20 Things to Do in Charleston Before the End of 2019

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20 Things To Do Before the End of 2017

By Minta Pavliscsak

1. Call an old friend who you haven’t spoken with in a while.
It may take you a few minutes to dial that number. Take your time, just don’t back down. Someone has to open that line of communication; it might as well be you.

2. Go for a sunrise walk on Folly Beach.
We have some of the most beautiful sunrises you will ever experience, and if you haven’t yet you are missing out! So drag a friend out of bed, or just go spend some time by yourself and enjoy the majesty of the morning. (Roasted is a coffee shop inside of Tides that opens at 6am. I like to stop by there first and take my coffee on the beach. Plus, on these chilly mornings it will help to keep your warm!)

3. Send Christmas cards.
Everybody loves getting mail! …as long as it’s not a bill. Sure you could just send an email or a text, but doesn’t your loved ones deserve a personalized, handwritten card that they can treasure for years to come?

4. Forgive that person who may not deserve it, but needs it most.
This ain’t easy, but believe me when I say you need this too! We all make mistakes, we all forget things, and it honestly might not have even been on purpose. The past is the past and as long as it’s not habitual or destructive to the relationship, forgiveness may be the only thing keeping you from having that amazing relationship.

5. Hug your parents.
Do we really do this enough? I feel like hugs are things we tend to take for granted. Humans need touch, and sometimes this is the only way we know how to communicate our emotions towards each other. A simple hug can go a long way.

6. Visit at least one touristy attraction.
This is the best time of year to do it! Places aren’t as crowded, it’s not blazing hot, and some places will even have discounts on admission.

7. Pour a glass of wine or pop open a beer, crank up the music, and dance around the house in your underwear.
Yes, this is just as fun as it sounds! Don’t worry about how you look, you’ll be alone so who cares. Just move your body in a way that feels good. You might just find yourself carrying this tradition over to the New Year!

8. Make the decision to Let It Go!
We carry so much with us from one day to the next. Most of it we cannot control, or is not our burden to carry in the first place. Stop worrying so much, things have a way of working themselves out without any input from you. Take a deep breath and as you exhale, just let it go.

9. Do one random act of kindness.
This can be something so simple like paying for the next person in line’s coffee, or putting $10 on a pump of gas. There are also many opportunities around the community, such as donating to Toys-for-Tots, volunteering at The Lowcountry Food Bank, The Ronald McDonald House, or at an animal shelter, and many area businesses are collecting canned food for the local food bank.

10. Watch Love Actually.
This film is about an eclectic group of characters who all seem to be connected in London during Christmas time. It is charming, funny, and will pull on your heart strings all at the same time. Trust me on this one when I say it is a must see, and even better when you watch it with a good friend or loved one. Doesn’t sound like you? Then make sure you watch The Charlie Brown Christmas special instead!

11. Take a “me” day.
Although they do not happen very often, I absolutely love having my “me” days. You can do anything, or nothing for that matter, that you want to, as long as it is stress free and makes you happy. I prefer to get a nice massage, then take a stroll down King Street or the Market to find something, no matter how small, for myself. My favorite “me” day trinket is a small ceramic dragon with a silly smile on his face. Enjoying a nice light lunch outside somewhere and people watching is also a great idea.

12. Change the batteries in your smoke detector.
This is your friendly service reminder courtesy of Charleston Daily. Come on, when is the last time you checked those batteries?

13. Get outside of your comfort zone.
Do something you wouldn’t typically do. Go somewhere you wouldn’t typically go. Sing karaoke with friends, climb the ropes at Wild Blue Ropes, put on that sexy dress you never wear and have a night on the town!

14. Finish that project.
We all have some project, big or small, that is sitting somewhere waiting for us to complete it. Slow down, make the time, and finish that project.

15. Choose to be happy.
This can be tougher for some than others, and that’s OK! Surround yourself with things, and people, that make you happy. When those negative thoughts come up, replace them with positive ones. Practice self-love, such as telling yourself that you are enough, reminding yourself how beautiful you are, and say daily affirmations. Don’t forget about the simplest thing you can do…smile.

16. Re-evaluate your priorities
Life has a tendency of taking over and we tend to get off our course from time to time. It is important that you bring your priorities to your conscious and see if where you are is where you want to be. This is how we stay connected to ourselves and move forward in life and in love.

17. Eat at a great Charleston area restaurant.
We are so lucky here in Charleston to have so many amazing restaurants. How many have you been to? No more excuses not to go to that one you have always wanted to go, but have never made it.

18. Disengage from the opinion of others.
You are you, and you are wonderful. Who cares what others think about you?! Here’s a little secret…if they make you feel bad when you are around them, then they probably shouldn’t be in your life. Once you learn to separate who you are from who you think everyone else thinks you should be, you will be amazed at how much happier and stress-free you will be.

19. Go play.
We have easy access to tennis courts, basketball courts, Frisbee golf, putt-putt, laser tag, paintball fields, trampoline parks, and open fields where you can play a pick-up game of whatever middle school/high school sports that you can think of.

20. Tell somebody you love them.
We don’t say this anywhere near enough. You never know what tomorrow may hold. Today is the day to tell your friends and family how much they mean to you. And keep it up; personally I have never gotten tired of hearing someone say they love me, nor do I tire of expressing it. Both make my heart smile every time!

Threshold Repertory Theatre’s “Hand to God” is a Comedic Ride Through a Tornado of Insanity

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By Mark A. Leon

Boy loves Mom
Boy loves Jesus
Boy makes puppet
Puppet is possessed by the Devil
Puppet has crazy orgasmic sex with another puppet
A life lesson in family values

This is the genius behind Robert Askins’ Broadway adaptation masterfully brought to the Charleston Stage by Director Erin Wilson, Artistic Director Jay Danner, Managing Director Darryl Laplante and five incredibly versatile actors.? In the final production of the 8th season for Threshold Repertory Theatre, nothing was held back in this outrageous, laugh out loud, poignant and at times dark comedy.

With an excellent script and precision timing, the cast takes you through a journey tackling the issues of religion, lust, love, loneliness, family values and the eminent dangers of puppetry.

With lines, so comically powerful as “You are so far in the closet, you are in Narnia” (Jessica speaking to Timmy about his bottled up homosexual tendencies), a well-chosen musical soundtrack including Baby, Baby by Amy Grant and Jesus Take the Wheel by Carrie Underwood, scenery so vivid and detailed it becomes part of the experience and behaviors so radically fueled, this play is an over the top hit.

James Ketelaar is a shining star on stage portraying young Jason and his possessed puppet Tyrone.? His transformation from a young and confused church going only child who recently lost his father to a puppet possessed by the Devil is one of the most beautifully acted roles of the season in Charleston.? His deep hedonistic Tyrone voice and innocent lost childhood Jason voice compliment so well and evolve seamlessly throughout the duration of the play.

James extends his acting boundaries not only in the dual role, but with the compliment of his ability to add physical comedy to his performance.

Without given away too much detail, the puppet sex scene between Tyrone and Jessica’s promiscuous puppet had laughs so hard that audience members lost sight of the dialogue between Jason and Jessica.? A scene that played out as two young lovers were awkwardly trying to ask each other to the homecoming dance.? If the Muppet Show met the raunchy cast of Monty Python, with the physical comedy of the Marx Brothers, you would come close to the vision witnessed in that scene.

It was magical and yet still left you feeling sinfully dirty just for appreciating every moment.

Addison Dent, played Timmy, the lustful beanie wearing troublemaker, whose passion for Margery, the teacher and Mother of Jason, led to a sequence of mischief that is the catalyst for the entire cast and story spinning out of control.

Camille Lowman, originally from South Carolina and a College of Charleston graduate, lit up each scene as a recent widower, follower of Jesus and confused woman dealing with the desires of a teenage boy, lonely courtship of the pastor, and a son who is possessed by a hand puppet.

From questioning the words of the bible, to legs spread open wide on the floor of the church classroom, Camille let loose in a way that warrants respect and admiration.

Laurens Wilson complimented the cast so well as Pastor Greg providing reason and balance and a touch of insecurity to the story line and Loren Mixon as Jessica provided an inherent wisdom that helped the rest of the cast find direction.

From the opening scene to the final malicious puppet laugh, Hand to God is a remarkable achievement in dark insane comedy, that even finds time to add touching life lessons about family values and the road blocks we all hit in life.? Life isn’t always easy and at times, love can be heartbreaking, but when evil rears its ugly head, there are ways to overcome and this play brings that lesson home.

Go enjoy this play and be prepared to laugh all the way home.

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Threshold Repertory Theatre’s Presentation of Bent shares a message of love

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon. Editor: Loretta Jophlin. Photo by Mystic Productions

Max, played exquisitely by Patrick Arnheim described, “I kissed her soft dead lips, her breasts just beginning” as he proved to a group of drunk SS soldiers he wasn’t “queer” on a train to the concentration camp of Dachau. ?Bent is a story of transformation and emotional connection in a period of time deemed so horrific that survivors have spent their lives hiding behind the nightmares, trying desperately to forget the moral compromises needed to stay alive.? This two act play tells stories which culminate into an enlightened moment of love in a place where souls are lost and the choice between life and death is clouded by insanity.

With a delicate use of lighting and shadows, a psychedelic cinematic themes and music, 1930’s Berlin was recreated to set the mood for an incredible story of survival and love.? To many, the rise of Adolf Hitler and the unspeakable acts of torture, mass genocide, humiliation, emotional isolation and sacrifice of the human spirit by the Nazi Party is a period of history we can never forget and one so difficult to re-create. With a flash of courage, Director Jay Danner, brought the words of Martin Sherman’s Bent, to life.

Bent centers around Max, played by exquisitely by Patrick Arnheim.? Max is a carefree playboy, whose dependance on alcohol and drugs, loose men and living by the seat of his pants attitude is all he ever knew until the day his world changed.? With two shots fired and years on the run, Max and his partner Rudy fought every day for survival.? In an evolutionary transformation, Max’s life and everyone he knows change drastically over the course of the following three years.? From a tiny one bedroom apartment to the isolation of a dirt floor and electrified fence, Max lost everyone and everything, including his will to live.

What he discovered after is the story of Bent.

Breaching such difficult subject matter was a challenge for this production.? During strategically placed moments throughout, subtle lines of humor were unleashed to provide emotional relief to the audience.? These penetrating innuendos and jokes helped bring a sane balance to the actors and comfort to the crowd.

Photo by Mystic Productions

Much like Max, the other characters of Bent were flawed. Rudy, played by Brandon Martin, Uncle Freddy, played by Nat Jones and Horst played with riveting emotion by Randy Risher, showed imperfections shaping their unique personalities.? Ultimately, they were all transformed.

People of Jewish faith and culture and those who identify with the gay community were pertinent and polarizing parts of the historic make-up of the period, and 75 years later, these two groups remain marginalized.?Today, we fight racial and religious injustice and moral objection to certain lifestyles.? We continue to fight prejudice and hate.? It is a war that will not end, but we must keep fighting.

Therein lies the message of Bent that the audience will take away.? Love sees no color, no creed, no gender, no religion.? Love is an objective experience we cannot escape.? Once it grabs a hold, we are taken to places we cannot control. . . places of happiness. . .places of security.

In one very poignant moment, Max finds serenity in the gentle but worn arms of Horst.? Surrounded by guns, torture and hatred, he found love.

Ticket Information for Bent


Dock Street Theater’s Little Shop of Horrors – A Horticulturalist Nightmare

By Mark A. Leon

From the moment Crystal, Chiffon and Ronnette walked on the stage singing Little Shop of Horrors, you knew you were in for a musical medley of horror, humor, love and a strange twist. Played wonderfully by Carin Lagerberg, Maggie Saunders and Madeline Glenn Thomas, the choral arrangements of these three middle school dropouts served as a beautiful musical narration of this oddly strange story of alien domination disguised as a unique flower.

Throughout the evening, the three sidewalk dwelling singers transformed from lost teenagers to beauty queens dancing on steps, the street, the shop and for a moment in the balcony. You were even delighted to see them peak through the window of the florist shop.

The stage was designed in thirds to create the perception of three simultaneous acts flowing in perfect symmetry throughout the performance. With the florist shop as the center of attention, the city backdrop, steps, garbage and hobo’s complimented and lent more detail to the area of the city deemed “skid row”.

Early in the production, when we are introduced to Audrey 2, you could not help but feel a sense of comfort as this Muppetsesque plant warms you as it bloomed and swayed in Seymour’s hands; a soothing feeling soon to be washed away as its grew and power reached new heights.

Kent Reynolds creates the role of Seymour, the dorky backroom florist with no direction in life, with precision and accuracy with his shy awkward demeanor, nerdy attire and misguided ambitions for fame and fortune. As you watched him on stage, you cannot help but sense he stepped right off the set of Leave it to Beaver. With his Beaver Cleaver hair, glasses and subtle innocence, he took on the role and made it his own.

George Younts, took on Mr. Mushnik, the down on his luck Skid Row florist owner who is one step away from closing the shop and giving up. His sense of greed and ambition and obliviousness created a character that channeled Zero Mostel from The Producers. As we will learn in Act II, greed truly led him to a dark place.

Katie Arthur as Audrey was charming. Her inner city accent, blond wavy hair, airy personality and pretty girl with low self-esteem image created a balance for the florist shop bringing a naive beauty to Seymour and Mr. Mushnik. Her inability to get out of an abusive relationship with Orin, the dentist, added a sub-plot that would feed into the main focus of the play, Audrey II.

horrorPen Chance, the chameleon of the troop took on five roles during this performance including both genders. His quirky personality was expressed well with each scene he performed in and it was clear he was having fun playing a series of side bar characters. A little nitric oxide inhalation as Orin helped bring humor to the role of the abusive dentist.

The center of the play was Audrey II, played remarkably by puppeteer and actor, Josh Harris and Nathan Burke. As a bluesy singing plant with a thirst for human blood and flesh, Audrey II was a showstopper. As he grew, his presence became more and more prominent. The audience became closer to the sinister plot and soon learned the true plan. With his playful harmonies, whiny calls for “feed me” and deviant behavior, Audrey II manifested a love/hate relationship with the audience.

In the end, you feel a sense of horror, relief, justice, uncertainty and just all around fun. With that combination, director Marybeth Clark and the entire collection of players, musicians and stage hands create a wonderful night at the theater.

Remember Charleston, if you take anything away from Dock Street’s performance, “Don’t Feed The Plants” and most importantly see this production.