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The Beach Boys, North Charleston Performing Arts Center: 27 January 2017   4 comments

Posted at 12:52 am in closing

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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.

Written by ted on January 29th, 2017

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Kmart, Inlet Square (Murrells Inlet): April 2014   6 comments

Posted at 12:17 am in closing

What with all the chatter lately about Sears and Kmart I thought I would *finally* get up these shots of the former Kmart at Inlet Square in Murrells Inlet. Part of the delay was I thought I had some other shots with the closing signage up somewhere, but if I did, I can't find them.

Anyway, this store opened, in the 80s as I recall, with great fanfare as it was the first Kmart anywhere to be attached to a mall, all the others up until that point being freestanding. That meant it was a bit of a square peg in a round hole in some ways: for instance, you could not take your shopping carts from Kmart into the rest of the mall (other than directly to and from the entrances).

The experiment apparently worked (for a while) as a similar attached store later opened at Briarcliff Mall (now Myrtle Beach Mall) though it too is now gone.

Here is a contemporary WBTW story on the store closing. It's particularly interesting as it gives the viewpoint of another merchant in the mall, who is saying essentially "Well, it's hurting me, but at least we still have Penny's, Belk and the theaters", the first and last of which have both now also closed..

I believe there is now a Planet Fitness in this space, I will try to get some shots next time I drive by (hopefully in the daytime).

Written by ted on January 11th, 2017

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Cafe Risque, 17301 NE US Highway 301 Waldo Florida: 2014   2 comments

Posted at 10:03 pm in closing

Where's Waldo?

As it turns out, the answer to this perennial question is "On US-301 just south of Starke". In fact, when I found this closed Cafe Risque this summer, I believed I was in Starke, and not this particular Alachua County metropolis of 1015 souls.

In the event, I had driven by the vacant building on the east side of the road, when the partial sign I had seen percolated to the front of my brain, and I turned around to get some pictures.

I had written about Cafe Risque before, when I noticed I was no longer seeing the I-95 billboards around Darien Georgia. Doing a little more googling this time, I see that the Cafe Risque story is a bit stranger than I might have thought: the whole chain grew out of a family restaurant empire called "Skeeter's Breakfast House". Apparently that legacy led to Cafe Risque's key insight: You could run strip clubs without alcohol if you put them in out of the way places and had decent food. Certainly, the regulatory hurdles are lower that way. Of course, it's questionable if that model still works as most of the places have closed in recent years (apparently one both opened and closed in Dunn after I left the Fayetteville area) though some of that may be due to the death of the man who was the chain's driving force as referenced at the first link above. As of this posting, it appears that the location on I-75 in Micanopy Florida is the only one left as described in this (somewhat NSFW) article in Gainesville Scene.

Written by ted on January 8th, 2017

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Don Pablo's Mexican Kitchen, 8717 International Drive (Orlando): October 2016   10 comments

Posted at 2:25 am in closing

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Well, Don Pablo's continues to dwindle away to nothing. As I wrote here, I used to like to go to the Columbia Mall location. Then when that closed, I was working in Augusta and used to like to go to that location. Then that closed, and I would hit the Charleston location from time to time, then that closed and I would stop by the Charlotte location once or twice a year, then that closed, and I would try to go to the Arlington location when I was in DC on business (hard if I had no car..), then that job evaporated and I would stop by the Atlanta location once a year or so, then that closed and I would hit the Greenville location when I had a leisurely weekend, then that closed, but I figured I could still hit the Orlando location on one of my periodic runs through Florida..

Well, no more. Orlando closed in October after the chain filed for Chapter 11 on 4 October 2016, as I found well after the fact.

It wasn't a total loss, driving down International, I had seen another Mexican place, Chuy's, so I backed up to there and had an excellent chile relleno, probably the best one I've had since I was in San Antonio.

Oh, and I don't think I know of a good way to be fired

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but this *definitely* is not it.

Written by ted on December 23rd, 2016

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Brookgreen Gardens Nights of 1000 Candles 2016, Brookgreen Gardens (grand strand): 2 December 2016   no comments

Posted at 12:47 am in closing

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This year the annual Brookgreen Gardens Nights of 1000 Candles festival is set up a little differently in that you need to buy your tickets online in advance. This was done to prevent overcrowding and expedite the often rather tedious entrance process. It worked well, but I think they may have perhaps shot themselves a bit in the foot income-wise because it did seem to to reduce the crowd a good bit from previous years. At any rate, I chose 2 December this year, and the night was quite comfortable, not as cold as some years where I could barely feel the camera buttons through the frostbite, nor as warm as one or two years when I didn't need a jacket at all.

There's always a bit that's different or new every year, but this year the changes were fairly modest: I think the only one that really comes to mind is a new field of staked candles on the green space in front of Pegasus. The vintage christmas display did have some new roller coasters on the Lionel display, and they really zipped along!

The festival is running weekends through 18 December, so if you have some spare time, and are in, or can get to, the area, I highly recommend it.

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WallerBears Surf Shop, 4723 Kings Highway (Myrtle Beach): Summer 2016   1 comment

Posted at 11:08 pm in closing

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Well now, despite my taste in music, I'm probably the last person in the world to walk into a surf shop. So when I noticed that WallerBears in Myrtle Beach was closed (sometime after 18 June 2016 according to blog), it was not because I regretted missing the chance to freshen up my water wardrobe, but because I missed the sign, which impressed me enough several years ago that I took quite a few pictures of it:

Written by ted on December 5th, 2016

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The Marketplace Antiques And Consignment, 11195 Ocean Highwayh Pawleys Island: Summer 2016   1 comment

Posted at 12:10 am in closing

This old building had been a number of things over the years, most of which I cannot at all recall, but I think at one time it was a "reproduction" furniture store, and at another time an arts & crafts store.

In fact, it was in that later incarnation that was the only time I went inside, and then only by mistake. I believe it was in the 90s, and the south strand did not yet have a lot of options for coffee. Certainly there was nothing like today's environment where every McDonalds has decent specialty coffee (and excellent regular coffee). I don't believe that Latte Litchfield had yet opened, (though the Chocolate & Coffee House in the Litchfield Exchange a mile or so north had). At any rate, to get back to the story, I was driving back to the Island and saw a sign on this building advertising Cappuccino, and thinking a late afternoon caffeine fix sounded pretty good, I turned in.

Well, as it happened, I had misread the situation, thinking that the whole building was one business, when in fact it was two. The arts and crafts store was in main front part, while the cafe operation was in the attachment to the rear, and was closed for the day, something of which I was unaware. In fact, the arts and crafts operation was closing too as it was, I think, 6pm, and as I stepped inside, the guy was turning off the lights.

He promptly turned them back on, showing rows of items I had no interest in buying (not that it was bad stuff, but I was just looking for coffee) and starting a speil about local craftsmen. In the end, I felt bad enough about causing him to re-open when he was obviously ready to leave for the day, especially when I had caused him to do so through my mistake, that I ended up buying a hand painted sheet-metal lizard magnet to make myself feel a little better about putting him to the trouble and hopefully to make him feel I had hadn't totally wasted his time. The lizard actually turned out to be a cheery little piece that is still on our refrigerator.

Both the craft store and the cafe closed fairly shortly thereafter, but as you can see from these pictures, both spaces were reoccupied, and lizards continued to be associated with the property.

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Written by ted on November 12th, 2016

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"Chapel View", Myrtle Avenue Pawleys Island: 2 November 2016   1 comment

Posted at 12:35 am in closing

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When I was on the Island after Matthew, I found things in surprisingly good shape, at least since my refence point was Hurricane Hugo. The Island lost only one house during the storm, and that from fire.

However, there was obviously a good bit of storm damage, and I noticed that this house, which somehow had never struck my notice before, was in sad shape. Since it sat almost directly across the street from the Pawleys Island Chapel, I was not surprised to learn today that it was named Chapel View. I learned that because my sister brought to my attention this tweet from the Pawleys Island Police Department, showing the demolition of the house. The last picture above comes from this tweet, which I think is OK to directly post here since it was taken by a public agency.

There is a bit more information on the house at this SCIWAY post: Apparently it was owned by an artist from Virginia.

I believe this is the first house on the Island to be demolished since Wagon Wheel abuting the town park in 2010, though there is another house near the North Causeway that seems to go underwater quite often and I am not quite sure how it is still standing.

(Hat tip to my sister)

Written by ted on November 3rd, 2016

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Carolina Renaissance Festival 2016, Huntersville NC: 20 November 2016   no comments

Posted at 12:18 am in closing

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Well, I made my now annual trip to the Carolina Renaissance Festival in Huntersville NC this last weekend. Unlike last year, when the weather was miserable, you could not have asked for more pleasant weather this year. In fact, it was actually verging onto too warm some of the time.

There was the usual assortment of vendors and entertainment as well as some acts I don't recall seeing there before. I'll try to get a few videos up later in an update, but right now it is just still from Saturday & Sunday. I did not spend as much time weeding down the shots as I could have, so it's a bit verbose, or, 'pixose', perhaps. You can also see some shots I was trying to get but never captured fully to my satisfaction.

The faire continues on through Sunday 20 November, and Huntersville is not that far (though admittedly I-77, as always, is a dice-roll..) so if you've got a free day this fall, go for it!

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Written by ted on November 1st, 2016

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The Lowcountry Mermaid, 5015 N Highway 17 (Awendaw): May 2012   2 comments

Posted at 1:27 am in closing

I wondered at this little place when I drove by in early 2012. Apparently it was part of replacing three different former operations on the same property

The Kickin’ Horse stayed empty for a number of years. I always hoped that something fun would pop up there… and now it has. Where the Tackleshop was, there is now The Lowcountry Mermaid (which carries new and used furniture, home accessories, etc.). The small restaurant has been taken over by the Funky Little Kitchen (great burgers!) and I just recently heard that the stages out behind the place have been taken over by Awendaw Sound

The location, on US-17 between Georgetown & Charleston is rather rural, and I wasn't sure that anything as quirky as the shop looked to be could make it there. It appears, unfortunately, that I was right as according to their Facebook page, they closed down sometime soon after 25 April 2012.

Written by ted on August 27th, 2016

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