Archive for the ‘events’ Category
Well, I don't really need much of an excuse to visit Fernandina Beach, one of my favorite places, so when my sister noticed that there was an Amelia Island comics, steampunk, gaming and anime convention, , I decided to check it out.
Compared to the Charlotte Heroes Convention, Ameliacon was quite small. There was one exhibit hall, in the park on Atlantic Avenue which houses the municipal swimming pool, with gaming and presentation events in the town womens' center behind the park. It seemed to me also that the convention focus was definitely more on gaming, costuming and cosplay than on comic books, though there were some authors and artists there.
I certainly felt out of the loop on some issues! Magna/Anime character design generally hurts my eyes, so I was pretty clueless about one of the properties that seemed to be a very big thing Attack on Titan. There were a number of costumers basing their characters on that. I was also completely in the dark about what is apparently a very popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale, something the contest winning cosplayers based their presentation on.
I missed the morning presentation on Steampunk, having somehow convinced myself that it was in the afternoon, but did catch an interesting presentation by Joshua Johnson on doing video special effects on, basically, zero budget.
The audio for the presentations was the most problematic facet of the convention. I got the impression from listening to one of the organizers talk during the costume contest that someone had promised the convention a PA system and then left them totally in the lurch. I could follow ok during the effects presentaion, and parts of the Marvel/DC artist's presentation, but I gave up during the Homestruck panel where the panel were all using their indoor voices, and where I was only sitting in to try to figure out what Homestruck actually was anyway.
The costumers were out full force in the exhibit hall, and then at the closing costume/cosplay contest.
During the costume contest, it was announced that the convention would be shifting out of the fall and into February, so there will be no Ameliacon 2015. The next will be Ameliacon 2016 though they did announce a sequence of local get-togethers in advance of that. I certainly enjoyed myself -- I don't know that I would have driven that far for a convention of that size in a place I didn't have other motives to visit, but in the event, it was a nice trip.
What A Field Day For The Heat
If you're the Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour with Brian Wilson to keep Mike Love in check, Mike Love to keep Brian Wilson on an even keel and the second most important catalog in rock history, you can open with the howitzers, drop back to hand grenades and finish with tactical nukes. Otherwise, you'd probably best stick with the standard rock act strategy of opening with small arms, dropping back to firecrackers and closing with the big guns -- which Crosby, Stills & Nash more or less did at the Township on Wednesday night.
The trio kicked the show off with "Carry On", and the signature tight (detractors say "painful") harmonies were spot on in a pretty decent sound mix:
They then moved fairly quickly to "Marakesh Express"
and "Just A Song Before I Go"
Inasmuch as there was a front man for the group, David Crosby took the role. He alluded briefly to his famously self destructive ways back in the day, and did most of the commentary and introductions. He seemed a bit froggy when speaking, but nailed all of his leads, sometimes with vocals of surprising power. Stephen Stills was vocally in worse shape. I don't know if it was due to being 69 years old, or if he just blew out his voice over the course of the tour, but it was very noticable on his solo leads -- not enough to spoil the enjoyment, but definitely there. Somehow his harmonies were still pure though. Graham Nash was the most retiring presence on stage, and didn't seem to have a lot to say.
During the "firecracker" portion of the show, CSN did several new tunes, both as a group and as three solo artists. I thought the best of these was a lament for the Tibetian monks who have set themselves on fire protesting Chinese rule of that mountain land.
The way they approached the solo and new material was a bit odd as often the two who were not involved with a song would leave the stage. It was certainly a reminder that CSN is as much three people showing up together as it is an organic group. While it gave each man a time to shine, I would have preferred the solo songs to be presented in group arrangements as was done very effectively with Still's famous ode to carnal convenience:
And with the exploration of Stills's previous membership in Buffalo Springfield:
The show closed with a meditation on education:
Big guns conspicuously silent: "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes", "Ohio", "Woodstock" and Neil Young.
Certainly a great show.
(Would have posted this last night, but was having a terrible time getting the video uploaded. I will swap out the low-res for high when I finally get it transferred).
I thought the possums in the attic had called in reinforcements..
Well, it's not 1973, and it's not 1979 (for one thing I have power!), but it is one for the record books.
Come to think of it, another way it's unlike those two is that I have absolutely no urge to go outside and play.
UPDATE 13 February 8:30 -- And now it's snowing again..
Brookgreen Gardens Nights of 1000 Candles 2013, Brookgreen Gardens (grand strand): 21 December 2013 2 comments
This years' was the warmest Nights of 1000 Candles I've ever been to. In past years, there have been times when I have been so cold that I couldn't feel the buttons on the camera, but this year was not just mild: We're talking bikini weather here (though even so attired, you would still have on more clothes than most of the statuary..).
In years past, I have either taken a tripod (now disallowed) or set the camera on something for long time exposures. This year, I just cranked the ISO up to 16000, 32000 and sometimes 64000 to see how things would come out. Obviously the results aren't as pristine as some in the past, but despite all the high-ISO noise, I think you get the general spirit. If you've never gone, well, it's too late for this year, but you should make some plans for next.
I think I last saw The Swimming Pool Qs on this stage about 1989. I guess they were touring in support of World War Two Point Five, the club was Rockafellas' and Ann Richmond Boston was on temporary hiatus.
Of course, by that time I had seen them several times, first, I think, at a Fourth of July concert at Bell Camp. Over the years they have always put on a great show, and Jake's was no exception. The mix could have been a bit better at times, but the performance was topnotch. I was a bit tentative about going into Five Points on a weekend night given all the recent events, but if anything was going on down the hill, it didn't make it up to Jake's and the crowd was, as you might expect, a bit older than the club norm.
I think this was the first time I've been to a show in Columbia proper since the smoking ban was passed, and while the libertarian in me chafes at it, it was great not to have to shed all my clothes into the washer and jump into the shower the moment I got home. (And great to be able to actually breathe the next day..).
Given that I don't think the Qs are the band's "day job" anymore, it's not too surprising that it takes a long time to get new music out, but I spoke a little with Jeff Calder and he said work is ongoing on the next album (after 2003's Royal Academy of Reality and that in fact a new EP will be out sometime this month. You should check Qs' web site for "The System Of Love".
In the meantime, you should definitely have the (long awaited) re-issue of their two A&M albums:
And the evening's most surprising event? I got a wet sloppy kiss from a drunk girl who was apparently under the impression I was a Q. I still can't figure that one out.
I'd heard the radio ads for the Carolina Renaissance Festival for years, but somehow never got around to going until the start of November. For one thing, I wasn't quite sure where Huntersville was (answer: just north of Charlotte), for another I didn't know if there would be enough there to be worth a weekend.
In the event, I was quite pleasantly surprised. The place is a couple of miles east of I-77 and has an interesting air of semi-permanence about it. The parking lot is obviously a pasture or some such non-graded space, and the buildings are all open to the air with porta-johns providing the facilities, but yet they are permanent structures, and the festival is now in its 20th year.
The crowd is an interesting mix. There are the standard parents-with-kids families out for a day of face painting and low-tech carnival rides, then there are the Society For Creative Anachronism types, the "healing crystals" and New Age crowd and the Celts and fairies crowd. One comic storyteller commented that there was a lot of crossover with engineering and science-fiction fandom types (and indeed SCA is strongly correlated with SF fandom..) such that he could tell Rene Descartes jokes ("Rene Descartes walks into a bar. The bartender asks him if he wants a beer. 'I think not', says Descartes and vanishes..")
The show people were great. Everyone had a line of patter to draw in a crowd (the fire eater: "I'm not that good. Come watch me, I might hurt myself!"), and kept up rapid fire comedy bits while swallowing swords ("You can only swallow a sharp sword once!"), walking the tightrope, abusing the peasants or juggling.
It was also a "something for all ages" event. As I mentioned there were plenty of kid friendly activities, but there was also a bit of a bawdy side for the grownups at events labeled LC ("loose cannon").
Here's a few videos.
From the sublime:
To the freaky:
To the dangerous:
To the NSFW:
And the even less SFW:
The Fair runs weekends through the rest of November.
Lots more after the jump.
Well, if you've been following Columbia Closings for a while, you won't find any real surprises here. I like what I like (mainly neon in the case of the State Fair) and you'll find a lot of what you found last year here this year again. I did try out the in-camera HDR setting of my LX7 some this year, and I think it works better for this kind of shot than it does for daylight ones where I've never really been happy with it.
I will say that for what should be an important anniversary year (150 years of the State Fair..) the Fair was a little sparse this year. It seemed to me that the artwork was fewer pieces spaced farther apart and the Steel Building (and the one to the right of it which name escapes me) had fewer booths this year, with some stalwarts missing. In particualr, I didn't notice the Hmong craft booth this year, and the Grey Market DVD booth was not there. There was also another surprising no-show which I'll mention tomorrow. And, granted it was Sunday evening, but still I didn't get to ride the bumper cars this year because I would have been the only car in the rink, and what's the fun of that?
Anyway, it was still fun to walk around, eat greasy food and watch the people and rides. Lots after the break!
(And check back in a few days when I finally have the skyride video uploaded..)
Adams Cabinet Works / @The Office / Tatiana / Offices & Self Storage / Tripp's Fine Cleaners, 9003 Two Notch Road: 14 October 2013 4 comments
Well, at least nobody was hurt.
When I heard about this fire, my first thought was It probably started in the Self Storage, and it seems I was right. The self storage (and office) facility was carved out years ago from the old Spring Valley Commons Theater, and I figured there was probably somebody storing something they shouldn't. It seems I was wrong about that second part though: The Fire Department is calling it arson.
The blaze looks to have taken out stores starting with Adams Cabinet Works and working clockwise from there, through @ The Office, Tatiana, the self storage facility and Tripp's Fine Cleaners.
Just from the looks of it, I think they'll have to knock down most of that wing. Given that there are a number of vacancies in the plaza, perhaps some of the stores can re-locate within Spring Valley Commons.
This is about the only good news to come out of Georgetown in the last few days.
I have been in a number of these businesses, and they are right in the heart of the downtown boardwalk.