Category Archives: Beaufort’s Best

Remembering Shag The Movie

"It's been an honor to hear from so many people how much Shag the movie has meant to them," said screenwriter Lanier Laney.  He is from Spartanburg, SC, and the movie is a retelling of his summers growing up at Pawleys Island watching his older brother going across the street to the Pawleys Pavilion to listen to the African American beach music bands and dance the Shag, a dance which had originated in the black clubs next to Ocean Drive in North Myrtle Beach. Shag poster (1) The movie was set in pre-integration South Carolina, and it was white kids from upper class families who first starting going to hear black bands at the beach pavilions of South Carolina.  In upcountry towns like Greenville, Spartanburg and Charlotte, the only way the kids could hear the music was by tuning into powerful radio stations broadcasting from Nashville and buying records. The music was dubbed “race music” by their segregationist parents, and many white children were forbidden to listen to the music at the time.  But that did not stop it from becoming THE music and dance of several generations of South Carolina beachgoers.  Shag was named the State Dance of South Carolina in 1990 and when the movie was filmed here, it brought more than $5 million into the local economy. "It was a miracle that Shag was ever made. It had no big stars, and it was about four girls from the South. Something that was not considered big box office at the time,” Laney said. “The total credit for that movie getting made goes to my co-screenwriter Terry Sweeney who sold it on a pitch to Guy MacElwane, then the head of MGM in California." Said MacElwane (after Terry's pitch to him of what the movie would be about and what sort of things the girls would say) "I don't know a thing about South Carolina or what the heck Shag is, but I do know you're funny! Go write your movie."
Terry and Lanier at Pawleys Island

Terry and Lanier at Pawleys Island

Laney and Sweeney wrote the movie at the Tip Top Inn on Pawleys. And the rest, as they say, is history. Sweeney’s new book Irritable Bowels and the People Who Give You Them was released in 2015. Sweeney is remembered for his writing and performance on "Saturday Night Live" where he imitated Nancy Reagan and made history as the first openly gay performer on American television.
photo by Terry and Lanier

photo by Terry and Lanier

Sweeney and his husband Laney left their writing careers in Hollywood to make a life in Beaufort, SC .

Ron and Natalie Daise to perform “God’s Trombones” at Brookgreen Gardens

In observance of Black History Month, Ron and Natalie Daise will present dramatic readings from “God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Poems in Verse” by James Weldon Johnson at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m., on Saturday, February 21. Programs will be in the Brookgreen Gardens Lowcountry Center Auditorium and are free with Garden admission. Seating must be reserved by calling 235-6016. RonandNat2 Ron Daise, Brookgreen’s Vice President for Creative Education, is an author, performing artist, and cultural preservationist. Natalie Daise is a visual artist, storyteller, and creative catalyst. The Daises are recipients of the 1996 SC Order of the Palmetto and the 1997 State of South Carolina Folk Heritage Award and were stars and cultural consultants of Nick Jr. TV’s “Gullah Gullah Island” of the 1990s. “The performance is a tribute to African American culture and heritage and includes a cappella selections of Gullah spirituals,” said Ron Daise. “It will appeal to lovers of inspirational writing, scholars of African-American culture, and persons who appreciate great poetry. Although this production is generally performed by a full cast of actors, singers, and musicians, our two-person presentation of the seven sermons and music will be inspirational and enjoyable. We plan to embody the energy, vitality, and culture that James Weldon Johnson envisioned.” Johnson’s literary creation followed his observance of an absence of attention in folklore studies to what he called a "folk sermon." His poems are patterned after African-American religious oratory. The title's use of the trombone addresses the vocal and rhetorical qualities of a preacher he had recently heard who, he felt, exemplified the compelling and persuasive nature of the folk preacher. Johnson named the trombone as "the instrument possessing above all others the power to express the wide and varied range of emotions encompassed by the human voice — and with greater amplitude." He also cited a dictionary definition that noted the trombone as being the brass instrument most resembling the range and sound of the human voice. Brookgreen Gardens, a National Historic Landmark and non-profit organization, is located on U.S. 17 between Myrtle Beach and Pawleys Island, South Carolina, and is open to the public daily. For more information, consult our web site at www.brookgreen.org or call 843-235-6000.

New Owner for Salt Gallery

Hank D. Herring announces the acquisition of Salt Gallery located at 802 Bay Street in Beaufort.  The gallery exhibits the art of more than 20 professional artists including work in ceramics, leather, jewelry, mixed media sculpture, books, along with oil and acrylic on canvas and wood. DSC_0052 The gallery will be open until 8 pm during First Friday After Five on November 7, hosting the local non-profit ABLE (The Disabilities Foundation of Beaufort County) during A Night of Giving. The 2014 ABLE starfish Christmas ornament will be available; proceeds help support Camp Treasure Chest, a summer camp for children with special needs.  Herring serves on the board of directors of ABLE. hank d herring Herring is a framer as well as an artist producing diverse mixed media collectible and functional items. He is known for his carved wood stamps including Adinkra symbols and customized initials or designs. He often creates from found materials, such as driftwood, discarded pallets, leather, glass, fabric and much more. He teaches and mentors beginning artists, exhibits, teaches and speaks nationwide in festivals, cultural events and galleries. View samples of his work or place orders at GreenHerringArtAndFraming.com. Regular Salt gallery hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 am until 6 pm.

Songs & Stories of the South

Songs & Stories of the South: a concert @ ARTworks in Beaufort, SC
     Friday, May 24, 2013 @ 7 pm
Storytelling and guitars go together like biscuits and gravy, when you have these three artists together on stage: Big Frank Waddell, Carroll Brown, and Clay Rice. This gifted trio has performed around the country and across the world, together and separately  in festivals and concert venues, bookstores, pubs and house concerts, because once upon a time, there was a story to tell and a song to sing.
     Following his retirement from the US Air Force, Big Frank Waddell leads the pack, and entertains with his humor as much as his voice. His talent is bringing people together, and cherishing the moment: he pulls for both Carolina and Clemson, mustard- and vinegar-based BBQ.
     Born and raised on a farm in rural South Carolina, Carroll Brown’s first music influences were church music and what scatterings he could pick up from the night time radio. His mother was the church pianist and taught him his first chords on the guitar. This gift of music became his constant companion in the business of music, from Nashville to South Carolina to Ireland.
     Clay Rice is a performance artist both vocally and visually: he will also sign copies of his new children's book, Mama Let's Make a Moon. Clay Rice is described by author Pat Conroy as a “great talent who combines soul and passion”. Silhouette artistry and storytelling have been in his family for more than 80 years. His grandfather, Carew Rice, was described by Poet Carl Sandburg as “America’s Greatest Silhouettist”
     Friday, May 24, 7 pm:  $17 per person, $12 for students (13+), $7 for children (12 and under) and $12 for groups of 10 or more. This performance is in the black box theater, surrounded by gallery exhibitions, workshops, and artists working in their studios, at ARTworks in Beaufort Town Center, 2127 Boundary Street 29902. www.artworksinbeaufort.org,843-379-2787.

Will of a Woman: Rebecca Folsom in Concert

Will of a Woman: Rebecca Folsom in concert @ ARTworks in Beaufort, SC
Saturday, May 4, 7:30pm in Beaufort Town Center
Rebecca Folsom at ARTworks“Folsom shines on the mellow, almost spiritual ballads, a cross between Joni Mitchell’s lush, soul-searching folk jazz and the Cranberries' mystic pop.” — Daily Camera
     When Rebecca sinks her teeth into a song, an emotional intensity emerges that is both deeply stirring and joyously transcendent. Her performances cover the human landscape from humorous, sexy, life challenging and inspirational to heart opening and spiritual. With an equal dose of angel and little devil, she is capable of offering the most tender of ballads then effortlessly engaging a wide-open Rock & Roll cathartic release. She appears to be channeling something a lot larger and wilder than her small frame might first suggest.
     Folsom believes music is all about sharing the human connection, feeling our joys and sorrows, and always offering a bit of hope. She shines when performing in a spare acoustic setting and then explodes with the blazing intensity of her band: audiences are in for an uplifting, joyous, and truly moving musical ride. Rebecca has been writing and performing professionally for over 17 years, and has played on BBC television/radio, Red Rocks Amphitheater in CO, The Bluebird and Opryland in Nashville, TN, Falcon Ridge Festival, NY, Kerrville Folks Festival, TX, and Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, CO.
     A true renaissance woman, she has released 10 CD’s, 2 books of poetry, and numerous paintings of fine art. Her newest project, Reunion, released this year has brought all these creative genres together, joining a work of art and piece of prose with each recorded song.
     "Her songs hit like little earthquakes, Rebecca shares a blues bent and a vocal prowess of Susan Tedeschi.” — Westword Magazine
Rebecca Folsom at ARTworks- halleluiah flower
Saturday, May 4 at 7:30pm,  $17 per person, $12 for students (13+), $7 for children (12 and under) and $12 for groups of 10 or more. ARTworks' black box theater is surrounded by artists working in their studios, galleries, workshops and the HQ of the BIG Story Fest. 2127 Boundary Street, 29902, www.ArtWorksInBeaufort.org843-379-2787

The Oldest Ghost in America?

Pinky is a cute little guy who sometimes plays with children in The Castle at Beaufort, SC. The children may have named him for his pink jester’s outfit. Only the children can see him, as he plays pranks and makes himself scarce when adults are around. His real name is Guernauche, and he’s a French Huguenot dwarf who’s been floating around since the town was settled and then he met with some unfortunate death in 1562. Of course, he’s a ghost, so who’s to say what his real story is! Guernauche is the most well known and the oldest ghost of Beaufort, and possibly the oldest ghost in America, according to Harper’s Bazaar in 1940. The 1859 home called The Castle is thought to please him because of its resemblance to homes in his native country. How do we know about him? “Well, we just know. Of course we know he’s there,” storytellers will insist. “Because every family who’s ever lived there has had children tell of seeing him,” says Donnie Beer, a storyteller once a year when she’s off duty from her post as Beaufort City councilwoman. While the ghosts of Beaufort could possibly be seen, heard or felt any time by those in tune with the supernatural, they are most likely to make their annual appearances during the last two weekends in October when they are eagerly anticipated to entertain guests of the Ghost Tours. For your own look at the rest of the story…and many more…visit Beaufort for a proper celebration of Halloween. You might learn about the well known bride of Blackbeard, a lovely blonde who could possibly be seen walking the beach along Fripp Island at night. She was reportedly abducted by the nasty pirate, but she was in love with a handsome gentleman in Charleston. When she learned that Blackbeard’s men were sent to kill her true lover, as evidenced by their return showing her young man’s hand as a trophy, she walked into the ocean to drown her tears. This bride’s story is sometimes told by noted storyteller Millie Boyce, looking over the marsh toward Fripp Island and hoping the evidence of the severed hand doesn’t appear to frighten the audience. Some storytellers relate that the young couple still walks the beach together because their love could not be drowned. Of course, they are ghosts, so interpretation may be applied liberally. Watch for another restless spirit which sometimes is thought to walk back and forth on the upstairs veranda of a house called Little Casino. She was a freed slave who had purchased the house after the Civil War. When the hurricane of 1893 brought flood waters up to the second floor, she was unable to leave. Union soldiers frequent several homes, and a Confederate soldier crawls out of the marsh to walk away without having feet. Or rather the ghosts of such soldiers might be seen. These occurrences don’t seem surprising to Beaufortonians, who remind visitors that the town was occupied by the Union Army early in the Civil War. Beaufort’s ghosts are believed to frequent primarily the Old Point neighborhood along with a few other locations where the oldest of the old can be found, thus lending credence to the founding of their stories. If you see a ghost, old or young, would you please send us a picture? We would really like to know more about this. Beaufort history is reviewed in our new book published by Tourist Town -- Hilton Head: A Guide to the South Carolina Lowcountry. It's available at the Cuthbert House Inn in Beaufort and Rose Hill Mansion in Bluffton, both of which might have ghosts of their own too.