downtowngreenvillegirl











(Art, The Bard, Greeks, Great Scots & a little Caribbean Crush…)

It’s still May and despite some decidedly unseasonable weather last week, it’s still one of my favorite times to be Downtown! As the flowers bloom, so does Downtown and she shows off with a whirlwind of events that’ll get you out of your house and down on Main Street! This week’s blog highlights everyone’s favorite Arts festival, some works by the Bard, party with some cool Caribbean vibes, going Greek and a lot of guys in kilts!

To art lovers, Spring means one thing…ARTISPHERE! This weekend, our fair city will play host to this exuberant celebration of the visual and performing arts. Beginning with a fancy Opening Gala at Courtyard by Marriott and Nantucket Grill on Thursday, Artisphere launches into full swing on Friday, May 10th. Featuring not only exhibits from local and regional artisans, this arts extravaganza also spotlights performances from local musicians, theatre groups, dance troupes and other performing artists. Saturday and Sunday’s festivities also include Wine Tasting, Artists’ Demonstrations and Classes, as well as fun events for the kids at Kidsphere. And, since Sunday is Mothers’ Day, this event offers an excellent array of creative gift ideas for Mom. As always, restaurant vendors will be on hand to offer a variety of choices in food, beverage, beer and wine. Hours for this festival are noon -8PM on Friday, 10AM – 8PM on Saturday, and 11AM – 6PM on Sunday. There is no admission to this event held on Main Street and Broad near Falls Park. For more information, visit http://www.Artisphere.us.

Fans of all things flamingoes and flip-flops will LOVE the South Carolina Children’s Theatre’s Annual Fundraiser, Caribbean Crush! This laid-back event featuring Caribbean steel drums, fantastic food, beach drinks and a silent auction has been the talk of the town for the past 6 years. So, don your sunglasses and Hawaiian shirts and join the other Bermuda-shorted partiers at ZEN on Friday, May 17th. The festivities go into full swing at 7PM, with tickets still available for $50 and all proceeds benefitting the many wonderful programs for children and teens the SCCT has to offer. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.scchildrenstheatre.org.

The Greeks have known how to throw a party for thousands of years and Greenville’s Grecian community proudly carries on that tradition with their annual Greek Festival. For four fun-filled days (May 16 – 19), Greenville becomes “Greekville” as St. George Greek Orthodox Church becomes a sea of all things Greek. Beginning on Thursday, May 16th, you will be able to satisfy your cravings for souvlaki, gyros and all kinds of yummy Greek pastries as lunch and dinner will be served at the Hellenic Center. Don’t have time to sit down to eat? They have drive-thru service at the Elford Street entrance, so you can get a taste of Greece in minutes. The “glendi” (that’s Greek for party) really starts up on Friday, with an assortment of food, traditional Greek dance and live music. All that dancing will leave you exhausted, so be sure to stop by the Kafenion (Greek Coffee Shop) to recharge your batteries with a steaming cup of Greek coffee and a wedge of delicious baklava, before strolling through the Marketplace to view an assortment of Mediterranean wares. The festivities continue full swing through the weekend until Sunday evening. Hours are 10:30AM to 8PM (Dining only) Thursday, 10:30AM to 10PM Friday and Saturday, and 11:30AM to 8PM Sunday. Cost of admission is only $1. For more information, visit: http://www.stgeorgegreenville.org/GreekFestival.

On Thursday, May 23, the Scots invade Downtown in true Highland fashion to rock out to the music of the Celtic band, Cleghorn (with guests, Smash the Radio and The Greenville Pipes & Drums) at Downtown Alive! Then on Friday evening, Downtown will be awash in plaid as kilted revelers stroll down Main Street in the Great Scot Parade. Starting at 6PM, the Parade, which grows larger each year, will feature pipe bands, Scottish military re-enactors, Highland themed floats, Scottish forest fairies and more tartans than you can shake a bagpipe at – all to get the weekend started Highland style! The Friday festivities will grow to a fevered pitch with a raucous “ceildh” (that’s Gaelic for party)at the Peace Center Amphitheatre, featuring the music of Rathkeltair and Albannach. Want to really release your inner Braveheart? Then join your fellow Gaelic enthusiasts at the 2013 Greenville Scottish Games at Furman on Saturday, May 25. Competition begins at 8AM with evnts such as caber-tossing and piping continuing all day. Afterwards, visit the food tents to taste such Scottish delicacies as haggis (trust me, you really DON’T want to know what’s in it) and to browse through the vendors’ tents featuring goods from the heathered isles. Once again, Saturday’s events will wind down with a rockin’ Celtic Jam. For an events schedule, to order tickets and for more information on the Scottish Games, visit: http://gallabrae.com.

If all the world is a stage, then the stage is definitely set for the Upstate Shakespeare Festival at Falls Park. Every Thursday – Sunday, beginning May 23, Downtown thespians and other fans of a fellow named Shakespeare, will have the chance to experience some of his finest works…with a twist. This season marks the 19th for the festival , which Southern Living has named one of the Best Summer events in the South and attracts over 18,000 each summer. The Festival kicks off with a modern retelling of the action-filled drama, Hamlet (which runs through June 15th) The next in the series, Comedy of Errors will open on July 11th and run through August 3rd. Performances begin at 7PM and are free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://www.warehousetheatre.com/upstate-shakespeare-festival.

So Downtownies…May is practically bursting with fun things to do in the DTGVL! So, why are you still sitting at your computer? Get yourself Downtown and enjoy all it has to offer! See you there!

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I remember how excited I would get when the local TV stations would start adding such Holiday classics as “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th Street” to their December programming schedule. I loved it when George Bailey ran through the town of Bedford Falls, yelling “Merry Christmas” or when the postal carriers brought bags of mail addressed to Santa Claus to be delivered to Kris Kringle, during his sanity trial. But, as beloved as these moments are on the small screen, they are truly memorable when you get the opportunity to see them performed live onstage by some of Greenville’s most talented actors!

Perhaps no story signals the start of the Holiday season as much as “It’s a Wonderful Life”. On everyone’s list of Holiday favorites, this time-honored story of George Bailey and his journey of self-realization will be performed at the Greenville Little Theatre starting December 7 and run through December 16. Performances take place at 8PM every Thursday through Saturday evening, with Sunday matinee performances at 3PM.  Tickets range from $20 to $30. For more information, visit www.greenvillelittletheatre.org.

Running a close second on the list of Holiday family favorites, in my opinion anyway, has to be “Miracle on 34th Street”. This tale of a little girl’s disbelief in Santa has been retold several times on the big screen and is enjoying a creative revival onstage. Currently performed every Thursday through Sunday at Centre Stage, this production will run until December 22. Performances are at 8PM, with the exception of Sunday performances, which are at 3PM. Tickets range from $15 to $30 and can be purchased through http://centrestage.org.

The South Carolina Children’s Theatre is offering its own version of a childhood twist on a popular Christmas carol. Junie B. and her first grade classmates are back again in “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells”.  With weekend performances at the Peace Center Gunter Theatre (from now until December 16), this hilarious sing-a-long will delight kids and kids at heart! Performances are at 7PM on Fridays, 1:30PM on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are $26 for adults and $17 for children under 18.  For more information, see http://scchildrenstheatre.org.

The Warehouse Theatre is offering a “plethora” of Holiday stories, certain to become classics. The first is the kid-friendly, “The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t”. This delightful musical, adapted from Odgen Nash’s poem of the same name, will be performed starting December 7 at 6:30PM on Thursdays and Fridays and 3PM on Saturdays and Sundays.  Performances run through December 29 and tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children under the age of 15. Adults needn’t feel left out of the Holiday fun…WHT has something for you too! Two short plays by David Sedaris, “Santaland Diaries” and “Season’s Greetings” offer a cheeky, and definitely adult, look at the Holiday season and are based on Sedaris’ own experiences with his family and as one of Santa’s Elves at Macy’s in NYC. Performances of these two “tongue definitely in cheek” comedies begin December 7 and run until the 29th. Thursday & Friday performances will take place at 8:30PM with Saturday and Sunday performances taking place at 8PM. Tickets are $30 and these performances are for adults only. For more information on these and other performances, visit www.warehousetheatre.com.

Café & Then Some can always be counted on for tickling our satirical funny bone and the Holidays are no exception! Norma Jean invites you to join her and her “over-extended” family as they stumble through the real meaning of Christmas in “Merry Christmas, Y’all”.  Performances of this dinner theatre take place every Wednesday through Saturday, with the CATS crew taking the stage around 8PM-ish. Come early for dinner, which is served from 6:30-7:30PM. Tickets are $18 (for the show only) and reservations are strongly recommended. For more information, to purchase tickets or make reservations, visit www.cafeats.com.

So there you have it…A little something for everyone! Why wait for TBS or TCM to run these Holidays favorites on TV, when you can see them performed live. Holiday entertainment from the family-friendly to the not-so-family friendly…and from the classic to the future cult classics. Whatever you are in the mood for this Holiday season, chances are, it’s on a stage near you in Downtown Greenville. Happy Holidays, Y’all!



{November 27, 2012}   It’s Christmastime in the City…

Well Downtownies…the Thanksgiving dinner has been consumed, Black Friday deals have been had & you’ve gotten carpel tunnel syndrome from all the online shopping during Cyber Monday…so, what’s next? If you are a parent, keeping the little ones (& not-so-little ones) entertained can be a bit daunting – especially with the 2-week long Holiday break looming in the near future. But not to fret, my fellow DTGVL parental units, Downtown Greenville offers many excellent events for kids of all ages, sure to keep you & your family on Santa’s NICE list!

Ask any Downtownie & they will tell you nothing kicks off the Holiday season like the Greenville Poinsettia Parade & the Christmas Tree Lighting. This year’s city Tree Lighting takes place 5:30PM on Saturday, December 1 at City Hall before the parade. Then the floats and marching bands roll out at 6PM, starting at River Street & continuing down Main, ending at  E. North Street. A favorite for all ages, families often make a day of it – taking in the sights and sounds of Downtown Greenville, before settling in at a spot along the parade route, hot chocolate or apple cider in hand.  For more information and a map of the parade route, visit www.greenvillesc.gov.

Speaking of kid-friendly fun, The Children’s Museum plans several Holiday craft projects for little creative hands and minds to keep busy during the month of December.  From designing Christmas Ornaments, to crafting Tissue Holiday Trees and mixing up Reindeer Food, there will be so much going on that you may actually make it through the Holiday season without hearing “I’m bored” even once!  The Children’s Museum’s Holiday celebration culminates with their “Breakfast with Santa & Mrs. Claus” event on Saturday, December 15. Visit www.tcmupstate.org for more information.

Not to outdone on the Holiday fun, the Hughes Main Library has its own calendar of Holiday happenings for kids. From the craft projects at Kindercraft & InBetween classes, to  the Holiday Open House Party for kids 5 & under (Thursday, November 29 at 10:30AM) and  Santa’s Christmas Party with the Columbia Marionettes  for ages 4 & up (Friday, December 7, 10-11AM), there are tons of fun for the kids. They can even explore Holiday traditions from other countries through the Library’s “Explore Your World” program on December 4. For more information on this and other Library events,  call 527-9248.

Are your kids into music, theatre & dance? Then these events will certainly jingle their bells! The Greenville Museum of Art will be hosting the Greenville Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Lollipops Concert for Kids on Saturday, December 8. The concert begins at 11AM and is followed by a Holiday Party at 2PM. This event is free to the public. For more info, see www.greenvillemuseum.org. The South Carolina Children’s Theatre is hosting its own Holiday Pajama Party on Wednesday, December 19 from 6:30-7:30PM. This Milk & Cookies themed event will feature a Holiday story time served up with…you guessed it …Santa’s favorite snack –  milk & cookies. The cost is $10 per child (adults are free) with pre-registration required at http://scchildrenstheatre.org. Ballet fans will have two opportunities to see “The Nutcracker” performed by two amazing ballet troupes at the Peace Center. The Carolina Ballet will be performing this time-honored favorite on November 30 – December 2 and the International Ballet will be performing it December 7-9. If your family prefers to see a theatrical performance of a Holiday classic, then catch “Miracle on 34th Street” performed at Centre Stage (http://centrestage.org)November 22 – December 22, “It’s a Wonderful Life” at The Greenville Little Theatre (www.greenvillelittletheatre.org) December 7-16, “The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t” at The Warehouse Theatre (www.warehousetheatre.com) December 7-29, and a play inspired by that favorite childhood twist on the classic Christmas carol – “Junie B in Jingle Bells Batman Smells” with the South Carolina Children’s Theatre (http://scchildrenstheatre.org) at the Peace Center , November 30-December 16.

The Holiday season in Downtown Greenville offers even more opportunities for families to catch the Holiday Spirit. From Horse Drawn Carriage Rides from Whispering Winds (www.downtowncarriage.com), to ice Skating at Ice on Main in the Village Green (www.iceonmain.com) and the St Francis Festival of Trees at various hotels downtown, there is something for everyone throughout December. So, whatever you celebrate this Holiday season, spend some of it in our lovely, festive Downtown. Happy Holidays, Y’all!

For a list of Holiday Happenings taking place in Downtown Greenville, visit http://www.facebook.com/note.php?saved&&note_id=427455850642353&id=371197456807



Summer’s coming…that time of year school kids count down to with great anticipation.  After the initial elation of “No more pencils, no more books”, summertime boredom sets in.  But with this fun assortment of summer classes and camps for kids and teens, you may never have to hear “I’m bored” even once!

With interactive, kid-friendly exhibits and activities, it’s no surprise that The Children’s Museum of the Upstate is a favorite with kids year-round. When the temps get warmer, the fun factor gets amped up…BIG TIME! Offering weekly day camps that have delightful themes such as “Build It”, “Let’s Move” and “Passport to Fun”, kids of all ages will happily discover something to spark their interest! Camp sessions begin mid-June and the cost ranges from $125 for the Lil Sprouts Camps (ages 4 & 5) and $250 for the Big Kids Camp (K5-5th graders). Pre-registration is required. For more information, visit: www.tcmupstate.org.

The Greenville Zoo is another wonderful place for kids anytime of the year. Like the Children’s Museum, when summer comes, the Zoo offers exciting and educational camps for kids from pre-school to middle school. Camps are scheduled for several weeks, starting in early June, with morning and afternoon sessions available. There is even an overnight camp for teens. Rates range from $45 – $105 for Zoo Members and $50-$115 for Non-Members. Pre-registration is required, and some dates may be already be full. This year’s theme is “Animal Mythbusters: Truth or Myth”. With behind-the-scenes adventures, exciting games and crafts and discussions with zookeepers, kids will have so much fun, they won’t realize they’re learning! For more information, visit www.greenvillezoo.com

For the future Oscar winner in your family, Greenville’s theatre community offers several opportunities for your young thespian to earn their acting chops. The South Carolina Children’s Theatre has long been a source for theatrical entertainment and education for theatre enthusiasts of all ages. Summertime is no different. Preschool and young elementary schoolers can discover their hidden fairy selves or release their inner pirate with fun day camps that encourage young ones frolic in their imaginary worlds. 1st-5th graders will get to don their superhero capes and save the world in SCCT’s Superhero Camp and Teens and Tweens will have the chance to creatively “think on their feet” in a fun and exciting Improv Camp. The cost for these camps vary, starting at $150, and pre-registration is required. To find out more, visit:  http://scchildrenstheatre.org.

The Greenville Little Theatre has been the “jumping off point” for many talented young actors, including Oscar winner (and Greenville native) Joanne Woodward. GLT strives to continue that impressive tradition with theatre classes for teens and tweens that cover such important subjects as movie-making, musicals and play-writing. Classes begin in June with “Let’s Make a Movie”. Costs vary from $150-$200 and pre-registration is required. To learn more about GLT’s programs, visit www.greenvillelittletheatre.org.

For your budding Monets and Picassos, the Greenville County Museum of Art offers an array of imaginative art classes in many mediums. K5 – 5th graders will be encouraged to explore the watercolors of Andrew Wyeth, make a hamburger bigger than their head, and learn about 3-dimensional art, all under the tutelage of some of the Upstate’s finest artists. Teens will have the opportunity to fine-tune their drawing skills with Bruce Bunch, dabble in fashion design with Emily Clarke, and tap into the wonders of wool and fiber art with Deb Potter. Classes begin in June and the cost is $99 per class. Pre-registration is required. For a list of classes and more info, visit: http://artclasses.greenvillemuseum.org.

Children with autism often have difficulty expressing themselves and also find it difficult to locate summer programs that fit their unique needs. A new writing program, Ugly Words, inspires and empowers Upstate children ages 8-18 to write frequently and with confidence through a combination of workshops and tutoring. This unique program encourages these kids to explore their imaginations and write about their experiences in THEIR words, without fear of being corrected.  Three pilot programs have been scheduled for this summer to take place at Hughes Main Library and cover a broad range of subjects from fort-building and urban archaeology to teen literary favorite, “The Hunger Games”. These workshops are free, but registration is required and opens May 31. For more information about this wonderful program, please visit: http://HYPERLINK “http://uglywordsgreenville.tumblr.com/”uglywordsgreenville.tumblr.com.

In addition to the Ugly Words programs, the Hughes Main Library offers many activities for kids of all ages. From Summer Reading Programs and Storytime to Craft Time and Theatrical Productions, the library offers a little something for kids of all ages. For a schedule of programs and classes, visit the Greenville Library System’s website at www.greenvillelibrary.org.

Greenville’s Parks and Recreation also has a variety of fun activities designed just for kids. Their Super Summer Day Camp for boys and girls age 5-12 takes place Monday-Friday at each of the City’s Community Centers. The campers get to enjoy arts and crafts, fitness and sports, music, field trips and much more. Cost is $225 for this 10-week camp (Greenville residents get a 20% discount) and pre-registration is required. In addition to the Summer Camps, the Community Centers also offer an eclectic mix of activities and classes for kids and teens that range from Art & Design and Music Classes to Tennis and Fitness Camps. Cost varies depending on the class. For more information, visit the Greenville City page at: http://www.greenvillesc.gov/ParksRec/CommunityCenter.

Well, there you have it – plenty of activities to keep little hands busy and young minds focused. And Downtown Greenville also has many other attractions that thrill the little ones. From the Upstate History Museum to the Mice on Main, and all the fun and funky shops and restaurants, parents will find a plethora of family-friendly activities that are fun for kids and kids at heart. Have fun!

 



{March 27, 2012}   All The World’s A Stage…

As Southerners, we do tend to have a flair for the dramatic. Many acclaimed actors and actresses, playwrights and other creatives hail from the South. Not one to be left out, Downtown Greenville boasts a wonderful theatre community that strives to keep this tradition alive.

Perhaps the best theatre to start with is the Greenville Little Theatre  (www.greenvillelittletheatre.org). As the oldest venue for live theatre in Greenville, GLT has been the “jumping off point” for many successful thespians, including Oscar winner, Joanne Woodward. This cornerstone of the creative community is well-known for its performances of classic works by well-known playwrights, including Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park”, opening April 6th. Stick around after the performance for the budget friendly “Studio 444”. For only $8, theatre goers are treated to short, PG-13 plays performed by their resident improv troupe, The Laughing Stock.  To encourage the acting bug in others, the theatre also offers acting classes every summer for adults, teens and children. Greenville Little Theatre is located at Heritage Green, near the Art Museum.

Young thespians can earn their acting chops at The South Carolina Children’s Theatre (http://scchildrenstheatre.org). With the goal of bringing wonder and excitement to the stage through family-friendly entertainment, SCCT offers an array of shows for every age and attention span. Five main presentations take place at The Peace Center, including the upcoming “Go Dog, Go, which premieres April 27th. For more of a “hands-on” approach to theatre, SCCT also performs small, less formal plays at their Augusta Street location as part of their “2nd Stage” program, with the delightful piece, “The Arkansas Bear” running until April 1st. Not to be forgotten, tiny tots also have the chance to experience the theatre with “Tell Me A Story” – short 30 minute performances every Monday and Tuesday, which based on popular books. For those wishing to be onstage, SCCT launched its Theatre Arts Conservatory, a year-round program for students ages 3 – 18. The format includes Exploration, Process, Production, and Intensive Training Classes and Workshops and offers unique games, activities and challenges for the theatre student.

A favorite of West End theatre lovers is The Warehouse Theatre (www.warehousetheatre.com).  Located in a converted warehouse (hence the name), this fine mix of emerging talents, local professionals and artists from around the country have been performing “intense, intimate and unexpected” live productions for over 3 decades. From re-envisioned classics to some of the most cutting edge new works, WHT boasts the sort of theatre you can’t see anywhere else inSouth Carolina’s Upstate region. As an eclectic “side dish” to their main performances, The Warehouse also offers “Improv with The Distracted Globe” for only $5. In a summer event that has helped make Greenville a thespian vacation destination, WHT also plays host to The Upstate Shakespeare Festival. This free, annual event takes place in Falls Parks throughout the summer months and presents the magic of Shakespeare in a charming, outdoor setting.

Located on River Street, another West End favorite is Centre Stage (http://centrestage.org), whose mission since 1983 has been to strengthen, nurture and promote the professional not-for-profit American theatre. Offering not only a season filled with music, comedy and drama (“Hairspray” opens April 12th), Centre Stage also hosts art exhibitions (they have an in-house art gallery), chamber music concerts with The Greenville Symphony, independent film screenings, guest lectures, galas and other special events. Aficionados of comic opera will enjoy Greenville Light Opera Works – which is definitely not your daddy’s opera. Each Fall, Centre Stage presents its New Play Festival, a free and open to the public week-long event which givesGreenville audiences the opportunity to hear five exciting new plays by up-and-coming playwrights. And this April, Centre Stage’s state-of-the-art performance facility will play host to Comedy Centre, a stand-up comedy competition sure to banish any lingering winter blues!

 If your funny bone is still in need of tickling – and you like a little dinner with your theatre – look no further than Café and Then Some (www.cafeats.com). Bubba and Norma Jean (aka proprietors, Bill and Susan Smith) invite you to join them for a little folksy satire, served up with a side of home-grown humor and some country vittles! With original shows performed nightly Wednesday through Saturday, CATS offers entertainment unlike anything you’ll find in Greenville…or anywhere else for that matter!  Come on by their location, just off Main Street, ‘round the corner from that fancy ‘ol Blu Martini, to set a spell…and catch their current production of “Life After Oprah”.  You’ll be glad you did!

If you want to be more than just a spectator, Downtown Greenville’s theatres also offer the chance to audition for upcoming performances and to volunteer to help out with productions. Just check their websites for more information. You never  know, we might have another future Oscar-winner out there waiting to be discovered!

Who says you have to go all the way to NYC to see good theatre, when we have it right here in the DTGVL! Make plans to sample a little local creative talent next time you are Downtown. You might just like the drama of it all!



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