Chad de Satnick, “Blind Guy” at de Satnick Window Furnishings and guest bartender at Exit Zero parties, does Cape May proud by organizing the Life Rolls On Golf Tournament fundraiser. Scott Whittle
Beware Of Pirates
WE’VE all been there — driven to our wit’s end by a neighbor who insists on blocking our driveway with his monster truck, or leaving trash cans on the street all week, or blasting music as loud as the speakers will go at 5:00 in the morning. Sometimes, a feud between neighbors gets so out of hand that someone decides to move, and that’s a shame. But sometimes, a feud gets so heated, a neighbor decides to steal his adversary’s $30 pirate flag and that’s, well, kinda funny. At least, this is what happened between a couple of local residents last month.
How the dispute started doesn’t really matter. It sounds like typical neighbor discord to us. What IS entertaining (a shame, but entertaining) is what happened on September 16, just three days before National Talk Like a Pirate day, no less. A man — we’ll call him Charles — called the police because his neighbor, CJ Ryan, was insisting on flying a pirate flag. It’s not your typical skull and crossbones pirate flag, but one depicting a white arm waving a white sword on a black background… a “violent” flag according to the complaint report filed. And CJ also, Charles told the cops, keeps a beer-drinking mannequin in his window “in order to harass him.” (It’s actually a cardboard cutout of baseball star Darren Daulton drinking a brewski… we checked when we popped in to see Charles last week. “I don’t know why you’re running this story,” he later told us. “I don’t think it’s funny.”)
CJ said he hung his flag “back in June or July,” because his “daughter and two sons are really into pirates.” The perturbed neighbor, he says, thinks not only that the flag is “directed at him,” but that it’s been inhibiting him from selling his house, which is on the market.
Officer Shawn Austin was assigned to the “civil matter,” CJ said, which the policeman handled by explaining to Charles that nothing can be done. But the complainant decided differently. “My family left for dinner at 6:00,” said CJ, who describes himself as “non-confrontational.” “And when we returned around 8:00, the flag was gone, so I contacted the police. I was laughing and I said, ‘I apologize for calling but someone stole my pirate flag.’ It sounded stupid. But yeah, I guess you could say I felt pillaged.”
When the police arrived for a second time that day, Charles admitted to plundering the booty. He was charged with theft, and a Halloween court date is pending. Although CJ — who’s hoping this court date will result in a no-contact order — has since replaced the flag with a more “descriptive” one, depicting a skeleton with a bleeding heart, he says he and his family “ARRGHHHH” happy to have the original back. “If my neighbor had stolen it while wearing a pirate costume,” CJ said, “I probably would have let it go.” Good to know, all of you scallywags out there.
Hole-In-One for Life Rolls On
CHAD de Satnick of de Satnick’s Window Fashions was just 24 years old when, while surfing at Poverty Beach, he suffered a compression injury in which two vertebrate on the back side of his neck bone shattered. “The neurosurgeon said I’d never surf again, and that I might not ever walk again,” he told us. “I wanted to prove him wrong.” And prove him wrong, Chad did. By the time he left the hospital, he had only a temporary paralysis in his arms, and a new-found desire to advocate for those who don’t get so lucky.
A year-and-a-half after the accident, Chad and Backstreet Café server/general contractor Steve Coon (AKA “Buckethead, but I can’t tell you why they call me that”) took a trip to Malibu, California where a fundraising golf tournament for Life Rolls On was taking place. The organization, LRO for short, is a subsidiary of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation dedicated to “improving the quality of life for young people suffering from spinal cord injuries,” often through adaptive surfing. “There were professional surfers like Kelly Slater and celebrities like Minnie Driver at the tournament,” Chad said. “I was blown away. I had no idea of the reach of this organization.” Soon after, he launched the same LRO fundraiser at the Cape May Historic Golf Club. Last Sunday marked the seventh successful event, during which 100 golfers raised money for a good cause. “We’re still tallying final numbers,” Chad told us, “but it’s looking like it will be about $28,000, which gives us a seven-year total of $191,000.”
We popped over to the event’s after-party at Harbor View on Saturday, and just outside the restaurant, we met Chad’s mom, Anita de Satnick. “How proud are you?” we asked, and Anita answered by welling up with tears and saying, “I’m a lucky duckie.” Then she ran off to retrieve the money she’d collected for the night’s 50/50 raffle. “I wanted to be very responsible with it,” she told us, “so I made sure to put it in a safe place… and then I left it there!”
On the waterfront dock, the bar was packed and the band Piracy was rocking out. Meredith Barelli, who was working the silent auction table, showed us the items up for bid, including Eagles helmets singed by the players and T-shirts signed by the cast of TV’s The Bachelor. But the real celebrity names this night were those of local businesses who came through with support – and often food. “The Lobster House kicks in, Cappy’s pizza, Lund’s Fisheries, Depot Market, they all donate,” Chad said. “There are a broad number of people who come down here, golfers from Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Maryland, but it’s the local support that makes me most proud.” And what local support there is. We ran into Sue Lotozo of the Flying Fish, there with the Mermaid Guild’s give-away basket full of $3000 worth of merchandise from local businesses; a $5 donation to LRO this night would get you a chance to win the drawing on December 1. And Chad told us about the pasta dinner fundraiser for LRO that the Cape May Fire House hosted last Friday night… a dinner for which Uncle Bill’s graciously opened its doors. And then we ran into one golfer at the bar who told us it was his place of work — Sturdy Savings Bank — who’d sponsored his own team. Good on you, Cape May.
We also at the after-party found out the winners of this year’s tournament: Ryan Clary, Jeff Michner, and James Jones, who came in at 15 under par. “Feel free to print that,” Chad told us, “but the real winners of the event are the adaptive surfers and spinal cord injuries victims, because they are the ones reaping the benefits of this fundraiser. You know, I was just telling someone recently that the neurosurgeon who told me I’d never surf again… he must never have heard of Life Rolls On.” As for next year’s tournament? “What’s today’s date?” Chad asked. “This is the day we start planning.”
Cue The Laughs
THE show currently running at Elaine’s Dinner Theater on Lafayette Street, Sixteen Candelabras, is a campy parody of John Hughes 1980s films… you know, the ones featuring Molly Ringwald and a whole lot of endearing teenage angst. But there are vampires. And musical numbers. And a drunken principal roaming the hallways. So what can you expect from such a performance? A lot of laughs. And not just because the play itself, written by Elaine’s Artistic Director Holly Birch Knapp, is hilarious, but because the improv that happens after the curtain goes up is equal parts funny and clever. Even the forgotten line moments that occur in any production become part of the comedy at Elaine’s… a type of comedy in which the audience plays an integral role. We caught up with castmember Parker Smith who gave us some insight into the art of breaking down the fourth wall.
“It’s a theater term,” he told us. “In most traditional theaters, players on stage aren’t acting as though there is an audience; they talk to each other and to themselves. But we always wink at the audience and let them know that we know they’re there. That’s breaking down the fourth wall.” And it’s not just winking the cast does. Don’t wear a bandana on your head, like our poor friend Victor Grasso, unless you want to be called out for dressing like a hippie. And then there was the little old lady who was poked fun at for being, well, little and old. And the most amazing thing? All of this banter is seamless, as though the night’s audience had been worked into the script in advance.
We asked Parker, who’s been with Elaine’s since it opened in the early 90s with a playbill of Victorian melodramas, what kind of person is drawn to a life of playing make-believe. We know these guys aren’t doing it for the money… several have second jobs in the restaurant and technology industries. Parker is himself a trial lawyer. “Any performer gets a euphoric high when they’re performing on stage,” he told us. “I’ll be at Elaine’s until they carry my body out of the theater. In fact, they may not. I might have my body embalmed and incorporated as a set piece.”
Why so in love with what he does? It’s a cathartic release, Parker says. “I don’t get to make my jury laugh all day,” he told us, which is, after all, the entire point at Elaine’s. “We make people forget about whatever it is they were worried about when they came in,” he told us. Nothing we do is highbrow. There’s no message. This isn’t Shakespeare. It’s not complicated. We just want you to have a good time.”
And that you will, folks, we guarantee it. And even if you don’t, there’s a pretty great bar in the theater, so there’s always that to fall back on.