verge downtown augusta
free your hometown holiday spirit is downtown december 2009
verge / december 2009 / 3
Sweet Wheels and Sweet Sounds Ray Hutto makes guitars sing for local musicians
The Community of Choosing Local
Choose to Eat Local
The meaning of local defined and explained
Garden City Organics provides from farm to table
Choose to Read Local The Book Tavern focuses on building relationships
A Different Kind of Holiday Gift Guide Find gifts for everyone on your list downtown
12 Bands Changes Direction 2009 CD pulls together the best of six years
Going Deeper into the Deep Sea Kevin Grogan delves into the art of William Golding
Local Musicians Band Together Annual Rocking the Stocking concert coming to Sky City
5 7 9 26 26 27 27 29 31 37 39 41 45 47 49
volume two issue ten
smatterings quick clips discover downtown gallery / william golding soundcheck / augusta collegium musicum onstage / santaland diaries and more offstage / martinis & mistletoe: girlsâ€™ night out good chow / warm drinks for chilly days business / blue magnolia says farewell business / spinning gallery business / the cartridge doctor pipeline / holiday highlights worship / christmas services explore downtown / wilde monument theater / the match girl the musical on the cover: Midnight Forest by Lou Ann Zimmerman
4 / december 2009 / verge
verge / december 2009 / 5
verge publisher Matt Plocha editor Lara Plocha pipeline editors Claire Riche Joyce Tahop web guy Andy Donnan photographers Katie McGuire Chris Selmek
smatterings / notes from the publisher I wonder if the Three Wise Men shopped
to your community with this Christmas season.
your neighbor. It’s about understanding values
A few ideas to get you warmed up like a cup
and a belief that is larger than self. As you now
of hot chocolate: The Lighted Boat Parade,
go forward in to the Christmas Season, try to
Tis’ the season to be JOLLY.
The Christmas Light Up Spectacular, Girls
remember these values and beliefs. Put others
As we enter the 2009 holiday season and
Night Out in Downtown, A Christmas Carol,
first as more important. Be slow to judge and
look forward to the magic of Christmas and
something about eight reindeer at Le Chat and,
quick to help. Look for opportunities, large or
resolutions of a New Year, it is the most wonderful
of course, the “Ball Drop” on New Year’s Eve
small, to become better acquainted with your
time of the year. I am reminded of this wonder
between Metro, a Coffeehouse & Pub and 1102
community. you may be surprised at what you
by the innocence of my youngest child as he
Bar and Grill (thanks guys – you sure know
watches the Macy’s parade on Thanksgiving
how to do it up right!). Go out and support
Day for “Santa” to arrive. Patiently watching
the many bands (twelve – plus, I think) this
the marching bands, the massive floats “Daddy
month at any number of great establishments
- that big dough boy balloon can eat 3 million
and venues downtown (see www.vergelive.com
cookies…did you know that?” I am reminded
for complete schedule). Take a walk to see the
by my teenage daughters as to what the season
Christmas tree in the Common; it’s absolutely
is about – friends, what’s at the movie theatre
stunning at night! Head on over to Broad Street
and SHOPPING! They each in their own very
and see millions of Christmas lights on display.
special way remind me that this is the time of
It is quite spectacular and, on a cold evening, you
year for family and church gatherings, reflection
can get hot chocolate for your walk downtown
of the year’s accomplishments and anticipation
too if you look hard enough.
of potential new beginnings. The holiday season is a gentle reminder of how we need to hold on
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to the important things in life that are near to our hearts. The treasures in life can slip away at a moment’s notice - grab on to them now. Pull them in close and hold them tight and don’t let go. Enjoy every moment you have to its fullest – bring joy to every one and every moment you can for those moments might be going off to a sleep over or college soon.
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you can see, there is a lot to do in downtown this month. We have highlighted a few more events in this months issue for you to find the “wisdom” of the holiday season so I won’t spoil the adventure for you. Might I recommend checking out any one of the many church events going on this month and you too will be
importance of shopping locally and supporting
bonus of the holiday season is family, parades,
independent business owners. These are the
shopping, Christmas lights, community, and
people that make up your community. They are
more events than you can shake a candy cane
the back bone of our local economic engine and
at this month.
need your support now more than ever as we begin to look for that something special for that someone special on our list. I ask that you give them your first look when out and about doing your holiday shopping. You will find some really cool, unique and non-mass produced products at a majority of the independent shops around town. Our writers have stepped up to the task of looking for some pretty cool things in the downtown district and have provided you with a few prime choices of their own in this issue of stores and businesses highlighted in the pages ahead. Tell them you saw them in verge, your
to thank everyone we have had the pleasure of meeting this past year and for your unwavering support. It has been an extremely humbling experience and we have had the distinct pleasure of being the recipients of great friendships. We look forward with great anticipation (Santa is coming I just know it!) and how together we can make a stronger and unified community. See you downtown being jolly…. and waiting for the wise men. Matt
maintaining all of those Christmas lights. As
reminded of the true reason of the holidays. The
free event listings firstname.lastname@example.org
You” to all of those involved in putting up and
I have written over the past year about the
verge. Take a look; better yet, make a visit to the
got a story tip? email@example.com
I for one would like to extend a hearty “Thank
My family and I would like to take this time
So as we prepare to go full steam ahead in to the holiday season, I would be remiss if I did not remind everyone to pause during the craziness and hectic schedules to reflect on your own life, your priorities and how you might become more involved in this community in the coming year. Being a part of your community does not necessarily mean only shopping locally or at independent shops, it also means supporting your community in non-financial means. Volunteer at a non-profit organization. Help out or get more involved with you church community; there is far greater reach there than anywhere possible. Supporting your community means more than financially supporting local
This is the time of year it seems that everyone
and independent store owners. It’s about
pulls out all of the stops in regards to
belonging and being part of something larger
entertainment and this year December is holding
and more important. It’s about recognizing your
true to form. There are many events going on in
part of the bigger picture. It’s about respecting
the downtown district for you to get connected
your surroundings and having a kind word for
cover artist: artist finds passion is exploring new techniques With subject matter that runs from traditionally inspired landscapes to more
experimental represenations of people and their environment, Lou Ann Zimmerman explores new applications and techniques in a variety of media to communicate impressions of her subject. Her art reflects the strength she finds in nature with a strong emphasis on design. Zimmerman’s father, Marc Moon, imbued in her a passion for art at an early age. Since she grew up in a household that was daily steeped in art, spent weekends and vacations at art venues and had the opportunity to be surrounded by many of the great watercolorists of their day, art became a natural part of her being. Her work has been displayed in solo and group exhibitions throughout much of the United States and in Japan. She is the owner of Zimmerman Gallery at 1006 Broad Street.
advertiser index 16 48 18 32 28 37 47 35 24 25 30 52 38 20,27 4 14,44 4 22 4, 34 10 25, 46 32 10 18 51 14 6 14 29 6 37 47 26 50 36 4 39 10 8 32 8 2, 14 30 8 8 25
1102 Bar & Grill 1102 Back Bar Events 8th Street Tobacco 9th Street Wine Market A.B. Beverage Mothership Wit Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale Andy Jordan’s Bicycle Warehouse Augusta Players Artistic Perceptions blue magnolia Boll Weevil Cafe Brigan’s The Book Tavern Casella Eye Center Cloud Nine Downtown Dental DuJuor Fine Foods Elduets Treasures of the World Garden City Organics Halo Salon & Spa Healing Waters Health Central Le Chat Noir The Loft Manuel’s Bread Cafe Metro Coffeehouse & Pub Moon Beans New Moon Café PeachMac Perry & Company PowerServe Quilt Shop on The Corner Rock Bottom Music Rooster’s Beak Sanford, Bruker & Banks The Spinning Gallery Stillwater Taproom Summerville Maids Surroundings T-Boy’s Po’Boys Vintage Ooollee The Well The Window Gallery Woodrow Wilson House Zimmerman Gallery
6 / december 2009 / verge
verge / december 2009 / 7
quick clips lamar lobby perfect for holiday photo taking
Come see The Lamar Building for Christmas at its best and bring your camera! Kelley New, the Lamar’s resident interior designer, has sprinkled his angel dust on the building once again to raise the spirits and holiday cheer of the tenants and visitors of the historic building. Mr. New has been decorating the building for the last nine years and tops it off with a massive wreath hung from the 18th floor balcony. The wreath takes four men to position and is the largest displayed in Augusta. The Lamar Building won the Best Window Award for Best Use of Lights last year. The perfect place for holiday photos, the Lamar Building is located at 753 Broad Street.
d(a)2 holiday downtown connects on december 8
The Downtown Augusta Alliance will hold holiday Downtown Connects and Annual Meeting on December 8th from 5:30 to 8 pm at The Well (1285B Broad Street). The meeting will include a review of 2009, a finanical report and the annual Board of Directors election. The proposed 2010 slate of officers includes: Jeremy Carr (The Well), Ben Casella (Casella Eye Center), Erik Hammarlund (W.R. Toole), George Harrison (Boll Weevil), David Hutchison (The Book Tavern), Trey Kennedy (Georgia Bank and Trust), Conie Melear (RW Allen), Kate Lee (Oasis Garden), Lara Plocha (blue magnolia/verge), Claire Riche (965 Broad) and Curt Young (Sanford, Bruker and Banks). Downtown Connects are specifically for d(a)2 members and those interested in finding out more about downtown’s business association. Attendees are asked to bring an appetizer or dessert. For details contact Claire Riche at firstname.lastname@example.org.
carey murdock sings the blues at sweet lou’s Taking a break from touring, Carey Murdock of No Star has taken up as “Artist in Residence” at Sweet Lou’s Crab Shack every Monday night throughout December and January. Have dinner and kick back with a drink while Carey performs renditions of jazz and soul standards as well
photo by MICHAEL E. JOHNSON
as his own compositions. Performances begin at 8:30 pm. Sweet Lou’s Crab Shack is located at 1293 Broad Street.
cans for a cause Fort Discovery
is offering free admission to children during the holidays - just bring in one non-perishable food item and receive one child’s admission free! All food will be donated to Golden Harvest Food Bank. Fort Discovery is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 5 pm. nationalsciencecenter.org
give hope with a handmade ornament on first friday Hope House, Inc., a long-term residential treatment facility for women and their children suffering from substance abuse and homelessness, will participate in the December First Friday event with
porcelain ornaments created by the families of Hope House. The ornaments were made under the supervision of local ceramic artist Rosemary Forrest who is serving as the AmeriCorps VISTA with Hope House. The Hope House booth will be located at the corner of Broad and 10th Street. A donation of $5 is suggested for the ornaments. Information on the services of Hope House will also be available.
vote for your favorite holiday window grab a ballot and vote for your
favorite downtown holiday window during the annual Winter Window Wonderland “People’s Choice” contest. Ballots must be turned in by First Friday, December 4th and the winner will be announced during the Christmas Light Up Spectacular on December 5th. Details: dasquared.com
show our active troops we care Remember those who bravely serve our country throughout the year. Here are a few ways to show support:
Send a letter or care package: letterstosoldiers.org or amillionthanks.org Offer up your unused frequent flyer miles at heromiles.org Donate sports equipment, games and more through give2thetroops.org Volunteer to foster a military personnel’s pet through netpets.org/militarypet/foster.php Donate blood specifically for troops in combat. Learn more at militaryblood.dod.mil
get fit with pole dancing
A new type of fitness has come to Broad Street:Studio Velocity at 830 Broad Street is offering pole dancing classes. In what may be the latest exercise craze, pole dancing is a fitness program that results in increased flexibility, weight loss, strength building and cardiovascular development. After a few lessons, pole dancing devotees say their self-esteem and confidence is built up to as they learn to twirl and spin in an exotic manner. For details: 706.504.4524
got news? we want to hear it
Whether it’s a new product line or an addition to your menu, a new employee or a new title, an addition to the family or a request for help, verge wants to hear from you. Send your “quick clips” to email@example.com by the 20th of each month for inclusion in the next issue. We’re here to help you spread the good news about your business.
8 / december 2009 / verge
verge / december 2009 / 9
discover downtown dine
Garden City Organics
Morris Museum of Art
Garden City Organics is the perfect place to
“I notice that my gumbo sales tend to go up as the
Two Georgia artists have collections on display
The Flowers Xpress front window is decorated
shop for the gardener or plant enthusiast on
temperature goes down,” says Tony Privat, owner
at the Morris Museum of Art through the
with colored lights and snowflakes, but
your Christmas list. “You’d be surprised how
of the most authentic Cajun food restaurant in
month of December. “Response and Memory,
dominated by the Woodland Fairy Tree. Each
many people would like a plant for Christmas,”
downtown Augusta. While there may other places
the art of Beverly Buchanan,” features the artist’s
decoration on the tree, mostly fairies and giant
said store caretaker Samantha Taylor. “We even
to get Cajun food in and around Augusta, Privat
attempts to express the images and stories of
pine cones, is 40 percent off, part of a storewide
have a number of varieties that can stand the
prides himself on being the only restaurant owner
her African American childhood through
sale through the month of December. “A lot
abuse, if you’re shopping for someone who isn’t
born and raised in Louisiana. It was there he
drawings, sculptures and photographs. “Deep
of what’s in our inventory now has been here
good taking care of plants.” Through Christmas,
learned to cook the spicy mix of French, Spanish
Sea: Drawings by William Golding,” will be on
since before we moved to Broad Street a few
Garden City Organics is offering a 10% off
and African cuisine known as Cajun. In addition
display beginning Dec. 12 and includes around
months ago,” said owner Kathy Norman. “We’d
special on plants when you buy a pot to put them
to gumbo, which Privat touts as the perfect way to
60 drawings executed near the end of his life,
like to be able to start fresh in the springtime.”
in. They also plan to create gift baskets for the
warm up on a cold day, the restaurant is running
created from his memories of the ships he sailed
In order to take advantage of the discount,
gardening aficionado that may include gardening
a special on soft shelled crab through December.
and the ports he visited around the globe. The
customers have to visit the store, open 10
implements, books and seeds. Garden City
T’Boys Po’Boys is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday
a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday,
Organics is open Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m.
Monday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to
through Saturday, and from noon until 5 p.m.
and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Flowers
to 7 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
on Sunday during which admission is free.
Xpress also delivers if you call 706-722-3277.
1034 Broad Street
1032 Broad Street
1 Tenth Street
1046 Broad Street
article and photos by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK art BEVERLY BUCHANAN Hurricane House, 2008, Collection of Jane Bridges
fundraising continues / christ community health center Christ Community Health Services celebrated two years of service and low-cost health care in downtown Augusta on November 14th, as well as making plans for the next year and beyond. The clinic, which first opened its doors in November 2007, provides training opportunities to medical residents as well as health care to the underserved and hopes to continue this tradition by opening three new exam rooms at their D’Antignac Street location. “Just as Jesus moved with the poor and broken in society, we wanted to be located in the urban centers where we can be close to the type of people who most need a healing touch,” said Dr. Grant Scarborough, one of the two founding doctors of the clinic. The founders of Christ Community also hope to open a new facility on Greene Street at the site of the historic Widows home. They are still in the process of raising funds for the 10-12 month construction project, but hope to begin as soon as January. “Part of our mission is to take care of the poor, which is what they were doing on this sight 200 years ago,” said Scarborough. “We’re very excited to already be a part of that legacy.” Christ Community has served over 9,000 patients since opening their doors, most of whom have no access to insurance. According to Scarborough, the most any patient will ever have to pay is one-half of the billed fees for their
visit and as little as $20, though patients who are truly homeless are seen free of charge. “By no means do we make any money,” said practice administrator Jonathan Aceves. “University Hospital gives us a substantial subsidy to continue providing quality health care, and we could not do what we do without the support of numerous private donors and churches.” What money the clinic receives goes toward purchasing medical equipment, offsetting daily expenses and the salaries of 16 paid staff. They also receive invaluable help from 10 regular volunteers and, according to volunteer nurse Tanya Todd, at least 75 part-time volunteers who have come in over the years to do their part. “It’s such an awesome thing to be the vessel loving the many poor, broken women of this community,” said Todd, who left a career in nursing to serve the needy free of charge. “I’ve seen these doctors hold patients in their arms and pray with them. I’ve seen them reach into their own pockets to provide the $20 for patients who really couldn’t afford it. The people involved in this project really do care about their patients, and it shows. This is truly a project of love.” Christ Community Services is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday. Anyone interested in volunteering with the center can call 706-830-3662. article and photo by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK
10 / december 2009 / verge
verge / december 2009 / 11
front porch with ray hutto
the man behind the sweet wheels
“He’s the man when it comes to guitars.” Ray Hutto may be one of the most recognizable figures in Augusta simply because of the car he drives. The proud owner of a red 1959 Cadillac, for which he has done the majority of the work himself, Hutto makes a pretty impressive figure pulling up to the curb alongside Rock Bottom Music on Broad Street, where he works his day job. Hutto repairs guitars and bass equipment for Rock Bottom, including neck and truss rod adjustments, set ups, pick-up modifications and fret work, though to say it is his “day job” may be a bit of an overstatement. Hutto generally comes in on Wednesdays at around 11 am and stays until each repair is complete, whether that requires a few hours or the rest of the week. The rest of the time, he’s probably working on his car.
“I tell people to bring in their guitars on Monday or Tuesday so I can get to it right away when I come in,” says Hutto. “I stay ‘til the work is done but, most evenings, I’m out of here by one or two o’clock.” Nevertheless, Hutto manages to repair more than 300 instruments a year, and the position gives him an opportunity to meet with many promising young musicians from across the Augusta area. “I try to encourage young musicians whenever I can,” he said. “I tell them to practice a lot and keep it up, and to never get discouraged. One of the most important realizations is that you can learn something from everyone you meet.” Hutto himself has been playing for 52 years since 1957, with the help of his father, the late John Hutto. John used to play in bands around Augusta, as well as on Channel 12 with Peewe DeVore and Brenda Lee.
“I really taught myself how to do it,” he said. “When you’re around something for a very long time, you’ll eventually get a feel for it and learn how the work is done.” By 1979, Hutto had his own guitar repair shop in Augusta, which closed during the economic downturn in the early 80’s and Hutto went back to his trade as an electric motor repairman. He returned to work on guitars in the late 80’s and eventually found his current home at Rock Bottom. “This store had just opened up when I started here,” said Hutto. “I saw my talents as a way to feel the accomplishment of customer satisfaction, and to try and maintain a good reputation.” “Ray has been here for about six years, but I’ve known him for the last four and I don’t think you could ask for a nicer person to work with,” said store manager Ken Gabriel. “Everyone who comes in here seems really happy with his work.”
Hutto remembers talking with Lee, the child singer of hits such as “I’m Sorry” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” in the hallway outside the studio.
Gabriel prides himself on keeping the best guitars and the most knowledgeable staff in town, and says it is important to him that customer feel comfortable coming in and talking to either Hutto or himself.
“I guess I was about 14 at the time, when she was 12, and I always remember her being very short,” he said. “She stands under five feet tall even today, and she used to have to stand on a box in the studio in order to be closer to the microphones.”
“I can do very basic repair stuff, but if it’s more complicated than a truss rod adjust I turn it over to Ray because he has technical skills beyond anyone else I know, and he’s the man when it comes to guitars,” he said.
Despite starting a band with several friends during the 60’s, Ray never felt the need to follow his father into show business. The Cobras, starring Hutto along with Jim Avant and Tommy Holland, played country and southern rock for around ten clubs and fraternities in Milledgeville before eventually breaking up.
Hutto attributes a lot of his success to Bonnie, his wife of 49 years, his two children, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren, but says he has no plans on retiring anytime soon. He says Augusta is a great place for opportunity, and he has enjoyed serving the great people and customers of this city.
John Hutto’s true claim to fame was his mandolins, which are internationally sought after and fetch high prices at auctions. Over the course of 35 years, he built 144 instruments, which may have helped inspire his son to enter the repair trade.
Hutto can be reached by calling Rock Bottom Music, which also provides sales, service, lessons and rentals, at 706-724-1172. story and photos by CHRIS SELMEK
12 / december 2009 / verge
LOCAL BEGINS ON MAIN STREET What does local mean? For business
what it means to CHOOSE LOCAL FIRST
owners, the term is more than a textbook definition. It is
a way of life; literally, when the bills are paid by the sheer willingness of customers to shop or not shop at your store. For business owners trying to provide a service and attempting to pay the bills, local takes on a whole new meaning and is no longer just a word to fling around when tourists come to town. For some store owners, keeping their business focus local is pretty simple when they have the market cornered with their specialty shop. Yet, for other businesses getting people in the door is an uphill battle. And yet still, some stores might find getting the message out that they offer something more, something deeper, is what keeps them waking up every morning and clocking in, so to speak. All across the United States, there is a Choose Local First initiative cropping up. Many cities and towns have shifted attention from corporate America to local communities. But the nagging, lingering question for the average consumer is why they should shop locally when the big superstores offer cheaper products that are uniform from state to state. Often local products are more expensive and not as conveniently located to a person’s home, in contrast to what seems like a super center on every corner. At other times, it’s simply a matter of finding what you want in one place without running all over town. And what does it matter, most people ask themselves? Shopping locally is neat or cool or trendy for many people, but not much more than that. Being dedicated to using local businesses isn’t a matter of importance as it is for the owner of the shop and quite a few consumers aren’t interested in building friendships that shopping locally inevitably forms.
Maybe this seems all a bit histrionic to most consumers who just want what they want when they want it, whether it’s purchased at a local shop or not. Yet it’s not straying too far to say there has been a silent war going on between the little guy and the big guy in business since the first shop opened its doors on American soil. Understanding this, the true measure of worth for any business is what they offer that the other does not.
Perhaps the building block of supporting local businesses begins with understanding what local
“I’m not arguing to penalize big business; I just want a more level playing field,” a business owner
means, not just for the store but also for the consumer and the community as a whole.
comments. Self-reliance and a sense of community are only two of the things chain stores do not
“Defining local is tough,” an independent shop owner says about local business. “Local shops are
offer that an independent business can present to locals. Culture is absent in a community without independent businesses, many shop owners feel. While the chain store offers convenience, it is
at the mercy of suppliers and government,” David Hutchison, a book store owner in Augusta says. Like any business, even small ones have to deal with the same problems as corporate shops. In that regard, there is little difference. But a franchise has “more strings attached,” Hutchison says,
the local place that adds color and life to an otherwise stagnant strip of restaurants, super markets, insurance agencies, and clothing stores just to name a few.
the satisfaction of running his own business evident in his voice. Less red tape creates a more
A perfect example of a successful local business that offers something chains cannot is Rebel Lion
Den. For Shama Cartwright, who has run Rebel Lion Culture Shop for the last seven years, his
“Big business owns you,” Hutchison explains. Not to be dramatic, but when “you shop locally, you
store carries a certain vibe that adds to the comfortable atmosphere of his specialty shop. This aura is what he sells more than anything else. Cartwright offers quality made items, many hand
support liberty,” he goes on to say. Helping out the little guy and the independent business owner who is trying to make it on his own steam is the American way of life. “People don’t know what they’re missing out on.”
to stick around,” as Shama puts it, pays off handsomely for some who have tailored their business
three or more times as much typically goes back into the local economy compared to a dollar spent at chain-owned businesses.
shop located on Broad Street. Many people who come in had seen the shop from a distance while driving by and only now stopped by. These people are the life of an independent store. “Tolerance
Do you want your dollars promptly exported to corporate headquaters? For each dollar spent at a local independent merchant,
For every $100 spent at a
made and hand sewn. “I sell authentic items that can’t be found everywhere,” Shama says about his
is recirculated locally. For every $100 spent at a chain only $13 is recirculated locally.
choosing local first = 3X the benefit 2003 Economic Impact Study by Civic Economics
to cater to a certain crowd. Sometimes this is what is required and it definitely is something chain stores cannot offer the discerning customer. Again, it is culture that people seek when they come to a place like Rebel Lion. The importance is not always what a store has on the shelves though. “Making culture rather than selling a product” is key to surviving in today’s hectic market where everyone is pinching pennies, Cartwright understands. For the shop owner at Rebel Lion, he knows people will make the special trip downtown to see him because of the specialty culture items he sells. And while his shop is still growing and not affected by the economy too much, word of mouth keeps Cartwright’s shop alive. For a business with a specialized market, there is no better way to make it than old fashioned good press. “You’re not gonna get rich overnight,” he laughs. While it’s important to get the local perspective from store owners around the CSRA, there is also a national awareness towards the importance of shopping locally that has grown in the last few years, taking on a wider, nationwide view of the big picture. Jennifer Rockne, director for the non-profit American Independent Business Alliance, or AMIBA, understands the tug-of-war going on between small, independently-owned businesses and large corporate chain stores. Since AMIBA’s roots began in 1998, Rockne confesses that “in our years of doing this work, we’ve seen awareness expand certainly, as more communities engage their citizens in active decision making about where they spend their money and increasing their support for their community-based businesses.” CONTINUED ON THE FOLLOWING PAGE
verge / december 2009 / 13
A CULTURE OF COMMUNITY and a sense of place Rockne goes on to explain that the economic
the community, from loss of favorite local
“These business owners are friends and
known, as is the case with so many family
collapse America has seen actually forced
independent businesses to chains backing out
neighbors, and in a time when communities
more people into a position to take notice of
and shuttering and unemployment reports have
everywhere have been uniting in a way we
to be carefully selected according to personal
their locally-owned businesses.
made the need to support local independents
haven’t seen for decades, supporting them is
taste and the unique needs and desires of the
immediate, real and compelling,” Jennifer
all the more important,” Rockne goes on to
Rockne, director of AMIBA says. The image of
explain, thus bringing us back around to that
again so many have been missing, but things
stores closing their doors is there and everyone
nagging feeling that things used to be better
go beyond that. “We hear about house calls
has seen it. Everyone has felt the crunch and
when we were kids and wondering what we
at odd times and more above-and-beyond-
have had to tighten their belt. The gritty reality
can do to rebuild that sense of community we
the-call stories that make you realize just how
of hard times follows a person from their job
had growing up. Here is the answer and the
much of the self goes into running your own
to their home, and the same goes for everyone.
times are right for action.
business. Often the person behind the counter
“More of our inquiries today are coming from local governments seeking answers to retaining and helping their community’s local independent business core, boost the local economy and create new jobs,” Rockne says, explaining how the failure of the national economy has brought about a more fervent localized interest in communities across the
But as things get tougher, it is not the face of a corporate CEO a person pictures in their
“Local independent businesses carry a powerful
This means products are going
There is that personal touch
is the business owner.
There’s comfort in
and much greater overall economic impact
than businesses headquartered somewhere
Does all this sound familiar? Most people can
else,” Rockne says. “And they are integral to
remember a time when they were younger
“We define a locally owned business as one where the community member has full autonomy and local decisionmaking authority with respect to his or her business practices.”
community social and cultural health.”
and everything was not so rushed. They can
Businesses with a buy-local or buy-
remember a time when, if the community was
independent attitude often do better
small enough, a doctor made house calls and
financially than do those who have
stories of what was going on in town could be
not implemented such measures.
shared across the counter with the grocer. Even
THE BUSINESS ALLIANCE FOR LOCAL LIVING ECONOMIES
something they love or have always
head, it is the face of a neighbor subsisting on
“The visual impact of what’s happening in
“These business owners have a local reputation that’s personal, and their business is an extension of that,” Jennifer Rockne says about the small locally-ran business in everyone’s community. “They usually are doing
if a person doesn’t remember that far back, they at least recognize the change that has swept across this country and the lack of interpersonal relationships. Everyone wants a friend at their local shop; it makes the experience that much better, and less of a chore. CONTINUED ON PAGE 15
growing a neighborhood CHOOSE TO EAT LOCAL LOCAL BEGINS AT THE DINNER TABLE
“My gut appreciates local,” a consumer of locally grown food admits, contemplating the literal inner turmoil he suffers after eating fast food. But the impact of non-corporate grown meals stretches beyond the stomach into the wallet and, hopefully, into social awareness. Local products impact the local economy. Seems a simple enough point to make, but, for many, consumers’ actions speak louder than words. Using less dangerous pesticides, local farming has a higher nutritional value and is often cheaper because there are less fuel costs. Less gas used for shipping relates to lower prices and a lower total cost to the consumer. The direct benefit is easy to see, but it is the more esoteric portions of consuming locally grown food that slips by unnoticed. When shopping with a local independent business, money and skill stay in the community.
Thus begins the bond forged between consumer and business owner. It’s important for many local business owners to learn the names of people in the community because these are not just the people paying the bills. They are often friends too. For Kate Lee and Brian Gandy of Garden City Organics, formerly Oasis Garden, working and living locally is very important. Their shop is downtown on Broad Street and their farm is located on private land in Beech Island. Brian is the hands-on farm manager while Kate runs the shop downtown. Everything they do is locally based. With a focus centered locally, community means a lot to the owners of Garden City Organics. “You gotta do what you can,” Kate Lee says about working towards filling the bellies of area residents. Their farm provides about ten percent of their produce and supplies. Garden City Organics receive the other ninety percent from local farms and suppliers. The farm also participates in a veggie share program, but don’t think this is a strictly downtown bohemian idea. “Even in suburbia, there is a veggie share program,” Lee says about the idea of local farmers helping out the community all over the CSRA. Sharing, working with others and competing with major corporations isn’t an easy task. It’s quite daunting for a small shop. “It’s a balance,” Kate Lee of Garden City Organics says. And a tough one at that. While Garden City Organics is a bit new to the community, that does not change the way Lee and Gandy feel towards the Augusta area. Lee made her way to Augusta by way of Athens, living in the Garden City for the last year, yet even in the short time she has been here working with Gandy to run Garden City Organics, Kate Lee understands that “people have been desensitized to what a community offers.” This is where the personal touch comes in to play. Aside from tax revenue, sales tax, and property tax staying local, the biggest thing many local shops such as Garden City Organics pride themselves on is the ability to consistently give their customers the hands on approach many chain stores cannot afford, nor have the time, to specialize in anymore. “Consistency and quality,” Kate Lee says is something she can guarantee to provide to each and every customer that walks in the door. “I’ll be here every day. I pride myself on it.” “I grow this food with love, I use this in my garden,” Lee continues, pointing around her shop at the assortment of products and plants festooning her store. “It’s important, it’s humbling,” Lee goes on. For her, slowing down and enjoying life is essential. Yet for many people life is busy and rushed, but for those willing to take a second to enjoy the benefits of a friendly shop owner, places like Garden City Organics is there to offer something special. Garden City Organics is located at 1034 Broad Street and open Tuesday through Friday 11 am to 6 pm and on Saturday 10 am to 6 pm. by D.H.L. photo KATIE MCGUIRE
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what it means to CHOOSE LOCAL FIRST
building a community
CHOOSE TO READ LOCAL
headquarters to organize a can drive, many
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13
“We gain better overall value with goods and services provided by our local independents,” Rockne says, and for many the emphasis is on the service, something that seems to have vanished into thin air nowadays in chain stores across the country. Still, this is not enough.
people soon realize that the chains don’t care about the community for the people in it, only for the dollar signs. Often, their hands are tied by bureaucratic red tape, and this shows that a chain, no matter how many locals it employs and no matter what all their big talk tries to convey, are in the end a cog in the wheel of
One of the problems people find with shopping
a machine that does not have time for the
locally is that the prices are higher because the
store owner has to compete on the same level
on, or corporate chains trying to alter their
with a corporate chain that get their products
slogans and image to appear as locally-owned
LOCAL BEGINS WITH THE WRITTEN WORD
at next to nothing.
But Rockne and other
businesses, a chain store is still nothing more
professionals tell consumers not to believe
than a chain store, a rubber-stamped business
The financial figures are in place but no amount of money is a replacement for heart. And
what they’ve heard. Many local businesses are
given a little leeway in order to sucker in people
that’s what the Book Tavern located in downtown Augusta has more than any corporate
competitive and will keep their prices down in
who want to spend their money and watch it
bookseller. Plus books of all sizes at a low cost and a staff who personally know what they are
order to draw the same people who would go
fly away out of their community.
to the chain for cheap rates. If the prices are
“There’s a definite advantage to consumers,” David Hutchison, owner of the Book Tavern, says about shopping locally. “The money stays local,” the tall bearded book seller explains, “and local businesses are more likely to use other local businesses.” The financial aspect is unbeatable, especially for locals who can afford to hire employees at a higher wage than a
equal and the local businesses offer something the consumer can relate to and form a bond through, there seems to be little reason not to support local businesses.
Even with “local-washing” going
Ever wonder why the local community seems to be on such hard times?
Well, it’s not
necessarily corporate America’s fault, but they sure aren’t helping the common man. Maybe it’s more convenient to buy from a chain, and
chain store might be able to do. When a chain makes a dollar, roughly ten percent of that
Yet, it’s tough, without a doubt. For some, they
possibly it’s cheaper sometimes, but the key
goes back into the local community. Independent stores put three times that back into the
have found cornering a niche in the market
components are missing:
community. The figures are there in plain sight. “The numbers are even better than that,”
is the way to go. Something no one else can
knowledge, culture, and friendship.
Hutchison says, expanding about how the bulk of money goes back into the local economy.
offer. Others, they focus on the healthiness or
buzz words strike a chord in people, harkening
financial aspects of local products to draw in
back to a simpler time when the dollar
their customers. And still others just offer years
stretched further, the guy down the street at
of knowledge and friendly service to people
the automotive shop wouldn’t rob a person
who want to know why Product A is better
blind, and where the community was like the
than Product B, and who want a no nonsense
old television show said, “where everybody
answer from someone who has actually used
knows your name and they’re always glad you
came. You wanna be where you can see our
But money aside, there is a certain amount of community building that goes along with shopping locally and getting to know your fellow community members. “When my car breaks down,” Book Tavern owner Hutchison says, “I go to Mike down the street.” And while the chain garage in town might employ local workers, the company itself is not local. The bulk of profits are not returned locally. Chain stores are not bad, Hutchison reminds shoppers. They offer something many people enjoy and often at cheap rates and convenient hours. But it’s what chain stores don’t offer that defines the difference between a place such as the Book Tavern and any corporate book seller. Shopping locally sells “a different way of living,” Hutchison goes on to say. “A not-rushed way of life. A better way of living.” When taking your business to a local store owner, the consumer supports someone who might be unable to afford to have everything and who can’t negotiate prices, supplies, or costs like big business, but they know who they’re supporting. “There is a sense of community you will not get with big business,” Hutchison says about keeping shopping local. “One corporation is not the same as the other, some chains are more active.” No matter how good a chain may be, no matter how much they give back to the community, they are still the corporate giant. Hutchison, who has been selling books in Augusta since 2002 and has been located downtown for four and a half years, understands that when people say “man, when I was a kid,” they are reminiscing about a past that corresponds with something having been left behind. When all is said and done, when talk of money and supporting the community is gone, many people feel they are missing something in life that they used to have. That is what the small local business offers that no bargain priced super center can even hope to touch.
by D.H.L. photos KATIE MCGUIRE
“84% of Wal-Mart’s sales
simply shift dollars away from existing local and other chain retailers.” Dr. Kenneth Stone, Iowa State University study on Wal-Mart’s impact on existing retailers
Sure chains give back to the community, but
heart, personal These
troubles are all the same.”
when the manager can’t get approval from
by D.H.L. photos KATIE MCGUIRE
“When asked to name our favorite restaurant, café, or shop, it’s typically a unique local business. Those businesses define our sense of place, but we often forget their survival depends on our patronage.” Jeff Milchen, AMIBA founder
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making our list & checking it twice
a different kind of holiday gift guide / finding it downtown Back by popular request: the verge downtown gift guide. Keeping our Christmas shopping local is top priority - but this year, we’ve been a wee bit short on time. So we asked our staff photographer, Katie McGuire, to scour downtown’s shops, boutiques and galleries - picking out gifts for everyone on our list (and hers). We’re trying to put our money where our mouth is: limiting our gift giving expeditions to independently owned businesses and putting money right back into our local economy. On the following pages, we share with you a sample of the cool things Katie found! So, grab your eco friendly shopping totes, a good pair of walking shoes and head downtown for a Christmas shopping experience you can’t find anywhere else!
for william, who spent thanksgiving helping out in the soup kitchen
for my mother, who taught me to sew
I loved the first quilt my mother made for me so much so that I’ve worn it to shreds. Now, instead of packaging it up and sending it to her for repair, we can use these quilting strips and squares to make one together. The Quilt Shop on the Corner provides not just fabric, but any sort of item needed for sewing, especially quilting – and personal service if you have any trouble along the way. 428 Fifth Street • $8 to $35
for ethan, my hardcore coffee addicted friend
Tall, dark and handsome; this man also takes his coffee black. By giving him two skull mugs from local artist Shishir Choski, I hope Ethan sees that I’ve opened him up to inviting me over in the morning to share a slow roasted cup of joe. The skull mugs, found at Tire City Potters, were originally created by request but were found so popular by the locals that Choski labored to make enough to last this holiday season. 210B Tenth Street • $12 to $24
for my grandmother who tells fabulous stories of russia An artist herself, my grandmother will appreciate the unique and handmade quality of these Russain nesting dolls found at Elduets Treasures of the World. With treasures from all over the world, it’s not hard to find a special gift to suit any of my worldly friends. I like it that there are five ornate dolls in this set, one to represent each of her grandchildren. 1127 Broad Street • $20
Instead of giving to charity, which William usually requests instead of gifts, I found this community soap from Cloud Nine. The proceeds from buying this specific bar of soap go towards helping a homeless person find shelter on cold winter nights. The soap is handmade by owner Carless Gay and is among a countless array of other bodyloving products from lip balm to exfoliants. 1036 Broad Street • under $10
for miranda, who creates such beautiful jewelry herself
I’ve decided to give her these handmade rings from Shoppe 31:30, a second hand store whose vintage selection and low prices outmatch any local thrift store. A crafter of beautiful items herself, Miranda should love these eclectic rings. 1126 Broad Street • $10 and up
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making our list & checking it twice
a different kind of holiday gift guide / part 2
for my history professor with a keen sense of humor and a desk to fill This whimsical Benjamin Franklin figure from Art on Broad does more than just sit on your desk to keep you company. Made from latex rubber with a clothespin attached to the back, he can open his mouth to hold your keys, pens, business cards or toothbrush! It also acts as a pretty creepy puppet. 1028 Broad Street • under $50
for tena marie, the girl with a green thumb
for my cousin michael and his dirty looks when I order a cheeseburger
Yes, animals are people too! Made by local writer James Grant, this can be found at The Book Tavern among other equally witty shirts. Maybe I should go with the one that says “Physics Smysics” to avoid any future menacing glares from my vegetarian cousin. 1026 Broad Street • $15
for david, my existential pipe smoking bearded boss
It seems to be, with no contest, that all pipe smokers should grow a beard. If this is true, then David will surely love a pipe that resembles the man he is trying to become. Handcrafted in Turkey, the special wood of this pipe will change colors the longer it is used. I found such a gem among a selection of equally unique tobacco pipes at 8th Street Tobacco. 230 Eighth Street • $80
Afraid that my bad luck with plants would absorb into the potted flowers from Garden City Organics, causing them to wilt before December 25th, I opted to get this pair of garden shears for Tena. I figured it was a safe bet and the high quality could withstand any bad garden karma I could infect them with. She will need these this spring when I pitifully beg her to decorate our home with wild roses from the backyard. 1034 Broad Street • under $20
for barbara, my best friend’s mother, who deserves something as beautiful as she is
On a remote Caribbean island mountain, a single square kilometer preserves the world’s only source of Larimar. Created by the volcanic forces that formed the island itself, this rare and beautiful gemstone represents the beauty that encompasses the woman who cared for me as if I were her own. Something so precious and so exquisite should always adorn her neck. From Zimmerman Gallery. 1006 Broad Street • starting at $99
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making our list & checking it twice a different kind of holiday gift guide / part 3
for my brothers, the aspiring rockstars
Having advanced from using mom’s pots and pans, Stephen and Spencer should appreciate the selection of musical instruments and accessories found at Rock Bottom Music. I’m stuffing their stockings this year with a trendy guitar strap and strings, a Hohner harmonica, drum sticks and a few guitar picks. If all goes as planned, they’ll reward my dedication to their talent by using their platinum album profits to buy me a fancy New York loft. 758 Broad Street • from $4 to $10
for sierra, who always shares the ice cream carton after a bad day
A true friend will have two spoons and one carton of ice cream for those tough nights, and the best way to repay such compassion is to introduce her to the best fudge downtown – Sweet Surrender Fudge. It’s freshly made and melts in your mouth. Pick up a handful before they are gone from the shelves of blue magnolia, but keep an eye out, rumor has it that The Book Tavern will soon be stocking such sweets! 1124 Broad Street • $4
for aunt susan, who still manages to find space on her mantle
The collector of all things eclectic, Aunt Susan should surely appreciate such an item! This will go great next to her collection of miniature houses and robotic cats that meow as you walk by. I was thrilled to find such an item while shopping for a nice bottle of Beaujolais wine at Ninth Street Wine Market. 12 Ninth Street • $40
For my editor, who needs time to breathe
Since finding a creative way to add more hours to the day is out of the question, I saw this necklace from Art On Broad that immediately evoked a sense of peace within myself. Originally a poster commissioned by British government to encourage their citizens to stay calm during the war, this message can be a positive reminder to pause and catch our breath everyday. It’s the perfect accessory for all those workaholics we know. . 1028 Broad Street • under $50
for my cousin zach who naps too much
I question whether or not Zach actually penned this book, since he seems to already have this under control. The perfect stocking stuffer to any college graduate that has just moved back into his parent’s home may need this not-so-subtle hint to kick them back into gear. This manifesto was found on the shelves of The Book Tavern, a new and used bookstore that provides an array selection for any reader in your family. 1026 Broad Street • $10 photos and editorial by KATIE MCGUIRE
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verge / december 2009 / 23 DECEMBER 18 : FORT DISCOVERY THEATRE
the re-birth of 12 bands / new direction means more music For the past eight years, 12 Bands of Christmas has been a holiday tradition for local musicians and their audiences. What began as a fundraising concert at the Imperial Theatre grew into a CD and annual showcase, once Joe Stevenson got involved. “I do a radio show on 95 Rock and I never had any Christmas music to play around that time of year,” he says, “so I got some local bands to record some songs, and from there it became a CD to tie in to the concerts.” Now that 12 Bands has filed for nonprofit status within the state of Georgia, it is expanding its fundraising efforts into a series of year-round projects beginning in 2010. Stevenson, who became and remains the director of 12 Bands of Christmas, says that from day one the project was about “the spirit of giving and sharing,” first through donating performance and CD proceeds to MCG, then to Tamara’s Fund in honor of one of MCG’s pediatric oncology nurses, and last year by using funds raised to purchase items on MCG’s wish list for pediatric oncology patients. This year, 12 Bands is taking a different direction. Instead of a collection of new recordings of Christmas music from area artists, they’ve assembled a “Best Of ” CD featuring 15 favorites from the past six 12 Bands albums, as well as two new tracks: one from Tara Scheyer & the Mud Puppy Band and one from Pat Blanchard and Turner Simkins, with Hank Futch of the Blue Dogs and Andy Leftwich of the Ricky Skaggs Band. Other bands featured on the “Best Of ” package include G-City Rockers, Hellblinki Sextet, Impulse Ride, Jemani, Joe
Stevenson, John Kolbeck, John Krueger, Livingroom Legends, Scott Terry Project, The Crowns, The Cubists, The Vellotones, Turtleneck, Whosehouse and Wycliff Gordon.
we will have a 12 Bands - 12 Kids campaign in which children who have or had cancer will be paired with a different artist every month to raise awareness and funds.”
12 Bands is also trying something new with their annual Christmas fundraising concert. This year, they will present two “celebration” shows at Fort Discovery on Friday, December 18: a children’s concert at 4 p.m. with Tara Scheyer & the Mud Puppy Band, and then the Blue Dogs at 8 p.m., with opening artist Pat Blanchard. This will kick off the 2010 fundraising drive. Tickets for the children’s show are $12 in advance; tickets for the evening concert are $25 in advance and $35 at the door if available. Tickets can be purchased at Fat Man’s Riverfront Café, Fetch Dog Treats and online at www.12BandsOfChristmas. com.
Stevenson notes that earlier this year, some press reports erroneously pointed toward the dissolution of the 12 Bands project. As a result of these announcements, 12 Bands was contacted by the parents of Brennan Simkins, who is fighting acute myeloid leukemia, in hopes that the organization would continue its efforts. “Brennan is the reason for the rebirth of 12 Bands,” says Stevenson.
Another change in the 12 Bands structure is the addition of a membership option. “We have corporate and individual membership levels,” says Stevenson. “We will be raising money all year through memberships, four events and a lot of things we have planned via the Internet. Members will receive specials, premium members will get tickets, there will be presale opportunities. Membership is nonexclusive, meaning you can join for whatever amount you can afford per year. We plan on four shows for 2010: in spring, a sporting and music event; in summer, a Christmas in July theme for families; in fall, a major concert with a major artist; and for Christmas, our traditional holiday show and CD release. Also throughout the year
In tandem with their restructuring, 12 Bands now has a six-member board made up of area businesspeople. Stevenson, who is not on the board, says that their purpose is “to help dot the i’s and cross the t’s. They’re not an obstructionist board. It started out as a three-member board last year, and was set up by people who had been loosely involved with 12 Bands over the years. It made sense, with our new projects, to set things up officially.” An advisory committee helps direct the funding, which remains focused on pediatric cancer. “Ultimately,” says Stevenson, “our goal is to remain local but branch out 12 Bands’ assistance on a national scale. We would really like to help make a difference with pediatric cancer all over the country. We’re looking forward to growing this to a national level.” by ALISON RICHTER photo from 2008 12 Bands ELIZABETH BENSON
plan to go shows DECEMBER 18 venue FORT DISCOVERY THEATER the kids show TARA SCHEYER & THE MUD PUPPY BAND showtime 4 pm tickets $12 ADV the adult show BLUE DOGS + PAT BLANCHARD showtime 8 pm tickets $25 ADV $35 DOS buy tix 12BANDSOFCHRISTMAS.COM
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Deep Sea: Drawings by William Golding
13th Annual Concert of Holiday Music
One day, in mid-July of 1882, an eight year-old boy was walking along the Savannah wharf with his cousin. Passing by a ship named Wandering Jew, the two boys overheard the captain asking his wife to arbitrarily choose between them. Young William Golding was selected by the captain’s wife and invited onboard for a tour of the ship. He came aboard and perused the lower compartments, but when he was ready to leave, came up on deck to see that the ship was out at sea. The last image he saw of his native Georgia was a blinking lighthouse on Tybee Island as it drifted out of sight. He wouldn’t see his home again until a brief visit in 1904.
Just in time for the holidays, the Augusta Collegium Musicum, under the direction of conductor William Toole, is presenting two special Christmas concerts. On Tuesday, December 8, the group will perform their “Traditional Nine Lessons and Carols” at Sacred Heart Cultural Center. This annual event has been part of Augusta’s heritage for over two decades, and features readings from Scripture accompanied by Christmas music.
The Morris Museum of Art • opens December 12
William O. Golding’s fate was sealed. He would spend the next forty-nine years of his life sailing the seven seas. There are very few details of these years in Golding’s life; only two letters from the artist survive. However, visitors of the Morris will get a glimpse of his adventures when the exhibit Deep Sea: Drawings by William Golding opens on December 12th. Displayed will be many of the over sixty drawings Golding drew between 1932 and 1939, while intermittently a patient of the U.S. Marine Hospital in Savannah, where he earned the nickname, “Deep Sea.” Golding’s drawings highlight his joyous love of the sea. Drawn from memory with no training, many of his landscapes are of a ship rocking in the waves near a port, birds filling the air, the sun shining bright overhead whilst partially obscured by a cloud. Also frequent in his artwork are lighthouses, which must have reminded him of his last vision of home.
Augusta Museum of History December 14
“It’s a very moving and beautiful service,” says Toole. “In the midst of the excitement of Christmas, it brings some spiritual quiet to the season.” With text originating from King’s College, Cambridge, and dating back to 1918, the service presents passages of Scripture from prophecy through the birth of Christ. Each reading is followed by carols. “The readings remain the same every year, but different readers are chosen among members of the community,” says Toole. One week later, on Monday, December 14, the Musicum will perform a fundraiser for the Augusta Museum of History. This, too, is an annual event, which began 14 years ago. “When the new museum opened, my wife and I attended a reception there and I thought it would be an ideal place for a concert,” says Toole. “It caught on, and every year they ask us to come back. This is a lightweight performance, not at all like the ‘Nine Lessons.’ This year we’ll do everything from a Gregorian chant to traditional carols to songs from the present day.”
He spent the last years of his life in Savannah, his long-lost home, recalling and illustrating his journeys, encouraged by Margaret Stiles, the art director at his hospital, who furnished him with paper, pencil, and crayons. With her help, William Golding created a legacy of maritime drawings, and left a glimpse into a past where the greatest sense of adventure was in traveling the great waters that cover the Earth.
A graduate of Yale University, William Toole began the Augusta Collegium Musicum as an offshoot of the Augusta State University Chamber Choir. Upon graduation, the group wanted to continue singing together, he says. With anywhere from 22 to 24 vocalists, the ACM still has four of its founding members. Toole says that the reason for its longevity is simple: “They all just love to sing. I think everyone gets such enormous pleasure out of performing for the community. We don’t receive any pay; we do it because it’s such a joy to play music and receive such support.”
The exhibit will run from December 12, 2009, to March 14, 2010, at the Morris Museum of Art. Details: www.themorris.org.
Nine Lessons and Carols tickets and details: sacredheartaugusta. Thirteenth Annual Concert of Holiday Music details: augustamuseum.org
by MARCUS PLUMLEE photo WILLIAM GOLDING, Chefoo, China, 1939. The Morris.
by ALISON RICHTER photo AUGUSTA COLLEGIUM MUSICUM
verge / december 2009 / 27
Santaland Diaries & The Eight: Reindeer Monologues Le Chat Noir opens December 4
Le Chat Noir disregards the conventional seasonal sentiments with its double feature holiday offering: Santaland Diaries written by David Sedaris and The Eight: Reindeer Monologues written by Jeff Goode. Both pieces are as irreverent as they are amusing. Adult subject matter, some strong language, and not for easily offended audiences, but if you have been to Le Chat Noir then you know that. Santaland Diaries is a one act, one man show performed by veteran actor John Hutchens. Mr. Hutchens captures the acerbic wit of Sedaris’ epistolary account of his days employed as a Macy’s elf. The piece offers a behind the scenes look at corporate Christmas cheer. The script was originally broadcast on NPR’s Morning Edition in 1992 and launched Sedaris into the spotlight - resulting in his eventual climb to fame as a top selling author. The Eight: Reindeer Monologues has an all star cast of some of the CSRA’s best actors and actresses. Santa has been accused of an unspeakable crime. His flying reindeer offer depositions that indemnify or damn him. The reindeer are each brilliantly crafted to embody an American stereotype. The cast includes Ted Newton, Richard Justice, Jonathan Cook, Jenifer Hollet, Nic Wysong, Jezebel Anat, Doug Joiner, and Jess Bailey. Brace yourselves, as the eight most famous reindeer in the world expose the underbelly of the naughty North Pole. At the end of the evening, you may be left with the maudlin concern of whose lap you, and subsequently your children, have been sitting on. Not to worry, there is a full bar in the lobby. Come “celebrate” the holidays with us. The show runs December 4 and 5, 11 and 12, 17 thru 19. Each performance begins at 8 pm at Le Chat Noir, on the corner of 8th and Ellis, downtown. Please note this material is not meant for younger audiences. For tickets call 706.722.3322. by KRYS BAILEY photo REINDEER MONOLOGUES
Martinis & Mistletoe: Girls’ Night Out Downtown Augusta December 10
Some things shouldn’t be done alone: tandem bicycling, tea for two-ing, double dating, and, most importantly, shopping! On Thursday, December 10th from 5 pm to 9 pm, downtown Augusta is hosting Martinis and Mistletoe: Girls’ Night Out – a time for you take a step back, forget about the dry cleaning or that meeting at work and just have fun with the girls. Designed especially for the ladies, Girls’ Night Out features extended shopping hours, discounts and specials at downtown Augusta’s boutiques and restaurants. In addition, Girls’ Night Out is a fundraiser for Hope House and a basket of goodies donated by downtown merchants will be raffled off at 9 pm. The first 100 participants to purchase a $5 raffle ticket will receive a free downtown tote filled with coupons and cool stuff available at the Girls’ Night Out booth located at the corner of Tenth and Broad Street (in front of New Moon Café). The evening’s festivities kick off at Tire City Potters (210B Tenth Street) with a party featuring free martinis and pinch pots for the first 100 ladies. Then stroll up and down Broad Street surrounded by holiday lights, dressed up windows and handsome hunks selling mistletoe. Find unique gifts for every one on your “naughty and nice” list. A “passport” of participating shops can be picked up at the Girls’ Night Out Booth or in advance at dasquared.com. Check in with Zimmerman Gallery to register for a piece of free jewelry and Lofty Ideas for the chance to win a Christmas table centerpiece. Grab a cup of wassail and meet Dacre Stoker, the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker who wrote the classic Dracula at the Book Tavern. Unwind at Vintage Ooollee with a free chair massage. Sample yummy dishes at Du Jour Fine Foods and Garden City Organics. Enjoy dinner at The Bee’s Knees with a free glass of sangria. Enjoy special savings and offers at Shoppe 31:30, blue magnolia, Elduets Treasures of the World, Cloud Nine, Art on Broad, Brigan’s Land of Enchantment, and Artistic Perceptions. So, take the night off and recapture that “Christmas Time in the City” feeling, experiencing the holidays downtown style. For complete details, visit dasquared.com or call 706.828.6550. by WYLIE GRAVES photo CHRIS RUCKER
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good chow / chilly weather drinks When temperatures drop, I like nothing better than to curl up
with my electric blanket and sip on a hot cup of cocoa. But don’t
limit yourself to Swiss Miss this season! Pull on your coat and get
downtown to sample some of the best hot drinks in Augusta. HAZELNUT CHAI LATTE New Moon Café is most known for its fantastic coffee and muffins, but their drink menu extends far beyond espresso. Try out a Chai latte and add an interesting kick to the blend of tea and frothy milk. From
back to a favorite childhood memory:
or cream. If fruity tea isn’t your thing, there are several other
its health benefits as
options to choose from at Sweet Lou’s, including fun flavors
like “Midnight Chai” and “Monkey’s Fist.” Plus, wu-long tea is
are known for aiding
known for aiding weight loss, preventing diabetes and baldness,
the sinuses. Simply
promoting health teeth and clearing up skin. So while you’re
sipping on your aromatic cup of tea, remember: you’re doing
just as effective as
concoction took me
subtle apple taste stands alone, so refrain from adding sugar
upper, this drink has
your system can be drinking it. The Hot
my warm steamed
leaves imported straight from China and into your cup. The
good run through
range of scrumptious for
health benefits. Order a Sour Apple tea and delight in the flavor
and water take a
New Moon has a full
from the whiskey
to pumpkin spice,
Toddy makes for a delightful something to sip on while reading a good book or enjoying early evening conversation at Metro: A Coffeehouse. 1054 Broad Street
your body a huge favor! 1293 Broad Street HOT SAKE Between your seaweed salad and Tuna Carpaccio, ask your lovely Bee’s Knee’s waitress
out a decanter of hot sake. Served in petite cups known
The Sweet Smells of
LOOSE LEAF TEA
Christmas, a scratch
warm rice wine is
and sniff children’s
now offers a wide
perfect for sipping
variety of delicious
on whilst figuring
scent of warm paper, zesty orange, sweet fir and cinnamon into
loose leaf wu-long
out the perfect way
one strangely delightful mix and you’ve got the Hazelnut Chai
to maneuver your
Latte. 1002 Broad Street
THE HOT TODDY Some genius of the 18th century decided that alcohol needed to be made more palatable to women - thus creating the Hot Toddy, a blend of tea, water and whiskey. While some may object to the sharpness of hard liquor, add some milk to your mug and, Voila!, you have a smooth, creamy blend that
variation of “oolong,”
is a rice wine, but don’t mix it’s namesake with its consistency.
is a type of tea leaf
Hot sake goes down smooth, its distinctive flavor and heat it a
that falls between
perfect mate on a chilly night downtown. 211 Tenth Street
giving it both bold taste and numerous
by AURELIA SORENSEN photos KATIE MCGUIRE
30 / december 2009 / verge
verge / december 2009 / 31
saying goodbye / blue magnolia closes shop the final sale runs through christmas eve
editor’s note: blue magnolia has played an integral part in the revitalization of Broad Street and we felt it important to report on the reasons the store is going out of business. Since the publisher of this paper (Matt Plocha) and the editor (that’s me) also own blue magnolia, we felt it necessary to step back from the actual reporting of its closing in our own publication. One of our freelance writers took the challenge and ensuing interview. (So yes, Neil Gordon, we have in a way created our own news). On November’s First Friday in 2006, blue magnolia opened its doors on Broad Street as a unique contemporary styled gift and home furnishings store. Three years later, on Tuesday, November 17th, blue magnolia announced it was closing its doors by Christmas Eve with an everything-must-go sale. Run by Matt and Lara Plocha, the unique shop is also the home of local newspaper, verge. The paper, begun almost two years ago, has grown into a well known and well respected paper focusing on downtown Augusta’s business and social life. Together, blue magnolia and verge have become a “downtown package,” Matt and Lara Plocha say. In what Lara calls “one of the most difficult decisions we have had to face,” the Plochas recently came to the point where they had to choose between one of the two businesses they had begun. blue magnolia’s owners, Matt and Lara Plocha, have been avid advocates of downtown. Two years ago, they started verge and followed that by moving their family of five downtown. Lara Plocha is the current president of the Downtown Augusta Alliance, a business organization she helped found in 2007. The decision to shutter blue magnolia was painful, but necessary as the Plochas evaluated their priorities and impact on the downtown community. Closing blue magnolia culminated from a combination of time, resources, family and, yes, the recession. The worsening economy caused significant cutbacks at the store – and the Plochas found themselves constantly juggling the two businesses. “We were covering the bases of each, but not being excellent at either – we really had to evaluate our passion, our motivation and what impact each was having on our family,” Lara says. They felt stretched thin, offering “too much to too many,” as Matt puts it. “It was a painful call about which business will survive,” Matt adds. “Something had to give,” Matt explains. “Our lives were becoming
“We opened blue magnolia because we love downtown. We still love downtown. We still love this community.” too fragmented. Then, a few months ago, our pastor asked a powerful question: If the Well were to close its doors tomorrow, would Augusta weep? That question kept ringing in our heads as we took a hard look at both of our businesses. Which one – verge or blue magnolia – would Augusta – and downtown – weep for most? And the answer was verge.” Still, the fact remains – if blue magnolia’s sales had been consistently strong, the Plochas may not have found the need to shutter the store. “2009 marked the first time where blue magnolia was simply supporting itself, not a family of five,” Lara says. “And that’s fine – for a while – but when it’s also taking up your time and energy – which could be focused elsewhere – it’s time to make serious decisions.” As the national economic outlook continued to look grim, the Plochas decided to go out with grace and style. But the Plochas want to help other downtown businesses survive and thrive. “If downtown stores go away, where will you get these products? If we don’t support our local, independently owned stores, we won’t have a downtown left,” Lara exclaims. Businesses need support from the people who love what they have to sell. “If you say ‘hey, that’s my favorite store – then shop there. Often!” Now, the Plochas will have the time to dedicate themselves to verge on a new level. Plans include larger distribution and a more easily navigable interactive website with a comprehensive calendar and blogging. Turning the focus on verge appears to be a good decision and generally a more effective way to influence downtown Augusta life. Verge is about all of downtown, more closely linked to the Plochas’ mission of helping the downtown community. “We opened blue magnolia because we love downtown,” the Plochas say. “We still love downtown. We still love this
community.” Verge is much more connected to the community, carrying on the Plochas’ own mission statement.
In the meantime, at least for the next several weeks, you can still get fantastic, cool Christmas gifts at a reduced price. blue magnolia will remain open until the final day on Christmas Eve, selling everything, including the fixtures in the store for local businesses interested in shelves, a stereo, and the works. This will be a great opportunity to customers as well as other store owners. For those looking to contact Matt and Lara Plocha or verge, all e-mail addresses and phone numbers (minus the store number) will remain the same. “You can still catch us on the street or drinking coffee at the Metro Coffeehouse,” Matt laughs. Their dedication to downtown will not change, that much is obvious. Just because the local store they ran will be gone, the Plochas are still as dedicated to shopping locally and supporting the community. In fact, by putting more time into verge, which is all about downtown life, in many ways the Plochas will be even more dedicated to downtown Augusta than ever before. by D.H.L. photos KATIE MCGUIRE
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going deeper / morris director expounds on golding exhibit opens december 12 at the morris museum of art
We were totally intrigued when we read Marcus Plumlee’s “Gallery” showcase on the upcoming Morris Museum of Art exhibit Deep Sea: Drawings by William Golding. Golding’s history unfolds like a swift moving film – and left us wanting more. Marcus went straight to Morris Museum of Art director Kevin Grogan to get a deeper perspective on the artist and the art. Grogan’s answers (as usual) were eloquent and stand alone – so we proceed with them in their entirety. VERGE: What have you learned about William Golding, and what do you think the public will learn about him by observing his drawings? GROGAN: We’ve actually learned quite a lot about Golding. But there is still much to learn. (For one thing, it’s not known whether his surname was actually Golding. There is some evidence to indicate that his surname at birth was Golden.) Much of what is known about him, though, is illustrated by these drawings: he spent virtually his entire life in the merchant marine, traveling the world, and seeing things that most Americans never saw. (Well into the twentieth century, the majority of Americans lived and died within fifty miles of their places of birth. It was improbable, to say the least, that an African American would have had the kind of opportunity that Golding had.) Golding, a remarkably generous spirit and a good reporter, tells a good story, but, unlike many good story tellers, he has his facts right. The ships he depicted look like those he is known to have served, and the details of the port cities he visited are remarkably consistent with those of those cities at the time that he visited them. He was also scrupulous in reporting his life’s story in the way that he did, refraining, for example, from creating drawings of places that he had not himself visited. (He never made it to Hawaii, for example; hence the absence of a drawing of Honolulu harbor.) His drawings also tell us many other things, by implication—some of them not as attractive as the drawings themselves. For one thing, he was obviously denied an education. For another, the story of his kidnapping—there is no other way to characterize his childhood “departure” from the waterfront in Savannah—tells us that even in the 1880s African Americans were often not seen as fully dimensional human beings due the respect (and the rights, freedoms, and securities) that citizenship provides. The public can learn all of these things and can learn, too, that sometimes great art arises from the unlikeliest sources and that we should always be open to its possibility. VERGE: Do many artists draw from memory as William Golding did? And what does this add to the effect of his drawings? GROGAN: Certainly, many artists have drawn ideas and, sometimes, specific images from memory. Swiss painter Paul Klee, an early modernist, once characterized himself as a “painter of remembered dreams,” but, in more recent times, it has been just as important a component in the work of artists as unalike one another as Surrealist Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso — whose “Guernica” actually memorializes an event he didn’t experience himself — and many contemporary photorealists, like John Baeder and Richard Estes, who remember sites and (in the case of Estes) visual experiences that they seek to recall through the drawn and painted image. For self-taught artists like Golding, memory tends to serve a different function, and it’s not just as the memorialization of experience or site. For them, it sometimes transcends reportage and develops a spiritual quality, one in which the good and evil spirits that populate the world can be summoned (and thereby controlled) through their replication in works of art. As for what it adds “to the effect” of Golding’s drawings, I’d have to say that the effect—that is, the consequence of seeing them—is an understanding of a simpler world view and the direct, bold, and colorful depiction that no one now living would have or could have experienced in quite the way that William Golding did.
“All that time, I never accumulated any fortune but hard knocks, hardship, and a lot of experience.” - WILLIAM GOLDING
VERGE: It is said that Golding mainly drew lively and joyous landscapes. Why do you think this is? GROGAN: My guess is – and this is only a guess – that this is a reflection of the artist’s own personality. They are certainly lively and some of their liveliness results from the highly expressionistic manner in which they are drawn. To say that he uses an active line is an understatement; the arrangement of the things depicted always has an inherent energy that results from the artist’s attitude and the angle from which he sees things and depicts them. The joyfulness is a reflection of his color choices which, though not arbitrary, do tend to a bright palette, and his employment of certain devices—a literally beaming sun, smiling benignly on the subjects is a recurring motif—that indicate that, though he was known not to be well, he was certainly happy. VERGE: What should people look forward to at this exhibit? GROGAN: It’s handsomely presented, thought-provoking, accessible, enjoyable and good looking. It is also a kind of work that might encourage others of limited technical skill to use this medium as a way to tell their own stories. Everyone has something great to share and most share it through conversation around the dining room table. In this respect, Golding reminds me of Picasso who once said, “I paint because I cannot put it into words.” Golding might have done just that, but he found a mode of expression that was better suited in his view to the story that he wanted to tell.
drawings in 1989 and 1993, first from Dr. Robert Powell Coggins, a cardiologist whose collection was the foundation that gave the Morris its particular Southern Art-centered mission and purpose, and, later, from his estate. The vast majority of this museum-owned collection was acquired from a private collector in Savannah who had inherited the pictures from Margaret Stiles, the woman who encouraged Golding to take pencil to paper all those years ago when he lived out his life in Savannah’s Marine Hospital. Golding said (in a letter to Miss Stiles) that he had sailed the seven seas (“…around Cape Horn 23 times, Cape of Good Hope 25 or 30 times…”), but had little to show it for it but memories. “All that time, I never accumulated any fortune but hard knocks, hardship, and a lot of experience,” he wrote. It’s to our considerable benefit that he elected, albeit late in life, to share that experience with others through these pictures. They are his lasting testimony to a life that was well and fully lived. interview by MARCUS PLUMLEE art courtesy of MORRIS MUSEUM OF ART: William Golding, Saluda Chasing Whales, North Cape Arctic, 1939. Pencil and crayon on paper.
plan to go exhibit DECEMBER 12 to MARCH 14 ‘10 venue MORRIS MUSEUM OF ART the show DEEP SEA: DRAWINGS BY WILLIAM
VERGE: And lastly, is there anything else you would to add?
GROGAN: The Morris Museum of Art acquired its first Golding
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you spin me ‘round
new fitness center takes shape “I started spinning when I broke my foot. I fell in love with it,” Amy Iannacone says. Co-owner with Ivan Trinidad, Iannacone runs the downtown Fitness Gallery and Nutrition, formerly the Spinning Gallery. While Trinidad operates out of the Martinez location on Old Petersburg Road, Iannacone began the location at 1286 Broad Street because of her love of downtown life. Fitness Gallery and Nutrition is much more than a gym though. Run by the A-team, which consists of owner Amy Iannacone and her two fitness instructors Amanda and Amber, FG&N offers indoor cycling - or spinning - with small classes, including additional workout techniques to keep the workout interesting. Focusing on group fitness and nutrition counseling as well as spinning, Fitness Gallery has only been open for a month, but Iannacone is already thinking of expanding into the next building over and turning the back room into a locker room with showers. As for the main room, it is occupied by twenty stationary bicycles for hour-long spinning classes with the option of a virtual ride and Rock N Ride. But there’s more at Fitness Gallery than simply spinning, which itself is a total workout and burns six hundred calories an hour. FG&N also provides classes for the high energy dance known as Zumba, as well as Tae Bo, Yoga, and Pilates. “We have a lot of fun,” Iannacone says. “I wanted a modern, downtown feel to it,” Iannacone says about the décor and overall good feel of Fitness Gallery. She has achieved this.
But what truly separates Fitness Gallery and Nutrition from other gyms is the personal touch and a dedication to downtown living. With a special menu chosen by Ivan Trinidad, FG&N also has a forty-five minute lunch class with food provided by Du Jour Foods. “I live, work, and play downtown,” owner Amy Iannacone says, feeling that downtown Augusta needed a gym that offered more than just weights, but also catered to downtown life. Iannacone wanted the Fitness Gallery to be different and not routine, the defining aspect of the gym being the personal touch Fitness Gallery offers. Many gyms are cold and impersonal, but Fitness Gallery and Nutrition focus on connections with the people who attend. “We change the program every six weeks,” Iannacone says. “When your body says I’m done it’s time for something new.” Keeping that in mind, Fitness Gallery changes their classes in order to give the best possible total workout. “We use a lot of arms in our workout,” Iannacone says, including using resistant bands and boxing. FG&N offer a large variety of workouts, but in today’s world that is exactly what people need to live healty. For Iannacone it is important to focus on the fact that “more people are living downtown” but also more people want “healthy living.” She found a way to combine her love of downtown Augusta with a passion for keeping in shape and living well. That passion became the Fitness Gallery, a constantly changing and evolving gym that matches people’s needs with their total body workout. In addition to promising eighteen inches lost in six weeks, Fitness Gallery and Nutrition live the slogan “to become the fittest, healthiest, happiest human beings possible.” At the end of the day when the bikes have stopped and the lights have gone out, the people who attend Fitness Gallery leaving with something more than just a slimmer waist. They also leave with a sense of pride and self-worth that is just as important as the workout itself. Fitness Gallery and Nutrition does not require contracts or membership fees. The first spinning class is free and for people interested in working out regularly they can buy a package deal or pay as they go. Discounts are given to people who live or work downtown. Fitness Gallery also sells nutritional products and has plans for adding a smoothie bar in the near future. Fitness Gallery and Nutrition is open every day of the week with four classes available most days. by D.H.L.
38 / december 2009 / verge
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the cartridge doctor
ready for your ink & paper needs
The Cartridge Doctor is coming to a street corner near you, and will be possibly the first printer and printing supplies provider located in the downtown Augusta area. Chris Paulus, who runs The Cartridge Doctor, hopes to open his store at 121 12th Street on December 2nd. Paulus will deal in new and rebuilt toner and inkjet cartridges, paper and envelopes for local businesses and printers for sale or lease. “Right now I don’t think there’s anything downtown that you can run to just to get a printer cartridge or some paper,” said Paulus. “Most local businesses have to go to North Augusta or Martinez, so that’s why I think there is a real need for the kind of service I can provide.” In addition to offering over 12,000 different types of cartridges, one of Cartridge Doctor’s most eagerly anticipated services is his policy of loaning out free printers. “That’s probably the biggest difference between me and any other place that provides printers,” said Paulus. “I’ll lease printers for zero dollars as long as you continue buying the ink from me. That way, if you’re starting up a new business and need a laser printer to print up some flyers, you don’t have to set aside a lot of money at the start.” Another offered service, remote printing, allows busy managers to print directly to Cartridge Doctor’s laser printer and come pick
the documents up later. “If, for example, you need something in color and don’t have a laser printer, or if you just don’t have time and want us to do it for you, this service can save you a lot of time,” said Paulus. Paulus first selected his location to be easily accessible to the businesses he hopes to serve, but has been pleasantly surprised that the corner directly behind the Mellow Mushroom pizzeria gets more traffic than he anticipated. This will be Paulus’ first retail venture, since his previous office in Martinez contracted exclusively with businesses for two years. “Since the majority of my business is still selling to other businesses, I don’t have to be too dependant on walk-in customers, but I’m pleased to be available for anyone who needs me,” said Paulus. “I don’t see that this is going to be significantly more difficult than what I used to do.” Above all, Paulus says he hopes to be an asset to the community, and that his presence in downtown Augusta will be a pleasant one. “I’m really excited about catering to local businesses,” he said. “I think I can provide support to some people who really need it.” For more information about Cartridge Doctor, or to place an order, call 706.504.4626. article & photo by CHRIS SELMEK
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festive ways to get in the holiday spirit
highlights from december’s pipeline
Christmas Light Up Spectacular december 4 • augusta common •all day
Downtown Augusta lights up on Saturday, December 4th, with the now annual Christmas Light Up Spectacular. Spearheaded by the Downtown Development Authority (with lots of help from The City of Augusta, the City of North Augusta, the Augusta Chronicle and many private sector partners), the day’s events include the annual Christmas parade, family activities, live entertainment and the official tree lighting ceremony. The 2009 Christmas Fantasy Parade presented by the Miss Augusta Scholarship Pageant Board starts the festivities at 3 pm as it traverses Broad Street. Family events begin in the Augusta Common at 4:30 pm – including s’mores, cooking decorating, time with Santa Claus, the Polar Express, Santa’s Workshop and more. At 6:15 pm, the Common turns into a huge Community Sing and Mayor Deke Copenhaver will officially turn-on the holiday lights. A spectacular fireworks display will immediately follow the tree lighting. www. myaugustadowntown.com
Holiday Open House december 6 • morris museum •1 pm
Join the Morris Museum of Art for a special open house featuring ornament-making stations, a Music at the Morris family holiday sing-along with some of Augusta’s finest music directors and performers, and refreshments. While you’re there, experience the unique and expressive art of Beverly Buchanan. The music performance begins at 2 pm. Free. themorris.org
Historic Holiday Candlelight Tour
december 5 • starts at 419 seventh street•2 pm to 8 pm Experience the holiday season as it was celebrated in Augusta’s past with this annual tour of five area house museums. Enjoy music, refreshments and holiday decorations. Participating sites include the Boyhood Home of President Woodrow Wilson, Meadow Garden, 1797 Ezekiel Harris House, Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History in Augusta, Georgia and Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site in Beech Island, South Carolina. For details and tickets, contact Historic Augusta at 706.724.0436. historicaugusta.org
7 Movie at Main: Christmas in Conneticut december 7 • augusta main library • 6:30 pm • free
This classic 1945 holiday film features journalist Elizabeth Lane. one of the country’s most famous food writers. In her columns, she describes herself as a hard working farm woman, taking care of her children and being an excellent cook. But this is all lies. In reality she is an unmarried New Yorker who can’t even boil an egg. The owner of the magazine she works for decide that a heroic sailor will spend his Christmas on “her” farm. Miss Lane knows that her career is over if the truth comes out, but what can she do?
visit www.vergelive.com for complete pipeline of december’s downtown events
more on page 38 & 39
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days to meet the author - get a book signed all at the book tavern
a month full of holiday events
1026 Broad Street December 4: Friday 7 to 9 pm Gene Jennings Laughing with Sarah December 5: Saturday 1 to 3 pm Lou Brissie The Corporal Was A Pitcher December 10: Thursday 6 to 8 pm Dacre Stoker Dracula: The Undead
December 11: Friday 6 to 8 pm Tripp Bowden Freddie & Me: Life Lessons from Freddie Bennett, Augusta National’s Legendary Caddie Master December 12: Saturday 1 to 3 pm Bill Baab Remembering George W. Perry December 17: Thursday 6 to 8 pm Michael Ryan The Last Freedom: a novel on the real-life adventure of Dr. Viktor Frankl December 18: Friday 6 to 8 pm James Grant Ten Tales... December 19: Saturday 1 to 3 pm Dr. Tom Mack Circling Savannah: Cultural Landmarks of the Central Savannah Area
The University of Georgia Accidentals december 8 • st. paul’s church • noon
Tuesdays Music Live presents the annual Roger Denning Holiday Concert with the UGA Accidentals. Formed in 1974 out of the Men’s Glee Club, the UGA Accidentals is the oldest collegiate a cappella group at the University of Georgia. Comprised of about sixteen young men, the Accidentals use only their voices to recreate contemporary and classical pieces – in very unique and often amusing ways. They’ll perform two concerts – one at 11 am and a luncheon concert at noon. (Yes, lunch is only available after the noon concert). The concert is free and lunch is $10 per person. Make reservations for lunch in advance online call 722.3463. tuesdaysmusiclive.com
Home for the Holidays
Martinis & Mistletoe: Girls’ Night Out
december 10 • downtown augusta • 5 to 9 pm Grab a girlfriend and head downtown for a night of retail therapy and pampering. Check in at the corner of 10th and Broad. For details, see page 25. dasquared.com
Pops! at the Bell december 11 • bell auditorium • 7:30 pm• $18 to $22
Enjoy all your favorite Christmas classics with the Symphony Orchestra Augusta during their Pops! At The Bell Home for the Holidays concert. Featuring Bravo Broadway singers Jan Horvath and Doug LaBrecque, the evening’s special guests also include The Augusta Children’s Chorale and the Home for The Holidays choir representing ASU, St. John United Methodist Church and members of the community. soaugusta.org
december 12 • st. paul’s church • 7:30 pm• $18 to $22 The Augusta Choral Society continues a holiday tradition, performing G.F. Handel’s Messiah with full chorus, soloists and orchestra. Tickets are available online. augustachoralsociety.org
visit www.vergelive.com for complete pipeline of december’s downtown events
verge / december 2009 / 43
more to see more to hear more to do
A Christmas Carol The Musical
december 11 to 13 • imperial theatre • $15 to $38 To spice up this December, the holiday spirits will get the full Broadway treatment with the musical version of the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. This is the version that became the NBC television spectacular, featuring Kelsey Grammer, and continues to leave audiences gasping in wonder and merriment. The musical version was written by the Broadway team of Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid), Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime, Seussical) and Mike Okrent (Crazy For You, Me and My Girl). Michael Hamilton reprises his role as the crotchety Ebenezer Scrooge and is joined by a cast of fifty. With beautiful music and powerful lyrics, the Players create spine-tingling moments that are truly magical. This holiday treat is sure to delight to the entire family! (Photo courtesy of Fitz Simms) augustaplayers.com
Horse Drawn Carriage Rides
weekends thru december • hammond’s ferry • 6 to 9 pm Though the streets of the South might not offer lanes with snow a’glistening, you can experience the winter wonderland of a sleigh ride at Hammond’s Ferry. Horse Drawn Carriage Rides will be available from Aiken Horse and Carriage Company each weekend on Friday and Saturdays through the Holiday Season beginning November 27 and will run until January 2, 2010 from 6 to 9 pm. Tickets may be purchased at Manuel’s Cafe’ and Edge Salon in the Town Center at the intersection of Crystal Lake Drive and Railroad Avenue in Hammond’s Ferry. Tickets are $10 per person and reservations are encouraged. hammondsferry.com
“…this is a gift to yourself, and this is a gift for the senses.” - THE EPOCH TIMES
Shen Yun Performing Arts december 19 • bell auditorium 2 & 7:30 pm • $39 to $89
Shen Yun Performing Arts presents classical Chinese dance and music in a lavishly colorful and exhilarating show. Its masterful choreography ranges from grand imperial processions to legions of thunderous drums, with gorgeously costumed dancers moving in stunning synchronized patterns. Spectacular visuals take you to another world, with blossoming landscapes and celestial palaces appearing on beautiful animated backdrops. Groundbreaking music seamlessly combines the best of the East and West, giving each dance an unmistakable flair, making for one extraordinary, uplifting, and unforgettable experience. Shen Yun Performing Arts brings together over a hundred of the world’s foremost classically trained dancers, choreographers, and musicians. Based in New York, Shen Yun seeks to revive and breathe new life into traditional Chinese culture while providing an experience of sublime beauty. shenyunperformingarts.org
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celebrate christmas / a variety of services downtown We asked downtown churches to tell us the good news about what special events they are planning to prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. We were amazed at the diversity of churches we have in downtown Augusta - and the passion each has for serving their community. It’s Christmas - time to consider, reflect, take stock - and where better than in church.
The WELL With a welcoming casual atmosphere, this small communmity church’s mission is to know the Christ of the gospel, live out the gospel of Jesus Christ, and build gospel community through the church in downtown Augusta. DECEMBER 23 The WELL is having a special Christmas celebration on the evening before Christmas Eve (Wednesday, December 23rd) at 6:30 pm with special readings, worship time and contemporary music.
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH First Presbyterian Church will be hosting worship services appealing to all ages and stages of life during the Advent season this year. With a large Christmas tree loaded with white lights and symbolic Christian ornaments as a warm backdrop, each Sunday morning the worship services, at 8:30 and 11 a.m., will include traditional Christmas music and messages of the hope, love, peace and joy to be found in Christ Jesus. The Sunday School hour from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. offers classes for children and an array of classes for adults of different ages and interests. Nurseries are provided for all services. In addition to the morning services, evening services at 6:30 p.m. on December 20 will include Christmas music of a more contemporary nature. Several special events are planned: DECEMBER 13 Christmas Evensong at 6:30 pm: This worship service will include Christmas lessons and carols for congregation as led by the Chancel Choir, Canterbury Choir, a tenor soloist, chamber orchestra, the organ. DECEMBER 24 Christmas Eve with services at 5 and 7 pm: This year marks the 185th anniversary of Christmas Eve services in First Presbyterian’s historic sanctuary. The Family Service at 5 pm is especially attractive to those with young children as it will include a children’s story time. Both services will include carol singing by the congregation plus harp, brass, soprano soloist, organ, and a candlelight closing. DECEMBER 27 A Merry Medieval Christmas at 4:30 and 6:30 pm: a live dramatic portrayal of biblical Creation, Fall, and Incarnation as originally enacted by 14th century English villagers in town squares. As other Christmas activities have drawn to a close, this presentation will provide a warm and entertaining reminder of the meaning of Christmas. Original incidental music will be provided by theater orchestra. Admission is free, but tickets are required. Call 706-823-6412 for ticket information.
CURTIS BAPTIST CHURCH DECEMBER 6 A Christmas Concert at 6 pm: featuring the Curtis Baptist Adult Choir and Orchestra, High School Choir and all Children’s Choirs. DECEMBER 13 Christmas Conversation Dessert Theatre at 6 pm. The Curtis Middle School Choir presents this Dessert Theatre, a ticketed event. For information about tickets, call the church office at 706-722-7348 and ask to speak to Karen. DECEMBER 20 Christmas Caroling to Curtis’ homebound members at 5 pm: Enjoy a short service then organize into groups and head out to sing for those who are not able to go out. After groups return from singing, share a time of friendship, finger foods, and hot chocolate in the Activities Area.
First Presbyterian Church Choir
ST. JOHN’S UNITED METHODIST CHURCH DECEMBER 24 Christmas Eve Concert and Lessons & Carols at 10:30 pm: The Saint John Choirs and orchestra bring a special late evening of music in this “Concert with a Cause.” St. John’s Concerts with a Cause are free of charge to tbe community. At each concert, a “love offering” is collected- not for the performers - but for a local service organization. The church says “Christianity has always been associated with great works of art and beauty, expressing the inexpressible and transcending the earthbound. It is our prayer that these concerts will help you find God here. As we gather, we also hope to benefit service organizations which are doing good work for the Kingdom of God in our community.”
worship here catholic CHURCH OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY 811 Telfair Street | 706.722.4944 | themostholytrinity.org baptist CURTIS BAPTIST CHURCH 1326 Broad Street | 706.722.7348 | curtisbc.org disciples of christ FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH 629 Greene Street | 706.722.2911 | firstchristianchurchaugustaga.org presbyterian FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH 642 Telfair Street | 706.823.2450 | firstpresaugusta.org greek orthodox HOLY TRINITY GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH 953 Telfair Street | 706.724.1087 | holytrinityaugusta.org lutheran LUTHERAN CHURCH OF THE RESURRECTION 825 Greene Street | 706.724.8792 | lcraugusta.org christian METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCH OF OUR REDEEMER 557 Greene Street | 706.722.6454 | mccoor.com methodist ST. JOHN UNITED METHODIST CHURCH 736 Greene Street | 706.724.9641 | stjohnumcaugusta.com episcopal SAINT PAUL’S CHURCH 605 Reynolds Street | 706.724.2485 | saintpauls.org baptist SPRINGFIELD BAPTIST CHURCH 114 Twelfth Street | 706.724.1056 | historicspringfieldbaptistchurch.org
acts 29 the WELL 1285-B Broad Street | 706.688.9355 | thewellaugusta.org
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the monumental history of greene street / 12
Richard Henry Wilde Monument
/ 800 Block of Greene Street erected by / by the Hayne Literary Circle in 1896 location
Near the center of the 800 block median of Greene Street stands this tall stone obelisk style monument dedicated to lawyer, statesman, and sometimes poet Richard Henry Wilde. The tall rising section of the monument stands upon a multi-tiered base with Wilde’s last name engraved in large simple letters. Just above, a section featuring engraving on all sides makes up the most decorative part of the monument. Born in Dublin, Ireland on September 24, 1789, Wilde immigrated to the United States with his parents, settling in Augusta in 1802. As a young adult, Wilde was a businessman and studied law before passing the state bar in 1809 and practicing law in Augusta. Locally he served as the solicitor general of the superior court in Richmond County and then attained the position of attorney general of Georgia; an office he held from 1811 to 1813. The following year, Wilde was elected to one term as a Democratic-Republican Representative to the 14th United States Congress. He lost his re-election campaign in 1816. He also served as a Crawford Republican in the 18th Congress for one month and as Jacksonian in 1827 filling the seat after the resignation of John Forsyth. Wilde was re-elected to three additional terms before losing in the 1834 election. From 1835 to 1840, Wilde traveled across Europe and, in 1843, moved to New Orleans to practice law and serve as a professor of constitutional law at the University of New Orleans. Wilde passed away on September 10, 1847, and was interred in cemetery vault in New Orleans. In 1854, his remains were moved to Sand Hill near Augusta before being interred a final time at the Augusta City Cemetery. While mostly known for his political work, Wilde also dabbled in poetry and literature including writing a well known poem about the geography and topography of the United States entitled Hesperia. Wilde’s only published book was Conjectures and Researches concerning the Love, Madness, and Imprisonment of Torquato Tasso. by JOHN CANNON rendering ALEX McCAIN, III editor’s note: This is the 12th installment of a the history of the monuments that line Greene Street.
48 / december 2009 / verge
verge / december 2009 / 49 DECEMBER 4 to 13 : FORT DISCOVERY THEATRE
a tale of providence / enopion’s version of the match girl It is a freezing New Year’s Eve. A young girl stands on the street, trying to sell matches for spare change. Soon she must take shelter and lights the matches to warm her. In their dim glow, she begins to see lovely visions as she slowly succumbs to the cold night air. This is the beginning of the Hans Christian Anderson classic story, The Little Match Girl. With this powerful source material, the Enopion Theatre Company has written a must-see musical for the family this Christmas season. Showing at the Fort Discovery Paul S. Simon Theatre, The Match Girl will run for eight shows from December 4th to the 13th. Expect to see more in this telling of the story, though. Carol Rezelle of Enopion says, “In the original story by Hans Christian Anderson, the story begins with the match girl on the streets, late at night in the cold. You don’t know who she is, why she is there, or where she has come from. Our story gives this little girl a name, tells where she came from and how she came to be out on the streets, alone, so late at night. The two stories overlap near the end and share a common ending. We have given it quite a plot and you really have to pay attention.” The story is a classic and has been translated from its original Danish into hundreds of languages. It has been adapted into animated films, a German opera, musical albums, and even manga. It has universal appeal to families and is a heartwarming tale despite its elements of poverty and death. Mrs. Rezelle believes that audiences will appreciate the play in spite of its more grim aspects. “It is quite a sad story, but the ending tells how, in God’s providential way, good can come from such a tragedy. There are many scenes involving
the youth that have a sort of ‘Oliver Twist’ feel to them with songs and dancing. I think families will truly enjoy it and we hope that they will make it a Christmas tradition.” The Enopion Theatre Company is in its tenth season, and specializes in providing wholesome and inspiring entertainment for the entire family. The company has three productions planned for the upcoming season, with auditions at the beginning of next year. After spending 2008 searching for a new venue, Enopion set up shop at Fort Discovery this year, and the company is enjoying their new location. “We love it and hope that we can continue performing there. Most of our audience comes from out of town, so being close to restaurants and hotels is a wonderful benefit.” When asked what audiences should look forward to in The Match Girl, Rezelle answered, “It is a heartfelt Christmas tale, so bring plenty of tissues. The songs are wonderful and rich, the set is beautiful...it will leave the audience breathless.” She hopes the ending will satisfy the audience and be honest to the original tale. “It is one of those performances that when it is complete you just sit there for a moment...taking it all in. We let the audience linger there before the curtain call.” Shows will be at 7 pm, on Fridays and Saturdays, 4 pm on Sundays, with a 3 pm matinee on Saturday, Dec. 5th and a Pastor’s Appreciation Performance (pastors and their families get in free) on Thursday, Dec.10th. Admission is $15 for adults, $7 for seniors and children under 12, and $10 each for groups of ten or more adults. Tickets can be bought at www.enopion.com. by MARCUS PLUMLEE
plan to go show dates DECEMBER 4 to 6, 10 to 13 venue FORT DISCOVERY THEATER the show THE MATCH GIRL THE MUSICAL showtime VARIES tickets $7 to $15 buy tix ENOPION.COM
DECEMBER 5 : SKY CITY
rocking the stocking / rockers become angels for a night The main force behind Rocking the Stocking, John “Stoney” Cannon, has put on the event for 16 years. Each year a different cause has benefited, but each concert keeps the same spirit of selflessness and community.
On December 5, 2009, the always anticipated Vellotones are joining the ranks of more than a dozen other local stage-lit names, while they perform traditional Christmas time jingles and other songs that will benefit the 16th Annual Kevin Scott Brown Rocking the Stocking Concert. John Donnelly, Travis Petrea, Jack Rigg, Scott Terry and Mike Vello, are the line-up that will support each musical act as the backing band in this annual “Musicians Night Out.” “I always say, ‘It’s about the journey,” said Donnelly, while he held his hands out as if to commence the rehearsal that was taking place for the rapidly approaching show. “We love getting to play with all these different musicians who come up with the songs. It really makes it their show.” Mr. Donnelly is one of the talented members of the Vellotones and, after playing in many “Musician’s Night Out” shows, he swears that the show is “not the Vellotones!” Ruskin Yeargain is one of the step-in musicians that will be singing David Bowie’s “Suffragette City” and the Vellotones version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” that appeared on the second 12 Bands of Christmas album. The song will also be a part of the new Best of 12 Bands of Christmas release. When asked what he expected, Ruskin chimed, “I’m not really sure as I have not played this benefit before, but I’m so excited to be getting out and playing again, and to be out and being able to play and jam with so many other musicians. It’s going to be great.”
“All proceeds from the benefit this year are going to aid in the fulfillment of Christmas Angels,” Cannon says,” which everyone can find in your local religious institutions, grocery stores, and schools. Each angel has the age, gender, and wishes of a person that is not fortunate enough to have much of a Christmas this year. The recipients range from infants to the elderly.” Cannon continues to be impressed with the ever-expanding group of performers. “What I’m most excited about is the fact that this year’s show is multi-generational and multi-stylistic. We have musicians in this show that have played with Blue Oyster Cult and James Brown and, at the same time, we have many of our favorite local musicians.” Without further ado, this year’s line-up includes: George Croft and Steve Allen of legendary Augusta sixties band The Pallbearers, Greg Hester along with former soul General Keith Jenkins, WGAC reporter Scott Hudson, Henry Wynn, III., Deb Hemingway, Edmond “Lurch” Kida, former 420 Outback / current Tommy OD & the Survivors guitarist Doug James, Impulse Ride’s Ruskin Yeargain, Allison Foster, Dirty Left Hand / 48 Volt drummer Brian “Stak” Allen, Augusta Chronicle entertainment writer Steven Uhles, and many more. Doors open at 8 pm, the party starts immediately, and the music will start around 10 pm. Don’t miss this opportunity to give your time and support to some of the best local music, in one of our best local venues. More importantly give your support to those who really need it. Anyone who cannot make it to the show, hopefully there will be a wish they fulfill on their own. by JACOB LYNDON BELTZ photos JEFF MILES
plan to go show dates DECEMBER 5 venue SKY CITY the show ROCKING THE STOCKING showtime DOORS AT 8 PM & MUSIC AT 10 PM tickets DONATIONS ACCEPTED the good cause CHRISTMAS TREE ANGEL WISHES
50 / december 2009 / verge
verge / december 2009 / 51