Creating Community and Connection
by Nina Greenplate Photography by Christian Lee
If you were to blend equal parts style, passion and charm, you would likely be making the acquaintance of Lucie Mann. These qualities lend themselves well to her lively and eclectic spirit. For 35 years, Lucie has called Hilton Head Island her home, and has loved it with a sense of community that extends to her many interests. Relationships are paramount to her: whether it be the relation between new friends, great food or her business clientele, genuine connection is essential. As I sit comfortably in her sunny living room, Annabelle, Lucie's 14-year-old Chihuahua climbs to the center of my lap and curls tightly. I am crazy happy right now, but I digress. Antoinette, a chocolate and white Hairless Chinese Crested pup, and Dexter, the lone feline, are watching close by. This space is as vibrant and colorful as Lucie herself. Vivid artwork hangs on the walls, many pieces by Steve Kauffman, a former apprentice of Andy Warhol. Marilyn Monroe, The Rat Pack and The Beatles fit the mood perfectly. In the hallway hangs a mesmerizing and life like oil painting of Jesus’ face, a generous gift from a family member. My eyes take me to a chalkboard in the center of the kitchen that reads, “I live in the throne room with Jesus.” Her faith lives here too.
The art of Solange, Lucie’s mother, decorates more of her wall space with intricate acrylic landscapes and sweeping sceneries. She smiles as she remembers her mothers sage advice on creating art: Keep everything you paint and don’t ever judge your own work. As a child, an art studio in her mother’s basement served as a launch pad to learn proper sketching techniques, lending itself well to her current work. Lucie is an active and accomplished architect on Hilton Head. It was in this career where she first met her husband Larry, president of Southern Heritage Homes, also on the island. They often collaborate in their similar professions, but it was outside of the building realm where their partnership took them in 2007. That year they took a leap of faith and purchased Park Plaza Cinema, a five-theater, 600-seat movie house on the islands’ south end. Cherry red leather chairs with contrasting grey and black decor are eye candy when you enter the welcoming lobby. Deep reclining seats make the movie-watching experience exactly what you came for. Comfort, like home, with a twist. Annabelle and Antoinette are often present at the cinema and customers love it. “Moviegoers truly become our friends,” Lucie says.
More than the fun and inviting decor, is how Lucie uses her theater to continue something very meaningful to her. “Real relationships are created when you genuinely care about the culture and community you live in.” Words she lives by. Enjoy a new movie release? Of course! But bringing people together for both entertainment and education is in line with her real mission. “I want Park Plaza Cinema to be a platform to educate and present new ideas,” she smiles.
Lucie is also a devoted vegetarian, with a lifestyle created from her passion for healthy food. Several years ago, she brought in several films devoted to plant-based nutrition. It brought to light the scientific findings on how the foods we eat have a profound effect on preventing disease and living well. Showing a film and partnering with non-profit organizations is a perfect way to raise funds for meaningful causes. In the last several years, many organizations have benefited from the generosity of Lucie and Larry’s cinema. Lucie wants to create a culture through information sharing, with the intent to serve the public. Education is indeed a gift to the community, and one that continues to give long after the experience has ended.
As a practicing vegetarian, Lucie is not only blessed with the ability to understand its benefits, but also to make it taste delicious! “The vegetable is the star of the dish,” she exclaims. Her culinary prowess takes food and plays with its ability to serve the body in the way food should. Asparagus juices sit by her windowsill. She will not waste this, as it will be the base for her and Larry’s next meal. Her goal in the kitchen is to develop layers of flavor, using vegetable broth as a base to marry with other ingredients. “Eating is short-lived. It is the preparation that brings me joy.” In alternating specific veggies each week, Lucie can develop flavor without the use of any butter or oils. This care and appreciation she has for food, carries us back to the theater. Lucie talks of bringing this clean food menu to Park Plaza Cinema. Yes! A vegan cuisine coupled with a great new release, or informative feature film. One may call it “A Revolution of Change.” This is Lucie’s vision, as well as her own words.
I swear the Beatles are singing “Revolution” right over my head, coming alive from the canvas where they hang. The idea may be revolutionary, but who better to pioneer it? Focusing on the culture, perhaps even building a brand and serving the area is her hope. Lucie’s formula for life in her kitchen, the theater and her work space, is all about connection; bringing the human experience together with a genuine spirit for those she serves. I believe Annabel too has figured this out, just like her mother; satisfy yourself with the blessings of connection, by genuinely giving of yourself.
Ideas in Motion: Book concepts: 1. The nuances of married couples together in the workplace; 2. A Healthy Living handbook
Best Day Ever: Her sacred Sunday’s, reconnecting weekly with husband, Larry.
Favorite Saying: “Thank you, Jesus”
Pet Peeve: Incompetence
Favorite Food Network Show: Chopped