Spoleto SCENE boogies down with barbecue, Jenga, and emerging artists

The manse on Montagu


  • Taylor Drake
Charleston City Councilmember Mike Seekings and wife Michele Seekings of SPIRE Art Services opened their Montagu Street manse to SCENE partiers last night, hosting a fete destined for the Spoleto history books.

According to one veteran SCENEster, who wished to remain anonymous, a previous year’s residential party ended with a splash after members and performers alike decided to jump into the host’s pool — not exactly the type of behavior expected when a S.N.O.B’er. opens up their home to you, so yesterday evening presented a shot at redemption for SCENE Class of 2018.

Don’t worry, Seekingses; it appears the only things which took a dive last night were the tumbling towers of giant Jenga blocks, and Rodney Scott’s hands as they dipped over and over again into a whole hog of signature ‘que at the dinner buffet.

Ain't no party without barbecue. Rodney Scott knows barbecue. - TAYLOR DRAKE
  • Taylor Drake
  • Ain't no party without barbecue. Rodney Scott knows barbecue.
The vibe teetered on country chic, but felt more like a throwback garden party — the kind that our parents or grandparents may have attended as young Charlestonians. When people from older generations allude to their social lives ‘back in the day,’ it always seems to me like there was one place where everyone who was anyone would just know to go on any given night. That would be the place where lovers first met, friendships flourished, and tragedies unfolded; minor events and incidents bonding a group of individuals together over the course of a summer, Great Gatsby style. Perhaps clubs and membership-based organizations such as SCENE will revive these lost traditions of yesteryear. Can a girl get a good ole fashioned sock hop up in here, please?

One person bent on helping the cause is Matt Mill, of Art Mag, INTRO pop-up art exhibition, and SCENE royalty, who fosters community with some damn good ideas. For example, last night Mill hand selected local artwork to display around the outside of the party. A massive piece by Paul Cristina, of two women locked in a passionate embrace, hung behind the Cathead Vodka speciality cocktail bar on the upstairs porch. Chambers Austelle’s contemporary figurative work provided a cool and colorful pop of interest against the formal backdrop of the Seekings ca. 1849 homestead. Introducing budding visual artists to emerging patrons at an event held during one of the most celebrated festivals of art in the country?! Color me impressed.

The troupe from Gravity & Other Myths appeared a little later in the evening following their final performance of Backbone, and were delighted to mingle with guests, fortified by James Beard award-winning southern grub, and soak up praise for their triumphs on stage at a party in their honor.

One performer, Lewis Rankin, raved about a $100 tomahawk steak he’d enjoyed the previous night at Halls, while fellow performers Lewis West and Mieke Lizotte waxed poetic over Jestine’s Kitchen. Welcome to Charleston, ya cunts! (I’m told that the c-word is actually a term of endearment in Australia, yes? No? Back me up here, someone).

SCENE is keeping the magic alive this season, and I expect more fun is on the way next week at an after party hosted by Tu. Bring on the mischief.

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