Friday Fiver: Gracie and Lacy

RGB Rockette HorizontalSisters Emily and Lacy Miller have been performing together since they were kids, first putting on a show as 8- and 10-year-olds in the driveway. From there, the singing and dancing siblings have grown to be performers extraordinaire as the stars of the Gracie and Lacy Show. Their shows are a high-energy homage to the big band era, with amazing costumes, vibrant dance numbers, and, of course, homerun performances of some of your favorite classics. If you want to dive into the holiday spirit, join them at their next show, Christmas On the Air, Nov. 28 at 2 and 7 p.m. at Footlight Theatre. For more information or to get tickets, visits,

We sat down with the singing sisters for this week’s Friday Fiver.

  1. Much of your show pays tribute to a time of big bands, glamorous costumes, and patriotic themes. What draws you to that era/style of performance?

EMILY: We grew up watching a lot of old movies and classic musicals.  I love the idea that many of the songs of the 1940s-1960s represent the music that brought Americas through the war years.

LACY: We like the the patriotism and values of that era.  The fashion is timeless – we wear vintage clothes onstage and offstage!

  1. Your show is known for the myriad costume changes. How many costumes will you both use in a typical show, and what is the most challenging part about that many costumes?

EMILY: I conveniently forgot how to sew. . . thus Lacy designs the costumes.  For a 40 min. show there are about six costume changes.  For a 90 min, there are a dozen!  Our show is performed in a “variety show” format, rather than a “concert” format. . . so there are a lot of costumes.

LACY: It’s challenging to come up with enough “different” looks for each show, and not to repeat the same color costumes back-to-back in the show lineup.  I also have to coordinate the costumes with the backdrop or set.  It’s also tricky because I have to design the costumes for 30-60 second costume changes.

  1. What modern popular performers come closest to embodying the big band style and feel?

EMILY:  Bette Midler, Michael Buble, Harry Connick Jr and the Puppini Sisters.

LACY: Tony Bennett, Michael Feinstein. . . and heck, Barbara Streisand is still going!

  1. What is one hidden talent you can tell us about your sister?

Dace Vertical LogoEMILY: Lacy does incredible vocal impersonations – ask her to do Doris, Day or Judy Garland!

LACY: Emily does the splits up the wall.

  1. Natives of St. Louis, you moved to Charleston in 2014. What has been the biggest difference in living in the Lowcountry vs. the Midwest?

EMILY: In St. Louis, I could go to a show or a museum and see thousands of people I’d never see again.  In Charleston I regularly see people I’ve met everywhere I go.  It’s kind of fun.  You just have to make sure you’re not gossiping behind someone else’s back, because chances are, you’re talking to their cousin!

LACY: Business hours.  I called an office the other day at 2pm and the answering machine said to call back during business hours!

Interested in being a Friday Fiver? E-mail us at

Friday Fiver: Cynthia Bledsoe

library3If you feel like sharing your thoughts in a quiet and reflective manner, the Charleston County Public Library system has you covered. Many of the library branches currently have a Reflection Tree, which prompts visitors with a question (such as “What do you want your community to look like in five years?”) and then allows them to share their answers on a tag and place it on a small tree. Cynthia Bledsoe, Deputy Director for the library, said the idea for the tree came about after the Emmanuel AME tragedy as a means to encourage community dialogue. “(The goal was) to begin a discussion with the community to get an idea of how they feel about the community, what kinds of things they’re interested in, and then see if we can have a better sense of how to craft programs to meet those interests,” she said. The trees will be up through the end of November.

We sat down with Cynthia for this week’s Friday Fiver.

CB1. What is your answer to the first Reflection Tree question: What do you love most about your community?

Its richness— Charleston is rich in character, rich in its people, rich with natural and architectural beauty, rich with fabulous food and rich with history.

2. What was a reflection you read that really stuck with you?

I’m torn between two.  “Through failure, success is made” and “Fear of change, even if change is positive.”

3. Certainly a library means books, but CCPL has expanded into many other programs. What is one program that you think would most surprise people that the library offers?

It’s almost impossible to pick just one!  But, what about our Monday evening in November series Hack the Holidays: DIY Holiday Cards, Nov 9th; Fundamentals of Electrifying LED Ornaments, Nov. 16th;  Easy Ornaments, Nov 23rd; ; Fundamental of Programming Electric Light Displays, Nov. 30th., MakeLab Charleston members conduct these.  We have many partners in the community, MakeLab being an example. Or, that we show the Met Opera at the Main Library, free for all.

4. But books are still the cornerstone of libraries. So what book are you reading right now?

Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff and The Hands-on Home, Erica Strauss

5. How will libraries be different 20 years from now?

Libraries have always been a place of learning, but there is a shift taking place in how learning is offered and presented in public libraries.  Learning is increasingly experiential and public libraries are a perfect location for this type of learning.  I see this as a trend that will continue and grow.  Libraries can provide opportunities for people to engage in activities easily, at no cost and at a pace that allows individuals to dabble creatively.  And, as a bonus, libraries have print and non-print materials to supplement the learning.  A great example of this is The Library as Incubator Project.  I’d love to see CCPL do more of this.



ArtFields announces 2016 Judges Panel

ArtFields is a community-focused celebration of art awarding over $100,000 in prizes to artists from across the Southeast. Initially founded in 2013, ArtFields annually transforms the historic district of Lake City, South Carolina into a Southern art mecca for nine days allowing visitors, residents, and artists to experience a massive arts festival in the heart of one of South Carolina’s most charming small towns

Yesterday, ArtFields announced their 2016 Judges Panel! ArtFields also has extended their deadline for artist submissions until midnight tomorrow (11/20). Check out the amazing judges panel below and click here for more info about ArtFields.


The Arts Alliance has a STORE!

We are so excited to announce that our store is up and running! Besides being cool gear, a portion every purchase from our store goes right back into helping us continue to do what we love: supporting arts and artists in the area.

To celebrate our opening week, we are discounting our XL coffee mug from $20 to $15! Shop quick, and get some of those names checked off your holiday gift list for a steal.



See what else we have to sip, stick, wear, or gift here. Happy shopping!


Friday Fiver: Gail Lansing and Stephen Elliott Webb

Stephen Elliott Webb and Gail Lansing are an artistic power couple. Married for 18 years, the duo moved to Charleston in 2000 and keep their fingers on the pulse of the art industry. Stephen Elliott’s contemporary impressionist work is on display at Mitchell Gallery, while Gail is a consultant at the Grand Bohemian Gallery. We sat down with the couple for this week’s Friday Fiver.

1.  Stephen Elliott, you said that when you paint, you are “in a relationship with the canvas.” Any relationship takes some time getting familiar. What’s the hardest part about starting a work?

I have to essentially clear my mind of any pressing issues, and set the stage with the right lighting and the right music…….then, I can enter that “Controlled Sense of Abandon” where I can paint or sculpt. It’s kind of like getting ready for a date…I have to be at my best. If I’m not, it might show.Gail Lansing and Stephen Elliott Webb

2. Gail, when you are seeking new artists for the Grand Bohemian Gallery, what is the first thing you look for?

Passionate, career artists (even if they haven’t quit their day job yet).

3. What is an ideal relaxing Friday night in your home

STEPHEN ELLIOTT: Eating Gail’s food and re-hashing everything that happened in our lives that day. What? Wait…that’s every night!

GAIL: Cooking and entertaining friends at our home.

4. What is the last movie the two of you saw in a theater?

GAIL: I don’t go to movie theaters, drives Stephen nuts. I like watching movies at home and I’m hooked on the series Madame Secretary.

STEPHEN: I take my dad to the movies. The last one was the new James Bond movie, Spectre. I actually met “James Bond” …Daniel Craig, and his wife, Rachel Weisz, on Anson Street one night. I kept my cool, but jumped up and down like a little kid after they walked around the corner and couldn’t see me anymore!

5. If you could wave a magic wand over Charleston, what one thing would happen immediately?

STEPHEN ELLIOTT: MOMA would open a Museum in Charleston.

GAIL: Jaywalking would cease and a citywide “Don’t Block the Box” rule at our intersections.


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Community Mandala at OPEN

Hearts mend Hearts orchestrated a BEAUTIFUL community mandala to honor the nine lives taken from Emanuel AME Church at our OPEN Arts expo this year. We are so lucky to have been a part of it, and were absolutely thrilled when we saw this moving video they made to commemorate the experience.

This mandala was made with love from Hearts Mend Hearts, The Alliance, and most importantly, the amazingly supportive Charleston community.

Friday Fiver: Carol Antman

Credit: John Michael Hoffman

Credit: John Michael Hoffman

‘Art on the Beach & Chefs in the Kitchen’, features an afternoon house tour on Sullivan’s Island from 1 to 5 PM, more than 25 artists selling their creations, live music and chef demonstrations and tastings. All proceeds benefit Charleston Pro Bono Services which provides free legal aid to over 800 people in our community each year. Tickets are $40 in advance, $45 the day of the tour or VIP tickets for $100 which include limo transportation with libations and commemorative gifts.Tickets may be purchased online at, at Sandpiper Gallery on Sullivan’s Island or at the ticket booth at Battery Gadsden (1917 I’On) on Nov. 8 starting at noon.  Sponsors include Jerry and Cheryl Kaynard, Mt. Pleasant Urgent Care, RPWB law firm, Lucky Dog Publications, Lowcountry Sun Publications, Herlong and Associates, Pratt-Thomas Walker and area restaurants  and food purveyors including the Old Village Post House, The Granary, Bull’s Bay Saltworks,  Mrs. Sassards, Palmetto Brewery, Lowcountry Olive Oil and the Americano.

We chatted with event chair Carol Antman about the event and her reading and writing ways for this week’s Friday Fiver.

1. What is one house that will most surprise people on the tour?

Event patrons will be charmed at Martha Gunter’s ocean front home where the seaside  view is shared by her whimsical found-object sculptures. Also, this year’s box office is  inside an historic bunker that is being reinvented as a cultural art center for the island.

2. What is your most anticipated chef creation on the tour? The chefs from The Old Village

The chefs from The Old VillagePost House have supported this event every year and always bring fantastic food. We also are excited to include Palmetto Brewery which will offer patrons tastes of their craft beers.

3. As a travel writer, what is one place you have yet to visit that is tops on your bucket list?

I would love to return and repeat a hike I took in the 1970’s across the mountains in Guatemala.  It went through areas only accessible by foot. It was tremendously strenuous and adventurous.

4. What is the last book you read?

I’ve been in my book club for over 25 years. We’ve read hundreds of books together. Last month we discussed the fascinating life of Oliver Sachs and his book “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.”

5. If you could wave a magic wand and have one thing instantly come true in Charleston,  what would it be?

My husband and I searched the country for a place to live and chose Charleston forty years ago. It was one of the best decisions we ever made. With my magic wand I would eliminate the threat that the rising ocean presents to our city’s future.

About Carol Antman:
Carol Antman

Wander lust, intellectual curiosity and a passionate interest in cultures has led me to the biggest adventures of my life.   met my husband while living on a  kibbutz in Israel, spent a year hitchhiking the Pan American highway through South America, vagabonded for months in Europe, traveled the United States searching for our home port of Charleston, South Carolina and hiked the trails of  North Carolina, Jamaica, Italy, Israel and South Carolina. My artistic life also includes being a life-long classical pianist and founding an art center, Creative Spark.  My monthly column “Roadtrips Charleston” in Lucky Dog and Senior Sun publications highlights nearby destinations while my freelance work in places such as Charleston Magazine, S.C. Wildlife Magazine and tells of more far flung experiences. I am inspired by the idea that everyone has a story and by the vast diversity of ways that people live in this world. Please review my published columns on my blog:

Cooper River pier getting a makeover

The last remaining pier from the Cooper River Bridge will soon serve as a tribute to the traditional colors of Charleston’s historic buildings.bridge

Jim Weinberg, who moved to Charleston with his wife Linique in April, has spearheaded the project, which will transform the concrete structure into a palette of 10 colors.

The top will be painted with the word “Charleston,” which only be visible by air. An interior designer by trade, Weinberg donated his design time for the project. The pier is located on East Bay Street, next to the on ramp to the Ravenel Bridge. The previous bridge was torn down a decade ago when the Ravenel opened.

Weinberg has worked on similar projects across the country, volunteering with Keep
America Beautiful.

“Public art’s been a big part of our career,”
he said.


To hear more about the project from Weinberg, watch the video below:

Jim Weinberg, left, discusses plans for the pier painting, with a model of the pier in hand.

Painters used a lift basket to reach the top of the structure.