Conundrum and ifArt Host Concert

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Id M Theft Able & Reflex Arc @ ifArt on June 25



Conundrum Music Productions is pleased to announce a concert by the Portland Maine noise artist Id M Theft Able, at ifArt Gallery on Monday, June 25.   Sharing the bill will be Reflex Arc and bigSphinx.


Id M Theft Able performs within and without the realms of noise, avant improvisation, sound poetry, and performance using voice, found objects, electronics, and whatever else is available. He has given hundreds of performances across 4 continents in settings ranging from the humblest of squats to the fanciest of festivals.


Reflex Arc is a two-piece experimental & improvisational band from Raleigh, NC. Crowmeat Bob plays a variety of horns & sometimes electric guitar while Ginger Wagg plays a variety of body parts, spaces and emotional states.


bigSphinx is a solo project of local laptop improvisor Tom Law.


The door will open at 8:00pm, and a $7 admission fee will be collected at that door.  The music will commence at 8:30pm.  ifArt Gallery is situated at 1223 Lincoln Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29201.   Further information can be obtained on the World Wide Web at, or by using a telephone to dial (803) 250-1295. 



Id M Theft Able:

Reflex Arc:


Highlighting Indie Music in the Summer Music Festival Season

So we are officially in the midst of the summer festival season, and dedicated local music lovers have probably caught various local acts populating the stages at Rosewood Crawfish Festival (which had an excellent line-up of local acts this year), Stereofly’s Rootsy Memorial Day Festival at Art Bar, the Back To Rockafella’s celebration, or West Fest. The more cultured have also stopped in on the Southeastern Piano Festival, a week of world-class piano performances which is as of this writing mostly sold-out (we recommend checking out the Arthur Fraser International Concerto Competition, where young contestants duke it out in dazzling style from morning to night. It's this Friday, June 14, at the School of Music recital hall, and it's free).  More festivals are on the horizon, including the wince-inducing resuscitation of the Three Rivers Festival on July 6 and 13. Jasper loves a diversity of musical experiences, but in particular loves when Columbia gets a bit more cutting-edge. Two festivals this summer offer some of that edginess where others play it safe.


The first is Recess Fest, which is happening this Friday, June 14th, at a variety of venues across Columbia. An off-shoot of the Charlotte festival, which is celebrating its sixth anniversary this year, the festival derives its name from the carefree spirit of school recess, and champions a community-centered approach while introducing local acts from across the state. Spearheaded by people person bandleader and Can’t Kids drummer/singer Jessica Oliver, the night offers a reasonable festival-style cost for a rambunctious line-up. Here are the details:

New Brookland Tavern Modern Man - Charleston Elim Bolt - Charleston Octopus Jones - Raleigh (formerly Columbia) One Another - Charlotte Red Door Tavern Great Architect - Charlotte Magnetic Flowers - Columbia Dear Blanca - Columbia Luciferian Agenda - Charlotte State Street Pub Blossoms - Charlotte Dumb Doctors - Charleston Let’s Go, Coyote! - Columbia Jordan Igoe - Charleston Silent Spring Ensemble - Columbia Conundrum Music Hall Roomdance - Columbia Happiness Bomb - Columbia Sandcastles - Columbia Late Bloomer - Charlotte Hunter Gatherer Brewery Bo White & su Orchesta Fat Rat da Czar with Grand Royal

All of the shows except for the Hunter-Gatherer one start at 7 and finish around 11, with festival-goers convening at the brewpub for an after-party with Bo White and Fat Rat (which Jasper thinks was a thoroughly excellent planning decision). The line-up demonstrates an excellent mix of bands who play the town frequently with some lesser-knowns from from the Charlotte area.

Here's a video from Charleston favorite Elim Bolt, recorded as part of our own Fork & Spoon's Casual Friday series, who will be playing the New Brookland stage:

The second festival we want to highlight is Spit Fest (“SP”ace “I”dea “T”apes Fest) , an annual DIY music festival on July 4th dedicated to celebrating “outsider art and culture centering around Columbia, SC.” Organized by the Space Idea Tapes record label, which does casette-only releases of bands throughout the tri-state area, the festival features off-kilter and oddball acts seldom-seen on any other big festival bill in Columbia--and fast-moving, 15 minute sets that allow for a rather expansive line-up on one stage in a single night. Now in its third year, the festival wants to be a bit more above-ground and move away from its house show origins--this  year, Conundrum Music Hall is hosting, and the festival has an Indie GoGo fundraiser which finishes up at midnight tomorrow. Check out the fundraiser site here--note the nice incentives, as well as the other logistics needs Space Idea Tapes still has. The festival will also feature a BBQ potluck and regional visual artists showcasing their work. Check out the line-up below.



We'll leave you with a tune from the Spit Fest-featured elvis depressedly's lastest ep, holo pleasures, which was reviewed in the current issue of Jasper (pick one up, if you haven't already!).

V-Day Speak Out -- Listen to the Vaginas

Alexis Stratton, friend of Jasper and essayist in the most recent issue of the magazine (Jasper Watches: An Essay -- Reclaiming Vaginas) shared some info with us about an upcoming event that we think is pretty important. (Jasper adores the confluence of art and politics!) Rather than prattle on about it, we'll let Alexis do the talking:

Come enjoy a night of music, readings, storytelling, and speaking out at V-Day's open mic night at Conundrum Music Hall (626 Meeting St., West Columbia)!

All artists, writers, musicians, and other community members will be invited to take the stage at "V-Day Speak Out: Break the Silence, End the Violence" on Thurs., Feb. 7. We welcome everyone who has a song to sing/play, some spoken word to deliver, a story to share, or anything else you'd like--the sky's the limit! Doors open (and sign ups start) at 7:00, open mic begins at 8:00!

We're hosting this event in support of raising awareness of sexual and domestic violence, so we especially invite artistic expressions that respond to those issues. However, you're welcome to respond to those themes creatively, using them as a launching point or a place to start brainstorming.

Admission is free, but donations will be accepted for Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands ( Tickets for The Vagina Monologues will also be on sale. Find out more on our Facebook event page!

We hope you'll join us for an empowering, healing evening of speaking out, fighting back, celebrating the arts, and building community!

The Freshniz: Volume 2 -- Saturday Night!

“Live magazine” sounds a bit oxymoronic.  Whether proactively or reactively, magazines expose, summarize, analyze, and/or relate events; but rarely, if ever, are they events in and of themselves.  Saturday at Conundrum, southeast-based art cooperative the Izms of Art will blend these two aspects of spectacle and journalism into “The Freshniz: Volume 2.”

The Izms of Art, like many of the organizations Jasper features, “strive[s] to push the boundaries of expression.”  In order to do so, members and affiliates fuse a variety of artistic media (including, among others, visual art, graphic design, tattooing, and music production) and instill in the public a more complex understanding of and appreciation for art.

Izm’s multifaceted approach to creative pursuit is a product of the multitalented individuals that comprise it; each member possesses an impressive resume indicative of trans-genre capability: certified audio engineer DJ B (aka B Sam) boasts an extensive knowledge of music, audio, and video production; Carl “Fahiym” Jones engages in various forms of creative writing, including fiction, poetry, and hip hop; Dalvin "Mustafa" Spann offers expertise in graphics, photography, videography, and web design; Tahirah Spann explores “the blurry line between an art form and a craft”; Uncle Vic contributes as a painter, illustrator, graphic designer, and MC; barber, tattoo artist, and founding member of hip hop group The Shaaw Brothers, Jarrett “Un” Jenkins also expresses himself on canvas, paper, and cardboard.

According to Izms painter, illustrator, and writer Cedric Umoja, Freshniz is an opportunity for the community to “come out and enjoy the arts on different levels.”  He emphasizes that when we think of art, we often think of visual arts.  We forget that acting is art, writing is art, cooking is art.  The Freshniz allows for artists to expose the arts that are too infrequently identified as such.

Cedric admits that the concept of a live magazine did not originate at Izms.  He notes that they’ve been “occurring here and there throughout the country,” popping up sporadically and providing speakers with around five minutes each.  But Izms wants to bring consistency and depth to these intriguing events.  Saturday’s event will feature four speakers from various fields of art.  Speakers will be given twenty to twenty-five minutes to showcase themselves, their unique experiences, and their creative processes.

The Freshniz: Volume 2 will include presentations by: visual artist Infamous JeanClaude; producer, director, and videographer Betsy Newman; music producer Midi Marc; and producer Sufia Giza Amenwahsu of REEL Black Pix.  Conundrum’s doors will open at 6 PM, and tickets will be sold for $5 on arrival.

For more information about the Izms of Art, its members, or its events, visit their website ( and Facebook page (  Izms plans to organize two more live magazines this year, so keep an eye out for volumes 3 and 4 of The Freshniz.

-- Austine Blaze, Jasper intern

Art in Action: Noah Brock -- Art and Rummage Sale for Sister Care


Whether we’ve had to fulfill requirements for an honor society, pad a resume, or to try to convince the world that the Greek system is something other than a primal dating industry, most of today’s twenty-somethings have had some experience with volunteer work.  The catch is, well, that there’s typically a catch.  We pervert altruism into a self-serving mode of academic, professional, and/or social advancement.  In short, we’re in it for the commemorative t-shirt.

Thankfully, this generalization doesn’t always hold water.  Case and point: Noah Brock.  This local musician admits that “there is little to no glamour in [his] life.”  He lives modestly with his wife and puggle (a pug/beagle mix) in a rented house behind a fire extinguisher refilling plant.  Though Noah disagrees, he’s done something rather noteworthy; he has organized an Art Show and Rummage Sale to raise money for and awareness of Sister Care, a local charity organization benefitting women and children who have fallen victim to domestic abuse.  Sadly, the question that comes to mind is: why?  What motivated Noah to organize such an event?  When I asked him, he responded with a refreshingly candid, “I can’t really say.”  To me, this inability or unwillingness to rationalize his charity reveals an unadulterated innocence of intention.  He’s not in it for self-flattery or politics; he quite simply wants to use Columbia’s vibrant arts community as a vehicle to fundraise and promote “a great charity that is sometimes overlooked.”

Noah’s fundraiser is to take place this Saturday (6/16) from 10 am to 5 pm at Conundrum Music Hall (626 Meeting St., West Columbia).  The event will include: live acoustic music from Alderman Douglas, Hope Clayton Cullum, Marv Ward, and The Dubber; a raffle ($2 per ticket) featuring prizes from local West Columbia businesses Bug Outfitters, Sun Spirit Yoga, and Scratch and Spin Records; beer and soda will be sold by Conundrum (no outside alcohol permitted), and KC Hot Dogs will be vending.  Admission for this event is $3, and anyone interested in setting up a table or booth for the rummage sale can do so for $5.  All proceeds from the door, table fees, and raffle tickets will go directly to Sister Care.

“There are certain things no one should ignore,” Noah told me.  Battered women and children certainly fall into that category.  So, too, do those folks like Noah who remind the rest of us to pay attention.  So this Saturday, pay attention.  Come to Conundrum, support a great local cause, and pay Noah a compliment he will likely dismiss.


-- Austin Blaze, intern, Jasper Magazine

A Little Bit of Snark and a Good Deal of Praise -- Jeffrey Day's Art Year 2011 Review


Although the economy still sucked the arts community in Columbia just seemed to say “Screw it” and kept going.

For his last few years in the Governor’s office, when he wasn’t on the Appalachian Tail, Mark Sanford tried to zero out the budget for several state agencies, including the S.C. Arts Commission. The General Assembly never let him get far with it until his final year when some sort of deal had been struck. Then an uprising about the cuts rose up – mostly through Facebook – and legislators got an earful from art supporters all over the state. Not surprisingly, the new governor, Nikki Haley, brought out the knife as well, and she got it knocked out of her hand as well.  Made The New York Times. But expect the same fight this year.

The arts on Main Street started to coalesce after a couple of years. A gallery crawl – and all kinds of additional frills like music, theater and fire-eating – is now being held on Main Street EVERY SINGLE MONTH! That’s damn exciting especially when hundreds of people show up for all of them.

The art being shown is still  inconsistent, but there has been lots and lots of good art on display at all the locations (Frame of Mind, Anastatia and FRIENDS, S & S Art Supply, the Arcade, Tapp’s Arts Center) at one time or another. One of the best things has been the window installations at Tapp’s, but beyond the windows, the Tapp’s Art Center is still trying to figure things out. The director said earlier in the years that the upstairs studio spaces would be rented to artists who were juried in, but instead these have been turned into little “galleries” some jammed with work by a dozen artists or so.

The first South Carolina Biennial of contemporary art ran in two parts with about 25 artists at the 701 Center for Contemporary Art. The first show was terrific in every way, the second was rather messy, but had some of the best artists in it. The way the show is selected needs some fine turning. Whatever the shortcomings, the show fills the huge gap left when the Triennial was killed off a few years ago. The center also needs to spend as much time and effort (or even a third as much) getting the word out about its art shows as it does about its parties and openings.

The long-time director of the Cultural Council of Richland and Lexington Counties, Andy Witt, has left the building. Neither Witt nor the Council are even vaguely familiar to many in the arts community, but the council still raises about $200,000 a year for distribution to arts groups and that’s an important chunk of change in these times.  It’s time for the council to take a good hard look at itself and figure out what it’s going to do other than tread water.

I’ll go against conventional wisdom here and declare that the Columbia Museum of Art is more important than the Mast General Store to Main Street. It’s actually kind of hard to keep up with everything the museum does because it does so much – from big touring exhibitions, to small shows by locals, to concerts.

The museum is closing off the year and starting the new one with a big show of Hudson River school paintings. My first walk through I thought “Wow there’s some really hackneyed stuff in here” and actually a couple other people said the same to me. Then I went back. Yes, there are sentimental things and a few pieces that are high-end tourist art, but most of it is really truly wonderful.  Except for the fact that all the paintings have glass on them.

The museum started the year with “Who Shot Rock and Roll,” a photography exhibition documenting the history of rock ‘n’ roll.  I figured it would be a door buster without much substance. Instead it was a nearly perfect show that melded documentation, a wide approach to the medium and the music, and a crazy mixed up population of big stars and unknowns. And the show was just the right size – big enough to provide real range and small enough that it wasn’t repetitious. The only thing that didn’t work for me was the huge images of David Lee Roth right by the exit.

Sandwiched between was the show of Michael Kenna’s haunting and technically-dazzling photos of Venice. This year the museum managed to have a bit of everything without stinting on quality.

The Conundrum Music Hall in West Columbia has provided an outlet for all kinds of new music – from improv jazz to contemporary classical to the plain old weird and self-indulgent. One of the highlights was a chamber group from the S.C. Philharmonic. Half the audience had never been to an orchestra concert and the other half had never been to West Columbia. And about 50 people were turned away because it was sold out.

Phillip Bush, the Columbia-based pianist with a rich resume, made his first appearance with a local orchestra, playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major. He and the young players sounded great.

The second concert of the season by the S.C. Philharmonic was all Mozart and all of it good. A seasoned pro playing the clarinet concerto, two teen-agers taking on a piano concerto, and a wonderful wrap-up with the “Jupiter” symphony.

Trustus Theatre founders Jim and Kay Thigpen plan to retire this spring and in the fall Jim Thigpen directed “August: Osage County” as his swan song. What a way to go out: one of the best productions at the theater during the past two decades.

As usual the Wideman-Davis Dance Company provided more surprises and depth with one more new work “Voypas.”

Many people seemed to be excited about the return of installation art to Artista Vista – and so was I since I put the show together. This is not a completely self-congratulatory note. All I did was pick artists who were good and competent and pretty nice. They did the rest. Well I did wash the windows and sweep. It was one of the best experiences of my life.




Tom Law Celebrates 4 Months at Conundrum with a Free Concert Featuring David Greenberger & The Shaking Ray Levis

Spoken word performer David Greenberger can claim the title artist in a number of ways.

As a young painter, Greenberger took a day job working at a nursing home to help pay the bills. But what he soon found was that, visual arts aside, the young man had struck gold in the form of the conversations he enjoyed with residents of the home. While most people who capitalize on conversations with the elderly focus on mining their memories, Greenberger is more interested in his subjects as individuals – normal and not-so-normal human beings with an agency and capacity to impact the world as much in their elder years as in their youth.

Greenberger began publishing a zine, The Duplex Planet, in 1979 in which he recorded his interviews with the residents of a Boston nursing home. He has since become a somewhat regular contributor to NPR’s All things Considered, developed Duplex Planet comics and CDs, and overseen spoken word performances of his collections – and he still publishes his zine.

But more importantly, Greenberger is coming to Columbia for a free performance, along with the Shaking Ray Levis, this Thursday night at Conundrum Music Hall. If you haven’t made it out to the coolest new music venue in the state yet, Thursday night’s concert and performance is the perfect opportunity. Conundrum is located at 626 Meeting Street, West Columbia. The show starts at 8 pm and, once again, it’s a free show and proprietor Tom Law’s special gift to the community.

And while you’re there, give Tom a pat on the back and wish him Happy Anniversary – it’s the 4 month anniversary of the hall.