In Jasper Vol. 3, No. 4: Motherboards + Matrixes: A Look at Runaway Runway designer Jesse Cody

"Artist, photographer, and veteran Runaway Runway designer Jesse Cody, 23, knows who her favorite artist is: it depends on when you ask her. 'Ask me when I wake up--it's Rene Magritte,' says Cody, comfortable in a faded Punisher movie t-shirt. 'Lunch time rolls around--it's Ryan Murphy. The sun starts to go down--it's Marilyn Manson.' 'But you know, I can't say that I can think of any one artist that has influenced my work,' says Cody, motioning towards the remnants of her Runaway Runway 2012 design. 'I believe it is, like most of my work, the love child of any and all artists in my mind, including myself.' ..." - Giesela Lubecke

For the full article and photos, click through the screenshot below:

Motherboards Screenshot

The Art Room Queen: Nancy Marine on the Runway

“My name is Ms. Marine! I am the Art Room Queen!” Nancy Marine awes the crowd with her fashion creations.  A competitor in the Columbia Design League’s annual fashion contest, Runaway Runway, Marine is a featured guest at this year’s “Meet the Designers: Runaway Runway” event, held at the Columbia Museum of Art. Tapping her boot on the stage, Marine demands that the technical assistant click to the next slide.

“Hit it,” says Marine, flicking her fuchsia-dyed bob with the back of her hand.  In the photographs, Marine is dressed as an art room warrior, pacing on a runway and roaring battle cries. Her warrior’s helmet sports a paintbrush Mohawk, and her mace is spiked with Elmer’s Glue-All caps.

Marine, 48, is an art teacher at Killian Elementary School in Richland County. Marine is single, and her only children are her art students. When she isn’t teaching, Marine enjoys urban line dancing, painting murals in her house and constructing outfits recycled from art supplies.

This will be Marine’s third consecutive year entering Columbia’s fashion competition  Runaway Runway, sponsored by Palmetto Clean Energy and held April 6.

The Event

Participants in Runaway Runway create and model outfits made from recycled materials to win prizes. The Columbia Design League’s official website states that Runaway Runway is intended to broaden the local community’s understanding of design and prove that environmentally-conscious clothing “can be fun, fabulous, fashionable and funky, too!”

Since 1992, Runaway Runway has grown, and in 2011, the show moved from 701 Whaley St. to a bigger venue at Columbia’s Township Auditorium. The Columbia Star reported that last year’s Runaway Runway, its 10th anniversary, attracted a crowd of over one thousand people.

This year’s lavish Runaway Runway after-party is funded by high-dollar sponsors, which range from Companion Global Healthcare, Inc. and Skirt! Magazine to organic alcohol companies American Harvest Distilling and Fetzer Vineyards.

The First Catwalk

Marine, a semifinalist in the last two Runaway Runways, lets loose her creativity at home. Her house is every bit as eccentric as she. A wooden zebra nests between the azalea bushes in her front yard, and the main hallway of her home features a collection of costume hats and dresses hung from nails.

Harry Potter trading cards line the baseboards of the walls.  Marine points to a full-length mirror painted as the Mirror of Erised. The mirror, from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, shows a person his or her deepest desire.

She pushes the coats on her coat rack aside and points at the mirror’s reflection of the Sorcerer’s Stone, which she painted on the opposite wall.

“You can see it, but you can’t get to it,” says Marine.

Runaway Runway 2011 was not spared from Marine’s artistic frenzy.  Marine made a flapper’s outfit, complete with matching hat and purse, entirely out of Juicy Fruit wrappers. She decorated her shoes with chewed bubble gum that she retrieved from students.

“I heard about Runaway Runway, and I went to the last one at 701,” says Marine. “I was like, ‘this is cool—I can do this.’”

Marine hadn’t expected such a high level of craftsmanship from the other entries, such as first-place winner Miles Purvis’ Mad Hatter outfit, made from re-purposed cans, curtains and peacock feathers.

“I was blown away by how good they were,” says Marine. “I wasn’t even top three in my dressing room.”

Marine went on to wear her Juicy Fruit outfit to several Columbia Museum of Art events later that year.

“She was wearing the foil wrapper necklace and carrying the Juicy Fruit box purse for a members-only reception,” says Shirley McGuinness, a friend of Marine. “That's what I love about Nancy. She puts full passion in creating her work. That kind of passion is really rare, and it's great to see it on the runway and beyond.”

Juicy Fruit


Two for Two

Marine entered two outfits for Runaway Runway 2012: the art room warrior, which Marine christened AMortinka, and a woven paper dress called “Crayola64.”

AMortinka’s outfit, which Marine modeled herself, was made from leftover art supplies from Marine’s classes.  An Amazon-inspired chest piece featured a cone bra made from crayons.

“I’m very trial and error so I made, like, three sets of just the tits,” says Marine. “One was too small, one was too big, and being a schoolteacher in the summer, I would work for two or three hours in the morning, and then I could just put it away.”

Marine set the outfit aside for three months to refresh her creativity, then picked the project up again in fall 2011. She constructed an alter ego and back-story for her outfit. Her alter ego, AMortinka, was a warrior princess cursed for stealing a red Crayola crayon.

AMortinka, according to Marine, was her most time-consuming piece.

“It just grew and grew,"  says Marine. “When she has a name, now she has to have a font and has to have a logo, and she has to have a story, and it just grew and grew and became so in-depth that she’s really a real-life character, very real to me.”


Taking Project AMortinka to the next level wasn’t Marine’s decision.

“It took me,” says Marine. “It just took me there. I’m surprised I didn’t get a tattoo, to be honest.”

Marine’s alter ego graces the posters for Runaway Runway 2013.  Pictures of the snarling AMortinka are taped inside store windows throughout downtown Columbia’s Five Points and the Vista.

“Crayola64,” Marine’s second entry, was modeled by friend Karen Corbett. The two-piece outfit was made from student art projects, which Marine cut into strips and wove together. She melted crayons to create a neck piece and glued together empty crayon boxes and Crayola Classic marker caps to form a belt.

All three of Marine’s past entries have been featured at “Runaway Runway: Meet the Designers” events.

Third Turn

Marine will display her new alter-ego, PrismaGleana, on the Runaway Runway stage. A rainbow fairy, PrismaGleana, late in choosing her own fairy color, was left with white, says Marine. Being resourceful and environmentally conscious, PrismaGleana decided to collect and use the wasted bits of color left behind by other fairies.

PrismaGleana’s outfit features a bell skirt made from a patio umbrella, a handmade paper bodice studded with brass fasteners and a tiara of umbrella spokes and crayons. Marine is just as dedicated to this year’s design, and has made business cards, gifts of crayon jewelry, and a reliquary to advertise PrismaGleana.

Marine also made a reliquary for AMortinka. Inside the reliquary is a false bottom, holding the red crayon AMortinka was cursed for stealing and a folded piece of paper.

“Only the keeper of it knows the secret of it,” says Marine. She leans forward, her voice lowering to a whisper.

“AMortinka is not real. She is a legend. I created her.”

~ Giesela Lubecke, Jasper Intern






The Sight of Sound: Squonk Opera’s “Mayhem and Majesty” at Harbison Theatre March 2-3

Performing arts ensemble Squonk Opera will perform their musical show “Mayhem and Majesty” at the Harbison Theatre March 2 at 7:30 p.m. and March 3 at 2 p.m.

Formed 1992 in Pittsburgh, Squonk Opera has performed over 250 concerts across the U.S. and toured internationally. In 2011, they reached the quarterfinals of “America’s Got Talent” season six.

Squonk Opera consists of a core duo, composer Jackie Dempsey and show designer Steve O’Hearn, who collaborate with several other artists and musicians for each show. The ensemble, christened by Dempsey, was named after the term “squonk-fest,” an onomatopoeia for a jazz saxophonist’s performance.

In “Mayhem and Majesty,” Squonk Opera poses a question: what does music look like?

“One thing we always kind of dance around is the issue of what imagery combines with what music, and how and when, and the different kind of abstract dynamics—the lights and the darks, and the fasts and the slows, and the bigs and the smalls,” said O’Hearn. “We thought we would approach that directly, and we looked at a lot of psychology books about both listening to and making music, and the physics and acoustics of sound waves, and that became the subject of this show.”

The show features a complex series of sound amplification, image projection and live feeds, which creates a visualized representation of music. One scene from the show, the most complicated according to O’Hearn, turns the stage into a singing, multimedia face.

“Essentially the whole stage becomes a dreamlike head in different mediums, in both projection and some live feed and props,” said O’Hearn. “It’s really in general about letting the audience make up their own kind of narratives and their own reasons and follow these abstract dynamics of images and sound that that kind of directly deal with that issue.“

Tickets to “Mayhem and Majesty” are $20 and can be bought online through Harbison Theatre’s website.

-- By Giesela Lubecke


Yippee-Ya-Ya! 2013 Mardi Gras Columbia parade and festival Saturday Feb. 9

Krewe de Columbia-ya-ya Poster by The Half and Half.


Dust off that jester’s hat and prepare to catch beads. Mardi Gras Columbia is back, hosted by the Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Ya and featuring a parade, food and festivities Feb. 9 from noon to 10 p.m.

This will be the third annual Mardi Gras Columbia. The first Mardi Gras Columbia was organized in 2011 as a fundraiser for local Wil-Moore Farms, after a Feb. 2011 fire destroyed their barn.

Musician Tom Hall, along with others involved in Columbia’s local food community, formed the Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Ya to raise money for Wil-Moore Farms. The 2011 Mardi Gras Columbia raised $2500, helping Wil-Moore Farms to pay for a new barn.

Proceeds for this year’s Mardi Gras Columbia will benefit The Animal Mission, which funds free spay and neuter programs throughout S.C.

The 2013 Mardi Gras Columbia will kick off with a parade from noon to 1:30 p.m., starting and ending at City Roots, 1005 Airport Boulevard. After the parade ends, the festival begins at City Roots, which will have live music performances and food, including Cajun, Creole and Charleston Lowcountry cuisine.

The Mardi Gras Columbia King and Queen this year are director and Travelstead Award winner Bud Ferillo and musician Danielle Howle, who will also perform live during the festival.

Other musicians and bands set to perform at Mardi Gras Columbia include Carey Hudson of Blue Mountain, The Captain Midnight Band and Andy Friedman.




Introducing His and Her Majesties

King Bud Ferillo and Queen Danielle Howle

“My goodness, I was born a peasant and am now a King,” said King Ferillo, excited to reign as monarch of Mardi Gras Columbia.

King Ferillo and Queen Howle ascended to the 2013 Mardi Gras Columbia throne, previously occupied in 2012 by King Emile DeFelice, founder of the All-Local Farmer’s Market, and Queen Debbie McDaniel, owner of Revente and Sid and Nancy.

King Ferillo’s first command as ruler of Mardi Gras Columbia was to declare his motto “Every Man is a King and Every Woman is a Queen.”

“I am asking Tom Hall, the minstrel maestro of Ya Ya Land, to amend and sing appropriate lyrics to Louisiana's populist Governor Huey Long's campaign song ‘Every Man A King’,” said His Majesty.

Hall’s band the Plowboys are set to play at this year’s festival, and the King has high expectations for Hall to put on a good show. His Majesty has decreed that, should Hall fail to meet expectations, then “off with his head,” although His Majesty, famous across Ya-Ya Land for a good sense of humor, will probably only put Hall in the stocks.

King Ferillo is pleased to sit on the throne alongside Her Majesty Queen Howle.

“I couldn't have a niftier partner than Queen Danielle of Awendaw,” said His Majesty. Queen Howle also expressed her excitement for the upcoming festival.

“I am feeling excellent Kung fu for Feb 9th,” said Her Majesty. “May the spirit of the Ya-Ya's great love and awakening powers prevail over all.”

-- By Giesela Lubecke



Columbia City Ballet's new Snow White by Jasper intern Giesela Lubecke

Snow White is making her comeback. Last year’s “Snow White and the Huntsman” grossed nearly $400 million worldwide, and the ABC series “Once Upon a Time” a revamp of the tale set in 21st century Maine, was the network’s biggest debut in five years. The Columbia City Ballet has jumped on the fairy tale bandwagon and will begin their spring 2013 season with three performances of “Snow White” at USC’s Koger Center February 1st and 2nd.

This isn’t the first rendition of “Snow White” performed by the Columbia City Ballet. A rendition of Snow White heavily influenced by the Walt Disney movie was first performed in 1989, and two children-friendly versions of Snow White were also performed in 1995 and 2009 through the Ballet’s Educational Outreach Series.

This season’s version, however, has been reinvented by Executive and Artistic Director William Starrett. Starrett, an accomplished dancer and choreographer with more than 30 years of experience, himself danced the part of Prince Charming in the Columbia City Ballet’s 1989 rendition and also implemented Educational Outreach.


Referring to this new rendition of Snow White as “very un-Disney,” Starrett decided to flesh out this year’s version of Snow White, thickening the story’s plot. “There’s more meat to it,” said Starrett.

Starrett drew inspiration from the Grimm Brothers’ version of the fairy tale, a much darker and more morbid story than the 1937 Disney movie. A Russian version of Snow White, “The Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights,” written 1833 by Aleksandr Pushkin, led Starrett to feature knights as Snow White’s protectors rather than the standard dwarfs.

Starrett also took pains to focus more on the character of the Queen (played by Regina Willoughby) and fully establish her evilness. The ballet begins with the marriage of the Queen to Snow White’s father, the King, and his subsequent murder. The Huntsman, ordered to slay the innocent Snow White (played by Claire Kallimanis), also plays a more important and ultimately tragic role in the story as the Queen’s lover.

Starrett decided to retain a few sentimental elements of the Disney version. The Grimm’s Snow White awakes from her sleep when she coughs up the poisoned bite of apple. “I thought it wasn’t romantic enough,” said Starrett, who chose to keep in the ballet the spell-breaking kiss from Prince Charming (played by Journy Wilkes-Davis).

Two versions of Snow White will be performed at the Koger Center. The evening performances, at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1 and 2, are geared for more mature audiences, and before each show Starrett will give the audience a behind-the-scenes lecture.

The matinee, at 3:00 p.m. Feb. 2, is a toned down, family-friendly version. Before the Feb. 2 matinee, a “Snow White Tea” event will be held, offering tea, cakes, cookies and an opportunity to meet the dancers. After the matinee, audience members have the opportunity to go backstage.

Tickets to the Columbia City Ballet’s “Snow White” must be purchased in advance through Prices range from $15-$38. Balcony seating for the performances are now sold out.