We’ve all had one teacher that we’ll remember forever. We’re talking your Robin Williams in Dead Poets’ Society, your Jack Black in School of Rock, your Mr. Feeney in Boy Meets World. They taught us stuff and inspired us, and we’d pretty much have walked through fire to win their love and approval. Mr. Zak (Oberrath) of East Cooper Montessori seems like he’s one of those guys, because you cannot make a six-year-old wear a tuxedo if he doesn’t want to. Scores of his students, past and present, showed up in formal wear for a red carpet roll out of Legends of Adventure, his Kickstarter-funded board game. Indie board games are having a moment for sure, but this one is something special: the characters (drawn as something between Dungeons & Dragons and Marvel heroes) are based on students past and present, and the game, described as “so fun!” by a child in a tailcoat, teaches the importance of working together and collaborating. Their excitement for Mr. Zak’s big day was palpable; former students now able to drive themselves played paparazzi for the younger ones, and they lined up to get their games autographed by the man of the hour. The only downside of this night of extremely cute revelry was that having a beer in a room full of middle schoolers meant getting carded by someone young enough to be your preteen son. After we got over that shock, it was almost time to go — bedtimes on Tuesdays are early.
We were riding high after that cute overload and pumped for the Sam Adams Oktoberfest revelry on Friday. The adorable parade continued in the form of lederhosen and dirndls aplenty at the Bus Shed. On paper, a costumes-encouraged pop-up biergarten should have been a cool way to spend the early part of the night but, wow, did it fall flat. After we paid admission at the door, we still had to pay for beers and snacks inside. The emcee fell back on ethnic humor that ran the gamut from unfunny to offensive, and the whole thing was so disorganized we couldn’t even figure out who to pay to actually get beer. The highlights were about five minutes of live German music (polka always kills it) and a stein-hoisting contest which consisted of ... folks holding a stein up until their arms got tired. Though we saw some quality Bavarian getups, we lasted about 20 minutes before heading home to get a frozen D’Al’s pizza and watch a Buffy marathon on Netflix, which was a lot more fun.
The good news is that the Bus Shed was not the only place to get some Teutonic entertainment in the Holy City last weekend. Though no lagers were served, the Open Arts gathering at the Cistern Yard on Sunday afternoon featured some costumed youngsters who executed some traditional German dances flawlessly. Oh, right, and all the other arts organizations in Charleston were there, too. Don’t ever let us overhear you saying there’s “nothing to do” in Charleston — the jugglers union, Holy City Cirque, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Spoleto, all the theater companies, and a slew of after-school arts programs set up tents to hand out schedules, talk about membership, and spread awareness about the kinds of cool performances, lectures, shows, and exhibits they’re putting on over the next year. Did you even realize there’s an entire guild of people who make bespoke puppets in this town? Or that you can take acro-yoga at more than one place? Now you do. Why are you still even reading this column? You should be joining the circus, or at least buying tickets.