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Critics’ Picks: The best arts events in town this week

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Marion Square | Opening Day Street Parade
To kick off this year’s festival, youth ensembles, entertainers, and local groups will be coming together to celebrate the start of MOJA 2019. A feast for your eyes and your ears, the parade will feature marching bands, performances, and bright, exciting costumes. The festival as it is known today grew from the Charleston Black Arts Festival created in 1979, and debuted as the first annual MOJA Arts Festival in 1984. Since then, the celebration has become known as a significant, staple Charleston event bringing light to African-American and Caribbean arts.

Thurs. Sept. 26. 6 p.m. Marion Square, Downtown. Free to attend. mojafestival.com

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Brittlebank Park | Reggae Block Dance
Pack up some blankets and beach chairs — this block party has it all. Featuring live reggae and rock performances, artists such as Mighty Joshua with the Zion 5 and Keith Porter, founder of vocal group the Itals will be performing that night bringing Jamaican roots to the stage for audiences. A range of ethnic, international food vendors will be setting up as well. Personal coolers are not permitted at this event.

Fri. Sept. 27, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Free to attend. Brittlebank Park. Downtown. mojafestival.com

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Dock Street Theatre | Miss Dessa
This comedy feature presents the Warnette family as they navigate the challenges and power struggle of inheriting shared property. The performance runs from Thurs. Sept 26 to Sun. Sept 29 and will delve into the lives of these very different family members as they attempt to negotiate a power struggle. The Art Forms and Theatre Concepts theater company is a local community nonprofit group that focuses on developing the African American experience on-stage.

Sept. 26-27 at 8 p.m., Sat. Sept. 28 at 4 p.m., and Sun. Sept. 29 at 6 p.m., $35/adult, $30/senior, student. Dock Street Theatre, 135 Church St. Downtown. aftcinc.com

Charleston Music Hall | Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am
This showing features the 2019 documentary directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders about the Nobel prize-winning author Toni Morrison. Through archival footage, interviews, and a look back at her work, the film attempts to give a testimony of Toni Morrison’s life as an author and as a massively important figure in the portrayal of African-American culture. The viewing will feature an introduction and poetry reading by Asiah Mae and Marcus Amaker.

Tues. Oct 1, doors open at 6:30 p.m., showing at 7 p.m. $8. Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St. Downtown. tonimorrisonfilm.com

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Critics’ Picks: The best arts events in town this week

Summertime calls for learning something new. That’s where these classes, events, and workshops come in handy. Take your arts education to the next level in Charleston this week with photography, a book club, a dance social, and a community day.

Golden Hour Photography

Explore the Bend, a 20-acre community redevelopment project along the Ashley River, through the lens of your camera. Join fellow photography lovers and site director Chet Morse from 7-8:30 p.m. to take in the natural beauty of the Bend. Expect views of the Charleston peninsula and the Ravenel Bridge as well as great opportunities to get up close with the unique flora and fauna of the Lowcountry. The meet-up is free to attend — just don’t forget to bring a camera.

Thurs. June 28. 7-8:30 p.m. Free. The Bend. 3775 Azalea Drive. North Charleston. thebendcharleston.com

Lit After Dark

Lit After Dark is a monthly book discussion that explores pertinent social issues through engaging works of nonfiction. This month’s book is Slaves in the Family by Edward Hall. Journalist Ball confronts the legacy of his family’s slave-owning past who lived and worked on the Ball’s South Carolina Plantations. In the National Book Award Winner, Ball weaves together interviews with over 100,000 African-American descendants of Ball slaves. There are print, ebooks and audiobooks of Slaves in the Family at the Sullivan’s Island Library for those who attend the book discussion.

Thurs. June 28. 6:30-7:30 p.m. Free. Sullivan’s Island Library. 1921 Ion Ave. Sullivan’s Island. ccpl.org

Festival Finale

 If the idea of social dancing makes you queasy, then you may want to dip your toes into the experience with International Ballroom’s West Ashley festival finale and potluck party this Thursday. The local dance studio (with an additional location in Mt. Pleasant) has been hosting special events all month, and this finale is a great chance for you to mix and mingle with fellow dancers and sang last minute deals on dance lessons. Bring a dish to the potluck and dance for free.

Thurs. June 28 at 7:15 p.m. Free/with potluck donation. International Ballroom Dance Studios. 1928 Ashley River Road. West Ashley. internationalballroom.net

Revolutionary Charleston Community Day

Party like it’s 1781 at the Revolutionary Charleston Community Day. Go back in time to British occupied Charleston and visit the dungeon where the Patriots were kept, explore the Heyward-Washington House and prepare for battle with the Continental Army. Bring the whole family and explore three historic Lowcountry properties — the event kicks off at the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon.

Sat. June 30. 9:30-11 a.m. $15. Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon. 122 East Bay St. Downtown. charlestonmuseum.org