Sunday, February 13, 2011
One of My Favorite Views In A City That Is All About The Views
Everybody has a favorite quote or line from a movie or song. It's true, "and the livin' is EEEEEEZZZZZZYYYY" has become a humorous quote for me on Facebook and has even developed into a sort of Persona. I have to agree, the phrase does fit my life quite well since arriving in the Lowcountry during the Summer of 2007. If not a true Persona, at least a glimpse into the psyche that creates the state of mind by which I approach life. Or, maybe, I just love the song, Summertime from Porgy and Bess. I will let you decide, a guy has to have some secrets, right?
The southern lifestyle is often portrayed in music, art, and theatre as a stereotypical blend of slow and lazy. From my perspective, neither stereotype fits, at least not exactly. The livin' is easy here, but that doesn't mean that it is effortless. If you have ever spent a day on a sandy Carolina Beach you have gotten a taste of the state of mind that I am referring to. Well for those of us who are "living the dream" year round and just not for a week or two each summer, it is a little different. We still have jobs to go to, homes to maintain and gardens to plow. Even still, there is definitely a sort of peaceful relaxation that permeates your life when you live here in the Lowcountry.
OK, back to task here, speaking of music, art and theatre and "the livin' is easy." As mentioned earlier, the origin of my catch phrase is the song Summertime from the Opera Porgy and Bess. The musical score composed by George and Ira Gershwin set to music the poetry by DuBose Heyward, the author of the novel Porgy. Heyward resided on Church Street in the years prior to writing the novel and based the fictional "catfish row" upon the actual "cabbage row" of homes located on a specific block of Church Street. I think it is quite appropriate and not by accident that my catch phrase for life since moving to this wonderful part of the world was born on what has become my favorite streetscape in Charleston. Often when I walk downtown I end up on the corner of Market Street and Church Street staring down the street toward St. Philips Church. Seems I never grow tired of that scene. Most of the guests who come to visit in "vacationland" have experienced the view with me, and I always announce, "of all the views in Charleston, this is my favorite."
DuBose Heyward developed quite an affinity for the Holy City, and in particular the neigborhood near St. Philips. Heyward is buried on Church Street in the St. Philips Cemetary and spent the last years and days of his life as a playwright at the historic Dock Street Theatre, located on the corner of Church and Meeting Streets.
Talk about easy living, one of my favorite summertime, when the livin' is easy, beverages is Planter's Punch. Wouldn't you know it, Planter's Punch was introduced to Charleston at the historic Planter's Hotel, that was located on the site and within the shell of the building that now houses The Dock Street Theatre.
The wrought iron balcony on the current theatre building was original to the facade of the Planter's Hotel which fell into a state of dis-repair after the Civil War and the earthquake of 1886. The Dock Street Theatre just recently re-opened in 2010 after a 19 million dollar renovation project and is now home to Charleston Stage. Quality theatre has a rich tradition and is abundant in Charleston, yet another reason why, the livin' is easy in the Lowcountry.
So, the next time you have the opportunity to visit Historic Charleston, check the schedule at the Dock Street Theatre, or at least plan a walk down Church Street to "Catfish Row", who knows you just might discover some EEEEEEZZZZZZZZYY Livin' of your own.