The Charleston Music Hall is thrilled to present A Christopher Guest Film Series. We will screen four classic Guest films including This Is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind. Mockumentaries AHOY! All films are $8, but you can buy a 4 film pass for only $20 or a 4 film pass plus 4 specialty film posters for only $30. All films start at 7:30.
Christopher Haden-Guest, 5th Baron Haden-Guest (born February 5, 1948), usually simply known as Christopher Guest, is an American screenwriter, composer, musician, director, actor, and comedian who holds dual British and American citizenship. Guest is most widely known in Hollywood for having written, directed and starred in his series of comedy films shot in mock-documentary (mockumentary) style. Many scenes and character backgrounds in Guest’s films are written and directed, although actors have no rehearsal time and the ensemble improvise scenes while filming them.
Synopsis: This Is Spinal Tap is a 1984 American rock music mockumentary comedy film directed, co-written, scored by, and starring Rob Reiner, and co-starring Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer. The film portrays the fictional British heavy metal band Spinal Tap. The film satirizes the wild personal behavior and musical pretensions of hard rock and heavy metal bands, as well as the hagiographic tendencies of rock documentaries of the time. The three main members of Spinal Tap—David St. Hubbins, Derek Smalls and Nigel Tufnel—are played by actors McKean, Shearer, and Guest, respectively. The three actors play their musical instruments and speak with mock English accents throughout the movie. Reiner appears as Marty Di Bergi, the maker of the documentary.
Synopsis: Waiting for Guffman is a 1997 American mockumentary comedy film co-written and directed by Christopher Guest. The film’s cast includes Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, Fred Willard, and Parker Posey. The title of the film is a reference to Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot. As in the other mockumentaries created by Guest, the majority of the dialogue is improvised. Because the film is about the production of a stage musical, it contains several original musical numbers written by Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer.
Synopsis: Best in Show is a 2000 American mockumentary comedy film co-written (along with Eugene Levy) and directed by Christopher Guest. The film follows five entrants in a prestigious dog show, and focuses on the slightly surreal interactions among the various owners and handlers, as they travel to the show and then compete during the show. There are also short depictions of the characters six months after the show is over. Among the comedic aspects of the film are similarities between the personalities and characteristics of the owners and those of their dogs. Much of the dialogue was improvised. Many of the comic actors were also involved in Guest’s other films, including This Is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Wind, For Your Consideration, and Mascots.
Synopsis: A Mighty Wind is a 2003 American mockumentary comedy film about a folk music reunion concert in which three folk bands reunite for a television performance for the first time in decades. The film was directed, co-written and composed by Christopher Guest. The film is widely acknowledged to reference the 2003 tribute concert to folk music producer Harold Leventhal that reunited several of the folk groups that Leventhal had managed. More broadly, the film is a parody of the American folk music revival of the early 1960s and its personalities.
The trio of sisters that makes up the band Joseph filled the Charleston Music Hall on October 1st with their powerful vocals and captivating harmonies for an intimate Sunday night.
The concert opened with Liza Anne, a singer-songwriter from Saint Simons Island, Georgia, now based in Nashville. She says on her Facebook page, “I feel things deeply and then I sing them sweetly” and there is nothing closer to the truth. Liza Anne’s voice was soft yet haunting as she sang about very specific yet oddly relatable situations. Her lyrics included instances of drunk calling an ex and saying you still love them, or saying things you don’t mean when you’re too tired; providing a comfort in knowing that you’re not the only one who’s done that. Her stage presence was unapologetic, as she even preceded one song by recalling a grade of a D+ in her college songwriting class. Liza Anne was the perfect act to open the night and warm up the crowd.
Next, Joseph took the stage, immediately showcasing their energy and skill that was maintained at the same high level throughout the set. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Joseph is a family band made up of older sister Natalie, and twins Meegan and Alison Closner. From their appearance, movements, and especially their voices, there’s no mistaking their relation. Natalie sported an acoustic guitar as she sang lead vocals on about half the songs, while with Meegan and Alison sang backup, with the occasional tambourine. The leads were passed around, allowing each sibling to showcase her prevailing voice while the other two provided compelling harmonies. Joseph was backed by drums, bass, electric guitar, and keys played by their “tour brothers.”
The set was full of dancing and clapping during faster songs, and moments of stillness and awe during slower ballads, as the Closner sisters amazed the audience throughout with their harmonies that gave me goosebumps more than once. About halfway through, the audience got to their feet with the song “SOS (Overboard)” and remained standing for the rest of the show.
Joseph’s sincere lyrics spanning themes of self-love, standing up for what you believe in, and reassurance no one is alone, made for an uplifting concert. It’s a mentality that’s evident in their stage presence, and even their 2016 album name, I’m Alone, No You’re Not, which is a lyric from the song “Honest.”
The band ended their set (before a 3 song encore) with the anthem “White Flag,” their lead single from the Alone album. The song starts as a low hum and builds to a chorus proclaiming “I could surrender but I’d just be pretending, no, I’d rather be dead than live a lie. Burn the white flag!”
After a galvanizing concert, Joseph sent us off with a song called “Sweet Dreams” inspired by their childhood bedtime routine of saying goodnight. We left the Music Hall with a revitalized spirit and the words of “Sweet dream, my love. I love you. Goodnight.” ringing in our ears.
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The Charleston Music Hall is thrilled to pay homage to one of the greats, Patrick Swayze, by celebrating this iconic American actor’s birthday on August 18th with a double feature of Dirty Dancing and Road House in what we are calling SWAYZE FEST. The actor would have been 65 this August. Each film will cost $8 individually, or you can buy a package ticket to both films for $14. Doors Open at 6:30 PM. For Dirty Dancing which starts at 7:00 PM, we encourage you to come prepared to dance in the aisles. For Road House which starts at 9:00 PM, we kindly ask that you do not fight in the aisles.
In 1963, Frances “Baby” Houseman, a sweet daddy’s girl, goes with her family to a resort in upstate New York’s Catskill Mountains. Baby has grown up in privileged surroundings and all expect her to go on to college, join the Peace Corps and save the world before marrying a doctor, just like her father. Unexpectedly, Baby becomes infatuated with the camp’s dance instructor, Johnny Castle, a man whose background is vastly different from her own.
Dalton is the Cooler in bars; He backs up and directs the bouncers. He takes a job in a Road House that has gotten far too rough. His attempts to clean things up put him in conflict with Brad Wesley, the town bully and rich person. Things heat up.
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The Charleston Music Hall is thrilled to present The Summer of Bill Film Series, a 7 film series composed of Bill Murray films with a corresponding art exhibit. The Summer of Bill Art Exhibit will have a Free opening party on May 31st from 5:30 – 7:30pm. Local Murray-lover, Tiffany “Mish” Pretlow, is organizing the art exhibit with over 20 local artists contributing Bill Murray inspired works in all different mediums. Pretlow organized the “Where’s Murray?” Art Show at King Dusko a few years back. Rumor has it a life-size jaguar shark may make an appearance. The art exhibit will be on view from May 31 – August 20.
We will be presenting 7 Bill Murray films between May 31 and August 20. We originally had four films for the series, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Lost in Translation, and Life Aquatic. We texted Bill to make sure he was fine with us doing this series. He responded saying he was honored and loved that we were doing the series, but he wanted to see some of his “failures” included in the series. He mentioned that we only included the hits and that everyone wanted to see the hits, but they needed to also see the flops, so we added three more films: The Razor’s Edge, Rushmore, and Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers. We love all three of these films, but they all failed at the box office. We love the way Bill Murray has inspired playfulness in our community, and we are excited to pay homage to this amazing artist. Each film will start at 7:30 with the bar opening at 7pm. The films will be $8 each, or you can purchase a 7 Film Pass for $35. The film series will open with Caddyshack on May 31 and will include The Razor’s Edge on June 6, Ghostbusters (1984) on June 14, Rushmore on June 29, Lost in Translation on July 26, Broken Flowers on August 2, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou on August 20.
We also commissioned 5 local artists to create 7 unique film posters. Caddyshack by Jason Groce, The Razor’s Edge by Bennett Jones, Ghostbusters by Seth Deitch, Rushmore by Taylor Faulkner, Lost in Translation by Karen Ann Myers, Broken Flowers by Karen Ann Myers, The Life Aquatic by Anne Peyton, 7 Bills Series Poster by Karen Ann Myers. These specialty poster prints will be for sale all summer at the box office.
Danny Noonan, a teen down on his luck, works as a caddy at the snob-infested Bushwood Country Club to raise money for his college education. With no idea where his future will lead, he finds his best chance at getting his life on track is to earn a caddy scholarship from Judge Elihu Smails, owner of the Country Club. In an attempt to gain votes for a college scholarship Noonan volunteers to caddy for a prominent and influential club member (Ted Knight). Judge Smails shows a quick disliking towards Al Czervik, a millionaire who is interested in purchasing Bushwood, and soon there is a conflict between the Judge and Al, the Judge and Danny, and even between the Judge and Ty Webb the charming golfer who is slowly helping Danny figure out his real goals. Danny struggles to prepare for the high pressure Caddy Day golf tournament while absorbing New Age advice from wealthy golf guru Ty Webb (Chevy Chase).
An interesting fact, Ghostbusters would not have happened without The Razor’s Edge. Bill Murray cut a deal with the studio saying he would do Ghostbusters only if they made The Razor’s Edge.
Larry Darrell returns from the battlefields of World War I to America a different person. His fiancé (Isabel) resigns herself to a delay in the wedding plans when Larry heads off to Paris. There he finds he prefers a simpler existence and begins to read. One book inspires him to visit India and on to Nepal where he finds spiritual help from a lama. On returning to Paris he finds Isabel and some old friends. Everyone has changed.
Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz and Egon work at the University where they delve into the paranormal and fiddle with many unethical experiments on the students. After being kicked out of their university, the trio decides to go into business for themselves by trapping and removing ghosts from haunted houses. After some initial skepticism, business is soon booming as The Ghost Busters rid New York of its undead. When a downtown skyscraper becomes the focal point of spirit activity linked to the ancient god Gozer, however, the problem may be more than the team can handle.
When a beautiful first-grade teacher (Olivia Williams) arrives at a prep school, she soon attracts the attention of an ambitious teenager named Max (Jason Schwartzman), who quickly falls in love with her. Max turns to the father (Bill Murray) of two of his schoolmates for advice on how to woo the teacher. However, the situation soon gets complicated when Max’s new friend becomes involved with her, setting the two pals against one another in a war for her attention.
A lonely, aging movie star named Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and a conflicted newlywed, Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), meet in Tokyo. Bob is there to film a Japanese whiskey commercial; Charlotte is accompanying her celebrity-photographer husband. Strangers in a foreign land, the two find escape, distraction and understanding amidst the bright Tokyo lights after a chance meeting in the quiet lull of the hotel bar. They form a bond that is as unlikely as it is heartfelt and meaningful.
When his latest girlfriend (Julie Delpy) leaves him, retired computer magnate Don Johnston (Bill Murray) has no greater ambition than to sit around the house. When he receives an anonymous letter from a former girlfriend claiming he has a 19-year-old son he’s never met, Don doesn’t even think to follow up. It’s not until his neighbor, a mystery fan, encourages him that Don resolves to visit the exes who seem the most likely candidates and find out the truth.
Renowned oceanographer Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) has sworn vengeance upon the rare shark that devoured a member of his crew. In addition to his regular team, he is joined on his boat by Ned (Owen Wilson), a man who believes Zissou to be his father, and Jane (Cate Blanchett), a journalist pregnant by a married man. They travel the sea, all too often running into pirates and, perhaps more traumatically, various figures from Zissou’s past, including his estranged wife, Eleanor (Anjelica Huston).
I walked into the Music Hall on April 7th with no idea what to expect. My friends raved about Portugal. The Man, but I had never gotten around to checking them out. So when the band took to the sparse, low-lit stage, I worried I might be sitting through 2 hours of low-fi hipster shit, but as soon as they launched into their hit “Modern Jesus”, I was hooked. The band’s catchy, electronic beats are a perfect match for singer John Gourley’s amazing falsetto, and their high-energy performance created a great atmosphere in the Hall. Their new track “Feel it Still”, from their forthcoming album “Woodstock”, is nothing if not a fun, dance floor filling pop song. I didn’t even mind that they played the song again as an encore…but, strange?
Gourley wasn’t much for bantering with the audience, but his performance was vibrant from the first note. He struck a sharp contrast with the psychedelic backdrop in his all white coat and pants look, and his dance moves made me want to get up out of my seat. At first I found it an odd choice to forego spotlights on the band members in favor of a dark stage, but after the show I realized I was forced to focus on the music more than the musicians: a demonstration of Portugal. The Man’s tendency to buck the norm.
By the time the band started “Purple Yellow Red & Blue”, I had already added 3 tracks to my Spotify playlist. It’s been awhile since I’ve found a new band that caught my attention the way Portugal. The Man did, and seeing their sold out show at the Music Hall was an amazing experience. Fingers crossed that they make their way back to Charleston very soon.
The Charleston Music Hall is thrilled to team up with Piccolo Spoleto to present Women & Parsons on Saturday, May 27th at 8pm. Women & Parsons is a tribute show to Gram Parsons featuring some of Charleston’s best female vocalists. The series is the brainchild of local musicians Lindsay Holler and Hazel Ketchum who thought it would be interesting to have women interpret the songs of Tom Waits back in 2015. It was a magical evening indeed. So magical, that we decided to keep the series rolling through 2016 with Women & Young, Women & Bowie, Women & Dylan, Women & Radiohead. The series kicked off in 2017 with Women & The Rolling Stones. We will present four “Women &” shows in 2017. We are only announcing one show at a time, and people who come to the shows will have the first opportunity to by tickets. We have gathered an amazing and diverse line up of singers ranging from age 18 – 63! The evening will consist of two different bands backing these women with two sets. The bands will be The Western Polaroids and the Hungry Monks.
Grass in the Hall: A Night of Local Bluegrass
w/ Southern Flavor Bluegrass Band, River Boy, & The Bluestone Ramblers
Grass in the Hall is back for its 3rd year as part of The Charleston Music Hall Piccolo Spoleto Concert Series with three amazing local bluegrass bands. If you love bluegrass, you will love the music stylings of Southern Flavor Bluegrass Band, River Boy, & The Bluestone Ramblers.
Living Off the Wall – The Music of Michael Jackson
Get ready to dance in the aisles with this explosive tribute to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson! Quiana Parler, Charlton Singleton, and their amazing Charleston-based band and singers sold out the Charleston Music Hall last year with their tribute to Prince, and we expect them to bring the same energy and fire to their homage to Michael Jackson this year.
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Ann Wilson, one of rock’s most pioneering and talented women, brought hard rock back to life at the Charleston Music Hall on Wednesday March 22. She opened her show with the legendary “Barracuda” and then “Crazy on You”—the famous galloping guitar riff followed by her impressive melisma-heavy soprano vocals kicked off the night with a bang. “What About Love” had the audience feeling like they had gone back in time to 1985, as Wilson belted her powerful and recognizable voice clearly proving that she is as much of a bada** now as she was back in the day. Following the initial performance of some more popular tracks, she interpolated an entertaining balance of Heart classics, new own originals as a solo artist, and covers of age-old rock anthems.
The auditory senses were not the only ones being tended to either. The intimate theater was filled with lively visual effects, from colorful pulsating shapes and images to clips taken from old black and white films. The set’s aesthetic cues all paralleled each other—for example cool-colored lighting during slower minor-key songs like “Fool No More” that included jazzy qualities and electric blues overtones—which took the experience level for the audience to a whole new realm. Wilson herself commented on the mood in the Hall that night, saying, “I love this little theater; it’s so vibey, it’s got soul.”
Wilson’s personal hand in the performance was evident, as she told stories between songs and explained where her different inspirations came from. She lead into “Anguish,” from her new EP The Ann Wilson Thing! – #2, by describing the emotional weeks she spent in New Zealand while on tour apart from her soon-to-be husband. She then lightened the mood from her heavy rock feel with covers like “I’ve Seen All Good People” by Yes and Black Crowes’ “She Talks to Angels” before breaking out another original “Don’t Give Up,” also from her new EP.
Ending her setlist with yet another Heart hit, “Alone” was the perfect power ballad to close the concert with. But after a well-deserved standing ovation, Wilson brought it back with a double encore, singing “Stop Children What’s That Sound” by Buffalo Springfield (which was accompanied by on-screen footage of the 2017 women’s marches), a rendition of Nina Simone’s “I Put a Spell on You” (a lovely choice that highlighted Wilson’s vocal talent outside the genre of rock), and lastly, her original song “The Danger Zone” from her 2015 EP. All in all, it was a rockin’ night with the Dreamboat Annie herself.
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St. Paul & the Broken Bones: A Southern Soul’s Favorite
By Whitley Lewis
Photo by Scarlet Bucket
Paul Janeway’s magnifying voice kicked off a two-night sell-out at the Charleston Music Hall on April 16th, as he opened the show with “Crumbling Light Posts, Pt. 1” from St. Paul’s newest album, Sea of Noise. This entrance not only excited the audience for what was to come but also set the mood for a long and soulful night of the eight-piece band’s radiating sound throughout the Hall.
Just over six months ago, the band released their second full-length album, Sea of Noise, on RECORDS, LLC, and they have received nothing but praise for this creative masterpiece. While the band is well known for their debut album Half the City, they performed a desirable mixture of fan-favorites from both albums.
Paul Janeway did not fail to satisfy the audience’s want for an entertaining performance with his jazzy dancing and eccentric stage attire. From laying on his back on stage to stepping off stage into the audience and dancing with fans, every face in the room was smiling. Not only was Paul’s stage presence electrifying but also the trio of brass instruments and the soul of Al Gamble’s piano melodies sent chills down the audience’s spines.
A twenty-song set list doesn’t seem very long when such talented musicians are entertaining you. Hearing eight different people successfully stay in time, on rhythm, and on key seems normal to most but when they are performing live in front of you with such precision and grace, it seems almost impossible to the point where it is oddly satisfying.
With a fan-base of folks ranging in age from 3-83, St. Paul and the Broken Bones did a wonderful job of making each member of the audience feel welcome and engaged. About halfway through their set, they surprised some of the more experienced audience members with an outstanding cover of Van Morrison’s I’ve Been Working from his 1970 album His Band and the Street Choir. After completing Call Me the band left the stage only to be chanted back on to perform four more songs including an exhilarating cover of David Bowie’s Moonage Daydream. This performance not only put some folks back in their chairs but it shocked many that an infamous rock song of the 70’s could be brought back to life so soulfully.
By the end of the night St Paul and all seven of his Broken Bones managed to Sanctify the whole audience and send everyone home speechless.
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