Review: Tiny Ninja Theater
TheaterMania, 4/9/03
"There's something irresistibly charming about seeing Shakespeare's works performed by miniature plastic figurines."

Article: Small Actors Make Big Splash
Dramatics, 4/03
"As Yoda says, ‘You do or you do not; there is no try.’"

Review: Theatre Pick for Week of March 4, 3/4/03
"You think you've seen every twist on The Bard’s work humanly possible..."

Article: Fringe Hit Tiny Ninja Theater Returns to NYC
Playbill Online, 2/9/03
"Trevor Bigfoot as Mercutio — whose death scene has to be seen to be believed"

Article: Best of Charleston 2003
The Charleston City Paper, 1/03
"Readers Pick for Best Piccolo Spoleto Event"

Review: Shakespeare in a Shoebox
The Washington Post, 1/11/03
"Once you've seen its Romeo & Juliet, you'll want to come to back for figurine versions of Hamlet or Othello or whatever else." — Peter Marks

Review: Action Figure Genius
The Charleston City Paper, 10/02
"Quick, clever, and chock full of surprises, more than one audience member claimed that it even outperformed the hit interpretation of the Scottish play." — Colleen Reilly

Review: Freeze Frame
Creative Loafing Charlotte, 10/2/02
"I heartily recommend being among the lucky few when Weinstein & Co. return to Charlotte or Piccolo Spoleto." — Perry Tannenbaum
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Review: Tiny Version of Macbeth is Giant Entertainment
The Charlotte Observer, 9/22/02
"Fresh, funny, ingenious and original." — JoAnn Grose

Review: Tiny Ninja Theater
Hairline, 8/02
"Four Stars: Tiny Ninja Theater is a fantastic and unorthodox show which represents what many love about the Edinburgh Festival." — Simon Ferguson

Review: Bard Takes a Flyer
Sunday Herald, 8/25/02
"Four Stars: Shakespeare is as equally at home among the ridiculous, of course." — Tim Abrahams

Review: Tiny Ninja Theater presents Macbeth
The Scotsman, 8/19/02
"Must be seen to be believed. " — Paul Rhodes

Review: Macbeth
Three Weeks, 8/17/02
"If a definition of the Fringe is originality and artistic expression, then this 35 minute abbreviated version of Macbeth, with tiny plastic ninjas as a cast, must surely rank as an ultimate example." — Paul Cochrane

Review: Mr. Smiley Face Macbeth
The Guardian, 8/10/02
"Weinstein plays it dead straight and speaks the text rather better than some classically trained actors I have heard." — Lyn Gardner

Review: Mini-Cawdor Steals Hearts
The List, 8/8/02
"a marvel of theatrical innovation" — Catherine Bromley

Review: No Drams Required
Edinburgh Guide, 8/3/02
"This is the only one I’m recommending to all my friends and the only thing I think I’ll make a return trip to!" — Annabel Ingram

Article: Ninja-cized Bard
Charleston Post & Courier, 6/1/02

Article: Tiny Ninja Theater Returns to Charleston
The State, 5/31/02

Review: Action Figure Genius
The Charleston City Paper, 5/29/02

Review: Tiny Ninjas Take On Shakespeare's Giant Roles
Charleston Post & Courier, 5/29/02

Article: Oh Tiny Romeo
The Charleston City Paper, 5/02

Article: What's The Buzz
The Charleston City Paper, 5/02
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Article: Where to Celebrate Valentine's Day Solo
Time Out New York, 2/14/02
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Review: Massaker im Spielzeugland
Taz Bremen, 1/22/02
the babelfish translation

Article: Best of Charleston 2001
The Charleston City Paper, 1/02
"Best Use of Plastic Figurines in a Performance" jump to the good bits

Article: Shakespeare de Plástico
Revista 2K, 6/22/01
the babelfish translation

Piccolo's Prices Too Steep for Local Festival
The State, 6/10/01
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Spoleto Festival at 25
The New York Times, 6/5/01
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Tiny Ninjas Put Twist on the Bard
Charleston Post & Courier, 6/2/01

Tiny Ninjas Project Big Illusion
The Charleston City Paper, 5/29/01

Review: No Small Jokes, Just Small Actors
Charleston Post & Courier, 5/29/01

Article: Immediate Art
The Charleston City Paper, 5/01
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Article: Serious Shakespeare Takes But An Inch
The Charleston City Paper, 5/01

Review: Sightlines: Tom Waits in the Toilet
The Village Voice, 4/27/01

Article: All Is But Toys
Stage Directions, 3/01
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Article: The Bard's New Band of Merry Men Perform Macbeth
American Theater, 12/00

Article: Off-Off color: Toy Story
Time Out New York, 11/9/00
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Review: Street of Blood, Tiny Ninja Theater presents Macbeth
NEXT Magazine, 9/15/00
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Article: Is That a Ninja That I See Before Me?
Playbill Online, 8/30/00

Review: Oh, Forget the Money, Let's Dress Up and Play
The New York Times, 8/26/00
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Fringe Binge
Time Out New York, 8/24/00
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Review: Fringe Benefits
The Village Voice, 8/23/00
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Review: As The Bard Himself Might Put it..., 8/20/00

Review: Tiny Ninja Macbeth, Finally, Little Green Man, 8/18/00
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Article: Off-Off and Running
Time Out New York, 8/10/00
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Best Festival That's Not Spoleto
Oyster Festival
Every January the oceans are nearly depleted of all oysters when The Charleston Restaurant Association holds its annual oyster roast, surely the largest in the world. More than 10,000 people pack Boone Hall Plantation and get their shuck on. Live bands, plenty of beer, oyster eating contests that almost always end in disaster, and enough oysters to make a pack of elephants frisky is what makes the Lowcountry Oyster Fest the best festival outside of Spoleto. —Lorne Chambers

Best Festival That Is Spoleto
You have to admit, it's incredible to be in Charleston during the 17 days of Spoleto. You can catch world-class theatre, opera, music, and dance without having to travel to NYC to do so. The streets, cafes, and restaurants are filled with art-lovers animatedly discussing performances. It's intellectually exhilarating in a town that isn't really all that artistically challenging the rest of the year. —Stephanie Barna

Best Spoleto Performance for the Masses
David Sedaris
I’ve been bragging for nearly a year now that I got to meet Sedaris and take him out for breakfast the day after he and David Rakoff presented readings during Spoleto’s Footprints in the Garden series. There, I’ve done it again. Sedaris is the funniest modern writer out there. His readings left the audience convulsing. Being gay, of Greek descent, and a one-time New Yorker who now lives in Paris with his boyfriend did nothing to alienate the audience. His story of a younger brother gone terribly wrong, “You Can’t Kill the Rooster” from Me Talk Pretty One Day about killed everyone in the Garden Theatre and brought them into his family all in one fell swoop. As another self-serving aside, Sedaris sent along a thank you note after he was back in New York. It pictured two enormously busty women, painted as if they were leftovers from a children's catalog from the ’60s, measuring each others bosoms with a tape. His note on the back said how much he enjoyed such alliterative places like the Finicky Filly, Kickin’ Chicken, and Granny’s Goodies, even though he never went inside any of them.
—Bill Davis

Best Use of Plastic Figurines in a Performance
Tiny Ninja Shakespeare
Who knew tiny plastic ninjas could be so emotive! Dov Weinstein's production of Macbeth last Piccolo Spoleto at Theatre 99 was perhaps the most innovative play we've ever seen. First, theatregoers were divided into groups based on height. Shorties in the front, tall folks in the back. Then, binoculars were handed out to everyone and the lights dimmed and the tiny ninjas emerged and performed a moving and highly dramatic interpretation of Macbeth. We hope Dov returns this year with another small Shakespearean feat. —SB

Best Reason to Suffer the Dock Street Seats
Servant to Two Masters
You know a play's good when it makes you forget you're sitting in a hard, straight-backed wooden pew. The Dock Street's seats are dreadful, even worse than the Roxy. Some people refuse to attend shows there because of them. But when Spoleto rolls into town, you have to suffer the seats to get to the good stuff. And most times it pays off, like last year's Servant to Two Masters. This rollicking, frolicking play was so much fun you spent more time rolling on the floor, grasping your belly than sitting bolt upright in your pew. —SB

Best (and Highest) Brow
Nigel Redden
After all that Spoleto's Nigel Redden means to the cultural life of Charleston — making sure fine art flows unabated into the city — it would be flat wrong to take any potshots at him. So here’s a couple. People refer to him as “Sir Nigel” behind his back. No one knows where his accent comes from. Contrary to his stature in the art world, he’s much smaller in real life than you’d ever expect, sorta like Madonna. And he’s a Cypriot.

Best Spoleto Personality
Charles Wadsworth
The maestro is a sport. On top of demystifying chamber music for the masses and singlehandedly saving Spoleto after Gian Carlo Menotti split, Wadsworth can make a mean biscuit. Two years ago, C-Dub (his rap moniker) whipped out an old family biscuit recipe, rolled up his sleeves, and rolled out a cookie sheet of golden Southern goodness in the kitchen of the dearly departed Louis’s. Why? One, because he’s a country boy from Georgia and the former Cream-Puff King of Newnan High who can’t even spell “airs,” much less put them on. And two, because we asked him. Last year, he almost agreed to pose for a risque City Paper photo shoot lounging around a pool for one of our Spoleto issues. The main reason he backed out was that he was concerned how he’d look with his shirt off. — BD

Best Spoleto Stud
Nacho Duato
Campania Nacional de Danza
Sorry, Nigel. You had stiff competition for this one. Ahhh... Nacho, Nacho, Nacho... The name alone makes you want to rip your clothes off. Then the soft-spoken, Spanish-accented broken English ... the hair ... the dancer's physique .... the calendar for crissakes! And thank god he did not actually dance to his sensual choreography because it simply would have been too sexy. How he doesn't cause massive orgies wherever he goes is beyond comprehension. Nacho is atomic sexual energy. There has never been nor will there ever be another Spoleto Stud as amazing as Nacho. —Kristen Rhodes

Best Theatre Risk
The Laramie Project, Footlight Players
20 Queen St. 722-7521
The buzz at the start of the season centered on this play about a hate crime against a homosexual. Would conservative Charleston audiences stay away? Would there be protests? Sheri Grace Wenger was seen as principled and courageous. Laramie was a well-met risk and a good stretch for the company. —Paul Garbarini

Best Single Performance
Clarence Felder, The Tragedy Of King Lear, The Actor's Theatre of South Carolina
He's arguably the best actor in the area, and he showed his talent in the king of roles. —PG

Best Director
Mark Landis, Our Country's Good
College of Charleston.
His intelligent blocking, creative scene changes, and great stage pictures all lent a superb fluidity to this terrific script. —PG

Best Musical Director
Laura Ball, Lucky Stiff
College of Charleston
The sound from the band struck just the right balance and beautifully supported the cast. —PG

Best Set Design
Cary Grayson, Wit Charleston Stage Company
In his first attempt at scenic design, Grayson scored gold with the flowing drapes in this drama. They at once evoked hospital curtains and grace in chaos. —PG

Best Costumes
Julie Geiger, Lucky Stiff
College of Charleston
These ingenious costumes were actually set pieces. Brilliant! —PG

Best Stage Manager
Cary Grayson, The Mystery of Irma Vep
Best Volunteer Crew
The Mystery of Irma Vep
Charleston Stage Company
Vep is the equivalent of speed skating and the two-man luge in vaudeville. None of it happens without the crew. This performance at the Dock Street got a well-deserved curtain call. —PG

Best Training Ground for Future Artists
Charleston County School of the Arts
1600 Saranac St. 529-4990
A teacher at the School of the Arts who shall go nameless (George Younts, theatre department) complains bitterly that local papers, City Paper included, don’t cover this fecund artistic garden. He says it's myopic to never feature young artists in the face of how much ink is spilled on high school sports. While it could be argued that a teen’s body matures years before his or her soul (i.e. a teen dunking a basketball is more believable than a 16-year-old playing Willie Loman), Younts may have a point. Especially since the next group of talented actors to leave Charleston for greener artistic pastures will likely be from the School, and not from the College of Charleston. Roughly 800 students from all over the county attend this magnet school and study in eight different disciplines: theatre, creative writing, visual arts, instrumental band, strings, piano, vocal music, and dance. The kids have won a host of awards, contests, and etc. On top of that, there’s a middle schooler who’s performed Off Broadway and who is presently up for a speaking part in a major motion picture. The school is second only to the Academic Magnet in SAT scores. Bravo, tante oumini, Bravo!

Best Unintentional Art
Charleston County School Board
7 Calhoun St.
In this post-modern world where practically everything is art (take this year's Turner Prize winner Martin Creed who created "#227: The Lights Going On and Off" which consisted of — you guessed it — lights turning on and off in an empty gallery room), it is a challenge to find bonafide "unintentional" art. If art can be classified, in part as spectatorship and transformative experience then the Charleston County School Board is certainly eligible. The Board is most likely unaware of the humorous and poignant juxtaposition of themselves acting as US Supreme Court justices in their swanky chambers and treating grown citizens attending meetings as 12-year-olds. Is it a mockery of our system of governance? Is it a living tableau of pomposity? As they bark orders at those in attendance, it causes such a sensory deprivation that one is suddenly back in one's childhood, powerless against figures of authority. Where else can you be so immediately transported out of Charleston and into a Kafka novel? —KR

Best Art Gallery
Halsey Gallery
Simons Center for the Arts 54 St. Philip St.
There are a few things to be thankful for in our local arts arena and the Halsey Gallery at the College of Charleston is one of them. It is the most consistent venue for contemporary art in Charleston (that is free from commercial influences.) Last year's highlights included a solo show of Graham Nickson, a student group show, the Eastern European art collective NSK, a street-art show with Charleston native Shepard Fairey, painter Michael Tyzack, and digital photographers Jerry Uelsmann and Maggie Taylor. The lectures are just as interesting as the shows (if not more so in the case of NSK) and on top of it all, we have an Art-o-Mat in Charleston thanks to Halsey Gallery! —KR

Best Commissioned Art
House of the Future by David Hammons
America Street
Charleston is so strange — and our public art proves it. We have classical, commemorative statues, such as the universally revered John Calhoun ... well, at least it's a really TALL statue that's difficult to miss. And then we have the most incredible collection of public art by contemporary African-American artists thanks to Spoleto projects ("Places with a Past" in 1991 and "Human/Nature" in 1997), but few people know about them. Of all the Spoleto leftovers, David Hammons' "House of the Future" is the most resonant. It is humorous and bitingly cynical. It deals with Charleston's obsession with the past in copying the past architecturally, while also strongly commenting on the quality of life for those living here today. And while making all of these relevant and poignant points, it is fascinating to look at. Thankfully we have some residents and churches who have maintained these pieces so that those in the know, and those wanting to know, may enjoy. —KR

Best Gynocentric Art
The Vagina Monologues
College of Charleston
This was a rough category — with E.C. Bell, Beki, and Michael Tyzack (those simple diamond shapes take on new meaning in that light, don't they?). But the onslaught of vaginas, between the play and the art exhibit that accompanied it at the College of Charleston, could not be subdued. Eve Ensler said in the HBO airing of The Vagina Monologues that there are "vagina-friendly cities" and had a map of the United States marking those locales. Charleston was not on the map. One wouldn't be advised to hold one's breath for it to be put on the map anytime soon, considering the fact that our daily paper wouldn't even print the whole word in their listings. Now that the play is over, we can return to our regularly scheduled repressed-selves. —KR

Best Phallocentric Art
Julie Townsley's "Redneck" Seahag Studio
Fountain Walk Suite 106
The male penis has definitely gotten the "shaft" in art world visual representation. Maybe male dominance in the arena has had something to do with that ... as well as sexism and homophobia. But leave taboos to local artist Julie Townsley and she will rip them to shreds with a smile on her face. It started when her art school wouldn't allow a male nude model to pose in a drawing class — while having no problem with a nude female spread-eagle on a motorcycle. Then when she got the head-hand-penis proportions wrong for her soft-sculpture entitled "King," his unintended well-endowment lead to a deluge of comments from viewers. So then came "Redneck" — a soft-sculpture painted red, white, and blue large enough to take up the average bedroom and with a penis ample enough to use in Olympic high-diving. Townsley doesn't want her work to be known only for certain anatomical features and hopes viewers can get past the penis to appreciate the work on the whole — but it is the shock of such rare visual representation — its full-frontal assault on censorship, double-standards, and repression — along with its artistry and craftsmanship that makes "Redneck" so amazing. Townsley's recent work has moved on to other explorations, but is equally as powerful and engaging and can be seen at the Seahag studio at Fountain Walk. —KR

Best Charleston Landscape Artist
Robert Merrill Sweeny
62 Broad St. 853-7327,
Far from the romantic images of Charleston's streets, buildings, and environs we have grown accustomed to, Robert Merrill Sweeny's drawings capture the more forgotten corners of our fair city. Documenting buildings "pre-rehab," Sweeny is more interested in reality, both in terms of his subject matter as well as his photo-realistic style. With pencil on paper, he is able to depict every nook and cranny of a wall of a building, complete with peeling paint and broken shutters. Sweeny was trained in photography (which is the starting point of his drawings) at the Rhode Island School of Design. He says his work comes from an "abstract vision that is design oriented." The graphics of old signs, shadows cast along an empty window, and graffiti are some of what catches his eye. In a city so interested in preservation, Sweeny's work shows what we lose in the face of "rehabilitating" our buildings. On the most basic level, his drawings act as a catalog of images that are disappearing fast from Charleston. —KR

Best Multi-Tasking Artist
Geoffrey Cormier
In everything he does, Geoffrey Cormier is interested in the spontaneity of creating "regardless of product, style, material, or audience." From his paintings, to his improvisational music to the work of Southern Visionary artists about whom he writes and publishes books, Cormier's fascination lies in the process. Painting, puppetry, book-making, and music are where he finds inspiration. He's worked in the art departments for movie production houses for seven years (Muppets From Space. The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland) and began doing shadow puppet theater about two years ago. His shadow-puppet performances are in-the-moment assaults on easy-listening. The puppets' simplicity is countered by the cacophony of music coming from the group of talented musicians. It is most definitely experiential. Cormier is in the process of completing separate books about visionary artists R.A. Miller, Howard Finster, and William Thomas Thompson, see —KR

Best Reason to Go to Ravenel
Arnold Edmonson
5207 County Line Road
A mailbox assemblage greets you at the beginning of Arnold Edmondson's long driveway, and as you make your way up toward the house, various sculptures of found materials and appliances are scattered about the 9.5 acres Edmondson bought three years ago after moving from James Island with his wife, Carmen, and their three children. He cleared the land, created the catfish pond, and has been working on all the trees to make the once scraggly oaks grand. The trailer at the end of the driveway where the Edmonson family lives has been transformed, inside and out, into a mixed-media creation. Edmondson used the exterior of the trailer as a canvas on which to paint his signature faces and eyes, and the interior is full of his paintings and sculptures. In the back, two tractor trailers sit — containing years of Edmondson's art work that wouldn't fit in his home. The property itself is Arnold's art. He has burst through the confines of the canvas and now has 9.5 acres of material with which to work — which seems about right for his energy and creativity. Want another reason to go to Ravenel? Edmondson is hosting the First Annual Vernal Equinox hog roast, art-storytelling-music-catch-your-own-fish fry party at his house March 23, starting at 2 p.m. —KR

Best Local Fashion Show
Aspire Style, Aspire Productions
Arthur Brouthers, the brain behind Aspire Productions, decided that it was time to give Charleston a night of fashion. In November, Aspire Style took over the Fountain Walk/IMAX area attracting a crowd of 300 or more for this affair of intriguing art, various musical talents, and vogue. This production included professional models in the latest trends and hair/makeup done by our top hair salons (not to mention a real runway). Weezie and Louis, N. Tassios, and Utopia were showcased during this stylish shindig. –Ayoka Lucas

Best Alternative Art Performance Space
Kristen Rhodes and eyespy
Fountain Walk Suite 102, 276-1609
When Kristen Rhodes, the City Paper's visual arts writer, opened her alternative art/performance space eyespy in November it brought excitement, hope, and opportunity for the large number of people who attended the grand kick-off. It wasn’t long before the controversy and debate over whether she could still write objectively and curate her own art shows flooded her ears. In her very informative written response to these accusations, entitled “Perspectives From an Art Whore,” she thoroughly addressed any criticism and defined eyespy as an “open space where artists are free to experiment and fail.” She included her financial statement that clearly showed that her time and investments greatly outweighed any monetary gain. Even though she continues to come up against similar obstacles, eyespy maintains its focus by consistently providing a home for many artists who previously had no outlet in this market. It’s all about the expression and this gallery ranks high for being brilliantly unconventional. It’s about time! —AL

Best Music Rumor
The Warehouse is Coming!
If the defunct Warehouse were still around it would be Charleston’s de facto titleholder in many categories, including Best Sound System/Engineer. At the laid-back venue you could distinctly hear every note played by every instrument in the room. A major reason the system sounded so good was the fact that Dave Kallechey ran it. Were the Warehouse still around it would also easily win the Best Booking award thanks to Steve Carroll who owned and booked the venue. A splendid and diverse range of music graced the Warehouse’s stage during its relatively short run as a club. From Yonder Mountain String Band to Phife Dog to locals like Flywater, The Aamerican Tenants, and quench, to separate nights for DJ’s, singer/songwriters, and hip hoppers, back around to Cobra Verde and the venerable Mike Watt, Carroll regularly went out on a limb to bring in lesser known, more compelling acts. And he turned many struggling local bands into established draws. Since the Warehouse’s disappearance in September, rumors of its triumphant return have haunted the ears of local rock fans. Currently, Carroll is working at Mandalay, turning it into Charleston's newest live music venue. Maybe that third floor will finally be put to good use. —Ashford Tucker

Best Short Set Rock Band
The Moths/Mount Saint Stereo
Kevin Hanley, Nick Cariavello, and Andy Reuter play a wicked set. It’s not long, it’s sort of flashy, and when they’re done you want to kiss your sweetheart and rob a bum. Hanley’s guitar squeals over Cariavello’s bass and Reuter’s uncanny drum rhythms for about 35 minutes straight and then they quietly gather their things and leave. Solid three and a half minute rock 'n' roll songs are what they play. Unlike Fred Durst or Gwen Stefani (or whatever else Carson Daly told you was rock 'n' roll), The Moths actually play songs with distinguishable instruments and words. It’s rap-rock without all that annoying rap-rock. There’s no cheesy overdrive pedals or goatees, either. It’s just Big Muff bass and screaming Igloo strat. Unfortunately, due to the fact that a band in New York City already uses the moniker The Moths, our local Moths will have to undergo a name change. They’ll be calling themselves Mount Saint Stereo in the coming weeks. For those about to rock, be on the lookout. —AT

Best Rock Show
Ween at the Music Farm
April 2001
32 Ann St. 853-FARM
“Who the fuck is Phish?” That’s what Gene Ween asked Tim Kinney when Kinney told him Phish frequently included a cover of “Roses Are Free” (off of Ween’s landmark Chocolate and Cheese album) in their cute sets on their long tours. Dean and Gene, the brothers Ween, play a live show that might just make some dreadlock-honky Phishhead ask the very same question. Ween concerts can last for quite a long while, but no time’s wasted on instrumental masturbation. They’re intense from start to finish. This year’s truncated two-hour display (compared to the four-plus hour show back in ’97) was more than enough concert to earn Ween our pick for the Best Rock Show of the year. Showing up as a standard four piece, with two guitars, a bass, and drums, Ween ripped through their intense set of originals and smacked us all in the face with Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” at the end of the night. —AT

Best Cover Song
Isness' reggae cover of Ozzy's "Crazy Train"
Usually when you get the chance to perform with your band at a club or restaurant, it comes with a cost. You have to learn some familiar songs to keep the drunken college students with disengaged brain stems dancing. Any band can do the same old versions of "All Along the Watchtower," "Could You Be Loved," or "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," but it takes a real pair to serve up a reggae style of Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" like Isness do. —Michael E. Saliba

Best Street Performer
Jump, Little Children
Jump, Little Children are inherently Charleston. They live right in the heart of downtown and frequently take their music to the streets to showcase their talent. The sidewalks along Market and King streets served as their open-air arena long before they played local club. Today, they head to the streets whenever the notion arises, winning new fans and solidifying old friendships in the process. —MES

Best Rock 'n' Roll Hair
The Creations
As long as you have all your senses and most of your wits about you, you'll never see a band quite like The Creations. Mixing modern technology with styles and harmonies of the past, the Baltzegar brothers have made their music and fashion sense a way of life. Their hairstyles garnish more attention than the music at times, but this keeps fans hooked into their "way out sound." —MES

Best Rock Star Style, Complete With Tattoos
David Lee of Go Baby Go
This local rock star can be seen around town wearing everything from three-piece suits to wife beaters, but always with his tattoos showing (right down to the knuckles). David Lee is the lead singer/guitarist of the punk-country fusion band Go Baby Go, an esteemed masseuse, and owner of Deluxe Scooters. On top of his flirtatious charm, tousled hair, goatee, and ink, you can also often find him blazing the roads on some sweet motorcycle. You will probably be able to check him out on MTV’s "How To Be A Rock Star" sometime in 2005 (just a prediction). —AL

Best Rock Star Candidate
David Dunning
When it comes down to looks and vocal ability, Dave Dunning tops them all. The walking equivalent of a Malibu Ken doll with a guitar and tattoos, Dunning stuns them all onstage. Whether you've seen him perform solo, with his own band, Live Bait (aka 210 Deluxe), or Plain Jane, you know that the fact that he's still performing here is a shame for the rest of the world. It's either time for his rock star dreams to come true, or time to get the resume together. —MES

Best Guitar Face
Clay Ross
Air guitar. We all do it. Whether in the car when we think no one's looking or at home when we pray no one's looking. Guitarists can either be stoic and expressionless in their virtuosity or they can contort their face with real emotion. One guitarist in particular, Clay Ross of the band Mickey Baker Project, conveys the same enlightenment and enjoyment through his facial expressions as he does in the music. It's almost a spiritual moment for Ross as nirvana spills over into the crowd's excitement, almost lifting them off their feet and into the stratosphere. —MES

Best Band Destined for the Big Time
From the very beginning, quench have had big dreams of stardom. They've had their highs and lows and have persevered through it all. Recently, after a van fire destroyed nearly all of their gear, they got an endorsement deal with Mesa Boogie Amps, Shure Wireless, and Ayotte drums. Now the next goal is to land that ever-important record contract with the right company and quench the ears of hungry listeners. —MES

Best Open Mic Night
Cumberland's Monday
Think you've got some talent? Think it's time to finally play that song in public you wrote for your girlfriend? Perhaps your music will make it to the big time, but there needs to be a first step. Cumberland's hosts an Open Mic night nearly every Monday just so new talent can step up onstage and give it their all. Everyone's gotta start somewhere, why not let Cumberland's be your stepping stone? —MES

Best In-Store Music Performance
The Sunshine Fix and Four Corners at 52.5 Records
75 Wentworth St. 722-3525
The day before the whole world shook, 09-10-01, was a day just like any other except that 52.5 hosted the bands The Sunshine Fix and Four Corners in their store. This impromptu and energetic showcase of what was to come later on at The Warehouse was sparsely attended but largely talked about. It's amazing how all their gear, PA, and whatnot could fit into such a tight space, but they pulled it off amazingly. Then all hell broke loose the next morning. —MES

Best Local Author
Edward Ball
His first book Slaves in the Family delved into the little talked about part of his family's past — slaves. Former Village Voice writer Edward Ball found that the story of his family and the slaves they owned touched a nerve, and he was honored with the National Book Award. This year, he followed with Sweet Hell Inside, which chronicles the successful mixed-race Charleston family, the Harlestons. Ball is willing to shine a light on the darker side of Southern history. And he does so with unflinching honesty and curiosity. —SB

Best Seats for Movie Watching
IMAX of Charleston
360 Concord St. 725-4629
While modern technology has brought about many advances in modern movie theater seating (reclining seats, stadium seating, cup holders, etc.), all bets are off when you sink into the plush leather seats at the IMAX of Charleston. The thrones, designed by BMW, put even the finest Lay Z Boy recliner to shame. Our only complaint is that sometimes we actually doze off in the middle of an IMAX feature — not because the film is boring, but because we’re so dad-gum comfortable. —Devin Grant

Best Snack Bar At Which to Drop a Wad of Cash
The American Theatre
446 King St. 722-FILM
boctext: Let’s be honest here, you’re going to drop a wad of cash at any movie theater snack bar that you belly up to. Overpriced popcorn, candy, and soda is the way theaters make their profit, given how stingy the Hollywood studios are with the film receipts. Some movie houses go above and beyond the usual fare, offering pizza, gourmet coffee, and in some cases even beer (mmmm …. beer). But there is just one place where you can order a complete meal and have it served to you while you enjoy a first run feature. The American Theater offers everything from heart-shaped pizzas on Valentine's Day to delectable desserts, and since the theater is equipped with tables, you can enjoy your meal in comfort. What a concept! —DG

Best Snacks for Not-So-Outrageous Prices
The Beaufort Drive-In
Industrial Park Rd. off Hwy. 21, 846-4500
Remember that scene in Grease where the kids congregated at the drive-in? It was there that Rizzo confided in a fellow Pink Lady that she “had a bun in the oven.” Most of that scene took place around the drive-in snack bar, which usually sits at the back of the lot and houses the projection booth as well. The Beaufort Drive-In has a similar set up, and while the facilities certainly show their age, the prices will almost make you think you’ve been transported back to the days when Grease was the word. Plus if you’ve never been to a drive-in movie (and there are probably a couple generations walking around who haven’t), it’s something you have to experience at least once. Just keep those heads visible above the dashboard you randy little devils, you. —DG

Best Counter Staff
TIE: The Roxy and The Terrace
243 East Bay St. 853-7699
1956-D Maybank Hwy. 762-9494
Have you ever gone up to the snack counter at your local multiplex, ordered a large Coke, and a jumbo buttered popcorn, and then watched as the high school freshman proceeded to forget your order on the way from the register to the soda fountain? There’s a reason they call it “minimum wage.” How refreshing then to step on up to the snack counter at the Terrace or Roxy (each theater has the same owner) and face a person who genuinely cares about the victuals you’ll be needing to better enjoy your night out at the movies. The feeling at both theaters is close to that of a family business. While the Roxy is unfortunately shutting down, moviegoers in Charleston will still be able to catch the latest indie film — and munch on a biscotti — at the Terrace. —DG

Best Place to Rent DVDs
Blockbuster Video
Local businesses such as Millennium Music and 52.5 rent their share of DVDs, especially the harder to find titles. (And kudos to them for doing so!) With that said, Big Daddy Blockbuster still rules the roost when it comes to the sheer number of titles. 2002 is projected to be the first year where DVD players outsell VCRs. With the number of titles available on DVD growing steadily each week, you’ve probably noticed that the DVD section in Blockbuster is slowly gaining a foothold on the store. While the environment may be as commercial and sterile as they come, you still can’t beat the big blue “B” for selection. —DG

Best Resource for Local Film Community
The Lowcountry Film Society
Franklin Ashley, 953-8149, Mark Tiedje, 953-8228
Sure, you could head out to your local cineplex this evening and check out the latest big budget Hollywood feature, but then it seems that each one of those that comes along is a bigger steaming pile of celluloid crap than the last. There are theaters in town that offer alternatives to Lethal Scream from Austin Powers – Part XVII (see the movie houses that won the "Best Counter Staff" above). But did you know that there is also a group of movie lovers whose mission is to educate those who think Freddy Got Fingered was a masterpiece of comedy? Some Like It Hot, the Billy Wilder classic that stars Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and a red-hot Marilyn Monroe, IS a masterpiece. Thanks to the Lowcountry Film Society, you had the chance to see that film on the big screen at the Movies at Mt. Pleasant for one week in January. The LFS has set up a deal with the Movies at Mt. Pleasant to hold periodic weeklong screenings of everything from contemporary films that don’t get enough exposure, to classic movies of yesteryear that unjustly gather dust on video store shelves. Other recent offerings by the LFS include local filmmaker Peter Wentworth’s Dreamcatcher, The Endurance, and the Fred Astaire classic Bandwagon. With the first wave of films now done, the LFS is plotting their next move. We hope to see the group continue to bring eclectic film fare to town — and for this town to continue to support the Society’s efforts. —DG

Best Hope for a Thriving Film Community
SCINDY – South Carolina’s Independent Film Festival
While losing the Charleston International Film Festival a couple of years ago was disappointing, the Lowcountry (and the entire state of South Carolina) does have another chance to help advance the art of filmmaking. SCiNDY, South Carolina's Independent Film Festival, is a collaborative effort of the South Carolina Film Office, the South Carolina Arts Commission, SCETV, the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, the Charleston County Library, the Charleston Film Salon, and the Carolina Film Alliance. Last year during the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, SCiNDY (based in the Charleston Public Library’s Calhoun St. branch) presented everything from a lecture and film presentation by animator Bill Plympton, to original independent films such as My Sister’s Wedding by local filmmaker Sharon Jungreis Bowers. The screening of the latter offering was standing room only, proving that the support for independent film production in South Carolina exists. Hopefully this year’s SCiNDY selections will be as well attended. —DG

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