Thursday, June 18, 2009

The weekend and beyond

Ready for “Rocky?”

This isn’t, as Trustus Theatre artistic director Jim Thigpen will tell you, a show that needs much attention. It's a show he seems to love to hate doing, but here it is and there it is where it will sell a lot of tickets.

Trustus certainly should be ready for “The Rocky Horror Show” – it has mounted the sci-fi, rock ‘n’ roll, gender-bending, cross-dressing, audience-participation, toast-tossing show four times during the past decade and a half.

Those who are fans of the show centered on the transvestite and mad scientist Frank-N- Furter (terrible name for a great characte
r) will be getting a somewhat different show this time around with director Chad Henderson. He has never even seen a production of the musical so with luck he'll bring some fresh ideas to it. Although he’s now a big fan of the 1975 movie version he refused to go with friends to midnight screenings of it when he was growing up in Spartanburg. Now they’re teasing him about directing it.

“I have f
riends who are big fans of the show and asked them what they wanted to see,” Henderson said. “They said they wanted it to be a big party every night.”

Well, that might be up to the audience. Henderson has enlisted a new choreographer, Terrance Henderson (no relation) to pump up the dance, a catwalk will run out into the audience and the show will be lighting-design intensive. Caroline Weidner is musical director.

The one constant since
the first time at Trustus is Scott Blanks in the role of the Frank. Blanks said in 2004 he wouldn’t do it again, but he said the same thing in 1999. He said he was getting a little old for heels and women’s undies. I guess we’ll see.

I happen to be a big fan of the show (which I saw staged many times by friends when I was in college) and its child “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” These are REAL rock musicals. As is “Jesus Christ, Superstar.” Rocky mania starts tonight and runs through July 25.

Tickets are $25. For those with more money then sense, you can sit on stage for $40.

Playing after Dark

If you missed the puppet shows

“Junk Palace” and “The Crane Wife” (left) last weekend there’s another chance to see them tonight at the Marionette Theatre (and they’re well worth seeing.)

The shows are part of an evening called “Playing After Dark” that will include music, art and, get this, a mini golf course. Organizer Aaron Pelzek hopes to turn this isn’t a regular every other Friday night event.

It’s at 8 and it’s only $3. (The theater is near the Riverfront Park near the water treatment plant.)

Irish music at the museum

For the third year, Corner House Music is holding a batch of workshop for musicians as well as a couple of concerts in Columbia. Most of the events during the Irish Music Weekend place at the Columbia Museum of Art are for players.

The Rince na h’Eireann Dancers perform at 6:15 Friday evening followed at 7 p.m. by a concert by workshop instructors. (That’s $12). Then starting at 11:30 and running until around 5 p.m. Saturday are a series of short concerts on everything from banjo to uilleann pipes – so bring your cruel banjo and bagpipe jokes

Why do bagpipers march when they're playing?

They're trying to get away from the noise.

$5 each or $15 for a pass to as many as you want to hear.

Cut paper art

I’ve been trying for two weeks to find out who Joan Podd is and why she has a show at the USC art gallery. I guess we’ll all just have to go and find out. (According to a USC web site she’s an art education instructor in the art department, but I wouldn’t trust that since it lists a bunch of faculty member who no longer work there.)

“Sophisticated Whimsy” is made up of cut paper collages of landscapes. The show opens with a reception Thursday, June 18 from 5-7 p.m. The show continues through July 17

Love and art in a S.C. steel mill

Beyond the weekend, a launch party for Brian Ray’s novel “Through the Pale Door” takes place at 7 p.m. Wedneday, June 24 at if Art Galery in Columbia. The story is

set in South Carolina where a young woman has returned to work in a steel mill . There she falls for another worker who is an aspiring and driven mural painter. The book won the first South Carolina First Novel Competition and has a very cool cover.

Ray grew up in Georgia and then moved to South Carolina, where he spent summers working at a steel plant so he knows of what he writes. He finished his master of fine arts at USC in 2007 and is working on his doctorate in North Carolina. The fi

rst novel contest is a project of Hub City Writers in Spartanburg and the S.C. Arts Commission, Humanities Council and State Library.

Miles of music

If you're the stay at home kind listen to the chamber music from the Spoleto Festival USA Thursday night at 7 on S.C. ETV Radio. It's hosted by Miles Hoffman, dean of the music school at Converse College for the past two years. Hoffman will also be the guest on "Walter Edgar's Journal" Friday, June 19 at noon when they will have, according to ETV, a "delightful conversation."

Hoffman is music commentator on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" (although I have heard him on it in ages) and is the author of "The NPR Classical Music Companion."

A week until (part of) museum reopens

Don’t try going to the Columbia Museum of Art for another week. It’s shut down completely for reinstallation of the permanent collection. But before the new look of the second floor is unveiled, an exhibition by the abstract painter Cleve Gray opens (but not until the end of next week.) Also, once the entire museum reopens the admission price will be DOUBLED going from $5 to $10. All the more reason for you to be a member.

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