Category Archives: hilton head

Last time in South Carolina primaries

It’s South Carolina primary season! The one quadrennial occasion for the rest of the nation to pay attention to a state with 10 percent unemployment and 51st in the nation education ranking (that’s right, it’s so bad, it’s below the actual number of states we have). All this hoopla reminds me of this classic from the Inverted Soapbox clip file, where John McCain came Hilton Head for a quick campaign stop during the slugfest that was the 2008 nominating process. The event was fast and loose, and the broke underdog felt more like 2000 era McCain in his element rather than the tired 2008 model. And then this happened:

McCain realizes campaigning can sometimes be a real b word.

(Island Packet, Nov. 16, 2007) The question had a cadence and a sharp alliteration that sliced through the yadda-yadda-yadda about Social Security and health care that dominated Sen. John McCain’s campaign stop on Hilton Head Island on Monday.

With news cameras rolling, Wexford resident Linda Burke, prim in a neck scarf and pulled-back hair, leaned forward out of the crowd and asked plainly and emphatically: “How do we beat the bitch?”

That word, henceforth called the “B-Bomb,” referred to Sen. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner who stirs up vituperative feelings deep in the gut of many Republicans.

It turned into the B-Bomb heard ’round the world.

Hilton Head Island resident Linda Burke asks Sen. John McCain a question that has received national media attention.

Burke’s question — and McCain’s reaction — has caught fire with political wonks across the nation, appearing on cable news and turning into the issue du jour for liberal commentators. The blogosphere, that shadowy zone where even the most minuscule thing a candidate says is recorded, dissected, criticized and resent into the digital ether, is having a field day with it. Continue reading

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Ghosts of editors past

Among the reasons I miss my former editor, Fitz McAden of the Island Packet:

via sports editor Justin Jarrett, who adds: “The photo doesn’t do it justice. He has several days’ stubble and is wearing flannel pajama pants and house slippers.”

#OCCUPYHALLOWEEN.

Also, #OCCUPYNEWSROOMS.

Actual Occurrences: The punk rock island we once knew and loved

[Here’s the deal with this post: I wrote this more than a year ago with intentions of posting it here, then on a whim sent it off to NY Press, who responded that they would love to run it in the 8 Million Stories section. And, after a few follow up emails of reassurance … they never did. So whatever. But while wandering around the Brooklyn waterfront yesterday, we happened to pass by Ted Leo at the promenade, so in this blog’s grand tradition of letting no unpublishable work go unpublished, I decided to pull it up from the graveyard and post it. NOTE: all time-sensitive elements are related to Nov. 2009, just shy of a year since I first moved to Brooklyn.]

I have found the nexus at which punk rock musicians and struggling journalists who’ve written about them collide, and it is TJ’s.

Yesterday at reg in the midst of the inescapable writhing mass-of-humanity shitshow that is a sunny Sunday afternoon at Brooklyn’s favorite grocer, I was ringing up the purchases of a young, groovy looking couple in refreshingly good spirits considering aforementioned shitshow that often causes much grumbling among other customers (note: YOU ARE HERE ALSO TAKING UP SPACE).

The girl looked at my name tag which lists my hometown as “Hilton Head, S.C.” and asked me how long I’ve been in New York, if I came directly from South Carolina, etc.

The guy turned to her and said, “Oh, that’s where we played that show that they said it was like the ‘first punk show’ ever.”

Strange gears began to come alive and click together in my head as an improbable slide of memory pushed in reminding me that, not only had I heard that comparison before, but — hold on a second — I wrote it.

Turns out the guy was Marty “Violence” Key, the bassist for Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, who I interviewed last year before their head-explodingly nonsensical (but awesomely embraced by the five punksters on Hilton Head, four of whom worked at the newspaper) appearance at Stages on the island.

It included this:

Question. We did a little bit of research, and we think this may be the first punk show in Hilton Head history.

Answer. I used to go out with someone who lived on Hilton Head. I used to actually go down there a lot and visit her and we’d hang out and see shows in Savannah.

But there was one night where some ska band that I actually knew from New York was playing at like some crazy frat bar, and we went. And I remember her being so freaked out, like, ‘God, this is so weird, there’s actually a band that’s not like the String Cheese Incident or Widespread Panic or something that’s playing here.’

Wow, but I would have figured since then, that since there are kind of ‘punk’ shows everywhere, I’m surprised to hear that I’m the first.

Q. How does that feel?

A. It’s exciting. It’s auspicious. I had no idea. Continue reading

Clip links that don’t lip sync

An interview with the first-ever organic farmer in Georgia!

Consult the Experts: Farmville, Hilton Head Monthly 11/29

Tip from an executive at Edible Arrangements on how to handle holiday gifts!

How to set an employee gift policy, Inc. 12/10

Subversive yacht journalism!

Megayacht Calixe (one of America’s 100 largest), PMY November 2010

excerpt:
The ship’s five cabins and an interior designed by Terence Disdale should be a convenient place to hide from the spotlight: McCaw has been a lightning rod for criticism from newspaper employees who opposed her editorial interference and labor practices. At the height of a staff insurrection in 2006, McCaw was spotted cruising the French Riveria with fiancé (and co-publisher) Arthur von Wiesenberger. While her newsroom workers took issue with McCaw expressing her staunch animal-rights views in the newspaper, the ship’s crew doesn’t seem to have the same concern. Once, during a cruise off the Turkish coast, she sent crewmembers to swim ashore to free a tied-up donkey.

A totally awesome xmas present you can buy for the beer drinker in your life, available by special secret pre-order today to devoted readers of this blog (many of whom don’t live anywhere near Brooklyn), the curation of which has consumed my life for the past month!

BUY IT before it sells out!

Interview: Outgoing Hilton Head Mayor Tom Peeples

I don’t normally post my Hilton Head Monthly stuff here, but I figured I’d make an exception for this interview with Mayor Tom Peeples, who announced this year he’s not running for reelection after serving four terms, making him by far the longest-serving mayor the town has seen in its short history. I covered the guy for four years at The Island Packet, talked to him countless times by phone, usually at least a few times a week, visited his office, and maybe even saw him tipsy a time or two at various island weekend events (odds are I was equally tipsy at such events), so I even ventured a first-person lede here.

Mayor looks back, forward

(Hilton Head Monthly 4/30/2010) The single angriest moment I ever witnessed from Mayor Tom Peeples during four years covering the town happened in a meeting on the contentious debate over limiting the airport’s future runway length in 2007 The meeting drew one of the largest crowds in town history into a standing-room-only council chambers as the public both for and against expansion gathered.
The debate wore on, the crowd grew restive and some skeptics shot jeers and boos at council members on the dais. With a sharp whack of the gavel, Peeples brought the room to silence, lifted his voice to its full-bodied boom and told the crowd they could either quiet down or get out. About half the room picked up and left.

The single most emotional moment I witnessed out of Peeples also came at the same meeting, a few minutes later. With the public comment portion of the hearing closed, council members were left to state their positions on the measure that would prevent the airport from expanding the runway without first getting town permission. As Peeples explained that the town was taking the controversial measure because it defended the core ideals of the island’s founders, his voice began to crack and waver, and it appeared, to those in the audience at least, that a few tears lined his eyes.

“It guarantees that you, the citizens of Hilton Head Island, can come to a public process just like this if there is a need to discuss lengthening the runway,” Peeples told the crowd. “Obviously the fact that so many people are here must (mean) that’s a good idea.”

That broad swing of emotions — transforming from forceful arbiter to spokesman for personal passion — is indicative of the balance Peeples struck over his 15 years as town mayor. Never too much a dyed-in-the-wool politician, Peeples positioned himself as a pragmatist and consensus builder, but wasn’t afraid to let people know when something went against what he saw as the values of Hilton Head that first drew him to the island and local politics many years ago.
Peeples made a surprise announcement in April that he won’t run for reelection this November after serving four terms. It opens up room for an exciting election season, and one that will usher in a new era of leadership for the town that has known the same mayor for more than half its lifetime.

READ THE REST because it’s got all the municipal government fun you can stand!

Interview: Keller Williams freeks out

Keller Williams 2.0: The singer has become a ‘Once a Week Freek’

(From The Guide, 3/5/10) Keller Williams’ last local show was his 2008 New Year’s Eve gig at the Shoreline Ballroom on Hilton Head Island. The musician — known as a one-man jam band for his ability to play and loop different instruments — put together a three-pronged show that featured a regular set, an all-request set and a bonus set of “grunge-grass,” his name for bluegrass versions of ’90s hits from Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots and the like.

And even though Williams is of the genus of musicians who treats every show like a unique moment meant to be shared by tapers, you won’t find the Hilton Head appearance in the vast pantheon of his music online.

“I was thinking about releasing it, but got talked out of it due to all the licensing issues that have happened to Pearl Jam and Nirvana,” he said. “They keep that stuff pretty close to the chest. But I might sneak it in in my ‘Once a Week Freek.’ ”

Keller Williams

When: 9 p.m. March 6

Where: Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St., Savannah

Tickets: $20 in advance, $23 at the door

Information: 912-233-1192, www.livewiremusichall.com Continue reading

Clip: Men in the mirror

From The Guide, 12/24

NYE: This is it — the ‘ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute’

It must be busy being the world’s No. 1 Michael Jackson tribute band. There’s the flying from Singapore to Hawaii to South Carolina, the raging demand for classic MJ tunes that can now only be filled by apt cover artists and concert-footage films and the pressure of having to carry on the legacy of a pop-culture icon whose death sent shockwaves of grief through huge segments of the population.

We’re guessing here, of course. Because we got stood up for an interview with Who’s Bad, playing the Shoreline Ballroom on New Year’s Eve.

So that means we never got to ask founder Vamsi Tadepalli, a Durham, N.C., native and jazz instructor who has written music for the University of North Carolina marching band, how he gathered musicians from around the state to re-create the giant sound of the King of Pop. Or how he found not one but two singers who could pass as MJ, not just physically but also sonically, including lead singer Joseph Bell. Bell’s voice, which has the soft, high-pitched timbre of Michael’s, even helped nab the singer a small role in the TV movie “The Jacksons: An American Dream,” and he worked with a choreographer from the “This Is It” tour to perfect his moves.

And we didn’t get to ask about the attention to detail and intense choreography that has to go into re-creating one of the most lavish stage shows of all time, including the replica “Thriller” jacket, the wispy white shirt of “Black or White” and, of course, the hat and glove.

For diehard Michael Jackson fans, it sounds like the attention to detail of Who’s Bad may be as close as they come to seeing the man in the mirror.