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EVENTS

BestofSavannah Win a grand-prize package that includes two VIP passes to the Ronald McDonald House Charities Wine, Women and Shoes event on Thursday, April 28, then stay the night at the Hyatt Regency—a total value of more than $600. Complete and mail your ballot by April 14, 2017.  

Vote HERE>>

  The Rules: All ballots must be received no later than April 14, 2017. Only ONE ballot per person will be accepted. Each ballot must be at least 50% complete in order to be counted and eligible for prize drawing. Only online and original ballots from the magazine will be counted. No photocopied ballots will be counted. To select the winner, a ballot will be drawn at random by a member of our staff, and the winner will be notified. Participation is open to all readers 18 years and older, except employees of Morris Communications.

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Miriam Center By Ariel Felton. Photography by Maggie Harney. With a new staging of her play, “Johnny Mercer & Me” on September 22, 2016 at the Lucas Theater, writer and Savannah native Miriam Center lets us in on what to look for in a great kiss, what she’d tell herself at 18, and why her friendship with Savannah’s song man was never boring.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I hate getting out of bed! Black coffee is the only thing that’ll do the trick.
We’ve got know: do you remember the first words you ever spoke to Johnny Mercer?
My cousin was a prominent producer in Hollywood and he took me to the Academy Awards. It was 1963, and Johnny was winning an Oscar for “Days of Wine and Roses” with Henry Mancini. My cousin introduced him to me, saying, “Here’s someone from your hometown.” But Johnny was drunk and he said something very rude. I think I said, “Oh my god. Well, call me when you get to Savannah!”
Were you friends immediately?
Well, not when he was drunk! (laughs) When the Savannah Civic Center opened, I was chair of the opening and I invited him to come and prepare the show for the opening. He brought a bunch of show writers and actresses. And that’s how we became really close. He drank a lot and would get really insulting when he was drunk. But every time he’d get in a rage and curse someone out, the next day he’d send them a bunch of roses. He was a marvelous, interesting person. When he died, it was me who suggested they call the theatre The Johnny Mercer Theatre.
Spoilers! Tell us something we don’t already know about Johnny.
He was painted as a sort of plastic person, without any depth or understanding. But he was a very deep and spiritual person. And he cared for Savannah and his family deeply. His father had a business reversal and lost a lot of money. When Johnny was successful he came back to Savannah and made sure everyone’s bills were paid.
[caption id="attachment_16845" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Miriam, left, age 3, with her sister.   Miriam, left, age 3, with her sister.  [/caption]
Why is now a good time to tell this story?
Johnny would have been over 100 now, and I’m getting older, too. At the end of his life, he always said to me, “Nobody is going to remember my music.” But I promised the world would hear his music, because it’s so beautiful. He’s actually a poet, not just a lyricist.
How much of your story makes it into the play?
All of it. I just changed the name of a character. Instead of Miriam, her name is Maxine.
Did you have any reservations?
No. I believe in everyone being open and telling the truth. I did get some criticism, but I don’t care. Because I think it’s interesting that Johnny and I had this really deep friendship. It was never boring with us. There were a lot of deep thoughts, sorrows, and happy times.
What sort of criticism?
I think some of his family did not like the idea that I was telling all the facets of him. They wanted him to look perfect and pure—someone who never said a curse word, got drunk or had sad feelings.
What's the first thing in NY you'll visit if this play premieres on Broadway?
Bergdorf Goodman.
[caption id="attachment_16846" align="aligncenter" width="210"]Miriam & Burt Reynolds.  Miriam & Burt Reynolds.  [/caption]
What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
Don’t worry about being a virgin, it’s not important.
If you could be friends with another famous person, who would it be?
Eleanor Roosevelt. I think she was a woman who really knew what was going on in the world and she stood up and had her say without fear.
“Not so guilty” guilty pleasures.
I don’t have any guilty pleasures--I don’t believe in guilt.
Best kiss of your life?
You’re gonna be surprised at this one: kisses from my little 5 year old granddaughter, Sofia. She’s like sugar! She kisses me and we say to each other, “I love you to the moon and back.” It’s our little secret code.
What's next for you?
I’ll never produce another play--it’s too much work for my age. I just turned 90 and I don’t think anyone else my age is working like this except Norman Lear in California from “All in the Family.” I am writing a few books though. One is about my granddaughter and it’s a collection of letters to her so she’ll know our relationship and how important she is to me. It is called Letters to Sofia. I’ve also written a book about Savannah crimes that I’m also interested in getting published.   To catch “Johnny Mercer & Me,” on stage at the Lucas Theatre for the Arts on Sept. 22, 2016, at 8pm, grab your tickets here.    

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The Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour stops in Savannah this weekend.

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Get up close and personal with the city's artists and artisans at the DNA home tour. 

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In Savannah, membership certainly has its privileges.  In each issue, we’re sending Brianne Halverson and Dan Gilbert undercover to discover the inner workings of some of the city’s most popular clubs. Photography by Teresa Earnest View More: http://teresaearnestphotography.pass.us/hibernion-society You’ve definitely seen a group of “Ancient” Hibernians all decked out in green and white during Savannah’s famous St. Patrick’s Day parade.  With the 191st parade just around the corner, we talked to Brian Crowley, the order’s not-so-ancient president. Meet the Ancient Order of Hibernians: Savannah’s chapter of the international fraternal organization of Irish Catholics Hideout:  We meet monthly downtown at O’Connell’s Pub and quarterly at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.  When we were founded in 1836, I would have kept our meeting location very secret.  This was during a time when the Irish were treated like second-class citizens and Catholic priests were being persecuted.  Now we want people to know about our meetings—we welcome all newcomers. House Rules:  In the beginning, there was so much secrecy around the organization that we are unable to trace all the rituals or rules.  Still, we have a lot of historic bylaws, including wearing sashes and sitting in specific formations during meetings.  All members are sworn to secrecy about specific details.  Oh, and there’s a gavel I get to use.
“Our best fundraising event is Road Bowling.  It’s an ancient sport where the Irish would steal the British cannon balls and roll them around in a race.” 
“Gang” Signs:  Not what you might expect.  Being Irish in the U.S. is associated with drinking and craziness around St. Patrick’s Day, but that’s really a misconception—we’re truly about family and community.  If you see a member, he’s more likely helping repair leaks at a local monastery, or handing out frozen turkeys at the Savannah Mission. High Points:  Friendship and charity. Education is a big focus for us and we support organizations like Fresh Air Home, a nonprofit that helps underserved kids have a healthy, outdoor summer camp experience.  And our best fundraising event of the year—without a doubt—is Road Bowling.  It’s an ancient sport where the Irish would steal the British cannon balls and roll them around in a race.  This year’s Irish Road Bowl Tournament is on March 21 at 10 a.m. and it will be our best yet. Everyone is welcome!

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Our editors set their sights on the 2014 Savannah Film Festival. Photography by: Beau Kester/Round 1 Productions Although Savannahians will miss experiencing the hullabaloo surrounding Renée Zellweger’s fresh face, there’s so much to look forward to when the Savannah Film Festival takes off at Trustees Theater on Oct. 25 with the feature, 5 to 7—an aching love story between a married French woman (Bérénice Marlohe) and a young writer (Anton Yelchin). The red carpet rolls down Broughton Street to welcome honored guest Asa Butterfield (Hugo) who will receive the Rising Star from festival host, the Savannah College of Art and Design. The next seven days will bring films of note, from student productions and animated releases to eye-opening documentaries and Oscar-buzzing features.  Star of HBO’s The Normal Heart, Matt Bomer, will be honored with the Spotlight Award on Sunday, just before one of the festival’s most anticipated films, Foxcatcher, a dramatic retelling of the strange and deadly relationship between millionaire John Dupont (Steve Carell) and the wrestlers he managed, brothers Mark (Channing Tatum) and David (Mark Ruffalo) Shultz.  Carell is unrecognizable as the eccentric heir to a chemical fortune. One of the festival’s delights comes during the Q&A following the films, which usually brings surprise visits by actors to discuss their work.  With Tatum in town filming Magic Mike XXL (along with Bomer), might he stop by for a chat?  And what of Ruffalo, another star of The Normal Heart, which will run Sunday afternoon, and the aforementioned Foxcatcher? We shall see. Where you might catch us:  One of our favorite haunts during the week is the Marshall House lounge, where many a film student sits in consultation with an industry insider.  It’s heartening and heart-racing to see luminaries in such a warm, accessible environment.  If we can catch a glimpse of the stunning Lifetime Achievement award recipient Gena Rowlands (The Notebook) or the adorably expressive Rising Star Analeigh Tipton (the babysitter in Crazy Stupid Love), the week will be complete.

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[caption id="attachment_13992" align="aligncenter" width="683"]From the Portfolio of Anne Hagerty Interiors by Richard Leo Johnson From the portfolio of Anne Hagerty Interiors by Richard Leo Johnson[/caption] The Telfair Academy Guild invites local designers to think big in small spaces for its newest aesthetic affair.  Judy Bean takes us on a tour. On October 23, five distinguished local designers and a celebrity husband-and-wife team will transform the Jepson Center’s soaring lobby into six high-concept “Rooms with a View.”  The Telfair Academy Guild’s re-imagined annual décor event expands this year beyond traditional tablescapes to vivid, full-room vignettes, encompassing walls, furniture, flooring, visual art and, of course, six varying views on Southern style. “We invited each of these gifted designers to do something they might never get to do for a client: to interpret Southern style in their own, unique aesthetic,” muses Gail Lawrence, the event’s design co-chair.  “We asked only that they refer to Phoebe Howard’s book, The Joy of Decorating: Southern Style (Stewart, Tabori and Chang 2012), as a starting point.  After that, they had free rein.” The designers—who include “Mrs. Howard” (as the author is widely known) and her husband, Jim—have been reluctant to release too many details before their rooms are unveiled.  But we got a whiff of their inspirations and learned that these artists took big aesthetic strides in their vignettes, even though their literal spaces measure merely 8 feet by 8 feet.
ROOMS WITH A VIEW: SOUTHERN STYLE
Oct. 23-25
Preview Party   6:30 p.m., Oct. 23
Jepson Center for the Arts, Tickets: $85
Luncheon and Lecture with Jim and Phoebe Howard, 10 a.m., Oct. 24
Savannah Theatre and Telfair Museums  Tickets: $40 lecture/$75 lecture and luncheon
Muffins and Mimosas   10 a.m., Oct. 25
Jepson Center for the Arts, Tickets: $35 For tickets, CLICK HERE »

The Designers

Phoebe and Jim Howard
[caption id="attachment_13996" align="aligncenter" width="432"]"[Our Rooms with a View vignette] was really inspired by Savannah's rich history.  It started with a pair of framed, scenic sepia murals.  The colors are brown and gray, and they helped establish a really rich and moody, intimate gathering spot."  Phoebe Howard Moody Hues: "[Our Rooms with a View vignette] was really inspired by Savannah's rich history. It started with a pair of framed, scenic sepia murals. The colors are brown and gray, and they helped establish a really rich and moody, intimate gathering spot."  ~ Phoebe Howard     Photograph by Josh Gibson[/caption]
Anne Hagerty Interiors
[caption id="attachment_13997" align="aligncenter" width="659"]"[My Room with a View] is very peaceful and serene; mostly monochromatic with pops of jewel-tone color.  ANd I use a beige-and-gray Schumacher fabric with a painterly, ikat-inspired strip pattern."   ~ Anne Hagerty Tone on Tone: "[My Room with a View] is very peaceful and serene; mostly monochromatic with pops of jewel-tone color. Ad I use a beige-and-gray Schumacher fabric with a painterly, ikat-inspired strip pattern." ~ Anne Hagerty, designer and principal, Anne Hagerty Interiors      Photograph by Richard Leo Johnson[/caption]
Homeline Architecture
[caption id="attachment_13998" align="aligncenter" width="539"]Classy Castaway:  "What makes a room Southern?  Grace and grease.  What's the quickest way to infuse Southern style into a home?  Put Southern people in it."  Classy Castaway: "What makes a room Southern? Grace and grease. What's the quickest way to infuse Southern style into a home? Put Southern people in it."  ~ John Deering, director of design, Greenline Architecture and Homeline Architecture      Photography by Richard Leo Johnson[/caption]  
The Paris Market
[caption id="attachment_14000" align="aligncenter" width="805"]Made in Savannah:  “For our ‘Room With a View,’ everything was created here. You can’t get much more Southern than that.”   ~ Paula Danyluk Made in Savannah: “For our ‘Room With a View,’ everything was created here. You can’t get much more Southern than that.” ~ Paula Danyluk[/caption]
Georgia Furniture and Interiors
[caption id="attachment_14001" align="aligncenter" width="780"]Crisp and Clean:  "I think Southern [style] reflects the way we like to live here, enveloped in comport and surrounded all year by the colors of spring and summer."  ~ Gail Lawrence, Georgia Furniture and Interiors Crisp and Clean: "I think Southern [style] reflects the way we like to live here, enveloped in comport and surrounded all year by the colors of spring and summer." ~ Gail Lawrence, Georgia Furniture and Interiors[/caption] 
Linn Gresham Haute Decor
[caption id="attachment_14002" align="aligncenter" width="384"]Study in Contrast:  "Little luxurious touches can make a room feel so gracious and that's very Southern.  Even on a budget, anyone can choose a few luxurious textures and objects deliberately."  ~ Linn Gresham   Photograph by Richard Leo Johnson Study in Contrast: "Little luxurious touches can make a room feel so gracious and that's very Southern. Even on a budget, anyone can choose a few luxurious textures and objects deliberately." ~ Linn Gresham    Photograph by Richard Leo Johnson[/caption]  

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Comes Heres and From Heres get back to their roots at Revival Fest.

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[caption id="attachment_12482" align="aligncenter" width="553"]mumbledust: Courtesy of Savannah Stopover Music Festival mumbledust: Courtesy of Savannah Stopover Music Festival[/caption]

Savannah's successful entry into the indie music festival circuit, Savannah Stopover—now in its fourth year—opens March 6, with a performance by mumbledust at  Ampersand on 36 MLK.  This local "folk noir" duo will be joined over the next three days by other local acts and bands hailing from as far away as London and as spiritually close as Brooklyn.  Dan Gilbert has poured over the lineup of nearly 100 music makers heading this way.  Now, he's a man with a plan to hit these not-to-miss shows.

[caption id="attachment_12483" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Wild Child: Courtesy of Savannah Stopover Music Festival Wild Child: Courtesy of Savannah Stopover Music Festival[/caption]
Wild Child – Austin, TX
If you didn’t catch their soaring harmonies and good-natured folk-pop when they played at the inaugural Revival Fest, don’t make the same mistake at Stopover.  The fact that they’re traveling from Austin to Savannah then turning right around for SXSW they must think that we’re pretty swell. Saturday, March 8 @ 5pm – Moon River Beer Garden [caption id="attachment_12484" align="aligncenter" width="550"]St. Paul and the Broken Bones: Courtesy of Savannah Stopover Music Festival St. Paul and the Broken Bones: Courtesy of Savannah Stopover Music Festival[/caption]
St. Paul and the Broken Bones – Birmingham, AL
Holy soul music! These guys are pure, unadulterated, get-up-and-shake-your-money-maker, funky, fun stuff.  You might not this much fun seeing live music ... well ... ever. Thursday, March 6 @ 8pm – Moon River Beer Garden
Thumpers – London, UK
A last-minute addition to the Stopover lineup, Thumpers falls firmly in the category of best band you just haven’t heard of yet.  Recently signed to Sub-Pop, this alt-pop duo will have you dancing your butts off and saying, “I saw them at Stopover way before they hit it big.” Saturday, March 8 @ 11pm – Club One [caption id="attachment_12485" align="aligncenter" width="550"]J. Roddy Walston and the Business: Courtesy of Savannah Stopover Music Festival J. Roddy Walston and the Business: Courtesy of Savannah Stopover Music Festival[/caption]
The Baltimore Trio
Wye Oak, Future Islands and J. Roddy Walston & The Business are arguably the three biggest bands out of Baltimore.  Wye Oak represents the folk-rock leg of the triumvirate with Future Islands holding up the dance-inducing synth-pop side, and J. Roddy laying claim to foot-stompin’ Americana. Wye Oak: Thursday, March 6 @ 11:30pm – Knights of Columbus J. Roddy Walston & The Business: Friday, March 7 @ 12:00am – Congress Street Social Club Future Islands: Friday, March 7 @ 12:30am – Club One [caption id="attachment_12486" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Those Darlins: Courtesy of Savannah Stopover Music Festival Those Darlins: Courtesy of Savannah Stopover Music Festival[/caption]
Girl Power!
We’re thrilled that a whopping 18 bands rocking Stopover this year are either all-female or female-fronted.  In particular, Hooray for the Riff Raff—the band name alone, come on!—promises to be a country-folk fan’s dream show.  Those Darlins get our ringing endorsement too. Hooray for the Riff Raff: Saturday, March 8 @ 6pm – Moon River Beer Garden Those Darlins: Saturday, March 8 @ 12:30am – Knights of Columbus [caption id="attachment_12488" align="aligncenter" width="550"]The Teen Age: Courtesy of Savannah Stopover Music Festival The Teen Age: Courtesy of Savannah Stopover Music Festival[/caption]
The Teen Age – Brooklyn, NY
With their terrifically fun, super catchy tunes that all come in at 3 minutes or less, comparisons to The Strokes are inevitable.  But let’s call them a more mature, slightly darker, yet as imminently danceable version of that ubiquitous band. Friday, March 7 @ 6pm – Hang Fire
Southern Pride
Combine 16 local bands and 18 other traveling from various Southern locales, Stopover has a more pronounced Southern twang than ever before! Caitlin Rose and Clear Plastic Masks represent some of the best that the “New Nashville” music scene has to offer. --Caitlin Rose: Friday, March 7 @ 9pm – Moon River Beer Garden --Clear Plastic Masks: Saturday, March 8 @ 7:30pm – Ellis Square (FREE!)
Local Label Love
On a more local note, not one, not two, but THREE local record labels are holding showcases during this year’s festival.  Get your metal fix at the Retro-Futurist showcase, rock out like you’re in your garage at the Soft Science shindig, and do some dream-popping and shoe-gazing at the Furious Hooves bash. --Retro Futurist Showcase: Thursday, March 6, 10pm-2am – The Jinx --Soft Science Showcase: Friday, March 7, 4pm-8pm – Congress Street Social Club --Furious Hooves Showcase: Saturday, March 8, 2pm-7pm – Congress Street Social Club [caption id="attachment_12490" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Oberhofer: Courtesy of Savannah Stopover Music Festival Oberhofer: Courtesy of Savannah Stopover Music Festival[/caption]
Shut it Down!
The best show of the whole weekend might just be the final one. So while you may be mourning the loss of another fantastic festival, at least you’ll be bopping along to the spectacular sounds of Oberhofer and Small Black whilst crying into your last beer. --Saturday, March 8, 10pm-3am – Knights of Columbus
Moon River Rockin’
The newest addition to the growing list of Stopover venues is none other than the Moon River Beer Garden—proving that there's nothing sweeter in this life than sipping a home-style craft brew beneath the southeastern sky while listening to a band that's on the verge.  Cheers!

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Best-selling legal eagle to open 7th annual Savannah Book Festival.

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