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FESTIVAL — Muy caliente
Festival Hispano
Sun. Oct. 1
12-6 p.m.
$8, free for ages 12 and under
N. Charleston Wannamaker County Park
8888 University Blvd.
795-4FUN (4386)

Once again, it's time for a yearly celebración of Hispanic culture this Sunday at the 15th annual Festival Hispano brought to you by Piggly Wiggly and Charleston County Parks. The festival will feature live music from salsa star Charlie Cruz, bands Grupo Con Clase and Grupo Fuego, while DJ Luigi will spin the hottest Hispanic hits between sets. Authentic foods such as tamales, pasteles, and tostones will be available for those longing to sample comida from Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and more. In addition to hot music and food, the festival will also feature folkloric dancing, a crafts market, global education booths, a salsa dance contest, and activities for children.

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EVENT — Feelin' double-X?
Bush is Bad
Tues. Oct. 3
7 p.m.
Charleston Music Hall
37 John St.

Come out and support a good local cause at the 4th annual WomenRock happening this Thursday at the S.C. Aquarium. The celebration will feature works by 25 talented female artists, including jewelry, photography, pottery, paintings, and more. Musicians and entertainers such as the Palmetto Oasis Middle Eastern Dance Troupe, the Charleston County School of the Arts Chamber Strings, local singer/songwriter Laura Vincent, and DJ Brady (from Dub Island Sound System) will also be on hand to entertain partygoers. Proceeds go to benefit animal care programs at the South Carolina Aquarium, as well as community outreach programs organized by Redux Contemporary Art Center.

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THEATRE — The Colbert Report meets Hair
Bush is Bad
Tues. Oct. 3
7 p.m.
Charleston Music Hall
37 John St.

As the blue dot speckled on the edge of a die-hard red state, some may say the left-leaners of Charleston have a duty to keep the people not just informed about the ghastly attempts at trickery staged by the Bush administration, but entertained by them, as well. In that spirit, the Charleston County Democratic Party presents Bush is Bad, a critically-acclaimed Off-Broadway musical spoof penned by Joshua Rosenblum, who spent the spring of 2006 working as the Post and Courier's Spoleto Festival Overview critic. Rosenblum himself will be tickling the ivories at Tuesday's one-night-only show, and Broadway and Off-Broadway performers Janet Dickinson, Neal Mayer, and Michael McCoy will be handling the show's satirical songs. Take it from Fred Backus' review (reprinted in full at "Bush is Bad is an unapologetic evening of rampant Bush-bashing that is not intended to change any minds or bestow any bold new insights into how to view the current administration. Rather, the show is meant to entertain, comfort, and even inspire the already throughly disgusted." Proceeds from the night will go toward the Charleston County Democratic Party, which is planning a spate of other support-rallying events for later this fall.

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CONCERT MUSIC — Beethoven and brotherhood
Charleston Symphony Orchestra Masterworks Series Opening Night
Sat. Sept. 30
7:30 p.m.
$15-50, $5/students
Gaillard Auditorium
77 Calhoun St.

The Charleston Symphony Orchestra's season opener on September 30 will present Ludwig van Beethoven's mighty Symphony No. 9. Maestro David Stahl and his accomplished musicians aim to add extra oomph to the "all men are brothers" theme of the symphony's famous choral Ode to Joy finale. The massive choral forces will include the SC State University choir, plus the CSO and College of Charleston choruses. A team of four crack soloists is also on tap. This is a product of supreme irony and personal tragedy: By the time he began it, Beethoven had been cursed for some time with total deafness: any composer's worst nightmare. The music of his mind's ear is all that he could "hear" during the arduous 10 years that it took him to complete it. As difficult and abstruse as this music can be, it's been thrilling listeners ever since it was first heard. Beethoven's relationship with his musical public was often a rocky one, and he knew it. But the story goes that after he finished conducting the work's premiere in Vienna in 1824 -- he simply stood at the podium, slumped with exhaustion and dread, until one of his singers took him by the shoulders and turned him around to face his audience's wild ovation -- that he couldn't hear. Let us gather at the Gaillard on Saturday, and see if Stahl and company can inspire a similar reaction from us. —Lindsay Koob

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THEATRE — Strippers, swapping, and selfishness
Opening Sat. Sept. 30
Sept. 30, Oct. 1, 7, 8, 14, 15
7 p.m.
The Map Room
1650 Sam Rittenberg Blvd.

J.C. Conway's Theatre /verv/ has always had a "can-do-anywhere" attitude, staging plays in their 2005 season at the now-closed Bar 145, and with their preferred venue out of business and a bit of /verv/ restructuring, the troupe has relocated to the spacious Map Room in West Ashley, a dance club/concert venue that does double duty as a restaurant/bar. They open their 2006-07 season with Patrick Marber's Closer, a small-ensemble dark comedy that dashed the romantic illusions of millions of Pretty Woman lovers when Julia Roberts starred in Mike Nichols' 2004 cinematic adaptation of the play. Closer centers around the dalliances of four strangers whose lives intertwine in the musty old secret-laden city of London. Theatre /verv/'s production stars Conway, Beth Curley, David Barr, and Jan Gilbert, and Sun. Oct. 1 is half-price student ticket night, Sun. Oct. 8 is F&B half-price ticket night, and Sun. Oct. 15 is friends night, where each person who brings another person gets half-off one ticket, plus theatregoers can order up a burger and brew before, during, or after the show — does cultural enlightenment get any better?

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NATURE & PETS — Make damn sure your dog goes to heaven
The Blessing of the Animals
Sun. Oct. 1
4 p.m.
Grace Episcopal Church
98 Wentworth St.

Cats, dogs, turkeys, and llamas are all welcome at The Blessing of the Animals, presented by Grace Episcopal Church. The annual event honors St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, and critters of all kinds are invited inside the church to receive a blessing. The event is celebrated nationwide and is a favorite among animal lovers everywhere. Grace Episcopal will also feature music by the St. Nicholas and St. Cecilia children's choirs during the event.

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EVENT — Wursts, do your worst
Sun. Oct. 1
12 p.m.
Gene's Haufbrau
817 Savannah Hwy.
225-GENE (4363)

Is there any better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than chugging German beer and busting moves to live oompah music? At Gene's Haufbrau's sixth annual Oktoberfest, Charlestonians will have the chance to do just that. The party kicks off at noon and will likely last far into the night. Enter the gut-busting sausage-eating or beer wench contests (good luck beating last year's winning wench, who blew away the competition), or compete for the much coveted title of Oktoberfest King or Queen. Revelers will also have the opportunity to drop it like it's brat(wurst) to the tunes of Hanz Schmidt's German band or to live music by Dunzip (4-7 p.m.) and The Secrets (after 7 p.m.). 96 Wave will broadcast live from the event and there will be prizes and giveaways galore. For more info, call 225-GENE.


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