American Insurrection

Charleston Stage Company's 30th anniversary season comes at an awkward moment for the company this year, what with them about to start packing for a forced evacuation of their longtime home at the Dock Street Theatre as the joint readies for a two-year-long, top-to-bottom facelift. But while they're refugees from the Dock Street, Charleston Stage will be producing in two separate downtown locations: the CofC's spacious Sottile Theatre and comparatively cozy King Street venue the American Theater. For this year's Piccolo Spoleto Festival (May 25-June 9), founder/producer Julian Wiles will produce his newest original stage play, Denmark Vesey: Insurrection, at the American, Charleston Stage's first Piccolo gig in 17 years. Wiles' script, which is still in draft form -- he says he's on either draft 14 or 40, he's lost track -- is based on the life of the famous famed freed Charleston slave, who in July 1822 was hanged for supposedly fomenting a statewide slave rebellion. One supposes Wiles will nab some of the top talent recently featured in Brad Jaynes' short film Song of Pumpkin Brown for the premiere, several of whom are old Dock Street vets. --Patrick Sharbaugh

click to enlarge LESLIE MCKELLAR

Spinning Their Wheels

The City of Charleston says it's had an ordinance on the books banning skateboarding on sidewalks or public roadways downtown since 1975 -- around the time skateboarding was emerging from California's underground counterculture into a national pastime. Even so, locals have been riding wood downtown for years -- to classes, to the library, to bars, to LaHa, anywhere four plastic wheels can go. Recently, though, skaters began to notice a crackdown on enforcement. Tired of being branded criminals, they reacted faster than you could say "360 hard flip." Point Break, at 369 King Street, announced a deck design contest, "to show the nice side of skateboarding," according to owner Moshe Solomon, with money from the sales of all the submitted pimped-up decks (30-plus so far) going to MUSC Children's Hospital.

"A lot of people use longboards as transportation," Solomon says. "It's ridiculous that you can bicycle or rollerblade on the sidewalk, but not ride a skateboard at all. They talk about trying to minimize the amount of cars downtown. But with this ban, the city is doing the opposite."

The winners will be announced at a public showcase at Point Break on Sun. March 25 at 5 p.m. --PS


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