Jasper Project Executive Director Cindi Boiter and Denise Gadson Receive the Richland Library Friends and Foundation’s 2018 Awards

By: Christina Xan

The Jasper Project is happy to share that the Richland Library Friends and Foundation is honoring two South Carolina women and their dedication to our community.

The Richland Library Friends and Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to support Richland Library by raising awareness and financial support. Each year they recognize individuals who have supported literacy in Columbia.

This year, the two awards will acknowledge the achievements of women in Richland County who have contributed to our literary community and local libraries in their own unique ways. First, receiving the Lucy Hampton Bostick Award, is our own Cindi Boiter, and second, receiving the Ethel Bolden Minority Scholarship, is Denise Gadson.

According to the Richland Library, “the Lucy Hampton Bostick Award offers a custom, hand-blown glass award and cash honorarium while recognizing a South Carolina author, someone who has written a significant literary work on South Carolina, or someone in the Midlands who has significantly advanced the interest in books or libraries.” This award is named after a long-time head librarian in Richland County and former Richland Library director (1928-1968) who is “credited with fostering interest in Southern literature and history, improving cultural life in Columbia, and promoting library appreciation throughout the state.”

Cindi Boiter has been chosen to receive the award this year as a fierce advocate of the literary arts. Boiter was a freelance writer for 20 years and has published a book of award-winning stories. After teaching Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina for a number of years, she went on to become the founder of The Jasper Project and Jasper Magazine, of which she is the Editor-in-Chief.

Likewise, the Ethel Bolden Minority Scholarship provides $3,500 in financial support for students from “underrepresented ethnic and racial groups, who are working toward the completion of a Master of Library and Information Science degree at the University of South Carolina.” This scholarship was created in 2010 and named after Bolden to recognize her years of service to the Richland County community and its libraries.

Denise Gadson has been chosen for this award this year for her continual passion for reading and for helping others, both children and adults, on their journey towards gaining that same passion as well. Gadson is the author of children’s book Penelope's World Famous Cookies and is currently seeking to further her education along in order to continue aiding others in their quest for knowledge.

The Richland Library Friends and Foundation has plans to formally recognize these wonderful women during a reception in 2019 (date TBA).

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REVIEW: Toro y Moi @ The Senate, 11/17/2018

By: Kyle Petersen; Photos by: Bree Burchfield

Toro y Moi performing at The Senate, November 2018. PC: Bree Burchfield

Toro y Moi performing at The Senate, November 2018. PC: Bree Burchfield

More than most, Toro y Moi is a musical act that reinvents itself with every album cycle. Since the pre-Causers of This days when Chaz Bundick (Chaz Bear?) played shows half behind a DIY laptop and keyboard combination as a chillwave progenitor to the almost-jammy guitar pop of 2015’s What For?,  the Toro y Moi project has constantly tested its own boundaries, trying on various permutations of dance-centric indie rock, funk and pop as if flipping through an exceptionally-curated record collection.

Bundick, a Columbia native who led the sharp indie rock quartet The Heist & the Accomplice in his college days at USC, adapted his live band to each of the singular aesthetic visions of his recordings each time he flipped the dial, adding drummer Andy Woodward and bassist Patrick Jeffords and then, later on, guitarist Jordan Blackmon and then keyboardist Anthony Ferraro to the proceedings. That core nucleus carried him far, even through the beats-oriented pop of 2013’s Anything in Return, but at a certain point it felt like the touring version of the band stood resolutely apart from the studio creations, and that Bundick was pretty fine with that.

Then came last year’s Boo Boo, a moody pop affair that showed traces of The Weeknd-style R&B and the grimy grandeur of some of Toro’s hip-hop production on the side. As ambient and inscrutable as that album could get, it was among the most consciously pop the project had yet leaned. Too, it was difficult to imagine the live band translating many of these songs to the stage. That Bundick didn’t tour on the effort seemed right and would ultimately prove prescient.

This Columbia show was the final date on the first string of non-DJ sets Toro y Moi had played since Boo Boo and comes in conjunction with the release of an advance single, “Freelance,” ahead of a full-length in early 2019. And it’s clear we’re getting a very different Toro experience going forward. Now performing without Blackmon and with Jeffords on synths as much as bass, Bundick is stepping fully into the frontman role, often drifting decisively away from the keys to roam the stage and lean into the considerable power of his vocal hooks rather than laying low in the groove. It’s a move he could have made at arguably any point in his career thus far, but it fits the new material particularly well, placing him in the lineage of artists like Frank Ocean and Sampha whose auteur styles and left-field melding of pop and R&B manage to command large audiences.

PC: Bree Burchfield

PC: Bree Burchfield

Venturing through much of Boo Boo and new material from the forthcoming album amid a smattering of older tunes that fit the new direction, Bundick was as confident as a performer as I can ever remember seeing him. Even amid the most sweaty, dancefloor-ready vamps of the past, there’s always been something fundamentally bedroom producer about him, that felt like a masterful musician reimagining the music swimming around in his brain while saddled in front of the computer screen.

And that’s probably still who he is at heart but, for the first time, it’s possible to imagine that quiet, bespectacled oddball from around the way as the most unlikely thing of all—not just a nationally renowned indie artist, but a genuine pop star.

This might be some hell of a new record.