Five years ago, when the City Paper celebrated its tenth birthday, we were prepared. We spent nearly six months thinking about how we would mark the day. We immersed ourselves in the archives, invited old writers to write again, told our origin story, took pictures of people in their birthday suits, and generally had a good time celebrating our accomplishments and patting ourselves on the back. Five years later, our 15th birthday snuck up on us. It’s been a challenging few years, not just for the newspaper industry but for most everybody. The tough economy’s demanded more from us than ever, the internet has increased our reach but also our workload, and the future arrived before we expected it to. But that’s OK. We can’t think of anything better than being in the media during these crazy, maddening, whirlwind times. Where else to observe the changes that have been wrought in Charleston over the last 15 years?

Instead of turning inward and picking lint out of our own bellybuttons for our birthday, we decided to turn outward and take a look at what’s happened in our fair city, and that means revisiting some of the people who have been instrumental in making this town what it is today: a national media darling that has its champions (Joe Riley) and its monsters (John Graham Altman III). The list of people we’ve chosen to include is very subjective and has more to do with what I, the founding editor and the longest long-timer, could conjure up in an afternoon brainstorm session (we didn’t start thinking about this issue until the beginning of August, which is why our 15th birthday is being celebrated a few weeks late). Despite its origin, it’s an interesting list. We found 15 hall of famers, the usual suspects like Dana Beach and Keith Summey, who were already here in 1997 when we arrived, making an impact and making a difference. These folks were chosen because they were around then, and they’re still around today. They deserve a little pat on the back for their accomplishments. We also picked people we have dubbed the “15 minutes of fame” group. These are the ones who were here and made some noise but then went away for whatever reason. In the case of Arthur Ravenel, it was retirement. At Ravenel’s age, you just can’t expect him to still be rattling his saber. We also came up with a “Freshman 15” group, the new faces that came into the mix over the last 15 years and who we expect to continue to make an impact in the future. Who knows? They might be our hall of famers in another 15 years. So, happy birthday to us. Raise a toast in our honor and read on. Maybe these folks will inspire you to get out there and make a difference too. —Stephanie Barna

The Freshman 15 (view as list)

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    Sean Brock

    He’d been here before, graduating from Johnson & Wales with honors and working for Robert Carter at Peninsula Grill. But by the time he returned to town as executive chef at McCrady’s, Sean Brock was already receiving a fair bit of attention for such a young chef. In Nashville, he was making a statement at the Hermitage Hotel’s Capitol Grille, so much so that when his new Charleston gig was announced, we published a piece in 2006 by Nashville food critic Kay West that pondered their loss and our gain. Back then, he was immersed in molecular gastronomy and excited to experiment with new and innovative techniques. His first McCrady’s menu had lobster sous vide and venison sous vide, and a 64-degree egg. West ended her story with the prescient quote: “So, congratulations Charleston. With Sean Brock’s return, one of your oldest, most historic restaurants is embarking on an all-new adventure.” Indeed, over the last six years, Charleston has watched the passionate young chef grow into a world-class, internationally-renowned, in-demand chef, opening Husk, throwing down big challenges for himself and welcoming others to join him on his path, and it’s been quite an adventure. From The New Yorker and The Wall Street Journal to Anthony Bourdain and Charlie Rose, the guy has done nothing but win people over with his passion, intensity, talent, and charm. The question is, where will it take him next? Will he be tapped for his own television show? Will he follow his dreams to a big city up north? I think the next year will give us some of those answers. The bottom line is that, even though he’s one of our Freshmen 15, nobody has done as much for Charleston’s food scene as Brock, as his former boss Bob Carter says. —Stephanie Barna

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    Mike Seekings

    In his first three years on Charleston City Council, Mike Seekings has been operating on a principle he calls the 72-72 Rule — that is, Charleston should be as good a place for tourists who visit for 72 hours as it is for residents who live here for 72 years. Seekings represents District 8, which includes some of the oldest houses and oldest families on the peninsula, and he advocates for progressive causes including balanced infill development, green space preservation, and accessibility for bicyclists. “I think one of the things it shows is that Charleston is not a museum,” he says. “It’s a living, growing city, and the people recognize that.” And he does it without a lot of shouting, too. “I just don’t think that the City Council chambers are a particularly great place for histrionics,” Seekings says. “It’s a place to do the right thing.” —Paul Bowers

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    Paul Thurmond

    Paul Thurmond got caught in the biggest fecal tempest of the 2012 South Carolina election cycle when he filed his Statement of Economic Interests electronically, but failed to submit a hard copy. (He along with 200-plus other candidates were told they didn’t have to.) As a result, Thurmond and the others were thrown off the ballot in May by a state Supreme Court ruling. But unlike many of his fellow ex-candidates, Thurmond won a court battle and will be back on the ticket for a special GOP primary to be held Sept. 18. Thurmond, a former Charleston County Council member, is running for the state Senate seat previously occupied by Glenn McConnell, who was arguably the most powerful Republican in the state. They’re big shoes to fill, but as the son of legendary U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, the younger Thurmond is used to the pressure. “I grew up in the shadow of the guy that was named South Carolinian of the Century. High expectations have not only been put on me by others, but mostly by myself,” Thurmond says. “I won’t be Glenn McConnell, much like I won’t be my father.” —Paul Bowers

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    • Ann Chandler

    • Elliott Summey

    Elliott Summey

    In his first term on Charleston County Council, Elliott Summey has staged a standoff with County Auditor Peggy Moseley about late tax bills, served as chairman of the CARTA bus system, and made the much-criticized switch from the Democratic Party to the GOP. As a child, Summey would hang out at Crosby’s, his maternal grandfather’s car repair shop on Meeting Street Road that was once a de facto meeting place for Charleston County’s political heavyweights. When it came time to go to college, his father, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, convinced him to stay close to home, so Elliott went to the College of Charleston. “He said, ‘As much as you love politics and government, having you be here with me while I’m doing this will be an experience you’ll never get in the classroom,'” the younger Summey recalls. “He was right.” From his grandfather, a former county councilman, he learned an old-fashioned bull-headedness. From his father, he learned the soft art of persuading through kindness. Today, he practices a little of both. —Paul Bowers

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    • Provided

    • Helen Rice and Josh Nissenboim

    Fuzzco

    When Jonathan Sanchez profiled upstart design firm Fuzzco for City Paper‘s year-end double issue back in 2006, he wrote, “They look like they’re newly hatched from some kind of emo egg.” At that point, Helen Rice and Josh Nissenboim were working out of the recently opened 10 Storehouse Row, and though they’d only been around a couple of years, they’d already amassed an impressive client base. Nowadays, you can find them and their growing staff working out of a sleek renovated storefront in Cannonborough, and you can also see evidence of their design work everywhere from Westbrook Brewing to the Kickin’ Chicken to the Charleston County School District. They’ve moved into the national realm as well, with work for e-Harmony and Zynga, and their super stylish digs earned them a feature in Dwell magazine. As their work spreads, Fuzzco continues to give a fresh face to the local design community. —Erica Jackson Curran

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    Lowcountry Highrollers

    When we put the Lowcountry Highrollers on the cover of the City Paper in 2008, the team was small but they were making a strong effort to revive the retro-sport in Charleston. Since then, our favorite skater girls — with names like names like Attackagewea and Hurricane Camille — have expanded into three intraleague teams and become staples in the community, rolling out for events like art shows, parades, film screenings, and more. All of their local bouts, whether at the Citadel’s McAlister Field House or at Hot Wheels on Folly Road, raise money for Charleston organizations, and they’re even helping spawn the next generation of derby girls with their junior league. P.S. They’re hosting tryouts on Sept. 22 at Hot Wheels. For more information, visit lowcountryhighrollers.com. —Susan Cohen

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    Jamee Haley

    Who really thought much about buying local 15 years ago? Probably none of us. But since Lowcountry Local First was established in 20##, Jamee Haley has been leading the local charge as executive director, promising us that if we spend our dollars wisely and invest locally, our community will prosper. We’d have to agree with her. Haley almost singlehandedly established the Buy Local Movement in Charleston, but as it’s grown, she’s empowered others to help spread the gospel. Her mission has grown from raising awareness to actually funding important initiatives that help local farmers, farms, and businesses. It’s the classic put your money where your mouth is lesson, and we can’t wait to see how this movement grows over the next few years. —Stephanie Barna

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    Hampden Clothing

    Whenever someone complains about the “Charleston style” — pastels, Sperrys, the like — it’s good to point them in the direction of Hampden Clothing. Stacy Smallwood’s immaculate boutique stocks avant garde fashions from designers like Alexander Wang, Opening Ceremony, and Helmut Lang. The store has caught national attention from every fashionista bible: Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Marie Clare, Lucky, InStyle, the list goes on. When she’s not selling print dresses and ankle boots to King Street trendsetters, Smallwood hosts trunk shows from big-name designers like NAHM and Project Runway‘s Logan Neitzel, book events (author and socialite Tinsley Mortimer stopped by in May to promote Southern Charm), and even a rag & bone fashion show at Westbrook Brewing Company earlier this year. —Susan Cohen

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    Charleston Wine + Food

    The last decade has seen many festivals and events establish themselves in town. While Charleston Fashion Week is no slouch, we have to give props to the BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival for seizing an opportunity and evolving into a well-respected event with national scope that has helped put our local chefs and Southern food on the culinary map. There was lots to learn from that first year in 20##, which suffered plenty of hiccups, but to Angel Postell and her board’s credit, they have evolved in a way that serves our local foodways even more. The programming has grown more inclusive. It’s less about Bobby Flay these days and more about people like Martha Lou Gadsden of Martha Lou’s, who won the Laura Hewitt Legend Award and is part of the Soul Food Shuffle. The chefs who come to town for this event have serious credibility (Daniel Boulud!), and the buzz for Charleston has flourished. Last week, tickets to the 2013 festival sold so fast, their website slowed to a crawl from the demand. We expect a bright future from this freshman festival, which has proven to be a savvy organization with an eye toward the future. —Stephanie Barna

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    Robert Lange

    Robert Lange recognizes that most people who come into his Queen Street gallery are only there to look. “When we decided to open a gallery, we realized probably two percent of the people who walk through the doors can buy a painting,” he says. “So instead of catering to that two percent, we decided to cater to the 100 percent and make it more like a public service, kind of like a library where anyone can come in the door and get creatively charged.” Lange and his wife Megan have been taking that democratic approach to art since opening their first Charleston gallery on East Bay Street in 2003, when they moved to Charleston from Rhode Island. “When we graduated, we knew we didn’t want to go to New York because pretty much every painter we knew was moving to New York,” he says. “I think 10,000 painters a year move to New York.” Instead they moved here, where Robert got a job at American Eagle Outfitters and Megan worked at Charleston Lighting. But things took a turn as soon as Robert got some of his paintings into Wolf Art Gallery (which, incidentally, was then located in Lange’s current space). He sold 11 paintings in the first month, and the couple used that money to open their first gallery. It’s been nine years, and they can’t imagine living anywhere else. “The city oozes that renaissance charm, but I think its hospitality caters to the young, the old, the wealthy,” Robert says. “Every hierarchy of human being is welcomed here. We’ve been able to see a lot of young, passionate, humble creatives come to this town and flourish because of that camaraderie. I feel like it’s booming and growing, not in a superficial way, but instead in kind of a creative way.” —Erica Jackson Curran

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    Nicholai Burton

    The Greater Park Circle Film Society is the little movie house that could. Founded by Nicholai Burton and James Sears in 2008, they’ve been steadily screening old-school favorites and brand-new experiments in North Charleston’s hip neighborhood, cultivating a local and regional film community with the biannual Lowcountry Indie Shorts program. They’ve even served as a go-between connecting filmmakers and potential patrons. Under Burton’s leadership, the Greater Park Circle Film Society has managed to put on over 60 films a year and between ticket sales, concessions, membership fees, and the occasional corporate sponsorship, they’ve never had an issue with affording the next movie. For the future, the Greater Park Circle Film Society is trying to find a way to pay for a part-time administrative staffer, and they’d like to move into a permanent home where they can show movies every day, or at least more than once a week. Burton’s dream spot: Gaslight Square, home of the new derelict Bijou Theater, which comes complete with an old-school marquee. —Susan Cohen

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    Karen Ann Myers

    Known for her paintings of underwear-clad women in bedrooms and sexually explicit screen-printed wallpaper, Karen Ann Myers has had her hand in some of Charleston’s best contemporary arts organizations. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art and was formerly the executive director of Redux Contemporary Art Center. She also used to show work at SCOOP Studios before its unfortunate demise. (Currently, Myers has a studio at Redux and exhibits at Robert Lange Studios). “I would not be satisfied only as an artist. I have a desire to be more active,” Myers says of her extensive career. It’s a way for her to make a contribution to the community, and she wishes that all artists, galleries, and arts organizations felt the same way. “Working in nonprofits, teaching in the arts management program at the College of Charleston, exhibiting my paintings locally as well as nationally, and plugging myself into the community has been my approach to being fulfilled as an artist and more importantly, as a human being.” Though one of its most active members, Myers is not above criticizing the local arts community. She wishes conversations would shift from the sale of art to productive dialogues about its impact, and she points out that more non-traditional forms of media don’t have a strong presence in the Lowcountry. “Artists and galleries that continue to repeat the same exhibitions and artwork over and over are not helping anyone,” she says. And she wishes that local arts criticism was actually critical — City Paper included. —Susan Cohen

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    COAST Brewing Company

    That 7.7 percent a.b.v. COAST HopArt you’re drinking while reading this issue — it’s only possible because of COAST Brewing Company owners David Merritt and Jaime Tenny and the efforts of their Pop the Cap S.C. campaign. Thanks to their efforts, the state legislature passed a law in 2007 that lifted the 6 percent a.b.v. cap on beers in South Carolina, and without it, there probably wouldn’t be a Westbrook, a Holy City Brewing, or even COAST. “Charleston is a thirsty town, and luckily they are thirsty for craft beer, especially if it’s local,” Tenny says. “It is now becoming somewhat commonplace for hole-in-the-wall bars and fine dining restaurants to offer some choice of good beer. This is exactly what needs to happen for it to appeal to a wide range of consumers.” It also means more national breweries can send their beer to our state. Tenny thinks COAST’s role has been to be a positive catalyst in the local craft beer revolution (and the massive crowds at their February Brewvival event would probably agree). “Obviously, leading the charge with the S.C. Brewer’s Association is important,” she says. (Pop the Cap became the S.C. Brewer’s Association in 2009.) “However, I’d like to say our quality and integrity of our business model and our beer has set a high standard.” She hopes that in the years to come, they will not only maintain that role, but also expand the brewery and bring their beers to a wider audience. We can all say “cheers” to that. —Susan Cohen

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    The Recovery Room

    Many a Charleston City Paper happy hour has been spent at the Recovery Room. We come for the tachos. We stay for the PBR. And for more tachos. The 4-7 p.m. set is usually sparse, but as the hours pass, the crowd grows, with dirty young hipsters, older neighborhood folks, and occasionally the Holy City Beard and Moustache Society guys. People know Chris DiMattia as Boston, but he’s been in Charleston for 14 years and bartending north of the Crosstown for 10 of those (he was at Moe’s before opening the Rec Room). He sees Upper King changing for the better. “Formerly vacant store fronts are being filled by young entrepreneurs who are willing to take a chance,” he says. “When we first opened, a lot of people were not familiar with the area, so I really had to explain where we were. Now we have people walking up here, and every where I go people know the business.” But he doesn’t have an answer for the PBR craze. “The vice president of Pabst was in the bar last week, shaking my hand and saying thank you,” DiMattia says. “All I could do was smile and say, ‘No, thank you sir.'” —Susan Cohen

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    Band of Horses

    It might be a stretch to call Band of Horses a local band, but considering several of its members still live in the Lowcountry, we like to do it anyway. They may not play locally very often, but we know Ben Bridwell and company have been busy this year working on their recently released album, Mirage Rock, and touring around the world — so we’ll let it slide for now. A South Carolina native, Bridwell formed the band in Seattle in 2004 and moved back to the Palmetto State two years later. Back then, they headlined a show at the now-defunct Village Tavern, where they charged $12 a ticket. Their most recent local show, on the other hand, saw them at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center in 2010. We know you’re busy, guys, but we think it’s high time for another hometown show. —Erica Jackson Curran

15 Minutes of Fame (view as list)

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      Arthur Ravenel

      South Carolina has a horrible habit of naming projects after living politicians. There’s the Glenn McConnell Parkway and the section of I-526 named after Bobby Harrell and the Andre Bauer interchange in, um, whatever unlucky city has to be permanently linked to that assclown former lieutenant governor. But none of those have anything on the one project that bears the name of Arthur Ravenel Jr. A long-time state senator and three-term U.S. Congressman, Cousin Arthur was instrumental securing the funds to build the architectural wonder that connects Charleston to Mt. Pleasant, and so the name was a fitting tribute. Ravenel says it’s nice that the General Assembly named the bridge after him, but he says the credit for the project goes to many people, from former Mt. Pleasant Mayor Harry Hallman to Congressman Henry Brown to others. “Everybody loves the bridge,” Ravenel says. “It’s the only thing we’ve ever done that no one bitches about.” But while Ravenel’s name is synonymous with the Cooper River bridge, it’s also permanently associated with controversy. During the tumultuous debate Statehouse Confederate flag debate in 2000, Ravenel picked his side — he was for keeping the Battle Flag atop the dome — and put his foot in his mouth when he called the NAACP “the National Association of Retarded People.” “That was just a slip of the tongue,” Ravenel says. “I just apologized to the retarded people.” Previously, he joked that when it came to meetings, his black colleagues on Capital Hill operated on “black time,” i.e. they were often late. Ravenel says the term is “an old Charleston saying,” one that his friend state Sen. Robert Ford often uses. After leaving the Beltway, Ravenel served on the Charleston County School District Board of Trustees and found himself in the hot seat for something he said. He reportedly called Superintendent Nancy McGinley a “bitch.” In his defense, Ravenel says that he didn’t call McGinley a bitch to her face; he had only remarked to a CCSD employee that the superintendent was “being a real bitch” by refusing to put an item near and dear to his heart up for a vote. But since retiring from politics, Ravenel has managed to keep a low profile. Here’s hoping we hear from him soon. —Chris Haire

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      Linda Ketner

      A few facts about Linda Ketner’s 2008 campaign for the S.C. District 1 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives: She wanted to overhaul the No Child Left Behind Act. She opposed school-choice vouchers. She wanted to protect rivers from mercury contamination. But Ketner says some people never considered her platform when she took on incumbent Republican Henry Brown. Instead, she remembers being judged — whether positively or negatively — as a Democrat, a woman, and an openly lesbian candidate. “You become a projection screen,” she recalls. “People get these really strong feelings and love you or hate you, and it doesn’t have that much to do with substance or content or who you are.” Ketner lost the campaign by a mere four percentage points, but she didn’t come away jaded, and she says she might consider running for office again. “I still believe in the system,” she says. “I just think the American voter needs to take more responsibility for understanding substantively who they’re voting for.” —Paul Bowers

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        Alex Sanders

        The old joke goes that, when archeologists pulled the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley out of the Charleston harbor, they found a bumper sticker on the back that said, “Re-Elect Strom Thurmond.” But when ol’ Strom decided not to run for re-election in the 2002 race for South Carolina’s District 3 seat, after nearly a half-century in office, it seemed like a Democrat might have a chance. That Democrat was Alex Sanders, the former chief judge of the S.C. Court of Appeals and ex-president of the College of Charleston who had also served some time in the state House and Senate. He campaigned hard but ultimately lost, carrying 44 percent of the vote against Republican Lindsey Graham’s 54. These days, Sanders — who has also worked as an Army soldier, soybean farmer, and circus performer, according to his CofC profile — teaches in the College’s Department of Political Science, and he is founder and chairman of the board of the Charleston School of Law. —Paul Bowers

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          John Graham Altman III

          The City Paper‘s first nine years as a newspaper were John Graham Altman III’s last nine years as a state legislator, and boy, did we give him hell. Truth be told, he was kind of asking for it, what with his tirades against “the militant homosexual crowd,” his critiques of women who return to abusive partners, and the bill he wrote allowing Charleston to secede from the state over tax cap issues. Altman continued practicing law after leaving office in 2006, but he left the workforce in November 2011. “I didn’t have enough money to retire, so I just quit,” he says. Altman is just as feisty as ever, though. He supports the state Voter ID law, and as a former Charleston County School Board member, he sees the current board as far too deferential. “On Thursday after the election, the Election Commission certifies you as a winner, and they put you in a white unmarked van and take you to the animal shelter, where they spay and neuter you and deliver you over to the superintendent,” he says. That’s our John. —Paul Bowers

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            Thomas Ravenel

            In November 2006, Thomas Ravenel was the It GOPer of the Palmetto State. The then-44-year-old had a lot in his favor. He was handsome, single, wealthy, and the newly elected South Carolina state treasurer. But less than a year later, Ravenel was the It GOP Scandal. In January 2007, T-Rav was arrested on a federal cocaine distribution charge, and shortly thereafter, he resigned. And like that, Ravenel’s political career had seemingly come to an end. These days, the son of former U.S. Congressman Arthur Ravenel Jr. has said goodbye to his bad-boy ways and is looking forward to the future. First up, starting a family. “Strom Thurmond didn’t have kids until he was 68,” the still-single T-Rav says, adding that by that standard, “I’ve got some time.” When he’s not running his real estate empire, Ravenel works out and plays polo. “They need to make that illegal because it’s the most dangerous sport there is,” he says. “Drugs are bad. I’m not saying they aren’t. But prohibition is worse.” Ravenel has also remade himself as something of a political commentator, writing op-eds about the failed War on Drugs and the dangers of the military-industrial complex. As for the future, T-Rav hasn’t ruled out a return to the political arena, but right now, he says, “I don’t think my candidacy will be viable.” But that could change if public opinion shifts regarding the War on Drugs. If that happens, as one of the few drug war critics in the GOP, Ravenel could once again see his star on the rise. —Chris Haire

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              Maria Goodloe-Johnson

              For some strange reason, Charleston County School District Board of Trustee meetings have become something of a spectator sport. More often than not, it seems that many of the board members, as well as the usual gang of critics, care less about improving our schools than in dismantling the entire school district. And nobody knows this better perhaps than former Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson, the first African American to serve in that post. Despite her successes — improving SAT scores, the Plan for Excellence — she earned the wrath of critics because she had become pregnant out of wedlock. A cabal of candidates — a.k.a. The A-Team — entered the School Board race in 2006 reportedly for the sole purpose of ousting the African-American superintendent. But the A-Team’s effort came to naught, when their candidates didn’t take over the board like they hoped. However, by 2007 Goodloe-Johnson had jetted off to Seattle. These days, she works for the Education Achievement System in Detroit, and looks back at her Charleston years proudly. “The Charleston Plan for Excellence guided our work and established an academic structure that set up success for students,” she says. “At the end of the fourth year, academic achievement increased in all areas and the upward trend was very positive and exactly what we anticipated. The capital building plan was also a huge success during my tenure.” She adds, “When I left Charleston, the work was not finished, but the foundation was laid.” —Chris Haire

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                Reuben Greenberg

                In the history of law enforcement in Holy City, Reuben Greenberg was a rarity. The former Charleston Police Department head was not only the city’s first African-American chief , but he was also something of a character. (Did we mention he converted to Judaism as a young man?) During his 23-year tenure as police chief, Greenberg’s aggressive, boots-on-the-ground approach to crime fighting earned him the attention of the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Newsweek, and 60 Minutes. While I never had the chance to speak with Greenberg personally — I was working in Greenville in those days — my brother did, and I think it illustrates exactly why some folks loved Greenberg’s take-no-shit tactics and others thought he was a brown-shirt bully. As the manager of the now defunct Manifest Discs and Tapes by the Citadel Mall, my brother routinely dealt with shoplifters. More often than not, they’d turn over what they’d stolen when they were caught, but sometimes they didn’t. And on one occasion, one would-be shoplifter decided to hightail it out of the store. For whatever reason, my brother decided to chase the man down and tackle him. The cops eventually arrived and arrested the man. Days later, Greenberg showed up at the store to thank my brother for doing his part to fight crime, despite the danger, both legally and personally, and let him know that the city needed more citizens just like him. Unfortunately, Greenberg’s strong-arm style got the best of him. Following a series of high-profile WTFs — including one embarrassing freak-out in which he terrorized an innocent driver by banging his fists on the hood of her chair — Reuben retired in 2005. And crime fighting in the Holy City hasn’t been the same, for better or worse. —Chris Haire

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                • Lynne Crooks

                Granny’s Goodies

                Back in 1997, Charleston was a grungier place, slowly cleaning itself up after a century of whitewashed poverty followed by a tree-killing hurricane. Upper King Street was just a gleam in Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr.’s eye, and King-George-Burns (the KGB) was the center of urban life. Bars in the area (A.C’s, Red Hot Tomatoes) stayed open until 4 or 5 a.m. Street urchins and hobos hung around in smelly packs, and Granny’s Goodies was the center of the boho business district, selling vintage clothes, head shop gear (until they got busted by SLED), and generally welcoming anything that smacked of fun and/or subversion. Lynne Crooks (Granny) was the matriarch of the alternative scene in town, and she and her husband Steve welcomed the newly formed City Paper with open arms. As an early advertiser, their business encouraged many others to follow. At our annual Best of Charleston parties, the duo always showed up in costume, one year coming dressed as beer bottles. They were funny, loving, and a joy to visit anytime you found yourself on King Street. Sadly, an era ended when Granny’s closed in 20##, the Crooks moved on to Austin, Texas, and their funky shop was replaced by a shiny, impersonal Apple Store. Charleston lost a lot of color and flavor when those two moved away, and we kinda wish we could include them as an essential 15 instead of a 15 minutes of fame nominee. —Stephanie Barna

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                  Committee To Save The City

                  The Committee to Save the City is all about preservation. Founded by Jack Simmons and Peg and Truman Moore in 1996, they’re the people who will hoot and holler if you try to build something downtown that’s much too modern for Charleston’s historic aesthetics. Over its years, the group has focused on tourism issues and thoughtful planning in order to maintain the look and feel of historic Charleston as they see it, and sometimes they win and sometimes they lose. The Committee couldn’t keep Mellow Mushroom from building its patio, but their efforts helped delay the proposed eight-story building at 404 King St. In 2008, the same year that Truman Moore passed away, the group received the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America’s Arthur Ross Stewardship Award for Exellence in Classical Tradition, which recognizes achievements in preserving and advancing classical art forms, including architecture. Now the group seems to be primarily focused on the cruise ship debate. In August, Peg Moore discussed the effect the industry will have on local seafood in her Charleston Mercury column. Time will tell the results of that fight, and the Committee’s role in it. —Susan Cohen

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                    Kulture Klash

                    For a few years there, Kulture Klash was arguably one of the hottest tickets in town. Created by Scott Debus, Gustavo Serrano, Ambergre Sloan, and Olivia Pool in 2007, the event brought together underground and contemporary artists like John Pundt, Tim Showers, Trevor Webster, and Karin Olah for an art exhibit/music festival/dance party of epic proportions. Each of the event’s seven installments featured a unique flavor. The third Kulture Klash brought in BMX stunt riders, the fourth had a putt-putt course designed by artist Carl Janes, and the water-themed seventh featured urban wakeboarding. “We had a really good crowd,” Debus says. “Nothing too crazy happened. People definitely partied and we provided buses for people and car services. We tried to keep anything extracurricular or bad happening after the show. Besides almost running out of beer … that was the only panicky moment that I remember.” Though Debus lives in Austin now, he hopes to return to host at least one more installment with Serrano. “I just hope that if we can’t do it, more people can jump into the fray,” Debus says. —Erica Jackson Curran

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                      Marcie Marzluff

                      Downtown Charlestonians frequently gripe about the lack of a movie theater near their historic homes, especially after the Hippodrome went event-centric not too long ago. When we hear those complaints, we like to tell them the story of Marcie Marzluff. She used to own the Roxy, East Bay Street’s art house cinema that closed in 2002 after having never turned a profit. At that point, she had already opened a second spot in the suburbs: the beloved Terrace Theatre, which came into existence the same year as the City Paper. Marzluff ran that one for 10 years before selling the Terrace to Michael Furlinger, who sold it to current owner Paul Brown in 2010. Though Marzluff has seemingly dropped out of the public eye — a Google search reveals little — without her, we might not have a place to see Beasts of the Southern Wild and The Master. Even if we have to go to James Island to do so. —Susan Cohen

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                        Bob Snead

                        Bob Snead may have left Charleston seven years ago, but as a founder of Redux Contemporary Art Center, he’ll always be a significant part of the city’s art history. As recent College of Charleston graduates, Snead and Seth Gadsden formed the nonprofit with the goal of “redesigning” the local art community. “We had ambitions for it becoming an institution,” Snead says from his home in New Orleans. “We wanted it to be where it is now and really become part of the fabric of the city. It’s more so now than when we were there. I think a lot of people weren’t taking us seriously, especially city officials. It was hard to get funding and grants.” Snead credits Seth Curcio for helping make the organization financially stable, and Karen Ann Myers and Janie Askew for expanding its reach. Snead served as the organization’s director until 2005, when he left to study painting and printmaking at Yale’s School of Art. Two years later, he formed the artist collective Transit Antenna with Gadsden and hit the road in a vegetable oil-powered bus. These days, Snead teaches at Loyola University, and his wife Dawn runs a bakery called Shake Sugary. He’s involved in a literary and visual arts organization called Press Street, and he says he’s constantly inspired by his new hometown. “There’s so many weird, quirky things about the city, and that naturally seeps into the work that you’re doing. The main reason we really love this city is because of the general energy that’s happened post-storm and the kind of historical quirkiness of the city. It does take a note in your work.” —Erica Jackson Curran

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                        • Ken Hawkins

                        The Digitel

                        OK. We’ll admit it. When we first heard about The Digitel, we were shaking in our boots a little bit. Just like any traditional print publication, the City Paper had to adapt quickly to new media, and that’s an even more terrifying prospect when you’ve got a new kid on the block nipping at your heels as it churns out local news on a speedy basis. Founded by former Post and Courier graphic designer Ken Hawkins, The Digitel is a news aggregator, meaning they take stories that other people have done and summarize them, kind of like the Huffington Post, but without commentary from Laurie David and Bill Maher. It’s an easy way to make enemies of hard-working, old-school reporters, so you can’t really blame CP for making jabs at the website in the past (we called them the “Best Website We Didn’t Realize We Worked For” in 2009’s Best of Charleston issue). The growth of the website, which now has offshoots in the Beaufort and Myrtle Beach markets, seems to have plateaued, and it’s never going to be our source of breaking news, but The Digitel is still alive and kicking. —Susan Cohen

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                          Jump, Little Children

                          Before Band of Horses, in terms of national recording artists Charleston was perhaps best known for Hootie and the Blowfish and Jump, Little Children. (Forget Edwin McCain; he’s from Greenville.) However, Jump, Little Children’s hit “Cathedrals” is decidedly more melancholy than anything in the Blowfish repertoire, and it’s much rarer to find it on popular radio these days, unlike the same three or four tracks off of Cracked Rear View. Despite the possible one-hit-wonder trappings, Jump, Little Children, which was eventually known just as Jump, played annual shows at the Dock Street Theatre for 10 years before officially disbanding in 2005. Frontman Jay Clifford does mostly solo stuff now, and perhaps more importantly, he works at Hello Telescope studios with Josh Kaler, arranging and producing tracks for themselves and notable Charleston scenesters like Joel Hamilton, Bill Carson, the Green and Bold, and newcomer Brendan James. —Susan Cohen

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                            Charlie’s Little Bar

                            The entrance was located in the back of a parking lot on East Bay Street. The door took you through the kitchen of a restaurant that nobody seemed to have ever eaten in. Cooks and dishwashers milled about, checking out the ladies as they made their way up the stairs to Charlie’s Little Bar, a legendary — and some might say infamous — little spot. It was famous for being hard-to-find and full of beautiful people. The couches in the bar saw plenty of action, if you know what I mean, and the crowds varied from well-heeled yuppies to college-aged party animals. In 1997, Charlie’s was the last stop on your way home, back when the bars stayed open into the wee hours of the morning. But no matter when you stopped by, it was guaranteed to be absolutely packed to the rafters. —Stephanie Barna

                          Featured 15



                          Charlton Singleton escapes the ska scene to emerge as one of Charleston’s jazz greats

                          In one of Charlton Singleton’s first City Paper appearances, he was decked out a yellow vinyl suit. Back in the day, the noted Charleston jazz man was a backing vocalist and cornet player for SKWZBXX, a now-defunct ska band. — Paul Bowers




                          Charleston isn’t a sprawling mess thanks to Dana Beach and the Coastal Conservation League

                          It’s funny to think that there was a time when the City Paper needed to let our readers know what the term “urban sprawl” meant, but that’s what we had to do the first time we wrote about the Coastal Conservation League way back in 1997. — Susan Cohen




                          From the creation of Piccolo to MOJA, Ellen Dressler Moryl has been a driving force on the Charleston art scene

                          Ellen Dressler Moryl is bustling around her Meeting Street office preparing for a City Paper photo shoot. The idea is to replicate a 20-year-old photo of Moryl with her cello, which shouldn’t be too difficult. — Erica Jackson Curran




                          Back in the day, A.C.’s really was ‘Up All Night’

                          The typical 21-year-old college student who makes A.C.’s his or her home on Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday morning knows next to nothing about the way things used to be at the Upper King Street dive. — Susan Cohen




                          Sorry, City Paper. Joe Riley’s just not that into you

                          After almost 20 years in office and with tantalizing prospects on his career horizons, Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr.’s life reached an intersection in 1994. — Dan Conover




                          Thanks to Keith Summey, North Charleston gets some respect

                          In 1994, few people were proud to say that they lived in North Charleston, a fact that Keith Summey found out while campaigning door-to-door in his first mayoral election. — Paul Bowers




                          The guys at Kickin’ Chicken create a franchise that’s worth clucking about

                          Owners Bobby Perry and Chip Roberts (who were eventually joined by David Miller) modeled their Morrison Drive restaurant after a wing place in Columbia, knowing that Charleston had a gap in the food delivery niche at the time. — Susan Cohen




                          Hootie guitarist Mark Bryan falls in love

                          Mark Bryan doesn’t miss Columbia. As any good South Carolinian knows, Bryan’s band, Hootie and Blowfish, met on the campus on the University of South Carolina. — Paul Bowers




                          Disco Demolition mastermind Mike Veeck has a RiverDog-gone good time

                          In July of 1979, Mike Veeck may or may not have killed disco. Long before he came to Charleston as president of the minor-league RiverDogs baseball team, he helped behind the scenes at Chicago’s Comiskey Park — Paul Bowers




                          Queen Quet steps away from the keyboard to become Gullah/Geechee head of state

                          Marquetta Goodwine didn’t set out to become a queen. She wanted to work with computers. — Paul Bowers




                          Ray Huff of the Clemson Architecture Center is helping transform Charleston

                          In a way, it’s a shame that the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston will be leaving behind its Franklin Street space for a brand-new structure on Meeting Street in a few years. — Susan Cohen




                          Robert Carter is a classic kind of chef

                          Robert Carter is a meat and potatoes guy. He loves iceberg lettuce and a well-seasoned, expertly cooked steak. He loves tall chef hats and starched coats and classic fine dining experiences. — Stephanie Barna




                          Crisis Ministries is more than just a homeless shelter

                          Crisis Ministries doesn’t look like much. Driving into downtown Charleston on Meeting Street, most commuters only see the squat brick building that houses the men’s shelter and soup kitchen — Paul Bowers




                          The Have Nots! are still crazy after all these years

                          It’s an old and familiar story: boy meets girl. Boy and girl love being together. They make each other laugh. Then they meet another boy and form an improv group — Elizabeth Pandolfi




                          In hindsight, maybe Wendell Gilliard was more than the ‘bikini guy’

                          In the summer of 1997, S.C. Rep. Wendell Gilliard was a scrappy local union president making his first run at public office. Fifteen years later, the 58-year-old cuts a commanding yet relaxed figure at Saffron’s on East Bay — Dan Conover




                          Blotter: The Best of the Best

                          (Or is it the Worst of the Worst?)

                          For 15 years, the City Paper has brought you the stories of Charlestonians in their finest hours — puking, thieving, driving drunk, and smoking crack — right here in the Blotter. Don’t lie; you always turn to this page first. For this special anniversary issue, we sifted through our archives and painstakingly compiled these, the 15 absolute best (or worst) moments in the history of the Blotter. — Paul Bowers