METRO SPIRIT Sept. 25-Oct. 1 Vol. 15 No. 8
Augustaâ€™s Independent Voice
With This Ring...
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Harvard’s Fall Beverage Tasting Friday, October 3 7pm The Clubhouse
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(Across from the Augusta National)
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Wine - Beer - Liquor Live Music & Light h’ors Dourves By Preston & Weston
Life is hectic. Weekends shouldn't have to be. Join Scott Simon for Weekend Edition every Saturday at 8:00 AM on WACG, 90.7 FM. Reclaim
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your Saturday and hear weekend news, views, and commentary. From gardening tips and film reviews to in-depth news analysis, Peabody Award-winning host Scott Simon eases you into the weekend with a fresh
Photo of Scott Simon by Lisa Berg
Call us at (800) 654-3038 or visit us at www.gpb.org for more information about our programming.
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3 M E T R O
Thank you for choosing MCG.
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2003 Consumer Choice Award Once again, the greater Augusta region has awarded MCG Health System the Consumer’s Choice Award. In the
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annual survey conducted by National Research Corporation, the citizens of the greater Augusta metropolitan area voted MCG Health System as a hospital of choice for the best image and reputation, doctors, nurses and overall quality. As the region’s only academic medical center, MCG Medical Center and MCG Children’s Medical Center offer the most comprehensive primary and specialty care in the area. We are nationally recognized for our family-centered care, across-the-board quality and innovative medical research. And we are committed to providing communitybased health education and prevention programs that improve the lives of children and adults. Thank you, Augusta, for your vote of confidence and for voting MCG Health System as your choice when it comes to the very best in health care.
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Contents Metro Spirit
S E P T E M B E R 2 5 - O C T O B E R 1 • F R E E W E E K LY • M E T R O S P I R I T. C O M
ON THE COVER
by Donald J. Pliner in Espresso Waxy Nubuc
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Opinion Whine Line ......................................................................6 Words ...............................................................................6 This Modern World .........................................................6 Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down ............................................7 Suburban Torture ...........................................................7 Insider ...........................................................................10
Holocaust-Themed PETA Billboard Nixed in Augusta .........................................................................12 Auditors Review City Records .....................................14
Silent Movie Night Returns to Sacred Heart .............23 A Look Back at Arts in the Heart 2003 ......................58 A Horse of a Different Color ........................................60
Fall Guide 2003 Special Pull-Out Section
Movie Listings .............................................................62 Close-Up: Kate Beckinsale ..........................................65 Review: “Under the Tuscan Sun” ...............................66 Movie Clock ..................................................................67
Jayson Sabo at Home in Augusta Music Scene .........68 Music by Turner ..............................................................69 Music Minis ....................................................................70 Night Life .........................................................................71
Food: Andrew’s Grill at the Sheraton ..........................22 News of the Weird ........................................................74 Brezsny's Free Will Astrology ......................................75 New York Times Crossword Puzzle ............................75 Amy Alkon: The Advice Goddess ................................76 Date Maker ...................................................................77 Classifieds .....................................................................79
M O N - S AT 1 0 - 6
The Lamar Building Historically Elegant with High Tech capabilities
EDITOR & PUBLISHER David Vantrease ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR Rhonda Jones STAFF WRITERS Stacey Eidson, Brian Neill ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER Joe White ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Kriste Lindler, Kristen Chandler PRODUCTION MANAGER Joe Smith GR APHIC ARTISTS Stephanie Bell, Natalie Holle, Erin Lummen ASSISTANT TO THE PUBLISHER Meli Gurley ACCOUNTING MANAGER/CLASSIFIEDS Sharon King ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT ASSISTANT Lisa Jordan CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Meli Gurley SENIOR MUSIC CONTRIBUTOR Ed Turner CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Chuck Shepherd, Rob Brezsny, Amy Alkon, Rachel Deahl CARTOONISTS Tom Tomorrow, Julie Larson
METRO SPIRIT is a free newspaper published weekly on Thursday, 52 weeks of the year. Editorial coverage includes ar ts, local issues, news, enter tainment, people, places and events. In our paper appear views from across the political and social spectrum. The views do not necessarily represent the views of the publishers. Visit us at www.metrospirit.com. Copyright © The Metropolitan Spirit Inc. Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. Phone: (706) 738-1142 Fax: (706) 733-6663 E-mail: email@example.com Letters to the Editor: P.O. Box 3809, Augusta, Ga. 30914-3809
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With This Ring ... By Brian Neill ......................................................................17 Cover Design: Natalie Holle Photo: Brian Neill
M E T R O
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Whine Line I
just returned from a weekend trip to Savannah and its beautiful River Street. There was a sign on one of the riverfront pubs. It said, “Yes, you can walk with an open beer.” I did not see a police officer anywhere. There were entertainers along the riverfront, folks enjoying themselves (yes, perhaps even sipping on an alcoholic beverage). I saw absolutely no violent behavior; it was a very pleasant trip. It was Savannah’s typical weekend. Augusta tries for this scenario once a month (First Friday) in an atmosphere heavily laden with police due to last October’s riot. Why does Savannah not have to worry about such? It is called respect. Those who caused the riot last year have caused the population in this area to go down at least by one. I’m moving. This is in response to the person with the “li’l Yankee butt” and the great big attitude in their assessment of the locals. They pose the question of “Now why did I move here again?” Gee, I would think they would be smart enough to know why. Indeed they seem to be able to assess everything else (and, yes, I did recognize sarcasm). On the off chance this person may truly be here in a fog, may I suggest that the same mode of transportation that brought them here will also take them back. Bye, bye, honey chile. If you ask any citizen in Augusta what’s holding this city back, most will say that it’s the politicians who seek to keep our community divided — not alleged racial differences. I travel around Richmond County everyday campaigning for a seat on the Augusta Commission and marvel at how well Augustans treat and look after one another. It’s so different than when I was a teenager in the 1960s. If we would all decide to vote out the sorry politicians, black and white, who seek to keep Augustans divided in order to maintain their personal political power, we could reach that mountain top that Dr. King talked about.
My friend in California has some nerve. She was e-griping to me this morning about all this news coverage of Hurricane Isabel on the East Coast. So I told her I was sick of hearing of their stupid governor’s mess. Then we both watched the Weather Channel a continent apart over our coffee. Later on, under blue, Indiansummer skies, I finished the coffee and the paper and did the crossword puzzle in the back yard with my cat. It’s good to be an American, especially ones like us who were lucky — or blessed if you prefer — enough not to get in front of Isabel. If that makes you feel like praying, go for it. Give some of that up for the troops too, while you’re at it. To the whiner who made the following statement: “Sure, now that we’ve freed the Iraqi people, we’re their enemies.” Gee, I wonder why? We attacked them under false pretenses. We destroy their infrastructure, kill thousands of men, women and children and we have occupied their country and stolen their natural resources. Nope, I can’t understand why they hate us either. This cell phone usage while driving has got to be stopped! Several states have already passed laws prohibiting it. It’s time for Georgia to follow suit. I was watching the commissioners on TV the other day because I figured, “I’m a six-year employee with the county; lets see what the guys look like who are working for us.” Ha! What I did learn was that if you want to learn that new language Ebonics and the skill of “stupidity,” watch the recordings of the meetings. Referencing your Sept. 4, 2003 Thumbs Up story regarding past “shenanigans” at Community Mental Health of East Central Georgia: I wish someone would put some emphasis on the past! The current adminis-
Words “You know after I missed the third one and I was over on the bench, I couldn’t help but laugh about it.” — Georgia kicker Billy Bennett told the Athens Banner-Herald after missing the first three field goals during Georgia’s game against LSU. The Bulldogs ultimately lost the game with a 17-10 score at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. At least somebody was laughing.
tration and staff of the facility are striving, with little community support, to correct the wrongs of the past. As a previous and current consumer of mental health services at CMHC, I am finding tremendous improvements in services and staff attitudes. Seems we should be looking to a future of positive improvements, keeping monitoring in place in all areas of business. In days ahead, keep in mind the drastic budget cuts to most medical services in the state. My hat is off to those who can hold onto a hope for tomorrow. The mess that California is in illustrates what happens when you elect Democrats to office. I come to work from Aiken to Augusta every morning via the Aiken-Augusta Highway/Gordon Highway through the work that is being done on the bridge. There are speed limit signs all over that read “35 mph — speeding fines increased.” It is a dangerous area, especially with the bridge being reduced to two lanes. I usually go about 40 mph and am still being passed by people going 50-60 mph. Please
either enforce the speed limit or take the signs down. Sen. Kennedy charges “It’s a Fraud!” Yeah. That’s the pot calling the kettle black! Regarding the “improvements” made to this year’s Arts in the Heart: God save us from whiny, artsy twits! Regarding the article on black and white: I’m a young black woman and I have no idea what the black culture is. It would be so nice if, for once, someone would come out with one of those stupid race relations books that tells me how I’m suppose to behave (not that I’ll change my wonderful, eccentric ways), because I am at a loss trying to distinguish what I think is the black culture from the hip-hop culture. I’m really starting to believe they are one in the same. And one other thing: I’ve lived in many states along the East Coast, and I find it incredibly frustrating connecting with fellow
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Thumbs Up After all the hoopla over the high cost and new restrictions associated with this year’s Arts in the Heart festival, it was nice to see Augustans coming out in droves to support the weekend event. And while it was tough not having Bratwurst or enchiladas to devour in the Global Village food area, most
people attending the event seemed to enjoy the festival’s new layout and amenities. Let’s just hope the Greater Augusta Arts Council learned a valuable lesson with this year’s controversy and communicates better with vendors next year so that the 2004 festival is an even bigger success.
Thumbs Down Do you need advice on eating better? Do you want to lose weight? Well, head on down to McDonald’s, where fatty feasts aren’t the only thing on the menu these days. The fast-food giant has decided to do its part to make America healthier and happier by teaming up with Oprah Winfrey’s personal trainer, Bob Greene, to develop what the Associated Press is calling the “adult version of the Happy
blacks than with any other race. Now why is that? Then again, I know the painful truth. We need to seriously make a gazillion books on why we can’t get along because, in case you hadn’t noticed, we have our own little things to tackle first. I couldn’t even stomach watching the 9/11 replays on television. I was afraid they would show the victims’ family members. I am very disgusted with quite a few of them. It wasn’t enough for them to get scholarships for their children and millions of dollars in donations from their sincere fellow Americans. Some family members decided to be unbearably unashamed and gave permission for the sports trading card company TOPPS to display their loved ones on cards for even more profit. But it’s the government deciding that tax dollars should be given to them too: That truly angered me. I hope President Bush does win the war on terror. But, until then, if there is ever another “national tragedy” I won’t bother donating. I’ll just wait for Big Brother to come around again with the collection plate. I think what makes most white people either stay, convert or revert back to racial prejudice is the bleak attitude of all blacks. When told of a situation where blacks and whites made some kind of advance towards unity, they are very quick to say, “No, we got a long ways to go.” Personally, I think they are there and it’s not going to get any better. If it’s status and/or materialistic needs they’re talking about, they already have more than any
Meal.” The meals will offer customers a salad, an exercise booklet and a pedometer for walking. So, instead of big sloppy burgers, a warm apple pie and a milkshake on the side, McDonald’s customers can now learn all about good health tips while chomping on a fork full of lettuce and watching grease pour from their neighbor’s batch of McDonald’s freshly made fries. Is nothing sacred these days?
white man ever had. Every, and I mean every, race has to deal with some form of racial prejudice at some time or another, and if the black community thinks theirs is going to just go away, they are, as with everything else, sadly deluded. About the article in last week’s paper: When is the black and white issue going to become a dead issue? This whole black and white way of living offers nothing more than social limitations and that’s a stupid way to live. How about the American way of life? Open your eyes and minds to a color-blind society. We focus too much on the negative. The great American way of life is thinking outside the box marked “diversity”. We’re all Americans and it’s unity that continues to provide us with the freedom to love, laugh and live happily together. I think the Old Train Depot site along the river is actually a better location for the farmers market. This location has a sense of permanency about it, and is comparable to the old public markets found in cities like Savannah and Charleston. At that location, the market could be expanded to include a fish market and gift shops. It would also be a lot more attractive than just having a bunch of party tents strung up in a field. Some design work is needed at the old depot to make it work, but it can become a first rate public market of which Augustans can be proud. I’m so glad to see that common sense has finally prevailed over Representative Norwood’s idiotic plan to transfer Corps land continued on page 8
S P I R I T
Growing Into Womanhood: A time for confidence and decisions Saturday, October 8, 10 am – 12 pm For girls 13-16, their mothers or a female relative. Sexuality, peer pressure, substance abuse and confident decision-making skills will be discussed. Please call 651-2450 to register.
I Can Cope - American Cancer Society Program
Tuesdays, October 7, 14, 21 & 28 6:30 – 8:30 pm Location: Warren Baptist Church 3203 Washington Rd., Augusta I Can Cope is a four program series which consist of enlightening and educational sessions for those diagnosed with cancer, their family and friends. There is NO charge for I Can Cope, but registration is encouraged. Please call your American Cancer Society to register at 706-731-9900 or 1-800- ACS-2345. Refreshments and childcare provided.
Diabetes Support Group
Tuesday, October 14, 6 pm Location: Doctors Hospital, Building III, Classrooms 4 & 5 An educational seminar for the person with diabetes and his/her family members. Call 651-2468 for more information.
Community Health Screening
Wednesday, October 22, 7:30 – 10:30 am Location: Doctors Hospital Education Classrooms - First Floor • No appointments needed, come in the main entrance of the hospital, directions are posted in the lobby. • Free Cholesterol, Blood Sugar & Blood Pressure. • The following tests will be offered for $15.00 each at every screening: Blood Type Hemoglobin; A1C Lipid Profile; PSA Liver Profile; TSH; CBC - Complete Blood Count (Hgb, HCT, WBC, etc.); Chem BasicNa, K, Cl, CO2, Glucose, Bun, Creat & Calcium.
Gastric Bypass Support Group
Wednesday, October 22, 5:30 – 6:30 pm Location: Doctors Hospital, Classrooms 1 & 2 This month’s speaker, Julie Blackmon, had surgery 2 years ago and will give tips for coping with holiday eating. There will be a "Clothes Swap", so if you have larger clothes you no longer need, please bring them to share. For information, please call Valerie Lively, Registered Dietitian, 651-6043.
*These classes will be held at: Doctors Hospital Campus, 3623 J. Dewey Gray Circle Medical Office Building I, Cradle Club Classroom, Suite 110.
Join our Cradle Club today! Membership is FREE. Please PRE-REGISTER for ALL classes. Call 651-BABY (2229) or register online.
Prepared Childbirth Classes* 7 – 9:30 pm Mondays, October 13 – November 10 Tuesdays, October 14 – November 11
Free Morning Fitness Class**
Line Dance Lessons
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Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 8:45 – 9:30 am. Members only. Monday, October 6, 7 pm, intermediate. Wednesday, October 8, 1 pm, advanced. Wednesday, October 8, 2:45 pm, beginners. $10 for 6 weeks. Members only. Must pre-pay to attend.
Tuesday, October 7, 2 pm $60 for 6 weeks. Please pre-register.
AARP Driver Safety Program**
Thursday & Friday, October 9 & 10, 12 pm Participants must pre-register. Open to the public 50+.
Orientation Coffee for New and Renewing Members**
Tuesday, October 14, 10 am Open to all interested in joining Senior Friends. Please RSVP.
Travel Show by Collette Vacations
Labor & Delivery Tour
Thursday, October 16, 2 pm Open to the public 50+.
Located on the Doctors Hospital Campus, Building III, 1305 Interstate Parkway. **Items will be held in the Senior Friends Meeting Area. To join or register for classes please call 651-6716 or register online www.doctors-hospital.net .
Thursday, October 2, 7 – 8:30 pm Tour begins at the hospital in Classrooms 1 & 2. Sunday, October 5, 4 – 6:30 pm
Sunday, October 5, 2 – 3:30 pm
Thursday, October 16 6:30 – 9 pm 1973–2003
Thursday, October 23, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
For more information, call 651-2450 or visit www.doctors-hospital.net • 3651 Wheeler Road • Augusta, GA
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8 M E T R O S P I R I T S E P T 2 5 2 0 0 3
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continued from page 7 around the Savannah River’s lakes to counties and individuals. Now if Charlie would just take an active role in federal tax reduction and reduced wasteful spending, we’d accomplish some positive actions to improve the national economy. With Augusta’s leaders having driven off arena football and now working hard to run off the Lynx, we no longer have a need for a new and bigger civic center, except as a “horse barn” for Billy. So who needs a barn anyway? Sonny Pittman will pat himself on the back in the Whine Line, but most voters already know him. That’s why he can’t get elected to office no matter how bad he wants to be somebody. Thumbs down to the director of public works on the decision to give the volunteers of National Public Works Week a day off with pay.
are saying they don’t have enough money for schools. Then they want to put a new football stadium down on Laney-Walker. And, oh yeah, we want to tear down an elementary school and rebuild it. I tell you, we need some new leadership very badly in Richmond County! We have a highly paid superintendent yet low grades (and test scores). There is something wrong with that picture and something needs to be done soon. Don’t just wait until he retires either. Parents of students at Academy of Richmond County, please call the Richmond County Board of Education and complain if your teenager is in an English or other core course with more than 31 students per class. Some of the classes at ARC have as many as 50 students with one teacher. The teachers are frustrated and the students are not receiving the kind of education that you as parents should demand. This situation is counter to the state Board of Education’s policies.
Just wondering why Augusta Christian’s football team doesn’t get the type of coverage that the other schools get? Their running back (number 7) is probably the best running back in the area and he never gets any newspaper coverage.
I would like to challenge all Americans to fly the American flag at half staff in honor of all our service men and women who are being killed almost daily in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Richmond County Board of Education and Richmond County government are all wanting extra tax money and the BOE is wasting money on new offices, renovating the deck on 9th Street and a lot of other things. Now they
— Call our Whine Line at 510-2051 and leave your comments. We won’t use your name. Fax your whines by dialing (706) 733-6663 or e-mail your whines to email@example.com.
“ATTENTION HOMEOWNERS” Will your old furnace safely make it all the way through another winter? Q. Does your current service provider have a Worry Free Guarantee™? Will they refund 100% of your investment for any reason, that’s right, any reason! A. If you are thinking to yourself that they probably won’t, you are probably right! Q. If your heater breaks down will you get it repaired correctly? A. If you’re not 100% certain, then you should call Mellisa at 722-5304 for your Pre-Season Tune UP.
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9 M E T R O S P I R I T
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October 3 Children’s Week Festival Proclamation Ceremony Jessye Norman Amphitheater • 10 am Introduction of Children’s Week festival with a proclamation presentation and other activities. Polly Peavler (706) 721-7413
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October 4 Light the Night Walk Augusta Common • 12 noon – 9 pm A 2 to 3 mile evening walk by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, all proceeds to the charity. Audrey Nemeth (800) 399-7312 October 5 Children’s Week Festival Eighth Street Plaza • 1-5 pm This event will feature games, an educational fair and plenty of entertainment for the children. Polly Peavler (706) 721-7413
YOU CAN SMELL OUR BUTTS FOR MILES!
October 11 Hispanic Festival Augusta Common • 10 am-12 pm 11th Annual festival, exciting musical entertainment, arts/crafts from several countries and authentic food and beverages. Pedro Hoyos-Salcedo (706) 737-1500 October 11 Saturday Night Live Continues ... Eighth Street Plaza • 7 pm – 11 pm Contact Riverwalk Special Events (RSE) (706) 821-1754
615 East Martintown Rd • North Augusta • 279-0288 • Fax 279-0242 Take the 1st North Augusta exit off Aiken-Augusta Hwy, Come up till you see our sign on the right - just look for the smoke! Open Tues-Sat 10-9 • Close at 4pm Wednesday
FREE BBQ SANDWICH
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he race for five seats on the Augusta commission is underway and the excitement is, well...nonexistent. After much hoopla in political circles about finding candidates to run for office, the end result of the massive candidate search is that two of the five commissioners are unopposed and the outcome of two other races is predictable. Only one race may possibly provide excitement for the electorate. All in all, the November election is shaping up to be a snoozer, as The Insider predicted weeks ago. The result is likely a commission with a couple of new faces but unchanged direction, unless District 2 Commissioner Marion Williams is defeated. District 4 and District 6 Commissioners Richard Colcough and Andy Cheek are unopposed. There was never a hint of opposition to Colclough. Cheek, on the other hand, was targeted for opposition by a bunch of folks in South Augusta. These power brokers, (yeah, right) couldn’t muster a candidate to run against Cheek. After carping about his performance since his first day in office, these so-called political insiders failed miserably, and predictably, to produce even a lackluster candidate, much less a bona fide contender. Former Mayor Larry Sconyers teased them about running but ultimately bowed out at the last minute, just in time to allow Cheek to go unopposed. What a fiasco! Two new faces, sort of, are guaranteed on the commission in 2004. Local businessman Jimmy Smith was browbeaten into running for Ulmer Bridges’ District 8 seat. He is already the predicted winner and his voting record will likely mirror that of Bridges. Both are conservative and religious. Bridges has consistently voted against alcohol licenses whenever they are applied for and Smith will likely do the same. Businessman and former Richmond County Commissioner Don Grantham
regretted their huge mistake ever since. As a matter of fact, many of those who helped elect Williams have conveniently distanced themselves from their role in the matter. We know who you are. Regardless, it is difficult to read the tone in District 2. While Williams is detested outside his district, it remains to be seen if he has ingratiated himself enough with the voters who can send him back to the marble palace. So, the only possible change in the dynamics of the Augusta Commission rests in District 2. Hannah is a relative unknown so it is difficult to predict his behavior if elected. Handy has a history on the commission and is viewed as somewhat more conciliatory and flexible than Williams. If Handy wins, the commission changes drastically. If Williams wins it’s more of the same.
Marion Williams will roll over his weak opposition in District 10. Grantham replaces Commissioner Bill Kuhlke, who, like Bridges, must step down due to term limits. Grantham’s presence on the commission will resemble Kuhlke’s. The two are lifelong friends and share similar political philosophies. Both are probusiness country-clubbers and, while Grantham will become a new face on the commission, his voting record will mirror Kuhlke’s. The only possible excitement awaiting voters is the challenge to District 2 Commissioner Marion Williams. Former Commissioner Freddie Handy and District 2 resident Charlie Hannah are opposing Williams. Handy was ousted from the District 2 seat by Williams in 1999. Whether voters in the district think Handy is worthy of another chance remains undetermined. Williams is probably happy that two
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Freddie Handy candidates have chosen to run against him. This means the anti-Williams vote will be split between two challengers. Any effort to turn out Williams would have a better chance with only one opposition candidate. In a race that could be determined by a few votes, every vote counts. Even if one challenger syphons off a small number of votes from the other, Williams benefits. One thing is for certain: Those white political insiders who propped up Williams last time around because of their distaste for Handy’s politics won’t make the same mistake twice. Williams is a creation of both black and white pols but without the help of some powerful white movers and shakers he would never have defeated Handy. White voters in the predominately black district sent Handy packing and white political insiders worked to turn out the white vote for Williams. These power brokers have
Managing Editor To Exit Augusta Focus Longtime Managing Editor Frederick Benjamin is leaving The Augusta Focus in mid-October. Benjamin has served in many capacities at former state Sen. Charles Walker’s weekly newspaper, having been employed there since 1986. He is remaining quiet at the moment about the reasons for his decision to leave. Walker is under investigation by several state and federal law enforcement agencies. The newspaper’s office was recently raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. In addition, there have been significant changes at The Focus over the last couple of years which have resulted in the departure of several longterm staff members. Through all the turmoil, Benjamin has stayed. Now, he’s had enough and will exit soon. A replacement has not been named. —The views expressed in this column are the views of The Insider and do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher.
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MetroBeat Holocaust-Themed PETA Billboard Nixed in Augusta
nimal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has never shied away from diving head-first into controversy to advance its message. But PETA’s most recent controversial campaign aimed at the poultry industry won’t be seen here because a local billboard company found it too offensive. The billboard that PETA had asked Lamar Advertising to run in the local market depicted Jews in cramped, wooden bunks in a concentration camp juxtaposed with densely packed chicken coops. Accompanying the images was the text, “Open Your Eyes to Today’s Holocaust” and “Go Vegan.” “It’s a pretty short answer,” said local Lamar Sales Manager Kevin Rippy, when asked why the billboard was turned down. “It was all based on the artwork and we just felt like the material on there would be very offensive to the Jewish community. That was the entire reason.” Matt Prescott, a spokesman for PETA and organizer of the group’s recent campaign, “Holocaust on a Plate,” disagreed. Prescott said the group partly drew its idea for the campaign from the late Nobel Prizewinning author and Polish Jew, Isaac Bashevis Singer, who documented the Holocaust and once wrote: “In relation to [animals], all people are Nazis; for [them] it is an eternal Treblinka.” Prescott said that he, himself, is Jewish and does not find PETA’s message comparing slaughterhouse conditions to the extermination of more than six million Jews offensive. “I have family who died in concentration camps,” Prescott said. “And we actually based the campaign and the images and the words off of other Holocaust survivors.” However, Deborah M. Lauter, Southeast
regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, denounced PETA’s campaign, calling it “abhorrent.” She said PETA showed up across from the statehouse in Atlanta in June to promote its “Holocaust on a Plate” campaign, but few people paid attention to the group. “You know, it’s a bad pun, but I say that portraying their campaign this way takes the meat out of their argument,” Lauter said. Lauter directed further questions to a press release the ADL released at the time PETA came to Atlanta to promote the campaign. “Rather than deepen our revulsion against what the Nazis did to the Jews, the project will undermine the struggle to understand the Holocaust and weaken respect for human life,” the statement, in part, read. “Abusive treatment of animals should be opposed, but the issue cannot and must not be compared to the Holocaust. The uniqueness of human life is the moral underpinning for those who resisted the hatred of the Nazis and others ready to
By Brian Neill
commit genocide even today.” Prescott said the billboard was also turned down in Athens. He said PETA chose Georgia as one of the states for the campaign because it’s a leading poultry producer. Prescott said another Augusta billboard company, Value Boards, seemed willing to run the billboard if PETA would commit to a larger showing. Stuart Rayburn, owner of Value Boards, said that’s not exactly correct. Rayburn said PETA wanted to run the ad on a size billboard that was larger than the type he typically leases out. The group also only wanted to commit to running the ad for one month. That didn’t make the transaction worthwhile for either party, he said. “To put up a board for one month, first of all, doesn’t get the message out very well,” Rayburn said. “For me to take a message like that and put it up on one board, I just didn’t
“Rather than deepen our revulsion against what the Nazis did to the Jews, the (PETA’s) project will undermine the struggle to understand the Holocaust and weaken respect for human life.” — Statement from the Anti-Defamation League about PETA’s ad campaign comparing slaughterhouses to concentration camps.
see where it would help those guys at all. “We decided not to do business. I wasn’t rejecting them solely on the basis of their artwork though. And again, I’m not saying I wouldn’t do that to someone, but I wasn’t doing it here.” Rayburn said he personally was not offended by the billboard. “But I certainly can see how other people would be offended by it,” Rayburn added. “I’m sensitive to other people’s feelings.” Rayburn said he was surprised that PETA members felt that the decision to run their billboard was solely contingent on the amount of money they spent. “When we left our conversation, they looked forward to us hopefully working together in the future. And I’m not opposed to that,” Rayburn said. “I don’t know their mantra, down the line. I’ve got an idea of what they stand for and I’m sure we’d agree on 50 percent of a (ideological) conversation if we were to have that. But then again, who agrees with everything anyone stands for? That’s what makes us all individuals.” While Prescott acknowledged knowing that some people would find the Holocaust theme of PETA’s campaign extreme, he suggested it probably doesn’t go far enough. “Considering what these animals go through, considering the fact that (animals) are tortured, are taken from their families, confined in horrible conditions and brutally slaughtered, the things that we do don’t go far enough for them and probably never will, unfortunately,” Prescott said. “And in the case of this billboard, being Jewish myself, I understand that it’s a hard thing to hear your suffering compared to the suffering of others. People don’t like to hear that. But if we’re to take lessons from the Holocaust rather than simply talk about remembrance, if we’re to actually draw lessons that we can apply today, then we have to make these comparisons.”
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Auditors Review City Records
By Stacey Eidson
hen Baird & Co., the city’s internal auditor, reviews the local government’s financial records, something interesting always pops up. This year was no exception. From more than $415,000 due the city in emergency 911 fees by local cellular phone providers to employees at the Cabbage Patch receiving free rounds of golf, Baird & Co.’s findings ran the gamut. “Let’s start with the most significant finding,” Auditor J.T. Cosnahan of Baird & Co. told the Augusta Commission’s finance committee on Sept. 22. Cosnahan explained that in April 2002, the city adopted a resolution increasing the emergency 911 charge to $1.50 a month per each local cellular phone user. The increase in the charge became effective June 2002. But Cosnahan found that not all cellular phone companies were paying the full $1.50 emergency 911 fee. “As of June of this year, there are several companies not collecting or remitting the $1.50 charge,” Cosnahan said, referring to wireless providers such as ALLTEL, BellSouth, OnStar and Southern LINC. The audit report found that BellSouth, Southern LINC and OnStar are remitting a $1 charge, while ALLTEL has not provided any payment since January 2003. “The estimated unpaid amount due to the city is $416,605,” Cosnahan said. Of that amount, approximately $257,500 is due the city by ALLTEL, the audit report states. The second-largest bill due the city is from BellSouth at $96,200. The audit report recommended that the commission authorize Baird & Co. to conduct an audit of ALLTEL’s books and records with respect to the collection and remittance of the emergency 911 charges billed to the residents in Augusta who subscribe to its services. County Attorney Jim Wall said the city has already begun taking steps to address the lack of payment on ALLTEL’s part. “They have not been collecting on it,” Wall told the committee. “Y’all authorized me to file suit. The rest of it, I’d like to talk about
“You shouldn’t have an overage and you shouldn’t have a shortage.” – Augusta Commissioner Bobby Hankerson
in legal session. But we’re aware of it, and we’ve been pursuing it.” Wall said that the city hasn’t filed suit yet, but it was clear that some action needed to be taken after several letters he wrote to ALLTEL in January and February went unanswered. “One of the reasons we requested the internal audit to pursue looking at the 911 fees was because ALLTEL had been paying fairly regularly up until the end of December 2002,” Wall explained. “Then they stopped paying and we started writing letters.” Baird & Co. also performed what the audit report calls “control testing” at the Cabbage Patch, otherwise known as the Augusta Municipal Golf Course, in August. Cosnahan said the auditors reviewed how money was collected and reported at the golf course. The audit report found that at the end of each day, the golf course’s register is closed, the money is counted and a printout is generated which details the collections for the day. The clerk of the golf course then consolidates the financial reports from each station, details whether the money collected was in cash, checks, or credit cards, and records the daily deposit. Either the clerk or the golf course division manager delivers that deposit to the bank. Cosnahan said that he believes there is a problem with one person handling the collection and recording of the golf course’s revenues. “We noted a lack of segregation of duties,”
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the audit report states. “The same person reconciles the cash drawers, prepares the deposit, and delivers the deposit to the bank.” Augusta Commissioner Marion Williams said that’s no way to run a successful business operation. “A checks and balances system needs to be done at every step,” Williams said. “We should not have the same person collecting money and checking receipts. That’s something that’s seriously wrong.” Williams said he has been to the city’s golf course only three or four times and each time he saw a number of people playing. “I don’t know anything about golf, but I do know there is a lot of activity going on there,” Williams said. “And we need to have a better way of knowing what’s going on.” Cosnahan also told commissioners that the auditors had reviewed deposits at the golf course over a 15-day period in August by tracing cash and check collections and comparing that figure with the daily collection summary and corresponding deposit slips. “The cash register drawers were short on two of the 15 days and over on 11 of the 15 days tested,” said Cosnahan, pointing to the audit report. Of the two days that collections were short, the total money that was not accounted for was less than $13. On the 11 days when the deposits exceeded the money recorded, the greatest amount the deposit was over was approximately $25. “To improve internal controls and operating efficiency, overages and shortages should be
investigated when deemed excessive in comparison to a typical day’s variance between collections on hand and actual amounts,” the audit report recommends. Augusta Commissioner Bobby Hankerson couldn’t believe that there were such frequent discrepancies in the golf course’s records, regardless of how small the amount. He added that the Cabbage Patch could learn a thing or two about managing money from local convenience stores. “I used to work in convenience stores parttime,” said Hankerson. “In fact, I almost got killed in one. And I know that’s one thing convenience stores know how to do, control that money. “They know how much money they have and they know their inventory. I couldn’t give you a cup of soda for free because they counted the cups. ... And you would get in more trouble with an overage than a shortage. They don’t like that. You shouldn’t have an overage and you shouldn’t have a shortage.” Cosnahan also explained to commissioners that currently some golf course employees are enjoying a free perk at Cabbage Patch. “Golf course employees play for free, while other county employees have to pay,” said Cosnahan. Reduced rates are offered to all city employees according to the commission’s guidelines, the audit stated, but golf course employees currently aren’t paying anything. “The Augusta Parks and Recreation Policies and Procedures Manual does not establish free golf privileges for Augusta Municipal Golf Course employees,” the audit states. “To improve internal control, free golf privileges should be offered only if formally adopted and included in policy procedures.” Commissioners agreed that providing free rounds for golf course employees might not be such a good idea. “Has that been the past practice there?” Augusta Commissioner Ulmer Bridges asked Cosnahan. “I believe so,” Cosnahan replied. “I ask because I know we had some elected officials playing for free a while back,” Bridges said, chuckling. “And we had to put a stop to that, too.”
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ne couple looks forward to the joys and challenges of raising their 13-monthold daughter. Another couple continues to work hard and better their careers as they move toward retirement. And yet another couple worries about stability in the immediate future after one of them suffers a stroke. These could be the stories of nearly any married couple, depending on their age and at what point in life you catch them. After all, what couples don’t worry about things like their children’s futures, their own health or their financial wellbeing? But these pairings are different from the typical married couple in one significant way: They are all gay. Cheryl and Melissa (their last names withheld by request) are an Augusta couple who have been together for five and a half years and were wed in a holy union ceremony at the local Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer in 2001. Following a period of intense discussion and soul-searching, they decided to have a child through artificial insemination. The result was Jordan, their 13-month-old child. Mike Murphy and Earl Ballance, who live in Aiken County’s Petticoat Junction community, both work for Westinghouse at the Savannah River Site and have been a couple for four years. Three years ago, they, too, had a commitment ceremony and consider themselves to be married. Even so, they find it frustrating that the only thing separating them from shared insurance benefits and other marital entitlements is their sexual orientation. Steve Bisso and Reinhold “Rhinnie” Koenig have been together almost 20 years and had their holy union ceremony on their 15th anniversary. Koenig
recently suffered a second stroke. As Koenig’s committed partner and caretaker, one of the things Bisso must now think about is getting him to and from therapy. Bisso says that means getting time off from his job as a medical technician at University Hospital. For that, Bisso has to count on compassion and understanding from his employer. That’s because he can’t count on the Families and Medical Leave Act, which would hold his job secure for up to 12 weeks within a one-year period for such a crisis — if he was in a heterosexual marriage. As these couples tell their stories, the typical, heterosexual married person may find his or her life experiences, joys and struggles to be not all that different. But before we hear more about these couples, it’s worth looking at what has transpired on the gay rights front in recent months. Gay rights advocates sounded a triumph in June when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Texas sodomy law as it related to a case in which two men were arrested for performing a homosexual act in their Houston apartment. Police encountered the men after responding to the complex on a non-related weapons complaint. In supporting the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that intimacies between consenting adults, even when homosexual in nature and not for purposes of producing offspring, were a form of “liberty” protected by due process. Justice Antonin Scalia, however, in his dissenting opinion, said that his colleagues who comprised the majority ruling had “taken sides in the culture war” and “signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda.” In the wake of the ruling, much has been written and said about the future of
By Brian Neill
Mike Murphy (left) and Earl Ballance have been a couple for four years. gay rights, particularly as it pertains to marriage. The most notable sound bite came from President George W. Bush in July when he said that marriage “is between a man and a woman.” Although Bush lumped himself into the category of “sinners” and encouraged acceptance of homosexuals, he made it clear that his administration would not be supportive of gay marriage rights, telling the press: “I believe marriage is between
a man and a woman, and I think we ought to codify that one way or another.” Around the same time, the Vatican also issued a proclamation calling on nations to vigilantly oppose passing gay marriage laws. The statement argued that gay marriages cannot be recognized because they are not a means to the end of procreation and are “totally lacking in the biological and anthropological elements continued on page 18
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of marriage and family” commonly known in society and espoused in the Bible. “The principles of respect and nondiscrimination cannot be invoked to support legal recognition of homosexual unions,” part of the 12-page statement read. “Differentiating between persons or refusing social recognition or benefits is unacceptable only when it is contrary to justice. The denial of the social and legal status of marriage to forms of cohabitation that are not and cannot be marital is not opposed to justice; on the contrary, justice requires it.” Still, gay rights advocates argue that same-sex couples’ commitments to each other are no less valid or sacred than those of heterosexual married couples. In fact, some gay marriage advocates have poked fun at the supposed sanctity of conventional marriages, citing everincreasing divorce rates and instances of domestic abuse and infidelity that seem out of place in a union that arguably carries the blessing of society and the church. Gay marriage is already legal in parts of Canada and the Netherlands. In 2000, Vermont enacted a civil union law that extended to domestic partners rights that are similar to those enjoyed by married couples. A recent MSNBC report stated that only one Fortune 500 company offered benefits to gay couples in 1992, while today, that number has climbed to 197, including 27 of the top 50 on the list. An Aug. 13 Washington Post poll found that 37 percent of Americans favored giving gay couples the legal rights of married couples. According to 2000 U.S. Census data, about 594,000 households in the country had unmarried, same-sex partners in committed relationships. Nationally, about 96,800 lesbian couple households were raising their own children under the age of 18, according to the Census. For male, same-sex couples, that figure was about 66,225 households. Locally, the Rev. Dan King of the Unitarian Universalist Church of
Augusta, estimates that he conducts about three or four holy union ceremonies between gay couples each year. Roughly 15 years ago, King said, news circulated in Augusta of a gay couple getting married at the church. That news sparked a firestorm among local churches that were outraged at such an idea. Today, King said, such sentiment seems to have mellowed. “My suspicion is, that that kind of overt hostility has been worked through,” King said. “In the past, I believe that there have been some folks who have left our congregation because the services were celebrated by our ministers in this sanctuary, but I don’t sense that anymore. I think in the last eight or 10 years, we’ve worked through that internally.” As gay awareness continues to grow, more and more gay couples are demanding to be heard. The couples interviewed for this story all insist they don’t want to convert you, invade your bedroom or throw their relationships in your face. But they do express a common sentiment: Heterosexual couples can keep their marriage label, just give us equal rights. These couples hope that after reading their accounts, people might have an easier time understanding why they feel they deserve the same rights to which heterosexual couples are entitled — regardless of what name you give their unions. Cheryl and Melissa: Cheryl and Melissa drew some sideways glances several years ago when they walked fresh from their holy union ceremony into the downtown Radisson — Cheryl dressed in a wedding dress and Melissa, in a woman’s white dress suit. For Cheryl and Melissa, their commitment ceremony was an important gesture that signified their love for one another. But it was also the beginning of an important next step: Having a family. “We talked about having a child, and then we said, no, we want to have a ceremony,” recalled Cheryl, a 40-year-old
Cheryl (left) and Melissa with their 13-month-old daughter, Jordan.
who works for a company that does medical billing. “You know, the churches don’t recognize it, the government doesn’t recognize it, but it was important for us to have an open, public statement of our love for one another.” Even after exchanging their vows, however, having a child was nothing the couple took lightly. “Before we actually decided that we wanted to have the child, we went through every possible scenario. We asked ourselves all the same questions,” said Melissa, 35, who works at the local VA Hospital. “You know, is it fair to bring her into this world, into our relationship? The teasing. I mean, she’s going to get teased anyway. All kids do. But not all kids get teased about having two mommies or two daddies.” After deciding to have Jordan, Melissa and Cheryl went to Xytex, a local spermand egg-donor bank, and chose an IDrelease donor whom their daughter will be able to contact, if she chooses, upon turning 18. Locating a donor was the easy part. Finding a doctor who would help Melissa conceive, however, was another matter. “Finding a physician who would do the insemination for us was very difficult, because we were very up front about who we were,” Melissa said, as Jordan dug through a plastic tub full of toys in the couple’s living room. “Because we didn’t want any lies or any deceit about her coming into the world. We wanted to be very open with her about the whole process. So we met some opposition and had some physicians who said that they would (perform the insemination) and then declined to do it for us.” Melissa said friends, family and coworkers were mainly supportive of the couple’s decision to have a child. “Of course, not every situation is like that,” Melissa said. “There’s gay couples who do not have the support of their family and friends, the community or their employers. A lot of times Cheryl and I think that we have a unique situation in that both of our families are supportive and accepting. We go to two churches that are accepting. There’s tolerance at our jobs.” Cheryl recalled the co-workers at her former job getting a kick out of hearing her complain about things the typical husband would in a pregnancy situation. “They heard me coming to work, talking about, ‘Oh my God, she’s driving me crazy. I have to go out in the middle of the night and get her food,’” Cheryl said. “The girls thought it was hilarious hearing me. They thought it was just a man thing, hearing me talk about that role.” But despite these similarities Cheryl and Melissa share with heterosexual couples raising children, there are also some stark differences relating to their legal standings with one another — and Jordan. For instance, Cheryl pointed out that, if she was male, even though Jordan was conceived by artificial insemination, she would still have equal rights to the child. Not so, however, in the situation of the gay couple. “As the birth mother,” Melissa said, “I
would have to give up all of my rights in order for her to have rights to Jordan.” Though close friends and the people at Jordan’s day care know and recognize Cheryl and Melissa as the child’s parents, Cheryl, under law, could technically be prevented from visiting Jordan at the hospital in an emergency situation unless Melissa was present. Also, not being recognized as a married couple means Melissa and Cheryl cannot include each other on employer-backed insurance plans. Some local and national companies do offer domestic partner benefits, but neither Cheryl nor Melissa work for one of them. Cheryl said she can’t understand why their family unit is any different from that of a recognized, heterosexual couple with a child. “I’m not speaking for all gay people, but we’re asking to be recognized, not necessarily as a ‘married couple,’ but just give us the same benefits,” Cheryl said. “I don’t care if you call it marriage, or you call it life partnership, or partners in life. Just give me the benefits. And you know, I think that’s where people are getting stuck, is the word marriage.” Cheryl and Melissa know that they’ll face many challenges raising Jordan. They’ve heard the criticisms from the unapproving public, saying that two members of the same sex can’t give a child a balanced upbringing, or that children raised by gays will likely grow up to be gay themselves, although much research has proven the contrary. “Do I want her to grow up and be gay? No,” Cheryl said. “But is there something wrong with it? No,” Melissa added. “But it’s a hard life.” Melissa hopes that by the time Jordan enters school and starts interacting with other children, society will be a little more tolerant. “Do we think there’s going to be parents that go, ‘No, you’re not going to spend the night with Jordan’? Of course,” Cheryl said. “But there’ll be people who we don’t want her going to stay at their house because of the way they parent. And we’re OK with that. I think that how she handles it is the way we raise her to handle it.” “We just want her to be happy,” Cheryl added. “Just like her (Melissa’s) dad said, ‘No, you’re not the partner I would have chosen for my daughter to marry, but I love you.’ I’m not who he would have picked, but he’s happy because she’s happy.’ “And those are the same beliefs we want to raise her with.” Mike Murphy and Earl Ballance: In a way, Mike Murphy feels society, perhaps, has a debt to repay. “I knew that I was different when I was 12 years old. What did I do? I went and got married to get rid of this,” said Murphy, sitting in the living room of his Petticoat Junction home with his partner of four years, Earl Ballance. “That didn’t happen.” Murphy was married to the same woman for 35 years. He has five children and nine grandchildren. Throughout the three and a half decades he was married, Murphy says he tried to
come to grips with the feelings inside him. As he says, he knew he was living a lie. He was doing what society expected of him, even though he knew he couldn’t possibly keep up the front. “Boy, you don’t know how many times I just cried, and cried and cried — ‘Lord, take this from me. You promised that if I came to you, you’d take all this sin away from me,’” Murphy recalled. “Finally, after my wife and I split up, God and I had a little talk. And God said to me, ‘You know why I didn’t take that away from you? Because that was a gift I gave you. I wanted you to be who you are.’ “And since that time, I’ve been able to hold my head up high.” Though Murphy, a 62-year-old procurement engineer for Westinghouse, has accepted himself, he considers society a slow teach. “The same God bore you as did me, under the same Constitution of the United States,” Murphy posits to the straight population. “Why would we want to be down or against anybody? Not just gays, but anybody? “We did what was expected of us. We couldn’t do it. It just wasn’t us. We tried to be what you wanted us to be, but we couldn’t do it.” Murphy and Ballance enjoy a quiet home life. They have a close circle of friends, gay and straight, with whom they take the occasional out-of-town trip or share a quiet dinner. One of the gay couples with whom Murphy and Ballance frequently socialize have been together more than 40 years. Ballance, a lab technician and Aiken Technical College student pursuing a full-time position at Westinghouse, where he currently works, thinks society has been slow to give gay couples equal rights because many straight people take their own sexual orientation for granted. “I think, probably because they have tunnel vision, they don’t want to see it,” the 50-year-old said. “They don’t want to be bothered with it, because they’re not gay. They don’t want to look around and say, ‘Hey, this is going on.’” Murphy thinks if people looked at the issue from the standpoint of dollars and cents, they might see it differently. “We pay taxes,” Murphy said. “And what do we pay taxes for? To support the heterosexual world? Not entirely. We pay taxes to support the community and we are the community. We’re part of it.” Murphy has been active in seeking recognition and equal rights for samesex partners. He is a member of Savannah River Site GLOBE (Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual Employees) and recently wrote a letter to the president of Westinghouse asking that same-sex couples be recognized on an even par with heterosexual, married couples. Those efforts, however, have had little result, Murphy said. SRS GLOBE did consider it a recent victory, however, when the human resources division at the site inserted “sexual orientation” into its non-discrimination clause. Ballance said this is the first time he’s really thought about not being able to share health benefits as a couple. continued on page 20
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Take care of yourself. Let University help.
Prostate Screenings Benefit Over 1,000 Men “HealthTalk” on WGAC-580 AM
Tune in on Monday, Sept. 29, at 8:30 a.m. to hear Ian Herskowitz, M.D., a boardcertified endocrinologist on University’s medical staff, discuss diabetes.
Chris Carlson, M.D. Augusta Surgical Associates
Dr. Carlson is a new member of University Hospital’s medical staff, now practicing at Augusta Surgical Associates. He comes from the Department of General Surgery at the Medical College of Georgia, where he received his medical degree in 1996. Dr. Carlson is a general surgeon and the author of numerous publications and presentations on colorectal cancer. You can reach Dr. Carlson at 706/724-5451.
Log on to learn more! HealthMail offers you the opportunity to be notified via e-mail about upcoming events, offerings, news and updates of interest. All you have to do is sign up and choose which health topics interest you. You will then receive periodic e-mails about seminars, special events, current news and articles on your chosen topics. To sign up, visit www.universityhealth.org and click “HealthMail” at the top of the home page. You will not receive any e-mail notices unless you register, and you may remove your name from the list at any time. F OR FREE 24- HOUR
It’s the most common form of cancer among American men, according to the American Cancer Society. But thanks to a series of free screenings, some local men now have more information about their risk for prostate cancer. During July and August, University Hospital and Lowe’s Home Improvement Stores sponsored six free prostate screenings at three different Lowe’s locations. The event drew 1,129 men from the C.S.R.A. and beyond. Of those men who had the simple blood test known as the prostatespecific antigen (PSA) test, 25 received abnormal results. Abnormal test results do not automatically indicate prostate cancer. These results could be caused by something other than prostate cancer. However, all men were encouraged to follow up with a digital rectal exam (DRE) by their physicians, regardless of their test results. Several of the men who attended the screenings were in their 50s and had never been screened for prostate cancer. Some members of University’s medical staff were on hand to talk to the participants and their loved ones about prostate cancer. University Hospital thanks Lowe’s and Clear Channel Radio for making the screenings such a success.
Prostate Cancer Facts • Each year, about 195,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer; 32,000 will die from it. • If detected early, prostate cancer can be treated effectively, but early prostate cancer has no symptoms. • Most cases of prostate cancer occur in men over 50; more than 70 percent of these cases are in men over 65. • African-American men have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer than white men, and are more likely to die from it. • Having one or more close relatives with prostate cancer increases a man’s risk of developing it. • Prostate cancer can usually be detected by a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and a digital rectal exam (DRE).
Signs & Symptoms • A need to urinate often, especially at night • Difficulty starting, weak flow or pain during urination • Pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or thighs • Blood in the urine
For more information on prostate cancer or to find a physician, call ASK-A-NURSE at 737-8423 (SER-VICE) or 800/476-7378 (SERV).
Your resource for healthy living. HEALTH SCREENINGS
EDUCATION “To Sleep – Perchance to Dream” Michael S. Haynes, M.D. Sept. 29 Registration & dinner: 5:30 p.m. Program: 6 p.m. First Baptist Church, Augusta Activities Building $8 for Seniors Club members, $9 advanced registration, $10 at the door Reservations required. Call 706/736-0847.
SENIORS CLUB FREE Blood Pressure Check FREE Glucose Screening FREE Height & Weight Measurement Oct. 1, 8 9 a.m.–noon University Seniors Club, Daniel Village Shopping Center For Seniors Club members only No appointment necessary. For information, call 706/738-2580.
Mobile Mammography Screenings 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 29 Publix, 2816 Washington Road
“Genetics and Breast Cancer: Is it in the Genes?” Christine Seward, genetic counselor Oct. 7 Registration and dinner: 5:30 p.m. Program: 6 p.m. University Hospital dining rooms 1-3 $8 Seniors Club members, $9 advanced registration, $10 at the door Seating is limited to 75. Call 706/736-0847.
Oct. 6 Rich’s-Macy’s, Augusta Mall
Lymphedema Education Oct. 7 5 p.m. University Breast Health Center Professional Center 2 Suite 205 FREE Call 706/774-4141 to register.
Appointments required. Call 706/774-8900.
Osteoporosis Education Kathy New, certified densitometry technologist Oct. 7 9-10:30 a.m. University Seniors Club, Daniel Village Shopping Center Call 706/738-2580 to register or for more information.
Oct. 17 First Baptist Church, North Augusta Oct. 20 Rich’s-Macy’s, Augusta Mall
HEALTH INFORMATION , CALL
Adult Rape and Sexual Assault Rape Crisis & Sexual Assault Services offers group counseling for persons who have been victims of sexual assault, incest, rape or childhood sexual abuse – regardless of when the assault took place or whether or not it was disclosed. For more information about groups or any of our other services, please call our crisis line at 706/724-5200.
Log on to learn more: www.universityhealth.org ASK•A•NURSE
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continued from page 19 Because he has chosen to go back to school and work part time, he no longer has the benefits previous full-time jobs have afforded him. “If we were married, I’d have benefits,” Ballance said. “And I just never have thought about it until now, when I possibly will probably need them. Our situation is no different from Mary Sue and John down the street, if they’ve been married three years. Why can’t we be the same?” Ballance is optimistic that he and Murphy will see benefits for same-sex couples in their lifetimes, but likely, no time soon. He compared the pursuit of domestic partner benefits to past civil rights movements. “It’s a right that we have, that hasn’t been called upon,” Ballance said. “The women weren’t equal, years ago; the blacks weren’t equal, years ago. Now, it’s a gay issue. It’s a civil rights thing. It’s a fundamental basic right. We’re just like everybody else. It’s no different, as a couple.” Steve Bisso and Reinhold Koenig Steve Bisso is sitting in a waiting area in Walton Rehabilitation Hospital listening to me tell him about a column I recently read on gay marriage. In it, the writer suggested that if gays really wanted access to the marital institution — with all its bickering, trappings and, often enough, divorce court — then they should be welcome to it. Telling Bisso this story, a satirical dig at the sanctity of heterosexual unions, is supposed to elicit laughter. But instead, he starts to cry. Bisso is thinking about a time he went to bed mad at his partner of nearly 20 years, Reinhold “Rhinnie” Koenig. It was a stupid argument, about what, Bisso can’t even remember. He imagines it was about the same silly stuff other couples argue about — not taking out the trash or leaving shoes under the coffee table, maybe. But, as he lovingly gazes at Koenig, seated in a wheelchair after suffering his second stroke in seven years, it dawns on Bisso that that one petty argument could have left him with a life of regret. “It frightens me because I think, what if it had been the night I had gone to bed mad at him and I never had the chance to tell him that I did love him?” Bisso asks, trying to hold back tears. “We’re really no different than heterosexual marriages. We have our good times and our bad times, but we’re devoted to each other and we’re here for the long run.” Though Koenig is weak and working to regain the use of his right side, he still responds when Bisso asks, “What do you tell me every night before we go to bed?” “I love you,” Koenig says. “I love you, too.” The typical couple exchanges ensue. Koenig, 62, seems good-naturedly annoyed when Bisso keeps reminding him to keep his arm elevated, like the
Steve Bisso gives words of encouragement to his partner of 20 years, Reinhold “Rhinnie” Koenig, who is undergoing physical therapy after a stroke. physical therapists have told him. Bisso shakes his head and tries to laugh it off when Koenig seems determined to keep putting his arm down. Like Murphy, Bisso said he tried to fit the mold that society and conventional religion placed on him. The 50-year-old was married for nine years and has a grown daughter. Bisso tired of pretending around the age of 30. His recollection of that time sounds not all that different from Murphy’s experience. “For the first 30 years of my life, I lived up to other people’s expectations, you know, how people expected me to live and how people expected me to act,” Bisso said. “And I know when I say it, it sounds kind of selfish coming out this way, but I wasn’t living for me. I was living a lie.” Bisso’s first foray into the gay dating scene came at a difficult time. It was the mid-1980s and locally, anyway, there weren’t many classified ads for gay men. Gathering spots for gays were also limited. However, a friend of his asked him to go to a local bar with him, and that’s where Bisso met Koenig. “I spotted him sitting at the end of the bar and I said, ‘He’s just the man for me.’ I just walked up to him. I’d never done anything like that before,” Bisso recalled. “I just walked up to him and introduced myself, and the rest was history.” On their first anniversary together, Koenig gave Bisso a ring and the two went to the bar where they met, even though both never really enjoyed going
to bars in the first place. Bisso gave Koenig a ring on their fifth anniversary together. On their 15th anniversary, they had a holy union ceremony at Metropolitan Community Church. Because their marriage was unconventional, the two chose to wear the rings on their right hands. Koenig suffered his first stroke in 1996, a year after retiring from civil service at Fort Gordon and starting a house-cleaning business. His most recent stroke came on Sept. 1, when the couple was on a camping trip in Edisto, S.C. Fortunately, Koenig established good health insurance at his previous job and through earlier military service, Bisso said. Otherwise, Koenig would not be covered under Bisso’s health insurance plan at University Hospital, where he works. The couple did get powers-of-attorney early on in their relationship. That helped when they were in New York after Koenig’s first stroke, and he suddenly suffered related seizures. “I always carry the power-of-attorney with me and I was able to take that and lay it right out on the table (at the hospital),” Bisso remembers. “And they were quite hip up there in New York. They said, ‘What relation are you?’ And I said, ‘We live together.’ And they said, ‘Oh, domestic partner.’” Bisso said he thinks the acceptance climate for gay couples has gotten much better in recent years. “I think now, it’s becoming more
popular. I know that I’m now meeting more men that are now gay, that at one time must not have been gay, or bi, or whatever,” Bisso said. “They have children and they are able to deal with that aspect of their life. I think 20 years ago, I don’t know if they would have known anybody else.” Still, Bisso sees a long way to go in order for gay couples to achieve the same rights as married heterosexuals. Bisso is already worried about getting the time off from his job to take Reinhold to and from physical therapy sessions. He hopes his employer will understand. “Heterosexual couples, they have federal protection from the Family Medical Leave Act,” Bisso said. “That doesn’t count for us. We don’t have that privilege that, if I needed to take a month or two off, my job would be guaranteed to be there when I get back.” As Bisso prepares to take Koenig back to his room for dinner, he shares a final thought about the gay marriage issue. “I might be saying the wrong thing, but I say, fine. If you want to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman, well that’s fine,” Bisso said. “But then at least allow us to have equal rights. If you don’t want it to be called marriage because you think there’s some sanctity in that name, well then call it domestic partner or whatever, but I want to be able to have the same benefits and the same rights as a heterosexual married couple have. “The word is not as important to me as the benefits.”
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The R.C.I.A. is an opportunity to experience spirituality as you may have never experienced it before by sharing in the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church. The R.C.I.A. process will help you to understand Catholic liturgy and worship and the Sacraments of the Church. For more information: Director of R.C.I.A. Church of the Most Holy Trinity P.O. Box 2446 Augusta, GA 30903 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
t’s a fact that, if you stay away from Andrew’s at the Sheraton for too long, you’ll miss something. In his quest to provide his customers the best of the best, Food and Beverage Director David Kay is constantly making innovations and upgrades. The most recent change is a pretty big one. On a recent evening, David spoke with the Spirit about all the exciting things he’s been up to at the Sheraton. “Well I made some key staff changes here,” he said. The excitement in his voice made it evident that he is expecting some great things to happen soon. “We have a new Chef, Jim Hayes. He’s the former Radisson Chef. “Not only does he bring with him years and years of high-quality experience, but he brings with him quality food.” We asked if Chef Hayes has a specialty, but David said Jim does it all well. “Jim? No I wouldn’t say that he has a specialty. We’re just talking about an old-school pro.” Now that the team of Kay and Hayes are together, Andrew’s will be virtually unstoppable. “He and I are reshaping the food and beverage areas here at the hotel,” David said. “So yes, we have some new things that are brewing.” Like what, you ask? “We’re looking at some new and creative specials, but we’re primarily focusing on upgrading our buffets so we can offer our longtime patrons a new and fresh look at what we do – which will make them even happier that they’ve been coming.” Look out for their Wednesday Happy Hour and a change of entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays and in the middle of the week. (Speaking of old-school pros.)
“Starting Oct. 1, Buzz Clifford will be playing at The Atrium bar between 5:30 and 7:30 in the evening on Wednesdays, and he will also be playing on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 to 9:30.” Any jazz lover who has been in Augusta for any time at all knows Clifford is highquality entertainment. He has been playing in this town for years and has quite a following. If you don’t believe it, just utter his name in jazz circles. Or better yet, go out and catch him live. Cool jazz, good food and fabulous drink specials in a wonderful atmosphere that’s classy but relaxed. The only thing that could possibly make it better is if you bring your friends along so they can enjoy it too. And with the holidays quickly approaching, don’t forget that Andrew’s is a wonderful place to celebrate with family and friends. They have so much good food, you’ll have to keep coming back for more and more, so come prepared with an empty stomach. You don’t want to hurt yourself, and you won’t be able to resist all of their wonderful dishes. See what we mean? You will want to keep your eyes on these guys because you never know what they will be up to next. The Sheraton is located at 2651 Perimeter Parkway. Andrew’s Restaurant is open seven days a week. Breakfast is served from 6:15 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily with the Sheraton’s famous breakfast buffet offered from 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Lunch and the lunch buffet are offered from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. except on Saturdays when lunch isn’t served. Dinner is served from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. every evening. Although reservations aren’t required, they are recommended. To make reservations or for more information call (706) 855-8100.
By Rhonda Jones
A Real, Live Theatre Organist It was not difficult to get him talking about the silent movie experience. “What I did is, I got interested in the theatre organs, what we called the theatre palace organ,” he said. He got involved in the American Theatre Organ Society, a 5,000-member organization that rescues organs all over the country. They’ve even rescued a piece from Augusta. “One of our chapter members … I removed the organ and installed it in his home, from the Imperial Theatre,” he said. “That was … let’s see … He got it in the early ‘80s, I believe.” We spoke a bit about the Imperial, and the recent renovations that have occurred there, such as new seating. He said that the restoration of old theatres is becoming more and more common. “That’s a phenomenon that’s spreading throughout the country – trying to save the neighborhood movie houses. Like 1,000 seats or less.” In fact, he is involved in a group called
Theatre organist Ron Carter will provide car candy during “Ben-Hur.” Friends of The Strand, which supports the renovation of The Strand theatre in Marietta, Ga., which was built in 1935. Being cultural artifacts, those are no ordinary theatres; and their organs are no ordinary instruments. “The theatre pipe organ was designed in the early 1900s purely to accompany the silent film,” he said, adding that the British inventor Robert Jones was commissioned to do the work. Why, you ask? Well, the bottom line, of course! “It all boiled down to finances and money,” Carter said. “What was happening was, theatres were having to hire orchestras to accompany silent films.” That’s a lot of musicians to pay. They reasoned that, if they had to pay only one who could do the work of many, that would be pretty cool. So they decided to have Jones try to make a pipe organ sound like a symphony orchestra. It didn’t work. But it did lead to something interesting. “What happened was, they did not succeed
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Silent Movie Night Returns to Sacred Heart his time, it’s “Ben-Hur.” And not the 1959 version with Charlton Heston, either. This is the 1926 film starring Ramon Novarro, whose voice you will never hear. Lucy Shuler, a volunteer for Sacred Heart who has become the silent movie night coordinator, had never had the silent movie experience before last year, when Sacred Heart resurrected the idea that had begun around six years ago. “I was working with Sacred Heart a year and a half ago, and (Sacred Heart director) Sandra Fenstermacher said let’s resurrect this.” Last year, they held a showing of the World War I movie “Wings,” at which time Shuler was magically transformed into a silent movie fan. “It was my first time experiencing this,” she said. “There were a lot of converts that night, like my husband, who was there because I made him be there. He absolutely fell in love with the whole thing.” A big part of the thrill, she said, is the presence of live theatre organist Ron Carter, whom we caught up with on a Monday morning.
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in making it sound like a symphony orchestra, but they did succeed in giving it an entirely different sound,” Carter said, adding that the theatre organ is designed to use higher wind pressures due to the soft surfaces of the seat cushions as opposed to the harder church surfaces, like pews. But, Carter said, the organ he will play Oct. 3 is another beast altogether. “And the organ in Sacred Heart, which is a wonderful instrument – I will revoice the instrument. It’s digital, but has the capability of sounding like a theatre organ.” When Carter sits down to accompany “Ben-Hur,” he is going to do his best to give you the same sort of experience shared by moviegoers of the 1920s. “I’ll be bringing with me a special effects module, which I’m going to connect to the organ,” he said. So not only will you be treated to Carter’s playing, and the sounds of the Sacred Heart organ, but you will also be able to hear thunderous horse hooves during the famous chariot race. He explained that, whenever possible, the effects in the organ chamber were the real
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McCoy. “So when you mashed the car horn, it was a real car horn. It just made the silent movie experience much more realistic.” I asked him to elaborate on the difference between the silent movie experience and the contemporary experience. “First of all,” he said, “you’ve got to pay attention.” He said that, with all of the technology at our fingertips, with the dialogue coming through surround-sound speakers and the ability to pause the film and forward to any section of the story, people are able to do other things while the movie is playing. “To watch a silent movie, you really have got to be attentive.” Can we say “subtitles,” boys and girls? “And the music of course, underlying – that can make or break the experience. It just sets the whole tone. And silent movie actors and actresses are much more visual in their facial expressions.” He will not be working with a written score, he said, but with cue sheets that call for specific musical themes for different characters. “So every time you see the villain in this thing I’ll have a certain theme,” he said. If you remember the very first Star Wars flick ever filmed, every time Darth Vader appeared on the screen, he had his own music in the sound track. Same thing here. The hero and Christ have their own musical themes as well, Carter said. Music is very important, he said. “What would ‘The Titanic’ have been without that music? What would ‘Gone With the Wind’ have been?” The accompaniment in a silent movie is geared toward enhancing that suspension of disbelief that one hopes to experience in a movie house. “In fact,” Carter said, “I tell everybody at the beginning of the program that my job is to make you completely forget that the actors are not talking. What I hope is that, after 10 minutes, you will forget that this is a silent movie.” Unfortunately, he said, people take one look at silent movie footage and think that there’s no way such an old film can give them a worthwhile experience. But once they come in, they are not prepared for what actually happens, Carter said. It happened during last year’s showing of “Wings.” continued on page 24
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continued from page 23 “People said, we had no idea we were going to get emotionally involved. We had people at the end… When one of the heroes died in ‘Wings,’ people cried.” Shuler’s experience with “Wings” was much like that. “It is a very, very moving experience,” she said. “Especially in the venue that… You’re in Sacred Heart and you’re in the Great Hall and you’ve got the incredible state-of-the-art organ. That’s what pulls you in. I used to watch documentaries and foreign films with my parents at Augusta College. The music is what pulls you in. You’re riding a wave the whole time. “People just couldn’t leave until it was complete. Last year was my first time and I was just blown away. The music is … hmm … I don’t know how to describe it. You are absolutely surrounded by the music like a blanket coming around you. It magnifies the film 10 times.” But, as engaging as the music is, Carter said, there are other elements in the film that are equally inspiring – like the cinematography. In fact, he said, to get the same kinds of effects today would be cost-prohibitive. For the chariot scene, he said, the production company used 40 cameras, and even built some of them into the ground, so that the horses came right toward the audience. In addition to that, there is an added element of realism. Carter said, during the sea battle scene in which a pirate ship rams the side of the ship where the hero is serving as a galley slave, they actually have one ship ram the other one and knock a hole into it. “Some ‘Ben-Hur’ stunt people lost their lives,” he said, adding that performers didn’t have the protections that they do now. Warning: Spoilers Ahead The version that will be shown on Oct. 3 is the original 1926 production by Metro –Goldwyn-Mayer of “Ben-Hur: Tale of the Christ,” starring Ramon Novarro as Judah Ben-Hur. Another, talkie, version was produced in 1959 and starred Charlton Heston. That may be the one you’re familiar with. I, who have never seen either film, was pretty impressed with the storyline. According to the storyboard at http://rhs.jack.k12.wv.us/sthrills/benhur/benhursb1.htm, here is what happens. In spite of the title, the life of Jesus Christ is only the backdrop for the story of BenHur. In fact, the writers used the method of enveloping one with the other, opening with the birth of Jesus and ending with the three crosses on the horizon. In the middle, we follow the House of Hur, which is in dire straits due to the arrival of the new Roman governor, Gratus, who doesn’t particularly
care for the Jewish people. In addition to that, Judas discovers that Messala, his childhood friend, has become a “true Roman.” So much for old friendships. Later, Judah accidentally knocks a loose tile onto the new governor and is arrested by Messala, along with his mother and sister, for attempted assassination, and Judah is made a galley slave. Then we sorta-kinda get a glimpse of Jesus, when the soldiers stop for water and won’t let Judah drink. He cries out to God for relief and we see the hand of the carpenter, who lives nearby, administer water to the captive prince. Then we don’t see him again for a while. Judah’s spirit earns him a friend in the Roman fleet commander, Quintus Arrius, who orders that Judah’s feet be freed from their chains, which works out well for our hero when pirates later knock a hole in the ship, drowning the rest of the slaves. On deck, Judah finds and saves Arrius, who has been wounded. The two escape aboard a raft and Judah protects the commander from his own suicidal tendencies, and is later adopted as Arrius the Younger. He becomes a famous charioteer. But he misses his family, and still has no idea what happened to his mother and sister. So when he receives mysterious news from home, he has to go there. He finds Simonides, the Hur family steward, who had been ordered years before, with the arrival of Gratus, to move the family’s wealth to safety. He also finds Simonides’ daughter, Esther. At first Simonides doesn’t want to admit that Judah is the heir, because he doesn’t want his daughter to know that she is a slave in the House of Hur, but Judah chooses not to enslave them, instead treating them as family. He also proceeds to fall in love with Esther. Eventually, Judah’s fame as a charioteer prompts a sheik to ask him to drive his chariot in the annual race at Antioch. Judah isn’t interested – that is, until he hears that the other driver will be Messala. And things pretty much go on from there. We do find Judah’s mother and sister; the hero comes out on top; and we see Jesus again before the end of the film. It will be quite a ride. Screening will be in the Great Hall of the Sacred Heart Cultural Center at 1301 Greene Street in downtown Augusta, Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for regular seating and refreshments or $25 for a La-Z-Boy and service. Call the Sacred Heart Cultural Center office at (706) 826-4700 for information.
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57 M E T R O
SOUTHERN SOUL AND SONG A series of music defining the art of the Southern Soul
SOUTHERN SOUL AND SONG -
Ricky Skaggs KING OF BLUEGRASS MUSIC
Sunday, October 12 at 7:30 pm
TICKETS: $30 each
featured in the movie “OH BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU”
Saturday, November 8 at 7:30 pm TICKETS: $15 each
Mountain Heart 2002 BLUEGRASS BAND OF THE YEAR
Friday, October 24 at 7:30 pm
TICKETS: $15 each
TEXAS BAD BOY
All seating reserved. Tickets available at the Imperial Theatre Box Office, online at www.imperialtheatre.com, or by calling 706.722.8341. Sponsored in part by Comcast, Metro Spirit and Four Seasons Securities.
TICKETS: $15 each
Series Subscription $60 each
Robert Earl Keen Tuesday, November 4 at 7:30 pm
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The innovative partnership between the Morris Museum of Art, the nation’s premier museum of Southern Art, and Augusta’s historic Imperial Theatre - commences on Sunday, October 12, with a concert by Ricky Skaggs, the reigning king of Bluegrass Music and one of America’s most popular musicians. And that’s just the beginning! On October 24, you can hear Mountain Heart, the 2002 “Bluegrass Band of the Year.” On November 4 it’s Texas bad boy Robert Earl Keen, and, concluding this first series on November 8, it’s The Nashville Bluegrass Band, stars of the recent “Down from the Mountain Tour.”
The Nashville Bluegrass Band
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Arts: A Look Back at Arts in the Heart 2003 The Parade of Nations, ethnic dances, scrumptious cuisine … even a dragon! There was a lot going on at the very first Arts in the Heart of Augusta in Augusta Common. Below, you will find a few of the sights. Sorry … we couldn’t provide any taste memories for you – although you’re welcome to chew on the page if you must.
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wo years ago, the Aiken Center for the Arts conceived a plan to help children and seniors who couldn’t otherwise afford to participate in its art programs. The result will be a herd of life-size fiberglass horses in downtown Aiken, S.C., and surrounding areas. Project Chairman Bill Reynolds says that herd is 31 strong. And there’s a good reason that Augusta’s neighbor chose horses instead of, say, cows as Atlanta did. “In this case, because Aiken has such an equestrian heritage, we thought it would be a natural to do something like that here,” Reynolds said. Asked if it is the first time Aiken has done something like this, he said yes. “This is a one-time community event,” he said. And there’s more to it than that. “The horses will all be unveiled Oct. 4, which is a Saturday, at the Newberry festival site in downtown Aiken.” It will take place on Newberry Street, right in front of the Washington Center for the Arts. “This is a big, free-to-the-public event where all the horses will be unveiled in public. They have been designed and decorated by artists from Georgia and the Carolinas. The artists will be there. Actually, we’re going to have the artists unveil their horses.” And that, he said, will happen one at a time. “It’ll be a family affair, lasting from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” he said, with the actual unveiling to take place at 12:30. There will also be music, he said, consisting of “two great bands” – Savannah River Grass, which is a local bluegrass band, and local jazz ensemble Preston & Weston. And yes, he said, the horses, which come in three different types – foals, adults with heads up and adults with heads down – are Thoroughbreds. This was a pretty big project, he said. “We’ve been planning this for two years and we’ve studied what other cities have done and
tried to come up with something that we think will really be unique and represent Aiken.” It doesn’t end with the street festival, however. “After the fourth, the horses will be put in a permanent display location mostly in downtown Aiken and they will stay there until the middle of March when they will be auctioned off.” And yes, they will be outside. Where horses belong. “They’ve all been weatherproofed with polyurethane and automotive clear finish and mounted on 500-pound bases.” Asked if there was any chance of one of the horses jumping into the back of someone’s pickup truck, he said, “No, I don’t think so.” So then we asked if all the horses were finished. “Oh yeah, they’ve all been decorated and they’ve been back since Aug. 1st.” And everyone will find horses that they can enjoy, he said, whether they enjoy traditional art, contemporary art, lots of color or whatever. There are even several patriotic horses in the bunch. We asked how they chose all those artists. “Well first of all, we sent out a ‘call to artists,’ which was an invitation to 600 artists in Georgia and the Carolinas, and invited them to submit designs. And we received 130 designs and then we had a three-person jury select about 60 designs. And then each sponsor of a horse came in and selected the design they wanted on their horse.” The undecorated horses each cost $1,500, he said. Each artist received a $1,200 honorarium. “We hope to raise somewhere in the neighborhood of $150,000 to $200,000,” he said. According to Reynolds, there will be 25 horses in downtown Aiken and four at Hopeland Gardens. The rest, he said, will be scattered in other locations. Reynolds is also on the board of directors for the Center for the Arts. For more information, visit www.horseplay.org or call Bill Reynolds at (803) 644-5859.
Saturday Farmers Market
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EVERYTHING MUST GO
From the heart of Augusta, A unique market experience.
FARMERS MARKET HAS MOVED! Fresh veggies, fruit, flowers, baked goods, cheese, hand crafted items and much more!
Saturday mornings 8am-1pm until October 25 Reynolds & 6th Streets at RR Depot Across from Augusta Museum of History
4432 Washington Road, Evans GA (across from Evans Diner) 706-228-1661
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American Wedding (R) — Jim (Jason Biggs) is
going to marry his nerdy, peppy, fresh-faced, relentlessly horny girlfriend Michelle (Alyson Hannigan). This, of course, requires a bachelor par ty (strippers), a meeting of the in-laws and shopping for the wedding dress (a dance-of f at a gay bar), not to mention the catastrophe-bound event itself. "American Wedding" becomes something of a showcase for Seann William Scot t, who gets to strut his stuf f right up to, and then well over, the top. Another saving grace is the presence of Eugene Levy, once again por traying Jim's dad, and Fred Willard, as the father of the bride. All of which might sound like a recommendation, which this most cer tainly is not. But essentially, the thing is harmless. Cast: Jason Biggs, Seann William Scot t, Alyson Hannigan, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Eugene Levy, Fred Willard. Running time: 1 hr., 35 mins. (Salm) ★1/2 Bad Boys II (R) — Vulgar, brazen, crass, violent, stupid, juvenile, loud, long and pointless — "Bad Boys II" is all that, plus a thin slice of enter taining. The scene is Miami. Marcus (Mar tin Lawrence) and par tner Mike (Will Smith) are back as narcs pledged to double duty: to collar nasty crooks, and to tickle the audience with cute bonding humor. They kick of f this par ty by blowing a major drug bust while messing up a Ku Klux Klan rally at the drop site for smuggled dope. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer gives us not story, but the idea of story as gooey plot pizza; not violence, but the idea of violence as car toonish pulp; not style, but the idea of style as shiny pictures for gaping apes; not comedy, but the idea of comedy as compulsive imbecility; not fun, but the idea of fun as a migraine of lavishly cheap jolts. Cast: Will Smith, Mar tin Lawrence, Gabrielle Union, Joe Pantoliano, Jordi Molla. Running time: 2 hrs., 30 mins. (Elliot t) ★ Bruce Almighty (PG-13) — Jim Carrey is Bruce, the goofy features repor ter on a TV station in Buf falo. He aspires to become a "serious" anchor, but af ter blowing his cool on the air, loses his job and has a rif t with his sweet, please-marry-me girlfriend (Jennifer Aniston). There cometh unto Buf falo the Almighty (Morgan Freeman). The Lord loans his powers to Bruce. Time for some payback, some wild stunts, some sexual dazzling of Aniston, some nudges of satire. Like Mel Brooks as Moses in "History of the
World, Par t I," Carrey has climbed the comical Mount Sinai and, like Brooks, he has dropped a tablet on the way down. One of the pieces is "Bruce Almighty." Cast: Jim Carrey, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Aniston, Philip Baker Hall, Catherine Bell. Running time: 1 hr., 45 mins. (Elliot t) ★★ Cabin Fever (R) — Paul (Rider Strong) hopes that while on a weeklong getaway in the woods, he and Karen (Jordan Ladd) will grow closer. Going along for the ride is self-centered Jef f (Joey Kern), par ty girl Marcy (Cerina Vincent) and boozer-jock Ber t (James DeBello). The five arrive at a time a mysterious plague is sweeping the forest. When a hermit (Arie Verveen) stumbles to their cabin looking for help, the five kill him by accident. He lands face-first into the town reservoir, contaminating the water supply. Af ter Karen is struck with the flesh-eating virus, friends become enemies as the group struggles to survive. Cast: Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, Joey Kern, Cerina Vincent and James DeBello. Running time: 1 hr., 34 mins. (McCormick) ★ Cold Creek Manor (R) — The Tilson family decides to relocate from the bustle of the city to the peace and quiet of upstate New York. They plan on spending their free time renovating the rundown, though once stately, house they’ve purchased. A series of frightening incidents, many of them involving snakes, lead the family to investigate the home’s dark past. Cast: Dennis Quaid, Sharon Stone, Stephen Dor f f, Juliet te Lewis, Kristen Stewar t, Christopher Plummer. Daddy Day Care (PG) — Looking very much like the engorged warm-up for a future TV sitcom, "Daddy Day Care" stars Eddie Murphy and Jef f Garlin as cereal company promo men who lose their jobs, then star t a home day-care facility. There is an absurdly snooty villain (Anjelica Huston), owner of a posh day-care school. The kids are central casting darlings. The movie, which has a stern warning against sugar-based cereals, is sugared cereal. Cast: Eddie Murphy, Anjelica Huston, Jef f Garlin, Steve Zahn, Regina King. Running time: 1 hr., 35 mins. (Elliot t) ★★
Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (PG-13) — David Spade stars as Dickie Rober ts, adored as a
Photo: Miramax Films
★★★★ — Excellent.
Photo: Universal Pictures
child sitcom star in the 1970s, but now slumming it as a 35-year-old parking valet. Desperate to get his showbiz career back, Rober ts is convinced that if he can get an audition with director Rob Reiner, every thing will fall into place. When he does get an audition, Reiner shocks Rober ts by telling him that because of his unusual childhood, Rober ts is not normal enough for the par t. So, what does Rober ts do? He hires a family to give him the childhood he missed out on the first time around. Cast: David Spade, Mary McCormack, Jon Lovitz, Craig Bierke, Alyssa Milano. Duplex (PG-13) — In the competitive world of New York City real estate, a couple gets lucky enough to find the per fect home, a conver ted duplex. But it’s too good to be true; lurking on the upper floor of the apar tment is a demanding elderly woman, who quickly becomes the target of the couple’s plot to kill her in order to get some peace and quiet. Cast: Drew Barrymore, Ben Stiller, Eileen Essell, Harvey Fierstein, Swoozie Kur tz, Maya Rudolph, Amber Vallet ta. The Fighting Temptations (PG-13) — Cuba Gooding Jr. plays Darrin, a junior adver tising exec with secrets. He's nearly broke and he lied on his resume to get his job. Then the worst-case scenario happens: His deception is discovered af ter he helps to land a major account for the company. Then he learns that his Aunt Sally has passed away and he's expected to at tend her funeral as her last surviving relative. Darrin learns that he'll gain a huge inheritance if he whips the church choir into shape in time for a gospel contest. This is where "The Fighting Temptations" falls into the pit of stupidity. What saves the movie from being a total stinker is the music. As for Gooding, he seems to have confused charm and enthusiasm for acting. Cast: Cuba Gooding Jr., Beyonce Knowles, Mike Epps, Melba Moore, Angie Stone, The O'Jays, Montell Jordan and Rue McClanahan. Running time: 1 hr., 28 mins. (McCormick) ★★ Freaky Friday (PG) — It’s the updated version of the ‘70s film, starring Jamie Lee Cur tis as a frazzled mom and Lindsay Lohan as her rebellious teen-age daughter. The two are constantly arguing and both wish they could be someone else. When their wish comes true and the two end up switching bodies, they have to find a way back to their normal selves – before Mom walks down the aisle again. Cast: Jamie Lee Cur tis, Lindsay Lohan, Mark Harmon, Christina Vidal. The Italian Job (PG-13) — If you must remake "The Italian Job," the way to go is demonstrated by F. Gary Gray's highly professional makeover. The 1969
★★ — Mixed.
★ — Poor.
heist was for $4 million in gold in Turin, the new one is for $35 million in gold in Venice. In place of Michael Caine as the top heister, there is Mark Wahlberg. Donald Sutherland appears with his patented aura of suave, cheeky sincerity, yet does not linger. So the crew is planning revenge against icy sociopath and expar tner Steve (Ed Nor ton). Steve has fled to Los Angeles with the loot. "The Italian Job" is the real kickof f of summer and also the best remake since "The Thomas Crown Af fair " got a delicious new lease on life. Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Donald Sutherland, Ed Nor ton, Seth Green, Jason Statham, Mos Def. Running time: 1 hr., 51 mins. (Elliot t) ★★★1/2 Jeepers Creepers 2 (R) — In the sequel to 2001’s “Jeepers Creepers,” a busload of high school basketball players, cheerleaders and coaches headed home from the state championships run into a terrifying, flesh-eating creature on a desolate back road. Cast: Jonathan Breck, Ray Wise, Nicki Lynn Aycox, Billy Aaron Brown, Lena Caldwell.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (PG-13) — Sean Connery's Allan Quatermain is a
former adventurer suf fering from disillusionment and a broken hear t. A mysterious Brit who calls himself "M" finds the physically fit Quatermain in Africa with predictions of impending doom and a request by Queen Victoria to help save the world. An opium-wracked Quatermain is tracked down by the Dracula-inspired character Mina Harker (Peta Wilson), who is introduced a lit tle later in the film, as are Captain Nemo, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the Invisible Man. One might forgive some of the clunky editing and pasted-together plotlines. Less forgivable is the contrived, bring-on-thesequel ending. Unforgivable and completely baf fling is the dimming of Connery's star-power. Cast: Sean Connery, Naseeruddin Shah, Peta Wilson, Stuar t Townsend and Shane West. Running time: 1 hr., 41 mins. (Wood) ★★ Luther (PG-13) — “Luther” chronicles the life of Mar tin Luther, leader of the Protestant movement. Infuriated with Roman church of ficials selling salvation, he’s inspired to write 95 Theses and nail them to the door of the local church, thus beginning a new of fshoot of Christianity. Cast: Joseph Fiennes, Peter Ustinov, Alfred Molina. Marci X (R) — Marci (Lisa Kudrow) is forced to take over her father’s hard-core rap label, Felony
0— Not worthy.
continued on page 64
Rick's PAINT & BODY
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CALENDAR OF EVENTS October 2
Best of Augusta Bash
Knox Gallery StarLab Kidscape
PBS Kids Character Caillou To Visit Please join Georgia Public Broadcasting at Fort Discovery's Paul S. Simon Discovery Theater at 5pm for “Storytime With Caillou,” a special interactive show featuring songs, dances and stories from everyone's favorite four-year-old. Admission is FREE.
Paul S. Simon Discovery Theater
October 18 - January 31
“Celebration of Flight”- Knox Gallery
Science Store Martian Towers Birthday Parties Corporate Events
Celebrating 100 years of flight, the focal points of the exhibit will be an August-built, full-scale replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer and a half-scale replica of a Curtiss JN-4D Jenny. The exhibit will highlight powered flight achievements and features presentations, an exciting display from NASA, exhibits and historical Augusta flight artifacts. October 25
Bring the family from 2 - 5 p.m. to Fort Discovery for a fun and exciting afternoon of make-and-take activities, weird science demos, drawings for prizes, a costume parade, goodie bags and refreshments. $4.00/adults; $3.00/ children & members are FREE. Sponsored by Fort Discovery, FOX 54 and LITE 98. One Seventh Street on Riverwalk 706.821.0200 or 800.325.5445
Member Benefits And Don’t Forget the REALLY Cool Exhibits!
Looking for Local Live Music?
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ALWAYS SOMETHING NEW!
Join us from 7-10 pm as we salute the winners of Augusta Magazine's Best of Augusta 2003. Sample Augusta’s best food, beverages and entertainment! Admission is $10/advance; $15/at the door. Advance tickets available at Fort Discovery and The Augusta Chronicle cashier's office.
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continued from page 62 Assault. She faces a PR nightmare when one of the record label’s top ar tists, Dr. Snatchcatcher (Damon Wayans), releases “Shoot Ya Teacha’,” which then becomes a hit. Cast: Lisa Kudrow, Damon Wayans, Christine Baranski, Jane Krakowski. Matchstick Men (PG-13) — As Roy, an L.A. con man, Nicolas Cage dominates easily. Sam Rockwell is fun as Frank, his young par tner. Roy is a por t folio of facial tics and neurotic habits, who stays functional through medication. His new shrink (Bruce Altman) gets Roy a new type of pill. This calms him for a big job with Frank, but what really changes Roy is meeting his teen daughter, Angela (Alison Lohman), from his previous marriage. She wants to join him in the scams. What most hur ts the movie is its topper, its big plot twist. If you see the cynical twist coming, you probably haven't relished the humane moments of Cage and Lohman, and if you have liked them, the final, feel-good sop is a poor reward. Cast: Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell, Alison Lohman, Bruce McGill, Bruce Altman. Running time: 1 hr., 56 mins. (Elliot t) ★★ The Matrix: Reloaded (R) — Keanu Reeves is back as Neo, empowered hero. Also, savior of the human race that was inside the cybernetic Matrix, enslaved as "cat tle," but has now fled to a life in an underground city. A blur of sci-fi and head comix cliches and "1984" gone 2003, the movie is overwhelmingly designed, but underwhelmingly imagined. There is the Matrix and the Oracle and the Keymaker and the Architect. Humor is kept minimal, as that could pop the gas balloon. The packaging is cosmic, success inevitable. Success feeds success. "The Matrix Revolutions" is set for Nov. 7. Time for Harry Pot ter and Frodo Baggins to join forces and get mad. Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Jada Pinket t Smith. Running time: 2 hrs., 18 mins. (Elliot t) ★★ Once Upon a Time in Mexico (R) — Rober t Rodriguez is into roots rapture and giddy, boyish confusion. His movie goes nowhere. Should we emphasize Antonio Banderas as the thick guitar Zorro called El Mariachi? No point in dwelling on doomed love Carolina (Salma Hayek), as she is barely around. Surely the key interest is not FBI agent Jorge (Ruben Blades). And what of CIA man Sands (Johnny Depp)? Af ter his eyes are drilled out, Depp looks like Michael Jackson as a Day of the Dead float, and he gets a street vendor kid to act as his gun eyes. Might as well focus on Willem Dafoe as drug hood Barillo, wearing such great Mexican makeup you can't decipher why he wants his face removed. Cheech Marin depar ts af ter the first scene, taking with him all hope for a genuine comedy. Cast: Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas, Johnny Depp, Ruben Blades, Eva Mendes, Willem Dafoe, Mickey Rourke, Danny Trejo. Running time: 1 hr., 45 mins. (Elliot t) ★★
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (PG-13) — The movie will be a
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shocker for anyone expecting watery gruel ex tracted from a Disneyland-ride base. This "Pirates of the Caribbean" is an original, with clever plot ting, some rapierlike dialogue and a scurvy crew of first-rate second bananas. When the Black Pearl, the invincible pirate ship commanded by the dread Capt. Barbossa (Geof frey Rush) storms Por t Royal and kidnaps Elizabeth (Keira Knightly), the governor's beautiful daughter, what can her secret admirer, the lowly blacksmith Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), do but go af ter her? He's forced to team up with the immensely unreliable Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). The movie lies becalmed when Depp/Sparrow is absent; when he's on screen, it's a rousing good time. Since he's on screen a good par t of the time, that makes "Pirates of the Caribbean" a rousing good movie. Arrrrr! Cast: Johnny Depp, Geof frey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightly, Jonathan Pryce. Running time: 2 hrs., 14 mins. (Salm) ★★★ The Rundown (PG-13) — Beck is a tough guy who always gets his way and always finds himself in some sor t of trouble, although he never goes looking for it. The latest adventure involves rescuing Travis, a privileged and sassy youngster, from an ex tended Brazilian jungle excursion. The problem is that Travis doesn’t want to go back home, and he drags Beck further into the jungle af ter a gold mine that always seems just out of reach. Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scot t, Christopher Walken, Rosario Dawson, Ewen Bremmer. The School of Rock (PG-13) — A rock guitarist (Jack Black), recently fired from his band, switches careers and takes a job as a substitute teacher for a four th-grade class at a private school. Meeting a 9-year-old guitar prodigy named Yuki, Black decides to recruit him so the two can team up for a bat tle of the bands. Cast: Jack Black, Joan Cusack, Sarah Silverman, Mike White. Seabiscuit (PG-13) — Charles Howard, acted by Jef f Bridges, is a brawny, self-made man whose success as an auto biz wiz led to personal tragedy, then a healing fancy for horses. Mostly, for Seabiscuit. Two
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other men also are saviors of Seabiscuit, in turn saved by him. Chris Cooper is trainer Tom Smith, a folksy genius of horse sense; and the scrappy jockey, Johnny "Red" Pollard, a Depression castaway stuck with dud horses and even bare-knuckle boxing, is acted by scrawny but muscular Tobey Maguire. The film piles on glossy contex t, but it finds its legs once the beloved horse turns into a come-from-behind challenger, egged on by the media. As a scrappy fable, this corn pops well, emotionally. Cast: Jef f Bridges, Tobey Maguire, Chris Cooper, William H. Macy, Elizabeth Banks. Running time: 2 hrs., 10 mins. (Elliot t) ★★★ Secondhand Lions (PG) — Gar th (Michael Caine) and Hub (Rober t Duvall), are rascal adventurers retired back to Texas in the early 1960s, living in a gothic farm hulk. Newly arrived nephew Walter (Haley Joel Osment) is truly spooked for a while. The old bros aren't happy when relatives visit, least of all Walter's tumbleweed mother Mae (Kyra Sedgwick), a dingbat and liar, who drops the boy with them so she can run of f and live stupid. There are pleasing moments under the storybook stars, and the human stars register well. We can rely on Caine to be tar t but graceful, and on Duvall to deliver crunchy lessons in manly vir tue without spilling them into our laps like stale corn. Cast: Rober t Duvall, Michael Caine, Haley Joel Osment, Kyra Sedgwick. Running time: 1 hr., 48 mins. (Elliot t) ★★★ S.W.A.T. (PG-13) — Samuel L. Jackson is Lt. Dan Harrelson, called Hondo, who is can-do to a fanatical degree. He's the only actor of sizable presence. Time for plot! Bring on one-dude fashion layout Olivier Mar tinez as Alex, a French psycho who has killed 24 and bags No. 25 by slit ting the throat of his uncle with a knife "given me by my father." He is called "The Frog." Arrested, the swinish Alex of fers $100 million to anyone who can free him. Within hours, L.A. is crawling with crazies armed with bazookas and other bigtime weapons, ready to blow Alex free, demolish subways, escor t him through sewers (yes, one has computerized bats) and land a jet plane on a street bridge. Of course, only Hondo's squad can block this evil and perhaps Francophile scheme. Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, LL Cool J, Olivier Mar tinez, Josh Charles, Larry Poindex ter. Running time: 1 hr., 57 mins. (Elliot t) ★
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (R) —
An almost unbroken stream of mighty mayhem, high on the bliss of eviscerated metal. Arnold returns as the Terminator, to save the future leaders of mankind (Nick Stahl, Claire Danes) from a vicious terminatrix (Kristanna Loken) who is like the sleek evil twin of the computerized vamp in "Simone." It goes where it must, to nuclear hell, and is weirdly satisfying. 1 hr., 48 mins. (Elliot t) ★★★ 28 Days Later (R) — opens with berserk lab chimps being freed by perhaps crazier animal rights activists. The chimps infect the British Isles, so that London is soon deser ted except for corpses, some prowling zombies and a very few healthy survivors. Twenty-eight days af ter the chimps escape, cycle messenger Jim (Cillian Murphy) stumbles into the scared, but tough Selena (Naomi Harris). They light out for the territory. The infected zombies, whose blood can ruin you with one well-placed drop, are ready to pounce from shadows. Inevitably the plot heads for genre midnight, with strobed lightning and ravenous gobblers and a rock score amped for madness. The posh is pulped. Cast: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris,
Noan Huntley, Brendan Gleeson, Christopher Eccleston. Running time: 1 hr., 48 mins. (Elliot t) ★★1/2 2 Fast 2 Furious (PG-13) — The speed par ty "2 Fast 2 Furious" is 2 silly 2 believe and 2 cliched 2 be very enter taining. 2 bad. It stars Paul Walker, back as Brian from the 2001 summer hit "The Fast and the Furious," in which he was an undercover cop and rival, then pal, of mechanic and street racer Dom (Vin Diesel). Walker gets to appear slight nex t to the big rack of torso Tyrese, cast as racer and ex-con Roman Pearce. The set ting is now Miami. The script is a chop-shop quickie with a greasy aroma of "Miami Vice." The car scenes are so heavily edited and accessorized with tech-freak dazzle that even the blasting finish collapses into a string of stunts. This film is just a motorized budget. Cast: Paul Walker, Tyrese, Cole Hauser, Eva Mendes, James Remar. Running time: 1 hr., 44 mins. (Elliot t) ★1/2 Under the Tuscan Sun (PG-13) — Frances Mayes is a 35-year-old San Francisco writer suf fering the ef fects of a divorce, writers block and depression. The oppor tunity to buy and fix up a villa in Tuscany presents her with a new life. Cast: Diane Lane, Sandrah Oh, Lindsay Duncan. Underworld (R) — For centuries, a bat tle has been raging between vampires, sophisticated city dwellers, and Lycans, werewolf street thugs. “Underworld” is a Gothic twist on “Romeo and Juliet,” chronicling the pit falls of young love between a vampire (Kate Beckinsale) and a Lycan (Scot t Speedman). Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Danny McBride, Scot t Speedman, Bill Nighy, Michael Sheen. Unknown Pleasures (NR) — Directed by Zhang Ke Jia, one of China’s most accomplished new directors, “Unknown Pleasures” follows two unemployed teens as they prowl the city of Datong, looking for love and answers in karaoke bars, nightclubs and American-style movie theatres. Uptown Girls (PG-13) — It took four writers to scribble "Uptown Girls," and they must have split their crayon into four pieces. Brit tany Murphy is Molly, who kicked out of her posh Manhat tan apar tment and, though hardly moving downscale, becomes a rich kid's nanny. The kid is Ray, the packaged mini-princess Dakota Fanning, who seems from a Stepford planet. She may be the most insuf ferable film brat since Kirby Furlong in "Mame." Nanny and brat ty bond with the help of a pink pig, intrusive pop songs and a mutual zeal for inanity. It is just mindless summer fluf f. So, forget taste. 1 hr,. 38 mins. (Elliot t) 0 Wrong Turn (R) — Bad luck befalls Chris (Desmond Harrington) when he sets out on a threehour tour to Raleigh for a job interview. He’s barely star ted down the freeway when an accident up ahead halts traf fic. Taking a windy and isolated dir t road to get around the jam, Chris doesn’t see the SUV full of teens that is stopped in the middle of the road, tires mysteriously blown out. Investigating the accident scene, the group finds a strand of barbed wire stretched across the road — could it be a trap? Cast: Eliza Dushku, Desmond Harrington, Jeremy Sisto, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Lindy Booth. Running time: 1 hr., 50 mins. —Capsules compiled from movie reviews written by David Elliott, film critic for The San Diego Union-Tribune and other staff writers.
Kate Beckinsale Goes Goth in “Underworld”
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By Joey Berlin
eautiful British actress Kate Beckinsale has gone Gothic. The 30-year-old Oxford-educated star has thrived in romantic roles, but she back flips with guns blazing into the action-horror genre with “Underworld.” Directed and co-written by Len Wiseman, who is now Beckinsale’s fiance, “Underworld” imagines a centuries-old battle between urbane, sophisticated vampires and their wilder and woollier street-savvy enemies, the werewolves. The film also tears a page from “Romeo and Juliet,” as vampire Beckinsale falls for a mysterious wolfman played by Scott Speedman. Although Beckinsale has previously appeared in a huge action movie, “Pearl Harbor,” she has never acted nearly this tough before. The daughter of two actors, Beckinsale will next appear opposite Hugh Jackman in another stylish monster movie, “Van Helsing,” and she is currently playing Ava Gardner in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming Howard Hughes biopic, “The Aviator.” Q: Your role as a vampire warrior in “Underworld” seems very uncharacteristic for you. Were you excited to take on the challenge? A: I didn’t even want to read the script. Then as soon as I read the script, I wanted to do it. I had heard it was about werewolves and vampires, and I thought that meant it would be sort of a shaky B-movie. I thought I’d be in a white nightgown covered in blood and screaming, with my neck bleeding. But I love action movies, so when I opened up the script and there were all these drawings that the director had done of the character, I was really interested and loved the script. And that was that. Q: Did you know right away that you could perform this role well? A: No, but that’s half the fun, not knowing if you can do it or not. I love going to work scared. Having to get suddenly good at something in a couple of months, you don’t get to do that often as a grown-up. I really enjoyed that. During the training period, I kept thinking, “I’m never going to be able to do this!”
And then when you do, it’s such a great feeling that you cracked it. Q: You seem to have taken to the weapons very well. A: Isn’t that funny? I know. I’d never spoken to anybody that even touched a gun, coming from London. And I sort of found out quite naturally that I was good with guns, which is still very humorous to my brothers. Q: You took ballet classes in the past. Did that help you at all doing the action choreography? A: No, it didn’t. I thought that it would, but it’s such a different way of using your body. To look like a warrior, it’s best not to point your toes and do all that type of stuff. Then when “Underworld” was finished, I went to do the movie “Van Helsing” and I had to do ballroom dancing and was awful at that. I found myself saying, “But if you give me a couple of guns, I’ll be fine.” Q: Did you have a hand in designing your costume? A: This is the thing: When a woman is told she is going to be wearing a black latex jumpsuit, she immediately goes into a flat spin. But Len and I just happened to have the same eye and taste, and that was a huge relief to me. I never found myself wearing something I didn’t feel completely comfortable in. Q: Did you keep the costume? A: Yeah! I haven’t had it on since, but I did keep it. Q: In order for this movie to work, you had to have chemistry with Scott Speedman. Did the two of you click? A: Yeah, very much. He came in much later than I did, and I already had been training for a while. He would come into the training sessions and bounce his basketball around like mad. Everybody got along well on the movie. I think he was kind of off his normal game, and so was I. For the director, it was his first movie. For the writer, it was his first movie. And for the stunt coordinator, it was the first thing he was stunt coordinating. So there was kind of a really magical energy to it, that nobody was doing it for the money or doing it just because this was what they always do. Looking back, you miss it like you miss summer camp when you were a kid. It was really a great experience. Q: As a first-time director, did Len Wiseman bring a youthful exuberance to the set? A: Completely. I mean, he is so excited to being doing it, and it’s so infectious to work with people like that. It’s the same with Scorsese on “The Aviator” set. He’s still terribly happy to be making movies. I find a big similarity between the two experiences, working on “Underworld” and “The Aviator,” because both Len and Scorsese are doing it for the right reasons. Yes, Scorsese is Scorsese and has a much bigger budget and commands this incredible respect. Of course he does. But the bottom line is, they are two geeks who love movies. And it’s most fun to work with people like that. That’s the best time you’ll ever have.
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â€œUnder the Tuscan Sunâ€? Is Palatable Fluff
t first glance, â€œUnder the Tuscan Sunâ€? appears to be a mostly familiar romantic comedy about an aging beauty (here played by Diane Lane) whoâ€™s forced to rekindle her love of life, and faith in love, after being painfully dumped by her husband. At second glance, â€œTuscan Sunâ€? isnâ€™t much more than that, but some unexpectedly good subplots and beautiful scenery make this fluff particularly palatable. In this enjoyable tale of second chances, the imminently watchable Lane stars as Frances Mayes, a 35-year-old writer who spends most of her time panning other authorsâ€™ novels while failing to finish her own. When she gets the hurtful news that her husband is having an affair and starting a new family, she moves out of her homey San Francisco apartment and into a depressing motel that caters to spurned divorcees. Then, after a year of moping, Francesâ€™ best friend offers her a free vacation in Tuscany. The Tuscany trip proves to be a new beginning for Frances, who impulsively decides to purchase a run-down villa in the
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picturesque countryside after spotting it from the bus. And, as she begins to refurbish her crumbling cottage, she likewise starts to piece her life back together. Luckily, Frances is surrounded by an irreverent and disparate cosmos of supporting players â€“ from the trio of Polish contractors who work on her house, to the flamboyant English actress who dishes out advice handed down to her from Federico Fellini, to the gorgeous Italian named Marcello she has a brief affair with â€“ much of the life in this comedy is provided by the enjoyable threads which crop up around the minor cast. Working nicely with the metaphor of fixing a house in a veiled attempt to fix a life, Frances appropriately summarizes her dilemma: She bought a house for a life she didnâ€™t have. And, unlike most films of its ilk, â€œUnder the Tuscan Sunâ€? is improved by this twist; itâ€™s about a woman searching for love, and in the process, missing out on life. Ultimately, love is the end-goal here, and the film is more indebted to delivering on the fairy tale than debunking it, but it does nonetheless offer up a variation on the
By Rachel Deahl
romantic comedy with its heroine chasing a dream as opposed to a Hollywood hunk. And, it also boasts some truly amusing scenes and unexpected characters. Most notably, it tweaks the standard wise-cracking best girlfriend character â€“ here said sidekick is wonderfully played by actress Sandra Oh as a sage and amusing pregnant, gay woman. All this said, â€œUnder the Tuscan Sunâ€? is not without its share of genre transgressions. In one unfortunate scene, Lane embraces her young Italian boy toy on the beach as the sun sets and day warps quickly into night. The sequence is so trite â€” with the waves crashing and the couple embracing against a background that looks as if it was just rolled in from another Hollywood back lot â€” that it seems intentionally superficial. And, overwhelmingly, thatâ€™s the ultimate catch with this film; itâ€™s not quite smart enough to avoid the familiar. Earlier in that same scene, Laneâ€™s acerbic author replies to Marcelloâ€™s longing sentiment that he wants to swim in her eyes with a laughing retort that this is the line all American women expect from Italian
men. And, it is. But, like its heroine, the film mocks what it canâ€™t resist and finally embraces these clichĂŠs with open arms â€Ś and a lengthy moonlit kiss.
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