Thursday, September 8, 2016

Artspace asks local artists to complete survey on affordable live/work spaces

So much room for art-ivities

Posted by Connelly Hardaway on Thu, Sep 8, 2016 at 11:48 AM

Earlier this year the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation enlisted the help of Artspace, a national developer of spaces for artists to work and live, to determine the needs of local artists. The Gaylord and Donnelly Foundation is a nonprofit that supports land conservation, artistic vitality, and regional collections for people in the Lowcountry. A town hall meeting in February kicked off the project and now, Artspace is back, asking for local artists to complete a livability/workability survey beginning Wed. Sept. 14.

The goal of the survey is to gather stats regarding artist housing needs, affordability ranges, artist studio-only needs, location preferences, and more. All artists, arts organization administrators, and creative business owners are encouraged to take the survey. 

A survey launch will be held on Wed. Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art where Artspace consultants will present findings from their feasibility study. Learn more about Artspace here. And starting on Wed. Sept. 14 you can take the survey here. 
Jackson Flats is one of Artspace's realized projects in Minneapolis, MN. - EMILY TAYLOR, ARTSPACE
  • Emily Taylor, Artspace
  • Jackson Flats is one of Artspace's realized projects in Minneapolis, MN.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Check out the OPEN Arts expo this Sunday

Arts on arts

Posted by Amani Eley on Wed, Sep 7, 2016 at 11:22 AM

  • Provided
As if Second Sundays weren’t thrilling enough, the Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts presents an array of artists at this year's seventh annual OPEN Arts Expo, held at CofC's Cistern Yard from noon-4 p.m. The event will feature musicians, painters, actors, dancers, and more. Each year, the OPEN Arts Expo exposes the public to volunteer opportunities and Charleston's local art world. Along with the outdoor dining, food trucks, shopping deals, and scores of dogs that you'll find on King Street, you can enjoy live performances from David Higgins and Seth G in the Cistern Yard.

Commemorating the lives lost on 9/11, OPEN has also partnered with Hearts Mend Hearts to create Charleston Prayer Flags, and everyone in the community is invited to create their own during the expo.

“Last year, Hearts Mend Hearts led a community mandala project at OPEN, honoring the victims of Emanuel AME," says Mike Gibbons, the executive direction of OPEN. "This year, their prayer flag initiative will be designed by anyone who would like to contribute. Since the event falls on 9/11, we certainly encourage people to add flags that remember those we lost on 9/11/2001.” 

At 3:30 p.m. you can gather at the CisternYard for a moment of silence, which will be led by Mayor John Tecklenburg. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Review: The moral ground is ever-shifting in Threshold Rep's 'Becky Shaw'

Ice queens and kings

Posted by Maura Hogan on Mon, Sep 5, 2016 at 8:57 AM

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My chilliest single days were spent in New York City during the pre-crash 2000s, when Wall Street riches at times begat a breed of 30-something male who could be boastfully unapologetic in his transactional approach to courtship. I recall, for instance, one viral email that circulated around the city, rating women, as if they were a commodity, on looks, age, pedigree, etc., and gamely advising aspiring trophy wives who fell short of trader-sanctioned marriage criteria to cut their losses and stop kidding themselves. Now, before the moneymakers among us cry foul: I’m not suggesting that those in the finance world are singular in this take-no-prisoners method of coupling. However, I might entertain the notion that they are particularly effective at managing to pull it off with impunity.

When it comes to dramatic works mining the mean, cold heart of some members of the male species, the plays of Neil LaBute immediately savage the mind. Playwright Gina Gionfriddo’s Becky Shaw, which is now on offer at Threshold Repertory Theatre, serves up a similarly sangfroid study of sexual politics, though it casts culpability on both genders. Thankfully, the play does so with such deceptive affability and comic agility that it may take a few moments to register the sting of its psychic slap.

From the start of the play, the definition of family is blurred in ways that are meant to both engage and put off. Matriarch Susan Slater has summoned her daughter Suzanna and financial adviser, Max Garrett, to sort out the affairs of her recently departed husband. Max, however, is far more to the family than your average New York City number cruncher. The Slaters essentially adopted him as a 10-year-old orphan.

However, even in the face of such selfless kindness, Max has little inclination to either truly respect his role as de facto family member, or to pay it forward. For starters, he crosses lines no decent blood brother would cross. What’s more, he is stone cold uncaring to most anyone other than a chosen few. We discover this unsavory morsel of Max’s character early on, when Suzanna takes umbrage with her mother bringing a new, young suitor to the family estate meeting. “Your father’s dead,” Max tosses off. “His feelings don’t matter.”

What Max does embrace are his own clearly defined codes and lines of obligation. Suzanna, his would-be sister, falls firmly inside that line of duty. A woman by the name of Becky Shaw is decidedly on the outs. Becky comes to Max by way of Suzanna and her new husband Andrew, an aspiring writer and overall bleeding heart. They have induced Max to visit them in Providence, R.I., as part of a double date with the two of them and Becky, Andrew’s office mate. And, while Max may have signed off on the setup, that complicity does not, in his opinion, hold him to any further behavioral contract.

The date with Becky Shaw gets off to an awkward start when she shows up overdressed, a gesture Max reads as a sign of desperation. It devolves from there, in a squirm-worthy volley of digs and deflections, but the two set off on a date nonetheless.

However, when Becky and Max’s evening becomes far more sinister in its complications, it brings to the forefront the moral and ethical assumptions held by each of the characters. Between and amongst the couples, the dynamics fly around brisk and venal. Max assesses that he and Becky are not equals, but when it comes to power plays, she has a few choice leverage points. And, while Suzanna enjoys nursing her self image as a guileless waif in need of protection, she offers ample proof that she will not be outdone. A Gen X No Exit, Becky even makes mention of the prison that is life.

Just as the characters are equally matched, so are the actors in this adept ensemble, who juggle this unblinking comedy’s fierce jabs and well-aimed jests with equal finesse. Josh Wilhoit’s Max is icily authentic in his matter-of-fact self-possession and utter absence of pathos. As Suzanna, Tara Denton Holwegner exudes a frank warmth and exhibits a seemingly effortless verbal facility with the searing, smart script. Charley Smith brilliantly balances Becky’s affecting self-deprecation and aggressive underpinnings. Darryl LaPlante’s Andrew is stridently likable, even as his savior complex implodes on him. And, in a show-stopping coup de grace, Samille Basler portrays the elder Susan Slater with gorgeous, imperious ease.

The performances both stand apart and come together successfully in this riveting mix of mirth and menace. I for one would be up for turning up the menace even more —and perhaps upping the action on stage as counterpoint to this very verbal play. Nods are also in order for a sly set that slides from hotel room to Providence apartment in a few deft moves, thanks to the vision of recently departed Mike Kordek, Threshold Rep's technical director.

All in all, Threshold has delivered a Becky Shaw that is as bracingly cold as it is convivial and comic. With a solid ensemble and directorial clarity, the sharp edge of its wit cuts with such precision that you may not realize you’re bleeding out. Here’s to an evening of theater with plenty of Max — and to a life with far less of him. 

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Friday, September 2, 2016

Holy City Salsa celebrates grand opening this weekend

Cha-cha with us

Posted by Connelly Hardaway on Fri, Sep 2, 2016 at 9:44 AM

  • Provided
Holy City Salsa, Charleston's only designated Latin dance studio, celebrates its grand opening this weekend at its location in West Ashley. Opened a few months ago by local dancer Georgia Schrubbe, the studio has been quietly holding classes and Sunday night socials. Now Schrubbe is ready to unveil the space, a dance studio located in an unassuming strip mall — and home of Mayor Tecklenburg's former campaign office, at 1954 Ashley River Road.

"I want to bring it more to the forefront," says Schrubbe of Latin dancing in Charleston. "People don't realize it's an option."

Schrubbe started dancing ballet as a kid, a foray that started when she saw a professional ballet performance ... and subsequently peed her pants. "I was kinda hooked after that," she laughs. 

After years of ballet, Schrubbe became a Zumba teacher while studying at CofC. The music she danced to in Zumba classes has connections to Salsa, which Schrubbe quickly picked up. "Salsa dancing felt natural," she says. "Ballet is not natural."

Schrubbe took her newfound passion one step further when she traveled to Cuba to study in college, hoping to hit up as many nightclubs and Salsa-centric spots as she could. Back in the Lowcountry, Schrubbe taught Salsa classes at various studios, and hosted her first big event, Strings and Salsa at Striped Pig Distillery, in 2014. 

"I thought I could do this professionally," she says. So she created Baila ConmiG.A., a Latin dance service, which eventually became part and parcel of Holy City Salsa, the current studio.

"I was being a gypsy, and I wanted to create a community," says Schrubbe. She says that most people who take her classes are young professionals in their 30s and 40s, noting that people in caretaking professions, like teachers and nurses, flock to her classes. "It's a chance to do something for themselves," she says.

"A lot of respect and self-expression is taught through dancing," says Schrubbe. And while Schrubbe clearly has a soft spot for Salsa, she is open to hosting all kinds of dance at her studio. She hopes that the space, and HCS in general, will become a hub of international culture, featuring dance and other arts. 

Learn all about Holy City Salsa, and get your dance on, this Sun. Sept. 4 from 7:30-11 p.m. There will be a free lesson at 7:30 p.m. and dancing from 8-11 p.m. The event is $10 per person and BYOB. Check the Facebook page for a full list of free classes and more during the grand opening week. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Charleston Arts Festival features artists in Create, Erase, Repeat series

Gone in 60 seconds

Posted by David Hall on Thu, Sep 1, 2016 at 2:10 PM

Connor Lock stands in front of a PBR appreciation mural he helped paint at Recovery Room - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Connor Lock stands in front of a PBR appreciation mural he helped paint at Recovery Room
Artist Connor Lock is the first artist to be featured in the Create, Erase, Repeat series, produced by the Charleston Arts Festival. The Charleston what festival? From Oct. 5-9 the Charleston Arts Festival, created by Andrew Walker, the creator of Jail Break, and Terry Fox, PURE Theatre's president of the board of directors, present four days of all things art — from visual to music to cuisine. Stay tuned for more info on the festival in the next couple of weeks.

Until then, enjoy the first of the Create, Erase, Repeat videos. In the series, artists create a work on a white board ... only to erase it at the end. And yes, that's as hard to watch as it sounds.

The video opens with Lock starting up his vintage truck and driving it to the top floor of the Mary Street parking garage, where he draws his design on a white board in the bed of the pickup. Drone footage captures the artist driving the truck at sunset in front of stunning views of the city.

Lock is the founder of the local graphic designer company, SEVEN.

Videos of artists Chechel Justiss, Nic Jenkins, Karen Ann Myers, and Paul Cristina will be released in the next few weeks. 

Create | Erase | Repeat - Featuring Connor Lock from Stu & Drew on Vimeo.

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