The Top Eight Films I Didn’t See This Year -- By Wade Sellers

I watched a lot of films this year. Thanks to pay cable getting their streaming catalogs stocked with quality films, I may have watched more films than in any year prior. The frustration I have with myself is that I missed seeing many of these on a big screen. There is no substitute for a theater. Netflix will never be able to change this, no matter how dark the room, good the sound, and large the television. Others on this list haven’t made it to our part of the world yet. Either way, I’m excited to resolve myself to go through this list as my new year begins. I suggest you do the same.

45 years

45 Years

If Michael Caine taught that film acting is in the eyes, then Charlotte Rampling is one of the best in the business. Rampling co-stars with veteran English actor Tom Courtney in this film about a couple planning the celebration of their 45th wedding anniversary. A week before the party a letter arrives for Courtney’s character that informs him that the body of his first love has been discovered, frozen, in the Swiss Alps. Directed by Andrew Haigh, this drama opened December 23rd for a limited run. I first remember Rampling’s unforgettable longing stare as she starred with Paul Newman in the 1982 film The Verdict and have loved it ever since. They are a couple of deep eyes that can only be seen on the big screen. Find the film somewhere and you’ll see what I mean.

a most violent year

A Most Violent Year

In my opinion, Oscar Isaac stole the movie Drive from Ryan Gosling. It was the first time I remembered him in a role. I wasn’t the only one. The Coen Brothers picked him to lead Inside Llewyn Davis (on reflection one of the best films of the 2010’s). Along with Academy Award nominee Jennifer Chastain, Isaac stars in the crime drama from J.C. Chandor. Quite honestly, I have no idea how I haven’t seen this film. It was released at the beginning of the year, received mixed reviews, but over the following months has picked up some strong momentum. The poster image is staring at me on Netflix so I don’t have any more excuses.



I’m always wary whenever I see features about a film before it’s release that focus on the production. With Room the focus was on the interior set that was built for the film and how the filmmakers created a set of rules when filming. My first thought is that the distributor’s PR department is pulling a sleight of hand away from the mass appeal of a film. The film’s star, Brie Larson, picked up a Golden Globe nomination for her role as a woman held captive for many years and the resulting adjustment for her and her young son when they are freed and have to adjust to the outside world. I’m excited to see if this film can move past the Mamet view of theater blocking caught on film to small location indie cinema in the tradition of Hard Candy and Reservoir Dogs.



Todd Haynes film Safe could be my favorite film of all time. His student film Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story is one that made me want to be a filmmaker. I don’t think the man has made a bad film and I get frustrated he isn’t more widely celebrated as one of our great filmmakers. The man just makes great films that reflect on us as individuals and a society; I’m biased. I also anticipate that his film Carol, an adaptation of the 1952 novel The Price of Salt, will do nothing to harm the opinions of his filmmaking. The fact that Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara and Kyle Chandler star only make it more attractive. The film is set in New York City and follows a young photographer and her relationship with and older woman. There is something magical about seeing a film in the city it takes place. I missed seeing this film the week before Christmas while visiting New York City and already regret it.



I may have been cheating so I could add Sean S. Baker’s film to this list. Tangerine has been staring at me on Netflix for over a week and at one point I think I hit play but the internet went out. Either way I’ll be watching it soon, probably before you read this list. Baker got his start as the creator of Greg The Bunny, and since then has accumulated an impressive list of small indie films as writer/director. Tangerine is his latest. The drama/comedy follows Sin-Dee Rella, a transgender sex worker just finishing a month long prison sentence who finds that her boyfriend and Pimp, Chester, has been cheating on her. I was worried that the fact that this film was shot entirely on an iPhone was being used as a hook for a film that may be one dimensional in story. After I read a couple of reviews of the film from those I respect it is the first I’ll be watching from this list.



I think I missed Rick Famuyiwa’s film Dope because I was out of the country on vacation when it was released. I saw the film’s trailer before a screening at the Nickelodeon and didn’t give it a thought afterwards until I was compiling this list. I feel like a lazy film writer for doing so. Forget the talented list of names that are behind this project, or Famuyiwa’s strong directorial history (Talk To Me was as good as a biographical drama gets), I just like seeing films that tell stories that it seems would never be told if it weren’t for the group who championed it. I also like seeing new young talent take over a big screen and hope they have a bright future. The screen will probably have to be small when I watch this movie in the coming weeks, but I’m sure the talent will still shine through.



After graduating my college film program, I found out there was a book that was a result of filmmaker Francois Truffaut and Alfred Hitchcock locking themselves away in Hollywood for a week so Truffaut could mine Hitchcock’s brain about his approach to filmmaking. I loved Truffaut and I loved Hitchcock. I was pissed. Why was this never brought up? How deficient was my instruction? I still include it among the three publications that I feel are the only books a film student needs- along with David Mamet’s On Directing and Edward Dmytyk’s On Film Editing. Kent Jones’ documentary collects interviews with well respected filmmakers and mixes their praise with audio that Truffaut recorded during his sessions with Hitchcock. You may have to be a film nerd to make it through the whole film (I couldn’t make it through a film with famous salesmen talking about the two of the best salesmen who met to talk about how they sell), and it is quite possible the film may ruin the way you watch movies, but so what- educate yourself, Son.

forbidden room

The Forbidden Room

If you pushed me for an answer about my favorite filmmakers, there is Guy Maddin and everyone else. His films are, in my opinion, what filmmaking should be about. There is no grey area with this statement. He just gets what being cinematic is all about. He’s not Scorsese or Anderson or any of the great names, but that’s the point. He is his own voice and influence. I watched my first guy Maddin film from a VHS tape I grabbed off of a shelf at the SC Arts Commission Media Center- you know, back when our state supported things like young filmmakers by offering them the tools to make films at reasonably low rental rates. I popped the tape in and instantly knew that I had never seen anything else like what was in front of my eyes. The best part is that over the years I have found that his films work on big screens and small screens. Maddin is a prolific filmmaker and artist and The Forbidden Room is his latest. It may be twenty-five years too late for you, but find a film of his and make it your New Year’s Resolution to watch it.


What were the top films you DID or DIDN'T see this year? Share below!


Wade Sellers is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and the Film Editor for Jasper Magazine.

Wade profile pic

Happy Birthday to Arts & Draughts AND The Whig!

  arts & d

The Columbia Museum of Art hosts the 21st installment of its Arts & Draughts series onFriday, August 14, from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. The CMA's quarterly night of beer, music, and art activities is also celebrating The Whig's 10th anniversary with tons of things to do. "Having a program still thriving and growing after five years says so much about how Columbia has responded to this idea, and we're excited to celebrate this milestone with the strongest installment to date," says Phil Blair, owner of The Whig. "We've got an incredible exhibit, paired with the most genuinely talented musicians and wonderful human beings we know in this all local lineup, and a beer we made ourselves with the first brewery to ever participate in Arts & Draughts. Without a doubt this is the way we want to recognize our long standing relationship with the CMA and our 10 years of being in business on Main Street."


  • Taste local food and drinks by The Wurst Wagen, Bone-In Artisan Barbecue on Wheels, Island Noodles, and Sweet Cream Co. The Whig's 10th Anniversary Ale brewed by Redhook debuts and a beer tasting of Kona Brewing Company's Big Wave Golden Ale is also featured.
  • Live music is provided by Jade Janay Blocker, Bologna Eyes, Mustache Brothers, and Say Brother.


The CMA is also going all out with DIY and creative activities inspired by the exhibition From Marilyn to Mao: Andy Warhol's Famous Faces. "There's a lot of art in this Arts & Draughts. We really wanted to celebrate Warhol - both his ideas and his aesthetic," says Adult Programs Manager Glenna Barlow. "At our DIY station you'll be able to make your own Warhol-style piece with a simplified printing process and contemporary celebrity faces. We want to explore the question 'Who would Warhol be depicting if he were still around today?' Beyond that you can make your own digital selfie with a screen printing app and take a picture in our photo booth inspired by Warhol's famous factory." Guests can also get their own "15 minutes of fame" as Multimedia Production Coordinator Drew Baron records candid personal responses to the exhibition.


The night also marks the opening of Identity in the Community Gallery. Identity, featuring works by Michaela Pilar-Brown, Ed Madden, Betsy Newman, Alejandro Garcia-Lemos, and each artist's chosen protégé. Artist groups are:


Betsy Newman

Betsy Newman

Alice Wyrd

O.K. Keyes


Michaela Pilar Brown


Michaela Pilar Brown

Ariel Flowers

Roni Nicole Henderson


Ed Madden


Ed Madden

Alexis Stratton


Alejandro Garcia-Lemos


Alejandro García-Lemos

Mary Robinson

Anna Velicky

Kyle Alston

Kaitlyn Shealy


Identity is a collection of collaborative works or installations that seek to answer the enduring questions posed by Warhol's themes of fame, celebrity, and the public persona.

Admission is $9; $5 for CMA members, or become a member that night and get in for free!

For more information, visit

Upon Further Reflection - USC Photography Exhibit at 80808

photo by Samantha Hardin  

One cannot be an artist in isolation. This is the outlook of USC photography professor Kathleen Robbins and the students of her program. “In order to make work you have to have a dialogue, you have to be able to talk to people about it. People have to see it. If you’re wanting to be a professional artist or someone who participates in the art world, then you have to be a part of an active community, and so part of that is not just participating in the arts community but also giving back.” She feels that it is necessary for students to support each other and show their work. She wants them to be active in the arts community so they can thrive as artists. Art is meant to be shared.


Every year the hardworking students of University of South Carolina’s photography program hold an exhibit to share photography pieces they have been working on over the course of two years. The show is entitled “Upon Further Reflection” a name conceived of and agreed upon by the students themselves. It is about wanting people to take the time to reflect upon the content and substance of their art, and also about moving forward. For most of the students this is a very contemplative time in their lives, with graduation fast approaching. They hope that the viewer reflects upon their work but they are also reflecting on their own lives and experiences.


There is no theme to the show. Each piece is unique to the individual student. Each of them with their own style and story, often taking their own experiences and channeling them into their art to be expressed in a format that can be enjoyed by the community.


Robbins explains how the photography world has grown into something much different than when she was a student, how there is much more opportunity for photographers to make themselves known than there was possible in years past. “Well for one the students have to be incredibly brave.” explains Robbins, “They are exposed to a certain amount of visibility and criticism that wasn’t even imaginable when I was in school. Several of them are experiencing a pretty considerable amount of success at a young stage in their career. They’re getting exposure on the internet for one and on really renowned blogs and so people are familiar with their work outside of the university in a way that wasn’t possible when I was in school.” She feels that these experiences are teaching them how to navigate their careers as artists.


That’s what she hopes they take away. She hopes they they keep with them the skill-set they need to function as professional artists, the ability to collaborate and stay active with the arts community. She wants them to continue to use the knowledge she’s given them and find happiness through it. “As long as they’re still making photos, that’s enough for me.” she says, “I hope that years down the line they haven’t lost sight of why they do it.”


“Upon Further Reflection” will be held Friday May 1st from 5pm- 8pm at Vista Studio- Gallery, 80808 Lady St.

Jazz Under the Stars in Kershaw County

The Mark Rapp Band

The Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County (FAC) along with the City of Camden will partner to present a free weekend of jazz in historic downtown Camden Friday, April 24 and Saturday, April 25. Jazz Under the Stars is sponsored by First Citizens, Van Horn Agency, Inc., TruVista and Wells Fargo Financial Advisors/Roy Fakoury, CFP.

The weekend will kick off at 6:00 p.m. on Friday evening at the City's new Broad Street Park on the corner of Rutledge and Broad Streets (1001 Broad Street.) Jeff Liberty will kick off the event followed by Palmetto Nights and The Mark Rapp Group will close out the night. Rutledge street will be closed for the event between Broad and Church Streets to accommodate for the concert goers.  Food and beverages will be available to purchase on site.

On Saturday, the Camden Middle School Jazz Band, under the direction of Nancy Neal, will perform at the newly located Farmers Market at 222 Broad Street on the grounds of Historic Camden. Their performance is scheduled for 9:00 a.m.

During the day, take time to enjoy the downtown shops and historic sites, have a leisurely lunch or dinner and then join us for the amazing Mike Frost Band at the Venue On Broad (1020 Broad St.) starting at 9:30 p.m. The Mike Frost Band is one of the South’s best jazz ensembles and will thrill any jazz enthusiast.


•About the artists:

Jeff Liberty earned his musical chops on the sidewalks of New Orleans' French Quarter, the back streets of St. Louis, and Beale Street in Memphis. Currently living in Columbia, SC, Liberty was voted "Best Local Solo Artist" in Columbia's Free Times Reader's Poll. A year later he formed the Jeff Liberty Band and was named "Best New Local Band" and "Best Local Blues Band" by Free Times readers in 2001. Stomping through the bars, juke joints, and blues festivals throughout the Southeast, Liberty has performed with Kenny Neal, Shrimp City Slim, Juke Joint Johnny, Sonny Landreth, Little Charlie and the Nightcats, and has also shared the bill with such greats as  Robert Plant, The Eagles, Aerosmith, Robin Trower, Cheap Trick, and The Marshall Tucker Band.

Jeff Liberty

Palmetto Nights (Sheri Speaks Berry, Geoff Collier and Brian Parmeter) — Sheri Speaks Berry is a native to South Carolina. She has lived in California and Pennsylvania and returned to SC in 2012 and began working with guitarist, Geoff Collier, soon after. Sheri fronted two bands  (one jazz, one folk/rock) in Pennsylvania. She studied vocal performance at both high school and college levels.  She is currently working towards her Master's degree and is employed by the Kershaw County School district.  Geoff Collier is a New York native who relocated to South Carolina several years ago as a psychology professor. Geoff holds a Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University and is a multi-instrumentalist who plays the saxophone, keyboards, and guitar. Brian Parmeter, a talented, upright bassist with a great love for the standards, recently relocated to South Carolina from Minnesota. Brian is an R&B veteran of the Uptown and downtown Minneapolis scenes. Jazz and the acoustic upright bass became his mainstays during a dozen years gigging in HoTown Michigan.

The Mark Rapp Group — Mark Rapp is a distinguished trumpeter, composer, arranger, didgeridoo player, recording and touring artist. He has released five diverse recordings, and is featured on the closing track of Disney’s "Everybody Wants to be a Cat" CD.  His celebrated 2009 debut release "Token Tales" (Paved Earth Music,) earned him a spot as a "Top Emerging Trumpeter" in Downbeat Magazine. His release “Good Eats” (Dinemec Jazz) had critics saying, “Rapp is quickly developing a reputation as a superb interpreter and great stylist, willing to tackle the history of this music with his eyes on the past and his mind on the present and future of this music,” according to Rapp has performed in jazz clubs and festivals around the world. He has performed with such greats as Brandord Marsalis, Hootie & the Blowfish, Herbie Hancock, Aretha Franklin, Wycliffe Gordon, Nate Smith, Clerence Penn, and Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson.

The Mike Frost Band--Aiken, SC's Mike Frost Band - features the superb vocals and saxophone of Lauren Meccia energizing the music scene by blending together several musical styles to create a sound that’s all their own.  Anchored by the dynamic bass playing of Mike Frost - an artist with decades of worldwide touring and performing experience - they combine a crowd-pleasing sense of fun with adventurous, turn-on-a- dime musicianship.  As evidenced by their stellar CD releases, “Riddle Me This?” (2011,) “Get Frosted! Live at the Blue Horse” (2011,) “Frosty Christmas” (2012,) and “Live at the Red Pepper” (2013,) their sound contains elements of danceable funk, classic rock, and R&B, while their approach to jazz standards and modern ballads is laced with undeniable verve and performed with a soulful spirit. Mike Frost (bass) is a former student of jazz legends Pat Martino and Jaco Pastorius. He is a composer, studio musician, educator, recording engineer, and designer of Brickhouse speaker enclosures. Mike has recorded and performed with a long list of high-profile musicians including Donald Vega, Wycliffe Gordon, Jorma Kaukonen, Jimmy Bruno, New York Voices, The Gypsy Kings, David Mann (Tower of Power,) Manolo Badrena (Weather Report,) Todd Turkisher (David Byrne, Ute Lemper,) John Scarpulla (Tower of Power, Bruce Springsteen,) John Miceli (Meatloaf,) and George Cintron (Leslie West, Blue Oyster Cult.)  Lauren Meccia is a vocalist, saxophonist, educator, composer, and lyricist.  Listeners have said that her voice is like medicine,  comparing her tone to Norah Jones, Eva Cassidy, and Ella Fitzgerald.  Her saxophone sound has an organic warmth that is rare for the instrument, incorporating influences of bright jazz and dark classical styles and tonal colors. She is the director of jazz ensembles and instructor of saxophone and clarinet at USC Aiken.  She is the founder and director of the CSRA (Central Savannah River Area) New Horizons Band, a beginning band for adults.

For more information, please call the FAC Box Office, or visit the FAC website at  The Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County is located at 810 Lyttleton Street in Camden. Office hours are Monday through Wednesday and Friday, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and Thursday 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

The Fine Arts Center is a 501c3 organization that is funded in part by the Frederick S. Upton Foundation and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding provided by the City of Camden, Kershaw County, and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina along with donations from businesses and individuals.

REVIEW: CCB's Body & Movement Explored by David Ligon

Philip Ingrassia and Autumn Hill - photo by Ashley Concannon The art scene has progressed immensely in Columbia, SC over the past decade, and while Columbia City Ballet may have previously seemed to lag behind, performing the same pool of two- and three-act story ballets since William Starrett took over, only creating new ones every few years, the company seems to be moving forward of late and progressing along with the city.


On Friday, February 20 at 7:30 PM Columbia City Ballet presented its third annual Body & Movement Explored series. This event is a departure from what the company typically performs. Starrett has said this is an experimental project for the dancers as well as emerging choreographer to see if it can bring in an audience, and one day be presented on a bigger stage.


It is always exciting to see dancers you have become familiar with onstage be able to share another part of themselves with the audience. Most of the choreography was by Columbia City Ballet dancers. This year marks the first time choreographers came from out of state and volunteered their time to create works, including Rachel Leonard, a freelance choreographer from Florida; Jenny Broe, Owner of StudioFX in Charleston; Kevin James of Smuin Ballet; and former CCB principal dancer, Wayland Anderson. The Columbia City Ballet choreographers included soloist Philip Ingrassia, and corps members Ashley Concannon, Amanda Summey, and Denis Vezetiu.


Mr. Vezetiu choreographed two pieces as well as co-choreographed one with Ms. Concannon. His most captivating was his pas de deux, "Walk," which showcased his incredible strength and control as he manipulated dancer Nadine Tetrick around his body. She never touched the floor, as he was always controlling her. Her port de bras reacted to him like movement through water. They were one body moving together creating something beautiful to Ludovico Einaudi's minimalist score.


Ludovico music was used in four different pieces, as well as other minimalist composers including Philip Glass and Zoe Keating. What is interesting is how these composers created an atmosphere and texture with their music, rather than becoming monotonous because of its repetitiveness, lack of dynamic contrast with only slight rhythmic and melodic variations.


Jenny Broe, one of the visiting choreographers, created an enthralling contemporary piece of work to an up-tempo, club remix version of Bryan Adams’ “Wicked Games.” The choreography was seamless throughout, creating a battle between the dancers as to who could out dance whom. There was no pause for the dancers who moved from one structure to the next in groups or in pairs. The dancers would enter or leave the arena by walking fiercely like runway models. The other stand out choreographer was Rachel Leonard, who choreographed the opening piece “Speak” as well as the finale “Garcons et das Filles et des Bancs”. The last piece was set to operatic music with four sets of couples divided by gender and sitting on benches. There were phallic movements and a titillating flirtation from the four girls and four boys making it humorous and engaging fun. The boys unfortunately, missed some of the musical cues that would've made her vision really come to life.


Starrett recently commented that this is an experimental show trying to find an audience and support. He choreographed a pas de deux, “All for You,” for real life married couple Ingrassia and Autumn Hill. It was a tongue and cheek country western, on the bayou piece with choreography familiar to anyone who has seen Starrett’s previous work. For the music he collaborated with Josh McCaa who is married to CCB principal, Claire McCaa. McCaa’s country western music and voice were great, but didn’t quite sync up to the choreography. Starrett’s work with CCB is typically classical story-line fairytale ballets, like CCB’s upcoming “Cinderella.” “All For You” gave Starrett a chance to try something on a smaller scale and in a less-serious mood. It might have seemed that Starrett was going for laughs at times rather than substance, but maybe the programming of a light piece provided a good contrast with the passionate and personal work of the other choreographers.


Amanda Summey's piece “Identity Crisis” was fresh and thought provoking. Hip-hop, with elements of contemporary ballet, the eight women were wearing red masks that covered the lower half of the face and wearing street clothes. With their faces covered, they had to rely completely on body movement for expression. The music used was just a rapper with no instruments, but the rap voices layered on top of each other, creating a vocalized rhythm. Summey is a poly-artist: a visual artist and sketcher, ballet dancer, choreographer, and theater graduate from Northwestern University, she brings graffiti street art and intellectualism to her work.


The dancers who stood out were the constant duo, Bonnie Boiter-Jolley and Claire Richards. They were in the most pieces but were always paired together. Although these two compliment each other physically – they are tall, slender and blond – it would have been nice to see them dance separately, for each brings her own versatility to the stage.


In the future, CCB should model this show after other workshops around the country by auditioning choreographers to present full-length works (20-30 minutes) so the dancers can get fully invested in the work. There are theaters that can host such an event, other than the informal black box, that won’t run up the cost as much as putting it on at the Koger Center would. Having a professional event at such an informal space has its downsides: there isn’t enough lighting to explore the space, and the sound was a little low, which in turn meant we could hear every step and breath taken on stage. I believe the Columbia arts community will support a mixed-repertory series. Body & Movement Explored should be expanded and promoted bringing one-act ballets of various lengths with plot-less rather than story line structures. I think the series could be artistically and fiscally viable.

City Art presents Judy Bolton Jarrett's "Passages" - opening reception Thursday during Vista Nights

judy jarrett Judy Bolton Jarrett’s solo exhibition “Passages” begins Oct 16 for Vista Nights. The opening reception at City Art will be the next Thursday, Oct 23 from 5-8pm. The artist will be in attendance for both events.

Jarrett comments, “Several years ago, as a pure transparent watercolor purist, I was introduced to the wonderful world of acrylics, especially the endless possibilities of adding and subtracting elements, and thus began a new chapter in my painting life! While I certainly consider my works as interpretations, I am constantly aware of what is not easily seen but is felt. My paintings reflect my love of color, design, pushing the envelope, and satisfying my ever-evolving curiosity of what's next, as art is a continuous flow of creative energy. Most recently I was given a “challenge” by a friend who builds and repairs clocks. He sent me a box of discarded parts and said, ‘Do something creative!’ That is how the Time Series began. Always remembering the power of words, I incorporate inspirational and motivational messages into each painting into each of the Time Series paintings. Also, a recent introduction to high-flow acrylics has added another element to my ever-growing list of favorites!”

Jarrett grew up in Winder, GA, in the north GA foothills and then graduated from Presbyterian College, Clinton, SC, in 1963. For 21 years she taught English in grades 7-12 in South Carolina and Alabama, changing careers in 1986 to pursue her artistic endeavors. Since 1990 she has had a small studio and gallery in the first bank building (circa 1908) in Chapin, SC, and continues to use that as her home base for showing her work and for creating new paintings, a continuous process.

She has originals in collections locally, nationally, and internationally and is a signature member of the South Carolina Watermedia Society and the Georgia Watercolor Society.

Jarrett was also featured in the September 2014 issue of Jasper Magazine.

City Art Gallery is located at 1224 Lincoln St. in the historic Congaree Vista area in Columbia, South Carolina. Gallery hours are Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., Friday 10:00 am until 5 p.m., and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information contact Wendyth Wells, City Art Gallery, at 803-252-3613 or email Visit online at

Jasper Announces Finalists for 2014 Artists of the Year - Time to VOTE!

Jay graphic

Jasper and Muddy Ford Press and delighted to announce the finalists for

Jasper 2014 Artists of the Year

in Dance, Theatre, Music, Visual, and Literary Arts




Catherine Hunsinger, actress

  • Eponine, Les Miserables (Town Theater)
  • Seven roles and cello, A Christmas Carol adapted by Patrick Barlow (Trustus Theater)
  • Willowedane Poole, Constance [by the Restoration] (Trustus Theater)
  • Fest 24 actor, Group 5 – Prom Night (Trustus Theater)
  • Actress/Soloist in “The Orchestra Moves”, a South Carolina Philharmonic childrens’ concert series
  • Actress/Soloist in the Americana concert of South Carolina Philharmonic’s pops series (St. Andrews Sisters)
  • “Nasty” in Larry Hembree Bring Your Own Dinner Theater Fundraiser (Trustus Theater)
  • Actress in First Citizens Commerical with Mad Monkey
  • Actress in Pillar Awards short film with Larry Hembree
  • Ensemble in Young Frankenstein (Workshop Theater)
  • Veronica, Carnage (Living Room Theatre)
  • Katherine, Blue Moon (Short film by Jeff Driggers)


Robert Richmond, director

  • TEMPEST at the Warehouse in Greenville, SC
  • FINDING RICHARD – USC  – Undergraduate female production of Richard III that exposed 26 students  and gender bended a Shakespearean history play, while exploring acting in a close up and personal arena.
  • DREADFUL SORRY  – The winner of the South Carolina 2010 Film Commission grant was screened in the Orlando Film Festival. This movie gave on screen and behind the camera experience to over 45 students at USC.
  • RICHARD III at the Folger Theatre, Washington, DC
  • HAMLET USC – Set in an asylum the production focused on Hamlet’s madness and was inspired by America Horror Stories.
  • Audio Book of RICHARD III – Folger Shakespeare Library – Continuing my passion to bring Shakespeare into the 21st Century this recording is the 6th fully dramatized production published by Simon & Schuster.
  • WINTERS TALE at the Academy for Classical Acting, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington, DC
  • A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT at Clark Studio, Lincoln Center, New York
  • Audio Book JULUIS CAESAR Folger Shakespeare Library


Frank Thompson, actor and director

  • September 2013: Thenardier in Les Miserables at Town.
  • November/December 2013: Charlie Baker in The Foreigner at Town.
  • November/December 2013: Directed Ho! Ho! Ho! at Columbia Children’s Theatre.
  • March 2014: Directed Stand By Your Man at Town.
  • May 2014: Igor in Young Frankenstein at Workshop.
  • July 2014: Dialect Coach/Captain Hook in Peter Pan at Town.
  • August 2014: Wrote/Directed A Night At The Previews fundraiser for Town.



Can’t Kids


  • This year we released Ennui Go which was a lot of hard work for us and many people who aren’t in Can’t Kids.
  • We were the house band for the Indie Grits puppet slam where we collaborated with Bele et Bete.
  • We put out ‘The Twist’ music video that was directed by Katherine McCullough.
  • We released a song on the Tidings from the Light Purple Gam comp.
  • We just finished our side of a split “7 record with Schooner out on Sit and Spin Records next year.
  • We had a pet baby squirrel for about 3 weeks.
  • We’ve obtained an early model Prius.


Greg Stuart

  • 11/18/13 –organizes world premier of Los Angeles-based composer Michael Pisaro’s asleep, forest, melody, path (2013) for large, mixed ensemble and field recordings at the Columbia Museum of Art. Ensemble includes students from the USC Honors College, USC School of Music, and members of the greater Columbia music community. The field recordings used in the concert (i.e., environmental sound recordings) were made by Stuart and Pisaro in late 2012/early 2013 in Congaree National Park.
  • 2/24/14 –Organizes a performance of the legendary Japanese percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani’s acclaimed Nakatani Gong Orchestra with 12 local musicians at the Columbia Museum of Art. The piece is an innovative, community-based ensemble consisting of large gongs suspended on custom hardware and played with handcrafted bows designed by Nakatani.
  • 12/06/13 – Stuart plays a set at the Conundrum Music Hall concert of Mind Over Matter Music Over Mind’s (the brainchild of ethnomusicologist and eminent Sun Ra scholar Thomas Stanley). The piece is a collaboration with Columbia-based visual artist Nathan Halverson, Asleep in the watchtower (2013).
  • 2/20/14 –Stuart’s USC-based experimental music performance group, the New Music Workshop, performs John Cage’s One7 (1992) at Conundrum Music Hall.
  • 7/20/14 – Composes a new work for bowed bell and electronic sound, slab (2014) as a solo set opening for electronic powerhouse Jason Lescalleet’s July 2014 Columbia appearance at Conundrum Music Hall.
  • Between 9/15/13 and 9/15/14 Stuart released the following recordings: Closed Categories in Cartesian Worlds Michael Pisaro/Matthew Sullivan, “Add Red” With Joe Panzner: Live at the Issue Project Room Joe Panzner/Greg Stuart + Jason Brogan/Sam Sfirri: Harness (Tape)


The Mobros

  • handpicked to open for B.B. King on a few of his summer dates. July 23rd & 24th 2013
  • on the road since January 17th traveling the east coast up to New York, through the Midwest to Chicago, and down through Texas going as far south as New Orleans. Having played 50 cities, The Mobros will finish their tour December 22nd in Charleston, SC.    January 17th- December 22nd 2014
  • released their first full record February 25th  2014

Visual Arts


Eileen Blyth


  • Juried in Vista Studios – Sept 2013
  • Vista Lights – Group Show – Vista Studios – November 2013
  • Big Paint Project – Jan-Feb 2014
  • Volumes II – Women Bound by Art – group exhibition at The Curtis R. Harley Art Gallery- Spartanburg, SC, Jan – Feb 2014
  • Artista Vista – Group Show – Vista Studios – April 2014
  • Art Fields – Lake city – April 2014
  • Big Paint Exhibition – Columbia College- August/October 2014
  • One Columbia Public Art Installation – Sept 2014


James Busby

  • James Busby, Figure 8, 701 Center for Contemporary Art, Columbia SC
  • James Busby, New Paintings, Randall Scott Projects, Washington DC
  • Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast, Kravets|Wehby Gallery, New York, NY
  • Smoke & Mirrors, Randall Scott Projects, Washington D.C.


Kathleen Robbins, photographer

  • Into the Flatland / Gandy Cultural Arts Center / University of Southern Mississippi / Long Beach MS (November 2013 – February 2014), University of Nebraska / Lincoln NE  (March – April 2014), Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art / Charleston SC (August – October 2014), University of Central Arkansas / Conway AR (September – October 2014),  Rebekah Jacob Gallery / Charleston SC (September – October 2014)
  • The Kids are Alright: an exhibition about family and photography / Addison Gallery of American Art / Andover MA / (traveling exhibition) (September 2013 – January 2014)
  • Photographers from the Permanent Collection, Ogden Museum of Southern Art / New Orleans LA /
  • Somewhere in the South, Rebekah Jacob Gallery / Charleston SC  /
  • CRITICAL MASS TOP 50: Color and Light, Southeast Museum of Photography / Daytona Beach FL /
  • Sense of Place: Picturing West Greenville / Clemson University Center for Visual Arts – Greenville
  •, Borne, Eliza. “Interview: Kathleen Robbins on the landscape of the Delta,”, September 19, 2014; Oxford American Magazine, Mar, Alex. “Issue 86: Sky Burial” Oxford American, Fall 2014; Oxford American Magazine, Brenner, Wendy. “Issue 82: Telegram” Oxford American, Fall 2013; Oxford American Magazine, Giraldi, William. Issue 84 / Oxford American, Spring 2014
  •, Smithson, Aline. “Your Favorite Photographs of 2013 Exhibition”;, January 1, 2014 The Southern Photographer: Blog about Fine Art Photography in the American South
  • Wall, John. “Kathleen Robbins at Rebekah Jacob Gallery”, August 12, 2014
  • Artist Salon Series: Kathleen Robbins (October 2013) / Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC
  • Visiting Artist Lecture / Workshops (April 2014) , University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
  • Artist Lecture (August 2014) / Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, Charleston, SC
  • Gallery Talk (August 2014) / Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, Charleston, SC
  • Patron Party Artist’s Talk (May 2014) / Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, Charleston, SC
  • Panel Discussion: “Southern Photography” (March 2014) / Rebekah Jacob Gallery, Charleston, SC

Literary Arts


Alexis Stratton, writer

  • Published prize-winning fiction chapbook “Fratricide” (Dec. 2013) (published by BLOOM)
  • Awarded 2nd Prize in Blue Mesa Review Fiction Contest (and publication) for short story, “The Ambassador’s Wife” (Dec. 2013)
  • Wrote and directed short film, “Crosswalk,” which received the Audience Award at the Second Act Film Festival (Oct. 2013)
  • Short fiction published in A Sense of the Midlands, ellipsis… literature & art, Fall Lines: A Literary Convergence
  • Proposed and led the Imagine If project at Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands, which was a collaborative, community-driven arts and anti-violence initiative asking community members to imagine a world without violence and show us what that world might look like through various arts media and genres. The project (which consisted of free monthly arts workshops at Tapp’s Arts Center and in community groups, an art exhibition in Tapp’s Arts Center in April 2014, and a kickoff event in April 2014 featuring musicians, spoken-word artists, dancers, and others) brought together local artists, musicians, activists, and others, connecting arts and community groups in the idea of envisioning a better world.


2014aoty_julia_elliottJulia Elliott, writer

  • Book: The Wilds (short story collection) out with Tin House Book, Fall, 2014
  • Book: The New and Improved Romie Futch (novel), Tin House Books, forthcoming
  • The Wilds     receiving positive advance buzz,     including a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, "The     International News Magazine of Book Publishing and Bookselling"
  • Published short story “The Love Machine” on,     September, 2014
  • Featured in “18 Short Story Writers on Why They Decided     to Write a Novel,” BuzzFeed Books, August 15, 2014
  • Interviewed by New York Times Bestseller Jeff     Vandermeer in “Julia Elliott and Jeff Vandermeer in Conversation,” Tin House     Blog, September, 2014
  • Published short story “Caveman Diet” in Tin House     61: Tribes, Fall 2014
  • Published short story “Bride” in Conjunctions: 62:     Speaking Volumes, Fall 2014


2014aoty_darien_cavanaughDarien Cavanaugh, writer and editor

  • Founding director of The Columbia Broadside Project which pairs artists and poets from Columbia and throughout SC to work together to create an original “broadside” painting/image comprised of an original work of art and an original poem. The 2014 Columbia Broadside Project exhibit featured work from 28 poets and artists and was held at the Tapp’s Arts Center in downtown Columbia from February 6th to February 28th.
  • Named as the recipient of the 2014 Arts and Humanities Award for Inspiration from the Cultural Council of Richland and Lexington Counties for work on work on The Columbia Broadside Project.
  • Founding co-editor of The Frank Martin Review, a print and online literary journal.
  • Poems published or accepted for publication in A Sense of the Midlands (Muddy Ford Press), Blue Earth Review, Burningword, Drunk Monkeys, Found Anew (USC Press), Coe Review, The Gap-Toothed Madness, Grievances, I-70 Review, Juked, Kakalak, Main Street Rag, San Pedro River Review, See Spot Run, and Sou’wester in the past year.



Caroline Lewis-Jones


  • Oct. 2013 Vista Unbound Zombie Bar Crawl
  • Nov and Dec 2013 Unbound performed at 3 different Christmas Events downtown
  • Unbound performed at the Charleston Dance Festival
  • Traveled every weekend to a different part of the country to teach on the dance Convention, Adrenaline and to choreograph at various dance studios. Cities visited were Dallas, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Detroit, Oklahoma City, Atlanta, Charlotte, Columbia, St. Louis, New York City, Kansas City, Houston, Phoenix, San Francisco, and more
  • Caroline was off from May till the end of August having her first baby

2014aoty_katie_smoakKatie Smoak

  • Over the 2013-2014 season Katie retired from the Columbia City Ballet after 16 Professional seasons, and 26 consecutive years of performing with the company-from childhood through professional career.
  • Katie started off as a Junior apprentice as an 11 year old, climbed the ranks through the Corps de ballet, then Soloist, and spent the last 4 years of her career as a Principal Dancer.  Never missed a Nutcracker in 26 years — Alice in Wonderland was her final performance.
  • the longest standing company member (never out with an injury, never missed part of a season) of any dancer

2014aoty_thaddeus_davisThaddeus Davis – Wideman/Davis Dance Co.

Information to come

After you view our finalists profiles, head over to the Jasper 2014 Artists of the Year Ballot and cast your vote.

The winners of Jasper 2014 Artists of the Year in Dance, Literary Arts, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts will be announced on November 21, 2014 at the release of the November/December issue of Jasper at the Jasper Artists of the Year Celebration and Fundraiser at The Big Apple in Columbia, SC with a limited supply of tickets. Ticket info coming soon.


God, Gays, and Notre Dame - a guest blog by Sheryl McAlister

Thomas said to himself: “I always wished I could be loved like that. Cosmically. Painfully, to excess. Until the day he died, (W.H.) Auden struggled to love himself. Struggled to reconcile his love of men with his devotion to God. Perhaps the only time the two ever met in harmony were in his poems.

“Maybe the act of writing was like – like an act of blood-letting. What a way to live, your heart pressed like a flaking flower between the pages, waiting for someone to translate its beats, smile down at it instead of frown, cry for it instead of against it. What a sad existence; but what exquisite passion…”

(From “Beneath My Skin,” By Zachary Wendeln.)


Opening night for “Beneath My Skin,” written by young playwright Zachary Wendeln, is October 2, 2014, in South Bend, Indiana. Thomas is the leading character. Wendeln’s work was selected as the premiere show in the University of Notre Dame’s Fall Theatre Festival, as part of its main stage theatre series. An original student production, “Beneath My Skin” explores themes of love, loss, pain, secrecy and shame through 42 years of a man’s life as he comes to terms with his own sexuality.

The work is particularly poignant in that the story is told through the eyes of both the troubled Thomas as well as Thomas’ daughter, who finds her father’s journals and seeks to understand his pain. The thematic exploration suggests a maturity beyond Wendeln’s 21 years.

San Francisco and New York City provide the backdrop for the story which spans more than two decades and focuses on the complex, secret lives of several men during critical periods of the gay revolution. Even the music – Billie Holiday to Joan Jett — takes you back.

“The ‘60s and the ‘80s were two turning points of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) history,” Wendeln says, referring to both the Stonewall Riots in 1969 and the AIDS crisis, which began in the early ‘80s. “I wanted to look at the attitudes and how they’ve evolved and shifted,” he says. “And how they’ve influenced where we are today as a society.”

Some have called the gay rights movement the last frontier of the civil rights movement. Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen. Today’s groundswell of support for marriage equality across the country represents yet another significant push toward full equality in this country.

This young man from the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, set out on a journey of his own when he started this work. And what he found, he says, as he “researched the tumultuous timeline in LGBT history during the ‘60s, ‘80s and ‘90s, was a lot more hope than I expected to find.”

Oh, the idealism of youth. Zach’s statement seemed to be the one moment where any hint of naiveté showed itself. Yes, there were those who came before, who were young once and full of passion and promise. And they fought the good fight until the next generation took its turn.

“I expected to find that queer culture and queer society wouldn’t have been as alive back then,” Wendeln says. “What I found was that people were trying to get their voices heard. And I wanted to take a look at the juxtaposition between the mainstream idea of being gay versus what it meant to be gay back then.”

Wendeln must have been born an old soul, fascinated by the way things used to be. Not because he wanted to go back there but because he had a deep appreciation for what came before him. When I met him in 2008, he was 16 years old. Or 15, I can’t remember exactly. I was crazy about him from the start.

I remember he was writing a screenplay on a 1926 Underwood typewriter. “I wrote all my assignments on that typewriter,” he says.

He had an easy way about him. Smart. Happy. Well-adjusted. The only son of parents who were fortunate enough to be able to introduce him to incredible life experiences and smart enough to ensure he earned them. Knowing his folks, I’m pretty sure he grew up in a house that treated intelligence and laughter equally.

“My parents didn’t spoil me,” he says by phone from South Bend. “I had to work hard. They taught me not to take gifts for granted, and not to be boastful.”

There is a level of self-awareness about him that surely must set him apart from his peers. Most certainly, from his peer group. For instance, his high school senior essay “The Inhumanism of Robinson Jeffers” was selected by the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation for its permanent research archive. He was writing about Jeffers’ observations of self-centeredness and indifference, and he was doing so from the perspective of a tech-savvy, gadget-happy Generation Y-er.

Not the sort of kid to want or to refurbish an 88-year-old manual typewriter, much less to use one.

One has to wonder where the characteristics of his “Beneath My Skin” characters come from. Thomas seems a lot like Wendeln. A good guy. A good friend. A poetry lover. Loyal. Kind. Serious.

Every two years, the Notre Dame Theatre Department selects one or two original student plays. The students, who have studied under Anne Garcia-Romero, submit one-act plays for consideration. Wendeln’s “Beneath My Skin,” is “a very special play,” says Garcia-Romero, Assistant Professor in the Department of Film, TV and Theatre at Notre Dame. “It’s remarkably honest. I’ve seen its development from the first scene (as an assignment in her class) to the final presentation.”

A committee of three selected the piece. “We were all struck by how well-crafted it was,” she says. “It was poetic and moving. And it addressed a very important issue of our time. It was completely compelling.”

A line in the University of Notre Dame’s mission statement reads: “…God’s grace prompts human activity to assist the world in creating justice grounded in love.”

In a world constantly evolving and challenging those of us in it to make choices that could set or alter our life’s path, the selection of “Beneath My Skin” — as well as another gay-themed play “Out of Orbit” — as student productions is a courageous move. The spotlight will shine on this bastion of Catholicism. And it will be judged – rightly or wrongly. But this professor and her colleagues seek to ensure a safe zone for their students to create. And they do not waver in that commitment.

“Our departments and our Dean are all advocates for academic freedom,” Garcia-Romero continues. “These plays fall into that with themes of equality and discrimination. With struggles of coming out and who you love.

“Our department is a safe place for students to work and learn,” she says. “We protect them – above and beyond the themes of the plays. They can develop in a safe space.”

Garcia-Romero touts the University for sanctioning Prism ND , the school’s first official organization for LGBTQ students and their allies. “This is a major step,” she says. “People have been working for decades to make this happen.”

So when the curtain rises for the first time on “Beneath My Skin” this gifted young playwright won’t be concerned with public policy or social justice. He’s simply earned the right to be there … and learn.

“For a playwright, the finished product is more like a workshop production,” Wendeln says, explaining the difference between a full production and one that allows the writer to evolve with the process. “This is a learning process,” he says. “There will be minimal costumes. I will get to play a hand in auditions and casting.

“I will consult with the Director and Producer,” he continues. “The process allows the writer to write and edit new material with the feedback we receive. (The performance) is not about getting to the end. The hope is that you learn the full process.”

The play opens Thursday, October 2, and runs through Sunday October 12. The double billing includes “Out of Orbit.” For more information, check out

Wendeln is a senior this year with a double major in English & Film, Theatre and Television. He has made Dean’s List for the Irish all five terms. He is active in campus theatre and opera groups and will direct the musical “Into the Woods,” as well as another serious play “Loyal Daughters and Sons,” vignettes regarding sexual abuse.

“Zach is a remarkably talented artist with wonderful potential in the creative arts,” Garcia-Romero says.

Wendeln grew up near Cleveland, a town known lately for welcoming LeBron James home and recruiting Johnny Manziel. Neither fact is significant to this young man. In all likelihood, after college, he will never go back there. Giving a grateful nod to the local playhouse in Aurora, Ohio, his post-graduation days will likely take him to Chicago or across the pond to London’s West End.

He spent last fall in the UK, and it is there that he feels the most at home. “Ideally, that’s where I want to end up,” he says. “There are more opportunities – the indie theatre scene for young and upcoming artists. There’s just something I love about London.”

On track to graduate in the spring of 2015, his resume reads like a theatre veteran’s and includes young writer’s awards from the University of Iowa and talent search programs from Northwestern. The list of accolades is long. The future is bright.

“Theatre is what I want to do with my life,” he says. “For a while, I was on a different track, but after my experience in London, I want to be in the theatre – writing, directing and acting.”

His game plan is anyone’s guess, but he says he’s burned out academically. “I don’t have a plan after graduation, and it’s terrifying,” he says. “For the first time I haven’t known what’s next. There was middle school, then high school and then university. This is the first time it’s felt like a transition in my life.”

Whether he ends up in Chicago, London or New York’s Broadway … I’d bet the farm we’ve not heard the last of him.

Copyright 2014 Sheryl McAlister - reprinted from Old Broad, New Trix by Sheryl McAlister

Sheryl McAlister is a writer and PR consultant. She was Senior Vice President and Corporate Public Relations Executive for Bank of America. And she is a former sports writer and editor.  She writes personal essays for her blog Old Broad & New Trix: Musings of a 50-something in a digital world.

Sheryl McAlister


James C. McMillan's Art-Life Itself at Gallery West by Rachel Haynie

  Four Dream Builders by James C. McMillan

Gallery West’s current exhibition of James C. McMillan’s career-spanning work – Art – Life Itself, will conclude in a way most appropriate for this venerable artist and teacher – with his paintings, drawings and fine art prints sharing space with local art students.

To cap off the McMillan exhibition, Gallery West plans September 30 as an evening on its back terrace featuring the young African American urban jazz musician known as Dubber. And on the gallery walls, McMillan’s work will be joined by works of two art students from Benedict; the students’ work will remain on view a view weeks beyond McMillan’s show - Art – Life Itself - which ends October 1.

Although McMillan’s work, currently on view at Gallery West, 118 State Street in West Columbia, is not presented as a retrospective, the North Carolina native and octogenarian said the pieces gallery owner Sara Cogswell chose for Art - Life Itself span many of his creative and artistic iterations. When he arrived for his own show, to see for himself how the work had been hung, he sauntered through the connected gallery spaces as though he was perusing a review of his life.

A ground-breaking arts educator and college professor, having retired in 1988 from Guilford College where he became the Art Department’s first African-American chair, after teacher earlier at Bennett College, McMillan nurtured many fledging artists during four decades of teaching. At his Gallery West show, he reminisced about the art teacher who first validated the artist in him.

“The first time I had real art materials in my hands, they were given to me by an art teacher who had bought them and brought them back from New York, so the way she presented them to me articulated that this was special. I was special; she saw promise in me,” McMillan recalled. “They were charcoals, and I began to realize you could do different things with different materials. I was just a kid then, only in the eighth grade.”

Yet the realization that an art teacher could have such impact on an inspiring young artist remains with McMillan still, and he has taken great care, and felt great responsibility throughout his career as a teacher – to protect and nurture creativity. “Because I was encouraged by teachers as well as my parents, who were educators before me, I sensed a particular obligation to encourage curiosity, creativity’s doorway.”

Having begun college at only 15, McMillan had barely completed three of his undergraduate years at Howard University when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and he was drafted, with one year remaining before he would have earned his degree. His early service in the U.S. Navy took him back to the Pacific, to the very place where WWII was ignited for America. After armistice the G.I. Bill allowed him to continue his education at Skowhegen School in Maine. Visiting artists to the revered school, from Europe and America’s cultural centers, became McMillan’s mentors.

Little Annie with Mother by James C. McMillan

He recognizes that his own art was “still blooming when I began teaching. I felt that teaching came with the requirement to continue learning, growing, experimenting, and that I must take care of my own creativity as I was coaxing it out of my students.”

Before Gallery West officially opened Art-Life Itself, McMillan was welcomed to Columbia one day early by Friends of African American Art and Culture. This show, in mediums ranging from painting and drawing to printmaking, represents work created before and during his time in Paris, carrying through to the Civil Rights Movement, and now into McMillan's most recent work that captures the "movement" of North Carolina’s landscape, from mountains to sea, created from the 1940s to the present.

Coloring the City: The Rosewood Arts Festival by Haley Sprankle

Artist - Justice Littlejohn Throughout history, art has defined culture.  Art exhibited the grandeur of empires and kingdoms, depicting their great struggles and triumphs.  Art evolved over time through different techniques and perspectives.  Art brought people together and encouraged community.

Four years ago, Arik Bjorn and Forest Whitlark spawned an idea to create an artistic festival that would bring the community together to celebrate local artists’ work, and so the Rosewood Arts Festival was born. “Our intent from day one has been to create a family-friendly, easily accessible arts festival, which is why we don’t charge admission and only charge a nominal fee for booth,” Bjorn says.

For many local artists, fees play a great deal into whether or not they can afford to showcase their work in festivals such as this one.  Fortunately, the low fees and the wonderful time of year creates the perfect environment for this festival.

Artist - Abstract Alexandria

“He [Bjorn] told me about it and I immediately thought it was a great opportunity for me to share my creations.  It’s the perfect time of year to be outside among so many talented folks from all creative outlets,” local painter Justice Littlejohn says.  “I am looking forward to being surrounded by so much creative energy and hopefully meeting some new friends.”

With over 100 different artists being featured in this festival, tremendous diversity is featured in the artwork.  Artist Sean McGuinness, or That Godzilla Guy, adds an eccentric twist to his photography by featuring Godzilla in his work. “My artwork is very eclectic, but it is also focused, unique, and enthusiastic.  I bring art appreciation through Godzillafication.  Whereas other artists use charcoal or paint, I use photography and toys,” McGuinness says.

Artist - Charles Hite

As art shapes and influences the community, the community also shapes and influences art.  Local photographer Charles Hite only began taking photos seriously around 2009 and gained an appreciation for the world around him. “Although I’ve seen a lot of changes around here, I’ve been guilty of rushing by things, not paying attention or taking things for granted. In the last 20 years or so, I’ve come to deeply realize we have beauty all around us, and I have a greater appreciation and contentment of my surroundings,” Hite says.  “I hope my photos will encourage people to take a pause, become curious and go out, and experience some of the beautiful and interesting places we have here in the Midlands and across our beautiful state.”

While some artists have hopes of prompting the community to be more involved or influencing the way they view their lives, painter Abstract Alexandra has simpler goals. “I hope my art will bring a bit of color and joy that others may hang on their wall and enjoy for years to come,” Alexandra says.

The festival is cohosted by Rockaways Athletic Club and the Trenholm Artists Guild and will be held at Rockaways (2719 Rosewood Drive) on September 20 from 10 am to 6 pm.  In its fourth consecutive year, the festival has more than doubled its featured artists, making more art directly available to the public while also allowing artists to put themselves out there.  Come on out to experience some color, live music, and great food!

TONIGHT! FOM features Alicia Leeke and Darlene Fuhst blog by Jasper Intern Caitlyn McGuire

FOM lost During tonight’s monthly celebration of the arts, First Thursdays, one exhibition is bringing a new meaning to “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”- metaphorically speaking. Artists Darlene Fuhst and Alicia Leeke have created “Lost and Found,” and exhibition that not only turns junk, random parts, and antiques into interesting works of arts, but also a visual tool for guests to learn a little something about wastefulness.  The duo says they have gathered these parts as a metaphor for just how much consumer goods are cycled through our lives, encouraging viewers to follow the three “R”s-reduce, reuse, recycle.


The artists are hoping that guests stop and take a closer look, not only at the art compiled of figurines, oil paintings of neon signs, and nostalgic antique items, but take a closer look in their everyday lives and use even a pile of trash as a reminder of the impact of a consumer society.


“Lost and Found” will be on display at Frame of Mind, an appropriate place to look at things a little differently. Frame of Mind is the home of Mark Plessinger, one of the kick-starters of First Thursdays. Mark anticipates tonight’s festivities will be a huge success especially since the growth and popularity of the art celebration has increased dramatically over the past few months. He added that more surprises, street vendors, and blocks of artistic expression, will result in a large amount of movement from one end of Main Street to the other.


So as you wander through the blocks of Main Street, through musicians and street vendors, stop into Frame of Mind to take a closer look of the everyday consumer life.


Lost and Found will be open for viewing tonight at Frame of Mind located at 1520 Main Street, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and will be on display until September 29.

-- Caitlyn McGuire

TONIGHT! - Small Art/Big Heart -- blog by Jasper Intern Kirby Knowlton

Rescue by B.A. Hohman  



Like other aspects of our community, the ARC has been hit with huge budget cuts in the past several years. Anastasia Chernoff, owner of Anastasia & Friends, expressed that she could relate to these cuts, saying “Although some of us may not feel these cuts directly, indirectly they have a tremendous effect on all of us in our community, whether it’s the SC Arts Commission or the ARC, they are vital organizations in our state.” Local artists such as John Allen, Bohumila Augustinova, Savannah Bethea, Jarid Lyfe Brown,Toni Marcus Elkins, Nathan Fiveash have all contributed art work for the exhibit, and half of every sale will benefit the ARC. Friends of the ARC was started to help the ARC continue its vital and comprehensive work with our community’s sexually and physically abused children and continues to raise both funds and awareness in the community.

George by John Allen


Small Art/Big Heart will feature paintings, sculpture and mixed media pieces that are 12" x 12" x 12" in dimension or smaller. The opening reception will take place as a part of the First Thursday art crawl on Main Street on August 7th from 6 to 9 p.m. and run through August 31st.

Anastasia & Friends is located at 1534 Main Street, Columbia, SC 29201. Gallery hours are weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


-- Kirby Knowlton

Italy, Spain, and a Hat Shop in Charleston -- Tim Floyd's new show at City Art by Sam Smith

tim floyd  

“Italy, Spain, and a Hat Shop in Charleston” is Columbia’s first gallery show to feature only encaustic painting. The artist, Tim Floyd, is using it as an opportunity to benefit the Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. The show will be starting on August 1, and it goes until August 31 at City Art (1224 Lincoln Street, Columbia, SC 29201). On August 17 at noon, Floyd will host a gallery talk at City Art.

Encaustic art is made by using hot beeswax, resin, and pigment. This mixture becomes a liquid paste which is then applied to wood, canvas, or another medium on which to paint. Because of the beeswax element of the painting, the painting can also become a sort of sculpture, and the artist may use metal tools to sculpt the paint into the desired form or, after it cools, they may use heated metal tools. There are also heat lamps or various other heated tools one may use to extend the time they have to word on it. Encaustic art has been around since it was used in Fayum mummy portraits from Egypt around 100-300 AD. While an older technique, encaustic painting remains an interesting medium, and is still not as well-known as other mediums such as oils or charcoal.

tim floyd best

Tim Floyd, while he hasn’t being doing encaustic painting for quite as long, worked on the majority of the paintings featured in this show during the five weeks he spend touring Italy with his wife, Carol, in 2012. Other pieces in the show are from Barcelona, Charleston, Columbia, Houston, and the Bahamas. While traveling, Floyd would sketch out images to later use as a basis for his encaustic painting; he would also take unusual objects he found to later work into his paintings.

tim floyd fountain

In June 2013, Floyd and his daughter, Felicia, won the “Best in 3D” award at the Greenwood Festival of Flowers Juried Art Show for a collaborative portrait. Felicia has Muscular Dystrophy, which is a group of muscle diseases that affect different sets of muscles based on what exact disease one has. In all cases, the muscles weaken, sometimes involving muscle degeneration or atrophy. A percentage of sales during the opening reception on August 1 will go to Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, where Floyd’s daughter was treated. While the idea is to buy his artwork, enjoy it, and help a worthy cause, Floyd hopes that everyone will consider supporting the Children’s Hospital no matter what.

The Arts Center of Greenwood Best of 3D: "Matthew" by Tim and Felicia Floyd

His love of art and his travels may have inspired his paintings, but his personal connection to the Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital inspired the donation of a percentage of sales. Without the Children’s Hospital, his daughter likely would have died.

The show is at City Art, and everyone and anyone is encouraged to venture out to see “Italy, Spain, and a Hat Shop in Charleston.” To inquire about purchasing artwork from Tim Floyd, contact City Art at (803)252-3613.

-- Sam Smith, Jasper intern

Review -- My First Time at Trustus by Susan Levi Wallach

my first time According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, new media are dictating the form of old: serialized books are returning to accommodate commuters who read on iPads and cellphones; once-marginalized short films are no longer relegated to the film-fest circuit but are online hits—and shorter than ever; albums (or whatever you call them, because they certainly aren’t vinyl and scratchy) can have as few as four songs.

It works the other way, too. Those tweets, posts, and blogs that used to give only “friends” and “followers” and the odd lurker access to the intimate details once the stuff of diaries? For the canny producer, it’s all material.

The producer in question here is Ken Davenport. The material was a string of anonymous website posts that Davenport turned into the play “My First Time,” which runs through April 27 in Trustus Theatre’s black box. “My First Time,” mostly a series of sliced-and-diced monologues and one-liners, premiered off-Broadway six years ago, when had close to 50,000 responses; the site has since grown to nearly 54,000. Imagine: all those people writing in their language of choice about the first time they Did It. With details, either true or wishful.

“My First Time” is a “Love Letters” for the new, no-such-thing-as-TMI millennium. As directed by Jade Johnson, it is well suited to the spare space at Trustus: the kind of show that you can get onstage on a dime and that, with a competent cast, is hard to mess up. Trustus’s four actors are up to the challenge, rendering such lines as “I know you’re not supposed to have physical relations with your stepsister” and “I was mesmerized by her boobies” with ease and panache.

For the most part, these are not heartwarming stories. Nor are they particularly erotic, or even really story-like: only a few have anything like plot, setting, and literary finesse. There’s little to visualize beyond erogenous zones. Some are monologues, others border on rants, because there’s often the sense of exhibitionism, of “I need to get this off my chest” here (and, yes, writing this review while avoiding all possible puns has proven impossible, thank you for noticing).

The result is ultimately a bit banal, despite the good efforts of the actors: Shane Silman, Trustus regular G. Scott Wild, and Trustus newcomers Brandi Perez and Jennifer Sanchez. Among the cast, the two men seem to have the better time as well as the better lines. All suffer a bit from overly harsh lighting that not only could be more nuanced but also could define the performance area more precisely.

The play runs for about ninety minutes with no intermission. Still, the conceit begins to wear thin well before the last line, the way that hearing a group of strangers describe the dreams they had last night would. If you go, plan to get there early enough to take the pre-curtain audience survey. The responses are part of the show—tabulated and displayed, along with assorted quotes and factoids about virginity and its absence, on the screens that dominate the set. In addition, the actors read a selection of excerpts. It’s a nice, personal touch that gives you the chance to wonder who around you would really say that to her old boyfriend if she had the chance.

“My First Time” will be onstage at the Trustus Side Door Theatre on April 26 and 27. For showtimes and to reserve tickets, call the box office at (803) 254-9732.

-- Susan Levi Wallach


Jasper's Fave Non-Film Part of Indie Grits? Spork in Hand Puppet Slam -- Hands Down!

  Lyon Hill - Self Portrait


It's no secret that Jasper is a big fan of Indie Grits -- we love independent film! And while we'd just as soon have a film festival that was about film and film only, we admire the way the good folks at IG try to incorporate the whole community in their special week. AND, we are crazy about one specific part of the festival, the Spork in Hand Puppet Slam.

Why? Lots'o reasons, but the strongest being the opportunity to see three of Columbia's most creative minds demonstrate their incredibly eclectic, innovative, and just plain out-there abilities. Lyon Hill, Kimi Maeda, and Paul Kaufmann.

(Jasper wrote about Lyon Hill here and Kimi Maeda here.)

(And is it true that the strangely brilliant Alex Smith is also involved this year? Yes? No? Somebody?)

We lifted the below information info from the Indie Grits website about these folks:

Lyon Hill lives with his wife, Jenny Mae, and their son, Oliver, in Columbia, SC. He has been a puppetmaker and puppeteer with the Columbia Marionette Theatre since 1997. His paintings and puppets have been shown in numerous galleries over the years and his puppet shows have been performed at regional and national puppet festivals. Three of his short films are part of Heather Henson's Handmade Puppet Dreams film series, which are shown internationally

Kimi Maeda

Kimi Maeda is a theatre artist whose intimate visual performances cross disciplines and push boundaries.  Trained as a scenic and costume designer whose work has been recognized nationally, she is drawn to the versatility of puppetry and delights in the fact that it allows her to explore all of her diverse interests; from science to storytelling.  Kimi worked for several years as a puppeteer and set designer for the Columbia Marionette Theatre, writing and directing Snow White and The Little Mermaid. Her shadow-puppet performances The Crane Wife and The Homecoming are original adaptations of traditional Japanese folktales interwoven with her own bi-cultural experience growing up as a Japanese-American.


Paul Kaufmann

Paul Kaufmann is an actor, writer and artist.  His acting credits include three productions at New York’s famed LaMaMa E.T.C.: The Cherry Orchard Sequel (2008, NY Times critic’s pick), The System (2009) and the title role in this year’s Hieronymus, all written by Obie Award winner Nic Ularu. With Mr. Ularu, Paul has also toured Romania in The System (2006). In 2010, he performed at the Cairns Festival in Queensland, Australia in Dean Poynor’s H. apocalyptus, a zombie survival tale. He has performed the same role in the Piccolo Spoleto Festival (2011) and at The Studios of Key West. Also at TSKW: One Night Stand: 3, 4 and 5. Recent roles at Trustus Theatre include Dan in Next to Normal, Charles Guiteau in Assassins, Bill Fordham in August: Osage County and all roles in I Am My Own Wife.  For pacific performance project/east, Paul played Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2012) and Man in Pile in Mizu No Eki (The Water Station) (2010). A founding member of the SC Shakespeare Company, Paul has acted onstage, in television and in film (including Campfire Tales and Lyon Forrest Hill’s Junk Palace) for 40 years. His collages, assemblages and paintings have been exhibited at Anastasia and Friends gallery.  He’s thrilled to be a part of the Spork In Hand Puppet Slam. In May, Paul returns to Romania to perform at the Sibiu International Theatre Festival in a new production directed by Mr. Ularu.

To what they have to say above we'll just add this -- There is nothing like the experience of good adult puppetry theatre. It effects the viewer in ways that are personally, emotionally, and psychologically surprising. It can be intimate, evocative, and funny -- all in the same breath. It is touching and exhilarating. It can move you in ways you have never been moved before. It makes you laugh and it makes you think. Don't miss this beautiful experience.


Kimi Maeda

jasper watches


presented by Belle et Bête

Saturday, April 13th at 7pm & 9:30pm - $10 - Nickelodeon Theatre


-- Cindi Boiter, editor - Jasper Magazine

Southern Exposure New Music Series: Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians

  Steve Reich

One of the most compelling parts of Columbia’s arts scene is the Southern Exposure New Music Series, a series of FREE concerts put on by the nonprofit each year that explore contemporary classical and world compositions as well as some of the masterworks of the 20th century. The shows are often standing room only affairs, largely because of the depth and quality of the performances, which have a reputation for being wildly eclectic and stunning in equal measure.

If you’ve never been, consider going this weekend to a performance of Steve Reich’s seminal Music for 18 Musicians. Reich is perhaps the definitive composer of the second half of the 20th century, and this is his most famous piece—a gorgeous work of pulsating musical minimalism that builds (and contracts) ever-so-slowly as melodies and harmonies are gradually added to create a mesmerizing, hypnotic effect that is best experience live. The 18 musicians comes from the fact that the piece requires at a minimum four pianists, six percussionists, four female singers, two clarinetists, a violinist, and a cellist—parts which will be ably handled by 18 of USC’s most talented students in the School of Music (many of whom will be also be tackling more than one instrument in the course of the performance). Directing the work is USC piano professor Phillip Bush (who is also performing—the composition is traditionally performed without a conductor), who has played the piece numerous times around the world with Reich himself. Bush will also be giving a short talk before each performance.

Here’s  a complete performance available on YouTube (you really have to see it live though):


And, in the tradition of the increasingly collaborative arts scene we have in Columbia, local painter Blake Morgan will have his paintings on exhibit in the gallery for both performances. His involvement is sponsored by Pocket Productions!

A note on composer: Reich’s music always feels like waves upon waves of sound to me—while the careful the listener can note the subtle, ceaseless shifts in rhythm, melody, and harmony, there is something visceral about the listening experience as well, that hits you in the gut. That’s likely the reason Reich’s music has enjoyed such popularity outside of traditional contemporary music circles as well. While his compositions are usually debuted in the finest concert halls at this point (a stark contrast from his earlier years, when his work was shunned by the elites), Reich still gets an audience outside of those confines, even at rock festivals. Check out this video, where Reich and Bang On A Can’s Dave Cossin perform to whopping audience at the rock-centered Bloc festival in east London.

The series will be giving two performances of Music for 18 Musicians: on Friday and Saturday, April 12-13, 7:30pm, at the USC School of Music Recital Hall, 813 Assembly Street (next to the Koger Center), 2nd Floor. Admission, as always, is free.


K. Petersen, Jasper Music Editor

Correction: The original post incorrectly stated that Blake Morgan would be painting live during the performance. He will not be.

The Columbi-Arts & Music Show launches on WUSC 90.5 FM!

Hello Jasper Fans,

I just wanted to let you know about a new weekly radio show I'm launching this fall on our town's wonderful college radio station, WUSC 90.5 FM. The show is called The Columbi-Arts & Music Show (check us out on Facebook here) and will be broadcasting on Thursdays from 2-4pm each week. Each week I plan to talk about (and play music from) upcoming music shows as well as promote upcoming art gallery happenings, film screenings, dance performances, theater productions, etc. We'll be having special guests and DJs, live (mostly acoustic) performances in the studio, and will do our best to show off all this city has to offer.

So, if you like, please tune in, contact me with any arts-related events you have coming up, and enjoy having an anything-goes college radio station that dedicates 2 hours each week to talking about what's going on in the arts community.

Tomorrow will be our first show--tune in at 2 if you can!


-K. Petersen



Kyle Petersen's Badass Local Music Video Series: Those Lavender Whales – “Growth in Question”

Those Lavender Whales, the quirky indie rock/folk/pop project by Fork & Spoon leader Aaron Graves which also includes Jessica Bornick and Chris Gardner, make some of the most honest, revealing, and beautifully human music in Columbia today.
Their new full-length, Tomahawk of Praise, was just released this past week on vinyl and CD, and the trio has already taken off for a mini-tour up the East Coast.  The record is full of poignant thoughts on family, faith, and on every other emotionally wrought question about growing up that seems like it doesn’t have an answer—and its quickly becoming one of Jasper’s favorite local releases of all-time.
So, having said all that, we really are just encouraging you to check out their new music video for the song “Growth in Question,” which recognizes the beauty of community, friends, and having fun that we all know is what makes Columbia such an awesome place to live, and, if you like it, to buy one of the many versions of the record available from Fork & Spoon Records.
The video was put together by a group out of Charleston called lunch + RECESS who did an absolutely fantastic job as well.
Check out this badass video by clicking on this magic button.


Kyle Petersen is the music editor for Jasper Magazine - The Word on Columbia Arts. Contact him at and stay tuned for more of his

Badass Local Music Video Series -- only at Jasper