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 ....

 

2017 JAYS.jpg

Robbie Robertson Talks About Indie Grants & Whistler's Mother

Robbie Robertson.jpg

Jasper: Tell us about your good news from the SC Film Commission.

Robbie:  My short screenplay, WHISTLER’S MOTHER, was recently selected as one of three shorts to be produced by the Indie Grants program which is administered by The South Carolina Film Commission and coordinated by Trident Technical College. I will be producing and co-directing with Lorie Gardner, CEO of Mad Monkey Productions, and one of my frequent collaborators.

 

Jasper:  How does Indie Grants work?

Robbie:  The Indie Grants is the only one of its kind program in the nation, using short films for production development and job training, while also creating international industry exposure for the state’s film industry. Funding the projects creates training environments for emerging crew and professional development opportunities for South Carolina filmmakers and other artists. 

Each Indie Grants project will employ Trident Technical College film students in its production, giving students hands-on training under the filmmakers and other production professionals, and acting as a bridge to full-time professional employment. Along with my project, Whistler’s Mother, the other projects selected for production include Abducted, written by Josh Barkey of Fort Mill with Ben Joyner attached to direct; and People Moving Through Time, a partnership with Indie Grits Labs & the Nickelodeon Theatre, written and directed by Roni Nicole Henderson and produced by Seth Gadsden of Columbia.

In the past, Indie Grants shorts have been official selections of top international film festivals, such as Sundance, Slamdance, Palm Springs, Austin, Stiges, LA, Cucalorus, DragonCon, Tallgrass, and many more. The projects have also attracted an impressive roster of working professionals in the entertainment industry including Oscar-winning Cinematographer Russell Carpenter (Titanic, Ant-Man), actor AJ Bowen (You’re Next, The Sacrament), DP Peter Simonite (The Perfect Guy, 2nd Unit DP on Tree of Life), writer Brad Land (Goat), Casting Director Avy Kauffman (Lincoln, Life of Pi), and Script Supervisor Martha Pinson (Wall Street, Hugo, The Aviator). 

 

Jasper:  Now tell us about your project.

Robbie:  My project is a fictional back story exploration of the famous painting WHISLTER’S MOTHER by James McNeil Whistler. As a child, I was always intrigued and rather scared of the painting and imagined what was the real story behind this infamous mother. In researching the real-life family, I learned the Whistler family lived in Russian in the 1830s and lost a young child and my imagination started running wild from that point forward. The story really started jelling for me when I also uncovered an ancient Russian fable about an evil child killing witch named the Baba Yaga. I found a way to blend the two stories and have created what I call a dark fable about a desperate mother, codependent relationships born of tragic loss that also result in the birth of creativity. I also hope to use the short film as a “proof of concept” to create a feature version of the same story.

Deciding to partner with Lorie Gardner, one of the most brilliant business people I know, has helped me elevate the scope of this project and we are so excited to bring this story to life. The official logline for the script is: The artist James Whistler spent years trying to capture the essence of his mother for his most famous work of art. Not to create a masterpiece, but to save his mother from possession by the Baba Yaga, an evil Russian witch. 

 

Jasper:  What happens next for your film?

Robbie:  Right now, we are in preproduction with Brad Jayne and Kevin Peterson from the Indie Grants program who are serving as producers on the project. I’ve also been working with a wonderful script consultant named Geoff Gunn who has helped me prep a shooting script. We are also working with a casting director from Charleston named Matt Sefick who is sending out audition notices to agents on both coasts.

 

Jasper:  When will we get to see the finished product?

Robbie:  All Indie Grants projects have to be shot between November 2017 and February 2018. So, with any luck—and maybe some magic from the Baba Yaga—we’re looking at next summer for a finished product.

~~~

Robbie Robertson is a playwright, screenwriter and a graduate of the University of South Carolina and UCLA’s professional screenwriting program. His first play, Mina Tonight!, was published by Samuel French Inc. and has been produced in regional theatres across the nation. In 2015, Robertson produced a sold out run of his staged adaptation of the film Satan in High Heels at both Dixon Place and TheatreWorks in NYC. Robertson’s screenplays have placed in several national contests, including his comedy, Sweet Child of Mine, being named one of the top 12 comedy scripts in the Austin Film Festival’s Screenwriting Competition. Robertson was also a Top 10 Finalist in the 2016 London Table Read My Screenplay contest with his original pilot, DENMARK (an adaptation of Hamlet set in 1940s South Carolina) and the same work was named one of the Top 100 Pilots of 2016 by The Tracking Board in Los Angeles. Most recently, Robertson’s drama, AT-RISK, was a Top 25 Semi-Finalist in the 2016 Zoetrope Screenwriting Contest. He is currently developing AT-RISK with producer/actor Kristian Alfonso (“DAYS OF OUR LIVES.”) Robertson was the recipient of the SC Arts Commission 2014 Media Screenwriting Fellow and is looking forward to producing and co-directing his first short film, a supernatural thriller that reveals the backstory of the woman featured in one most iconic works of art in modern history—WHISTLER’S MOTHER.

NUMBTONGUE at Jam Room Music Festival by Bria Barton

The Jam Room Music Festival is set to open Saturday, October 14, and one act in particular, NUMBTONGUE, is preparing to perform independently for the first time at the event.

 

Inspired by the likes of Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Emily Dickinson, and David Bowie—to name only a few of the countless creative minds that influence him—Bobby of NUMBTONGUE is an entity whose music and talents stretch beyond experimental. They’re bordering on the side of transcendental.

 

A self-described sugar addict with a tendency for sleepless days and nights, Bobby infuses and binds his music with pieces of deeply personal, historical, and natural.

 

He sat down with Jasper to discuss his recent album as well as his much-anticipated performance for The Jam Room Music Festival.

 

 

Q: A lot of your music on Exhumation had to do with your son and your feelings upon becoming a father for the first time. How has that dynamic been maintained (or not) now that he is a little older? How has that affected your writing process?

 

NUMBTONGUE: Becoming a father is certainly a sliver of what light Exhumation casts about me, but a sliver in a prism.  The theme thus far in the song that is NUMBTONGUE is largely one of self-fragmentation.  These songs are less an attempt to gather those fragments in a manageable whole as they are a building frustration at being unable to do so, mostly especially in a vacuum, alone. 

 

“The blind man blindfolded shuts his eyes, in the deepest cave, and it gets him high…” I say at one point.

 

So I fear saying that being a new dad is a dominant theme, as it may confound and confuse someone unaware of my aims. A hovering reality to be sure, that may help some listeners to know about me, but not required to understand what’s going on

 

Strangely most, if not all, of these songs began before I became a father. Records are about folding oneself inside out for all to see, and inevitably that part of my identity spills over, but often only as metaphorically parallel to the larger themes present. 

 

 I’ve said before in relation to this record that I haven’t fully processed becoming a father yet (not that one ever does), but it’s largely my inability to process such a blinding weight of self-identity (among many) that grips the other threads of me, each of which begin their own unspooling in the process. 

 

Who am I as a child and son?  

Who am I as a husband?  

Who am I as a citizen? 

Who am I as a sentient creature?

Who am I when truly alone?  

“Who am I that you would consider me?”

 

There was also an unexpectedly prescient tone of cynicism (for my personal life that is) present on the record, from a time when I was seeking merely to be more honest with myself, as someone prone to hope to a fault. 

 

Yet now I feel more fragmented and disillusioned than ever.  I told my mom recently that, “It’s not that I’m hopeless, I’ve just never hoped less.”  Which is an odd thing to say now as a father of two. 

 

But the year 2016 was a bleeding year for me for a number of personal reasons I won’t go into, and the burden of completing the nearly conceptually finished ‘Exhumation’ at the time without it becoming tainted by that dark year nearly killed my desire to complete the project entirely. The album was delayed for over a year.

 

It’s almost as if I’m only just now consciously processing what I was saying on the record without knowing I was preparing myself for an unforeseen fallout.  I finished it because I needed to begin the next chapter before anyone had even heard the first. So I’m grateful to have made this record for my future self to perform as an unexpected solace. It’s become quite the table of contents of things to come.

 

 

Q: Describe the logistical and creative differences between the experimental music you’re doing now and the “artrock” music you wrote with The Sea Wolf Mutiny.

 

NUMBTONGUE: In many ways Numbtongue is a culmination and continuation of the ideas explored in The Sea Wolf Mutiny. That may manifest itself in some unsatisfying ways to fans of that former project, but they shouldn’t necessarily be surprised.

 

The name NUMBTONGUE in part suggests this, in that I feel like I am saying what I was always saying, and in some ways it feels I’ve said nothing at all. I’m numb to the truth of it all because it’s all too real and overwhelming. I can’t feel it but I know it’s there, at once an inability to speak both from atrophy & overuse.

 

The primal idea of NUMBTONGUE, oddly enough, is actually pulled from a quote the very first drummer of TSWM Joel Eaton told me once. He left early on to live in NH but it always stuck with me.  He mentioned it in relation to some lyrics we were writing at the time during a rehearsal. I messaged him about it when crafting Exhumation trying to hunt down this quote that eventually inspired Track 6 “Disjecta Membra” as I couldn’t locate it on my own and never asked about it further at the time.

 

That track eponymously refers to the archaeological term for pieces of pottery recovered from ancient civilizations at dig sites, and he told me that disjecta membra poetae (or “scattered truth” if you will) was a phrased once used by a theologian-philosopher J. G. Hamann from his essay Aesthetica in Nuce: “The fault may lie where it will (outside us or within us): all we have left in nature for our use is fragmentary verse and disjecta membra poetae. To collect these together is the scholar’s modest part; the philosopher’s to interpret them; to imitate them, or – bolder still – to adapt them, the poet’s."

 

I would say that passage has been one of the key motives behind the themes of self-fragmentation explored in The Sea Wolf Mutiny and NUMBTONGUE.  I actually almost called the record Self Storage in light of the location it was recorded in. 

 

But the word ‘exhumation’ implied a resurrection of sorts, and ‘exhaustion’ as well, and I liked that it almost sounds like the word “human exhaust” in a sense.  More importantly, it is a rarely used form of a word normally saved for the context of exhuming a body, usually when investigating a crime or an archeological dig.  

 

In many ways, TSWM were trending in these NUMBTONGUE directions even before its hiatus, so this project was and is more an attempt to grow and stretch that sound we had found.  One with any knowledge of previous TSWM work will hear it’s hallmarks in NUMBTONGUE both lyrically and melodically.  

 

The themes of alienation; the shattering of the myth of self; yearning for a home I’ve never been to before; “do I actually control what I believe?”; searching for what ultimate reality we can all grasp as true together; and decrying my utter failure to gather the shards of us all to do so; “if heaven is there what is it like and who walks there? These are just a few things wrestled with here.

 

There is a meditation on Exhumation where I wonder “sometimes I wish we really could be born again” in a song that wanders in the dark while blindfolded hoping to bump into some kind of quantum god (Constant), and my son coos and whines in the background of a song about the flaws in our definitions of intimacy (Mirabal) that is as much about being a husband as it is being a bad friend or lover. These are very The Sea Wolf Mutiny subjects.

 

From a logistical standpoint, I decided to seek stylistic choices that pulled from my roots as a drummer at heart, learning to craft a song towards its moments of silence more effectively than I had before, seeking to serve that silence and space between the notes.  So I let songs be born from the drums and bass guitar more often then the process allowed in the previous band. This was as much about being different for it’s own sake as it was to serve the theme of fragmentation by starting with grooves only and almost no tones.  

 

I would also ask myself: “What can I get from almost nothing? What does it sound like to have just excavated guitar distortion like an artifact?” Because tonally I wanted to explore the more primal languages of rock and roll even further than I had so far.  This meant recording no guitar amps and plugging directly into an audio interface preamp, not only to keep quiet around my family but to get in touch with the raw electricity before any pedal or amp could touch the signal. I learned later this is called ‘console distortion’. 

 

I used to devote myself to a single instrument (piano) and single role as wordsmith and lead singer, but I decided I wanted to wear all the hats this time. Sometimes it’s easier to color inside your own lines instead of outside someone else’s. I decided to flesh out and build upon each rough draft layer by layer until I liked what I heard and it felt complete. The whole record sounds as if it’s a Salvador Dali painting drawn on notebook paper. 

 

It was interesting living into such a disembodied recording process: a bedroom holding my one year-old son recording vocals, a climate control storage crafting one song for seven hours straight, tracking back up vocals into a Mac mic while parked in my minivan as a train drove by. The list goes on.

 

For many of the more abstract moments, I felt like a foley artist for a movie sometimes in my gathering of sounds via my smartphone, specifically sounds of a scattered metallophonic quality: clanging children’s toys or wind chimes while some kids played by the pool. 

 

Technology available now makes one feel limitless, and I was interested in limiting myself within those limitless possibilities.  One way was to use only instruments nearby that I already owned, not buy anything new.  There was one element that nearly scuttled the whole thing: I recorded all synthetic drums save one tambourine.  However, I felt compelled to use one drum kit in logic pro to aid in my ‘sophisticated rough draft’ approach by keeping it intentionally boxed in, almost like it was the only drum machine I owned, so that anything that bloomed from it had believable roots. Since I had no drum machine and loved this one kit so much, I leaned in. 

 

There are drumbeats and melodies on Exhumation that date back to middle school for me.

I always dreamed of making a record alone: writing, recording, mixing, producing, mastering. I tend to write songs in a manifold way in terms of instrumental composition, but rarely would I complete them to the degree. So this record sounds like all of my private demos always sounded in my last band, I just decided to release them. So in a way my process is no different and this just where I’ve evolved to at this point.  It just so happens I needed to stop tinkering with it and release it into the wild, so here we are. 

 

I think of TSWM as it’s own experiment in deconstructing rock and roll, working out whatever my worldview was back then in broad daylight, meditations and prayers outsourced to other ears. All of which are present in NUMBTONGUE.  Another contrast was I wrote nearly everything from guitars and drums and almost nothing on the piano except for two tracks for the better part of 2 years. There was a comfort zone I wanted to challenge there in order to expand how I thought about rhythm, timbre and tone, since I didn’t have to feel trapped on a piano. I have however found my way back to the ivories of late. 

 

 

Q: You’ve never played JRMF with one of your own projects. How are you preparing to showcase NUMBTONGUE?

 

NUMBTONGUE: Practice, practice, practice.  I am eternally grateful for Danny, Steve, Phil and Adam diving headfirst into this abstraction of my self with me, as this music is interminably difficult to evoke live, even for it’s author.  I’m beyond proud of our efforts over the past 7-8 months to reify three years of work.  

 

 

Why did you want to be a part of JRMF?

 

JRMF has consistently honored the local scene next to many an indie juggernaut, and it seemed as good a time as any to finally present one of my own projects on it’s stages.  It’s actually odd it hasn’t happened yet.

 

What aspect of JRMF are you most excited about?

 

Performing on the same stage as GBV and HGM is pretty amazing. And sharing a bill with so many talented friends and scene mates (Valley Maker, The Lovely Few, King Vulture, Barnwell, Fat Rat) and having a chance to hear us all in a bigger way than normal always excites me. There’s no place like home.

 

What I’m looking forward to the most though is finally playing almost every track off of Exhumation in a live setting. And also, debuting a brand new song no one’s heard yet, a song you know is great, is forever my happy place.

 

What can the audience expect from JRMF and your performance?

 

They can expect a robust and sophisticated oeuvre from almost every artist performing. I can’t wait. As far as NUMBTONGUE, for those that have seen us live so far, there will perhaps be more keys present than usual from yours truly.  I’ve found myself returning to that home of late.  And it feels good.

 

 

 

REVIEW: Building the Wall at Trustus by Frank Thompson

“Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them.”
- Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi, Star Wars

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  As is often the case in my experience with Trustus Theatre, I left Saturday night’s performance of Robert Schenkkan’sBuilding The Wall with a completely different story in mind. Just as their recent production of Barbecue had me humming a tune from Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical as I walked to my car, Building The Wall  left me contemplating the Star Wars saga, specifically the themes of redemption and the oft-blurred lines between good and evil.  This speaks well to the universality of the themes being examined this season at Trustus. If a new piece of work can activate the emotions and associations of the audience member, there’s an immediate sense of connection with the story. Not to get overly existential about it, but (with only a slight wink at the company’s name) it creates an immediate sense of trust in the script. Part of Trustus’ overall philosophy is that theatre is storytelling, and the story in Building The Wall is tightly and unapologetically told through two characters, each of whom is much more than our eyes reveal.

 

   Staged in Trustus’ “Side Door” black box theatre, Building The Wall is a touch claustrophobic and uncomfortable, especially pre-show, when one of the play’s two characters sits and waits for someone to arrive, for something to happen, or perhaps simply passes the long, boring day of a prisoner in solitary confinement. Rather than being drawbacks, the forced intimacy and uncertainty about the silent, orange jumpsuit-clad man onstage establish an overcrowded jail atmosphere, enhanced by subtle sound effects that go from barely audible to noisy and back to near-silence in no particular order or pattern. Director Jim O’Connor puts a masterful touch on establishing place and theme well before the show begins, and his skill remains on display through the next 90 minutes, which leave the collectivemoral vision of the audience inside a fun-house mirror room.

   The story is a simple one, but chilling in the way only a “this could actually happen” cautionary tale can be. Security guard Rick, played by J.B. Frush-Marple, is in prison in 2019, for crimes against humanity, and he is visited by a History Professor, Gloria (Lonetta Thompson), who seeks to understand his actions. Their initial meeting provides a stark contrast in visual types, with Frush-Marple bearing a strong resemblance to a taller, slightly leaner Hugh Laurie of House fame, complete with requisite stubble. He slouches and paces, as his emotions motivate him, and his jumpsuit immediately establishes “criminal.” Thompson, by contrast, is very put-together and professionally dressed. Given the sophistication of her vocabulary compared to Rick’s, there is clearly an education gap, but once again, the eyes (and ears) can deceive. Rick turns out to be far from the cornpone stereotype he first seems, and Gloria has much more to her than a “liberal female academic” stock character.

   During the interview, Rick tells Gloria a story many of us fear is all too possible. Following a terrorist attack on Times Square, the president declares martial law, and begins rounding up immigrants from multiple countries for deportation. Not understanding the incredibly challenging logistics of such an operation, the government sets up holding stations…which become tent cities and worse.  As this gruesome progression continues, Rick is all too aware of what’s happening, but needs his job for the insurance to care of his two children, at least one of whom has serious medical difficulties. Rick is a man caught in a place of terrible conflict.  Rick speaks with sincerity about his black friends, and the audience actually feels a touch of sympathy for this most unsympathetic (at first glance) character. Even when pressed about Muslim friends, he admits to not having any, but says he’s “got no problem” with them, commenting that “they kinda keep to themselves”. Don’t misunderstand – Rick is still a shitkicker Texan, and unlikely to join the ACLU, but there’s no hate in him, and certainly not homicidal tendencies. The more we get to know him, the more we understand his plight, and feel a begrudging sympathy for this lower-middle-class Sad Sack who seems to have caught every bad break life could offer, including taking the fall for “just doing his job”. Frush-Marples manages to capture the conflict between what one would imagine to be prejudices learned from the cradle, and new perspective brought about through the horrors he has witnessed.

   As Gloria, Thompson brings her signature coolness and poise to the role. One of the things I admire about her acting style is that she always seems to be the person in control of the situation, even when she isn’t. As mentioned above, Gloria’s use of academic terminology and an advanced vocabulary suggest a well-to-do, Ivy League type, yet she mentions her Ford Fairlane which has needed a full engine rebuild for at least a year, indicating that she is not as affluent as she may appear. This could easily have “knocked her down a peg or two,” but Thompson’s most effective combination of full acceptance of what we now know to be the life of a struggling teacher, combined with her utter calm (well, practically utter) at the raging, doubletalk, and moments of true sincerity from Rick establish her as the voice of calm and reason. It is Gloria with whom we naturally sympathize, yet even she loses her cool for a second or two here and there. Neither the demon nor the saint is fully without a drop of the other’s virtues, which kept bringing me back to the light and dark sides of The Force. I won’t beat the Star Wars comparison to death, but some strong thematic parallels are there.

   The set is simple, slightly cramped, and a bit harshly lit, as would be the case in a prison interview room. Props to Brandon McIver and Frank Kiraly, respectively, for these nice touches of verisimilitude.

   Building The Wall is a thought-provoking, frightening, and realistic play that will leave you thinking. Also, the entire show is performed in one act, so if you order an interval drink before the show, you’ll wind up hanging out and drinking it, chatting away to various production team members, while the company closes up shop for the night. I speak from experience.

   When I was a kid, one of my favorite comic books was a Marvel title called What If…, an anthology series, which featured monthly stories on how changes to canonical history would have changed the outcome. (“What If Spider-Man Had Joined The Fantastic Four”, as I recall, had a fairly tragic ending, and the writers weren’t afraid to make a hypothetical turn out badly from time to time.) In many ways, Building The Wall is a real-life version of that comic book. This is a What If… that has the potential to come true.  I responded to it both as a piece of political theatre and as a master class in textured acting from two talented, experienced, pros.

   It isn’t a night full of laughs, nor should it be, but Building The Wall is an important work with a message that needs to be heard. Bravo to Trustus for once again being unafraid to address controversial and sometimes disturbing situations and themes. This is “Grown-Up Theatre” at its best.

-FLT3

Tim Conroy's New Book Launches New Series for Muddy Ford Press

Join Tim Conroy early for pre-launch purchases

Tuesday at 5 pm at Immaculate Consumption

Festivities start at 6 pm

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Chapin-based boutique publishing company, Muddy Ford Press, announces a new series of books, The Laureate Series, with the publication of Theologies of Terrain by Tim Conroy, edited by Columbia poet laureate, Ed Madden. There will be a launch party for the book on Tuesday, October 10th at 6 pm at Immaculate Consumption at 933 Main Street in Columbia, behind the SC State House, at which Conroy will read from the publication. The event is free and open to the public.

“The purpose of The Laureate Series is to celebrate the tradition of poetry that is born to South Carolinians and to promote and honor the relationship between mentor and protégé, advocate and postulant, poet and poet,” says publisher Dr. Robert Jolley. Poets laureate in South Carolina are invited to work independently with a poet of their choice who has not yet had a book of poetry published. Muddy Ford Press will publish the new author’s book and provide her or him with a number of copies of the book, as well as arrange for readings and promotion of the book.

Muddy Ford Press approached Madden, who is the publishing house’s poetry editor, about the new series earlier this year and he agreed to work with Conroy on this publication. The poets worked most of the year on Theologies of Terrain. “Working with Tim on this project was a joy,” Madden says. “His poems were lovely already, but it was such a pleasure to take this journey with him, thinking about how the poems might work together as a book. This is a beautiful collection, and these are poems we need -- the perfect inaugural book for the laureate series.”

Praise for Theologies of Terrain has been abundant. 

“’In this dwelling of scars/the history of dirt is blood,’ Tim Conroy tells us in this excellent debut. There is sadness in these poems, vivid renderings of childhood abuse and of lives that ended too soon, but the beauty of the natural world is also acknowledged, as is the realization that memory offers consolation as well as sorrow, all of which leads to the poet’s hard-earned affirmation that ‘love has saved me.’ Bravo!”  Ron Rash – author of Serena, The World Made Street, The Risen, Saints at the River and more

“‘In the journey you inventory/all it is you carry,’ writes Tim Conroy early on in Theologies of Terrain. These fine poems map a complex and beautiful journey through loss, love, and, finally, revelation. They chart masterfully the complex hills and valleys of grief and memory. They probe at the edges of the mystery of family, maybe the landscape most full of hard, sometimes impassible terrain. There are many beautiful poems here, and we are lucky to have such a collection to map our own journeys.”   John Laneauthor of Fate Moreland’s Widow, My Paddle to the Sea, and more

“There are so many lovely things in this book. There are poems that break me and poems that resonate long after I’ve turned the page. I am delighted to help bring this beautiful book into the world.”  – Ed Maddenauthor of Signals, Ark, Prodigal: Variations, and more

Conroy is a former special education teacher, school administrator, and vice president of the South Carolina Autism Society. His poetry and short fiction have been published in literary journals, magazines, and compilations, including Fall Lines, Auntie Bellum, and Marked by the Water. A founding board member of the Pat Conroy Literary Center, established in his brother’s honor, Conroy lives and writes in Columbia, South Carolina.  “Ed is a poet of incredible instinct, knowledge, skill, generosity and vision,” Conroy says. “He gives the poet the gift of immersion into their work. I was fortunate beyond belief to have him as my mentor and editor.”

Tim Conroy, author of Theologies of Terrain

Tim Conroy, author of Theologies of Terrain

Full disclosure: Muddy Ford Press was the underwriter for Jasper Magazine during the first five years of publication. Editor Cindi Boiter also serves as associate publisher for Muddy Ford Press.