On Thursday, we got a little artsy and hit up the Gibbes Museum for the preview of the Photography and the American Civil War exhibit. Women in some pretty fancy frocks and men in suits roamed the halls of the Gibbes looking at pictures from the War Between the States.
The exhibit itself is haunting. In the many small portraits, young boys’ faces stare at you as they proudly posed for their pictures taken, unsure of their fate but ready to fight. It was hard not to be sucked into the sentimentality. With the replacement of printed photos by digital iPhone shots, we couldn’t help but wonder what our generation will leave behind.
Besides just photographs, guests could peer into stereoscopes (or what Gibbes executive director Angela Mack jokingly called “3D before 3D was cool”), which layer pictures to create a multi-dimensional image and are definitely worth checking out. The exhibit is on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the curator, Jeff Rosenheim, was on hand to welcome his exhibit to the Holy City. Also in attendance were David Vaughan, Brian Caplan, and Jane Turano-Thompsan, who loaned their private collections to the exhibit. We nibbled on pimento cheese and spinach and artichoke dip provided by Crave before taking one last look at the images.
On Friday, we started the weekend with some culture from the MOJA Festival. The Block Party (this year’s marked the fest’s 28th one) was packed with families swaying to the reggae sounds of Florida’s Resolution and dining from local staples like the Gullah Food Truck. We weren’t only enjoying funnel cakes and the sunset but also celebrating the influence of Charleston’s African-American and Caribbean communities.
We were feeling pretty zen from the island music, so we moved our good time to Redux Contemporary Art Studio to see the Charleston Symphony Orchestra’s Remix event. The CSO quintet welcomed us into Gwyneth Scally’s vision of wildlife with three arrangements that created a more wintery vibe than MOJA. The pieces were executed so flawlessly that we couldn’t believe it when the quintet told us they had only practiced a week before the event.
After getting over our extreme jealousy of their talent, we talked to oboist Kari Kistler, who helped arrange the event. “We wanted to create a program geared towards a younger demographic. The orchestra can seem intimidating and stuffy, so we wanted to create an entry point to the symphony.”
The attendees certainly were younger than the usual audience, but were still able to mingle with the orchestra without a hitch. The free alcohol probably helped a little, too.
Violinist Alex Boissonnault felt he also benefitted from the intersection between their music and Scally’s art. “Being in different venues like this allows us to be more free, more avant garde. I could play Mozart all day for the orchestra, but this allows us to go on an unbeaten path.” We assured Boissonnault that we too could play Mozart all day, but we just didn’t feel like it. Jealousy arising again, we decided it was time to head home.
On Saturday night, we settled into the Sottile Theatre for the Second City’s Happily Ever Laughter comedy show. It didn’t take much for the theater to show they were ready for some chuckles. The audience erupted with laughs when the lights dimmed and six Second City actors walked onto the stage. With a live piano player and dramatic lighting changes between scenes, we were in for a production. The three women and three men began by singing about tweets, Facebook, and making fun of college kids who can’t live without cell phones. Rehearsed one-liners went over especially well — one woman asked, “What do you think about this abortion bill?” only to be answered by a male comedian, “I think you should pay it.”
Two of the actors walked to the front of the stage to speak to, or rip on, members of the audience. They successfully embarrassed a couple who wouldn’t say if they were on a date, told a college student to keep a nickle between her knees in front of her parents, and picked a lady from the audience to participate in a 10-minute skit. No one could keep a straight face as the comedians began free-style rapping with suggestions thrown out by the audience. “What’s your favorite fast food joint?” asked the actor as an audience member yelled out “Chick-fil-A”. “Chick-fil-A, you don’t like guys with guys, but it’s too bad because I like your waffle fries,” the actor quickly spat out, proving that the Second City crew could capably handle absurd suggestion after absurd suggestion. Their witty improv was well worth our Saturday night — even if it meant spending it surrounded by audience members who reeked of alcohol.
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