Scene: Bikes, Bourdain, and Rockabillaque 

Brock Talk

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J. Chandler Thomas

Tuesday evening I went over to CofC to the Halsey Institute to the Pedal & Panache Fall soiree. You have to love an event with a bike valet. Such was the case last Tuesday at Charleston Moves Pedal & Panache Fall soiree. The biking advocacy group welcomed guests to The Halsey Institute where we viewed the works of artists Susan Klein and Jiha Moon and toured a vintage bicycle display while enjoying heavy hors d’oeuvres.

The next evening, I went over to the Cedar Room at the newly updated (and completed) Cigar Factory. The venue hosted the kickoff of the Charleston Food Film Festival. Admittedly, I had no real idea of what the festival was, though I was really impressed with my findings. To begin the festival, guests were seated for a screening of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. The season finale episode featured many Charleston-area eateries as well as personalities. Starring Bourdain and our own Sean Brock, the two hit up The Griffon where Bourdain was treated to Brock’s favorite duo-libation — Budweiser and a shot of Jäger. The coolest part of the experience was that the viewers received everything that we saw on screen. So, much to my delight, I received a shot of Jäger and a Budweiser. The episode made it seem like the two had quite a good night and they inevitably ended up at the Waffle House. We also partook in hashbrowns as the guys ate on screen and it may count as the earliest (or latest, quite honestly) that I have ever dined on such cuisine. Brock stated that Waffle House was a spiritual place, and I kind of have to agree. I have certainly had a Biblical experience there with country ham. The episode traveled to several places. Brock and Bourdain picked up Bill Murray at a Riverdogs game and had him in-tow for a full spread at Husk. Murray mentioned the ongoing tourist population in the Charleston area, with a bit of discontent and spoke on his New York-ish driving style, which, I personally, can attest to — the star has nearly careened into me twice while I was crossing the street. My immediate reaction was to become enraged and throw out a not-so-nice finger gesture, then I saw it was Bill Murray and somehow that makes everything OK. The highlight of the show was seeing Scott’s Bar-B-Que. Rarely does a taste linger with me than his recipe of hog, though I am still tasting the Jägermeister.

click to enlarge J. CHANDLER THOMAS
  • J. Chandler Thomas

On Thursday, I accepted an invite from School of Hospitality at College of Charleston, where students got to put on an event as both a part of education, and real-world experience. Guests and professors boarded the Spirit of Charleston over at Aquarium Wharf, where attendees were handed champagne upon entry while a great live band was up on deck. We were about an hour in before I finally started to ask if we were going to leave the dock. Apparently we were not. Regardless, the kids did well and the party, while anchored, went swimmingly.

click to enlarge J. CHANDLER THOMAS
  • J. Chandler Thomas

It was off to Rockabillaque in Park Circle on Saturday. This event is sort of a mixed bag. I was greeted by free parking, which was even more exciting than the vintage car show. Most makes were of the domestic variety, leaving out a lot of imports and exotics. However, the hearse could have been in the exotic category. It featured its own skeletons. The all-day event had a little bit of everything, from a pin-up contest to a children’s tattoo contest. Obviously these were sans needles and what would leave my own mother in sheer horror, but seeing the kids match their inked parents was fun. Over at The Sparrow, the bar featured Holy City Brewing’s beer named after the event. I also never leave Park Circle before going by the duck pond to feed my web-footed friends and the park seemed to have some runoff from the festival where kids delighted in chasing (read: terrorizing) the ducks.

That night, I donned my finest crushed velvet and walked over to Cannon Park for Charleston Parks Conservancy’s Party in the Parks soiree. The party itself is one of the better-organized events in town. Nothing is left to chance and it is all about having fun, while supporting something that everyone loves: the parks! Guests were treated to a carnival theme with people on stilts and ring performers on stage while being supplied with much more than circus peanuts. Food came from Indaco, Oak, Bull Street, Monza, and Burwell’s, to name a few. Icebox hosted the bar fare and The Americano and Cocktail Club won the crowd over with their flavorful specialty drinks. While everyone had some food and liquid encouragement, The Bushels got the party started with their brand of Americana music. Malandro Soul took us on a trip to Brazil after that and Palmetto Mobile Entertainment ended the evening with some high-quality dance music. A great way to end the week and make for a bit of a struggle Sunday.


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