Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Crucible comes carefully crafted at Threshold Repertory Theatre

Threshold Repertory Theatre’s adaptation of Arthur Miller’s most well known play, The Crucible, is stellar, to say the least. In the company’s inaugural performance at their new Society Street location, Miller’s scathing social commentary of 1950s McCarthyism is effortlessly brought to life through complex emotional performances by the 19-person ensemble.

Set in Massachusetts at the height of the Salem Witch Trials, The Crucible focuses on the effects of fear and paranoia on a society, and the subsequent destruction wrought by such psychological imbalances. But don’t worry; it’s not all seriousness. In the midst of flying accusations are moments of subtle comedic relief that are sure to place a smile on your face.

This is a carefully staged, thought-provoking performance that you don’t want to miss.

The show runs through November 13. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students. Call 704-996-7037 or visit for more information.

words: Callie Smith

Threshold Repertory Theatre, 84 1/2 Society Street, downtown Charleston.,


Moogfest – October 28-30, 2011

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What happens when you combine Halloween weekend with the already interesting “sideshow” community of Asheville, North Carolina, AND over 60 artists performing throughout the course of the weekend, plus late night DJ sets, talks, exhibitions, installations, workshops, movies, etc.?

A weekend of epic musical and magically costumed madness called Moogfest (pronounced like “vogue”).

This 3-day, multi-venue annual event was created in honor of the remarkable vision of Robert Moog and his amazing musical inventions that changed the course of music. Moogfest celebrates Moog’s legacy as a sonic pioneer, and many of the performers are using Moog instruments – the Minimoog Voyager, the Little Phatty, the Etherwave Theremin, Moogerfoogers, and the Moog Guitar.

But these artists were not all chosen because of instruments; they were chosen because they simply, well, rock the fricking house. Expect to see big names like Moby, the Flaming Lips, STS9, TV on the Radio, Beats Antique, Ghostland Observatory, as well as up-and-coming ones like Emancipator, Fine Peduncle and tons more. There’s also a great visual art component with an exhibit called the “77 Million Paintings,” and workshops and all kinds of great things all weekend long–and all within walking distance in historic downtown Asheville.

Get your tickets, friends, costumes, and dancing shoes. You can even customize your own schedule on the Moogfest site:




We Love LEAF.

Guest contributor Ambra Lionstone had this to say about the Lake Eden Arts Festival, which took place last weekend in Black Mountain, NC:

October 2011 welcomed the 32nd Lake Eden Arts Festival in Black Mountain, NC.  Nestled in the valley, with a riot of red, orange and gold leaves abound, the crystal blue sky and crisp air offered LEAF go-ers a perfect display of autumn in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Every LEAF offers a wide spectrum of musical and workshop options and this year was no exception.  From the Orquesta GarDel’s salsa rhythms to Wanda Jackson, the Queen of Rockabilly, to the Jazz influenced hip-hop band, Art Official.    This year’s line-up was particularly touching. My personal favorite musical acts included the late night barn-shaking with The Primate Fiasco (playing Psychedelic Dixieland), Rising Appalachia (the beautiful folk-soul sisters), the world famous Turku- Nomads of the Silk Road (classical Romanian gypsy folk), The Legendary JCs (rocking it out with the Southern Swamp Soul) and of course the sweetest end to an amazing weekend with the angelic soul voices of Sweet Honey and The Rock.

Beyond the music there is the ever-loved kids village which this year featured story-telling, puppet shows, hands-on craft activities, a special dress up area and the big-rig flying trapeze. Urban Arts Institute’s dance team, Eternity (which organizes up to 200 local youth from ages 5-20 to perform a combination of hip-hop to partner dance to modern dance styles) took LEAF by flash mob in an exposition of sassy and skilled shake-down.  The famous LEAF Unifire Theater fire show heated up the night on the beachfront with an all-new show.  Poets of all ages crowded into Eden Hall for the cut-throat and tongue twisting poetry slam.  And, of course, no LEAF would be complete without the countless hours of organized mayhem of a spinning contra dance hall (coined this year as “one of the best contras in the country”)!

In the realm of visual arts and handicrafts, there were a few artists who really stood out to me this year.  Wendy Kowalski, a painter whose watercolors are surrealistic and circus-inspired hosted a painting workshop that emphasized the unique benefits of painting in the low-light of dusk.  Rob 7 represented a folk art explosion called Emerge-N-See Art where he creates on everything from canvas to spoons.

All in all, this 32nd Lake Eden Arts Festival was truly a pleasure to attend and experience!

–words and images courtesy Ambra Lionstone

Jail Break 2 Preview & Call to Artists!

Check out this awesome ‘animated poster’ for the November 12 Jail Break 2: Artists Breaking Out, set to take place at the Old City Jail, 21 Magazine Street, in downtown Charleston.

Presented by Entropy Arts, this multi-disciplinary arts festival will go from 12 noon – 11 pm, with live music, dance, multimedia installation and visual artists and artisans of all kinds selling their wares.  This is a great opportunity to discover new emerging, local artists, and to stock your house or check off your holiday gift list with original artwork, while you enjoy great music, dance, food and drink!  Tickets are $12 in advance, and $15 at the door.


Visual Artist & Artisans Wanted: Jail Break 2: Artists Breaking Out
Saturday, November 12
Old City Jail, Downtown Charleston

An all encompassing arts and music festival established to provide an outlet for local artists to present their work, JAIL BREAK 2 will be held at one of the most unique venues in downtown Charleston where the jail will be converted into a gallery, displaying works by local visual artists and students from the ACBA as well as music and dance installations. Additionally, interactive festivities such as live painting, arts and crafts, and artisan booths will be held outside in the main yard of the former jail.

Visual Artist Registration Form: 20% commission payable to festival organizers to offset event costs

Artisan Registration Form: $75 fee and artisans will need to provide their own tables, tents and lighting. Upon submitting this form you will be asked to pay an entry fee of $75 for artisan booths

We are working hard to be able to accommodate every artisan but are limited by the amount of space available and are are working on a first come first serve basis.

If you have any special needs or additional questions please contact Sara Bennett at

Dr. Sketchy’s Charleston returns tonight with The History of Burlesque!

design by Brandon Autry

Tonight the lovely Plume de Paname and Evelyn Devere will model for the Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School at the ultra-cool The Speakeasy. Doors open at 5, so come early to get your best seat! Sketching from 6 – 9 pm, tickets just $15! plus music from The Flat Foot Floozies and accordion madman Matt Lohan, who’s been blowing up lately, performing at everything from 2nd Sundays to house parties to Dr. Sketchy’s.

Word from the rehearsal last night is that this will be a fantastic evening of 30’s glam and gooooood music. Follow the sound of the accordion on East Bay Street and bring those sketchpads and pencils!

Get your tickets at or bring cash to the door!

Who’s the No. 1 City in the US? Why, Charleston, My Dear!

Rhett Butler would be so proud.  “I’m going back to Charleston, back where I belong…I want to see if somewhere there isn’t something left in life of charm and grace,’ he said in Gone With The Wind, and truer words have never been uttered.

Last night, Conde Nast and native son Stephen Colbert announced that Charleston, after years of playing bridesmaid to San Francisco, has been named No. 1 City in the US by the incredibly discerning readers of their magazine.

You love us.  You really love us!  We love you too.  Thanks Y’all.

Something “Wicked” This Way Comes

Prepare yourselves for the Broadway experience of a lifetime, as the internationally acclaimed musical Wicked is coming to the North Charleston Performing Arts Center this spring!

Glinda and Elphaba, the Witches of Oz

Wicked is an insightful tale of two young witches of Oz, their unlikely friendship, and how they became known as Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West, based on the Gregory Maguire novel Wicked.

Once immersed in this musical, the viewer is exposed to a fresh perspective on L. Frank Baum’s classic story and the society surrounding it, painting the world of Oz in shades of grey – or rather, green.

Employing over 200 pounds of dry ice; a 15-member orchestra, including several members from the Charleston area; and phenomenal costuming, Wicked brings an atmosphere of sheer energy and spectacle to any stage the production graces.

Embark on this magical journey and discover the spell-binding experience that is Wicked April 18 – 29, 2012.

Tickets for groups of 20 or more are now available at 843.529.5007 or www.northcharlestoncoliseumpac.comBest of Broadway season tickets are also on sale, and include coming productions of In The Heights, Mamma Mia! and Mary Poppins.

Get REDy: Meet Veritee Hill

One of the best things about the American College of the Building Art‘s annual Red Party is the pre-event, the Get REDy to Wear Party.  This year, Veritee Hill, Charleston Fashion Week Emerging Designer alum, will be donating a fabulous custome couture dress for it.

This is the perfect chance to get your mask for the big party, as there will be masks by local artists up for auction.  The party is taking place at the swanky Cocktail Club, upstairs above The Macinstosh, on Upper King Street, from 5:30 – 8 pm on Wednesday, October 12.  RSVP to or call 843.577.5245.

Time Stands Still. You’ll Stand Up


Sharon Graci as Sarah Goodwin in Time Stands Still

PURE Theatre has opened their 9th season, aptly titled Coming Home, in new digs at 477 King Street on Upper King Street.  Time Stands Still is the season opener and this is the regional premier of Donald Margulies’ play, starring Sharon Graci, David Mandel, Mark Landis and Katie Smith.  Randy Neale directs.

Theatre in Charleston provides you with many options and venues for the entire length of the performing arts season.  Some good, some not so good, some are really good.  Time Stands Still is an example of the really good.

Graci plays photo-journalist Sarah and her writer boyfriend Jamie is played by Mandel.  She literally looks like something the cat drug in as Jamie helps situate his stubborn and severely wounded love.  During her last assignment, Sarah and her ‘fixer’, the translator on the ground, were struck by a roadside bomb, killer her companion and landing her in the hospital, unconscious for two weeks.

You know those kind of people, the ones who can never slow down.  Even in the face of death and a long healing process, Sarah continues to say, ‘what’s next?’

Sarah’s loved ones look at her brush with death and have more normal reactions.  Jamie wants to get married, her editor and friend Richard settles down with a sweet girl, who while half his age, gives him the love and optimistic outlook that years of journalism seem to have robbed the rest of the cast of.

The cast is strong.  Really strong.  The set, costuming and music is all secondary, and doesn’t really matter in the face of stand out acting.  It could truly fade away and you probably wouldn’t notice.

Graci is the pinnacle of this cast.  Her ability to completely ‘become’ the gifted yet cynical Sarah is astounding.  When she takes the stage, there is nothing left of the actress, she is totally and solely the character.  Her timing and nuances are perfect.  Nothing feels false or overly ‘acted.’

Graci, PURE Theatre’s artistic director and co-founder, spends more time directing than acting these days, so this is a real treat.  I found myself wondering why Graci isn’t a household name.  If you’ve never seen her, you owe it to yourself to see this production.

Mandel’s Jamie is an earnest and endearing man.  Almost losing his beloved Sarah has clearly affected Jamie, and he is trying so hard to be the support that she needs.  His rants are especially fantastic.  It’s hard to get so worked up on opinions that aren’t your own, and Mandel does a great job.

You can tell Landis has been around the stage a time or two, and knows what he’s doing.  He transitions smoothly between his roles as friend and boss to Sarah and Jamie, lover to Mandy and new father.

Mandy, his doe-eyed young girlfriend, has a ‘cockeyed optimist’ kind of outlook on life, born from a simpler and less tragic life experience. She is wonderfully loyal while also trying to make a genuine connection with Sarah and Jamie, who so clearly consider her almost trivial and vapid.

So why will you stand up for Time Stands Still?  For me, the last scene was so incredibly poignant, heartbreaking and honest, that I literally sprang to my feet when the stage lights came up.  It’s not often such an intimate setting and excellent acting coexist.

You have five more chances to see Time Stands Still, October 7, 8, 13 & 14 at 7:30 pm, and October 9 at 2 pm.  Don’t miss it.  Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for student rush, with valid id, or call 866.811.4111.