When you first see Beverly Watkins in person, you’re left to wonder how she can even pick up a guitar, let alone riff away. Her petite frame and bifocals disguise the blues guitar legend as a sweet church lady. Hand her a guitar, however, and her true identity and unique musical talent shine through.
Watkins’ outdoor performance at the Cistern yard went off without a hitch despite an early threat of rain. The after-party wasn’t so lucky — a brief shower forced guests under tents and into the Legare Street home of its hosts. The nocturnal garden setting was one of those that make Spoleto so enchanting to visitors. Lazy jazz was provided by the group Caravan, who were set up at a distance from party-goers across the garden’s azure pool. Brilliant for aesthetics, challenging on acoustics.
Food was done by Cru Café’s catering arm and was perfectly executed, although a little off theme. The Asian menu prompted a double checking of my calendar — the Dogugaeshi party isn’t until Monday. The closest references to soul food were the collard wantons. The citrus chili rock shrimp were a favorite along with ahi tuna and a chopstick-necessitating appetizer. The home’s kitchen was occupied by pastry chef Andy Allen as he prepared a trifecta of sweets, among them the irresistible five spice cinnamon chocolate truffles.
Spoleto General Director Nigel Redden entertained guests with tales about his teenage daughter’s novel-writing hobby while reminding everyone that Don John tickets are still available. (Hey, plug where you can.)
Event coordinator extraordinaire Mitchell Crosby offered his take on this year’s party scene and also treated us to some hush-hush surprises in store for Saturday’s Cedar Lake Ballet party. (All we’ll say: be bright and perky around midnight!)
Go to our Flickr site for all the party pics!
We rounded out the night by talking to Louise star Stefania Dovhan and co-star Andriana Chuchman. Dovhan, who is planning to celebrate her birthday on Sunday, was looking for a good dancing spot. Reader suggestions?
Ms. Watkins’ made her exit from the party relatively early, but most attendees stayed until much later. Her bandmates were among the late departures, soaking up as much of Charleston as they could on their brief 72 hour visit.

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