2017 Fall Arts Preview 

Your guide to the newest local art in Charleston

Enough Pie, Redux Contemporary Art Center, and Engaging Creative Minds hold pre-game bazaar in advance of Arts Matter Day
Enough Pie, Redux Contemporary Art Center, and Engaging Creative Minds hold pre-game bazaar in advance of Arts Matter Day Give a little

Wed. Sept. 6 from 6 to 10 p.m., Redux will be throwing a pre-game bazaar with food, drinks, live music — DJ Party Dad, Contour, and Secret Guest — a local craft and clothing market, and more. All you have to do is show up with a five dollar donation. — Mary Scott Hardaway

Comedy, food talk, and pop culture found in these Charleston podcasts
Comedy, food talk, and pop culture found in these Charleston podcasts Hearing Voices

Could it be the year of the podcast? Sure, people have been listening to podcasts for years now, but wasn't 2017 the year of the beloved Southern gothic tale, Shit Town? Wasn't 2017 the year City Paper added Best Podcast to our Best of Charleston issue? It's the year of the podcast, y'all — and Charleston's cashing in. — Heath Ellison

The Artful Dodger
The Artful Dodger How legal battles and dissatisfied artists drove a wedge between Rebekah Jacob and the arts community

The first indication that something was wrong arrived in the form of an anonymous note, postmarked April 29, 2014, Charleston, S.C. Richard Sexton, a veteran photographer based out of New Orleans, received a strange notice in the mail. He had been working with the Rebekah Jacob Gallery since April 2009. — Dustin Waters

Charleston Stage celebrates 40 years of making theater and driving change
Charleston Stage celebrates 40 years of making theater and driving change Altruistic Wiles

Act One: The curtain rises on a polite, plucky young man from a South Carolina cotton farm, who has found his way to the big city of Charleston. There, he lands a spot at a storied, ornate theater, gathers a few folks, starts putting on shows — and in the process elevates the community through the transformative power of theater. Sound like the setup for a feel-good Broadway musical? — Maura Hogan

Fall Arts Picks

The Great Wide World of Quincy Jones

The Great Wide World of Quincy Jones

Charleston Music Hall

Sat., Oct. 13, 5 & 8 p.m.

This fall, the Charleston Jazz Orchestra will preach the gospel of Quincy Jones with a set spanning his career. And jazz fans know that with a catalogue as prolific as Q’s, there’s going to be a wide and eclectic mix.

“Everything he has done has been guaranteed that it’s 90-something percent going to work, whether it’s jazz, whether it’s popular music, R&B music, classical music, Quincy Jones has always had success with it,” says conductor and local jazz icon Charlton Singleton.

Some of the compositions that the Jazz Orchestra will perform will be “It’s My Party” by Lesley Gore, Ella Fitzgerald’s rendition of “Honeysuckle Rose,” and Jones’ arrangement of “Everything Must Change.” Anything that Jones has worked on is up for grabs. This spans theme songs (like the Sanford and Son theme) to production credits (like a little-known album called Thriller).

For this performance, the Charleston Jazz Orchestra will feature Singleton’s Ranky Tanky bandmate Quiana Parler on vocals. “I think people will be surprised at some of the compositions or arrangements that he had a hand in that are just so iconic,” said Singleton.

Monty Python's Spamalot

Monty Python's Spamalot

Gaillard Center

Sun., Nov. 18, 7:30-9:30 p.m.

The weird world of King Arthur is coming to town in the form of Monty Python’s Spamalot. Crafted by Eric Idle, one of the deranged minds behind the equally deranged comedy troupe Monty Python, and film composer John Du Prez, Spamalot is a Broadway musical based on the surrealist opus Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Everything’s there: the snooty Frenchman, King Arthur’s coconut clopping sidekick, and the shrubbery-stipulating Knights Who Say ‘Ni.’ In addition, Idle and company take advantage of the show’s format, and throw in a suitably ridiculous amount of theatre jokes and meta-comedy.

Spamalot premiered in Chicago in 2004, galloping its way to Broadway a year later. The musical has received a very warm critical reception, including Best Musical at the 2006 Tony Awards.

The Second City

The Second City

Charleston Music Hall

Thu., Sept. 27, 7:30-10:30 p.m.

You’ve likely heard of The Second City, an improvisational comedy powerhouse based in Chicago that’s been around since 1959. If you are a fan of comedians like Amy Poehler, Steve Carell, Bill Murray, Stephen Colbert, Julia Louis Dreyfus, and Tina Fey, then you have Second City to thank. They all got their start with the company.

In their new touring show, Made in America (Some Assembly Required), Second City takes on “our great, big dysfunctional nation!” As always the company will use satire to celebrate what makes America tick in a show that “will leave you breathlessly ready to face the future ... and all its loose screws.” The material changes every month, so each show promises to be unique. With an R rating Made in America isn’t a family-friendly show, so leave the kids at home.

Charleston to Charleston Literary Festival

Charleston to Charleston Literary Festival

Charleston Library Society

Nov. 8-11

The second annual Charleston to Charleston Literary Festival returns with lectures, receptions, and all kinds of creative ideas. Enjoy talks from speakers like David Hare, Margo Jefferson, Tina Brown, and more.

The Crucible

The Crucible

James F. Dean Community Theatre

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m., Sundays, 3 p.m. and Thu., Oct. 25, 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 28

If you never acted out Arthur Miller’s 1953 play, The Crucible, in your sophomore English class, you really missed out. From the gal with the high-pitched voice (she played Abigail Williams, of course) to the endless overacting from the drama club kids, the play, when read out loud among a bunch of 15 year olds, had a tendency to leave a special place in your heart.

At least, that’s how we remember The Crucible, which hits the stage at Flowertown this October, telling the classic tale of witchcraft in a Massachusetts Puritan colony in 1692. The mass hysteria — and the death sentences — in this production will be a draw for the Hulu bingers of Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale (which was a book to begin with too, ya know). As the NYT says, “The Crucible has a diverse and spectacular assortment of moments that make the flesh creep.”

The Road Between

The Road Between

Beresford Studios

Through Oct. 7

In collaboration with the Charleston Arts Festival, The Road Between is Sara Pittman’s first solo show with Beresford Studios. As an abstract expressionist painter, Pittman will be displaying a body of work that focuses on process as the subject matter. Pittman works with canvases that sometimes extend up to six feet long. She says her work “derives from an exchange between my repressed state of mind and my conscious. The two are forever interweaving, as I go back and forth from an intuitive position to a place of clarity.”

Deliberate mark-making, passive and aggressive gestures, layers upon layers of paint poured and brushed, the quick jet of spray paint, and the definition of shapes all make up a complex system for her to excavate. Adding and painting over until a wordless narrative forms, her work reveals the history of her thought processes and emotions through dense layers.

“All moments in my life that have left impressions on me make their way onto the canvas, so in a way it becomes very much my own story. The depth of my work creates an experience by asking those viewing it to come closer and unveil what’s buried beneath. I paint in the hope of creating a moment of pause for the beholder, an invitation to a world that beckons deeper observation.”

Something's Happening: The Big Art of Katie Pell

Something's Happening: The Big Art of Katie Pell

Columbia Museum of Art

Tuesdays-Fridays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays, 12-5 p.m. Continues through Oct. 28

The Columbia Museum of Art (CMA) has been transforming itself since April 2016, renovating 15,000 square feet of the museum, adding collection galleries to its upstairs, repairing and repainting gallery cases, and creating additional art storage. While renovations are not quite complete (phase 2 is expected to finish up in December), the museum, which has been closed to the public since July 23 is open again with a brand spankin’ new exhibition, Something’s Happening: The Big Art of Katie Pell.

Something’s Happening is Pell’s first solo museum exhibition, one that’s described as “an irreverent rite-of-passage narrative that uses the artist’s own life to explore the ordinary side of icons, the exceptional side of ordinary people, and the power of identifying your story.”

The sprawling exhibition taking up four galleries features 71 pieces, ranging from sculpture to textile to drawing to collage. In an artist’s statement Pell writes, “I have decided to make work that celebrates a paradigm of love. As attractive as it is to join in a Dorothy Parker-style battle of intellects or to party like a nihilist, I feel an urgency to introduce generosity and communion into my life’s work.”

Museum curator Catherine Walworth, who worked with Pell to develop the exhibition, says, “Our goal was to create a kind of dream sequence that a teenager might launch into while listening to record albums and thumbing through their year book.”

Looking at some of the images in Something’s Happening, we can see what she means by dream sequence. From colored pencil-esque sketches to chunky puff clouds, Pell’s work is evocative of all stages of our imagination’s life.

Stop and Go

Stop and Go

The George Gallery

Fri., Oct. 12, 5-7 p.m. and Oct. 12-Nov. 3

The George Gallery presents the first exhibition in their new 54 Broad St. location this October. The showcase titled, Stop and Go, brings Birmingham, Al.-based artist Catherine Booker Jones to the Lowcountry in her second solo exhibition of her career, and her second show with George Gallery. Stop and Go opens on Fri. Oct. 12 with a reception from 5-7 p.m.

Jones will be using this exhibit to explore a more vulnerable side of her work, which viewers will discover through the inner workings of complex ideas and emotions. Jones’ work will allow the web to unravel with the most basic elements of color theory and shape, while remaining clever and unexpected. Locals and visitors alike are encouraged to come celebrate this new chapter for both the artist, and George Gallery.


Dock Street Theatre

Oct. 4-7

Continuing PURE Theatre’s tradition of producing award-winning theater that promotes community dialogue and inspires thought, Season 16 kicks off with the southeast regional premiere of Sweat by Lynn Nottage.

Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Sweat tells the story of a group of friends who have spent their lives sharing drinks, secrets, and laughs while working together on the factory floor. But when layoffs and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust, the friends find themselves pitted against each other in a heart-wrenching fight to stay afloat.

Filled with warm humor and tremendous heart, Sweat has been called “passionate and necessary ... a masterful depiction of the forces that divide and conquer us” by Time Out New York

*Special Pay-What-You-Will tickets will be available one hour prior to curtain for the Thurs. Oct. 4 performance.

Matt Shingledecker & Friends: From Charleston to Broadway and Back

South of Broadway Theatre Company Studios

Sun., Nov. 11, 4 p.m.

The proverbial prodigal son returns to Charleston with the upcoming musical production, Matt Shingledecker & Friends from Charleston to Broadway and Back. In the past 10-plus years, Shingledecker has enjoyed great success on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in national tours, including crucial roles in Wicked, West Side Story, and Les Miserables. The in-demand actor-vocalist is now heading back to his roots for this upcoming, one-night-only performance on the South of Broadway stage.

Mary Gould, the founder, producer and CEO of the theater company, was an early mentor of Shingledecker and is excited about working with him once again. “Matt was one of my voice students and he got a free ride to Elon University; and just before he graduated he got cast on Broadway in Spring Awakening.”

The cast of Matt Shingledecker & Friends includes the title star, three of his Broadway colleagues, fellow Charleston-to-NYC transplant George Slotin, local harmony quartet The Charlestones, and some of Shingledecker’s fellow alma mater vocalists.

Gould promises an eclectic mix of songs during the 90-minute show. “The concert will run the gamut from pop and barbershop to pop rock and classical musical theater, including a version of ‘The Music of the Night’ [Phantom of the Opera]. And some of the performers will be playing offbeat instruments, like ukuleles.” The show is a season kick-off and fundraiser. Following the performance, there will be a meet-and-greet with the cast. (At press time, Gould was still determining fundraising levels.)

In 2016, South of Broadway received the prestigious American Theatre Wing Award, a prize created by the founders and sponsors of the Tony Awards. “Hiring equity actors was my MO and why I formed this company,” says Gould, of her philosophy of strengthening area theater. “We use at least one equity actor per show and that’s going to be increasing as we go forward.”

In addition, to meet the demands of South of Broadway’s ever-growing audiences, Gould plans on moving more productions from her black box theater to larger venues. “We want to ultimately be a ‘destination theater’ that can be a bridge between Charleston and Broadway and create that kind of infrastructure for our local talent. I think this will be an amazing show because it will bring real Charleston talent together with these talents that have gone on to Broadway – and that’s just something that I’ve always wanted to do.”

National Theatre Screenings

National Theatre Screenings

34 West Theater

Sun., Sept. 23, 7 p.m., Fri., Sept. 28, 7 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 9, 7 p.m.

While theater-lovers of the world rave about London’s acclaimed National Theatre stage productions, for those of us too broke (or lazy) to cross the pond for the “in-person” experience, 34 West Theater Co. is bringing the action directly to us. These three productions are much-loved tales of secrecy, hubris, and insanity, while invoking the intense magic that can come to life onstage.

Featuring state-of-the-art simulcasts, on Sept. 23 National Theatre Live kicks off with the NT’s production of Julie, starring Vanessa Kirby (The Crown) in the titular role in this new adaptation of August Strindberg’s play Miss Julie, the 19th-century tale of a clandestine love affair turned tragic. On Sept. 28, Sir Ian McKellen stars as King Lear, the doomed Shakespearean ruler who is literally felled by flattery, which ignites a chain reaction that eventually engulfs his family. The final production is the Dec. 9 broadcast of The Madness of George III, Alan Bennett’s 1991 fictionalized take on King George III and his decay into mental illness.

The idea for National Theatre Live came to Stephen Wayne, 34 West’s creative artistic director, and managing artistic director Jeff Querin, while the pair were juggling their love of dramatic productions with their busy work schedules. “We don’t get a chance to see other shows because we’re always producing our own,” explains Wayne. “It’s a chance for us to research and keep up with what’s going on elsewhere without ever leaving town.”

Previously the pair have screened Angels in America and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; both shows enjoyed great local turnouts. Along with the affordability of each screening, Wayne believes that the high definition digital stream gives the audience a “front row” feel in seeing “top-notch” London productions. Not to mention some down-home, Charleston comfort. “We’ve seen broadcasts similar to these in New York and other places, but never in a venue like ours where you can have a glass of wine, or literally sit on the stage under the screen in padded chairs, if you wish.” —Daniel A. Brown

Charleston Arts Festival

Various locations

Through Nov. 15

Now in its third year, the Charleston Arts Festival (CAF), with co-founders Andrew Walker and Terry Fox at its helm, returns for a series of arts events starting Sept. 5 and running through Nov. 15.

Not to be confused with any other arts festival in town, the CAF is both an extension and reincarnation of the 10-season Jail Break event, which Walker retired in 2015. With 9 reasonably priced arts events over two and a half months, CAF is certainly accessible.

CAF operates not as a singular festival taking place over a defined period of time (although there is a start and end date), but rather as an ongoing collaboration among various artists and arts organizations.

While each event looks badass in its own right, we may be most excited for the throwback that is Pecha Kucha 32, which celebrates a decade of ‘chit-chat’ in the Holy City. Over the past decade Pecha Kucha has featured more than 250 creatives talking about what inspires them to do what they do. The original nine creatives return to the stage, including local artist Tim Hussey; founder of YALLFest, Jonathan Sanchez; Founder of HOOK and member of the Dubplates, Brady Waggoner; chef and restaurant owner Nico Romo; poet laureate of Charleston, Marcus Amaker; co-founder of The Southern, Justin Nathanson; and former CP photog Jonathan Boncek.

Dance Macabre

Dance Macabre

Sottile Theatre

Sat., Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m. and Sun., Oct. 21, 3 p.m.

The notorious tales of Charleston ghosts are brought to life in an all-new thrilling ballet, Dance Macabre. The dancers of Ballet Evolution will embody some of the Lowcountry’s creepiest characters from Madame Talvande, who ran her strict and rigid school for girls at the Sword Gate House on Legare Street; and Lavinia Fisher, the deranged motel owner who poisoned her guests and was eventually hanged for her crimes in the Old City Jail. Musical selections by Franz Schubert, Camille Saint-Saëns, and Felix Mendelssohn will serve as a haunting score to the stories of the past.

Ballet Evolution brought a new artistic voice to Charleston audiences with a diverse opening season in 2015, and the groundbreaking group continues to act as a hub for new dance works and musical compositions. Ballet Evolution breaks boundaries in the Charleston arts scene with seamless integration of dance, live music, and story to implement a process that revives and reinvigorates a classical arts model.

Moving Parts

Moving Parts

Redux Contemporary Art Center

Through Oct. 27

Each year, Redux presents eight exhibits that highlight emerging artists on the contemporary visual arts scene. With their forthcoming exhibit, Moving Parts, the state-of-the-art exhibition space hopes to maintain that level aesthetic quality while drawing in crowds seeking captivating and engaging art.

Moving Parts features new works by Eames Armstrong and Riki Matsuda, both artists working with figurative forms, albeit ones with unique takes on representational art. Using swirls and swaths of paint, Armstrong’s pieces are populated by figures engaged in scenes that range from the playful to the ceremonial, pliable bodies bound together in shared knots of action and repose. Pieces by Matsuda reveal her to be a contemporary fabulist, offering minimally rendered nudes and figures, at times buffeted with text, creating tiny myths that are both inviting and inscrutable; no small feat considering the type of restraint involved in honing such narratives into fully-formed pieces.

“The title [Moving Parts] references the fluidity in their work, both literally and figuratively,” explains Cara Leepson, executive director of Redux. “Both artists play with and manipulate the human form in the work as well as address a number of socio-economic issues with regard to identity, gender, intention, and humor.” Leepson imagines there will be “a large number of works” in this exhibit utilizing media including paint on paper and canvas, drawings, letterpress, and mixed media; as well as some possible 3D elements.

Along with sharing tastes for similar media, Leepson curated this particular show due to Armstrong and Matsuda’s kindred aesthetic style. “I was drawn to the way both artists consciously abstract the human form, how each artist has a lighthearted approach to somewhat complex thoughts, and how they both have an overt presence of humor and play in the subject matter they create.”

Leepson believes that Moving Parts continues Redux’s ongoing efforts in exposing audiences to works by local, regional, national, and international artists. “I like to think that this show is an excellent representation of our two person shows which we’ll host one of annually, as it demonstrates two artists, practicing in different regions, touching on very similar concepts and ideas through paralleled subject matter.”

Southern Rites

Southern Rites

Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art

Thu., Nov. 15, 7 p.m.

Photographer Gillian Laub spent over a decade working in Montgomery County, Ga. after first learning of the high school’s segregated prom and homecoming dances in 2002. In 2010, after the community had received national attention from Laub’s photographs, the school elected to integrate the prom. Although Montgomery County had seen social progress with the integration of the dance, the community was divided once more when one of the school’s former students, 22-year-old African American Justin Patterson, was killed in January of 2011 by a white father who found him in their home with his daughter.

In light of this event, Laub began exploring this story and the broader issues of racial violence in the community. Her work resulted not only in a 2015 monograph of photographs, Southern Rites, but also in an HBO documentary film of the same name, as well as a traveling exhibition organized by the International Center of Photography.

Photographs from Southern Rites are featured in the Halsey Institute’s upcoming exhibition, Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South. A Director Q&A will follow the film.

Free Verse 2018

Free Verse 2018

Various locations

Oct. 1-31

Now in its second year, Free Verse festival proudly wears its first-poetry-festival-in-Charleston designation on its sleeve. Created by another city first — Charleston’s own poet laureate, Marcus Amaker, Free Verse boasts a month of public art, words on windows, bike tags (poems on bikes, duh), and school workshops. Most of the events, though, from ‘Stanzas and synthesizers’ to ‘Physical Poetry: SC’s evening of dance,’ take place during one week, from Oct. 17-24.

The events are designed not only with poetry in mind, but with accessiblity at the forefront; the most expensive event is $10, one will set you back $8, and the rest are entirely free. Enjoy performances from Amaker (who moonlights as an electronic musician), student poets, the creator of the O’Miami Poetry Festival, P. Scott Cunningham, local and regional dancers, and more.

When City Paper interviewed Amaker about the inaugural fest last year, he told us what he really wanted to see from the festival: “I want poetry in people’s faces. A festival needs to go beyond this idea of going to stuff at night. I wanted there to be an interactive element.” And with poetry slated to adorn storefront windows, bike tags, and street flyers, we think Amaker’s grand plan may just be working.

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