Friday, May 11, 2018

Are those wacky waving inflatable tube men in the Spoleto Festival USA 2018 poster?

Hither AND Dither

Posted by Connelly Hardaway on Fri, May 11, 2018 at 11:36 AM

  • Richard Schmidt / David Hockney
Today Spoleto Festival director Nigel Redden revealed this year's festival poster, a colorful image from artist David Hockney, entitled "Hither and Dither." The painting, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 96", was first shown publicly at the Pace Gallery in New York as part of the exhibit, David Hockney: Something New in Painting (and Photography) [and even Printing].

In a press release Redden said, "In addition to being a prolific painter, David has created a number of set and costume designs for opera houses worldwide." This is the third festival poster that Hockney has created for Spoleto festivals; his first appeared on the 1976 Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy.

Our hot take on the poster? We dig it — the bright colors and the manic running around of stick figures is fun, and is probably a fair representation of what we'll look like, bopping from show to show in just a couple of weeks.

If you want to see a rundown of posters past — a.k.a the ones former editor Chris Haire found to be the most appalling — enjoy the roundup, from 2015's bong-like image to 2013's minimalist, err, etch-a-sketch design.

Oh yeah, and get pumped for Spoleto — we are officially two weeks away from kickoff.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Spoleto Festival USA 2018 outreach programs bring students and performers together

From chamber music to marionettes

Posted by Mary Scott Hardaway on Tue, May 1, 2018 at 2:14 PM

  • Provided

Spoleto Festival USA has been bringing international talent — we’re talking the cream of the creative crop — to Charleston’s shores since 1977. This year’s lineup is as impressive as ever, ranging from the U.S. premiere of Italian opera Pia de’ Tolomei to a heady contemporary opera inspired by a “tree of codes” to politically infused hip-hop to a ballet featuring an S.C. native New York City Ballet Principal Dancer. And then some.

But, beyond all the worldly, immersive experiences Spoleto is known for bringing to our fine city, perhaps even more notable is their close-to-home outreach. In the past decade, Spoleto has provided complimentary tickets (often more than 800 each season) to a variety of community based organizations and nonprofits through its Open Stage Door Program.

This year, the festival, in an “effort to build audiences for the future,” has partnered with several Charleston area schools — Meeting Street Academy, Memminger Elementary School of Global Studies, Sanders-Clyde Creative Arts School, Wando High School, Charleston County School of the Arts, Charleston Jazz Academy, and College of Charleston.

“In the face of tightening school budgets for arts initiatives, the Festival is proud to offer its most robust community-outreach efforts in recent years,” said Festival General Director Nigel Redden. “With continued generous support from private donors, the Festival hopes to expand these programs in future seasons.”

Check out the lineup of programs below:

Bank of America Chamber Music Series at Memminger Elementary

Tues. May 22 and Wed. May 23 (TBA)

1-2 p.m.

Chamber Music series artists Geoff Nutall, Christopher Costanza, Owen Dalby, and James Austin Smith instruct an in-school music class for third and fifth grade students. The following day, at a time TBA, the Australian physical theater company Gravity & Other Myths will demo for 70 students different aspects of physical theater.

Bank of America Chamber Music at Wando and SOA

Tues. May 22

5-6:30 p.m.

Bank of America Chamber Music series oboist James Austin Smith will lead an advanced-level oboe master class. Six oboists from Wando and SOA will participate in the 90 minute session, and several middle school students from Moultrie, SOA, and Thomas C. Cario will observe.

Bank of America Chamber Music at Sanders Clyde Elementary

Wed. May 23

9-11 a.m.

Geoff Nutall, Christopher Costanza, James Austin Smith, and Owen Dalby will lead two workshops for 40 fifth grade music students. Then, on May 30, the students will attend the Chamber Music Concert at Dock Street Theatre — student tickets to this performance were funded by private donors.

Carlo Colla & Sons Marionette Company with Meeting Street Academy

Wed. May 23

2-3:30 p.m.

Meeting Street Academy third through fifth graders will take a field trip to the Emmett Robinson Theatre for a behind the scenes puppet workshop (!) with the world renowned puppeteers, Carlo Colla & Sons Marionette Company. Students will learn about the history and construction of marionettes, costumes, and scenery, and then will watch a short performance.

Trio 3 with Charleston Jazz Academy

Mon. June 4

6-7 p.m.

Bassist Reggie Workman of Trio 3 offers a lecture for students of the Charleston Jazz Academy. The students of CJA will be offered complimentary tickets to a handful of related Spoleto events/concerts.

In addition to these K-12 school programs, the festival will also be sponsoring a special Spoleto Festival USA Azure Performance Sun. June 10 at 9:30 a.m. Geoff Nuttall, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, and select Bank of America Chamber musicians will present a free autism-friendly performance at the Dock Street Theatre. Those interested in attending the performance should contact Whitley Lewis at

Friday, April 27, 2018

Spoleto party correspondent Caroline Enten checks out Spoleto Scene's kickoff party

The young and the beautiful

Posted by Caroline Enten on Fri, Apr 27, 2018 at 11:35 AM

Kat Drerup, Leah Cromer, Madeline Spellerberg - CAROLINE ENTEN
  • Caroline Enten
  • Kat Drerup, Leah Cromer, Madeline Spellerberg
There’s no greater indicator that spring has sprung in Charleston than the arrival of the first Spoleto Scene event. The annual kickoff party, hosted again this year at Memminger Auditorium, never fails to deliver a flutter to the heart, impressing upon you the knowledge that winter must be now decidedly behind us because everyone seems to have swapped out their weird, pseudo-cold weather wardrobes for some flowery frock or pineapple embroidered button-up.
Citrus swordfish from Pancito and Lefty. - CAROLINE ENTEN
  • Caroline Enten
  • Citrus swordfish from Pancito and Lefty.
One attendee went so far as to snag a dress from Rent-the-Runway, a service which until recently I thought existed purely for those few occasions within a lifetime when an average gal finds herself in need of a black tie gown. Turns out, the new normal is borrowing a fabulous dress for any old occasion when you want to show the world you’ve shed your winter skin and are metamorphosing into your best self: your summer self.
Stark Shapleigh, Venita Aspen, Austin Walker - CAROLINE ENTEN
  • Caroline Enten
  • Stark Shapleigh, Venita Aspen, Austin Walker
New to SCENE this year: sponsors Low Tide Brewing and Pancito & Lefty. Some oldies but goodies included Cathead Vodka, DJ Party Dad, and the people who somehow make cotton candy hip and tasty, our sweet little Pure Fluff crew. Gone from SCENE entirely? Anyone who was 39 years of age this time last year. See ya, suckers!

Looking ahead, we have many parties and happy hours, performances and, of course, the highly anticipated finale to cover. The change of the finale location — from Middleton Place to The Joe — didn’t seem to phase the Scenesters, most of whom make the trek out to Dorchester County every year with religious fervor akin to a pilgrimage.

Party-goer Austin Walker agreed that moving the finale away from Middleton Place might take away a bit of the magic which usually accompanies the last day of the festival, but asserted that headliner The Lone Bellow will more than make up for any potential shortcomings of the new venue. We’ll have to see on June 10th!
Suzette Bussey, Priscilla Bennett - CAROLINE ENTEN
  • Caroline Enten
  • Suzette Bussey, Priscilla Bennett

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Hot tip: These are the Spoleto tickets you need to buy now, before it's too late

Hot, hot, hot

Posted by Connelly Hardaway on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 3:50 PM

Jon Batiste is the bandleader on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. - SASHA ISRAEL
  • Sasha Israel
  • Jon Batiste is the bandleader on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Y'all, it may seem like May 25 is a million miles away, but Spoleto season draws ever closer. Don't sleep on any Spoleto performance (we think they're all great), but be especially sharp about snagging tickets to these shows, which an inside source tells us are selling fast.

Jon Batiste
One of the fest's first acts, Jon Batiste (a.k.a Colbert's bandleader) performs at the Cistern Yard two nights — Thurs. May 25 and Fri. May 26, with his second performance augmented by the soul revivalist band, the Dap-Kings.

Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder
Skaggs added a night to his Cistern Yard performance, now giving the people what they want on Thurs. May 31 and Fri. June 1. If a show is popular enough to add an extra night ... well, you know what to do. Oh yeah, if you want to exchange your May 31 ticket for the June 1 show, just call the Spoleto box office and they'll help you out.

Ranky Tanky
I mean, is anyone surprised that the Charleston darlings are a hot commodity? Quiana Parler, Charlton Singleton, Kevin Hamilton, Calvin Baxter, Clay Ross, and Quentin Baxter take the Cistern Yard stage on Sat. June 2.

The only physical theater performance during Spoleto, Backbone takes over Memminger Auditorium May 25-30, with 10 acrobats performing a "joyous and extraordinary display of athleticism."

Woolfe Street Playhouse shows
If you want to see a show at Woolfe Street, you better snag tickets now. Like, today. The intimate venue almost always fills up — and with a killer, interactive (we're talking whisky tastes, here) performance in The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart and a heart wrenching, emotional one hour act in Borders — you better act fast.

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Spoleto 2017 ends with a bang

Revival time

Posted by Caroline Enten on Mon, Jun 12, 2017 at 10:45 AM

  • Caroline Enten
If there’s one thing the SCENE committee knows how to do really well, it’s craft a VIP experience for their constituents. Every event over the past few weeks was carefully planned, and then executed to a seemingly effortless degree. It’s to the point where even the organizers themselves lack any physical signs that they’ve been busting ass for hours to prepare a space for the arrival of party-goers. Hair, makeup, outfits — not only all in place, but also incomprehensibly traceless of the labor necessary to take a venue from sparse to spectacular.

As someone who day-of coordinates weddings, you have my word: pulling that off is a physics-defying feat of nature (one I, personally, have never accomplished. “Welcome to the wedding! Don't mind the sweat dripping off my head onto your gift wrap!”), and proves the high level of dedication among staff to curate a perfect party.

Scenesters try out the Lumos photo booth. - CAROLINE ENTEN
  • Caroline Enten
  • Scenesters try out the Lumos photo booth.
Never are the stakes higher than at the Spoleto Finale, and yesterday was no exception. SCENE knocked it out of the park, err plantation, with a party to rival even the inaugural kick-off at Memminger back in April. I imagine the Finale is the best chance for attracting future scenesters. After all, sponsored parties are private affairs, so the public never really gets to see firsthand what’s on the table if interested in purchasing membership. And despite access to what some have called Pulitzer Prize-worthy recaps in the newspaper, which offer a glimpse behind the curtain, there’s nothing quite like seeing it with your own eyes to understand the level of cool we’re dealing with here.

Firstly, SCENE fences off their own little plot of paradise, and much like the land runs of our country’s pioneers, those with a little status get a headstart. Secured thus is one of the best spots available: a giant oak-shaded grassy knoll, which hugs the entrance to the lovely Middleton Place gardens, and lies within decent proximity to the Port-a-Potties (though not close enough to risk offense). Even though yesterday wasn’t a total scorcher, it still felt like air conditioning beneath the canopy of trees compared to the open expanse of field beyond our sanctuary.

  • Caroline Enten
Next, no need to lug coolers or chairs along with you when you’re in The Club. How about Lewis BBQ catering? Brisket (lean or marbled), pulled pork, slaw, pickles — the works. Thirsty? Name your poison. Charlestowne Fermentory tapped kegs of their Sungazer IPA (try it! Not bitter in the least!) and Ralf; Underwood, an Oregon-based winery served CANS of rosé along with pinot noirs and gris (half a bottle of wine per can, imbiber beware); and old standby Cathead Vodka held court with their inventive “V for Verdita” cocktail. Teddy Nixon of Bar Mash mixed the Cathead with chile liquor, lime, cucumber, pineapple, and mint. It tasted identical to the candy the Mexican students at my boarding school used to receive in their care packages from home. Sweet eighth grade nostalgia.

In addition to refreshments, Christina Lor of interactive photobooth “Lumos” — which uses a little halo of the world’s most flattering light to frame photos — indulged a steady stream of selfie-takers, while somewhere off to the side, a casual game of bocce ball helped pass the time until nightfall. Get the picture?

  • Caroline Enten
Any passerby could glimpse upon our gathering, but only those with names on the clip-boarded lists could enter. I did manage to ferret out some brisket to our friends from Compagnie XY (remember them?), but there’s really no reason to leave the comfy confines of the SCENE compound until the headliner takes the stage.

The evening ended in the usual way: you know, brilliant fireworks accompanied by The Revivalists’ cover of “Hey Jude,” and ending, sweet and strangely enough, to George Michael’s “Faith.” I think it’s fair to say that Mr. Michaels would appreciate that in the dark, scenesters are indistinguishable from mere mortals, and that artificial explosions of light summon the inner child in all of us.

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