FESTIVAL | Say "toy boat" five times fast
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Charleston Maritime Center
10 Wharfside St.
For those who love to yell "pirate ship" when they see large barges carrying Lego-looking blocks into Charleston's harbor, this weekend will top the "oh man, big ships are cool" Richter scale. With 12 classic sailing ships from all over the world making their way to the Charleston Maritime Festival, the Cooper River will slightly resemble what this city looked like 150 years ago. The ships will start rolling in throughout the day Thursday, and that night, Gub'na Mark Sanford will welcome the captains and mates with a soirée at the Hibernian Hall (tickets available at the website). Wake up the next morning, when the festivities really begin, and listen to free daytime music, learn to be a pirate, fight with swords, jump in a castle, eat some food, board and walk around the tall ships for $10, watch the Saturday night Here Come the Mummies concert, or show up Friday at noon to watch 20 sailboats embark on a 777-nautical-mile race from Charleston to Bermuda. Really, there's more to do than can ever be done (Did I just really quote a Lion King song?), so check out the website to help whittle down the to-do list. FRIDAY-SUNDAY
VISUAL | T-t-t-t-t-touch me
Surface Tension: Multimedia Abstractions by Cindy Neuschwander and Hiroyuki Hamada
Opening reception: Fri. May 18, 5-7 p.m.
Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art
54 St. Philip St.
While Assistant Director/Curator Katie Lee has been at the Halsey for over two years now, this week marks the first show curated entirely by Lee, and she's chosen a pair of multimedia artists whose aims sync nicely with those of the College of Charleston's contemporary gallery. Virginia-based Cindy Neuschwander and New York-based Hiroyuki Hamada may be separated geographically, but while each has a distinct style, they're united by their uses of unspecified materials to create mysterious surfaces on their works (hence the show's title). Both artists will be present on Friday, with a lecture by Hamada from 4-5 p.m. in Room 309 of the Simons Center (the building where the Halsey is located) and a gallery talk by Neuschwander at 6 p.m., during the opening reception. Surface Tension will be on display at the Halsey through June 9. (For more on Surface Tension, read the article on pg. 39.) FRIDAY
THEATRE | Mmm, delicious decadence
280 Meeting St.
OK, so you've heard some buzz about this thing they call Cabaret Kiki, but you've yet to check it out. What are you waiting for? The totally unique, collaborative evening of music, dance, theatre, film, and storytelling packs a bevy of Charleston's most talented creative types into one bang-up evening. Whether your bag is quality musicianship (courtesy of bandleader Evan Bivins and players Nathan Koci, Bill Carson, Ash Hopkins, and Cary Ann Hearst), skimpy outfits and risque moves (as demonstrated by the Charleston Ballet Theatre dancers), laughter (provided by the antics of emcee Jonny Panick, a.k.a. Matthew Bivins), or just a dark theatre, if you've got a date to take, you're pretty much guaranteed a little post-show sexy time. Don't get stuck kicking yourself for missing it again — get your Cabaret Kiki tickets today from etix.com or the Have Nots! box office. Wilkommen! THURSDAY-SATURDAY
EVENT | The opera of brotherly love
Movies in Marion Square
A Night at the Opera
Thurs. May 17
Corner of King and Calhoun streets
577-5304 ext. 140
For the first time, Movies in Marion Square continues into a fifth week, all in the name of helping ease the transition from regular ol' Charleston into hot, high-gear Spoleto Charleston. In conjunction with the city's Office of Cultural Affairs, the City Paper presents A Night at the Opera — the Marx Brothers' classic comedy that has been dubbed by some as "the funniest picture ever made!" The selection is timely, tying in with both next week's kick-off of Piccolo Spoleto and Piccolo's strong focus on opera this year. THURSDAY
VISUAL ARTS | Happy hands
Sculpture in the South
Sat. May 19,10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sun. May 20,10 a.m.-5 p.m.
$5, free for children and students
Corner of Main and W. Fifth streets in Summerville
If it's time to toss those flamingoes gracing your yard and get some art the neighbors will adore, May is the month for a decorative makeover. After taking inspiration from last week's Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition at the North Charleston Arts Festival, head to the gorgeous Azalea Park in Summerville this weekend for hand-crafted art you can actually purchase and place in your own homestead. The sculptures, from 35 nationally-known artists, encompass a large variety of subjects, from animals to graceful dancers to abstract forms. While the little ones (ages 6-12) sculpt their own take-home projects, cruise the rows and meet the artists, watch a demonstration or two, grab some Smokin' Cole's barbecue, then snag something that'll be worth displaying on your precious Kentucky Blue. SATURDAY-SUNDAY