In my seven years of covering the arts in Charleston, I’ve seen a lot of crazy shit – most of it during Spoleto. The First World War reenacted with mud and celery sticks. Chinese operas with cartoon interludes. Homeless kids singing in a sci-fi musical. If someone’s imagined it, chances are it’s been staged during the festival. This is the one time of year when the city cracks open its respectable veneer and lets its strange side loose.

That sense of try-anything fun is just one reason to get excited about Spoleto. It’s also a chance to see internationally famed acts, catch experimental premieres and hear innovative music without leaving the comfort of our own peninsula.

As an overview critic for the City Paper, I’ll be looking for weird, wonderful and outrageous events in Spoleto’s seriously busy 17-day performing arts program. I’ll be finding out who the artists are, what makes them tick and how it feels to experience their shows. I hope to find plenty of crazy shit along the way.