Pickin’ a laid-back New Year’s Eve party? The UU Coffeehouse has the acoustics -- A Guest Blog by Jim DuPlessis


If you’re looking for a laid-back gathering for New Year’s Eve, come over to the UU Coffeehouse in Shandon.

            You can hear Jack Williams performing along with Susan Douglass Taylor, Cary Taylor, and Danny Harlow. Doors will open at 8 p.m., and music will kick off at 8:30 p.m. The music will pick up later in the evening with room for dancing and a pause for a champagne toast at midnight.

            Coffee, tea, and sodas will be provided. Feel free to bring additional beverages that you may wish to enjoy. Plan to dance, listen, and be with friends as we bring in the New Year.

            Tickets for this special show are $25. For reservations, call (803) 200-2824, or just stop by. The UU Coffeehouse is a listening room located at 2701 Heyward Street, the corner of Heyward and Woodrow Streets, in Shandon.

            Monday night’s line-up

            Jack Williams is considered a “musician’s musician”, an uncommonly unique guitarist, a writer of vivid songs with a strong sense of place, and a storyteller in an old Southern tradition who further illustrates each tale with his guitar. Vic Heyman, in SING OUT!, wrote,“He is one of the strongest guitar players in contemporary folk.”

            His music is rooted in his native South Carolina, and was shaped by a 54-year career of playing folk, rock, jazz, R&B, classical and the popular music of the 1930s, '40s and '50s.

            His songs have been recorded by artists ranging from Tom Jones and David Clayton-Thomas to Chuck Pyle, Cindy Mangsen, Ronny Cox and Lowen & Navarro. In addition to his solo career, as a guitarist he has accompanied such luminaries as Tom Paxton, Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary), Mickey Newbury and Harry Nilsson.

Listen to Jack Williams here.

   Listen to Susan Douglass Taylor here.        

            Susan Douglass Taylor is a singer/songwriter, guitarist and banjo player whose album, “Great Falls Road,” was released earlier this year.

            The Winnsboro native often performs solo or with The Twang Bombers, a bluegrass band featuring her husband, Cary Taylor (bass & vocals), Danny Harlow (mandolin, fiddle, tenor guitar & vocals), and award-winning guitarist and banjoist Randy Lucas.

            Taylor played bluegrass for 10 years with close friends in a band called String Fever before she started singing back-up with Jack Williams, whom Cary Taylor had played bass with for many years. Williams allowed Susan to experiment with banjo on some of his songs, and eventually included her background vocals and banjo playing on a number of his recordings.

            In mid-2007, Susan, Cary, and long-time friend and musician Danny Harlow went on an 18-month tour as the back-up band for Ronny Cox, a singer/songwriter and character actor. Cox made his acting debut in the acclaimed 1972 film, “Deliverance,” when he played the instrumental “Dueling Banjos” on his guitar with a banjo-playing mountain boy.

            “It was a great experience traveling around the U.S. playing concert halls and coffeehouses, and once to the UK, where we actually played for a convention of Stargate fans,” Taylor said. “And what a thrill it was to play “Dueling Banjos”with Ronny Cox!”

White Christmas Drinking Game -- Our Gift to You


The annual viewing of Irving Berlin's classic holiday film  White Christmas has been a part of our family Christmas traditions since before our kids were born. Now that our girls have grown up and found the loves of their lives, we still enjoy watching the film with the whole crew, but this year we added a twist that makes adult viewing oh so much more fun -- booze.

Annie, Bonnie, Kyle, and Chad, along with me and Bob, the love of my life (and founder of the feast), sat down last night with the film, a notebook and pencil, and a variety of boozes that ranged from Bob's amazing Dark Cherry Stout, Chad's key lime pie cocktails (my favorite), and Kyle's delicious classic Rye Manhattans, and we created The White Christmas Libation Extravaganza -- or, how to How to drink a blue Christmas white, and we knew immediately that we wanted to share the product of our labors with you. (What's that saying? It's a tough job but...)

It's pretty simple, actually. Load up the film (which can be streamed from Netflix  or from Amazon for 5 bucks), gather your beverages of choice* and get ready to imbibe. (*You might also want to gather a glass of water for each participant to sip on when the going gets tough.)

Here are your drinking cues -- and remember a sip counts, you don't have to guzzle.   Drink whenever anyone says the following words:





when anyone salutes

when Danny Kaye touches his arm

when Danny Kaye's voice cracks

when anyone notices an inconsistency in the film (check out when Vera Allen is pouring coffee in the dressing room she shares with her sister (drink!) Rosemary Clooney)

We've designed the game so that there are moments of hilarity, (particularly during a couple of Berlin's great songs like "Sisters" and "Snow") but there are plenty of lull times so you can enjoy the great classic film that White Christmas is.

In an effort to expedite this blog and get back to celebrating the holidays with my beloved (the girls have traveled to the homes of their sweeties for the holidays this year, hence the early celebration of Boiter-Jolley Christmas), I've lifted the following info directly from Wikipedia, but it gives you some background on the production of the film.

White Christmas was intended to reunite Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire for their third Irving Berlin showcase musical. Crosby and Astaire had previously co-starred in Holiday Inn (1942) – where the song 'White Christmas' first appeared – and Blue Skies (1946). Astaire declined the project after reading the script and asked to be released from his contract with Paramount. Crosby also left the project shortly thereafter, to spend more time with his son after the death of his wife, Dixie Lee. Near the end of January 1953, Crosby returned to the project, and Donald O'Connor was signed to replace Astaire. Just before shooting was to begin, O'Connor had to drop out due to illness and was replaced by Danny Kaye, who asked for and received a salary of $200,000 and 10% of the gross. Financially, the film was a partnership between Crosby and Irving Berlin, who shared half the profits, and Paramount, who got the other half.  Within the film, a number of soon-to-be famous performers appear. Dancer Barrie Chase appears unbilled, as the character Doris Lenz ("Mutual, I'm sure!"). Future Academy Award winner George Chakiris also appears as one of the stone-faced black-clad dancers surrounding Rosemary Clooney in "Love, You Didn't Do Right by Me". John Brascia leads the dance troupe and appears opposite Vera-Ellen throughout much of the movie, particularly in the "Mandy", "Choreography" and "Abraham" numbers. The photo Vera-Ellen shows of her brother Benny (the one Phil refers to as "Freckle-faced Haynes, the dog-faced boy") is actually a photo of Carl Switzer, who played Alfalfa in The Little Rascals, in an army field jacket and helmet liner. Robert Alton is credited as the film's dance director, although some choreography was created by Bob Fosse, who was not credited.

White Christmas ends up starring Bing Crosby and the beautiful Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and the anorexic Vera Allen (who was a phenomenal dancer, but so thin she could be painful to watch), and premiered in 1954. You know the name of the director Michael Curtiz from Casablanca, Yankee Doodle Dandy, and Mildred Pierce. (Curtiz was often criticized for lacking in character development -- which I think he addresses in this film, albeit rather simplistically -- and playing on emotions rather than intellect -- which, in White Christmas, is as true as can possibly be.)

But, we don't watch a movie at Christmas to analyze it -- we watch it to celebrate! And, this year, we invite you to watch White Christmas to drink!

Merry Christmas on behalf of the staff of Jasper Magazine and the crew at Muddy Ford! Thank you for all the love and support you've thrown our way this year. And may all your Christmases be white.




Jasper's love affair with The Nick, Christopher Walken, and Frank Capra

We have no idea why we love Christopher Walken as much as we do, but we know why we love The Nick, Columbia's very own art house - plus theatre.

Walken is funny, sure. The characters he's created on SNL alone have made him an American comedic icon -- think The Continental, Behind the Music record producer Bruce Dickinson during a recording of Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper" and, our favorite, Colonel Angus.

And he's a highly skilled dramatic actor, winning an Oscar for his role in The Deer Hunter and renown for majorly memorable scenes in such films as Pulp Fiction (a soldier, he delivers a watch to the son of a dead comrade in arms explaining to the boy how many men had hidden the timepiece in their rectums over the course of battles), and the Sicilian scene in Tarantino's True Romance.  He was nominated for a Tony for his role in Martin McDonagh's Behanding in Spokane.  And, he can dance.

Sure, he never turns down a role and has appeared in some pretty hideous films, Joe Dirt and American Sweethearts not even being the worst of them. He says it's because he and his wife of forever never had kids and if he's not working and someone offers him something, he'll take it -- he's an actor.

All this brings us to why we love both Chris Walken and The Nick.

After having mentioned in passing to the good folks at The Nick several weeks ago that we'd love to see Walken's new film, A Late Quartet in which he stars with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Katherine Keener, at the Nick, we got a message this morning from Nick director of marketing, the lovely Isaac Calvage, saying that the film will be screened there January 4 through 10!

It's nice when a wish comes true. And even nicer when a person takes a hot second to let you know that it has,  the way that Isaac did this morning.

This is an example of one of the many reasons we love The Nick. Other examples include Hitchcock (12/21 - 1/3) and, seriously, they're showing It's a Wonderful Life (12/22 - 12/24). And let's face it, showing a film like It's a Wonderful Life on the big screen -- a film that you can purchase at Target for a few bucks -- is, in our opinion here at Jasper, pretty much just an act of love. Love for the film -- by anyone's account one of the best and most beloved films of all time (the newel post alone gets us in the gut every time) -- love for the art of filmmaking and the art of film-viewing (let's talk about that sometime), and love of the theatre's clientele who have the opportunity to walk right off the city sidewalk and into the theatre, buy a box of popcorn, and settle in for the show just like viewers did in 1946. (Except that you can also buy some vino or a brew to go with your corn.)


Thus ends our love letter to The Nickelodeon, but not our love for the theatre or for the enigmatic Christopher Walken. We may not know why we're so crazy about Walken, but with the Nick, it's pretty clear.

Note: Here's what The Rolling Stone says about A Late Quartet. It should also be noted that the director of photography is one Fred Elmes, who also did the beautifully filmed Broken Flowers (starring another one of Jasper's enigmatic art crushes, that bad boy Bill Murray) and the kinkily filmed Blue Velvet. And, while the actors learned a bit about playing their musical instrument props in the film, the lion's share of the music was performed by the Julliard-heavy and exquisite Brentano String Quartet.


-- CB

Tell Jasper what you want Santa to bring the Columbia Arts Community for Christmas this year

Last year, we asked select members of the Greater Columbia Arts Community to tell us what they wished for for artists and arts lovers for Christmas. This year, we're opening it up to everyone.

What would you like to see more or less of?

What needs to be fixed?

What's not broken?

Now's your chance to go on record with your artistic desires, complaints, and kudos and we'll publish them in What Jasper Said for everyone to see.

Send your Dear Santa letters directly to me (Cindi, Jasper editor) via email at editor@JasperColumbia.com or via Facebook message to here. You can sign your letter, use your initials, or remain anonymous (yes, I may recognize you, but I'll be sworn to secrecy, never fear.)



Jillian Owens reviews [title of show] at Trustus Theatre

Trustus Theatre has just launched their production of [title of show] , and no…that’s not a misprint.  Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell are two nobodies in New York who have only three weeks to write a musical to enter in the inaugural New York Musical Theatre Festival.  Unable to come up with an original work (not a show based on a book or a movie), they decided to write their musical about their experience writing their musical, along with their talented friends, Susan and Heidi. How meta!

This probably sounds like one of the most trite, gimmicky, and self-aggrandizing ideas you’ve ever heard of, right?  Don’t worry, you aren’t alone in thinking this.  Jeff, Hunter, Susan, and Heidi all have their doubts and fierce insecurities about this work-in-progress about their work-in-progress, and that’s what makes this tiny show with only four chairs and a keyboard really special.

Keep in mind: this show is a true story about four friends who played themselves in show about themselves.  Director Dewey Scott-Wiley had the unenviable task of casting this show with four real people who could fully embody the characters of four other real people who custom-made a show for themselves.  I’m happy to say, she nailed it.  Kevin Bush (Jeff), Matthew DeGuire (Hunter), Robin Gottlieb (Heidi), and Laurel Posey (Susan) are all Columbia theatre veterans whom you’ve probably seen before, and they’re all absolutely terrific in this production.  Randy Moore isn’t just the Musical Director for this show;  he also plays Larry, the oft-neglected keyboard guy who doesn’t really get any lines, and doesn’t even get to be in the publicity photos (song: “Awkward Photo Shoot”).   With this group of local all-stars, it would be hard to go wrong.  It’s important for the actors in this show to have chemistry.  We need to believe they are the tight-knit group of pals they are portraying in order to care about them.  Otherwise [title of show] would be a total bore.  As you learn more about these people, you begin to feel an odd sort of comfiness.  I really felt like these were my friends, and I found myself rooting for this little show with a big heart the entire time.



The dialog starts off as being a bit too try-hard with cliché gay and sex jokes that feel forced.  As the play (and our understanding of the characters) develops, it becomes more real—and really quite funny!  The score is cute, witty, and at times truly moving.  The lighting design by Frank Kiraly makes the most of an intentionally simple set in brilliant and clever ways.

[title of show] explores the terrifying excitement of creating something new.  In the song “Change It, Don’t Change It”, our fab four begin to doubt the quality of their work and themselves.  Is their play really good enough for Broadway?  Are they good enough?  As Susan says, "Why is it that if a stranger came up to me on a subway platform and said these things, I'd think he was a mentally ill asshole... but when the vampire in my head says it, it's the voice of reason?"

If you have ever created anything, or thought of creating anything, this show will inspire you.  It will inspire you to finish that novel that’s been languishing in your desk drawer for over a year.  It will inspire you to write that screenplay that you don’t think will be clever enough.  It will inspire you to try out for that play.  It will inspire you to stop “procrasturbating” (as Hunter says), and put something new out into the world.

~ Jillian Owens

[title of show] runs on the Trustus Main Stage through December 16th, 2012. After the New Year, the show returns on January 3rd, 2013 and runs through January 12th, 2013. Main Stage shows start at 8:00pm Thursdays through Saturdays, and Sunday matinees are at 3:00pm. Tickets are $27.00 for adults, $25.00 for military and seniors, and $20.00 for students. Half-price Student Rush-Tickets are available 15 minutes prior to curtain.

Trustus Theatre is located at 520 Lady Street, behind the Gervais St. Publix. Parking is available on Lady St. and on Pulaski St. The Main Stage entrance is located on the Publix side of the building.

For more information or reservations call the box office Tuesdays through Saturdays 1-6 pm at 803-254-9732. Visit www.trustus.org for all show information and season information.


"A Christmas Story" in Camden - "You'll shoot your eye out, kid!"

The Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County in Camden will present Philip Grecian's stage adaptation of the beloved movie A Christmas Story (based in turn on the stories and memories of author Jean Shepherd) for a limited run of four performances, this coming Thursday (12/13) through Saturday (12/15) at 8 PM, with a Sunday matinee at 3 PM. Frank Thompson, recently seen as the titular Music Man at Town Theatre, directs Henry Kerfoot as young Ralphie, David Wilhite as the narrator (adult Ralphie) and Bill DeWitt (Thompson's partner in crime in The 39 Steps last spring at Town Theatre) as Ralphie's Old Man.


From press material:

A Christmas Story takes place in the 1940s in the Midwest, and follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker in his quest to get a genuine Red Ryder BB gun under the tree for Christmas. Ralphie pleads his case before his mother, his teacher and even Santa Claus himself, at a local department store. Of course, the response is  "You'll shoot your eye out!" There will be some familiar scenes such as the boys' experiment with a wet tongue on a cold lamppost; Ralphie's father winning a lamp shaped like a woman's leg in a net stocking; and more. Lighthearted, fun, and heartwarming, A Christmas Story is sure to add laughter and warmth to your holiday season.

"With our production of A Christmas Story, our goal has been to present a fresh, new look

at a modern classic. There are certainly a few winks to the movie, as there most certainly should be, but there are also some differences between the two which have been lots of fun to explore,” says director Frank Thompson. " Above everything else, I hope our audiences leave with the warm feeling one gets after having paid a happy visit to an old friend."

The cast also includes: Bettie Beaty as Mother, Louisa DeLoach as Randy, Benjamin Watson as Scut Farkas, Peggy Lane as Miss Shields, Zac Willoughby as Flick, Luke Meinyk as Schwartz, Ella Rescignio as Esther Jane Alberry, Sara Hendrix as Helen Weathers, William Antley as Red Ryder, plus Chip Summers, John Carrington, Don Jackson, Hank Kerfoot, Janet Brooks Holmes, Harry Little, Katrina Brickner, Michelle Brickner, Libby Kerfoot, Gabbi Magee, Robin Saviola, Lynne Summers, Juliana Willoughby, Tiffany Maples and Emma Ruth Maples.

For more information or tickets, call 803-425-7676 extension 300 or visit www.fineartscenter.org.  The Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County is located at 810 Lyttleton Street in Camden.  Box office hours are Monday through Wednesday and Friday, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and Thursday 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.



Mingling & Jingling at Tapp's with a different show by Suzu Scarborough

The Tapp's featured artist this month is Suzy Scarborough's and her new show "Interior Landscapes." She has many large pieces (3' x 3', 3' x 5', 4'x 6') of these surreal landscapes. Some are dyptics and triptics. Collaged backgrounds made from old books with floating islands, flowing bodies of water, and tree forms. There is also a series of ten hummingbirds on a gold leaf backgrounds. all 18" x 24"
Other Artists on the walls tonight:
Lyssa Harvey
Justin Gerive
Brandon Faucett
Dale French
Sarah Goddard
Mike Dixon
Sadia Khan
Bill Sander
And our "Handmaid Holidays" event will be in the Skyline Room and will feature crafts from local merchants. Check us out here:
For more information on Suzy Scarborough, please go to the Jasper website  and read about her in our newest issue.
blog post courtesy of Tapps Arts Center

FOM Series presents Happy Holidays, Mother Earth! Featuring Kirkland Smith and Chris Carney for Mingle & Jingle

FOM has never been SO green! Get ready to enjoy this two-month FOM Series focused on how an artist has turned consumer waste into fine art! These items destined for landfills have found new life in 3-D paintings. And, we’ve never been SO blue. What lies beneath will fill our gallery for your viewing pleasure. Water…everywhere!
Inside:  Columbia artist, Kirkland Smith, will present a two-part exhibition of work created almost entirely from post-consumer materials collected from friends and family.
During the December FOM Series, she is asking the community to participate in an assemblage she will create by donating eyewear that they no longer need. She plans to unveil the new work as a part of the January FOM Series during First Thursdays on Main.
Kirkland Smith, a classical painter, began creating contemporary Assemblages from post-consumer materials when she entered an environmental art contest in 2008. Using discarded objects as her “paint,” she found an evocative way to deliver the message of the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling.
Her work offers an entertainment value, but also reveals the impact consumerism is creating on our environment. “Each Assemblage is a little piece of our history. It is the story of us today. What we throw away says a lot about who we are, but what we choose to cherish and protect says even more in the end.”
Without this determination to cherish and protect our community, our state, our nation, our planet by reducing, reusing, and recycling, we won’t be able to enjoy the waters which refresh and sustain us. So, as a fitting complement to Kirkland’s recycled art, Frame of Mind is proud to introduce you to the work of one of Columbia’s favorite alternative performers and renowned local grower of coral, Chris Carney. He describes his plans for this two-part FOM Series this way, “There is another world beneath the skin of the ocean. A place that covers more than half of our planet still remains a mystery. This is what I strive to capture. Vignettes of a place many will never see with their own eyes and few will be able to describe. These are not glass boxes; these are snapshots to a world I love, a place I’d like you to know. Dive in, explore.”
A graduate of the University of South Carolina’s Marine Sciences program, Chris owns A Fish Store, a full-service fish and aquarium shop specializing in saltwater fish/aquariums, freshwater fish/aquariums, corals, ponds, design/fabrication/installation/maintenance services. He is also an assistant SCUBA instructor with Wateree Dive Center. For the FOM Series installations and exhibits, he plans to showcase mostly tank-raised livestock/corals. His work will be available for purchase, but custom options are available as well.
OutsideFor our outdoor entertainment, we’re so proud to feature Columbia’s own DJ Deft Key of Entropy Studios, Raymond Howard. Deft Key’s shows are full of the energy and sounds of global beats and dubstep, and this month, we get to hear some holiday themed tunes, as well! For a sampling, check out his music onhttp://soundcloud.com/deftkey
. His CD is available for purchase at our December event. Entropy studios is a recording/production studio that was founded in the fall of 2011 by Raymond Howard, Timothy Miller, and Jeramie Conrad. A unique type of studio with services ranging from simple recording/tracking to full production including song creation, adding audio to film, voice overs and foley, their mission is to provide a fully operational studio capable of facilitating any and all audio needs for musicians, film producers, theatrical directors, and voice actors both regionally and internationally. Their menu of services include: recording, tracking, mixing, mastering, voice-overs, composition, songwriting, foley, DJ services, live sound/lighting, post-production audio for film and video, album art, logo design, photography services, merchandise design, band photos, business cards, and flier design. Please visit Deft Key on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/deft.key.3?fref=ts or Entropy Studios on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheEntropyStudios?fref=ts .
blog post courtesy of FOM

Mingling & Jingling with S&S and Whitney LeJeune -- A Guest Blog by Amanda Ladymon

The lights, decorations, and art have been hung with care…

Hosting its third Mingle & Jingle on Main Street, S & S Art Supply continues to show some of Columbia’s most talented artist in their gallery spaces. Having no short supply of amazing and creative people, Columbia’s “Art Renaissance” is going strong this holiday season. Whitney LeJeune is the featured artist with her exhibition titled “Flux”. LeJeune also had an exhibition at S & S in May 2011 when she moved back to Columbia after having graduated from SCAD.  DJ B will be spinning tunes out front on the street; a pleasant eclectic mix that is sure to entice the ears and warm the soul. Additionally, S & S is collecting gifts and donations for Palmetto Place Children’s Shelter – the wish tree created by Ladybug Art Studios (Amanda Ladymon), will be up until December 22nd. For more information on the wish tree, read the section towards the end of this article.



Whitney's work is more than beautiful - it transcends the sensual and feminine quality of the human form onto another plane of artistic freedom and colorful tranquility. Believing that the female form is the essence of worldly beauty, her inspiration in her paintings flow from spontaneity. These timeless and universal truths beat from the depths of her artistic heart.


“Flux is a constant state of change....Flux celebrates the marriage of my ever changing eye with my constant heart."


Whitney says her work is all about bringing passionate art into peoples' lives . . . and “putting emotions on canvas that bring pleasure and intellectual energy into homes, public places, and work places is what I love to do.”


She opened her first studio in 2009, began painting full-time in 2011, and hasn’t slowed down since. “I took the leap of faith - it’s demanding but I love it. I‘ve been blessed that so many people, especially women, have embraced my work.”


She works to serve-up enjoyment on an emotional and an intellectual level, mating form, color and the power of suggestion in every effort. “I’m most satisfied when I’ve said a lot with a just a few strokes of paint”.


Whitney’s work is influenced by her early childhood home, Austin, Texas, the elegance she draws from her family’s Southern roots, and a love of pushing herself to try new approaches to her subjects. She’s a 2009 graduate of SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design, BA, Painting). Her work includes the female form, portraiture, landscapes, architecture, and cover art for published novels.


This holiday season there are many children in Columbia without a nurturing family or safe place to call home. We want to help make the children of Palmetto Place Children's Shelter's holiday a little bit brighter with your help! S & S Art Supply has partnered with Ladybug Studios in creating a wish tree that will be on display at S & S from December 6th through the 22nd. Hanging from the tree are different gifts you can purchase for the children, such as a watercolor set, crayons, or a gift certificate towards supply purchases.


We are also happy to announce that Palmetto Place Children's Shelter will be the benefactor of our upcoming 3rd Annual Silent Art Auction & Fundraiser in July 2013!!!


Palmetto Place Children's Shelter provides a safe haven for children of all ages from newborn to 17 that are victims of abuse or neglect. These children are cared for 24/7 by a devoted and caring staff that provides medical and mental health care, crisis adjustment/transitional counseling, after school tutoring, recreational and social activities in addition to food, clothing and shelter. The shelter has been open since 1977 and has cared for more than 6,700 at-risk children.


There are around 16 kids who will spend the holiday season at Palmetto Place this year. Currently the youngest is 2 and the oldest is 16. They are involved in lots of after-school activities and school athletics. Art projects are a big hit at Palmetto Place!


"Children arrive at Palmetto Place at a time of crisis in their lives; they are hurting emotionally and/or physically. Victims of child maltreatment, they have been physically abused, sexually abused, physically and emotionally neglected, and/or abandoned. Many of the children have never experienced stable and secure living environments with compassionate caregivers. Their healing starts at Palmetto Place." www.palmettoplaceshelter.org


A family-run store, S & S Art Supply is owned and operated by Brian and Eric Stockard, Event/Exhibition/PR/Marketing Coordinator is Amanda Ladymon, married to Eric Stockard, and our newest mascot is beautiful baby Lily Stockard. With a cumulative breadth of knowledge of art supplies spanning 30 plus years, the Stockards are going strong and expanding onto more business ventures! Cigar Box #2, owned and operated by Brian Stockard will be opening two doors down from S & S Art Supply very soon, possibly having a small opening for this December’s First Thursday. Happy Holidays and Shop Local!

Reading Line-Up for Book Fest Tomorrow

Hoping many of you will join us tomorrow (Sunday, December 2nd) for Authors' Roundtable -- our first intimate book fest with local authors. We're going from 1 - 5 at the historic Arcade building at 1332 Main Street.

Authors will be reading from their books, and signing and selling them. A portion of the sales goes toward the publication costs of Jasper Magazine.

Other local professional writers are especially encouraged to attend and join us in the Jasper Studios to meet, chat, and talk about ways of becoming a more unified professional writers' community.

Here's the line-up for tomorrow's readings.

1:00  Cassie Premo Steele

1:15   Vennie Deas Moore

1:30  Shigeharu Kobayashi & John Pading

1:45   break for signing

2:00 Kristine Hartvigsen

2:15   Laurie Brownell McIntosh

2:30  Janna McMahan

2:45  break for signings

3:00 Ed Madden

3:15   Ray McManus

3:30  Cindi Boiter

3:45  break for signings

4:00 Debra Daniel

4:15   David Axe & Corey Hutchins

4:30  Don McCallister

5ish   reception for authors


Columbia is a Jazz Town -- A Guest Blog by Andy Bell

In a town dominated by college football and rowdy bars, people are often surprised to learn that Columbia offers plenty of opportunities to listen to live jazz.  Several of these events happen on a weekly basis, with each event offering a different flavor of jazz experience.  Jasper offers this comprehensive guide to these weekly events to help you navigate Columbia’s jazz scene.

(A note about the art above from Tom Law, Conundrum Proprietor:  By the most excellent Clark Smith, my best friend and fellow trombonist way back in days of yore at Keenan Junior High School. He now lives in Connecticut and hasn't even been able to visit Conundrum as of yet, but he has followed its progress from afar. Clark and I were born on the same day in the same year, but he was born in Guam, and he won't stop bragging about it. The QR Code and the Japanese script in the top corners were painted by Clark's excellent son Ian Clark Smith. You can scan the code with your phone and it takes you to a place on the internets!   I won't tell you where! Ian has visited Conundrum on three occasions, and he now volunteers at John Zorn's The Stone in NYC.)


Conundrum Music Hall: The Conundrum Jazz Sessions

Trombonist Dr. Mitch Butler, professor of music at Claflin University, leads this jam session with his trio. Unlike the more crowded fare at Speakeasy and Hunter Gatherer, Conundrum Music Hall provides an intimate listening room atmosphere that allows the audience to focus on the musicians making their art.  These sessions are a rewarding opportunity for jazz aficionados and curious newcomers alike to get an up-close experience with Columbia’s local jazz talent.  Presented in partnership with Think Jazz Columbia.

626 Meeting Street, http://conundrum.us/ 9pm-12am, $3 cover (waived for musicians who sit in)


Speakeasy: The Tony Lee Group

Drummer and bandleader Tony Lee kicks off the weekend at Speakeasy, joined by the always expressive Joelle Kittrell on vocals, Zach Bingham Jones on bass.  Jazz standards in their first set give way to soulful, rock-tinged blues and funk as the evening goes on. Guitar lovers will enjoy Bingham’s versatility, tone, and chops on the instrument.  Between its classy atmosphere and skilled bartending staff, it’s clear why Speakeasy is the last bastion of live jazz in Five Points.

711 Saluda Avenue, http://fivepointscolumbia.com/directory/speakeasy/ 9pm-12am, 21+, no cover

Hunter Gatherer: Jazz Night

Jazz Night at Hunter Gatherer is led by saxophonist and raspy crooner Skipp Pearson, a local favorite.   Mr. Pearson and his band play a set of jazz standards, followed by a jam session led by trumpeter Mark Rouse that showcases both local veterans and up-and-comers of all ages.  While they play a variety of jazz and fusion tunes, Joe Zawinul’s “Mercy Mercy Mercy” and Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island” are musician favorites.  Presented by The Skipp Pearson Jazz Foundation.

900 Main Street, http://huntergathererbrewery.com/ 9pm-12am, 21+, $3 cover


Le Café Jazz


This intimate restaurant treats its guests to an up-close live jazz experience while they dine.  A small group, usually a duo comprised of a double bassist and pianist, offers a stripped-down approach to jazz and blues standards, with the occasional drop-in by saxophonist Skipp Pearson.  Presented by The Skipp Pearson Foundation.


Located in Finlay Park, off of Laurel Street  http://skpfoundationlecafejazz.webs.com/

8pm-?, no cover


Speakeasy: The Robert Gardiner Quartet

Bandleader and saxophonist Robert Gardiner has led this gig every Saturday at Speakeasy for nearly ten years.  Gardiner’s visceral, eccentric improvisations are supported by a rhythm section (comprised of Zach Bingham on guitar, Phil Jones on bass, and Brendan Bull on drums) that holds it down and swings hard.  The group sticks primarily to jazz standards from the 40s through 60s, with some of Gardiner’s original jazz compositions thrown into the mix.  They are often joined by guest musicians later in the evening.

711 Saluda Avenue, http://fivepointscolumbia.com/directory/speakeasy/ 10pm-1am, 21+, no cover


Sheraton Rooftop Bar: The Reggie Sullivan Band

While The Reggie Sullivan Band is technically a rock band, its members (vocalist and double bassist Reggie Sullivan, guitarist Zach Bingham, keyboardist Nick Brewer, and drummer Brendan Bull) are also four of the finest jazz musicians in town.  The band mixes jazz standards with their own brand of danceable covers and original tunes, driven by Sullivan’s exceptional abilities as a vocalist and performer.  Live music combined with a unique view of Columbia provides for a stimulating evening of entertainment.  This event runs weekly through January, weather permitting.

1400 Main Street  Columbia, SC 29201 6-9 pm, no cover

St. Paul's Players Present "Once Upon A Christmastime"

Like it or not, the holidays are upon us, and Christmas-themed shows abound throughout the Midlands.  This past weekend, A Christmas Doll opened at Columbia Children's Theatre, while The Winter Wonderettes opened at Town Theatre.  (See the current issue of Jasper for details on these and many other shows.)  One show that may have slipped under your radar, however, is the new musical Once Upon A Christmastime, presented this coming weekend by the The St. Paul's Players, at St. Paul's Lutheran Church (corner of Bull and Blanding Streets downtown.) The Players are a ministry of the church, offering family-oriented productions for people to enjoy as participants and/or as audience members. You don’t have to be a church member to get involved, and volunteer opportunities include set building, costuming, makeup, hair, and of course acting.  Once Upon A Christmastime is a musical adaptation of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, written by Paula G. Benson, with music and lyrics by Paula Benson, Frank Fusco and John W. Henry (if you’ve gone to Workshop Theatre in the last 20 years, he’s probably given you your tickets.)

The performance on Friday Nov. 30th is at 6:00 PM, and includes dinner; menu choices include chicken (baked or fried) roast beef, ham, rice pilaf, vegetables, tossed salad, rolls, dessert and coffee, tea or water. call 779-0300 for reservations - the $16 ticket includes dinner and the show.Catering is provided by A & J Catering (the Clarion Hotel chef.)

There are also non-dinner shows at 7 PM on Sat. Dec. 1st, and at 3 PM on Sunday

Dec. 2nd. General admission tickets for these will be sold at the door, and are only $5.  There will be a pre-show performance of Christmas music 20 minutes prior to each performance, so plan on coming early to enjoy entertainment by Kiah Creed and Friends, featuring Laura and Kirk Adair with Terri Schumpert.


Book Fest Next Sunday -- An Authors' Roundtable: An Intimate Book Festival to Benefit Jasper Magazine

In addition to publishing a top-notch, local arts magazine for the Columbia and surrounding areas, one of the other goals of Jasper is to do our part in helping to make the various arts disciplines more visible as communities unto themselves, as well as to the greater arts and non-arts communities at large.

For example, the Columbia area has an enormous number of professional authors -- fiction, non-fiction, poetry, prose, graphic novelists, and a number from other unique writing genres. We have so many, that it's an absolute shame that we aren't known as a Writers' Town like our good friends up in Spartanburg. (If you haven't heard about Hub City Press and the beautiful work that Betsy Teter has done for the arts --originally, it was just the writing arts but then the whole thing just exploded and now they have their own independent book shop (drool)  and a performance space with artists in residence called Hub-Bub -- then please check them out.)

My friend, local writer Janna McMahan and I were enjoying bubbles at Mr. Friendly's champagne Tuesday one evening not long ago while Janna regaled me with details about her writers' community in Kentucky. Even though she has lived out of the state for a while now, the Kentucky writers still claim her as their own--the community is that close-knit and supportive. (As an aside here I'll say that there are writers' groups and then there are professional writers' groups--both are equally important. The kind Janna is talking about though consists of professional writers who support and inspire one another, offer a sense of peer mentoring, and maintain a unique community environment in which the members can both communicate about issues important to professional writers AND make their presence known to the greater community of artists, arts-lovers, and those who should be arts-lovers, at large.)

When I think about all the excellent local writers I personally know, and combine them with the excellent writers I've heard of but not met, then add on the ones I'm (sadly) not aware of -- well, just wow.

Columbia could be and should be a Writers' Town.

To that end, next Sunday, Muddy Ford Press presents An Authors' Roundtable.

(As most of you know, Muddy Ford Press is the publishing company that underwrites Jasper Magazine. What this means in that when ad sales can't cover the cost of publishing the magazine and paying modest honoraria to our saintly photo and story contributors and our layout guru on high, MFP kicks in the rest of what we need. MFP is also an active publishing company with five books out to date and four in the works. The revenue from book sales is one of the places where MFP gets the moolah to kick in for Jasper -- the other place being the generous pockets of your editor's beloved, Saint Bier Doc, the magnificent.)

An Authors' Roundtable will be an intimate book festival to both benefit Jasper Magazine and do our part to help make the Columbia writing community more prominent in the eyes of its members and the public. Granted, we're starting somewhat small on purpose so we can learn as we go. (We are in absolute awe of the work Paula Watkins and her team do with the SC Book Festival  every spring--but please don't expect us to be in their league!) We asked 12 local writers to come out this time.  To make it simple, we invited the MFP writers and others who had already identified themselves as friends of Jasper. It was an act of convenience, not favoritism. We hope to expand the number of writers* for the next festival and we hope to do these festivals a number of times per year. The Roundtable Writers will be reading from their books in 15 minute increments (three sets of 15 minute readings followed by a 15 minute period for book signing.) Adult refreshments will be available and the books will be available for you to take home with you as presents for your loved ones or yourself. The festival will start at 1 pm and run until 5pm or the authors have finished signing, and will be held in the historic Studios at the Arcade at 1332 Main Street in Columbia. You'll also have the chance to peep in the studios of many of the Arcade's outstanding artists and actually visit with some of our neighbors who will have their studios open that day. (You might find additional Christmas gifts ideas there, as well.)

Finally, here is the line-up of authors:

Janna McMahan, novelist

Ed Madden, poet

David Axe and Corey Hutchins, Graphic novelists

Ray McManus, poet

Don McCallister, novelist

Kristine Hartvigsen, poet

Shigeharu Kobayashi and John Pading, graphic novelists

Laurie Brownell McIntosh, artist & art book author

Cassie Premo Steel, poet

Vennie Deas Moore, photo art book writer

Debra Daniel, poet

Cindi Boiter, short fiction writer

We hope you'll join us next Sunday from 1 - 5 to SHOP LOCAL with your local writers, have a lovely holiday afternoon, and support your local arts magazine.

Happy Holidays from your friends at Jasper Magazine!



*If you are a local professional writer who would either like to participate in the next Roundtable event and help grow the community of Columbia authors, please join us around 5 or 5:30 on Sunday, upstairs at the Jasper Studios in the Arcade, Suite #75, where you'll have a chance to sip a glass of wine and introduce yourself to the other community members. If I can answer any questions for you or you would like to pre-introduce yourself,  I welcome you to email me at editor@JasperColumbia.com -- I look forward to hearing from you!

Spork In Hand Puppet Slam -- Adult Only Coolness (This weekend!)

At Jasper, we're always talking about how much talent is in this town and how diverse and specific that talent sometimes is. Certainly one of the most unique and talented people in Columbia is Kimi Maeda  -- puppeteer, set designer, artist, visionary.

We had the opportunity last week to sit down with Kimi and talk about both the upcoming Spork In Hand Puppet Slam, as well as some other projects she'd like to take on and some of her goals/plans/visions for puppetry in Columbia. After just a few minutes of chatting, it became obvious that Jasper needed to do a full profile on Kimi, which we've scheduled for Spring 2013. In the meantime, we'd like to help Kimi -- and Lyon Hill, her partner in crime and the 5000 year old art of puppetry -- promote another one of the coolest events we've experienced in town -- the Spork In Hand Puppet Slam, coming up this weekend at Trustus Theatre.

Last spring, we had the opportunity to attend our first ever puppet slam, presented by Kimi & Lyon's company, Belle et Bette, as part of Indie Grits. We had seen some cool puppetry before -- at Spoleto and, if I'm not mistaken, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival one August -- but I can't remember ever being moved in the strange, warm, and somewhat unsettling way that some of the puppetry last spring moved me. I can still remember that sensation -- and it freaks me out a little that I absolutely crave to be freaked out like that again. It's something about the emotiveness (it's a word!) of the inanimate objects becoming animated right in front of you. Intellectually, you know the puppets aren't real -- but emotionally, you're responding to them as if they are. It's surprising how human objects and shadows and unrecognizable creatures can seem.

Very creepily cool.

Lots of folks, when they hear the words puppet or puppetry, assume that the performative qualities of the show would be more suited to children. Wrong! in the same way that there are films for kids and films for adults, there is puppetry for kids and puppetry for adults. Kimi tells me that there is nothing child-like about the Spork In Hand Puppet Slam -- unless, I have to add, it's the heady sensation of possibility you get from watching it, and the feeling of having been taken on a very trippy trip for the time during which the puppets perform. I mean, the time during which the puppeteers perform. Puppets can't perform!

Or can they? 

Decide for yourself -- here's the lowdown:

COLUMBIA - Organized by Belle et Bête, also known as Lyon Hill and Kimi Maeda, Spork in Hand Puppet Slam is a celebration of Southern puppetry that is off-the-beaten-path. They amaze, entertain, and inspire the people of Columbia with gloriously gritty evenings of experimental short puppetry and object theatre performances.


It's a whole new show with performances by: Happiness Bomb, Lyon Forrest Hill, Paul Kaufmann, Kimi Maeda, Tarish Pipkins, Greggplant and Bean, Jenny Mae Hill, Jason Von Hinezmeyer and Rob Padley. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.

Click here to purchase your tickets right this second. It's like magic.


"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" at Workshop Theatre - a review by August Krickel

Shattered survivors struggle over scraps of nourishment in a barren, apocalyptic wasteland in Workshop Theatre's new production of Edward Albee's classic play, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  At least, it seems that way, as we spend a few desperate hours in the alcohol-fueled, vitriol-filled lives of a seriously disturbed, and disturbing, married couple, George and Martha. Audiences eager to experience Albee's dark fable with no holds barred will undoubtedly get their money's worth and then some, thanks to brilliant characterizations by a committed cast. Metaphors notwithstanding, the set-up for Who's Afraid is deceptively simple: two academic couples drink, carouse, and argue into the wee hours of the morning. Martha drunkenly and shrewishly criticizes George's shortcomings as a husband, a professor, and a man; he returns fire with wry, catty observations on said drunken shrewishness. Like rival boxers engaged in a harmless exhibition bout, often one or the other can't resist sneaking in a sucker punch or two. Neither really knows where to draw the line, but a bizarre game/deception has enabled the marital battle to rage on for 23 years. Like many, I read this play many years ago, and saw the Burton-Taylor film version, but I had forgotten how devastatingly witty the dialogue is. Elena Martinez-Vidal portrays Martha as an aging Snookie, the once-scandalous college president's daughter, now using booze and random affairs to carry her through a seemingly unhappy marriage. For Martha, it's far easier to get laughs from a clever play on the author Woolf's name and the nursery rhyme, than to actually discuss (or understand) Woolf's work.  Stann Gwynn as George wears a natty, professorial blazer, but sinks his hands deep into its pockets as if it were an old sweater, indicating general despair. Oddly, however, he is verbally clever and quick, nimbly playing with words, images and ideas; if this brilliant man's career has stalled, one wonders how responsible his drunken wife may have been in the squashing his ambitions. Both leads are at the top of their acting game, utterly believable as these amusing yet unlikeable characters.

Lee Williams and Giulia Marie Dalbec play a younger couple, labeled Nick and Honey in the program, although Nick is never referred to by name, and only he ever calls to his wife, as "honey."  Dalbec is either offstage or passed out (or both) for almost half of the play, but does a great job in a radically different role for her, playing mousy rather than the usual vivacious. During long stretches while others are speaking, she is always completely in character, busy with countless, unobtrusive little bits of business that make perfect sense.  It would be very easy to say that Williams seems awkward and self-conscious... except that Nick the character is supposed to be seen that way.  One could add that he is at times overwhelmed by the forceful personalities of the two leads...yet again, the character is written that way. Albee never gives Nick the lines to establish him as a scholar or scientist; in fact, in many ways he seems to be a younger, blander, incomplete version of George himself, with modest career goals, a wife who can't hold her liquor, a wealthy and larger-than-life father-in-law, and unspoken issues in his past. (The Trekkie in me wants Nick and Honey to be George and Martha from some alternate universe, visiting via a temporal flux, but no such luck.) Overall, Williams does his best with a difficult role.

I might have wanted to see a deeper debate on science vs. history or philosophy, but Albee is working in a different direction entirely, as the couples spend a solid two and a half hours (plus intermissions) seemingly fighting over nothing.  There's a central (and famous) plot twist that I won't reveal here, but in retrospect, it seems telegraphed from early in the first act, but I'm uncertain how newcomers to the show will perceive it.  Martha tells George that he doesn't know the difference between truth and illusion, to which he replies "No, but we must carry on as though we did."  In interviews, the playwright has professed a desire to aggressively engage the audience in the business of understanding the material, and accordingly we have to fill in many of the blanks and connect the dots for George and Martha's backstory and motivations. Only at the very end do we glimpse the actual affection and co-dependency shared by the couple, which then explains much of the dysfunctional fiction they have created, but audiences, scholars and critics have spent the last half century debating just how believable and effective that may be, from a literary standpoint. From a dramatic standpoint, it's quite moving.

Director Cynthia Gilliam allows the fast and furious dialogue to proceed naturally, never missing any of the many laugh lines that pepper the dark material.  I was surprised at how fresh and contemporary the 50-year-old script seemed, with just the tiniest hint of the Mad Men era, before certain modern expressions became common.  Costumes (by Janet Kile) are authentic, and yet could be worn today; a couple of random references to the Depression and World War 2 are the only things to indicate the setting. Towards the show's conclusion, George recites part of a Latin requiem, while Martha recounts an often-told story. Gilliam cleverly takes advantage of Gwynn's rich voice and has him actually sing the words, giving the moment a haunting beauty that is not otherwise found in the original.  Randy Strange's set accurately depicts an ordinary, upper-middle class living room, but I must praise whoever dressed the set (I'm guessing Meg Richards, credited for props.) Among all the customary suburban bric-a-brac are two framed photos, and sure enough, they are youthful portraits of Gwynn and Martinez-Vidal.

The ultimate question becomes: did I enjoy the play?  My answer is that I thoroughly enjoyed and admired the performances by the cast, and the new insights gained into the material via the director's vision.  I’d really question someone who actually enjoys Albee, much as one might admire the first ten minutes of Saving Pvt. Ryan, but not technically enjoy them.  Albee is one of the giants of contemporary theatre, and undeniably a genius, although possibly a mad genius. Joe Six-Pack who might otherwise be watching WWE Raw will likely not appreciate this work (although it features similar smackdowns and trash-talking!)  Any literate adults with backgrounds or interests in literature, sociology or psychology, and who want to see challenging themes acted out live by gifted performers, need to see this production.  With only seven performances left in a 199-seat theatre, there's no excuse for there not to be standing room only.  The show runs through Sat. Nov. 24th, i.e. the Saturday after Thanksgiving, contact the Workshop Box Office at 803-799-6551, or visit http://www.workshoptheatre.com for ticket information.

~ August Krickel

One Book, One Poem finalists II: Rieppe Moore

Yesterday we published poems by Lauren Allen and Dianne Turgeon Richardson, finalists in the One Book, One Poem contest, which Jasper sponsored in conjunction with the second annual One Book, One Columbia program.  

As we noted yesterday, we invited poets from the greater Columbia area to submit poems inspired by Ron Rash’s novel Saints at the River, and Rash himself judged the contest.  The winning poems, by Will Garland and Debra Daniel, will be published in the new issue of Jasper, to be released Thursday, Nov. 15.


But we’re publishing the finalists in advance right here on the Jasper blog!


Again, congratulations to Lauren Allen, Rieppe Moore, and Dianne Turgeon Richardson, who were all finalists in the contest.


Rieppe Moore actually had two poems among the finalists, “Three Things One Moment Before Summer” and “Waters Remember (Keowee No. 1).”  Moore is a southern poet who lives in Columbia, South Carolina with his wife, Cherith. He graduated from Columbia International University with a BA in Humanities. He is the author of Windows Behind the Veil and Letters to Ethiopia.  While in his first year teaching high school English, he began writing his third chapbook to be published in 2013.  He and his wife are the proud owners of a locally renowned Pogs collection.


Of his poems, Moore says, “Since reading Saints at the River, I've found Rash's concept of the ‘thing past’ haunting my lines.  In Rash's fiction the past overflows with ghosts—failures, disappointments, urgings, and trials that his characters experience.  During a recent photo shoot, I revisited a vacant farm in Blythewood , but when I arrived the farm had been harvested—only a few embarrassing wall frames and roofs remained.  When I raised my SLR to shoot the rural wreckage I couldn't even remember what I had initially seen there.  I had lost the vision and the mind's eye; I couldn't find the right angles; I strove to position myself.”


Below are Moore’s poems.


* * *


Three Things One Moment Before Summer


The dogwoods are just gathering

clusters of innocence in their fists


as evidence that they got a

dull name. Redbud, jessamine


also answer to the viscid moisture

in air that is a stagnant spirit


summoning a god whose only

power is making beauty by calling


buds to open with the subtlety of

an alligator’s eyes that don’t surprise


as much as marvel vision at the door


of the coming season, when trees

will throw their petals to


the ground like constellations

loosed from gravity.


These spent garlands will mingle

with indiscriminate trashes


of brown paper bags and plastic

glasses (surviving the streets)


a throng of wastes, wasted of

similarities like many family generations


in a room all at once with dissonant

voices or like a stream always


speaking of every section of itself.



* * *


Waters Remember

(Keowee No. 1)



Pearling clouds swoon

over lambent, lapidary


waters for a moment.


August thunderstorms

on Keowee don’t soothe


the lake’s eager thirst


but pass along with a chill

of frisson.


Don’t count

raindrops that wrinkle


shuddersinged giggles

from the Spring. Here


breeze speaks of that

inundated town since,


absconded from trees –

black graveyard fields.


Here trout drink want


for waste of currents in

mass waters remember.



* * *

Congratulations again to our finalists—Lauren Allen, Rieppe Moore, and Dianne Turgeon Richardson.  And congratulations, as well, to our winners: Debbie Daniel and Will Garland.  Be sure to pick up the new Jasper (released on Nov. 15) to read the winning poems!



Jillian Owens reviews "Compleat Female Stage Beauty" at USC's Longstreet Theatre

  The timing could not be better for Theatre South Carolina’s production of Jeffrey Hatcher’s Compleat Female Stage Beauty, directed by Gary Logan.  Gay rights and gender equality have been hot button issues this election season, and both of these are woven intricately into the tapestry of this poignant and bawdy production.

In 1660, Edward Kynaston is sitting pretty as the most famous leading lady in the London theatre scene.   After 18 years of Puritan rule, England is experiencing a renaissance of theatre, fashion, and decadence.  Called "the loveliest lady that ever I saw in my life" by Samuel Nicolas, Edward is loved and admired for his brilliant portrayal of tragic female roles.  When King Charles II signs a law allowing women to act on the stage, his career is ruined, and his entire identity is called into question.

This show features a new crop of USC Theatre's MFA candidates.  Melissa Peters immersed herself in  extensive movement and vocal work to develop the role of Kynaston.  “The shape of the pelvis changes a lot about how we move,” she told Otis Taylor of The State.  Her hard work has paid off.  You completely forget that she is a she, and instead can only see her as Edward Kynaston.  While Kynaston was the last of his kind, his rival Margaret Hughes was the first of her kind.  Kate Dzvonik is lovely and charismatic in this role.  However, she is difficult to understand through her thick accent.  Most of her performance comes off as one-dimensional, but she is positively winning in her final scene.  Leeanna Rubin makes a hilarious and raunchy Nell Gwynn, the popular mistress of King Charles II (played by Cory Lipman).  Stephen Ingle is  playfully perverse as Kynaston’s  fey and foppish antagonist, Sir Charles Sedley—who suceeds in being both mincing and menacing.

April Andrews has earned accolades for her amazing costumes, and Xuemei Cao’s set is cleverly transformative.  The transitions between scenes are scored by Matthew Nielson, and are evocative of the period.

Compleat Female Stage Beauty reminds us of the progress that has been made in our society’s acceptance those who are gay and transgendered.  Yes—there is much progress to be made, but at least gays can marry in nine states.  The risk of being pelted with excrement onstage for being a homosexual has lessened considerably since the 1600’s as well.  But, the question of what it means to be man or a woman is still a question that continues to pop up in conversation…whether we’re discussing transgendered youths being admitted into the Girl Scouts, gays in the military, or even whether boys should be allowed to wear pink.  The discussion of sexual and gender identity have become major political issues.

While addressing serious subject matter, this show still manages to be quite funny.  Hatcher has written a cleverly witty script, and the cast manages the delicate balance of capturing  every humorous moment without becoming farcical or irreverent.

Compleat Female Stage Beauty is a darkly comical, but  touching production.  It brings humanity to issues that are easy to think of as being merely political and abstract.  Due to its mature subject matter and some partial nudity, this is definitely an adults-only show.

~ Jillian Owens

Show times are 8pm Wednesdays-Fridays, and 7pm Saturdays.  There is an additional half-price late night performance on Saturday, November 17 at 11pm.   Tickets for the production are $12 for students, $16 for USC faculty/staff, military personnel and seniors 60+, and $18 for the general public.  Tickets can be purchased by calling 803-777-2551 or by visiting the Longstreet Theatre box office, which is open Monday-Friday, 12:30pm-5:30pm.




One Book, One Poem Finalists: Lauren Allen and Dianne Turgeon Richardson

Last spring, Jasper sponsored the One Book, One Poem contest in conjunction with the second annual One Book, One Columbia program, sponsored by Richland County Public Library, which featured Ron Rash’s Saints at the River. We invited poets from the greater Columbia area to submit poems inspired by Rash’s novel, and Rash himself agreed to judge the contest. A poet as well as a novelist, Rash said he had a hard time picking the winner, and in the end, he decided it was a tie. The winning poems, by Will Garland and Debra Daniel, will be published in the new issue of Jasper, to be released Thursday, Nov. 15.

But before then, we’re publishing the finalists here on the Jasper blog!

Congratulations to Lauren Allen, Rieppe Moore, and Dianne Turgeon Richardson, who were all finalists in the contest. Their fine poems were among those that made Rash’s judging so difficult. Today we publish Allen and Richardson’s work, tomorrow Moore’s.

* * *

Dianne Turgeon Richardson is from Columbia, SC, and holds degrees from both the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina. She currently lives with her husband and two mutts in Orlando, FL, where she is pursuing an MFA from the University of Central Florida and is the managing editor of The Florida Review.

Of her poem, “Elegy,” Richardson said, “It's hard to think on Saints At the River without giving some consideration to death by drowning. I have often heard people say that drowning would be one of the worst ways to die, but is it? I was writing a lot about landscape at the time I wrote this poem, and I felt that if I must ‘return to the dust’ as they say, the South Carolina Blue Ridge would be one of the most beautiful places to do so. I wanted to present death, even sudden death, as peaceful instead of fearful.”


This is how you’ll end: water to water, womb to womb, whippoorwill for a dirge, pine trees for pallbearers. You go – wrapped in river satin – go and cross over. Every molecule of wayfaring water vibrates with your memory, your name echoes down the escarpment, the weathered arms of Appalachia cradle you in sleep, whisper lullabies as old as Earth. This is a good way to go.

* * *

Lauren Allen is a professional horse trainer in Camden, South Carolina and is earning her MFA degree in Creative Nonfiction at the University of South Carolina. She says, “I was interested in the undercurrents in Rash's Saints at the River. The ideas about wilderness, stewardship and ownership resonated with me, and as someone who moved across the country to Los Angeles and then eventually returned to my rural roots, I recognized the conflict between love of a place and the need to escape.”

Here’s Lauren’s poem, “corduroy road.”

corduroy road clay the colors of sunset only a witness tree witnesses me trespassing

who owns this land I know the secrets of these woods the hiding places the crumbled cornerstones of foundations

traces of the old road eye-closing scent of crabapple the rise and fall deer trails where ruts disgorge

sandstone eggs hatch Indian paint try to ignore the yipping coyote came from somewhere else

traps are everywhere I used to think I too would chew my leg off to escape

* * *

Check back tomorrow for poems by Rieppe Moore, who had two poems among the finalists. And be sure to pick up the new Jasper (released on Nov. 15) to read the winning poems.

On the Road with the Nick -- 5th and Final Post in their Guest Blog Series

Our Friends at the Nick have taken to the highway and are out on one of the greatest of American adventures – the ROAD TRIP! Happily, they’re sharing their news from the road with us via the Jasper blog. Below is the final installation from the great adventurers’ travel(b)log. Thank you everyone for reading about our travels this week.  We couldn't have had this amazing experience without Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC), and we couldn't have had a better outlet to share our story with than the wonderful people at Jasper.  If there is one thing this trip has taught us, it is that an art scene is necessary for any city to truly be great.  Columbia has a wonderful art scene, and we know that Jasper plays a big role.

Our final official day of the trip happened at the awesome Belcourt Theatre in Nashville.  We all got to spend time with our counterparts at the theater, learning how we can be better, and how we can bring new knowledge to the Nick!

Andy started the day off before all of us. He went in early to hang out with Stephanie Silverman, Executive Director of the Belcourt.  He learned a lot, and is eager to get back and start getting all of us to try some new things.  He even had the opportunity to talk about programming with Toby Leonard, who is also a former Indie Grits juror.

Heather wasted no time, hanging out with Melinda Morgan, the Director of Operations.  So much so that she volunteered to scoop popcorn and fill drinks for two of the showtimes!  Claire had a lovely time with Elle Long, their membership coordinator.  (unfortunately no picture exists).  We even ran into another juror at the offices of Janus Films Nashville (in the Belcourt).  It is always a pleasure to see Sarah Finklea, she is a really fantastic person, and we were thrilled she had moved to Nashville and was conveniently located at the Belcourt. We were able to unwind with a nice meal at Southern where Heather got to pick out her steak!

Today we head back to Columbia, and I think the staff all needs a little down time to take in everything we saw.  Thanks again to Jasper, and we look forward to the future of the Nick!

On the Road with the Nick -- Part 4 of a Guest Blog Series

Our Friends at the Nick have taken to the highway and are out on one of the greatest of American adventures – the ROAD TRIP! Happily, they’re sharing their news from the road with us via the Jasper blog. Below is the fourth installation from the great adventurers’ travel(b)log.  

Today, our wait to see the Belcourt officially ends! We were so excited to get to Nashville that we left a little bit early, which led us to do some Nashville sightseeing. After we checked into the hotel, we immediately left to go see the incredible Third Man Records.  We are all big fans of Jack White's work across a variety of bands, so we went into the shop, which is about the size of our ticket booth.

From there, we decided to see some of Nashville's true history, while some of us thought that may be the Grand Ol' Opry on the sprawling Gaylord Opryland estate....

I think all of us felt an even greater special connection at The Duke's of Hazzard museum.


We ate at the fantastic restaurant City House for dinner, however the food was so good, it would be shameful to share the pictures with you. Again, today is going to be a fantastic day with the Nickelodeon Staff learning from the incredibly talented Belcourt staff.  If you can't stand the wait, visit their website and see what we are talking about. Until tomorrow, Your Nickelodeon Staff