Tuesday, March 22, 2011

So long, salle de bain...

Once upon a time Frank Gilbreth, writing as Lord Ashley Cooper, joked about how many Charlestonians it takes to change a lightbulb: "five: one to unscrew the bulb, two to mix drinks, and two to weep bitter tears because the beautiful old bulb is being replaced by something new."

So if the following news prompts any lamentations, let your loyal blogger know- I'm willing to make the G&T's... 

Tomorrow is the first day of renovations to the Main Building's lavatories. After a near-century of use, the "cloakroom where nothing has changed save towels" (yes, someone once wrote a poem about our loo) will be updated and upgraded. Side-float commodes that use twenty gallons per flush, Coolidge-era faucets that either scald or freeze, and those tiny seats that are little more than a pair of thigh pads are all on their way out. New flooring, new cabinets, and new fixtures will soon be here.

Charleston might "guard her buildings, customs, and laws", but I doubt many will protest our small concession to modernity. And if they do, let them be stuck with the thigh-pad toilet seats for the next century.

UPCOMING EVENTS: Wide Angle Lunches start next Thursday with Julie Flavell's When London Was Capital of America. Lunches from the Black Bean Co. are served at 12:15, the talk starts at 12:30, and is over by 1:30. Schedule yourself an intellectual break in the middle of your workday! Get your tickets now at www.wideanglelunches.com or by calling 1-888-71-TICKETS.

ALSO: The Unedited concert series continues with Unedited: Prologue and Politics - The Civil War Volume I. 7PM, Wednesday, April 6th. Get your tickets here

LATER NEXT MONTH: More Wide Angle Lunches- like Jack McCray, Ron Atkinson, and Jonathan Green... Jazz! African politics! Gullah art! Lunches from Black Bean Co.! Also, Poetry Society on the 8th, Rod Heller talking Civil War history on the 14th, Independent Lens Film Series, LiNK film screening, and Spring Book Sale are all next month... it's going to get busy, so make sure to check our Upcoming Events page frequently.

AND ONE FINAL THING: Happy birthday to poet Billy Collins (who you might have seen here at the Library this winter for the PSSC's 90th Anniversary gala). Collins, our national Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2003, is a very spry 70 today. I'll leave you with links to two of his poems- "On Turning Ten", where he reflects on a slightly earlier birthday, and "Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes", which is beautifully, brilliantly, about deciphering (and disrobing) the belle of Amherst.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Darling Buds of March

Your loyal blogger will soon be shipping up to Boston for a little vacation, and according to the NOAA, the temperature will dip into the 20s, with lots of rain. Arg. I love that dirty water, but I'd prefer it in the Charles River instead of falling from the sky.

But for now, yours truly is here in beautiful downtown Charleston, where the Ashley and the Cooper Rivers meet to form a cliche. Temperatures are in the mid 60's - last week it stayed in the 70's- and it's as sunny as can be. Camellias are in bloom, the Bradford pears are visually stunning (though repellent to the nose), and our ginkgo trees have just the slightest hint of green at the branch tips. It's been a very pleasant very early spring.

I'm still holding out for the azaleas, though.

If you're ready for more floral festivity, join us this Thursday night at 6PM for The Constant Garden: Two Thousand Years of Botanical Art, presented by artist and lecturer Jennie Summerall. This event, co-sponsored by the Coastal Conservation League, will examine the connections between humans and the natural world as expressed in art. Examples from Roman frescoes, to medieval tapestry, to contemporary works, will be shown in slideshow accompanying the talk. Light refreshments will be served, and there is a five-dollar suggested donation for this event.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Poetry Society of South Carolina Meeting, Friday at 7PM. Guest poet Donald Platt will speak.

AND DON'T FORGET: Wide Angle Lunches are back! The series kicks off March 31, but tickets are available now through wideanglelunches.com. Get 'em today, they're going quick!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"76, 77, 78, hello darling, 80, 81..."

Happy St. David's Day, loyal readers!  The Welsh National Day, the first of March is a time for the wearing of leeks; the cooking of cawl (a traditional soup); and the kickoff of the eisteddfod season- festivals where Welsh speakers get together to swap poetry containing too many ll's and y's.

A reminder about a cultural celebration of a different sort: Unedited: South of Broad(way) is this Thursday night at 7PM.  Details and tickets here.  It's going to be Sondheimtacular: the guest artists are all actual Broadway performers, and there are a lot of them... prepare for some stack-shaking vocals.  $15, and parking is free next door at the SCE&G lot.

Welsh soldiers on St. David's Day, WWII.
Little did the wehrmacht know they would be fighting 
boys capable of eating three-foot-long raw leeks...