CALA-bash: ‘Experience new and different things’

Mar 29, 2018

PANTHER 2018 spring grevious calabash

CALA-bash chair Annette Grevious speaks about the 2018 festival during a news conference in the W.V. Middleton auditorium on March 27, 2018. (Panther photo)


Annette Grevious said she hears from students that CALA-bash is more popular than homecoming.

While the chair and one of the founders of the Claflin Arts and Letters Annual Bash is not ready to rate the two events, she is proud of the springtime festival that runs this year from April 1-8.

"Homecoming is rooted in tradition vs. CALA-bash just being created and being able to mold it into what we want it to be,” Grevious said. “We have more flexibility." 

“CALA-bash exposes you to other work you may not get to experience during the academic year,” Grevious said. “It’s an opportunity for you to experience new and different things.”

And the events, she stressed, continue to be free of charge.

Grevious, associate professor of speech and drama at Claflin, said she doesn’t like ranking events, but paint night, the poetry slam and the film festival are always popular.

CALA-bash began nine years ago with President Dr. Henry Tisdale’s desire to celebrate Claflin’s arts and letters legacy. In its infancy, CALA-bash was much like a music festival featuring artists from outside the campus.

When Grevious became involved, her first objective was to give the event more campus involvement. “When I looked at the schedule, I didn’t like it.”

So over the past decade she has made finding and presenting talent from on campus a mission. The result has been more involvement by students – and the popularity of CALA-bash.

“I try to attend every single event,” said Grevious, who this year has a part in the dinner theater production of “The Trial of One Short-Sided Black Woman Versus Safreeta Mae.” The play will be presented at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday at Ministers’ Hall, and again Monday and Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Grevious, who is Claflin Theatre Program coordinator, has directed the CALA-bash theatrical production in past years.

CALA-bash planning begins in the fall semester, Grevious said. At this point in spring, “We are ready to roll.”

“This is the time for the School of Humanities to shine but (the festival is) not just open to Humanities, it is open to all departments,” Grevious said.

In 2019, CALA-bash’s 10th year will coincide with Claflin’s 150th anniversary, Grevious said. “Next year, CALA-bash is going to be over the top.”

For 2018, CALA-bash kicks off in earnest Monday with events including a DJ and food on Legacy Plaza in the middle of the day and a master class on Branding and Social Media featuring Claflin mass communications graduate Brittany Carter McKinnon at 3 p.m. in the Orange and Maroon Room. McKinnon is founder and chief social strategist of B. Carter Solutions, a top-performing social media management company.

The Mass Communications Film Festival Showcase follows at 5 p.m. in the Grace T. Kennedy Building auditorium. Student-produced films in multiple categories will be honored.

The Late Night Draw-a-thon from 9 to midnight in the W.V. Middleton Fine Arts Building auditorium is a new event, Grevious said. “No prior experience is needed.” Just come out and show your talent.

More performances on the plaza, including the Hotwing Eating Contest, run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, coinciding with Freshman Assembly that features social activist Dr. Melynda Price speaking in the W.V. Auditorium on “How to Live A Life of a Social Activist.”

Caitlin Maloney of Columbia is the artist speaker at 2 p.m. at the Arthur Rose Museum, with Paint Night Out coming up at 5:30 p.m. on the Claflin Commons. Paint Night Out is a popular event during which adults and children from the community come together to create artwork.

Jazz artist Kris Johnson performs in concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the WVM Auditorium.

Wednesday brings the arts sale from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., along with more performances on Legacy Plaza. A Social Media Symposium will be held from 3-5 p.m. in the Orange and Maroon Room, followed by the Poetry Workshop featuring Moody Black from 4-5 p.m. in the Writing Center, Room 228, in GTK.

The Social Justice Series-Community Outreach showing of “An Outrage” will be at the Orangeburg County Library on Louis Street from 5:30-7:30. The Spoken Word Slam featuring jazz artist Kris Johnson and poet Moody Black begins at 7 p.m. at Ministers’ Hall.

Thursday kicks off with a master class with Johnson at 10 a.m. in the Music Center, with more performances on the plaza upcoming from 11-1 p.m. on the festival’s International Day.

“An Outrage” will be shown on campus from 5 to 6:30 in the GTK Auditorium. The evening highlight at 7:30 p.m. is the PULSE Dance Company being featured in “The 90s is: ALL THAT” in WVM Auditorium.

The campus is alive with activity on Friday as Claflin Live on the Lawn offers outdoor performances. The Friday outdoors features vendors, lunch and dinner, plus live performances on an outdoor stage from 11 to 5.

At 7 p.m. Friday, the focus turns indoors to Minsters’ Hall for the Lyric Theatre Ensemble’s presentation of Disney Dinner Theatre at 7 p.m.

"Canceled classes on Friday is a myth,” Grevious said.

Despite the full day of activities, canceling Friday classes would actually hurt the festival, Grevious said. “Some people will go home rather than stay and the idea of CALA-bash would get taken away.”

Saturday offers more activity on Legacy Plaza, another Lyric Theatre show at 1 p.m. and the Runway Exhibition from 4 to 6 p.m. on Legacy Plaza.

At 5:30, a new event is CALA-bash Fete: Beginning of a New Dawn Tent Event on the lawn in front of the Arthur Rose Museum. The event is an ideal “time to mingle,” Grevious said.

CALA-bash concludes on Sunday with an 11 a.m. worship service that includes Claflin’s Gospel Choir D.R.E.A.M. in concert. A final presentation of the Disney Dinner Theatre at Ministers’ Hall is at 3 p.m.

All events are open to the public. People are encouraged to attend.

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