Weekend Arts Wrap: 02.04.08

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Charleston Stage opened its latest production at the American Theater. It's called Bad Dates, a show that's being billed as Sex and the City meets The Sopranos. Kevin Murphy saw opening night Friday. He thought the billing was a bit of a stretch.

The College of Charleston gave its annual series of chamber music concerts. It's called the Charleston Music Festival. Our critic Lindsay Koob went to Friday's performance. He said it was as good as anything you'd find at Spoleto.

We might see the writers strike come to a close this week, according to anonymous sources who talked to the Associated Press Sunday. Maybe NBC will skip American Gladiator in favor of something — oh, I don't know — made for adults to watch.

The Mount Pleasant township is arguing over the relative merits of dog parks versus performing arts centers. While the Mayor Pro-Tem Kruger Smith suggested last week that a spot in the planned Memorial Waterfront Park would be an ideal home for the arts, others say pettable poochies and pound puppies are more important than cultural identity, tradition, and heritage.

PURE Theatre extended its run of The Tragedian last week. Written and performed by Rodney Lee Rogers, the monologue is the story of Edwin Booth, the great 19th-century actor famed for playing Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Richard III, and older brother of John Wilkes, the man who killed Lincoln. The new days are Thursdays through April.

A new study released last week suggests that arts groups stop lobbying politicians for money and start lobbying — that is, making the case for the arts — directly to voters. Called Cultural Value and the Crisis of Legitimacy, the U.K. study by the think tank Demos looks back at the 1980s when cultural organizations were forced to justify their existence by the Thatcher government. As a result, studies were commissioned. The outcome: a heightened general awareness that most people, not just the elite, make culture part of their lives and consider it very important. The study argues that increased economic prosperity has not increased the level of happiness, though. And that’s where the arts come in.

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