Supper Table Spotlight: Writer Kristine Hartvigsen and Actor LaTrell Brennan


We’re featuring the artists from the Supper Table project throughout the summer. This is the 16th in our series on Supper Table Artists

Literary Artist Kristine Hartvigsen

Literary Artist Kristine Hartvigsen

Althea Gibson is mostly remembered as a tennis player, and for good reason. She was the first black athlete to break racial barriers of international tennis, specifically when she became the first black American to win a Grand Slam title. Beyond this, though, Gibson was a golfer, a singer, and a woman, a human. She was a black woman trying to be a human being that had access to the same rights and activities as everyone around her, not through activism but through existing and doing her work.


The literary artist who captured Gibson’s life for the Supper Table is Kristine Hartvigsen. Former assistant editor of Jasper Magazine as well as a number of publications in the SC Midlands, Hartvigsen is an author who finds beauty in the human condition, using words to express raw stories of love, loss, hurt, anger, lust, envy and more. She currently holds a position at Piedmont Technical College as a public information specialist, but she has done much journalistic work throughout her years. Hartvigsen has had her literary work published in multiple outlets, including State of the Heart, Fall Lines, and more. She authored To the Wren Nesting, a poetry chapbook published by Muddy Ford Press, and she was twice a finalist at the SC Poetry Initiative. She is currently working on her next book, The Soul Mate Poem.


The following is an excerpt of Hartvigsen’s essay on Gibson written for the upcoming book, Setting the Supper Table, which will be launched on Friday night, September 6th at the Supper Table premiere event at Trustus Theatre:


Singles success at Wimbledon in 1956, however, was not meant to be for Althea. She had unwittingly exhausted herself in the tournaments played on the way to the All England Club. U.S. government officials were pleased overall with Althea’s world tour. She had conducted herself according to traditional conventions and represented her country well. She was more consistent and less nervous. Most importantly, she had done nothing to harm America’s equal rights image around the world. The U.S. Supreme Court had just declared bus segregation unconstitutional, so the country was on a race-relations roll.


Fast forward to 1957, arguably the pinnacle year in Althea’s tennis career. She was absolutely focused on Wimbledon above all other tournaments. She wouldn’t make the same mistake twice and made sure to be well trained and well rested before crossing the pond. Before it was all over, Althea was poised in Centre Court facing Darlene Hard in the final. This was the moment. In near triple-digit heat, it took Althea only 50 minutes to overwhelm Hard in two sets and win the singles crown. It seemed almost surreal as officials from the All England Club unfurled the red carpet at courtside, and Queen Elizabeth, who had witnessed it all, approached.


As cameras clicked rapid-fire, Althea executed her perfectly practiced curtsey, and Queen Elizabeth shook her hand before presenting the iconic Venus Rosewater platter. She was the first black Wimbledon champion in the tournament’s history. That evening at the time-honored Wimbledon ball, Althea delivered her acceptance speech, saying: “In the words of your own distinguished Mr. Churchill, this is my finest hour. This is the hour I will remember always as the crowning conclusion to a long a wonderful journey.” At the insistence of guests at the ball, Althea sang “If I Loved You” and “Around the World.” It was like a true-life fairy tale.


Taking this power and putting into a physical performance is LaTrell Brennan. Brennan is a professional stage, film, and voice over actor with over ten years of experience. She is a Trustus Theatre company member and has been seen in productions such as Silence! The Musical (Ardelia), Fun Home (Joan), Barbecue (Marie), and In the Red and Brown Water (Shun). Some of her film credits include Crosswalk, which won the 2013 Second Act Film Festival Audience Award, and Foundation, which won the 2012 University of South Carolina Campus MovieFest Best Drama Silver Tripod Award. For the latter film, she also won the Best Actress Silver Tripod Award and was a Best Actress Golden Tripod finalist at the 2012 Hollywood Campus MovieFest.


LaTrell Brennan

LaTrell Brennan

Theatre artist LaTrell Brennan has been looking back on the life of Althea Gibson and at the nature of her existence to prepare for her role as Gibson in the upcoming performance of Gathering at the Table, the performative aspect of the Supper Table premiere to be held first at Trustus and then at Harbison Theatre on September 6th and 8th respectively. Gibson never wanted to be an activist; she just wanted to play tennis. She wanted to work at what she loved, wanted to be good at it, for what she could do, not for the color of her skin. Yet, everyone expected Althea to be an activist, to use her experiences of racial discrimination to fight back against a country that only wanted her when she was their winner. However, Althea Gibson chose to use her body to fight her own battles instead of her voice to fight others. Whether this is a weakness or a strength or a culmination of both, this is what Brennan hopes to highlight in her performance.


To read the rest of Hartvigsen’s essay, located in our book Setting the Supper Table, and to see Brennan’s performance of Althea Gibson, come to one of our opening events on either September 6th at Trustus (going fast!) or September 8th at Harbison.

The Stone Necklace Sparks Multidisciplinary Arts Events


In celebration of the 2016 One Book, One Community selection, The Stone Necklace by Carla Damron (USC Press, 2016) a number of multi-disciplinary arts events are planned to more fully enjoy the community reading experience, including a three-person photography exhibit opening on Thursday, February 4th with a panel presentation by the participating photographers. In the weeks to come additional programs involving theatre arts and music, all inspired by a reading of The Stone Necklace, are also planned.

Set against the backdrop of contemporary Columbia, South Carolina, The Stone Necklace braids together the stories of a grieving widow, a struggling nurse, a young mother, and a homeless madman, reminding us of the empowering and surprising ways in which our lives touch one another and through which, together, we recover from even the greatest of losses. Bestselling and award-winning author Mary Alice Monroe praises The Stone Necklace as “a celebration of the transformative power of shared experiences and of the connections that bind us.”


Cemetery by Thomas Hammond


Off Page – Photography: Artists Respond to The Stone Necklace will open on the Tapp’s Arts Center on Thursday, February 4th as part of the First Thursday celebration of Columbia arts. Columbia photographers Thomas Hammond, Robert Coffey, and Kristine Hartvigsen, having read advanced copies of the novel, will show the work they created in response. A brief panel presentation discussing the exhibit will take place at 7 pm in the Fountain Room downstairs at Tapp’s. Free.


Vicky Saye Henderson


Off Page – On Stage: Imrov with Vicky Saye Henderson will take place on Thursday, February 11th at 7 pm in the Skyline Room of Tapp’s Arts Center.  In a program created by local theatre artist and educator Vicky Saye Henderson based in part on Damron’s novel, Henderson will lead an improvisation workshop and demonstration.  Free.


Cully Salehi and Todd Mathis

Off Page – Music: A Musical Response to The Stone Necklace featuring original work created by Todd Mathis and Cully Salehi in response to the novel The Stone Necklace will take place on Saturday, February 20th at 7 pm at the Deckle Edge Literary Festival Saturday Night Reception at Main Street Agape. Tickets available via Brown Paper Tickets.

The above events are presented via a partnership between One Book, One Columbia, One Columbia for Arts and History, Jasper Magazine, The University of South Carolina Press, and Richland Library.

About the Artists


South Carolinian Carla Damron is a fiction writer, clinical social worker, and author of the Caleb Knowles mystery novels Keeping Silent, Spider Blue, and Death in Zooville in which she explores addiction, homelessness, and other social issues. Her short stories have appeared in Fall Lines, Six Minute Magazine, Melusine, In Posse Review,and other journals. Named the 2014 South Carolina Social Worker of the Year, Damron holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from Queens University and a master's degree in social work from the University of South Carolina.

Thomas Hammond is a freelance photojournalist from Columbia, South Carolina specializing in human interest, political, and cultural stories from the heart of the American South to the Middle East and wherever else the road takes him. In 2015, he won a South Carolina Press Association award for his work documenting the war and humanitarian crisis in and around Syria. More recently, he's covered local stories such as the removal of the Confederate flag, the devastation of the recent floods, and the evolution of the local music scene.

Born in San Francisco, California, Kristine Hartvigsen earned a bachelor’s degree in education and completed graduate studies in journalism at the University of South Carolina. She began her journalism career in the mid-1980s at The State and The Columbia Record newspapers. She is a past editor of South Carolina Business and Lake Murray-Columbia magazines as well as a past associate editor of Jasper magazine. Her photography has been published in:  Sandlapper, South Carolina Business Monthly, Lake Murray-Columbia, Columbia Business Monthly, and Jasper magazines; in The State, the Free-Times, the Myrtle Beach Sun News, Lowcountry Life, and the Georgetown Times newspapers; as well as in print and online publications of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, The Nature Conservancy of South Carolina, and the South Carolina Education Association. In 2012, Muddy Ford Press published her first poetry collection, To the Wren Nesting.

Vicky Saye Henderson is a performer and teaching artist, whose projects include live stage, film, TV, voice-overs and cabaret. On staff at Trustus Theatre, she serves as Director of Education and Professional Development.  She is also a member of Trustus' residential performing ensemble, appearing most recently in The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical. She is the recipient of the SC Arts Commission's 2015 Individual Artist Fellowship in Acting and was named the 2013 Jasper Artist of the Year in Theatre. She received her improv training in Orlando, FL (KVG Studios) and is co-director of Trustus' Improv and Sketch Comedy master track Apprentice Company program. Vicky recently provided vocal narration for USC Press' audiobook of Carla Damron's novel, The Stone Necklace. 

For the past 15 years, Todd Mathis has been a solid fixture of the South Carolina music scene, and well beyond, playing in a number of groups from the indie soul of Betty Sneetch to the Brit-tinged rock of Boxing Day (Universal/Republic), fronting the alt-country turned rock of American Gun, crafting the soundscapes of Interruptions of the Mind, and releasing a few solo albums along the way.

Cully Salehi, a graduate of North Carolina School of the Arts, began her journey in music as an orchestral violist. After eight years of classical playing she began exploring the worlds of improvisation, jazz, and rock. Since contributing viola and keys to North Carolina Indie rock group Silver Hill Mine, she has performed several seasons with Columbia Community Orchestra and Lake Murray Symphony Orchestra. She currently enjoys playing local venues, growing in her own songwriting, and collaborating on recording projects at Jangly Records.


Announcing the 2015 Jasper Artists of the Year

It was a beautiful night of revisiting the best of the Italian Renaissance at the Big Apple last night when we announced and celebrated the 2015 Jasper Artists of the Year. Without further ado, the winners are: Martha Brim pictured with Jasper Contributing Dance Editor Bonnie Boiter-Jolley


Julia Elliott with Jasper Literary Arts Editor Ed Madden


Craig Butterfield pictured with Jasper Music Editor Michael Spawn


Dewey Scott-Wiley pictured with Jasper Assistant Editor Kyle Petersen


Kimi Maeda pictured with Jasper Editor Cindi Boiter



Congratulations to all the JAY Winners and Finalists!

Thanks to Kristine Hartvigsen for photography, Mouse House for framing, Singing Fox for event planning, and Coal Powered Filmworks for Sponsorship. Special thanks to the shared talents of Duo Cortado, Cathering Hunsinger, the Trustus Apprentices, Chris Carney, and Jasper's Wet Ink spoken word poetry collective.

Soda City Cirque - ‘Finding Elysian’ is the Cat’s Meow

Soda City Cirque 4  By Kristine Hartvigsen

It’s pretty clear that cats “own” us humans and sometimes revel in ignoring us when we’re baby-talking our best to get their attention. But imagine if the humans were to ignore a cat. And what if that cat were a neglected feline goddess from an idyllic celestial world called Elysian – a world experiencing the dire consequences of its citizens’ emotional neglect. Resolving these conflicts is the premise behind Soda City Cirque’s stunning new show “Finding Elysian.”


“Finding Elysian is about the idea of co-existing worlds and time travel,” company member Kendal Turner explains during a company rehearsal at an Irmo gym. “It’s the case of a missing cat,” Artemis, who has been stolen and carried back to Elysian, where she was the goddess ruler before she ran away, unhappy about being taken for granted.


Soda City Cirque 2

The delightful 90-minute play opens in the laboratory of scientist Tess (played by Kendal). Artemis the cat (played by Rachel Hipszer) plays on the floor while Tess conducts experiments in the hope of finding an alternate world and a vehicle for getting there. It is late, and Tess decides to go to sleep. She soon is awakened by a commotion in the other room, and she finds that Artemis is missing and there is a magic porthole now glowing from her wall. Believing she must be dreaming, Tess steps through the porthole.


What follows is a medley of discoveries accompanied by Elysians performing various vignettes that include fire-handling, trapeze, hula hoop, pole and belly dance, acrobatics, and more. Tess learns her cat’s true identity and that Artemis’s absence has created darkness and tumult where joy and love once resided. Ultimately, Tess joins forces with the Elysians to save Artemis and restore their ailing utopia.

Soda City Cirque 1

The story is loosely based on the mythical Elysian Fields, which represent paradise or heaven in Greek mythology. “We are 100 percent collaborative,” Kendal says. “Anyone in the group can introduce an idea. … We all come up with the story idea together, and I write the script. Everyone is in charge of the individual pieces that they bring to the show.”


Standout performances abound. As Artemis, Rachel Hipszer is dazzling on an apparatus called the “canes” on which she seems to defy gravity (as cats are known to do). Exemplifying polish and enormous physical strength, she executes a number of amazing moves from a handstand position atop vertical canes. She also later performs a mesmerizing aerialist routine hanging from fabric silks that descend from above.

Soda City Cirque 5

Mike Tanner, who plays Mason, makes spinning plates on a stick look easy. But his pièce de résistance defies imagination. He places three planks separated by spacers atop a single spindle, climbs on top and balances on the constantly rolling contraption while simultaneously maneuvering his body in and out of hand-held hoops. It is, truly, out of this world.


There a number of “firsts” in this – Soda City Cirque’s fourth official performance. “This is the first show when we have had multiple speaking characters,” Kendal says. It’s also the first time Soda City Cirque has had several fire performers on stage all at the same time.

Soda City Cirque 3

For this performance, the troupe is partnering with Palmetto Place Children’s Shelter and giving free tickets to children from the shelter. “It’s always fun when there are kids in the audience,” Kendal says. “And they get to experience the magic that is live theater.”


As the visionary Gidget, Elizabeth Feretti is hypnotic on the trapeze, epitomizing grace and determination high above the circus floor. As faerie Lenora, Eva Romero captivates the audience with a pole performance that celebrates feminine strength and beauty. As Celeste, Gina Wolfe performs a trapeze-like routine hanging from a hoola-hoop and also carries out an exciting piece with a flaming hoola-hoop while she is flanked by several other fire performers. There really is so much to love in this production.


Kendal is especially proud of the show’s opening act, during which six company members pull off a grand acrobatic performance, creating geometric structures with their bodies.


“We have never done that before, multi-person ‘builds,’” she says. Troupe members are regular people, and most work a full-time day job. “We are all normal people with extraordinary talents. We are normal people with normal bodies.”


It is imperative that the company continually challenge itself. “We have three new members for this show. We are trying a lot of new things. We don’t want to stagnate,” Kendal explains. “In order to get our audience to come back, we have to keep testing ourselves. … Every time we do a show, I worry that no one will come out and see it. Is anyone going to care about this as much as we do?”


In the end, Finding Elysian is about finding balance, living consciously, and celebrating diversity. “For me, it symbolizes the simple act of saying thank you,” Kendal says. “A lot of us don’t take the time to say: ‘I see you; I hear you. Thank you!’”


Finding Elysian will be presented over two consecutive weekends, September 4-5 and September 11-12 at 7:30 p.m. at Conundrum Music Hall in West Columbia. Bring a lawn chair. Tickets are $20 for general audiences and $10 for children under 10. Available for purchase online at Find Soda City Cirque on Facebook.  


Welcome Wade Sellers -- Jasper's New Film Editor

jasper screens It was about this time two years ago when a small group of us gathered in my living room out at Muddy Ford and discussed what we wanted out of the new Columbia arts magazine we were building, Jasper. Having written for national magazines for years, I felt comfortable on the writing side of things. But having always been peevish about people talking -- or worse, writing -- about things they know little about, it was important from the start that we only bring in staff members who know a great deal about their subject matter. Experts in the field, if you will. Folks who have the vocabulary and are proficient in the theory and methods about which they would write.

It was a pretty small group of us at first. Ed Madden took on the literary arts and Kyle Petersen, music. Thankfully, Heyward Sims agreed to be our design editor -- a huge task and a huge load off of my mind to know that our words and photography would be handled by someone who would respect them, as well as enjoy and experiment with the process of putting them on paper. And Kristine Hartvigsen was and continues to be a great source of advice and encouragement.

It didn't take long for the magazine family to grow with long-time theatre aficionado August Krickel joining the staff as theatre editor,  Bonnie Boiter-Jolley as dance editor (it seemed only natural), and Forrest Clonts as photography editor -- another huge job given that Forrest is responsible for arranging for all the photographs to be taken, and then editing them and preparing them for publication. Last summer, Annie Boiter-Jolley signed on as our operations manager -- a tremendous underuse of her skill set, but we're thrilled to have her. Just before Christmas this year, Chris Robinson from USC joined us as our visual arts editor -- a position I had been wanting to fill with the right person since the inception of the magazine. And now, finally, local filmmaker and documentarian Wade Sellers has come on board as our film editor.

Jasper's new film editor Wade Sellers


Wade is the owner and executive director of Coal Powered Filmworks and, among many other things, the person who brings you the excellent SC ETV series on South Carolinians and their involvement in WWII. Wade is always hopping on a plan and heading for all points exciting so I'm practically over-the-moon that he has agreed to share his wisdom with us. And when I say that he has wisdom and experience, I'm not kidding -- in all aspects of filmmaking. He has served as the director of four films, cinematographer on seven, writer on three, and editor and producer on two, not to mention working as camera, gaffer or grip on nine more. And he's been nominated for two Emmys.

Wade came to work ready to make things happen in the Columbia film community. You'll see the product of his work in the next issue of Jasper coming out on Friday night, July 12th. And you'll also hear him announce some exciting news about an additional film festival in Columbia (organized with the blessing of our friends at the Nickelodeon.)

So please help us welcome Wade to the Jasper family. He fits in so well - it feels like he's been here forever.

Schedule for Muddy Ford Press at the SC Book Festival

MFP final logo

Muddy Ford Press

at the

SC Book Festival



Saturday, May 18th


11 – 12:30 Muddy Ford Press Booth #416

Don McCallister will be signing Fellow Traveler

11:20 – 12:10 in Lexington Meeting Room A

Cindi Boiter will sit on the USC Press Panel for State of the Heart with Aida Rogers, Pat Conroy, Ken Burger, Billy Deal, and Sandra Johnson. Signing will follow.

2:30 – 4 Muddy Ford Press Booth #416

Alejandro Garcia Lemos and Cindi Boiter will be signing Red Social:  Portraits of Collaboration


4:10 – 5 in Lexington Meeting Room B

Don McCallister, Janna McMahan, Aida Rogers, and Kristine Hartvigsen will present a panel on The Limelight – Highlighting Columbia’s Artist Community, moderated by Cindi Boiter. Signing will follow – all Limelight contributors are invited to join the panel for signing following the presentation


Sunday, May 19th


12 – 2 Muddy Ford Press Booth #16

Kristine Hartvigsen will be signing To the Wren Nesting


1:15 – 2:05 in Lexington Meeting Room B

Cindi Boiter will sit on a panel for Collections of the South:  Anthologies Celebrating Writers in Community with Curtis Worthington and Brian Carpenter

2 – 3:30 Muddy Ford Press Booth #416

Laurie Brownell McIntosh will be signing All the In Between:  My Story of Agnes

2:20 – 3:10 in Lexington Meeting Room A

Cindi Boiter will sit on a panel on Short Stories with Cliff Graubart, Stephanie Powell Watts, moderated by Michelle Maitland





The Next Big Thing - by Cindi Boiter

I feel a little guilty using What Jasper Said to post my answers to The Next Big Thing, the hot new meme going around our community in which writers tag one another and ask that they write about their newest projects. But given that my newest project was published by Muddy Ford Press and that MFP underwrites Jasper Magazine, there's a sweet symbiosis to it that I cannot deny. Here's how it works -- after having been tagged (my thanks to Cassie Premo Steele for tagging me), the newly tagged author is required to self-interview, answering 10 pre-determined questions. After having answered these questions, she tags another five writers to do the same.

Here goes.

What is the working title of your book?

The Limelight -- A Compendium of Contemporary Columbia Artists, volume 1

What is the genre of your book?

Essay collection

Where did the idea come from?

Columbia, SC is a city that is reeling with a multitude of artists from different genres, particularly the literary arts. We have an inordinate number of professional writers here, yet we don't really have a sense of ourselves as a writing community -- though we are. I'd love to play some part in helping us to form a more unified community of writers. I want Columbia to be known as a "writers' town." To that end, I invited 18 local writers to contribute first person narrative essays about another local artist -- writer, visual artist, musician, dancer, theatre artist, whatever -- who had influenced them in some way.  I had the pleasure of editing the essays.

Clearly, one volume is not enough to represent the artists and authors we have here, so I decided to serialize the compendium with the plan of publishing it on an annual basis.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Columbia, SC essayists sing the praises of Columbia, SC artists.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I issued the call for essays in the summer of 2012 with an autumn deadline. We went to press in February 2013.

Who or what inspired you to write it?

The community of Columbia artists.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My book was published by Muddy Ford Press.

What other books would you compare this book to within your genre?

I don't really know of any other books with the same model.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Well, there are 36 "characters" if we include both the contributors and the subjects of their essays.

The essay I wrote was about the artist Blue Sky, so, naturally Clint Eastwood would play Blue. For me? Lisa Kudrow or Terri Garr.

Ed Madden would be played by Jon Cryer and James Dickey by Jon Voight.

Jeffrey Day? Woody Allen, of course. James Busby would be played by Channing Tatum (that's right, I said it.)

I'd like to cast Christopher Walken to play someone, but I'm not sure who ... a much older Chad Henderson, maybe? Just for kicks?

Patrick Wilson would play Kyle Petersen with Sheryl Crow playing Danielle Howle (though I like Danielle's voice far better).

Billy Murray would play the part of Stephen Chesley and the part of Susan Lenz would be played by Julia Louis Dreyfus.

Vicky Saye Henderson would play herself.

What else about your manuscript might pique the reader's interest?

Some of the first lines are spectacular. For example, poet Ray McManus opens his essay about Terrance Hayes with this, "When you're a boy growing up in rural South Carolina, and you want to be a poet, you should first learn to fight."

And ballet dancer Bonnie Boiter-Jolley's first line about her mentor Stacey Calvert is brutally honest when she says, "When I first met Stacey Calvert over a decade ago, she explained to me how being a dancer is a very selfish thing."

And there are 16 more.


That's the end of the interview and I have to admit that it was fun. In an effort to share the fun and keep this meme going I'm tagging Aida Rogers, Don McCallister, Debbie Daniel, Kristine Hartvigsen, and Susan Levi Wallach. And I'm inviting them all to post their answers to me so I can share them with our readers. I think there's something about Wednesdays and deadlines also as I was tagged on a Wednesday and told to blog on the next Wednesday. So, by next Wednesday, I hope to have even more Next Big Things to share.

Thanks for reading,





First Lines -- an invitation from Jasper

"As she sat stunned in her car on Charleston's rickety old John P. Grace Memorial Bridge, trapped precariously 150 feet above the swift-moving waters of the Cooper River, ..."


"When you're a boy growing up in rural South Carolina, and you want to be a poet, you should first learn to fight."


"It was a Tuesday night in the spring of 1988 and I decided to head down to Pug's in Five Points for the weekly jam session."


"This essay is not an act of revenge."


"Bastille Day 2001, personal date of independence."


"It's a particularly hot summer day, even for Columbia, when I parallel park my car on Washington Street and notice a tall, lanky gentleman as he moves stiffly to reposition an over-sized canvas by the curb."


"It began with a gift."

 Ahh, first lines.

Every literary adventure you've ever been on began with one.

Please join the Jasper and Muddy Ford Press family today as we celebrate the first lines above and more than a dozen more when we launch our newest book,

The Limelight – A Compendium of Contemporary Columbia Artists,

volume 1,

with a launch party from 5 – 8 pm at Tapp’s Arts Center on Main Street in Columbia.

The $15 admission to the event includes a copy of The Limelight ($18 after 2/24/13), music, food, and the opportunity to gather signatures from authors and artists in attendance at the launch. For couples wishing to share a book, admission is $25.

There will be a cash bar.

The Limelight, published by Muddy Ford Press, LLC, is the first volume in a serialized collection of 18 first-person, narrative essays written by professional Columbia authors and artists about professional Columbia authors and artists. It is the sixth book to be published by Muddy Ford Press since February 2012.

Edited by Jasper Magazine founder and editor Cynthia Boiter, The Limelight – A Compendium of Contemporary Columbia Artists, Volume 1 is a serialized collection of first person narrative essays written by Columbia, SC writers and artists about Columbia, SC writers and artists. As the Southeast’s newest arts destination, Columbia is bursting with visual, literary, and performing artists whose work has caught the attention of the greater arts world at large, and these essays tell the stories of how the influence of these artists has spread. New York Times best-selling author Janna McMahan, for example, writes about spending a day touring Beaufort, SC, the hometown of literary giant Pat Conroy, with the writer himself. Poet Ed Madden writes about the disconcerting words of advice he received from dying poet and professor James Dickey when Madden took over teaching the last academic course of Dickey’s career. Music writers Michael Miller and Kyle Petersen share insights on saxophone great Chris Potter and contemporary singer-songwriter Danielle Howle, respectively, and poet Cassie Premo Steele writes about the inspiration stemming from her friendship with nationally-known visual artist Philip Mullen.

These 18 essays include works by and about poets Nikky Finney, Terrance Hayes, Marjory Wentworth, Ray McManus, Cassie Premo Steele, Kristine Hartvigsen, Colena Corbett, and Ed Madden; visual artists Philip Mullen, Gilmer Petroff, Blue Sky, James Busby, Stephen Chesley, and Susan Lenz; musicians Chris Potter and Danielle Howle; dancers Stacey Calvert and Bonnie Boiter-Jolley; actors and directors Robert Richmond, Greg Leevy, Chad Henderson, Vicky Saye Henderson, Jim and Kay Thigpen, and Alex Smith; and writers and editors James Dickey, Pat Conroy, Janna McMahan, Aida Rogers, Michael Miller, Jeffrey Day, Kyle Petersen, Robbie Robertson, Don McCallister, Robert Lamb, August Krickel, and Cynthia Boiter.

For more information or to order online please go to



New Music: The Hollerin' River Talkers + TONIGHT = Jasper #006


Our magazine release parties (if you’ll forgive me for saying so), have had some fairly awesome live performances. And while I have written about our headlining band The Restoration in the past, I want to take some time before the party tonight to tell you about a new, lesser known act who is also capable of blowing your mind.

The Hollerin’ River Talkers, a diverse project-group of singer/songwriters spearheaded by Shallow Palace leader Greg Slattery, is dedicated to reviving classic old folk and blues tunes into a modern context. This task is something that, to put it simply, they blow out of the f***in’ ballpark.

Marshall Brown is the lead-off singer in the troupe, and contributes a (for-him) relatively straightforward vocal that still brings the Donovan-esque psychedelia he is known for to “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home.” Daniel Machado (of the The Restoration) makes a banjo-led attack on “Mary,” an old folk tune about how cheating on your wife ain’t gonna get you to heaven, while Aaron Berg and Slattery both take a gorgeously dirty stab at the blues standards “Catfish Blues” and “Death Room Blues.” Todd Mathis rounds out the set with a dirty rock take on the gospel tune “Wade in the Water,” the only tune which fully makes use of drummer Steve Sancho’s presence.

All of these tunes are ragged and sparse, but that’s not what makes them great—it’s the fact that each contributor never forgets the feeling that these songs first inspired, with lust, laughter, and longing all mixed up in equal measure. It’s a short collection, but I guarantee you’ll want to hear it again and again.

To listen/buy all of these tunes:

Come out and see us tonight at Tom Law's Conundrum Music Hall on Meeting Street in West Columbia. We're starting at 7:30 with poetry from Kristine Hartvigsen and Cassie Premo Steele, three short films by Wade Sellers, the Next Door Drummers, a set of classical guitar from Amelia Mau, a solo set from Rhodes Bailey of the Whiskey Tango Revue, then the Hollerin' River Talkers and The Restoration, who will be missing their drummer so they'll be laying down some pretty damn good blue grass. JoeTurkaly will be making supper ($) and two bars will be open. The event itself is free. All to celebrate Columbia's badass arts scene and the release of Jasper #006 -- a solid year of bringing you the magazine we said we would, when we said we would, and in the best possible shape we could get it to you.

You can count on Jasper.

Kristine Hartvigsen launches new book To The Wren Nesting


Kristine Hartvigsen is truly an artist.

An Associate Editor at Jasper, Hartvigsen is releasing her first book of poems, To the Wren Nesting, published by Muddy Ford Press. This a dream come true for Hartvigsen, and she feels now is the right time to share her collection of poetry, which spans several years of creative work, to the arts community in Columbia.  “It’s all about opportunity, really. When the people at Muddy Ford Press approached me about publishing a poetry chapbook, I was in. I was thrilled that they thought my poems would make for a good read.”

Poetry, and the arts in general, have been flowing through the veins of Kristine since she was a child. As an “Army Brat,” Kristine grew up in several places around the country and world. Her father, a former Army officer, physician, and hospital commander, unfortunately had a drinking problem and rage control issues. “My formative years were split between San Francisco and Frankfurt, Germany. My dad was brilliant, but he was abusive to the whole family for years. As a child, my self-worth was virtually non-existent.”



These years of relentless pain, however, did expose Kristine to the arts for the first time, and her passion began.  “I believe my love for the arts originated with my very complicated father, who was an avid collector of paintings and he was also a gifted artist himself. It was difficult for him to be truly happy, but he found great pleasure in the arts.”

As did Kristine.

Although it took Kristine several years of school, she eventually focused her broad love for the arts into one specific form: poetry. A former newspaper journalist, Kristine sought to write fiction, but never poetry. However, a 1990 experience changed her life.  “I was invited to participate in an informal writers’ group. It turned out that the majority of people in the group were poets. I initially wanted to write fiction, so I was disappointed. However, I stuck it out in the group and within a year I fell in love with poetry.”

A budding poet was born after this workshop. With this new passion, she found herself running a poetry series at the Art Bar in Columbia from 1997 to 1999. “[The experience] was so much fun. It was a wonderful escape one night a week to sort of let loose and be creative. I made a lot of new friends and got to overcome my basic fear of public speaking.”

Throughout all of this time, Kristine was writing poetry. Her years of writing garnered many eclectic poems, yet at the same time she has a distinctive artistic process.  “I ‘follow [my] nose.’ I will get a little crumb of an idea, or an image, or a phrase that brings all sorts of thoughts to mind.  I will explore that by jotting down words that articulate that.  Usually the first, most instinctive thoughts are the strongest.  Sometimes these thoughts can be linked. If not, they may find a home in another poem.  As I compose, a tiny story starts to form.”

Thirteen years later, when Muddy Ford Press asked her to compile a book, the task was daunting.  “I was a little worried that I wouldn’t have enough for a book, but eventually I decided on 46 titles. The title is actually a poem in the book about the environment and how humans and civilization continue to ignore the consequences of our actions and displace and push out innocent species that have been here so much longer than we have.”

Kristine’s incredible book certainly describes many sensory images and addresses important societal issues. Still, she cannot believe her book is published. “It is a little bit surreal and I still question whether I deserve it, whether the work is really good enough. I’ll always do that. It’s just the way I’m wired.  I like to tell stories, particularly if they can inform and inspire. In the end, my brightest hope is that people will relate to something they read in my book and enjoy it. ”


Kristine will be signing and reading from her book, To The Wren Nesting on Saturday June, 30th from 6 – 8 at Wine Down on Main at 1520 Main Street.

To The Wren Nesting is available online at, Barnes & Noble, and at


Muddy Ford Press is a family-owned publishing company located in Chapin, SC and dedicated to providing boutique publishing opportunities for South Carolina writers and poets. For more information find us at, 803.760.4455 or write to

City Art presents HIGH NOON with the Editors of Jasper Magazine

City Art  at 1224 Lincoln Street down in the Vista is doing something pretty cool.

They're opening up the gallery space every Saturday afternoon this summer for a series of arts-related events and they're calling it High Noon.

At Jasper, we're honored to help them kick off this series by bringing four of the editors of the magazine out on June 9th to do a reading.

  • Ed Madden will be reading poetry from Prodigal
  • Mike Miller will be reading short stories from his book, Lonesome Pines
  • Kristine Hartvigsen will be reading poetry from her upcoming book, To the Wren Nesting
  • And Cindi Boiter will be reading short fiction from her new book, Buttered Biscuits

All the books will be available for sale and signing as will all the fabulous art and art supplies that City Art carries. The event runs from noon until 1 pm on Saturday, June 9th.

We hope you'll come out for a visit.

For more information click here.

Sometimes it's all I think about, too.

Jasper is hosting the upstairs performance space in the Olympia Room at this year's What's Love evening of art and performance on Feb 14 at 701 Whaley.  We've got Shane Silman, Andrew Quattlebaum, and Alex Smith recreating the Beat poets, NiA Theatre Company offering a little teaser of a play, some poets and slammers, some short films, a freaky cool little installation of altered dolls by Susan Lenz, and Dr. Sketchy.

And one of the really cool things that Jasper Magazine is doing for this year's will be a little chapbook of sexy, quirky poems about love, sex, and technology.  The theme of this year's event is "input/output," so we invited poems and fiction writers to submit poetry and flash fiction that addressed love and sex and especially the ways that technology has changed our emotional and sexual relationships.  We got about 130 submissions from 40 SC writers.  There were text message poems, Skype poems, poems about voicemail and sexting, telephones and digital cams and iphones, a faux blog by a teenage girl, and story written in Facebook posts.  Girl crushes, long-distance calls, a Grindr post, lights left on all night--oh, and a lurker.  And we narrowed it down to 17 powerful, punchy little pieces.

Poets included are:  Ray McManus, Betsy Breen, Eric Kocher, Carol Peters, Worthy Evans, Nicola Waldron, Julie Bloemeke, Dustin Brookshire, Daniel Nathan Terry, Kristine Hartvigsen, Kendal Turner, Lauren Wiggins, Libby Swope Wiersema, Ed Madden, and Barbara G S Hagerty, as well as a poignant little bit of flash fiction by Carl Jenkinson.

The book is published thanks to Jasper and to Hip-Wa-Zee.


Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Ya - "What we lacked in organization we made up for in sheer audacity ..."





I can't begin to tell you how much fun we had last year, but maybe the photo above will help you understand.

Yes, that's me, chief instigator at Jasper Magazine on the far right, and to your left you see the be-stogied Kyle Petersen, grad student and USC English instructor as well as music editor for the magazine who, in lieu of a drum is appropriately banging on an empty panettone tin with relish. Continuing left and behind Kyle is Ed Madden, literary arts editor of Jasper, poet and one of USC's most beloved professors. Further left is Bob Jolley, aka the Beer Doc, Muddy Ford Press publisher, ER physician, and general founder of the feast out in our neck of the woods and, beside him, our eldest, Annie, grad student, USC instructor, political junkie, and newly the queen of distribution for Jasper Magazine. (Had she not been dancing out in Seattle, our youngest Bonnie, would most assuredly been in this photo as well.) In keeping with the family affair, my sister-in-arms, Kristine Hartvigsen, associate editor of Jasper, photographer, and the voice of experience around here, is pictured below arm-in-arm with the boy we wish were our little brother, local artist Michael Krajewski. And below that, Ed is pictured with his beloved, Bert Easter, antiques-meister and an integral part of university students' first year experience.



The day started early at City Roots Farm as we rolled up to a small but growing crowd of friends and soon-to-be friends dressed in their finest purples, greens, and golds with assorted costumes that ranged from a crawfish to a local artist who had fashioned a boa from discarded plastic grocery store bags.

What we lacked in organization we made up for in sheer audacity, and before we knew it, we were parading down Rosewood Boulevard to the beat of the Next Door Drummers. We lit our stogies and passed our flasks of the finest adult beverages. We sang, we chanted, we threw beads to shocked but delighted onlookers. In the vernacular of the 1960s we seriously let it all hang out. Returning to our starting point at the farm, we feasted and drank and listened to good music as the night wore on.

All this happened as a result of a few weeks preparation.

Well, folks, we've been working on Mardi Gras 2012 for a year now and, Sisters and Brothers, this year we are blowing it out of the water!

With close to 20 bands on board already,  a food truck rodeo, a much larger marching contingency that includes some of your favorite local artists and Columbia's own Alternacirque and more, the addition of a canine parade as well, this year's Mardi Gras Festival hosted by the Krewe-de-Columbi-ya-ya is sure to go down in history.

So this I posit to you: If you are reading this blog you are either a lover of the arts and Columbia's arts community or you are a friend of this magazine. Either way, you are a perfect candidate to attend this year's festivities either as a reveler, as one of the smart folks who grabs one of the last spaces to become a member of the original and hosting krewe, the Krewe de Columbi-Ya-ya, or by starting a krewe of your own!

And starting your own krewe is decidedly easy-breezy -- we have very few rules & all we ask for is $50 to offset parade costs and that you have at least 10 folks in your krewe. 

Are you listening folks at The Whig, Trustus, Art Bar, Tapp's Arts Center, Town Theatre, Workshop Theatre, The Betty Page Turners, Jam Room, Hunter Gatherer, 701 CCA, and every freaking department or program at any of Columbia's universities? What better way to bond and let off steam and show your city spirit than by representing yourselves proud and loud at Mardi Gras?

We roll on Saturday, February 18th and this year our theme is "Going to the Dogs" which means we also have a canine contingency in our walking parade. You can register and walk your pup in the parade and we'll donate the $5 registration fee to  The Animal Mission. Other proceeds will go to benefit Doku Farms.

Come on out, Friends and Neighbors -- we're growing large and one of these days you'll be so happy to look back at the beginnings of what is sure to be a great Columbia tradition and know that you were a part of the start of it all.


Laissez les bons temps rouler, Columbi-Ya-Ya!







Counting Love At First Sight

I’ve really been trying to stick to an art diet during these hard economic times, but my 12-step program failed me. Yes, this admitted art junkie unwittingly fell in love at first sight, again. It happened last weekend at the Midlands Clay Art Society Holiday Show and Sale at Gallery 80808. My good friend Sonia Neal, a wonderful clay artist herself (whose work also is in my personal collection), directed my gaze to the newest object of my infatuation – a cute little clay sheep sculpture (pictured) by a local artist who is new to me, Mary Lou Wu, owner of Bunny Head Pottery in Columbia.

My new woolly friend, who bears some resemblance to the puppet Lambchop (one of my favorite characters from yesteryear), is standing atop a mound of colorful wildflowers with a blue bird perched on its head.

I tried chewing gum. I waited 20 minutes to see if the craving would subside. I tried to resist, but in the end, I had to have it. For myself. Yes, me me me.

So much for unselfish holiday shopping. Oh, I did purchase several gifts from the sale, but I wasn’t supposed to indulge my own desires. So sue me. I have gifted myself early for Christmas with this lovely lamb. To hell with regret. (I am smiling at my new love as I type this. Hah!)

Now back to Mary Lou Wu. She has a shop on, that wonderful website for creative artists and crafters that I love to get lost in. Wu has produced an array of colorful, whimsical, even poetic pieces. Some are functional (like bowls, vases, and jars), while others are pure sculpture. All are fabulous works of art.

I’m always saying there’s so much artistic talent in Columbia, and it’s true. Every day we have opportunities to discover someone new whose work we can adore. Wu is a member of the City of Columbia Arts Center at 1932 Calhoun Street downtown. And even though the Midlands Clay Arts Society’s holiday sale is over, you can still browse and even purchase pieces from the artists who work out of the Center through its Backman Gallery.

And if you’re so inclined, you can take classes in clay arts - from hand-building to wheel-throwing - at affordable prices. The City Arts Center is enrolling now for its 2012 classes. If you’re interested, or just want more information about Backman Gallery, call Cultural Arts Coordinator Brenda Oliver at 803-545-3093.

Meanwhile, you can view and even purchase other works by Mary Lou Wu online at

So go ahead. Indulge your clay cravings. There’ll be plenty of time for rehab next year.

-- Kristine Hartvigsen

Horizontal Hold

Last month when Jasper Magazine conducted its First Annual Pint and Poem Walk, a few folks asked for a copy of this poem, so here it is for those who asked (and those who didn't.) It's an amusing, odd piece I wrote under the influence of pain medicine after my eardrum ruptured. I was deaf in that ear for nearly a month. Anyway, here goes: horizontal hold

narcotics kill the pain

my mind a barren pool rusty ladder descends into earth and weeds

three lesbians gather wood together they build a Frank Lloyd Wright doghouse

monogamy -- monotony one of them is cheating on her husband

i have weird dreams of my dead father a fire engine Leonard Nimoy and a 19 percent raise

my carpet is the state fair for roaches city pigeons die quietly on my windowsill heads folded neatly into wings

loose audio tape lies in a tangled pile at my feet

i am openly seduced glistening nude in hues of violet by a body without a face

amplified pounding in my head clock ticking blood pumping machine-driven raucous vacuum

find me, bring me down where I can feel again

my antenna flails in the wind please slide on a tennis ball and help ride me of all this static

-- Kristine Hartvigsen


Jasper's Ghost Story Salon at 701 Whaley = Scarily Fun

The Jasper family has been busy of late putting together the finishing touches on your next issue of the magazine, but we took some time to celebrate All Saint's Eve by staging a Ghost Story Salon on Halloween night as part of the 701 Whaley amazing Halloween Costume party staged by Tracie Broom and Debi Shadel of Flock and Rally.  We were fortunate to have some of the most talented story tellers in the community share their gifts of conjuring up a mood with us. Sometimes it was a little hard to hear, but it was always a lot of fun. Have a look below at the tellers of the tales.

Coralee Harris

Occupy Poetry

 By Guest Blogger, Susan Levi Wallach

Did you hear the one about four poets walking into a bar? How about four bars (which is about right for poets)? How about a pint in each for them and their friends (actually, friends of Jasper Magazine, who, given the evening’s literary and other perks, got quite a deal for $25 a head)? The poets: Ed Madden, Ray McManus, Tara Powell, and Kristine Hartvigsen. The bars: White Mule, The Whig, Hunter Gatherer, and Thirsty Fellow, which spread from Columbia’s midtown Main Street to south of the Vista on Gadsden, leaving plenty of opportunities to stop between hops shops to read aloud a poem or five for the assembled crowd. The crowd: about two dozen (even before the first pint it was difficult to count, this crowd being social, with everyone wanting to talk to everyone else. If you know what I’m talking about, then you were (or should have been) on Jasper Magazine’s first Pint & Poem Walk on Wednesday.


Everyone seemed to agree that poetry and beer make for a better mix than, say, poetry and lecture halls or auditoriums or anywhere an audience is expected to stay still and dry until the wine-and-cheese reception afterward, when they’re expected to remain on their best behavior and the wine is rarely any good.


Cindi Boiter, Jasper’s founder, editor, and the evening’s host, said London pubs and poets do such things all the time. Why not Columbia? (A question that has the makings of a motto for the city’s arts McManus reads on the corner of Lady and Main Streetscommunity: Why not, Columbia? or Why not Columbia? — why shouldn’t this little city, where the cost of living is low and artists and writers are more plentiful than a lot of people realize make the arts as much of a priority as big business?)


A stop in front of the Statehouse marked the Pint & Poem midpoint at 9:30 p.m., and the Occupy Columbia brigade clearly felt more enthusiastic about having few poets in their midst than they would have been about, say, a group of CEOs and other one percenters. Having in the past several days perfected the rhythm of antiphonal chanting, they gathered about Madden with placards in hand, repeating each line of the poem he read as if it were a slogan (sometimes, the line particularly complex, he had to say it twice till everyone got it right). Poetry for the rest of us.


Letter to Travis

by Ed Madden

I saw that photo of you, lean, grinning, skinny jeans, flannel shirt, newsboy cap, and nearby,

my former student Anna, hair dyed black, arms crossed over her tie-dyed purple tee, leaning

on a not-quite-life-sized bronze George Washington (the one boxed off at the MLK march

earlier this year, unfortunate fodder for FOX to spout off about respect and legacy and shit like that,

the one with the broken cane, broken off by Union troops in 1865 and never repaired,

as if he’s doomed to limp down here, and he was shot later by drunken Governor Ben Tillman, the one

so racist he got his own statue in 1940, just across the square from George, standing watch

now over a cluster of punks in sleeping bags, just down the lawn from the one for gynecological

marvel J. Marion Sims, who Nazi-doctored black women, then ran off to New York to experiment

on destitute Irish immigrant women -- such difficult history here, stories of the black, the poor.). I heard more

about George this morning on NPR, his whiskey distillery back in business, though without the slave labor,

that story after the one about Occupy Washington clustered near K Street. The front pages

of the local papers are Gadhafi’s slaughter, the body stashed in a shopping center freezer, GOP

would-be’s descending on us for another debate, the state fair ending this weekend, its rides and fried things.

I’ve got the list of what you guys need, Travis, gloves, storage tubs, “head warming stuff,”

water, and I plan to drop by later with supplies. For now, though, I look out my window,

the weather beautiful if cool, fair weather, the dogwood gone red and finches fidgeting among the limbs.

Too easy, probably, to turn all pastoral at times like these, to tend my own garden,

the last tomatoes ripening up, collards almost ready, needing that chill to sweeten a bit.

A dear friend wrote me this week, says he’s scared he’ll lose his job come the new year,

a fear we hear over and over, though the GOP folks tell us it’s our own fault that we’re

not the rich -- individual responsibility and all that. I want to believe in the joy

and resistance I see there on your face, Travis, the will revealed in Anna’s crossed arms.

I want to believe it, I want it to last, I want it to win. I’ll stop by later with gloves and water.



Check Out Handcrafted Aliens And More This Week At Southern Pottery

A few years ago at a ceramics show at Vista Studios Gallery 80808, I fell in love with a colorful little bowl with a wonderfully retro-looking woman’s face on a blue background with a cartoon word bubble that said “Enjoy” and spoons floating around the perimeter. The purple rim had the words “EAT IT UP YUM” carved into the clay. Inside, I was greeted with another lush burst of green glaze. The whole work had this whimsical, imperfect feel to it, almost as if molded by a child, but this clearly was not a child’s work. It was the work of Georgia artist Vanessa Grubbs, the MFA-toting-accomplished-in-her-own-right daughter of celebrated Columbia artists Steve and Mana Hewitt.

I loved that bowl. I bought that bowl. And every time I look at that bowl (pictured), it makes me happy.

I can only imagine how it must feel to thrust one’s hands into cool damp slab of clay and shape it into something worthy of the kiln. I am so intrigued and amazed by the works of the clay artists we have right here in the Midlands, notably Anastasia Chernoff, Jeff Donovan, Sonia Neale, Paul Moore, Rita Ruth Cockrell, Mike Van Houten, Betsy Kaemmerlen, Diane Gilbert, and so many others.

So on a recent visit to Southern Pottery on Devine Street, I picked up a post card announcing the celebration of American Craft Week, which runs October 6-16. I know there are many choices for arts lovers this week. However, if you – like me – love pottery and the clay arts, you must make it out to Southern Pottery some time between today and Saturday, Oct. 16.

Tonight, Oct. 6, the Southern Pottery is hosting a reception from 6-9 p.m. for Cardinal Newman presents “Southern Icons,” hand-built clay works depicting social, religious, and cultural traditions through the eyes of teenagers. I know, it's First Thursday on Main, and there are shows at 80808 and City Art, too. But if you're a time-management wiz, you might be able to hit all of them.

And Friday, Oct. 7, the Southern Pottery will host another reception from 6-9 p.m. to celebrate “We Are Here,” clay and fiber works by Leanne Pizio and Paige Cox depicting aliens, UFOs, and quirky extraterrestrial visitors. Also on Friday, visitors to Southern Pottery are invited to participate in the “Made in China” mug swap. Those who donate their intact Chinese-made mugs (limit 4) will receive 20 percent off an American handcrafted mug.

The following week, on Friday, Oct. 14, Southern Pottery will feature artist demonstrations by Tuula Ihamaki-Widdifield and Susan Tondreau-Dwyer from 6-8 p.m. And on Saturday, Oct. 15, you can enjoy more demonstrations by Diane Gilbert and Paul Moore from 12-2 p.m.

Who knew? I urge you to check out some of this awesome clay-oriented action over the next 10 days. For details, visit or call the gallery at 803-251-3001. And tell them that Jasper sent you.

-- Kristine Hartvigsen

(Kristine Hartvigsen is an associate editor for Jasper Magazine. Read more of Kristine's work at

Jasper has been busy

Jasper has been busy and we'd like to take a moment to share what we've been up to with you, our loyal readers.

To start with, we released the inaugural issue of Jasper Magazine - The Word on Columbia Arts in print form last Thursday night at a lovely party, hosted by one of our favorite places for imbibing, Speakeasy on Saluda Street in Five Points. It was a grand night, and we were overwhelmed by the kindness and support of the arts community. Thank you all so very much for your kind words and your presence at our birthday party for Jasper. Thanks also to Speakeasy for hosting us and Josh Roberts for entertaining us.

Local Gallery Owner Lynn Sky checks out centerfold artist, Michael Krajewski.

The Jasper staff and family has been busy distributing magazines throughout the city. But if we haven't gotten to you yet, not to worry -- we're diligent and we still have more than half of our inventory on hand. That said, we're happy to take your recommendations of spots where you would like to see Jasper distributed. By week's end, we should be all over the Columbia metropolitan area, including Camden, Chapin, Prosperity, and Newberry. And soon, you'll be able to find us in Greenville and Spartanburg, as well.

Lenza Jolley, our web maven, has also been hard at work building our brand new website. If  you haven't had a chance yet, please visit us at We hope to make an extension of the print version of Jasper Magazine. To that end, please find more music by Josh Roberts, more art by David Yaghjian, more poetry by all of our featured poets, well ... more of everything, we hope, at our new cyber home.



As you may know, Jasper comes out in print form once every other month on the 15th of the month. If the 15th falls on a weekend, then look for us on the Thursday prior to that date. Our next issue will release on Tuesday, November 15th, for example, but the following issue will release on Thursday, January 12th -- and yes, we plan to celebrate every single issue that hits the streets! But the reality is that Jasper wants to see his arts buddies more than just six times per year. That's just one of the reasons we will be coming to you on our off-print months with various projects and events.

  • On Wednesday, October 26th at 7 pm, please join us for our first ever Pint and Poem Walk. Look for more information on how to sign up for one of only 25 spaces on this one-of-a-kind walk in the coming week at
  • On Monday, October 31st, Jasper will host our first ever Ghost Story Salon as part of 701 CCA's Halloween Night Costume Bash. We're busy gathering all the great tellers of tales of ghosts and ghouls from around town to entertain you, via candlelight and creepy tunes, upstairs in the Olympia Room at 701 Whaley CCA.
  • The first stage of our first ever Coalescence Project is well underway as photographers throughout the midlands are submitting their work to Jasper Magazine Coalescence Series - Volume 1: Photography and the Word ( October 15th is the deadline for photography and which point local writers will be invited to come try their hands at creating 500 word or less stories to "illustrate" the photographic images. The completed project -- Photography and the Word -- will be unveiled in December.

Finally, we have moved into our studio office downstairs at the Tapp's Arts Center on Main Street and we are in the process of tidying up and making pretty. Please join us for a little open house on Thursday, October 6th as Jasper Magazine happily becomes a part of the First Thursday Arts Crawl community. We'll get back to you before then with more information on the treats we'll have in store as we welcome you to our new creative home.

Until then, thanks for reading Columbia. And thanks for giving us so many good works to write about.





(Photos courtesy of Jasper associate editor Kristine Hartvigsen)

Just What the Doctor Ordered

Hmmm. What to write. You stare at the keyboard. Gaze out the window. Contemplate a snack. Pet the dog at your feet. Finally, you tap out a few words, pause, then backspace over them. Repeat. And … repeat.


I can’t say I’ve experienced serious writer’s block, but I’ve certainly had my share of what I would call creative slumping. These are times when I feel like nothing original or of good quality issues from my cluttered brain. Nothing flows. It’s all crap.

When this happens, I’ve found one of the best remedies is to shut down the computer and head out to a local poetry reading. The Columbia area is full of great talent. There are so many diverse, creative voices here, and fortunately not everyone is slumping at the same time. In fact, many are bursting at the seams with good stuff, and it makes you hopeful that you may be able to write well again. If you pay attention, ideas, themes, and images seem to magically come to mind. It could be a poet’s well-crafted turn of phrase that launches a particular creative thought process for you. I suppose you could call it harvesting − carrying with you the energy that is coming out of that microphone and the people at the reading.

I was in such a slump a few years back when I attended an open mike reading on Café Strudel’s back porch. One of the readers, a regular at the time on the local poetry circuit, would bring his work scribbled on all sorts of crumpled bits of parchment thrown into a repurposed plastic Wonder Bread bag. That alone sparked intrigue in me, and it led to the following poem, which ended up as a SC Poetry Initiative Single Poem Contest Finalist this year:



appalachian poet carries his insides around in a plastic polka-dotted bread bag an elegy whispered through lips moistened by fiddlesong he scribbles on napkins, receipts any medium can become a gum wrapper haiku tall hunching wordsmith the smell of woodsmoke in his hair shuffles feet, shuffles papers reads without accompaniment simple flapjacks on the griddle plucks what he can to season the iron


This turned out to be one of my favorite poems, an unexpected joy. I hope you like it. And don’t forget that a local poetry reading may be just what the doctor ordered if your brain is feeling a bit anemic.

-- KH