Nickelodeon Theatre Screens Tom Hall's Compromised 

Proceeds from screening of Compromised, a documentary about the Confederate flag on the South Carolina State House Grounds, to benefit Emanuel AME Church.


The Nickelodeon Theatre, South Carolina's only non-profit art house film theater, will screen Compromised, a documentary film about the saga of the Confederate flag, memorials, grave markers, statues and symbols on the S.C. State House grounds. Proceeds from Compromised screenings on June 27, at 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. will benefit Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.


Compromised, by Columbia filmmaker Tom Hall, features other prominent South Carolinians, and analyzes the reasons the South Carolina General Assembly voted in 2000 to remove the Confederate flag from the State House dome to its current position facing Main Street in downtown Columbia. The screening will also have a post-film discussion with the director.


“As South Carolina is at a crossroads regarding the fate of the Confederate flag on the South Carolina State House grounds following the shootings at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, we’re again screening Compromised,” said Andy Smith, executive director of the Nickelodeon. “The Nick has the ability to be part of relevant cultural conversations, and we hope this film will add context to the discussion we’re having in South Carolina and throughout the United States about the Confederate flag, its history and its future.”

Tickets for the two screenings are $10 each and no member discounts are available. For more information on the Nickelodeon Theatre, please visit or follow the Nick on Twitter and Facebook.  Check out the Facebook event to see the other cool kids going to this event.


Plowboys Listening Party for "Gravity & Willpower" at The Whig on January 7

tom-hall-at-rosewood The phrase "ragged but right" has been used countless times to describe any number of bands with more heart and spirit than skill and discipline.

But rarely has a group taken it  as much as an article of faith as Tom Hall & the Plowboys.

Although they are hardly a band lacking chops or extensive musical training, with more than six records and countless live shows under their belts, the band has worked its way through folk operas and film soundtracks, long digressions into blues, zydeco, and alt-country, and rarely have they sounded like anything has gone entirely according to plan.

Which is exactly how they like it.

Gravity & Willpower, which is album number six for this rotating cast of characters, is in many ways a distillation of so many of the precepts that Hall has led the group with. Featuring longtime members like Andrew Hoose (drum), Bill Stevens (bass), Phil Hurd (fiddle) and David Lee Michelson (guitar) alongside some members who have fallen in along the way like Chris Lawther (banjo), Bert Cutts (trumpet), and guest instrumentalist Adam Cullum (accordion and piano), the ramshackle outfit cut a dozen songs over four hours, with minimal rehearsal and forethought. The result, predictably, can be a little rough and gritty, but these are songs that lean heavily on the timeless tropes of old-timey music, with ambling and meandering solos that feel entirely of the moment -- largely because they were created and conceived that way. And while Hall may not be a perfect singer by any stretch, his grizzled baritone and spirited delivery are indomitable, driven by, as the title suggests, "gravity and willpower" more than anything else.

While the Plowboys may not be for everyone, it's hard to totally reject the obvious and infectious joy these musicians bring to their restless and ramshackle jams, and a party can never be far away when these guys are playing. What's more, over the last 14 years as a band, they've come to represent something about the wild, wacky, heartfelt, and joyous vibe of Columbia in a way I can never quite explain.

The listening party for the album is this Wednesday, January 7th, at the Whig. Come and listen, and join these fellow ne'er-do-wells for a drink. -Kyle Petersen

Celebrate the New Issue of Jasper on Friday Night

Jasper leaf logo


Jasper Magazine will celebrate the release of its 12th issue (Vol. 002, No. 006) on Friday July 12th with a multi-disciplinary arts party and performance at the Columbia Music Festival Association at 914 Pulaski Street in Columbia’s historic Vista. The event will include film, visual arts, literary arts including poetry and prose, dance, and music.


  • Dialogue with Kirkland Smith, recent recipient of the ArtFields People Choice Ward 2013, will start the evening off with an informal talk and Q & A on the process of assemblage.


Steve Jobs by Kirkland Smith

  • Next up, visual artist Alejandro García-Lemos and author Cindi Boiter will offer a reading and presentation on their new book, Red Social:  Portraits of Collaboration.

Red Social low res

  • Screening of the film, Howl—a musical reading of Ginsberg’s epic poem by Tom Hall with local visual artist Michael Krajewski and local musician Noah Brock.

Tom Hall


  • A performance by the Columbia Summer Rep Dance Company.


Columbia Summer Rep Dance Company

  • And finally, a performance by local musician Mat Cothran of Coma Cinema and Elvis Depressedly fame.

Mat Cothran - photo by Thomas Hammond


  • And to top it all off, hot-off-the-press issues of a brand new film-themed Jasper Magazine!


The event runs from 7 pm until 11 pm and is free. Seating is limited to 100 so please arrive early if you want a seat.

Krewe De Columbi-Ya-Ya Kaptains Tom Hall and Kristian Niemi on parades, the blues and beheadings


With Mardi Gras Columbia a mere 2 days away, Kristian Niemi can barely contain his excitement.

“The parade! The bands! The food! The drunken shenanigans!” said Niemi. “Dress for the occasion—the crazier the better!”

Niemi, along with Tom Hall, Emile Defelice and Eric McClam, are the original “Kaptains” of the Krewe De Columbi-Ya-Ya, who organized Mardi Gras Columbia parades and festival the past two years. This will be the third annual Mardi Gras Columbia organized by the Krewe.

The first Mardi Gras Columbia, raised money for Wil-Moore Farms after a fire destroyed their barn. Organized in 3 weeks, the 2011 Mardi Gras Columbia managed to raise $2500. Last year’s Mardi Gras Columbia had an even bigger turnout, attracting over 4,000 people and raising money for the Animal Mission of the Midlands.

This year, the Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Ya will again raise funds for the Animal Mission through a pet parade.

“Fortunately, no local farmers have had losses,” said Tom Hall. “Also, an animal parade is fun.”

“We're all animal lovers and we like the idea of people dressing their dogs up for the parade,” said Niemi. “Soni [Jim Sonefeld, president of Animal Mission] is a good friend and they needed another fund-raising avenue, so it was a natural fit.”

Registration for the pet parade, which costs $5, begins at 10 a.m. at City Roots. Pet owners walking in the pet parade are encouraged to dress up their pets in the best Mardi Gras attire. Prizes will be awarded to the best-dressed pups.

The pet parade will be led by King Bud Ferillo and Danielle Howle, as well as Grand Marshall Larry Hembree, managing director of the Trustus Theater.

Hall said he is “looking forward to the coronation of the new King and Queen during the parade, which will be presided over by Drink Small. Born in Bishopville, S.C., “Blues Doctor” Drink Small has sung dirty blues and gospel music for nearly 6 decades. Drink Small will also perform live during the festival.

Last week, King Bud Ferillo jokingly called for Hall’s decapitation should he fail to deliver during his musical performance with the Plowboys. Hall responded to His Majesty’s threat:

“I cannot let down the King, so if I don’t kick ass, I deserve beheading. I hope my kids aren’t there then.”


[Vista] Queen of the Night?

Jasper is very much a 21st century kind of guy, so when he hears of old tropes like "beauty pageants" he usually turns up his nose in distaste.


But when a pageant has been turned on its head the way that Larry Hembree, past executive director of the Nickelodeon Theatre and incoming executive director of Trustus Theatre,* has turned this year's [Vista] Queen of the Night Pageant, you can safely assume that many of the tired old trappings that typically make beauty pageants so declasse have been tossed out with the trash. (Apologies to Chris Bickel, pageant contestant.)

Starting with the gender and sexual orientation of the contestants.

Hembree is taking us back to the glory days of the Vista Queen Pageant when hetero gentlemen the likes of Jakie Knotts and Sheriff Leon Lott donned their gay apparel and fought it out like proper the proper bitches they are for the crown and the title of Vista Queen. Recent pageants, though exceedingly entertaining, have featured, let's just say, gentlemen to whom lip gloss and eye liner felt a little more natural.

Contestants hiding their candy this year include Chris Bickel (featured as the centerfold of Jasper #002,) the mighty Tom Hall, our buddy Otis Taylor, news anchor Anderson Burns, actor Gerald Floyd, and Historic Columbia's director of Cultural Resources, John Sheerer.



Clay Owens is the stage manager, and Terrance Henderson (featured in Jasper #001) is the choreographer -- Alexia Bonet and CJ Grant will be serving as out hosts.

Judges are Ya Ya Queen Debbie McDaniel, who is also a generous sponsor, Sarah Luadzers from the Congaree Vista Guild, playwright, Robbie Robertson, and City Counselor Cameron Runyan.

The winner of the title of Vista Queen will be adorned with a beautiful sash, sponsored by your friends at Jasper Magazine and handcrafted by the hardest-working-artist-in-Columbia, Susan Lenz.

Tickets to the event are sold-out, as well they should be, but for those lucky enough to have scored a ticket, doors open at 6 and the show starts at 7.

For additional information, visit or visit the event page “(Vista) Queen of the Night” on Facebook.

*(Full disclosure - this blogger sits on the Trustus Theatre board of directors.)

The Making and Celebrating of Jasper #3 - What to Expect

When we started planning Jasper #3 we looked at the date the magazine was due and thought -- really? Would anyone really be interested in a new issue of an arts magazine so early in the year -- so close to Christmas? Having increased the size of Jasper #2 by 8 pages we thought that maybe we should ease back for #3 and go back to our original 48 pages. We also thought it would be a good idea to make the issue somewhat literary heavy, given that so many folks would still be in that holiday state of mind in the middle of January, and not much would be going on in the performing or visual arts. So we thought.

It didn't take long for us to realize that there was way too much going on to reduce the pages of the magazine -- in fact, we increased them even more. Jasper #3 will be 16 pages longer than Jasper #1. But the fascinating thing about putting together a magazine that is reflective of the arts community it represents is how organic the whole process is. For example, our choices of cover artist and centerfold artist easily gave way to our choice of venue for the celebration of the release. Our Jasper Reads story led us to our choice for Guest Editorial. An essay written by an esteemed visual artist on how social service can act as a muse for creation directed us to another story on a local theatre troupe that we quickly made room for and wrote. Our story on Columbia's choral arts scene suggested an obvious choice for entertainment at our release event. Things like that.

The other thing that surprised us was just how much would be going on in the performing and visual arts community this early in the calendar year.

This week has been packed already with an abundance of diverse and stimulating art. Tuesday night we had the opportunity to visit Tom Law's Conundrum concert hall and sit in on Jack Beasley's The Weekly Monitor, which hosted Elonzo, Magnetic Flowers, and Henry Thomas's Can't Kids.

Magnetic Flowers blew us away, by the way, and we've listened to their new CD 4 times in the last 24 hours. For more on Magnetic Flowers, read Kyle Petersen's story in Jasper #3. We were also pretty charmed by the raw almost 80s sounding tunes of the Can't Kids. I look forward to hearing what Kyle has to say once he gets a chance to listen to their new CD.

Wednesday night saw us attending the opening reception for Thomas Crouch's new show in the Hallway Gallery at 701 Whaley. We're pretty big Crouch fans already, and it was great to see some of his new work and to meet his mom, duly proud of her boy. Kudos to Lee Ann Kornegay and Tom Chinn for making blank wall space meaningful. We  hope to see more and more businesses do the same. There is no shortage of art to hang on Columbia's walls.

Which brings us to Thursday night -- the celebration of the release of Jasper #3 as well as Night #1 in Columbia Alternacirque's 3-Night Festival of Doom. We hate missing this first night of the only kind of circus we're ever interested in seeing, but we're reassured that there are two more nights of awesomeness we can avail ourselves of AND Ms. Natalie Brown -- the mother of the tribe -- will be visiting us down at the Arcade as soon as she's off the boards at CMFA Thursday night. For more on Natalie Brown, read Cindi's article on her in Jasper #3.

Much like this issue of the magazine our release event scheduled for Thursday night has grown far beyond our initial intentions. Rather than being a quiet evening of acoustic music and intellectual conversation, as we thought it might be, it has turned into a multi-disciplinary arts event.

Here's what to expect:

  • 7 - 7:15 -- a performance from the balcony of the Arcade Building by the Sandlapper Singers (Read Evelyn Morales's piece on them and the rest of the choral arts scene in Jasper #3)
  • 7:15 - 7:30 -- Kershaw County Fine Arts Center will perform three of your favorite songs from the musical Chicago
  • 7:30 - 7:45 -- the NiA Theatre Troupe will perform
  • 7:45 - 8 and throughout the evening, a young acoustic guitarist named David Finney will play classical guitar
  • then, starting about 8 pm rock 'n' roll time, Tom Hall has arranged for the nationally known and esteemed Blue Mountain band featuring Cary Hudson to perform
  • Chris Powell's The Fishing Journal will follow them up (See Jasper #2 for a little ditty on the Fishing Journal)
  • and then, the Mercy Shot, with Thomas Crouch from Jasper #2, will play.
  • In the meantime, Michaela Pilar Brown will be displaying her most recent work in the Arcade lobby, and
  • street artist Cedric Umoja will be demonstrating his work (Read more about Michaela in Jasper #3 as well as Alex Smith's article on Cedric), and
  • all the galleries of the Arcade Mall will be open -- including those of our Cover artist and Centerfold!
  • Throughout the evening we'll have the return of our famous EconoBar with cheap beer, decent wine, and big spender craft brew at $2, $2, and $4 respectively, and
  • a nice little cheese spread courtesy of our friend Kristian Niemi and Rosso, as well as
  • a sampling of delicious roasted coffees from SC's own Cashua Coffee, and
  • the Krewe de Columbia-ya-ya will be on hand to school us all on the importance of parades, beads, beer, and dogs.
  • And, of course, there will be the release of Jasper #3.

Not a bad night for free, huh?

Please join us in the historic Arcade building on Main and Washington Streets, Thursday night, January 12th from 7 until 11 pm as we celebrate the art that makes us all get up in the mornings. The afterparty is at the Whig. We hope to see you both places.

Thank you for your support, Columbia.

-- Your Friends at Jasper


Jasper Issue 2 Release Event Music & David Adedokun

We here at Jasper are super-stoked that David Adedokun, a local singer/songwriter who often goes under the name The Daylight Hours, is headlining, and curating, the musical performances at the release of Vol. 1, No. 2 of our magazine.

As long time fans of David A., we want to tell you exactly why you should be excited too.

While it’s been awhile since we’ve heard new tunes from Mr. A (although we hear he has a bunch of new ones he’s ready to play on Tuesday), his 2007 debut How To Make A Mess of Things was, in fact, a stunning display of lyrical prowess and pop sensibility that we still count as one of our all-time favorite local releases. The songs on the record are performed by a stripped down-yet-emphatic backing band that largely leave the spotlight for Adedokun’s soaring voice, strong melodies and clear-headed (and occasionally cynical) meditations on relationships, true love, faith, and (on the closing “Old #7”) the bottle.

Mr. A has the local indie-pop act Dead Surf and singer/songwriter Dylan Dickerson opening up for him inside 701 Whaley, with Tom Hall & the Plowboys taking over the outdoors deck.

Come celebrate some great music in addition to all the great art covered in Jasper Magazine, No. 2!


-- Kyle Petersen


(Kyle Petersen is the Music Editor for Jasper -- The Word on Columbia Arts. Read more of Kyle's work at

American Whiskey Brother Gun Plow Revue Preview

Sometimes the best places to go see live music are the least likeliest of venues. Case in point in the crazy Southern soiree going down in Rosewood Sunday—over a half dozen acts associated with a practice space off of S. Edisto are going to be throwing down starting at 3 in the afternoon. Performances will be both inside and outside the space, with a down-home atmosphere that will see Plowboy leader Tom Hall grilling burgers, a keg of beer being tapped, and a donation jar getting passed to help raise money for the performers (suggested donation is $5).

Groups like Say Brother and the Plowboys will play rollicking acoustic music that fits right in with the lazy Sunday vibe of the day, while singer/songwriters Noah Brock and Will Pittman will also be playing in between full band sets. Whiskey Tango Revue will be delivering some of its rough-hewn outlaw country (the group has just put out their debut full-length, Seersucker Soldiers, and should have some copies for sale), while some of Jasper’s buddies in American Gun will be trying out some Afghan Whigs covers in preparation for their cover show on Oct. 15th, in addition to some of their more roots rock-oriented material.

The party will also feature one of the first live performances by the new Columbia band The Fishing Journal, fronted by ex-Death Becomes Even the Maiden drummer Chris Powell and featuring some energetic, Superchunck-inspired tunes. These are the kind of bands that everyone can love, and the loose vibes and casual atmosphere should make this humble musical bash the place to be this Sunday.

-- Kyle Petersen

Jasper likes beer and boogieing just as much as he likes art -- Thank you CMA

For too long, too many people have made the erroneous assumption that the arts are not for everyone – that those of us who appreciate the arts and incorporate them into our daily lives are snooty or elitist. The term, artsy fartsy comes to mind.

Most of us who love the arts know nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, we enjoy our visual arts, our ballet and theatre, but we also enjoy our brew and our boogieing, too. Thank goodness, the Columbia Museum of Art recognizes this, and their efforts to bridge the chasm between art junkies and museum novices have been nothing less than valiant.

Witness tonight’s event cleverly called Arts and Draughts. (It’s a play on words. Get it? Like arts and crafts, but with draughts?) A huge series of successes last year, Arts and Draughts brings beer drinkers, boogiers, and art lovers together for Friday night fun throughout the school year.* And the beauty is, you only have to enjoy one of the above to attend. (But by the night’s end, it’s likely you’ll be a fan of all three -- especially Tom Hall and the Plowboys, tonight's featured musical guests and Jasper's dear friends.)

Check out the details of tonight’s event below, ripped straight from the event’s Facebook page. The Jasper clan will be there – and we hope to see you, too.


 Arts and Draughts is back, and it’s sure to be better than ever! August 5th marks the date for the triumphant return of your favorite event of the month at Columbia Museum of Art. See art. Hear music. Drink beer.

($8/ $5 for members, join or renew that night and get in for free!)

This time we’ve got more in store for you including: performances by local favorites The Plowboys, New York Disco Villains, and a special guests throughout the night. All the while this is going on be sure to catch a unique perspective tour by “all around good guy” and conceptual artist Shigeharu Kobayashi through the Artist’s Eye galleries.

This month’s beer tasting: Kona Brewery. We’ll have food inside by Earth Fare and food outside from the Bone-In Artisan Barbecue Truck on Wheels and the 2 Fat 2 Fly food truck. Don’t miss the new video installations created for Arts & Draughts by the Moving Image Research Collections News Film Library and students from the UnSchool.

Need more art? Participate in a live figure drawing session brought to you by Dr. Sketchy’s Columbia! Join in on our DIY postcard project, design a postcard and send it to a stranger and sign up to receive one yourself.

Come early on 2 wheels and join in on our downtown bicycle ride brought to you by

Cycle Center!

 *(Jasper hopes Arts and Draughts will continue through next summer, but we’ve got time to put that bug in someone’s ear, we think.)