Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Southern Charm Newbie, RelationShep edition: A Sickly End

The RelationShep Finale

Posted by Dustin Waters on Tue, Jan 16, 2018 at 2:50 PM

The first major television dilemma since “Who shot J.R.?” - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • The first major television dilemma since “Who shot J.R.?”

Here we are, the final episode of RelationShep. To start out on a personal note, I am currently in the grips of the flu. My blood feels cold, but that is balanced out by how much my bones hurt. My head feels like I've been snorting corkscrews.

At least I think I have the flu. I could just be instinctively encasing myself in a cocoon of dirty tissues and mucus from which I'll emerge in my final form, a genderless ur-beast from a time when language had not yet formed to describe such a terror. Suffice to say, I've spent the past 24 hours suckling at a bottle of maximum strength NyQuil Severe. This means I'm in the perfect mindset to watch the RelationShep season finale.

If you're just tuning in, RelationShep is the reality dating show that begs the question "Did they print too much money this year and forget how to burn it?"

Of course, I'm joking. For those who look at shows such as RelationShep and have nothing but negative comments, please just for a minute consider all the talented crew members who earned a paycheck during the making of this show. Dozens of people worked long hours to make this show as good as it is, and that doesn't even count the local police officers who were paid off to ignore all the public indecency charges. Anyway, let's take a look back at how we arrived to the end of the season.

After speed-dating his way around a few of America's largest cities, Shep selected five women to return to Charleston. Aside from the case of ringworm they all picked up at the beach house, these women all share a mutual affection for Shep. From this group, Shep was supposed to whittle down their numbers until he arrives at the woman of his dreams.

Arden was the first to leave, after realizing that things weren't going anywhere with Shep. Of all the women on the show, Arden seemed like the person least likely to have a tequila-stained Harley Quinn costume hanging in the back of her closet from last Halloween.

Bella was the next to leave, returning to New York due to professional obligations. Kylie, a very young beauty queen from Texas, is the only contestant thus far to be sent away by Shep. This leaves Peyton and Priscila.

Priscila seems like an amalgam of every person who has ever asked to speak to your manager. She has the demeanor of a negative Yelp review and could probably make a killer spreadsheet.

Peyton on the other hand has the stature of Barbie, but the credibility of Skipper. She comes across as the least famous person to have ever been kicked off a domestic flight. Peyton is the type of person to corner you at a party and reveal that she's a flat-earther.

Moving on with the episode, Cameran shows up to visit Shep. He catches her up on how things are going with the show, and Shep reveals that he is taking each of the remaining contestants to his family homes. By "family homes," I mean extra houses that they own and occasionally visit. My gut reaction to this is to complain about Shep having all these beautiful properties to visit when I do not. But I don't begrudge Shep for having multiple vacation homes. That would be petty and, worse, easy. What we should really focus on is exactly how terrifying this all seems on a base level.

To start things out, Shep takes Peyton to his family home in Camden, S.C. As the camera waltzes from room to room, we see that ever flat surface is graced with a mounted dead animal. I grew up with the fruits of my father's hunting hanged about us, but this is a house filled with every kind of dead animal.

I remember when I was a kid, my dad took me to a taxidermist's home. His blind dog ran out to meet us when we arrived. There was a clothesline weighed down by fish carcasses that stretched from his workshed to the front porch of his house. The inside of the shed smelled of copper and chemicals that I couldn't quite place at the time. I’ve never been more glad that a dog was blind.

Now, imagine bringing a woman to an isolated cabin full of dead animals. Unless she is an extra from Evil Dead, she’ll probably become a bit apprehensive. Shep and Peyton then ride four-wheelers across the property. He points out the rumored pit of quicksand, and then they arrive at what would be best described as a murder cabin. Seriously, it looks like a set from season one of True Detective, but a little more dreary. This cabin looks like Johnny Cash’s cover of "Hurt" was given shape. Jason from Friday the 13th would look at this cabin and say, "Maybe we shouldn’t."

All animals are flesh-eating if given the chance - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • All animals are flesh-eating if given the chance

After touring Carcosa, Shep and Peyton sit by the fire and she explains that her love of animals started when she was a very young child. Peyton reveals that when her parents divorced, she was forced to get rid of all her dogs, which she loved.

Damn. That's grim. That's like telling a kid that Christmas is canceled because Santa was murdered by the Easter Bunny. This is like instead of telling your kid that the divorce isn't their fault, you say, "All your damn dogs convinced us to split up" like you're the Son of Sam going through a divorce.

Shep then calls in his neighbor Dawn to bring over her boykin spaniels and this proves incredibly charming to Peyton. One of the puppies then pisses on a rug that is probably a family heirloom, but everyone is super chill about it because puppies.

Shep and Peyton then go to dinner where Shep's parents met. This should be very romantic, but Shep excuses himself to go talk to Producer Sarah about how he should proceed. Watching this scene develop through a NyQuil haze reminds me that my body is undergoing a real orgy of maladies. The night ends with Shep and Peyton making out by the fireplace until they ask the camera crew to leave. The next morning, as Peyton is sent away, Shep informs Producer Sarah that nothing serious happened, saying he did not gain "carnal knowledge" of Peyton.

Moving on, Shep arrives at his family's other vacation home in Linville, N.C. This place is also super nice. Touring Priscila around to see all his family's property, Shep takes her to the scariest fucking church you've ever seen. I mean, it's beautiful, but it looks like the set from the Wicker Man. The church is made completely out of timber, and if you went there, Jesus would be depicted as a wood sprite and the Lorax would be included among the prophets.

‘Yeah, but also like the last place an outsider would ever see.’ - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • ‘Yeah, but also like the last place an outsider would ever see.’

Returning home from the horror church, Shep and Priscilla cook chili. Shep augments Priscila's chili recipe while she's outside only to learn that she is super serious about her chili recipe. They discuss what their relationship should be, but Priscila is surely upset that her designated chili recipe was adulterated on national television.

Moving on, Shep sends Priscila off as he meets his mother for lunch. Shep's mom, Fran, reveals that they bought a golf cart. This is funny in the way that parents can sometimes share their recent highpoints, and it proves to be boring and cute. Meanwhile, my mom hasn't slept in a week and my flu-riddled brain asks "What day is it?" every time I wake up, afraid I've missed a deadline.

Back in Charleston, Shep stops by Peyton's apartment to tell her that she is off the show. He starts by telling Peyton that he really cares about her but then severs all ties before leaving her temporary apartment.

The next day, Shep drives over to Priscila's apartment, and we're meant to think that he's going to finally accept her into his life. Then a massive swerve arrives, as Shep says he's going after Bella.

With these final moments, Priscila can return to ruling her local HOA with an iron fist, while Peyton can get back to drunkenly insulting her Lyft drivers.

With just five minutes left in the episode, Shep heads to New York City, saying he's never done anything so impulsive and compares the situation to a Woody Allen movie.

Surely if this scene had been filmed today, Shep would have referenced a director who is a little less controversial. And by "controversial," I mean a well-known molester who was revealed decades ago to use his power to abuse women. Allegedly. Yes, allegedly.

One interesting thing about people who have trouble acknowledging the crimes of their heroes, it that they fail to recognize that there are plenty of other profound talents who have not sexually assaulted anyone. As far as comedians are concerned, I offer up Sinbad. Sinbad is hilarious. Instead of deifying Bill Cosby and Woody Allen, remember that Sinbad is funnier and the true star of Jingle All the Way.

Back to the show, we find Shep arriving in New York, purchasing some flowers, and calling Bella from outside her apartment. He manages to coax her from her apartment. Accepting the flowers, Bella agrees to pursue a relationship with Shep. As the credits role, they begin scheduling how they'll spend their time together, and the season ends with a title card advising viewers to watch Southern Charm to see how it all turns out.

Other than that time Richard Gere didn’t abandon that prostitute. - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • Other than that time Richard Gere didn’t abandon that prostitute.

Wow. What a twist, which was completely given away by the trailers from previous episodes. Anyway, we end with Shep and Bella pursuing a relationship. If you enjoyed these recaps, please write your Congressmen and ask that I be enlisted to continue writing recaps for the upcoming season of Southern Charm. Meanwhile, I will fall back into my flu. Only through suffering can truth be revealed, I think to myself as my body becomes a symphony of discomfort. I've quarantined myself to an isolated corner of the apartment until I overcome my illness, but maybe health is just a narrow lens through which one truly experiences life.

Either way, it's been fun walking you through this first season of RelationShep. It's been great to hear from those of you who have enjoyed the column each week. Please know that I'll be around much more than I'll be a square. That's the coolest joke I can come up with at this point. Later.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

The Surf & Ale Bash serves up surf flicks and local brews

Surf's up, etc.

Posted by Will Allen on Mon, Jan 15, 2018 at 4:30 PM

  • Screenshot, "Nervous Laughter"
On Fri. Feb. 2, the first event of the Carolina Surf Film Festival — the 4th Annual Surf & Ale Bash — will be held at the Charleston Music Hall. Hosted by Carolina Surf Brand, this beer and movie mini fest offers five hot surf films to fight the cold of winter.

Here's the lowdown on the flicks:

Ben Gulliver’s The Seawolf, follows eight surfers on a two-year journey across the globe in search of great surf footage.

In Take Shelter Productions’ Nervous Laughter, a group of childhood friends push each other to surf a big wave surfing break known as Jaws during the 2016 El Niño season.

Cam Richards and Vissla Productions’ Fairly Normal tells the story of the career and evolution of Cam Richards, a surfer from Myrtle Beach, as he climbs the ranks of international surfing.

Brr... by Take Shelter Productions follows a group of Hawaiian friends as they explore the waves of New Zealand’s South Island.

The final film of the festival is the premiere of a top secret short film from Vissla Productions, but we can imagine it's ... gnarly.

In addition to the films, Carolina Surf Brand will be showcasing their new line of winter wear, which will be available for purchase in the lobby. Mex 1 Coastal Cantina will have food for sale, and attendees can swill beer from Edmund's Oast Brewing, COAST, Westbrook, Lo-Fi, Holy City, and Low Tide Brewing, as well as a few non-local spots like Jolly Pumpkin and New Belgium.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the event begins at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online or at the Music Hall Box Office for $10.
Event Details Surf and Ale Bash
@ Charleston Music Hall
37 John St.
Charleston, South Carolina
When: Fri., Feb. 2, 7 p.m.
Festivals + Events, Film + Radio and Beer


The Seawolf - Trailer from Ben Gulliver on Vimeo.


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Bill Murray pops up on Saturday Night Live as Steve Bannon

And Fred Armisen is perfect as always

Posted by Sam Spence on Mon, Jan 15, 2018 at 9:34 AM

Bill moonlights as the Bannon Cannon - SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE SCREENSHOT
  • Saturday Night Live Screenshot
  • Bill moonlights as the Bannon Cannon
Charleston-based minor league baseball team and restaurant co-owner Bill Murray made an appearance on Saturday Night Live over the weekend. Capping off the show's cold open that also featured Fred Armisen as journalist Michael Wolff, Murray popped in as White House pariah Steve Bannon in a send up of MSNBC's daily Beltway banter sesh, Morning Joe.

Appearing as the disheveled former White House advisor clad in two separate button up shirts under two additional jackets, Murray's gig as the "Bannon Cannon" comes as the Trump White House goes through the motions to attempt to salvage an immigration reform deal sabotaged last week when Trump himself echoed the racist rhetoric his administration has amplified since taking office a year ago. On Thursday, Trump asked a bipartisan group of lawmakers including U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham why their immigration compromise allowed immigrants from majority non-white nations which he referred to as "shithole countries."

Murray's impression of the recently-ousted Breitbart executive isn't exactly spot-on, but he managed to squeeze in a few gags about the one-time populist golden boy.

In November, Steve Bannon was honored by Citadel Republicans just a couple days after the Washington Post broke initial news that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who Bannon supported, has a reported history of romantically pursuing underage teens against their will. Welp, at least we have weirdos like Bill Murray out there to make RiverDogs rain delays more exciting than most games and to somehow make us laugh at sexual predators being nominated for public office.

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Southern Charm Newbie, RelationShep edition: Sailboats, how do they work?


Posted by Dustin Waters on Tue, Jan 9, 2018 at 1:38 PM

‘Kittens on the grill, ladies.’ - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • ‘Kittens on the grill, ladies.’

Welcome back for the penultimate episode of RelationShep, season one. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm new to the whole reality dating show scene. For this reason, the idea that anyone can find love by slowly weeding out potential mates under the watchful eye of a camera crew seemed doomed to fail, but then I began to really consider all the inane ways that people approach romance. Let me give you an example.

In the rustic farmlands of Sardinia, there is an illegal cheese known as casu marzu, or the "rotten cheese." What sets this sheep’s milk delicacy apart is the presence of live maggots that are said to push the fermentation process to the next level. From what I've read about casu marzu, the larvae squirming around within is a sign that the cheese has not yet become toxic. These maggots are also known to leap from the cheese as it is eaten, which is why diners are advised to hold their hands above each bite to prevent the creatures from landing on their face.

The reason I bring this all up is that some Sardinians consider casu marzu to be a potent aphrodisiac. This means that at some point someone has offered up an illegal rot cheese infested with bugs as a way to attract a lover. With this in mind, maybe inviting a random group of women to cohabitate in beach house as they compete for your affection isn't the worst way to find love. Now onto the show.

You may remember that last week's episode of RelationShep ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. Contestant Bella had received word from her employer in New York that she was needed back in the office. In case you were wondering, most employers offer reality show contestants slightly more vacation time than new parents. And by that, I mean less than a week. I suspect that you would be given more time to make an impression on a national TV audience than you would to imprint on your newborn. But that's what working mothers get for "trying to have it all."

Anyway, Bella decides to break the news of her impending departure to Shep while everyone is at a big, fancy party for JD's wife. At this point, I would assume that Bella's business specializes in ruining parties, but then that wouldn't explain why she'd need to leave because she's already in the perfect place for that.

While Shep and Bella endure this difficult talk, a noticeably sauced Landon shambles over with two plates of cake. Like a speeding car on an icy road, Landon careens into a joke, telling Shep that he wants to "have his cake and eat it too" before handing him a slice.

This is like the time I stormed into a courtroom with a bag full of fruit, pointed at the defendant, and said, "It's pie time you let this innocent mango. We will file a peel after a peel if we have to, but I refuse to berry another client in the penal system."

And with that, OJ Simpson was exonerated.

Back at the party, Shep immediately becomes the saddest person to have ever just been handed a piece of cake, while Landon reflects on her cunning witticism. She is truly the Dorothy Parker of our times, but with more dessert-based prop comedy.

‘Let’s consider this my (pause) just desserts.’ - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • ‘Let’s consider this my (pause) just desserts.’

Just so you know, I'm watching this week's episode on my phone due to technical difficulties. You know how people say you have to see a film in theaters to truly appreciate the scope of what you're watching. Think a John Ford movie or There Will Be Blood. Well, RelationShep is best enjoyed on a smartphone or from the small monitor strapped on the back of the headrest of the car in front of you. Or just let a drunk manchild describe it to you the following day. Let’s not mess with success.

It's a bit unfortunate that Shep and Bella seem unwilling to pursue a long-distance relationship. You can learn a lot about yourself this way. Like the fact that you don't own any curtains or what could be charitably described as a "real bed." Yes, if you dry your dishes with an old Looney Tunes sweatshirt, then a long-distance relationship is the thing for you.

With Bella on the outs, only three women remain on the show: Peyton, Priscila, and Kylie. Mind you that Shep has not actually removed any potential love interests. They've simply just dropped off like characters in the Clue movie or members of the current presidential cabinet.

Reeling from the news about Bella, Shep and Cameran meet up the next day at a (Checks notes. Shakes head. Waits until 1:31 a.m. for the episode replay.) lawn equipment store. Really?

Surrounded by machines used to mow football fields, Cameran hopes that Shep's commitment to a serious lawn-maintenance regimen will translate to a firm romantic relationship. OK. That's fine.

The following morning, the three remaining ladies are calling dibs on Bella's room as she packs to leave. They stand by with the same stifled eagerness of two parents sending their only child off to college so that they can have loud sex for the first time in 18 years. The remaining ladies all pretend to be very sad as they rush to shove all of Bella's shit into the back of an SUV idling in the driveway.

Well remembered - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • Well remembered

Shep arrives as they all "mourn" the loss of Bella. He informs the women that they will be moving into their own individual apartments downtown. I fear for the team that has to go in behind them to disinfect the beach house. As the empty bottle of Pedialyte on the kitchen counter can attest, things have been real in the beach house.

Of course, I don't pass these judgments lightly. I used to be a janitor in medical buildings in Upstate New York. If you've never dealt with a millipede infestation in the basement of a roadside doctor's office at 2 a.m., then you haven't cried real adult tears.

As Shep spends some time with Peyton, Priscila questions why Shep is spending time with another women, apparently having missed the entire premise of the show she's on.

In a perfect world, the show would continue with Shep secretly dating all three women from their individual apartments. This would feature numerous scenes of Shep scuttling women into waiting cars after seeing a member of his duplicitous love quartet crossing the street in his direction.

With moving day upon us, Peyton dips out without saying goodbye to anyone. Priscila later enters her new apartment with all the enthusiasm of someone who arrived back home to realize they forgot to buy a plunger.

Kylie on the other hand walks into her new apartment like a soldier returned from war. She hugs all the pillows and facetimes her mom to say how in love she is. Kylie first describes the apartment as "so Charleston," which means the actual owner only spends two weeks there a year and no one has anywhere to park.

Moving on, Shep and Priscila go to a clothing store for a fun shopping spree. Shep says he is always looking to women for recommendations on what to wear and his mom shopped for him until he was 35.

While it would be easy to lob criticism at this, I have 150 band T-shirts that I can't wear to job interviews, so who am I to talk. I've essentially prepared a wardrobe that would make me the coolest guy at the local Blockbuster, but they're all gone now.

Moving on to dinner, Priscila gives the side eye to the hostess who appears to know Shep. Shep says he doesn't recall knowing this young woman, and Priscila decides to disengage as the wine arrives at their table.

They drink and Priscila claims that their "silly wine talk" has great depths. Isn't that always what you think during "silly wine talk"? I came of age during a time when both ecstasy and The Matrix shared a wild popularity, and I can confirm that plenty of weighty conversations have been oversold as profound.

‘Descriptions of our deep conversation may have been exaggerated’ - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • ‘Descriptions of our deep conversation may have been exaggerated’

As things wind down with Priscila and they drunkenly kiss, Shep says he would usually end a date like this by going back to his place for some "Netflix and chill." But since Shep says that the women on the show have been behaving rather chaste, he may have to Netflix and chill by himself. There has to be a better term for this when you are all alone. Like "Hulu and unglue" or the "Youtube boogaloo."

The next day Shep takes Peyton to a baseball game. Producer Sarah jokes that maybe he'll make it to second base. Shep responds that he hopes to slide into third, which I think means fisting? Also known as a Pete Rose.

After sitting through a few innings, Shep asks some nearby strangers to keep and eye on their boiled peanuts while he and Peyton go check out the sun setting across the marsh. Abandoning my peanuts to strangers is exactly how I got dosed at Jimmy Carter's inauguration. Of course, everyone there was drunk on Billy Beer, so who's to say what really happened.

The morning after, Shep calls up Kylie and invites her to go on a boat excursion. As they stride to the ship, Kylie says that she has an aversion to water, like the aliens in Signs.

Kylie soon admits that she hasn't been on a boat in the ocean before, and it seems like she's not 100 percent sure if she can swim. Kylie then asks Shep to explain sailboats to her, and the chances that Kylie is from another dimension increase.

After a lengthy explainer about how sailboats work, Kylie deems them to be impractical. Mind you, this is coming from a woman who specializes in riding horses. Unless Shep invites her on a hydrogen-filled dirigible, Kylie doesn't have much room to criticize outdated modes of transportation.

‘And I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride, ya know?’ - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • ‘And I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride, ya know?’

After much coaching, Kylie finally musters the courage to leap into the ocean and manages not to dissolve. After a brief chat with Producer Sarah, Shep decides that he and Kylie are too different. In saying that Kylie is too young and innocent, Shep compares himself to a pirate, meaning that he is a murderous thief with a vitamin C deficiency.

Scurvy aside, Kylie is gone. May she stop wasting her time with cowboys and find herself a cowman. A man of cows. Udderly fit to treat her right.

See you all next week for the season finale of RelationShep. Or at least I think that's what I think is happening.

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

CMH screens Laird Hamilton biopic 'Take Every Wave' as part of next month's Telluride Mountainfilm Festival

Surf's up

Posted by Connelly Hardaway on Thu, Jan 4, 2018 at 1:13 PM

Hot, right? - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Hot, right?
The Telluride Mountainfilm Fest returns to Charleston Music Hall this year, adding an extra day of excitement with the Charleston premiere of the Laird Hamilton biopic, Take Every Wave. The festival, which, quelle surprise, was born in Telluride, Co., brings outdoor adventure films around the country each year.

If you only know Hamilton for his abs, that's fine (we get it), but you'd be missing out if you didn't see him ride some of the biggest waves any surfers have ever even attempted to scale. The mini film fest heads to CMH on Feb. 10-11.

The weekend kicks off with Take Every Wave on Sat. Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. The flick, created by prolific documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy, traces Hamilton's life and legacy, including his surfing techniques, which have led to breakthroughs in surf technology, like tow-in and foil methods. The film includes never-before-seen archival footage, as well as contemporary verité scenes shot in Southern Cali, Bermuda, and Kauai.

On Sun. Feb. 11 kids can check out a showcase at 2 p.m. while adults get their adventure fix at 7 p.m. A Mountainfilm presenter introduces each film, engaging the audience in discussion. The 2018 trailer promises skiing through snow tunnels, skateboarding down big ol' hills, mountain biking, and even some interaction with birds of prey.

Buy your tickets online at charlestonmusichall.com.

Event Details Telluride Mountainfilm Festival
@ Charleston Music Hall
37 John St.
Charleston, South Carolina
When: Feb. 10-11
Film + Radio

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