Stolen instrument alert

Keep your eyes peeled, Charleston folks.

On Monday, someone broke into Jeremy Davis’s Charleston home and stole his fiddle and mandolin. Davis performs with local string band Total Meltdown, and is a big supporter of the local music scene (and a super nice guy to boot).

I’ve included photos of the stolen instruments below. You can click to see larger images.

Please share this blog post with your friends and contact Charleston Police at 304-348-6460 if you have any information about the thefts.



W.Va. native Ryan Dorsey marries “Glee” star

Ryan Dorsey

Ryan Dorsey

Charleston native and up-and-coming actor Ryan Dorsey got married to “Glee” actress Naya Rivera on July 19, according to People magazine.

According to the magazine, the couple wed in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, with a small group of family and friends present.

Dorsey, who attended Riverside High School, had a recurring part on the show “Southland” in 2013. He has also appeared on “Parks and Recreation,” “Mob City” and “You’re the Worst.”


Naya Rivera

Rivera gained notoriety playing Santana on “Glee” but she has also appeared on television shows like “Smart Guy,” “Family Matters,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” “Even Stevens,” “8 Simple Rules” and “The Bernie Mac Show.”

Happy birthday, Mr. Hemingway

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAErnest Hemingway, that manliest man of all manley men, was born this day in 1899.

He died on July 2, 1961, so Papa would have been 115 years old today if he hadn’t shot himself in the gut. That’s also assuming he wouldn’t have drank himself to death, keeled over from lung cancer, OD’d on bacon or perished in some freak fishing accident instead.

His beautifully sparse writing has made Hemingway a favorite of aspiring writers for generations. So tell me, what’s your favorite Hemingway sentence? Copy and paste it in the comment section below.

One of my favorite sentences (there are too many to pick one) comes from the very first page of The Old Man and the Sea, the last novel Hemingway would ever see published.

The sail was patched with flour sacks and, furled, it looked like the flag of permanent defeat.

Knocks the wind right out of you, doesn’t it? Comment below with your favorite Hemingway sentence.



Moon Landing FrontThis Sunday marks the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11′s moon landing, and the Daily Mail decided to celebrate.

Our front page today includes remembrances of that historic occasion from West Virginia natives (and NASA retirees) Homer Hickam and Jon McBride.

Hickam, who would later become a NASA engineer, was in Washington State at the time having just returned from Vietnam. McBride, who would later become the first West Virginian in space, was in Virginia training to become a fighter pilot. You can click here to read the whole story.

This morning I received an email from a reader, Lew McDaniel of Independence, W.Va., offering his memories of July 20, 1969. He has a pretty neat story, too:

I was a linguist in the Army and stationed at Field Station Berlin in Germany when the moon landing occurred.  We had no TV, but we did have a plethora of electronic equipment around and some talented technicians.  Those guys rigged up some of that equipment so we could watch the landing on an oscilloscope.  We also managed to get direct audio between the moon and Earth.

Small screen for sure, but we all crowded into a small room to get whatever view we could and all cheered when the first step was made.  Then it was back to work.

Mark Wolfe poses with Brandon Stacy, how plays Spock on the fan produced Internet series “Star Trek: Phase II.”

Mark Wolfe poses with Brandon Stacy, how plays Spock on the fan produced Internet series “Star Trek: Phase II.”

Also in today’s paper, we have the story of four old friends brought back together through their mutual love of the original “Star Trek” series.

But Mark Wolfe, Dale Morton, Robert Withrow and Clayton Sayre aren’t your normal Trekkies.

They are part of a major fan-produced web series called “Star Trek: Phase II,” which creates new episodes of the original series using dead-accurate sets, costumes and props.

Click here to read more about their intergalactic adventure.

Hear it first: “Live It” by Farnsworth

10527516_767462223306680_412617591087743455_nThe Pop Machine is partnering with Twin Cousins Records to offer you, dear reader, a first listen of the new album “Live It” by Charleston blues-rock trio Farnsworth.

Interestingly enough, this is really the first time “Live It” has touched the digital realm.The band used all analog equipment — old-school mixing boards, multi-track tape decks, the whole deal — to record the album.

Twin Cousins will release “Live It” on limited-edition vinyl on Sept. 23.

You can get your pre-order now at The album will also be available for digital download.

Stay tuned for more details about the release party for “Live It.” That’s tentatively scheduled for Sept. 20 at Sullivan’s Records on the East End, and could feature some special guests.

Tofujitsu plays for Charley West’s Bonus Tracks

Bonus Tracks1Local husband-and-wife rock and rollers Sean Richardson and Karen Allen are Tofujitsu.

The band just released a new four-song EP, and they’re playing Live on the Levee this Friday along with Qiet.

But first, they performed their song “Darjeeling” for the latest edition of our video series Charley West’s Bonus Tracks.

Click here to read more about this quirky duo. Click below to watch Marcus Constantino’s video of the band performing their song “Darjeeling.”



Valentina Lisitsa’s POV piano

I love to watch classical pianists play. Not just listen, watch.

The way their bodies interact with their instrument, their arms and hands flowing over the keyboard, their bodies shifting from side to side. It’s like watching someone dance with a piece of furniture…except beautiful.

Well, Valentina Lisitsa (classical music’s biggest YouTube star) is giving her fans a whole new way to watch her perform. Back in May she posted a video of her performance of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 17…shot using a GoPro helmet cam.

Give it a peek. It’s a unique opportunity to see a performance the way the musician does.

Beggar’s Clan plays for Charley West’s Bonus Tracks

Bonus Tracks1In case you missed it, last week’s Daily Mail “Arts and Culture” section featured local reggae band Beggars Clan. Click here to read our story.

The group performed at the Boulevard Tavern last Friday and will play at Foster’s Tavern in Beckley this Friday before heading to Point Pleasant on Saturday for the Sweatstock festival.

In the meantime, Daily Mail photographer Craig Cunningham shot this video of the group performing their song “Can’t Stop Us” as part of our Charley West’s Bonus Tracks video series. Give it a listen:

Taste-of-ALL 2014 winners announced

tasteLast Sunday was Taste-of-ALL, when local restaurants and chefs face off for some pretty prestigious awards. Here is a list of this year’s winners.

Taste-of-All Charleston 2014 newspaper food writer’s awards

(Judges Steven Keith, “The Food Guy” Charleston Daily Mail and Judy Grigoraci, “From the Kitchen” The Charleston Gazette)

Overall Best Dish: Chicken and Waffle (Southern waffle, made to order, honey nut encrusted crisp-fried chicken breast, topped with candied jalapeno, pecans, and drizzle of sage infused maple syrup) – Black Sheep Burritos, Charleston

Overall Special Dish: Fire Roasted Tomato Soup with gouda, garnished with Gorgonzola Crouton – Four Points by Sheraton, Charleston

Honorable mentions:

Steven: Black Sheep pan-seared cashew and wasabi-crusted Ahi tuna “nacho” (served atop a fried wonton with sesame-ginger aioli and chili-mirin reduction) and Quarry Manor Senior Living’s fried green tomato BLT slider.

Judy: Housemade Sweet Potato Burger with Spicy Mayo – B&D Gastro Pub

FestivALL 10 cake contest in celebration of FestivALL’s 10th season winners

(Judges Sarah Plumley of Sarah’s Bakery; Lisa Dravenstott, executive pastry chef Distinctive Gourmet Civic Center and Cheri Godfrey, executive pastry chef Mardi Gras Casino and Resort)

Third place: Nicole Wolfe, Cross Lanes – Coconut Cream Cake

Second place: Rachael Shaffer, St. Albans – Red Velvet Cake with Almond Buttercream Frosting

First place: Jean Jones, South Charleston – Golden Apple Black Walnut Cake with Whipped Butter Frosting (her grandmother’s recipe)

Highest Sales Award

BrickSalt Bar + Kitchen (Marriott)

Taste of ALL “Chef Off”

Winner: Chef Andrew Quisenberry, Quarry Manor (Judges Bridget Lancaster, America’s Test Kitchen; Scott Maroney, executive chef for Mardi Gras Casino & Resort; Chef Paul Smith, Buzz Food Service; Don Wilson, Generation Charleston)

People’s Choice Awards:


First – Adelphia, Deep Fried Feta

Second – B&D Gastropub, Dragon Bites

Third – Four Brothers Coffee and Tea House, Lobster Bisque Soup


First – Quarry Manor Senior Living, Fried Green Tomato BLT Slider

Second – Black Sheep Burrito & Brew, Chicken & Waffle

Third – Black Sheep Burrito & Brew, Pan-seared Ahi Tuna


First – Distinctive Gourmet, WV Beignet w/ Vanilla Moonshine Sauce

Second – 5 Corners Cafe, Bread Pudding (3 votes separated 1st & 2nd place)

Third – Ellen’s Homemade Ice Cream, Ice Cream


First – Four Brothers Coffee and Tea House, Four Brothers Blended Coffee

Second – Sweet Spoon Bubble Tea

Third – Huskey’s Dairy Bar, Milkshake

Chicken on the brain

For the last few weeks I’ve been writing a series of stories for the Daily Mail about fried chicken, my idea of the perfect summertime food.

But I need your help to end the series. I need your recipes.

Week one kicked off with — what else? — breakfast. I spoke with chefs at Bluegrass Kitchen and Black Sheep Burritos about how they make their fried chicken and waffles.

The second story focused on family restaurants The Grill and Harding’s Family Restaurant, which employ simple recipes to make seriously delicious chicken.

This week’s story (look for it in Wednesday’s paper) will feature local wing joints Adelphia Sports Bar & Grille and The Cold Spot.

I’m going to conclude the series next week, just in time for the Fourth of July. Here’s where you come in.

Many of my most-memorable meals have not been in restaurants. They’ve been home-cooked efforts, shared with family and friends. So if I’m looking for the best fried chicken, I figure the best place to find it is at home.

I need your best recipes for fried chicken. I don’t care if you clipped it from a magazine or if it’s a recipe handed down from your great-great grandmother. I just want to know how you make fried chicken in your kitchen.

Send your recipes to, or (if they’re short enough) tweet at me.