Art + Community = Photos from Last Night

Art = good

Community = good.

Art + community = lucky Columbia, SC

Below are just a few photos from September's First Thursday Gallery Crawl last night. Inspiring art. Joyous faces. Friends. Family. A community of artists and arts lovers that grows in complexity, diversity, gifts, and talent with every event held.

Don't stay home. Don't be alone. Don't be apart from it all; be a part of it all.

Tonight -- Cola-Con 2011 featuring Talib Kweli at Columbia Museum of Art

And, First September Art Bar Improve Comedy Players at The Art Bar

And, Whiskey Tango Review CD Release party at 5 Points Pub with The Capitol City Playboys

And, Bey's Gays -- name says it all -- at Bey's 711 Harden Street

And tomorrow -- SC Pride 2011 Parade and Festival at Finlay Park

Next Door Drummers with Dick Moons and Lee Ann Kornegay


(L to R), Jasper webmaven Lenza Jolley, Jasper editor Cindi Boiter, Bonnie Boiter-Jolley and Coralee Harris


Natalie Starr Mudd and Terrell Rittenhouse (Terrell modeled for Linda Toro's show below)


Poster for Linda Toro's delightfully non-heteronormative photog exhibit at Frame of Mind


Maria Mungo and Ann Smith Hankins

(Maria and Ann -- Anastasia's Mom -- helped serve at Anastasia & Friends Gallery - glorious peanut soup prepared by Marvin Chernoff & vino courtesy of Roe Young)


Anastasia Chernoff and Roe Young

Art (Tapp's Arts Center) by Kirkland Smith

Artist David West & Baby Boy at Anastasia & Friends


Cindi (right) with Columbia Arts guru & dear friend, Jeffrey Day

Artist, Thomas Crouch in Tapp's Center window

From the Baboon and Wolf Series by Thomas Crouch

(possibly Baboon IV and, if so, now Cindi's)

From the Baboon and Wolf Series by Thomas Crouch

Tapp's Art Center Gang featuring Brenda Schwartz Miller

(More from the Tapp's folks, this time with Molly Harrell, and depicting more of the Crouch exhibit)

Jenny Maxwell with fodder for "Obsessions -- A Fine Line Between Collecting and Hoarding" - still on display at the Tapp's Arts Center, Main Street Columbia

SCA Group -- Abstractalexandra

SCA Group - - Joanne Crouch

Shame On You

I’ve been thinking a lot about shame lately. If this blog had a soundtrack it would be Evelyn Champagne King, 1978, “Shame.” (Yeah, I'm listening to it again while I write. Listen along!)

You can see him, can’t you? That skinny gay kid with bad Barry Manilow hair, dancing in front of his mirror to the eight-track tape….

Maybe I’m thinking about shame because I spent some time in my childhood home earlier this year, sleeping in that bedroom. (The mirror and the eight-track player and the Barry Manilow hairdo are gone now.  It gets better.)

Maybe it’s also because this is Gay Pride week in Columbia—rainbow banners on every street.  Pride is supposed to be the opposite of shame, a way of reclaiming as good an identity that has been, in the past, pathologized, demonized, stigmatized. (I do love those rainbow banners. I remember how excited we were, when I was on the Pride planning committee years ago, and that first gay pride street banner went up. We kept driving by it, smiling.) Pride is shame turned inside out. (A list of Pride events can be found here.)

Mostly, though, it’s because I’ve been working with the Sebastian art show, which I wrote about in an earlier blog. The beauty of the vilified.

Shame is a fundamental emotion of our childhoods—I think that it is amplified for some gay and lesbian kids. Therapists like to draw a distinction between shame and guilt: guilt is what we feel for something we’ve done or haven’t done, but shame is what we feel for who we are. It’s connected to our identities.

Shame can’t be erased or excised or purged. Nope, the residue of it sticks to us, no matter how much we try to wash it away, pretend it's not there. All we can do is transfigure it in some way, use it, understand it, recognize it, learn from it.

And write about it.

So in my poems about Sebastian, I was thinking about how and why we learn from shame, from the ways we’re shamed and the feelings of shame and the ongoing effects of shame. I don’t have answers; I was thinking of my poems as gestures, provocations, explorations, attempts. I was thinking about Sebastian and John O'Hara and Pinhead and Debussy and archery books and ampallangs and the Cowardly Lion. (Dorothy yells at him, “Shame on you,” before he breaks into his song: “It’s sad believe me, missy, when you’re born to be a sissy….”)

I wrote a series of poems or prayers for Sebastian. Here’s the last one of the series:

For Saint Sebastian

Arms, be bound. Legs bound, rope wound.

The rope that binds is shame. The arrow is shame, the bow.

Shame is a wound, shame is a caul. That we may learn the eloquence of shame.

That we may learn that the arrows do not kill you.

The tree stiffens the spine. The arrows do not kill us.


I’m still listening to Evelyn Champagne King. I know she’s singing about something else, but still, those lyrics sing for me. “Gonna love you just the same. Mama just don’t understand….”

- Ed Madden


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