2016 Fall Arts Guide 

A look ahead

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Erin Bennett Banks

Dear Charleston, wake up. You’re sleeping on our city’s next big thing. Forget your food fascination for just one second and turn your attention to the stage. The Holy City is brimming with theatrical talent right now. We have young playwrights producing original work, theater companies bringing in New York productions, thespians pushing this city’s buttoned-up limits with controversial topics. But what are we doing with our entertainment dollars? Eating. Eating and eating and then eating again. Put down the fork and go see a show, dammit. If not for the love of the stage, do it to test the truth of Stella Adler who said, “Theater means the seeing place. It is the place people come to see the truth about life and the social situation.” Trust me, you’ll have way more to talk about at cocktail hour after watching PURE’s The Christians or Threshold Rep’s Becky Shaw. Don’t believe me? Read CP Theater Critic Maura Hogan’s piece on the state of Charleston’s theater scene. —Kinsey Gidick
A look at Charleston's theater scene today
A look at Charleston's theater scene today All the City's a Stage

From where I'm sitting, the view of Charleston's stages is pretty striking — and that's not only because a critic often snags those coveted center aisle seats. — Maura Hogan


Are Pay What You Will nights beneficial to theater companies?
Are Pay What You Will nights beneficial to theater companies? The Cost of Art

In 2006 the City Paper ran an article, "Pay to Play," about how Charleston's museums and theaters set their admission prices. The article referenced prices at Charleston Stage, where in 2006, a theater-goer could see a play for $25, and a musical for $35. — Connelly Hardaway


Fahamu Pecou's art grapples with cultural representations of African Americans
Fahamu Pecou's art grapples with cultural representations of African Americans Triumph Over Tragedy

In a July op-ed for ArtsATL, a nonprofit publication in Atlanta, visual artist Fahamu Pecou wrote a column titled, "Art Will Tell." In it he talks about the origins of his Halsey exhibition, DO or DIE: Affect, Ritual, Resistance, which opens this weekend. — Connelly Hardaway


How Charleston's major theaters plan to stand out on their own
How Charleston's major theaters plan to stand out on their own Playing Their Part

As Charleston's arts scene continues to grow and develop, the area has become home to an increasing number of performance venues, both large and small. — Dustin Waters


Fall Arts Picks

Notes Between the Shadows

Notes Between the Shadows

Sottile Theatre

Sat., Oct. 28, 7:30-9 p.m. and Sun., Oct. 29, 3-4:30 p.m.

If, when conjuring up images of ballet, you're left with an unhinged Natalie Portman shattering a mirror in Black Swan or tiny pink tutus flitting around during a production of The Nutcracker, it's time you caught a show by Ballet Evolution. Now in its third year, Ballet Evolution continues to serve as the modern, edgy antithesis to this antiquated image of ballet. The company is comprised of dancers who artistic director and resident choreographer Jonathan Tabbert describes as mature and experienced, ranging in height and size and look. "I like to find the indivduality in each dancer, and try to highlight that," says Tabbert. Every Ballet Evolution production is set to live music, and Notes Between the Shadows, an original repertory program, is no different, with Chamber Music Charleston providing the soundtrack. While Tabbert says they are still working out all the details of Notes, expect to see three separate pieces, all set to poetry. One piece is set to Shostakovich's haunting String Quartet No. 8, with choreography inspired by the Henry Lawson poem, "The Things We Dare Not Tell." "We fight it down, and we live it down, or we bear it bravely well// But the best men die of a broken heart for the things they cannot tell." Beyond canned music and classic standards, Ballet Evolution explores the art form through varying mediums, inviting even the most ballet averse to appreciate the fluid, challenging, evocative movements of the dancers as they tell a story, one step at a time.

Pan American Modernism: Avant-Garde Art in Latin America and the United States

Pan American Modernism: Avant-Garde Art in Latin America and the United States

Gibbes Museum of Art

Tuesdays, Thursdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays, 1-5 p.m. and Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Continues through Jan. 7

The Gibbes Museum of Art debuts its Pan American Modernism: Avant-Garde Art in Latin America and the United States exhibition on Oct. 6, showcasing the artistic presence of modernism across the Americas between 1919 and 1979. The focal point is "modernism as an intercontinental phenomenon" and how it manifested when combined with the influence of Latin American artists. "Pan American Modernism focuses on the breadth of modernism that exists in the Pan American regions and the similarities shared among individuals in these various parts of the Americas," says Angela Mack, executive director of the Gibbes. Mack's aim is to give the general public a fuller understanding of modernism and how it led to influence other art forms. The art will be divided into five sections: Mexican Muralism and Its Legacy, The Female Muse, Abstract Expressionism, Modernist Photography, and Geometric Abstraction and Its Legacy. Corresponding events with this exhibition include live music by the Garage Cuban Band, a public tour of the exhibit with curator Pam Wall, and a screening of a film about Cuban life.

Gallery walk-through with Aurora Robson

Gallery walk-through with Aurora Robson

Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art

Sat., Oct. 21, 2 p.m.

Join us for a talk with SEA CHANGE exhibiting artist Aurora Robson in her exhibition. As an artist who explores ecological issues, she creates lively and intricate sculptures from plastic debris, transforming quotidian waste into aesthetic objects of beauty and reflection. Under her meticulous manipulation, the plastic materials she uses in her works take on an organic quality, thus connecting back to nature.

Harry Potter in Concert

Harry Potter in Concert

North Charleston Performing Arts Center

Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

Twenty years ago, the world of young adult literature was forever changed. J.K. Rowling, a school teacher with a dream of magic, sent the first three chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone to several literay agents. One wrote back requesting to see more. The rest, well, last we checked Rowling was worth a cool billion dollars. To see her first magical creation set to music, though, now that is priceless. Performed by the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in Concert is the product of the Harry Potter Film Concert series from CineConcerts. A 40-foot screen will feature the 2001 film while the CSO plays every note from the flick live on stage.

ALBATROSS film screening

ALBATROSS film screening

Charleston Music Hall

Wed., Oct. 25, 7 p.m.

ALBATROSS will have its theatrical premiere in Charleston in conjunction with Chris Jordan’s exhibition "Midway" at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. In the film, Jordan presents his trips to Midway Atoll islands in the Pacific Ocean that receive very little human contact. Despite its isolation from the rest of the world, Midway sits amid the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a swirling vortex of plastic waste carried via currents from all around the world. Jordan’s film gives viewers an intimate look into the lives of the native Laysan albatrosses and how their existence is threatened by human activity.

YALLFest

YALLFest

Various locations

Nov. 10-11

YALLFest, the largest young adult book festival in the South and one of the biggest in the country, is back this November. Blue Bicycle Books hosts the two-day long shindig which features plenty of signings, panels, and special events. One of the authors generating the most hype is the multi-talented actor Jason Segel. Perhaps best known for his role as Marshall in How I Met Your Mother, Segel is also a New York Times bestselling author. Also anticipated is Corrie Wang, locally-based and published author of The Takedown (read all about it in City Paper's April cover story). "We're trying to get more local folks to come out to the festival because 70 percent of fans are from out of town," notes owner Jonathan Sanchez. Some of this year's special events include biscuit giveaways from Callie's Hot Little Biscuit with head sponsor Underlined, and coffee and donuts events with the authors at the Charleston Museum. As in years past, Fierce Reads will host Fierce Friday at a currently undetermined location, which is a meet-and-greet with YA authors on Friday afternoon. After that is YALLCrawl, which features authors hanging out at various venues on Upper King to meet fans. The rest of the weekend promises plenty of literary fun.

Henri Matisse: Jazz & Poetry on Paper

Henri Matisse: Jazz & Poetry on Paper

Columbia Museum of Art

Through Jan. 15, 2018

Take a trip up I-95 this fall to check out the Columbia Museum of Art. If you're really smart about it you'll make the trek on a second Sunday, when admission is free. The museum is always rotating and refreshing its exhibits and starting this September you can check out a particularly cool one, Henri Matisse: Jazz & Poetry on Paper, which features 81 of Matisse's works. The early 20th century French artist was best known for his use of color in the modes of expressionism, post-impressionism, and Fauvism. On Fri. Sept. 15 Columbia Museum's curator, Catherine Walworth, leads a talk and tour, Cutouts, Courtiers, and Cowboys: Henri Matisse's Romantic Modernsim.

New Painting

New Painting

The Southern

Wednesdays-Sundays, 12-6 p.m. Continues through Nov. 12

New Painting is a group exhibition of contemporary painters and their exploration of techniques, which they rework and update to align with contemporary aesthetics. The show features works by Charleston artists Adam Eddy, Susan Klein, Karen Paavola, and Colin Quashie, former Charleston artist Sophie Treppendahl, and Atlanta artists Shanequa Gay and Natalie Escobar. Eddy's works borrow structures from everyday life and use them as formats for abstract painting; Escobar works with dark landscapes, sometimes utlizing airbrushing as a technique; Klein is currently an assistant professor of art at CofC whose work has been described as a "dense visual obstacle course;" Paavola also teaches as an adjunct professor at CofC, and is currently working on an auto-biographical series that deals with tragedy and coping with loss, using oil painting and screen printing; Quashie's work utilizes a "form of Warholesque flashiness that confounds as well as derides the spectator," with pieces that that look at issues of race, politics, and culture; Treppendahl, who now lives in Richmond, Va., seeks to investigate moments of enchantment in her work, dissected through the material of paint; and Gay, who has shown her work at a number of museums and art centers, has a current body of work, The FAIR GAME Project, which serves to challenge the "unyielding violence and injustices committed in America and across the globe against the black body."

The Royale

PURE Theatre

Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m., Wed., Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m. and Sat., Nov. 11, 3-5 p.m. Continues through Nov. 18

PURE Theatre is constantly producing boundary-pushing works and a standout among their fall lineup is Marco Ramirez's The Royale, which centers on a 20th century black prizefighter, Jack Jackson. Equal parts fact and fiction, the play refuses to fall into the underdog cliches that sports dramas so often do, instead using the opportunity to examine the social and racial tensions present at the time the play takes place, in 1912. PURE Theatre's artistic director Sharon Graci says that this show "disrupts" expectations one might have of a play about heavy weight boxing; Graci promises clapping, stomping, drumming, and stylized movement in this show, highlighted by local drummer Quentin Baxter's original score. "At PURE, we value electrifying stories above all else," says Graci. "The richer the narrative, the more satisfying the experience in our theater. The Royale is rich, complex, moving, and exciting, and as is the case with all truly good theater, it's not possible to leave a performance without something to say."

Free Verse Poetry Festival

Free Verse Poetry Festival

Various locations

Through Oct. 31

The Free Verse Poetry Festival is a month-long series of firsts — it's the first festival of its kind in Charleston, presented by the city's first poet laureate, Marcus Amaker. Sponsored by The Cooper School, The Schoolhouse, Enough Pie, Charleston Moves, and PURE Theatre, the festival features a ton of free events, along with a handful under the $15 range. The fest starts in early October with some collab reading events with the MOJA festival, including speakers like Horace Mungin and Tammaka Staley. On Wed. Oct. 4 head to Dock Street Theatre for a poetry and jazz night ($10), with Quentin E. Baxter, Amaker, and more local musicians. On Sat. Oct. 7 you can snag your own typewritten poem at the Charleston Farmers Market for $5. We may be most excited about Blank Page Poetry, though, a pay-what-you-will mixed media performance to be held on Sat. Oct. 14 at PURE. A large piece of blank paper will be suspended from the ceiling, with performers positioned behind it, their shadows projected onto the temporary screen. As Amaker says, "These shadows thus serve as a visual instigator, transforming the performer into an artifice set in expressive motion." Cool stuff. More info at freeversefestival.com

Charleston Arts Festival

Charleston Arts Festival

Various locations

Through Oct. 28

Last year marked the inaugural Charleston Arts Festival, a celebration that featured everything from musical performances to arts-inspired dinners. This year sees more of the same, with events sprinkled throughout downtown Charleston over several weeks. Things kick off on Sept. 22 with the third annual PBR arts showcase at Redux which highlights, you guessed it, PBR-themed art. Check out more visual art starting on Sept. 29 at the Beresford Gallery, where Vik Hart presents her exhibit, Stories From Firn. This show features paintings and drawings that "seek to form a connected narrative that offers a glimpse into the landscapes and inhabitants of another world." The best way to get to Beresford? On the Art Ride, which starts at Redux at 5:30 p.m., moves to The Southern for New Painting's opening reception, and then heads to Beresford. On Oct. 5 head to the Music Hall for Pecha Kucha 27; this fast-paced lecture series will feature a number of speakers talking about their work as visual artists. And for the grand finale? That will be held at the Royal American on Oct. 28 and will be similar to Jail Break, the event formerly held in the Old City Jail, featuring dancers, musicians, comedians, visual arts, and of course, plenty to eat and drink. More info at charlestonartsfestival.com

Tribute and Wax Poetic

Tribute and Wax Poetic

Fabulon — Center for Art and Education

Sat., Oct. 21, 5-8 p.m.

October is dedicated to Charleston’s Poetry Festival Free Verse so Fabulon has poetic themes for its current exhibits. In Wax Poetic, you can see the beauty of painting with beeswax and paint pigment. See local and national artists. In Tribute, see works inspired by music and poetic lyrics. The evening features a special musical guest and a prize drawing.

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