A ‘Spectre’ of Light After the Dark

Only on Hilton Head

Unedited version submitted for the Island Packet, Sunday, October 30, 2016

After three weeks of hurricane disaster news and heroic recovery efforts, it’s good to know that anticipated, community-oriented events are still being planned and executed by business leaders who themselves are also recovering from Matthew’s devastation.

Mann's in Cinema Foyer

Larry and Lucie Mann enjoy intermission with wine and popcorn at their movie theater in Park Plaza, Hilton Head, SC.

Lucie and Larry Mann, owners/operators of Mann’s Park Plaza Cinema are hosting the Concours d’Elegance kick-off event Thursday, November 3, 2016, in a grand, silver screen party in the courtyard of their business located at 33 Office Park Rd, Ste 201, in Park Plaza just outside the main Sea Pines gate, next to Harris Teeter.

“We’ve been clearing debris from around our business and house, but as they say, the show must go on,” said Lucie on Sunday while she and her husband worked selling movie tickets, bartending, and conducting a Q&A via Skype with the filmmakers of an independent documentary about eating a plant-based diet called, “Eating Your Heart Out.”

It was like watching those motorized housekeepers on that old cartoon, The Jetsons, zipping around on motorized wheels, sweeping, while taking corners, smiling, talking, fielding questions about completely unrelated topics, films, and causes, heads swiveling to take in the whole business while staying focused on the conversation at hand.  I thought to myself, “I want what she’s having,” like the woman in that Rob Reiner movie.

Understand, this kind of multi-tasking is awesome to me.  I had just left my car parked in front of the box office and completely forgot about it for like, fifteen minutes because I had to remember both, buying popcorn, AND getting my mother seated AT THE SAME TIME.  Lucie carefully, kindly, and discreetly, tiptoed down the aisle and leaned over to me in the dark, saying, “Carmen, can you please move your car, so others can drop off their guests in front of the theater?”

Delicately implied at the end of that question, of course, was the word “numbnuts?”.

Hand-made earrings by Lucie Mann

Lucie Mann’s original, hand-crafted earrings, “No Two Are Alike”, are sold in the movie theater for $15 – $30/pair.

Lucie and Larry both bring an array of skills and talents to their partnership, which always culminates in amazing productions at their business.  Lucie is an architect by trade.  She also crafts her own earrings, and participates in local events that promote healthy, organic cooking and eating.  Larry’s background in contracting dovetails perfectly with their shared passion for neighborhood and community events, and of course all of these interests logically pointed them to buying a movie theater, right?

So, thanks to their shared passions, on November 3, 2016 at 5:30 pm, islanders will get a glimpse of Hollywood glamour, in the shape of one of the ten Aston Martin DB10’s made specifically for Daniel Craig in the latest James Bond movie, Spectre, (which will get it’s premiere Hilton Head screening also at Mann’s Nov. 3rd event).  This custom made car – estimated worth $3 million – is the only one currently being displayed in the United States as EON Productions rolls out its latest Bond movie, which also marks a fifty-year partnership between Astin Martin and EON, the company behind the 007 franchise.

Ilya Kagan, regional manager for Aston Martin, explained the precision and detail that went into the creation of the DB10, as well as the difference between “hero” cars, and “stunt” cars, when it comes to custom designing a car for a film.

James Bond and Astin Martin

Daniel Craig as James Bond, Agent 007, poses with one of 10 Aston Martin DB10’s made for the movie, Spectre, premiering on Hilton Head November 3, 2016 at Park Plaza Cinemas.

For the movie, Spectre, ten Aston Martin DB10’s were made.  Some were stunt cars, driven by the stunt doubles for the movie’s action sequences, and others, termed hero cars, are piloted by Daniel Craig as James Bond.  Unfortunately we, drooling cinematic plebeians, don’t get to know which of these cars will be on site at the Park Plaza Cinema courtyard on November 3, 2016.  But hey, who cares, right?  A three million dollar car is a three million dollar car, no matter whose derriere graced the driver’s seat, in my book.

“We at Aston Martin The Americas are excited to be able to bring this piece of cinematic history to a local movie showing at Hilton Head, SC. This is a very extraordinary vehicle, with only ten of them made, and with one of the examples of this car being sold On 19 February 2016, at a special auction at Christie’s in London for £2,424,500, or about $3.5 million, it makes for a very rare opportunity to see something like this in person,” said Kagan.

Attendees will get photo-ops with the DB10, wine, hors d’oeuvres, and a screening of

Rows of red chairs in theater

Spectre attendees will enjoy the screening in Park Plaza Cinema’s new luxury reclining red theater chairs.

Spectre on Park Plaza Cinema’s BRAND NEW, RED, LUXURY, RECLINING, MOVIE CHAIRS!

Sounds like Vincent Chase’s sneak preview party in the movie Entourage, right?  Only, we’ll all keep our clothes on during the party, ‘kay?

Proceeds from Thursday’s event will go towards the Concours D’Elegance, and to the non-profit, Driving Young America (DYA), A Hilton Head Island High School program that supports students interested in pursuing a career in the automotive industry. Local vendors participating include, Ruby Lee’s, It’s Greek to Me, Delishee Yo, Whole Foods, Java Burrito, Signe’s Bakery & Café, Butch Hirsch Productions, TR Media World, and Crush Entertainment, Hugo’s Seafood & Steakhouse, 843 The Restaurant,

 Tickets Are Going Fast, So Buy Now

Spectre Event Specifics:

What –  Spectre Screening; Concourse D’Elegance Kick-Off Event
Food, wine, photo-op with Aston Martin from film
When – 5:30 pm, Thursday, November 3, 2016,
Where – Mann’s Park Plaza Cinemas, 33 Office Park Rd, Hilton Head
Tickets – $25.00 online here, Spectre Event Tickets or visit              www.mannsparkplazacinemas.com for more info.
Contact – 843-785-5001

A First Date with Joe Maffo

Man holds alligator

Joe adorns me with a snake necklace while showing off  one of his toys; a baby (live) alligator.

If you haven’t yet been to the Joe Maffo’s exhibit at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn, then you are missing out on something special.  Held outside on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, Joe and his staff of students and volunteers educate delighted crowds about reptiles, chickens, and rabbits, among those he had the day I visited with Johnny D.

Brothers  Brothers, Miles and Owen, share a python.

kid holds baby gator

Local student assists Maffo as summer job.

kid with snake

Visitor from Beaufort, Miguel wears a python “hoodie” with Maffo.

Joe carefully wraps onlookers with his friends, then explains how and what they eat, and why they should never be approached in the wild.

“I want people to educate people to respect our wildlife, but not fear it.  We are all part of the same eco-system,”  says Joe.

 

 

 

 

And we’re not the only ones who appreciate Maffo’s expertise.  Featured in August’s Men’s Health magazine, pg. 34, he’s gone nationwide.  Also look for a piece in the Wall Street Journal called What’s in My Bag, for a look at what Joe Maffo carries around with him… maybe you don’t want to know!

chicken on guy's shoulder

Johnny D bonds with a chicken.

For more information about Critter Management call, 843-681-8050

Or check out the exhibit schedule here: http://www.coastaldiscovery.org/home/discover-and-learn/site-tours-programs/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Week to Get a Johnny D Tree at Sonesta Resort, and Help Hilton Head Prep!

Christmas Tree

Hilton Head Prep Decorated Tree for Sale at Sonesta Resort

Season Greetings, Islanders, and Holiday Guests!

This is the last week of Hilton Head Prep’s Annual Festival of Trees at Shipyard’s Sonesta Resort.  Representatives from Hilton Head Preparatory School will be selling these beautifully decorated Christmas trees from 3pm – 7pm.  When Prep representatives are not available, trees can still be purchased at the Sonesta Front Desk.

I call these, Johnny D trees.  For those of you who don’t know my husband, Johnny D, you also may not know that his favorite holiday family activity is NOT packing the family into Sorel snow boots, going to the nearby Christmas tree farm and carefully picking out the perfect fir, cutting it down, loading it into the flatbed in the snow with the kids helping, and driving it home singing Christmas carols.

No.

Johnny D

Johnny D, Tells a Friend About His Day Choosing a Tree.

Finding a Johnny D tree, means sliding barefoot into your Ferragamo driving shoes, taking your convertible Mercedes to a nearby hotel on the beach, choosing the flashiest, most sparkly, already-decorated tree, palming the valet an extra fiver to heave it into the trunk, reward oneself with a glass of pinot grigio at the bar, for a job well done (having braved the traffic circles to get there), and then contributed to the Prep Christmas fund, his wife’s alma mater. High-five Johnny D, and Merry Christmas Hilton Head Prep!

Below, is what’s left on the Festival of Trees schedule this week.  Don’t miss out, get yourself a Johnny D tree, and then pat yourself on the back.

Please join us for the following Special Events coming up this week at 
The Sonesta! 
Christmas Tree

Decorated Christmas Trees Benefit Hilton Head Prep’s Scholarship Program

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 6:15 pm

Hilton Head Prep’s Strings will perform.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 6:15 pm

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes will perform Lessons and Carols, which is based on a service originally offered at King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England in 1918.  The service combines readings about the Christmas story from prophecy of a messiah to the fulfillment of the prophecy in the gospel texts. Carols will be sung by Candace Woodson after each lesson; and students from middle school and lower school will perform the carols in sign language.

Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 6:15 pm

The Chamber Readers of Hilton Head Preparatory School will perform “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” more commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore.  The poem, which has been called “arguably the best-known verses ever written by an American” is largely responsible for some of the conceptions of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today.

Gratitude Blog From Hilton Head Blog Angel

Jewelry display at festival

Hilton Head Blog Angel Jewelry Booth at the Italian Heritage Festival at Honey Horn

This past weekend couldn’t have been better, even if we had scripted the event.  Which actually, we did.  Or rather, Paul Caimano, Committee Chairman of the Sixth Annual Italian Heritage Festival at Honey Horn, and his friends at the Italian-American Club of Hilton Head (IACHH) did. (Script the event, that is).

Three people at Italian Heritage Festival 2015

2015 Festival Goers Fan their Beers.

And that’s probably the reason everything at the Italian Heritage Festival at Honey Horn came off without a hitch or a glitch.  That, and the God-wink bestowed upon us, when San Gennaro instructed the heavens to shine sunny and warm all day long on Hilton Head, while his blood liquefied over in Naples, Italy, in front of the astonished, and awed, Catholic congregants.

And now that the Pope is visiting the United States this week, I thought it appropriate to share this great video I snagged off YouTube, of the March 21, 2015 blood miracle that occurred; a phenomenon that was visited by Pope Francis in Naples, just this past spring.  This is the same blood miracle that we celebrate in the United States every year, only it is the September 19th, scheduled, liquefaction that is fêted.  You see, we are fortunate that San Gennaro’s blood liquefaction is a frequent event – AND annual – so that nobody ever misses a moment to party down Vatican style.

Now according to the video, the March melting was just a partial miracle, as you will note, and Pope Francis – the good sport that he is – did not take it personally, but rather joked, that San Gennaro was probably none to happy with the state of the world, as it is.  Ergo, the blood only melts a little, and looks like pudding.  I guess we’ve got some work to do here on earth, to get his blood liquefying, and roiling the way it’s supposed to.  Way to go, World.

George Paletta at Festival 2015

IACHH Vice-President, The George, Happy that the Sun Shined Brightly on Saturday.

I’m just glad that San Gennaro saw fit to bestow a happy, sunny day on us, this past Saturday on Hilton Head, because lots of fun and entertainment was consumed by the Italian-American plebeians, of the New World.  And Yours Truly, reaped some of the spoils, thankfully, due to arduous planting of marketing seeds prior to this auspicious annual Hilton Head event.

San Gennaro Statue

San Gennaro Statue at Las Vegas Feast, sports paper bills for a tie (big surprise).

That is why I am thanking Islanders and visitors from near and far, who trod courageously through the fairgrounds Saturday, fending off pesky fan-wavers, and smoldering scents of pizza and grilled sweet Italian sausage wafting through the air, to brave the crush of local business vendors selling everything from hand-made ceramics, to raffle tickets, wine, and jewelry.

All, to the rousing musical entertainment of Larry Tanelli and his wife, Claudette, whose showstoppers included, “Fly Me to the Moon,” “That’s Amore!” and of course, the ever-popular (and my personal favorite), “Has Anyone Seen Il Presidente, Johnny D?  The Port-o-johns Are Running Low On Toilet Paper!”  That one, as always, drew a standing O.  Interestingly, the ubiquitous Johnny D, was suddenly scarce during that little ditty.

I also want to thank the IACHH Board, Club members, Festival volunteers, and especially the USCB students who assisted the set-up of my booth, and the ROTC who directed traffic and parking.  It would have been a rather amusing, end-of-day activity driving out of Honey Horn without the supervision of these patient, courteous guides, for many festival-goers (and ragged vendors, like me).  As it was, I felt cared for, and looked after by my young attendants.  Great job everyone.

Pink Beaded Necklace

Multiple Shades of Pink Beaded Strands Accent Any Beachy Outfit.

For those of you who couldn’t attend this gala event, and are devastated that you missed the grand opening of Hilton Head Blog Angel Jewelry, fret not.  I have here, the hyperlink needed to go directly to the website (Jewelry Gifts For Less), and choose a lovely, colorful, necklace to wear to almost any festivity that lies ahead in your future. And for those of you who read all the way down to this point, you will know that there is a contest with a free jewelry gift as reward, to the first patient reader/generous customer that sends me a link to any news media reporting on whether or not the blood liquefaction miracle occurred fully this past Saturday in Naples.

I could not find any, and I’m concerned since the last one didn’t, you know, totally liquefy.  I’d like to know if San Gennaro is getting over his Agida with this world full of wanderers from the flock.

In closing, I leave you with a full-blown, ten-minute documentary, explaining the blood miracle (for those of you obsessive, curious geeks, like me) of San Gennaro, that draws an explicit history of this Christian martyr’s journey from teenaged, medieval, Italian priest, to principle patron saint of Naples, seventeen hundred and fifteen years after his death.  Behold.

The Italians Are Coming! The Italians Are Coming…

Cardinals look at Blood Vials

Roman Dignitaries View the Blood Miracle of St. Januarius (San Gennaro)

If you believe recent local media tabloids (CH2, Hilton Head Monthly, and Pink), you might think an Old World invasion was upon us here in the LowCountry.  And you’d be right.  On September 19, 2015, the Italian American Club of Hilton Head Island will be hosting its Sixth Annual Italian Heritage Festival Honoring the Feast of San Gennaro.

“Come one, come all, and don’t fuggetaboutit,” reads one billboard on rte. 170 going east from Savannah to Hilton Head.  Which is Italian for, “remember to bring the escarole”, in case you were wondering.  And escarole, of course, is American-Italian for Il denaro, so you can pay $6.00 for your ticket, and buy local Italian-inspired handmade gifts and crafts, raffle tickets, bid on silent auction items, play festival games like bocce, and Drown the Clown (dunk-tank action), and of course, eat and drink like a respectable Italian.  Which may require a little extra Il denaro, as our Mediterrannean neighbors really put the ‘ate’ in satiate, a long time ago, when Rome reigned supreme.

Painting of St. Januarious

Artist’s Representation of St. Januarius Standing Over His Own Decapitated Head

It was during those reigning days of yore that the legend of San Gennaro came about, in whose name the feast began all over the world, but most auspiciously on New York’s Mulberry Street during the early turn of last century when a vast number of Italian immigrants came to our shores.  The easiest way to understand the devotion to this martyred priest is to rent the Godfather Part II, and/or Mean Streets, imbibe a few sips of cheap chianti, and notice how much carnage and thievery ensures while parade goers dance and chant down the street next to the San Gennaro effigy and Madonna (the Virgin, not the singer) floats.

Now, if you research this history (ie. Google, San Gennaro and click on the Wikipedia link), you will find an interesting – if not disturbing – to us plebeians of non-Catholic backgrounds – bit of detail regarding the legacy of St. Januarius (the latin form of San Gennaro); his fame is based on the “blood miracle” as depicted in one of his relics.

(You may have noted so far, that punctuating this tale is challenging, so bear with me.)

Yes, to review for the pleibs, Catholic tradition places a premium on the body parts of dead martyrs and saints.  The remains are placed in sealed glass boxes known as reliquaries, and put on display to the public (under heavy guard), usually in the home church of the late saint, or some other equally revered, ancient, stone edifice, that visitors often kiss, and place coins in the accompanying alms vessel.

Worshippers sometimes pray to the saint, or in the saint’s name, which is also a curious sidebar, given that the saint usually died a gruesome death, involving scourging, lion-baiting, burning, stretching on a rack, hanging, and beheading.  And not necessarily in that order.  For what, are people praying to these tortured souls?  “In the name of St. Joan of Arc, when it’s my time to go, just take a little off the sides around the ears!”2015_IHF_Ad

Yes, I know, digressing.

A young priest, St. Januarius of Benevento, Italy, was beheaded for his Christian beliefs in 305 AD.  According to Catholic folklore, his execution occurred after extended torture, flogging, flaying, gnashing of teeth, and even attempted cremation (it is said he walked out of the incinerator, unscathed).  Due to his apparent stranglehold on the physical world, his ultimate demise was regarded as somewhat of a triumph by the petrified Christians of the time, who were used to living in fear for their lives under pagan rule.

As was popular testimony to a revered person of the cloth during those days, body parts of the deceased were spirited away by various and sundry of the Christian flock, and stored in vaults for safe-keeping, in case the martyred soul were to return from heaven for his/her… ahem, personal effects.  In the interim, these “relics” became symbols of Christian suffering and courage, and pilgrims began to make their way across the seas to pay homage to the interred skeletal remains of said martyrs.

Italian Heritage Festival Statue

2014 Statuary Contemplates the Festival of the Blood Miracle

Stay with me here patient reader, because the punchline is really worthwhile.  As noted above, after the execution of St. Januarius, members of the Flock came from all over Italy and spirited away his remains.  Okay. You got that.  The head stayed in Naples (where San Gennaro is, to this day, the principal patron saint), the body went to his birthplace, Benevento (where it resides in a Chapel, waiting to be reunited with the head – inter-Vatican politics prevent me from elaborating further on this anatomical/spiritual conflict), and his blood was poured into two delicate glass vials by a devout Catholic woman, so-named Eusebia, who boosted the metaphoric ‘wine’ of the saint, and kept it hidden in a vault.

Fast-forward (as fast as the dogged centuries can go), to 1389, when, upon the vials being displayed on the anniversary of San Gennaro’s death, it was noticed by some Vatican dignitaries to ‘liquefy’, from its coagulated state.

What does this mean?

Well, apparently, this meant a lot to the Roman Catholics of the Middle Ages, who knew somehow, that scientifically, nine-hundred-year-old coagulated blood could not liquefy on its own without some divine intervention.

So began the canonization process for the martyred priest Januarius, now known as San Gennaro.  And there’s more to the story.  (“More to this strange tale?” You’re probably thinking, so go take a break and get an espresso to cap off the ending of this yarn).

Yes, more.

Since the initial liquefaction and re-coagulation of the blood from the veins of this ancient, revered priest, Januarius, the phenomenon has re-occurred.  Yes.  Not once, not twice, but many times throughout the following centuries, the blood liquefaction miracle re-occurs to the delight of on-lookers, pilgrims, cardinals, bishops, AND popes, at various dates on the Roman calendar year (notice all of this trivia leads us back to the Romans; like the roads).

All this to say, that THIS particular year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Fifteen, the next scheduled blood liquefaction miracle will occur on September 19.  (Hold your breath…)  THE EXACT DATE OF THE HILTON HEAD ITALIAN HERITAGE FESTIVAL HONORING THE FEAST OF SAN GENNARO AT THE COASTAL DISCOVERY MUSEUM AT HISTORIC HONEY HORN! (Exhale, now and ponder).

Where will you be, to commemorate this legendary saint?  Staring at the ancient vials of blood in Italy, or laughing, eating pasta, drinking wine, playing bocce, and listening to live entertainment from Larry Tannelli, on Hilton Head Island?

I think, on hindsight, San Gennaro would approve of our festivities.  Especially, knowing that proceeds from this event go towards local charities and scholarship funds.  So, if you’re in the LowCountry neighborhood, around the weekend of September 19, 2015, drop by The Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn and, “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”  (From the first, Godfather, movie).

WHAT: Sixth Annual Italian Heritage Festival

WHERE: Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn, Hilton Head, South Carolina

WHEN: 11 am – 4 pm, Saturday, September 19, 2015

COST: $6.00/person.  Parking – free, Advance tickets online: http://iachh.org/festival.html

CONTACT: Paul Caimano, Festival Chair: paccomkt@aol.com, or (412) 897- 1148

WEBSITE: http://iachh.org

As Il Presidente says, “Ciao, for now!”

Hilton Head Art, ‘Life is a Carnival’, by Nancy Mitchell

Fire-Eating sculpture, Mr. Inferno

Fire-Eater, “Mr. Inferno,” sculpture hangs on wall.

Want to see what happens if you pursue your heart’s desire?  Check out Nancy Mitchell’s most recent handmade, hand painted sculptures at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina’Walter Greer Gallery, sponsored by the Art League of Hilton Head.  Her show is inspired by the Savannah Carnival, put on annually by the Shriners.

Made from clay, wood, and painted with acrylics, each work is an exquisite, detailed creation, comprised of many meaningful levels, and signifiers.  One will observe something new on each viewing of the same piece, and feel the same childlike delight as though seeing it for the first time.

A surprising pleasure; some of the larger sculptures move with motorized parts for an enchanting display, such as the “Country Carousel,” and “Country Ferris Wheel,” (see close-ups below).

Pie-winner on ferris wheel

Blue-ribbon pie-winner rides the moving ferris wheel in “Country Ferris Wheel.”

Carousel sculpture

Detail of motorized, “Country Carousel”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, each one tells its own story.

Sideshow Tent

Sideshow Sculpture, “Step Right Up.”

Guitar Girl from sideshow

Sideshow close-up of Guitar Girl.

Like the girl playing guitar in the sideshow sculpture (see close-up, left) inspired by Mitchell’s daughter, real-life musician, Hannah Wicklund, singer in the rock band, The Steppin Stones.  Or, the man selling cotton candy, in “Cotton Candyman,” (wall sculpture, below right), based on the Italian vendor who worked the cotton candy stall.

sculpture of cotton candy man

“Cotton Candyman,” wall sculpture.

"Tough Crowd," sculpture

“Tough Crowd,” offers the whimsical perspective of the festival crowd.

Unique angles, whimsical characters, and bright colors hold the gaze as all the details come into focus, as in the sculpture, “Tough Crowd” (below, left). This work provides a rarely explored glimpse of the carnival audience enjoying the show.  A true joy to behold.

Carnival man on stilts

“Things are Looking Up.”

Such it is also, for the tall man on stilts, making balloon animals for kids (right), in the cleverly titled, “Things are Looking Up”.

There are multi-textural, multi-layered works that tell several stories at once.  And you don’t have to be privy to all of them to appreciate the piece in its entirety.  “Rock and Roll Funhouse,” is one such sculpture (below).  To see what Mitchell has added to the guitar’s fingerboard and head stock, you’ll just have to check out the exhibit this month.  Believe me, nothing disappoints.

Guitar-shaped funhouse

“Rock and Roll Funhouse,” displays the artist’s incredible attention to detail.

Wicklund family

Nancy Mitchell flanked by husband, Matthew Wicklund (l) and daughter, Hannah Wicklund (r). Not pictured, son Luke Mitchell.

 

Mitchell will gift 5% of the proceeds of her sculpture sales to the Shriners Hospital fund, in honor of Mark Bradley, Jr., a childhood friend of Hannah’s, who played drums in her band when they were kids.  After being in a plane crash years ago, he sadly passed on in a Shriners Hospital burn unit, after being treated for three months.  The donation is also a nod to her uncle, who was a Shriner, and is in recognition of the Savannah Carnival, which the organization sponsored annually.

sculpture of kids eating

Playful, “Sweet and Salty” wall sculpture.

Nancy Mitchell’s, “Life is a Carnival,” show of original, hand made sculptures, presented by the Art League of Hilton Head, can be viewed in the Walter Greer Gallery at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina this month.  

An opening reception will be held, Thursday, April 9, from 5 to 7 pm.  Dates – April 7  through May 3, 2015.; Days and Times- 10 am to 4 pm, Tuesday – Saturday; Location-  Mid-island, 14 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island, SC;  Contact-  (843)681-5060 for more info.    Cost- Featured art is for sale, event is free and open to the public.

Pet-Friendly Hilton Head is Perfect Winter Retreat

Don't Wait For Me

What Are You Waiting For?

Hi!  Sam, again.  As you may, or may not know, Hilton Head Blog Angel has a new gig.  A gig that has absorbed her thoughts to herself, as well as in conversations with family and friends, AND her musings on our walks and beach days.  Obviously, she cannot handle both, a newspaper gig, and, a blog gig, otherwise she’d be plugging in some copy here a little more frequently than once every couple of months.  As it is, I gotta’ keep the machine rolling along like it’s well-oiled, so you guys don’t notice the big, widening gaps in between her blog posts.

Now, you may wonder, why it’s such a big deal, if she’s only writing a column twice a month – every other Monday – about Hilton Head, why then is it so difficult to handle that, AND  a blog?  Well, we were wondering that ourselves, me and Johnny D.  Like, how long does it take to think about a topic, and then write about it, and you only have to do that like, every two weeks, right? Well apparently, we shouldn’t have been wondering that stuff out loud in front of Blog Angel, because, being a fragile, creative, word artiste (as she describes herself on a good day), she is constantly misunderstood by us less-evolved neanderthals.   I really don’t know what she means when she says things like that, but Johnny D doesn’t appreciate it either.  So, we just get up and watch TV in the other room, so she can have her space to, you know, flesh out ideas, and create.

water fountains

A Fountain For Everyone In the Family

Which brings me to my promo.  Those of you who have pets, should ask them where they want to go, and I’ll bet they say, ‘Hilton Head, please!’  And do you know why?  Well, I’ll tell you why.  Two reasons: 1) Great, easy-to understand leash laws for the whole island, including beaches.  And most public places, you’ll see containers with signs offering plastic bags for free, while you’re walking your best friend, in case you forgot to bring your own.  They even set us up with showers and water fountains, here on Hilton Head Isle.

Hi George.

That’s My Man, George Evans. Always ready with a treat.

And b.) the people that work here love pets!  Can you believe it?  Everywhere I go with Mom or Johnny D, I get treats.  There’s even some restaurants that let you sit outside and eat with your dog, like they do in the Old Country.  Wherever that is.  In the mornings, when we walk the golf course, the Guys, like Steve and Grady and Joe, take care of me with biscuits.  They know how hard I work treeing squirrels, so the golfers can play through, undisturbed.  It’s not easy being me, down here.

Leaving Sam's scent

Back Roll in the Sand, Leaves a Good Scent for Everyone. Sam was Here!

I know it looks simple, but taking care of Hilton Head Blog Angel and Johnny D, is like, the hardest job you could ever ask for.  You don’t know what I’m up against. So, make sure you are nice to the security guards and the bag boys and caddies while you’re here, because they’ll all take care of you, while you’re here in the middle of the winter, sneaking a break from those crazy snow storms up north, east, and west.  Really.

Who’d ‘a thunk, it would be warm enough to hit the beach this past weekend, right?  But there I am, living large, happy to be here, sharing my scent with anything that will let me roll around backwards and bark.  It doesn’t get any better than this.

A Hilton Head Aria Weekend, Like Eating the Icing First, Says Sam, the Beach Beagle

Beagle on sofa

Sam Gears Up For a Night of Arias on Hilton Head

Hi.  Sam here.  It’s been a while, I know, and I wasn’t planning to make this a habit, but Blog Angel asked me to do her a solid.  And apparently, a “solid” doesn’t mean, what I did next to the tennis courts on our way back from yesterday’s run, which is why there was some confusion on my end, about when to get this thing out to the reading public.  You see, my way of getting the daily news, is a whole lot more interesting than the way you guys do it.  I sometimes forget how far behind the homo sapiens species is, when it comes to communicating with one another.

La Scala Poster

IACHH Offers Islanders an Aria Weekend

Be that as it may, HiltonHeadBlogAngel, is quite busy these days promoting the Italians and working for The Man.  Not sure what that means, just checking her notes here, and that’s all she wrote. Literally… that’s all she wrote… down for me, here… so bear with me.  Oh yeah, and she’s still working on some other big project, which is taking up, like, half a life-time, to complete.  It better be some project, is all I can say, because I am tired of picking up the slack around here, I can tell you.  And, she’s tired of picking up after me, is what she would say, in retort to my uppity attitude. All right already, moving on…

For those of you who live in a deep hole in the ground, under a bucket, and also, those of you who may live up there in the New England area, like Rhode Island; you may have missed the biggest, best, Italian Heritage Festival on Hilton Head, there ever was.

But that’s okay, all is not lost.  See, this month, being October, the 10th month of 2014, you can still catch up with those crazy Italians in the American Southeast Coastal Corridor region.  But only, if you’ve got the moxie to just get-up-and-go, for a good time, and a long weekend, of fabulous, classy arias, and Broadway show tunes, and even spend a day at the beach.  Check this out:

Tenor for La Scala weekend on Hilto Head

John Kaneklides, Award-winning Tenor

The Italians on Hilton Head are bringing EIGHT – count ’em – EIGHT, major opera singers to the island to sing only your favorite tunes, with their favorite accompanists.

Singer

Krista Rose Wilhelmsen

Now, I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I just want to hear my favorite songs from a story.  Y’know? I don’t want to have to sit through the whole first act, and unfolding plot-points, monologues, and choruses, just to finally get to hear a rousing, rendition of Maria, from “West Side Story”, or to suffer the pontifications of the king in “MacBeth”, just to hear someone finally sing, Come dal ciel precipita, which is what you’re pretty much in for, if you buy tickets to the opera in Vienna, or someplace like that.

Will_Jacob

Will Jacob

No way.  Not here in Coastal, Italian Lowcountry.  They like to get right to the point of things when it comes to entertainment.  Like, eating the icing off the cake first, so to speak.  Kind of like Johnny D, the president of the Italian-American Club of Hilton Head (IACHH), who pretty much lives his whole life eating the icing off the cake first.  Those of you who know Il Presidente personally, know what I’m talking about.  (FYI: He’s the one who lent me the sunglasses for the photo shoot up there on the leather sofa).

Lacquavia Alston

Lacquavia Alston

So, rather than making you buy an expensive season of tickets to watch a bunch of three-hour shows, just to hear your ONE favorite song, the Italians on Hilton Head, are condensing it into one easy night out: great singers, performing only the best arias and Broadway showstoppers, for a night of pure, uninterrupted, musical joy. Wooo-heee!

Opear Singer

John Fowler to Sing, 10/25 & 26, on Hilton Head

You can’t beat that kind of upscale entertainment with a stick, especially when you consider that all the proceeds go to local charities and scholarship funds.  This is the best of the best, singing the best of the best, all for you, dear music lovers.  So don’t waste any time, buy your tickets today, by clicking here, or you can call 888-860-2787,  or call Johhny D for more information, 401-524-1416.  Then, don your opera-night-out-duds, and have a great time!

Singer Stallard

Tina Milhorn-Stallard

singer headshot

Harold McIntosh

Marc Rattray

Marc Rattray

And this is all being made possible, thanks to the generosity of our presenting sponsor, Coastal States Bank, without whom, it wouldn’t be possible-which- okay… I already said that. Thanks, Coastal States Bank for being our presenting sponsor.

Bank logo

La Scala to Broadway, Presenting Sponsor

So here’s the nuts and bolts:

La Scala to Broadway  is playing ONE NIGHT ONLY at the Arts Center of Hilton Head, on October 25th, 2014.

Buy your tickets online, or call the box office: 888-860-2787, or for more information: 401-524-1416

Ciao, Hilton Head!

George Paletta & John DeCecco

‘The George’ Paletta, Vice President, with the ‘Legendary Johnny D’, President, of the Italian-American Club of   Hilton Head at 2012 Italian Heritage Festival, Drown the Clown dunk tank.

Okay.  You knew there was no way I could let Hilton Head’s 2013 Italian Heritage Festival get by without posting a blog about it.  Last year, I had to bite down on my nails to keep from commenting on, and displaying the proud images I now depict.  No, last year, I had to limit myself to sending these visual gems in covert emails with restrained captions, to close friends and associates near and further north, because it might smack indecorous, given that the two gentlemen portrayed thusly, en masquerade, are also Board Dignitaries of the Italian-American Club of Hilton Head (IACHH).

Please note, I have exercised enormous restraint in recent print media descriptions over which I had some control, by not taking advantage of all the literary parallels, puns, metaphors, and ironies implicit in two Italian-American men being dunked at the Drown the Clown booth – one’s face covered by an Obama mask, the other, behind Italian flag sunglasses – during an election year in America… and BOTH wearing fuggetaboutit! t-shirts.  The only inappropriate, tactless item that seems to be missing is a bottle of non-FDA approved jug of homemade grappa from Cousin Luigi’s backyard cantina (thankfully, that was hidden somewhere during this auspicious photo-op… along with Cousin Luigi).

Yes, I held off the laughs, in deference to my husband’s sincere commitment to the IACHH, a wonderfully philanthropic community organization that donates proceeds from the annual Italian Heritage Festival  (along with that of four other yearly events) to local island non-profits, and high-school graduate scholarships.

So now I bask in some relief, knowing that I have finally shared one of the funniest pictures ever taken, with all my friends and patient readers.  And it brings me to question why, for the life me, they, didn’t publish it alongside the article in September’s issue of Hilton Head Monthly – that classy, sophisticated publication, with accompanying cerebral content – that sits on the coffee tables of our most stylish vacation beach homes, residences, and gets mailed to subscribers all over the world.  Why on earth would they choose images of lovely children and cultural activities, and not the above delicate portrait of two pillars of the Hilton Head community?  One can only guess at the wisdom of such censorship.

Which brings me to my plea.  If you thought you might, y’know, lay low, this weekend because you just need to rest, or you can’t get a babysitter, and you can’t get too excited about anything after weathering the most humid, wet, summer-from-hell in the lowcountry, please reconsider, amicos.  First of all, this is a family-friendly event, and children under 10 enter free.  Secondly, this Saturday at Shelter Cove Park, from 11 am – 4 pm, the 4th Annual Festival being held in honor of the Feast of St. Gennaro, will be bigger and better than ever.  And, as in the past, the Island Recreation Center partners with the IACHH, and the proceeds go to local non-profits and scholarship funds.  And if you need more encouragement, see the video below for Flash Mob activity at the 2012 Italian Heritage Festival.

There will be food prep demonstrations, grape-stomping, stickball, bocce ball, live music, and the incomparable cuisine prepared by the best Italian restaurants south of the Mason-Dixon.  And that’s saying something.  See below for further details, or IHFestivalProgram2013.  Or, if you prefer a more high-brow article and pictures with details, you can click here, or here.  Otherwise, always check with HiltonHeadBlogAngel for the fraternity-level take on anything.

What: The 4th Annual Italian Heritage Festival in Honor of the Feast of St. Gennaro

sign

Italian Heritage Directional Signpost

Where: Shelter Cove Park, 39 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head, SC  29928

When: Saturday, September 21, 2013

What Time: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Cost: $6.00 at the gate, children 10 & under, free

Contact: 843-682-4625

Why: fuggetaboutit!

Dine at Flora’s Italian Cafe and Treat our Troops!

Hilton Head map.

Hilton Head map.

As many of you may have noticed, Hilton Head Island has evolved into the Little Italy of the southeast coast, when it comes to fine Roman fare.  And this actually makes some sense, geographically speaking; you see Italy, as we all know, is the shape of a Gucci boot, and Hilton Head Island is the shape of a beat-up Nike Air Max sneaker.  And, Italians are known for wearing snazzy boots, just like Hilton Head Islanders are often seen running and playing around in

Snazzy Islander Sneakerwear

Snazzy Islander Sneakerwear

Nike sneakers.  Both of these descriptive devices happen to be clothes for feet.  Obviously, Italians and Islanders place a premium on how we dress and protect our respective tootsies.

Snazzy, Italian boot- I mean, Map of Italy.

Snazzy, Italian, Map of Italy.

 

 

 

The literary parallels and metaphors are endless.

Many of my Vacation Company blogs about restaurants are raving reviews about dining establishments specializing in Italy’s exquisite recipes accentuated by the freshest ingredients and locally grown vegetables and herbs.  Flora’s Italian Cafe at South Island Plaza is no exception, and has easily become one of our most favorite restaurants on the island. Staffed with courteous (and very patient) servers, bartenders, and chefs, Flora’s is managed and run by the family. And The Family consists of Flora, her husband Branco, and son Branco, Jr.

When we eat there, I usually order the same thing (which is stupid I know, because everything on the menu is truly mouthwatering delicious), but the Capellini Dora is a dish I crave so much at times, I just can’t get my brain to be rational about choosing some other savory menu item. The ingredients of Capellini Dora are simple – crabmeat, shrimp, diced tomatoes, garlic, white wine, olive oil – but how they are prepared and tossed and arranged on a dish for me to plunge my head into, is truly cerebral. Every mouthful pops with flavor and the freshness is palpable; ie, you know the tomatoes were fat on the vine, sun-bathing that very morning.  Fortunately, my husband tries other dishes, such as Grouper Meuniere, Gamberi di Casa, and Fettini di Vitello Saltimbocca, and we share appetizers like Melanzane Rolantine (eggplant rolled with cheese baked in tomato sauce, topped with mozzarella) so I know that every creation is as tantalizing as my Pasta Dora.

Vino at Flora's!

Vino at Flora’s!

As some of you may know, my partner, Johnny D., is also Italian and he is lucky enough to eat at Flora’s every Thursday for lunch because Flora and Branco host the Italian-American Club of Hilton Head’s (IACHH) weekly lunch meeting.  You know things have got to be good at this place if a whole club of over a hundred tansplanted, professional Italians will go there week after week, crowding out Flora’s Cafe, while solving major international conflicts between Italy and Hilton Head like, should people be allowed to drink a little wine on the beach? Which as everyone knows is good for your health, but on American soil, can sometimes be confused with glugging down any kind of fermented vegetation that started in a blender and is best consumed through a straw.  You see how easy it would be to confuse the two thirst-quenching methods, right?  However, the Italian-American Club is also a major contributor to local charities, scholarships, and non-profit organizations, donating lots of money and good will towards the community, through fundraisers like the Annual Italian Heritage Festival held every September. Which brings me to my next tangent…

Jeannette Cram l-r on Martha Stewart's Show.

Jeannette Cram l-r on Martha Stewart’s Show.

Next Tuesday, June 26, 2012, Flora’s is donating $5/plate towards Treat the Troops, a local organization gone national, founded by Jeannette Cram in 1990 during the Gulf War.  Jeannette and volunteers, known as Crumbs (get it? Crumbs, like cookie crumbs), bake homemade cookies and ship them to our young heroes overseas who are protecting our right to drink wine on the beach, among other rights and freedoms over which we are very protective, and sometimes take for granted. This organization needs money for shipping costs and baking ingredients, and is greatly appreciated by our soldiers who probably miss Mom’s cookies, while breathing in mouthfuls of desert sand on our behalf. Jeannette is grateful to Flora’s Italian Cafe, she said when I called to ask her about the cookie organization, because “people forget that our troops miss the flavors from home.”  This is an excellent opportunity to both a.) try out Flora’s Italian Cafe, and 2.) demonstrate your patriotism by contributing to a wonderfully inspired, local non-profit organization. AND…. another cool thing (they just keep coming don’tCookies &Crumbs they?  I’m almost out of breath here…), at 6:30 pm, there will be a book-signing event by Jeannette who also wrote, Soldiers, Cookies, & the Crumbs. 

Chefs, Branco and Flora Raiac

Chefs, Branco and Flora Raiac

Okay, so back to Flora’s who, by the way, greets you in person and seats you with a genuine smile, while her son, Branco Jr. works the tables along with several other excellent wait staff. The kitchen is run by Branco the First, and each dish is his and Flora’s chefdoeuvre, hand-prepared to order, with herbs and vegetables grown fresh in their own garden. Flora herself makes all the desserts from scratch, and has been featured in the local press for award-winning pastry  and each one is more delectable than the last. I can’t say enough about this marvelous bistro when it comes to the authentic quality of the food.

Originally from Romania, Branco Raiac studied Italian cuisine at the Culinary Institute of Romania before moving to New Jersey with his family. In New Jersey, they owned and operated a popular restaurant called, Villa Romagna for ten more years and then they migrated south to Hilton Head, like the rest of us Yanks tired of long winters and screeching traffic.  And if all of the above doesn’t sell you on dinner at Flora’s, how about being voted Winner of the 2012 Island Packet Reader’s Choice Award for Best International Restaurant?  Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. Tell her Carmen and Johnny D sent you, and maybe she’ll laugh really hard and say, “Who?”

Flora’s Italian Cafe located at South Island Plaza, 841 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island, SC  29928, is open Monday through Saturday 5 – 10 pm

Call: 843-842-8200 for reservations