There's nothing quite like Jail Break, a one-day multimedia arts festival that happens twice a year at the Old City Jail.
Creative people thrive in strange environments, and Jail Break is the perfect inspiration breeding ground for artists of all sorts, as well as those that simply enjoy their efforts.
The festival itself is ever-changing, with new themes, new performers and new exhibitions each year.
This spring's theme is Optical Delusions, and the organizers of the event say the Old City Jail will be transformed into a funhouse tribute to M.C. Escher and Lewis Carroll.
"Wander through the space with apprehension; and be prepared to lose yourself in a maze of visual and performance installations presented by Artist and Craftsman, The Art Institute of Charleston and the Machiavellian geniuses of the local arts community," says Andrew Walker of Entropy Arts, the main organization behind the festival.
"The newest components to the festival include a room dedicated to poetry, fashion exhibits, interactive jailhouse projections and large-scale, perception-altering installations planted in rooms throughout the jail.
"All of the festival favorites are returning, including the Comedy Room, dance performances by Dancefx and The Charleston Dance Project, an offbeat Artisans Market, exciting musical performances and some mighty fine food truck cuisine."
The visual artwork at this event is always interesting and often highlights new, emerging talent, keeping the visual eye candy fresh. Of course, the dancing is going to be amazing as they take over the whole place for some booty-shaking every festival. And this time around there will be several rooms dedicated to local fashion designers who are creating clothing and interactive set designs that are part of the illusionist theme.
Jail Break also partnered with the folks at Big Gun Burger for comedian acts. For the past several weeks, comedians have been performing at Big Gun with the hopes to be one of three winners that will get to perform at Jail Break.
And expect some awesome poetry from Matthew Foley, Derek Berry, Mr. Enlightenment, Wey DaTheta, Khalil Ali, Cait Cox, Cory Steglin, Mark Leon and Victoria Jackson Larimer.
And Jail Break wouldn't be complete without some live music from Tyler Boone, South Street, Dead 27s and New Galaxy.
The event is all ages but you must have a valid ID to be able to purchase alcohol.
Jail Break: Optical Delusions will take place from 4-11 p.m. Saturday at the Old City Jail on Magazine Street. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online at www.jailbreakcharleston.com or at the following locations in person (cash only): Artist and Craftsman, Art Mecca, Big Gun, DanceFX or Redux Contemporary Art Center.
Last year was the inaugural year for the massive visual arts festival in Lake City called ArtFields. And with a drive time of less than two hours and more than 60 artists from Charleston participating this year, we wanted to put this event on your radar.
Last year, there were more than 20,000 people who attended, and this year they are hoping for an even bigger turnout.
The 10-day event will take place Friday through May 4 and will feature a massive art competition with more than 400 pieces of art from artists in 12 Southeastern states.
ArtFields has been called the largest art competition in the Southeast. And with $100,000 total in cash prizes, it's no wonder artists are enthusiastic.
"The Art Competition will include two- and three-dimensional art pieces exhibited in more than 50 downtown businesses, outdoor spaces and other venues. Finalists will compete for $100,000 in total cash prizes. Attendees may vote for their favorite works to select the People's Choice 2-Dimensional and 3-Dimensional Prizes ($12,500 each). Public votes also factor into the $50,000 Top Prize, and a panel of visual arts professionals will name the $25,000 Juried Panel Prize winner," says publicist Grace Newland.
Winners will be announced at 8:30 p.m. May 3 at the Finale Party on The Green.
In addition to the art competition, there will be a Community Mandala from disposable materials. There will be two plein air workshops, one at the Imperial Tobacco Building led by William McCullough and the other at Moore Farms Botanical Gardens led by Karen Weihs. And you won't want to miss the Inside Out photography project, which consists of portraits of 55 Lake City venue owners and operators as they prepare for the festival. The "Before I Die" wall is always a favorite, so be sure to leave your mark.
These are just a few of the many family-friendly events taking place at ArtFields this year. Most activities are free and ticketed events start at $15. The full calendar and ticketing information can be viewed at www.ArtFieldssc.org.
'Duck Hunter Shoots Angel'
If you enjoyed the books "Tuesdays With Morrie" or "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom, you're sure to love Midtown Productions' adaptation of his play "Duck Hunter Shoots Angel."
Directed by Ryan Ahlert, the story follows two bumbling Alabama brothers who, while duck hunting, think they've accidentally shot an angel.
"As they lament their fates in a murky swamp, they are pursued by a burned-out tabloid journalist from New York, who arrives with his reluctant photographer to investigate the matter," says Sheri Grace Wenger of Midtown.
"Their cynicism and disbelief are evident, that is until feathers, wings and a tiara are discovered along the way. Rounding out the cast of characters are a fiery young gas station attendant, a crazed tabloid editor, a ghost and a swamp creature, all of whom quickly become enmeshed in the jumbled quest for truth," she says.
Performances start Thursday at the Charleston Acting Studio, 915 Folly Road, and run through May 10. Tickets are $12-$18 and can be purchased by calling 795-2223 or online at www.midtownproductions.org.