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Charming Charleston—The Spoleto Festival…and so much more

Fort Sumter (photo: Kevin Filipski)
 
The charms of Charleston—stemming from its dual role as a laidback southern city and bustling college town—make it the ideal setting for the annual Spoleto Festival, which presents dozens of concert, theater, opera and dance performances over two weeks each May and June.
  
The 39th edition of Spoleto Festival USA (May 22 to June 8) included operas by Leos Janacek, Michael Nyman and John Adams; theater from Ireland’s renowned Gate Theatre; various dance troupes; and concerts by Lucinda Williams, Bela Fleck, Michael Nyman and the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra.
 
Kata Julia LynnConversely, it was difficult to sit through Facing GoyaMichael Nyman’s unlistenably tedious opera that—via Victoria Hardie’s impossibly pretentious libretto—combined the eponymous 18th century Spanish painter of genius, Nazi eugenics and modern science’s ability to play God, garbled together to no discernible point. I felt sorry for the talented quintet of singers, especially soprano Anne-Carolyn Bird, who amazingly nailed some treacherously high notes; Nyman’s minimalist music, which can be quite diverting in the context of Peter Greenaway’s visually entrancing films, becomes unbearable when it pounds away unrelievedly for two-plus hours.
 
I sampled a recital from the Bank of America Chamber Music series, which is curated and introduced by the personable Geoff Nuttall. The hour-long afternoon program comprised Mozart’s Kegelstatt Trio, George Crumb’s bizarre Voice of the Whale—which must be seen to be truly appreciated—and Ottorino Respighi’s lush setting of a Shelley poem, Il tramonto, beautifully sung by mezzo Charlotte Hellekant and sensitively played by the St. Lawrence String Quartet, with Nuttall playing the first violin part. 
 
I also caught an hour-long Intermezzi concert, consisting of Richard Strauss’s melodrama Enoch Arden: actor Stephen Brennan spoke the text to Tennyson’s narrative poem, accompanied by pianist Lydia Brown. Just getting the chance to hear Respighi’s and Strauss’s musical rarities performed on the same day at two splendid settings—the Dock Street Theater (built in 1809) and the Grace Episcopal Church (completed in 1848)—made attending Spoleto worth it by itself.
 
Rachel Julia LynnThe versatile Brennan was also onstage for the Gate Theatre’s thrilling dramatization of Daphne Du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel, which was as seductive as the eponymous title character. Shrewdly adapted by Joseph O’Connor and slickly staged by director Toby Frow, the drama kept its vice-like grip thanks to estimable acting across the board, led by Hannah Yelland as an Italian countess whose arrival at an Irish family’s estate won’t quash rumors that she was complicit in her husband’s suspicious death.
 
Checking out Charleston’s attractions was easy enough thanks to the layout of the eminently walkable city, whose narrow streets are lined by a ridiculous array of fine restaurants, high-end shopping, art galleries and historic buildings.
 
 
For a history buff like me, a visit to Fort Sumter was a must. Located three miles offshore in Charleston Harbor, the place where the first shots of the Civil War were fired can only be reached by boat, and Fort Sumter Tours provides several trips daily from two locations. I boarded at Liberty Square, right behind the Fort Sumter Visitor’s Center, and was treated to a leisurely ride and narrated tour of the area before reaching the fort, which—though only a ghost of its former formidable self—remains a treasured artifact of the inglorious War Between the States.
 
Named for James Shoolbred Gibbes, Sr., who bequeathed funds for its founding, the Gibbes Museum of Art (which opened in 1905, six years after Gibbes’ death) has a manageable and enticing collection of paintings, sculptures and photographs. Highlights are Italian sculptor Pietro Rossi’s stunningly detailed Veiled Lady, Childe Hassam’s voluptuous painting April (The Green Gown), and the gorgeous stained-glass rotunda dome, which looks like a gigantic Tiffany lamp hanging overhead.
 
 
 
Veiled LadyWalking through Charleston’s streets is also an immersion in American history, with historic houses everywhere—several are available for tours—along with remnants of the original fortifications of the Colonial era walled city, which date back to the early 1700s. Walking through the old Unitarian Church cemetery—whose many gravesites, some centuries old, are grown over by mosses, trees and plants of all types—is a ghostly but do-not-miss detour; a walk through another cemetery yielded the grave of one of the signers of the U.S. Constitution, John Rutledge.
 
For art, culture and history (as well as scrumptious food), Charleston has few equals

International Film Fest Summit & Music Fest Con Converge on Austin

As the world gets smaller and smaller, we tend to forget about the power of gathering like minds in one place. Here at Film Festival Traveler we embrace the idea of the festival as a communicative and all-encompassing experience. Whether it’s an art-house theater showing Pasolini films or an international music summit, festivals bring together great artistic minds and let the public join in the experience. But putting together a film fest or a huge multi-act concert is not the easiest task, so to help learn how to better manage these experiences are the International Film Festival Summit and the International Music Festival Conference. Both are happening December 8 – 10, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency Austin.

IMFCON includes panel discussions on how to better improve safety at concerts, keynotes by the  President of Global Touring and Chairman of Global Music at Live Nation, Arthur Fogel and boxing manager Shelly Finkel, a at in-house ticketing vs. giant ticket companies, how to book talent, the difference between managing a festival versus a tour, and much more.

The IFFS investigates how to utilize digital distribution for film, how the acclaimed Toronto International Film Festival selects its programming, a conversation with acclaimed writer John Sayles and Associate Dean of Entrepreneurship and Special Initiatives for the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA, Barbara Boyle, and how to effectively utilize sponsors.

Both events are must-sees for anyone looking to break into the festival industry and provide valuable expertise.

To learn more, go to: http://www.filmfestivalsummit.com/ or http://www.imfcon.com/

The International Film Festival Summit & The International Music Festival Conference

December 8 – 10, 2013

Hyatt Regency Austin
208 Barton Springs Rd.
Austin, Texas 78704

Here are some pictures from IMFCON and IFFS 2012

laurie-kirby

 

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more-crowd

 

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imfcon-folks

International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York Has the Food Info You Need

 

In a city with a higher density of restaurants than sand in the Sahara, New York’s food and restaurant industry is one of perpetual growth and change. So how is someone supposed to keep up with all of it? The International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York is the event of choice to keep anyone in the city concerned with serving food abreast of what is happening with panels, events, and more.

From the press release:

"Whether you're an independent owner, quick-serve restaurant operator, chef, caterer, baker, bar or nightclub operator, hospital, hotel or commercial foodservice director - make plans now to attend the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York, sponsored by the New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA), at the Javits Center in New York City, Sunday, March 4 - Tuesday, March 6.  On the bustling trade show floor attendees will have the chance to watch live culinary demonstrations and award ceremonies, learn from education sessions, and participate in workshops."

To learn more, go to: https://www.internationalrestaurantny.com/

International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York
March, 4 - 6, 2018

Jacob Javits Center
655 W. 34th St.
New York, NY 10001

Celebrate the Year of the Dog & Chinese History in NYC During MOCA Fest!

 

The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), are launching MOCA Fest to ring in the Year of the Dog on the Chinese calendar with events throughout the city.

From the press release:

“The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) announces the launch of MOCA FEST 2018 to welcome the Year of the Dog and the start of year 4716 on the Chinese calendar. From now until March 3, MOCA will feature special Lunar New Year programs, speakers, exhibits, children’s activities, a Family Festival, walking tours of historic Chinatown, exclusive access to MOCA’s Collections, and the return of MOCA’s popular Night Market showcasing cuisine from famed Chinese American chefs.

All proceeds go towards supporting the Museum of Chinese in America, the only national museum in the U.S. dedicated to preserving and honoring the history and achievements of Chinese people in America, and teaching future generations about Chinese American heritage through its educational and outreach programs.

"For anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the historical and cultural foundations behind Lunar New Year, MOCA is the natural destination for finding these answers. We created MOCAFEST 2018 so that visitors of all ages can better appreciate the Lunar New Year holiday and what it means to New York City’s Chinatown, the Chinese American community and the Chinese diaspora as a whole,” said Nancy Yao Maasbach, president of Museum of Chinese in America.”

To learn more, go to: http://www.mocanyc.org/

MOCA Fest 2018
Jan 8 - March 3, 2018

Museum of Chinese in America
215 Centre Street
New York, NY 10013

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