As the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day celebration is expected. What is not expected is for said celebration to be held in a parking garage. Last night, Spoleto Scene members followed the sound of music radiating from the alley-like Princess Street off King. What is, during business hours, the parking garage for the law firm Nexsen Pruet, was transformed into a swanky soiree in honor of Gallim Dance Troupe, whose final performance of I Can See Myself In Your Pupil proceeded the party. “Gallim” was scribbled in bright faux graffiti all over the garage’s walls, and a DJ, perched on construction scaffolding, spun classic dance tunes.
In transforming the garage, organizers strived to create the feel of a party on the set of West Side Story. Scene Committee Co-Chair Glen Gardner explained, “In being given a blank slate, like a parking garage, we tried to work with it without overdoing it, and in looking for inspiration, modern dance versus West Side Story was the thought we had.”
Event co-host Elizabeth Lipscomb shared that the idea to host the party — whose location was a mystery to Scene members who received only hints until the big reveal the day before — came from a fellow co-host who prefaced the idea by warning that it sounds crazy to host a posh party in a parking garage, but his office Christmas party was held in the Princess Street garage to great success. Lipscomb admitted that there was concern about the date of the party: Would people be too busy grilling out or too exhausted to come after a long day at the beach?
Fortunately, the turnout was great. By 9:30 p.m., a large crowd had gathered. Party-goers, sporting everything from neon yellow Keds to lime green tutus to silver sequined mini dresses, quickly got into the theme, snapping on the glow stick necklaces scattered throughout, sipping on wine and beer, and munching on Charleston-themed appetizers like fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese, “Piccolo Pickle Shooters,” and pulled pork sandwiches from Dixie Supply Bakery & Cafe.
The best turnout was from the Gallim Dance Troupe, whose members showed up full of enthusiasm and ready to party. One member was overheard declaring his earnest love for Charleston and saying that no other city had ever held a party in Gallim’s honor before. Lucky Scenesters were privy to an impromptu second performance as members of the troupe took to the dance floor. Their enthusiasm was contagious.
The most unique touch was an enormous tent-like dome from Opendome Productions in which party-goers could be zipped inside a dozen at a time. Once in the dome, guests reclined on beanbag chairs and enjoyed a psychedelic action film that played across the dome ceiling. While not safe for those inclined to motion sickness, it made for a fun experience and fit in perfectly with the theme of the event.
The party was a wonderful opportunity for Spoleto Scene patrons to connect and reflect on the festival so far as well as a way to give back to the performers that make Spoleto so special. Lipscome explains, “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to thank the artists and performers who come to Spoleto and to show them that Charleston appreciates them for more than their monetary value to the city. We appreciate the great culture they bring.”