Two major events occurred last night at the SCENE party in celebration of artist Aakash Odedra:

  1. The reappearance of a delicious pork-based snack, this time taking form in pulled BBQ sandwiches
  2. The debut of a Spoleto performer at a party in their honor

More to come on my encounter with Odedra, but first, allow me to set the scene.

At precisely 7:30 p.m., I confidently rode the elevator inside The Restoration up to the rooftop bar, The Watch. I poked around the deck and back room of the bar looking for the party, pausing briefly to admire what is definitely one of the best “new” views in town. Something, however, was not right. The lack of attractive men in floral sportcoats tipped me off and I realized that I must be in the wrong place. After a few minutes of questioning the restaurant hosts, I found myself kindly escorted to another building entirely by hotel employee and all-around-nice-guy, Dawayne Prioleau. As usual, off to a great start.
Unflustered, I checked-in, received my wristband sans probleme, and sashayed over to the prominent Gentry Bourbon display in the courtyard entrance to the hotel. The super attractive reps (were they two sets of twins? We’ll never know) poured a Spoleto Fizz, their same, signature cocktail from the Prohibition party. Inside, I spotted my pal and SCENE board member Jenny Ferrara, who looked quite at home posing upon a velvet chair in the gorgeous hotel library in her ’50s-inspired polka-dot dress and twisted updo. Ferrara mused, in her many years of Spoleto-infused wisdom, that of all the performers in the festival, it’s usually the dancers who are most likely to attend an after party. I quickly google-imaged Aakash Odedra, and committed his sweet, beardy face to memory.

[image-7]The party was in full swing upstairs by about an hour-and-a-half later. Inside one room, singer McKenzie Eddy crooned sweet and moodily from a corner, while party-goers fueled up on pork sliders and deviled eggs (I’m sensing a theme to the food at these shindigs, and I’m not complaining) and lined up for refills on top-shelf beverages including glasses of Miraval Rosé aka the wine of Brangelina, people. The company swears that Brad has touched at least one grape in every bottle they produce. I am happy to report that via the transitive property, I have basically now been fully fondled by Brad Pitt. 
Through a hallway and down a fire escape, SCENEsters outside bopped their heads along to DJ Party Dad. The idea of spreading the party out over essentially four different spaces, some inside and others out, some well lit and others dim, made it feel really special and fancy. Like that movie Stealing Beauty with Liv Tyler, when she goes to Italy to find her real father, and attends that awesome party in a villa? And every room has a different vibe and all the beautiful people? That’s what last night felt like. But I digress. 
The absolute best part of the evening was when someone pointed to a duo of seated gentlemen, one of whom was wrapped up in three layers of black clothing in spite of the heat. He was no Charlestonian. I checked my phone several times to be sure, and as I gathered my courage to approach him, Aakash Odedra rose and left the room with his small entourage. Springing to action, I accosted Odedra at the elevator and asked if I could ride down with him. He kindly obliged, and thus triggered Niagara Falls amounts of sweat to start pouring down the back of my neck. Introductions made, I asked him how the show went (it was great), how he was liking Charleston (it’s really beautiful) and where he was off to next (Turkey!). At a loss for words, I informed him that he must be hungry. He was. Like the weather, food is always a safe topic. We discussed restaurants, and then relaxed into an easy conversation about ethnic food. Don’t be surprised if you wake up one day and see Odedra behind the counter of an Indian restaurant here in Charleston. Noting how few we have, he jokingly suggested he’d maybe return and open one. 
This is your SCENE dollars at work; it isn’t all about the booze and food and, well, scene. It’s also about gaining access to performers and creating a sense of proximity to these world-class acts in a relaxed, fun setting where you can swap inane food-related observations with someone who just riveted an audience for 1.5 hours through dance and movement. Spoleto SCENE — I’m sold.