CIRQUE DU SOLEIL
Exciting news! The legendary Cirque du Soleil will be performing OVO in North Charleston from August 9–13.
OVO, which means “egg” in Portuguese, takes audiences into an ecosystem where insects work, eat, crawl, flutter, play, fight and look for love with nonstop energy. When a mysterious egg appears in their midst, the insects become awestruck and intensely curious about this iconic object. It is an enigma.
The community of insects reveals a hidden, secret world at our feet that’s full of contrasts. It is both peaceful and chaotic. Artistic director Tim Bennett says: “OVO is very bright, colorful, positive, fun and playful. People will be amazed by the ways in which the acrobats can push the limits of the human body!”
The cast comprises 50 performing artists from 12 countries. One of the highlights will be the Flying Act, in which a group of scarabs soar high above the stage in an amazing display of aerial acrobatics.
Bennett adds: “One of my favorite things about OVO is that it appeals to a broad spectrum of people: families, children, people of all ages and of all cultures. It has a universal message and universal themes. If you have seen other Cirque du Soleil shows before, you’ll discover in OVO new acts, a new atmosphere and new ideas!” To order tickets visit the website. cirquedusoleil.com /ovo.
Of late, I’ve become a huge fan of ginger beer. To my delight, Charleston’s Cannonborough Beverage Company makes one of the best around. Started in 2011 by three self-described “soda jerks”—Brando Wogamon, Mick Matricciano and Matt Fendley—Cannonborough makes ginger beer and other thirst-quenching sodas that are truly “farm to table.”
The jerks, longtime friends who educated their palates by working in some of Charleston’s best bars and restaurants, say the concept for their sodas emerged one day on a quiet street in Cannonborough. Each soda features a single fruit, enhanced with various aromatics. Ingredients are sourced from farms around the Southeast. Because they are not too sweet, Cannonborough sodas appeal to the calorie conscious and to those who prefer unobtrusive mixers. Add grapefruit elderflower soda to St-Germain for a classic summer cocktail or mix ginger beer with dark rum for a peppy Dark & Stormy.
Seasonal flavors supplement the “core” offerings of honey basil, grapefruit elderflower, and ginger beer. In July look for peach verbena. “This is one of my favorite flavors,” says Matricciano. “The fresh lemon verbena accents the juicy, tropical quality of the peaches.”
Cannonborough sodas are available by the bottle or on tap in Charleston and around the Southeast. Visit the company’s website for a complete list of retailers or order online. cannonbevco.com.
THE HUNTER MUSEUM
On a recent visit to Chattanooga, Tennessee, we discovered the Hunter Museum of American Art. We encourage all those who visit the city to make a point of enjoying this fine cultural institution.
Located on a bluff overlooking the slow-moving Tennessee River, the Hunter Museum showcases American art from the Colonial Period to the present day. Its permanent collection includes paintings, works on paper, sculpture, photography, mixed media, furniture and contemporary studio glass. Artists whose work is represented in the collection include Winslow Homer, Ansel Adams, Mary Cassatt, John Marin, Thomas Hart Benton, Charles Burchfield and Andy Warhol, among others.
In addition to the museum’s permanent collection (some 15 percent of the total collection is on view at any time), upcoming exhibits and events offer plenty of artistic variety. Thrill After Thrill: 30 Years of Wayne White showcases this Emmy award-winning artist’s paintings, larger-than-life puppets and fantastical sculptures, through October 1, 2017. A retrospective of artist Tony Oursler’s groundbreaking video and installation works will open in late November. Oursler is known for innovative pieces that explore the relationship between individual and mass media communications. huntermuseum.org.
LUXURY ON THE SQUARE
In early spring 2018 Hotel Bennett, destined to be one of the South’s grandest new hotels, will open on Charleston’s iconic and historic Marion Square.
Named for the Bennett family, who owns the property, it will feature 179 luxurious guestrooms and suites, a signature restaurant with stunning views of the park, and a stylish bar and lounge. The hotel will also include a spectacular rooftop pool with cabanas and bar, a luxury spa, a French patisserie, and a variety of grand event and flexible meeting spaces.
“I purchased this property more than two decades ago, and the hotel is being constructed with the same classical character and quality as buildings from over a century ago,” says Michael Bennett, the hotel’s owner and founder of Bennett Hospitality. “To complement the city’s architectural heritage, we are using the best materials, including beautiful limestone, marble, bronze and copper. Hotel Bennett will surely be viewed as one of the city’s enduring landmarks when it opens—and 100 years from now.”
The Bennett family’s roots in Charleston trace back generations. Bennett’s father once shined shoes opposite the hotel site during the Great Depression. His 94-year-old mother, Virginia, still works alongside him five days a week.
The hotel will be managed by Salamander Hotels & Resorts, a company that operates luxury properties in four states. Sheila Johnson, Salamander’s owner and founder, is excited about the new property.
“We are delighted to have the rare opportunity to team with Michael Bennett and his family to operate what will become one of the finest hotels in America,” says Johnson. “I look forward to introducing my colleagues and Salamander’s guests to Hotel Bennett.” Stay tuned! hotelbennett.com.