Spoleto always has spectacular artists and performers but only a rare handful have ever found me so excited that I was jumping up and down in my living room . The last time was when Monkey Journey to the West made Spoleto home for its ONLY American performance and before that it was Laurie Anderson’s birthday performance of Songs and Stories from Moby Dick.
This year perhaps has me the most ecstatic ever- New York’s Dean and Britta’s performance of Andy Warhol’s 13 Most Beautiful. They’ve traveled around the world with this show and it’s also been released on dvd. It’s a very personal show for me and I am looking forward to it. I received the DVD two years ago as a birthday present, traveled to Duke University last year to see a performance, and I am not ashamed to admit that over the years I’ve stalked Dean Wareham’s previous band Luna traveling by plane and car to catch them live whenever I could. In highschool I was a huge fan of Dean’s band from his Harvard University days- Galaxie 500. I also chose a Luna song for my first dance at my wedding. Needless to say I am so stoked I can see one of my favorite performers without having to drive/fly 2+ hours to do so.
If you are worried the show will be boring or short- don’t be. The husband and wife duo with their small band play in front of a screen which plays the 13 screen tests they selected (featuring Edie Sedgwick, Lou Reed, Dennis Hopper and more). They tell interesting stories and share facts about the people in those screen tests in between the song performances. Of course the song list features covers by Bob Dylan and The Velvet Underground but also some originals written specifically for the screen tests by Dean and Britta. The screen tests themselves are entertaining as well- they are a few minutes of film by Andy Warhol focusing on people’s faces while they do nothing, try to do nothing, or do something so commonplace like chewing gum it makes for interesting viewing. Lou Reed drinks a Coca Cola, Ann Buchanan sheds one beautifully perfect tear, Jane Holzer brushes her teeth, and Dennis Hopper stares up, down and seemingly tries to not crack a smile. And once they finish the screen tests, they’ve been known to break into a few of their own songs, some Galaxie 500 and Luna tunes as well.
I must add to that Dean Wareham wrote a hilarious autobiography about his experience in the music world and touring- Black Postcards. It is simultaneously hilarious, heart breaking and thought provoking and it seems very honest – he seemed very concerned about telling the truth as he knows it, sometimes making himself look very much the villain in the process. Britta Phillips was the singing voice of the 80’s cartoon Jem (yes, Jem and the Holograms) and recently she voiced the mom on Cartoon Networks Moral Oral. You can also catch her in Satisfaction (that 80’s Justine Bateman/Julia Roberts/Liam Neeson movie that was actually filmed in Charleston). Britta was the one in the movie that could actually sing.
One thing I love about Dean and Britta is their accessibility to fans. You can probably catch them after the show in the lobby talking to anyone who approaches them. I could gush on forever why you should see their performance and seek out all their cds but I must get back to work. Hope to see you at one of their performances!
Rhett Thurman’s “Band of Angels” is the cover art for Dunes Properties’ 2009-2010 Vacation Guide
Summer weather is here and the beach is on the minds of many. Some like to take a dip in the ocean, others like to relax on a screened in porch. Charleston-based painter, Rhett Thurman, is inspired by the bright bold colors and light during this time of year. A seventeen piece collection of her paintings will be on display at The Real Estate Studio, located at 214 King Street from May 18-June 29. The work is available for viewing Monday through Saturday 9am-6pm, Sundays 11am-4pm.
Thurman’s work is distinguished by her signature vibrant and fresh palette. She also impresses with her broad range of subject matter. Her extensive travels are a reoccurring inspiration for the artist. She approaches each painting, whether it is a street scene in Mexico, a field of strawberries in California, or a child playing on the beach with the same sentimental connection with the viewer.
Thurman has achieved national acclaim for both her oils and watercolors. She has exhibited with the prestigious American and National Watercolor Societies, been featured in national publications and is included in private, museum and corporate collections. She was the 2003 artist in residence for the Gibbes Museum of Art Poets’ and Painters’ program. Thurman is the recipient of the 1995 Outstanding Alumna Award from Queens College, where she earned her degree in studio art. Her education and painting experience include further studies in Europe and the United States. As Charleston is a destination for international art collectors, Thurman’s work has worldwide exposure and is gaining in popularity.
The artist says, “Whether painting at home or abroad, a complicated sidewalk café or a simple slice of melon, my quest remains the same: pushing past what I’ve done before for a fresh spin of light, color, and relationships of people, places, and things”. She has served as president of South Carolina Watercolor, and a co-founder of Southern Exposure, offering national and international travel and painting opportunities. Thurman is represented by The Sylvan Gallery which is located at 171 King St. and open Mon-Sat 10-5, www.thesylvangallery.com, 843-722-2172.
One of the grandest times of the year is about to come- Spoleto Festival USA! And tickets are now available for events.
Spoleto Festival USA was founded in 1977 by Pulitzer Prize-winning Italian composer Gian Carlo Menotti, Christopher Keene, and others who sought to create an American counterpart to their annual Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. Looking for a city that would provide the charm of Spoleto as well as its wealth of theaters, churches and other performances spaces, they selected Charleston as the ideal location.
It’s a great time to be in Charleston. Downtown is buzzing even more than usual. Spoleto is a great showcase of a variety of performances from the small to outrageous productions. Jazz to Ballet to more obscure performance art. Over the last 11 years here in Charleston, my three favorite performances have been the first and only American performance to date of the Monkey Journey to the West opera, Laurie Anderson’s “Moby Dick,” and the essay reading performance by writer David Sedaris. Quite a variety!
This year’s event looks extra spectacular with Ireland’s Gate Theater, an all male ballet troup doing a send up of classical ballet-Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, The Colla Marionette Company, Polish pianist Leszek Możdżer, jazz vocalist Lizz Wright, the US premier of “This Is What Happens Next,” late night punk rock duo Die Roten Punkte, Nina Ananiashvili and The National Ballet of Georgia and so much more.
And a lower cost alternative to Spoleto is our Piccolo Spoleto Festival . Lots of music, theater (most fun being the Piccolo Fringe theater events), literary , dance and family oriented events too.
May and June are a great time to be in Charleston!