Archive for the ‘Gervais Street’ tag
The date was, I think, 1983, at about this time of year, and pretty much everything was right with the world. The Carter years were over, I was at USC and had, after a bit of flailing around, found something I liked and was was good at that I figured I could spend the forseeable future doing. It was springtime and I was taking a fun elective, "Introduction to Cinema", or some such course title.
I can't now recall the professor's name, but he was quite entertaining and well versed in the material. I remember in particular one of his theories, probably not 100% serious, that people in the first few decades of the 20th century lived their lives much more dramatically than we do now. This would explain, he said, why silent movies look so over-acted to us, but yet when he went back to the original period newspaper reviews of the features, he invariably found praise for the naturalness of the performances. At any rate, we screened many of those silent classics as well as more modern flicks into the French New Wave period and beyond. The kicker for the course was that for the final project, we would split into groups and make our own short films.
Well, as it happened, one of my Computer Science friends was in the course with me, so we formed a group of two for the project. I had, from somewhere, a Super-8 camera with an attached flood, so we were good on the technical side -- all we needed was an idea and script.
Now, one of the films we had screened was Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal. I don't know what I would think of it now, but at the time, I believe we both thought it a bit pretentious, and more importantly, a good subject for parody (which could only be helped by the fact that everybody in the audience would have seen the film recently too). I recall very few of the details, but the key fact is that a robed avatar of DEATH was going around taking lives with visual metaphor of a candle going out. We figured that with modern medical technology and life support, HIS job might be a bit less easy. We kicked it around a bit and figured we could get a usable 10 minutes from the idea easily.
Since I had the camera, and there were only two of us, it was obvious that my friend was going to have to be DEATH. It was a bit of a problem that she didn't look at all spooky or dangerous, but she had some ideas for that. Now, she was from North Augusta, so I have no idea how she knew more about this piece of Columbiana than I did (other than I rarely paid attention to anything outside of a book in those days), but she walked us down to the Vista (which was not called that at the time) and into Bluestein's Dry Goods. I had only a vague idea what a "dry goods" store was and certainly would not have automatically included sheets in that category, but she easily found a good sized, inexpensive sheet, and we were out the door. Next we stopped at the grocery for some black Rit dye, and mixing that up in my mother's washer (I have no idea how the next load of clothes came out), we dyed the sheet black.
Wound in black sheets, and with a bit of white makeup, my friend was a perfect DEATH. Next we made some cardboard signs saying "Life Support", and got some trick birthday candles. We put the signs up over the end of hall double doors in LeConte College (the CSCI building at the time), and our tracking shots had DEATH wafting through the corridors of that building and through the doors into the "Life Support" ward. At that point, the idea is that we would cut to the trick candles, and that everytime DEATH would snuff one out, it would re-light. Finally, he would be so frustrated he would break the 7th Seal (on a bottle of Seagrams 7..) We planned the shoot for well after hours (there was no building security in those days) and everything went perfectly without a soul present to ask what in the world we were doing. We got enough footage that we figured we were golden and wrapped up.
Next, I had the film developed, and it was time to edit the movie together. At that point I was suddenly stricken with pollen season allergies like never before and never since. It was non-stop sneezing, and my eyes were watering so badly I literally could not see to use the Moviola. In the end, my friend had to take it and set it up in the downstairs computer remote in the (as we called it at the time, Physical Sciences building) and she edited the movie together completely on her own during her late night shifts as the computer operator there. She did a great job of it, and the film was a hit with the class, we got good grades and moved on to the next semester. As far as I know, she still has the reel somewhere, but I'm sure it's better in memory that it would be watching it again now...
And that's my Bluestein's story!
Art gallery, coffee house and dessert venue, Nonnah's has moved almost directly across the street from it's original Gervais Street location at 930, to 923 Gervais. Somehow I never became a regular at this place. I guess in part that's because I want it to be Kaminsky's and it's not. Every time I've stopped there, it has seemed very cake-oriented to me, and I want pie, cheesecake, tiramisu, mousse and creme brule..
Here is the new location:
Home decor store Madison Hall, in the old Greenbax Redemption Center building, either closed 28 February (as according to their web site, or is in the final days of operation. I suspect the later as when I went by last Saturday (2 March 2014) the Sale sign was still up, and there was no indication the doors had closed for the final time.
According to WIS, Bella Vista closed their doors in late August filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
An update to the story notes that the owner plans to sell the inventory during the bankruptcy procedings. Unfortunately it seems that this inventory includes already spoken-for (and deposit-paid-on) wedding dresses for soon-to-be-brides. Certainly not a good situation. When I took these pictures on 8 September 2013, that sale had apparently yet to take place (though signs for it were in place), as the store, while closed, looked fully stocked.
The adjacent bakery, Lady Antoinette's, is apparently associated and also involved in the bankruptcy.
(Hat tip to commenter Tom)
I like some Lebanese food quite well, but I never got around to trying Mezza perhaps partly because of the location and partly because of the Hookah Lounge aspect, which I was afraid might put me in a smoking section, something I have less and less tolerance for as the years go on.
At any rate, that's not an option anymore as they closed up shop on Christmas Eve and the place's site proclaims that the space has already been sold.
(Hat tip to commenter Justin)
UPDATE 16 October 2013 -- It's now open as Le Peep:
There was an article in The State about it. I didn't save the link, but the gist as I recall it was that the chain went into bankruptcy, and that as part of their reorganization to come out of it, they were closing stores where the rent was too high and the margin too low to make sense in their current status.
As of a few weeks ago, at least, their Pawleys Island location (really Litchfield, but everybody tries to say they're Pawleys nowadays..) was still open, so they still do have a bit of a non-Midlands presence.
(Hat tip to commenter MB)
This little building on Oak Street in the block between Gervais & Senate Streets caught my eye the other day. Although I must have seen it in operation many times riding downtown as a kid, I have absolutely no memory of it. As far as I can tell, there isn't even a street address on it anywhere, so google isn't particularly helpful either. To my eye, it was clearly a store, perhaps a small grocery, at one time.
Looking back at the post I did for the building in front of this on Gervais Street, I would guess from the paint jobs that the two buildings have the same owner.
Varn's Drug Store / Safran's Antique Galleries / Arcade Auction / I. Pickney Simons Gallery / Thai On Gervais, 926 Gervais Street: 2011 12 comments
I don't know anything about Varns Drug Store other than it was listed in Walsh's Columbia South Carolina City Directory for 1907-08, had "E H Varn" listed as the proprietor and is not there now.
Thai On Gervais was obviously many iterations after Varns. I know they listed in the phonebook from (at least) February 2007 through February 2011, but not in Feburary 2012. Given that, and the current state of the space, I think they must have closed sometime in 2011.
Traffic was heavy enough that I could not step into Gervais Street to get a good frontal shot of this place, but you can see from the sidewalk and side views that it has sort of a "work is being done" look. I did not see any permits or indications as to what is next here however.
UPDATE 11 June 2012: Commenter Larry casts doubt on this actually being Thai On Gervais, at least within the time period suggested by the phonebook. I will try to check the city directories next time I am at the library, but for now I am leaving it. (Varn's I am more confident about).
UPDATE 20 June 2012: After consulting city directories at the RCPL, I can say that from (at least) 1960 through 1970, this space (actually 926-930) was Safran's Antique Galleries. After that, it was apparently vacant for a good while. In 1995, it was listed as Arcade Auction (Charlton Hall Overflow) and from 1995 to (at least) 2000, it was I. Pickney Simons Gallery. That seems to have been the last tenant. No city directory lists Thai On Gervais, but that is definitely in phonebooks..