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Recommended Events this Week

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THEATRE | Homeless and hilarious
The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe
July 26-28 at 8 p.m.
July 28, 29 at 3 p.m.
$24
Footlight Theatre
20 Queen St.
628-6505 or
www.carolinastage.com

Anyone who bought a ticket to one of their shows during Cabaret Kiki's pre-Spoleto run last May at Theatre 99 discovered that a vocal, seemingly addled black bag woman was camped out about halfway up the driveway to the theatre entrance, talking to herself and chatting up theatregoers from a perch amid a pile of rags and trash. When she later stepped onto the T99 stage as Kiki herself, many of the audience members who'd ignored or fled from her earlier were squirming in their seats. The convincing bag lady, of course, was actress and College of Charleston faculty member Joy Vandervort-Cobb, whose characterization of Kiki drew heavily on a role she's performed several times since the late '90s — that of the homeless, hilarious main character of Jane Wagner's one-woman show The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, originally written for and performed by Lily Tomlin on Broadway. This weekend, Vandervort-Cobb will reprise her role as Trudy, Earth's ambassador to a committee of aliens from outer space who are on an intergalactic mission to seek out signs of intelligent life here on earth (trickier than it sounds — just ask Kiki). Gifted with a magical umbrella hat from the aliens, Trudy tells the story of a dozen witty, thoughtful, unforgettable characters who are tied together by fate, friendship, and a fabulously funny bag lady from New York. It's the third collaboration on Search for Signs between Vandervort-Cobb and director Rob Daniels, presented not by Footlight but Daniels' new independent production company Carolina Stage, and a portion of the proceeds from the one-weekend run will go to The Center For Women and My Sister's House. —Patrick Sharbaugh THURSDAY

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DRINK | On your mark, grab your cocktail shaker, go!
Third Annual Cocktail Challenge
Wed. July 25
6-8 p.m.
$20
Motley Rice Building
28 Bridgeside Dr., Mt. P
607-WINE

After selling out the past two years, the Cocktail Challenge returns to Charleston with a Brazilian flair this weekend. Sponsored in part by Cabana Cachaça (ka-sha-sah), a double-distilled sugar cane rum from Brazil, the event will feature eight of the city's top bartenders (from Chai's, Sienna, Coast, McCrady's, Social, Tristan, Oak Steakhouse, and the Thoroughbred Club) competing to create the next big thing on the bar scene. While last year's focus was the mojito, this year's challenge allows for more creativity among the competitors; the only requirement is that the drink be made with Cabana Cachaça. Event coordinator Matt McKeown says it's anyone's game, but look out for the bartender from Chai's, who won last year's challenge with his fruit-infused mojito. Others to watch are Coast's John Aquino, widely recognized as one of Charleston's best cocktail makers, and the folks over at McCrady's, who are expected to step it up after winning for best presentation last year. Each restaurant will have a bar set up in the expansive Motley Rice Building, with huge windows overlooking the Harbor and the Ravenel bridge. Guests will be able to sample cocktails from each bar and then vote on their favorite. The winner will go on to the finals in Brazil, competing with bartenders from around the world. Duda will perform authentic Brazilian music, and heavy hors d'oeuvres will be catered by 28 Bridgeside Events and Grills Gone Wild, who are also sponsoring the event along with the City Paper. There are still plenty of tickets left, but if it goes anything like last year, people will be left standing at the door, so get 'em now. —Erica Jackson WEDNESDAY

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COMEDY | A fight to the comedic death
Cage Match!
Sat. July 28
8 p.m.
$10
Theatre 99
280 Meeting St.
853-6687

Charleston's favorite family of improv comedians extends its reach with "Cage Match," a brand-new show based on a format that's catching on in comedy clubs across the country. After kicking off the night with a short-form, high-energy act featuring all the performers, the cage match will begin. Two teams will perform improv for 25 minutes, after which the audience will vote on the winner. The winners go on to the next round the following week, when they'll be challenged by another team. As usual, the show will rely heavily on audience suggestions and participation, but if you're one of those people who avoids comedy shows because you're afraid you'll end up on stage, Theatre 99 owner (and Have Not!) Brandy Sullivan assures you, "We don't pick on people; it's volunteer only." Sullivan is excited about the new format, which she hopes will bring the club's performers together in a way that hasn't happened before, as they choose their own teams based on chemistry, the desire to work with new people, or any other reasons they might come up with. Moral Fixation and Cleaver Feaver will be battling it out this weekend. —Erica Jackson SATURDAY

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PETS | We all scream for pupcream?
Palmetto Paws/Good Dog Bakery Ice Cream Social
Sat. July 28
11 a.m.- 2 p.m.
Northcutt Plaza Shopping Center,
976 Houston Northcutt Blvd.;
James Island Center,
1739 Maybank Hwy,
971-2039

Just in time for the dog days of summer, Palmetto Paws and Good Dog Bakery are teaming up to host a Doggy Ice Cream Social for you and Fido. The fourth annual social will feature a human vs. canine ice cream-eating contest, as well as a competition to suggest the newest "pupcream" flavor — the winner gets a $25 gift certificate and a week's worth of pupcream, which, according to Bakery owner and ice cream creator Kristian French, is pretty tasty. With all-natural flavors like peanut butter carob, woofers (cookies) and cream, and honey melon, it's hard not to sneak a taste, if your dog gives you a chance. Luckily, complimentary ice cream of the human variety will also be available. But be careful: some dogs love this pupcream a little too much. Dogs suffer from brain freeze too, and while it may be hilarious to watch them shake their head in confusion after an overexuberant binge, be a nice parent and make sure they don't eat too fast. Palmetto Paws owner Meg Brannan also warns of overeating in general, citing a 6-month-old puppy who ate five cups and consequently threw up all over the store. Moderation is key. —Erica Jackson SATURDAY

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FUND-RAISER | Get slap happy on Gold Bug Island
2nd Annual Flip-Flop Ball
Sat. July 28
7-11 p.m.
$20 ($25 at door)
Gold Bug Island
1560 Ben Sawyer Blvd. Mt. Pleasant
849-1020

The hottest part of summer is here, and the last thing you want to do is get all gussied up for a ball. But what if you traded the stilettos for flip-flops, the shiny ballroom for an old fish camp, and that flimsy champagne flute for a beer? Summer comfort is the main idea behind the second annual Flip-Flop Ball, along with helping children. All of the proceeds from the casual fund-raiser will benefit Wings for Kids, an after-school program dedicated to developing emotional competency in children, and the Mikel Foundation,which helps kids with genetic disorders. But don't get the wrong idea; this party is rated R. Organizers ask that guests be at least 21, as alcohol will be served at the event. There'll be barbecue as well. The Ball will take place on Gold Bug Island, just before Sullivan's, on the breezy Intracoastal Waterway. Local band Two 3 Ways and Nashville-based the No Hit Wonders Songwriters Tour will be playing covers, pop, and bluegrass both inside and out throughout the night. Bring your dancing shoes if you have trouble cutting the rug in flip-flops. —Erica Jackson SATURDAY

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