Our guest columnist this month considers the finer points of playing the most inexpensive instrument of all.
- by John McKellar
Why air guitar? Air guitar allows ready access to a musical instrument while shortcutting the troubling learning curve, and the expense is manageable. You don’t have to buy guitars, amps, cords, microphones, or other accouterments.
Also, storage is easier. Guitarists tend to collect guitars, thinking each will make them a better player. With the air guitar, your fourth and fifth guitar won't end up under the bed using space otherwise reserved for dust bunnies and out-of-season clothes.
Finally, not only does one forgo the agony of band break-ups due to artistic differences when one plays air guitar, but also air guitar gives the performer an incredible range of musical styles.
When there is an audience of one, it is often a situation in which we attempt to attract a mate by exposing our creative side. Song selection is very important and if well selected, allows the performer a certain sincerity of expression. This can backfire. Don't do this on the first date. In fact, this is best done when you are sure your audience is predisposed to overtures of affection. It wouldn't hurt to delay your performance until the viewer is well into the second glass of Merlot.
Pre-song can be important. You must strike the right posture dependent upon your song selection. I prefer a slouch and a seeming indifference to the audience. If you turn the imaginary volume and tone knobs of your guitar or maybe install a capo, it displays an attention to detail and dedication to craft. Take your own sip of Merlot prior to the opening chord. This is evocative of the rock star lifestyle.
Again, song selection is key to a well-received performance. As compared to rock, folk and country have a less exuberant presentation. Technique overshadows expression unless you are singing about mothers or missing dogs. Punk rock is exceedingly energetic but only uses power chords, which, with little practice, the air guitarist could play on an actual guitar. It is the most aerobic and recommended by the AMA.
With the digital era’s wide availability of music, you don't have to limit yourself to guitar. Ghandi is said to have been a capable air sitar player until the incident with the unraveling loincloth. Air tuba would be an unfortunate choice. Its motion is akin to Donald Trump’s mocking of the handicapped reporter. Air violin is the absolute most expressive. Seriously, you never open your eyes. The physical articulation is fluid and wide ranging except for your neck, which is crooked and holding your air violin. Orthopedic surgeons warn against the constant playing of this instrument due to damage to the upper vertebral segments.
The air piccolo is frequently misinterpreted as an obscene gesture and risks embroilments. I would not recommend this in southern states with open carry gun laws. Pan flute: really? If you are considering this, you need to stop reading now and run to your back yard. Your unicorn caught his horn in the sasanqua bush. You need to be there.
As for public performances, live concerts, open air, and arena venues promote the camaraderie of multiple guitarists in a somewhat competitive setting. Turn your ball cap backwards to better showcase the agony on your face as you shred the neck to nail the piercing upper register notes. Slide over to your buddy on the tambourine and syncopate your motion to his in a spontaneous air pas-de-deux. After one verse, leave him and prepare to really explore the space. As you bring the song to its fullest moment, your gyrations are maximized to improve the quality of the musicianship. The song’s end is always followed by an outbreak of high-fives and stimulant refueling. Here, as in every situation, your mission is to show what a song might be if the actual performer had your chops and depth of feeling.
I admit it. I play air guitar, a bit of saxophone, drums when I am kidding myself about my rhythm, and stand-up bass in a trio setting. In my greediest moments, within the same song I have switched to whichever instrument is playing lead. I do not do this in public. There’s the rub. I feel that we need air guitar support groups to help break through the stigma of full-on public performance and to wholly examine the air instrument ethos. We have only begun to develop the genre. It is a journey. Bend to it.
Our new column explores fun destinations within a two-hour drive of Bay-Waveland. This month, Lisa Monti takes us to Madisonville, Louisiana - home of the annual Wooden Boat Festival (October 8 - 9, 2016). After this preview, you'll be making plans to day-trip on over!
Step into the Glamorous World of the Raw Oyster Marching Club! The Glam Gals have opened a costume shop on the third floor of Bay Emporium.
- story and photos by Martha Whitney Butler
The booth is decked out in their signature colors, green and gold, and of course features a large cutout of their heroine, Kitty West. It's definitely a nod to Mardi Gras and to the group.
You'll find a variety of costumes, jewelry, party supplies, and accessories. They've even stocked their space with children’s costumes AND costumes for pets! The booth represents the life of the party that the Oysters have become. With the upcoming holidays and parade season on the brink, be sure to check out their space for some inspiring finds!
Not only are the Oysters selling their items, they're taking donations! If you would like to donate your costumes, shoes, jewelry, and party accessories, please email email@example.com OR message them on Facebook. So before you head off to Party City or zone out for hours poring through Amazon, remember Haute Mess on the third floor of Bay Emporium!
Come and visit with the fantastic ladies of #ROMCBSL at the grand opening of Haute Mess: Second Saturday, September 10th from 5-7 p.m. on the third floor of Bay Emporium.
Animated Vs. Animals
The Pokémon GO craze may have more people walking around outdoors, but they're oblivious to local flora and fauna, in pursuit of tiny cartoons.
- story by Ellis Anderson
Be a Tourist in Your Own Community - Part IV
Over the past few months the Hancock County Tourism Bureau has been highlighting our communities and some of the unique activities for visitors and also locals. This month we feature Hancock County.
Hancock County is approximately 553 square miles (not including Stennis Space Center). The county line runs from Bayou Cadet to the Bay St. Louis Bridge up to Pearl River County line to the Louisiana state line.
It’s home to the cities of Bay St. Louis (the county seat), Diamondhead and Waveland, as well as the communities of Kiln, Pearlington, Clermont Harbor, Lakeshore and Napoleon.
Stennis Space Center
Stennis Space Center (SSC) facility covers 13,800 acres with an acoustical buffer zone of over 124,000 acres. It’s a unique scientific, governmental and corporate “city,” home to more than 40 organizations relating to the aerospace industry - with NASA being the largest. The Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO) alone employees more than 1,000 civilian, military and contract personnel researching marine geosciences, oceanography and underwater acoustics.
Establishment of SSC began in 1961 when NASA needed a place to test the Apollo rocket engines that were used in the race to the moon. More than 700 families were relocated in order to give the facility an enormous 125,000 acre acoustical buffer. Fabled rocket scientist Wernher von Braun often quipped "I don't know yet what method we will use to get to the Moon, but I do know that we have to go through Mississippi to get there!"
Today, Stennis Space Center is testing the RS-26 rocket engines that will help power manned missions to Mars and beyond.
INFINITY Science Center
At the INFINITY Science Center, one can explore earth, space and oceans. This muli-million-dollar science/visitor center thrills visitors with exhibits that range from a surrealistic gigantic Saturn rocket booster outside the building to an Immersion theatre that lets visitors experience that thrill of space travel.
On the grounds of INFINITY the 1,400 feet of Biome Boardwalk; this manmade boardwalk leads through the Stennis acoustic buffer zone. According to the INFINITY website:
Guests can now meander their way along our 1,400 feet of Biome Boardwalk to explore four diverse habitats found in this region - Bayhead Swamps, Lowland Pines, Pitcher Plant bogs and an Upland Savannah. Interpretive signage educates visitors on the flora and fauna found in and around the boardwalk, including otters, Great Blue Herons, a variety of snakes, carnivorous plants, and even alligators! Two observation decks offer ideal wildlife viewing opportunities, or simply a place to relax and take in nature.
Visitors can also catch the Tram Tours (6-mile) along the Possum Walk Trail. The Possum Walk Trail (part of the 100-mile Heritage Trail) is a trail that marks the history of the predominately African-American Possum Walk community and other towns that existed in the area before the establishment of SSC.
For more information, go to the INFINITY website.
The Hancock County Fair
The 2016 Hancock County Fair harkens back to a time when families gathered from across the county once a year for a chance to experience sights, rides, food and games. While the world has changed, the thrill of the fair has not.
The Hancock County Fair puts a spin on the food offerings by showcasing local restaurants, who serve up favorite dishes. Traditional fair food – funnel cakes, candy apples, and cotton candy – will be available too.
Games on the fair midway let folks test their skills and strength, while amusement rides promise to thrill both kids and adults – if they dare. Livestock exhibits give city folk a chance to gander at cows, pigs and exotic chickens, while an authentic rodeo keeps excitement high.
Live music this year by headliners Joe Diffie and John Anderson, includes a sizzling line-up with Category 6, Trent Ladner and Ross Grisham.
For more information on this event go to the fair website.
For more information on these locations come to the Hancock Visitors Center at 1928 Depot Way, Bay St. Louis or visit the website.
How many of these activities have you experienced in your community?
The Hybrid House on St. John
A bright cottage exterior suggests a traditional interior. Surprise. Carroll Rogers' new home in Bay St. Louis combines industrial caché with warm notes for winning style.
- story and photographs by Ellis Anderson
Window Shopping: An Intro
This month we're introducing Greg Matusoff, who is almost certainly the only fire-fighter/fashion columnist in the country. As you might expect, he has a different take on the subject of personal style.
Fashion is not unlike that. If you grew up with it, then it's something you're aware of. If you weren't exposed to it, then fashion may be an afterthought, with clothes serving a more utilitarian role than that of self-expression. There is nothing wrong with either scenario; we all have different priorities.
We all have our go-to clothes. Whether it's an old college sweatshirt, a favorite pair of jeans, or a little black dress, our fallbacks are reminiscent of security blankets: we can always count on them. They represent function over form.
And with time and age, it becomes increasingly difficult to branch out from our comfort zones. Sometimes it may seem that if we haven't learned something by now, then what's the point? We let our insecurities inhibit our ability to learn.
Also, we need to remember that less than 1 percent of the population are runway models. The rest of us are made up of all different shapes and sizes! We must understand that what looks good on one person might not work for someone else.
When I work with clients and friends on their personal fashion expression, the first things we figure out are what they're drawn to, what excites them. It could be a particular type of art, an era (i.e. the Roaring ’20s), or an event. Then we explore their favorite colors and styles. Once this is determined, we have a good sense of direction in creating a personal style.
There are many things that have to be considered — body type, skin tone, comfort level, and occasion are a few. I find it's sometimes easier to look at it like costuming: What stage are you going to be on today, and what statement are you trying to make?
In my own life, I have tested this theory many times and am always amazed at the outcome. I find that I can walk into situations dressed one way and get a specific reaction, and the very next week almost the same situation dressed very differently and get almost the opposite reaction. How I dress and present myself directly affects my interactions.
I think that one of the most important things to keep in mind is that playing with fashion is fun. It should certainly not be work.
Every month in this column, I will focus on different aspects of fashion, demystifying it and making it more approachable. The end goal? To remind you that we should all feel good about our own means of personal expression, and live inspired lives!
Read about Greg and Kristie's inspired lives in the Shoofly's July 2016 "At Home in the Bay" feature.
Harbor House Steamer
The menu covers all the bases, and as its waterfront location suggests, seafood prevails in salads, pasta, sandwiches, appetizers and the namesake categories on the menu: By Sea and Steamed Goods.
By Sea (as opposed to the pork and beef that star in the By Land entrees) showcases whole flounder, Asian ahi tuna, trout almondine and stuffed crab, along with the always-popular shrimp and oyster platters.
Steamed Goods include some over-the-top offerings for a crowd. The Admiral’s Steamer generously serves at least 10 diners with five pounds of steamed Alaskan King crab, Royal Red shrimp, snow crab and Dungeness crab with charbroiled oysters along with drawn butter, though it doesn’t say how much butter it takes to go with all that seafood. The price is an eye-popping $499.95 and yes, a couple have been ordered, Marotta said. Couples, rather than crowds, go for the signature steamed seafood.
“We have sold quite of bit of steamers for two ($110),” he said. “It’s a good deal. You get a lot of seafood.”
Portions are generous across the board at Harbor House. Fourteen large gulf shrimp, lightly dusted and fried, practically filled the large lunch plate that was rounded out by the side of fresh broccoli and carrot.
“Anything fried is hand breaded, even the kids’ chicken tenders,” he said. For that reason, the restaurant sells loads of seafood poboys and platters.
The number one best seller, though, is the Scarlet Red Snapper, deliciously pan fried and topped with sweet crabmeat and hollandaise sauce. It was the “I’m getting that next time” item at our table.
Besides lunch and dinner service, Harbor House hosts lots of parties in the open area downstairs that can accommodate up to 300 guests like one party last month. “We get a lot of people celebrating here,” Marotta said.
Harbor House seats about 185 in the dining room, deck, and bar. They’re warming up the big screen TVs for fans of college and pro football to come enjoy the game with food and drinks. And the restaurant just kicked off a Thursday night special: kids eat free with the purchase of a dinner entree.
Whether you come by boat or by car, whatever you do, come with an appetite.
September Second Saturday: 9/10
Things are lively all day and start hopping from 4-8pm. Celebrate Hot Spots Crawford Realty Group (112 Court Street) and Sycamore House (210 Main Street)! Get the inside scoop on these businesses below.
- by Grace Birch
Crawford Realty Group
Think full-circle times two: the Krewe of Nereids was formed 50 years ago to help stimulate local economy. A self-supporting group, it hosts fundraisers throughout the year to continue its good work of attracting thousands to the Bay-Waveland area each Mardi Gras season.
Now, their new fundraiser, the Mermaids’ Arts and Crafts Show, will be doing double duty. The show is expected to raise money while attracting thousands to the Bay-Waveland area.
Talk of the Town
Beth Gruzinskas, a longtime Nereids member and in charge of publicity for the arts and crafts show, says that the depot grounds location is perfect in more ways than one.
It offers paths and shade that vendors and patrons both love and lots of parking nearby (St. Stanislaus is offering their field across the street for the event). The historic depot is also just a few blocks from the retail action and restaurants in Old Town’s commercial district.
“We’re calling it a destination weekend,” says Beth. “While people are at the show, they can shop around the rest of Old Town, restaurants and all the businesses. The hotels, the bed and breakfasts and the vacation rentals will also benefit. We’re working to promote the whole area, not just our show.”
The depot location also gives plenty of room for potential expansion in the future. And there’s good reason to think that they’d need it. Bay St. Louis already has a regional reputation as an artists’ colony. While it hosts the popular Arts Alive event each spring, with demonstrating artists and art competitions set up throughout the commercial district, there hasn’t been a dedicated art show in the Bay for at least twenty years.
Mary Ann Pucheu, who’s in charge of the vendors, says the goal is quality. Participating artists must make at least 50 percent of the product they’ll be selling. For instance, a vendor would be able to sell a picture frame, but only if they’ve decorated it themselves.
She says that the applications are coming in daily and will be considered until the show has filled all the available slots. So far, the show has accepted artists who’ll be showing handmade jewelry, pottery, glass and fine art. Vendors can get an application HERE.
Photos of vendors’ work are being posted almost daily on the Mermaid Arts and Crafts Facebook page.
Although the Visitors’ Center, the Alice Moseley Museum and the Mardi Gras Museum in the historic depot will be closed during the event, shoppers will hopefully want to return later. Those who do will find that the Mardi Gras Museum stars a collection of retired Nereids’ costumes.
“All the fantastic costumes on display were designed and made for Nereids,” says Beth. “They’re all amazing — each one is a work of art.”
The Rotary Teacher Recognition Progam
The 2016/2017 school year has begun. The Rotary Club of Bay St. Louis is excited to announce they are continuing their teacher recognition program. The first school that will be represented is Our Lady Academy on the 2nd Wednesday of September.
Rotary gives a huge thanks to the teachers of the Bay Waveland School District by honoring a teacher each month. The principal of the selected school for the month is extended an invitation to a Wednesday Rotary meeting. The principal must choose a teacher from their staff who goes above what is asked for the students to be honored.
Bay St. Louis Rotary Club's School Recognition Schedule for 2016/2017
OLA Recognizes 94 Students Scoring in 90th Percentile or Above
Principal Darnell Cuevas commented, “We are so proud to have so many of our girls achieve these remarkable test scores. These students exemplify a strong commitment to academic excellence.”
These students will be rewarded to a fun-filled school day, cruising down the Mississippi River on the Steamboat Natchez in September.
Bay High Brings Home an "A"
- story and photos by Ellis Anderson
Slightly edgy, always fun.
It’s the new tag line for one of Bay St. Louis’s most popular shops - Bay-tique - and fits as perfectly as your favorite jeans.
The boutique is the baby of Jane Alford, who also owns the Carroll House Bed and Breakfast in Old Town. When her career as a occupational therapist brought her to the Mississippi coast from Maryland, she came with the intention of staying only five years.
She opened the popular bed and breakfast first and then began the boutique a few years later to meet the needs of her guests.
“They all wanted something made locally that they could take home,” says Jane. “They also wanted more choices in shopping for fashion, especially beach-wear. Meanwhile, I was looking something to fulfill my creative side.”
Bay-tique is a showcase of that creativity. The window displays and store décor instantly make the most fatigued shopper feel enlivened. The mood is spirited, and so is the merchandise.
The clothing and accessories are geared for women in the 30 – 50 age group, in regular and plus sizes.
“I think about things I would like,” says the fifty-something entrepreneur. “A woman in her fifties doesn’t want to dress like a grandmother, but she doesn’t want to dress like a 20-year old either. I try to keep the merchandise fun and affordable.”
Accessories include cool suede scarves and vests. And the perennial favorites of locals and visitors alike are the Bay St. Louis hoodies and sweatshirts designed by Jane and sold by her exclusively.
Jane’s proficiency with graphic design programs makes that possible. She also has the equipment - and hands-on know-how – to make many of the shop’s distinctive t-shirts.
“I’ll make a stencil and then I paint and bleach to make one-off designs on t-shirts. That’s a great creative outlet, I really enjoy it.”
The merchandising part of the job is satisfying as well. It’s also challenging. She discovered early on that ordering her stock online may have been easy, but it’s impossible to identify quality from a computer screen. Now she researches carefully before she goes to market, steering away from product lines she knows other merchants in town are carrying (“we work together and try hard not to duplicate”).
“I want our reputation to be one of a high-service, big-fun boutique.”
Perks include calling a customer when something they’ve been looking for comes in and offering an online store where they can shop with confidence. Jane’s already done the quality control.
A highly motivated sales staff who are trained not to be “stand-offish or snooty” also helps in building customer loyalty. Jane says she has excellent employees and constantly gets feedback from regular customers about how helpful they are.
“It makes a big difference having reliable employees who take ownership of their job,” says Jane. “They’re great at helping put together a whole look that’s flattering to the customer.
“I’m really proud of the store. It’s developed it’s own personality and I like that personality. Easy going, spirited and a little bit sassy.”
The Mississippi Book Festival
- story by Carole McKellar, photography by Ellis Anderson
The 2nd Annual Mississippi Book Festival took place on August 20 in Jackson. Billed as a “Literary Lawn Party,” the event was again held inside and on the grounds of the beautiful and historic state capitol.
Mississippians constantly boast of the state’s literary history, so it’s hard to imagine why this event didn’t happen sooner than 2015. There are at least two other festivals in the state with a longer history: The Oxford Conference for the Book celebrated its 23rd anniversary in March, and the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration, held every February, started in 1990. While both these events draw crowds and feature Mississippi writers, a statewide celebration is a welcome addition.
This year’s festival featured more than 200 authors, several of them from the coast. Jesmyn Ward and Margaret McMullan, both Pass Christian residents, moderated panels featuring well-known writers. Author, playwright, and Shoofly contributor Rheta Grimsley Johnson participated in two events, one of which was the closing feature, the Mississippi Experience. That panel’s moderator was Festival board member Scott Naugle, owner of Pass Books and a Shoofly sponsor.
All authors attending the festival signed their books in a special tent on the lawn of the capitol. Lemuria Books, one of the state’s premier bookstores, set up a large tent nearby to sell featured works.
Jacqueline Woodson, recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation, was interviewed in an afternoon session by poet Honoree Jeffers. Listening to them talk felt like eavesdropping on a conversation between two friends. Even Ms. Woodson’s conversation is poetic. I loved “Brown Girl Dreaming,” and just finished reading “Another Brooklyn.”
Afterward, I overcame my natural reluctance and introduced myself to Ms. Woodson as a fan. Thankfully, she was warm and friendly. In addition to being poet laureate, Ms. Woodson won the National Book Award in 2014 for “Brown Girl Dreaming,” a memoir in verse. That book contains some of the most beautiful poems I’ve ever read, and their aggregate as an autobiography is an astounding work.
A panel that included Rheta Grimsley Johnson gathered to discuss memoir writing. Rheta read one of my favorite anecdotes from her latest book about her down-the-road neighbor in Iuka, Mississippi. Her fellow panelists were as amusing, and the room was filled with laughter the entire session. For a review of Rheta’s latest book, “The Dogs Buried Over the Bridge: A Memoir in Dog Years,” check the Bay Reads archives for March, 2016.
C-Span 2 aired most sessions live on Book TV, and I’m told the sessions will be available for viewing in October on the Festival website, www.msbookfestival.com.
I urge you to join me next year for Mississippi’s “Literary Lawn Party”!
The Living Shoreline
- story by Lisa Monti
Work is now under way on a multi-million dollar project to stop erosion and restore a section of remote marshland that is critical to Hancock County’s shoreline and the creatures who depend on it for shelter and food.
Around $50 million in BP early restoration money is paying for the work at Heron Bay, located between Bayou Caddy and the mouth of the East Pearl River on the Mississippi-Louisiana line.
The goal is to restore a safe place where tiny organisms will grow and eventually attract fish, crabs, shrimp, shore birds and other creatures. Fishermen will benefit from the restoration as well.
“It’s definitely going to help with the fishing,” said Marc Wyatt, director of the Office of Restoration in the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
Beach to Bayou
The “living shoreline,” though, will mostly be out of sight. Even by boat, the durable armor stone structure will be visible only at low tide. There will be markers at high tide so boaters will be able to know the location of the structure.
Two breakwaters will be built on either side of Heron Bay, helping to shore up the “boot” feature that has eroded at the mouth of the bay as the result of wave action that occurs naturally and from boat traffic.
“We received all of the permits and we have initiated phase one and phase four,” said Wyatt. Phase one is the first section of the nearly 6-mile shoreline itself. Phase four is the creation of 46 acres of subtidal reef material to attract marine life.
Wyatt said phase one is set for completion by the end of the year. Next year the two remaining phases of shoreline will be built, and the entire project will be completed by the end of 2017.
The project is inside the 20,909-acre Hancock County Marsh Preserve, which is the largest in the state, and is part of the Pearl River estuary in the western Mississippi Sound.
Going Once, Going Twice, Sold!
Online bidding for Waveland tax-forfeited property is now available on the Secretary of State’s website.
The online auction-style, tax-forfeited property sale began on Wednesday, August 31 and will run to Wednesday, September 28. 100 tax-forfeited properties valued at over $800,000 are available for purchase to the highest bidder.
Bids may be submitted online at the Secretary of State’s website by Wednesday, September 28, 2016, at 5 p.m. To place a bid, the user must register online.
What's Up, Waveland?
Currently, the Secretary of State’s Office holds over $71 Million worth of property forfeited to the State for non-payment of ad valorem taxes. Since 2012, the Secretary of State’s Office has made efforts to alleviate the tax forfeited epidemic in Mississippi. The Secretary of State's Office has successful been able to put a number of property back on tax rolls throughout the Mississippi using the online auction method.
Bid early and bid often.
Crunching the Numbers
Waveland has crunched the numbers and is on track to fund several capital project during the upcoming year without increasing the tax burden on our citizens.
On Thursday, September 1 at 6:30 p.m., Waveland will host a 2017 budget public hearing. I invite all citizens of Waveland to attend this meeting to give the Waveland Board of Mayor and Alderman constructive input. The board will meet on Thursday, September 8 at 6:30 p.m. to address the adoption of the 2017 budget.
If you cannot attend the meeting, I encourage you to contact Mayor Mike Smith and your alderman at 228.467.4134 as soon as possible to discuss how you believe YOUR TAX DOLLARS should be spent.
Everyone realizes the need for public restroom facilities on our beaches, so Waveland decided to run a grant application up the flagpole. The grant that we are pursuing is highly competitive so it may be a long-shot that we receive the funding, but since we applied we at least have a shot. Waveland will receive a "yea" or "nay" for our grant request from the State within a few months.
Even if Waveland does not receive the grant, I will continue to push for Waveland to rent a portable bathroom trailer during the peak summer months.
of the Shoofly
Across The Bridge
At Home In The Bay
Beach To Bayou
BSL Council Updates
Casting My Net
Coast Lines Column
Friends Of The Animal Shelter
Growing Up Downtown
House And Garden
Legends And Legacies
Mother Of Pearl
Murphy's Musical Notes
Old Town Merchants
On The Shoofly
Shore Thing Fishing Report
Talk Of The Town
The Eyes Have It