Friday, June 10, 2016

Southern Charm Double Recap E9&10: Time to hang up the cock

Or at least give it a rest

Posted by Stephanie Barna on Fri, Jun 10, 2016 at 7:50 AM

Forgive my absence last week, but Memorial Day shenanigans drowned my Southern Charm recap responsibilities in hotdog chili, rosé wine, and a blistering hangover. I finally sat down today to catch up on the last two week's episodes, and I'm disappointed to say that the ultimate T-Rav dinner party/throwdown has yet to happen! This means I'll miss it next week because I'll be in Paris, where I'm sure they have banned T-Rav for mangling the French language on numerous occasions. 

So let's catch up with what the gangs been up to: Old Craig reared his lazy-ass head after New Craig shit the bed; Shep got shut down in Cali, broken up with in Charleston, fired by Cameran, and mooned over by Landon; Landon struck out personally and professionally; Whitney and his mom accumulated more piles of money; JD got fed up with Craig; and Thomas and Kathryn had a baby while Cameran reiterated her desire to never have a rugrat of her own. 

There was a lot of cockamamie stuff in these episodes, and by that I mean cock-and-ball talk. T-Rav showed off his new offspring's giant Ravenel balls, announced that he wasn't going to shave off 40 percent of his newborn's penis via genital mutilation while Shep proclaimed his preference for weenies with helmets. Good to know. Oh, and Whitney counseled Shep that it might be time to hang up the cock and commit. But Shep's just not sure about that yet. 

But enough about cock and balls. Let's talk about Craig. Sore at not being named Bourbon Baron by JD, he takes off to LA for a couple days with Shep and Whitney, despite Naomie's eye-rolling concern at this lack of responsibility. Apparently, she's never watched Southern Charm. In LA, Craig throws up a half-digested meatball in Whitney's driveway (or maybe that was Shep) and gets a massage in Whitney's living room from a hot masseuse while Shep hits on her in the most icky way possible. Too much weirdness in this scene. 

Back in Charleston, JD tries to track down Craig, who was supposed to be helping plan a bourbon event, but he can't reach him, which is funny since Craig has probably been posting selfies from his phone the entire time he's been in LA. 

Craig finally makes it home and gets to the bourbon event at Charleston Cup, but slouches in with a bad attitude and an even worse hacking cough. Feeling unappreciated for his lack of bourbon expertise, Craig couldn't care less about JD and his stupid Gentry Bourbon. He's never had to miss a trip for work, he whines to JD, making clear that his life goals have changed. Craig is going to be a big lawyer. Or a model. Or something cool. Whatever he does, he knows he'll be awesome at it. Oh, the hubris of this young buck who continues to get smacked around by life. The saying is work hard, play hard, not slack off at work and get shitfaced at night and then sleep late and show up at work hungover and get nothing done. 

Shep's LA trip comes up dry. You can take the Shep out of South Carolina, but you can't take the South Carolina out of Shep. As Whitney says, the Gomer Pyle act doesn't go over that great on the West Coast. We all know that Californians perceive Southerners as a bunch of Beverly Hillbillies, even if you proclaim that you're not provincial. And unlike the poor outnumbered Charleston girls who have to settle for promiscuous frat bros with trust funds, LA women have a much bigger pool in which to fish for hot hook-ups, rich sugar daddies, and Saudi billionaires.  

Back home, Bailey — ’80s Madonna reincarnated — tells Shep that he's been relegated back to the friend zone where there will be NO FLIRTING! Telling Shep he can't flirt is like telling Liberace he can't play the piano. What will he do with himself? How would that work? What would life be like?

Shep claims that he doesn't believe in soulmates, but I took the test on bravotv.com and we are indeed soulmates, so he better get ready for a 40something divorcee with two kids. We're coming for you Shep — once I get divorced, that is. I'm sure the commitment-phobe will have no problem being a stepdad to my fantastic children. 

But I guess I'd want you to get a job first because laying around the house is my job, and your real estate career is not very promising. Shep and Cameran show their Southern manse to a potential buyer. Unfortunately Shep shows him around like a goofy kindergartener trying to impress his teacher with what he hopes is his impressive knowledge. Unfortunately, Shep fails miserably and comes off as a complete doofus. Cameran gives him a big fat D for his performance and tells him that they're back in the friend zone. No more working for Shep. But that's OK with Shep, who can definitely use a nap.  

Now it's time to talk about Landon or Blandon or Landumb — pick your mean hashtag — and her sad sad post-divorce life. While working on her "little pitch," Shep comes to her house for a visit, and she admits that she loves him. He practically crawls up into his own scrotum for protection and then downs his wine and bolts. Hashtag awkward.

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As if that's not bad enough, Landon heads out for her pitch to Lockhart Steele. Unfortunately, she prints out some pages from her computer to show him her ideas for a website instead of actually opening up a computer and showing him a real website. Oh dear. This is terrible. He basically tells her she sucks and needs to leave now. Bless her heart.   

The Kathryn and Thomas detente is actually quite sweet. The two have come together for the birth of their second child. Kathryn is being friendly and compliant in an attempt to lure T-Rav back into her nest. Thomas seems smitten with the idea of having a family, but it's really just the idea. The reality is way different for a guy who's used to chasing tail. He's here for now, though, and I guess that's what matters? I don't know. This whole situation confuses me. Why are they having another child if they have no intention of being together? Raising kids is hard even if you're in the best relationship in the world (as I am — sorry about that divorce joke, honey. You're my true soulmate).

This punishing and self-inflicted two-episode marathon ends with a dinner party at Pat's. Have I told you I saw Pat in real life, shopping at the garden store on Folly Road with her butler Michael, who was wearing a red apron and Birks with socks? Exciting stuff. She's actually pretty gorgeous for a 70-year-old woman. I'm back on the Patricia Altschul adoration wagon. Yes, of course, I want to be her. Who wouldn't? No husband. Lots of money. Servants. It's the American dream. Just ask Landon. 

Pat has assembled the male chauvinist pigs before her for some beef stroganoff so she can skewer their lame asses. She goes around the table and guts each of them with her special beef stroganoff knife: Craig, what's it like working for JD? Shep, are you dating anyone? Thomas, are you getting a paternity test?
   
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And with that, the men are left writhing in pain and embarrassment. Pat rings her bell and Michael sweeps up the bodies and deposits them at the curb, ready to be carted away with the morning trash.

Next week: T-Rav finally throws an epic dinner party, gets drunk, and insults everybody!! I'll be out of the country, but I'm going to figure a way to watch this episode I've been waiting 23 weeks for. 
 

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

S.C. Film Institute finds new location, reopens after last year's flood damage

Back in action

Posted by David Hall on Wed, Jun 8, 2016 at 12:33 PM

The South Carolina Film Institute will host a grand reopening at their new location, 1016 Woodrow St. in downtown Columbia, Saturday following the loss of their previous location during the severe flooding experienced statewide in October.
October's flood damage forced SCFI to find a new location in Columbia. - PROVIDED
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  • October's flood damage forced SCFI to find a new location in Columbia.

We reported in October that the nonprofit, which has been making films in the state since 2014, sustained approximately $30,000 in damages following the flood. Their office space on Devine Street was completely flooded and the institute lost valuable equipment as well as the space.

Since then, the institute has been working at getting back to work. A gofundme was started to help, but according to co-owner Marcus McCall, much of the funding to secure the location and equipment came from within the organization.

“We did get some support with gofundme,” McCall said. “But we decided pretty much to spend our own money and reinvest back into our business to get it back rolling.”

According to McCall, SCFI was impacted severely by the setback, but kept working anyway. McCall said Saturday’s event is to let the community know they’re back at full capacity.

“We want to let people know that we’re here,” McCall said. “We want to remain a staple in the film industry in South Carolina, Columbia especially, and we’re not going anywhere.”

According to McCall, the new location has office space, a studio for talk shows, and a film photography studio. Saturday’s event will include free food, painting stations for adults and kids, and a discounted member rate of $20, as opposed to the usual $70 fee, McCall said. The festivities begin at 11 a.m. and will continue through the  afternoon, ending around 4 p.m.

McCall said the institute plans to continue to make full-length feature films and documentaries for the community and let members gain experience in the film industry.

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'Vaxxed' screening at the Terrace starting Friday

See the controversy for yourself...

Posted on Wed, Jun 8, 2016 at 10:56 AM

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Starting this Friday, June 10, the Terrace Theatre will screen Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe, a film that claims to be one of America’s most controversial movies of the moment. Documenting a cover-up by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the faulty safety study of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, the film delves into the controversy of the vaccination process from the perspective of whistleblower and CDC Senior Scientist William Thompson. According to the film, the CDC concealed and destroyed data after a 2004 study revealed a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

Though the film contains undercurrents that seem strongly anti-vaccine, director Andrew Wakefield and producer Polly Tommey claim the film is merely presenting data, previously unreleased to the public, showing a correlation between the introduction of the MMR vaccine and the proliferation of autism cases in the past 20 years. The film has caught the attention of many people, including high-profile celebrities such as Robert De Niro, who touted its importance after the Tribeca Film Festival pulled the film from its slated world premiere on April 24. (De Niro is one of the festival's co-founders).

“It said something to me that was valid,” De Niro said. “Maybe some things were inaccurate, but if the movie was 20 percent accurate, it was worth seeing.”  The refusal to premiere this film was considered by some to be a First Amendment issue; despite some hiccups, the film has experienced box office success.

Friday's shows are at 2:35 and 6:45 p.m. You can buy tickets here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Confessions of a Southern Charm newbie: Ep 10

These are troubled times

Posted by Dustin Waters on Tue, Jun 7, 2016 at 12:33 PM

Let's all just pretend we're OK - SCREENSHOT
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  • Let's all just pretend we're OK
Hey, everybody. This week we’ll be talking about disappointment. I’ll try to make it fun, I guess.

So last night, when it came time to tune the old laptop into Southern Charm, I slowly began to realize that it just wasn’t happening. As the images clipped and glitched by, I was forced to face the sad reality that I wasn’t going to be able to watch the show via my usual set-up, which involves me dressed in tinfoil with my arms stretched to true north in hopes of strengthening my wifi. At this point you should realize that I don’t know how the internet works.

Anyway, I eventually had to do something I never thought would happen — I purchased an episode of Southern Charm. I downloaded it. It lives on my computer now. I can watch it over and over again until the heat death of the universe. So my laptop had let me down, but it also provided the only solution to my dilemma. This is what I kept in mind as I watched this week’s episode, which shows our cast of characters really being put through their paces.

We open with Craig, who is dressed as Rodney Dangerfield from Caddyshack, visiting his former boss. Craig has come looking for some sort of guidance. He’s let down J.D. with the whole bourbon, hotel business, and he’s now looking to return to pursuing a career as a lawyer. What a world that would be. Craig’s face plastered across benches. He maybe gets his own show, a legal drama titled Charleston Law, where he defends golf cart thieves and uncovers the seedy underbelly of counterfeit shrimp and grits. I would watch this.

Thanks, life! - SCREENSHOT
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  • Thanks, life!
Next in line, we find Shep meeting up with his lady friend, who has some bad news. She wants a commitment, but Shep isn’t ready to settle down. It’s a little uncomfortable watching someone getting broken up with. Also, they ordered an entire bottle of wine. Do they just have to sit there after the break-up and finish it? What’s the etiquette for this situation? I feel like Shep should get a hug and a to-go cup. I know I often make fun of Shep’s name for sounding like a wiping maneuver, but this saddens me. Shep says he’s afraid of commitment, which is an important thing to be able to admit. It’s better that he acknowledges that part of himself rather than try to carry on a relationship out of fear that he’ll disappoint the other person. Maybe one day he’ll be ready to settle down with a Mrs. Shep and have a lot of little Sheps and Shepinas running around, but today is not that day.

Speaking of not being ready for children, Cameran pays her mom a visit. Her mom is drinking a cocktail from a thimble and has the look that I describe as “senator poet.” She seems like the type of woman who would be great at running a book club. She’s a delight. Cameran confesses to her mom that she doesn’t want kids, and her mother is totally fine with it. I’ve had this conversation with my mother, but the news that I will not be siring any grandkids has yet to set in. I assure you that I am not parent material.

“Dad won’t stop talking about how good of a movie Tremors is, but he doesn’t understand how health insurance works. I’ve never been to the dentist, and he mixes cough syrup in with all my food to keep me docile. He was supposed to help me with my science fair project, but instead he just wrote the word ‘futility’ on a poster board and sent me off to school.”

Thanks, unborn son.

Back to Southern Charm, we follow Shep and Cameran as they attempt to sell a home to the Most Interesting Man in the World from those Dos Equis commercials. Within seconds, Shep has mentioned the Civil War and made up 20 random words for house parts. According to Shep, the bathroom was carved from one giant slab of marble and there’s a pool on the roof. The house is actually bigger on the inside like the Baxter Building from the Fantastic Four, and it has the same exact layout as the mansion from the game Clue. Cameran eventually tells Shep — the only name in real estate — that she can no longer work with him. He says now he’ll have more time for naps. Shep’s life is that of a house cat.
"I don't always buy houses, but when I do, I ask for a garage for my beard." - SCREENSHOT
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  • "I don't always buy houses, but when I do, I ask for a garage for my beard."
Later in the evening, Thomas meets up with the rest of the guys to celebrate the birth of his son. They have some odd discussion about the importance of having a male heir because it is 1780, and then the rest of the conversation centers around genitals. At one point, Thomas says something like “Look at those balls” while flipping through pictures on his phone, and I remember why I cry into my pillow at night. After a harrowing conversation about circumcision, we jump to the next scene where Shep is meeting Whitney for lunch.

They have a conversation about relationships, but all I can look at is Shep’s “I Voted” sticker. Shep voted. Or he stole someone’s sticker. But I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. “Is Shep a better citizen than I am?” I ask myself in a moment of chilling introspection. Sometimes when you gaze into the abyss, Shep stares back.
Continuing our emotional rollercoaster ride with Shep, we see the heartbreak kid stopping by to visit Landon, who decides now is a good time to confess her love for him. Shep manages to hold in a spit take before making a hasty exit. Put this behind you Landon, for Lockhart Steele is coming.
Lockhart Steele is back! - SCREENSHOT
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  • Lockhart Steele is back!
For those of you who don’t remember, Steele is considering assisting Landon in the publication of her travel-arts-food magazine, which she will also be extending to encompass complete world knowledge. You can tell Lockhart Steele is in town because you can see his helicarrier hovering over the city. If you told me that Lockhart Steele’s business card is a raven trained to say only his name, I would believe it. Just typing the name Lockhart Steele has caused my computer to grow a beard and lease a vintage Trans Am. The kingmaker that he is, Steele says Landon’s magazine/website isn’t progressing fast enough before igniting his jet pack and crashing through the ceiling.
This week’s episode ends with a dinner at Patricia’s. Being one of the unclean, I can’t imagine what it is like to set down to dinner with Patricia. She leads the table like some sort of conversational general. Each question is strategic and precise. They are the cruise missiles of discourse.

Once again, J.D. steers the discussion with Thomas to paternity tests. He says the last results were inconclusive, and everyone latches on. But I understand his reluctance to dig up the truth. These children are already in his life. Either things remain exactly the same or he gets the biggest disappointment of his life. Both Shep and Craig have had to face personal and professional setbacks this week, and maybe Thomas just wants to avoid joining the club. As this season of Southern Charm winds down, a lot of the cast is at a pretty low point. Will they have time to recover? I guess we’ll see.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Confessions of a Southern Charm newbie: Ep 9

Birth and horses

Posted by Dustin Waters on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 12:10 PM

Craig's rules for life - SCREENSHOT
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  • Craig's rules for life
Welcome back, everyone. Hope you all had an enjoyable holiday weekend and spent at least a few moments drunkenly arguing with your loved ones about whether a hotdog is a sandwich. This week’s episode of Southern Charm got into some pretty heavy territory, so let’s jump right in and try to see what lessons we can extract from it.

We open things back at Whitney’s L.A. home, which is the architectural equivalent of a sleeping pill. If walls could talk, these would spend their time explaining why the lute is under-utilized in modern American music and listing hummus recipes. Over breakfast, Whitney and his lady friend discuss Shep and Craig’s upcoming visit. Whitney attempts to describe the concept of a promise ring and mentions that it is something that someone receives when they are “going steady.” His use of what may be an outdated term gets a laugh from his companion, but I’m right there with you, Whit. I get made fun of every time I describe a young couple as “courting,” but I just brush it off, run down to the pharmacy for a malt before heading back into the office to refill the ink on my mimeograph. The important thing to remember is that Whitney and I are definitely not born of an ageless race cursed to walk the Earth forever. Such rumors are unfounded, and I assure you that my current human vessel is only 28 years old and completely susceptible to the ravages of time.

Moving on, we find Kathryn paying a visit to the spa with Cooper, who looks way too much like the Lady Elaine Fairchilde puppet from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Nightmares aside, Cooper advises Kathryn to live her life as she wishes and not allow Thomas to influence her decisions.
The resemblance is uncanny - SCREENSHOT
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  • The resemblance is uncanny
Turning toward the other side of the relationship, the episode then jumps to Thomas and J.D., who are fresh off the polo field or course or whatever you call the grounds on which polo is played — polotorium, maybe, or the Polodome. Two horses enter. Two horses leave because polo is a perfectly civil game.

Anyway, J.D. and Thomas chat about the upcoming birth of T-Rav’s son. J.D. recommends a paternity test, but also suggests that women typically don’t like being asked for such. This is an astute observation from J.D., as involving Maury in the birthing process may not be conducive for a good time. Thomas seems pretty chill about all this, but the very idea of asking someone for a paternity test seems terrifying to me. I don’t think I could bring myself to do it and would probably go on living a lie just to avoid an awkward conversation. It is for this reason that I once went by the name Dave for several weeks after starting a new job and never summoned the courage to correct anyone. After a week or so, I had passed the point where I might be able to correct someone without seeming like a lunatic. My coworkers upstairs knew me as Dustin, but downstairs I was Dave. That went on for a pretty good while, until an uncomfortable elevator ride that went something like this:

Downstairs worker: “Hey Dave, how are you today?”

Upstairs worker: “Why are you calling him ‘Dave’? Dustin, did you tell people to call you
Dave? What is wrong with you?”

Me: [Remains silent for three solid minutes before leaping through an office window and running off into the woods never to be seen again.]

Back to Southern Charm, Cameran and Landon are spending a fun afternoon making candles. Maybe next they can go tan some leather or apprentice for the local cobbler. Landon confesses that she may not be fully invested in establishing a committed romantic relationship because she is subconsciously holding out for Shep, which is also the name of a failed children’s toy from the ’80s that was basically just a Mr. Potato Head with a drinking problem.

We also learn in this episode that Landon was once married. Now she’s torn with whether to move on and pursue a relation-Shep with her friend or burry her feelings. With that plot point established, we move back to the West Coast as Craig and Shep arrive at Whitney’s. Things are pretty tense between Craig and his host after their argument in the mountains, but Craig apologizes, and Whitney extends his version of an olive branch, which is a Coors Light. Coors Light: The beer you give to someone you kind of hate.
"Who said I've been alive forever?" - SCREENSHOT
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  • "Who said I've been alive forever?"
Later in the evening, Whitney’s lady friend, who I believe is named Larissa, joins the boys before they begin their evening of revelry. Larissa mistakes the words “Shep” for “shit,” and I’m like “Come on. That’s my routine, Larissa. Leave the Shep-based humor to me.”

It’s at this point that things deteriorate and everyone starts saying things that are complete nonsense, and I love it. Shep mentions how when you get “perfectly drunk” you’re really good at pool. Whitney rallies his friends by saying, “Let’s wake up in the morning covered in blood and vomit” because I guess he learned to party from GG Allin. Then Shep says he promises to “spit in the devil’s eye.” This is all capped off with Craig saying that it’s a good thing that he and Whitney and Shep are all guys — otherwise they’d be talking shit about each other on Twitter for three years. Is this what women do? I know this is what Kanye West does. I don’t quite know if this is a universal female trait.

Skipping ahead to the morning after the big party in L.A., we see Whitney stepping out of his room to survey the damage. In a moment I never could have predicted, he steps onto his porch and beams at a puddle of vomit that he discovers. “The mark of a good party is finding vomit with a partially digested meatball,” he says with the pride of a father flipping through the family photo album to find page after page of bodily fluids. Whitney then goes to wake everyone up. I guess to tell them about all the exciting vomit people left at his home. Much to my disappointment, Shep is not passed out in a treetop.

Back in Charleston, J.D. is on the search for Craig as their company prepares for the big bourbon launch event. After several unanswered calls, J.D. phones Shep to say he is running out of niceness with his new employee. Shep passes on this message to a sleepy-eyed Craig, but he also reveals a personal pet peeve. It turns out that Shep finds it unacceptable to have a full voicemail. This is an interesting bit of insight into Shep’s mind, which up until this point I assumed was just full of Big Johnson T-shirt ideas and a single unspeakable urge.

Craig and Shep’s hang-out session at Whitney’s house takes an even stranger turn when Craig orders a masseuse. This nice young women proceeds to give Craig a rub-down as Shep looks on and asks her about energy. This is completely disturbing. Why do they all need to be in the room together? There’s some weird thing going on with all this, and I think we should try to figure out the masseuse’s last-known whereabouts. Between Kathryn and Cooper at the spa and Craig in L.A., a large portion of this episode was dedicated to watching people get massages.
Run away. Everyone just run away. - SCREENSHOT
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  • Run away. Everyone just run away.
Returning to Charleston, it is the day of the bourbon launch at the horse race, which is the most Charleston sentence I have ever written. It may be too small for you to see, but the period in that last sentence is actually Bill Murray riding a palmetto bug to brunch.

On their ride to the horse race, our cast enjoys a rich bounty of champagne and Doritos ­— the Shep of meals. Craig is pouting because he has a hangover and has become bored with this whole bourbon thing, which was his life’s calling only a few weeks ago. While talking to J.D., Craig mentions that he has never had to cancel a trip for work reasons, and with that I am done. I can’t look at you right now, Craig. I thought I knew you, but you’ve hurt me. I need a minute.

The rest of the episode is dedicated to the birth of Thomas and Kathryn’s son. This is really sweet, and I think the show did a good job of handling a nice moment between the two without forcing some unnecessary drama. Regardless of how you feel about Southern Charm and Thomas and Kathryn, it is kind of incredible to think that they showed a person’s first day in the world. Only moments old, their son hasn’t even seen his first exotic bird-themed party.

The episode ends with a shot of Thomas holding his newborn and saying, “Hopefully you won’t make all the dumb mistakes I’ve made.” Amen, Thomas. Amen.

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