First Lines -- an invitation from Jasper

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


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


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


"This essay is not an act of revenge."


"Bastille Day 2001, personal date of independence."


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


"It began with a gift."

 Ahh, first lines.

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

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

The Limelight – A Compendium of Contemporary Columbia Artists,

volume 1,

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

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

There will be a cash bar.

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

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

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

For more information or to order online please go to



Yippee-Ya-Ya! 2013 Mardi Gras Columbia parade and festival Saturday Feb. 9

Krewe de Columbia-ya-ya Poster by The Half and Half.


Dust off that jester’s hat and prepare to catch beads. Mardi Gras Columbia is back, hosted by the Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Ya and featuring a parade, food and festivities Feb. 9 from noon to 10 p.m.

This will be the third annual Mardi Gras Columbia. The first Mardi Gras Columbia was organized in 2011 as a fundraiser for local Wil-Moore Farms, after a Feb. 2011 fire destroyed their barn.

Musician Tom Hall, along with others involved in Columbia’s local food community, formed the Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Ya to raise money for Wil-Moore Farms. The 2011 Mardi Gras Columbia raised $2500, helping Wil-Moore Farms to pay for a new barn.

Proceeds for this year’s Mardi Gras Columbia will benefit The Animal Mission, which funds free spay and neuter programs throughout S.C.

The 2013 Mardi Gras Columbia will kick off with a parade from noon to 1:30 p.m., starting and ending at City Roots, 1005 Airport Boulevard. After the parade ends, the festival begins at City Roots, which will have live music performances and food, including Cajun, Creole and Charleston Lowcountry cuisine.

The Mardi Gras Columbia King and Queen this year are director and Travelstead Award winner Bud Ferillo and musician Danielle Howle, who will also perform live during the festival.

Other musicians and bands set to perform at Mardi Gras Columbia include Carey Hudson of Blue Mountain, The Captain Midnight Band and Andy Friedman.




Introducing His and Her Majesties

King Bud Ferillo and Queen Danielle Howle

“My goodness, I was born a peasant and am now a King,” said King Ferillo, excited to reign as monarch of Mardi Gras Columbia.

King Ferillo and Queen Howle ascended to the 2013 Mardi Gras Columbia throne, previously occupied in 2012 by King Emile DeFelice, founder of the All-Local Farmer’s Market, and Queen Debbie McDaniel, owner of Revente and Sid and Nancy.

King Ferillo’s first command as ruler of Mardi Gras Columbia was to declare his motto “Every Man is a King and Every Woman is a Queen.”

“I am asking Tom Hall, the minstrel maestro of Ya Ya Land, to amend and sing appropriate lyrics to Louisiana's populist Governor Huey Long's campaign song ‘Every Man A King’,” said His Majesty.

Hall’s band the Plowboys are set to play at this year’s festival, and the King has high expectations for Hall to put on a good show. His Majesty has decreed that, should Hall fail to meet expectations, then “off with his head,” although His Majesty, famous across Ya-Ya Land for a good sense of humor, will probably only put Hall in the stocks.

King Ferillo is pleased to sit on the throne alongside Her Majesty Queen Howle.

“I couldn't have a niftier partner than Queen Danielle of Awendaw,” said His Majesty. Queen Howle also expressed her excitement for the upcoming festival.

“I am feeling excellent Kung fu for Feb 9th,” said Her Majesty. “May the spirit of the Ya-Ya's great love and awakening powers prevail over all.”

-- By Giesela Lubecke



Jasper’s Music Picks of the Week (1/21/2013-1/27/2013)

As usual, Columbia is hopping with some great music to see this week. Here our are picks for some of the best: Thursday Night, 1/24 – Can’t Kids & Cusses at New Brookland Tavern

The thrash and crash indie rock of the Can’t Kids is always difficult to pass up (see our review of their debut LP, Brushes Touches Tongues, here), but add to the bargain the Savannah-based Cusses, a muscular post-punk duo whose bass-less lineup recalls the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and it easily becomes a pick of the week.

Cusses - Don't Give In

Friday Night, 1/25 – Josh Roberts & the Hinges, Danielle Howle & the Firework Show at 5 Points Pub

They don’t come much bigger in the South Carolina roots-rock world than Josh Roberts and Danielle Howle. If you aren’t familiar with Howle’s latest backing band the Firework Show, check out the full-length they did together, New Years’ Revolutions, here. It’s a bit lo-fi, but the jazzy, eclectic vibe and inventive arrangements they bring to the songs on that record matches the wild, vibrant swoops of Howle’s artistic muse to a T. Mr. Roberts and company, if you’ve forgotten, was a Jasper 2012 Artist of the Year nominee, largely on the basis of his quite-excellent latest full-length, Mighty Old Distance and Murky Old Time. Below is a cool little promotional video for that record.

Might Old Distance & Murky Old Time Promo

Saturday Night, 1/26 –  Jon Dee Graham OR The Mazloom Empire (CD Release) OR Burnt Books (CD Release)

This one depends on what kind of mood you are in – we have the roots-rock legend Jon Dee Graham playing a house show at The Little Yellow Music House (call 309-0214 or email for reservations), alt. pop powerhouse Mazloom Empire dropping their debut EP at the Art Bar, and experimental hardcore band Burnt Books are celebrating their January 29th release of their first full-length on At A Loss Records at New Brookland Tavern. For a vast catalog of top-notch tunes and the venerable growl of one of America’s great troubadours, Graham is your best bet. If you want an eclectic collection of catchy, diverse takes on rock and roll, the Mazloom Empire show also has blues rockers Mason Jar Menagerie (Fountain Inn), Gritty singer/songwriter Rachel Kate (Charleston), and the atmospheric indie pop of The Lovely Few (Columbia).  Or, if you want to the kind of heavy, earsplitting punk and metal that Columbia does so well, Burnt Books is joined by Whores (Atlanta), Carolyn (Columbia), and Darkentries. Three very different but thoroughly excellent shows.

Jon Dee Graham - Faithless

The Mazloom Empire EP Teaser

Burnt Books Demo