A Wrinkle in Time: Theatre Magic in Action – Threshold Repertory Theatre

By Jessica Edwards
By Jessica Edwards

I have had the immense pleasure of working with a varied group of artists these past few weeks at Threshold Repertory Theatre on A Wrinkle in Time. My fellow cast mates and I have all been tasked with bringing the words to life, a challenge regardless of genre. However, science fiction and fantasy are quite a different obstacle for the miracle workers of any and all theatre productions: the designers.

Most plays have established parameters within which the designers work. There are always challenges, to be sure, but there are givens due to the nature of the play: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, for instance, is one way or another going to be set on Big Daddy’s plantation. Even if the director made the choice to move the play from the 50s, the costumes would all be uniform in time. Lighting and sound also tend to favor realism for that kind of show.

Now, take A Wrinkle in Time: a well known children’s book by Madeline L’Engle adapted into a play by John Glore. Three kids go through space in time to fight evil and win back their father, with the help of three former stars. There isn’t exactly an aesthetic principle for that.

So I decided to reach out to the designers, our directors, and stage manager about the process of putting together a piece of sci fi for the stage.

“Sci-fi requires big imaginations from the actor, designer and audience member. I feel we all too often get stuck ‘playing adult’ and have forgotten how to see the world from a child’s eyes. A sci-fi production allows us to reconnect with our inner child who sees endless possibility,” says Kristen Bushey, a veteran costume designer in the Charleston area, with over 50 productions under her belt as a designer.

wrinkle1She faced the particular challenge of designing distinct and fantastic looks that could easily and quickly be shed for another, as several of the actors were double, triple, and quadruple casted. “This limited the possibilities of makeup and wig design–a very important element of many sci-fi based productions. Therefore, the costume design itself had to be spectacular (no pressure).” Though I may be a bit biased, I believe she definitely accomplished that goal, with stunning and varied character pieces, that range from Victorian to gypsy to sheepdog.

Shawn McIntosh, the scenic designer for A Wrinkle in Time and assistant technical director for Threshold, also had his hands full creating a set that could, with limited effort, be transformed from a typical American kitchen to various alien planets. The main features of the set are a raked platform center stage, which serves a variety of purposes, and rotating walls made of colored flats with four sides. The ‘tesser affect’ side of the flats are described by Shawn as “the convergence of light and sound,” and feature whirls of color that really increase the sense of dislocation felt by the main characters.

The man wearing the most hats for this production is Mike Kordeck, who is the technical director for Threshold, and for A Wrinkle in Time, was the director, light, and sound designer. One tool of the theatre trade that has rapidly increased in popularity that Mike utilized is the use of projections–images, text, and short videos projected on a scrim or other material. CGI in film is one of the main ways science fiction elements are executed–projections are are the live theatre equivalent, effectively elevating the scenery when used appropriately, although projections usually fall under lighting design.
On directing this piece, Mike said, “One of the first things that went through my mind was how to bring this fantastic story to life. I had a lot of ideas running through my head; most of which have come to fruition. I would love to mention some–but don’t want to ruin it for you when you see it.”

Courtney Daniels, the executive Director at Threshold, assisted Mike in directing the play. She believes A Wrinkle In Time “offers more than just a sci-fi story. It offers audiences the chance to use their imagination and tap into spaces they haven’t used since childhood. It also centers on themes of family, friendships, and a sense of identity and the importance of all these factors in one’s life.”

From the first few days of rehearsal, A Wrinkle in Time has been a wonderful undertaking, fraught with challenges and alive with laughter. Alex Skipper, the company stage manager for Threshold, summed up our experience quite well, “I just want people to appreciate this show for the magic that it is. There was a lot of dedicated, talented people from cast and crew who have worked on this show and it truly is a piece of theatre magic. It’s taken a lot of time and dedication to put on a show, in a 99 seat black box theatre, that travels to 9 different locations in a hour and a half. It is a labor of love, that’s for sure.”

A Wrinkle In Time runs weekends from October 30th-November 22nd, with 8:00 pm shows Friday and Saturday and 3:00 pm shows Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are available online at charlestontheatre.com.

Behind the scenes

From the Charleston Harbor to the Peace Corps – Inspired Charlestonian gives back

By Beth Spencer

Sitting on a screened porch on James Island, I sip my tea and absorb the sound of the rain. Despite flood warnings and jet lag waking me up at four, I am in heaven. I am also, for the first time since moving to Lesotho, Africa sixteen months earlier, incredibly homesick.

I am not a native Charlestonian—I wear my Northern New Englander status with pride—but the five years I called Charleston home were some of the best of my life and the friends I made are truly family. It is that familial bond that induced the forty hour trip from a small, rural village in southern Africa back to the Holy City; one of my family was getting married and I found that despite it costing my annual stipend, I had to come. Everything about being in Charleston feels connected and right.

It was during my life in Charleston that I committed to living and serving abroad for 27 months in the Peace Corps. I loved my job as Program Manager for South Carolina Maritime Foundation and Spirit of South Carolina, however, even before that door closed, I was mentally headed abroad. I was dreaming of the challenges I imagined would come from living in a new culture and language, from saying goodbye to what I know and love, to expanding my worldview.

The shocking part of Peace Corps for me is that it has not been that challenging. My prior jobs seem to have prepared me so well for what is tagged as “the toughest job you’ll ever love,” that while I love it, it is nowhere near the most difficult job I have had.

I have become skilled in the local language, Sesotho. I am friends with many of my villagers and am truly a sister to the four boys in my host family. I can carry water in a bucket on my head and I only miss electricity when it rains enough consecutive days that my small solar panel cannot charge my phone. While I am thrilled when a Peace Corps workshop brings me to a hotel where I can take a traditional bath or shower, I do not miss them while bathing in three cups of water in my hut. Similarly, eating a cheeseburger or finding broccoli at the vegetable store in the district’s main town are exciting, but when I do not have them, I do not miss them.

And maybe that is what makes me so happy in Lesotho and Peace Corps. All those years of working on the ocean taught me to accept the weather we are given and to adapt to and work with it. Now, I embrace what I have and only realize I miss things when I face them again.

So, sitting alone on James Island, listening to the music of the rain, I am ecstatic that I am not also listening for the telltale sound of my thatch roof leaking. I am eager for the moment my friends will awake and we will make breakfast, interacting as if I had never moved half a world away. While I am here, I will soak up the love of wonderful friends and as much Lowcountry seafood as I can manage. I will recharge my stores of support from this incredible family we built.

Then, I will return home to Lesotho, where as soon as I enter the district’s main town, people will start greeting me from afar, yelling, “Ausi Thato!” or Sister Thato—Thato being my Sesotho name, it means God’s Will and was given to me by my host mother as it is God’s Will that I am here now. When I return to my village, the older villagers will greet me happily before accusing me of hiding myself. The children will ask to play ball, read books, or play cards with me. My brothers will visit and ask to see all the photos I took in America. I will unpack, resettle into my hut, and think, “Ahh, it is great to be home, I missed this so much!”

While my love for Charleston and my people there will remain, my homesickness will have disappeared as quickly as it came.

In the days and weeks that follow, I will walk to and from my various work sites, my heart bursting with love for the people and mountain vistas that fill my world. I will continue to be in awe that life brought me here. Because of my absence, villagers will have started to realize that I have less than a year left here. The will fret and claim I must live here forever. I will teach children life skills, weigh infants, work with HIV positive teens, and build the organization capacity of the Community Care Coalition I work with. Everything about being in Lesotho will feel connected and right.

You can read more about Beth’s experiences as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lesotho, Africa at Beth Spencer Blog. Some of our favorites are

Love and Marriage?

Mourning a Mosotho

Top Ten Surprises After a Year as a PCV

Culture and Crops

A Donkey, a Rat, and a Herd of Bovine

From Charleston to India: Local resident finds solace and spiritual awakening

By Cynthia Boots
By Cynthia Boots

I have a vision to help as many people as possible. Of course I was doing that in my own way with Inspirational Boots, but I always felt there was more I could do. I’ve always loved to travel and experience new things, but I had gotten stuck in a rut, a routine that didn’t bring fire to my soul. I decided to pursue my bucket list item of going out of the country.

After much deliberation of where in the world I wanted to go, I decided on a trip to England and Ireland for a 10 day excursion. Then a friend suggested that I go to India. India? Yes, I know that I have many of the same beliefs as many Indian people do, but why would I have to go there? I mean, I help people with their own spiritual paths. I’m spiritual enough, right? Also, you hear of such terrible things happening to women there, which is mind boggling for such a spiritual place. So why even chance it long term? After a couple days and some research, I decided a short stop in India would be fine on my way down to Sri Lanka.

People asked me how long I’d be gone. “At least a year,” I’d respond, thinking that sounded somewhat reasonable and not so crazy, but then they’d ask, “Why are you going?” and “Where are you planning on going?” This trip was to learn more about myself and spiritual beliefs and the healing arts. I was determined to find a shaman or guru along the way. And as for what was on the non-existent agenda? All I knew was I’d start in Ireland and somehow work my way over to Sri Lanka. Not having an itinerary made me definitely sound crazy to people. Yeah, I quit the best job I ever had and sold or gave away most everything I owned to go. Sounds more like an early mid-life crisis than a spiritual journey. I had received my Doctorate of Divinity and Spiritual Counseling in February, but it’s one thing to read books and write thousands of words, and an entirely different thing to actually live it.

At first I was anxious after I told people what I was doing. Many thoughts went through my mind. They will think that I’m somehow crazier than I was before. I am so loved and needed here. How could I leave my family and friends behind to actually do something for me? The closer I got to the date, the more mixed emotions I experienced. What are you doing? How can you give up everything here, and for what? Your life is happy and comfortable here. Charleston is your home. My ego tried very hard to keep me in my comfort zone. On the other hand, the sense of adventure of really not knowing what to expect and the feeling deep down in my soul that I needed to go overseas kept me up at night in anticipation.

The best advice I received prior to my trip was to have no expectation of what or how things would or should be. It would take away from all the opportunities and lessons that awaited me on this journey. If I expected to see things as they were in America, I was in for a rude awakening!

Killarney, Ireland - Castle
Killarney, Ireland – Castle

So I decided to start in Ireland. That was safe. I had a friend I could stay with and they speak well enough English, albeit with a very lovely thick accent. I wouldn’t have to give up my comfort zone completely just yet. So I stayed in County Kerry for three weeks, traveling the countryside helping my friend Michael with his deliveries of timber and drink. It seemed as if he knew everyone, so I got a fantastic introduction to the people. And that ended up being my favorite part – being immersed in the culture, learning some words of their language and seeing the sights, in that order. My experiences in Ireland shaped how I experienced each country thereafter.

After Ireland came a three week journey through Europe on the train. I highly recommend this economical way to travel through Europe. The people that you meet and the sights you see through your window are simply amazing – much better than trying to drive and look around. So I went to Italy first, and on day one I walked at least six miles…that’s kilometers for the non-American crowd. I also climbed up a “hill” of 255 steps to look over the city of Romeo and Juliet, Verona. Now I don’t have to tell you how lazy Americans can be. We certainly don’t walk as much as the Europeans (and certainly not like the Indians!), but my motto when I came on this trip was “Why not?” When in Verona, right…or something like that. And it was breathtaking —literally—and completely worth looking like a pathetic American losing her breath as she climbed each step.

Next was Germany, where the food was amazing! So much so that I decided to walk with my pack over two miles for breakfast. Yeah, that would never happen in America. I would hop in my car and go around the corner…”I’ll have a number 2 please with a sweet tea…nope, their sweet tea sucks…Dr. Pepper.” All this walking and actually getting real food was working great for my waistline.

Amsterdam rooftops
Amsterdam rooftops

On the train to Belgium and the Netherlands, I got to knock off another bucket list item – see a Formula 1 race…and even though my team would have made podium if they had not blown a tyre on the last lap, I was still pleased to be able to walk on the track afterwards. The Netherlands was beautiful! Very laid back – the only drawback was there were barely any forests. I saw a fantastically laid out transportation system of trams, buses, motorbikes, cars and bicycles.

It was a bit overwhelming at first seeing all the bicycles! Finally, I overcame my hesitation and ended up loving seeing Amsterdam with a breeze on my face. Note to readers: I highly (pun intended) suggest that you avoid eating the special muffins directly before proceeding to bike back home, especially if it’s raining. Even with a GPS, you will lose yourself and end up on the complete opposite end of town. Just sayin’.

Paris was my last stop in Europe, and not because I’ve always wanted to see the Eiffel Tower. It was where I was hopping on a plane to Asia. I’ve never been a fan of big cities, and this certainly qualified for that list. When I got off the train, my first stop was Notre Dame and then I ate some [insert some adjective that hasn’t been discovered yet] French food. My food baby was in a serious coma. And then I was hooked after having a front row seat to a Chopin concert that was played at the oldest church in Paris. And don’t get me started about the art! If you want to experience the height of culture, book a flight to Paris. You will not be disappointed. My last hours in Europe were spent knocking off another bucket list item: Giverny Gardens – the home of my favorite artist, Claude Monet. I was floating on cloud 99…nope, not a typo.

Notre Dame
Notre Dame

And so I got on my train and arrived at the airport just 90 minutes before my international flight was to take off. I would not recommend this to anyone unless you are working on your endurance for the Bridge Run. To make matters worse, I had to check a bag. And the check-in counter was—I kid you not—the absolute furthest away from where the train dropped me. A true test of my patience, I assure you. Spoiler – I made it just in time to get to the gate and board. Everything in the right time.

After a 13 hour flight, including a layover in Oman, I arrived safely in Kathmandu. Now, I will note here that you thought that the TSA was bad in America. Well, your bags and you get checked no less than two times coming and going. It’s been as high as four times for me. You must go through security again at each connecting flight as well. Getting patted down and asked if you have pepper spray or mace because of your gender and skin having “no color” will become second nature. By the way, you won’t need it.

I will not lie; every country I visited was a jar to my senses, but none like Kathmandu. It’s not the fact that the earthquakes damaged and destroyed homes and temples, resulting in over 9,000 deaths only in April. I had nothing to compare it to in America. The poverty and pollution was mind boggling, but the welcoming smiles seemed to be more so out of place. How could anyone find happiness in a place like this? Overnight it made me grateful for what I did and did not have.

Virindavan, India

My first day I went outside the capital to a village where most of the homes were leveled. I’m talking about one foot thick brick and stone walls, which one would think were safe, that had fallen to the ground. All that was there was a slab for the front porch. These people had received no support and were living in tents made of cloth and tarps and metal sheeting, much like the shanty towns after the Great Depression.

But still everyone welcomed me with open arms and smiles. Makes you rethink about being upset after sitting in afternoon traffic after a downpour in Charleston.

I had volunteered my time to teach at the local school. There were about 200 children from preschool to 10th grade with open hearts, each class wanting me to teach each session. I sang the American national anthem and they wanted to learn it, so we taught each other our national anthems. They also taught me Napali dance, which is a huge part of their culture.

They had the Teej Festival celebrating women (which festivals happen more often there than you getting away with jaywalking). Women get dressed up in red, green or yellow saris, sing about their woes (the only time they are able to express them), and dance the day and night away. It is only slated for two days on the calendar, but many times it’s celebrated upwards to a month ahead. The women know how to party! They would dance for hours with little breaks while I would be sitting down fanning my sweating self. I’m sure I don’t have to mention that it is hot there. And their version of an AC is a fan, if you’re lucky.

The temples in Nepal ranged from the simple to the extremely ornate. The time and effort put into them can be wholly appreciated from the big to the small. The most visited section of temples are in Durbar Square. I did not know what it looked like before the earthquake, but I was amazed all the same. It was not until I noticed pictures posted in front of some of the most damaged or even destroyed temples that I realized the impact and my heart broke. In my month’s stay in the capital, I visited all the major temples as well as some outside of the city. The spiritual vibe is like no other when you take your time to notice the carvings and intricate gold and even glass inlays in and on those structures. It’s beyond amazing.

I also had the opportunity to see a jhakri, the local name for a shaman who is the medicine man in the villages where there are no hospitals to rush to. I had him work on a personal issue with my knee I’ve had most of my life. Not surprising to me, he helped it immensely, causing the swelling to go down after two sessions equaling maybe 20 minutes. Completely amazing! Unfortunately, he spoke mumbled Napali at best, so there was no way to request of him to share his methods.

Now I have currently found myself in Vrindavan, finally immersed in the spiritual life of India after taking three months to arrive. And of course deterring from my original plans, I am anticipating being here for some time. Very possibly longer than my original guesstimate of a year. I am finding the simplicity of life here is nothing I would trade for anything back in the States. Mornings of rushing to get ready for the workday have now been consumed with loving awareness and setting the intention of the day while drinking a cup of chai. Afternoons of going to the movies has been replaced with hours of walking around saying mantras and greeting the brijwasis, the local people. Evenings eating and drinking with friends now are full of visiting temples and holy sites and participating in ceremonies for various Hindu gods and goddesses (there are over 330 million to choose from). ??

Kathmandu children
Kathmandu children

And when shall I arrive in Sri Lanka, you ask? I’ll get down there eventually. As for teachers? I find them every day. Every person and even animals teach you something if you pay attention. The basics of being a human being shine through to show you love and compassion for every living thing, even if you feel you have nothing to give. What? You don’t speak their language? I only knew English and German before coming on this trip and how to say hello or thank you in the European countries. You don’t need to be fluent before diving in. I find that simply smiling conveys the love that is the basis for who we are at a soul level. That simple gesture says that I think you matter to take the energy to acknowledge you as another soul.

And I’ve seen a plethora of loving souls on this journey so far.


Ms. Rose’s – Homestyle family culture with a fine dining appetite to please

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

Sometimes you need that feel at home, shake the hand of your bartender, share a story and relax kind of bar and grill experience and other times you want an excellent customer service and fine cooked meal dining excursion.? What if you could have both?

The Original Ms. Rose’s Fine Food & Cocktails offers the marriage of two.? If you ask the locals, its just good old-fashioned Ms. Roses.? From a 60 inch TV to one of the finest fried chicken, smoked meatloaf meals with horseradish slaw or grilled corn on the cob you will find in the neighborhood, Ms. Rose’s has created the culture of the 50’s family diner on the outside to a truly fine dining experience without the cost on the inside.

If you enter with an appetite, you must start with the honey soy whole wings and homemade biscuit.? The wings are not your playground reject wings, but rich thick meaty wings with a perfect blend of marinade and the honey soy is truly a sweet and savory coating.? The homemade biscuit will melt as it slides down your throat in a roller coaster ride of carb delight.

You are hard pressed to make a poor selection with your choice of entrees, but we would like to make a few personal recommendations to help aid in your decision.

  • The smoked meatloaf is a thick homemade slice of meatloaf oozing in smoky meaty tenderness, topped with horseradish slaw and BBQ sauce and complimented with a nice side.? We recommend the street vendor corn or the seasoned fries with a side of avocado sauce.? In fact, you should get a side of the avocado sauce no matter what you get.? It goes with everything.
  • The Rose’s Fried Chicken for most is two meals.? Be careful as you will need some assistance getting up because you may be very full, but satisfied.? The chicken is buttermilk marinated and complimented with a side of Tabasco honey sauce and mac and cheese.
  • The Grilled Hanger Steak is grilled to perfection with garlic fondue, broccoli rabe, roasted new potatoes and blackberry jus.
  • We must give a warm complimentary thumbs up to their fish and chips.? They even give the true Irish cook a run for their money.

ms1Ms. Rose’s staff will make you a mean burger with options including bleu cheese, pimento cheese, fried egg and caramelized onions.? On Monday, their specialty burgers are half price for dinner.

The staff from host to server is incredibly gracious putting customer service first and always meeting all your needs with a smile.

Go for the unique diner ambiance, stay for the incredible food, warm staff and friendly community feel.

Either way, go spend some time at Ms. Roses.



Jack’s Cafe: New Look; Same Southern Charm

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

You may have recently gone into Jack’s Cafe or past by and noticed something different.? Actually, quite a few things have changed.? The look, menu, art, chef, baker and the owner, but one thing has remained; the warm southern appeal of this diner situated between the College of Charleston and King Street on George.

The new owner, a former Boston man and now thirty year resident of Charleston, sat down with us for a few minutes to talk about some of the changes and how he found his way into owning Jack’s Cafe.

The first thing I learned that as a diner owner, he did not drink coffee.? That broke down a major stereotype for me as I enjoyed my second cup of java.? I was eager to learn of the new and exciting changes that has transformed this dining fixture that has filled the bellies of students, tourists and locals for decades.

Now open seven days a week, Jack’s serves up breakfast from open to close, lunch from 11:00 AM – 3:30 PM and fresh baked goods and ice cream treats to complete the experience.

As I looked for a traditional breakfast favorite to order, I as taken back by the Kitchen Sink Grits.? I am a sucker for a unique menu item not found anywhere else.? I inquired.? This meal, and I say meal, includes grits, cheddar cheese, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, sausage, bacon, ham and topped with a fried egg.? Oh my, did that hit a spot.

Whether you want a hangover cure or a rich hearty meal, this is your item of choice.? The top layer is the fried egg and then a healthy portion of vegetables and finally penetrating protein.? The first few bites were refreshing and then the meat added that zesty kick.

The create your own omelet gives the particular customer just what they want.? You select a cheese, vegetables and meat and it includes home fries or grits and bread.? I did sneak a few of the potatoes.? They were sauteed with just the right amount of spice.

The chef was scooped up from Homily Grill so he brings a nice resume to the table and it showed in the final product.

Overall, Jack’s Cafe provides a winning combination.? Spacious seating, excellent service (especially on the refills), fantastic prices, a warm intimate diner setting and food packed with flavor and diverse range.


Avondale Outdoor Gallery: Where Art Truly Defines Life

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

Throughout Charleston, there are so many wonderful galleries filled with fine art from renaissance to colonial period.? Broad to Queen serve as home to some of the finest nature, portrait and modern artists from around the world.? Redux and Halsey, provide a platform for young alternative artists and venues including Vendue and Grand Bohemian have created carefully crafted galleries.

Then there is the street artist movement…

Charleston’s Shepard Fairey, who shot to international fame with the infamous Hope Obama poster has defined the importance of contemporary street art and its ability to send a message to the masses.? This form of art has shaped a new genre of creative thinkers who are expressing their thoughts on culture, politics, environment, community, family, love and loss.

You may not know the names Crosby Jack, Clay Woot, Kings of Charleston, Sarah Stewart or Danielle Brutto, but you need to experience their bigger than life murals.

The Avondale Outdoor Gallery is perhaps one of the most remarkable collections of street art you will find, not only in Charleston, but around the country.? This eclectic mix of art provided by the generosity some of Charleston’s most uncredited artists will leave you in awe, keep you thinking and provide you with fuel for further discussion.

Located behind the Avondale shops and bars on Savannah Highway, this self-guided tour is a treat for any art lover, skater, slightly drunk and intrigued bar patron, couple or free thinker looking for an escape.

Silent Man

Let us provide you with a visual guide to help you understand the splendor and thought-provoking art you will find.

We ask you to experience this truly wonderful explosion of color and creativity; where life is the canvas and the world is its audience.

art6Love thy neighbor as thyself

Dirty Hairy

Keep it real…It’s all good

Beware of the giant bird

Fun in the jungle

Talk to the hand

Is death the answer?

True King of Charleston

art28R.I.P. Emanuel Nine

Lady with the candied flower

Like Ants Marching

A Spiritual Journey

Kickin’ It

Don’t mess with the eye

I can fly with my beanie cap

Knock Out Crew

The Pig

Purple Avatar

At Peace

Monkey Love

Distracted Chorus

This is my kind of wonderland

Love and comfort

I’m Scared

Right this way to begin the tour…

Updated: Oyster or Erster, Will Oyster Roasts be called off?

By Paul Brustowicz "The Retired Mensch"
By Paul Brustowicz “The Retired Mensch”

Updated Press Release:

October 23, 2015
DHEC reopens shellfish harvesting area in Charleston County

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has reopened a shellfish bed in Charleston County previously closed due to excessive rainfall earlier this month, the agency announced today.

“Water quality data indicate that the approved harvesting area in St. Helena Sound north to the Folly Road/Highway 171 bridge in Charleston County is suitable for harvesting,” said Mike Pearson, manager of DHEC’s Shellfish Sanitation Section.
For information on Georgetown and Horry counties’ clam and oyster harvesting areas, call DHEC’s Environmental Quality Control office at (843) 238-4378. For more information on clam and oyster harvesting areas in Beaufort County, call DHEC’s EQC office at (843) 846-1030. For more information on Charleston County clam and oyster harvesting areas, call DHEC’s EQC office at (843) 953-0150.


Jim Beasley
Public Information Director

Original Article:

Procrastination can be our friend. I promised www.shirazmn.com that I would write a few words, more than 500 less than 750, about the beloved oyster roasts that are ingrained in Charlestonians DNA. That was back in September a full month before the “official” start of oyster season, or is it oyster-roast season, on October 1. I use “official” loosely since one of my shellfish sources, Livingston’s Bulls Bay Seafood, tells me that the bivalves of November and later months offer a plumper and brinier mollusk for your gustatory delight.

According to Bill Livingston, that extra thirty-one days in October when the waters are cooler allow for more nutrient rich waters which oysters are constantly filtering and taking in goodies. So, I figured that if the oysters are better when the oysterman procrastinates a month, why not do likewise.

I had taken some notes and photos when I visited McClellanville, SC on a cloudy, rainy Thursday during the last week in September to learn all there is to know about oyster harvesting. Of course, trying to read my notes today is a challenge since the paper got wet in the rain and ink smudged. I know paper and pen is old fashioned, but I didn’t have any more room on my iPhone for notes or recording after taking a bunch of pictures and there was no cell service to reach the cloud, although you can see there were plenty of clouds.

Oysters are prolific little mollusks, dropping millions of eggs in a lifetime. The oysters here in South Carolina grow in clusters unlike the single shell types of the Gulf Coast or New England or the Chesapeake. The eggs will attach or set themselves to whatever solid structure they land on and start to grow. Oystermen like Livingston will farm these wild oysters by setting out surfaces for egg attachment.

You’ve heard of a “stick in in the mud”? On leased space in Bulls Bay, Livingston’s crew will stick over 1500 broomsticks in the mud at low tide to create culling sites for those oyster eggs that show up at high tide. Once attached and growing, it will be two years before the oysters are ready for harvest.

I’m getting to the procrastination part.

Shellfish harvesting has been prohibited effective October 3 due to the thousand year flood that brought tons of water and crap down the rivers to the bays where the shellfish hang out in Low Country. Here’s the news release from DHEC.

October 3, 2015

DHEC closes numerous clam and oyster harvesting areas

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has issued a precautionary closure of much of the state’s shellfish harvesting due to excessive rainfall, the agency announced today.

This closure affects all shellfish harvesting for the area extending from St. Helena Sound, including the Coosaw River to the mouth of and including the Bull River, then continuing north to the North Carolina state line. This closure will remain in effect until sampling results indicate that bacteria levels are suitable for shellfish harvesting to resume.

For more information on clam and oyster harvesting areas in Beaufort County, call DHEC’s Environmental Quality Control office at (843) 846-1030. For information on Georgetown and Horry counties’ clam and oyster harvesting areas, call DHEC’s EQC office at (843) 238-4378. For more information on Charleston County clam and oyster harvesting areas, call DHEC’s EQC office at (843) 953-0160.

Jim Beasley
Public Information Director

Okay, so now I don’t have to write this story anymore, because there will be no oysters for oyster roasts for the next few weeks, maybe months. Instead, here’s a link to the first known use of the word “oyster” in a popular American song, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off, back in 1937,

Dock Street Theater’s Little Shop of Horrors – A Horticulturalist Nightmare

By Mark A. Leon

From the moment Crystal, Chiffon and Ronnette walked on the stage singing Little Shop of Horrors, you knew you were in for a musical medley of horror, humor, love and a strange twist. Played wonderfully by Carin Lagerberg, Maggie Saunders and Madeline Glenn Thomas, the choral arrangements of these three middle school dropouts served as a beautiful musical narration of this oddly strange story of alien domination disguised as a unique flower.

Throughout the evening, the three sidewalk dwelling singers transformed from lost teenagers to beauty queens dancing on steps, the street, the shop and for a moment in the balcony. You were even delighted to see them peak through the window of the florist shop.

The stage was designed in thirds to create the perception of three simultaneous acts flowing in perfect symmetry throughout the performance. With the florist shop as the center of attention, the city backdrop, steps, garbage and hobo’s complimented and lent more detail to the area of the city deemed “skid row”.

Early in the production, when we are introduced to Audrey 2, you could not help but feel a sense of comfort as this Muppetsesque plant warms you as it bloomed and swayed in Seymour’s hands; a soothing feeling soon to be washed away as its grew and power reached new heights.

Kent Reynolds creates the role of Seymour, the dorky backroom florist with no direction in life, with precision and accuracy with his shy awkward demeanor, nerdy attire and misguided ambitions for fame and fortune. As you watched him on stage, you cannot help but sense he stepped right off the set of Leave it to Beaver. With his Beaver Cleaver hair, glasses and subtle innocence, he took on the role and made it his own.

George Younts, took on Mr. Mushnik, the down on his luck Skid Row florist owner who is one step away from closing the shop and giving up. His sense of greed and ambition and obliviousness created a character that channeled Zero Mostel from The Producers. As we will learn in Act II, greed truly led him to a dark place.

Katie Arthur as Audrey was charming. Her inner city accent, blond wavy hair, airy personality and pretty girl with low self-esteem image created a balance for the florist shop bringing a naive beauty to Seymour and Mr. Mushnik. Her inability to get out of an abusive relationship with Orin, the dentist, added a sub-plot that would feed into the main focus of the play, Audrey II.

horrorPen Chance, the chameleon of the troop took on five roles during this performance including both genders. His quirky personality was expressed well with each scene he performed in and it was clear he was having fun playing a series of side bar characters. A little nitric oxide inhalation as Orin helped bring humor to the role of the abusive dentist.

The center of the play was Audrey II, played remarkably by puppeteer and actor, Josh Harris and Nathan Burke. As a bluesy singing plant with a thirst for human blood and flesh, Audrey II was a showstopper. As he grew, his presence became more and more prominent. The audience became closer to the sinister plot and soon learned the true plan. With his playful harmonies, whiny calls for “feed me” and deviant behavior, Audrey II manifested a love/hate relationship with the audience.

In the end, you feel a sense of horror, relief, justice, uncertainty and just all around fun. With that combination, director Marybeth Clark and the entire collection of players, musicians and stage hands create a wonderful night at the theater.

Remember Charleston, if you take anything away from Dock Street’s performance, “Don’t Feed The Plants” and most importantly see this production.

How Sweet It is to Be in Charleston – Best Bakery/Pastry Shops

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

How often do we wake up or find that mid day slump and we just crave some good old fashioned sweets.? We are of course in Charleston, so any old sweets will not do.? It is critical that we put some serious thought into the right delicacy for the right moment.

We have become home to some of the most beloved pastry chefs around.? Some don the kitchens of our high class restaurants and others have found a nest to enchant our taste buds with sweetness.

Here is our guide to some of the best bakery/pastry shops in the Charleston area.

Luckhaus & Brubaker Sweets and Treats – 1939 Maybank Highway, James Island, SC – You will immediately be swept away by the life-size chocolate sculptures throughout the store and decadent smells.? You much indulge in one or more of the truffles (mocha, baileys, key lime) and a homemade cake (each slice is meant for sharing).? If you have that special puppy at home, pick up a doggie treat.

Wildflour Pastry – 73 Spring Street, Charleston, SC / 1750 Savannah Highway, West Ashley, SC – If you are lucky enough to get a homemade cookie (Oatmeal walnut cranberry is heavenly) or key lime pie,? you will be in seventh heaven.? They muffins with cream cheese topping, brownies and amazing coffee drinks are why the neighbors keep coming back.? The savory pesto, mozzarella and sun-dried tomato turnover is a repeat favorite of ours.? They have some yummy puppy snacks as well.

Sugar Bakeshop – 59 1/2 Cannon Street, Charleston, SC – Cupcakes, tarts, cookies, muffins or pies:? This place is just adorable and the owners are just as sweet at the edibles.

Kaminsky’s Desserts and Bar – 78 North Market Street, Charleston, SC – What can you say, homemade pies, steamers, Baileys, Kahlua, tea and pie right in the heart of Market Street.? This is a romantic, family or people watching hotspot for late at night after a hearty meal and long walk by Waterfront Park.

carm1Mudd Pie Girl Bakery – North Charleston (Customized Bakery Needs) – If you need the perfect wedding cake, this is your baker.? At the ripe young age of 4 or 5, she knew what she wanted to do and she does it so well.? If you need a customized and incredible catering need met, look no further.

Cafe Framboise – 159 Market Street, Charleston, SC – The French know pastries and crepes.? This team will knock your socks off for breakfast, lunch and dessert.? Their selection is tremendous and each item is made with love.? Try the fruit tart, quiche and sweet crepes.

Carmella’s Dessert Bar – 198 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC – If you want a fine glass of wine, a scoop of homemade ice cream, a large delicious piece of cake or muffin, an espresso martini, chocolate covered strawberries or hot cocoa while you people watch on East Bay, make your way to Carmella’s.

Take some time to review the menus and look at some pictures to whet you appetite.? Then make some plans to get on a sailboat and head to the island of sweet dreams.



Charleston Waterfront Park – More than just a park…

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

What can you say about Charleston Waterfront Park. ?So many wonderful things.
It is like frolicking through Wonderland or skipping through OZ.
Maybe I am laying this on a bit too thick.? Ok, I will scale back a bit.

Each day hundred of people flock to the park for a job, picnic, nap, swing with someone you love, fishing off the pier, practice gymnastics, walking the dogs, watching sailboats in the harbor, taking pictures, posing for pictures, dancing in the fountain or just people watching.? It is a flourishing strip of palmetto trees, green grass, harbor winds and comforting thoughts.

For those that take pride in this scenic haven or those that have yet to experience its beauty, here are a few things you may not know about Charleston Waterfront Park:
1. ?Beautiful view of the harbor. ?Whether you just want to lay on a blanket with someone you love and watch the sailboats or have a family picnic, the view in perfect.? There are several blocks of green grassy pasture to plot your butt down on or benches by the Pinapple Fountain and dirt path.? Maybe even take a swing on the pier.

2. ?A giant pineapple fountain. ?If I need to say more, you should stop reading.? This iconic fountain is the fabric of our community.? It is a symbol of Southern innocence and tradition.? With a backdrop of palmetto trees, blue skies and harbor waters, this fountain has posed for many pictures in its day.

3. ?Free city operated art gallery. ?See we even toss in a little culture.? This two floor city owned and operated galleries offers exhibit from sculpture to photography to paintings that change on a regular basis.? If you have only visited once or twice, take a walk through next time you are at the park.

4. ?A fountain for the kids to run in and get wet. ?Fun Fun Fun especially in the heat of the summer.? Don’t get scared in October when the water turns pink.? That is in respect for breast cancer awareness.

5. ?A pier with swings. ?What can be more romantic than that.?? A cool breeze and someone you care about in your arms.? This is a great activity for right after a downtown dinner as the sun is setting.

6.? You can fish off the pier. ?Lots of options there.? Don’t forget, you need a permit.

7. ?Great people watching. ?Lots of photography sessions, runners, walkers, kids and even a few silly things.

8. ?Free WiFi. ?I said it. ?FREE WiFi. ?Grab it now.

9.? Dirt path for bikers, runners, walkers, strollers and pets.

There you have it. ?The top reasons to enjoy Waterfront Park in downtown Charleston.? Some of you may have already been aware while others may have learned a thing or two.? Either way, I hope we kindled a fire and get you to spend a nice fall day or evening by the water.