Jasper Dance Writer Susan Lenz Weighs in on Which Nutcracker Ballet to See but Cautions that the Choice is Yours!

Both have snow, tiaras, and take a young Clara on a fairytale journey into the Land of Sweets with dancing variations and a final pas de deux. So, what are the differences? Which company's production should an informed audience member select?

  Is that a Unicorn in Columbia City Ballet's Nutcracker?

Is that a Unicorn in Columbia City Ballet's Nutcracker?

 

My husband and I own a little frame shop. My sales counter is in front of a non-working fireplace with a mantel holding family pictures, including some of my dancing son. For years these images seemed to remind clients that ballet is part of my life. Every holiday season, clients excitedly tell me, "I'm going to The Nutcracker!" Of course I'm happy for them and ask, "Which production?" The answer is always the same. "The one at the Koger Center."

 

Further conversation reveals that most people in Columbia are aware that The Nutcracker comes to the Township Auditorium every Thanksgiving weekend. Some even know that this is the civic company.  (I wrote a review of last month's show at http://jasperproject.org/what-jasper-said/88xw7fa24pxcfdb5x77mxf5zyrkgxd). Most seem to know that The Nutcracker also comes to the Koger Center for three weekends in December, but they are totally unaware that two different, local professional ballet companies are putting on these shows. They have no idea to which production they've booked tickets. They have no idea that there is a difference. But there is a difference.

 

The first weekend features Columbia Classical Ballet (Radenko Pavolich, artistic director). The later two weekends feature Columbia City Ballet (William Starrett, artistic director). Yes, the company names are as similar as The Nutcracker's basic storyline.  Both companies use canned Tchaikovsky music, cast students from their independent ballet schools, and include adults from the community in character roles, mainly in the first act's party scene. Both companies sell tickets through the Koger Center's on-line box office. Both have snow, tiaras, and take a young Clara on a fairytale journey into the Land of Sweets with dancing variations and a final pas de deux. So, what are the differences? Which company's production should an informed audience member select?

 

Let me cut to the chase. If one wants to see a technically superior Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier, book Radenko's production. I saw Nao Omoya and Koyo Yanagishima on Saturday night. At least I think I did. The program listed double-cast roles but didn't indicate which dancers were performing in which show. I still have no idea who I saw as Clara. Despite being in several Act II variations in both that afternoon's matinee and the evening performance, these two dancers surprisingly had plenty of energy and brought excellent technique to the stage. The dancers for Columbia City Ballet had two performances the following Saturday. I saw both. Claire Richards was lovely but her afternoon partner was weak. Bo Busby and Regina Willoughby looked understandably tired that evening.

 

Yet, who goes to The Nutcracker for just the last pas de deux? In almost every other way, Columbia City Ballet's production was more pleasing.

 

That last sentence was hard for me to write.

 

I'm predisposed against the liberties William Starrrett takes with his production. I'm more inclined to like the traditional dancing dolls during Act I's party scene. Radenko Pavlovich’s Harlequin and Columbine were first rate but couldn't save the scene. That party unfolded as if a series of recital pieces. At one point, all the girls covered the stage rocking baby dolls, and there weren't even enough to go around. Stranger yet, the Nutcracker doll wasn't even a traditional solid. Its legs were moveable, possibly even like a stuffed animal. 

 

William Starrett’s nutcracker doll looks like a nutcracker, but it’s the only doll on stage. Instead of the classic mechanized dancing doll variations, Starrett features a flirtatious Scarlett straight from Gone With the Wind mythology and a courtship dance between Clara’s older sister and a lead cadet. It works though. It works because the Columbia City Ballet dancers are good actors. As the scene continues, the audience has no problem following the plot. The nutcracker doll is broken, repaired, and placed by the Christmas tree. Effortlessly, the audience follows the action. Clara is lurked back to the darkened living room and a dream sequence begins. Mice and rats battle and the nutcracker is magically transformed into a living doll and finally a prince. One doesn’t have to consult the program. The plot is told through the choreography, the dancers, and good lighting.  Virginia Welsh as young Clara, though not technically perfect, was utterly charming and carried the audience into the Land of Snow and beyond.

 

Unfortunately, Columbia Classical Ballet’s dancers generally don’t express much emotion and pivotal moments often occurred in poorly lit areas of the stage. There was too much fog and the machine producing it made a lot of distracting noise. The transitions from the Stahlbaums’ living room into a battle scene and onto the Land of Snow were simply not as magical as intended. Narrative was lost.

 

Columbia Classical Ballet’s Act II is traditional, though it starts oddly. Why? Well, there is no overture played before the ballet begins. Thus, it is strange to listen to the first part of the angelic scene played to the curtain. William Starrett’s Act II starts the same way but his production includes the opening overture. Musically, that seems proper. Musically, Starrett’s Act II is anything but proper. It starts to the correct, heavenly melody and altogether too much gold lamé but then progresses into the Waltz of the Flowers. The other variations are also mixed up and include Neapolitan Ice Cream Flavors and Striped Candy Canes using music that isn’t even from Tchiakovsky’s Nutcracker score. Anyone familiar with the music knows it’s all out of order.

 

Yet, it works. There’s a flow from section to section and a nice mix of humor for sheer entertainment. I didn’t even mind the appearance of a white horse dressed as a unicorn. Admittedly, its a gimmick but it is only a magical inspired entrance. It doesn’t distract from the dancing or the progression of the ballet. 

 

By the end of both ballets, Clara is back in her living room and the audiences are altogether too eager to give standing ovations, as if a requirement. Both ballets had their strong points and weaknesses. Both were worth seeing. 

 

Both companies have extremely enticing opportunities for audience members to witness something special in the coming new year.  On Saturday, January 20th, Columbia Classical Ballet will present their annual LifeChance, an International Ballet Gala of Stars (always one of the best ballet performances in Columbia). On Saturday, January 27th, Columbia City Ballet is partnering with the full South Carolina Philharmonic under Morihiko Nakahara’s baton for Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

 

Looking ahead, I hope this article assists future audience members make informed decisions about their Nutcracker options. Best bet: see both and compare! Maybe you’ll agree with my impressions. Maybe next year’s productions will be entirely different. There’s still time to catch the last weekend of Columbia City Ballet’s Nutcracker. It can be seen at the Koger Center:

3:00 PM Saturday, December 16, 2017
7:30 PM Saturday, December 16, 2017
3:00 PM Sunday, December 17, 2017

 

Postscript: Most informed audience members know something else. Using LED devices is strictly prohibited. The family sitting in front of me during Columbia Classical Ballet’s Nutcracker used a cell phone to record the entire Bon-Bon variation. The gentleman sitting beside my husband at Columbia City Ballet’s Nutcracker checked his email during the Sugar Plum pas de deux.  Please, go to the shows but don’t do this!

 Susan Lenz - photo by Forrest Clonts

Susan Lenz - photo by Forrest Clonts

Susan Lenz is a full time, professional studio artist in Columbia, South Carolina. Her studio is located at Mouse House, Inc. at 2123 Park Street where she has both a studio for 3D sculptural and installation work and a separate fiber art studio. Susan's work has been juried into numerous national and international exhibits, featured in solo shows all over the United States, and shown on television and in print. She has been awarded six full scholarship art residencies and several "Best of Show" ribbons. She blogs at 

http://www.susanlenz.com/

http://artbysusanlenz.blogspot.com

http://decisionportraits.blogspot.com

http://graverubbingquilts.blogspot.com

REVIEW: Trustus's A Christmas Miracle at The Richland Fashion Mall by Frank Thompson

“ Why is this important? Well, the only way to create unique theatrical experiences here in Columbia is to create them ourselves. Otherwise, everything being produced in town would be a restaging of an already produced work.” - -Trustus Artistic Director, Chad Henderson

 

 

While I will admit to loving the classics, even I sometimes want something newer than A Charlie Brown Christmas or Miracle On 34th Street. Let’s face it, there hasn’t been a new addition to the Holiday canon since A Christmas Story got adapted for the stage, and even then, we could all recite along with Ralphie and The Old Man. Well, leave it to the good folks at Trustus to present a fresh, hilarious, and oft-heartwarming story with A Christmas Miracle at The Richland Fashion Mall. Along with the “God bless us ev’ry one” moments, A Christmas Miracle At The Richland Fashion Mall contains just enough salt and vinegar for those of us who have seen too many saccharine-laden Hallmark movies or grade-school Christmas concerts.



Much of this salt and vinegar comes in the form of Mandy (Clayton P. King) and his partner (both business and personal), Laurel, played by the venerable Gerald Floyd, who celebrates his 72nd role with …Richland Fashion Mall. They bicker, they snipe at each other, and only occasionally does the act give way to a legitimate moment of tenderness. Their banter is flawless, and their stage chemistry undeniable. I do hope to see King and Floyd opposite each other soon.

Another excellent pairing by director Abigail McNeeley is that of Krista Forster as cynical Noelle, and Alyssa Velasquez as the optimist who thinks the mall can remain open. As with King and Floyd, they often argue, but their sense of friendship is undeniable. (Okay, weird and undeniable.) As much as they all deny it, this group of employees in a dying mall (kept open only by a bookstore/monolith “Farnes And Floble”) share a connection through their shabby, much-maligned workplace.

Preach Jacobs shines as the mall custodian/narrator, who may just be the wisest man in the place. His character doesn’t interact very much with the others, providing a sort of detached, Everyman’s perspective. Jacob’s soothing baritone and gentle nature immediately establish him as a voice of calm and reason.

Jared Rogers-Martin (Darrell), Allison Allgood (Player 1), and Samuel Traquina (Player 2) , all turn in excellent performances, but to say too much about them would be to ruin the Deus ex Machina ending. Just please take my word for it. These three manage to keep up with the rest of the cast, in smaller roles. EVERY performer onstage in …Richland Fashion Mall is a consummate professional.

The set, costumes, and production values were certainly up to Trustus’ high standards. As always, the popcorn is on hand, good cheer fills the room before and after the show, and there’s a feeling of a family assembling as patrons take their seats.

And the script, itself? Written by local comedy troupe, The Mothers, A Miracle at Richland Fashion Mall is full of my type of humour (irreverent and a little inappropriate), and I found it delightful. It does, however, toward the end, feel a bit like an SNL skit that went on too long. All ends well, but if it had so done twenty minutes sooner, it would’ve been perfect. A bit of editing here and there, and this show would be the ideal antidote for those in sugar-shock over the last five Rankin-Bass Claymation Christmas tales broadcast every ten minutes.

A Christmas Miracle At The Richland Fashion Mall is a hilarious, well-crafted, and oftentimes touching holiday treat. Like salted caramel, there’s just enough spice to cut through the sugar. Make it a part of your Yuletide this year! You might even want to follow Gerald Floyd’s wise advice:

“Less talkin’, more drinkin’! I wanna get my nog on!”

See the show. I promise you’ll have fun.

 Clayton King and Gerald Floyd - photo courtesy of Trustus Theatre

Clayton King and Gerald Floyd - photo courtesy of Trustus Theatre

Announcing the 2017 Jasper Artists of the Year & Thanking Everyone Who Helped in Celebrating Them

Announcing the winners of the JAYs - and celebrating them - is such a joyous way to spend an evening. Sure, we could bump up the ticket price and ask people to worry about what they're going to wear. We could hold the celebration in some swanky hall with fancy food and funky drinks. Ice sculptures. We could do ice sculptures.

But Jasper decided a long time ago that our celebration of artists who have had a very good year would not fall into that trap of being a who's who and a see and be seen event. We have way too many of those things in town already! And the reality is that once you pay for those mixologists and finger foods -- not to mention the ice sculptures -- you've not only out-ticket priced the working artists in town who just barely get by financially off their art and their other jobs, and you've created an entirely uncomfortable event that people fret about going to and can't wait to leave so they can go home take their Spanx off.

Last night was another example of how we play at Jasper. We had some of the best people in town on our stage, serving us drinks and food, and doling out big authentic hugs to one another.

Those Lavender Whales, finalists for JAY in music, fully embraced our request that they lead us in Christmas Carols -- and Jessica even donned a Dolly wig and sang Hard Candy Christmas! All three JAY literary finalists - Nicola, Al, and Don - put together a sweet and silly Twelve Days of Christmas number involving all the finalists. Mandy, finalist in theatre, performed some beautiful songs accompanied by Chris, also a finalist in theatre, and Tyler, JAY finalist in music. Jay provided us with our sound system.

Off-stage. we had Phill and Matty pouring beer and wine and Joe and Candy serving up some delicious snacks. Ashley was capturing everyone on camera and Barry was popping those images up on screen as fast as he could. Bohumila, Diane, and Billy had coordinated the ornament auction in which more than two dozen ornaments, made especially for last night by artists like Stephen, Barbie, Matthew, and more, went home with folks as a remembrance of the evening. Kristian judged the living Christmas tree contest -- Bohumila won -- and offered up the prize of a dinner at Bourbon. Intern Jenna checked all the contestants in. And Thomas offered us four of his beautiful paintings for auction -- Barry and Chris each took one home. Kyle and Coralee ran the door, selling not only tickets but also the hand-made all-ages coloring books that Billy, Bob, and I had put together, with art in them from Cedric, Michael, Heidi, Laurie, Dogon, Thomas, Alexandra, and Sean.

At the end of the night we were tired, but sustained by our sense of community and that happiness that comes from having an authentically good time in the company of people we can be ourselves around. It was a joy.

So, without any more tap dancing and horn tooting, we are delighted to announce our winners of the 2017 Jasper Artists of the Year.

 

 

 Fat Rat da Czar - 2017 Jasper Artist of the Year in Music

Fat Rat da Czar - 2017 Jasper Artist of the Year in Music

 Al Black - 2017 Jasper Artist of the Year in Literary Arts

Al Black - 2017 Jasper Artist of the Year in Literary Arts

 Bakari Lebby - 2017 Jasper Artist of the Year in Theatre

Bakari Lebby - 2017 Jasper Artist of the Year in Theatre

 Sean Rayford - 2017 Jasper Artist of the Year in Visual Arts

Sean Rayford - 2017 Jasper Artist of the Year in Visual Arts

Congratulations once again to all the finalists - Nicola, Don, Tyler, Aaron and the gang, Nicole, Cedric, Mandy, and Chris. 

Thanks to everyone who voted (and sorry to have to clean out those multiple votes and keep it clean, but that's how Sara rolls!) And thanks to all who came out last night to support and celebrate with us.

Happy Holidays from all of us at The Jasper Project!

 

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Focus on JAY Finalists - Don McCallister for literary arts

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

 

 Don McCallister - photo by Forrest Clonts

Don McCallister - photo by Forrest Clonts

Jasper: What made the past year so great for you as an artist, how have you grown, and to what do you attribute that growth? 

Don: Becoming my own publisher after many years of submitting and freelancing offered new challenges and opportunities to expand my base of knowledge. It’s also opened up new avenues of creativity as I work on the PR side of the game. I’ve even begun designing some of my own graphic materials, which I had experience doing in the past for my small retail clothing business.

 

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

Don: I’ve noticed and admired so much growth in our arts scene that I wrote a novel about it called Let the Glory Pass Away! (see excerpt at bottom)

 

Jasper: Why is art so important right now? 

Don: Art is never-not important, perhaps especially so as humanity struggles to pierce through an emergent veil into next-stage consciousness. Look to the artists for guidance. They’re ahead of the curve—always.

 

Jasper: What role does art play in your life? 

Don: My current body of work already offers a cohesive literary vision, and as the next few books come out this corpus will take on added dimensions of connection in terms of character and plot, but also in a thematic sense. Achieving what will ultimately be the ten or twelve book world of “Edgewater County” has turned into a longterm art project, and at this late stage in the process, I couldn’t imagine living any other way.

 

Jasper: Who have been your major influences? 

Don: Major adolescent influences were heavy-hitters of the day like John Irving, Vonnegut, Updike, Stephen King and hardcore sci-fi on the pop side of the equation. Lately I’ve been digging Norway’s Karl Ove Knausgaard and his autobiographical “novel” series My Struggle. Not everyone would, though. It’s a writer-to-writer thing in my case with Knausgaard.

 

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

Don: Our community as a whole enjoys a high per-capita rate of remarkably talented and incisive artists, across all disciplines. Visual artists, mixed-media artists, musicians, writers, actors, filmmakers, hybrids, young people striving to break through into new forms—we have it all here. Too many individuals to name.

 

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

Don: I’ve had ample support from the community and family and friends, but my wife deserves particular citation for supporting me through the years of intensive art-life concentration and effort it took to have achieved my modest but satisfying publishing successes. The literary arts are a lonely, often non-lucrative trade, and having a life partner to provide and manage things proved crucial to my success.

 

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

Don: What’s not to love about a party? And in the case of the Jasper crew, one may expect the retro-holiday cheer served up with a sense of artistic style, a dash of zest, a feeling of accomplishment and grace.

 

---

 

EXCERPT FROM LET THE GLORY PASS AWAY:

[Narrator Cort Beauchamp, charged with convincing a reclusive rock star to participate in a public ceremony honoring his superstar career, has taken a weekend beach getaway that will get him in close proximity to his prey.]

 

As I clambered down the other side of the mossy, slick groin and headed for the spit, somehow I didn’t hear the heavy footsteps running across the beach toward me—perhaps the pounding of Mahler’s timpani and the wind cutting across my ears had something to do with it. With my prey so close, now only twenty yards away and striking his yoga poses, I had myopia like a camera lens irising to a small round circle amidst an endless field of black. 

DD. 

In my sights. 

“Duncan! Duncan Devereaux—it’s me, it’s Cort Beauchamp, it’s—”

Oof—a massive force from behind, a blackout, my wind knocked out; my face, slamming into the rough hard sand and sliding a foot or so to a stop. I tried to cry out, but my words had no wind beneath their wings, only a mouthful of gritty, salty sand.

A pressure in the small of my back—a knee. A voice belonging to the knee, sonorous, a vibration traveling down the length of my aching body. “Sir—I’m going to release you, now, real slow and easy and we all real cool. No sudden movements. Me and sudden movements don’t get along.”

Upon the lifting of the knee, my back, cracking in a fine and thorough manner the likes of which I’ve not enjoyed since I last hit the chiropractor, now over a year ago.

“Gah,” I managed to say. “Blargh.

“Mister, you’re trespassing on private beachfront right now—”

Another edgy voice from behind me, urgent and upset. “What the hell are you doing, Reynaldo?

The pressure on my back eased.

“Let him up.”

And disappeared.

Relief.

I took a tentative, deep breath; much additional crackling ensued, and a modest but sharp flurry of shooting pains.

My nose and cheeks mudded with gray Sedge Island sand, I rolled over to see a looming security goon as substantial as a small mountain. Alongside the olive-skinned man with forearms like Popeye and backlit by the blazing light of the morning sun over the Atlantic crouched a middle-aged man into whom a once chubby, longhaired rock star had transformed: now reed-thin, gray-faced and wrinkled, but still a version of none other than my old interview subject. The eyes never lie, and his intense, probing marbles shone with recognition.

Duncan’s expression of concern turned to chagrin. “It’s—you.”

“It’s me.”

DD and his bodyguard offered hands that helped me to my feet. I squinted around for the sunglasses that the security guard knocked off my head. I suspected I’d hurt for weeks—the last time I took a spill from the mountain bike I ride around the hilly, rural roads of Cypress Creek, I limped for three months with a sore knee that didn’t want to heal.

I glared at the thug that’d put my dingus into the wet sandy earth. “What is the meaning of this violence? You almost broke me in half.”

“You’re trespassing, sir—this—this is—” 

“Enough.” Duncan, grabbing me by the arm. “This man, he’s a friend. One who’s been trying to get in touch with me for over a month now. Haven’t you, Cort?”

My face, hot as an oven. I could barely meet his eyes.

“So I guess you finally got me.” His smile, genuine. “Might as well join us for breakfast, eh?”

Relieved, I could but agree. And so, for the second time in as many decades, Duncan Devereaux allowed me a glimpse, however brief, into the private life of a rock legend.

 

VOTE at http://jasperproject.org/jays

BUY Tickets at

 

 

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Focus on JAY Finalists - Nicola Waldron for literary arts

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

 Nicola Waldron - literary artist     photo by Forrest Clonts

Nicola Waldron - literary artist     photo by Forrest Clonts

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

Nicola: I have been lucky to have a number of prose pieces accepted for publication in various venues, and to feel in this way that my voice is being included in the national conversation in some small way. I also had the opportunity to work on a piece of performance art through the Jasper Project’s Syzygy Solar Eclipse Festival: it was so good to collaborate with new friends, and to be given the encouragement to experiment. I learned a lot, had a lot of fun, and found some new avenues to wander down.

 

Jasper: Why is art so important right now?

Nicola: This has been, as they all are in their way, a hard year, which also means it’s been a year to respond to those difficulties. For me, that means thinking through issues in my writing of femaleness, Americanness, immigrant-ess, and parenthood. If your heart is a social justice engine, then struggle can be its juice, its defibrillator; and art its beat.

 

Jasper: What role does art play in your life?

Nicola: Writing is my way of being fully alive within myself, when public life sometimes feels oppressive. As a classic introvert, my work is where I live most of the time. It brings me ridiculous joy, those moments where the words on the page come to actually match what it is I’m thinking or feeling: synergy. There’s nothing quite like it.

 

Jasper: What role does community play in the execution of your art?

Nicola: The support of the community is of enormous significance. We can, and must, labor away or play with our art in private, but without an audience or someone, at some point, saying ‘I hear you; this matters,’ I’m not sure there’d be much point. For me, it’s all about connection. I love the moments here in Columbia where I find myself in a room with like-minds and think, ‘These are my people,’, by which I suppose I mean, ‘here is my true family, the people who will support me in whatever I do, in my attempt to examine a subject and get at the truth of the matter.’

 

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

Nicola: I really adore the visual art of painters like Lee Monts, and Christopher Lane, both of whose use of color and form moves me in the way a good poem moves me. I also enjoy the courageous, boundary-pushing work of artists like Michaela Pilar Brown, and Nicole Kallenberg Heere, and Dogon Krigga, though this is not an exhaustive list, by any means. These artists inspire me to break down some walls of my own. In theater, I have particularly enjoyed the work I’ve seen at USC’s Center for Performance Experiment this past year—so much talent in the work of directors and actors like Stephen Pearson, Robyn Hunt, and Mary Beth Gorman. Just so much talent everywhere you look!

 

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

Nicola: Without the support of the Jasper Project, and particularly people like Cindi Boiter, Ed Madden, and Al Black, their warm friendship and encouragement, I’d have fallen into a pit of despair long ago. Thank you one and all. (editor’s note – ow, wow, thanks, Nicola!)

 

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

Nicola: Because people dressed as Christmas trees!

 

 

VOTE at http://jasperproject.org/jays

BUY Tickets at https://2017jays.bpt.me/

GIVE as part of #GIVINGTUESDAY at https://www.facebook.com/JasperProjectColumbia/

THANKS!

 

 

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Focus on JAY Finalists - Sean Rayford in Visual Art

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

 

 Photographer Sean Rayford - 2017 JAY Visual Arts Finalist - photo by Forrest Clonts

Photographer Sean Rayford - 2017 JAY Visual Arts Finalist - photo by Forrest Clonts

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

Sean: This past year was great for me because I feel I’ve been able to get a better grasp of balancing work and personal projects and allowing them to interplay when appropriate. I’ve come to trust my instincts more. In my game, preparation meeting with opportunity is everything and I’ve been much better prepared and have had many more opportunities

 

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

Sean: In 2015 I stepped into a lot of new responsibilities and it gave me and it challenged me to take my craft to another level. But at the same time I was experiencing so many new things and just feeling my way through it. I felt like I was still winging most things. Like when you’ve been snowboarding only a few times and getting down the slope without dying is still a regular challenge. This past year I’ve been able to apply what I learned during that whirlwind and it’s provided me with a lot more poise.

 

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

Sean: Columbia now has established live music venues of all different sized rooms. The Jam Room Fest is amazing and a host of regular concert series in the city have been able to work well with the local, regional and national acts. I can attribute growth to perseverance from members of the community who embraced their city instead of fleeing to another one. 

 

Jasper: Why is art so important right now?

Sean: Art can bridge divides and we’re pretty divided.

 

 Jasper: What role does art play in your life?

 Sean: My life is consumed by the process of making images and learning first hand about the world through that process. Most of what I do has something to do with an attempt at becoming a better visual storyteller. I’m always observing and always framing scenes. Hopefully their is music around most of the time

 

Jasper: Who have been some of your major influences?

Sean:  William Klein, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gerry Melendez, Jill Freedman

 

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

Sean:  Jon Warf, Jake Luhrs

 

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

Sean: Mom and Dad, The Gamecock Newspaper, WUSC and the photo department at the State Newspaper during the turn of the century. 

 

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

Sean: Folks should come out to the 2017 JAY Awards and Retro Christmas Party because Those Lavender Whales are an amazing band and amazing people.

VOTE at http://jasperproject.org/jays

BUY Tickets at https://2017jays.bpt.me/

GIVE as part of #GIVINGTUESDAY at https://www.facebook.com/JasperProjectColumbia/

THANKS!

Focus on Jay Finalists - Those Lavender Whales in Music

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

 Those Lavender Whales - photo by Forrest Clonts   

Those Lavender Whales - photo by Forrest Clonts

 

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

TLW: We were really happy to release our album, “My Bones Are Singing” this past spring and get to travel to a lot of new places playing those songs with friends.

 

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

TLW: We’ve felt more focused as a group. That could be just having an album coming out, but it feels like we’ve really made an effort to move closer musically when we perform making things tighter and playing more as a family (less as individuals).

 

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

TLW: My favorite thing is seeing more murals around town. I love seeing murals in other cities. Seeing public art seems to scream to the average passerby that there is a thriving and working arts community.

 

Jasper: Why is art so important right now?

TLW: With so much negativity and uncertainty floating around, creating is a good response to express and process your views and feelings.

 

Jasper: What role does art play in your life?

TLW: There’s art on the walls of my house, I make up songs about doing dishes and going to work, my daughter performs dances for my wife and me in our house. I can’t speak for everyone, but art seems to always surround me and be intertwined with every part of my life. I just recognize it more at random times.

 

Jasper: What role does community play in the execution of your art?

TLW: From our meager beginnings emailing dorm room recordings to friends, to having our wider web of friends and family produce, mix, and master our last album, community has always played a huge role in our music.

 

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

TLW: Trahern Cook is a live painter who is always around local events. The way he uses the energy of where he is and allows people passing by to influence his painting is really amazing.

 

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

TLW: We love Columbia, and don’t think we could make the sounds we make in any other city. There’s such a vast array of different sounds and art coming out of this place that it’s great to be a part of it and be supported by it.

 

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

TLW: You get to sing along to some fun Christmas songs (if you want), get to dress up in some silly Holiday wear (if you choose), and get silly with a bunch of fun and friendly Columbia folks!

 

VOTE at http://jasperproject.org/jays

BUY Tickets at https://2017jays.bpt.me/

GIVE as part of #GIVINGTUESDAY at https://www.facebook.com/JasperProjectColumbia/

THANKS!

Focus on JAY Finalists - Nicole Kallenberg Heere in Visual Arts

 Nicole Kallenberg Heere - photo by Forrest Clonts

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

 

Nicole: Because of the support Tapp’s has provided me, my arts community has grown exponentially over the past year. It’s my home base, along with 30 other wonderful artists and a knowledgeable staff. Being new to the Columbia area, the city didn’t feel like a home until I had my creative community intact. Not only has Tapp’s provided me a community, it has also provided a unique opportunity when it comes to exposure, allowing my fan base to grow beyond the people involved directly in the art scene. The many events that the Tapp’s building hosts along with its prime location on Main Street has helped elevate my art career to the next level. The venue also led to the introduction of my art to the Jasper staff, resulting in my cover and interview in Jasper magazine, which in turn helped secure my affiliation with Mitchell Hill Gallery in Charleston.

 

Jasper: Why is art so important right now?

Nicole: In our modern era, in my opinion, it is the responsibility of the artist to question those in power and also the things we consider “normal.” I personally have chosen to explore gender, hypermasculinity and misogyny in my artwork without attacking the other side. I have found that if I leave out anger and add in humor, people are less intimidated and more inclined to open up dialogue, sharing their thoughts not only with me, but with others viewing the art. And I think with our polarized population, healthy dialogue is important and artist are the few people with the ability to open up that dialogue, partly because of our talent and partly because we haven’t been completely vilified… yet.

 

Jasper: What role does art play in your life?

           

Nicole: What role does art not play in my life would be the easier question to answer. I cannot turn off my creativity. From my clothing, to my makeup to the vibe of my home the creativity is a constant. This year I became a mother. At 3 months old, my baby girl has already been to 5 art shows, met the gallery girls in Charleston and was a center piece in Columbia City Ballet’s production of Dracula. Come to my home and you will find it to be musically centered. My baby loves the piano, I can literally feel her body relax when she hears it, Chopin and the Brooklyn Duo are her favorites. We also listen and dance to a lot of Motown. I’m not sure if she will be an artist, but I want her to understand and appreciate the arts. And much like dictators and the church use art as propaganda, I too use it in my home. My baby girl is surrounded by images of female empowerment… wonder woman doing yoga and Marie Antoinette wearing boxing gloves just to name a few examples.

 

Jasper: What role does community play in the execution of your art?

           

Nicole: Community is everything in my art. Unlike many artists, I do not paint solely for myself, I also paint for all of you. Public opinion can be the most rewarding and at times the most painful part of being an artist. I think a lot of people don’t understand how incredibly difficult it can be to put your creations - your time and heart - out into the world for everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, to judge. And maybe this is why I feel that my art belongs to the community and not just to me. Maybe its detachment, maybe it makes me feel like the art is more impactful if it has wings… if it can belong to you too.

 

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

Nicole: Behind every great woman is a great man… that’s how the saying goes, right? While my art is gender bending and glorifies female empowerment, the truth is that I don’t think I would a) have the understanding to pull off my ideas or b) the self-esteem to do so, if I didn’t have a life filled with supportive men. My mother was supportive of my love of arts and connected me with some great female artists at a young age, but unfortunately my mother had a short life. My father has supported my love of art since the day I was able to hold a crayon and my husband has been another rock since shortly after we met. Not to mention the hell I put my brother through growing up painting and altering so many of his beloved toys. With my father in my corner, I received my BFA, and after meeting my husband I had the support system I needed to pursue this as a full time career. I think that’s why my art has a light hearted element to it, I love men and I love being a woman, I’m just tired of being a second class citizen in this male dominated culture.

 

 

VOTE at http://jasperproject.org/jays

BUY Tickets at https://2017jays.bpt.me/

GIVE as part of #GIVINGTUESDAY at https://www.facebook.com/JasperProjectColumbia/

THANKS!

 

 

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!

~~~~

VOTE at http://jasperproject.org/jays

BUY Tickets at https://2017jays.bpt.me/

GIVE as part of #GIVINGTUESDAY at https://www.facebook.com/JasperProjectColumbia/

THANKS!

Such a Funny and Loving Gentleman - Remembering Will Moreau Goins by August Krickel

Will Moreau Goins

Duyugodv Ayosdi Ji Dekananogis Awohali Tsiyohi Uhyali Do

December 2, 1961 - November 11, 2017

will in MFL.jpg

Around the theater, he was always called Will Moreau. Or sometimes just Moreau. And among friends, "Dr. Moreau," a winking reference to the H.G. Wells character played on screen by Charles Laughton, Marlon Brando, and Burt Lancaster, but also an acknowledgement of Will's life outside the theater, as a scholar of Native American culture with a doctorate in anthropology. In that world he was more often referred to as Dr. Will Goins, and he always explained with a laugh that stars like Angelina Jolie and Tom Cruise use their middle names for their acting careers, so why couldn't he?

 

My friend William Moreau Goins came into this world on December 2, 1961, and left us Saturday, November 11, 2017. Like the face of America, his heritage was a mix of ethnicities, but he was descended from Cherokees in North and South Carolina on both sides of his family, including a great-great-grandfather who was a medicine man in Oconee County, and that's the path he followed, becoming Chief of the South Carolina Cherokee Tribe, and Chief Executive Officer of the Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois, and United Tribes (ECSIUT.)  Film maker Antara Brandner, who worked with Will on a number of cultural and spirituality-themed projects, says that he told her recently that his full Cherokee name was Duyugodv Ayosdi Ji Dekananogis Awohali Tsiyohi Uhyali Do. (Although several sites have only the final three names listed.)

 

Growing up in the Washington, DC area, Will double majored in Anthropology and Communication (including TV, Radio and Film Production and Performance) at George Washington University, and his first professional jobs were media-related, at agencies including the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Indian Health Service. He later joked that he and his co-workers - many of whom acted in The Free Spirit Players, a Native American theater company that Will founded and was its artistic director in the 80's - were "Fed-skins," taking a pejorative term and turning it into a joke. Which is the sort of thing Will always did. He later earned a Master's degree in Educational Administration, and a doctorate in Anthropology from Pennsylvania State University. Only a couple of weeks before his death, while he was promoting his upcoming film festival, I teased him, asking him if that was Penn State, or State Pen? That kind of banter flowed freely whenever Will was around.

 

After working for museums in Pennsylvania, DC, and the Detroit area, Will moved to South Carolina in 1997 to be closer to family. He told me that he was amazed to discover that "the state didn't know who its first residents were," and that almost no one with Native heritage - Cherokee in particular - considered themselves to be Native. Much of that stemmed from a couple of centuries in which most of South Carolina's indigenous peoples opted to blend in with and marry into the state's white and African-American population, at a time when their relatives in North Carolina were being relocated to Oklahoma, and when a Native person of color wasn't allowed to own land. 

 

And so Will set out with a simple mission: to educate people of Native descent about their heritage, and to tell the rest of the world "We're still here." 

 

Along the way he partnered with the Nickelodeon to host the Native American Film and Video Festival of the Southeast, the organization's first "niche" programming event which provided the template for more elaborate events like Indie Grits; the festival concluded its landmark 20th year earlier this month. He worked with representatives from state government to acknowledge November as Native American Heritage Month in South Carolina, and to designate November 18th as Native American Awareness Day. The symbolic importance of those proclamations aside, he also helped the Cherokee in South Carolina to achieve formal state recognition as a tribe, and worked with the Commission on Minority Affairs to expand their mission to include Native Americans.

 

He led the Cultural Arts Ensemble, an American Indian dance group, which performed at numerous festivals and events, and was active with the South Carolina Traditional Arts Network. Will did countless presentations to school groups as a visiting artist and speaker through the S.C. Arts Commission and the SC Humanities Council, sometimes appearing in character as a particular historical figure, such as Sequoyah. He was always a popular guest lecturer at Heathwood Hall, which his niece Amanda attended, and he was instrumental in the creation of an Indian Medicine Wheel Garden in front of the school's campus center in 2010.  He painted. He sang, and danced.  A video clip of Will performing a traditional song can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFRobuzlqn0


He also created beadwork, a traditional craft learned from his great aunt. He did demonstrations of Native cooking techniques, and I fondly recall his appearance on campus a few years ago, serving his "Cherokee chili" to intrigued international students at an event hosted by USC's Office of Multicultural Affairs. (It was basically dough dipped in boiling oil, then lifted out to serve as a sort of flatbread on which chili was then poured.)  Books that he edited included: South Carolina Indians Today : An Educational Resource Guide (1998),  The People Speak: A Collection of Writings by South Carolina Native Americans in Poetry, Prose, Essays and Interviews (2002), and South Carolina's Native American Cooking : Cherokee Traditional & Contemporary Recipes with Additional Southern Recipes by Other Indigenous Natives (2005.)  As a member of the McKissick Museum's Advisory Council, he helped revive their annual celebration of folk life, rebranding the event as "FOLKFabulous," and served as guest curator for the year-long exhibition “Traditions, Change and Celebration: Contemporary Native Artists in the Southeast.”  Most recently, he collaborated on expanding the footprint of FOLKFabulous to reach a much wider audience, relocating to become part of the annual State Fair, and promoting their current exhibition “WELL SUITED: The Costumes of Alonzo V. Wilson for HBO’s Treme” which celebrates the blending of Native and African American culture and music in Mardi Gras.  In 2008, he was given the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award for his work in the preservation of traditional arts and culture.  

 

Will was also a fervent supporter of progressive and faith-based causes. He served as Board President of the Interfaith Partners of South Carolina, representing the inclusive spirituality of Native Americans. At a screening of the film Kateri, about the first Native American saint, just three days before his death, Will was asked about the movie's historical authenticity. He noted that had the film been written by a person of Native descent, a key line spoken by a priest would instead have been spoken by Kateri herself, that the Christian God and the God worshipped less formally by Indians were one and the same. 

 

Some in the theater community knew much of the preceding, but many didn't. They just knew Will as a prolific actor, and a fun guy to be around. Who knows how many shows he was in?  I saw him in 19 over the last 9 years, and that was surely only half that he did in that timeframe, and there would have been that many or more dating back to 1997, when he made his Columbia stage debut as Bernardo in West Side Story at Town Theatre. Just a few recent credits include Ado Annie's shotgun-totin' father in Oklahoma!, the gambler whose heart is set on a horse named Valentine in Guys and Dolls, and the elocution professor in Singin' In the RainSugar, Evita, Les Miserables, Amadeus...the list is nearly endless. Will never had a problem being in the ensemble, or playing small character roles. In fact, he could often be found crewing backstage for shows he wasn't in. Family was very important to him, and often he wouldn't audition for a play if he knew that the runs dates conflicted with one of his nieces' graduation ceremony. 

 

Laurel Posey had this to share: 

I think Will was in the majority of the shows I've done since moving here in 1994, including The Producers, The Full Monty, Ragtime, La Cage Aux Folles, Seussical, and many others, mostly at Workshop. He worked everywhere, loved every single role, and loved to bond over those shared experiences....  I did love doing Tarzan with him (at Town Theatre) mostly because I loved watching (him with my husband) Frank together in an ad-libbed, pre-2nd-act bit where Frank as Professor Porter dubbed him "Kangala," his trusty companion on safari. I loved watching him work in Oklahoma at Town, too; he made Andrew Carnes hilarious and unforgettable (which is a tough job as scripted).  No matter where you put him, he gave it his all and usually offered something unexpected, unique, and memorable.  Will never did anything halfway... he was bigger than life, in all things. He was passionate, strong-willed, and tough. He was also incredibly generous. One of the things I've been thinking a lot about over the last few days is how he accepted everyone for exactly who they were. Now, if he thought you ought to be doing something differently, he'd tell you, repeatedly and in detail!  But no matter who you were, he appreciated you, warts and all. He wanted everyone to succeed... friends, strangers, his community, organizations, governments... he saw potential in everyone and everything.  He was a good man and I can't believe he's gone. We'll not see his likes again and the world's a little dimmer now.

 

Kerri Roberts played Will's daughter in My Fair Lady at Town in 2016. When I met her a few months ago, we pointed out this made her my stage granddaughter, or perhaps step-daughter, since I had played Will's role of Alfie many years previously. Will and I joked that the text clearly states that Alfie is part Welsh, and that was the reason for Will's tan complexion - he wasn't Native, he was just Welsh. Kerri shared these thoughts, which could have come from any of hundreds of former castmates:

In 1998, I was a senior at Columbia College. I auditioned for my very first role in a musical theater production, Town Theatre’s West Side Story.  I was cast as Maria - a dream role - but I felt nervous going into rehearsals because I really only knew one other person involved in the show.  Will Moreau was cast in the role of Bernardo, Maria’s brother. Having recently moved to Columbia, this was also Will’s first show in the Columbia theater community. From the very beginning Will was kind, reliable, supportive, and committed! Even though he, in his mid-thirties, had already done so much with his life, and I was a 21-year-old college kid, he made me feel special and took time to encourage me!  That show, that cast, was magical!  Some of those people, including Will, became friends that I will always have a special connection to.  I would not share the stage again with Will for 18 years, but he was implanted in my heart!

My family moved to Africa to live and work for 7 years and shortly after we returned at the end of 2014, I saw an audition posting for Mary Poppins.  I decided to go for it and audition!  It felt SO great to be back on the stage after 10 years and doing what I love most!  When tech week came around, who did appear backstage working crew?  None other than Will Moreau!  What a joy to reconnect!  He was so genuinely interested in what my life had been life in Africa, what my life was like now, my kids, etc.  He was such a person of great depth. There was nothing at all shallow about him.  We could skip over the small talk and get right to the good stuff.  The stuff that mattered, that we were passionate about.  Interspersed with silliness of course - Will was never always serious!

In the summer of 2016, my three daughters also got to know Will as he played King Triton in Town’s The Little Mermaid.  They were in the ensemble for that show and of course they also loved him. During that summer the announcement came out for My Fair Lady auditions.  I remember basically jumping up and down and squealing with Will because we were both so excited!  Eliza Doolittle was a bucket list role for me and Will really wanted to play the role of Alfred P. Doolittle, Eliza’s father.  Auditions and call-backs later, more squeals and hugs and jumping around ensued when we both accepted the roles we so desperately wanted to play. It was definitely the role of a life-time for me.  Will was there all the way encouraging me once again - always making me smile and making me feel so good about my performance.  And he has to be the most lovable Alfie Doolittle that there ever was.  Oh my goodness.  Will poured his heart and soul and so much time and research into that role, as I’m sure every role he ever played.  He just loved it and his love radiated as he performed. After that he never stopped greeting me as “my noble daughter”.

He often asked me about roles and told me which ones he thought I needed to do someday.  We also dreamed about doing a “reunion” of our West Side Story cast and performing the “middle aged” version of the show!  Can you imagine? He was so supportive of the arts and artists in Columbia and really worked to try and bring people together within the arts community.  He was a great example in that way.

Some of my favorite memories will be fighting over the Secretary of State parking place (after hours of course) in the parking lot next to Town Theatre; watching Will, Chris Kruzner, Bob Blencowe, and Bill Dewitt pal around together; the adventure of never knowing what might come out of his mouth on stage; the time he performed “With a Little Bit of Luck” with his fly down (and the comments that followed!); watching him engage my introverted husband in deep conversation; his encouragement to me in ministry opportunities I had; his willingness to be involved even if he was just lending a hand back stage; his passion for the marginalized; his intellect; his ability to gently and gracefully talk to those who disagreed with him on political, religious, or social issues; his openness to learn from others and to teach; his very recent visit to my daughter’s 3rd grade class and her new-found interest in her Cherokee heritage. 

I wish now that I had many more opportunities to talk to him.  To learn from him. There was still so much about him that I didn’t know. Certainly I wouldn’t claim to be one of Will’s closest friends, but I would call him a big brother.  Mi hermano. I will miss him.  The world will not be the same.

 

Two other bucket list roles Will achieved were the Engineer in Miss Saigon, and Clopin, the Gypsy King in Hunchback of Notre Dame, the latter becoming his last role on stage. Shirley McGuinness was in both productions with him at Town Theatre, and also knew Will from St. Peter's - few people knew that Will was actually raised Catholic, and still attended mass on occasion. She said:

There are faces around Columbia that remind you that even though this City is the State Capital, it really can be a small welcoming town if you are willing to open your heart, broaden your perspective and be willing to share an experience.  Such moments can be epic as sharing a stage, motivating as calling for justice at a rally or moving as holding a hand in prayer.  Will Moreau was one of those first faces for me.  Not only was he willing to share the story for anyone who took the time to hear, but he was an active listener and encourager of making sure your voice was heard

 

Former congressional candidate Arik Bjorn shared this:

I considered Will a mentor, which he perhaps did not realize. I wanted Will to be at every major rally and event in which I participated. His presence was a very blessing upon the cause, and his embrace an encouragement that I was headed on the right path. (Because he never would have hesitated to tell me otherwise.)

One of my favorite moments was at the recent Love Thy Neighbor rally at the SC State House, which I emceed. Just minutes before the rally began, “YMCA” by The Village People started playing over the speaker system. Will, in full Native American regalia, performed impromptu the familiar dance upon the State House steps, then a few minutes later gave a very inspiring, spiritual benediction about people helping people. Will was a “full spectrum” public figure.

 

"This is how we did it in the 80's, y'all," Will proclaimed with glee in that video clip. And indeed, when he appeared in a scene in The Producers at Workshop in which the ensemble turns up in Village People attire, one guess which member Will embodied.

 

Visual artist Faith Mathis posted this on Will's Facebook page:

I remember the first time I saw you, was at the International Festival when I was 13. I had felt discouraged to represent the USA, and chose instead to dress in Japanese kimono to represent my cousins, because my schooling had made me think the USA had no original culture to celebrate. I saw you... in full traditional Native dress, (and) you sang our national anthem, and everyone was silent because your voice moved people. I too, was moved. Your presence and voice not only brought a much needed awareness and understanding of Native peoples to our community, but also showed what pure forgiveness, and pride for one's heritage looked like, and influenced me to feel proud of Native ancestors I have, who helped the natural beauty of our land flourish. You helped us to never forget who we are by just being yourself, and we will not forget you.

 

Antara Brandner offered these thoughts to Will:

Our collective hearts are broken at losing you so soon.  You leave such a powerful legacy of loving kindness, compassion and inclusivity.  From your friends at Heathwood Hall and The Academy For Future Science, we thank you and offer up blessings on your ascent.  From the stars you came ... and to the stars you shall return.  Wado, beloved friend, Wado Sgi.

 

At a candlelight memorial service outside the Nickelodeon - the marquee read "Rest in Power, Dr. Will Goins" - Antara Brandner and Jean Asbill Chow spoke eloquently and with great emotion about Will's compassion and humanity.  The latter's daughter, Kelsey Asbille, auditioned with Will for her first role at Workshop Theatre before going on to a career in film and television, and credits him with welcoming her into the Columbia theater community. Her mother explained how supportive Will had been of her daughter's career, encouraging her to seek out Native roles in the film Wind River - which opened the most recent Native American Film Festival, and for which Asbille returned to town as the guest of honor - and in the upcoming tv series Yellowstone, and to explore her Native heritage further.  Will always explained to me that his tribe had no percentage blood test or requirement - if you were of Cherokee descent, then that was part of your heritage.          

I was only in one play with Will, for about 10 seconds, my "cameo" in Spamalot at Town Theatre in 2015. Yet while I was waiting backstage, I enjoyed hearing his outrageous ad-libs during the scene in which Sir Lancelot storms the swamp castle. Voices from offstage are supposed to be screaming in terror, and the mike leading to the speaker I was closest to seemed to always pick up Will's voice from among dozens, with every line he spoke dripping with double entendre. And once that candlelight vigil ended, we all became less serious, and acknowledged that for all his gentle compassion, Will Moreau was a very, very silly man. Colleague Frank Thompson plans to organize an event in his memory in the new year that will be one part memorial, one part wake, and two parts roast, only appropriate for such a funny and loving gentleman.

 

The official celebration of Will's life will be held the day after Thanksgiving; details can be found at: http://www.palmermemorialchapel.com/obituaries/William-Goins-4/.  

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to

The Will Moreau Goins Memorial Fund at Town Theater 

1012 Sumter Street, Columbia, SC 29201

or

St Peter’s School - Children’s Arts & Music Program in Honor of Dr. Goins

 1035 Hampton Street, Columbia, SC 29201

~~~

A sound clip of Will singing Amazing Grace in the Cherokee language can be found at:  https://knowitall.org/audio/amazing-grace-will-moreau-goins-digital-traditions

 Will in regalia.   

Will in regalia.

 

will nick marquee.jpg

From Columbia to Camden and Back - Visual Artist Laurie Brownell McIntosh

 Laurie Brownell McIntosh   

Laurie Brownell McIntosh

 

Visual Artist Laurie Brownell McIntosh is one of those artists who is always up to something. By something we mean something that will challenge her; something she will learn and grow from as an artist. Never one to churn out the same old same olds on canvas after canvas, it’s always fascinating to touch base with Laurie and just get her to talk about her work. The listener is sure to learn something.

Jasper caught up with Laurie recently to do just that – hear what’s going on in her world and head and at the end of her brush. Read on to see what we found out.

 

~~~~~

 

Laurie: In 2015 my husband and I moved to Camden to begin renovations on a dilapidated, old Queen Victorian we had fallen in love with. For the next year and a half I continued my studio work at Vista Studios but there were many transitions going on there so I began to consider my options in this beautiful, historic town I was calling home. My Dad always said “be where you live” so I took this to heart.  In November 2016, after a great deal of searching, I found a large, fully north lit studio space right in the heart of downtown Camden and opened Northlight Studio.  

Columbia is only 25 minutes from here so I’m in and out of Columbia all the time. I still meet with my critique group, shop at City Art, use my framer in Irmo, visit my pals at Vista Studios and around town, and work on attending as many cultural events as when I lived on Gervais.  Camden is pretty much the same commute from Chapin and Blythwood to the downtown Columbia area, but without all the bumper to bumper traffic. 

 

Jasper:  You have several projects coming up. We know that you usually move through projects as a way of challenging yourself to become a better artist. What is going on with your latest project?

Laurie: In 2012 I began working on a body of work I called “Pages.” “Pages” was an ongoing series of large, deconstructed paintings created with multiple layers of calligraphic marks and grounds and then reassembled to create new visual relationships between the images. During the transitional summer and fall 2016 - moving into a newly renovated house and then a new studio - I began to feel a strong pull to reintroduce more subjective shapes into my work. Shapes that were representative of objects that are part of the present and shifting world around me. After producing several pieces with this influence I realized the shift was strong enough to warrant the new signature, “Environmental Abstractions,” to identify this body of work. 

 

 Stable as Change  22x30  Acrylic and paper

Stable as Change

22x30

Acrylic and paper

 In Stable Condition  84” x 60  Acrylic on Canvas

In Stable Condition

84” x 60

Acrylic on Canvas

Another fun thing I’m going to do in the next few weeks is open Northlight Downstairs, a temporary, contemporary gallery, in my space in the heart of Camden. All of my new work will be showing at City Art so I decided I’d try and do something fun with my empty walls in this cool little downtown. I’m such a believer in the strong ties between the arts and economic development so I’m going to put this belief to work. Northlight Downstairs will feature small to medium work from SC artists such as Jan Swanson, Eileen Blyth, Louanne LaRoche, Brucie Holler, Lynn Parrott, Cat Coulter, Lisa Adams, Laurie Isom and more.

It’s well worth the short drive from Columbia to come check this out, as well as Rutledge Street Gallery, the Fine Arts Center, Books on Broad (our truly independent book store,) ....and of course one would need a fresh, salty beverage from Saluds to quench one’s thirst before checking out Camden’s antique and handmade furniture scene. Can you tell how much I love this town? 

Northlight Downstairs will open Saturday, November 25 thru Saturday, December 9, 10 am - 5:30 pm at 607 Rutledge Street, Camden, SC... right across the street from the big clock tower.

There will also be a reception... that looks, acts and taste more like a party... on Sunday, December 3 at 3:00 pm. Also, I will be open later on December 9 for the Annual Tour of homes.

 

Jasper: How do you feel about the way your aesthetic has responded to these most recent challenges?

Laurie: My abstracted works involve some recognizable objects from my life that is split between South Carolina’s Midlands and the coast —a fishing lure here, a sleeping dog there and what appears to be a piece of horse tack in another—each one is like a remnant of a dream. In these fleeting images I hope to stir memories and emotions, creating more questions than answers for my viewer. Connecting their memories and prompting them to put together what they see into their story. My work is intentionally open to interpretation.

 

Jasper: And when will the public get to see the results of this project? 

Laurie: On Thursday, November 16, a solo show of "Environmental Abstractions" will open during Vista Lights at City Art on Lincoln Street. The opening reception will be from 5-9 p.m. The Environmental Abstraction show runs through January 27, 2018. City Art is open Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Fridays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Saturdays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

 

Jasper: Tell us about your workspace out in Camden.

Laurie: In December 2016, I moved my studio into a space by myself in the heart of downtown Camden, SC. After seven wonderful years I hated to leave the community and support of Vista Studios in Columbia, but things were changing there as well, and I wanted more space and less commute. My new studio is a painter’s dream with the exception of the enormous flight of stairs it takes to get up here. Heart pine floors and beams, 12 foot ceilings, brick walls and nine, 7-foot high, north facing windows make up the physical character of this space. It is large enough to work on several large canvases at the same time and keep all my sketches tacked up to study while working. The icing on the cake is it is located directly over Rusty Davis’s guitar shop and studio, where he teaches blues and rock and roll all day long. If you were here right now you would be listening to a hell of blues set going on down there

 

 Northlight Studio

Northlight Studio

Jasper: How would you compare the Camden arts culture to Columbia’s arts culture? Besides you, who else is getting good work done out there?

Laurie: I’ve had my head down in the studio for the past year so I’m not a very good source on this question. What I do know is there is a vibrant cultural community in Camden. The Kershaw County Fine Arts Center is always buzzing with activities in the performing arts. Rutledge Street Gallery carries many national and regional acclaimed contemporary artists. Books on Broad is a real, honest to God, independent book store featuring events and promotions on a regular basis. Camden is home to political cartoonist-Robert Ariail, sculptor-Maria J. Kirby-Smith, Abstract Painter - Patton Blackwell, National columnist-Kathleen Parker and The Buckley School of Public speaking founded by Reed Buckley... just to scratch the surface.

 

 

 

Environmental Abstractions by Laurie McIntosh:

A Holiday Solo Exhibition at City Art Gallery.

November 16, 2017 - January 27, 2018

Opening Reception during Vista Lights, November 16, 5pm-9pm

1224 Lincoln Street. Columbia, SC

 

 

Northlight Downstairs

Saturday, November 25 - Saturday, December 9, 10 am - 5:30 pm

607 Rutledge Street, Camden, SC right across the street from the big clock tower.

 

Holiday reception, that looks, acts and tastes more like a party, on Sunday, December 3 at 3:00 pm

 

 

Kershaw County Fine Arts Center

Solo Exhibition Spring 2018

April 12 - May 4, 2018

 

 

 

West Columbia Brought the Magic to Friday Night's Fall Back Festival 2017

 Alicia Leeke

Alicia Leeke

 Tony Brown

Tony Brown

 Michael Cassidy

Michael Cassidy

 Sammy Lopez

Sammy Lopez

 BA Hohman

BA Hohman

 Dre Lopez

Dre Lopez

 Karl Larsen

Karl Larsen

 Herman Keith 

Herman Keith 

 Michael Krajewski & Lucas Sams collaboration

Michael Krajewski & Lucas Sams collaboration

You couldn't have asked for a more beautiful night on State Street last Friday when West Columbia threw their first ever Fall Back Festival. With the help of the shop owners on State Street, and a very strong influence from Frame of Mind owner Mark Plessinger, the night was warm and welcoming, full of music, food, drinks, and good and new friends.

Among the artists creating street art -- literally art on the asphalt paving of State Street -- were ten of Columbia's top creators, and you could tell they were having a great time creating art for art's sake. As one artist said, "It was nice to be able to just come out and make some art without having to abide by too many rules or fill out too many forms and applications." The artists, whose works are pictured above, included Alicia Leeke, Herman Keith, Sammy Lopez, Karl Larsen, Michael Cassidy, Dre Lopez, Tony Brown, BA Hohman, and Michael Krajewski and Lucas Sams who collaborated on their piece.

After 10 provided some great cover tunes, Pawleys food truck fed hungry bellies, and all the restaurants and bars had their doors open welcoming folks to come in and buy a drink to take back out on the street.

Frame of Mind featured an innovative art show by IRL couple artists Bohumila Augustinova and Barry Wheeler. ( Full disclosure: Barry Wheeler is the president of the board of directors for The Jasper Project.)

 

 Mandala by Bohumila Augustinova

Mandala by Bohumila Augustinova

 Converge Above the Plane by Barry Wheeler

Converge Above the Plane by Barry Wheeler

Art for art's sake. Answering the need to create and share that creation. Music in the air. A happy little buzz from a Friday night drink. Friends, old and new, clasping hands, slapping one another on humid backs, giving good deep hugs. Celebrating Friday, fall, art, and one another. 

Keeping it simple. Preserving the joy. 

Celebrating Jazz on Main Street - by Mike Miller

This First Thursday Jazz is the Main Event

main street jazz fest.jpg

     Thirty years ago, a Columbia restaurant owner named Veron Melonas and his trumpet-playing pal Johnny Helms decided that Columbia needed a cool jazz party right on Main Street. Melonas owned the Elite Epicurean, a top-notch eatery right across the street from City Hall, and he said, “Why don’t we put the stage right outside?” Helms knew a lot of jazz players in New York, so he got on the phone and invited several of them down to the South Carolina capital city. Just like that, a jazz festival was born.

     “Jazz on Main” as it was called was first staged in July of 1987, and it ran for 10 years. One of the festival’s first performers, pianist Marian McPartland, called it “a true happening,” and it was pretty special. Musicians who came to Columbia during those years included trumpeter Clark Terry, saxophonist Jimmy Heath, guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, and bassist Milt Hinton, just to name a few.

     To celebrate the 30th anniversary of that first “Jazz on Main” show, November’s First Thursday on Main will become a jazz festival of sorts. But this will not be a nostalgic event. It will showcase many of Columbia’s current crop of talented jazz musicians, players such as Mark Rapp, Tony Lee, Amos Hoffman, and Sam Edwards. Columbia jazz veterans such as Dick Goodwin, Danny Boozer, Robert Gardiner, and Jim Mings will also be performing.  

     Festivities begin at 6 p.m., and there will be live music at several locations on Main Street. Trumpeter Mark Rapp is the prime mover on Columbia’s contemporary jazz scene, and his quartet will be performing in the Main Street Public House. The guitar duo of Mings and Monte Craig will be in front of Mast General Store, and a revolving array of local jazz stars, including guitarist Hoffman, bassist Edwards, trombonist Mitch Butler, and drummer Boozer, will play on a stage in Boyd Plaza outside the Columbia Museum of Art. Add trumpeter Goodwin and the Tony Lee Group to the mix on Boyd Plaza, and you’ve got one of the most impressive collection of jazz players to come together in Columbia in quite some time.

     Back in 1987, there was an impressive array of jazz artists playing around town as well. Goodwin’s big band played weekly shows in a club called Greenstreet’s. Guitarist Terry Rosen and bassist Frank Duvall could be heard often at happy hour in the Five Points restaurant Garibaldi’s. But the most adventurous jazz happening took place on Tuesday night in Pug’s, a Five Points bar named after owner Pug Wallace. Weekly jam sessions there featured players such as drummers Reggie Ritter and Ted Linder, guitarists Mings and Rosen, trumpeters Al McClain and Helms, keyboardists John Drake and John Emche, and saxophonists Hans Tueber, Roger Pemberton, and a teenager named Chris Potter. For Columbia jazz fans, those nights in Pug’s were not to be missed.

     Today’s Columbia jazz scene is just as vibrant, and truth be told, it’s more diverse and active than its counterpart from three decades ago. Jazz can still be heard in Five Points at Speakeasy’s on Saluda Street. But the epicenter for jazz has moved uptown to places such as Public House on Main, Gervais and Vine, and Pearlz in the Vista.

     Other Columbia nightspots are featuring jazz nights, and there are many other exceptional musicians playing around town than just the ones mentioned above. It’s a great time for jazz artists and fans in Columbia, and that’s why it seemed like a good idea to revive the spirit of “Jazz on Main” and celebrate this cool, complex, and free-flowing music in the capital city.     

About the 2017 JAY Finalists

2017 JAY Finalists in Visual Art

Nicole Kallenberg Heere * Sean Rayford * Cedric Umoja

  Nicole Kallenberg Heere   Through December 2016, Nicole’s painting "Mommy's Little Helpers" was used by Theatre Lazina Nowa to advertise the play  All About My Mother  on billboards and posters in the city of Krakow, Poland. She continues to be an Artist in Residence at Tapp's Art Center in Columbia, South Carolina where her artwork was presented at "Figure Out" art exhibition in 2016. Her work was included in the Columbia Artists Guild inaugural show, "Our Art: A Celebration of Life and Creative Freedom," at City Art gallery in Columbia. In October 2016 she was selected as the cover artist for the fall issue of  Jasper Magazine  and was featured along with magazine editor Cindi Boiter on ArtsWACH for WACHFox news. From October 2016 - May 2017, Nicole showed with French Art Network at Galerie Rue Toulouse: New Orleans, LA and was honored at an artist meet and greet at Galerie Rue Toulouse in December. In January 2017, she enjoyed a solo show at Kershaw County Arts Center in Camden, SC and in February 2017 she was featured in  French Quarterly Magazine , New Orleans, LA. In April 2017, she had a solo show at Patriot's Hall Performing Arts Center (Formerly Jasper John's High School) in Sumter, SC, and from May 2017 – present she has been represented by Mitchell Hill Gallery in Charleston.   

Nicole Kallenberg Heere

Through December 2016, Nicole’s painting "Mommy's Little Helpers" was used by Theatre Lazina Nowa to advertise the play All About My Mother on billboards and posters in the city of Krakow, Poland. She continues to be an Artist in Residence at Tapp's Art Center in Columbia, South Carolina where her artwork was presented at "Figure Out" art exhibition in 2016. Her work was included in the Columbia Artists Guild inaugural show, "Our Art: A Celebration of Life and Creative Freedom," at City Art gallery in Columbia. In October 2016 she was selected as the cover artist for the fall issue of Jasper Magazine and was featured along with magazine editor Cindi Boiter on ArtsWACH for WACHFox news. From October 2016 - May 2017, Nicole showed with French Art Network at Galerie Rue Toulouse: New Orleans, LA and was honored at an artist meet and greet at Galerie Rue Toulouse in December. In January 2017, she enjoyed a solo show at Kershaw County Arts Center in Camden, SC and in February 2017 she was featured in French Quarterly Magazine, New Orleans, LA. In April 2017, she had a solo show at Patriot's Hall Performing Arts Center (Formerly Jasper John's High School) in Sumter, SC, and from May 2017 – present she has been represented by Mitchell Hill Gallery in Charleston.

 

  Sean Rayford   Sean Rayford is a freelance photojournalist and commercial photographer working during the last year with  The New York Times, The Washington Post, Getty Images, the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, the Associated Press  and more. His commercial clients include the ACLU, Chernoff Newman, and the Columbia Visitors Bureau. Sean produces  The Angry Whale , a photography webzine focusing primarily on local narratives with a heavy emphasis on the local music scene, along with national stories including a look at street protests in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention. He won the Best Photo Story from the South Carolina Press Association in 2016 and the Atlantic Institute Peace and Dialogue Award: Media and Communication in 2017. He enjoyed a Solo exhibition called “Documents” at Anastasia and Friends, a book release,  Inundated , and was named one of 51 Instagram Photographers to Follow in the US by Time Magazine, all in 2016. He won the  Free Times  Best of Instagram Honorable Mention, in 2017. In 2016 Rayford had extensive coverage of rioting in Charlotte, NC for Getty Images, and Hurricane Matthew in the Carolina’s for  The New York Times , Getty Images and The European Press Agency. After the election of Donald Trump Sean’s storylines have often intersected with the resulting protest movements including contentious congressional town hall meetings.

Sean Rayford

Sean Rayford is a freelance photojournalist and commercial photographer working during the last year with The New York Times, The Washington Post, Getty Images, the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, the Associated Press and more. His commercial clients include the ACLU, Chernoff Newman, and the Columbia Visitors Bureau. Sean produces The Angry Whale, a photography webzine focusing primarily on local narratives with a heavy emphasis on the local music scene, along with national stories including a look at street protests in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention. He won the Best Photo Story from the South Carolina Press Association in 2016 and the Atlantic Institute Peace and Dialogue Award: Media and Communication in 2017. He enjoyed a Solo exhibition called “Documents” at Anastasia and Friends, a book release, Inundated, and was named one of 51 Instagram Photographers to Follow in the US by Time Magazine, all in 2016. He won the Free Times Best of Instagram Honorable Mention, in 2017. In 2016 Rayford had extensive coverage of rioting in Charlotte, NC for Getty Images, and Hurricane Matthew in the Carolina’s for The New York Times, Getty Images and The European Press Agency. After the election of Donald Trump Sean’s storylines have often intersected with the resulting protest movements including contentious congressional town hall meetings.

  Cedric Umoja   Cedric Umoja has enjoyed the following exhibitions over the past year: Afrofuturism (a group exhibition) at 4th Wall Gallery in Charleston SC, as part of the Spoleto Arts Festival; "WE BLEED TOO!" a solo exhibition at the Goodall Gallery in Columbia; "Libation," a three person exhibition at Charleston City Gallery in Charleston SC; and, the MOJA African American / Caribbean Arts Festival. Cedric has completed a number of murals including "The space I'm in" in the Mission District of San Francisco, CA and "23 Million miles" on Millwood Avenue in Columbia. He has performed live art at MOCAD (Museum Of Contemporary Art Detroit) and performed in the film,  Bridge (Refrain)  as an actor/co-producer, and music supervisor, shot in Columbia. He has also completed commission work for Radio Krimi, Experience Columbia, LuLu Lemon, USC, and Coach Michael and Chantal Peterson.

Cedric Umoja

Cedric Umoja has enjoyed the following exhibitions over the past year: Afrofuturism (a group exhibition) at 4th Wall Gallery in Charleston SC, as part of the Spoleto Arts Festival; "WE BLEED TOO!" a solo exhibition at the Goodall Gallery in Columbia; "Libation," a three person exhibition at Charleston City Gallery in Charleston SC; and, the MOJA African American / Caribbean Arts Festival. Cedric has completed a number of murals including "The space I'm in" in the Mission District of San Francisco, CA and "23 Million miles" on Millwood Avenue in Columbia. He has performed live art at MOCAD (Museum Of Contemporary Art Detroit) and performed in the film, Bridge (Refrain) as an actor/co-producer, and music supervisor, shot in Columbia. He has also completed commission work for Radio Krimi, Experience Columbia, LuLu Lemon, USC, and Coach Michael and Chantal Peterson.

 

*****

 

2017 JAY Finalists in Theatre

Chris Cockrell * Mandy Applegate Bloom * Bakari Lebby

 

  Christopher Cockrell   Christopher Cockrell is both a musician and actor, with most of his musical contributions being offered to the theatre. In July, 2016 Chris musically directed the Trustus season opener  American Idiot , nominated for the  Free Times  Best Theatrical Production award.  In October 2016, after 15 years of playing Riff Raff, Chris musically directed  The Rocky Horror Picture Show  which won the  Free Times  award. In December he was the sound guy for the  Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical . And in February 2017 he musically directed the  Love is Love  cabaret. During March 2017 he was the artist in residence at Hammond School and musically directed  Into the Woods .  In May he competed in the Vista Queen Pageant as Raven Black for which he won the Judge’s Choice award. He reprised his role in July for the Jasper Summer Lovin’ Lip Sync Battle and won.  June 2017 saw him musically directing  Rock of Ages .

Christopher Cockrell

Christopher Cockrell is both a musician and actor, with most of his musical contributions being offered to the theatre. In July, 2016 Chris musically directed the Trustus season opener American Idiot, nominated for the Free Times Best Theatrical Production award.  In October 2016, after 15 years of playing Riff Raff, Chris musically directed The Rocky Horror Picture Show which won the Free Times award. In December he was the sound guy for the Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical. And in February 2017 he musically directed the Love is Love cabaret. During March 2017 he was the artist in residence at Hammond School and musically directed Into the Woods.  In May he competed in the Vista Queen Pageant as Raven Black for which he won the Judge’s Choice award. He reprised his role in July for the Jasper Summer Lovin’ Lip Sync Battle and won.  June 2017 saw him musically directing Rock of Ages.

  Mandy Applegate Bloom   Mandy offered a burlesque performance featuring a body positivity, sexuality, and autonomy talkback at Hoechella Music Festival in August 2016, and was presented in an article and podcast with Auntie Bellum on Burlesque in August 2016. She also taught the Burlesque Beginners Dance Class Series at Tapp’s Arts Center in October 2016. Mandy was a singer and performer in the PALSS Torch Cabaret Benefit at CMFA October 2016 and was choreographer/movement coach for  The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical  at Trustus Theatre in December 2016.  Her most outstanding performance though was the dual leading roles in (and choreographer for)  Grey Gardens  at Trustus, March 2017. Mandy also judged the annual Vista Queen Pageant at Trustus Theatre this year.

Mandy Applegate Bloom

Mandy offered a burlesque performance featuring a body positivity, sexuality, and autonomy talkback at Hoechella Music Festival in August 2016, and was presented in an article and podcast with Auntie Bellum on Burlesque in August 2016. She also taught the Burlesque Beginners Dance Class Series at Tapp’s Arts Center in October 2016. Mandy was a singer and performer in the PALSS Torch Cabaret Benefit at CMFA October 2016 and was choreographer/movement coach for The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical at Trustus Theatre in December 2016.  Her most outstanding performance though was the dual leading roles in (and choreographer for) Grey Gardens at Trustus, March 2017. Mandy also judged the annual Vista Queen Pageant at Trustus Theatre this year.

  Bakari Lebby   In August 2016 Bakari was inducted as a Trustus Theatre Company Member where, the month before he had performed as Gerard in  American Idiot . He is an actor, sound designer, and writer for The Mothers Sketch Comedy troupe. He ran projection and did video design for  Hand to God  at Trustus Theatre, directed, did sound design, projection design, and graphic design for  some girl(s)  at Workshop Theatre, assisted with costume design for  Sex on Sunday  at Trustus Theatre. Bakari was also selected to direct  One Another  (Jon Tuttle) for Syzygy: Eclipse Plays.  His podcast,  Soda City Sessions , boasts more than 70 interviews online, and his band, Sandcastles, released the album,  Die Alone , in 2016.

Bakari Lebby

In August 2016 Bakari was inducted as a Trustus Theatre Company Member where, the month before he had performed as Gerard in American Idiot. He is an actor, sound designer, and writer for The Mothers Sketch Comedy troupe. He ran projection and did video design for Hand to God at Trustus Theatre, directed, did sound design, projection design, and graphic design for some girl(s) at Workshop Theatre, assisted with costume design for Sex on Sunday at Trustus Theatre. Bakari was also selected to direct One Another (Jon Tuttle) for Syzygy: Eclipse Plays.  His podcast, Soda City Sessions, boasts more than 70 interviews online, and his band, Sandcastles, released the album, Die Alone, in 2016.

*****

2017 JAY Finalists in Music

Those Lavender Whales * Fat Rat * Tyler Matthews

  Those Lavender Whales   The group was mainly focused on releasing and supporting their second full length "My Bones Are Singing" (which came out in April) which garnered some national and international press, a  Free Times  cover story, and a good amount of touring up the east coast and around the southeast. Before the release of their album, they played an Arts & Draughts last fall, a special stripped down set with upright bass and electric guitar at the Nickelodeon for a Magic Hour in January with Valley Maker, and a songwriter event at Deckle Edge literary festival earlier this year.   

Those Lavender Whales

The group was mainly focused on releasing and supporting their second full length "My Bones Are Singing" (which came out in April) which garnered some national and international press, a Free Times cover story, and a good amount of touring up the east coast and around the southeast. Before the release of their album, they played an Arts & Draughts last fall, a special stripped down set with upright bass and electric guitar at the Nickelodeon for a Magic Hour in January with Valley Maker, and a songwriter event at Deckle Edge literary festival earlier this year.

 

  Tyler Matthews   One of Tyler Matthews’ goals for the last 12 months was to gain music coverage beyond state lines. Producing his first full-length album in the form of the soundtrack for Exit 8 achieved just that — generating positive reviews, commentary, and interest from music blogs across the country. Along with scoring Exit 8, he served as the video editor for the film which gave him the opportunity to create a film trailer. This led to scoring and producing an additional composition which subsequently went on to receive a Gold Addy Award for Original Music at the Addy Awards. Tyler was one of 2 freelancers to win a gold award out of 250 professional entries. He was recognized by the American Advertising Federation of the Midlands as the member of the year for the video he volunteered to make promoting the Addy’s.  He was a selected filmmaker for the 2nd Act ( Mr. Wonderful ) Film Festival in October 2016, which involved creating original music for the film as well as tapping into music industry contacts Skylar Spence and Niilas who gave me the green light to use their music for  Mr. Wonderful . He ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to submit  Mr. Wonderful  to the short film festival circuit, and supported other musical artists and organizations around the community through video and audio production. He played shows around Columbia for Jasper, Scenario Collective, and miscellaneous house parties. However, the vast majority of his music work was done in the studio setting on a Macbook Pro - Writing, Recording, Engineering, Mixing, Mastering, etc.  He was the producer of Insanity Podcast and was selected “Who to Stream” by  Cola Daily , after being named New & Noteworthy on iTunes earlier in the year. He produces the music and all multimedia for the podcast.   

Tyler Matthews

One of Tyler Matthews’ goals for the last 12 months was to gain music coverage beyond state lines. Producing his first full-length album in the form of the soundtrack for Exit 8 achieved just that — generating positive reviews, commentary, and interest from music blogs across the country. Along with scoring Exit 8, he served as the video editor for the film which gave him the opportunity to create a film trailer. This led to scoring and producing an additional composition which subsequently went on to receive a Gold Addy Award for Original Music at the Addy Awards. Tyler was one of 2 freelancers to win a gold award out of 250 professional entries. He was recognized by the American Advertising Federation of the Midlands as the member of the year for the video he volunteered to make promoting the Addy’s.  He was a selected filmmaker for the 2nd Act (Mr. Wonderful) Film Festival in October 2016, which involved creating original music for the film as well as tapping into music industry contacts Skylar Spence and Niilas who gave me the green light to use their music for Mr. Wonderful. He ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to submit Mr. Wonderful to the short film festival circuit, and supported other musical artists and organizations around the community through video and audio production. He played shows around Columbia for Jasper, Scenario Collective, and miscellaneous house parties. However, the vast majority of his music work was done in the studio setting on a Macbook Pro - Writing, Recording, Engineering, Mixing, Mastering, etc.  He was the producer of Insanity Podcast and was selected “Who to Stream” by Cola Daily, after being named New & Noteworthy on iTunes earlier in the year. He produces the music and all multimedia for the podcast.

 

  FatRat Da Czar   As South Carolina’s godfather of hip hop, Fat was the Invited speaker/panelist at 2017 Charleston Music Confab and a performer at Charleston Music Confab (Charleston Music Hall). He was named the  Free Times  Best Hip Hop Artist and the 2017 Free Times Writers Pick for Best Annual Event or Festival for Love, Peace & Hip-Hop Festival, which he previously founded. He established a hip-hop headquarters at Tapp’s Arts Center on Main Street, and was an invited participant in EdVenture’s 100 Men Who Cook for Kids fundraiser. He executive Produced hip-hop artist Cole Connor’s album: SODA (Sometimes Our Dreams Align) and was an invited speaker at Richland Library’s Music Entrepreneur Seminar: Find Your Voice. Fat released the album,  RailRoad , co-authored the book  Da Cold Warrior , released the Cold Warrior double CD, performed at Freeway Music Festival (at the Music Farm Columbia) and performed at the Indie Grits opening party.                                                      *****                              2017 JAY Finalists in Literary Arts                        Al Black * Nicola Waldron * Don McCallister

FatRat Da Czar

As South Carolina’s godfather of hip hop, Fat was the Invited speaker/panelist at 2017 Charleston Music Confab and a performer at Charleston Music Confab (Charleston Music Hall). He was named the Free Times Best Hip Hop Artist and the 2017 Free Times Writers Pick for Best Annual Event or Festival for Love, Peace & Hip-Hop Festival, which he previously founded. He established a hip-hop headquarters at Tapp’s Arts Center on Main Street, and was an invited participant in EdVenture’s 100 Men Who Cook for Kids fundraiser. He executive Produced hip-hop artist Cole Connor’s album: SODA (Sometimes Our Dreams Align) and was an invited speaker at Richland Library’s Music Entrepreneur Seminar: Find Your Voice. Fat released the album, RailRoad, co-authored the book Da Cold Warrior, released the Cold Warrior double CD, performed at Freeway Music Festival (at the Music Farm Columbia) and performed at the Indie Grits opening party.

 

                                                 *****

                           2017 JAY Finalists in Literary Arts

                    Al Black * Nicola Waldron * Don McCallister

  Al Black   Al Black is a northern born Southern poet who is trying to make up for 50 years of hiding his poetic life beneath a layered costume of respectability. He publishes in journals, online blogs and anthologies, most recently in  Fall Lines  2017. He organizes and hosts a weekly poetry venue called Mind Gravy and three monthly poetry venues called Magnify Magnolias, Poems: Bones of the Spirit, and Blue Note Poetry as well as two monthly poetry workshops, in addition to organizing and hosting a monthly lyric singer/songwriter event called Songversation. Al co-founded the Poets Respond to Race Initiative with the poet, Len Lawson in May 2015 on which Len and Al continue to tour organizing and hosting readings and events connected with the initiative and, in February 2017, they co-edited,  Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race  published by Muddy Ford Press.   

Al Black

Al Black is a northern born Southern poet who is trying to make up for 50 years of hiding his poetic life beneath a layered costume of respectability. He publishes in journals, online blogs and anthologies, most recently in Fall Lines 2017. He organizes and hosts a weekly poetry venue called Mind Gravy and three monthly poetry venues called Magnify Magnolias, Poems: Bones of the Spirit, and Blue Note Poetry as well as two monthly poetry workshops, in addition to organizing and hosting a monthly lyric singer/songwriter event called Songversation. Al co-founded the Poets Respond to Race Initiative with the poet, Len Lawson in May 2015 on which Len and Al continue to tour organizing and hosting readings and events connected with the initiative and, in February 2017, they co-edited, Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race published by Muddy Ford Press.

 

  Nicola Waldron   Nicola Waldron has enjoyed a number of essays being accepted for publication or published in nationally-recognized magazines and websites this year, including "Ictus, or 1984 Redux" which was shortlisted for the Proximity personal essay prize in July 2017; “If Plan 'A' Don’t Work Out”: in  About Place ; and “Containing the Chaos: Spiral Form in Memoir” in  Assay . “Spill” which was published in  Marked by the Water  in October, 2016 was performed as a staged oration at Tapp’s Art Center as part of the Marked by the Water commemoration of the first anniversary of the 1000 year flood. An excerpt from her book,  River Running Backwards,  was published in  Fall Lines , summer 2017, and she was selected as a playwright for the Syzygy: Eclipse Plays project in spring 2017 for which she wrote the play  Visitation . Her poems “Dream” and “Birthday in October” were published in in  California Quarterly,  July 2017; “Walking the Sawmill” in  California Quarterly,  in fall 2016, and “Crawlspace” and “After a Flood” were published in  Marked By The Water , 2016. (“Crawlspace” was also published in  Jasper , October 2016.) Nicola also participated in Bones of the Spirit, Mind Gravy, and Magnify Magnolias.

Nicola Waldron

Nicola Waldron has enjoyed a number of essays being accepted for publication or published in nationally-recognized magazines and websites this year, including "Ictus, or 1984 Redux" which was shortlisted for the Proximity personal essay prize in July 2017; “If Plan 'A' Don’t Work Out”: in About Place; and “Containing the Chaos: Spiral Form in Memoir” in Assay. “Spill” which was published in Marked by the Water in October, 2016 was performed as a staged oration at Tapp’s Art Center as part of the Marked by the Water commemoration of the first anniversary of the 1000 year flood. An excerpt from her book, River Running Backwards, was published in Fall Lines, summer 2017, and she was selected as a playwright for the Syzygy: Eclipse Plays project in spring 2017 for which she wrote the play Visitation. Her poems “Dream” and “Birthday in October” were published in in California Quarterly, July 2017; “Walking the Sawmill” in California Quarterly, in fall 2016, and “Crawlspace” and “After a Flood” were published in Marked By The Water, 2016. (“Crawlspace” was also published in Jasper, October 2016.) Nicola also participated in Bones of the Spirit, Mind Gravy, and Magnify Magnolias.

  Don McCallister   Over the past year, Don began his own indie publishing company, calling it Mind Harvest Press, to publish his own backlog of material including  Let the Glory Pass Away  which launched in February 2017. His short story, “Eye of the Vandal” received an Honorable Mention from the  Short Story America  Fiction Contest and his short story, “Ruby in the Dust,” was published in  Fall Lines 2017.  In addition, his papers from the publication of  Fellow Traveler  were selected for the Grateful Dead Archives at the University of California, Santa Cruz.   Don teaches creative writing at Midlands Technical College. 

Don McCallister

Over the past year, Don began his own indie publishing company, calling it Mind Harvest Press, to publish his own backlog of material including Let the Glory Pass Away which launched in February 2017. His short story, “Eye of the Vandal” received an Honorable Mention from the Short Story America Fiction Contest and his short story, “Ruby in the Dust,” was published in Fall Lines 2017. In addition, his papers from the publication of Fellow Traveler were selected for the Grateful Dead Archives at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Don teaches creative writing at Midlands Technical College. 

*****

Vote

Jasper Artists of the Year

2017

http://jasperproject.org/jays

 

Then join us on Tuesday, December 5th at 7 pm in the 701 Whaley Market Space for the

2017 JAY Awards & Retro Snow Ball

and

Caroling with Those Lavender Whales

Retro Family Photos

Pop UP Art Show & Silent Auction by Thomas Washington

Silent Auction of Original Christmas Ornaments Created and Donated by Columbia-based Fine Artists in Support of Jasper Magazine

Cash Bar by The Whig

and more ....

 

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