Hilton Head Blog Angel Welcomes You Again to… “Only on the Back Page”!

Visitors gather to celebrate the 4th of July

A lovely Rockwell scene awaits the fireworks display on the 18th fairway of the HarbourTown Golf Links.

This started out here, but since you wound up on MY page, you’re getting the director’s cut version, so buckle up for a bumpy ride!

Which simply means that you are now in the presence of shear, unedited brilliance.  Within these magical, mystical scrolling points, you will be privy to the sometimes, coy copy, maybe shady, doctored images that certain local, Pamphlet of the Isle editors censured, due to my questionable investigative techniques, and/or subversive nature of the content contained herein, using unnamed sources (usually because I forgot to write down their names before they hung up on me), that will take you on a point-by-plot, connect-the-dot investigation of international intrigue starting from all the way down into Hilton Head Blog Angel’s gut instincts, and leading up into the dark, grey, nether regions of her brain-pan (or, as Johnny D refers to, her effing, ‘nut-case’).

For example:

Fireworks boat in HarbouTown

Now, one could argue that this vessel eerily resembles a Russian spy-ship lurking off our southern shores at dusk on our country’s own birthday, while the G19’s distractedly snubbed Trump at break time on the Continent… ORRRR…, it could be an out-of-focus, auto-flash shot of the famous Falcon Fireworks boat crew preparing for the Annual Sea Pines, 4th of July Blitz showcase over the 18th fairway in HarbourTown, last week.  On which of these aforementioned scenarios would you place your bets?

See? This is good stuff my friends, and only the very discerning of you will appreciate how hard I worked keeping it together for your reading pleasure, not unlike British agent, Christopher Steele, with his, y’know, alleged,’ dossier, that Buzzfeed published online a while back.  Do you all understand how hard we independent movers and shakers work to remain both marginalized, AND disenfranchised at the same time? It is not easy going rogue; just ask Sarah Pahlin, who had to learn that you can’t just blather the word, ‘rogue’ interchangeably with, ‘maverick,’ over, and over just because you learned what they both meant a week before press time.  Hunh.  Now, look where she is.

Just kidding (not really. I’ll leave that one up to reader’s discretion).

And, speaking of readers and their discretionary habits, according to my ex-editor at the local daily newspaper, there weren’t enough of them – them, being readers who liked my articles that is, I’m speaking now to, you guys clicking around my fledgling column, Only on Hilton Head, to make it worthwhile for The Island Packet to include my uniquely islander’s insights, on the weekends any longer, and sadly for me, I won’t get to continue interrupting your Sunday mornings with embarrassing, ‘remember back-in-the-day moments’.

Apparently,  my, “numbers weren’t adding up,” according to the Bionic Man, before he fired me.  Darn it.  Now, which of you, Hilton Headers, forgot to turn in your Hilton-Head-Blog-Angel-end-of-term quiz?  Hmm?  See, this is why, forgotten Sea Pines Academy alumni scribes like me, get whisked into dustbins; because islanders forget to click the blue Likey button, or comment, SHARE, or for God’s sake YOU’RE NOT STILL READING THE PRINTED NEWSPAPER DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR, ARE YOU?

Carmen DeCecco in B&W

Seriously? You were reading me while sitting on the john in your slippers, yukking it up, Sunday mornings?  That doesn’t count as ‘Liking’ me at the Packet.  that’s merely ‘anecdotal evidence’ (I know it sounds evidentiary of something else, but that’s what they told me.)

Don’t you understand? They can’t count your smiles, and chuckles, when rationalizing firing a feel-good, columnist, whose fluff-piece gets cornered into the back pages next to ‘Pets of the Week’ (seriously, that’s where I was Sunday morning, July 9, in the Lowcountry Life section of The Island Packet, 6C, right next to a labrador named River, at Rogue Rescue & Sanctuary,) if you’re just reading a printed paper you bought at the 7/11..’sniff‘…I’m fine, thanks for asking,… just need a moment…

Anyhooo, and be. That. As. It. May.  My hope is to resume blogging again more regularly, in case you’re wondering, or maybe you don’t care… whatever.  I’m in a snit. (sigh)

Transitioning to BlogAngel ArtWorks

You may enjoy the following photos I took during last week’s stellar fireworks display at the 18th fairway in HarbourTown – none of which made it to the newspaper’s online website because, apparently, I suck.  But, the lovely Berrigan family was nice enough to invite me to join them, so a good evening was had by all.  And if you stick around, you’ll see some more of my fun artwork from that night…

4th of July Fireworks HarbourTown, 2017

Now, here’s one of those lucky shots. Eric Horan, and Tom Kemeny, will both be proud (I hope), I was able to pull this one off by total accident. And I didn’t have to use any of the dials on my Photos software settings at all, since I really don’t know how to use them, at all, really.

All I know is that, having made no plans last week for the 4th of July, 2017, I mosied down the 17th fairway from Bob and Susan’s house (that’s on the 11th tee, for those of you new to this blog), and it was another banner evening of Americana red, white, and blue, like the big Boeing fly-by on Easter Sunday a couple months ago, during the RBC Heritage Golf Classic presented by Boeing.

 

 

Fireworks above the 18th at HarbourTown

All right now, question for Eric Horan: Is this a flock of seagulls, captured flying across a blue, sunny sky? Or, did I have my digital wheel-thingy set at the portrait/night-time no-flash, slow-shutter setting when the first couple of fireworks popped off like right inside my eardrum?

And again I infuriate myself; by showing up with bells and whistles I don’t know how to use properly.  Like, I used to always show up places with a tri-pod that didn’t want to attach itself to the exceptionally priced – yet, aptly named – Rebel T3i EOS, but instead, would lollygag its neck around, and around, while I attempted to click the camera securely into place on the neck of said, Mr. Tripod, who’s neck would tip-tap about, like a fancy little two-stepper, as I kept trying to click the… REBEL..T3i.into.place while the fashion show would be moving ahead without my stylistic videography no matter what…! Noooo….

telescope and tripod on card table

Currently, Sir LollyGagagalot (back center, in black, wearing the turtle necklace) stands guard in Blog Angel’s Carolina Room, with other semi-retired Sentinels, like Colonel’s Big & Little Red, the beginner telescopes, waiting patiently to teach Mrs. Blog Angel how to read the universe.

So now, Sir Lollygagalot, does not accompany me so often, rather he remains in time-out in the Carolina room, thinking about how he has frustrated his kind, and patient, scrivener maiden.

And no, I do not mind standing still when I need to shoot video, and my upper arm starts to burn holy Moses, because that’s why we do fifteen-twenty minute planks nowadays, right?  And isn’t that what the corner of a bar is for anyway? A place for Captain Can’t-do Canon to rest and record activity without moving, while Princess Blog Angel sips a Perrier with lime?  (Just nod and keep your eyes moving along.) Any device that argues with my ego for more than sixteen hours, receives an appropriate insulting name, and is relegated to the corner of my Carolina room, until… whenever my mood changes.  Just ask the two Colonels Big & Little Red, and Zeus Buddha, the non-zense stone waterfall that corroded my double AA batteries.

So, yes, I have gotten used to those looks from IT professionals and other such trained engineers who groan when people like me walk into their shops with a couple of new words in their vocabulary, but that’s about it.

Fireworks reworked.

Yes, these were fireworks over the 18th at HarbourTown on July 4th, 2017! I worked very hard on this piece, so I’ll thank you all for NOT laughing.

I am also someone who – when mistakenly taking pictures in the night light setting, with the shutter stop at the wrong speed, jamming up, and the focus going in and out, and finally the darn thing pops a flash, with the resulting photo containing comet-like zig-zags – will allow people to think that I did it ON PURPOSE, as an effort of artistic expression, because I am known to appreciate, and dabble in, the creative arts, myself.

To wit;

HarbourTown Lighthouse 4th of July, 2017

True or False: Snazzy light rods w/ nuanced time aperture? Or, HarbourTown Lighthouse at dusk using wrong shutter feature?

Just ask my mother about the shadow boxes I make for her, or ask Johnny D, about my creative dvd’s, and singing-grams. 

So, I leave you all with one more bit of art work, which happened to be the first inspiration, when Tom Berrigan & Co. caught me staring up at the night sky last week, through Captain Canon Rebel T3i, just before the crowd went wild on the 18th fairway watching a Russian spyship shoot off some fireworks in honor of our 4th of July in HarbourTown.

I call this one, Moon over America the Free!  And no, this was not photo-shopped in any way.  It was a gimme, my retirement present on America’s birthday.

Moon over the 17th Fairway of HarbourTown

Nearing a full moon over the 17th fairway on the way to the 18th tee. A perfect orb looking down on American families gearing up for our nation’s annual candelabra to light up the night’s sky.

And as always, thank you for reading all the way down to this point.

Hilton Head Lighthouse Barbershoppers

barbershop-chorus

Bill Andrus conducts the Hilton Head Lighthouse Chorus, December 2 at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Bluffton, SC (HHIBarbershoppers.org)

[The following unedited article is the PG-13 version of Sunday’s Island Packet, ‘Only on Hilton Head’, found in the Features section on page, C9, behind the half-page ad for activating your online digital Packet.]

If it weren’t for barbershop quartets, I probably wouldn’t know the second or third verses of most popular songs.  That’s because not only to barbershop singers know how to harmonize like nobody’s business, they also ANNUNCIATE clearly each word, so that we’re not all bellowing perfectly, “GLOR…OORR…oorr…oorr…or…RIA, in excelsis Deo!” and then mumbling into, “Shemp and Moe…m-hm…Curly… Why mhm…Gus trains…beer bong…” trailing on similarly for two more excruciating lines until we all belt out, “GLOR…OORR…OORR…oorr…or…RIA,” like we really mean it, darn it.  Alleluja, Angels We Have Heard on High.  Ta-da!

As one might guess, we paid close attention to the lyrics during the Holiday Serenade at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Malphrus Road, in Bluffton, Friday, December 2.  It helped that the programs they handed out included lyrics to all the carols so we could sing along (no fudging it that night with the Stooges, no siree). And might I say, what a lovely treat to hear Christmas carols sung in perfect and whimsical harmony by our own Hilton Head Island Lighthouse Chorus (www.hhibarbershoppers.org), a chapter within the Carolinas District of the Barbershop Harmony Society.

My neighbor Dennis Miller, sings bass in his own quartet within the Hilton Head chapter, and is busy making the rounds of assisted living facilities, offices, and churches this time of year.  Anyone who hasn’t booked a barbershop serenade, or attended a concert of barbershop chorus singers, is missing out on a very special, sometimes forgotten art in American vocal music history.

Barbershop singing began in the early 1800’s in American towns, before there was easy access to any kind of public entertainment.  Men would gather around barbershops – literally, it was a hangout back then – and sing harmony to amuse themselves and impress the ladies.  The art of harmonizing has tentacles reaching out to urban areas where city dwellers gathered to make music without instruments.  Remember the vocals of the Drifters, Temptations, the Four Seasons, and so on, all have their roots in the barbershop style of harmonizing.

And while they entertained themselves, America most certainly benefited from a whole industry and genre of inspiring sounds that permeate churches, holidays, and Americana. And speaking of holidays, if you miss out on a Christmas serenade, the next big one is definitely Valentine’s Day.

“Every year, we are booked all day long on Valentine’s Day.  We charge a small fee for two songs, a rose, and a card, delivered to your sweetheart’s door.  And the songs are as hokie as you could possibly want.  ‘Let Me Call You Sweetheart’ is always one of them,” said Dennis.  This last is a song I can only hear in my head off-key, in Alfalfa’s trembling, cracking voice singing to Darla with bubbles flying out of his mouth, so maybe Johnny D will surprise me with a little hokie barbershop serenade this year, and I’ll finally hear how ‘Sweetheart’ is supposed to be sung.

(You definitely have to watch this, okay? Now, you will totally appreciate the harmonious, harmonizing of the Hilton Head Barbershoppers)

Barbershop choruses donate portions of their proceeds to benefit area music non-profits, like high school programs that need rebuilding. Currently, much of the Lighthouse Chorus proceeds are going towards rebuilding their own membership.  Sadly, the area chapter of harmonizers has dwindled from about forty singers ten years ago, to sixteen or so, presently, as interest in the genre has waned.  Participating in competitions is also part of the annual schedule of events for members, an added perk of traveling that they enjoy.

The Hilton Head chapter encourages anyone interested in participating or listening to them rehearse or simply learning more about how to become a chorus singer (you only need to love to sing, the program says), to attend any of their weekly rehearsals on Tuesday night at 7 pm at the Cypress Clubhouse in Hilton Head Plantation, 20 Ladyslipper Lane, 29926.  You can call for more information, (843) 290-9517 or email, contactus@hhibarbershoppers.org.

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

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.

Father’s Day Special – Hilton Head’s Own, Steppin Stones, Featuring a Chip Off the Old Block

Rockin on Hilton Head

Steppin Stones Drummer, Ryan Tye, Vocals and Lead Guitarist, Hannah Wicklund, and vocals & bass guitarist, Mick Ray

Have you ever gone completely slack-jawed, blown-away by a live band that you’d never heard of?  Well, now I have.  And that band is Hilton Head Island’s own, Steppin Stones, born and bred right here on the South Carolina geologic tennis shoe.  I first saw this band at the Chamber of Commerce Christmas After Hours party 2012, where I had gone to connect with local businesspeople and promote myself.  I ended up connecting with exactly – goose-egg – new business contacts, except for Gregg Russell and Mira Scott (two of Hilton Head’s most renowned artists, whom I already know, and who don’t need my services by any stretch of the imagination), who were also hanging out front row while the Steppin Stones blasted out “Gimme Shelter like nobody’s business.

It might amuse you to know that the Steppin Stones is comprised of three teenagers, who rock down the chandeliers with as much talent and  gusto as their predecessors, a la Steppenwolf, and the Rolling Stones; two bands by the way, who entertained us waaayyyyyyyy back yonder before these kids were born.  But you knew that already.  The great thing about this band is that you can bring the whole family and totally rock yourselves OUT.  Your kids will love this group, because they’re watching their contemporaries on stage, while you will also love them, because they’re playing our favorite tunes from our own, said, formative years.  The whole event resolves the paradox of being safe AND totally cool.  And, as everybody knows, that’s really hard to do these days.

band poses for album

Picture from self-titled 1st cd portfolio shoot.

How did such a trio begin?  Well, apparently, while many kids around the age of seven are watching tv and playing video games after school, these three decided it was more fun to make a whole lot of racket in the garage.  So, under the watchful tutelage of two well-known island artists, Nancy Mitchell and Matthew Wicklund (lead singer, Hannah Wicklund’s, parents) the Steppin Stones emerged out of Palmetto Bay bedrock.  Oh joy, you say, will they be on America’s Got Talent?  Not any time soon, since this band is already booked all summer long, and everybody within lowcountry regional earshot has already heard of them.  Lead singer and guitarist, Hannah Wicklund, and bass guitarist, Mick Ray, started out playing piano when they were each six years old, and went on to take guitar lessons for five more years.  Ryan Tye began drumming at age eight.  Their manager/roadie/sound guy is Hannah’s father Matt Wicklund, who is the go-to man if you want ever want to book this group.  Mom, Nancy Mitchell, is renowned for her paintings and murals that can be seen in various island public venues and private homes.

Since officially forming the band in 2006, Hannah, Ryan, and Mick, have improved and honed their repertoire substantially, taking on classic rock songs with edge and confidence.  Not afraid to tackle the difficult ranges of Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Mick Jagger, they will transport you to a time when young up-and-coming bands actually played instruments and wrote their own music.  And in keeping with their rock muses, the Steppin Stones also write and produce their own music, which is for sale on cd’s at any of their concert showings.  Sample the video below, where they sing one of their original songs, “Make Up Your Mind,” (starts about four minutes in).  This past January, their 2nd cd hit the Internet called, Handle Me, and is doing quite well.  Currently appearing three nights a week at different Hilton Head venues (see schedule below), Hannah and her bandmates – now, age sixteen, Mick, seventeen,  and Ryan, seventeen – graduated high school this year, and are looking towards their own careers in music.  So, if you want to catch up with them before they are too famous, and tickets to their concerts are the price of a small mortgage payment, you will most definitely want to check them out this summer on Hilton Head Island.

SUMMER, 2013 SCHEDULE:

Thursdays 6:30-8:30 pm, Coligny PlazaFridays 4:00-7:00pm, Hilton Head Beach and Tennis; and Saturdays 7:30- 9:30 pm, under the Liberty Oak in Harbour Town 

For info and bookings, call: 843-842-2380 or email: thesteppinstones@aol.com                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And finally, in honor of Father’s Day, I implore only islanders who have been here since the early ’80’s to read on (anyone else will be bored to tears beyond this sentence).  For those of you who may or may not have been of a certain age and living in Hilton Head thirty years ago, you may wonder, from what pedigree doth Hannah Wicklund spring?  Ah… I am pleased to connect some dots for those of you who weren’t drowning in a beer bong at that time (or maybe you were).  There once was a seaside cantina upstairs on the beach side of Coligny Plaza, in what is now known as The Big Bamboo restaurant.  The cantina was known to local ne’re-do-wells as Dos Borrachos, which translates (most inauspiciously, I might add) to Two Drunks.  Yes, I know.  We are so proud, that this classy, gentile, family-oriented island was once home to a Mexican restaurant so named, Two Drunks.  Very impressive.  Well, it certainly spoke to the clientele, as I remember visiting (for entertainment and educational purposes only) with my best friend Amy on occasion, which would make us, dos senoritas entering to enjoy con queso and imbibing mucho cerveza, and exiting as dos borrachos.

Why do I mention this short-lived late-night dining pleasure from back in the day?  Because starting at the early-bird crack of 11:00 pm, playing until the wee, 3:00 a.m.-ish on the weekends, we would rock out like idiots to the vivid music of Joe Walsh, Lou Reed, and the Young Rascals, as played by a  local musical ensemble known as, the most prestigious, Bonzo Brothers (who later became the Truly Dangerous Swamp Band).  Again, you ask… the point?  Well, the point is, the drummer for the aforementioned Brothers Bonz’, was the one and only manager/roadie/sound guy of today’s rockin’ Steppin Stones, Matthew Wicklund, FATHER of lead singer, Hannah!  (Whew… wasn’t sure I could put all that together coherently for you; or maybe it wasn’t very coherent, I’m sure I’ll find out.)  So how cool is that?  A Truly Dangerous Bonzo Brothers Legacy, lives on as we live and breathe on Hilton Head Island.  Now, wasn’t that worth reading all the way down to this point?

And if I wanted to riff on the Dos Borrachos connection all day long (but I will spare you my immature ramblings for the most part, except for this one more thing), I could mention that sometimes, I went to the late-night cantina with both Amy, and another best bud, Steve; then I could say that three amigos entered the bar known as Two Drunks, and came out as Tres Borrachos.

Okay, that’s all.  I’m done now.  I think that’s enough double-pun-entendres.  Happy Father’s Day, everyone.

Traffic? What Traffic?

Traffic Jam in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Reminding Us It Could Always Be Worse.

Okay, I am here to address an obvious issue that no one wants to talk about, but it’s important that we acknowledge it for the good of all our guests and residents so that we, known collectively as, LoversOfHiltonHeadIsland, can continue moving forward in a positive, happy, progress-oriented, development & tourism-friendly, direction with an ear towards the welfare and betterment of this precious coastal community.

No, I am not running for office.

Just thinking out loud about how to handle this wonderful problem of abundance, that is impeding everyone’s steps to realizing their joyous, family, fun, relaxing, vacation week, for which they have all worked so hard all year, and for which buoys up the entire state of South Carolina’s economy as well as the small businesses lining the highways up and down the eastern seaboard.

It is to our visitors’ advantage to take a vacation by enjoying the beaches, entertainment, watersports, tennis courts, golf courses, restaurants, boutiques, and marina sunrises/sunsets, and ocean breezes on the rooftops and sailboats under the palmetto fronds and stars, allelujah.

It is to the residents’ and business owners’ advantage that visitors can enjoy the aformentioned amenities so that they can stay afloat during the off-season (of which beautiful temperate months like October and April go by, without crowds, when you can run all day long on the beach with your dog off-leash, schedule tennis court & tee-times the same day you want to play, and walk into a restaurant without a reservation and not worry about getting soused at the bar beforehand because your group is the the last on a two-and-a-half-hour wait-list for a six-top at the Blue Marlin, and, oh by the way, “the kids want to sit outside to watch the boats docking”…), on this incredible, unsinkable, environmentally-sound, cruise liner, known as Hilton Head Island, if you will pardon the ongoing, nautical metaphor.

It need not be said that we all need each other and care for each other and want one another to have a great day plowing through whichever category of LoversOfHiltonHeadIsland, in which we may fall. So, in the spirit of lets-just-laugh-and-relax-at-the-island’s-growing-pains, remember that, before you get angry, and throw eye-daggers, and certain specific hand signals, or growl, snarl, and honk, the person who is slowing down, may just want to say, “Welcome to Hilton Head,” or, “How may I help you?” Or, they may be a local in need of roadside assistance, for example, as depicted here:

Concert on the Green, Presented by The Jazz Corner at Palmetto Bluff

 

Teri Rini Powers Trio Performs on the Green at Palmetto Bluff

       For those of you who enjoy lowcountry scenery, a nostalgic step into a bygone era, and cool marsh breezes while driving through live oak tree-lined roads with our ubiquitous Spanish Moss providing extra sun protection, an outdoor concert at Palmetto Bluff  is precisely the day out for you.  And, proof that you will never run out of fun things to do on Hilton Head, as long as you’re paying attention. 

View of May River from the Town Green at Palmetto Bluff

       At The Vacation Company, we try to inform our guests and friends of everything there is to do and add our own recommendations, yet there is always something more, and extraordinarily suitable for all tastes and ages, like the jazz concert we experienced last night on the Palmetto Bluff town green with about six hundred other music lovers.  This lovely development along the May River is home to the award-winning five-star boutique hotel known as the Inn at Palmetto Bluff, and is arranged around the burned ruins of a prior mansion.  The lamplit streets and reconstructed buildings surround the town square where the house once stood, and is now a gorgeous landscaped park perfect for outdoor events overlooking the water.

 

The Inn at Palmetto Bluff & Jazz Lovers

 Kudos to the organizers, sponsors, and performers who made this classy, family event both affordable, and noteworthy.  The $25/car donation went to Bob & Lois Masteller’s (owners of The Jazz Corner), philanthropic outreach program, the Junior Jazz Foundation (JFF), whose dual missions are, “the preservation of the American art form of jazz through the education of young musicians by supplying instruments, scholarships, classes, seminars, a summer jazz camp AND presenting quality live music performances to the community to continue to ‘Keep Jazz Alive'”.  Concerts and events outdoors at Palmetto Bluff occur every so often throughout the season, so if you are visiting with us, please check the newspaper, or here at HiltonHeadsUp, or one of the many local online event calendars.  It’s a blast!

Hilton Head Vacation Beach Property Highlights

      Three extraordinary properties, each unique unto itself, grace our blogspace today.  What they have in common are serious location draws.  For example, beach proximity (so close, you’ll still have ice in your Coke by the time you get from the fridge to your beach towel), major STYLING upgrades, and excellent views of the sea and sky from various rooms and patios.  These primo properties are also near seasonal live entertainment venues, like the Wreck of the Salty Dog, Coligny Plaza, and the Holiday Inn Tiki Hut.

Holiday Inn Tiki Hut

     Also within daiquiri-drinking distance, are beach-volleyball games, fountains to play in, clothing boutiques, souvenir shops, boardwalk shopping, fine-dining restaurants, cafes & lounges (with al fresco seating), water sports, and charter fishing boats.  So you can park it on arrival, and not start your engine again until check-out. 

Rear View, 101 Dune Lane

     101 Dune Lane, North Forest Beach.  Absolutely, one of our best beach-oriented villa rentals,  this 5 BR, 5 BA home has it all for a multi-family vacation week of fun. Updated with great colors, and several great rooms/deck areas for age groups to escape each other and still have a blast. 

Living Room, 1870 Beachside Tennis, View of Pool & Daufuskie

    1870 Beachside Tennis . Great villa for a family or couples; 2 BR, 2 BA South Beach condo. And Calibogue Sound beckons from your deck.

Port Villas Backyard View, Calibogue Sound & Daufuskie

    1620 Port Villa.  New to our listing and upgraded to the nines!  This 4 BR, 3.5 BA condo in the South Beach neck of the woods in Sea Pines has features and amenities that don’t stop.  And a view to die for.  Or a view to a kill… or whatever.  Wasn’t that a Bond movie?

    Additionally, if you take advantage of some of our local business offerings that will stock your fridge before you arrive, drop off and pick up your rental bikes at your door, and leave you with strollers, cribs, and accessories for the little princes and princesses of your fantasy Hilton Head Sandcastle, you can brag about how your vacation didn’t leave a carbon footprint when you get back to the office because you didn’t have to drive anywhere.   See how we think of everything at The Vacation Company?  We even make you look good for your jealous associates at Corporate when you return with suntans and fishing stories.

     Remember that all of the aforementioned businesses’ brochures contain instructions and fees (and some with discounts if you mention that you are guests of Yours Truly), will arrive two weeks ahead of time via U.S. Mail in the form of a Vacation Company Welcome Packet.  So you won’t even have to think about such mundane chores after driving thirteen hours over mountains, deserts, and swamps, through wind and pelting rain to get to our beloved oasis on the coast.  Yes!   Is there anything else we can do for you?  Give us a call if we missed something.  800-845-7018, or post it here.

    Search here for more pictures and properties with views like the ones mentioned, or if you have any questions about the ones highlighted in this blog, just call a Vacation Company Angel at 800-845-7018.  Your family will LOVE you after vacationing in one of these gems!