Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Confessions of a Southern Charm Newbie: Season 4 Premiere

Strengthening Our Personal Brands

Posted by Dustin Waters on Tue, Apr 4, 2017 at 2:31 PM

Southern Charm is back with a few new cast members, like Austen here. - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • Southern Charm is back with a few new cast members, like Austen here.
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Hey guys. Welcome back. It’s been a while, but this week we’re going to talk about new beginnings. Let me back up.

Last year around this time I started writing episode recaps for a show I knew nothing about. Hopefully that explains the title of this series of articles: “Confessions of a Southern Charm Newbie.” Now, those articles were met with near universal praise. The nation’s elites would wait on bended knee for the latest installment, while those miles away from an internet connection would dump the village water supply from the yokes on their backs to race toward the nearest terminal to read about last night’s episode of Southern Charm. Of course, this is a joke. Do not take any of this too seriously as Southern Charm is a lot like life: a series of hapless events put upon us for the cruel enjoyment of some distant observer.

Now that we are back for another season, the natural question is “How are you still a ‘newbie’ after watching an entire season of the show?” Well, in this new media-driven economy in which we all live, a strong personal brand trumps logic any day. That’s why I’m sticking with the name of the column. But allow me to spin this.

Have you ever eaten microwaved fish? Like from the freezer section at Wal-Mart? When you first buy it, you think, “Oh, the delicacies of the sea enjoyed from the comforts of my home. So affordable. So convenient. Don’t mind if I do.” Then you eat your frozen salmon samplings and feel very sick. That’s what Southern Charm is. It’s a convenient way to experience the fanciful Charleston lifestyle from your home. And while you may have suffered from mild nausea and fish sweats the first time, you still eye that yellow box in the freezer aisle every time you pass. Well, now it’s time we all open ourselves back up to the inevitable indigestion that is to come. Welcome to season four of Southern Charm.
‘Cool Guy Delivery Service, your order of hunk has arrived.’ - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • ‘Cool Guy Delivery Service, your order of hunk has arrived.’
We open this season premiere with Thomas Ravenel approaching the home of Landon with a rose in hand. Landon is quick to remind Thomas that orchids are her favorite, which is the best way to accept a romantic gift. They take a walk to Colonial Lake where Thomas says he wants a partner and asks Landon to “take a chance.” I am assuming that Thomas takes all his romantic cues from Swedish pop sensation ABBA.
Everything then cuts to black and the words “Three months earlier” flash across the screen. This is exactly what happened last season. At that time, I asked if we should expect a Breaking Bad-style story structure where flashbacks play a well thought-out role in delivering information. That was not the case. That will never be the case, and I am dumb for entertaining the idea.

We are then shown a montage of our familiar cast of characters. Thomas is stalking through his massive, empty estate like some male Southern equivalent of Miss Havisham. Shep, everyone’s favorite everyman, is attempting to iron a shirt. He looks at his iron like he’s doing long division. Shep’s befuddled glare represents us all — grasping in the dark, looking for just a glimmer of understanding to illuminate our paths through this world. I will now institute a running gag where Shep always appears on the show with a noticeable iron burn on his clothing.
America’s sweetheart - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • America’s sweetheart
Patricia is — I shit you not — lying in bed, putting on her newspaper-reading gloves so the ink doesn’t stain her hands. What must the news of the world look like to someone who wears gloves to read the paper? It really is fascinating to consider. Does Patricia wear a poncho to eat a grapefruit? Does she use a bellows to blow out candles? I picture an archaic diving suit hanging in Patricia’s closet with a tag reading “For Pie-eating Contests Only.” What is the white glove budget for this household?

Meanwhile, it looks like Craig is building coffins or something in his backyard.

Hopefully, this will be explained.
Craig is probably not constructing a wooden tomb in his backyard - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • Craig is probably not constructing a wooden tomb in his backyard
Then we cut to the ever-responsible Cameran, who receives a call from Shep. He is driving around to bars, looking for his lost credit card. Good thing he ironed his shirt for such an auspicious outing. I am glad to have these two back in my life.

We soon learn that Cameran is en route to Craig’s house, and we are shown a clip from last season’s reunion show where Craig revealed that he never finished law school. For a bit of background, Craig said he applied for the Bar exam, but ventured off to help run a hotel/bourbon business. This all ended badly, and Craig seems to have taken up the pastime of building random nonsense in his backyard. Maybe, just off camera, Craig has constructed a scarecrow courtroom in which to practice bird law.

Shep reveals that Craig has gotten really into gardening. Cameran arrives at Craig’s home to learn that he isn’t building coffins like I previously thought. Instead, he is building some sort of grilling platform, which is like a coffin to less proud men.

“It’s amazing what you can learn on the internet,” Craig tells Cameran as he looks upon his works.

You know what you can’t learn on the internet? How to be a lawyer. Probably. Anyway, Craig has found zen in his backyard. He says he has become a professional gardener and carpenter — just like Jesus — and Craig is just waiting to take the Bar exam.

Back at Thomas’ house, he says his life has really changed. Thomas’ kids are now living with him. Walking about 90 yards from his main home, Thomas meets up with his children in his guest house. He says the kids have been situated in the guest house because children are “messy and destructive.” There will be no more wire hangers in the Ravenel home if Thomas has anything to say about it.

Thomas says Kathryn, the mother of his children, can’t see the kids until she passes a drug test. This is horrible to hear, but one of the more “real” moments of this “reality” television program. I feel like the main debate during situations such as this is that the children are being exploited, but maybe there is value in airing this sort of familial dilemma. Thomas begins to opine about how his children have caused him to consider his own mortality and what happens to them after he’s gone. Well, they will probably move into the main house, for one thing, and get Craig to build a suitable coffin with his newfound carpentry skills.

We then catch back up with Shep, an iron-shaped hole burned clear through his shirt, as he meets up with who I assume to be our newest cast member, Austen. Austen and Shep appear to be the exact same person except Austen’s name is Austen, and Shep is named after a colony founded by beagles. Shep finds Austen chatting up a few ladies at a bar. Shep first asks if Austen has been “behaving himself,” which seems innocuous enough. Shep then says that he is much more concerned about competing with Austen for a woman’s affection because Austen has that “killer instinct.”

Now, I know we’ve just met Austen, and he seems like a nice guy, but is he a serial killer? Is Shep trying to covertly tip off the FBI with this subtly-coded language? “Oh, my buddy Austen, he’s a real lady killer. One drink with him and the next thing you know you’re dissolving in a bathtub full of lye,” I imagine Shep saying to the camera as he blinks to reveal “Send Help” written across his eyelids. This is a joke I will be continuing for as long as I’m allowed.

We start the next morning in Austen’s apartment, as a young woman who spent the night manages to escape his den alive, which may be a perfectly normal thing. Who’s to say?

Anyway, Austen just got out of a long relationship with a woman. She wanted to get married. He wasn’t ready. Now he’s enjoying the single life.

The camera keeps focusing on the large amount of beer around Austen’s apartment, daring you to question if Austen has a serious drinking problem. Then the show coyly reveals that he is a rep for a beer company and not someone who is debilitated by their addiction to alcohol. That’s good news.

We then see a brief clip of Austen’s parents telling him to find a better career or something because they don’t want him living “hand to mouth.” Apparently they didn’t notice the cameras and film crew surrounding their dinner table. Austen likes to promote beer and he is on a TV show. Good for you, Austen. Whatever it takes to ease your fictional bloodlust, I am all for it.
  • Screenshot
  • Pug life
Returning to Patricia’s home, where she is embroidering a picture of her pug fit for the Czar’s court, Patricia’s son Whitney is paying her a visit. She decides to show off the newest addition to the home. Patricia has replaced the bell that was once used to summon her butler, Michael, with an electronic buzzer. After a few failed attempts to call Michael, Patricia notifies him of the trouble with the buzzer. Michael replies that he’s sure the batteries are “worn down,” and it is the funniest thing that has ever happened on this show. Michael’s delivery is so damn dry and the entire scene is so WASP-ey that somewhere in the world Wes Anderson is foaming at the mouth. Patricia and Michael are truly the Nichols and May of our generation.

Whitney says he recently traveled across Tulum and decided to smoke weed for the entirety of the trip or some such nonsense. This doesn’t matter at all, except it is enough to spur Patricia to recount the story of their “Uncle Philip.”

Apparently, Uncle Philip had a huge job “with the government,” until he started “smoking grass” and ended up working at a Blockbuster. Now, here’s the beauty of Patricia’s wording: My mother worked at the DMV her entire career. But if I describe her as someone who had a “huge job with the government,” it makes it sound like she was an FBI agent chasing D.B. Cooper through the pines. The life lesson is sell yourself like Patricia sells Uncle Philip.

Later in the episode, Cameran and Shep meet up at a surf shop to purchase new swim clothes for an upcoming pool party, because every episode is required by South Carolina state law to end with a party of some sort. Shep, his outfit an intricate tapestry of iron burns, says he’s bringing Austen to the party. Cameran asks if Austen has replaced Craig, who has clearly fallen out of favor with his fellow castmates. Shep says that a “cadaver could replace Craig,” which just adds to the list of death imagery that Shep intertwines with any mention of Austen. Austen probably doesn’t have a photo album full of eyelids and a thirsty blade that calls out his name, but you wouldn’t know it from talking to Shep.

Our entire cast reunites at a pool party, which is usually how adults see each other after large spans of time apart. It’s all just pool parties, science fairs, and spring flings that bring us all back together. Kathryn remains the ghost at the feast, her name on the lips of everyone in attendance. “Is she better? What is happening with her?,” they ask. Thomas, meanwhile, continues to tell all the women to take their clothes off.
‘I am Poseidon, king of the seas’ - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • ‘I am Poseidon, king of the seas’
The scenes of the pool party are intercut with closeups of Kathryn getting into her car and driving to some unknown destination. The entire sequence is filmed like Kathryn is some pool-party assassin on her way to ruin everyone’s good time. While viewers are led to believe that she is headed to the party, the show hits us with a surprise twist as Kathryn pulls up to a medical facility, where it seems she is ready to submit to the much talked about drug test.

In the season four premiere, Southern Charm has set up multiple redemption stories. Everyone, it seems, is looking for their own new beginning. Will Kathryn regain her parental rights? Will Craig realize his goal of becoming a lawyer? Did Shep ever find his credit card? We’ll just have to watch to find out. Or you can just read about it here.

Want exclusive early access to these Southern Charm recaps? Sign up for our 'Morning After' email newsletter to get it in your inbox on Tuesday at 10 a.m., hours before it's posted online.

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Get early access to Southern Charm recaps with our new 'The Morning After' email newsletter

Southern Charm Newbie is ready to return

Posted by Sam Spence on Mon, Apr 3, 2017 at 12:38 PM

They all look so happy! - BRAVO TV
  • Bravo TV
  • They all look so happy!
If you woke up this morning sensing a disturbance in the balance of the universe, it's because Southern Charm season four debuts tonight. And that means tomorrow is like Christmas morning for the overlapping portion of the Venn diagram of Reality TV Fans + Crumbling Iceberg Enthusiasts.

And since we all get to unwrap one really mediocre present on Christmas Eve, boy have we got one for you.

Every Tuesday morning during season four, Dustin will be giving a select few of you early access to his Southern Charm Newbie notes.

The way it works is, at 10am the morning after each episode, you'll be among the first to read the recaps before they're posted online at 2pm. That's a full four hours of T-Rav jokes you can use in your group text messages before anyone realizes. A full four hours of random knowledge about Pat's butler Michael you can use to impress your coworkers. Thank us later for that raise.

So, go ahead and sign up now so that Dustin and T-Rav aren't the only ones on the list. Watch Southern Charm tonight at 9pm on Bravo and of course, you can follow along with the whole season at charlestoncitypaper.com/southerncharm.

Continue reading »

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Ode to the Carmike James Island 8 movie theater


Posted by Kevin Young on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 12:16 PM

Weird Al's 'UHF' was the first movie Kevin Young ever saw at the Carmike James Island - FILE
  • File
  • Weird Al's 'UHF' was the first movie Kevin Young ever saw at the Carmike James Island
"Oh gross" were the first words Nightmare On Elm Street's Nancy Thompson muttered when she saw iron bars affixed on her home by her drunken, Freddy Krueger-fearing/murdering mom. The change to her house was done under the guise of progress. In the end, it wasn't. It only made things worse. Nancy lost her sanity, her parents, and her Johnny Depp look-alike boyfriend. I muttered Nancy's words to myself when last Friday a friend sent me a Post & Courier link stating that the Carmike James Island 8 cinemas, a seventh home of sorts, had abruptly closed the night before.

One of the last films to show at Carmike James Island that night was Get Out. There's an ironic witticism lurking in there somewhere. I muttered Nancy's words to myself again when I read another P&C article hours later. Carmike had sold the property to a firm planning to "build between 100 and 150 multifamily units on the site in two- to three-story structures." One of the development firm's described it as an "appealing opportunity" particularly since it's "very centrally located."If only the paper had quoted him sinisterly muttering "Excellent" while making a steeple out of his hands like Monty Burns from The Simpsons Movie (which, incidentally, played at the Carmike James Island 8) it would at least be morbidly humorous.

I could appropriate terms like "infrastructure", "gentrification" and ,heck, appropriation" for my own selective blissfully unaware socio-political argument but to do so would be disingenuous. My vexation is temporary and is actually just rooted in celluloid nostalgia.

I've seen many movies with many friends James Island's Carmike. I've become friends with some of the employees over the past couple decades. Like most of the other theaters, it had it's flaws but it was, for me, a movie nerd's safe space. I'll whittle down the many memories down to a few. To twist the immortal words of Alyson Hannigan from another film that showed at the Carmike James Island 8... and one time at the James Island Carmike 8.

Forrest Gump
I've gone on a few dates with actual women here and there. This was one of the first ones. We had a chance meeting at a record store and bonded over ‘90s alt rock. She was super-cool and somehow I worked up the nerve to ask her out. Later that night we met up at the theater. I was extremely nervous with butterflies and whatnot. Apparently there was a very uplifting movie about a slow witted man with a golden heart playing but I didn't notice.Those butterflies were doing enough of a number on me that as I was walking her to my car, I vomited. I wanted to die of embarrassment at that point. The look of horror on her face said it all. Even though a kiss didn't happen that night, a few more dates did occur. Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know when you're going to barf.

Halloween/It's Alive
At some point in the mid 90's the theater showed midnight movies. One Saturday, they showed a horror double feature — Larry Cohen's killer baby flick It's Alive and John Carpenter's original Halloween. I somehow persuaded my best friend and a couple others to go. I think I was the only sober one of the 20-plus people in the audience. To hear one member loudly mock one character's stupid escape choices was like being immersed in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

It was 1989, the first year of the theater's existence. Sure, in that first full month they had Batman, Honey I Shrunk The Kids, Karate Kid III, and Weekend at Bernie's but, I told myself, the movie everyone will be clamoring for is obviously "Weird Al" Yankovic's debut, UHF. Only cool people listen to Weird Al. I was one of those cool people there for the first showing on opening day to see Al subvert the dominant paradigm. I was meeting up with another not-nerd to get our Al on. We got there 30 minutes early. After paying for our tickets, popcorn, and Cokes, no one else had arrived so we got the best seats in the house. Damn it felt good to be so lucky. The movie was amazing. It had everything going for it except one thing ... we were the only cool people in the theater.

My Bloody Valentine 3D
It was a cold weekend in January, me and my girlfriend at the time were trying to find something to do that didn't involve a bar or staying outside. We could have seen movies she was curious about but she was kind enough to indulge me. My Bloody Valentine 3D was an alright remake of an okay early 80s slasher flick starring two guys from the Supernatural TV series. It had lots of blood, some gratuitous nudity, and an "oh give me a break" twist. I walked out of the movie not loving it but instead with the epiphany that you know you've met someone special when they willingly don bulky 3D glasses and watch ridiculous tripe with you.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Not every James Island Carmike 8 experience has been a pleasant one. With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, maybe it was the timing since I came to the theater with my own baggage. Trump had just been inaugurated the day before and the election had me feeling a little perturbed. Maybe it was all the trailers that showed beforehand — all were for sequels, remakes, or were based on a TV show or a toy. One was even a sequel to a movie based on a toy. That soured me a little more. Then the movie started. We're in an era where the probability of having a movie like Star Wars that isn't called Star Wars is becoming glaringly apparent. It seemed to underscore how nostalgia trumps content nowadays. Even though I didn't like it, I wish Rogue One had made the Carmike James Island enough money that it would have dissuaded them from selling the property.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Terrace Theater extends screenings of film fest flicks, begins donation drive

Good news for the good-hearted

Posted by Connelly Hardaway on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 12:27 PM

  • Provided
After a successful film festival last week, the Terrace Theater has decided to extend screenings of two of the fest's flicks, Sophie and the Rising Sun and I Am Not Your Negro.

Sophie and the Rising Sun was filmed in McClellanville and tells the story of two interracial lovers in WWII America. I Am Not Your Negro is the vision of director Raoul Peck, who imagines what James Baldwin's unfinished book, a narration about race in America, would be like.

Check out all dates and times online; the Terrace will continue to show the films as long as interest remains. Adult tickets are $11 and student, senior citizen, and military tickets are $8.

In addition to the extended screenings, the Terrace has some more good news: Beginning this Fri. March 24 the theater sets up a permanent donation box for Lowcountry Orphan Relief in its lobby. People can donate gently used items such as clothes, coats, shoes, pajamas, and stuffed animals, along with new items like toiletries, underwear, school supplies, diapers, etc.

In addition to this box, the Terrace will donate $1 of every ticket sale from Beauty and the Beast to the Lowcountry Orphan Relief fund. Learn more about LOR on their website.
Location Details Terrace Theater
Terrace Theater
1956 Maybank Highway
James Island
Charleston, SC
Movie Theater

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

ETV Endowment and SCETV host free public preview screening of The Great War

100 years later

Posted by Mary Scott Hardaway on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 3:30 PM

  • Screenshot
Three days before the 100 year anniversary of WWI, ETV Endowment and SCETV screen a 35-minute preview of the new PBS documentary, The Great War.

The documentary explores the consequences of the first world war through the voices — captured in memoirs, diaries, and letters — of nurses, aviators, "dough boys," and journalists. The film also aims to tell the stories of key, yet often forsaken figures, including African-American and Latino soldiers, suffragists, and Native American code talkers.

After The Great War preview, there will be a screening of SCETV’s own documentary, Over Here: The Homefront during World War I. This film looks at the war from a local perspective, and how events on the homefront, from African-American participation in the war to military camps to the influenza epidemic of 1918, permanently altered the landscape of South Carolina.

The screening will be held Mon. April 3 at 6 p.m. at the CCPL main branch and is free and open to the public. The full-length version of Great War airs on SCETV April 10-12 at 9 p.m.

Location Details Charleston County Public Library
68 Calhoun St.
Charleston, South Carolina
(843) 805-6930

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