ART | Keepin’ it Green

What’s it take to get a week named after you? It would probably require doing something groundbreaking, influential, and far-reaching. In most cases, the honored person would probably be dead as well — but not Jonathan Green. Recognized as an important painter of the southern experience, Green was raised in the Gullah community of Gardens Corner, S.C. After serving in the Air Force as an illustrator, he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Art Institute in Chicago in 1982, becoming the first known artist of Gullah heritage to earn a degree from a professional art school. Green’s vibrant paintings typically depict the people and landscapes of the Lowcountry. These days, his work is exhibited in museums all over the world and is highly sought by collectors. Which is why Jonathan Green gets a week named after him. The celebration revolves around the opening of an exhibition at the Gibbes called Seeking, a collection of works featuring and influenced by Green’s painting of the same name. When he was young, Green went through the “seeking” experience as part of his church’s tradition, whereby he was sent into the forest alone to seek the word of God. The painting shows a seated person looking into a dark forest illuminated by a rich setting sun. Other works in the exhibition explore similar themes of self-discovery through art. A number of events throughout the week celebrate Green’s contributions to cultural life in the Lowcountry, starting with a celebratory dinner at the Gibbes on March 1 at 6:30 p.m., which Green will attend. Other events include three free concerts featuring poetry and jazz inspired by the painting (see Calendar), a free illustrated talk on the artist by Barbara Burgess (March 7, 3-4:30 p.m., Main Library), and a free Gullah Expressions Concert (March 8, 3:30-5 p.m., Circular Congregational Church). See the official website for the full listing of events. —Erica Jackson March 1-8.

COMEDY | Fun and fear-free hypnotism is here!

Comedian/Hypnotist Gary Conrad – Publicly, most of us scoff at superstition. Privately, however, I think we all get at least a little bit nervous when a black cat crosses our path. Hypnotism seems to produce the same dichotomous response; public scoff, private fear. But good news — help is on the way. Charleston no longer has to bear the outrageous burden of hypnophobia (yes, we made that term up) in painful, lonely silence (yes, we’re exaggerating). This Thursday, comedian/hypnotist Gary Conrad is being brought to the Music Farm by the S.C. Law Enforcement Officers Association (should we be suspicious?). His act, which hilariously combines humor and hypnotism, will no doubt force us to face (and fight) our fear. Conrad is arguably the world’s most famous comedian/hypnotist; he has performed all over the United States and is a regular at all the “A” room comedy clubs across the nation. Considering this success, it is surprising to learn that Conrad has not dedicated his entire career to humorous hypnotism. After graduating from Furman, he worked as a stockbroker in NYC and later enjoyed an 11-year stint in the shipping business. Conrad finally (fortunately for us) discovered his current craft while looking for a way to better prepare himself for a body-building competition. In short, this mesmerizing man took a pretty circuitous route to hypnotism. But you don’t have to — just head straight up Ann Street Thursday night for a spooky good time. —Meaghan Strickland THURSDAY Feb. 28. $15/advance, $20/door, $10/students, (803) 781-5913. Music Farm, 32 Ann St. Downtown. (843) 853-3276,

THEATER | Get off my roof

Matchmakers have been busy: For the first time, Charleston Stage teams up with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra for a seven-show run of Fiddler on the Roof. Representatives on both sides seem pretty excited about the collaboration, viewing the classic Broadway musical as the perfect showcase for both the CSO and Charleston Stage. John O. Fennell, a Charleston native now based in New York, plays the role of Tevye, a Jewish milkman in turbulent turn-of-the-century Russia. The story centers around his relationship with his five daughters (played by members of Charleston Stage’s resident acting company) and his attempts to hold fast to tradition as he confronts the changing world around him. Fennell and company will be joined by 30 additional actors and singers from the community. When you add the 35-member orchestra, you’ve got a company of over 75 performers — a promising, powerful combination. As always, students with a valid ID can get tickets for $6 one hour before curtain, if available. —EJ Feb. 29-March 9. $26.50-$36.50, (843) 577-7183. Sottile Theatre, 44 George St. Downtown.

FOOD | Bon appetit, y’all!

Thousands of foodies will descend on Charleston this weekend for the third annual BB&T Food + Wine Festival, which will take place at various venues throughout the city. Many of the tickets for this exclusive event are already sold out, but some are still up for grabs — if you don’t get what you want, get ready to save up and make your reservations for ’09 (an all-access pass will cost you $2,500). Festival events include a Salute to Charleston Chefs at the opening night party Thursday night, featuring Lowcountry-flavored tastings from 16 of the area’s most respected chefs. The weekend also offers Restaurant Dine-Arounds at 14 of the area’s finest restaurants, King Street Sip & Strolls, wine seminars and Brewmaster’s Beer School, Culinary Villages, and a BBQ & Blues finale on Sunday. The stars at many of these events are the culinary geniuses who create the food we love so much — both local and international. According to the website, “Southern traditions will be intertwined with the art and culinary tastes of top chefs from the west coast, New England, France, and Switzerland.” If you can snag some tickets, consider yourself lucky. If not, relax — plenty of these top chefs will still be here, slingin’ hash in their own Charleston restaurants, once all the excitement has died down. —EJ Feb. 28-March 2. (866) 369-3378,

BALL | Shake it with McDreamys

For the past 21 years, students at MUSC’s College of Medicine have organized one of the premier (and most affordable) charity balls in the Lowcountry, and on March 1 it’s back and better than ever. This year, the black tie-optional event is in a new venue and boasts a fresh new format and design, according to organizers. But some things haven’t changed; you’ll still enjoy a silent auction, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and an open bar, along with music from shagalicious cover band Permanent Vacation. The best thing about the ball, of course, is the range of charities it benefits — this year’s proceeds go toward the C.A.R.E.S. Clinic, Charleston Area Therapeutic Riding, Crisis Ministries, East Cooper Meals on Wheels, the Lowcountry Food Bank, and Rise Up and Read. They hope to top the record-setting $40K raised last year, and if they sell out again, chances are that they will. Reserve your tickets quickly if you want to be involved in this worthy event. —EJ SATURDAY March 1. $45. (843) 792-2081. Omar Shrine Temple, 176 Patriots Point Road. Mt. Pleasant

DANCE | Watch out for those scorned lovers

All the way from Russia, the St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre brings an intense performance of Giselle, a story of passion, unrequited love, suicide, and dancing … to death. Heavy stuff. It’s a complicated plot that we’re not even going to attempt to summarize here, but anyone looking for a heart-wrenching drama should appreciate it. French composer Adolphe Adam was one of the most popular composers of the 1800s, and Giselle is widely acknowledged as his masterpiece. It was choreographed by Jules Perrot and Jean Coralli. The St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre’s production features opulent sets and costumes and a company of 70 classically-trained dancers. On your way home from the ballet Wednesday night, keep your eye out for zombies. Trust me. —EJ WEDNESDAY March 5, 8 p.m. $15-$55, (843) 571-7755. Gaillard Auditorium, 77 Calhoun St. Downtown. (843) 577-7400.

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