The Scene 

Charlie T., Polar Plunge, Holy City Beard and Moustache Society, Battle for 'Crete, Cumberland's

"What did the banana say to the vibrator? Why you shakin', she's gonna eat me."

— A bum outside Basil on King Street, carrying a computer monitor that he swore to the cop who pulled up soon after that it wasn't "hot"

click to enlarge T. BALLARD LESEMANN

Charlie T. Forever on the Mic

"Charlie T. has been at icon an Art's Bar & Grill for as long as I can remember," says East Cooper mortgage agent and part-time rock star Larry Strickland, speaking of animated, baseball cap-topped Art's regular Charles Taylor (pictured with fellow bar-goer and weekly open mic guest Kevin Gates). "Charlie T. has been jumping on stage and singing 'Come Sail Away' by Styx with any band that can play it for years."

Charlie T. is an enthusiast. When he's not working a busy day job with the catering services at Wild Dunes, Taylor puts plenty of time and effort into supporting live music along the Coleman Boulevard scene — from the karaoke nights at Fiddler's Green to the Wild Wing, Art's, and Shem Creek bars. His knowledge of Charleston's vintage bar-rock band scene is encyclopedic; he may not be familiar with Band of Horses, A Decent Animal, or other current indie acts, but over a few bottles of Michelob Light, he can accurately trace the family tree connecting Live Bait, the Frogmoores, the Diesel Brothers, and Big Foam Finger.

Whether out of the sheer excitement of stepping up to the microphone during a live show or from the mental haze following a few to many of his banana-flavored specialty shooters, Charlie often takes liberties and "customizes" the lyrics to his favorite songs.

Normally the lead singer with cover band Spunjwurthi, Strickland and longtime collaborator David Dunning (currently of The Diesel Brothers) performed as an acoustic rock/country duo on Jan. 5 at Art's under their new name, The Larry David Project. "We've played at the Break Room a lot this season and just booked a few Saturdays at Art's," Strickland says. "Charlie sang 'White Wedding' with us on Saturday. Who knows what he'll perform next week?" —T. Ballard Lesemann

click to enlarge beard.jpg

A Hairy Situation

The Saturday before New Year's Eve, the hairy folks of the Holy City Beard and Moustache Society congregated over cash-only fine beers, tasty gourmet dogs, pool, and Ms. Pacman at West Ashley's Tin Roof. Following "No Shave November," the faces of many of Charleston's finest were covered in a warm coat of grizzly, the shimmering foam of beer, and remnants of various delish condiments. With weeks of more cold weather before us, it may be a good idea to keep those itchy beards and moustaches growing. —Svetlana Minx




click to enlarge ERICA JACKSON

Taking the Plunge

The new year kicked off with a splash for over 5,000 Lowcountry residents who braved the nearly 60 (brr!) degree water of the Atlantic for the 15th annual Polar Plunge on Sullivan's Island. The drinking started early for many at Dunleavy's Pub, which hosted the event benefitting the Special Olympics. The narrow streets swarmed with people leading up to the 1 p.m. plunge. Dogs, children, hungover grown-ups, and the still-drunk-from-the-night-before fell into procession in the march toward the sunny beach, where the crowds milled around sharing a generally awesome mood. As the hour drew near, plungers huddled behind a long line of tape where they witnessed a surprising event: a wedding ceremony. (Now how's that for taking the plunge?) After that, the crowd grew increasingly rowdy until the tape was cut, and everyone charged into the sparkling water like a motley crew of warriors. Some ran back to shore immediately upon getting their feet wet, others swam out for a full baptism, and many remained playing in the water for some time. Then there were the observers, like me, who stood in the surf just a bit stunned at the insanity, almost wishing we were out there splashing ourselves. Almost. See calendar.ccpblogs.com for a full photo gallery. —Erica Jackson

Battle for 'Crete
Map Room hosts skatepark fund-raiser

Click here for photos

Kevin Taylor was back in town. Last week, the now San Fran-based artist whipped up a badass event at the Map Room for Pour It Now, an awareness campaign raising funds for a much-needed skatepark downtown. Hustling wares such as koozies, Johnny Pundt prints, T-shirts, skateboards, and the $5 admission, all proceeds went toward the campaign. For this all-ages show, the V-Tones, Clint 4, Charlie McAlister, Motormouth Mabel, FLK, A Decent Animal, Hybrid Mutants, and White Boy Crazy battled out hardcore on two stages. A Decent Animal stole the show with a full set of Black Sabbath covers, with singer Jonathan Nicholson mimicking Ozzy's voice and his signature gestures. The crowd went absolutely wild singing along. Projected on a screen behind the bar, Taylor's film The Pool played on repeat, featuring pics and videos from the '80s of old school Charleston skaters at the empty George Street pool. A stunning piece of history for local skaters anxious for a piece of their own turf. —Svetlana Minx

With a Whimper
Cumberland's closes its doors

On New Year's Eve, Cumberland's was filled with all the wrong people. Champagne was not flowing, the bartenders were unresponsive, and Live Oaks' double set was southern rock jammy. Yuck. Surrounded by people I had never seen in Cumberland's, I ran out to the door to kiss and wish Sinan, Johnny, and Frank a Happy New Year's. As the band jammed on, we enjoyed beers and cigarettes outside. Hearing wind of an after-party for the regulars at 1:30 a.m., I had headed to the bar to find it being emptied out. I grabbed a plastic mug at the door and mingled by the stage, anxious to send Cumberland's out in style and finish off the random assortment of beers and what was left of the kegs. The spent staff was in no mood to party. Cumberland's closed shop without a bang. —Svetlana Minx

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