Explosive Art

Artist Matt Stromberg is literally creating a stir in the art world by using everything from explosives and rocket fuel to submachine guns in his volatile, nonobjective sculpture. He’s careful to stress, however, that his unique art form is not really about explosives but kinetic energy—more specifically, the release of it. The result is somewhat unpredictable. What is predictable, after he conducts trench warfare across his many canvasses, is his ability to produce interesting and spontaneous mark making—marks created through applied texture that create volume.


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This Week’s Featured Story: Stayin’ Alive

Tony Allen, Savannah native and front man for the punk rock band Dead Stays Alive, comes with all the accoutrements of a rock star: blue hair, studded and outrageous jewelry, tats, an entourage, and a killer voice that shakes whatever space, no matter the size, in which he wields a microphone. However, Google his name and more photos of Lindsay Lohan pop up than mention of his music, which, despite not being Jack Johnson catchy, has a decent fan base and, more importantly, is constantly evolving and improving.


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Welcome to South Beach


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Sitting on one of the most prized pieces of land at South Beach, The Setai is sexy, sleek and the perfect place for a quick trip to Miami. Notably, this sublime tropical hideaway has been a fixture on Conde Nast Traveler’s “Gold List” for the last five years running and Forbes Traveler has dubbed it one of the “sexiest hotels in America.”

The A-lister hot spot is situated in the art deco hub of South Beach, with modern nods to the era with its use of Shanghai brick and bronze, teak, stone and art. The rooms and suites feature in-room bathtubs for personal spa treatments, rain showers, teak floors, Lavazza espresso machines, personalized housekeeping service and a 24-hour concierge, among other luxury amenities.
It’s off-season during the hot, summer months, and deals are easy to find. The Setai’s Girls’ Getaway and Gentleman’s Retreat packages offer private shopping experiences, spa treatments, breakfast, complimentary spirits and VIP access to Miami’s nightlife. (Rates begin at $595 per night with a minimum two-night stay.)

To tone down on price, but not on style, stay at TownHouse Hotel. Smack dab in the middle of South Beach, flanked by high-end neighboring hotels, sits TownHouse. “It’s great because of the location,” says Colleen Graham, director of sales. “It’s nestled in with the big guns [and is a real] home away from home.”

Highly utilized for studio and magazine production shoots, TownHouse is as much appreciated for its creative, minimalist lines, and all-around fun and flirty decor as it is for its comfort and unassuming prices.
Brought to South Beach at the turn of the millennium by Jonathan Morr, who is well-known for his Manhattan eateries, Republic and BondST, this 69-room, two-suite, Parisian-designed boutique hotel is frankly a steal at $145 a night midweek, and $175 a night on the weekends, through August and September. A Parisian breakfast is included.
The rooms are clad in white, with striking pops of color, and hallways, specked with benches, comics and other good reads, are engulfed with cool soundtracks. The rooftop, fitted with various table settings and lounge chairs, transforms at night into one of South Beach’s hottest weekend hangouts, and the highlight is sushi sent up from the ground floor BondST Lounge. Zagat Miami has named its tuna “the best on the planet.”


Images by Sean Murdock
Written by Melanie Bowden Simón
Read more on our August/September Issue now!


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Coaches of Caliber

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Playing high school sports is about much more than scoring points and winning championships. Often times the real glory comes in bonding with teammates or reaching set goals. Similarly, coaching is about much more than winning or losing games. Often times the real fun comes in seeing a student sign scholarship papers. Coaches have the amazing ability to keep students on track, inspire them to do great things and make a lifelong impact. Here are a few of the MVPs when it comes to coaching in the Lowcountry.


Images by Shawn Heifert
Read more on our August/September Issue now!


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Welcome to the Jungle


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It was the “pop” heard around the world: the collapse of the U.S. housing bubble that began as a slow leak in 2006 and had completely imploded by the summer of 2008. The domino effect from an out-of-control derivatives market that caused the collapse of the subprime market eventually impacted mortgage, credit, hedge fund and even foreign bank markets. For homebuilders, home supply retailers and real estate professionals who had profited for years on booming home valuations, the braking of the markets would result in a particularly long skid.
But as the saying goes, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. One of the toughest names in Savannah real estate has proven to be relative newcomer Judge Realty, which opened its doors in June 2005, at the height of the market.
Lori Judge, owner of Judge Realty, remembers fondly the easier days at the company’s outset. “Our first month in business we profited $5000,” she says. “The following months it was three and then ten times that. We were off to the races.”
But the salad days would not last long. In the summer of 2008, Judge, along with realtors across the region, began to feel the impact of the now widely publicized financial crisis. “It happened so fast,” says Judge. “It seemed as though everything came to a halt overnight.”
Savannah’s real estate landscape has noticeably transformed since. “The economy has affected our market in every way, from our neighborhoods to our values,” explains Judge. Countless brokers have found part-time jobs or new lines of work altogether. Housing-related businesses have been forced to close their doors or consolidate with other companies. Out of necessity, others have expanded their services to include aspects of the job that they used to farm out.
Judge Realty has been no different. To weather the storm, the company has had to cut costs, streamline systems, and work harder than ever for their clients. “This was like a near-death experience in business,” says Judge. “It forced us to understand the new conditions we were working in, to go beyond the conventional and get creative, and to implement survival tactics.”
“Like many people in this business, I had to face down my greatest fear: the fear of failing. But once you get past that fear, there is only opportunity. This challenge made me open my eyes to the possibilities that are out there.”
Adaptive approaches for Judge Realty have ranged from the expected to the highly progressive. Their brokers are now experts in foreclosures and short sales. And property management—once the “red-headed step-child” for many firms—has become one of the company’s foremost undertakings. “We now manage more than 200 properties,” says Judge. “And that makes sense to us in the overall picture of what we do, because tenants eventually become buyers and, likewise, buyers become landlords. So we’re really a soup-to-nuts real estate company.”
Providing the most current online technology for clients has helped Judge stay ahead of the property management competition. Their interactive website provides comprehensive, user-friendly access, so property owners stay abreast of tenant activity and screenings, billing and maintenance issues.
On the more progressive side, Judge is one of the only certified EcoBrokers in the area, a unique designation for brokers who are trained to educate clients on reducing their carbon footprints through energy efficient and environmentally sensitive design in properties.
“At the end of the day, it’s about personal relationships,” says Judge. “We’re all in this together—brokers, buyers, sellers, renters. So the crisis has gone a long way toward building camaraderie among industry professionals as well as longstanding relationships between brokers and clients.”


Written by Summer Teal Simpson
Photography by Tim Johnson
Read more on our August/September Issue now!


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RECENT COMMENTS

by: SavPerry on August 31, 2011, 9:01 am
Great work Lori Judge! Keep challenging the status quo and demonstrating the success of taking risks and adapting your business to the market. More companies should follow your example.

Is Charles Davis the Most Efficient man in the South?

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At 20 mph, barely a sound is audible save for the dirt road crunching beneath the tires and the good-natured voice from the driver’s seat. The voice belongs to Charles Davis, president of The Earth Comfort Company, and the tires to his Chevrolet Volt, which is one of two in the state of Georgia. As he drives slowly around his Guyton, Georgia, property, Davis explains the many perks of the electrically powered car: one of the catchiest being its incredibly low maintenance requirements, as in an oil-change-after-24,000-miles low maintenance. After parking beside his house, Davis removes a cord from the vehicle and connects it to a charging station on the exterior wall noting that it’s “the same charger Jay Leno installed in his garage.”

Davis’ house is far from typical of other homes in Southeast Georgia. It’s a customizable, prefab structure and, like his car, it exhibits his commitment to renewable energy. After purchasing it as a foreclosure in the Atlanta area, Davis had the house delivered to his one-and-a-half-acre property in Guyton. The property is one of nine and the first step toward the goal of creating a zero-energy community (a working organic farm already exists on site). The prefabricated, modular “i-house” is a model made by Clayton Homes, the largest manufacturer of modular homes in the United States. With clean lines and a modern sensibility, the i-home is advertised as being “built from the ground up to be environmentally friendly” without sacrificing aesthetics or comfort. From its specialized roof designed for the collection of rainwater and the installation of solar panels to energy efficient windows and insulation, the i-house is clearly geared toward efficiency aficionados. But that’s only the framework upon which Davis crafted a system that allows him to bring the first net-zero energy home to Savannah.

The Man Behind the Plan

Originally from the Macon area, Davis points to his college days as the beginning of his passion for renewable energy. “I was in college years ago and Jimmy Carter was going to have a war on energy; that got me fired up. This was going to be the future and the next thing you know it’s never mind.” While some of the social and governmental drive toward renewable energy may have lost some steam, since those days, Davis’ interest in putting the concept into action hasn’t flagged.
The Earth Comfort Company was born 18 years ago while Davis was working for a LaGrange based electric cooperative and travelled to Washington, D.C., to learn about geothermal heat pumps with the goal of returning to teach Georgia companies about the technology. Geothermal heat pumps are a renewable energy technology that have existed since the late 1940s and function by taking advantage of the fact that the earth’s underground temperature is constantly around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
With several different variations, the pumps circulate water or fluid through a piping system placed a few feet underground, often in a series of loops, by means of an electric pump. Using 40 to 60 percent less energy than conventional systems, geothermal heat pumps pay for their installation within five to ten years and have an estimated 25-year service life, with the underground components extending to 50 plus years, according the U.S. Department of Energy. As an added bonus, enough hot water is produced as a free by-product to cover 60 percent of usage. Owners of geothermal heat pumps also receive a 30 percent federal energy tax credit, which Davis points out almost pays for the additional cost of installation.
After learning about geothermal technology, Davis put his passion for energy efficiency to work and began The Earth Comfort Company, basing it in Savannah. Today the company provides a variety of energy efficient installation services, including solar, wind and insulation, and prides itself on being “the go-to source” for geothermal heat loop systems. Focusing primarily on larger scale commercial projects, The Earth Comfort Company has completed numerous projects including the installation of a geothermal system for Florida State University’s Sustainable Energy Science and Engineering Center, one of 14 off-grid zero emissions buildings in the country.
In 2008, Davis joined The University of Georgia’s Marine Extension Service in Brunswick in an ongoing effort to provide a tangible example of efficient energy use through various renewable energy equipment. He helped get geothermal, solar, and energy efficient lighting technologies on a 16,000-square-foot building built in 1991. With the bulk of construction finished in December of 2010, the associate director for the Marine Extension Service, Keith Gates, who has since retired, says of the project, “The geothermal [heat pump] is fantastic; it dropped our electric bill around 50 percent, which is pretty amazing. And not only were we improving energy, the idea was to teach folks down the road about the whole operation.”


Photography by Shawn Heifert
Read more on our August/September Issue now!


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Explore Kiawah Island Resort

The golf weekend has long been the guise for full-fledged bromances or grounds for big business deals. Tipping back tall boys and strolling along the greens are ideal catalysts for easy conversation and instant bonding, but no longer is the golf weekend a moniker for a mens-only affair, nor is it necessarily just a golf weekend. Kiawah Island Golf Resort on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, isn’t reserved solely for the sports fiends, the bachelor parties or deal negotiating getaways (though those are all still encouraged).


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Opening World Trade

Currently there are about 330 world trade centers around the world. Savannah Economic Development Authority president and CEO, Steve Weathers, along with a large team of local supporters, is well on the way to bringing the next one to Savannah.


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The Trials of Superior Court Judge Ginsberg

The judge shares what he’s learned about life throughout his legal and political career. With over four decades of experience as an attorney, two terms in the state legislature, and 16 years as a judge, he’s come to understand a thing or two about life in the South.


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Breaking Suit Behind the Scenes

Taking place in the beautiful Bohemian Hotel on River Street, South magazine shot some of the latest looks for the office and boardroom. But don’t expect to see a bunch of stuffy suits. These sexy yet sophisticated looks break the mold.


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The Good, The Fashionable and the Irresistibly Ugly

South’s First-ever Greatest Pet Contest is a celebration of Savannahians’s deep-rooted love for their pets. Readers submitted pictures of their animals to compete in four categories: Best Looking, best dressed, ugliest Mug, and Like Owner, Like Pet. With thousands of votes over the course of a month, a few good winners finally emerged from the pack.


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The Collector

Life-long connoisseur Herbert Brito has amassed an impressive collection of Andy Warhol originals topping two dozen pieces. A constant player in the art-dealing world, he’s also owned works by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Frank Stella. But for Brito the business of collecting is all about heart, not commerce.


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Meet Manolo

Spanish shoe designer Manolo Blahnik, will receive the André Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award this coming Saturday May 21st at the world-renowned Scad Fashion Show. In an exclusive interview, South talked with Blahnik about our fair city, the ever-changing fashion industry and, of course, shoe design.


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The Beauty of Motherhood

It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but I didn’t really get the hang of this mother business until the day I gave birth to my fifth (yes, fifth) child.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, crammed in a dark place like a parcel I didn’t want but couldn’t get rid of, was the thought that something bigger and better was going to happen to me one day. I could not say this out loud even to myself because I knew a good mother would never, ever feel this sense of “The best is yet to come.” Good mothers count their blessings while they stir the macaroni and cheese. Good mothers say things like, “I looked into my infant’s eyes and just knew this is what I’d been born to do.”

My confession may surprise many people—even those closest to me—because I’ve always done a darn good job of feeding, clothing, and encouraging my kids. From the first positive pregnancy test, I have loved them desperately and sacrificed a lot for them. I just didn’t do all of that with ease or the confidence that motherhood was my calling. Deep down I thought I was biding time until my other, real-er calling came along.

Then January 20, 2005, happened to me.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I thought as I awoke abruptly a little after 5 a.m. I knew immediately that labor had started but I was unwilling to accept it being six days early. “Maybe if I lie very still and go back to sleep it will stop,” I told myself. But I wasn’t very convincing. The big problem wasn’t having the baby early. The big problem was that my husband, an Army major, was still sitting in Iraq. His due date to return was in two days. Why couldn’t he be the one arriving early?!

Only he wasn’t and the contractions were not stopping. So I got out of bed in the January darkness and took a shower. “Might as well shave my legs,” I muttered. It wasn’t easy given my size and the recurring contractions, but at least I could have control over something. Nothing else was cooperating with my plan, that was for sure.

Thankfully my mom had arrived to help a few days before. The older children (none of whom, by the way, were born before the due date) were still sleeping when she came downstairs and found me sitting dressed at the table writing a list of phone numbers and instructions. I was so certain this baby would not arrive before his daddy’s homecoming that I had not bothered to prepare much at all. I tried to convince my mom that I could easily drive the 10 miles to the hospital and just have this baby while she stayed home and made breakfast for the big kids. She rolled her eyes and went to get dressed while I called a friend to come over and baby-sit.

I woke the oldest child, age 12, and told her I’d be busy all day at the hospital giving birth to her youngest brother. “I thought Daddy was coming home first,” she said while rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. “I know, me too,” I said. “Just roll with it.”

After an unsuccessful attempt to get my mom to let me drive, we pulled out into the dark and stormy morning. As further proof of my yawning approach to preparing for this thing, we had not made a dry run to the unfamiliar hospital. At that hour all the streets looked the same. After a couple of wrong turns, and an increasingly frantic grandmother, we made it to the hospital.

In a freak of military nature, we were stationed in the same small Bavarian town where we’d lived 12 years before. Odder still was that my doctor happened to be the same one who delivered our first baby all those years ago. He was even more surprised to see me than I was to see him. But before I got to see him on that particular morning, I had to get past the German nurses. None of whom spoke great English. And my patchy German was limited more to “How much does this cost?” and “I’d like some more schnitzel, please,” rather than, “Could we talk about pain meds?”

Fortunately childbirth is an international language and the medical personnel soon had me hooked up to various machines and getting ready to head to the labor and delivery room. That’s about the time I looked at my mother and thought, for the second time that day, “You have got to be kidding.”

I adore my mom. We are so close that we talk almost daily and she is the first person I call for advice on pretty much everything. But I really, really did not want to give birth in front of her. (Frankly, I’d rather give birth with no one at all in the room except the father. But since he is a lawyer instead of an ob/gyn I had accepted the need for one doctor and perhaps a nurse to be present. But I still didn’t like it.) And now my mother—my mother!—was in the room. I reminded myself that many women I know seem to think the more people crowded into the delivery room, the more fun it is for everyone.

About this time the head nurse brought me a cordless phone. On the other end, far away in the desert, was an increasingly frantic daddy. There wasn’t much to say except, “Can you believe this? Me either!” Once he was reassured that I was okay, my husband’s primary concern was that we had yet to decide upon a name. “Okay,” I breathed through a contraction. “Let’s narrow it down to Benjamin or Samuel since we both like those names.” I may or may not have actually said, “You decide,” before we were disconnected. But by the time he got through again at the end of the day, the rest of us had determined the new kid was clearly a Samuel. I tried not to giggle when the first thing his father said was, “I’ve made up my mind…he should definitely be Benjamin.” I may or may not have actually said, “Had you been on the same continent, your vote would have counted.”

And then finally the day was over, the drama shared around the world, and it was just me and the new little one in a cozy hospital room. I don’t know why my epiphany occurred just at that moment. But as I stared at that sleeping baby bundled with fists to cheeks in his bassinet, I was somehow allowed the briefest moment to flip ahead in my personal story and get a look at what is to come. I saw clearly that there is a corner which I will turn after these stressful, busy days of motherhood to the small. There will come calmer days than those I have now as a Soldier’s wife. At some point I will have a regular bedtime and even a career to call my own. And these things will be wonderful. They will be very, very different from what I am doing now. But here is the revelation—in no way will they be bigger or better or real-er.

Biggest and best is the calling to create this family where laughter meets sadness head on. Where we feel the strength of our bond even if it is stretched across miles and oceans that separate us. Where these five little people will grow up realizing that they are enough. Enough for me to slip comfortably into this place where I still don’t like macaroni and cheese, yet I thoroughly enjoy the pleasure of counting my blessings. That’s what all of us good mothers do.







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RECENT COMMENTS

by: Wine Lover on April 26, 2011, 3:06 am
What a sweet article!!! WL from http://www.winerackstore.com

Cutting Edge Art

Deep in the backwoods of Georgia, equipped with nothing but his creativity and a chainsaw, Thomas Bland creates massive pieces of art. A forester by trade, he’s spent his whole life sizing up logs and lumber, but now he looks at trees from a new perspective


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The Lowcountry’s Wild Side

Roaming wolf packs, exotic birds and a group of pot-bellied pigs all call Oatland Island home. Large furry sheep and fast foxes mingle with alligators and turtles. And while it may seem natural for the bears to rule the roost, it’s the local kids who visit and learn from the animals that really run this nature preserve


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Stars of the South: Hostess City Heroes

Close to seven million tourists visit Savannah every year. Easily identified by a camera and map in hand, they come to the city in swarms, filling up the restaurants and lining the tour buses. And while locals often chuckle at them as they navigate the squares and cobblestone, there’s no doubt tourists are a major fuel source for the local community, contributing about $2 billion a year.


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Machine Gun Festival





The South is filled with mud bogging, hog hunting, alligator wrestling and other quirky oddities that make living in Dixie one exciting experience.


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The South’s Movers and Shakers

There are community leaders that you see every day on the news, and then there are those who make their impact from behind the scenes.


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Biggest Business Ventures

In the past few years, across the country, large businesses were bailed out, small businesses were forced to tighten their purse strings, and almost everyone held their breath every day as they went into work. But here in the South, it seems lady luck was on our side and many new ventures emerged and expanded. Here’s where the growth continues to happen.


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