THEATRE | See who’s pulling the strings

“Mr. Evening”
Fri. April 27
10 p.m. and midnight
Read Brothers
593 King St.

You may not recognize the name “Geoff Cormier,” but if you’ve seen one of the movies produced in and around the Lowcountry in the last decade, we guarantee you’ve seen his work. Cormier frequently works as a production designer and assistant on visiting film sets, but this Friday night, on the eve of the National Day of Puppetry, he’ll celebrate his true passion: the whimsical storytelling shadow puppets he meticulously crafts when he’s not at the ol’ day job. In the courtyard behind the Read Brothers Stereo store on the corner of King and Spring streets, Cormier’s alter-ego, The Reverend Alphonse Phive, will present two performances of “Mr. Evening: A Southern Gothic Object Lesson Open Air Shadow Puppet Play,” based on a James Purdy story, as well as puppet-accompanied recitations from local author Charlie Geer’s novel, Outbound, plus shadow belly dancing by Shakti Selene and Egyptian belly dance by Aini — all of which will be scored by The Bird Hermit. Cormier’s magical shadow puppetry is a must-see; it’s simply one of the most unique homegrown entertainments in the city, and if you squint your eyes and ignore the pluff mud, you might even be able to imagine you’re in a hip boho bar somewhere in the East Village. FRIDAY

EVENT | The beginning of Bond

Movies in Marion Square
Thurs. April 26
Marion Square
Corner of King and Calhoun streets
577-5304 ext. 140

After a highly successful first week (thanks for holding off on the rain until afterward, big guy!), Movies in Marion Square continues this week with an explosive second film — Casino Royale, last year’s blockbuster Bond prequel. City Paper A&E editor Patrick Sharbaugh enthusiastically gives this movie a glowing review, saying it offers all the Bond action with none of the dopey gadgets or high camp a la the Roger Moore years. Daniel Craig, the blond Bond with some serious junk in the trunk, made quite an impression with viewers unused to blond men actually being sexy, and Casino Royale offered up suspense along with a history of how James Bond earned the “7” that comes after his double 0’s. And the suspense in the movie will be all the stress you’ll encounter on Thurs. night, as Movies in Marion Square is about as no-hassle as it gets — grab the kids, the dog (leashed, please!), all your relatives, a couple blankets or beach chairs, and a little nosh money for Lil’ Mama’s pizza, Bubba Gump shrimp, Kettle Corn, and more, then kick back and relax in the fine spring evening. THURSDAY

COMEDY | Tasty tapas theatre

Piccolo Fringe
2007 Preview
Sat. April 28
8 p.m.
Theatre 99
280 Meeting St.

Although it’s a month until the actual festival, The Have Nots! have been working their hilarious butts off for months to put together a Piccolo Fringe line-up that smooshes national comedians and troupes together with the very best of our local original comedic acts. This Saturday, they host a preview showcase packed with the peninsular funny that locals can look forward to at the end of next month — The Have Nots! themselves, John Brennan’s new one-man show The Banana Monologues, Big Dicktionary, Hobo the Musical, The Complete History of Charleston for Morons, Cabaret Kiki’s musical “Rogue’s Gallery,” Moral Fixation, and Improv Smackdown — that’ll leave audiences grasping their sides in blissful, hysterical agony. With each show whittled down to a short sampler of the real deal, locals can not only start planning their Piccolo schedules but also see what the ever-expanding Theatre 99 family offers on a regular basis. We’ll turn this town into the next Branson if it kills us! SATURDAY

SPORTS EVENT | Don’t forget to eat your Wheaties

Creative Spark Center for the Arts’ Amazing Race
Sat. April 28
3-6 p.m. (show up around 2:30 p.m.)
$90/team of four
Blackbaud Stadium
1990 Daniel
Island Dr.

So you wanna be the next Chip and Kim, winners of ABC’s Amazing Race, but can’t imagine the bare-all feeling of being subjected to nationally syndicated reality TV editing? We don’t blame you. Don’t waste time making a casting tape. There’s a miniature local version of the Amazing Race (sans planes, trains, and automobiles) this weekend that promises a grand prize and no bug eating. The “world” in this helmet-wearing, bicycle-racing, clue-solving adventure will lead teams on a five-mile loop around Daniel Island, beginning and ending at Blackbaud Stadium. The press release says that those with the ability to eat ice cream, and lots of it, will have an advantage in the Moo-na Lisa spoon-off. For $90, teams of four adults or teams of at least one adult and children can gallivant from task to task, breaking cryptic Robert Langdon clues, completing art projects, and relay-racing like it’s elementary school field day 2007. The competition is followed by a Moe’s Southwest Grill fiesta and garners entry to the Battery’s night of foot folly later in the evening. —Lindsay Sainlar SATURDAY

COMEDY | Bring on the funny business

Comedy Explosion 2007
Sat. April 28
8 p.m.
North Charleston Coliseum
5001 Coliseum Blvd.

The new generation of hot Hollywood comedy hits Charleston this weekend as Comedy Explosion 2007 erupts at the North Charleston Coliseum this Saturday. Comedians such as Anthony Anderson (Hustle & Flow, Kangaroo Jack, Romeo Must Die), Earthquake (Getting Played), Sommore (Queens of Comedy, Soul Plane), and Arnez J (BET’s Comic View, HBO’s Def Comedy Jam) attack the audience with nonstop jokes. Don’t miss your chance to see some of entertainment’s freshest comedians up close and personal — you finally get to find out if they can really pull it off in person. —Laura Zapp SATURDAY

FESTIVAL | Springtime blessing

Blessing of the Fleet
Sun. April 29
11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Alhambra Hall
131 Middle St.

Welcoming spring with a touch of tradition, Charleston area residents are ready for the upcoming Blessing of the Fleet, the annual seafood festival celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Gracing the lands of Alhambra Hall, the Blessing of the Fleet is a definitive Lowcountry draw for locals and tourists alike, paying homage to the historic shrimping industry of Mt. Pleasant. Complete with local clergymen blessing each individual ship that rolls through the Charleston Harbor, this beloved event offers individuals a chance to give back to the community that has fed them over the years, with proceeds going to the South Carolina Shrimpers Society and the East Cooper Habitat for Humanity. Fun and festivities abound with family activities, a smorgasbord of fishy delights from over 11 area restaurants, and live music from the East Coast Party Band. The best part about the whole shindig? It’s absolutely free, from admission to parking. Hit the Charleston Harbor, say ‘Hello’ to the warmer weather, and eat, drink, and be merry in classic Southern style. ­­—Laura Zapp SUNDAY

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