Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Spoleto offering Charleston locals 40 hours of 40 percent off select 2019 tickets this weekend

Performances include this year's finale at Riverfront park

Posted by Connelly Hardaway on Wed, Mar 6, 2019 at 10:52 AM

This way to 40 percent off tickets! - BILL T. JONES/ ARNIE ZANE COMPANY
  • Bill T. Jones/ Arnie Zane Company
  • This way to 40 percent off tickets!
It's a busy week in festival news, y'all. Charleston's Wine + Food festival kicks off today (be sure to check out our extensive coverage on that front). And while Spoleto Festival USA doesn't pop off until later this Spring, this weekend Charleston locals have the chance to snag 40 percent off of tickets to a wide variety of shows.

Locals weekend, held Sat. March 9 and Sun. March 10, is an opportunity for locals to use a promo code either online or in person to snag specially priced tickets. The Spoleto box office, located at 14 George St., will be open from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Also, as part of Second Sunday on King Street this weekend, there will be an information table on the corner of King and George streets, set up from 1-5 p.m.

The list of specially priced performances includes over 50 festival events, like Spoleto's all-new production, Salome, and the world premieres of Roots and Letter to a Friend in Gaza, as well as the always popular festival finale, this year held in North Charleston's Riverfront Park.

Check out the full list of discounted performances online. 

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Spoleto tickets now on sale, auction preview held at Cigar Factory Thurs. Jan. 17

Get 'em while they're hot

Posted by Connelly Hardaway on Wed, Jan 16, 2019 at 2:46 PM

  • Spoleto Festival USA
As of today (Wed. Jan. 16, FYI), tickets for the 43rd season of Spoleto Festival USA are now on sale to the general public. Yes folks, Spoleto draws ever near, hitting the town with a bang of confetti, fanfare, and so very much culture and art starting May 24. The three-week long fest brings with it theater, concerts, opera, dance, oh my! You can buy tickets online at or by calling (843) 579-3100.

If three weeks of the arts feels overwhelming, fear not. Earlier this month City Paper's theater critic and Spoleto overview critic, Maura Hogan, previewed the upcoming festival. Highlighting the impressive number of theater offerings at this year's fest, Hogan also takes note of a new finale location — and a through line of really great storytelling.
You can purchase individual tickets to each show or choose from several package options.

Spoleto's annual auction, which this year benefits the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, takes place on Fri. Feb. 8 at the brand spankin' new Hotel Bennett, which is set to open officially in February. Auction guests have the opportunity to bid on sponsorships of orchestra members (starting at $500) which will help fund their 2019 residency. Additional live auction items include tickets to the PGA masters, a trip to London, and a Viking River Cruise.

As always, the auction features art donated by private collectors, gallery owners, and artists. If you'd like to check out the art beforehand, the pieces will be on display in Fritz Porter (located in the Cigar Factory) starting tomorrow, Thurs. Jan. 17. A free-to-attend preview party with light hors d'oeuvres and bubbly kicks off at 6 p.m. The works will remain on display through Jan. 30.

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Spoleto SCENE makes the most of an underwhelming finale at The Joe

Missing Middleton

Posted by Caroline Enten on Mon, Jun 11, 2018 at 2:22 PM

Smiling through the sorta empty finale at The Joe. - TAYLOR DRAKE
  • Taylor Drake
  • Smiling through the sorta empty finale at The Joe.
Well, I have good news and bad news.

Starting on a positive note, let it be known that SCENE throws down, even in the direst of times. Wet Hot American Summer met Sandlot as members gathered at The Joe last night for the highly anticipated Spoleto finale. Picture pink flamingo-headed innertubes, beach balls, and baby pools full of cheap drinks, overlooking the diamond rounding first base. Off in the outfield, the mainstage was too far to see clearly from the stands, but SCENEsters could grab a thoughtfully provided blanket, and make the short trek onto the field if so desired to get closer to the action.

I use the word "action" here lightly, because folks, the finale saw about as much excitement as my teenage years spent at an all girls boarding school on a horse farm in Baltimore County; in short: not much happened.

A few hundred people spread out leisurely between the stands and field, and a handful of the Joe's regular vendors opened up shop to serve their normal fare including dogs, fries, barbecue sandwiches, pizza, and ice cream. The gucci hotdog stand near the water wasn't even open. So much for Homewreckers.

Frankly, the whole thing left most of the festival-goers with whom I chatted feeling pretty disheartened, and having attended the last five finales myself, I felt it too. Even the fireworks couldn't seem to get it up — literally. They lasted all of two minutes, which when I think back to last year's brilliant and emotional display (seemingly choreographed to the Revivalists' cover of "Hey Jude" — I didn't cry, you cried!) makes it all the more depressing in comparison.

Thankfully SCENE provided a nice little refuge from the otherwise lackluster conclusion to the 2018 season. As usual, plenty of alcohol, including a tasty red wine sangria from MIX bartending service, helped keep spirits high (you're welcome), and Home Team BBQ proffered an eclectic spread including slices of skillet-hot pork belly, succotash, salad, and a couple of passed hors d'oeuvres. I think the general consensus in re: food aired on the side of "stick to what you know," but with one traditional barbecue already under our belts, I see the logic behind an attempt to try something different and upscale.

In conclusion, to paraphrase Scar from the Lion King as he preaches to his hyena henchmen, "Stick with SCENE, and you'll never go hungry again!"

At least not until you turn 40.

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Friday, June 8, 2018

The penultimate Spoleto SCENE party at Tu had 'em dancing the night away

Hipsters and BMWs, unite

Posted by Caroline Enten on Fri, Jun 8, 2018 at 3:57 PM

  • Amy Sullivan Photography

Mercedes Benz. BMW. Infiniti. Lexus. Tommy Baker’s showroom on Highway 17, or a succession of luxury vehicles parked tandem style on Woolfe Street? Both, it turns out; at least for one night.

This parade of pomp, an unusual site for the East Side, could only ever mean one thing: a SCENE takeover at restaurant Tu, which is exactly where the penultimate party took place last night. Members came together to celebrate Spoleto’s presentation of "post-modern ballet" New Bodies. Touted as the 'cool, late-night' installation of SCENE events, this party usually culls together the rowdier patrons from the group. Just ask Carter Joyce, who admitted he'd already warned his boss to expect a late arrival the following morning.

SCENE took a risk with the locale for this particular fête. For the past two years, the same version of this party was held at Restoration on King, sprawled out over two connected suites, with everyone corralled snugly together til the wee hours.

But just like Zebo's, Cumberland's, and Gentry Bar (last one there’s a stretch), all good things on that particular section of King have given way to the siren call of hipper, more distant destinations. As AC's and O'Malley's once obliterated King Street, so has Charleston’s CommoTuMustardoré District (we're still workshopping the name here, suggestions welcome) enticed bar-hoppers away from the hullabaloo of the crowds towards a sparser side of town.

To keep SCENEsters at peak contentment, the planning committee must pay attention to these trends and fresh, innovative ideas year after year. Which brings us to Tu, the brainchild of Josh Walker and Joey Ryan where delicious food meets haunted house, and where we boogied down beneath the soft glow of the Exxon sign next door.

Handheld chicken sammies, touted as a Japanese version of Chick-fil-A, were plentiful and 100 percent necessary to fuel the dance party. What began with the funky, eclectic beats of Joel Tarpin aka deejay “Mr. Lauper,” supposedly gave way to an after dance party at the Commodore, but I didn’t make it long enough to confirm that particular rumor. The evening heat and salty fare magnified thirst, and drink lines remained thick throughout the evening. In the airy restaurant courtyard, fan favorites Virgil Kaine and Cathead Vodka crafted ginger-heavy cocktails, but the real standout had to be the Blackberry Plum Saison, both served and brewed by Cooper River Brewing Company’s own Katie Powers.

With only the Finale remaining, the big question on everyone’s mind is, “When are these goddamn party recaps going to stop?”

That and, “Will the Joe provide a suitable replacement for the most highly attended Spoleto event of the festival?” Word on the street is that attendees will be allowed on the field, rather than restricted to the stands, which is a huge win for SCENEsters, old fogies, and normals alike.

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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Tuesday's Spoleto SCENE happy hour was more Instagrammable than your last vacation

Do it for the 'gram

Posted by Caroline Enten on Thu, Jun 7, 2018 at 1:27 PM

  • Taylor Drake
Tuesday's SCENE happy hour at Basic Kitchen was pure torture. Let me explain.

Before arriving, I committed to abstaining from all food and alcohol, having promised myself an evening run. Apparently, the older you get, the more heat intolerant you become. Even as recently as two years ago, I thought little of spending a midday hour crushing the bleachers at Burke’s practice field next to the Joe, perversely cherishing the oppressive summer heat. Today, I get annoyed when King Street storefronts skip an awning, forcing me to spend .5 seconds in the direct sun. This newfound, vampiric aversion to the elements provides a great excuse not to exercise, but doesn’t hold up come dusk, which is about the time happy hour winds down.
Location Details Basic Kitchen
Basic Kitchen
82 Wentworth St.
Charleston, SC
(843) 789-4568
L, D, (Mon.-Sat.) Sun. brunch

This brings me to Tuesday's event. I counted no less than five servers toting countless plates piled high with teetering towers of tempura battered cauliflower “wings,” and trays of nachos dripping with the best looking vegan cheese you’ve ever seen. I’m sure the attractiveness of food amplifies relative to (self imposed) deprivation of it, but you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be having a redemption meal at Basic Kitchen in the very near future.

  • Taylor Drake
Ole standby Cathead Distillery satisfied the alcohol quotient with Silver Fox cocktails (vodka, Earl Grey simple syrup, lemon), and Basic provided a few other choice beverage options including Negronis, beet margaritas, beers, and pinot noir*.

Dressed in blue and white, Basic’s back patio invited guests to plop onto to picnic benches, crowd beneath striped umbrellas, and wind down the workday in preparation to attend a performance of The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk at the Dock Street Theatre.

Cat Taylor, SCENE co-chairperson, marveled that everyone seemed to get the memo to dress according to venue, and she was right; together we presented a majorly Instagrammable still — a sea of teal, azure, cornflower and cobalt. St. Tropez’s “Le Club 55” would seem amateur compared to our unintentionally coordinated clique. The whole setup is a far cry from Andolini’s storage-cum-outdoor seating area of yesteryear, amirite?

Oh — and to answer the question burning on everyone’s mind: yes, I did manage a loping tour of Hampton Park at sunset. And while fitter and smugger for having done so, I’m quite sure it wasn’t worth the sacrifice.

*Actually, they served rosé. Because duh. It’s summertime in Charleston. This was a test to see if you were paying attention.

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