I went to Bassnectar‘s show at the North Charleston Coliseum on October 24th. Generally Bassnectar is a lot more fun to see at an outdoor venue, but after the massive storm that hit during the middle of his last Charleston performance moving the show to an indoor venue seemed to be a wise choice. Tickets were reasonably priced so that college students and other young people could afford to see the show. There was advertising all over the place for this event, but none of these adds mentioned a key element: if you weren’t one of the first 2000 people in the door you had to stay in the stands while the majority of the crowd raged in front of the stage. The performance was great as usual. The light show was brilliantly timed with the music and the mixes were solid.
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Heaven at the Robinson
I was fortunate enough to see As it is in Heaven on its final night at the Emmett Robinson Theater. A visiting College of Charleston faculty member, Beth Lincks, penned the play in 2001 under the name Arlene Hutton. The play is set in a Shaker community in 1838. The storyline dealt primarily with the struggles of three young girls living in such a strict community. Though their particular form of rebellion isn’t very relatable, sneaking away to see angels, their struggle against elders who don’t understand them is.
Tickets were ten dollars to CofC students and cost more for the general public. The production probably could have cut costs on the costumes, but they were perfect. The actresses wore simple garbs that were very similar, but each character’s was slightly different making them believably homemade. I was pleasantly surprised to find the opening scene pretty funny and satirical. Emily Downey as Sister Betsy continued to supply the much needed comic relief throughout the performance, but Claire Sparks stole the show with her portrayal of Sister Fanny. She delivered her lines poiniantly with palpable emotion. My biggest issue with the show was the staging. I was seated in the stage-side seating. For the majority of the show the actors were seated along the stage on benches instead of going into the wings. So basically, I missed half of the show because my view was blocked. Other than that I thought it was a wonderful production.
Studio Space Reimagined
Walking into the gallery space for the opening of Herb Parker’s Studio Practice & Joseph Burwell’s School of the Viking Spaniard Revisited at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art on August 23, 2013, one becomes instantly immersed in the artists’ creative world. Immediately Parker’s portion of the show grabbed my attention. Walking through his portion of the exhibit feels like walking through some sort of nightmarish antique shop run by the Dr. Frankenstein of collectables in the best way possible. His pieces are simultaneously whimsical and creepy. The wall of shelves full of odds and ends was so strange and intriguing that even after studying it at the opening for a solid twenty minutes, I have since gone back twice to get a better look and always manage to find a piece I did not notice previously.
After walking through Parker’s twisted wonderland, I was underwhelmed by Joseph Burwell’s showThe School of the Viking Spaniard Revisited. Burwell’s gallery space was much more organized, yet it was harder to understand his creative process from his mock studio space. It felt like a cross between an architecture firm and a construction site. This set up sort of makes sense because his drawings are highly architectural. The drawings are precise to the point that it is almost unbelievable that they are created by hand and they are reminiscent of Piranesi’s Imaginary Prisons.
Every opening I have attended at the Halsey has been a good experience and this one was no exception. There are always plenty of staff members around to answer questions and they seem genuinely enthusiastic about the artists’ work. Herb Parker’s portion of the exhibit became a little overcrowded at times, which is a really bad thing for a clumsy person near a bunch of free standing sculptures. There was a really enlightening video playing in the video room, but a lot of the patrons did not know it was there and missed out. Overall, the show is very well organized and accomplished the goal of making the viewer feel like they are in the artists’ studio. This is a unique approach to a gallery show and I would be interested to see more similar exhibitions.