Just say no to Facebook

no This week started out great. Lots of exciting stuff on the calendar, interesting meetings, tasks that I absolutely love to do. Looking ahead and all the way through Saturday morning's game, I was psyched for what the third week of September held in store. My Facebook calendar was full and I was happy!

Monday was a bit of a chore, though. For the fifth day in a row I was still working on a 2nd Act Film Festival project that should have taken less than two days to finish.

Tuesday was a little tougher. It was the last day for Jasper Artist of the Year nominations which means the beginning of a lot of sorting and stuff and I was continuing to work on last week's merciless mess of a project. I ended up forgetting about one meeting and rescheduling another.  I did make it to the Nick to see Grandma that evening and didn't feel too guilty about that since I reviewed it for the blog.

Wednesday meant day seven of the same old project, day two of the JAYs, and only two meetings, both about very exciting stuff.  By the end of the day one meeting got pushed back 30 minutes and the other two full hours, but that was OK because that night was the first night of ARTS101, our much anticipated series of arts history and appreciation presentations from esteemed members of our arts community. I remember when we first announced this series -- so many people were happy about it! And the Facebook event racked up 19 yeses and 19 maybes almost immediately. With a possible 38 people (no, I never expected the maybes to show up but I don't believe in being unprepared) coming out, the mag staff and I, along with two eager interns, were ready to greet our crowd with carefully prepared and reproduced copies of the ARTS101 calendar, a primer on John Constable, who was the subject of Mary Gilkerson's fascinating presentation, a slideshow loving prepared by our buddy Shige at Tapp's, a bar set up by Daniel, and a plate of assorted cookies. Three different kinds.

I'll just cut to the chase. No. One. Showed. Up. No, the maybes didn't show up, of course, but neither did the yeses. None of them. We did have a gentleman come in from off the street but I don't know if he knew he was coming in for a presentation or not. We were glad he was there. And we were glad we were there. It was a casual and informative presentation enjoyed over cold Coronas and cookies and I am thrilled with the knowledge I now have about landscape artist John Constable. (Primer below for your enjoyment and edification.)

Now, we're at Thursday and by the end of the day my buddy and Jasper film editor Wade has ably taken the cursed week-old project off my crippled hands.  I'm still working on the JAYS but the end is in sight, and I've turned my attention back to the next issue of the mag as well as the bones of the non-profit that's at a steady boil on the back burner of my life, waiting patiently to be moved up front and served. I wanted to go to the closing reception for Figure Out at Tapp's, one of my all-time favorite shows in town. In fact, I wanted to blog about the reception and appeal to the powers that be--in this case gallery owners and operators in the city-- that we must not relegate figurative and nude shows to one event a year held behind warning signs on closed doors. We must make the human body, clothed or unclothed, a part of our everyday art experience. As an arts community we can no longer be afraid of breasts and penises! But, of course, I didn't have time to go to the show or write the blog and only sneaked out to the Trustus fundraiser at The Whig (63 yeses and 24 maybes -- I don't think so) because I love Trustus and I love The Whig and I knew my kids would be there. I came home and went back to work.

So here it is on Friday afternoon. I'm tired, it's been raining for the past two days, the temperature is fall-ish, and new episodes of good TV started this week and are waiting on my DVR.

But wait, according to Facebook I have six events to go to tonight. Six different exciting events. Six events that would enlighten me, make me a better person, and allow me to enjoy the company of all the other yeses who want to go to these events and see each other.

You all know how this is going to turn out. I've already taken off my bra, smudged my makeup by rubbing my eyes, and poured myself a glass of wine. I ain't going nowhere.

But on Wednesday night of this past exciting and life-affirming week, in addition to learning about John Constable I learned something else. I learned about the power of the yes and I learned about the power of the no. (Maybes never really count.) So before I poured that vino and unsnapped that brassiere I visited the pages of all the fun events I will not be going to tonight and I changed my status. Yes, I could have done it earlier, had I been more honest with both Facebook and myself. But I'll take credit for doing it at all and I challenge myself to be better about it next time.

And I challenge you. Just say no to Facebook unless you really are planning to attend an event. But if your enthusiasm gets the best of you and you really believe you can make it to all those openings and receptions and concerts and presentations that you want to go to, do what I'm going to try to start doing. (I admit to being the worst about this in my life prior to this evening.) See where Facebook expects you to be and, if you're not going to be there, don't pretend. Change your yes to no and, if you must, leave a little message. You're tired, you're drained, you have a date with Olivia Pope. Doesn't everyone's head hurt a little? Just be honest with Facebook. Change it to no.




And here's that John Constable primer I promised you:

arts101 mary


John Constable

  • Born June 1776 – died March 1837
  • English Romantic Painter
  • Landscape artist known for his paintings of Dedham Vale in the Essex-Suffolk area of England, now known as “Constable Country”
  • Most famous works – ‘Dedham Vale’ (1802), ‘The Hay Wain’ (1821), and ‘Wivenhoe Park’ (1816)
  • Inspirations include Thomas Gainsborough, Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob Van Ruisdael, and Annibale Carracci
  • Known for the sense of realism and vitality that he imbued in his art
  • Known for taking landscape painting in a new direction
  • Believed his paintings should come as directly as possible from nature
  • Made hundreds of outdoor oil sketches, capturing the changing skies and effects of light.
  • Happiest painting locations he knew well, particularly in his native Suffolk. He also frequently painted in Salisbury, Brighton and Hampstead, making numerous studies of the clouds over the Heath.
  • Received little recognition in Britain in his lifetime, but was much better known in France.
  • In 1824, ‘The Hay Wain’ won a gold medal at the Salon in Paris and Constable had a profound influence on French Romantic artists.


The Jasper Project presents ARTS101 - A 6-Part Arts Appreciation Lecture Series

arts101 mary Ever wanted to take that art history class you neglected in college or revisit some of the stories of arts greats you may have snoozed through way back when? The Jasper Project is making it easy to brush up on your cultural literacy and we’re doing it in intimate settings with folks you already know and admire.

The Jasper Project presents ARTS101, a series of presentations by Columbia artists of stature about the great artists who have gone before us and influenced the world of art. All events are informal, free and open to the public and all start at 7 pm at Tapp’s Arts Center.

Please join us.


September 23, 2015 Mary Bentz Gilkerson talks about John Constable

October 28, 2015 Stephen Chesley talks about Edward hopper

November 18, 2015 Tish Lowe talks about Antony Van Dyck

January 27, 2016 Kirkland Smith talks about John Singer Sargent

February 24, 2016 Mike Dwyer talks about Richard Diebenkorn

March 23, 2015 Cedric Umoja talks about Dondi White

Art from the Ashes Book Launch and Gallery Opening on February 1st at Tapp’s - A JASPER Project

art from the ashes jpeg  

Over the course of four evenings in the summer of 2014, more than two dozen literary, visual, and musical artists gathered in the Jasper Magazine office with experts on the February 17th, 1865 burning of Columbia. The artists immersed themselves in the events that took place the night of the burning as well as the days and nights leading to and immediately following it. Six months later, their inspirations have come to fruition in a multi-disciplinary series of arts events – Art from the Ashes.

Art from the Ashes cover


Art from the Ashes: Columbia Residents Respond to the Burning of Their City is a collection of poetry, prose, and even a screenplay by some of Columbia, SC’s most dynamic writers, including Ed Madden, Tara Powell, Ray McManus, Susan Levi Wallach, Tom Poland, Al Black, Jonathan Butler, Rachel Haynie, Debra Daniel, Will Garland, Betsy Breen, and Don McCallister. Edited by Jasper Magazine’s Cynthia Boiter, it is a publication of Muddy Ford Press and the first in the press’s new series, Muddy Ford Monographs.


In concert with the book launch, Art from the Ashes: The Gallery will open on the same evening, also at Tapp’s, and will run throughout the month of February. Participating visual artists include Susan Lenz, Kirkland Smith, Christian Thee, Michael Krajewski, Jarid Lyfe Brown, Whitney LeJeune, Mary Bentz Gilkerson, Cedric Umoja, Michaela Pilar Brown, Alejandro Garcia-Lemos, and Kara Gunter.

artist - Kirkland Smith


Join us as we celebrate the book launch and gallery opening from 5 – 7 pm. Visual artists will be on hand to answer questions about their work and literary artists will be signing and reading from their writings. Musician Jack McGregor, who created a three movement musical composition in response to the burning, will premiere his work as well.

artist - Jarid Lyfe Brown

artist - Kara Gunter

artist - Michael Krajewski

artist - Christian Thee


Additional events include a Visual Artists Panel Presentation on Thursday, February 5th at 7 pm and a Reading and Book Signing on February 17th at 7 pm, followed by a concert by Columbia-based musical artist, the Dubber.


All events take place at Tapp’s Arts Center on Main Street and are free and open to the public