Archive for January, 2017
Well, the shuttering of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus has already been well discussed in Have Your Say. I'm one of the majority who haven't been to a show in decades, and don't really have any strong memories of the few times I did go (which would have been in the Carolina Coliseum), but the news brought me, my sister, my nieces and apparently three quarters of Columbia (judging by traffic) out to the show last Sunday, and I have to say I certainly enjoyed myself.
Rather than the traditional three-ring hodge-podge, this years show was themed, and had a overall plot, so in a way I guess it was more like a Cirque du Soleil presentation than sawdust and tent poles. The loose plot framework was that two boyhood friends had both become stellar ringmasters, one working for a circus master whose magic telescope let him pick the brighest "circus stars" and the other to an evil Russian-esque Circus Queen, Tatiana, whose mission was to poach those brightest circus stars to build her show. The framework let the misguided ringmaster do physical comedy and lead his army of clowns against the "good" ringmaster while the good ringmaster travelled from planet to planet recovering his stolen stars, which of course gave them many chances to perform.
Another innovation was the fact that, when not covered by various panels, the arena floor was ice, so there was a lot of skating involved too. All of the usual feats of deering-do were there, tumblers, trapeze artists, bareback riders, lion (well mostly tiger) tamers, as well as dogs and clowns. Only the elephants were missing.
Of course in the end, the two friends were reconciled and even Tatiana joined the combined show which set off for Earth so it could make good the tagline of being the greatest there too. To me it seemed an appropriate send-off for the end of an American institution.
The last time I saw The Beach Boys was on the now legendary 2012 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour in Atlanta. Since then, Mike Love and Bruce Johnston have been leading the "Beach Boys" flagged tour with the permission if not the participation of the other members, and Friday they brought the show to the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, a fairly intimate venue with great sound (in marked contrast to some of the outdoor venues I've seen them in over the years).
I got there about 40 minutes early and decided to have a concession stand hot-pretzel and beer while waiting: $13.50. Talk about your captive customers!
The shows started before the band came on with a video presentation with bits of Beach Boys' history and footage of performances from the last 50 years. Then the band came out and started into a back-to-back presentation of the surfing songs including "Surfin' Safari", "Catch a Wave", "Hawaii", & "Surfin' USA". The touring band is (at least for this venue) eight people. Mike & Bruce, of course, Jeff Foskett who has been with various band permutations since the 80s on guitar and falsetto, John Cowsill (from the 60s group "The Cowsills") on drums, Scott Totten on guitar and vocals, a Brian (not Wilson, obviously) whose last name I did not catch on bass and an energetic sax player whose name I did not catch at all as well as a second keyboard player.
I thought the sound was a little thin at the beginning on "Surfin' Safari", but they either made adjustments or everyone warmed up because things were much more solid after that. Mike did the MC duties and seems to be slipping into the role of "Elder Statesman" fairly well, something you might not have expected from the younger Love. His speaking voice had a bit of quaver, and at times you could hear his age in the leads, but on the whole he came over very well, including a long segment of "Do It Again" where he was completely unsupported by any other vocals for whole verses.
One of the criticisms Mike has gotten over the years is of running a greatest hits show rather than displaying the breadth of the Beach Boys catalog. In fairness, I think he knows what a festival audience wants, but in this venue he definitely showcased some of the lesser known gems including "Farmer's Daughter", "Kiss Me Baby", "Good To My Baby", "Surf City" & "The Warmth Of The Sun".
Although surprisingly Mike did not mention his recent memoir, the weight of history was definitely part of the show. One device, used several times, was having historical footage play behind the band while they performed a song. It was somewhat eerie at times to see current Mike singing in front of young Mike, closely in sync and often making the same gestures. That had to have taken a lot of practice. The band also paid tribute to the late Carl & Dennis Wilson by singing backup to historical leads: Carl on "God Only Knows" and Dennis on "Do You Wanna Dance?". This led into a segment where Mike touched on his Eastern beliefs about what goes on and what remains and introduced a well received new song "Pisces Brothers" that was largely a tribute to his late friend George Harrison.
Bruce got two notable leads during the show. One was, of course, his often covered and much loved "Disney Girls" while the other was "You're So Good To Me" during which he altered the original phrasing quite a bit, which was unexpected but largely worked, I thought. Speaking of which, I also noticed that Mike had written a number of new lyrics to "Getcha Back".
After a brief pro-forma walk-off, the band was back for an encore to close with two of their biggest crowd-pleasers Barbara Ann & Fun, Fun Fun (I can't put the version I recorded last night here, because it was very much a sing-along -- and I can't sing). I do have a few more videos to upload, so check this space again..
I got my ticket just after the North Charleston show was announced. Shortly after that, they also announced a show for 29 January 2017 at the Koger Center in Columbia. Folks, these guys are in their 70s: I highly recommend you go to the Columbia show if at all you can, because a) It's a great show & b) You may not have another chance.
I don't go down Plumbers Road(*) often. I've been to the travel plaza a few times, which is like stepping into the 70s again, and I've done a couple of closings there, but it has a few things you wouldn't expect to find, like a church and hotel along with the industrial building like this.
According to their site Speedy Pak was founded in Myrtle Beach in 1970 and and provides "expedited deliveries", "white glove service", and "in home deliveries". If google can be believed, they have moved from this I-20 frontage north a block to 201 Mcleod Road.
(*) Anyone know why it's called that?
Liberty Income Tax was the follow-on operation in this former Pizza Hut building near the top of Knox Abbott Drive. As reported by commenter Andrew, they are no longer in this building, having moved to 916 State Street.
The post-move pictures don't really show the whole building like the first one as it was raining hard enough that I was shooting through the passenger window so as not to get water all over my lens.
(Hat tip to commenter Andrew)
Hot Sub Stop was the follow-on operation to Subway in this Eastover location way out on the Sumter Highway. The first picture above was taken on 15 December 2013, and I know the place was closed when we drove back from cutting a Christmas tree in December 2016, so the closing was in the rather generous range between those dates. I'm just going to say 2015.
It was the 70s I guess when I first heard of The Limited, as they had a very catchy radio commercial whose refrain was
Look to The Limited!
That aside, I thought the name a little odd. I guess they were going for an "upscale" Limited as in "Limited Edition", but to me the name always brought up associations like "No, we don't have that, we're limited". Not that it really impinged on me either way as it was all women's clothes and I don't believe I ever set foot in any location.
This shop, at Columbiana closed in early January as part of the chain's axing of all its stores. Forbes has the story:
And another bites the dust.
Women's apparel chain The Limited on Sunday [8 January 2017] began closing all 250 of its stores across the United States and is slashing 4,000 jobs, the latest casualty of shopping's move online and the growth of fast fashion chains.
Interestingly, the article does not specifically say the chain is actually in bankruptcy of any chapter..
Fairground Plaza Hotel / Country Hearth Inn & Suites, 621 South Assembly Street: Winter 2017 (temporary?) no comments
I actually went to take some pictures of this place a couple of years ago after driving past it one day and seeing absolutely no cars in the lot. In the event, it turned out to actually still be open at that time, if apparently having a very slow week. I wondered when I saw comenter badger's heads-up if that would be the case this time or not, but they are actually closed this time.
The sign on the lobby door (which you cannot actually read in the picture here) says that they are temporarily closed for renovations. The general state of the lot suggests that it is yet early in that process, and that it was indeed needed.
(Hat tip to comment badger)
I made the mistake of driving out to get some shots of former parts shop around 5pm on a Friday, and traffic was pretty bad then. However, the building which sits on the corner of South Lake & Industrial Drives does have stoplight access for the turn, and I imagine that the next tenant, a Vape shop which is outfitting now, will probably do more of an evening business.
Google Streetview has a good shot of the place in operation here
(Hat tip to commenter IrmoJeff)
Mr. D's was the followup operation in this location to Gilligan's and as of Mid August 2016 was bought by Steve MacDougall, the mayor of Lexington who had already been general manager.
The restaurant's Facebook page indicates that it was in operation as late as 17 December 2016, but commenter Brian noticed it closed on 16 January 2016. As you can see, a note on the front door indicates that they planned to re-open on 1 February 2017, but the real-estate sign outside suggests that plan has been overtaken by events.
(Hat tip to commenter Brian)
The Lost Cajun was the follow-on operation to Yumilicious in this Lexington strip mall.
The State article on the closing mentions that there is another SC location in Greenville, and as far as I can tell, that location is still open, and the chain's site lists a number of restaurants in other states.
As you can see, the signage is already up for this storefront to become a Palmetto Subs location.
(Hat tip to commenter James R)