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Community Spotlights: Habitat for Humanity, Sisters of Charity Foundation of SC, and more



South Carolina organizations raise funds for the purchase of AEDs

The South Carolina Racquetball Players Association, Sportsclub Fitness and Wellness, and the OB Hospitalist Group will host the Sweet Caroline Open racquetball tournament, held on Jan. 26-28, for both professionals and amateurs. The 2018 tournament will focus on heart health education, prevention, and emergency treatments for those suffering heart attacks. This will include raising funds to purchase 40 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) for organizations in South Carolina that directly impact the community. A number of the AEDs will be provided to the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office and City of Simpsonville Police Department for use in their patrol cars and buildings. For more information on the Sweet Caroline Open or the AED fundraiser, contact Lynette Froelich at 864-430-8810.

Habitat Greenville kicks off the 2017 Women’s Build

The 2017 Women’s Build brings together women from across businesses and experience levels to fundraise and build a home with Habitat for Humanity. The project kicked off Nov. 9 with a wall-raising for the future homeowner, Talaya Holland and her son, Carter. The participating women will donate both time and money to ensure the completion of the construction. Around 300 women will volunteer with the Women’s Build over the course of the project. The Women’s Build is a national initiative that empowers women to help families in their area while also learning construction skills. In addition to this build, Habitat Greenville will also participate in the National Women’s Build Week, which is held in the spring.

Five Greenville organizations awarded funding from Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina awarded $147,750 to 50 organizations in their fall funding session. Five local organizations – Meals on Wheels of Greenville, North Greenville Food Crisis Ministry, Safe Harbor Inc., Step by Step Ministry Hope Project, and Taylors Free Medical Clinic – were awarded Caritas grants. These grants are named after one of the guiding principles of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, in omnibus caritas, which means “in all things charity.” These grants are awarded to organizations that are making a difference in the lives of individuals in South Carolina.

Antonakos Foundation Awards 2017 recipients

The Antonakos Foundation has announced the recipients of its third annual scholarship fund, totaling $12,000. The scholarships were awarded based on application and evaluated on academic success, awards and honors, school involvement and activities, community involvement, athletics and employment, and a personal statement, as well as references. The following individuals were the recipients of the 2017 Antonakos Foundation Scholarships: Davis Crews (Eastside) for Vanderbilt University, Alaina Riordan (Wade Hampton) for University of Tennessee, Megan Keech (JL Mann) for Clemson University, Adam Engasser (Greenville) for University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Anna Lee Henry (JL Mann) for Clemson University, and Will Williamson (Greenville) for Presbyterian College. The Antonakos Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that honors the five members of the Antonakos family who died in July 2013 and provides scholarship funds to qualified recipients.

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to catch ‘The Nutcracker’ this holiday season

Photograph by Conrad Kuiper, Creative Commons 2.0

Clara, her courageous soldier, and the sugar plum fairies will be chassé-ing across a variety of stages in three unique “The Nutcracker” productions beginning Dec. 1.

Along with the regular evening shows, each company or studio will also host educational outreach programs for students, along with additional special events.

International Ballet

International Ballet performs The Nutcracker, in partnership with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, at the Peace Center Concert Hall Dec. 1-3. This year’s guest artists include Cuban ballet sensations Adiarys Almeida and Taras Domitro, who are performing in Greenville for the first time through a sponsorship by Graham and Greta Somerville.

“This season, our audiences will be able to enjoy the artistry of our accomplished dancers alongside these incredibly respected and world-renowned guest artists of the ballet world,” said International Ballet’s Artistic Director Vlada Kysselova.

Adiarys Almeida and Taras Domitro | photo provided

As Greenville’s only production of The Nutcracker with a live orchestra, it will also feature a live choir in the snow scene, led by Arlen Clarke of St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

“It is incredibly fortunate that audiences have the opportunity to experience Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece live, for there is no substitute for the fantastic energy that fills the hall when you combine musical mastery with the artistic expression of ballet. It is the perfect note to start the holiday season on,” said Greenville Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Julianne Fish.

Additionally, International Ballet will host the Nutcracker Tea Party on Dec. 10, at the Poinsett Club, featuring a performance by IB’s Nutcracker dancers, sweets by Jonathan Caleb Cake, and story time, among other holiday themed activities.

“International Ballet’s Nutcracker Tea Party is that quintessential childhood tradition that brings the holidays to life and gives young people and up-close experience with the art of dance,” said Lena Forster, International Ballet executive director.

International Ballet

The Nutcracker with Greenville Symphony Orchestra
Dec. 1 (school performance) – 10:30 a.m.; Dec. 2 – 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 3 – 3pm
Peace Center Concert Hall, 300 S. Main St.
Tickets: $18-$55 (Use code FamilyPack to Buy 3, Get 1 Free)

The Nutcracker Tea
Dec. 10, 1-3 p.m.
Poinsett Club, 807 E. Washington St.
Tickets: $30

Greenville Ballet

The Greenville Ballet will present the 33rd annual production of executive director Andrew Kuharsky’s adaptation of “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 15 and 16 at 3 p.m. at Furman University’s McAlister Auditorium.

Guest dancer Crystal Serrano from Dance Theatre of Harlem will perform with 90 local dancers, including Kuharsky’s four grandchildren. This year’s production will also include the premier of brand new sets for Act 2.

The sets and the storyline are modeled after George Balanchine’s internationally famous version, with the exception of some of the women’s costuming. (Read: hoop skirts.)

“It’s more ‘Gone with the Wind’ than traditional German,” Kukarsky says.

Kuharsky said the educational performance on Dec. 15 is a main reason the company moved its production from the Peace Center to McAlister Auditorium in 2002 because it was more cost effective to offer significantly discounted seats.

“A lot of kids don’t have exposure to dance,” he says.

Greenville Ballet

The Nutcracker
Dec. 15, 10:30 a.m. (student performance); Dec. 16, 3 p.m.
McAlister Auditorium, Furman University, 3300 Poinsett Hwy

Carolina Ballet Theatre

Carolina Ballet Theatre presents “The Nutcracker: Once Upon A Time in Greenville,” a European-inspired production that will feature all new costumes, sets, backdrops, and props.

The libretto is adapted from E.T. A. Hoffmann’s classic story, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.” Choreographed by CBT Artistic Director Herman Justo, the performance is based on the original Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov ballet.

On opening night, Carolina Ballet Theatre will host guest artists from world renowned ballet companies – Herman Cornejo, principal at American Ballet Theater and partner of ABT’s Misty Copeland, and his sister, Erica Cornejo, principal at Boston Ballet.

The three performances feature a 100-plus person cast including CBT Company dancers. The Meyer Center for Special Children students will perform during the opening scene.

Additionally, this year CBT has partnered with the S.C. Football Hall of Fame to bring celebrity athletes to the stage, including former Tigers Patrick Sapp and Tajh Boyd.

Before the evening performances and following the matinee, Table 301 will serve a Nutcracker Banquet in Genevieve’s. Included will be guest dancers and treat bags for the children.

Carolina Ballet Theatre

The Nutcracker
Dec. 22, 7 p.m.; Dec. 23, 2:30 and 7 p.m.
Peace Center Concert Hall, 300 S. Main St.


70 lofts, arts incubator planned for Spartanburg’s Arcadia Mill No. 1


A 114-year-old textile mill in Spartanburg County will soon breathe new life.

Georgia-based developer Pace Burt said he plans to move forward with a $9 million renovation of the 200,000 square-foot Arcadia Mill No. 1 at 1875 Hayne St.

The project will include about 70 high-end loft apartments and a 20,000-square-foot, two-story arts incubator named the Creativity Mill that will be developed in partnership with the Chapman Cultural Center.

“I’m very excited,” said Burt, who has successfully completed renovations of several historic buildings in the Upstate, including Mayfair Mills and Church Street Lofts in Spartanburg, and the West Village Lofts at Brandon Mill in Greenville.

“Arcadia was a very difficult building to deal with because we had to demolish about 175,000 square feet of newer additions to get back to the original structure of the mill.”

In May, Burt sold the 107-unit Mayfair Mills complex at 100 W. Cleveland St., just down the road from Arcadia No. 1 to Charleston-based Mayfair Apartments of SC LLC for $10.59 million.

At the time, Burt said he planned to use the funds to renovate the Arcadia facility, which has sat vacant for the past 16 years.

The developer acquired both sites from Spartanburg businessman Jimmy Gibbs in 2004.

Four years later, Burt completed an $8 million rehab of the West Cleveland Street property to transform it into apartments blending history with modern urban appeal.

In late 2012, Burt began moving forward with plans for the Hayne Street property.

Some of the plant’s construction from the 1970s was demolished and removed, exposing the original shell of the building, comprised of brick and large windows.

”It took a little while, but we’re ready to move forward,” Burt said.

A site plan filed with the county showed the facility will have ample parking and a pool.


Jennifer Evins, president and CEO of the Chapman Cultural Center, said Burt first approached the Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg in 2012. He planned to gift a portion of the building for an arts studio.

County Council voted in 2015 to utilize a community development block grant to help move the project forward, Evins said.

Plans for the space have been in progress for the past two years as federal and state historic preservation offices were reviewing Burt’s plan.

The arts complex will feature co-working space for local artists and a “maker space” for ceramics, metal, and glass.

It will have a climbing wall, dance studio, and practice studios for musicians.

Evins said the facility will be geared towards teaching local artists about entrepreneurship.

She said it will also focus on reaching out to artists in Spartanburg’s Latino and Hispanic communities. She said the community surrounding the mill is the fastest-growing Hispanic census tract in South Carolina.

Evins said officials have held meetings with members of community to receive feedback about what they’d like to see at the facility.

“We want to make sure this building is not just something we want, but what the community wants,” she said. “This is so exciting.”

Evins said Spartanburg-based McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture designed the space. The construction contract has been awarded to Spartanburg-based Clayton Construction Co.

She said about $350,000 of the $500,000 needed for the first phase of the arts facility has already been raised.

Evins anticipates the first phase will be completed before the end of 2018, while the second phase could be finished in 2019.

According to the mill’s National Register of Historic Places filing, it was founded in 1903 by Dr. Henry Arthur Ligon, a local pharmacist and banker, with financial backing from Spartanburg’s Manning and Cleveland families.

Joseph Sirrine, a prominent architect and engineer in South Carolina’s textile industry, designed the mill.

During the Great Depression, the mill and its sister facility off West Cleveland Street were sold to Joshua Baily of New York, who named both facilities after the Mayfair Hotel in New York.

In 1947, Frederick Baily Dent became president of the mill operations. He served in that role until he became the U.S. Secretary of Commerce in 1973.

The mill shuttered in 2001.

Robert Earl Keen’s holiday show embodies the silliness, chaos, and joy of the season

Robert Earl Keen. Photo provided

In the great tradition of Texas troubadours like Joe Ely and Guy Clark, Robert Earl Keen has written a lot of gems that sit comfortably at the dusty crossroads where rock, folk, and country music meet.

His 12 studio albums are dotted with favorites like “The Road Goes On Forever,” “Paint the Town Beige,” “Feeling Good Again,” and many more. But there’s one song that stands out from the rest in Keen’s repertoire; a song that, even if you don’t recognize his name, you’ve probably heard before. It’s called “Merry Christmas from the Family.”

The song is a shaggy dog story that’s far different from the typical holiday tune. “Mom got drunk and Dad got drunk,” is the song’s opening line, after all. During the song’s four-minute run time, there are at least two trips to convenience stores to pick up celery, a can of fake snow, a box of tampons, and a pack of Salem Lights, among other things.

When Keen first released the song on his 1994 album “Gringo Honeymoon,” it caught on fast. “Merry Christmas from the Family” resonated so strongly that it changed the course of Keen’s career.

“I became the Jimmy Buffett of December,” he says with a laugh. “I could fill up every day in December with a show if I wanted to, and it was because people wanted to hear the song. They didn’t even necessarily want to hear the rest of the show.

“A lot of times, people would just mill about until I started playing that song, and then they’d be front and center singing along at my feet.”

“For the people who know the song, they’ll know what to expect. For people who don’t, what I tell them is that if you are not in the Christmas spirit, come to this show and I promise when you walk out you will be.” –Robert Earl Keen

In fact, the song became such an iconic part of Keen’s catalog that, about six years ago, he thought maybe he wasn’t giving it enough credit.

“I started thinking, ‘Maybe we aren’t doing enough for these holiday shows,’” he says. “So we started wearing silly costumes and started coming up with a show based around the song.”

Thus Robert Earl Keen’s “Fam-O-Lee” holiday show was born.

“It’s every bit as wacky and upside down as the song itself,” Keen says. “For the people who know the song, they’ll know what to expect. For people who don’t, what I tell them is that if you are not in the Christmas spirit, come to this show and I promise when you walk out you will be.

“It’s not about ‘Sleigh Bells’ and stuff like that. It’s about knowing how fun Christmastime can be,” he adds. “And everybody’s in on the joke.”

Part of the fun for Keen and his band is that each edition of the show has a different theme, and each member of his band gets a chance to shine.

“Several years ago, we did ‘A ’70s Christmas,’ so everybody was in ’70s garb and the backdrop was ’70s-oriented and all that, and then the band all picked an iconic ’70s singer and sang one of their songs. We sang ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ for instance, which was a big surprise because we had these theaters with people taking out their lighters and swaying along with the song. It was unbelievable.”

This year, the theme of the Fam-O-Lee show is the “Back to the Country Jamboree.”

“It’s a reference to the Neil Young song ‘Get Back to the Country,’ Keen says. “And so everyone in the band will be a country-rock icon. We’ll have Bob Dylan. We’ll have Neil, Dwight Yoakam, Tom Petty – every one of the band members will dress up as one of them. It’s like a costume party with music, and everybody gets to sing, and we’ll have a handful of my songs, but for the most part it’s about welcoming the holiday season.”

Robert Earl Keen’s Fam-O-Lee with special guests Doyle & Debbie
Where: Peace Center, 300 S. Main St.
When: Tuesday, Nov. 28, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $35–$45
Info: 864-467-3000, peacecenter.org

Piedmont’s Ashland Craft continues her run on NBC’s ‘The Voice’


After perhaps her best performance since her blind audition on “The Voice,” Piedmont’s Ashland Craft was saved by America last night, winning enough votes for her performance of Tanya Tucker’s classic country hit “Delta Dawn” to move on to the next round of live performances next week.

Craft had shown some insecurity in some of her most recent performances, and her coach, Miley Cyrus, narrowed her choices for her Monday night live performance to “Chicken Fried” by the Zac Brown Band and “Delta Dawn,” but first, the show highlighted the fact that one of Craft’s idols, Gretchen Wilson, had tweeted her support for Craft.

Ultimately, Craft chose “Delta Dawn” and dedicated it to her parents for their support of her career.

In performance, Craft initially seemed to start as she often has, playing guitar behind a stationary mic. But soon enough, she abandoned the guitar and started prowling the stage, exhorting the audience to clap along while digging into the song’s catchy chorus. All the coaches seemed impressed, with Jennifer Hudson saying that Craft had “re-found her confidence.” Cyrus called it a star-making performance, adding that Craft set a new bar for herself.

Craft will perform in the second round of live performances next week, where the audience will once again be responsible for saving her or sending her home.

New grant will help St. Francis fight childhood cancer


Bon Secours St. Francis Health System was recently awarded part of a $2.2 million
grant for pediatric oncology research given by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest
private funder of childhood cancer research grants. St. Francis was selected to receive
a $60,000 infrastructure grant, which will ensure more children in the Upstate have
access to clinical trials.

Bon Secours was the recipient of one of 39 infrastructure grants given to medical
institutions across the country. The infrastructure grants are given based on the need of
the institution and its patients, as well as the anticipated results of the grant and local
participation in St. Baldrick’s fundraising events. The local Greenville community has
raised more than $69,000 through local St. Baldrick’s head-shaving events.

Access to clinical trials is a significant step for cancer treatment in the Upstate. “The
majority of childhood cancer patients are treated on a clinical trial,” said Kathleen
Ruddy, CEO of St. Baldrick’s. Continuing research relies on ensuring that children have
access to clinical trials in order to make meaningful advancements and give children a
better chance at survival.

In 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug that increases the
cure rate for high-risk neuroblastoma patients. This research was supported by St.
Baldrick’s grants and is only the third FDA-approved drug in 20 years that targets kids
with cancer.

From Tito’s to Tony’s, a guide to Greenville’s top New York-style pizzerias

The All-American (pepperoni, Italian sausage, onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers) by Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria. Photo by Will Crooks

By Russell Sanford

The current state of pizza in Greenville has leaned toward the trendy side of pizza: wood ovens, classical Neapolitan-style, and hip toppings that seem as if they belong nowhere near a pizza crust. But despite all of these new gourmet-style pizza places opening, there are plenty of old New York-style pizzerias producing some of the best pies in the city.

Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria
25 W. Washington St.

Since 1996, Barley’s has been known for having one of the best beer selections in downtown, but their pizza should not be overlooked. Sauce is used sparingly, but their eclectic array of toppings allow for all kinds of pizza to be created. The main draw here is the sourdough crust, which has an incredible chew and adds some sourness and funk to the pizza (cheese: medium, $13; large, $16; slice, $2.50). Give the beefalo a go for a different type of protein.

Slice of Margherita and slice of Spicy Sausage by Vic’s Pizza. Photo by Andrew Huang

Pebble Creek Pizza
1306 Stallings Road

Pebble Creek Pizza has been serving Greenville for over two decades with quality pizza (cheese: 12-inch, $7.99; 14-inch, $9.99; 18-inch, $13.99). The dough is made fresh daily and provides the perfect vehicle for any of their toppings. The sauce leans acidic but is needed against the cheese. The hand-tossed pizza is a customer favorite, and unlike many locally owned independent pizzerias, they will deliver.

Pizza City New York Style
1547 N. Pleasantburg Drive

Pizza City can be easily missed on Pleasantburg Drive, but the nondescript store is turning out quality pies (cheese: 12-inch, $7.50; 14-inch, $9.50; 16-inch, $10.95). The sauce is oregano-forward and put on the pizzas with a deft touch. The crust has a great chew and crunch on the bottom with lots of small, even air bubbles running throughout. The cheese stretches, but also has some bite to it. The slices are easily foldable to give you that full New York-slice experience.

House Specials: Margherita (fresh
mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, shredded
mozzarella) and Tito’s Special (pepperoni,
Italian sausage, mushroom, bell pepper,
onion) by Tito’s Restaurant Pizzeria. Photo By Will Crooks

Tito’s Restaurant Pizzeria
2018 N. Pleasantburg Drive

Just down the street from Pizza City, Tito’s makes some of the best pizza in Greenville with a home-style atmosphere to match (cheese: 12-inch, $8.75; 14-inch, $10.75; 16-inch, $13). Simplicity is key, as the sauce allows the acidity and sweetness of the tomato to shine through but not to be masked by the cheese. The crust is toothsome, with a nice even rise and cook. Try meatballs on the pizza. You won’t regret it.

Tony’s New York Style Pizzeria
30 Orchard Park Drive

Tony’s large slices and tangy sauce bring New York-style pizza to Haywood Road. The sauce and cheese blend into the crust to create that bready, doughy layer right below the cheese that helps to define the Big Apple slice. Try the white pie – ricotta, mozzarella, and garlic – if you crave something different (14-inch, $17.95; 16-inch, $19.95; 20-inch, $21.95).

Vic’s Pizza
21 E. Coffee St

Vic’s lists their location as “Brooklyn, S.C.” as a nod to their authentic New York-style pizza (cheese: 16-inch, $14; slice, $3). In actuality they can be found right on Coffee Street across from Coffee Underground. Vic’s sauce and cheese meld together seamlessly on a crust that offers a nice chew and gives diners that New York fold. They also make one of the largest pizzas in the city at 28 inches, the Bronx Bomber ($40).

Sound Bites: Gabe Dixon, Emily Musolino Band, and Emo Night w/ DJ Blake

Gabe Dixon. Photo provided

Friday, Nov. 24
Gabe Dixon w/ Swamp Rabbit Railroad
The Spinning Jenny, 107 Cannon St., Greer
8 p.m.
$12 adv/$15 door

Gabe Dixon’s most recent album, “Turns to Gold,” is an excellent collection of songs made even better by great production. On songs like “Holding Her Freedom,” “Don’t Make Me,” and “Flow Like Wine,” the polished vocal harmonies, miles-deep Hammond organ, and sparkling guitars wash over the listener, resting snugly on the intersection of country and folk. The album is beautiful to hear, but the lyrics often reflect the confusion and insecurity Dixon was experiencing at the time. “I was transitioning professionally and personally,” he says. “I was leaving my label, finding new management, and I was also learning what it means to be in a long-term relationship and what commitment means.” In between his own albums, Dixon worked as a keyboardist and singer for a wide range of rock legends from Paul McCartney to Supertramp, and he says he tried to learn as much as he could. “I hope I soaked up as much as I could,” he says. “From Paul McCartney, I learned simplicity – not overthinking things too much in the studio. I played with Loggins and Messina, and there was a point in the tour where Kenny Loggins was really sick, but he kept going out every night and getting people on their feet. It taught me a level of professionalism that I hadn’t thought about before.” ­–Vincent Harris

Saturday, Nov. 25
Emily Musolino Band w/ The Travers Brothership
Gottrocks, 200 Eisenhower Drive, Greenville
9 p.m.

Listening to Emily Musolino play guitar, one can hear decades of classic rock and blues icons coming out of her electric six-string. Her soloes are dazzling, and her skill comes from a variety of places. “I’ve always been drawn to a lot of different bands for different reasons,” she says. “I loved Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Page, and Jimi Hendrix, but I also went through a big Sublime phase, and listened to Green Day and NOFX.” When it comes to her soulful vocals, however, there’s one performer who stands out. “I discovered Etta James when I was 17 and that was a game-changer,” she says. “That soul-blues thing was my sh*t. The tone of her voice was like nothing I’d ever heard in my whole life; the soulfulness of it was incredible.” Musolino plays with a trio, which she says is the perfect way to get both her singing and guitar playing across. “I can do anything vocally and with guitar and not have to worry about holding back, because there’s nothing else in that space,” she says. –Vincent Harris

Saturday, Nov. 25
Emo Night w/ DJ Blake
Radio Room, 110 Poinsett Highway, Greenville
7 p.m.
$3 (over 21)/$5 (under)

Wes Gilliam, the booker for The Radio Room and bassist for the punk-pop band The Indoor Kids, is a big fan of “emo” music, the mix of heavy riffs and intimate, often self-lacerating lyrics that began in the mid ’90s with bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Jawbreaker. So when he saw that some other clubs around the country were having theme nights dedicated entirely to emo music, he didn’t think twice about setting one up at his venue. “When I first brought it to my partners, one said our regular clientele would hate it, but I knew I had to do it,” he says. In addition to a photo booth for the skinny-jeans-and-eyeliner-clad crowd and live karaoke, Blake Arambula, from the band Glass Mansions, will DJ. And as for the playlist, Arambula says that’s up to the people. “My playlist comes through the community itself,” he says. “Before every event, we poll those attending with song requests and go from there. This way, everyone can have a say in music they want to hear. It also helps me with some long-lost gems I might have forgotten along the way.” So far Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, and Senses Fail seem to be dominating the popular vote, but Gilliam has some ideas, as well. “I’ll try to slip in some Sunny Day Real Estate and Embrace when I can,” he says. ­–Vincent Harris

Jon Stickley Trio’s latest album captures the intricacies of their live sound

(left to right) Patrick Armitage, Jon Stickley, and Lyndsay Pruett of the Jon Stickley Trio

If you’re a fan of innovative acoustic music, watching Asheville, N.C.’s Jon Stickley Trio live is one of the best experiences you can have.

Stickley plays acoustic guitar like it’s an extension of his body. His control, speed, and precision are all stunning.

Standing alongside him, fiddle player Lyndsay Pruett is just as skilled, tossing off dazzling solos or mournful melody lines with equal ease. Oftentimes during a show, the two of them will face off in a good-natured battle, spinning out incredible solos and feverish duet passages that combine fierce improvisation and crowd-pleasing theatrics.

And underneath all of that, drummer Patrick Armitage is in constant motion, pinning down the beat and intently watching both players so he can add or subtract from the rhythm as needed.

Altogether, it’s breathtaking to watch them build tension and release throughout a song.

It’s also a sound that, up until this year, they’d never quite captured on an album. Their previous releases, “The Jon Stickley Trio,” “Lost at Last,” and “Triangular,” were full of great playing and great ideas, but they didn’t feel quite the same as the band’s incredible onstage work as an ensemble. Their new album, “Maybe Believe,” has finally filled that gap.

On “Play People,” for example, Pruett and Stickley build intensity by weaving their instruments around one another, as Armitage pummels and massages his kit nonstop. “Almost With You” flows through peaks and valleys like a distant mountain range, with Pruett’s swooping solo buoyed by Stickley’s low-end lightning-speed fretwork and Armitage’s deft work on the cymbals. Each track seems to show off a different aspect of the band’s sound.

“Our music grows a lot with every new performance, so our goal was to get the songs ready far enough in advance that we could really let them come into their own, and then go in and record them.” –Jon Stickley

“This album is the most representative of us,” Stickley says. “We’ve got a lot of miles under our belts, and it was a really natural representation of where we were at.”

Stickley says he’s especially happy with the way the album spotlights Pruett’s playing. “We wanted to feature her a lot because she’s a highlight of the band,” he says. “It’s hard to imagine anyone else in that position. Her playing has grown into something really unique and personal to her.”

The band has a heavy touring schedule, and that’s one of the reasons that the playing on “Maybe Believe” is so tight. Knowing that they’d only have a few days to record the album, the trio honed the songs as much as possible onstage.

“A lot of the time when you go into the studio and lay down a song, it’s pretty early in the song’s life,” Stickley says. “Our music grows a lot with every new performance, so our goal was to get the songs ready far enough in advance that we could really let them come into their own, and then go in and record them.”

Perhaps the best way to gauge the range of the Trio’s music, which takes in elements of progressive rock, bluegrass, jazz, and even electronic dance music, is to look at the three covers on “Maybe Believe.” The band tackles a song from Tony Rice (“Birdland Breakdown “), a classic bluegrass fiddle tune (“Jerusalem Ridge”), and a track by the eccentric electronic icon Aphex Twin (“Avril 14th”).

“On the last album, we covered ‘Slopes’ [by the bluegrass supergroup Strength in Numbers], which to us was a newgrass classic,” Stickley says. “So we went back into that realm with ‘Birdland Breakdown.’ And we always like to do a traditional fiddle tune, and ‘Jerusalem Ridge’ came up, so we used that to pay tribute to Bill Monroe. As for the Aphex Twin song, we’re all big fans of that type of music. It was a softer, more beautiful piece that would round out the album.”

Stickley says that that breadth of styles is what makes the band who they are. “Ultimately, we tend to just do whatever we want and that’s super freeing,” he says. “Anything is fair game, because this is an experimental project at its core.”

The Jon Stickley Trio w/ Justin Johnson
When: Friday, Dec. 1, 8 p.m.
Where: The Spinning Jenny, 107 Cannon St., Greer
Tickets: $10 adv/$13 door
Info: 864-469-6416, thespinningjennygreer.com

Remembering the one-time stars of the Greenville culinary scene

Vince Perone's Restaurant. Rendering provided

It seems like every few days, there’s an announcement about a new restaurant opening in the Upstate. But maintaining a successful restaurant in a crowded market is difficult.

With so many different eateries coming and going, it’s inevitable that some of your favorites have closed over the years. Here is our by-no-means-scientific list of some of Greenville’s most dearly departed restaurants.

John Paul’s Armadillo Oil Company, 637 Congaree Road

John Paul’s was known for great steaks and ribs, its eye-patch-clad owner John Paul, and a dining area that was a taxidermist’s heaven, featuring stuffed bears, lions, and other unlucky animals. Although the restaurant closed in 2013 after being open nearly 25 years, we still have fond memories of licking barbecue sauce off our fingers after demolishing a plate of ribs.

Never on Sunday, 210 E. Coffee St.

Run by the husband-and-wife team of Nick and Iris Turner, the Greek/Mediterranean restaurant was a true family affair. They first opened in 1968 and closed in 2016. That’s an impressive run. These days the restaurant is home to Aryana, an Afghan eatery.

Capri’s Original Italian Restaurant, 500 E. Stone Ave.

For many in Greenville, the Stone Avenue Capri’s was their first Italian dining experience. As such, it formed the basis for what an Italian eatery should be for many Greenville natives. Located beside Canal Insurance, Capri’s offered an economic mix of classic Italian and American dishes, but the ambience was what really mattered – dark, hushed, and intimate. And there were mini jukeboxes at every booth.

Vince Perone’s Restaurant, 1 Antrim Drive, Greenville

One of the granddaddies of the Greenville restaurant scene, Vince Perone’s opened in 1956. It started out as a simple delicatessen before transitioning into a fine-dining establishment that featured rack of lamb and lobster. Not surprisingly, Vince Perone’s became one of the city’s essential big-night-out eateries. Perone himself was an Upstate icon, serving as a community leader and director of the YMCA, the United Way, and the March of Dimes. He was even able to book bands into his restaurant, including the Glen Miller Band, Count Basie’s orchestra, and Frank Sinatra Jr.

Falls Street Café

When Noah “Rick” Lowe Jr. passed away last December, it was the end of an era. Lowe was the owner of the Falls Street Café, known better as the Cat Dive. Falls Street was one of those classic diners where everyone knew your name and your order when you walked in the door. For many downtown workers, it was a breakfast and lunchtime staple. The Cat Dive’s chili dogs are so beloved that since the place closed in 1997, the Camperdown Historical Society hosts an annual luncheon in honor of them.

Charlie’s Steakhouse, 18 E. Coffee St.

It would be difficult to think of a more iconic eatery in downtown Greenville than Charlie’s Steakhouse, thanks in part to the distinctive green-and-white sign that hung outside. Open for an astounding 93 years, Charlie’s was the epitome of old-school Greenville, from the modest, no-frills décor to the white tablecloths. It was also owned and operated for four generations by the Efstration family before closing in 2014.

Swensen’s, 2025 Wade Hampton Blvd.

Two words: Ice cream. All kinds of ice cream. Sure, they had burgers and stuff, but people went to Swensen’s for the scoops, sundaes, and floats. For a time, Swensen’s was part of a weekend-night entertainment triangle with Putt Putt and the Bijou. Parents were known to drop off their sons and daughters at the spot and return to pick them up three to four hours later.

Gene’s, 527 Buncombe St.

The very definition of a South Carolina meat-and-three, Gene’s piled on the mac ‘n’ cheese, green beans, fried chicken, and cornbread, all for a great price and zero pretension. Located at one of the gateways to downtown, the Gene’s site remains undeveloped since it closed in 2011.

Maureen’s Delicatessen, 110 N. Main St.

People still speak with fondness of Maureen’s one-of-a-kind German potato salad and the turkey club. But let’s face it, we’re really talking about the Toll House Derby Pie, a sinfully good confection of chocolate chips, pecans, whipped cream, and brown sugar. In the days when downtown’s revitalization stopped at Washington Street, Maureen’s, along with Red Baron and Fuddruckers, were go-to lunchtime spots for area workers.

Smokin’ Stokes BBQ, 1622 Augusta Road

We’ve been overly blessed with amazing barbecue places in the Upstate, but Smokin’ Stokes was one of the best; a greasy-spoon atmosphere with some of the best brisket around, particularly if it was covered in their signature Cheerwine barbecue sauce. Yes, you read that correctly – Cheerwine barbecue sauce.

Sophisticated Palate, 34 S. Main St.

A much-missed downtown favorite that specialized in continental fare and $1.50 PBR, the Sophisticated Palate was located in the current home of Takosushi. And if you showed up on the right night at the right time, you could be required to sing along with the restaurant owners, Jim and Barbara Graeper, to one of their favorite songs.

Honorable Mention: The Franchises

We’ve listed a few restaurant chains that had a definite Upstate feel to them.

Po’ Folks

Founded in Anderson in 1975, Po’ Folks specialized in country-fried (or, excuse us, “Kuntry Fried”) everything, and seafood favorites like Calabash Shrimp.

The Hungry Fisherman

The Hungry Fisherman featured seafood, seafood, and more seafood, most of it deliciously deep-fried, from Alaskan snow crab legs to flounder, perch, and, of course, catfish. This Pelham Road eatery – in the heart of today’s Restaurant Row – also featured a pond with paddleboats and an island playground.

Ryan’s Steakhouse

With the advent of places like Golden Corral, it’s difficult to imagine how mind-blowing the Greer-based Ryan’s chain’s “mega-bar” concept was when they first debuted it. Despite other places outpacing them in the years that followed, there was a time when you might have to wait an hour or more on a weeknight just to get access to that endless line of meat, veggies, salad, and soft-serve ice cream with endless toppings.

Who will step up in this year’s Clemson-Carolina game?

Photo by Jack Lukow

When it comes to the annual Clemson-Carolina game, few football fans in the Palmetto State actually remember the score. But everybody knows who won. It’s practically a requirement for any upstanding Sandlapper.

Over the years, there has been no shortage of players who’ve stepped up big in the Clemson-Carolina game. And you can expect that to happen again this year. But who will it be as the two in-state rivals face off Nov. 25 for their 115th meeting?

As the state looks forward to this year’s game, here’s a look back at some of the players who have stepped up big in the rivalry.

** Kickoff: 7:30 p.m., ESPN **

Steve Wadiak, USC, 1950

The 1950 Gamecocks were underdogs to an undefeated Clemson team. But running back Steve “The Cadillac” Wadiak ran for 256 yards and the Gamecocks played the Tigers to a 14-14 tie. Wadiak ended his career as USC’s all-time leading rusher with 2,878 yards, a record that stood for nearly 30 years.

Jerry Butler, Clemson, 1977

Clemson blew a 24-0 lead and trailed 27-24 with less than three minutes to go, thanks to a shanked punt and a 40-yard touchdown pass from Ron Bass to Phillip Logan. But the Tigers marched down the field, and the drive culminated with “The Catch.” Butler made a diving backwards catch off a Steve Fuller pass with just 49 seconds left in the game, ending up in the end zone to give Clemson a 31-27 win.

Jeff Grantz, USC, 1975

USC quarterback Jeff Grantz was the star of the 1975 game, called by some as the best game played by the Gamecocks in the rivalry. South Carolina scored a touchdown on every offensive possession, including Grantz’s five touchdown passes. He also ran for 122 yards.

Mark Buchholz, Clemson, 2007

Clemson trailed the unranked Gamecocks 21-20 when the Tigers drove down the field in the final two minutes to set up kicker Mark Buchholz for a 35-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the game. Buchholz nailed it.

Steve Taneyhill, USC, 1992

After the Gamecocks opened the 1992 season with five straight losses, freshman quarterback Steve Taneyhill led Carolina to a 5-6 record, including a 24-13 win over Clemson in Death Valley. The brash freshman mimicked hitting home runs after big plays and pretended to autograph the tiger paw at midfield after the game was over.

Rod Gardner, Clemson, 2000

Clemson receiver Rod Gardner made perhaps the biggest — but definitely the most controversial — catch of his collegiate career in the 2000 game. The Tigers, ranked 25th in the nation, trailed by two when quarterback Woody Danzler completed a 50-yard pass to Gardner, who battled USC defensive back Andre Goodman for position. The catch is known as “The Catch II” in Clemson and  “The Push-Off” in Columbia.

Mike Hold, USC, 1984

Carolina was 9-1 when they came into Death Valley in 1984, in the midst of the best season in school history. Clemson jumped out to a 21-3 lead and went into halftime up by 11. But the second half belonged to the Gamecocks, led by quarterback Mike Hold. Starting at their own 16, Hold led USC down the field and scored on a quarterback sneak with 54 seconds to play. Kicker Scott Hagler missed the extra point for the first time all season, but the Tigers had 12 men on the field. Hagler made good on his second chance, and Carolina had its first 10-win season.

Willie Underwood, Clemson, 1980

Willie Underwood picked off two passes in the 1980 rivalry game, returning them for a school-record 101 yards and one touchdown, leading Clemson to an upset victory over the 14th-ranked Gamecocks. Underwood had 17 tackles in the game and earned Sports Illustrated’s Player of the Week for his performance.

Brad Edwards, USC, 1987

USC was ranked 12th and Clemson eighth in 1987, the highest ranked meeting between the two schools in the rivalry’s history. USC held a 13-7 lead when All-American cornerback Brad Edwards returned an interception to seal the win.

Charlie Whitehurst, Clemson, 2003

Charlie Whitehurst tied a school record with four touchdown passes in Clemson’s 63-17 win over the Gamecocks in 2003. He was the first quarterback to go 4-0 in the rivalry.

Spotlights: Black Beer Friday, Toasty Farmer


Nov. 24
Food & Drink
Black Beer Friday

Quest Brewing Company will host their Fourth Annual Black Beer Friday on Nov. 24.

The event centers around the regular Quest beer lineup being replaced with dark brews, including stouts, porters, barrel-aged vintage beers, and a few surprises. (There will also be some offerings for non-dark beer connoisseurs.) Food will be provided by Automatic Taco from 2–4 p.m. to give attendees a respite from all of that leftover turkey. Brooks Dixon Band will perform from 2–4 p.m., and Zach Parks will follow up from 6:30–7 p.m. Black Beer Friday is an opportunity to celebrate some unique beers early into the holiday season with fellow beer lovers in the Greenville community. –Sara Pearce

When: Friday Nov. 24, noon–9 p.m.
Where: Quest Brewing Company, 55 Airview Drive
Admission: Free
Info: bit.ly/2z8hzbJ

Thru March 10
Toasty Farmer

The Toasty Farmer winter market has returned to Brewery 85 for its second year. The event consists of farmers and artisans offering local foods and homemade products. Some of the items for sale include local pastured beef, poultry, lamb, eggs, artisan cheeses, soaps, natural body products, candles, local beer, and more. This event will be recurring each Saturday at Brewery 85 until March 10. Food trucks will always be on site, and keep an eye out for Brewery 85’s special oyster roasts that will be hosted throughout the season. In December, there will be a special German-inspired Christmas event as well. Blue Ridge Creamery, Providence Farms, Growing Green Family Farm, Inglenook Soaps, Mushroom Mountain, Palmetto Pick Up Wines, Sea Eagle Market and Good Eats, and Miss Bee Haven Honey Bones are among the vendors at this year’s market. –Sara Pearce

When: Every Saturday until March 10, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
Where: Brewery 85, 6 Whitlee Court
Admission: Free
Info: brewery85.com

BJU Museum & Gallery loans art to Museum of the Bible


Three pieces of art and more than two dozen antiquities owned by the Bob Jones University Museum & Gallery have been loaned to the newly opened Museum of the Bible.

Pier Francesco Sacchi’s “The Adoration of the Shepherds,” Francesco Granacci’s “Rest on the Flight into Egypt,” and “The Virgin Annunciate,” a late 15th century Tuscan sculpture, will be displayed in the Impact of the Bible exhibit. The antiquities will be in the museum’s Nazareth Village exhibit.

The pieces will be on loan to the museum through 2019.

The Green family that owns Hobby Lobby largely funds the Museum of the Bible. Hobby Lobby Chief Executive Steve Green, who won a precedent-setting Supreme Court case about birth control, is the chairman of the museum.

“M&G is very pleased to participate in the opening of this new museum in our nation’s capital,” said Erin Jones, director of the Bob Jones University Museum & Gallery. “We loan to museums around the world, and the opportunity to represent M&G in such a high-profile location is very exciting. It’s been a pleasure working with professionals who appreciate our collection and who will share it with others.”

The Bob Jones University Museum & Gallery’s collection is one of the largest and most interesting collections of European Old Master paintings in America. The museum also boasts nearly 200 pieces of Gothic to 19th century furniture, approximately 100 works of sculpture, some 60 textiles, over 1,000 ancient artifacts, and approximately 130 architectural elements. M&G is closed for renovations. –Cindy Landrum


United Way close to meeting $17M fundraising goal for Greenville County

Photo provided

United Way of Greenville County has reached more than 96 percent of its 2017 fundraising goal to support various nonprofits and their community programs, officials recently announced.

The organization reports that nearly 30,000 people have made pledges totaling just over $16.4 million.

“The people of Greenville County are showing why we are recognized as one of the most caring communities in the country,” said Kurt Rozelsky, campaign chairman, in a news release. “The level of generosity from Greenville County’s corporate community, small businesses, public employees, and nonprofit partners has once again been outstanding.”

Support from approximately 600 United Way workplace campaigns has been strong, bringing the $17 million goal within reach, Rozelsky said, adding that raising the remaining $600,000 would be a big victory for the community and would translate into thousands more lives helped.

The $17 million goal has eluded the organization for the past three years. The total raised in 2014 was $16.6 million. In 2015, the campaign raised $16.7 million – the highest ever in the organization’s history, as well as the largest amount raised by a United Way organization in South Carolina. It then raised $16.5 million last year.

United Way is hoping to raise the final four percent of this year’s goal with gifts from Greenville County citizens not yet reached through its workplace campaigns.

“The energy behind this year’s United Way campaign has been amazing, but we recognize that many people in our community still have not had the opportunity to contribute. Our hope is to rally people outside of the traditional workplace campaign who want to give back in support of Greenville County,” said Rozelsky.

The money raised will be used to support United Way’s work to build their Cycle of Success program, according to a press release. The program helps children start school ready to learn and go on to graduate and assists graduates in finding good jobs and creating stable homes. Last year, the initiative helped more than 100,000 people in key areas such as life essentials, school readiness, high school graduation, and financial stability.

To contribute to United Way of Greenville County’s community campaign, visit www.unitedwaygc.org/give, download the app, or call 864-467-3509 to find out how you and your company can get involved.

Elevate Upstate grant winners announced


Main Street Laurens USA and the Greenwood Arts Center have been named the winners of the 2017 Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants.

The grant program, which was launched by Ten at the Top in 2013, provides “seed funds” to support vibrancy initiatives in communities across the Upstate. Greenville’s Hughes Investments contributes at least $10,000 a year to the program with two recipients receiving $5,000 each.

“The goal of the Elevate Upstate program is to get communities thinking about what types of initiatives or programs might help spark vibrancy within their area and then provide some seed money to get some of them started,” said Hughes Investments President Phil Hughes, in a statement. “In the three years we have done this program, I have been amazed by the great ideas and passion of communities across the region to grow their vibrancy and sense of place. It was a real challenge to narrow the field to five finalists and to select the recipients.”

In the five years of the Elevate Upstate Grants program, Phil Hughes and Hughes Investments has provided a total of $73,000 to help with 22 different vibrancy initiatives across the Upstate region.

The five finalists for 2017 were selected from 22 applications. Each finalists gave a brief presentation at Ten at the Top’s Celebrating Successes Brunch on Nov. 16 at the Greenville Marriott.

Main Street Laurens USA plans to use its Elevate Upstate grant to launch a Food Truck Plaza, which will dedicate space within the city of Laurens where food trucks will be located for residents and visitors. It will include colored shade sails, brick pavers, picnic benches, and more.

The Greenwood Arts Center plans to use its grant to provide educational and interactive art programs designed around the Bee City USA designation, which aims to celebrate and raise awareness of the contribution bees and other pollinators.

In addition to providing $10,000 to the two winners, Hughes has also pledged a $2,000 matching grant to each of the three other finalists. If they raise $2,000 towards completing their project, he will provide a matching $2,000 contribution.

The other three Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Grant Finalists:

Art of the Horse in Landrum: In celebration of the 2018 World Equestrian Games being held in nearby Tryon, N.C., the city will be displaying a life-size painted fiberglass horse. The city is looking to use the Elevate Upstate Grant to allow for the piece of public art to become a permanent component of the city of Landrum.

Farm to Fork Dinner, Abbeville County Farmers Market: The Abbeville County Farmers Market is looking to host a farm-to-fork dinner to highlight the vital role of local farming and farmers markets in creating local vibrancy in Abbeville.

Art Wall at Monarch Park, city of Seneca and Blue Ridge Arts Council: As part of an Eagle Scout project for a local student, an art wall has been created in Monarch Park, located within walking distance of Main Street Seneca. The Elevate Upstate Grant would be used to commission three-dimensional butterfly art for the wall and park.

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