Thursday, January 21, 2010

Art shows, classical to crazy concerts, dance and more to do during the coming days


Thursday, Jan. 21.

The artist, the pigs, the (former) president
I’ve always felt that Tarleton Blackwell’s paintings of pigs, dogs, wolves had a political or at least a social commentary, but that hasn’t ever been completely clear in his paintings and he hasn’t been one to talk about it. For 20 years the Manning resident has mined and mixed images from fairy tales like the “Three Little Pigs,” kids’ drawings, hog butchering and art history to create rich tapestries of paint that tell a story, but exactly what story was never was quite clear. (Nearly ever work he has ever done is part of his ongoing “Hog Series.”)

One can’t say that Blackwell has exactly opened up, but in a few of his new paintings– on display at City Art with some work dating back a decade– are right in you face.
The Cowboy in Chief George W. Bush  and his sidekick Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld draw guns in “Come on with It." Others paintings are titled “Off Shore Drilling” and “Clear and Present Danger,” although the danger and the drilling are not obvious. And that’s fine – if we wanted to read an essay instead of looking at a painting that option is available elsewhere.

Blackwell said he was responding to the various awful things happening in at the end of the Bush administration – the crash of the economy, skyrocketing gas prices and the wars that appeared to have no end.

“I know some of my students are heading off to war and some of them are not coming back,” he said. Those are strong words for the mild-mannered and soft-spoken artist, but he added, characteristically, “I paint from my heart. And these are no different.”

The show open last week, but it gets an official kick off from 6 to 9 p.m. City Art is at 1224 Lincoln St. (803) 252-3613. The show is up through Feb. 20.

A midsummer night in midwinter
Fighting fairies, rude mechanicals and men turned into asses (as if that’s unique) are all part of William Shakespeare’s magical “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
The South Carolina Shakespeare Company is doing the play in the midwinter and not in the cheerful (and apparently crime-ridden) wooded glen of Finlay Park, but at Hammond Academy.
The play revolves around a spat between the fairy king and queen Oberon and Titania as well as a bunch of (as usual) confused, young people trying to undermine the love lives their parents have planned for them.
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. tonight through Sunday. The school is at 854 Galway Lane.
Admission is $10 for adults and $6 for students.  Visit or call (803) 787-2273.

Friday, Jan. 22

Four artists celebrate a decade
Hard to believe but painters Stephen Chesley, Mike Williams, David Yaghjian of Columbia and Edward Wimberly of St. Matthews are doing their tenth annual group show.
The work ranges from the more traditional landscapes, abstract drawings and small studies by Chesley, to expressionist landscapes, kind-of-abstract and other less-easily defined work (top) by Williams, figurative pieces by Yaghjian and Wimberly’s Southern gothic take on surrealism.(right)
The show opens tonight from 6 to 9 and continues through Feb. 3 at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, 808 Lady St. or call (803) 252-6134.

Art beyond the classroom
If you missed Tarleton Blackwell at the City Art opening Thursday, he’ll be at the art teachers invitational opening tonight at Columbia College. Blackwell, who teaches at Scott’s Branch High School in Clarendon County, is one of ten artist/teachers in the show that runs through Feb. 7.
The reception is from 5:30 to 7 at the college art gallery. The college is located at Main Street and Columbia College Drive (that’s helpful isn’t it?). That is about two miles north of downtown (not, as the college would like you to think, downtown proper.) (803) 786-3899.

What’s that burning?
TOAST -  not just for breakfast. Have a late-night helping of this improv comedy company at Trustus Theatre.  At 11:15 p.m. the actors will be deal with audience suggestions no matter how many times someone yells “tampon.” $5. (803) 254-9732.

Small group big sound
The minimalist guitar/drum duo Lulo from Asheville gets the music started around 10:30 p.m. at Hunter-Gatherer.
I can’t really tell you anything more about the group. If you like this kind of thing (and I usually do) it’s the kind of thing you’ll like. A bigSphinx production if that helps. If it doesn’t I’m sorry.  $6. 900 Main St. or  (803) 957-5565.

Saturday Jan. 23 

Good, cheap reads

If you don't mind a little dust and maybe dust-ups between those after that John Grisham collection, to to the Richland County Public Library book sale. It runs from 9 to 3 at the library operations center, 130 Lancewood Road (that's just off Bush River Road.) (803) 799-9084.

Sweet sounds
Begin the night with Strings in Silhouette a benefit concert with dessert (I’m there) with chamber music by the USC music school faculty and students. The $5 admission charge goes to benefit the American String Teachers Association chapter.
6:30 USC School of Music. (803) 777-4280.

Lots of dance and dancers in one place


The annual “Life Chance” performance by the Columbia Classical Ballet may be the closest you’ll get around here to seeing the Boston Ballet.

Five Boston Ballet dancers (including two principals and one soloist) are joined by two from the American Ballet Theatre II and dancers from Idaho, Japan and several spots between.eturning as usual is hometown dance hero Brooklyn Mack, top, who has won several big awards and is now with the Washington Ballet. The Elgin native began studying ballet at the advanced age of 12 with Radenko Pavlovich, artistic director of the Classical Ballet.Along with the guest artists the entire classical company will be on stage for a couple of really huge works.

Although this is a performance for and by the Classical Ballet, the dances are quite wide-ranging. You’ll get a selection of classic classics, a portion of “Who Cares?” by George Balanchine, (danced by James Whiteside of Boston, above left) and more contemporary pieces.

Based on my experience “Life Chance” is usually one of the top two or three dance events in Columbia. It’s not bad, it’s not boring, it’s not campy and it’s not filled with college students who don’t want to be there taking notes.
The performance is preceded by an auction of various donated goods at 6:30 and starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Koger Center. Tickets are $5 to $32.
e pieces.
(803) 251-2222

Shake it
And after you see the ballet, head to the big bellydance  (not Big Belly Dance) extravaganza. At the Art Bar you’ll find Alternacirque and Delirium Tribal from Columbia as well as dancers and groups from Greenville, Atlanta, Knoxville, D.C. and, of course, Asheville.
Things start shaking around 10 at the Art Bar. $5.

Sunday, Jan. 24
Found footage festival

Ever wonder what happens to all those VHS tapes?
The "Found Footage Festival" stops in Columbia today. The festival is run by two guys who travel around the county showing weird videos they've stumbled upon. It all started with a training video "Inside and Outside Custodial Duties" they found nearly 20 years ago. This is the fifth year of the festival and the first time it has landed here.
The sceenings of these often-hilarious and sometimes painful videos takes place at 8 p.m. at the Nickelodeon Theater,l 937 Main St. $9.

Monday, Jan. 25

Author Daniel Wallace kicks off the literary series at the Richland County Public Library. Wallace, who is also an illustrator, is best know for his 1998 book "Big Fish"which was made into a movie by Tim Burton.
A native of Alabama, he lives in Chapel Hill. His most recent novel is "Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician" from 2007.
Other writers in the series are Brian Ray, Feb. 8, Percival Everett,  Feb. 24, Pamela Duncan, March 18; Robert Inman, April 1; and Margaret Maron, April 15.
Wallace's talk is at 6 p.m. at the Main Library, 1431 Assembly St. For information call (803) 799-9084.

Reeds in red
"The President's Own" United States Marine Band Saxophone Quartet not only plays well they have some very spiffy red uniforms.  They'll be playing everything from George Gershwin to Radiohead. I'm not kidding.
The free concert is at 7:30 at the USC School of Music. (803) 777-4280

Tuesday, Jan. 26

Stir it up
Unless you are like me (vaguely employed looking at, listening to and watching the arts) this might be your only chance to experience Jonathan Brilliant’s sculpture show at the USC art department gallery.
The artist, who relocated to Columbia from Charleston last year, has a pretty amazing installation of sculptures made of coffee-related things, the centerpiece piece being constructed of 50,000 wooden coffee stirrers.
He’ll give a talk at 4 p.m. which will be followed by an opening that runs until 7 p.m.
Why is this the only time you might see it? Because the gallery is only open from 9 to 4:30 on weekdays. Call (803) 777-4236.

Piano pizzazz
Long-time USC piano professor Charles Fugo is playing quite a set tonight: . Twelve Variations on the Russian Dance from “Das Waldmädchen” by Ludwig van Beethoven; “Kreisleriana, Op. 16” by Robert Schumann; two etudes by Franz Liszt; Scherzo in A-flat Major by Alexander Borodin; Etude in F-Sharp Major by Igor Stravinsky and several more works. Should be a full and fine  concert. 7:30 p.m. School of Music.  (803) 777-4280.

Wednesday, Jan. 27
 Digging into the mill town
The next installment of the series connected to the exhibition “Olympia” at the 701 Center for Contemporary Art is “Art and the Culture of Mill Villages,” a presentation led by Jonathan Leader, an anthropology professor at USC. The 7:30 event is free at the center, 701 Whaley St. (803) 779-4571.

(By the way if you've read this far why don't you sign up as a follower to the right. Also, I'm looking for feedback about what you'd like to see more of at Carolina Culture.
More stories on artists or arts organizations? Stories? Reviews? More of what kind of arts coverage - theater, visual arts, classical music? Commentary?)

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