Imagine; From ‘Chaos Springs Creation’ Wafting From a House Called Imagine…

Music Wafting Through the Trees, is the title of Nancy Mitchell’s latest collection of wall sculptures and oil-on-canvases on display at the Art League of Hilton Head

Music Wafted Through the Trees Gallery

Art League of Hilton Head’s Exhibiting Member, Nancy Mitchell’s, ‘Music Wafted Through the Trees’, wall sculptures and oils exhibit in the gallery at 14 Shelter Cove through Sept. 23, 2017, with a special reception on Thurs. Sept. 7th, from 5 – 7 pm, featuring live music from Mitchell’s children, Hannah Wicklund and Luke Mitchell.

Once again, Nancy Mitchell captures all that is magical, wondrous, and musical, about living, working, dreaming, creating, and growing up in this Shambala, we call Hilton Head Island.  And, she does it all from her family home, IMAGINE, in Palmetto Bay.

UnderOak

‘Under the Oak’, oil, $1200.00

Having recreated South Carolina’s lowcountry scenes of morning mists, and marsh sunsets for thirty-plus years in oil-on-canvas landscapes, and commissioned murals all over the island, Nancy began sculpturing memories, inspirations, and people, in accessible wall sculptures, that she also paints reminiscent of shadow-boxes, but adding perfect, recognizable figures from the collective Hilton Head conscience.

LoveSong

‘Love Song’, clay, $350.00

Her work borrows from the fabric of Hilton Head’s quilt; decades upon generations of families reared in the marshes, lives sustained by shrimp boats, and oyster beds, children climbing live oaks, wax myrtle growing wild, and grand magnolia blossoms providing background perfume.  Throughout this tranquil history, kids learned to play music under the stars, at the knees of fathers, mothers, and touring bands, who sang outside the marina bars, and restaurants, through the coming years of development.

TikiHut

‘Tiki Hut’, clay, $275.00

One of the many glorious advantages about living in, and visiting this neck of the southeast coast (one that is oddly, under-promoted, in national marketing efforts), is the constant sound of live, Music Wafting Through the Trees wherever one wanders in the late afternoons, and into the wee hours of the next day, all over the island.

Oil on Canvas, Nancy Mitchell

‘High Divers’, oil, $850.00

 

Whether riding the bike trails, or walking along the beach towards a boardwalk, or putting into the 18th hole of the HarbourTown golf course late in the day, outdoor live music beckons from one of the many restaurants and outdoor bars for which Hilton Head is famous.

Mitchell_Hannah

‘Hannah’, oil, $1200.00

Nancy’s husband, Matt Wicklund, a house painter, and former drummer for the local rock band, The Bonzo Brothers, helped her manage a household that included her own art studio, and accompanying… supplies, but also two kids growing up as musicians practicing rock and roll in the house, going to school, and playing gigs all around the island.

Which led to one of the many enduring gifts of having children musicians always practicing in the house and performing in venues nearby; the constant, cosmic-like inspiration for fresh art themes for Nancy’s projects, like this current show at the Art League of Hilton Head’s gallery location in the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina building at 14 Shelter Cove. (see below for exhibit & gallery hours).

So, what does it really take to rear two kids in the arts realistically, and successfully?

“You can only help them by driving them to gigs, running sound and reminding them to practice. Then let them go, creatively,” Nancy says.

Family Tree Mitchell
***’Family Tree’, clay, commission example piece, not for sale.*** Ask Nancy Mitchell for more information about this excellent COMMISSIONED GIFT IDEA; a personalized Family Tree tailored to your family!

On giving out creative advice: “I remember, the only times I ever noticed if Hannah made a mistake while she was performing, was when she would look over at her dad while he was doing sound. It was really funny, because I told her to stop telegraphing that she made a mistake, and maybe he wouldn’t notice either.”  Nancy also remembers being critical of her son Luke who – later on – told her, that he remembers what she had advised, when he is on stage.

Most importantly, from the Oracle Nancy, “Sometimes being supportive is knowing when to be quiet.”

It’s not a coincidence that a hurricane sharing the moniker with Father Matthew, railed through Hilton Head almost a year ago, lightening up the spaces between the sandy southern coast, and the branches of the remaining trees, including a total ass-kicking at the Wicklund’s. Fully recovered from the devastation, the painted sign is back up above the front door, imploring guests to IMAGINE. Forget welcome. Artists and musicians OWN welcome. You’ve got to imagine, if you’re going to enter the House of Wicklund.


Music Wafted Through the Trees
Exhibition runs August 29 – September 23, 2017

Opening Reception, free and open to the public
Thursday, September 7, 2017, 5pm-7pm
featuring live music by Hannah Wicklund & Luke Mitchell
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday
10am – 4pm and 90 minutes prior to all
Art Center of Coastal Carolina performances.

For more information, call: 843-681-5060 or www.artleaguehhi.org

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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.

Hilton Head Prep Proves You CAN Go Home Again – Celebrate 50 Years of HHPrep!

Entryway to Hilton Head Prep

         Welcome to Hilton Head Prep

Thomas Wolfe once wrote a book called, You Can’t Go Home Again.  He was my favorite novelist when I was a teenager on Hilton Head in the late 1970’s.  It was very romantic, nostalgic, and sad I recall, when the young protagonist, George Webber, came home to the United States, only to find that things had changed while he was away in Europe, and nothing was as he remembered.

And that is very similar to my experience as a youth on Hilton Head in the 1970’s, leaving for college later on, staying away for seventeen or so years, and then returning to find that my high school alma mater has changed quite drastically, and yet, in quite an exceptional way.

Recently, I was invited to lunch at the new, improved, Hilton Head Prep to introduce me to the newest headmaster, Jon A. Hopman, and re-introduce me to what Hilton Head Prep offers the Island community.  Which is quite a lot, I have to say.

Jon Hopman

Headmaster, Jon Hopman

Prep English teacher Peg Hamilton,

English Teacher

Teacher of English, Peg Hamilton

who attended the luncheon meeting – along with Margot Brown (Director of Development and Finance)

Margot Brown, bio

Margot Brown, Director of Development & Finance

Bethany Wilkinson (Director of Communications and Alumni Relations), and Headmaster Hopman – reminded me that Hilton Head Prep is entering its fiftieth year, as a private island school.

Bethany Wilkinson

Bethany Wilkinson, Director of Communication & Alumni Relations

Rather alarmingly, it occurred to me that I was also into my fiftieth year.  Hmmm…..

“The Super Bowl began officially, in 1965,” said Ms. Hamilton.  As did, “the movie, Dr. Zhivago, the Voting Rights Act, the Pillsbury Doughboy, the song, I Got You Babe (Sonny & Cher, in case you forgot), Medicare/Medicaid was enacted, the Grateful Dead was touring, and the Beatles played at Shea Stadium to adoring crowds,” she noted with pride.  Yours truly, was born then as well; apparently this was an auspicious time for first-year, Gen-Xer’s.  Yeahhh.

Trophy Case

Hilton Head Prep Trophy Case in the Joe Fraser Athletic Building.

All that was going on, while a little building in Sea Pines, was gearing up for classrooms, so that the few residents of Hilton Head at the time, could send their kids to a private school located on the island.  In those days, most kids like Mike Lynes (Islander extraordinaire – see Island Packet, Only On Hilton Head – August 22, 2015), had to trek by boat, or school bus, or in some cases, carpools, all the way to Beaufort, Savannah, and Bluffton (before the Cross Island Parkway) – that was a haul, to traverse this island back then.   


Invitation

Prep Alumni Social

Don’t forget Prep, SPA, and MRA Alumni, this Fri. 10/09/15  is HHPrep Homecoming. Dolphins vs. Thomas Heyward Rebelsbegins at 4:30.  Alumni Social starts at 7 pm at the Lucky Rooster in South Island Square.


Girl Reading Statue

Student Reading Sculpture has Been on the Campus for Many Years.

In the seventh grade, we had to drive to Savannah in late August, to buy back-to-school supplies and clothes.  It was also cool in the 1970’s to smoke cigarettes while driving (just watch any film made during that decade).  And Sea Pines Academy (known as SPA prior to 1985; the year May River Academy – of Bluffton – merged with SPA to form Hilton Head Prep) was right up there in the ‘cool’ sphere, when seniors were allowed to smoke at the picnic tables by the lagoon, next to the parking lot, where they were also allowed to park their cars.  So, they could drive to school WHILE smoking (a 1976 ‘cool’ bundle), park, and stroll into the rear door just in time for morning meeting.  I couldn’t wait to be a senior, so I could drive, smoke cigarettes, and park by the lagoon.

Yearbook Soccer Team

SPA Varsity Soccer Team, circa 1977

PrepBasketBallCourt

Present-day Outdoor Basketball Court, with Palmetto Tree in the Foreground

This was also back in the day, when we were proud to have as an alum, one of the famous Heritage Golf Course streakers, whose name nobody would give up to the authorities, not even today.  And not even now, would I tell you what I know, because this is a well-guarded Prep Alumni secret, along the lines of where Jimmy Hoffa is buried and where Whitey Bulger was hiding out all those years.

As you can imagine, times have changed somewhat, and of course, there is no longer a sequestered place at the school for seniors to hang out, and smoke… anything.  Yes, you will be glad to know, the Sea Pines family culture has evolved to healthier past times here on Hilton Head Isle (or so I’m told).

Signs at School

Modern-day Directions Through a Sprawling Campus. Before the ’80’s, the School wasn’t Big Enough to Need Signage.

We have also moved forward from, doggin’-it outside to the math trailer, to ‘integrating to an online curriculum at the Digital Learning Academy’.  Wow.  They’ve got way more technology and learning programs than we ever did, back in the day.

School Gymnasium

Joseph Fraser Field House – Beautiful Gymnasium by the Forest Preserve

Not only that, but Hilton Head Prep has a boarding school for international students, and also assists qualifying families with financial aid procedures, and there’s even an Alumni Legacy Scholarship.

And, this year, Hilton Head Prep implements the American College Testing (ACT) and SAT Prep Courses for high school students who want to amp up to college with all kinds of elevated aptitude test scores.  Also new, Prep gets to utilize the generous donation of the Main Street Theater for performances during the school year.  That, along with outreach programs that work with Smith Stearns and Van Der Meer Tennis Academy students, Junior Players Golf Academy (JPGA), and Lawton Stables Riding Academy students, has brought Prep standards to greater new heights.

Signs and statues

Always Putting Students First at Hilton Head Prep

Boy, it’s come a long way from walking to a math trailer after lunch, and smoking cigarettes by the lagoon.  Looking back, I would have to say that most Prep changes are definitely for the better.  I think I’ll make it to a couple of football and basketball games this season, just to see how much the campus has changed and grown. 

School Cafeteria

Hilton Head Prep              School Cafeteria

There will be a lot of commemorative events this upcoming 2015-16 school year, especially during February, 2016 – HHPrep’s Official Jubilee Celebration Month – as Hilton Head Prep celebrates fifty continuous years educating Hilton Head children.  If you’re new to the island, or coming home again, stop by and check it out. 

And below, you might enjoy a trip down memory lane. The whole student body joined together in 2012 to shout out, “Thank you for making a difference,” for the making of an alumni dvd.

Call for directions, 843-671-2286, or visit their website for a calendar of upcoming activities and events, http://www.hhprep.org/.

Just remember to leave your cigarettes at home.  I’ve heard there’s no smoking allowed on the grounds, now.

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.

Parasailing Above the Calibogue Sound of Harbour Town, Hilton Head Island.

Parasailing above Hilton Head

Hello from Above! Carmen & Jesse Parasail Over Harbour Town

Hello again. You’re probably wondering where I’ve been for the past few weeks (or maybe you’re not, and now you’re thinking, “Wow. Is she full of herself or what, if she thinks I’ve checked here for a blog post in recent memory. I sure have lots more things to do than see what trivial minutiae Blog Angel is yammering on about.”), and if you are, I’m sorry to be remiss lately in reporting on the many extraordinarily fun things there are to do on Hilton Head Island.

But you see, in order for me to write about these extraordinary activities, I have to experience them myself first, while collecting information with note-takings, research, picture, and video-taking, and/or, chasing down other people’s smartphone pictures who were enjoying the activity with me and had to take the pictures (because I couldn’t take a picture of myself at the same time as holding onto the straps of a parachute with both hands). Then, I have to edit the notes, pick the best pictures, and/or edit the video and then search iTunes for suitable accompaniment to the visual art.  It takes alot of time and painstaking thought to intertwine this multi-media feast into a coherent blogpost, and I can’t just go into my own playlist and throw up any old Velvet Underground rockin’ song that I happen to like with a video that may not speak to Hilton Head Blog Angel‘s audience demographics.

All of this investigative journalism takes great time and care and fact-checking, and so that’s why sometimes a few days or weeks go by between blog posts. I know that’s a bit more information than, “the dog ate my homework,” but I like to explain where I’ve been, so you all don’t think I’m just kicking around down here, lollygagging on the beach days, with an umbrella drink in my fist, laughing my way to the bank.  Which, by the way. is something I’ve never seen anyone do (laughing their way into a bank, that is). Real artwork is always in progress, and sometimes I have to wait a little extra for the content to be workshopped at the Boston area’s Exclusive Writer’s Forum, a very elusive group of elitist-type writers, who critique one another’s work with filet knives and switchblades, thereby rendering you a sobbing, insulted artiste, with nowhere to go but up.

Digressing, again…

Back to parasailing. My cousins from Virginia were in town a couple of weeks ago and 17-year-old son, Jesse, had not experienced this exciting watersport activity before, so we scheduled a trip for him to join me and get an aerial view of the gorgeous, lowcountry seascape for which Hilton Head is so famous. Leaving out of Harbour Town on  an H20 Sports boat with two, rather buff-bod parasailing experts to hold our hands, we trolled out into the Calibogue Sound with all the other fun, outgoing, watersports-lovers who were going out on paddleboards, pirate ships, sportfishing boats, and kayaks (and sort of rolling their eyes at us novices giggling our way out to sea pointing, at every stupid thing that jumped, swam, or flew by),

Sean, our gentle leader, explained in a very relaxing voice, with cool undertones of been-there-done-that-please-don’t-worry-and-enjoy-this-fun-ride, what we would be doing before and during our delightful journey floating above the beautiful, scenic, southern end of Hilton Head Island. While, Jesse, my astute companion wondered aloud, what those dark, swirling clouds were doing a little over there, off in the distance above the vast Atlantic ocean, and asking, “isn’t this hurricane season down here?” To which we all responded, firmly and with courageous contempt, “Oh don’t be so alarmist, Jesse, they are just a few clouds that are blowing our way, and will pass by us with no drama. Please, can’t you enjoy yourself?”  To which, he just looked at us quizzically, and saying nothing, looked down to make sure the life-preserver jackets were indeed under our seats, somewhere.

Before going up on parasail

Jesse & Carmen Ready for Anything

No, we did not get caught up in a hurricane later that morning, but my clever young cousin was later fully vindicated, by news reports in the local paper the next day of water spouts (hurricanes’ ugly and dangerous second cousins) that did encircle Hilton Head at exactly the same time that we began heading back from our trip.  The moral of this tangent in my story, being, “listen to your teenagers and don’t write them off with scornful ha-ha’s, when they notice odd, weather patterns in the sky”.

So, to make this long story just a little longer, I want to say that we had a marvelous ride for about twelve – fifteen minutes, rocking quietly with the breeze and looking out over God’s blue earth from a comfortable, secure five hundred feet or so, while the boat pulled us lightly through the sky. It was a truly joyful experience and I thoroughly recommend this activity to anyone visiting Hilton Head and who would like to get a different angle on our little oasis along the southeast American coastline. H20 Sports did a great job explaining everything to us, and if we wanted to explore the area by kayak, or paddleboard, or simply cruise around the sound (among their many other watersport offerings), at a later time they were there to accommodate with similar experience and USCGA-licensed staff, secure equipment, and professional services.

Give them a call, 1-877-290-4FUN (4386) or check out their website.

Adios, and have a great week on Hilton Head!

Blog Angel signing off.

A Rippin’, Zippin’ Fun Ride at Broad Creek Marina.

Zipping Along at 75 ft.

 

      At The Vacation Company, we’d heard about it, read about it, and talked about it for weeks, and finally, Johnny D and I experienced it.  And for those of you who have been living under a rock for the past six months, I am speaking of the ONE, the ONLY, Hilton Head Island ZIPLINE at Broad Creek Marina.  This is a blast for the whole family (please check website for age/weight limits), and takes the pressure off parents who feel they  have to know everything. 

      Staffed with professionals, you are pre-screened for alertness and physical ability (read; awake and sober, preferably at the same time), then fitted with straps, harness, buckles, clips, helmut, gloves, and counseled to thoroughly sort things out under your clothes, so that nothing vital gets pinched during your zip (and for those of you semantically challenged, from here on out, zip refers to the ride, not the mechanism holding your pants up). 

      Then, there’s ground school.  These guys don’t miss a trick, and our guy Tom, a certified, career, risk-taking climber (among other certifiable things), carefully prepared us for all eventualities, including getting knocked in the head by an asteroid and dangling unconscious from the end of our lanyard hooked to the cable.  This of course, being a worst-case scenario as Tom also used much humor to relax us each time he told us something very serious.  Like, “Pay attention on each landing because there are no hand rails, and if you fall backwards, you’ll bang your shins like there’s no tomorrow.  The good part, is that you’ll never forget that there are no handrails again, right?  Ha, ha, ha…”  Johnny D thought Tom was very funny.

Landing Between Zips

      I will say that by the time we went for our first zip, I felt very comfortable and safe.  All the guides are very experienced and take their responsibilities seriously. Each group runs with five to eight people accompanied by two guides; one who leads off, and one who brings up the rear.   The front guy takes the zip first so you can see how fun and easy it is, while the back-end guide gently prods each zipper up to the line, reminding her or him of how fun and easy it is.  “Put your right hand on the trolley first, then the left, and cross your legs,” said Ashley to six different people, times seven ziplines.  Hey.  I know it sounds simple, but you try to remember all three things at seventy feet up in the trees while college kids on the ground point and laugh at you.

      The cool part is that you don’t have to get it perfect the first time.  You have several zips that take you higher and higher into the trees, until you are on an eighty-foot tower looking out over Broad Creek.  It is a beautiful view and very rewarding.  And actually, by the time we got to that point, it was no longer work, but had become the enjoyable ride for which we had hoped.  Each zip is a little higher and longer and faster than the one before, easing you into the whole experience.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for something new and fun to do with the family.  Currently, the zipline course takes about two and a half hours from beginning to end, and costs $85/person; which isn’t a bad deal for half a day’s ride through the trees.  Call for reservations: 843-682-6000 or book online.

Zipline Hilton Head is located at 33 Broad Creek Marina Way, Hilton Head Island, SC  29926.

 

 

Celebrate World Ocean Day with the Coastal Discovery Museum Friday, June 8, 2012

World Ocean Day, June 8, 2012

 

What better way to wind up a Hilton Head vacation week, than to visit the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn for a full day of presentations honoring our delicate ocean systems and wildlife? (That was a rhetorical questions… there is no better way.)  Beginning at 9:00 am on Friday, June 8, with Dr. Michael R. Denson of the Waddell Mariculture Center, followed by six more forty-five minute presentations ranging in subject from seafood in lowcountry restaurants, hearing measurements of bottle-nosed dolphins, sea turtle habits, sharks (natch), and human impact on marine environments.

Loggerhead Turtle

 

Space for each lecture is limited to the first sixty people who arrive.  For more information, check out their Facebook page for a full schedule of events, or call: 843-689-6767 or email: info@coastaldiscovery.org.  And if you can’t make it on Friday, check out the website for daily family and kid-friendly events and classes all about the lowcountry wildlife, history, and environment.

 

And for those of you who have never been to the Coastal Discovery Museum, take a walk around the gorgeous grounds of what was once known as Honey Horn Plantation… and bring your camera!

Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn

Located at 70 Honey Horn Drive, Hilton Head Island, 29926 just off the Cross Island Parkway: