Focus on JAY Finalists - Tyler Matthews in Music

Tyler Matthews - 2017 JAY Finalist in Music - photo by Forrest Clonts

Tyler Matthews - 2017 JAY Finalist in Music - photo by Forrest Clonts

We're chatting with the 2017 JAY Awards Finalists as we enter the last few days of voting and preparing for the JAY Awards (& Retro Christmas party!) coming up on December 5th.


Jasper: What made the past year so great for you as an artist?


Tyler: Just getting to go full artist mode across several different disciplines, collaborating with talented people and working on awesome projects.


Jasper: How have you grown as an artist over the past year and to what do you attribute that growth?


Tyler: I’ve grown across the board in the area of problem solving, writing, and producing fast. When you start out at anything there’s a large amount of activation energy required to get past being a novice producer. After a certain amount of hours you reach a tipping point where the technical things that used to be difficult to understand are second nature.


Jasper: How have you seen your arts community grow over the past few years and to what do you       attribute that growth?


Tyler: I’ve seen the music scene continue to thrive because the energy from artists in Scenario Collective, Moas Collective, and WUSC has been embraced in Columbia by Arts & Draughts, First Thursday, and various events/venues around town. The film scene is thriving because of the leadership from Wade Sellers. The work he’s done with 2nd Act Film Festival has bridged more connections and brought more people to the scene than anything else I can think of in Columbia. (editor’s note – yes, that’s Jasper Magazine film editor, Wade Sellers – nominated for a boatload of Emmy’s, always eager to help  his brother and sister artists, especially with a hand-up. We love our Wade and are proud to have him on our staff and Jasper Project board of directors. And yes, 2nd Act film Festival is one of the primary endeavors of the Jasper Project, so you know, yays all around!)


Jasper: Why is art so important right now?

Tyler: Art is so crucial right now. At a time when there seems to be so much division and confusion in the world, art enables people to express themselves in a healthy, productive way. For some it provides a much needed escape.


Jasper: Who have been your major influences?

Tyler: Locally: Mason Youngblood, Chaz Bundick, Tucker Prescott, Pedro Ldv, and Wade Sellers. Globally: Hans Zimmer, Led Zeppelin, Deadmau5, Wes Anderson, and Christopher Nolan,


Jasper: Who are some of your favorite local artists from an arts discipline other than your own?

Tyler: Ed Madden and Tucker Prescott (um, hello, it’s us again. We just wanted to point out that Ed Madden is our poetry editor and has been since we started Jasper Magazine – we don’t know what we’d do without our Ed. Oh, and did we mention that he’s the poet laureate for the city of Columbia? So, again, yay!)


Jasper: Is there anyone you’d like to thank for their support of your arts career?

Tyler: Mason Youngblood and Tucker Prescott for inspiring me with their talents and encouragement. Wade Sellers for being a great mentor. My family for putting music in my life at an early age and setting a high bar with their own talents. The Jasper Project for caring enough about the arts community to assemble a great team that takes interest in South Carolina’s creative talent. (Aww, thanks Tyler!)


Jasper: Why should folks come out to the 2017 JAY Awards and Retro Christmas Party?

Tyler: Everybody who’s anybody is going to be there!



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Meet the 2016 2nd Act Film Fest Filmmakers

2nd act 2016 Back for our 3rd year, the 2nd Act Film Festival, under the direction of Emmy-nominated filmmaker and Jasper film editor Wade Sellers, hits the screen Friday night at 7 pm at Tapp's Arts Center. Tickets are just $10 and are available by clicking here! Past festivals have sold out to SRO audiences and tickets are going far quicker online this year than in years past, so a word to the wise ...

But no need to wait until Friday night to meet this year's filmmakers. Here's a brief intro below to what you have in store on Friday night, October 14 at 7 pm.



Cory John

Cory John

Film: At Last

Columbia, SC actor, screenwriter, producer, and director Cory John began performing at his hometown high school Spring Valley. There he noticed and embraced his love for theater and acting. He later became part owner of Real Records LLC where he was a writer and director for their original film series, which included "Spare the Rod" and their feature film, "Addiction: What’s Yours?" He has since gone on to star in productions such as Yesterday Is Still Gone, Finding Hope in the Struggle, and Thee Final Destination 2 Love, to name a few. His recent endeavors include being director for the EmPOWERment Corp, and appearing as co-writer, co-producer, co-director, and lead in the Horror film Bag Lady set to premiere in October of 2016. Cory is also the director and founder of Cory John’s Murder Mystery Dinner Show, which will soon celebrate its one year anniversary of bringing fun, food, and horror to the Carolinas. Cory is a lover of the arts and credits his writing and directing of his latest short film "At Last" as his best work to date.


Tamara Finkbeiner

Tamara Finkbeiner

Film: Bait

Originally from Barbados, Tamara is married to Janson Finkbeiner and a stay at home mom with my joys; King Kai, Big Jon and Benji. She graduated from Columbia College with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. She works in graphic design and is a co-founder with Josetra Robinson of our company One7evenOne Productions LLC.


Collins White

Collins White


Collins Abbott White is a filmmaker born and raised in Greenville, SC. He directed his first film when he was a senior in high school, and went on to study film in college. Upon graduating, Collins founded Other Vision Studios, a film and video production company with the goal of producing feature films in Greenville and helping to establish an industry presence in the upstate. For the past 5 years, Collins has worked with upstate businesses to help them capture the essence of their brand in video while producing several short films and the pilot of a mini-series as well as several YouTube Channels. He is passionate about the art of filmmaking and is determined to push himself in terms of story and quality every chance he gets.


David Holloway

David Holloway

Film: Botched

David Holloway is a freelance Cinematographer from Greenwood, South Carolina. He specializes in commercial and documentary projects. He is the owner operator of StoryReel Productions. He has a history degree from the University of Plymouth, UK. David is a self taught filmmaker, however, he has taken several workshops through Maine Media College. David is a passionate and dedicated film maker who is always looking to work with and learn from others.


Chris White

Chris White

Film: All Seeing

Chris White is an Irmo High School grad who now resides with his family in Greenville. His first film, ED THE MOVIE, was shot thirty years ago with a camera he bought at the old K-Mart on Bush River Road. Chris' next film is a rock-n-roll road movie about a kid who becomes a roadie for his favorite Christian hair band during the summer of 1986.


Kendall Jason

Kendall Jason -  kendallprojects

Film: Tonewood

Kendall (Jason) kendallprojects was born and raised in Columbia South Carolina. He briefly majored in Studio Art while participating in the football program at the University of South Carolina and North Greenville College. Leaving South Carolina he attended Art school at Ringling College of Art & Design in Florida where he received his BFA in sculpture. Upon graduating from Ringling he and his wife moved to New York where they lived in Brooklyn while working at Dia Center for the Arts (a nonprofit organization that initiates, supports, presents and preserves art projects “whose nature or scale” would preclude other funding sources). Also while in New York he received his MFA from New York University while teaching undergraduate classes in the fine art department. In 2009 Jason returned to South Carolina after his twin girls were born. Now back in Columbia Kendall works as an art teacher and spends most of his time in the studio developing new projects around ideas involving southern masculinity and blue-collar work ethic.


Ebony Wilson

Ebony Wilson

Film: W H O R L

Ebony is a returning filmmaker to the 2nd Act Film Festival from the Columbia area. She currently owns and operates her own independent production company, Midnight Crow Productions, is the administrator of the Columbia Film Community networking group, and manages branding and online positioning for media, talent, and film professionals in the Film Community Directory. Her latest works include Divine Intervention (a 48 hour film project), Underground 13 (web-series), and Prelude to Infusco (feature length sci-fi drama).


Michael Tolbert

Michael Tolbert

Film: Parental Guidance is Suggested

Michael Tolbert is an actor/director based out of Columbia, South Carolina. Over the course of four years he starred in Operation Adventure, hosting the documentary travel series. Most recently, Tolbert appeared in science fiction horror film Alienography and made his directing debut with the documentary film Wood: A Family Affair. Previously, Tolbert worked as a production assistant on films such as 50% and the short film Drifts. Both films have made their way across the nation screening at both Campus Movie Festival and Frameline Film Festival.


Jennifer Baxley

Jennifer Baxley

Film: Reality Really Bites

Jennifer Baxley is an amateur filmmaker whose inaugural music video “Jenny Saves Trump’s Jewels” allowed her to meet Donald Trump during the auditions for the Apprentice. This launched her very fruitful but profitless filmmaking career.  She’s produced five music videos, won a Palmetto Pillar Award and performed assorted production tasks on a few awesome films.  In her other lives she is a software developer and adjunct instructor for Midlands Technical College.


Tyler Matthews

Tyler Matthews

Film: Mr. Wonderful

Tyler Matthews is an equally adept filmmaker and music producer. After a four year stint in finance, he taught himself how to create video and music professionally. He's an artist on the Post-Echo Music label, an active member of two arts groups (Moas Collective and Scenario Collective), and a member of the SOCO Co-Work community. He produces two podcasts professionally and operates in the Vista under his business name Tyler Digital.


The 2nd Act Film Festival is a production of The Jasper Project.


The Jasper Project is a project-oriented, multidisciplinary arts facilitator serving the greater Columbia and South Carolina arts community by providing space, resources, and collaborative engineering for emerging artists and new projects by established artists. For more information go to

All-Arts Trivia-Yeah w/Guest Quizmasters this Sunday Night at The Whig

trivia How much fun was Trivi-Yeah at the Whig, back when Eric Bargeron would slam us up against the wall with what was probably the most clever (and often) most difficult questions in town? Winning was usually out of the question (thanks Les Frogs!), but placing was a thrill! Hell, just winning the best team name was a hoot, even though it was usually because someone who will remain nameless screeched like a banshee.

Well, Trivi-Yeah is back for one night only courtesy of the good folks at the Whig and it benefits the Jasper Project -- and this time Quizmaster Bargeron has created an all-arts slate of questions to spin our brains out of control. And to make it even more interesting, we've asked some guest quizmasters to come in and ask a few questions about local arts and award all kinds of fun prizes in between the standard Bargeron rounds.


Eric Bargeron, Quizmaster


Guest Quizmasters:

JAY Julia Elliott

Julia/Liz Elliott - Author of The Wilds and The New Improved Romie Futch


Larry Hembree, formerly of the Nick, Trustus, SCAC, and current president of the Board of Directors for the Jasper Project


Kari Lebby, musician, podcaster, pop maven, pretty boy


William Starrett, artistic and executive director of Columbia City Ballet


Wade Sellers, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, Columbia mover & shaker, and film editor for Jasper Magazine


Prizes include swag from lots of your favorite arts organizations, books, t-shirts, mugs, pens, stickers, buttons, etc., plus the regular Whig treats and goodies.

6 - 8 pm, Sunday September 25th

$5 suggested tax-deductible donation to the Jasper Project, who brings you Jasper Magazine, 2nd Act Film Festival, Fall Lines - a literary convergence, Marked by the Water, Wet Ink Spoken Word Poetry, and more

For more info -- click here!


CALL to SC filmmakers for 2016 2nd Act Film Festival

2nd act 2016 The 2nd Act Film Festival is a unique take on the film project. Its mission is to encourage and promote the growth of independent filmmaking in South Carolina by gathering highly creative and diverse voices that represent independent filmmaking in the state.


The 2nd Act Film Festival is a curated film project. Filmmakers submit their names to be considered for participation in the festival. A group of media and film professionals will select the final group of filmmakers based on their previous work, the filmmaking team they have organized, and their enthusiasm for independent filmmaking. There is no entry fee to participate. The level of filmmaking experience by the filmmaker can range from beginner to professional. Participating filmmakers will be featured in Jasper magazine and promoted heavily in events leading up to the festival screening.


Filmmakers are given the same first and third acts of a three act short script. The filmmaker's job is to write the second act and make the film. There is no restriction on genre or subject matter. This year, filmmaking teams will receive $100 to help produce their film.


The $250 2nd Act Film Festival Audience Award is given to the film that the audience recognizes as the most outstanding product of those created for the festival. Participating filmmakers will also receive gifts from the event sponsors.


The ten selected filmmakers will screen their films at Tapp’s Arts Center on Friday, October 14th, 2016. Past festivals have played to overflow crowds. Complete guidelines and entry forms may be found at The call for entries closes August 31st.


According to independent filmmaker OK Keyes, winner of the 2013 Audience Award, “Second Act was a wonderful experience as a young creator trying to find inspiration to do art outside of a school project. I also think the parameters for the project create a unique challenge to not be like everyone else that pushes you to really know your own style.”

 2nd Act Film Festival Highlights

There is no entry fee for participating filmmakers and teams.

  • Filmmakers will receive $100 to help produce their film.
  • Selected filmmakers must currently live in South Carolina.
  • The final group of filmmakers will be selected by a group of media professionals.
  • Filmmakers will be selected based on their prior works, as well as their passion and commitment toward independent filmmaking.
  • All filmmakers will receive the same two script pages as well as additional instructions on producing the film.


Contact Festival Director Wade Sellers at 803.467.4206 or for more information.


Line Up of Fun for Jasper Release Party Monday Night

jasper presents

Big Art Fun at GUESSWORK Studio


We've seen this happen before.

Jasper starts out planning to celebrate the release of the newest issue of the magazine with an informal gathering of artists and arts lovers at a local studio or gallery. Keeping it simple. No big deal.

Then someone has an idea for a cool performance or activity. A band or two is interested in playing. What if we did this? Or this? Damn Y'all, let's just do this!

The next thing we know a big old hairy artball is rolling down the hill and, this time, it's landing with a splat at Billy Guess's very cool new studio space GUESSWORK on Avondale Road.

(You know you don't want to miss this thing.)

Here's what to expect Monday night, starting about 7, at the release celebration of the 29th issue of Jasper Magazine.

Hold on tight.



Music by Tyler Godon

Music by the Mustache Brothers

Art by Billy Guess, Khris Coolidge, and (fingers crossed) Jasper's own visual arts editor, Kara Gunter

Michael Krajewski will be channeling Dave Chappell channeling Prince and making Prince symbol-shaped pancakes - Billy will be providing a pancake toppings bar

On a big blow-up outdoor screen, Wade Sellers will be sharing his film 25 Artists, which features - you guessed it - 25 Artists from Columbia

Barry Wheeler will be creating a video of you and 100 of your closest friends playing a One Columbia kazoo in a weird blend of the arts and patriotism as we create the Columbia Arts Community's Memorial Day Message to the Universe

Bier Doc will be grilling up cheap hot dogs and supper will only cost you a dollar (Or you can wrap those dogs in a pancake to make pan dogs/hot cakes)

Annie will be selling you bottomless cups of good beer and decent wine

And last but not least, you'll get your hands on a fresh hot copy of the 29th issue of

Jasper Magazine!


When was the last time you had this much fun on a Monday night?

See  you about 7 at 955 Avondale Drive, a couple blocks off North Main right after the intersection at Sunset

Bring a lawn chair and be ready to have a big old time!

Jasper leaf logo



6 Questions with Wade Sellers whose film ANATOMY OF A FLOOD Premieres at INDIE GRITS


JASPER:  The work you've done for Indie Grits this year is untitled in the program literature. Is that intentional? Is there a title or could you give it a title now, if you had to?

SELLERS:  The title of the installation is Anatomy of a Flood. I don't think I had a title for it when they asked for the proposals from the artists. I had a general idea but didn't decide on a title until I solidified the concept.
JASPER:  Tell us just a little bit about the impetus for your film.
SELLERS:  I had been asked by a friend if I would be willing to video the interior of a home for insurance purposes that had been damaged by the flooding. I agreed and realized that this was a way that I could offer what I do to those affected. I ended up capturing footage of many homes that were horribly damaged by the flood waters and during the time I spent in each one, the damage and its effect on the owners weighed on me. I though of talking to the owners then and asking about their experience but I couldn't, I didn't feel it was right to do. I wasn't gathering news, I would've asked very personal questions and it was too soon.
When I was asked to participate in the Waterlines project by Seth, I wanted to revisit those home owners and others affected by the flood and have them tell me their personal story of that night.
The narrative of the film is fairly narrow. I asked those that I interviewed to tell me only of their experience the night of October 3rd until the time they left their home the next morning.
JASPER:  Sometimes Indie Grits films are a work in progress - is yours? (If yes, how so?)
SELLERS:  The project is finished and was originally intended to be a one time screening because of the nature of how it is projected. I've changed my thinking now and think it would be appropriate to be projected as one piece on one wall.
JASPER:  What was the most challenging part in the process of making this film?
SELLERS:  It is always hard to edit out good parts of a story and Anatomy of a Flood was no different. There were some moments of each person's story of the night of the flood that were extremely engaging, but didn't really fit in the whole of the piece. Since the film is projected on three different walls the timing of each visual was a bit tricky but turned out to be very effective when played together.
The technique I use in editing the interviews is based off of what I developed for a documentary series I directed and edited, where we interview many people about one event. The interviews are then edited together to feel as if it is one continuous story but told by many people and from their personalities in telling the story you get the idea of the makeup of them as individuals and as a community.
JASPER:  How did making this film affect or change you as a filmmaker?
SELLERS:  The project itself is the first time I have created a film to be projected on multiple screens at the same time. At the heart of it it is a narrative documentary, the only difference is that it has contrasting images projected at the same time on opposite walls. I create films that tell engaging stories. I wanted this to be the same but also wanted to add the element of other possible narratives trying to fight and disorient the viewers attention.
JASPER:  What do you hope people will take away from having seen the film?
SELLERS:  I don't feel I overstretched my limits with Anatomy of a Flood. Projecting on multiple surfaces isn't new, but I think the project does offer an engaging opportunity for viewers. My goal with it is to have the viewer struggle to watch and listen to the narrative while having the secondary images fighting for their attention as well. It is supposed to illicit an emotional response, to disorient or maybe confuse-much like the events of the night of the flooding or much like diving into water and not knowing, for a split second, which way is the way to the top.
But in the end, I want the viewer to be able to say that they had a shared experience and that they may feel closer to our community.
"If you are someone who creates, then I think it is critical that you push yourself and create something that speaks to your community after your community has suffered. The fact that our community has organizations such as The Nickelodeon and One Columbia that not only support and encourage but commission these efforts puts our city in a position to strengthen the fabric that holds it together in ways we won't realize until the years ahead." - Wade Sellers

The Top Eight Films I Didn’t See This Year -- By Wade Sellers

I watched a lot of films this year. Thanks to pay cable getting their streaming catalogs stocked with quality films, I may have watched more films than in any year prior. The frustration I have with myself is that I missed seeing many of these on a big screen. There is no substitute for a theater. Netflix will never be able to change this, no matter how dark the room, good the sound, and large the television. Others on this list haven’t made it to our part of the world yet. Either way, I’m excited to resolve myself to go through this list as my new year begins. I suggest you do the same.

45 years

45 Years

If Michael Caine taught that film acting is in the eyes, then Charlotte Rampling is one of the best in the business. Rampling co-stars with veteran English actor Tom Courtney in this film about a couple planning the celebration of their 45th wedding anniversary. A week before the party a letter arrives for Courtney’s character that informs him that the body of his first love has been discovered, frozen, in the Swiss Alps. Directed by Andrew Haigh, this drama opened December 23rd for a limited run. I first remember Rampling’s unforgettable longing stare as she starred with Paul Newman in the 1982 film The Verdict and have loved it ever since. They are a couple of deep eyes that can only be seen on the big screen. Find the film somewhere and you’ll see what I mean.

a most violent year

A Most Violent Year

In my opinion, Oscar Isaac stole the movie Drive from Ryan Gosling. It was the first time I remembered him in a role. I wasn’t the only one. The Coen Brothers picked him to lead Inside Llewyn Davis (on reflection one of the best films of the 2010’s). Along with Academy Award nominee Jennifer Chastain, Isaac stars in the crime drama from J.C. Chandor. Quite honestly, I have no idea how I haven’t seen this film. It was released at the beginning of the year, received mixed reviews, but over the following months has picked up some strong momentum. The poster image is staring at me on Netflix so I don’t have any more excuses.



I’m always wary whenever I see features about a film before it’s release that focus on the production. With Room the focus was on the interior set that was built for the film and how the filmmakers created a set of rules when filming. My first thought is that the distributor’s PR department is pulling a sleight of hand away from the mass appeal of a film. The film’s star, Brie Larson, picked up a Golden Globe nomination for her role as a woman held captive for many years and the resulting adjustment for her and her young son when they are freed and have to adjust to the outside world. I’m excited to see if this film can move past the Mamet view of theater blocking caught on film to small location indie cinema in the tradition of Hard Candy and Reservoir Dogs.



Todd Haynes film Safe could be my favorite film of all time. His student film Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story is one that made me want to be a filmmaker. I don’t think the man has made a bad film and I get frustrated he isn’t more widely celebrated as one of our great filmmakers. The man just makes great films that reflect on us as individuals and a society; I’m biased. I also anticipate that his film Carol, an adaptation of the 1952 novel The Price of Salt, will do nothing to harm the opinions of his filmmaking. The fact that Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara and Kyle Chandler star only make it more attractive. The film is set in New York City and follows a young photographer and her relationship with and older woman. There is something magical about seeing a film in the city it takes place. I missed seeing this film the week before Christmas while visiting New York City and already regret it.



I may have been cheating so I could add Sean S. Baker’s film to this list. Tangerine has been staring at me on Netflix for over a week and at one point I think I hit play but the internet went out. Either way I’ll be watching it soon, probably before you read this list. Baker got his start as the creator of Greg The Bunny, and since then has accumulated an impressive list of small indie films as writer/director. Tangerine is his latest. The drama/comedy follows Sin-Dee Rella, a transgender sex worker just finishing a month long prison sentence who finds that her boyfriend and Pimp, Chester, has been cheating on her. I was worried that the fact that this film was shot entirely on an iPhone was being used as a hook for a film that may be one dimensional in story. After I read a couple of reviews of the film from those I respect it is the first I’ll be watching from this list.



I think I missed Rick Famuyiwa’s film Dope because I was out of the country on vacation when it was released. I saw the film’s trailer before a screening at the Nickelodeon and didn’t give it a thought afterwards until I was compiling this list. I feel like a lazy film writer for doing so. Forget the talented list of names that are behind this project, or Famuyiwa’s strong directorial history (Talk To Me was as good as a biographical drama gets), I just like seeing films that tell stories that it seems would never be told if it weren’t for the group who championed it. I also like seeing new young talent take over a big screen and hope they have a bright future. The screen will probably have to be small when I watch this movie in the coming weeks, but I’m sure the talent will still shine through.



After graduating my college film program, I found out there was a book that was a result of filmmaker Francois Truffaut and Alfred Hitchcock locking themselves away in Hollywood for a week so Truffaut could mine Hitchcock’s brain about his approach to filmmaking. I loved Truffaut and I loved Hitchcock. I was pissed. Why was this never brought up? How deficient was my instruction? I still include it among the three publications that I feel are the only books a film student needs- along with David Mamet’s On Directing and Edward Dmytyk’s On Film Editing. Kent Jones’ documentary collects interviews with well respected filmmakers and mixes their praise with audio that Truffaut recorded during his sessions with Hitchcock. You may have to be a film nerd to make it through the whole film (I couldn’t make it through a film with famous salesmen talking about the two of the best salesmen who met to talk about how they sell), and it is quite possible the film may ruin the way you watch movies, but so what- educate yourself, Son.

forbidden room

The Forbidden Room

If you pushed me for an answer about my favorite filmmakers, there is Guy Maddin and everyone else. His films are, in my opinion, what filmmaking should be about. There is no grey area with this statement. He just gets what being cinematic is all about. He’s not Scorsese or Anderson or any of the great names, but that’s the point. He is his own voice and influence. I watched my first guy Maddin film from a VHS tape I grabbed off of a shelf at the SC Arts Commission Media Center- you know, back when our state supported things like young filmmakers by offering them the tools to make films at reasonably low rental rates. I popped the tape in and instantly knew that I had never seen anything else like what was in front of my eyes. The best part is that over the years I have found that his films work on big screens and small screens. Maddin is a prolific filmmaker and artist and The Forbidden Room is his latest. It may be twenty-five years too late for you, but find a film of his and make it your New Year’s Resolution to watch it.


What were the top films you DID or DIDN'T see this year? Share below!


Wade Sellers is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and the Film Editor for Jasper Magazine.

Wade profile pic

A New Foundation for Our City - Filmmaker Wade Sellers endorses Andy Smith for Columbia City Council

When I hear terms such as “our city is on the brink of…” used in magazine articles, newspaper profiles, and, most recently, at a city council candidate forum, I instantly cringe. It’s a lazy quote, cotton candy rhetoric, instantly sounding sweet but quickly dissolving without the substance to back it up. The term has been used a lot to describe Columbia for many years and recently our explosive growth throughout the city has led us to hear the term more and more. This growth is not by accident and not a surprise to many people. For a decade or more, there have been many young people in Columbia that have made the conscious decision to stay and live here. The decision was not to just live in Columbia, but to make Columbia the place that they wanted to live in. Andy Smith was one of those individuals. Andy’s work in growing the Nickelodeon Theater is not only benefitting the theater itself, but the community as a whole. He has not shied away from what the additional responsibilities of being the Executive Director of a non-profit arts organization bring. He is personally integrated into the arts community, bringing artists of all disciplines together to create and spread their talents through the city as a whole.

Andy does not just make the” appropriate appearances” at arts events in the city. He’s been personally involved and invested in our arts community, and he’s made both that and his national arts organization experience the foundation of his campaign. That kind of experience, coupled with Andy’s creative yet concrete plans for the future of our city, is what is so inspiring and new for a metropolis that has, for far too long, been stuck on the verge of…something.

In Andy we have an opportunity that we have not had in recent memory. As an arts community we have the opportunity to not only have someone who understands the arts and knows the artists in Columbia, but a champion of the arts as a new foundation for our city to grow on for many years ahead. Take time and vote for Andy Smith for the city of Columbia’s at-large seat on November 3rd.

Filmmaker Wade Sellers is the Film Editor for Jasper Magazine. Known for his SCETV series "South Carolinians in World War II," he is a three time Emmy nominee and has received Addy's, Telly's and numerous other awards for his work.

Film Review: Steve Jobs - by Wade Sellers

Michael Fassbender as the Apple Computers co-founder in Danny Boyle's new film Steve Jobs. by Film Editor Wade Sellers

There was a time that being allowed to see backstage at a concert, movie set or a performer’s personal life for those not in the entertainment industry was a magical and special moment. Just hearing the words “behind-the-scenes” brought chills. We were getting to see the “real” life behind the show. Now, it is a marketing must-do. The magical, never-seen moments don’t exist anymore. A tour of a home is a promotional tool, footage of models changing or dancers stretching part of the marketing package. Every live concert event offers, at an insanely steep cost, the opportunity to take part in this exclusive backstage, one-on-one experience.

Since the death of Steve Jobs, there have been many fictional and non-fictional attempts to offer the world a glimpse behind-the-scenes of his life. Many books and movies that offer us a look at the “real” world and history of a man who was the leader of late 20th century cultural and technological change. So when Danny Boyle read Aaron Sorkin’s brilliantly written script Steve Jobs, he must have experienced simultaneous ecstasy and panic at the chance to tell this story of Jobs’ life.

Sorkin loves dialogue. His career highlights such as The West Wing, A Few Good Men, and The Social Network are known in most casual conversations as really good television and film. But each has a lot of dialogue. A lot of words are an actor’s dream and sometimes a director’s nightmare. These Sorkin scripts had directors who knew how to wrap their creative arms around Sorkin’s words, keep it focused, understand its cadence and let the actors have their fun. Danny Boyle wraps his experienced and well-versed arms around Sorkin’s screenplay and delivers a solid film from what on the page must seem dangerously close theater. Boyle’s personal bridge of experience in theater and filmmaking is the film’s greatest strength.

The film takes place in three acts. Each act directly precedes three product launches that Jobs was responsible for; the Mac (1984), NEXT (1988), and the iMac (1998). These three vignettes are blocked backstage, behind the curtains of the venue each product is being launched in. There is constant movement backstage. Stress is high and each movement and line delivery of the actors is kinetic.  We feel the energy and movement as if we are there at each venue. Each act is filmed with cameras that are appropriate for the time; heavy grained film stock, cleaner film stock and digital. It is a choice by Boyle that seems a bit self-gratuitous. The transitions between each act are separated by appropriate historical news clips and voice overs that hurriedly transition us from the previous year to the present. This is not the most original of creative options, but at least it wasn’t a spinning clock. The real directorial strength comes from Boyle’s willingness to trust a certain playfulness with his cast.

Michael Fassbender (X-Men, Inglorious Basterds) takes on the role of Jobs. He embraces all of the characteristics that we have been told about Jobs—the lack of empathy, the narcissism, the incredible creative focus—and mixes them with his own interpretation of the man. Jobs was a very visible person. His speech and mannerisms are well-known and Fassbender has no interest in mimicry. Always at his side throughout the film is Kate Winslet (Titanic, Revolutionary Road) playing Job’s confidant Joanna Hoffman. It is the perfect role for Winslet, taking full advantage of her talent for dialect and maturity as actor, as evidenced in the film’s final act with her matriarchal ultimatum to Jobs. Winslet stands out in a crowded field of talent. A narrative thread binding each act is the appearance of Job’s daughter Lisa and her mother backstage during each launch. Makenzie Moss, Ripley Sobo, and Perla Haney-Jardin play Lisa at the ages of four, eight and nineteen, with each young actress capably taking on the character’s growth. This narrative is an interesting choice for the film. The tepid relationship he has with his daughter seems to exist as a manifestation of Job’s struggle with his own adoption, to humanize him. Early on Jobs denies that he is her father, but the relationship grows over the course of the film to suggest that Lisa has been Job’s muse throughout. That Jobs’ inspiration for each of the devices he designed were in parallel with Lisa’s own growth, finally ending with Jobs looking at her before the iMac launch and stating that he “will put 500-1000 songs in her pocket,” replacing the worn Walkman she has been listening to the entire film. Jeff Daniels stands out as the former handpicked-by-Jobs Apple CEO John Sculley. Daniels (The Newsroom, Dumb and Dumber), just seems to get Sorkin’s words. His talents have always been underrated because he is natural and inviting, no matter the temperament and compass of the character he plays. Seth Rogan takes on the role of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. This must be the hardest role to cast in recent history because no actor I have seen in any the Wozniak portrayals has been inviting.

Steve Jobs is an original look into three small moments in the life of a worldwide cultural icon.  One can imagine that it must be much easier to portray someone as powerful and wealthy as Jobs as a complete narcissist without fear of direct litigation. When he is on, Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue is a gift, and he is dead on in Steve Jobs. In the end, the problem is not with the film. It is an overwhelmingly entertaining and stylistic biography that touts an incredibly talented cast and helmed by one of a few directors who could capably tell this story. But when the lights come up after our tour behind the curtain, it doesn’t seem as special because we have been allowed behind this curtain too many times already.

Steve Jobs plays at the Nickelodeon Theater today through October 29th. Showtimes and tickets can be found at

Tamara Finkbeiner wins Audience Award at Jasper's 2nd Act Film Festival

Tamara Finkbeiner  

Congratulations to Tamara Finkbeiner whose film Eva's Plug, won the Audience Award at Friday night's 2nd Act Film Festival sponsored by Jasper Magazine. Selected via audience ballot, the 2nd Act Film Festival Audience Award includes a check for $250, a First Draft editing program, and a one-of-a-kind trophy designed by Columbia artist, Matthew Kramer. According to film festival director Wade Sellers, "With any short film fest there are many films that could win an audience award, that was the same with this year's 2nd Act Film Fest. There is usually a film, however, that just connects with an audience in that room at that moment and that was the case with Tamara's film Eva's Plug. You could feel the energy and enthusiasm for the film build as it played. That experience is what 2nd Act is all about."

This was the second 2nd Act Film Festival (the first was in October 2013) which played once again to a capacity house at Tapp's Arts Center and included the films of 10 adjudicated filmmakers from South Carolina including Lucas Sams, Brian Harmon, Jason Stokes, Bessy Adut, Phyllis Jackson, Caletta Harris-Bailey, Bradley Wagster,  Dustin Weibel, Jordan Young, and Tamara Finkbeiner. The selected filmmakers, who applied to participate earlier this season, were chosen over other applicants based on their abilities and the freshness of the voice the jurors thought they would bring to the project. Jurors included Lee Ann Kornegay, Lee Snelgrove,  Caitlin Bright, Wade Sellers, and Cindi Boiter. 

2015 2nd Act Filmmakers

"This year we put more pressure on ourselves to assist the filmmakers," Sellers says. "We offered script notes, production advice and assistance, and editorial suggestions once the films were turned in. As a whole the films were more diverse in voice and just better as a whole than our first event." Sellers is the owner and director of Coal Powered Filmworks, a three-time Emmy nominated filmmaker, and the film editor for Jasper Magazine.

In keeping with Jasper's efforts to foster a multi-disciplinary arts community, both visual artists and musicians played a part in the festival and its presentation.  Visual artist Michael Krajewski created an original painting which was used for the festival poster and program; visual artist Matthew Kramer created the Audience Award; and Pedro Ldv entertained festival attendees both before the event and during intermission. In addition, original music from several Columbia-based musicians, including Stan Gardner, Daniel Machado and more, was used as background music during the films themselves.

Columbia-based writer Don McCallister also served as a consultant on the first and third acts of the screenplay which was given to the filmmakers with the challenge that they write the second act and create a film, six minutes long or less, using all three acts. Participants in the 2013 2nd Act Film Festival including Ron Hagell and OK Keyes lent the knowledge of their experience to this year's filmmakers by consulting on films and screenplays.

In the aftermath of Columbia's devastating flood last week other artists including Michael Krajewski,  Bonnie Goldberg, Kara Gunter, Nancy Marine, and Sean McGuiness voluntarily stepped up and offered the fruits of their labors to benefit flood victims through a silent auction which generated $1060 which will be delivered to the Central Carolina Community Foundation. Two large bins of children's arts supplies was also collected from audience members for distribution to children effected by the flood.

The festival staff would like to thank Precision Overhead Garage Door Service, the Mouse House, Coal Powered Filmwork, and Bourbon Columbia for their sponsorship funds and services.

"It was exciting to see these ten filmmakers create these films," Sellers says, "and it only makes us more excited for the future of the event."

Do I Sound Gay?: A Q&A w/ documentary filmmaker David Thorpe

Director David Thorpe seeks advice from vocal coaches, linguists, historians, friends,  strangers, celebrities and others in order to better understand his voice. "Where does my 'gay voice' come from?" he asks. Photo Courtesy of ThinkThorpe by: Wade Sellers and Jake Margle

Writer and filmmaker David Thorpe’s feature documentary Do I Sound Gay? has been gaining steam since its screening at the Toronto Film Festival. A graduate of Irmo High School and now living and working in New York City, Thorpe has put together an entertaining and poignant film about cultural perceptions and stereotypes. Enlisting the help of recognizable names in the gay community (i.e. Dan Savage), close friends, family, and interviews with random people on streets from Paris to New York, Thorpe examines people thoughts on the male gay voice, a subject born from insecurities about his own. Jasper sat down to talk with Thorpe before his film begins its run at The Nickelodeon on September 10th.

Jasper: How did the initial concept for the film begin?

DT: I really had this lightning bolt moment, where I realized that the voices of my own community were really alienating me and persecuting me. It was flash point for alienation that I was feeling at the time about being gay, you know? It made me wonder, why are some gay men the way they are, why do we all talk like this? Is it something society forced on us or is it who we really are? Even scarier or more strange was wondering about myself and, “did I sound like this?” I think I knew, I kind of did at times. So I wondered, why did I sound like this? Why didn’t I like it? It was just this hurricane of emotion about my voice. And this emotion about my voice all came in the form of questions about voice and I think there’s a perfectly good reason for that, which is that, for a lot of gay men our voices are our “tell.” We feel like it is what, for lack of a better phrase, gives us away.

Jasper: You are a writer, correct?

DT: I was a journalist doing mainly lifestyle journalism but also a fair amount of gay-related journalism. Then I was a communications director for five years prior to making the film, at a large AIDS organization in New York City. That’s where I was able to do a lot of creative activism in trying to get media attention and political attention around AIDS issues which had kind of fallen off the map. In many ways, it prepared me to work out this story about my voice. Because in a lot of ways I think the film is a form of creative, funny activism around a serious topic.

Jasper: Had you ever approached filmmaking before?

DT: Yeah, I had dabbled in film for sure. You know even in Do I Sound Gay?, you see clips from a public access show that I did with friends, in which I put in way too much time and energy. So, I knew that I loved film, but I had such a love for writing that it wasn’t the fullest idea that came to mind. I was gonna write a book about the gay voice, but the deeper I went into it the more I realized that it would only make sense to [make a film].

Jasper: How long was the filmmaking process?

DT: It was sort of between 4 and 5 years depending on where you start and depending on what you call the end.

Jasper: Did you kind of have a loose outline of what you were trying to achieve?

DT: Oh God no. We did not have an outline or a plan. The project kind of unspooled in a really kind of organic way over the years. You know, from just sort of a topic that I felt I needed to explore to just kind of shooting and exploring ideas, to kind of the trailer. It all kind of organically layered on top of itself as more people heard about the project and there seemed to be deeper and deeper interest in seeing it made. Which includes everything from my investors, to the Kickstarter which had like 2,000 individual backers and raised $120,000. I would never have dreamed that in the beginning. that I was going make a feature independent doc-film that was going to have a national profile in the media and with critics. I think it’s much better that I didn’t know that going into it because it might have been too scary. I might have been more calculating than I should have. The project was really kind of a genuine expression of a first-time filmmaker.

Jasper: Was there a point when you were making the film that you realized that a lot of people were reacting in an electric way?

DT: Yeah, I mean very early on I saw the power of the question alone, “do I sound gay?” Because 10 out 10 people that I would talk to about the stereotype of the gay voice suddenly would light up and tell me what they thought it was, or that they had always wondered what it was, or they talked about their own voices, gay and non-gay people alike, so I always knew that the topic was very resonant with people, and that was very exciting and among the reasons I felt compelled to keep going. We did many, many rough-cut screenings over the course of a year and, you know, we did our homework, and we knew from those screenings a lot of people were finding the film very thought-provoking and compelling regardless of whether or not they were gay.

Jasper: What were some of your friend’s reactions when you first told them about making the film?

DT: (laughs) Well I think my friends and family were taken back. I think they were really surprised to hear that I didn’t like my voice, that I still had issues about being gay or sounding gay. And, you know, it was something I had never spoken about with them, but, you know, certainly my gay friends, as taken back as they might have been by the idea of going to a voice coach. All of them right away knew exactly what I was feeling in terms of internalized homophobia, and shame, and my self-consciousness. There was always, I think, a lot of empathy from gay people. And, you know, at the beginning of this I really didn’t know how gay audiences would react, and I was fearful that I would be criticized for airing dirty laundry, for talking about shame. Instead, it seemed like, by and large and overwhelmingly, gay audiences find the film a useful way of opening up that conversation. That being gay or being a minority or frankly, being an individual is, for a lot of people, definitely a challenge. That sometimes we’re better at being another.

Jasper: One of the strongest moments in your film is meeting the young man who was being beat up in class for the sound of his voice.

DT: I read about the assault online. It made national news and headlines around the country as a lot of these vicious attacks do. What I kept reading in interviews was that his voice always played a role in his getting bullied, and that really jumped out at me. So I reached out to him. I spent a day with them and got to know them. And I have stayed in touch with them, last I heard from his mom is that he’s doing well. I think a lot of people found that scene very touching and very telling about how dangerous it can be to make yourself visible or, in this case, audible, as gay or feminine.

Jasper: Did your point of view, or focus, change as you got deeper into making the film?

DT: I kind of understood how I got from A to B but maybe not how I got from A to B to C to D to E to F to G and so forth. I always knew my sense of where we would end up once I had done all the shooting and actually lived the experience of the journey. But I think there was so much more between A and Z that I didn’t clearly know or understand and that’s what the film is, is all that stuff in the middle.

Jasper: Having a wide positive response like this, does it validate any of the questions you were asking when you began making the film?

DT: Yeah, this was always a very personal project that I was going to complete regardless of the form that took. Whether it was watching it in my living room or sort of a large feature film. I was gonna do it no matter what. But it is gravy, it is the cherry on top when it turned out that what I wanted to do and say and explore resonated with so many people. And it does give you confidence you know, like, “Hey maybe what I have to say is something a lot of other people would be interested in hearing.”

Jasper: How do you find this message resonating with the people and the groups and communities that it’s been playing in?

DT: With every Q&A that I’ve done, and I’ve done a lot at this point, there are always a lot of questions for me but there are always a lot of people who share stories from their own lives: gay people, women, people of color. And they talk about their own perceived flaws and how they have or haven’t gotten past them. One of the most ratifying things for me is that the film seems to prompt people to think about themselves and maybe embrace perceived flaws or have a sense of, “Hey! Everybody has insecurities,” and you can reach out to family and you can reach out to friends and try to grow and move forward.


Do I Sound Gay? runs at The Nickelodeon from September 11th through September 17th. Director David Thorpe will be present and participate in a live talk back after the September 13th screening.

Chatting with Jiyoung Lee, Whose film Female Pervert Screens at Indie Grits 2015

IG-Logo By: Wade Sellers

Female Pervert director Jiyoung Lee took the time to answer a couple of questions about life in Atlanta and her film, which screens in competition tonight [The Nickelodeon, Downstairs Theater- 7:30pm] at Indie Grits.

How is life as an indie filmmaker in Atlanta?

It's nice to be an indie filmmaker in Atlanta. You have access to great community of actors and film professionals. (Many Hollywood productions are shot in Atlanta.) And the Atlanta Film Festival is very supportive of local filmmakers.

The downside of being a filmmaker in Atlanta is that you have few local sources for funding. But funding is hard these days, regardless of location. Also, the hot and humid summers in Atlanta can make film shoots challenging.

The synopsis of Female Pervert mentions that your film touches on classic issues of young men and women, such as finding true emotional connections in the world, but digs deeper into your protagonist’s eccentric interests. How has the film been received so far and what are some of the responses you have gotten?

Female Pervert is an idiosyncratic movie and I didn't necessarily try to please people when making it. People either love or hate the movie. Very few people have a middling opinion of the movie. However, most people agree the lead actress Jennifer Kim did a fantastic job. So the movie's definitely worth seeing just for her performance alone.

Preview: 2015 Indie Grits, Day 1

IG-Logo by: Wade Sellers

Has it been 12 months already? Indie Grits begins its ninth festival today offering Columbia more artistic variety in less time than any previous installment.

The Indie Grits Opening Night Party blasts off at Columbia Museum of Art and Boyd Plaza. Be the first in line to check out the movie theater in a shipping container known as the Mini Cine. The best part of the Mini Cine is that it is free. There will be bands, beer and the party never disappoints.


Cotton Road is the screening with the most buzz on the evening. Laura Kissel’s film follows the commodity of cotton from South Carolina Farms to Chinese factories to illuminate the work and industrial processes in a global supply chain. The film has been gaining momentum on the festival circuit and has been met with praise after screenings across the country. This is Cotton Road’s premier in Columbia. Kissel will be on hand for a Q&A after the screening. If you don’t have a ticket, try to reserve one right now because it is sure to sell out [Update: Yep, it's SOLD OUT].

5:30pm- Nickelodeon Theater 2.

If you need to get you’re indie film appetite sated before the party, head to the Nick and check out the Four Minute Film Frenzy5pm- in Nickelodeon Theater 1.

People Portraits is a collection of documentary shorts about, well, people. 7pm- Nickelodeon Theater 1.

Lost Colony is a narrative feature from North Carolina Filmmaker Christopher Holmes. Named after the infamous failed settlement on the Outer Banks in the late 16th century, Holmes' film promises to feature plenty of lingering shots of the Tar Heel State's shorelines as the film explores--or perhaps undermines--traditional coming-of-age story expectations. -Kyle Petersen; 8pm- Nickelodeon Theater 2.


You have no excuse not to grab an Indie Grits schedule at the opening party, but if you have a major league excuse you cannot attend, the festival lineup can be viewed in detail here.

Review: Whiplash - by Wade Sellers


“The two most harmful words in the English language are good job,” spews Terence Fletcher to his former jazz pupil Andrew Nieman through scotch soaked lips as the two sit in a New York jazz club. The words are greeted by a naïve but understanding grin from Neiman. It’s meant to be an exposed moment for Fletcher who, for the better part of the last 70 minutes of the film Whiplash, from director Damien Chazelle, has been brutally using a well-honed set of skills to force the young music prodigy to submit before him.

Fletcher’s Jazz Ensemble instructor is played with full force by J.K. Simmons. Simmons is a veteran character actor, whose past roles on Law and Order, The Amazing Spiderman and various commercials result in a recognizable face would be hard to overcome if not for his years of experience. If ever there was a role of a lifetime made for someone, Fletcher is that for Simmons. Young and experienced Miles Teller (Divergent, Footloose) plays the young drumming prodigy Andrew Neiman.

Whiplash draws its inspiration from director Damien Chazelle’s own high school experiences and Simmon’s bullish and hyper-demanding jazz teacher, first fleshed out in a short film that screened at the 2013 Sundance film festival. It is a hyper-realized version of Chazelle’s experience with his own instructor.

Andrew Nieman is a young jazz percussionist with a single focus, to be remembered as one of the great jazz drummers in history. He attends the fictional Shaffer Music Conservatory in New York City. Hand-picked by Fletcher to be part of his jazz studio ensemble, Nieman is eager to showcase his talents with the best of the best at the school. Before the first rehearsal the eager percussionist receives a few words of encouragement from Fletcher in the hallway outside their classroom. Behind the closed studio door, Nieman is quickly introduced to Fletcher’s classroom demeanor. Fletcher bullies and intimidates his students when their performance doesn’t please his ear. He is a brute, with no hesitation to pick apart any weakness of performance in front of him. It is a brutal game of give and take between teacher and pupil throughout the film.

Nieman seems to separate himself from his fellow students at the beginning, not only with his willingness to learn, but his willingness to accept the abuse that Fletcher deals to him. In fact, he almost welcomes it, using it as more motivation to become better, to master his instrument.

Simmons’ Academy Award nomination for his performance is well warranted. He commands the screen as the abusive teacher. In even his most vile moments, there is a sense that his abusiveness is not without a reason and that saves his character. The surprise is that Teller’s name was left off major awards lists.

While there are small notes on Simmons performance, (it very much resembles the R. Lee Ermey character in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket), Teller's performance is nearly perfect. Having the benefit a new young face, mixed with talent and heavyweight film experience already, he creates a character that is nearly impossible to normally communicate to an audience. Hyper-focused individuals usually leave a trail of bad history. It is hard for those that surround them to understand many of their life choices and choices in personal relationships, usually choosing their goals over those relationships. Teller successfully lets us into Neiman’s mind and lets us know why he makes the choices he does in his pursuits. When Neiman breaks up with his girlfriend, a sadly one-dimensional character played by Melissa Benoist, he is cold and logical, and we are there with him. In the real world he is an asshole.

The answer to much of Neiman’s willingness to accept the abuse from Fletcher, in search of greater accomplishments, can be found in Teller’s father Jim, played by Paul Reiser. The first words we hear out of Reiser’s mouth, as he sits in a movie theater with his son, as a stranger bumps into him are “I’m sorry.” During a meal with friends and family where Miles’s accomplishments are minimized in comparison to those of the two other young men at the table, Reiser’s character remains silent, letting his son fend for himself. A trait that, based on Neiman’s response, he is well practiced at. Reiser handles the role well. To the point that we needed more body to his character rather than just serving as a representative that doesn’t understand what it takes to be great.

Whiplash plays back and forth really well. You can feel the director’s hand, wanting his film to serve as a visual representation of a jazz ensemble. It pushes and pulls with force, loud and soft, fast and slow, in a way few films in recent memory have. A few moments stray off course, but never too far. At the heart are two of the most honest characters present on the screen in a number of years. After ninety minutes of a steady and confidant performance all of the pieces come together to create an explosive and memorable ending. The sheer weight of the main character’s desire will force its way onto any audience.


Wade Sellers is the Film Editor for Jasper Magazine and the executive director of Coal powered Filmworks.

Five Days Out from an Experiment on You.

Jay 2014 graphic  

At Jasper, we're five days away from an experiment we hope you'll help make successful.

When we started Jasper over three years ago, we set the policy that we would always celebrate the release of a new magazine with a large, free, multi-arts party that usually includes a variety of performances.  We've had concerts from both new and established rock 'n' roll bands, films, readings, opera singers singing from the balcony, gallery exhibits, excerpts from local theatre -- you name it, we've either done it or it's in our plans to do. The point was twofold: to bring artists and arts lovers from various disciplines together to help foster community and collaboration, and simply to celebrate the fact that another issue of Jasper was coming out when we said it would, like we said it would.

By now I hope we've earned your trust and that you look forward to these celebrations as much as we do.

As most readers know, Jasper is a labor of love and only made possible because more than 20 artists of various disciplines go home after their day jobs, and work to plan, write, photograph, and design this magazine by the midnight oil. Like all artists who go home from offices and commercial endeavors to their studios and stages, their guitars and cameras and pads of paper to the work that makes life a little more meaningful, we don't have to do this. We do it because we want to.

This will be the 20th time we've done this, in fact. And we want you to help us celebrate it.

Join us this Friday night, November 21st, as we announce and celebrate our third class of Jasper Artists of the Year (JAYs) in dance, theatre, music, and literary and visual arts, and celebrate the publication of the 20th issue of Jasper Magazine.  We wanted to do something special to mark this occasion, and start a tradition of honoring the artists of the year, so we decided a gala or party of sorts was in order. Not one of those parties though in which no working artist could afford to attend. We asked around and found out that $25 for an evening of entertainment complete with delicious snacks from one of the best caterers in town and an open bar of wine and beer seemed like a good and fair deal. We asked Vicky Saye Henderson to help us with the entertainment, along with Terrance Henderson who will serve as our emcee. Richard Durlach and Breedlove will be on hand both to dance, demonstrate and be honored. The illustrious Scott Hall agreed to grace us with his culinary skills. And we're putting together a bar that we hope you'll be talking about for days.

Our research question is this:  Will members of the Columbia arts community come out once a year and pay for entrance to an event they usually come to for free as a way of showing support to Jasper and honoring our 2014 Jasper Artists of the Year?

We hope you'll make our experiment a success by answering Yes and clicking here.


Seven Things You May Not Know about

Jasper Magazine

1.  In its 4th year of publication Jasper Magazine has provided unmatched coverage of the greater Columbia arts community, and has inspired collaboration and growth both between and within artistic communities including dance, film, literary arts, music, theatre, and the visual arts.

2. Jasper has covered more than 1000 artists in its pages and hundreds more in its daily blog What Jasper Said.

3. Jasper Magazine is distributed for free in almost 100 locations throughout Columbia, as well as in select locations throughout South Carolina, is available online in its entirety, and in every branch of the Richland Library system.


4. Via its highly active website and dynamic blog, Jasper endeavors to bring Columbia arts news and opportunities into readers’ homes on a daily basis.

5. In June 2014, Jasper collaborated with the University of South Carolina Press, Richland Library, and One Columbia for Arts and History to launch to critical acclaim the newest literary journal in the southeast, Fall Lines – a literary convergence.


6. In May, 2014 Jasper editor Cindi Boiter was awarded the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts for her work with Jasper Magazine.

7. As a no-profit labor-of-love, Jasper eschews advertorial financial support in favor of artistic integrity, relying solely on advertising dollars, reader support, and the kindness of members of the Columbia arts community at large.

Jasper would like to thank our sponsors for the

2014 JAY Awards ~ Big Apple Swing

City Art

Burt Pardue and Site-Image Website Design


Jodi and Jeff Salter

Wade Sellers and Coal Powered Filmworks

Billy Guess



Kristian Niemi and Bourbon

Jasper Film Editor Wade Sellers reviews David Fincher's "Gone Girl"

gonegirl2 I didn't read the novel Gone Girl. I didn't even know Gillian Flynn's 2012 novel existed until I started seeing a few random cinephile blog posts about a possible new ending she was writing to her own adapted screenplay. But then I saw David Fincher's name attached as director. I sat up straight and paid attention. This was serious weight at the helm. Then I saw Ben Affleck's name- wait...huh? Fincher-Pitt...yes. Fincher-Penn...yes. Fincher-Affleck...uh, no.

Gone Girl, the film, is a story about the disappearance of Amy Elliot-Dunne, played with full force by Rosamund Pike. She and her husband Nick Dunne (Affleck) live in the small town of North Carthage, Missouri. The two met, and married, while living in New York City and working as magazine writers.

Nick was a transplant. Amy had the security of a trust fund thanks to her mother's (Lisa Banes) successful string of children's stories, loosely based on her Amy's childhood. Nick moved the two of them back to his hometown so he could care for his ailing mother. Amy didn't mind, although Nick never asked. After a morning spent with his twin sister Margo (Carrie Coon) at the bar they both own, Nick walks into his home to find a shattered coffee table and a missing wife. Local police are called.  Days quickly go by. The investigation escalates. And soon enough Nick becomes the focus of the investigation into his wife's disappearance and a national media punching bag. Let the ride begin.


It has been quite a while that I've looked forward, or got juiced up, to see a film. Fincher is a director that has been close to greatness with his previous films (Se7en, Fight Club, The Game, The Social Network). His movies are spot on with the times, but he hasn't created a film that holds up well. A classic. He has received great acclaim and awards. His films are finely crafted and beautifully shot (this time with long-time collaborator Jeff Cronenweth, son of legendary cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth.). Recently, his musical collaborations with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have lent a serious new level to match the weight of his films. But they've always stopped short of great, often because of a too overbearing dark tone that covered up a great script and great acting.

That stops with Gone Girl. It is a dark and haunting film, but not because Fincher says it has to be, but because it calls for it. Fincher has grown to that level of great director that he understands that. This movie is his vision but it doesn't interrupt the story. There is total balance. To date it is his masterpiece.

Back the Fincher-Affleck combination. Affleck has always had the feel of an old school movie star-light. His choice of roles has been suspect. We'll wait and see on his turn as The Batman (his second go as a tight wearing good-guy, by the way.) But he owns his role as Nick Dunne. His character is handsome and charismatic and missing something inside. It's a role made for Affleck and he serves it well. It is not just Affleck that absorbs his character. So subtly believable is his twin sister Margo that you ride her emotions, hand-in-hand. Then there's Neil Patrick Harris as Desi, Amy Dunne's college boyfriend. His desperation, soaked by decades of the long lasting effect of their break-up, has everyone sympathizing with him, even as he does his best twist on Anthony Perkins.

Gone Girl is an old-fashioned thriller. A story begging for a big screen. There is plenty to pick on- the thin, generic take on small-town America, a New Orleans accent by way of Georgia, a few cardboard supporting characters. But this is on reflection. It is devilish, jump-in-your seat fun and it doesn't disappoint.

~ Wade Sellers

Palmetto Opera, Lowe, Lenz, Krajewski & McClendon all help Jasper celebrate its fourth year of publication - Thursday Night!




We’re starting our fourth year of bringing Columbia in-depth local arts coverage in theatre, dance, visual arts, literary arts, music, and film, (and we’ll be adding design soon), and we’re celebrating with a multi-disciplinary release celebration to kick the year and the arts season off right.


Please join us on Thursday, September 18th at 5 pm at Vista Studios – Gallery 80808 at 808 Lady Street as we welcome the new issue of Jasper Magazine.


Classical oil paintings by internationally renowned realist Tish Lowe will set the stage in the main gallery.  Palmetto Opera’s artistic director, Walter Cuttino, will lead a one-night-only performance of highlights from Puccini’s La Bohème, hits from familiar musicals such as Phantom of the Opera and Carousel. .


The atrium will showcase a collaborative installation by fiber and installation artist Susan Lenz, who was Jasper’s 2012 Visual Artist of the Year and artist Michael Krajewski, who was Jasper’s first centerfold.  Their work, Threads: Gathering My Thoughts, will be a manifestation of the mental images and ideas that naturally flow through the human mind while engaged in the viewing of La Bohème.  Lenz’s tangle of unraveled, old threads will cascade in and out of suspended baskets mimicking the colors, complex plots, and emotions of a performance. Krajewski’s bohemian, pencil graffiti will literally express the connections between the visual, musical, dramatic, literary, and poetic world of a bygone, operatic world still dancing in the twenty-first century mind.  The arts exhibition will remain on view through Tuesday, September 30th.

Jasper adores the film Wade Sellers, our beloved film editor, made for Susan Lenz -- you can watch it here - and you should because it's really lovely.


Following the presentations by Palmetto Opera, multi-talented musical artist Tim McClendon, who is also featured in this issue of Jasper Magazine for his design work, will perform an impromptu set of music.  One Columbia will also be on hand to kick off their Cultural Passport program as will the Rosewood Arts Festival and the Jam Room Music Festival to share information about their upcoming events. The event is free and open to the public.


Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival Showcases Columbia Talent

EGSFF-site-header-post-festIf you're in the mood for a short road trip and short films this weekend then travel up to Spartanburg for the third year of the Expecting Goodness Film Festival. Two films from Soda City will be screened as part of the program this year. So Beautiful, by filmmaker Joshua Foster is adapted from Jasper Editor Cindi Boiter's short story "Alvin & Alvie." So Beautiful tells the story of a father and his struggling relationship with his daughter after the death of his wife. The film is a touching slice of time between father and daughter.

Columbia filmmaker Jeff Driggers presents his short “Happy Hour”. The film centers around the thoughts of one woman in a bar. It is a simple story about a complex character. This is Driggers' second year participating in the festival.

Filmmaker Jeff Driggers

The Expecting Goodness Film Festival will present two shows on Saturday, June 14th at the Chapman Cultural Center. The first screening starts at noon, and the second will take begin at 7 PM. Tickets may be purchased through the Expecting Goodness website at

In Jasper Vol. 3, No. 4: Indie Grits - Cue Seth Gadsden

"The Indie Grits Film Festival returns for its eighth session this April 11th through the 20th in Columbia. Hosted by the Nickelodeon Theater, South Carolina's oldest art house cinema, what started as an intimate local independent film festival has skyrocketed to become one of what MovieMaker magazine has named one of the "Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World." Over the past seven years Indie Grits has established itself as the Southeast's premier film and culture festival by offering attendees a cross section of do-it-yourself media makers as well as annually expanding the festival to include elements of performance art, food, and music. ..." - Wade Sellers For the full story, check out page 38 of the magazine below:

In Jasper No. 3, Vol. 3: Feature - Filmmaker Steve Daniels

"The Old Columbia Speedway sits off Highway 321 in Cayce, South Carolina. Overgrown brush and trees hide the old asphalt track from plain view. A disjointed array of old Big Wheels and tricycles are strewn throughout the brush. They are painted and rigged to look like the bastard plastic and metal children of post apocalyptic automobiles. Next to the three wheeled destruction machines are a mish-mash of weapons, including golf balls with nails glued to them to look like road spikes, machetes, and axes. An old suitcase sits open on the ground, holding a variety of Super 8mm film cameras. To the right, a variety of snacks, crackers, and candles are spread on top of a fold-out table. A cooler sits open, full of ice,  bottled water, and sugar free Red Bulls. A low rising cement wall with newly painted black and white racing checkers divides the brush from the old asphalt track. Filmmaker Steve Daniels stands on the track, holding one of the cameras. He turns, then walks back towards the makeshift camp of his new film, M is for Marauder. ..." - Wade Sellers For the full story, check it out here: