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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Getcho Pecha Kucha Here!

Pecha Kucha 2: what can I say? I laughed; I cried; it was better than Cats. Seriously, the collective creative energy in this city is quite something to behold. Check out all the fun wrap-ups here and here. P.S. To The Digitel, what's the song on the video? Tis awesome! Also, check out the superfly twitter/flickr barrage from the show here. The range of presenters, like the first go-round, was wonderfully eclectic, and the presentations ran the gamut from hilarious to soulful. Among my fave were Gil Shuler, Mary Norton, Michael Maher and Sharon Graci. But honestly, everyone had something brilliant to share.

As you now know, if you were there, I got in the act a bit, too. Adam and Patrick from GoToTeam and Robert Prioleau asked me to do a live from Fish feed. If you missed it, here tis:

In other funny video news, our friend Andra Watkins of Positus Consulting unveiled her take on the perils of small business bartering. Our pals at Cupcake get in on the act, as does our own Nico Romo. Thanks to Andra for her inspiration, humor and all around wonderful self. Andra, shall we raise a glass of Hendrick's and toast? Clink!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

PK 640

I'll admit it; I'm giddy with anticipation about Pecha Kucha tonight. As you know, if you're not a golden ticket holder, you're MORE than invited to watch the simulcast at Fish. Doors open at 5 pm. And, Fish is also the place to be for the After Party, so you're set!

For anyone attending, Pecha Kucha is all about the interactive experience and feedback, so if you're Twittering during the show, add this: #pkchs anywhere in the message so they can find you. Same goes if you're uploading pics to Flickr, add the #pkchs. Now, get on your horse and get over here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mardi Gras, Pecha Kucha, Positus & more!

Baby Jesus in King Cake
Originally uploaded by crcg
Happy Mardi Gras (Marty Grass), Internet! Here's hoping you find the baby Jesus in the King Cake.

If you're out and about tonight, it's Mercy of the Chef night at Fish. You know the deal: 3 courses, Chef's choice, $25. Wine pairings with each course are just $10 more. Sin all you want tonight. We support you!

Here at PP, some folks are indeed giving things up for the Lenten season. Here's a sampling of the personal sacrifices being made: no wine, no carbs, no meat, no close parking (really).

In other news, we could not be more psyched for Pecha Kucha tomorrow night. As a reminder, the venue is our very own American Theater. As I'm sure you know, tickets sold out in about 35 seconds, so we're also hosting a simulcast at Fish (doors open at 5 pm). We're also hosting the After Party at Fish so you can mix, mingle and get the autographs of all your favorite Charleston creatives. Maybe Gil will even sign your shirt.

Was over at Fish earlier to meet with our pal Andra Watkins of Positus Consulting. Not only is Andra a girl after my own heart because she likes gin, she's also super talented, strategically- minded and willing to look silly in order to get the laugh and make a salient point (in my Top 5 favorite personal traits). Andra was kind enough to include us in one of her Flip forays, and I'm just going to leave it at that until she unveils it. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Food for thought

Last night was the 10th Annual Chef's Feast benefitting the Lowcountry Food Bank at the Charleston Area Convention Center. Fish was fortunate to be part of this great event, spearheaded by Peninsula Grill's own Bob Carter. Fact: the Lowcountry Food Bank serves food to nearly 2,500 hungry children per week.

Sales Manager Jessica Kafer and I attended the black-tie optional evening, and I have to say, it was a feast for all of the senses. I'm one of those people who gets amazed at the sheer enormity of expansive event venues like the Convention Center. You know, a ballroom the size of a football field, the most ENORMOUS ice sculpture I've ever seen, food stations as far as the eye can see, a full, fantastic jazz ensemble and acres of people. Of course, there was some fantastic food. Among my favorite bites were: Fish's coq au vin (what can I say?), McCrady's chicken liver foie gras, oyster with citrus and yuzu from Tristan, Caw Caw Creek pork from FIG and an incredible beet and green bean salad from Fat Hen. Congratulations to everyone who gave their time and talents to help make the 10th year so successful.

In local, sustainable news, three cheers for First Lady Michelle Obama who gave a lucky few a tour of the White House kitchen before the Obamas first big dinner: "The first lady took the opportunity to put in a pitch for local and sustainable food and for healthy eating, a recurring theme of hers during the campaign and since she arrived in Washington."

Along those lines, Alice Waters just keeps coming up pragmatic solutions to our food conundrum. This time, she tackles the National School Lunch Program. I don't know about you, but the food in my public elementary school was not what you might call, delicious and nutritious. Luckily, I brought my lunch most days (packed by my Mom). I did get to have the "treat" of buying lunch on Pizza Fridays now and again. (Ellio's frozen pizza.) Sidenote: my best friend used to eat a packed lunch most every day. His Mom was big into bananas (go potassium). Anyway, he'd eat the banana, put the Chiquita sticker on his forehead and then wear his brown bag as a hat for the rest of the lunch period. Good times. He's now a high school teacher. Seriously.

A few months back, I got a tour of one of the finest private schools in Charleston. I was amazed by the facilities, the history, the intense physical beauty of the grounds and buildings. And then, I walked into the cafeteria and smelled that industrial cafeteria smell that I bet you can imagine right now. It's the overcooked-tired-food-from-giant-cans-please-God-don't-make-me-eat-this smell. Awful. And honestly, it nearly undid all of the incredible things I had seen and heard up until that point. Because if you aren't nurturing and teaching me through the food I put in my body three times a day, aren't you leaving something important out of the curriculum? How about you? Any school lunch tales worth sharing?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pecha Kucha Pandamonium!

It seems that people are cuckoo for Pecha Kucha. So, due to overwhelming Pecha Kucha demand, Fish will host a simulcast of the event next Wednesday. Doors open at 5 pm. Special thanks to PDA for making the tech of things happen. And, Fish is also hosting the after party so you can rub elbows with your favorite presenters, get them to sign your t-shirt, you know, whatever.

Just walked through the Grand Ballroom at The American Theater. It's completely decked out for tonight's Charleston Ballet Theater Oscar Gala. Each table is the theme of an Oscar-winning or nominated movie. Let me just say: there is a GIANT King Kong on the premises. And some very large fuzzy dice. Special thanks to photographer Brennan Wesley who came by to snap some shot for us.

In launch news, check out our pal Kristin Newman's new website. It's another fine Blue Ion project. Congratulations, all!

Before I head out, I must share this. As I've mentioned, I'm a huge fan of our Thursday night entertainment at Fish. Not only is Elise Testone a New Jersey native (HOLLA) but girl got pipes, okay? And, piano man Gerald Gregory is not to be missed. So, a few weeks back Elise participated in the James Brown tribute concert and that's all I'm going to say, okay?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Economic gloom & doom part 64

Fish is in for a busy night. It's Pay It Forward Wednesday where you have the opportunity to make a contribution and learn about our featured non-profit, Louie's Kids. And, for you Charleston history buffs, Danny Crooks, author of On the Eve of the Charleston Renaissance: The George W. Johnson Photographs, will be reading and signing books. The reading begins at 6:30 and our neighbor, author and bookseller, Jonathan Sanchez of Blue Bicycle Books, will be on-hand to introduce Danny and facilitate the discussion.

Thoughtful piece on the Upper King Design District in today's City Paper. You know, I'll be the first to admit how easy it is to get sucked into the frenzy that is the "bad economy mindbender." If you pay attention to any sort of media, it's nearly impossible not to. A dear friend of mine who lives in New York City, has a good, well-paying job and recently purchased a co-op called me this morning in a panic, the gist of which is "what are we going to do?" We talked about it for a while: the layoffs, the bailout, the great pressing American need for a quick fix. How we do begin to fix all of this? What sort of sacrifices are we all going to have to make? Big questions. And neither she nor I had the answers. But, we did manage to make each other laugh, which is a plus no matter what you're going through. It's a strange time. People are anxious, but the streets aren't empty. Lots of folks have lost jobs or closed businesses, but some have changed careers for the better; some are just opening businesses. For the record, a little break from the media never hurt anyone. That's my short term advice: a brief, enforced break from the media. Crank up a long-forgotten favorite on your iPod. For that matter, bust out an LP on your stereo. Find a good recipe for something comfort food-ish. Make a lot of it and invite your best friend over. Bring the leftovers for lunch. And take small, mindful steps.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pecha Kucha, Bicycles, the L word & Sanka

Lots of random tidbits today, kids.

Pecha Kucha's back. Tickets are on sale (a mere $5) and you'd better get them now because I hear talk that they are already going fast. It's another super cool line up of Charleston creatives who get to share their tiny tidbits of goodness and light in the space of 6 minutes and 40 seconds. (I'm especially excited about seeing Sharon Graci, Mary Norton and our pal Gil Shuler.)

If you're in need of a bicycle and in this economy, I hope you have one, check out C of C's bike auction on Thursday outside the Physician's Auditorium from 11 am until 2 pm.

Had a really thought-provoking conversation with one of our favorite planners a few weeks ago. During the course of conversation, she used the word "luxury," which to some, is a bad word right about now. But, I was so happy she did. Why? Because we both believe this: true luxury is really about taking excellent care of someone. Actually, honestly caring about their well-being. And to us, it doesn't need to have a price tag or a logo attached to it. It only needs to be earnest and honest. Kind of a nice moment in the midst of this economic brouhaha, huh?

In wacky news, Starbucks is now producing instant coffee. I am not making this up. The award-winning line to go with? "This is not instant coffee. This is rich, flavorful Starbucks® coffee in an instant." Soooooo...where's my Sanka?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Presidents, the never-ending Valentine's Day and a lamb.

Nothing says Happy President's Day like Barack Obama and Abe Lincoln's likenesses IN CUPCAKES. This is actually an art installation by Zilly Rosen at Smithsonian American Art Museum. (Thanks to Rachel at Cupcakes Take the Cake for the photo.
Nay, I am no President, but I am the bearer of good news. To all of you who worked this weekend (special holla to our food & beverage and SEWE friends), Fish is offering one last hurrah to celebrate Valentine's Weekend. (I'm a big fan of getting as much celebration out of a holiday as possible.) So, tonight we're offering a special 3 course, Chef's choice menu for just $35. $10 more gets you wine pairings with each course. Who loves you? Nico does, that's who.

I had family in town this weekend and yesterday we joined the masses at the SEWE. We had the best time. My niece scaled the climbing wall, and we saw rescued greyhounds and golden retrievers, a llama, an alpaca, a bearcat, monkeys, goats, ponies, the sweetest lambs and puppies of all breeds. (As an aside, I also saw a proliferation of camouflage and animal print clothing.) Also, nice work to the SEWE organizers who had recycling opportunities available. As you may know, SEWE kicks off the tourist season here in Charleston and by the looks of things around town this weekend, I'm hopeful we're in for a rollicking good season.

I leave you today with a whole hunk o' cute.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Brought to you by way too much sugar

I have officially exceeded my maximum sugar intake for the day. Lucky you! Benefit from my sugar buzz...ready, go! The pre-Valentine/SEWE madness started early here today. This morning, I helped Director of HR Elizabeth Kitchin decorate Managing Partner Randall Goldman's office to celebrate his 11 years with the company (anniversary is tomorrow). And, there were treats (a rose and candy) on all of our desks this morning (courtesy of Randall and Elizabeth). Two days ago, we here at PP HQ received some "secret" (now out of the bag) cupcakes from Pastry Chef Susanna Ieronemo. Not only did they have fresh strawberries on top, she used the plastic container as the box. Super cute and ohmyGAWDgood.

The neighborhood is abuzz with activity too. At Marion Square, the animal prints and camouflage are in full effect as SEWE gets underway. Birds of prey, anyone? King Street stroll? The construction dust continues to fly at Hall's Chophouse who are working diligently to open by Tuesday. If you haven't seen the outside of it, you're really missing a beautiful facade. Copper, brick and wood accents. It looks like an old world steakhouse meets European pub...and another fine Gibson Thompson Guess project.

Can we talk about the phone ringing off the hook at Fish? (Unintended pun, sorry.) Seriously, y'all, there has been an onslaught of um, shall we say procrastinating men calling. Fortunately, we're doing our Valentine's menu tonight as well. Consider your relationship saved.

Now, go squeeze your Valentine. I'll be here with the chocolate.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Recession relief, V-day, rugby & hugging creatives

The Digitel gave Fish a shout out in their round up of The Holy City's Best Food Deals. Really, who else gives you $1 dim sum? And, at our Fish meeting today (Does that sound funny, like we are meeting about cod or something? I digress.), Nico had a fantastic idea to do a "second" Valentine's prix fixe menu on Monday for everyone who has to work on Valentine's weekend. So, should you be working for the weekend (like Loverboy), you and your valentine can celebrate your love on Monday. 3 courses, $35, Nico's choice. Wine pairings with each course are just $10 more. Who says just because you have to work you should miss the candy hearts and a fabulous meal? Hearts and cupids all around.

In other news, I have to say that I'm still a bit agog over the Ralph Lauren Rugby video starring our very own Lowndes Grove. I mean, don't you ever have those moments when you just wish you a soundtrack for your life...or it that just me?

Today's inspiration comes from the ThinkTEC Innovation Summit. Our Blue Ion pal Robert Prioleau gave a fantastic presentation on Charleston's most important industry: the creatives. Check out his post and download his presentation. And, while you're at it, hug a creative!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fa fa fa fa fa fashion...at Lowndes Grove

Get the reference? David Bowie's Fashion, anyone?

What a gorgeous day here in Charleston. Kind of makes you want to launch your Spring Collection, no? You may recall a few months back that Lowndes Grove played host to a whole posse of folks from Ralph Lauren Rugby for a two-day film and photo shoot. Reminisce here.
Anywho, I'm very happy to announce the launch of the Spring campaign. You can go peruse the super cool video, shot on location at Lowndes Grove here. Make sure to turn up your sound. If you get hooked, you can download the song and video for FREE. More videos and print materials to follow in the coming weeks. Will keep you posted. In the meantime, go frolic like a careless, carefree teen left alone with great clothes at a riverfront estate.

Monday, February 9, 2009

When The American Theater was young, she was a deli.

Just received a copy of the photo above from PP Managing Partner Randall Goldman. The building once stood where The American Theater now stands. If you look closely, you will see a word I absolutely love: DELICATESSEN. Yes, The American Theater was once a delicatessen. Gosh, I love history. Upon closer inspection, you will see that it was a Kosher deli. Oh man, what I wouldn't do for a Reuben right now!

If you grew up where I did, a deli is a part of your life, much like a good diner or bakery. The deli in my hometown, Carmen's Meats was/is a family-run business, and if I ate one sub sandwich from there, I ate 500. (P.S. Don't bother mentioning Jersey's Mike's to me. 'Tis blasphemy to compare.) While I'm at it, I should mention The Prestige Diner and The Summit Diner. Eggs, hashbrowns or...greek salad, burger, fries. Nearly constant coffee refills and owned by Greek families. And, there is Lindee's Bakery, which I written about before on this very blog. Ohhh, the linzer tart! Why this trip down food memory lane? Remember? I love the word deli. If you think there is no strategy behind any of these so-called Mom and Pop shops, take a look at this.

Why do I love my deli, diner and bakery so? Not just because it's delicious, but because it's community; home, comfort, wrapped up in the sights, smells, beautiful noises and tastes that fuel my memories and keep me searching for similar experiences no matter where I roam.

Friday, February 6, 2009

These are the people in your neighborhood...

Happy Friday, Internet. It seems we made it through another week, bitter cold and all, hooray! Had an amazing turnout for the Upper King Design District meeting here at Fish on Wednesday night. Susan Lucas, AKA Queen of King Street, asks everyone to just put the name of their business on their name tag, so it facilitates people introducing themselves. Great idea.

Here's something I've been finding so puzzling: how so many businesses on King Street don't know OTHER businesses on King Street. For instance, I spoke with a couple of folks from the Lower King area who have never ventured to Upper King. Personally, I'm a walker, and I like to know the neighborhood. But I'll tell you, it's such a huge thing to be able to put faces and names with businesses. Getting to know someone and speak to them outside of their businesses is so interesting. I venture to say that if merchants and business owners from say, East Bay Street for example, could have peeked in our meeting the other night, they would have been insanely jealous. This meeting was just that good. I was looking around at one point during the evening and could not believe the collective creativity and positivity the room contained. It was a palpable energy. My neighborhood rocks. I just want to put on my cardigan and flip my shoe!

What's also cool is how Spring Street is exploding. If you haven't been over there recently, do yourself a favor and take a walk. Talk about creative energy: try Suite Sole and Maddison Row to get things started.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Fish Pays It Forward

Heading over to Fish in a few minutes for the Upper King Design District Meeting. It's always good to get together to share stories, offer support and ideas and generally just have a moment to relax and catch up with the neighbors. P&C's Brian Hicks penned a nice piece about what's been happening on Upper King, and most every street in most every town I can think of. We have the greatest neighbors.

In other Fish news, today kicks off Pay It Forward Wednesdays. What does it mean, you ask? When the economic downturn really began to hit a few months back, Nico came to me with an idea to somehow, some way, do something for someone else. After some brainstorming and discussions, we are happy to introduce Pay It Forward Wednesdays. Here's how it works: Fish has selected several area non-profits to highlight and partner with an effort to create awareness, raise funds and “pay it forward” to the community and folks that have been so supportive of us.

Today, we’re kicking off with Louie’s Kids, a Charleston non-profit committed to treating childhood obesity by focusing on one child at a time. Guests at Fish during Pay It Forward Wednesdays have the opportunity to make a cash or check contribution to Louie’s Kids. (In fact, donations can be made anytime.) Each week, Fish gives the week’s contributions to Louie’s Kids. And, we’ll be sharing information about all the great work Louie’s Kids does at Fish, here on the blog and on our Friends of Fish Facebook page. Just think: a few extra dollars can make a huge difference in the life of a child struggling with obesity. In times like these, we do what you can. Pay it forward and be good to your neighbors.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Friendly Reminder: pay your taxes, go to the B'Zar party

Can everyone just do me a quick favor and write yourselves a note to pay your taxes? Jeeze Louise, can someone give Tom Daschle a post-it? Good, glad that's all squared away.

Our friends and neighbors at B'Zar may be closing their storefront, but you can expect them to go out with a bang. This Saturday, from 6 to 9 pm, they are pulling out all the stops for one last shindig and shopping extravaganza. In addition to stripping their male mannequin naked and having folks sign/graffiti him, The Space Invaders will set up a video installation of all their fashion shows and Kulture Klash videos. And, DJ James Belk be spinning and all merch will be 50-60% off. Adult beverages will also be available. Also, don't forget to visit Suite Sole on Spring Street.

Here's a great bit of foodie news. Daniel Boulud's whipping up a new, casual, beer-focused concept called DBGB (Daniel Boulud Good Beer) Kitchen & Bar. Fun right? Nod to CBGB, anyone?

In Lowndes Grove news, I got a nice photo (to come tomorrow) from General Manager Ashley Gunnin of a fine fence going up in the "behind the scenes" area, also known as Ashley's backyard.

And finally, tomorrow at Fish we're kicking off a little thing we're calling Pay It Forward Wednesdays. Details on the flip side.