What does an upscale Callawassie Island Development, gated Heyward Point have to do with an important archaeological dig, pre-colonial “Native American” slave traders, the English/Spanish conquest up and down coastal Georgia/South Carolina along the Heritage Corridor, and a recent discovery of the “new Yamasee capital” called Altamaha Town on the banks of the Colleton River? What has been termed as the single greatest excavation in the state of South Carolina is providing many clues about how a long departed Lowcountry Indian tribe that once resided just across the river from modern day Hilton Head Island was a major player in historic events in our early 18th century history. Tying all of these loose ends together, a recent article in the Island Packet sheds light on how Indian tribes that had lived here for thousand of years were irrevocably dispersed by 1718.
The Altamaha, later known as the Yamasee (today referred to as the Yemassee), arrived in the area in the 1660s to 1680s after fleeing their settlements in Georgia because other Native American tribes began making slaves of them, DePratter said. They originally settled on South Carolina’s sea islands, including Lady’s, St. Helena and Hilton Head islands, before being forced inland in 1707 onto reservations established by the early Carolina government. Yamasee men became primary allies of European settlers, serving as military aides, middlemen in the deerskin trade and major providers of Indian slaves for plantations. They also advised settlers on farming. The Yamasee raised hogs and chickens and grew vegetables. In 1715, the Yamasee War began after the tribe killed a number of traders and local settlers in retribution for goods and children seized as payments for trade debts. By 1718, the Yamasee were driven out of Carolina, never to return.
So if you fancy spending your retirement years digging in the back yard of your resort home in search of pottery Shards of the Yamasee Tribe, Heyward Point just might be worth investigating.
Mel Brooks critically acclaimed Broadway Musical, The Producers, is coming to the Historic District’s Johnny Mercer Theater for two consecutive performances the first week in December on the second and the third. Assuming you have been living in a cave and are not familiar with this multi award winning musical, Wikipedia characterizes it thusly:
The 1968 film, The Producers, was adapted as a critically acclaimed Broadway musical by Mel Brooks in 2001. Its first run starred Nathan Lane (who reprised that role during the show’s first run on London’s West End) and Matthew Broderick (surprisingly, he and Lane had the voices of adult Simba and Timon in Disney’s 1994 film The Lion King) and won 12 Tony Awards, breaking the record held for 37 years by Hello Dolly! which had won 10. Although the musical has many scenes and jokes taken directly from the film, there are still many differences. Ulla has a much larger role, as does Springtime for Hitler director Roger DeBris. The character Lorenzo St. Dubois (LSD), a hippie who played Hitler in the 1968 movie, does not appear in the new version. Overall the musical is much more upbeat and ends more happily, with even the Nazi character Franz Liebkind being portrayed more sympathetically and getting a happy ending.
The humor of the show is accessible to a wide range of audiences, and draws on ridiculous accents, caricatures of homosexuals and Nazis, and many show business in-jokes.
Coming to Savannah the first weekend of December? Snag your tickets for either the Saturday Night or Sunday Night show to view this hilarious Broadway Musical at the Johnny Mercer Theater. Ah yes, take in the play and you too will be humming the musical’s signature tune, Springtime for Hitler and Germany.
Starting at 2:00 PM today The Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences and their Latino Heritage Sunday kicks off an important tribute to Latino culture as well as a celebration of Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, in conjunction with the exhibition Spirit of Mexico at the Telfair Academy. The event will include a special 3 p.m. performance of traditional Mexican Norteño and Tex Mex sounds by the Florida-based group Mesteño. Norteño music is named for its origin in northern Mexico. Though little known, much of norteño music is played to a polka beat, which can be traced to German and Czech influences in northern Mexico and southern Texas. Mesteño frontman Tomás Granado, a master accordionist, has performed for 35 years, most recently with his bandmates at the Florida Folklife Festival. Demonstrations will be given by painter and SCAD professor Morgan Santander, and by local cultural group El Quetzal, and students affiliated with the HOLA Hispanic Outreach office of Armstrong Atlantic State University. Visitors are encouraged to bring objects or paper flowers or photographs to leave at a community Dia De Los Muertos altar that will be constructed at the event. The museum will also offer hands on activities for children including paper flower and mask making.
This event is free of charge thanks to the City of Savannah and will remain free of charge for all comers for an additional week through November 5th. Take in renowned New York photographer’s Helen Levitt’s photo images of Mexican landscapes, the people, and the culture photographed in and around Mexico City in the early 1940’s. This insightful exhibit features several dozen black and white photographs by Levitt as well as two other accomplished phototraphers, Manuel Alvarez Bravo and Philip Perkis. This important exhibit will be on display through January 28, 2007 at the Telfair.
Dating back to 1734 when the first forty Irish immigrants landed in General James Oglethorpe’s colonial era Savannah, the Hostess City has had a long relationship with the Irish. Between the years of 1850 and 1860, Savannah had an Irish population that totaled a whopping 10% and 14% respectively of all nationalities in Savannah proper leading into the Civil War as a result of the Irish potato crop failures that forced many Irish to leave their native Ireland. When coupled with Savannah’s other immigrants, half the city’s white adult population in 1860 was foreign born. And as Irish Catholic immigrants continued to pour into coastal Georgia during the mid 1800’s, the Catholic Church of Saint John the Baptist that originated in 1835 and seated 1000 worshipers ultimately became The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist after creation of a Savannah based diocese in 1850. The diocese served an estimated 5500 Catholics throughout all of Georgia and most of Florida during that time frame.
Fast forward through to the modern era and it is easy enough to understand why it is that Savannah’s Saint Patrick’s Day celebration is the second largest on the eastern seaboard, attracting between 400,000 to half a million celebrants every March inside the 2.3 mile landmark historic district. If this celebration attracts too many participants to suit you, then you might want to schedule an early jump on this traditional Irish holiday with our own Savannah Irish Festival that is scheduled the first week of the beginning of tourist high season every February just a few days after the Italian tradition of Valentines Day on February 14th. As our CVB inspired mission statement implies, Savannah, Est. 1733 loves her traditional relationship with the Irish.
Today kicks off what promises to be a festive weekend featuring great food and live music on River Street at the Fall Moon RiverFest. This is a wonderful opportunity to combine your support of a great cause, the Community Healthcare Center/Savannah Health Mission as well as a traditional Savannah Getaway weekend in the fall high season. The proceeds will support CHC/SHM, which gives medical help to the uninsured. The festival will run all day today, Friday, Oct. 27 through Sunday Oct. 29. The hours are Friday noon to 10 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Live music will be onstage at Rousakis Plaza all weekend during the Fall Moon RiverFest. Food and drinks will include barbecue ribs, seafood, pizza and beer. More than 35 arts and crafts vendors from around the Southeast will be on River Street for the festival. This important event is co-sponsored by the City of Savannah, Budweiser H-H Savannah Inc., Dadd’s Productions, and Rick Clark Promotions. Coastal Georgia is beautiful in the month of October and it doesn’t get any better than strolling along River Walk taking in all the sights and sounds on a gorgeous fall weekend while chowing down on local cuisine. As a Savannah charity makes their case this weekend. River Street is the place!
Close your eyes and you could be listening to an early version of Stevie Ray Vaughan on this righteous cut that we picked up at the Metro Coffee House’s web site. Providing the best in live entertainment in Savannah’s Landmark Historic District for an eclectic mix of SCAD students, locals, and tourists alike, this is one of the fastest growing live entertainment venues in the district. As their mission statement reads “Our mission at Metro is to serve a great product whether it’s a cup of coffee or a delicious sandwich”, you can add a nice slice of ear candy to go along with your cup of Joe. By the way, all you budding musicians don’t forget to call ahead to find out when their open mic night is. Savannah hosts a whole bunch of creative types, do drop in on and join the fun on your next weekend getaway to Coastal Georgia.
With the additions of Bruce Dern, Liev Schreiber and Rex Reed, this year’s Savannah Film Festival is sure to be memorable. In addition to getting to see some of Hollywood’s greatest actors and directors, there will be screenings of several upcoming releases.
Lonely Hearts is a movie starring John Travolta, James Gandolfini, Salma Hayek, Jared Leto and Laura Dern. The movie is based on a true story about a pair of killers known as the “Lonely Hearts Killers”. Smile is a movie starring Bruce Dern. The comedy is about beauty pageants.
The Queen is a story about the British royal family in the wake of Princess Diana’s death and stars Helen Mirren and James Cromwell.
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada stars festival headliner Tommy Lee Jones and Barry Pepper.
To see a complete list of films to be screened please visit the Savannah Film Festival website.
The festival starts October 28th and ends November 4th. Don’t miss out on the great films presented during this outstanding event.
United States Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina recently announced the Senate passed the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Act. President Bush signed into law this act last week, ending the long legislative process of recognizing the unique mix of African and American influences that flourished on Southern sea islands. The next step in the process will be to appoint 15 members of a commission to oversee the corridor program. The bill’s passage was the culmination of years of work by Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina in the U. S. House of Representatves. It provides a vehicle to identify and protect a culture that is a unique blend of African and European influences brought to America in colonial days and nurtured on the isolated sea islands from southern North Carolina to northern Florida.
The purpose of the Gullah/Geechee Heritage Corridor that runs from Florida all the way to North Carolina is to:
• Recognize the important contributions made to American culture and history by African-Americans known as the Gullah/Geechee who settled in the coastal counties of South Carolina and Georgia.
• Assist state and local governments and public and private entities in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida in interpreting the story of the Gullah/Geechee and preserving Gullah/Geechee folklore, arts, crafts, and music.
• Assist in identifying and preserving sites, historical data, artifacts, and objects associated with the Gullah/Geechee for the benefit and education of the public.
Also passed at the same time, the Southern Campaign of the Revolution Heritage Area Study Act was additionally enacted. The passage of both bills is significant to the state of South Carolina in developing cultural and history based tourism as South Carolina is not only one of the major locations for Gullah/Geechee culture but additionally has over 200 Revolutionary War sites, more than any other state. The state of South Carolina is currently celebrating the 225th Anniversary of most of these battlegrounds. Although the Southern Campaign is considered by many the turning point of the Revolution, no heritage corridor currently exists to commemorate the Southern Campaign.
Your community’s own local art scene may be planning a Beaux Arts Ball at this time of year while we Savannahians are anticipating our own Shakespeare’s Masquerade Ball on October 27th. Many artistic communities stage an annual extravaganza where the artists and their patrons are bought together each year in a fund raising event that celebrates and promotes another year of artistic excellence. This fundraiser is traditionally held close to Halloween every year and typically features a costume ball where participants dance the night away in an event that has come to be known as the Beaux Art Ball. This phrase was actually first coined in Paris in the 19th century when the Ecole des Beauxarts school of architecture staged the original Beaux Arts Ball for faculty, students, and patrons of the arts as they gathered to celebrate the traditions of this institution.
Now that we have shared the history of our own rendition of the Savannah area Beaux Arts Ball, we heartily invite you to attend the Halloween event of the year during your own Savannah Getaway weekend to our historic city as funds are raised for the 2006 Savannah Shakespeare Festival in Forsyth Park the first week in November. Support the arts as you meet and mingle with Shakespearean actors, Savannah area patrons, and SCAD faculty, Enjoy “Unexpected Songs” by Trae Gurley and pianist Don Hite. The first two drinks and a light spread are on us. Cocktails and Silent Auction at 7:00 P.M. At 8:00 P.M. a presententation of a “spooktacular” short program will be made to be followed by dance through the evening with the ghosts and goblins! For Tickets visit the official Savannah Shakespeare Festival web site or call the Savannah College of Art and Design Ticket Box at (912) 525 – 5050