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CITY PICKS

Our choices for interesting events this week

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FESTIVAL | Batten down the hatches...

Taste of Spoleto
Fri. May 4
5-7 p.m.
Free
Gaillard Auditorium
77 Calhoun St.
579-3100
www.spoletousa.org

Get in line, locals, because Spoleto Festival USA is handing out its annual locals-only discount. On Friday night, the Spoleto Festival presents its Fourth Annual Taste of Spoleto, the one and only opportunity to purchase discounted festival tickets to Swan Lake, Faustus: The Last Night, Shen Wei Dance Arts, Batsheva Dance Company, and more. In addition to the 20 percent discount, you’ll have a chance to view performance videos of upcoming events, register to win free tickets and merchandise discounts, sample Southern food provided by Lowcountry Eats, and taste award-winning beers from Charleston Brewing Company and varietals from the Italian vineyard Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio. —Ashley Lewis FRIDAY

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EVENT | A forkful of fun

Dining with Friends Dessert Finale
Sat. May 5
9 p.m.
Free (bring your donations with you)
Charleston
Maritime Center
10 Wharfside St.
747-2273
www.aids-services.com

Nights don’t get much sweeter than the annual Dining with Friends dessert finale, where hundreds of revelers head to the Maritime Center from across the Lowcountry to converge into one giant superparty — all in the name of fund-raising. Each May, local nonprofit Lowcountry AIDS Services asks people an easy question: do you want to throw a party? If the answer is “yes,” LAS asks event hosts to give them a call, then provides the party invitations (which double as donation forms), red ribbons, posters, and a dessert and champagne closing event. Although all of the registered hosts and their guests are invited to drop off donations at the finale, it’s actually open to anyone who wants to collect at any event, from a backyard barbecue to a frat party to a bingo night. How much more simple and fun could helping others be? SATURDAY

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FESTIVAL | Fun for the entire family

North Charleston Arts Festival
Fri. May 4- Sat. May 12
Various times
Various prices
Various locations
745-1087
www.northcharleston.org

Need to get your “Spoleto fix” this year, but can’t afford to shell out an insane amount of money? Relax and head due north. The nine-day North Charleston Arts Festival is a great way to spend quality time with your family and enjoy great entertainment without having to fork over your hard-earned cash. The fest kicks off on Fri. May 4 with a free Children’s Festival for preschoolers at Park Circle at 9 a.m., followed by entertainment for the whole family at Northwoods Mall. The Main Event Weekend, held at the Performing Arts Center, will have over 40 stage performances, including magicians, dance groups, bands, theater troupes, vocalists, storytellers, and a Sat. night concert featuring classical rock group Chicago; there will be free parking for the entire Main Event Weekend. The Festival week continues with many free and modestly priced events at various North Charleston venues, with concerts by local and national musicians, a murder-mystery dinner theater, creative workshops, art demonstrations, film presentations, and more — visit the City of North Charleston’s website for a detailed schedule of events. The festival ends on Sat. May 12 with the grand finale, featuring a family picnic that includes a concert, an outdoor movie with free popcorn and cotton candy, and fireworks. Just make sure you bring lawn chairs and a blanket. —Ashley Lewis FRIDAY-NEXT WEDNESDAY

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NATURE & PETS | Who will be Charleston’s best in show?

Charleston Dog Show
Sat. May 5
8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Free
Marion Square
Corner of Calhoun and King streets
849-8096
charlestondogshow.com

 

Woof! Here it is. This Saturday, Marion Square will fill with hundreds of Benjis and Fidos for the annual Charleston Dog Show. Categories range from the Westminster-esque “Herding Dogs” and “Terriers” to the “Heinz 57” group for mutts. “Some people prepare for months in advance, and some wake up that morning and decide to enter,” says coordinator Edie DuBose. Entry fees are only $8 for any of the 14 categories, with the winner of each competing for the “Best in Show” at 3 p.m. Competition-shy dogs will still have plenty to keep them busy. There’s a microchipping clinic, the Dolittle’s Dog Star Cafe, a dog cookie decorating booth by Good Dog Bakery, and a dog photo model contest. Mutts can also enter the Canine Good Citizenship testing ring, with the opportunity to earn certification from the American Kennel Club if they pass the 10-step test. Human-folk can visit the Rescue Village and sign up to be a doggie foster parent, bid for loot in the silent auction, browse the Dog Art Dealer tent, or just sit back and chow on Rising High Bakery sandwiches and Wholly Cow ice cream. Check out www.charlestondogshow.com for more, and bring a leash. —Stratton Lawrence SATURDAY

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EVENT | For loners and rebels alike

Movies in Marion Square
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure
Thurs. May 3
6 p.m.
Free
Marion Square
Corner of King and Calhoun streets
577-5304 ext. 140

 

Before Batman, Big Fish, or even Edward Scissorhands, director Tim Burton had a keen insight into unbelievably eccentric entertainment. Just in time for your annual dose of Burtonesque humor, Movies in Marion Square presents Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. Revisit the glory days of the mid-’80s with everyone’s favorite man-child Pee-wee Herman and his beloved red-rimmed bicycle and revel in Paul Reubens’ pubescent humor. Back on the big screen, this classic may provoke the immature side in even the most stable adult with an array of one-liners and oh-so-clever comebacks — “I know you are, but what am I?” — as Pee-wee scours America for his missing two-wheeler, running into bizarre obstacles and fascinating characters like Large Marge on the way. City Paper staff writer Stratton Lawrence will warm up the crowd with a solo acoustic set before the movie, so beat the sunset and grab some grub from the many sponsors including Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Häagen-Dazs, Kettle Corn, and Lil Mama’s Pizza. Sit back, relax, and have a laugh — Pee-wee style, that is! —Laura Zapp THURSDAY

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CONCERT MUSIC | The DJ of the piano

Hold the Applause
Fri. May 4
8 p.m.
$10, free for CofC students
Recital Hall
Simons Center for the Arts
54 St. Philip St.
newmusiccollective.org

If you’ve ever been to a concert and felt awkward when no one clapped between songs or movements, Friday’s your lucky night, as the New Music Collective present a solo concert by globetrotting pianist David Hanlon with a succinct, fitting title — Hold the Applause. Hanlon has been lauded by notable New Yorker music critic Alex Ross (who picked Hanlon’s performance of Harry Partch’s opera, Oedipus, as one of the 10 best live events of 2005) and plays at concert halls and contemporary art museums across the world. With Hold the Applause, Hanlon challenges both the conventions of classical performance and the complacency of listeners as he plays without pausing, improvising transitions as he segues between contemporary works like German composer Helmut Lachenmann’s Guero, which employs all the parts of the piano except the actual keys, and Nono’s haunting “...sofferte onde serene...” which combines live piano and taped piano sounds to “re-create the ghostly tolling of bells drifting over the water to the ear of a bereaved listener.” If your pre-Spoleto culture cravings have started already, Hold the Applause should more than tide you over — and for far less coin. FRIDAY

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FESTIVAL | When I dip, you dip, we dip

Cinco de Mayo Festival
Sat. May 5
7 p.m.
$5
Visitor’s Center Bus Shed
375 Meeting St.
225-5288
charlestoncdm.com

It’s Cinco de Mayo time again, so raise your salt-rimmed glass of limey sourness and honor those outnumbered Mexican soldiers who kicked some French ass back in the 1862 Battle of Puebla. The victory gave the Mexican people some pride and much needed gusto to take back their land from a previously undefeated army, and it certainly gave ‘dem Americans another reason to get drunk and eat chips because, well, why not? Instead of watching the Kentucky Derby, head over to the Visitor Center Bus Terminal this Saturday and hand the door person $5 to enter a world of sensual, sexual, steamy, hip-shaking, gyrating salsa dancing debauchery (imagine a Thursday night at Southend Brewery, but on a grander scale). If eating is your thing, festival vendors were chosen based on their Mexican or Caribbean food authenticity, and, of course, cervezas and margaritas will be hanging out, giving non-dancers a reason to act like Baby and Johnny on the dance floor in front of live Cuban and Mariachi bands and DJ Luigi Bravo of Latin Groove. —Lindsay Sainlar SATURDAY

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FILM | ...and the rest will follow

An Evening of Video with Janet Biggs
Fri. May 4
7-9 p.m.
$5, free for Gibbes members
Gibbes Museum of Art
135 Meeting St.
722-2706
gibbesmuseum.org

Although it’s been quiet over there for a while, the Gibbes Museum of Art is revving up for Spoleto with two newly-opened exhibits, A Lonely Soul: The Art of Edward Jennings and Otto Neumann: Modern Expressions, and Friday’s night of celluloid celebration in honor of Like Tears in Rain, a video installation by new media artist Janet Biggs. The installation, which questions the role of free will in today’s society, has a local flavor lent to it by the inclusion of some of the least free humans on the peninsula — The Citadel’s Summerall Guards, moving in their “silent drill.” Like Tears in Rain pairs the Summerall Guards with footage of blind horseback rider Anne-Greta, who rides Dressage by using verbal cues from people who call out her location, as her callers construct a sentence that’s an homage to Blade Runner. But wait, there’s more! Behind these paired selections is the third part of the installation, a video starring a pair of captive polar bears swimming endlessly in their unnatural environment. Biggs will be in attendance on Friday night, hosting an informal discussion that will precede a mini-film mini-festival curated by local actor/director/City Paper writer Nick Smith. Smith has promised that on Friday, he’ll be showing at least one of the insidiously creepy, thought-provoking films by Columbia director Steve Daniels, whose short, “The Gibbering Horror of Howard Ghormley,” played at the last film fest Smith organized at the Gibbes (in October) and is a must-see for any fan of good, old-fashioned suspense. FRIDAY

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