Monday, April 6, 2015

CofC Italian film fest hosting 'Spaghetti Western Party'

Nuovo Cinema Italiano Film Festival celebrates eighth year

Posted by Viraj Naik on Mon, Apr 6, 2015 at 3:53 PM

Promotional poster for Spaghetti Western Party. - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Promotional poster for Spaghetti Western Party.
Are you a bit of a cinephile? Have you got loads of film posters plastered on your walls? If so, you’re in luck — the College of Charleston’s Italian Film Festival will be hosting a screening of the classic Sergio Leone spaghetti western, Once Upon a Time in the West, Thurs. April 9 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The highly influential film — inspiring acclaimed filmmakers from Quentin Tarantino to Stanley Kubrick — centers on a complex revenge plot, as a treacherous railroad baron seeks vengeance on two hired hit men turned heroes. “It’s very well-loved in cinematic circles and general audiences,” says Nike Kern, one of the fest’s advisory board members. “The film’s aged very well, and is still very pertinent today.”

Attendees are also encouraged to wear their best western-themed clothing as part of the event’s costume contest, with the winner receiving free tickets to the festival. In addition to this, the event will also feature a silent auction as well as adult drinks, Italian and Mexican cuisine and plenty of music.

Advance tickets are $65 and $75 at the door. The event’s proceeds will go towards funding the film festival in the fall.

Rural Route Film Festival stops in Charleston this weekend

The route less travelled

Posted by Viraj Naik on Mon, Apr 6, 2015 at 3:52 PM

Promotional poster for Rural Route Film Festival.
  • Promotional poster for Rural Route Film Festival.
In embracing a variety of films — from the complicated imaginings of Chris Nolan to the genius of Martin Scorsese — sometimes it’s nice to take the road less travelled.

That’s the goal of the Rural Route Film Festival, a collection of unique short films centering mainly on rural life and the countryside, highlighting contemporary issues like agriculture and farming politics. The festival will hit Charleston this Saturday, April 11 at 7 p.m. at the Olde Village Community Building in North Charleston.

“A lot of our films explore a more artistic side of this kind of life, with plenty of [the] old world encapsulated in the culture,” says Festival Director Alan Webber. Don’t let the ‘rural’ title fool you though. The scope of the festival’s lineup spans the globe. From the icy altitudes of Ecuadorian mountain Chimborazo to the traditional Balinese funeral ritual Ngaben, attendees will learn about eclectic peoples and cultures they may never get to experience otherwise.

“The [festival’s] about change in general and the state of unique cultures, with a cluster of experimental films that really push boundaries,” Webber adds. This year marks the return of the festival, as it will hit the Charleston area for the first time since the 2011-2012 season. Tickets are $6 and can be purchased online.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Southern Charm Recap S2 E3: Fishing with Cameran

Perfect Martinis with Pat, Surfing with Shep

Posted by Stephanie Barna on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 4:40 PM


I want to root for Kathryn. I really do. But she just seems so angry and misguided that I want to intervene. Or, rather, I want Cameran to intervene. I want Southern Charm to transform into a show called "Derailing the Hot Mess Express with Cameran," or maybe just "Fishing with Cameran." This woman is smart, well adjusted, insightful. Plus she's pretty and she fishes. Oh, and most importantly — she has a sense of humor.

In contrast, young Kathryn is insecure, irrational, suspicious, and utterly humorless. Craig nails it — she never smiles. It's a good thing she has youth and beauty on her side, because she has zero personality and seemingly even less smarts. I actually liked her better before she became a cast member and got a spot in the confessional booth. At least then I could assume she was smart and sassy, and that was part of her appeal to the men. Unfortunately, that's not the case, as evidenced by her meeting with Jennifer.

Kathryn tries to have an adult conversation with Jennifer, the woman who crashed (but was invited to) T-Rav's Senate announcement dinner party. But since Kathryn's still playing at adulthood, this goes awkwardly down the wrong path. She should be having this conversation with her consort and not this stranger. It makes her look like she's just trying to get dirt on T-Rav. She's investigating him. "I'm making sure everything he's telling me is 100 percent." Kathryn you are indeed naive because you expected pregnancy and fatherhood to change a 52-year-old man into something he's not. Babies are not magic. But Southern manners are, because Jennifer stays above the fray and somehow leaves this happy hour with one more friend.

Ultimately, Southern Charm is a show of contrasts. We contrast the misguided twenty-something noobs (Craig, Kathryn) with the thirty-something pros at life (Shep, Cameran). We contrast the relaxed charm and easygoing approach of Shep with the uptight judgment of Whitney and the desperate partying of Craig; the cynicism of Whitney with the narcissism of Thomas. The effortless beauty of Landon with the artifice of Kathryn. 

Oh, and Landon. Don't you just want to protect this one from the dangers of this show? She sorely needs a fishing trip with Cameran, the wise reality TV show veteran who can school Landon on the dangers of being too real, because Landon is sharing some very real shit. In a scene with her sister, they delve into some serious mommy issues. I can only imagine what that phone call was like today. If your mom is all about appearances, the type who would discourage divorce, even if it meant happiness, and mow the grass before vacuuming the house, then she must be livid at her daughters airing family issues on national television. Oof. That's the trouble with the South. Families will betray their own kin in honor of keeping up appearances. Seeing sweet Landon tear up and say she doesn't think her mother is necessarily ashamed of her but thinks she hasn't lived up to her expectations made me all verklempt. I wanted to get all Stuart Smalley with her: you're good enough, you're smart enough, and doggone it, people like you. Cameran, please give this girl a hug for us.

Not only did this episode give us a clearer picture of Landon, it also gave us a beach party at Shep and Whitney's summertime digs on Sullivan's Island. Good times. Beautiful people. Strong margaritas. Plans for a fashion show with the fabulous Cooper Ray, followed by a pointed lesson in business from Whitney's partner at the Generalissimo. (We will studiously ignore Whitney's jam session in the living room.)

Apparently, Whitney has been cavorting in Europe with his gorgeous German-Austrian-model-actress girlfriend instead of getting his hands dirty renovating an old pawn shop into a high-end Mexican New York-lounge-y kind of place. The Planet Hollywood guy is pissed. Really pissed. Maybe he should have opened a hot dog stand with Shep. But Whitney doesn't have any cousins or siblings, so he really doesn't play well with others, as Shep astutely observes. 

The episode ends with another humorless exchange between Kathryn and T-Rav. Kathryn is outraged — outraged I tell you — at the disrespect that T-Rav is showing her and the baby by putting out campaign commercials that play up his playboy image and don't include his family. There's no doubt this guy loves the baby and once thought Kathryn was hot and good breeding stock, but she's still not marriage material. Will their relationship last longer than his jail sentence? We'll have to wait and see. Maybe he's waiting until after he gets to the U.S. Senate.

In the end, it all comes down to the queen. Patricia is Cameran on steroids. Her wisdom comes from a lifetime of husbands, butlers, gin martinis, and stupid amounts of money: "I don't think Thomas has a chance to beat Lindsay Graham. Having a child out of wedlock. Being a convicted felon. Those are not great to have on the resume. But nobody's perfect." Cameran couldn't have said it better herself. 

Maybe the show we really need is "Perfect Martinis with Pat." 

What else you need to know:

Craig was bullied as a kid and now he's popular and getting attention. That makes me feel so sad for him. As Cameran says, you understand your problem but you still sabotage yourself. What are you looking for Craig? 

Shep is funny and smart (I'm not joking). The guy is an avid reader and every once in a while, he'll whip out his wit with observations like this one on Whitney: "Whitney likes darkness and hanging upside in closets. Like Nosferatu." 

Shep also needs a show (Surfing with Shep?) where he teaches Whitney how to wear shorts and play nice with friends and share his toys. More Shep on Whitney:  "Not only is Whitney an only child, he told me that his mom and dad are only children. That means he has zero cousins. He was like the Little Prince going through a cavernous house with 25 rooms. I think that's pretty telling." 

Thomas spends each episode cringing in embarrassment. He's successfully squired his baby-mama out to the plantation and spends his time traveling and doing other stuff besides hanging out at home, and he knows he should put a ring on it, but he just can't bring himself to do it — and the reasons are so very very clear now that Kathryn has been let back into society. 

Next week: Craig's head explodes and Whitney gets lectured by the hillbilly strumpet. 

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Indie Grits Roadshow hits Redux March 28th

Columbia's film, music, and arts festival comes to Charleston.

Posted by Connelly Hardaway on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 11:00 AM

In his second year in charge of Columbia's Indie Grits festival, Seth Gadsen decided to bring the roadshow home with a special presentation in Charleston at Redux, the contemporary art studio he helped found.

Originally a film-focused festival, the nine year old Indie Grits has evolved into a showcase for the cinematic, artistic, culinary, and musical talent of the Southeast. Gadsen says that in the past, Charleston only got a taste of the festival through short film viewings, at local events like the Terrace Theater's annual film festival. But this year, he thought a roadshow should do a little bit more, "It didn't seem right to just show shorts and say that's what Indie Grits is. Films are just one part [of the roadshow]. We do a lot of live things and weird stuff," he says. 

The films showing this weekend have all been hits at past Indie Grits' fests. The lineup of shorts starts at 7:30 p.m. and include:

, by Bernardo Britto - 2014 Sundance Animated Jury Prize winner
Pen Up the Pigs, by Kelly Gallagher - 2014 Indie Grits Animated Grit Award winner
Happy Memories, by Jack Fields
Fish Hooks, by Ryan Cockrell of Lunch and Recess

The feature film — Dusty Stacks of Mom, by Jodie Mack, a winner of 2013 Indie Grits Helen Hill Award — will come on at 8:15 p.m.

The show starts when the doors open at 6 p.m., with music by inifinitikiss. Introducing Fish Taco (a comedy band Gadsen compares to Flight of the Conchords) performs at 7 p.m. Gold Light will perform at 8 p.m., and DJ Lanatron revs up the dance party at 9 p.m.

The event is free to attend. Outta My Huevos will be outside providing the eats. 

Gadsen hopes the roadshow will inspire people in Charleston to make the short trip to Columbia for Indie Grits, April 14-19. 

"Charleston's got a lot of amazing shit, but they don't have anything like Indie Grits," he says.

A still from Jodi Mack's Dusty Stacks of Mom
  • A still from Jodi Mack's Dusty Stacks of Mom

A still from Bernardo Britto's Yearbook
  • A still from Bernardo Britto's Yearbook

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Southern Charm Recap S2 E2: Sophomore slump and the Kathryn Konundrum

Bring back the olden days

Posted by Stephanie Barna on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 at 10:14 AM


Remember season one of Southern Charm where T-Rav threw dinner parties with the intention of "imparting some wisdom" and Shep said funny things? And we lived in the city instead of on some isolated plantation? And we didn't have a baby to feed and dinner to cook? When we were all bar stars!? Yeah, I'm feeling wistfully nostalgic for the good old days. 

Tonight's episode culminated in yet another fancy dinner party thrown by T-Rav. Unfortunately, it only resulted in the announcement of his candidacy for U.S. Senate, which is neither funny nor TV-friendly. It's just downright dull since it's clear that this run was all about giving Thomas a storyline for season two (we sense Whitney's evil Iago whispers all over this one). Spoiler alert: T-Rav gets trounced like a trollop by incumbent Lindsey Graham. 

Speaking of trollops, before we ever get to dinner, we get to spend some quality time with his consort Kathryn Dennis, a wild filly that T-Rav is attempting to break without the benefit of a big old ring. This is a girl, unlike Cameran, who admits that she's all about landing a rich husband. Why do you think she let him ride her bareback in the first place? Her lineage may go back 200 years in Charleston, but that doesn't mean she has class or breeding now, as Ms. Pat points out. But to KD's credit, she is trying very hard to prove herself to everyone. Just take a look at her fancy salmon dinner.

In an earnest attempt to prove to T-Rav that she is indeed the kind of girl you'd marry and not just knock up and sequester away in your country house, KD is working on her domestic skills. To that end, she squirts a pile of Duke's mayo on some farmed salmon and covers it in lemon pepper. And then she gets the nanny to make the asparagus
Let's stop here, though, and give T-Rav some help feeding that baby. First of all, sit down in a rocking chair or something. And stop bouncing her while she takes that bottle. And why the hell are you spinning the bottle around in her mouth? These two need more than a nanny — they need life coaches, parents, and siblings to intervene and help them out. But, oh no, they are surrounded by plotters and schemers. To wit, evil Whitney twirling his mustache on his mama's couch and pretending to care deeply about T-Rav. Whitney plans to help him get to Washington. Beware T-Rav. Beware. 

So dinner plans. Dinner plans. Wine. Invites. Blah blah blah. 

People arrive. Talk shit. Pretend like they think T-Rav will announce his intention to marry KD, who comes to dinner looking like an angry Lizzie Borden ready to take an axe to that blonde who dared show up at her man's party. Her school marm get-up signifies her desire to be the perfect political wife. 

Alas, Kathryn is plagued by the green-eyed monster. She can't abide the oldish blonde. She's trying to keep T-Rav under control. Whitney arrives and makes awkward talk. I won't even go into his band name, which is so contrived and ridiculous. Then Thomas drops his not-so-exciting bomb of running for Senate and then they have a ridiculous chat about how he has a shot. And then Whitney creates more (intentionally scripted) awkwardness: challenging T-Rav's intentions for KD. I'm starting to think that T-Rav is in on Whitney's machinations and is intentionally toying with KD's emotions. Or maybe they're all in on it. In that case, it's no wonder the drama and emotion feel so feigned. 

Southernisms. You could say, for some people, that the Southernisms that Cameram spews are the worst things about the South. People will say mean shit behind your back while smiling and dripping with honey and lying right to your face. The absolute worst. Bless their hearts.  

Cameran is blazing feminist trails in the South by not getting an MRS. degree. Even though she is a missus and has scored a doctor, Cameran will sell real estate, by god, and not depend on a man 'cause he could leave her or even croak tomorrow. I guess in Cameran's world there is no alimony or insurance. Or maybe she doesn't know about these real-world things. 

Landon is cute and smiley and got her old pal Shep to help her move onto a boat in Charleston Harbor. So far, she has not annoyed us at all. But she's pretty dull compared to last season's mohawked Jenna with her crystal meth vagina. Sigh.  

Patricia's second butler will do things like extended chauffeuring, polishing the silver, dealing with the porcelains, cleaning the paintings with a sable brush, and serving breakfast in bed. Oh, and making a perfect martini at exactly 5 p.m. One of her husbands was the son or nephew or related to Ian Fleming and made perfect martinis. Pat says she can't have too many butlers. Since she doesn't have a husband right now, she fills the house up with butlers. She is definitely living the dream. 

Whitney writes the script to this show and has decided to give himself and his mom the best lines this season: Swanson Hungry-Man sized hangover, et al.  

Craig's psychology is cracked open. His younger brother is better at everything: better looking, better at sports, better at keeping his shit together, better at pleasing his parents and taking over the family business. We bet he'd be better at taking the Bar too, even without law school. No wonder Craig's getting the loser edit. He is a loser. 

Next week: Whitney convinces T-Rav that a commercial with him dancing with hot chicks is a solid political move. 

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