If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

WWK's May interviews will be: 5/2--indie author Bobbi Holmes, 5/9--TG Wolff (aka--Anita Devito), 5/16--Chocolate Bonbon author Dorothy St. James, 5/23--Lida Sideris, 5/30--Food Lovers' Village (and multiple Agatha winner) Leslie Budwitz. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our May Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 5/5--John Carenen, 5/12--Judy Penz Sheluk, 5/19--Margaret S. Hamilton, 5/26--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), will be available on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here.

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with the authors in this anthology on 4/14! Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in August, 2018.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fifth Course of Chaos.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Spoleto Festival 2016

by Paula Gail Benson

Rainbow Row
Memorial Day weekend signals the start of the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, a two-week celebration of all things musical, theatrical, and artistic. The Festival began as the idea of opera composer Gian Carlo Menotti, who had initiated an arts extravaganza in his native Italy and was looking to establish a similar event in an American “sister city.”

Charleston’s Mayor Joe Riley, who became nationally prominent for helping his city rebuild after Hurricane Hugo and recently retired after ten terms of service, took up Menotti’s challenge, realizing that such a festival would bring new hotels and dining establishments to the Holy City, as well as bolstering a thriving tourist economy for existing businesses. He was definitely right. Just so you can appreciate the mayor’s vision, here are some samples of the Southern hospitality and cuisine I enjoyed while attending Spoleto this year.

Eli's Table Restaurant
At Eli’s Table, I had a Caesar salad alongside fried oysters over black-eyed peas with sweet potato straws and a butter barbecue sauce. In addition to a delectable mojito, my server brought me a complimentary glass of champagne and an apricot-colored rose.

Then, a block up the street, at Toast, I stopped for a lovely dessert of red velvet cupcake with a crème brulee latte. Truly, a magnificent feast, and so necessary for maintaining energy to enjoy the productions! 

Toast Restaurant
I began attending Spoleto to see the performances of the Irish Gate Theatre Company at the Dock Street Theatre. This year’s The Importance of Being Earnest featured a polished acting ensemble and innovative staging. It was a joy from start to finish.

The major event of the festival was the return of Porgy and Bess to the city that inspired it. Presented in the newly renovated Galliard Auditorium, the opera, based on the novel by DuBose Heyward and with lyrics and music by Ira and George Gershwin, is set in an area of Charleston known as Cabbage Row, but renamed Catfish Row in the fictional account.

Porgy, a disabled street vendor who navigates the city in his goat cart, falls in love with the beautiful, abused Bess while her violent ex-lover Crown and “happy dust” provider Sportin’ Life seek to tear the couple apart.

The passion of the story and beauty of the music were captivating and visually enhanced by the vividly colorful designs of artist Jonathan Green. To experience Porgy and Bess in its birthplace, and in a venue directly across the street from the Mother Emanuel AME Church, only deepened the opera’s message that when facing the most insurmountable odds, there is still hope for the future. I felt very fortunate to attend the last matinee performance. At the curtain call, the audience jumped to its feet for the chorus and provided thunderous applause for the entire company.

Catfish Row
Porgy's Alley
Adding to the appreciation of Porgy and Bess was a two-hour walking tour to view the city and particularly to see (1) the actual Catfish Row,
(2) the alley where the real Porgy lived, and
(3) the house where DuBose Heyward wrote his novel.
Colbert Home

Of course, being Charleston, a number of other attractions were included in the tour, such as the home where Stephen Colbert grew up; a house formerly owned by Thomas Ravenel, featured on Bravo’s series Southern Charm; the garden of the Calhoun mansion; and a Philip Simmons wrought iron gate.
Philip Simmons' gate
If you ever have the opportunity to visit Charleston, SC, come to experience its rich history and culture. And, if you are there during Spoleto, take time to ignore the heat and indulge in the marvelous variety of incredible performances.

Do you have a special festival that transports you from the everyday to the extraordinary?

[For more about my fitness training to tackle the two-hour Porgy and Bess tour, see yesterday's blog message for The Stiletto Gang!]


Jim Jackson said...

Sounds like a good time, Paula. These are the kinds of events that make cities individual and vibrant. However, I must say, if my choice were Charleston in very late spring, or somewhere in the Northwoods where nothing much was happening, I’d still prefer the cooler Northwoods.

Margaret Turkevich said...

Charleston is wonderful at any time of the year.

Cincinnati has Oktoberfest in September, and outstanding music year 'round.

KM Rockwood said...

Charleston is definitely on my TBV (to be visited) places.

Which unfortunately is almost as long as my TBR list.

Grace Topping said...

Hi, Paula -- your blog makes me yearn to make another trip to Charleston.

Shari Randall said...

I'm dying to go to Charleston! The name has me wondering - Why the Holy City?

Warren Bull said...

It looks like we are all dancing the Charleston.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Jim, having just returned South from the lovely cool of Connecticut, you speak truth. I know now why it's important to have winter and summer homes!

Margaret, I've always wanted to go to Cincinnati!

KM, your lists and mine sound similar!

Grace, there's no place like it.

Shari, please come. It's called the Holy City because of the number of churches located there. Our tour guide pointed out that South Carolina was one of the few colonies that welcomed any religion and also encouraged theatrical entertainments. Charleston still benefits from those influences.

Warren, it's a grand dance to enjoy!

Gloria Alden said...

What a wonderful event that would be. The music, the plays, the tours all sound like something I'd want to experience, but although I've long wanted to visit Charleston, I think I'll head there in cooler weather.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Gloria, you would love it. And, the wonderful part is, if you come in the fall and winter, there's almost no chance of snow. Now, you do have to look out for hurricanes.

Kait said...

Glorious, Paula. Way back in the mid 1980s I took The Miami City Ballet to Charleston. While they were rehearsing--don't remember the venue--I took the time to do a self-guided walking tour of the city. It is truly magnificent. I can only imagine how Spoleto adds to the ambiance. One of these days, I'll make it back for a visit--maybe during festival time!

Paula Gail Benson said...

Kait, how marvelous! I've often wondered about the backstage experience for the performers and crew. I'd love to hear about your impressions.