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Friday
May242019

Review: Market Theatre Bonnie & Clyde Bold, Ambitious

By Paul Hyde

The Market Theatre Company is nothing if not bold and ambitious.

As many Upstate theaters go for the familiar and safe, the Market Theatre goes for broke.

That’s certainly true of the theater’s dynamic production of “Bonnie & Clyde” that opened last week and continues through June 2.Photo Escobar Photographyg a big but lesser-known show for the first time in the Upstate. (This production may be a South Carolina premiere, too.) But the gamble pays off, thanks to an appealing musical score and an attractive, strong-voiced cast.

The story is part of American folklore: Bonnie and Clyde, two restless young Texans, find love and adventure by becoming outlaws in Depression-era America.

The show traces the two from their starry-eyed youth, with Clyde idolizing Al Capone and Billy the Kid, and Bonnie more innocently longing to be movie star Clara Bow, the “It Girl.” For both Bonnie and Clyde, fame is their ticket out of dirt-poor drudgery.

Later, robbing banks and stores – and killing a few people along the way – Bonnie and Clyde become folk heroes, a symbol of resistance to an American system (fat cats, the church and government) that had abandoned a desperate, starving populace. 

For a story of mayhem and murder, Ivan Menchell’s book also offers flashes of surprising humor – as when Bonnie and Clyde bicker over who deserves top billing in their illegal exploits.

Frank Wildhorn, best known for “Jekyll and Hyde,” created an eclectic score for “Bonnie & Clyde” that encompasses jazz, blues, gospel, country-western, rockabilly and pop-style power ballads.

Director Dalton Cole brings focus, clarity and momentum to the Market Theatre production. Caitlin Browne provides the lively choreography.  

Mariel Zmarzly and Matt Groves, as Bonne and Clyde, make a fetching couple of young bandits, negotiating Wildhorn’s sometimes high-flying songs with ease. They’re young actors, a reminder that Bonnie and Clyde were barely out of their teens when they embarked on their criminal careers.

Zmarzly caresses the suave ballad “How ’Bout A Dance” and soars on the heart-tugging “Dyin’ Ain’t So Bad,” the latter a pop Liebestod in which Bonnie imagines the lovers dying together.  

Groves is an affable outlaw, brimming with swaggering self-confidence and cutting loose on rousing uptempo numbers like “Raise a Little Hell.”

The opulent-voiced Lauren Renner is a standout as Blanche Barrow, Clyde’s sister-in-law. When Renner joins with Zmarzly for the tear-jerker “You Love Who You Love” – about fateful romance – it’s an episode of musical theater transcendence.

Jonathan Long plays Clyde’s brother, Buck Barrow, with gusto, sturdy in voice and stage presence.

Camila Escobar glows with charisma as the Young Bonnie. Gregory Middleton brings restless energy to the role of Young Clyde.

Cam Johnston does a fine turn as Ted, a cop hankering after Bonnie but unable to compete with the roguish appeal of Clyde.

Ken Thomason, as the Preacher, leads the chorus in the spirited “God’s Arms Are Always Open.”

The production features a solid ensemble of more than a dozen. Joshua VanderVeen is responsible for the tight musical preparation.

The production uses recorded music that serves the production well.

One caveat: Don Black’s lyrics could be more crisply articulated throughout the show.

Theater-goers should note: The dialogue includes some strong language.

For tickets to the Market Theatre’s compelling production of “Bonnie & Clyde,” call 864-729-2999 or visit the website the www.marketanderson.org.

Paul Hyde, a longtime Upstate journalist, writes about the arts for the Anderson Observer. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @PaulHyde7.

Friday
May242019

Market Theatre Shoots Up Stage with Musical Bonnie & Clyde

Thursday
May232019

Culinary World Will Miss Anderson Native Louis Osteen

Linda Maxwell news@southstrandnews.com/wire reports

Legendary South Carolina Chef Louis Osteen died on Sunday. The Anderson native is widely credited for steering the path for the recognition of contemporary Southern food as an important part of American cusine.

Osteen, who received six James Beard Foundation award nominations over the years, was awarded the Best Chefs in America award in 2004.

Osteen, who dashed preconceptions of Southern cuisine with low country specialties that helped put Charleston, S.C., on the culinary map, has died at age 77. During his career, he received six James Beard Foundation award nominations over the years, and was awarded the Best Chefs in America award in 2004.

The longtime resident of the Southern city had battled cancer through much of his life, most recently through surgery for liver cancer in 2016.

Osteen was part of a wave of Southern chefs who proved there were far more artful local specialties than hush puppies and meat-and-three platters. Along with his wife of more than 40 years, Marlene, the Atlanta transplant owned and operated a series of restaurants in Charleston, including Louis’s Charleston Grill and Louis’s. His most recent local venture was a pair of restaurants on nearby Pawleys Island, Louis’s and Fish Camp Bar, which closed about 10 years ago.

He chose a career in restaurants over staying in his family’s movie theater business in Anderson, where he was cooking hot dogs and hamburgers at the grill of a drive-in theater. After college he relocated to Atanta to open movie theaters, but soon left to pursue his passion for cooking in 1975 when he took a job in the city's "Le Versailles" French restaurant. In 1979, Osteen moved to Pawleys Island to open Pawleys Island Inn.

Contemporary Southern cusine would never be the same.

“I think a lot of people have dismissed the South as a wasteland ... but I think the South is pretty important, and it’s more important than most people understand,” Osteen said in 2004 when a Southern Foodways Alliance interviewer asked why he initially supported the group’s work.

The New York Times called wrote that Osteen was the “spiritual general” of new Southern chefs. The Charleston Post Courier wrote: Osteen enthusiastically asserted the significance of dishes such as shrimp-and-grits and pimento cheese, a one-time regional delicacy that seemed destined to survive only as a mass-produced convenience food until Osteen remade it as an elegant bar snack for his Charleston restaurant...Charleston became the transom city for the American food renaissance.”

Over the course of his career, Osteen received six James Beard Foundation award nominations, winning a Best Chefs in America award in 2004.

The Many Lives of Louis Osteen from Southern Foodways on Vimeo.

 

Thursday
May232019

West Pelzer Grand Gallery to Feature AU Artists

The Town of West Pelzer will recognize selected Fine Art Majors from Anderson University on June 4, at 6 p.m. at the regularly scheduled West Pelzer council meeting in The Grand Gallery. A reception will follow the council meeting.
The AU art will be on view from June 4-July 26 by appointment during regular business hours. Visit www.westpelzer.com or call the West Pelzer Municipal Center at 864-947-6297 for more information.
The Town of West Pelzer’s Grand Gallery celebrates those who have made contributions to Upstate culture and supports emerging young artists by sharing their work with the public. The gallery takes advantage of West Pelzer's position between Greenville and Anderson and seeks to celebrate artists from both communities while encouraging cross-pollination. The series of invitational exhibitions was conceived of by founding director and local artist, Andy Gambrell, and is supported by Mayor Blake Sanders.

The 2019 - 2020 schedule of exhibitions includes:
  • Anderson University, Exemplary Fine Art Students: June 4-July 26
  • David Gerhard, Chair of Visual Arts, South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities: August 6-September 20
  • Andy Gambrell, Upstate Artist: October 1-December 20
  • Peter Kaniaris, Upstate Artist and Professor at Anderson University: January - February 2020
Thursday
May232019

Mill Town Players Kick Off "First Baptist Ivy Gap" Tomorrow

Thursday
May232019

Clemson Professor Named to U.S. Health & Human Services Committee

CLEMSON — Jane DeLuca, an associate professor in the Clemson University School of Nursing, has been appointed a member of the Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns & Children (ACHDNC) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The committee provides advice, recommendations and technical information about aspects of heritable disorders and newborn screening to the secretary of Health and Human Services. The committee works toward the development of policies and priorities that will enhance the ability of the states and local health agencies to provide for screening, counseling and health care services for newborns and children who have or are at risk for heritable disorders.

There are 35 core conditions and 26 secondary conditions recommended for state screening panels, DeLuca said. These disorders are primarily inborn errors of metabolism; however, newborn screening includes hearing screening; critical congenital heart problems; hemoglobinopathies, such as sickle cell disease; and cystic fibrosis.

“Being able to be part of this very important process is incredible,” said DeLuca. “People take their cue from the ACHDNC for deciding which disorders to include in states’ screening panels. Each state screens for particular conditions, and I look forward to being able to help with those recommendations.”

DeLuca’s appointment to the committee will end June 30, 2023.

Wednesday
May222019

Anderson County Council Recap, May 21, 2019

Wednesday
May222019

Raises for Teachers Included as S.C. Approves $9B Budget

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Teachers and almost all state workers are getting a raise in South Carolina's $9 billion budget approved by both the House and Senate on Tuesday.

The budget sets aside $160 million for raises for teachers, who will all get at least a 4% bump in pay. It also has a 2% raise for all state employees as well as a $500 bonus for state workers who make less than $50,000.

The spending plan also gives a $50 rebate on each income tax return, paid for with the $61 million state income tax windfall from South Carolina's $1.5 billion Mega Millions lottery jackpot winner along with about $6 million in additional money. It will cost about $700,000 to mail those checks.

The budget gives $25 million in relief for farmers who lost crops and suffered other damage in flooding from last fall's Hurricane Florence and $40 million to buy new voting machines.

The spending plan now heads to Gov. Henry McMaster's desk. The governor has a line item veto, but legislative leaders expect him to reject only a few items so inconsequential they won't have to return to Columbia until next year's session starts.

"Barring an emergency, I don't think we will be back until January," House Speaker Jay Lucas said just before adjourning the House.

The budget also has several items not directly linked to spending. Members of a conference committee agreed to a one year suspension of granting any permits that would allow laying pipes or building tanks onshore that could be used for offshore drilling.

The committee also agreed to give Denmark Technical College one more year to figure out how to turn around a steep decline in enrollment. Other lawmakers had wanted to bump the state's only historically black technical college to trade school status.

"We told them, very clearly, they have one year," said Sen. Darrell Jackson, a Democrat from Hopkins.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hugh Leatherman praised new House budget leader Murrell Smith, who was named chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee at the start of this session.

"What a great day. What a different process it was," said Leatherman, a Republican from Florence.

And Smith praised McMaster's staff for working with lawmakers who wanted to include them in the process. The previous two South Carolina governors often found themselves at odds with the legislature in spending, sometimes intentionally.

"That was a refreshing approach," said Smith, a Republican from Sumter.

Tuesday
May212019

Council Approves Capital Items for FY 2019-2020 Budget

Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer

Anderson County Council agreed on Tuesday night, on first reading, plans to delete summer adjustments from the county's sewer ordinance which provides special rate considerations in the summer months to compensate for watering lawns, etc. The plan would go into effect in May of 2020, and save the county $126,000 annually. A once-a-year exemption to fill swimming pools would remain in place.

“The county’s actually losing money right now because of this,” said Jimmie Davis. Anderson County Finance Director Rita Davis said most counties have not extended summer adjustments. 

Council took no action in executive session council regarding contractual issues related to the courthouse square property development or the cost of the lease on the property which currently houses the Anderson County Voter Registration and Elections offices at 301 N. Main Street. Anderson County Council Chairman Tommy Dunn said the issues would be addressed at a future council meeting. 

Meanwhile, council:

Approved recommendation from Planning and Public Works Committee to approve $860,000 in capital improvements for the 2019-2020 budget year. Council also approved $393,000 in technology upgrades as recommended by the committee. 

Approved a bid of $255,000 to NEO Corporation for asbestos removal of the east wing of McCants School, located on the East Whitner side. “We’ve got to clean up this to this building before we can tear it down, we’ve got no choice,” said Dunn. The county has already abated the asbestos on the second floor of McCants.

Gave final approval to tax incentives for Bluebird Solar LLC, for a solar array project involving 40 acres in Council District 4. The deal will increase the annual tax bill on the property from $61 to $17,500 per year.

Tuesday
May212019

House Upholds McMaster Veto Stopping Seawall Rebuild

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina House has rejected a plan to let wealthy oceanfront property owners rebuild a seawall on an eroding public beach in Georgetown County.

The proposal would exempt several dozen homes at Debordieu Beach from the state's ban on seawalls.

The bill passed the General Assembly earlier this month, but was vetoed by Gov. Henry McMaster. The House voted 60-43 on Monday to override the veto, failing to get the two-thirds vote needed.

Debordieu property owners have fought to reconstruct the battered structure for years, saying it was built before South Carolina banned new seawalls more than 30 years ago. Supporters say Debordieu residents pay 14 percent of Georgetown County's property taxes. The county has 61,000 residents.

McMaster says lawmakers were wrong to try to pass the special exception.

Tuesday
May212019

Anderson Jobless Rate Drops to 3.2 Percent in March

Anderson County's unemployment rate dropped to 2.8 percent in April, down from 3.2 percent in March. 

Anderson County's employment has grown by more than 1,700 jobs over the past 12 months.

Statewide, the jobless rate, which reflects season patterns not included in the county-by-county numbers, was rose to 3.4 percent, up from 3.2 percent in March. The number of individuals working moved higher, by an estimated 6,704 people, compared to March of 2019, establishing a new record of 2,281,003.

Nationally, the unemployment rate declined to 3.6 percent from March’s estimate of 3.8 percent.

Monday
May202019

"Boots on the Ground" Program to Benefit S.C. State Guard

The South Carolina legislature has designated the Month of May as “South Carolina State Guard Month” to bring awareness about the important role this historic organization has played in the Palmetto State. 

As part of State Guard Month, the South Carolina Missions and Operations Support Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, has launched the “Boots on the Ground” fundraising campaign to help with essential training and to purchase equipment and other necessities that would otherwise be out-of-pocket expenses by our volunteers.

With a $350,000 fundraising goal. citizens are asked to support of the South Carolina State Guard at participating establishments or by donating online throughout the month. For a minimum donation of $1 (or $5 or more) to the “Boots on the Ground" campaign, the giver's name or the name of a loved one will be placed on boot cutouts, which will proudly be displayed at participating establishments during May.

Additionally, your audience can make a secure online donation through the South Carolina State Guard Mission & Operations Support Foundation website at scsgmops.org or visit us on Facebook at @SCStateGuard to donate via one of the posted “Donate” buttons. 

Since 1670, the all-volunteer historic South Carolina State Guard has had boots on the ground trained and ready to serve when called upon.  The Guard recently were integral parts of relief efforts during the aftermath of  Hurricanes Joaquin, Harvey, Matthew, and Florence. In 2018 alone, the nearly 1,000 members of the State Guard volunteered more than 90,000 hours in service to the state.

From Search and Rescue Operations, Medical teams, Legal support, Engineering expertise, Chaplain and counseling services, to direct distribution of supplies and providing military funeral honors to our veterans, State Guard members are “Trained & Ready” to serve when called upon - without pay.

Monday
May202019

Panthers to Move HQ, Practice Fields to Rock Hill

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina legislators have cleared the final hurdle to giving the Carolina Panthers up to $120 million in tax breaks to move their practice fields and team headquarters out of North Carolina.    

The Senate voted 23-16 on Monday to approve a compromise smoothing over small differences in the bill. A few hours later, the House passed the bill 88-18. Gov. Henry McMaster is expected to quickly sign it into law.  

The bill exempts the Panthers from paying state income taxes for players, coaches and other employees for 15 years as long as they use the money to build their new complex near Rock Hill.   The Panthers want to build a new practice facility and team headquarters about 15 miles south of its current facilities in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Opponents say the state shouldn't help a billionaire NFL owner. Democrat Sen. Dick Harpootlian questioned the bill's necessity, the state's transparency, and the $40 million Interstate 77 interchange project for the team.