Thursday, December 3, 2009

Meet yourself coming back this weekend

Thursday, Dec. 3

It's December so everything is really, really dead.Yeah, right.

On Main Street you’ll find about seven art shows with works by 18 artists – not bad considering there are no art galleries on Main Street. Called “Mingle and Jingle” it looks like Main Street’s answer to Vista Lights (we just hope there are no beer trucks or wedding fashion shows waiting in the wings.) It runs from 6 to 9.

Most of the credit for this event goes to the nice folks at Frame of Mind (it sells very nice and very expensive eyeglasses) who started doing art shows about a year ago that really grabbed people.

Last month, Frame of Mind set up a stage out front for performances and the businesses on either side, the White Mule and Gotham Bagel, got involved too.

Now it's all out of control - in what looks like a good way.

Frame of Mind will have an exhibition by sculptors Virginia Scotchie (left) and Bri Kinard (below);  folks from the co-op Village Artists come in from the wilds of Northeast Columbia to the lobby of the new Nickelodeon Theatre; Ellen Blyth has a show/installation at an in-renovation mode building; Stephanie Britt’s paintings (top) will be at The White Mule; and a sampling of works from the designers at Piensa Art Company can be seen at the Silver’s Building.

You’ll also get a preview of the Crafty Feast, a show and sale of hand-made items taking place later this month.

Various music and dance things are taking place as well with the Delirium Tribal belly dancers shaking it atop the bathrooms in the Free Times office.
Now we have your interest, don’t we?

For info call (803) 988-1065.

On the other side of the river, Compass 5 (an architecture firm) keeps the art coming with “9 X 3,” a show of three works by nine artists (including a couple who are showing at Frame of Mind.) Compass 5 has been doing some really first-rate shows by artists who don’t get enough exposure here, but who are very good.

  Prints by Tom Nakashima at Compass 5

In “9 X 3” are Tom Nakashima, a printmaker and the Morris Eminent Scholar of Art at Augusta State University; Priscilla Hollingsworth, who has done art ranging from ceramics to installations; Frieda Dean, a painter and printmaker who long lived in Chicago and now lives and works in Augusta. Also in the show are USC professor Virginia Scotchie and her student Bri Kindard (yes they're at Frame of Mind too) and USC student Ashley Padgett, Laura VanCamp, Chris Johnson and Yen Yu Lu.

An opening reception runs from 6 to 8 at Compass 5. Nakashima, a superb artist, brilliant and nice guy, will give a talk at 7.
The show is up until Jan. 14. Compass 5 is at 329 State St. (803) 765-0838.

I recently picked up a postcard for the show “100 Under 1000: ifArtworks for $999 and Less” and thought “What a good idea.”

The show, with an obvious emphasis on selling, opens tonight from 5 to 9 at if Art Gallery. While all the art is less than $999 much is quite a bit less than that.

The show is a who’s who of artists from close to home and farther off: Stephen Chesley, Mary Gilkerson, Deanna Leamon, Peter Lenzo, David Yaghjian, Edmund Yaghjian, Aaron Baldwin, Carl Blair, Dorothy Netherland, Matt Overend, Tom Stanley. Matt Overend (his "Two Knives" pictured) and many others. 1223 Lincoln St. Through Dec. 24. (803)238-2351.

And last, the Midlands Clay Art Society unloads the pots and cups and vases for its annual sale. Some good art and good gifts.Gallery 80808/Vista Studios this evening from 5 to 9 and continuing through Saturday.
(Oops. That’s not last.The Columbia Design League just let us know that it is holding a meet-the-designers event. You get to talk to a clothing designer, a fabric designer and a graphic designer all on Devine Street. The Design League isn’t calling it Design on Devine, but that’s what’s it should be called. Starts at 6 p.m. and is open to Design League members and their guests. Call 343-2214.)

Here's my suggested tasting menu:
5 - 6 if Art and Gallery 80808
630 - 7:30 Compass 5
8 - 9  Main Street
If you end up hanging out on Main Street all night you have to promise to go see the if Art and Compass 5 shows before they close. 

Art alternatives
If you care not a whit for any of that art stuff, you have options.
Wideman/Davis Dance still has two performances of two new works. The company in residence at USC is doing "Balance," which looks at homelessness, and "Rock and My Soul," a tribute to Woodstock 40 years on.
I went Wednesday night and pretty taken with both works.
"Balance" is a good mix of high level dancing and some narrative, including words by and about homelessness that never gets didactic or feels like a social work lecture. "Rock and My Soul" is never hokey. Both have excellent music. About 98 percent of the audience Wednesday was students, most of them required to be there, and even they all seemed to dig it.
8 p.m. Drayton Hall Theatre. $16. (803) 251-2222. (See the story about the company posted last Sunday.)

 Or go hear a free chamber music concert at the USC School of Music. The 7:30 concert will have ten student group playing music by Haydn, Gian Carlo Menotti, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and others. Call (803) 777-4280. 

Friday, Dec. 4
"Rent" might pay the rent at Trustus

After a fairly grim fall for attendance, Trustus Theatre is probably looking forward to opening the enormously popular, but pretty downbeat, musical “Rent.”

The play is set among the artists of the Lower East Side of New York in a time long ago and far away – the 1980s. If it bears a striking resemblance to a French opera about artists from 100 years earlier that’s no accident. That would be Puccini’s “La Boheme.”

The Trustus production is directed by Dewey Scott-Wiley with musical direction by Christopher Cockrell and choreography by Terrance Henderson, who is also in the cast. Among the actors are Kevin Bush, Jason Stokes, Robin Gottlieb, Walter Graham, Lanny Spires, Jocelyn Brannon, and Katie Leitner. John Henson, who worked on the 1999 Broadway production, is costuming the show and has borrowed some costumes from that show for the Trustus production. (I’ve heard there are some serious shoes.)

By the time "Rent" opened in 1996 those Lower East Side boho days were fast disappearing and so was the height of the AIDS epidemic which is an integral element of the musical. When I first saw it it felt both too close to the time it was set and too far away as well. Age has helped it. Although it’s called a “rock musical” it feel more like a traditional musical with some rock touches – which doesn’t make it that different than many musicals.
"Rent" show runs to Dec.13, takes a holiday and returns January 7 – 23. The theater usually doesn't have Wednesday shows, but will for this one on Dec. 9 and Jan. 13 and 20. (803) 254-9732. $25.

Ah Nuts
The Columbia Classical Ballet does its "Nutcracker" tonight though Sunday. Performances are at 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. today, 3 and 7:30 Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. (803) 251-2222 or 

 The Columbia City Ballet's "Nutcracker" doesn't start until next week, but tickets are half price through today. Same contact for tickets as the Classical Ballet.

Singing for the holidays
The USC concert choir sings tonight at 7:30 at the First Presbyterian Church, 1324 Marion St., and Sunday, Dec. 6 at 6 at Shandon Methodist, 3704 Devine St. The concerts will feature the music of Palestrina, Mendelssohn and other well-known composers as well as two new student works. 

Final viewing of "Contemporary Conversations" 
 This is the last weekend to see part two of "Contemporary Conversations: The State Art Collection" at the 701 Center for Contemporary Art. I hate the way the shows were (not) organized, but there is some fine individual work in this one.

Saturday, Dec. 5

Silence, strange sounds and the screen
You may not t know this, but you have probably heard someone play the theremin. The electronic musical device invented in 1920 is played by waving one’s hands around its antenna. It provided that spooky woo-woo-woo sound to sci-fi movies and even made it onto the Beach Boys’ tune “Good Vibrations” and has had a recent revival in the pop music work. Today’s theremin isn’t much to look at – a small, usually plastic box with a couple of antennas.
Now you can see someone playing it, if the lights aren't too low, during a screening of the early Soviet film “Aelita: Queen of Mars.”
The 1924 silent movie is thought to be the first science fiction film and was a big influence  on later directors.  It’s also supposed to be really terrific looking.
The theremin (as well as organ) will played by Dennis James who has accompanied several silent film screenings here, and he'll be joined by a sound effects guy.
The free screening is at 7:30 at the USC music school, Assembly and College streets.

Birds in the gallery
Holle Black does lovely paintings of bird, animals in landscapes, pure landscapes and work that falls toward abstraction. An exhibition of about 30 works by the Atlanta artist go on display today at the Portfolio Art Gallery. 
“The work will be mainly smaller works of birds and landscapes,” Black says. “I love the focus on the small, detailed birds within the context of the landscape - like a walk in the woods. Fleeting moments of light, fleeting glimpses of a nuthatch on a limb have the same ever-changing beauty.”
Meet the artist at an afternoon from 1 to 6. The show will be on display until the end of December. The gallery is at 2007 Devine St. (803) 256-2434.

Sunday, Dec. 6
Ansel Adams in person (sort of)
Howard Burnham, who has portrayed everyone from T.S. Elliot to Alfred Hitchcock to
 Sherlock Holmes (yeah, I know, we’re mixing people with characters here) now dons the beard and hat of photographer Ansel Adams.
“Never Wear Wool At The White House” set in 1980 shortly after the acclaimed photographer got a big award from President Jimmy Carter. The performance is taking place in conjunction with a show of Adams photos at the museum. You can wear wool to this event.The shutter opens at 3 p.m $7; free for museum members.

Wednesday, Dec. 9
New sounds for now people
The Rempis/Rosaly duo with Dave Rempis on alto, tenor and baritone saxophones and Frank Rosaly on percussion cuts loose at the 701 Center for Contemporary Art. With what – well we’re not sure, but as presenter Ross Taylor says, “It should be intense.”
Sounds start at 8:30. $8; $5 for art center members. 701 Whaley St.

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