded, “Fortunately, buried beneath the Lips’ psychedelic slop heap are surprisingly exacting pop hooks, clever musical experiments and insidious grooves that belie the band’s wastrel image.” The Black Lips are slated to release a new album sometime this summer and currently have a single “Before You Judge Me” as part of the Adult Swim Singles Program, which features nine different tracks in nine weeks. After playing in Spain and Canada, the band stops at Sky City before heading to Boston and New York, then on to Mexico. Local boys Turf War open for the band, their own live shows becoming legendary as well, particularly their Soul Bar gigs, where they’ve been playing the first Saturday of the month. “I’m excited to have them on our turf and to see what kind of show we can put on together,” said drummer Brian McGrath. BLACK-LIPS.COM
Trey was cleaning carpets for a living and Andy was a photographer when both guys knew it was time to hang up the day job and begin scraping by as a full-time band. “You can’t be in a band and play until 3 a.m. and get up for work at 6 a.m.,” Trey explains. It was time to take their music to the next level and The Mason Jars hope to keep that energy going. A consistent drummer would add a new dimension but, at the moment, The Mason Jars admit it is something they just can’t afford. Still, as Andy says, “you can’t beat a bunch of guys getting together and just clicking.” “We have a big sound,” Andy says, “but, if nobody’s digging it, it’s fine.” A love of music runs deep in these guys. Andy says their songs begin when they “wake up in the morning, pluck the guitar and push the song out.” When the crowds start to sing along — that’s when The Mason Jars know they’ve had an influence. They play for young acoustic aficionados and older line-dancing crowds. They’ve played in fancy restaurants, coffee shops, supermarkets and kids’ birthday parties, but the Mason Jars feel most at home with people who enjoy a cold brew and a good upbeat song. Their sound is bluesy bluegrass and unique, truly local; and the guys say there is nothing better than people singing along to the songs. One evening while playing miles away from home in North Carolina, a table of five to 10 people began singing along to The Mason Jars’ songs. And when all is said and done, that is the true spirit of what Andy and Trey aim to achieve.
get the complete line up of july’s downtown events
24 / july 2010 / verge
SUMMER IS SIZZLING AT THE ZIMMERMAN GALLERY Original paintings, Sculpture, Jewelry, Pottery, Glass, Hand made puzzle boxes, Unique artistic gift items by local, regional and nationally known artisans
“Bathing Beauties” Raku by Nolan Windholtz, Roundtree Pottery
Open Tuesday - Saturday 10:30 - 5:00 Sunday & Monday 9:00 - 2:00
1006 Broad St • 706-774-1006
verge / july 2010 / 25
art / a brief encounter of the artist kind
terra cognita at the morris museum presents willie cole Willie Cole, native to New Jersey, has been lauded as an iconic African-American sculptor. His conceptual work involves the repetition and arrangement of common objects to create very unorthodox sculptures. verge spoke to Cole on his upcoming exhibit at the Morris Museum of Art, part of the Terra Cognita series.
VERGE: What is it about the aesthetic of shoes that attracts you? COLE: The same thing that attracts everybody else: color, texture, shape. Realize that I don’t use them as shoes, so I’m not actually attracted to shoes. I’m attracted to their availability. VERGE: What other materials have you used? COLE: I’ve done lots of things over a 30year career using steam irons, hair dryers, telephones,
fiberglass — you name it. VERGE: Do you have any plans for your upcoming works? COLE: No plan. Just work as inspired to work in whatever material or object gives me inspiration. VERGE: You say that you are attracted to your material because of its availability. Is there any social or emotional statement behind your “assemblages” or are they merely design pieces? What is it about found objects that grasp you as an artist? COLE: Some objects have their own social or emotional baggage. I try to be open to these energies without imposing an agenda of my own. I started doing assemblage because it was less expensive than painting. Willie Cole’s assembled sculptures will be on display at the Morris Museum of Art during the month of July. The Morris will host an opening reception on Thursday, July 22, from 5-7 p.m. with a lecture beginning at 6 p.m. by ASHLEY PLOCHA
26 / july 2010 / verge
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verge / july 2010 / 27
art /lowcountry portraits of vennie deas moore
at the lucy craft laney museum of black history through july 31
In 1936, a woman named Dorothea Lange was traveling through California taking pictures. Educated as a photographer, she had been hired by the Resettlement Administration (later known as the Farm Security Administration) to document the plight of the unemployed and homeless victims of the Great Depression. One day in March, she came upon a family who had taken up camp on the side of the road by their broken down car. They were pea pickers traveling from town to town looking for work. The father and son had traveled to the next town with the radiator to find repair. Lange approached the family and took six pictures. One picture, now known as Migrant Mother, showed the matriarch looking blankly out into nothingness as her children huddled around her. The image was soon published and became the defining image of the Great Depression. This was the birth of documentary photography. It is a practice that flourishes today in many different areas and ways. For Vennie Deas Moore, it is the people of the South Carolina coast and lowcountry that capture her interest and her camera’s lens. Originally from McClellanvile, S.C., Moore has dedicated years of her life to studying and documenting the history of the various cultures along the coast. Her pictures are of families and individuals, of homes and the backdrop that surrounds
them. The pictures are deliberate, sometimes posed. Whichever method Moore uses to best represent her subjects is used to show them in their natural surroundings in their natural manner. When she studies a community, she studies all aspects of it: the commercialized and the preserved, the affluent and the destitute, the beautiful and the real. Many of her projects take three to four years to complete. Vennie Moore’s exhibition, A People of the Land: Lowcountry Portraits, is featured at the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History until July 31. It takes up space in a large room and covers all four walls. The black and white photographs are separated into the South Carolina areas they represent, such as McClellanville and Sandy Island. They are untitled and stand for themselves. They leave blanks for the viewer to fill in for him- or herself. Though simple, the pictures are stark images. Each one seems to completely capture the essence of whatever person is documented. A family stands on the steps next to their house for the picture; the adults are stone-faced, the children can’t help but smile. A woman stands outside of her house, where her mailbox has either been stolen or misshapen to a point where it now resembles a cross. The woman looks feeble, yet proud. A woman stands wearing a T-shirt in her place of business. Wherever she is, she looks settles in. She looks at home.
Moore considers herself a documentary photographer. She also hopes her work to function as that of a preservationist’s. She has worked with the Sandy Island Nature Conservatory and as an exhibit curator for the Missick Museum. Her photography is without fail accompanied with many writings, and she hopes her work to act as a culture liaison, spreading understanding and appreciation of the communities she documents. by MARCUS PLUMLEE
plan to go date THRU JULY 31 venue THE LUCY CRAFT LANEY MUSEUM OF BLACK HISTORY the event PEOPLE OF THE LAND: LOWCOUNTRY PORTRAITS OF VENNIE DEAS MOORE open TUE to SAT 9 am to 5 pm | SAT 10 am to 4 pm tickets REGULAR MUSEUM ADMISSION more LUCYCRAFTLANEYMUSEUM.COM
theatre /le chat makes room for film
indie film room is on its way to ‘the black cat’
“We want to have a very laid-back feel for it. This won’t be a traditional movie theater, so the seating is one of the first of many traditions we’ll be breaking,” Brown says. This less conventional arrangement is set to have booth seating, comfy seats with a drink rail, and a possible bean bag pit.
on the horizon: ‘Twisted Wonderland’
Not to mention the movies, of course. Initially, the film house will focus on film series’ and events, according to Le Chat Technical Director Krys Bailey. Plans are to premiere the first series, All the Movies that Never Came to Augusta, with “In Bruges” (pronounced “broozh”), a high-intensity comedy thriller written and directed by Martin McDonagh, the author of three plays that Le Chat has premiered in Augusta. In addition to movies, Schrodinger’s Cat will more than likely take up quarters in the space, too, and start performing more regularly.
Anyone paying attention can easily see that Hollywood is fast running out of ideas as of late. The newest mainstream hits? Horror Remake 2010, Tyler Perry’s Madea Enjoys Her Thursday, Popular Children’s Book 3-D!, etc. Sure, there are great directors out there crafting original, high-quality films, but their lack of million-dollar marketing campaigns keeps them from fulfilling the promise, “coming soon to a theater near you.” No more in Augusta — not if the masterminds behind Le Chat Noir have their way. That’s right, the people who brought “Bat Boy: The Musical” to Augusta and introduced the improv troupe Schrodinger’s Cat are renovating their third space into a film house. Not just any film house, either, according to Duane Brown, executive director of Le Chat’s new film program.
While a name and an opening date for the film house are still up in the air, it is certainly something to keep the eyes out for. Duane Brown is certain that audiences will be pleased. “We really want to show off films that people aren’t aware of. There are a lot of them out there and, in a time where Hollywood has lost its imagination and continues to remake remakes, it’s a chance for us to show them some original stories they may have missed.” Augusta audiences will appreciate the alternatives, he continues, “Now we’ve got great music, theater and movies. Culture keeps coming to town.” Hopefully, for good. Verge is certain to continue coverage on these developments, and any new information can be found at VERGELIVE.COM and LCNAUGUSTA.COM by MARCUS PLUMLEE photo in bruges
Misfit Theatre will be performing “Twisted Wonderland,” an original play by Jezibell Anat, 10 p.m. on August 4 at Club Argos. This new twist on Alice in Wonderland deals with mature themes and stars Emily Hammond as Alice, Robert Seawell IV as the Mad Hatter, Jezibell Anat as the Red Queen and many others. Admission will be $6 for those 21 and older only.
28 / july 2010 / verge
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verge / july 2010 / 29
music /mike garrett
bringing the rockshow to augusta
“It’s just me so I’m in charge of every aspect of the show.” MIKE GARRETT
Over the past year, it has been near impossible to walk around downtown without catching a glimpse of at least one flyer or poster sporting the Rockshow Booking logo. Crossing between several downtown venues, Rockshow Booking, without fail, is constantly producing or promoting a live show somewhere within a block or two of Broad Street.
Mike Garrett created Rockshow Booking as a
getting local bands like Shotgun Opera and
vehicle to book his former band in out-of-town
Chairleg into venues they’ve never played.
venues. Since that day, the startup company has
All were playing out of town and bands like
grown to producing other area bands as well
Undefined, Face Down, Obraskai, Suhgarim
as promoting regional and national acts. This
and others were getting booked into Augusta.”
month, Garrett decided to tackle his biggest challenge to date — bringing international
In no time, Garrett was booking bands in and
artist Otep, along with Stray From the Path,
out of town, all the while utilizing, as he puts it,
Bury Tomorrow, Suns Collide and L.i.E., to the
a “learn as you make mistakes” approach with
Jessye Norman Amphitheatre on July 9.
an emphasis on “learning.” When one considers exactly all the detail that goes into putting on a
The beginnings of Rockshow Booking were
show, Garrett has a huge task before him.
spawned following a local show featuring Garrett’s band Ajustments, fellow Augusta band
“It’s just me so I’m in charge of every aspect
Signal 18 and Chairleg in the back room of the
of the show,” says Garrett. “Sponsors, venue
old Playground location. A packed house, plus
owners, hospitality, band lineup, working the
a desire to create a brand to get the attention of
show backwards to get set times more solid, etc.
regional venues, was all the motivation Garrett
But, most important would likely be matching
needed to kick the wheels into overdrive. All
genres and door price. Those two things play a
that remained was to get out and get an initial
huge part in the fans experience overall.”
connection. And what does Garrett consider the most “I gained a great friend in the Columbia
difficult part of putting together a show?
market and started bringing bands to Augusta that nobody ever heard of,” says Garrett. “And
“It changes often but the part I call ‘Contract Battle’ is the most difficult,” says Garrett. “It is intense and can take up to two weeks. You sometimes just can’t justify paying a touring band the same amount they made in Atlanta the night before since Augusta is smaller and 21 and up, unlike 18 and up in most other markets. So the booking agent tries to wear you down, but you gotta stay true or only that agent and the band made money... not you.” While Rockshow Booking is a vehicle for bands as well as a business, Garrett realizes that it isn’t always about making money. “Easily the Lexie’s Legacy [CD release] show last year has been my most gratifying experience,” says Garrett. “Great night but I had a wicked stomach virus and had to leave the biggest local show I had done up to that point. I felt torn and disappointed but got so
many thank yous and kudos and raised a lot
her defense she is the only one in my life that
of money for the scholarship! That was very
knows how hard I work promoting and doing
rewarding for me. Also helping the oil spill
leg work every night after my regular job. Her
through Red Cross last month was a truly
being that supportive really helps, but when
inspiring moment. I mean, I’m helping the
she wants some of my time she has no problem
biggest disaster in the news right now from
letting me know.”
right here at home in Augusta!” This reporter knows — there’s nothing wrong Of course, not every show is perfect. For every
with that. Every guy needs a rockin’ gal to keep
packed house there are always unexpected
his butt in line!
issues Garrett has to deal with; “bands showing such as the time one of Garrett’s sponsors
MYSPACE.COM/ ROCKSHOWBOOKINGAUGUSTA for a
“accidentally spilled a drink into a $20,000
whole list of great shows coming up, including
sound board and it froze completely in the
the Otep show July 9 at the Jessye Norman
middle of the show.” But with all the contacts
up late to get a better set time” to odd incidents
and bands Garrett works with, perhaps his greatest ally is outside of the music business. “It [Rockshow Booking] takes a substantial amount of time away from my wife and daughter which isn’t always fair to them. My wife wears her heart on her sleeve and sometimes when I’ve been wronged she just wants to tear some promoter/venue owner/ band a new one, so I have to calm her down. In
by JOHN “STONEY” CANNON
30 / july 2010 / verge
verge / july 2010 / 31
music /speaking out
otep believes there can be a powerful message in aggressive music
Songwriter, vocalist, author, recording artist, political activist — Otep Shamaya, the outspoken frontwoman of the band Otep, strives to ensure that the group is viewed as a collective. Otep’s music, she says, is created with a cause: “It’s about inspiring people and motivating them to celebrate their individualism and uniqueness, regardless of what they may be.” Shamaya, bassist eViL j, guitarist Steve Barbola and drummer Chase Brickenden are spending the summer on tour to promote their latest release, “Smash the Control Machine,” their first for Victory Records. In addition, she devotes herself to writing and voicing her opinions about causes she believes in: equality and respect for all who inhabit the planet, opening minds and speaking out about political and societal corruption. Delegating her time equally can be a challenge, she says. “I try my best to be a fantastic multitasker and do what I can. If you’re willing to do it, you can find the time. It’s not always fun. It can be tedious work. But, in the end, what is crafted is most satisfying and enjoyable, and I always get a great deal of joy looking back on my accomplishments.
VERGE: In an online interview, you refer to yourselves as “still an underground band.” What are the pluses and minuses of that?
OTEP: In some respects, I enjoy it very much. We are not held to the same standards that a lot of pop and mainstream bands are held to. It’s a very rigid place for them to exist, and a lot of the focus is on, “Will radio play our new songs?” Some don’t care, and they enjoy popular success regardless. We enjoy the ability to continue being who we are, as authentic and honest as we can be with our music and message, and it allows greater impact on our audience. We stay fresh with our ideas and music and don’t care what society as a whole dictates is popular. We have outlived many fads and trends, and we’re very proud to remain as underground as possible.
VERGE: Victory is your third record label over the course of three albums and one EP. How did you keep from losing faith in the industry?
OTEP: When we were signed to Capitol Records after four shows and with no demo, I don’t think the goal was a deal; it was just to play music. It was a fluke that it happened. We started noticing a few “suits” in the audience, and they took note of how we were able to move and motivate the jaded and blasé audiences of Los Angeles. There are so many bands there, it’s the entertainment mecca of the world, people are trying to get there and the attitude the audience has is, “We’ve seen it all. Impress us.” They saw us having an impact and making a ruckus on the scene, and there was a bidding war. We were signed to one of the last big major-label deals, before Napster and pirating issues and the majors began cannibalizing themselves. I have my own opinion on pirating: it’s a terrible, terrible thing and the scourge of the industry. I compare it to someone
breaking into my house and stealing a painting that I created.
OTEP: It’s somewhat of a task. Many bands go through changes
When I work on a song, it’s mine. It belongs to the artist. Once
for different reasons. This life isn’t for everyone; being away from
Capitol had troubles, as many major labels did at the time, we
family, friends and home for months on end is difficult. We have
went independent and it did not work out. We moved on to
principles, and we have to be authentic. It’s not to be a celebrity
this magnificent powerhouse at Victory. They are an intelligent,
or indulge in rock-star fantasies. It’s to create music and art, and
passionate group of people who still know how to get music to
I expect that from everybody who works with me. It’s a blessing
the fans, believe in music and know how getting it to an audience
to have this life. It is such a remarkable thing, as hard as it can be
should work. They’re very passionate about us, and it’s the best
to be away from family and to wake up in a different place every
decision we ever made.
day. You also have to be sharp and ready to play, because every fan counts and every show counts. It takes a bit of discipline. It is
VERGE: You are known primarily as a live band, and recognized
a strange life to walk, and a briar bush to navigate through when
for the energy of those shows. How did you put in 12-hour days
you’re trying to live through the eccentricities of live, powerful,
in the studio, which can be a sterile, clinical environment, and
emotional music and stay disciplined enough to remember that
how did you retain some of that energy?
the energy belongs onstage to be shared with the fans. We do a very physical show, and drugs and alcohol cannot play a role in
OTEP: Twelve hours is a short day for us. You have to never
what we do. It would affect our mental, physical and spiritual
take any opportunity for granted. We see it as a blessing to be
health and we would not be able to give our fans what they
able to create music for a living. I’ve heard of bands that go into
deserve. After the shows, it’s Roman debauchery, but before and
the studio and play video games and say they’re waiting for the
during the shows it’s about crafting and creating art.
muses to speak to them. To me, if you have writers block or a dry spell, you don’t occupy your mind with other things. Results
VERGE: Are your fans underestimated in terms of intelligence
come with hard work, toiling through the muck and nonsense
and stereotyped because of their love for what may be perceived
and digging through the throwaways to get to the gold and
as just a lot of loud music?
treasures. We get in and try different things. We jam, and if we hear something we like, we grab it or stay as focused as we can. I
OTEP: I think so, absolutely. Our demographic is surprising to
work with very talented, creative artists and it fosters a positive
a lot of people. Maybe some folks out there are satisfied feeding
and thrilling work environment.
their heads on Fox News all day and not paying attention. That’s their journey, and I welcome them to it. As a whole, our fans
VERGE: How do the Internet and social networking benefit an
are judged by outsiders as folks who are ruled by emotions and
are unable truly to appreciate life and reality, which I think is a complete falsehood. Because our fans feel more than other
OTEP: I think the Internet benefits the band and the audiences
people, I think they are more clued in with what goes on in
alike. It connects you with your fans and supporters, keeps you
the world, and their own strength, emotions and spirits and
in tune with them and keeps them excited and in touch with
the spirits around them, whether of the planet or their own
what goes on with the band. I find it delightful to be able to
communities. People judge on surface; it’s part of our tribal
speak — such as it is through the Internet — with my fans. It’s
nature, it’s embedded in us as a survival instinct, but as we grow
intellectually satisfying. I find out what they feel, their emotions
larger intellectually we should stop judging and look past the
and passions, and their support for our music. We’re very lucky
surface. There can be a strong, powerful message in aggressive
that we have intellectually hungry and powerful, and creatively
music. We just tend to like our reality real.
powerful, fans. by ALISON RICHTER
VERGE: You have also been through some lineup changes over the years. Is it hard to find musicians who can understand and interpret your vision?
32 / july 2010 / verge
verge / july 2010 / 33
comedy /beards of comedy
four men + four beards = one night of serious laughter A seamless performance by a group of professional comedians might seem natural and easy to the onlooker, but finding the right personalities and complementary wit takes effort. The Beards of Comedy — made up of award-winning and renowned comics Andy Sandford, Joe Zimmerman, TJ Young and Dave Stone — were fortunate to not only “get” each other’s humor, but also to have forged a close bond prior to becoming a touring group. “It is really difficult and rare to find a similar sense of humor,” Zimmerman told verge. “We formed the group because we were already friends and liked each other’s comedy. Putting together a comedy group is not like putting together a band, where you post an ad saying, ‘Bass player needed.’”
VERGE: How did the four of you come together? ZIMMERMAN: We became good friends doing comedy around Atlanta. [Note: Zimmerman is from Asheville, N.C.] They all had beards, so I suggested the name Beards of Comedy. They laughed, and then I got jealous and grew a beard. We decided that we should do this, so we started out low-key around Atlanta almost two years ago. It was a big hit, so we started touring.
VERGE: What happens if someone shaves? Or is the goal to become the ZZ Top of comedy?
ZIMMERMAN: Nobody has shaved yet, so we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. If it happens, I think we’ll be OK. We’ll just call them “The Face.” The name Beards of Comedy is ironic because we don’t do any beard jokes; we just all have them. At some point we will all shave and still tour. I doubt we’ll get to the ZZ Top point.
VERGE: How are your styles similar and different in terms of presentation and content?
ZIMMERMAN: We all have our differences. Andy is the smartest, cleverest and most sarcastic. Dave is sort of the next step down as far as sarcasm. TJ and I are on the other end of the spectrum. We are more friendly and outgoing in our type of comedy. It’s the full spectrum as far as styles. We usually don’t have a set lineup. We mix up every show. It’s more fun for us and for the audience that way, and it makes things flow. Between the standup, we do group sketches to break things up.
VERGE: How have your performances grown
in terms of pacing, timing and the ability to play
to do our style of comedy and not compromise
a good watercolor artist. If you are funny and
off of one another?
based on where we are. The great thing is that,
want to do this, you’ve got to start by getting
as a group, we can do whatever we want and
onstage and learning your craft. It’s not, “Hey,
ZIMMERMAN: They have grown quite a bit.
do what we think is funny. If some part of the
I’m funny. I can do that.” You have to want to do
Like any art form, it gets better with experience.
country doesn’t like it, we still do our best.
it and get successful at open mics, and then at
We have grown as a group and as comedians,
We wouldn’t want to reach a point where we
the professional level. They say it takes 10 to 15
because every year that you do comedy, you
go somewhere and do things that would not
years for comedians to reach their full potential.
A lot of comedians aren’t funny at all offstage.
VERGE: You are described as “not your typical
VERGE: What should first-time audiences
art, really. It takes practice and experience to be
Southern comedians.” What is a typical Southern
good at it.
It comes back to being a craft, like any form of
ZIMMERMAN: It is not an offensive show at ZIMMERMAN: There’s a brand of comedy
all. None of us try to push people to the limits of
called Southern comedy — blue-collar comedy
what they can tolerate. Occasionally, somebody
like Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy. We
will touch on a topic that might be touchy, but not
are all from the South, but we’re more alternative.
in an offensive way. Ten percent of the material
We’re not in the blue-collar genre.
might make certain people uncomfortable. It’s like if you go see a PG-13 movie — certain ones
by ALISON RICHTER
plan to go
VERGE: How much time do you spend on the
will offend certain people. It depends on who
road, and how is that time divided between solo
you are. Offending people is not our goal. Our
and group gigs?
goal is to make people laugh.
ZIMMERMAN: We spend about one week a
VERGE: Many people think to themselves, “I’m
month on the road as a group. The rest of the
funny; I should be a comedian.” Or others tell
event BEARDS OF COMEDY:
time, we are touring solo. We would like to do
them, “You should do standup.” Easier said than
more Beards of Comedy stuff, but it doesn’t
done. What should they know?
COMEDY FOR PEOPLE
work out that way with comedy.
ZIMMERMAN: Being funny and being a VERGE: Does your content change when you
comedian are two different skills sets completely.
perform in different parts of the country?
There are a ton of hilarious people who get
date FRIDAY JULY 30 venue SKY CITY
time 9 PM tickets $10 more SKYCITYAUGUSTA.COM
onstage and aren’t funny at all, because it’s a
ZIMMERMAN: I would say that we all want
craft. It’s like a good painter is not necessarily
“Putting together a comedy group is not like putting together a band, where you post an ad saying, ‘Bass player needed.’”
34 / july 2010 / verge
verge / july 2010 / 35
on the flip side / bleeding counterfeit & science friction John “Stoney” Canon and Jacob Beltz delve into the Augusta music scene, taking a look at two musicians virtually “on the flipside” of the musical spectrum. In their own words, the artists share their personal musical makeup and thoughts on the other’s different style — exposing the similarities as well. In this sixth segment, our intrepid reporters hit up a couple of area bass players, Chris Libby from soulful rockers Bleeding Counterfeit and billy s from reunited party rock trio Science Friction.
During the past few years, Bleeding Counterfeit has grown from a solid rock band into one of Augusta’s fiercest groove/rock/soul bands, consistently bringing Augusta audiences to their dancing feet. The group’s unique mix of pounding rock, emotional blues and passionate soul create an incredible palate for each tune the band plays, from high-energy rockers to soft, soulful ballads. No surprise that Bleeding Counterfeit never fails to entertain.
In the late ’80s, few area bands made an impact in the CSRA like South Carolina trio Science Friction. At a time when most rock bands were confined to a never-ending list of played-out covers, Science Friction wowed audiences across the city with their own original brand of high-energy party rock ‘n’ roll. Now, 20 years after disbanding, the “Sci Fri” machine is back with all the old favorites and a 10-song release of all-new material in the works.
Chris Libby, bassist and the main promotional force behind Bleeding Counterfeit, is still a relatively young cat on the Augusta music scene but no rookie. Starting off on piano at a very young age, Libby jumped on guitar and bass at the age of 14 and has never looked back. After a break from music to finish college, Libby performed with area band Taming Bacchus before joining Bleeding Counterfeit.
Since the original run of Science Friction, bassist billy s has pretty much weaved himself into the landscape of Augusta music history, having been a part of such notable bands as Impulse Ride, Figure 4, Headshop 5 and, most recently, the simply named “s.” When he’s not rocking the bass or guitar or mic, Billy rocks the canvas, creating some of the most recognizable art in the area. The long-time rocker and artist has been known to combine both art forms from time to time.
BASSIST | BLEEDING COUNTERFEIT
STONEY: What made you decide you wanted to
STONEY: What do you feel sets Bleeding
be in Bleeding Counterfeit?
Counterfeit apart from other local bands?
CHRIS: The band that I was in previously was
CHRIS: Energy. We have a lot of it, we have a lot
starting to wind down and I had worked with Joel before, so it seemed like it would be a good fit musically. I think I was just getting warmed up to getting out there and in the music scene.
of fun when we go out and play and I think our audience really enjoys our performances.
STONEY: What do you feel you contribute most
JACOB: What made you decide you wanted to
JACOB: What do you feel sets Science Friction
be in Science Friction?
apart from other local bands?
BILLY: Dreams of rock stardom! And my
BILLY: Well, certainly, we have a unique sound,
STONEY: What about Science Friction do you
choice of girls. Yeah, and nobody else wanted to play the bass, they all wanted to be the dreamy lead guitarist!
being a three piece and everyone sings in the band, too. Plus, we always have a blast onstage, and that affects the audience. It’s fun.
feel would be attractive to the fans of Bleeding Counterfeit?
JACOB: What do you feel you contribute most
JACOB: What about Bleeding Counterfeit
as a member of the band?
do you feel would be attractive to the fans of Science friction?
as a member of the band?
CHRIS: They definitely have a groove to them that CHRIS: I would say that, musically, I like to approach the bass guitar as a bridge between the rhythm and melody aspects of the music. I would also say that I hope to give it a little more of an edge, as well as some unexpected turns to make things interesting.
BASSIST | SCIENCE FRICTION
would fit very well with our fans. The funk aspect is great, and I would say that they are a different take on music than what we have, but not so much as to be jarring. Part of why I love playing is that I get to meet other talented musicians and get to check out their performance up close. I think a Science Friction-Bleeding Counterfeit show would be a non-stop party that I wouldn’t want to miss.
BILLY: Hopefully enthusiasm. Since we three all read each other well, I feel like I am able to really fill in with the bottom end of the sound. I also help with some of the graphic work and songwriting.
BILLY: They have strong vocals and that soulful sound, too.
get more Bleeding Counterfeit
get more Science Friction
listen online BLEEDINGCOUNTERFEIT.COM
listen online MYSPACE.COM/SCIENCE FRICTION
see them live THE PLAYGROUND BAR date JULY 2
by JOHN “STONEY” CANNON photo JACOB BELTZ
36 / july 2010 / verge
Shake Down! old school milkshakes in dozens of flavors hand dipped & made to order strawberry
and dont forget.... your Mom said to eat breakfast! open @ 7am M-Fri
verge / july 2010 / 37
community/love is all you need saturday market / katrina gray Non-denominational group A Love Project aims to bring people together
crafted jewelry adorns the market
Katrina Gray squirrels herself happily away in an attic workshop behind thousands of boxes and trays of beads, wires, clay, copper, bronze and silver pieces and all the various tools with which she creates her art. She smiles with concentrated effort in that place to make her dreams a reality. Brer Rabbit would have deemed this space Katrina’s “laughing place.”
The heart of Augusta has grown a little bit bigger because of 23-year-old Zak Todd and his A Love Project. An initiative that sets out to love each and every part of Augusta, A Love Project has, since last summer, blossomed into an effort that sets out to change the mindset of Christians of all denominations, as well as their actions. The vision of A Love Project is for people from any church or denomination in the CSRA to come together to love God, love the community and love the church. The purpose of this vision is to promote the teamwork of all Christians in an effort to impact the community and modify the typical stigma of Christians that they would much rather separate themselves from one another than work in unity to accomplish a common goal. For A Love Project, it all comes down to loving “all people in crazy ways,” Todd says. And despite how short a time his organization has been around, he feels like he’s making progress. “I feel like we’re getting there,” he said. The effort began when he, along with Patrick Rauls and Charity Pittman, attended a gospel concert. “The group talked about love a lot and I felt a push to come to Augusta and bring the churches together,” he said. After the concert, he sent messages to about 20 Facebook friends about his ideas for the group and formed his lead team: Ryan Abel, Charity Pittman, Patrick Rauls and Adam Thompson.
The group began small, passing out sodas and juices at First Friday with no name or strings attached. The Garden City Rescue Center was their next stop, where they assisted in feeding the homeless people of the CSRA. This is now an ongoing project. Their work with the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center is another mission; they moved furniture during their renovation period and provided refreshments and small Bible studies with the women at the center. Because the group accepts those of all denominations, Todd was initially concerned about how other Christians would feel about the group. Those fears, however, proved unfounded. “There’s apprehension but there has be no hindrance that would stop our efforts.” he said. A Love Project has been going strong for a full year and plans to continue to impact the area by collaborating with groups such as St. Johns Retirement Home and WAFJ 88.3 radio station. Those interested in joining in with A Love Project are encouraged and can inquire more about them on their Web page. ALOVEPROJECT.ORG by BRANDI FREEMAN photo KATIE MCGUIRE
In the early 1970s, when “we were all hippies,” Katrina first fell in love with making her own beads and creating art out of found objects after trying some pottery and metalworking classes. She has never gotten over that first love; Katrina still handcrafts most of her beads and the centerpieces to her jewelry, making each piece unique and artful. For 40 years, Katrina has been painstakingly cutting metal, hammering, stamping, soldering, pickling, sanding, tumbling and polishing her own jewelry creations. Just listening to the litany of steps involved in making the smallest piece is enough to keep all but the truly dedicated artist far from the task. Katrina contends that her art is constantly evolving. “I dream most of my ideas,” she says. She sees concepts everywhere during her day and also conjures thoughts and characteristics of family, friends and neighbors into her designs. “I have received very little instruction and most everything I do is by trial and error,” says Katrina. “I want it how I want it,” she laughs, so some of her most time-consuming designs never come to light outside of her creative cave, because they are simply not good enough for this perfectionist artisan.
Making a living at what brings her joy took some time. In fact, Katrina was a stockbroker for 22 years and a loan officer at SRP Credit Union for 10. After graduating from Academy of Richmond County in 1970 and majoring in art at Wesleyan in Macon, she shifted tracks and earned a degree in business from Augusta College. But her true love stayed by her side through all of those years in the business world. Katrina continuously refined her talent and dreamed her designs into existence alongside her business career. Speaking of the brain gymnastics required in turning from business to art she says, “I can literally feel myself make the switch from left brain to right brain.” In April of this year, Katrina brought her dream of becoming a full-time artist to light when she retired from SRP. The opinion of Katrina’s art can be ascertained from the places her pieces are being sold. The Morris Museum of Art, Art on Broad and, of course, The Augusta Market all proudly claim Katrina as an artist in residence. Katrina is well aware that in art, as in life, there is “no instant result,” but what keeps her coming back to her laughing place is that “the picture is in my mind, and I just can’t wait to get there and see it!” Meet Katrina at The Augusta Market on the River between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. every Saturday from now until the end of October.
THEAUGUSTAMARKET.COM article and photos by JENNIFER MASLYN
38 / july 2010 / verge
cut the fat / i’m a loser part XI
nobody rides for free
“I’m not sure I always feel like I’m in the seat. Sometimes I’m only holding on by one hand and flying out behind the roller coaster. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t feel that way.” — David Morse actor
While some of those crazy roller coaster rides at the amusement park can be daunting, there is at least a level of comfort knowing that you are secure, butt firmly planted in seat, bar pressed up against you. As you climb, the level of excitement builds and builds until that big drop. Your heart pounds, your stomach churns, your voice screams and, just maybe if you’re brave enough, you throw your hands into the air. No matter the reaction, the final result always remains the same: You end up safely where you started. While many have compared losing weight to a roller coaster ride, it is far more than just a series of ups, downs and occasional fast turns. Losing weight is more like riding three or four roller coasters at once, in succession, and, sometimes, even in reverse. The anxiety at times can be much more intense and, often, it takes more than just minutes for the ride to stop. One way that weight loss and a roller coaster are the same is that the first thing you need to tackle when dealing with both is a schedule. Roller coasters run on schedule to allow time for each short run to complete and for a rotation of riders. When sticking to a regular schedule of small meals during the course of the day, your body is allowed to feel complete while allowing your metabolism to run at its most effective level. But, sometimes, it takes the least expected incident to get things off track. It’s at these moments that will and sheer determination come into play… especially when confronting issues out of one’s control. To say that the Champ’s Challenge was emotionally difficult, never mind physically tough, would be an understatement. The event kicked off in late March and, for deeply personal reasons, the start of April is the toughest time of the year for me. Then, there was the whole thing with getting a new Great Dane (who I swear is trying to kill or maim me), multiple injuries and the very emotional addition of a new family member in our home. In a world where simple, everyday twists and turns can affect eating and exercising habits, these changes were just the unexpected ones! It made going to Health Central difficult and then the feelings of guilt creep in. For me, not so much guilt but a nagging disgust that I had let myself and my trainer down. But as friends and family kept reminding me, doo-doo occurs (not quite those words) and some things are just beyond our control and all we can do is not let them keep us from getting back on the ride. One thing’s for certain — though injuries and emotional issues may have kept me out of the gym for a few weeks, I have yet to lose my desire to work out and lose weight. I’m reaching my goal slowly. Heck, I figure that getting there is the important part, not necessarily how fast you get there. The thing about setbacks is this — they can be tough motivation-wise, but also great opportunities to reinforce your goals, beliefs and desire. When my knee was in too much pain to drive to the gym (dog induced), I lifted weights or played Wii. When my back hurt too much to bend (also dog induced), I used the bottom step in my house as a stepper. That was just the physical. As I started to feel better physically, life started to dig in at me emotionally again and, instead of hiding out, I spent my exercise time walking in quite remote, out-of-the-way places or playing basketball. It continued to feed my need to get healthy but at my own emotional pace. If others had an issue with that — tough — you can have the best support team in the world but, in the end, you are still the one actually having to go through it and, just like everything else, everyone is different. Those around you just have to understand that, when it comes to losing weight, there’s a whole lot more involved than a mere roller coaster ride of exercise and eating right… more like a whole amusement park full of unexpected turns, twists, incredible highs and even scary lows. You have to be willing to take the ride for yourself… and stick up for yourself… and do the best that you can for yourself. It’s all you can do and all anyone can expect of you in this crazy, mixed-up world of roller coaster rides! John Cannon’s Final Weigh In for The Champ’s Challenge was 291. He lost 37 pounds in this round and broke the 300 pound mark! by JOHN CANNON photos KATIE MCGUIRE
verge / july 2010 / 39
past times / old davidson school in progress / the emporium 1114 telfair street
celebrating the midpoint (V)
The Old Davidson School is located at 1114 Telfair Street in the Augusta Downtown Historic District and is the original site of the Davidson Fine Arts School. Completed in 1934 in the Art Moderne style, the building has distinctive characteristics of that architectural style, including the horizontal orientation and streamlined appearance. The school, currently owned by the Richmond County Board of Education, was listed by Historic Augusta in its inaugural Endangered Properties List for 2007 after it was announced the school was surplus property. Considered a contributing property in the Augusta Downtown Historic District, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, new owners would potentially be eligible for preservation programs including investment tax credits for certified rehabilitation. Old Davidson School is situated on the Third Level of the Augusta Canal, which is considered a significant historic resource for the community. The school was named for John Shelton Davidson (1846-1894), who is considered the father of public education in Richmond County, and was the first president of the Richmond County Board of Education.
the old Davidson School a brief history 1933 Contract let to build the new Davidson School on the site of the former wooden building of the same name on the same site. Part of a plan to build a number of new schools in Richmond County through a $1 million bond referendum approved by the voters. The building was designed by the Augusta architectural firm of Scroggs and Ewing, and was built by Claussen-Lawrence Construction Company at a cost of $100,000.
1935 An Augusta Chronicle newspaper article dated March 24 indicated that the population growth in Augusta may force the use of the John S. Davidson School as a junior high school for the downtown community.
1955 John S. Davidson School is proposed to be converted into an institution for African-American pupils but the school board rejected the proposal.
1960 An Augusta Chronicle-Herald editorial dated April 3 noted that the Davidson School remains vacant while public school congestion is a growing concern during an era of segregation.
1982 John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School is created as the second magnet school in Augusta, utilizing the former elementary school on Telfair Street.
1989 An article in the Augusta Chronicle on Jan. 15 titled “Capitalizing on the Canal” listed the Davidson School as having the potential to be part of a linear park system along the canal and reuse the vacant buildings which have been overgrown and are not as visible as they once were.
The building is closed after the new John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School is moved around the corner on 12th Street.
2006 Historic Augusta announces inaugural 2007 Endangered Properties List which included the Old Davidson School.
Remaining vacant and rapidly deteriorating, potential reuses for the Old Davidson School building include offices, medical support offices, a trade school, government offices or housing. The Board of Education lists the building for its appraised value, which was $360,000, in December 2007.
Anticipated to be completed before the end of the year, and now in its sixth month of construction, the Emporium is approximately halfway through with construction. Far from becoming complacent in their work, many crews have redoubled their efforts into what owner Natalie McLeod describes as “an anthill of activity.” “I think people are finally starting to get nervous, because we can’t afford to have anything slow us down if we want to get this done by the end of the year,” she said. According to McLeod, on any given day the building is inhabited by at least two construction crews, roofers, steel welders, electricians, plumbers and men working on the fire safety system. The building is full of the sounds of sawing, drilling and welding as it tries to accommodate as many men as can realistically fit in such a confined space. “There were times the contractor was yelling for more people and the project manager had to tell him that no more people would fit in the space they needed to work in,” said McLeod. “He was thinking more people would make the work go faster, but we’re really doing everything we can.” For the first time, the second floor’s main stairway leads directly to the roof, while the tresses of the building have been raised to accommodate a clear story, making the consideration of vertical space vital to the project.
“This is when it’s really starting to shape up,” said McLeod. “Because of our struggle to get light into the building we had to get creative. Some of the walls can’t be made into windows so we decided to go straight up.” “It’s hard to get a real impression of the space you’re dealing with just by looking at the plans, because of what a difference the height of the ceiling makes,” she continued. “Even the heating and air conditioning people had to come back after they saw the actual size of it and rework some of their preliminary ideas.” The roof needs to be both strong enough to hold beneath the weight of the decks installed on it, and weather tight. Even the open-air patios in each apartment need to include a drainage system to filter water out when it rains or mists. “They have to retile the entire roof, but first they have to take the old roof off, including tearing off the old plywood and making the whole thing new,” said McLeod. “The roof is going to be a light grey to make it cooler for the whole building, and particularly the people who use these decks.” Builders are still having difficulty pleasing both the state and federal historic preservation associations, who are concerned with details as fine as the shape of every window. McLeod says architects had to measure every millimeter of every original window frame in order to find the closest possible match. At the same time, they are still busy finding little things to improve on in order to make the eventual apartments the most livable spaces possible. Builders recently decided to widen a walkway that would make it easier to bring furniture out of the elevator, and have made other decisions that may not be obvious, but always have an eye toward making future residents comfortable with their spaces. McLeod says the project is moving so smoothly she has little difficulty visualizing the final product from the skeleton walls already in place. “I’m even more excited now than I was at the beginning; as I see the space develop I think this is really going to work,” she said. “One of the things I’m trying so hard to do is to make these apartments comfortable and the best they can be, because I want this to be a place where people can come and live in forever.” Follow the progress of renovations to the Emporium from vacant, derelict property to a vibrant residential/commercial gem. Missed an episode? Check out back issues at
VERGELIVE.COM by ROBYN A. ANDERSON photo courtesy of HISTORIC AUGUSTA Robyn A. Anderson is the preservation services director at Historic Augusta, Inc., a nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve historically or architecturally significant structures and sites in Augusta and Richmond County.
article and photos by
40 / july 2010 / verge
the written word /a voice in the pasture Eli yelled from the kitchen while washing his hands, “UNCLE SAL!” “WHAT?” “TELL ME IF THE PHONE RINGS!” “YAH!”
He opened the gate, walked to the bale, grabbed the scythe and swung it in the air, remembering the weight. He walked towards the cows and heifers. He dragged the scythe behind him in the dirt, holding the top of the handle, and when he reached the long shadows from the trees he heard a voice calling.
Sal was watching the game in the adjacent room. Eli walked to the doorway and watched. The volume knob was on the floor, covered in dust. It was loud. They were on the goal line. The picture shook. Someone threw a bottle from the stands. It landed in the back of the end zone. Sal was forward in the easy chair, almost on his knees before the light.
He turned around and saw Sal gesturing at the fence. He waved to the man and walked on.
The announcers spoke high, wielding words to crescendo. They moved. It was quick. The lines collided and blurred. A man leapt over them. He was parallel, above, stretched, for a while. There were no shadows but his cast on the men below. Then another shadow appeared. They merged. He fell. “DAMMIT!” yelled Sal and slammed back into the chair. He rocked. Eli leaned against the near wall. The old phone hung there. He studied himself in the bells — turned his head to change its size. He felt the dial with his hand and brushed from zero to nine. Then he brushed seven times, letting his finger drop into the circles, but not pulling the dial around — it always turned back to where it was before his touch. He decided not to pull. He lifted the receiver to check if the line was dead. He listened to the hum, remembering the conversation from the night before. “Hello?” “Why haven’t you called?” “I’m a busy woman.” “You said later.” “I did. Later could mean in a couple hours or a day.” “You should be more specific.” “Alright. We’ll talk later, yeah? I’m tired Eli — I’m going to bed.” “Tomorrow — we’ll talk tomorrow.” “OK. Tomorrow.” “Bye.” Eli dropped the receiver and let it hang. Sal was parroting commercials. Two plates were on the table. A dry baguette, torn in half, was between the plates next to a bowl of separated oil and vinegar. His notebook and pen were there too, but the pen had moved. He had tucked the clip between the pages, with the body of the pen resting on the cover. He always left it that way, but the entire pen was on the cover. He grabbed the notebook and looked outside through the kitchen window. He could not see the cattle, but he knew they were in the pasture. He saw birds circling high, riding on updraft. They were too high to see their type. They looked like dashes out of place, roaming around, above a page, waiting for the call to land. He hung the receiver and walked through the hallway. Outside, he went to the fence and looked for the cattle. They were in the grove for the shade. He scanned the pasture. There was one by the creek, drinking. It lifted its head, turned it slowly and then went back to drinking. He watched for a long time. It kept doing it, again and again. It was a hot day, he knew — felt the sweat rolling down his neck — but he had never known a cow to drink like that. He watched the cow’s shadow move along the creek as it drank in the same spot. He wrote about it, leaning on the fence. He wrote about a towering crane moving back and forth, back and forth — the driver half asleep. It was forced and no good.
Sal watched the whole thing. It was hard to see because of the shadows from the grove, and hard to see with the sun in his eyes, but he saw enough to know and almost walked out there himself but his hand clutched the rough railing and he didn’t. It looked like a dance — a man dancing in the dark with a broomstick, wheeling around in clean movements, or a man taking turns with ladies in red evening dresses that sparkled, were too tight to allow the bend with his deliberate motion, in tune, in step, and so he discarded them and took another for a turn. People were taking pictures with vintage cameras — the bulbs flashed, popped out, there was smoke, another-another flash — it was 1929 and the mass of photographers moved with the man in whirling clouds of dust throughout the grove in awe of spectacle. From afar, it was a dance, to Sal. “How was the game?” Eli asked when he returned to the fence. “It was good,” said Sal, his eyes on the man’s clothes. “We win?” “No… but we played well.” “Good,” he said and spat on the dirt. “I’m gonna wash up and write,” he said, giving Sal a hard look. “I know.” “No TV.” “I know. I won’t bother.” The man walked away. Sal stood at the fence. “Who the hell needs TV with you around?” He watched the orange glow. The birds were down and the air was cooler. He smiled, thinking of how he would tell the story to the boys the next trip into town. He smiled because he knew that they would go soon to celebrate the writing — if it was good. That evening Eli walked out and stood on the back porch. Sal was at the grill. “WUTCHA COOK’IN POPS?” Eli howled, arching his back and bending back as he did. “Steak! Want some kid?” “NAW! I AIN’T HUNGRY! NO MORE!” He yelled, turning his head so his words hit the whole horizon. “What are you are trying to do? Wake creation?” Sal asked loud, fighting laughter. “That’s the idea pops,” Eli said slow, looking ahead at the dark. “Hey Sal!” “Yeah?” “TOWN!” “But my steaks?” “Let’um burn,” Eli growled, baring his teeth. “TOWN!” They walked inside, through the kitchen, through the hallway and when Eli had closed the front door there was a ring from inside the house — the old phone, the hammer pounding the bells. “Leave it alone,” Sal said. “I know. I am.”
He watched the cars passing on the road. Then he saw a yellow truck. It was towing Adelle’s bull in a trailer. He knew it was hers because of its distinct hide. It was tan and appeared spotted from a distance. Its hide was interrupted with brands. He had never seen a bull that way before, just like he had never seen a cow drink as though it knew a drought was coming. When Adelle had brought her bull, she had said she was going to cull her herd. Eli agreed to help her. She agreed to help him. He stepped back from the fence and dropped the notebook. He saw the scythe. It leaned against a near hay bale. He watched it — the handle was worn, and he could see the faded color of the paint and the blade spotted with rust. The cattle were near the grove. Some stood, some reclined in the grass.
by PM ROGERS When he is not writing about writing, composing poems and fiction, or talking about the
EDITOR’S NOTE PM Rogers wrote this piece, he said, “to illustrate the process of paring down (culling if
work that is writing, PM is often doing things that are here, not printed.
you will) in writing. It is an unpleasant but crucial part of the work.”
art by CHAD COLE CHADCOLE.NET
verge / july 2010 / 41
the last word the listening room sound bites / local music by stoney Eat Lightning “The Walls Have Mice and the Mice Have Ears” 2010 The sound of Eat Lightning is a mixture of psychedelic pop and stripped-down garage rock, creating a wild, infectious hybrid. “The Walls Have Mice and the Mice Have Ears” immediately launches with a combination of fuzzed-out guitar riffs and catchy pop lyrics, all laced together with a ’60s garage-rock sensibility. There are some heavy aspects of the Beatles on songs like “Down N Out,” but that pervasive, stripped-down, indie-college feeling still comes through, sometimes channeling “Come On Pilgrim”-era Pixies. Other superior tracks include “You Want It” and “Jesse Zero,” to name a few. Nine tracks of superb quality with a wonderful sound, Eat Lightning is easily the best new band to come out of Augusta.
The Cubists “Mechanical Advantage” 2009 The Cubists have built a strong following locally and their first true album captures the experimental essence and direction of what the Cubists are all about. This is the direction they have been moving in for many years and was the most creative local album to come out in 2009. “Mechanical Advantage” begins with the haunting “Fire in the Back Yard,” introducing the listener to the craftsmanship of the band and the vocals of Noel Brown. When the chorus kicks in, the Cubists really shine, bringing out some
influences but with a tinge of ’80s New Wave. Hard to define because of their multi-instrumentalist talents and various musical influences, the Cubists are experts at bringing a spaceage experimentalism to the masses with a healthy dose of catchy riffs thrown in for good measure. Some tracks, like “Bad Time” and the title track, delve deeper into the profound but, all in all, “Mechanical Advantage” is a journey into the minds and musical backgrounds of the Cubists.
Larry Jon Wilson “S/T” 2008 There is timelessness in the moody country-folk of Larry Jon Wilson, an Augusta songwriter who has befriended some of the greatest music legends, all the while entertaining fans and leaving them begging for more. Sadly, he died June 21, but leaves behind a legacy of great music. This is the first album by Larry Jon Wilson in nearly 30 years, since 1979’s “The Sojourner.” In the past, Wilson has been a recognizable voice in the ‘70s New West/modern country music scene. On this offering, he still plays and tells his stories in a sonorous, hypnotic voice. Wilson was a master storyteller. The self-titled album opens with the melodic Willie Nelson-ish “Shoulders” and continues in a similar tradition through one well-crafted, introspective song after another, painting a beautiful portrait of a man who has seen a lot in life, hefted more than a few pounds across his back and been from one end of the globe to the other end. The rest of the album keeps the slow tempo country-folk spirit going for 12 tracks. This is a must have for fans of Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Townes Van Zandt and all the classic Americana musicians.
Those who know me well know that there are few things I believe in more than rock ‘n’ roll and America. Toss in family and friends and, in my humble opinion, life is complete. I tend to believe that’s what the month of July was created for. See, as far back as I can remember, I’ve held on to this romantic notion of the Fourth of July that involves loved ones, fun, sun, rock ‘n’ roll and, of course, hot dogs and apple pie. Sure, it’s a notion rooted in my military brat upbringing that revolved around late magical summer nights, cookouts and boom boxes but, as my dad used to say, “Once something is ingrained in you, only you have the power to push it out.” I don’t see me going to any big effort to get rid of any fond old traditions. So with that being said, here’s to one rockin’, red-blooded, American Fourth of July! Speaking of all-American rock ‘n’ roll, I just had a blast of Augusta’s musical past hit my desk and pretty much blow everything off the top of it. Back in the late ’90s, Graniteville, S.C., trio SCIENCE FRICTION was hot property on the scene as Glenn Wise (guitar/vocals), Bucky Brown (drums/vocals) and billy s (bass/vocals) delivered all-original rock ‘n’ roll to the area on a weekly basis, walking away with a slew of battle of the band contests honors and warming up the stage for some of the few big-name touring bands who ventured to the CSRA. Now it looks like Sci Fri is back and the proof is in the pudding (well at least in my CD player), as the band’s brand spanking new recorded track “Listen to the Music” is a funky, fun, hard rockin’ return for the guys in a big way. Word from billy is that a video is being filmed for the track, but those who wish to hook up a copy of the song only need to wait until the Aug. 20 release of A VERY LEXIE CD 2010! Science Friction will not only be on the CD, but also on the bill that night at Sky City! Speaking of bands we all love and miss and wish we could see again, last month Americana rockers HORSEPOWER returned to lay the smackdown on Sky City and word out on Broad Street is that this may not be the one-off show originally intended. According to sources on the scene (yep, those dang Martians again), Grady Nickel (guitar/vocals), Keith Jenkins (guitar/vocals) and Travis Petrea (bass) plan to kick the band back into high gear. Fans will just have to wait and see whether drummer Brian Brittingham stays on permanently or not. While we’re on the subject of “bands reunited,” I’d like to throw out a personal plea for a few bands who I’d like to see lace up the boots one more time. You know, great Augusta bands of the past that fans who missed them the first time should get to experience, and fans from the past should get to get all nostalgic and stuff about. Consider this my “Big Five” wish list: How cool would it be to feel the power of alt-rockers HUNDRED YEAR SUN again? Their lone CD release, “Halo On the Dead Man,” is still a personal fave of mine. PINE was hands down one of the more interesting heavy handed bands to stalk Augusta stages. I can only imagine what their aggressive sound would be like on a modern Augusta stage like say… Sky City? Augusta’s RIFF RAFF KINGS were one of the first bands from the area to mix rock and rap and they did so in a way that was so fun, loud, wild, crazy and energetic that you couldn’t help but to get into it. If only the Red Lion Pub was still around for that reunion possibility. Quirky pop trio NERVOUS BOY was about as unique a band as you could get. Catchy pop tunes, great musicianship, intelligent lyrics and just overall out-of-the-box tunes. Finally, what great fun it would be to experience ’90s cover rockers CATBOY once again? Aaaahhhh, those memories of holding a cold pitcher of beer in one hand, metal horns up high with the other hand, while dodging Chris Eddin’s flying drumsticks are just begging for a one-night return! Can you think of any long-gone Augusta bands you’d like to see return? Send me your “Bands Reunited” Augusta wish list to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass it along and see what we can do! Anybody got H.G. Wells’ number? I need to place a rock ‘n’ roll order!
by DINO LULL
Make sure you check out pipeline every month online at VERGELIVE.COM for great live shows to get out and support and, to get an earful of what’s happening in Augusta music, stop by and listen to me rant with my good buddy Brian “Stak” Allen each week on CONfederation of LOUDness which can be found ironically enough at CONFEDERATIONOFLOUDNESS. COM. Til next time… Make it LOKAL, Keep it Loud. by JOHN “STONEY” CANNON
42 / july 2010 / verge
verge / july 2010 / 43
1128 Broad Street 706.945.0489 Hours: Mon - Fri: 8:00 am - 8:00 pm Sat: 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
t a fe
“ Un Cafe au Monde “
Tomato Caprese-Sliced fresh mozzarella cheese tossed with basil pesto served on bed of organic greens with sliced fresh tomato- $7.49 Smoked Gouda Quesadilla- Grilled chicken, smoked gouda,roasted basil and pineapple salsa.- $7.95 Marinated Mango Spring Roll- Mango, avocado, bean sprouts and fresh cilantro wrapped in rice paper. Sweet chili dipping sauce -$ 7.95 Bruschetta- Garlic crostini topped with a mix of red onions, tomatoes and basil pesto sprinkled with fresh parmesean cheese.- $5.95 Soup Du Jour- daily soup served with garlic crostini- $3.99
choice of caesar, honey mustard, ranch, thai vinaigrette, or house dressing. Caesar Salad- Romaine lettuce, tomato, parmesan cheese. Served with garlic crostini- $7.95 House Greens- Organic greens, tomatoes, blackberries, red onions, choice of dressing.- $5.95 Thai Chilly- Mixed greens, mangos, beans sprouts, and crunchy noodles tossed with spicy cilantro vinaigrette and topped with lime sorbet- $8.95 Chop Salad- Diced ham, turkey, bacon, swiss and cheddar cheeses tossed with iceberg lettuce, olives, red onions, tomatoes and your choice of dressing- $8.95 Marinated Tomato & Brie- Bed of organic greens, marinated brie, tomatoes, crushed walnuts and garlic crostini- $8.95
served with choice of 1 side. Sub soup-$.99 Chicken Curry Salad- with dried berries, mixed greens, and tomatoes on country bread- $8.95 Victorian- Smoked ham, aged swiss, organic greens, blackberry chutney, tomato, onion—$8.95 Tuna Nicoise- Tuna, olives, capers, red onion, oil and vinegar on country bread with mixed greens. $7.95 Tomato & Brie- Marinated Brie with fresh tomato, organic greens, and red onion on country bread- $6.95 Turkey Club- All natural turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, cheddar cheese – $6.95 Houstonian- Hot roast beef and cheddar, pickles, red onions, mayo and bbq chips - $8.95 Sweet Success- Turkey, bacon, swiss cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion and honey mustard dressing- $8.95 Cubano- Smoked ham, provolone, red onions, pickles, honey mustard dressing on pressed French bread- $9.95 Vegitalian- Organic greens, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, avocados and basil pesto on wheat- $7.95 Heart Healthy Wrap- Hummus, organic greens, olives, feta cheese, pepperoncini on spinach herb wrap. -$7.95 Truffle Grilled Cheese – fresh mozzarella, white truffle oil, and black pepper melted and topped with tomato and smoked ham – $8.95
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