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The Scene

Unsilent Night, Bill Clinton, "Cocker "Tail Party, Fashion Auditions

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"Walk? How do you want me to walk? I can walk on my hands!"
—a prospective model to the judges at Fashion Week's final model casting call

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Unsilent Night
Caroling through the streets with a boombox

A collection of ghetto blasters, tape players, iPods, and laptops were laid out in front of the City Gallery at Waterfront Park on Saturday night, thanks to a very busy Nathan Koci. But this was no electronics black market. Nope. Just the tools of the trade for boombox carolers, over 40 of whom marched through the streets of Charleston. With music literally in hand, carolers strolled from Meeting Street to the Market to King Street to Marion Square before finally stopping in front of Redux Contemporary Arts Center on St. Philip Street. Many heads turned along the way; I wondered if some folks thought we were part of a crazy cult or something. Once inside Redux, the Open Studio Show offered plenty of art and apple cider to warm us back up. —Svetlana Minx

Bumping into Bubba
Clinton surprises High Cotton diners

Wow. Who knew that a decision to pick up an extra work shift for some holiday cash would end up including an encounter with the former leader of the free world?

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It all began Saturday afternoon as the lunch service was winding down at High Cotton. I was cruising through the dining room cashing out my last few guests when I spotted two suits with curlicued wires dangling from their respective ears.

Knowing that Bill Clinton was on the local hustings for the benefit of his wife's presidential campaign, I quickly deduced that "America's first black president" would be in the house and that I'd be getting out of work much later than usual.

Then I called my mom.

Around 7 p.m., my colleagues began discreetly closing the huge window blinds in the main dining room. Around 8, Secret Service agents and members of the Clinton party began arriving in the restaurant.

I was the restaurant expediter that night, which means the "eyes and ears" for the chef regarding the front of the house. So, I turned around to call for a waiter to run an order, and there, three feet away, was the 42nd president of the United States of America.

All I could think was, "Holy Smokes! He looks awfully tired."

Clinton looked at me and my colleague Morgan and said, "Hey, y'all. Thank you for having us." Then he waved at Chef Anthony Gray and his staff and gave a hearty, "Hey guys!"

After that, Clinton shook a few hands and sat down with his guests.

The dining room guests, recovering from their initial shocks, settled into a routine of camera phone picture-taking after first strategically positioning Clinton in the background. I saw quite a few people lose all sense of decorum and flat-out gape at the man. One woman was asked to leave by a Secret Service agent after planting herself a little too close to the president's table. Yeesh! But for the most part, everybody seemed to take Clinton's visit in stride. —D.A. Smith

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This Is Your Brain on Butt

You can't beat sitting outdoors in a short-sleeve shirt, drinking cheap beer and margaritas, in December. And the best part, our four-legged buddies were there with us. On Saturday Juanita Greenberg's and Three Dog Bakery sponsored a "Cocker" Tail Party benefiting the Grateful Goldens Rescue. The Three Dog Bakery table had pooches lined up for tasty morsels, including their tri-colored ruffles, Rudolph Reindeer treats, and patés. Before passing over the tasty looking treats, and dishing them out to my dog Luna, I had to try them (except for the dog food patés!) Served up by Three Dog's Jennifer Mozzi, the treats were delicious, but not quite sweet enough and definitely lacking chocolate chips. That said, the furry ones didn't seem to mind. Although our pets were prone to wander off the deck at Juanita's to check out some smell or another, such questionable missions were aborted when they got near the treat table. —Svetlana Minx

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Walk the Line
Crying time on the catwalk

Fashion Week 2008 will descend upon Charleston in March, but the final competition for the event's runway models took place on Saturday. The judges, Ayoka Lucas, Ashley Brooks Perryman, Katie Kern, Foster Fox, Lindsey Novak, and Austin Walker, were a bit worn out and edgy — understandably so given the Shopping with Friends event earlier that day. The black art deco lounge of the Riviera Theatre was lined with model hopefuls, who were handed an application and asked to take a seat. Clearly anxious, many attempted to keep the butterflies at bay by chatting away on their cell phones. One at a time, the contestants were asked to walk the catwalk in front of the judges. Each hopeful appeared slightly confused when they entered the room and were asked to make the long, dizzy trek across the carpet to hand over his or her application to the judges. Golden tickets were in short supply, even for those with runway experience. The judges' commentary following each model's turn on the runway brought the truth. And sometimes the truth just hurts — especially when your fierce walk sends the judges under the table to hide their laughter. — Svetlana Minx

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