by John Stoehr
Last night was the inauguration of the renovated Memminger Auditorium, the old gymnasium wrecked by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. It's a historic building that hosted another kind of historic renovation: the restaging of Anthony Davis' Amistad, a 1997 opera about a slave ship revolt in 1839 that set the stage for American civil liberty prior to the Emancipation Proclamation. And who did I see among the black ties and ball gowns? Bob Vila, the man behind the This Old House and the inspiration for every Tim the Tool Man who thought he could master a power tool but couldn't. Vila was looking good. Healthy, stylish. He was even in black tie. A more germane celebrity spotting would be hard to come by — unless it were John Quincy Adams himself.