THEATRE | Sheri Grace produces one ‘special’ show

The Boys Next Door
Opening Fri. June 29 at 8 p.m.
June 30, July 6, 7, 12-14, 19-21 at 8 p.m.
July 8 and 22 at 3 p.m.
$20/adults, $18/seniors, $16/students
The Village Playhouse
730 Coleman Blvd., Mt. Pleasant
557-1163 or sheri@sherigrace.com

There’s something about disabled people that makes us feel the need to verbally tiptoe around them. For most of us it’s a powerful combination of empathy, karmic awareness, and political correctness. That goes double for the dramatic arts, where, unless you’re the Farrelly brothers, it’s completely verboten to laugh at — or near, or around — anyone remotely identifiable as “special.” Which is why Tom Griffin’s 1988 play The Boys Next Door is such an anomaly: a brilliant comedic play about four mentally disabled men living in a community home and the sincere-but-burned-out social worker who cares for them. In Griffin’s play we’re asked not just to laugh with these characters but at them, just as they laugh at themselves. In among the comedy, however, is a powerful, poignant story in which we are reminded that these characters, like the rest of us, want only to love and laugh and find some meaning and purpose in the brief time that they are allotted on this earth. The four-week run of The Boys Next Door at the Village Playhouse is being produced by Sheri Grace Wenger, a longtime force for theatre in Charleston, and directed by her son Ryan Ahlert, no slouch in the acting/directing department himself. To make sure the Charleston cast portrays the mentally challenged and their caretakers as accurately as possible, the cast and crew spent time at a local work center operated by the Charleston County Disabilities Board. Among the cast are Fred Hutter, Ross Magoulas, Robbie Thomas, Jamie Smithson, Scott Haithcock, and Kain Cameron. —Patrick Sharbaugh OPENS FRIDAY


PETS | Let’s get stupid with Fido

Lily and Martin’s All-American Fuzzy Talent Search
Sat. June 30
11 a.m.-3 p.m.
$5 per entry
South Windermere
22F Windermere Blvd.
West Ashley

Don’t worry if your dog’s biggest talent is licking the window when he wants to come in from outside (see Bobo above), the Fuzzy Talent Show being put on by Dolittle’s and Positive Dog Training welcomes all comers. Organizer and Dolittle’s owner Ric Sommons doesn’t really know what kind of animals or tricks he’ll see at the first talent show of its kind in the area, but he does hope local punk rocker Johnny Puke will show up with his cat who can supposedly sing Ray Charles. The casting call fee is $5 and will go to the John Ancrum SPCA. The talent show will be filmed and the winner’s video will be sent along to the David Letterman show in hopes of securing an audition for the Stupid Pet Tricks segment. Pre-register by calling any of the three Dolittle’s locations or by visiting their website. Charleston’s most talented pet will win a two-night stay in the N.C. mountains and will become a local celebrity, performing and appearing at various events throughout the year. They’ll also have runner-up prizes and wag bags for all entrants. ­—Stephanie Barna SATURDAY


DANCE | Get ready to shimmy your coin bra

Ava Fleming
Belly Dance Show
Sat. June 30
8 p.m.
Scottish Rite Center
1051 Sam Rittenberg Blvd.

If Carmen Electra’s stripper workout isn’t for you, there’s another option to being sexy that doesn’t require eight-inch heels and a pole — it’s belly dancing. Plus, the theory behind belly dancing is that it descended from religious dances, making it perfectly acceptable to shake what your momma gave ya. This weekend you’ve got the perfect opportunity to learn how to pop n’ lock with Ava Fleming, the newly crowned East Coast Belly Dance Classic Rising Star and Belly Dancer of the Universe in 2004, who will lead a belly dance seminar along with two master classes for swords and floor work. Fleming has been dancing and performing for over 10 years and she is the director, choreographer, and creator of the Black Opal Dance Company, her very own troupe of hip-shaking pros. Saturday evening, Fleming and belly dancers from across the country will perform a spectacular belly dance show, sure to include chiffon veils, swords, and very sensual movements. Don’t miss the chance to see seduction at its best and in its most artistic form before it shimmies out of town. —Jillian Stephenson SATURDAY


EVENTS | Bring your rainbow-colored beach blanket

Big Gay Beach Day
Sat., June 30
11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Folly Beach, East Ashley Ave, near Morris Island Lighthouse
Call Stoo or Andrew, 744-4062

June is pride month for gays and lesbians worldwide, but local organizers tend to wait until late in the month to put on events so as not to compete with the festivals in bigger cities. Charleston Area Mpowerment Project (CHAMP) is offering up the closest thing to a Charleston Pride event with its annual Big Gay Beach Day at Folly Beach this Saturday. “We’re encouraging a lot of people from the queer and straight communities to come out and mingle,” says Stewart Furtwangler with CHAMP. It’s where the bar scene meets the beach scene, with GLBT family and friends thrown in, too. There will be music, contests, and prizes all afternoon along with volleyball and tug-of-war. Information on CHAMP, safe sex, and HIV testing will also be available. Follow the brightly-colored flags past the very end of East Ashley Avenue near the Morris Island Lighthouse. To avoid tickets, remember to keep your car tires off the pavement and leave the pets at home. —Greg Hambrick SATURDAY


EVENTS | Dredging up the ghosts of the Revolutionary War

Carolina Day
Thursday, June 28
Procession from Washington Park beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Revolutionaries and a alike can find cause to celebrate this Carolina Day, the one day a year set aside to honor “the soldiers who fought and died to ensure the freedom of South Carolina and America.” This year, they’ll salute Major General William Moultrie, who led the defense of Fort Sullivan against a vast British attack. The victory of Moultrie’s forces was the first major win over the British in the Revolutionary War. The commemoration will feature the traditional Carolina Day procession from Washington Park to White Point Garden, followed by the unveiling of the Moultrie statue and a wreath-laying ceremony. But the kids won’t be left out of the action. Starting June 22, the Charleston Museum is debuting its newest storytelling videos, which feature the story of the Battle of Sullivan’s Island. And the little tykes can get into the revolutionary spirit by choosing from a wide selection of colonial-style clothing to dress up in. —Josh Rosenthal THURSDAY


SPORTS | Give ‘em the old one-two

Professional Boxing
Thurs. June 28
8 p.m.
$20/general admission, $50/ringside
2390 Aviation Ave.

One of the most exciting things in Charleston is happening on the last Thursday of every month, and half of you probably don’t even know about it. The Plex hosts World Class Professional boxing matches. That’s right, professional. No headgear here. It’s serious athletes in the ring competing to see who’s the fastest, the strongest, and the better skilled. This Thursday is sure to be exciting with seven pro bouts scheduled. Jim Kelly Promotions does it right too, with the ring set center-stage, two large projection screens, a full bar, and boxing babes. You don’t want to miss local favorite Richard “The Rebel” Royal’s first fight in five years. Or 22-year-old, middleweight Edwardo Paredes out of Florida who’s appeared at The Plex several times this year. With an already impressive 12-2 record, the word is he’s going big. There’s not a bad seat in the house and there’s never a dull moment. So take this opportunity to see these guys here in Charleston before having to pony up to see them on pay-per-view. —Jillian Stephenson THURSDAY