It seems the newly christened Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art is off to a smashing start on its rebranding campaign and membership drive. At its busy Blue Moon Bash on Fri., Nov. 18, director Mark Sloan worked the crowd like a seasoned pol running for office — shaking hands, clapping backs, herding people toward the membership tables, waxing enthusiastic on the many amenities the gallery space will sport in the new Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts, musing over the current exhibit of psychedelic paintings from Julie Evans and Barbara Takenaga, and generally schmoozing the assembled tipplers of wine and nibblers of noshables like a pro; all he lacked was a baby to kiss. The final tally: an impressive 92 new memberships for the progressive art institute. Missed the party? Learn more about memberships at www.halsey.cofc.edu. And look for the new exhibit from photographer Simon Norfolk, Et en Arcadia Ego, in January. —Patrick Sharbaugh


In the doghouse? Just buy two tickets to David Sedaris‘ appearance at the NCPAC next April 11 and consider yourself home free. Sedaris’ sardonic wit and incisive social critique have made him one of America’s preeminent humor writers; he slices through cultural euphemisms and political correctness like a hot knife through butter. In addition to his commentaries on NPR’s Morning Edition and This American Life, he’s the author of four best-selling essay collections, including last year’s Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and he was Time magazine’s 2001 Humorist of the Year. Spoleto Festival USA even brought him to town in 2001 for a sold-out run at the Garden Theatre. All of which is to say a ticket to An Evening with David Sedaris is almost as good as a dozen roses. But way, way funnier. —PS


Strike up the harp fanfare: the Footlight Players have been named one of 10 charitable “angels” in S.C. by Secretary of State Mark Hammond, with 91.6 percent of the group’s funding going directly toward producing community theatre at its Queen Street home. The annual designation of the best and worst charities as Angels or Scrooges has become a S.C. tradition. Hammond said the 2005 Angel List recipients “were found to be extremely effective at giving a high percentage of their total expenditures directly to programs for their designated cause” With a capital campaign to restore Footlight’s theatre pending — as well as a 75th anniversary next season — the props couldn’t have come at a better time. Now let’s see if they can turn those kudos into cash. —PS