"Never give another man olives."
—Kenny Zimlinghaus at the Charleston Stand-Up Competition, after being handed a jar of olives by "Red Black," a pitifully strange old man who rambled incoherently during the contest while dropping his pants to reveal lizard green Speedos.
Mostly Deaf: In 30 years, hearing aid sales will suddenly spike
Redux Contemporary Art Center's all night long Bedtime Jamboree last Friday left my ears ringing for days. Eleven underground bands played straight through Saturday morning to raise money for the studio's newest eco-friendly traveling art experiment, Transit Antenna. And let me tell you, the hearing loss was a worthy trade for an eclectic night of fun.
The party started off with Dark Meat Vomit Laser Family Band (pictured below), a colorfully costumed 13-piece collective from Athens, Ga. Talk about a psychedelic, free jazz, Mardi Gras spectacle. Silly string was sprayed, red fabric draped across the ceiling was torn down, and cake was passed around for people to dive into mouth first. The brass and woodwind section wandered through the loose crowd while the audience took turns screeching and screaming into the mic for an additional layer of dissonance. Yeah, this stunning mess of controlled confusion felt like a freak-out free-for-all, but the group's seemingly lack of direction was all part of their disorderly pattern to break down and build up rhythms and melodies piece-by-piece.
Next up were local noisemakers Oicho Kabu, who kept the momentum going with goofy pop-infused metal. While most of the crowd jumped around, others held their ears; listening was painful. Sporadic yelling, incoherent songs. Either these guys are on the verge of something beyond comprehension or they just have a group of very supportive friends.
Huspa, a local experimental jazz metal group, got the crowd head-banging. Heck, even some semblance of a mosh pit formed.
The entire evening ran about two hours behind schedule, so the acoustic set which started sometime around 3 a.m. came at the absolute worst moment. Many folks were beat. After sitting down and nodding off like the rest of the remaining crowd, I suckered out around 5 a.m. for a trip to Waffle House, and then went home to rest my brain — and my ears. —Susan Kamenar
Comedy Fest Wrap-up: That's all, folks... 'til next year, at least
Charleston just experienced some of the funniest days of its life, and if you missed it... well, the joke's on you. The fifth annual Charleston Comedy Festival consisted of four days of great comedy from all over the East Coast. Many shows were sold out, the Magic Hat and Firefly vodka were flowin' (and also sometimes sold out), and the only bad thing about it was the difficulty of choosing which shows to attend — they were all top-knotch. The week kicked off with two local acts and a stand-up competition at the Music Farm, which brought a surprising number of funny people. Thursday saw four local acts from Theatre 99, along with the first performance from argyle-clad festival favorites Harvard Sailing Team from NYC. Things really picked up on Friday and Saturday nights, and the streets between the venues — Theatre 99, Tonic, the Ballet Theatre, and the American Theater — were full of laugh-seekers scurrying to and fro. Working behind the counter at the Ballet Theatre on Friday and Saturday nights, I watched the crowds pour in, eventually selling out all shows, and I got yelled out when we ran out of cold beer. Sneaking into the theater, I witnessed the Harvard Sailing Team's admirable singing skills (Melissa Etheridge, anyone?), Hot Sauce's cute and naughty banter, and the Pushers' shriek-inducing very un-PC act. (Crème de Men. That's all I'll say.) The finale brought all the acts together, including the Apple Sisters (pictured above) in undoubtedly the best show of the festival, and the after parties (every night) at the Mellow Mushroom provided a nice chance to relax, have some Firefly-infused sweet tea, and kick back with some incredibly talented comics. Thanks to all who came out. —Erica Jackson
Mild Horses: An awkward reunion
"Oh my, God. It's so good to see you!" says a man with fluffy hair. A lanky scenester bobs her head in agreement. The doo dude motions to the Nordic superwoman at his side and introduces her to Sceney Todd. A look of recognition flutters across her face. The blond shuffles her feet and looks away. Hugs are squeezed, hands shaken, awkward pauses linger. "Man, I've been really wanting to find you to hang out," the man with the untamed mane says. The Swedish supermodel pulls down her cap and looks at the stage; if you ask me, it appears that she is actually trying to will the Band of Horses to start their set. "Sorry I didn't make the after party," the man continues. McScene acquiesces with a smile. Apparently fearing that a remember-when rehash is about to commence, the Valkyrie looks ill, like somebody slipped a grendel into her mead. But suddenly the band starts, and she is saved from her fate. —Kinsey Labberton
What the Shell: Oyster fans brave the cold
I learned a couple of new things on Saturday. First of all, sometimes it gets cold in Charleston. The day dawned with temps in the 30s and a nasty rain. But alas, I had tickets to an oyster roast at the Sewee Outpost, and I wasn't going to let them go to waste. The second thing I learned is that the Sewee Preserve and the Sewee Outpost are not the same thing. My apologies to those celebrating Dave's 50th — we didn't mean to crash. When we finally made it to the Sewee Outpost, I had expected to find a deserted event. Instead, I found a crowd of smiling people shucking steaming hot oysters under a few big tents. Who cares about freezing rain when there are oysters to be slurped? —Erica Jackson