Sunday, May 18, 2008

Charleston FestivALL 2008: A City Becomes A Work Of Art

FestivALL 2008 is coming soon and the sights and sounds are set to hit the streets of Charleston on June 20-29.

This week's theme over at Picture West Virginia (a project by Brian Stealey to get people thinking creatively about West Virginia) is sounds - so it prompted me to write my first post promoting this year's FestivALL. A great place to catch a variety of artistic sounds. Check out any of the links in the summary of events for a taste of the "sounds."

What is FestivALL? FestivALL has become the Charleston's centerpiece arts and summertime entertainment event with a wide array of theater, dance, music and visual arts.

Check out photos from last years event and these video cuts (Part 1 and Part 2) from YouTube by Rudy Panucci's PopCult. Also check out my past posts from 2006 and 2007 here, here, here and here.

If you've never attended look over the schedule of events and pick at least a few to attend. Show your support for FestivALL!

Below is a summary of the major events for the weeklong event (check out the full schedule of events for more):

June 20- WV Day Live on the Levee, music, food, by the river
June 21- 10th Anniversary of Smoke on the Water- Charleston Chili Cook-Off

June 21- Charleston- The Opera (It’s not an Opera, but it will have great music)

June 22- The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra (Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” and more)

June 25- Savion Glover in his new show, Bare Soundz

June 26- Mayor's Concert: Gladys Knight

June 27- Blues, Brews & BBQ featuring Shemekia Copeland and Sonny Landreth

June 28-29- The Capitol Street Art Fair

June 28- Whad'Ya Know with Michael Feldman

June 28- Wine & All That Jazz featuring The Ellis Marsalis Quartet

June 29- Mountain Stage, WV Public Radio’s internationally distributed live radio show featuring: Hayes Carll, Jakob Dylan & the Gold Mountain Rebels, Krista Detor, Andy Davis and Priscilla Ahn.
(catch out more Mountain Stage at this recent post at Picture West Virginia)

At a special edition of Live on the Levee, we will celebrate West Virginia Day with West Virginia music, food and drink at Haddad Riverfront Park. (Free)

Smoke on the Water, Charleston’s Chili Cook Off on June 21 invites chili cooks from around the nation for hospitality and competition they will get no where else on earth. It’s the 10th Anniversary of this fundraiser for HospiceCare.

Charleston-The Opera, presented by Dixon Hughes at the Cultural Center Theater, Saturday June 21, is a multi-media production of Pittsburgh’s Squonk Opera. They will visit our city twice to gather information, interview residents and recruit local talent to join them in the production they will create. It weaves hometown documentation with Squonk’s aural and visual trickery and will be a “heartfelt toast and a punk-vaudevillian roast” of our fair city. (Matinee and evening performances, all tickets $25)

On Sunday, June 22, The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra will perform a chamber concert at The Clay Center featuring Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and other mid-summer delights. (Ticket prices TBA)

On Wednesday, June 25, at the Clay Center, FestivALL and The Clay Center will present Savion Glover in Bare Soundzs, a tour de force dance performance by the “greatest tap dancer in the world”. A child star of Sesame Street and co-star with Sammy Davis Jr. and Gregory Hines in the 1989 movie, Tap, Mr. Glover came into his own in 1996 in the Broadway smash hit production Bring in ‘da Noise/Bring in ‘da Funk. He has gone on to create his own dance projects and to star as the motion-capture dancer of Mumble the Penguin in the animated movie Happy Feet. Last fall he appeared on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars performing excerpts from this production. (Tickets $35/25/15)

The Mayor’s Concert on Thursday, June 26, at the Clay Center, will feature the dynamic voice of Gladys Knight. Ms. Knight’s stellar career started with Motown records in the late sixties. She has continued to delight millions of fans around the world with her unique Soul, R&B, Pop and Gospel music sounds. She won her first two (of seven) Grammy Awards in 1973 (R&B, Pop) and her latest in 2005 (Gospel). This concert is made possible by the generous support if Mayor Danny Jones and Pritchard Mining. (Tickets $55/45/30)

Fund for the Arts has announced the talent for it’s annual events, Blues, Brews & BBQ and Wine & All That Jazz, both of which take place by the river on the lawn of The University of Charleston. (Ticket prices TBA)

On Friday, June 27, Blues, Brews & BBQ will feature Shemekia Copeland and Sonny Landreth. Daughter of blues legend Johnny Clyde Copeland, Ms. Copeland has won a mantel full of blues awards and is one of the hottest young blues talents in the country. Cajun slide guitar wizard Landreth began his career with Zydeco king Cifton Chenier and has electrified audiences for over two decades. Local and regional talent will also be featured.

On Saturday, June 28, the patriarch of New Orlean’s first family of jazz, pianist Ellis Marsalis, performs at Wine & All That Jazz with The Ellis Marsalis Quartet. The father of Wynton and Branford, Mr. Marsalis plays regularly in the Crescent City, tours occasionally and continues to be a major force in the world of jazz. Local and regional talent will also be featured.

On Saturday, June 28, West Virginia Public Broadcasting will host the very popular live radio show, Whad’Ya Know with Michael Feldman. Mr. Feldman’s wit and humor attract millions of listeners each week on public radio stations nationwide. (Ticket prices TBA)

The Capitol Street Arts Fair will expand its hours and number of artisans represented on Saturday and Sunday, June 28-29. Partnering with Tamarack and Allied Artists, the Fair will bring in over one hundred high quality artisans showing, selling and, in some cases, demonstrating their work. (Free)

We will conclude with Mountain Stage, the internationally distributed WV Public Radio live music performance show on Sunday, June 29. (Ticket prices and talent TBA)

Among the artisans’ tents of the expanded Capitol Street Art Fair, June 29 –29, will be small “street stages” that will feature many different flavors of music and dance. There will also be a variety of street performers: magicians, stilt walkers, strolling musicians, mime/clowns, etc.

The Kanawha County Library Street Fair, focusing on kids and families, will run for two days this year (June 28 and 29). The West Side Ice Cream Social and Wiener Dog Races (June 21 and 22) will move to our first weekend and also expand. (as a bonus you also get Phil Phister, friend and World's Strongest Man). Both events feature stages with family friendly entertainment. At the Library Fair there will be a tent with local dulcimer players who will invite kids to join in and watch for an announcement about an incredible “balloon artist”. Both are free events.

The Commercial Insurance Stage at Davis Park will have free music both weekends. On the first weekend (June 21) will be a memorial to the late Winston Walls, a great Charleston Jazz/Blues B-3 organ player. The music will be blues, jazz and related music styles. The next week (28 and 29) it will be a memorial to the late Derek Kirk, a young Charleston musician who died last year and played in several jazz and fusion bands, and the featured music will be those flavors. Free country and bluegrass music will return to the Capitol Market on both weekends.

There will once again be free site-specific dance and theater. “A Streetcar Named Despair”, performed on a trolley bus, will return and there will be a new “Location, Location, Location” play with an Elvis theme (the King once stayed in Charleston’s old Daniel Boone Hotel). The One Act Play Festival will be back featuring theater companies from around the state (ticket prices TBA) as will a Charleston Light Opera Guild production (show and ticket prices TBA).


Bryan Stealey said...

This is excellent, Bob, thanks for taking so much time to put together such a comprehensive post for this week's topic. My family and I will be in Charleston over Memorial Day Weekend, but you've got me wishing we'd held off until late June.

Bob Coffield said...

You can alway come back . . .

The Dalai Mama said...

I'd love to come to Charleston for that. Our kids would love it.

rebecca said...

DM -- You would really love it!!!! The kids would, too. There is so much to do!

Bob -- I'm probably going to have to be out of town during the whole thing! *sob!* I can't believe I'm going to miss festivALL!