It was a cultural weekend to write home about. Buckets of aphrodisiacs. Free fish viewing. A Russian-themed Spoleto Festival USA auction. The 24th annual Lowcountry Oyster Festival at Boone Hall Plantation last Sunday was packed with draft beer, pretty people, and the sweet smell of steamed oysters. The traffic was horrendous, but the mini-Kentucky Derby, sans horses and hats, was worth the trek through Saturday night’s rain-soaked fields. If you missed Sunday’s Free Aquarium Day, you missed the chance to “ooh” and “aww” at sea creatures (and otters, and anacondas, and toucans, etc.) for free. The lucky philanthropists who spent Friday night at La Dolce Vita 2007, the annual Spoleto Festival USA auction and benefit, ate and drank like Russian royalty at the Daniel Island Club. Also on Friday, Redux Contemporary Art Center opened New Structures, its first 2007 exhibition, featuring the works of painter Todd McDonald and digital artist Blake Hurt. At the College of Charleston’s John Rivers Communication Museum, new theatre company Safety First opened its live radio play The Coffee Shop Killings, a comic audio/visual odyssey in the vein of A Prairie Home Companion. In all, a weekend well spent.


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1. Aquarium educators Brian Thill and Svenja Xeller cut up at the Aquarium’s Touch Tank 2. Hollings Cancer Center Volunteer Jimmy Pearson, spreading the love at the Lowcountry Oyster Festival. 3. Matt Collum and Ashley Wellons toast the troupe at Vickery’s after The Coffee Shop Killings 4. Checking out the Great Ocean Tank at Free Aquarium Day 5. Seth Curcio flanks one of Blake Hurt’s “digital portraits” at Redux’s Friday opening 6. Visitor Tara Denton gets “wild” with volunteer John Fee at Free Aquarium Day on Sunday 7. These Oyster Festival attendees arrived early enough to enjoy a table to themselves! 8. Tim Parks and Lance Hiatt at the Spoleto auction (photo courtesy of Leigh Webber) 9. Julie and Bill Medich and Mindelle and Loren Ziff, living La Dolce Vita at the Spoleto auction (photo courtesy of Leigh Webber) 10. Nate and Mandy Harrison knock back a few cold ones at the Oyster Fest

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