Calliope Writing

Graffiti Magazine Volume 2 Issue 26
November 3, 2009, 8:56 pm
Filed under: My Magazine Articles | Tags: , ,
Graffiti - Vapor Apparel


Out Performing

When you walk into the office suites of Vapor Apparel, you can’t help but relax.  The entire staff greets and smiles, doing everything but literally opening their arms in welcome.  The office space reflects this laid-back and genuine attitude, giving off the vibe of “garage sale chic,” as Blake Bukowsky, Director of Operations, calls it.  Vapor’s clothing fills the display windows and hangs on racks inside the suite, begging visitors to flip through the different styles.The two suites in Noisette and huge warehouse in Daniel Island are a far cry from the humble beginnings of Vapor Apparel:  a few shelves of product in President Jackson Burnett, IV’s kitchen.  Chief Revenue Officer Chris Bernat and Burnett are the founding fathers of Vapor Apparel.  They go way back, first meeting each other on the campus of Clemson University.  After both working in the textile and apparel decoration industries, they put their heads together and saw the opportunity to develop a line of apparel specifically manufactured for sublimation, a method of decorating synthetic fabrics.  This line of apparel is Vapor Apparel.  The company has come a long way from Burnett’s kitchen; they now have more than twenty distributors in North America, Europe and Australia and a mill in Colombia that mostly runs on environmentally safe hydro-electric power—and business is doing anything but slowing down.

Vapor Apparel is, bluntly put, performance apparel.  The clothing utilizes Intera technology which makes the fabric wick moisture away from the body.  Intera’s technology is patented and permanent—it will not fade after numerous washings—and is odor and soil resistant.  Other performance apparel lines on the market are coated with wicking fabric treatments.  This means that after a number of washings, the wicking power will decrease, and the shirt will only wick at a percentage of what it did when brand new.  After twenty washes, Intera fabric still dries over 100 minutes faster than other “performance apparel” lines.  An added bonus for this impressive fabric is that it is 100% environmentally safe and responsible.  The end result is a line of performance wear ranging from baby doll tees to zip hoodies that help you to stay comfortable and dry during the most extreme conditions.

Vapor Apparel’s performance apparel can be decorated with sublimation, embroidery and screen printing.  This means that the customer has endless options for creating the designs that he or she desires.  While the line only started out with one or two different shirts, Vapor Apparel’s clothing now comes in more than a dozen styles and more than two dozen colors.  This adds up to over sixty color/style combinations, meaning that there is a style to suite any taste.

This performance wear line isn’t the only thing going on in Vapor Apparel’s world.  Beginning in March of 2008, the company will begin producing 100% recycled poly garments.  This new line of fabric will be made from entirely recycled materials ranging from plastic soda bottles to the industrial waste left behind in factories.  This is just one more way that Vapor Apparel is keeping their company increasingly environmentally aware and green.

A new venture of Vapor Apparel is off the ground and running, already bringing in an impressive amount of business from even more impressive names.  Source Custom gives start-up clothing lines one place for every service needed—from prototyping and costing to mass production and decorating.  Source Custom has worked with actor Morgan Freeman, musician Nelly, and created specialty shirts for the local Cooper River Bridge Run.  As Bernat explains, “We can make everything from high end fashion tees to jeans that retail at $350.”  Source Custom has also worked to enhance decoration techniques with Chris Daughtry’s new clothing line, which is already making a buzz amongst Daughtry’s fans.  The high quality and design of Source Custom’s products are so impressive that they have already “leveraged relationships in the Los Angeles and New York Fashion Districts to deliver comprehensive apparel solutions,” Bernat explains.

From the ideal athletic wear to high fashion clothing lines, this company’s team is making a mark in the apparel industry.  By maintaining a high level of environmental soundness, Vapor Apparel’s staff stays aware as to what their affect is on their environment.  In a time when being green is increasingly desired, Vapor Apparel has the ability to boast being environmentally safe from day one.  Pay attention, Charleston:  fashion history is being made by a booming company called Vapor Apparel in a couple of suites in the Noisette building in North Charleston.

Graffiti Magazine Volume 2 Issue 20
November 3, 2009, 8:52 pm
Filed under: My Magazine Articles | Tags: , , ,

Graffiti - MOJA 1Graffiti - MOJA 2

MOJA Feature Article

The 27th Annual MOJA festival begins on September 27 and lasts until October 7.  The festival is produced and directed by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the MOJA Planning Committee and Advisory Board.  The ten-day festival features all facets of African-American and Caribbean art including contemporary as well as traditional favorites.

Its tradition of exciting live entertainment and diverse activities has gained it a spot as one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 event for many different years, a title that has brought culture seekers from across the nation to experience the celebration of Caribbean and African culture.  Almost half of MOJA’s activities are admission-free; the rest will cost you a modest price ranging from $5 to $35.  The affordability of this festival is just one reason for you and your friends or family to attend.

MOJA is a Swahili word meaning “one;” this translation fits in perfectly with the festival’s aim to harmoniously bring together the many diverse cultures of our community during this celebration.  The festival highlights the many different contributions that African-American and Caribbean cultures have made to the western world.  MOJA’s activities try to encompass as much of these cultures as possible through its diverse lineup of visual art displays, classical music, dance, jazz, poetry, storytelling, theatre, ethnic food, traditional crafts, and much more that simply cannot all be mentioned.  The festival also takes an educational stance through many of its events, offering workshops to further educate our community’s children about African-American and Caribbean culture and art.

The 2007 MOJA festival features many fantastic and acclaimed artists, including Frankie Beverly and Maze, Najee, Soulfood Jazz, Daniel Davis, and Pearl Cleage.  There is literally something for everyone at this celebration of Caribbean and African culture.  If you’re a literary freak, there are poetry readings; if you can’t stop singing in the shower, there are plenty of live musical performances; if you’re a whiz with a paintbrush, there are tons of art displays.

The MOJA Art Festival is one of Charleston’s most prized events.  Those behind the scenes of the festival strive to make each year better than the last, and the 2007 schedule of events proves that this goal will be achieved this year.  Block off a few days of the festival in your schedule, and if you’re lucky enough to take a vacation from work fro the full ten days, do it!  I guarantee that you’ll walk away from the festival on October 6 wiping away tears because it’s over.  For more information, visit

Graffiti Magazine Volume 2 Issue 19
November 3, 2009, 8:50 pm
Filed under: My Magazine Articles | Tags: , , ,
Graffiti - Chazzfest 1Graffiti - Chazzfest 2ChazzFest Feature Article

The Charleston Music & Heritage Festival’s second year looks as though it’s going to be even more successful than in its debut year.  ChazzFest, as it’s better known in the Lowcountry, celebrates the evolution of music in our area, reflecting upon Charleston’s past and commemorating the opportunities that we have available for our future by featuring some of the area’s best new musicians.

As Riddick Lynch of Shoreline Productions (the main force behind ChazzFest) explains, “While New Orleans is generally assumed to be the birthplace of jazz, Charleston’s Jenkins Orphanage Bands of the 1890s may have actually been the first to play an evolving, experimental style of music that would later be called jazz.”  ChazzFest seeks to honor the roots of jazz in Charleston.  One new way that ChazzFest will give credit to the roots of jazz is by creating the ChazzFest Hall of Fame.  The inaugural inductee is Dizzy Gillespie, a native of Cheraw, South Carolina.  Lynch says that ChazzFest “will honor him at this year’s festival with a multi-media tribute featuring local trumpeter Charlton Singleton.”  Jazz isn’t the only music that will be highly celebrated at ChazzFest.  Beach music, that genre that was so popular in the LowCountry during the 1950s and 1960s, is going to be heavily represented by bands such as The Embers and Chairmen of the Board.

ChazzFest provides our community with a dose of culture suitable for all ages.  Headliners Kool & the Gang and Brandford Marsalis are just two of the amazing performers that will be featured on four stages at the beautiful Family Circle Tennis Center on September 22.  Other musical talents include the unique Sacred Steel group The Lee Boys, the contemporary JJ Grey & Mofro, and the legendary Toots & the Maytals.  Dottie Peoples, a killer gospel singer, will also perform.  Lynch adds that Peoples has “performed and recorded with Widespread Panic, and Panic fans will remember her smokin’ back up vocals on ‘All Time Low’ from ‘Til the Medicine Takes.”

Lynch explains, “Our objective is to make ChazzFest a little bigger and better each year.”  So far, I’d say they’re off to a fantastic start.  I have a feeling that last year’s success, which included BB King and local natives Hootie & the Blowfish, is going to be trumped by this year’s even more diverse lineup.  Where else can you go to enjoy reggae, jazz, rock and R&B all in one day?  What makes it all the more sweet is that every song is sure to be performed with plenty of soul.  If you plan on attending ChazzFest, Lynch advises, “Expect to have a blast and see a ton of great music.  We’re encouraging everyone to rest up beforehand . . . It will be eleven hours of continuous music on four stages, so it makes for a long day.”  A long, awesome, fantastic day.

If you were unlucky enough to miss out on last year’s legendary ChazzFest, don’t make the same mistake again.  This all-day and evening event is certain to leave you counting down the days until the next ChazzFest.

Graffiti - Tie One OnTie One On

Fashion has really always been a woman’s world.  Women have dresses, shoes, handbags, and more to express their personalities and fashion taste.  Men have suits, shirts, pants . . . and, on more casual days, the t-shirt.  Ties, that little accent piece of a nice suit or blazer and pant combo, give men the much-needed opportunity to express themselves through their clothing.

This fall, tie fashion is going insane.  Rick Robinson of Tom James Co. in Mount Pleasant explains that in the past, “burgundies and reds were the go-to tie, but that has changed drastically in the past year and a half.”

Now, it seems as though brighter colors are making waves, especially greens and purples, which have been typically seen as spring hues.  Chip Ervin of Grady Ervin & Co. agrees with Robinson, adding that “bright colors are popular year round for suits and sport coats alike.  Orange, lime green, and all shades of pink still seem to bring a pop to any outfit.”  Fall 2007 also shows a favoring towards earth tones and terra cottas, Robinson elaborates.

So, boys, it seems as though this fall, you’ve been given a chance to dress up your wardrobe with exciting colors.  Keep your old, traditional red and blue striped ties, but liven up your tie rack with some vibrant shades that will have the ladies checking you out . . . even if they’re looking just because of your wardrobe.

Grady Ervin & Co.

Chip Ervin states that “wovens still lead the way for business attire and dressy looks,” and his selection of ties reflect this statement.  Woven ties do seem to be of better quality, and they give a suit texture and a pop that other ties can’t seem to achieve.  All of the above ties can be found at Grady Ervin & Co., 313 King Street, Downtown Charleston.  They are all made of 100% silk.  (From left to right: Atelier F & B, Made in France, $95.  Robert Talbott, Best of Class, $120.  Robert Talbott, $85.  Hugh Parsons, $98.


For a high-quality tie, it’s “all about the lining and prints,” Marshall Simon explains.  And the finer silk doesn’t need a lining.  This is the case for the Robert Talbott Seven Fold tie series.  The tie consists of a full meter of fabric that is folded onto itself to create this fine tie—hence, the name Seven Fold.  What makes this piece even more exclusive is that the designer only manufactured forty of these ties, so they are severely limited.  The ties are hand-sewn with the finest silk and woven in Italy.  Seven Fold ties can be found at Gwynn’s in Mount Pleasant.  (Robert Talbott, Seven Fold, $225.

Tom James Co.

In the world of ties, you’ll “always have traditional stripes and other patterns that are conservative,” Rick Robinson says.  However, this fall, it looks as though polka dots are making a comeback.  We’re all going to see a lot of small multi-colored stripes, geometric patterns, and the “rooster tie,” which is the term for a wool knit tie.  In other words:  things are livening up a bit.  Out with the boring, in with the exciting!  Tom James Co. is located in Mount Pleasant and 150 other offices throughout the world, and all of their ties are manufactured by Brown & Church Ties, a company based in North Carolina.  (All ties: Holland & Sherry by Brown & Church, 100% silk, $135.

M. Dumas & Sons

Jordan Lash agrees that ties are getting “funkier” this year.  We’ll be seeing crazier paisley patterns and conversational ties out the yin-yang.  M. Dumas & Sons, located at 294 King Street in Downtown Charleston, features Vineyard Vines ties.  These are their best-selling ties and feature fun patterns such as anchors, golf tees, and even pigs and eggs.  These are the ties that people will scrutinize for an hour and then finally comment on with smiles on their faces.  The store’s best selling pattern, however, is the Palmetto tree and crescent moon, the tribute to South Carolina.  (Vineyard Vines, 100% imported silk, $65.

Graffiti Magazine Volume 2 Issue 13
November 3, 2009, 8:44 pm
Filed under: My Magazine Articles | Tags: , ,
Graffiti - Dinner and TunesDinner & Tunes

Library Restaurant & Rooftop

23 Vendue Range, Charleston

The Rooftop is one of my favorite places to get a drink and listen to some great music.  The panoramic view of the harbor is fabulous.  You can soak in the sunset while checking out the Ravenel Bridge.  Nothing could be more romantic.  And the food and booze are pretty damn good, too.  There’s always a great crowd at the Rooftop, so people watching is one thing you can do if your date is boring you.  Another thing you can do is order another martini and a seafood appetizer off the menu.  Or just sit back and listen to the music.  The Rooftop has live music nightly, ranging from jazz to soul to easy rock.  No matter what you do while relaxing on the Rooftop, you’re sure to have a good time.

Fonduely Yours

853 Coleman Blvd, Mount Pleasant

Fonduely Yours offers you and your significant other (or hookup for the evening) with an interactive way to eat a good meal.  Choose what kind of fondue package you want, and then get ready to have a blast.  If this is your first time visiting a fondue-type restaurant, don’t despair.  The servers at Fonduely Yours are knowledgeable and patient; they will walk you through everything you need to know to make the right cuisine choices.  My favorite courses are the cheese courses and dessert, of course.  Great jazz music is the backdrop for your intimate dinner, and the dim lighting in the restaurant makes it easy to give your date “the look” over a boiling fondue pot of oil, cheese or chocolate.  This is a great way to start—or end—an evening.  I only wish I could take the chocolate fondue course to go . . . it would definitely start a revolution in the bedroom.

Coco’s Café

863 Houston Northcutt Blvd, Mount Pleasant

If you and your date are in the mood for something delectable, you need to swing by Coco’s Café.  Their French cuisine is tasty but affordable, which is nice if you’re the one laying down the dough for the bill.  Be sure to try the lobster bisque.  It’s to die for.  And boys, this is the time to impress your dates by using those French courses you took in high school.  All of us girls melt when a guy speaks in a different language, even if it is French.  Seriously, though, the atmosphere of Coco’s is elegant, romantic and relaxed.  Their dress code is casual, so you don’t need to steam clean the one suit you own, either.  The highlight of Coco’s is the wine, I have to say.  The first thing you should do is order a kickass bottle of wine and get the number for a cab, just in case one bottle turns into two.

Have an idea where I should go to get some grub? Contact me at

Graffiti Magazine Volume 2 Issue 9
November 3, 2009, 8:42 pm
Filed under: My Magazine Articles | Tags: , , ,

Graffiti - Marcus1.jpg
Carolina Natives Direct Christmas Thriller

Bob Hardison of Mount Pleasant and Rich Robinson of Winston-Salem made their screenwriting and directorial debuts with Marcus, the winner of two film festival awards.  The film was released on Warner Brothers Home Video March 6th.  Marcus is, in short, a psychological thriller set during Christmastime.  The movie follows a group of people to Brooke’s (Frankie Ingrassia) home for Christmas dinner.  But Brooke is nowhere to be found.  And then this creepy cat Marcus (Ross Kurt) shows up claiming to be Brooke’s boyfriend, and the fun really begins.

The “movie [is] full of unlikable people,” co-director Hardison says.  The truth couldn’t be put more bluntly.  Gwen (Jade Dornfeld) is a bitch, Roger (Marc Rose) is an asshole, Charles (Scoot McNairy) is a weasel.  The movie is slow-moving, but there is a reason behind its pace.  The audience is allowed to get to know the characters one by one.  Each audience member has an emotional stake in the movie because he inexplicably relates to one of the flawed, screwed up characters.

Then, of course is Marcus himself.  Marcus is a disturbed, psychotic serial killer who enjoys kidnapping women and toying with them.  He forces revealing, painful secrets out of his victims and records the resulting conversation.  Ultimately, he kills them.  Kurt does a fantastic job portraying this nutjob.  He is a scary mofo.  Poor Brooke.  Ingrassia’s depiction of Brooke is alarmingly realistic.  She is terrified, and the emotions show in her eyes, making the audience just as scared of Marcus and what he is capable of.

The tension from the start of the film is created by each and every character.  By the end, there is an explosion, and it is revealed that Marcus isn’t the only character with a hidden secret or dark past.  The music (composed by George Shaw) and the dim lighting help to create a subdued, dark, and ultimately sad mood throughout the film, creating even more shock when confessions are made.

I wouldn’t dare ruin the end of the movie for you, so all I can do is encourage you to purchase the DVD yourself and watch the hell out of it.  It’s almost like getting two movies in one:  the horror film Marcus and the comedy Marcus.  That’s right.  The “comedy” version of Marcus features commentary with both directors, the special f/x artist, and other crew.  Listening to Hardison and Robinson bicker back and forth like seventh graders is worth the money I paid for the DVD.  I thoroughly enjoyed the debate about which beverage Marcus is more likely to drink:  Yoohoo or tonic water.  This debate was doubly funny because Robinson insisted on pronouncing “yoohoo” as “yahoo.”  I was laughing my ass off through the entire thing, especially when Robinson proclaimed “Let’s have a drink!” after revealing the meager budget on which the film was shot.  I’m pretty sure he was speaking literally, not figuratively.

Other special features on the DVD include a documentary and interviews with the cast and crew.  But the film is, of course, the highlight and the best part of the DVD.  I certainly walked away from Marcus wishing it were light outside and that I didn’t have to try to go to sleep right away.  And I’m confident it will make you shit your pants as well . . . or at least get creeped out.

Marcus can be purchased through Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Amazon, and MovieScore Media.

Graffiti Magazine Volume 2 Issue 7
November 3, 2009, 8:28 pm
Filed under: My Magazine Articles | Tags: , , ,

Graffiti - Hatchells

Girl on the Town:  Gourmet Flavor Hits the Mount Pleasant Scene

My day job is located in Mt. P, and I’m always on the look-out for new, rockin’ spots for happy hour.  Six months ago, Hatchell’s, located in the Town Centre, wouldn’t have been high on the list.  But now, the joint has new management, a re-vamped flavor, and a whole new attitude.

Booker Urista, the new manager of Hatchell’s, has a motto:  “Just be real.”  From the minute he steps foot inside the bar to the moment he leaves, he is constantly go, go, go.  Booker stops by every single table in the restaurant, just to chat it up with the customers and make sure their experience is a personable, fun one.  Even though he’s from the north, don’t hold that against him:  he’s full of southern hospitality, all the way.

Booker is trying hard to make over Hatchell’s and bring five-star flavor to the tapas menu.  He revealed that he and kitchen staff are in the process of re-writing the menu.  This girl on the town can’t wait to try out the new munchies.  If my experiences at Hatchell’s are a sign of the future, I hope they hurry and write that menu soon . . . like tonight.  Because this girl’s getting hungry.  And their kitchen has all the right stuff.  Booker let me and a few of my good friends taste some of his specialties, including a crab bisque that made me drool all over my sweater to pork medallions served with a potato puree that I can only guess was laced with an unknown, very addictive substance.  It was that good, and I’m jonesing for some more now.  The salmon was great, and so was the tuna.  And, of course, as my faithful readers know, I am a beef whore.  The Hatchell’s crew whipped up some killer gorgonzola beef tenders that made me gyrate in my seat.  And the dessert—the dessert!  Crème brulee, I want to rub you all over my body.  You are that heavenly.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  My alcoholic side wants to talk about the drinks!  Hatchell’s has an awesome happy hour menu.  All draft beer—not just the cheapies—are $2 during HH.  There are just fewer than twenty beers on draft, so close your eyes and take your pick.  If you don’t like it, try another—it’s only two bucks.  House liquors are three bucks, and Red Bull is a low four dollars.  While you’re slugging down cocktails, ask Hatchell’s extremely friendly and knowledgeable bar staff to throw together their signature shot.  It’s called Fun Dip and tastes just like the Fun Dip candy your mom wouldn’t let you have when you were a kid and your teeth were rotting.  But Mommy’s not going to be at Hatchell’s, so order up and indulge!  The tasty shot contains Red Bull, Three Olives Greek Vodka, and a secret ingredient that the bar staff wouldn’t tell me, no matter how much I bribed them.

All I can say is this:  Hatchell’s, I love you.  And I can’t wait for the many crazy, drunken nights I foresee in our future.  Fun Dip shots, look out!  Girl on the Town is coming to eat some kick ass food and slam some drinks.  And you’d better be ready.

Graffiti Magazine Volume 2 Issue 4
November 3, 2009, 8:27 pm
Filed under: My Magazine Articles | Tags: , ,
Graffiti - T-Bonz
Girl on the Town: Drinkin’ at a Steak House


What could be better than a steak house with a killer bar?  A steak house with a killer bar that brews its own beer.  Oh yes—you heard me right.  Sound appealing?  Head over to Tbonz Gill & Grill.  They have three locations in the Low Country:  Mount Pleasant, West Ashley, and downtown Charleston.

The main attraction is, of course, the food.  Their steaks are only the choicest cuts of beef, and their seafood is fresh and local.  But if you want to start a meal out right, you need the perfect appetizer.  Don’t you worry—Tbonz has you covered with their kickass Tommy’s Texas Cheese Fries Deluxe.  Just be careful not to fill up before the main course, kiddies.  The friendly staff also has you covered with soup, stew, and chili on those rare cold and raw days we have in Chucktown.  But when you want something filling, order one of Tbonz’s self-proclaimed “finest steaks known to man.”  My favorite is the bacon-wrapped filet.  Bacon and beef—what could go wrong?  But Tbonz doesn’t stop there.  They’ve got chicken, ribs, sandwiches, and tons of seafood.  And if you happen to go to either the downtown or Mt. P locations, their sister restaurant Kaminsky’s is located right inside.  Prepare yourself for the best things you will ever put in your mouth.  Rockin’ cakes and desserts.  That’s all I’ve got to say.

I know, I know.  You’ve all been waiting for information about the alcohol.  If you’re a wine girl (or guy—whatever floats your boat), this place has all kinds of grapes to fit your needs.  If you’re more of a beer chick or guy (like moi), put aside your normal order of Bud Lite and try one of their home-brewed flavors.  They range from the mild Waccamaw Blonde to the full-bodied Rocket’s Red Ale to special seasonal beers.  Walk in, sit at the bar, and ask what’s on tap.  Then indulge your beer fantasies.  And for all of you liquor drinkers, no worries.  Tbonz has an extensive liquor collection for your consumption.  Enjoy.

Fun, interesting fact that will make all you tree huggers cream your shorts:  Tbonz recycles and never uses Styrofoam.  They cook a mean steak, brew a killer beer, and help to save the environment while doing it.  They are like Superman.

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