36 scene : advice :
Buying the Ring
get out :
style : Finish the Look art scene :
Owning Our Own
arts : arts : arts : arts :
Ayala Asherov Kalu
SC Philharmonic Painted Violin
fashion event : love & money :
10 Tips for Nabbing Ms. Right
the strip :
Our Social Commentary
6 8 10 12 13 14 15 16 20 24 28 30 34 36
10 Publisher/Designer Mark Pointer Editor in Chief Natasha Chilingerian Director of Sales & Marketing Veronica Staub
Interns Brandon Carnes, Anna Smith
Bill Hrisko,Ellen Putnam, Tony Lee, Marc Rapport
Contributing Writers Cynthia Boiter, Emily Cramer Boyle, Vaughn Granger,
Contributing Photographers Scott Bilby, Jen Ray, Melinda Register, Molly Harrell
stir Magazine is copyrighted and may not be reproduced in any manner, in whole or in part, without the publisher's written permission. ÂŠ2009 All Rights Reserved
welcome to the fold. granger owings introduces womensâ€™ wear. After serving gentlemensâ€™ clothing and accessory needs for over six decades, we are now pleased to offer the finest in womensâ€™ wear. Featuring: N Audrey Talbott N RNG Ladies N L. Gambert N Judy Lee Cole N Michael by Michael Kors N Mulholland N W. Kleinberg exotic belts N Barbour N Mountain Khaki Join us for a preview Thursday, April 16, 5-7 pm and our Trunk Show Friday, April 17.
.BJO 4USFFU t $PMVNCJB 4$ t HSBOHFSPXJOHTDPN
Photography by Scott Bilby
Ivan Edwards Drum Corp Ivan Edwards was born and raised in Charleston, SC. He holds a BA in percussion performance and has had the privilege of working with such Organizations and luminaries as; Joe Sample, Fred Wesley, Dale "Rambo" Ramsey, Mike Frost, and The Charleston Symphony Orchestra. Ivan plays across the country but you can catch him regularly at Speakeasy, Rust, and Gervais and Vine. Top 10 favorite tracks/songs of all time (in no particular order): Crooked Creek, Brian Blade Fellowship Unison, Bjork Getaway, Earth Wind and Fire Walking Man, James Taylor Ain't Nothin Like The Real Thing, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell I Told You So, Keith Urban I Want to Take You Higher, Sly and the Family Stone Help Me Believe, Kirk Franklin Fix You, Cold Play Workin Day and Night, Michael Jackson
April 15-19 The Indie Grits Film Fest
at the Nickelodeon Theatre and the 701 Center for Contemporary Art
Full schedule at indiegrits.com
Supported by: The City of Columbia, Richland County, Nickelodeon Theatre, Mad Monkey and The Humanities Council.
She-Just-Can’t-Say-No! Written by Bill Hrisko, M.B.A, Accredited Jewelry Professional (GIA)
t’s finally happened- you found the girl and you are ready to take the big step. You just need to find the ring and a she-just-can’tsay-no situation for your proposal. Before you can say the word “Honeymoon!” you’ll both be off on the tropical vacation you’ve been dreaming of since you were a little boy! So easy- right? You are wrong. You’ve heard about the girl who swallowed her own engagement ring haven’t you? Her boyfriend hid it in a Wendy’s Frosty. He then proposed with an x-ray showing the ring lodged inside her - classy! I bet few girls would accept this proposal before the disaster had even passed (pun intended!) I meet guys getting ready to pop the question everyday. They come in for advice about diamonds or choosing a ring (very important parts of the process obviously) but the biggest mistake guys make is thinking they don’t need any help planning the proposal itself. I see them get caught up in wanting to create a perfect moment but instead it goes disastrously wrong. Let me tell you about some well intended guys (who could of used some help) and their proposals that didn’t go very well. There was a guy who promised his girlfriend a romantic getaway. He planed to take her away and do it there but he forgot to make any reservations whatsoeverbyebye romantic weekend! So now with a disappointed girlfriend and a cancelled trip he decided to ask her to marry him that weekend anyway. With all his planning and intentions he just ended up looking like a boob who couldn’t plan anything. There was this other guy who was determined to create a romantic surprise. He decided the Horseshoe at USC was the perfect place to propose. Unfortunately he was so decided on sticking to his plan that on the morning of the proposal he refused to take her to breakfast like she wanted. So he dragged one grumpy, hungry girlfriend for stroll on campus where he did it. She said yes but she wasn’t very surprised. She knew something was about to happen since they had never been on a walk together before (never underestimate the superpower of female intuition!) Lastly there was this over-excited guy who should have held onto the ring just a little longer. With it burning a hole in his pocket through an unexpected family funeral he decided he just couldn’t wait. He proposed to the girl right after it ended- nice timing! Now she was definitely surprised.
So now the moral of these stories: If you want to make your would be-wife think you are amazing, thoughtful and the man of her dreams (as I’m sure at least some of you are) listen to these rules: Make an well researched plan of action. Be flexible with your plan. Even make a plan B. Things change, stuff happens and plan A won’t always work If you want her to be surprised (and you should) don’t do something out of the ordinary. Don’t plan something that isn’t you- it will only throw up red flags and avoid all holidays, anniversaries and birthdaysso predictable! Go with the flow. Don’t force a situation on a girl. It will only suck out any romance out of even the best of plans and will probably just start an argumentbuzz kill! Don’t forget to bring the ringI’m not kidding Remember however you end up doing it will become a story she will tell all her friends and family- even if you royally screwed it up. You don’t want to look like a moron and you will have to face them again. But… if you would prefer to focus on the 30 seconds you will spend on one knee saying you want to spend the rest of your life together instead of thinking about all this stuff (and this is what I recommend), give me a call. We can do all of it for you- even call her parents! It’s a free service that comes with every ring we sell- even if you only spend $50 on the thing (but we can talk about that next time.)
UNFORGETTABLE 2511 Devine Street 779 3636 Bill Hrisko
8 * stir
All the cool girls and guys have small, narrow surfboards, right? So what! You're not cool yet. Get a board that will give flotation and allow for easy paddling. A good average size board for a beginning surfer would be around 7 feet long and 19-21 inches wide and at least 2-3 inches thick. This all depends on your size, so be sure you can comfortably carry and wield the surfboard in the water. Just make sure your surfboard stands at least a foot taller than you. Generally, a 120 pound surfer should look for a 6 feet 10 inch board while a 140 pounder might look towards a 7 feet 2 inch board. At 170 pounds, try to go above 7 feet 6 inches. Boards from Saltyâ€™s.
[listen] Written by Cynthia Boiter
f you get the feeling, when listening to local Columbia alt band Grey Egg, that you might not be in Kansas anymore, it’s okay. That was the plan. For starters, chances are pretty good that the lyrics you’re hearing aren’t being sung in English. Chances are even greater that you aren’t going to be able to translate those lyrics either – not unless you can get inside the head of band leaders Steve Dennis and Julia Elliott. And I’m not sure you want to do that. Listening to Grey Egg perform is reminiscent of traveling abroad or watching the recording of a foreign film, but doing so in the comfort of your own culture. But rather than hearing French or Farsi or Portuguese, what you hear is a fake language constructed in its entirety by Dennis and Elliott. Not all of the lyrics are created in the heads of the couple, who literally are a couple having been married, “forever, and ever, and ever,” as Elliot says. The English language does occasionally crop up in the vocals, sometimes jarring the listener out of that meditative place where ones head seems to hang while listening to Grey Egg’s music and forcing her or him to actually hear the familiar English words. Luckily, the drug kicks back in pretty quickly though and you soon feel like you’re in some smoky eastern European coffee house, or huddling around the samovar in a Turkish hammam. The band members themselves are almost as eclectic as their music. Co-founded in the late nineties by Elliott and Dennis, who began playing as a duo back when the two were small town South Carolina teenagers, the sounds of the band may not reflect the members’ upbringings, but seem oddly at home with the lives the musicians now lead. And odd ain’t bad. For day jobs, composer and multi-instrumentalist Dennis, who is also a permaculturalist, works with bass player John Hammond as an heirloom grain processor. Drummer David Kelly, originally from Rock Hill, works as an historic preservationist when he is not driving the group’s experimental inclinations toward both progressive and psy-
12 * stir
chedelic music a la` late sixties and early seventies. Both Elliott, who once went by the name Liz, and violinist Sarah Quick, are part-time college professors and when Quick isn’t studying anthropology and ethnomusicology, (she is an expert on the Métis of Canada), she can sometimes be found performing with the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra. Then there is saxophonist Amy Overbaugh who hails from Charleston and, rumor has it, sports a dandy dead toe she only shows to band-mates and friends. But much of the attention in a Grey Egg concert rests on keyboardist and vocalist Julia Liz Elliott. She doesn’t just play the keyboards; she plays her voice as well. “I do use my voice like an instrument, and for some reason have always approached singing this way without really thinking about it. Recent influences have helped me conceptualize this process more clearly – Magma, Catherine Ribeiro, Yma Sumac,” she explains. “Steve (Dennis) also does this quite naturally. I think that’s partially how we drifted into the fake language thing because it is much easier to compose vocals, in terms of sounds and syllables, this way – and then these sounds inevitably evoke specific language groups.” According to local music aficionado and WUSC Music Director, Kyle Petersen, “Grey Egg is one of those bands that exists outside the normal margins of rock and roll. Most bands incorporate Eastern elements and dense instrumental passages as diversions from the actual song,” he explains. “But for Grey Egg, these elements and passages are the primary focus. It is hard to argue that there is any other band like them on the local scene – they are like nothing else you will experience in Columbia.” The past few years have revealed some surprising new directions for Grey Egg, a name chosen for the band because it “somehow captures the notion of a green world in decline,” Elliott glibly shares. Kelly and Hammond didn’t actually join the group until 2006, and the quartet recorded their more electric CD titled Indoor Ski together in 2007. Violinist Quick and saxophonist Overbaugh came on board a year or so later, and all six musicians will be featured on their new CD, entitled Albumen, which will be out this summer. “We’re also starting to be more bilingual,” Elliott says. “For us, this is a process that usually involves composing the vocals the old way via sounds, but then translating as much of that as possible into English. More than half of the vocals in the upcoming CD Albumen are in English.” Rare bird that the band is, it’s not easy to catch it about town. You’ll most often find the group performing at Hunter Gatherer, or sometimes at the Art Bar or the Whig. According to Elliott they only make forays out of town to Asheville, Athens or Charleston on occasion. But the sure sighted will be able to spot them this summer when they settle in for a performance at the Art Bar on June 27th. Until then, check Grey Egg out online at www.greyegg.com or www.myspace.com/greyeggmusik.
finishing the look I Written by Vaughn Granger
had a very interesting encounter the other day. There was a shoe salesman from a high-end shoe line (Lorenzo Banfi) that I carry at Granger Owings who brought up a very interesting point that caught me off guard. Apparently not thinking about what I was wearing that particular day, I obviously forgotten to give my shoes a good polish in quite some time. This little incident got me to thinking about the topic of finishing off the look. How many people have you seen wearing what appears to be a very well planned outfit just to look down at their feet and ask yourself, “What were they thinking?” So many of us, myself included, forget to think about the finishing touches when we are getting dressed. Little things like a pocket square that ties back to the shirt and tie you are wearing; or perhaps wearing your old brown penny loafers with a nice suit. Whether you are forgetting these details or because you simply aren’t educated-these things make a tremendous difference between “put together” and “missing the runway.” Here are a few things to ask yourself when “finishing the look:” Do my shoes match with my clothing? –Lace-ups and dressier penny and/or tassel loafers look better with suits Do I have the right color socks on? –Typically you should match your pants unless you are trying to make a statement Do I have the right jewelry on? –As a rule, the same watch you wear to the gym and on Saturdays should not be worn with a suit to a meeting Am I wearing the right season? –Linens should only be worn in the spring/summer-just because they are darker does not change this rule
–Your flannel wool suits were not made to be worn in the spring/summer-especially in Columbia for the obvious reasons –Suede shoes can be worn year round –Bright colors are not only for the spring. More importantly is the fabric they are made from-use your judgment as it is probably right As always, clothes were meant to be a way to express one’s self. Have fun with it my friends, and enjoy it!
s I took a seat at a locally owned brewpub on the Friday night of Columbia City Ballet’s Hootie and the Blowfish Ballet, my dining companions casually asked, “So, how was your afternoon?” I thought for a minute then nodded my head and assessed, “You know, it was really good.” I’d had the opportunity to spend a beautiful Friday afternoon sitting amongst the pollen at an also locally owned coffee shop in Five Points talking to an exciting young artist named Brett Flashnick. Brett is at an enviable place in his career, and his life – which aren’t necessarily the same thing. Fortunately, Brett knows this. Having worked as a documentary photojournalist for a decade, freelancing by demand for high profile clients like the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, National Geographic and others, Brett has decided to make some changes in the way he approaches his work and his art – which, as it turns out, aren’t necessarily the same thing either. “As an editorial photographer you have to keep your opinions out of your work and maintain objectivity,” Flashnick says. “Your job is to capture the image and let the image speak for itself.” The problem is that no matter how hard a photojournalist may try to hide his or her sense of self from the work they create, their unique, authentic eye is still there. Tying to pretend that a specific perception is not at play doesn’t make it cease to exist – it just makes it frustrating. “You can’t devoid yourself of your personality,” Flashnick says. “One way or another, it surfaces.” That’s why, after ten years of work as a highly successful photojournalist – the 28-year-old Flashnick was named College Photographer of the Year for sports photography in 2002 and awarded the coveted William Randolph Hearst Award in 2003, along with more than a dozen additional awards throughout his career – Flashnick has decided to start honoring the artist behind the lens of his camera. To celebrate, he is jumpstarting his new paradigm with a solo exhibition of his work. Presented by Columbia Music Festival Association as the centerpiece of their inaugural Edge of the Vista weekend designed to accompany Artista Vista on April 23rd through 25th, Flashnick’s show is entitled, Symbology, and will allow viewers to re-examine some of the artist’s most popular and poignant images over the past decade. With photographs that range from a jubilant depiction of the first Martin Luther King Day rally at the South Carolina Statehouse to the self-consciousness of uniformed children at a Neo-Nazi rally on the same grounds, Flashnick explores the symbols of everyday life, both explicit and subliminal, as they at once connect and separate us as members of society. “The symbols we use to express our patriotism, faith, love and even socioeconomic status are simply outward expressions of the desire we all share as human beings to belong to something larger
14 * stir
than ourselves,” he explains. The nice thing about Flashnick is that, despite the accolades and the assignments that have taken him to locations a lot of local folks only dream of going, the larger “something” he most enjoys belonging to is the community of South Carolina artists and patrons with whom he looks forward to sharing his work. He belongs. And there is something to be said for owning one’s own and recognizing the inestimable value that, preferences and proclivities aside, different individuals and organizations bring to an arts community. This is where both artists and patrons come in. In a regional climate that can most benignly be described as less-than-hospitable to the arts, the importance of supporting local artists – especially the artists who are of us – cannot be overstated. As much as the pollen that nearly smothers us every spring only to provide us with the lush floral beauty that the south is known for belongs, so belongs the deep-rooted ballet company, the record breaking rock and roll band, the highly acclaimed photojournalist-turned-artist, and every single creative soul who has the gonads and audacity to risk putting their work out there for someone else’s appraisal. They are all locally owned. So venture on down Gervais Street when Artista Vista comes our way later this month and take a left turn onto Pulaski Street for Columbia Music Festival Association’s presentation of Edge of the Vista and photographer Brett Flashnick’s exhibition, Symbology. The event opens with a free reception from 4 until 9 pm on Thursday, April 23rd and continues on Friday from 10 am until 5 pm and Saturday from 11 am until 3 o’clock. The local musical group All Walks of Life, featuring Cody Brock and Bobby Regalia, will perform original music on Friday night, April 24th in the same venue. For more information check out www.brettflashnick.com and www.myspace.com/allwalksoflife or contact the Columbia Music Festival Association at 803-771-6303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cynthia Boiter is an award winning and nationally published author who writes locally on arts and travel. She is currently working on a book on beer and travel with her husband, ER doctor Bob Jolley entitled, Bob, Beer and Me. Check out her blog at cynthiaboiter.wordpress.com and you can email her at email@example.com.
An Art Magazine in Columbia? Why? “Anything short of libel or pornography – those are our only parameters. It just has to be good.” hat is the idea that I began with. I was driving home from a weekend in Charleston, talking with my wife about the great things that were going on in that city and lamenting the lack of things to do in Columbia. Our discussion turned to the few things that we did know of that were happening and what we had missed. That discussion lasted the rest of the way home and I realized that there were in fact plenty of fascinating things going on in Columbia and even more fascinating people. Within an hour I had the name, logo, mission and first story nailed down. A magazine that would highlight local talent, without any agenda or bias. We would steer clear of the tangled political environment and cover everything great in the Columbia arts scene. Any media, any artist, any background, anything great. A year and a half later, tortured by the fact they I have to fold undefined into this issue, I think about why I wanted to start an art magazine in Columbia. Idealism? Naivete? Stupidity? A firm belief that Columbia can be a great city that supports a wide variety of artistic and social endeavors just as effectively as Charlotte or Charleston or Greenville? Yes. In fact, this magazine was born directly from undefined. I regularly received ideas, suggestions, firm suggestions and demands about who and what to cover in the next issue. Some were genius and fit our format perfectly, some were genuis and did not fit at all. And yet I looked around and could not find any coverage of these people and events. So I did it again. I started a magazine that covers the city with the same philosophy that undefined employs when covering the arts. The difference is that there are truly no limits. Galleries, restaurants, travel, exercise, nightlife, music, film, fashion... no limits (except for the libel and pornography part.) For an added twist, I thought we would slant this magazine slightly towards the guys. Cars, watches, gadgets, and men’s fashion where we could find it. We would use the best writers and photographers, cover the hippest people, places and events (maybe sponsor a few). A magazine that I would want to read. Fantastic. How could it fail? I don’t think it can. I have made many, many mistakes over that past 18 months. I have also had a few successes. I’ve meet incredible people, many of whom work with me on this magazine, and have been exposed to the best and worst that Columbia has to offer. I have learned a lot. This is our fifth issue of stir. Within these pages you will find the same arts coverage that you expect from us. undefined will continue as an online blog - www.beundefined.com - and an annual print compendium of the arts in Columbia. It will consist of expanded coverage of the arts pieces from this magazine, as well as a few new articles and photographs. We will also continue to sponsor events and shows wherever possible. I am still a little nervous. I still believe that this is a dangerous undertaking. I also believe in this magazine. I believe in our goal to uncover the many layers of established and emerging cultural visionaries. We are just getting started.
Mark Pointer, Publisher
r. Ed Madden began the Advanced Writing course I took from him in 2003 with a multi-colored ball of yarn and a warning. We University of South Carolina students passed the yarn around the room, unraveling the rainbow of changing hues and shyly offering little tidbits about ourselves until the classroom became a vibrant, interconnected web of personalities and ambitions. He then issued the warning: The classroom would be safe, but not comfortable. While respecting one another, we had to challenge ourselves to think outside our normal spheres of understanding. We had to realize and embrace that — even as college students — we didn’t know everything. Now an associate professor of English and associate director of Women’s Studies at USC, Ed hasn’t taught that Advanced Writing class since. He still, however, remembers who the 22 of us were, where we sat and the topics we covered in our writing. “You did a piece about your grandmother and a caterpillar, right?” he asked me recently when we met for coffee in Columbia. It was the first time we’d seen each other since I graduated other than communicating through e-mail sporadically for the past five years. “Yes,” I said with a smile, remembering the notes he wrote about my work that, on paper, looked as long as the story itself. “I like the juxtaposition of memories ... my biggest question is about audience ... what if you trusted the story? ... Show us, don’t tell us,” he suggested on the typed critique that I still keep in my files.
Now a writing teacher myself, I asked Ed — who has published three books this year, including Signals, the winner of the South Carolina Poetry Book Prize — what magic tricks he used to connect with us so profoundly and what I needed to do to reach my own high school students. “I think that you should teach that good writers are good readers,” he explains in the same matter of fact way he conducted our class. “I think that you should teach students to write what they love and about the things that move them.” We lived Ed’s advice throughout his Advanced Writing syllabus, which required us to read some of his favorites (Open House by Mark Doty, The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr, The Father by Sharon Olds and Population 485 by Michael Perry) and then mimic their styles as if we were on par with all of those best selling authors. He challenged us to confide what we’d learned from our own lives and communities, to take risks and to write for a cause. At the end of the semester, he introduced us to editors who could help us get our work in print and he fully expected us to utilize their resources. He treated us like colleagues. That’s a high standard, considering that Ed has twice been a South Carolina Academy of Authors fellow in poetry, was the winner of the single poem contest published by The State and was named one of the top 50 Best New Poets by the University of Virginia Press’s Meridian magazine. He has also served as a writer in residence at the Riverbanks Botanical Garden and the president of the SC Equality Coalition and Leadership Columbia Alumni Association. Signals — which writer Afaa Weaver lauds in the book’s forward as bearing “the evidence of high level craft along-
text: Emily Cramer Boyle photography: Melinda Register
side a concern for what goes on in our lives” – mirrors the range of Ed’s interests and sensibilities. Just like a gifted teacher, he explained many of his poems to me as processes, not as inaccessible inspirations limited only to him. Much of his work, in fact, came directly from assignments he gave in his own writing courses. “Trough,” the first selection in Signals is one such poem. Created in response to a prompt he offered that asked students to write about nature, “Trough” captures his fascination with a horse trough at his grandmother’s farm in Cowlake, Arkansas and the fish inside that he used to feed with stolen oatmeal. “You could read this as a poem about memory or a poem about poetry,” he says. “It’s useful, but at the same time, there’s something absolutely beautiful and mysterious about it.” Other poems, such as “Roots: An Essay on Race” and “Here, or the White Boy on the Bus” came from more “not comfortable” assignments. “Here, or White Boy on the Bus,” reflects on Bayard Rustin, the principal organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, in response to a prompt to retell a moment from the history of civil rights. Ed takes the perspective of a “white kid, sitting nearby,” whom Rustin pointed to while being forced to the back of a segregated bus and said, “If I move, this child will not know that injustice is taking place.” “I dream that I am that white boy on the bus, your finger pointing at me,” Ed wrote. “I watch the police lift you from your seat – Bayard, black angel, troublemaker.” Telling the story from the perspective of the child was his way into the historical moment, Ed explains. “I think it’s really risky to take on a voice that is not in any way yours,” he says. “I didn’t want to speak in the voice of a black man about segregation, so my way into that story was the anecdote about the white kid on the bus.” As the “Notes” section of the book reveals, Ed is very open about the other forces that inspired his work. Reactions to literature and film, other retellings of history and gifts for others all contributed to the 29 poems that comprise Signals. The final product of such beginnings, however, is rarely in plain sight, he says. “You have to give yourself permission to write that crappy first draft and not worry about audience,” Ed says. “Otherwise you won’t take risks.” Once on paper, the words have to be moved, erased and re-written. “I really stress revision,” Ed said. “We like to think we’re done when we’re done, but we have to keep writing.” Another key element of the writing process is having a trusted reader to review the work, Ed says. In Advanced Writing, we had to make multiple copies of our writing and share it with designated writing groups. Without talking or explaining ourselves, we had to listen to their opinions about some of our most intimate experiences and then give our own thoughts on theirs. Ed says he often turns to Kwame Dawes, the Distinguished Poet in Residence at the University of South Carolina and
18 * stir
Founder and Executive Director of the South Carolina Poetry Initiative, which published Signals in cooperation with the University of South Carolina Press. “Sacrifice,” which was chosen for the Best New Poets of 2007, was three times as long as its current form before Dawes got a hold of it, Ed says. Written from another class assignment — this one asking students to retell a traditional story from another character’s point of view — “Sacrifice” explored the story of Isaac and Abraham from Isaac’s perspective. Heeding Dawes’ advice, Ed shortened the work to reveal what he was really trying to say all along — that he related to Isaac’s realization that his own father would kill him at God’s will because Ed’s own father shunned him for his sexual orientation. “It was much bigger than what I had originally thought,” he says. “It’s saying that my father loves his God more than me.” When describing his influences, it was no surprise that a teacher was high on Ed’s list. Though he earned a B.A. from Harding University in Arkansas and a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Texas at Austin, he credits Lynette Miller, his 10th grade Newport Senior High School English teacher, for validating him as a poet. Ed recently gave a reading at Newport High before an audience including old teachers, some of his 32 first cousins and their children (who are all arguing over which one of them is referenced in “Trough”) and Mrs. Miller. Afterwards, he apologized to her for all of the work he now considers sub-par that he turned in to her. “But you know, you thought it was what poetry should be back then,” he remembered her saying. “She made it OK for a rural farm boy from Arkansas to write poetry.” Since 10th grade, Ed says he has learned to be himself in his writing, no matter how complicated that self may be. “When I first started trying to get a book out, an editor told me that it was partially Southern and partially about gay issues. He told me I needed to pick which kind of poet I wanted to be,” he says, explaining that the editor wanted him to fit into a more marketable niche. “My answer was to keep writing because you can’t separate yourself out.” With at least two more collections of poetry in the works, Ed, having just returned from six weeks in Ireland, said he is also working on a book about the representation of sexuality and masculinity in Irish culture. He is also trying to learn Irish, buying a house with his partner, Bert, and adopting a Labrador retriever. With so many diverging interests, I asked him how he kept from feeling pulled in too many directions. “More and more, I see how stuff connects,” he says.
JOIN US FOR COLUMBIAâ€™S P R E M I E R G A L L E R Y C R AW L 701 Center for Contemporary Art Carol Saunders Gallery | City Art Gallery Columbia Music Festival Association (CMFA) Gallery 80808 | The Gallery at DuPRE The Gallery at Nonnahs | Gyrotonic Vista if ART Gallery | Lewis + Clark Motor Supply Company Bistro One Eared Cow Glass | SC State Museum Watermark Gallery | Wink Studio & Gallery
ff I-20 near Camden, down a couple side roads, up a dirt lane and off to the left in the woods sits an old, white house brought in on skids, with a red barn behind built to serve as the studio for the artist within. It seems to be the perfect setting for a folk artist, only this artist’s folk were the intelligentsia of Spain and New York. He drew his education from the sons of the South at Sewanee and the bums in the Bowery and now pays the bills with commissions from some of the wealthiest, best connected men in America. Claude Buckley lives here, greeting visitors with a warm handshake and the offer of coffee or something cold to drink and a guided tour of the place the son of author/international speaking coach Reid Buckley and nephew of the late, iconic conservative commentator William F. Buckley calls home and work. Aging but kempt, rustic, functional and literal, the place serves as studio and gallery for the 50-ish Claude. A look around does much to educate the visitor to the mind of this Buckley. Original art by his hand hangs on nearly every wall, along with yellowing, framed black and white photos of family and friends and bright, colorful refrigerator photos of new generations of loved ones, including his teenage sons, Aidan and Ian. It’s also the best place, along with claudebuckley.com, to see this painter’s latest work. “I haven’t done very many prints at all and I don’t do galleries. To be successful in galleries I’d have to paint an apple, and then I’d have to paint that apple every day for the next 10 years,” Claude says. “I like the freedom of growing and
text: Marc Rapport photography: Molly Harrell
changing. If I feel like painting a landscape with a pretty tree today, then tomorrow a ten dollar bill and a woman with a sword, then I can do that.” Allegory looms large in Claude work, with the dollar sign a major element of his latest series of paintings he calls “In America.” The series began a couple years ago with a commission from textile magnate Roger Milliken. “He asked me to do a painting that showed the middle class getting poorer and the wealthier getting richer and focusing on a society turning away from Hamiltonian principles,” Claude says. The result was a painting of two boys flipping a coin with a ten dollar bill as the backdrop. More followed, with themes as material as losing health insurance and battles in family court illustrated in a kind of a Norman Rockwell-tinged literal innocence combined with a hint of sardonic irony and sarcasm. “I’ve done several of these now, using the dollar sign as a central symbol, of course, since it’s probably the second most recognizable symbol in the world after the cross,” Claude says. “The dollar sign grabs your eye.” He continues, “I want you to know my intention. I’m not trying to obscure you with mysticism or something weird. I want my allegories to be clear. I want my paintings to say something. To be a bridge between your mind and mine.” The Hamiltonian principles which inform much of Claude’s work include many associated with the classic liberalism of Europe, ideals that now often have become associated with conservatism on this side of the pond. In clear rhetoric and a slightly patrician yet utterly unpretentious tone strongly reminiscent of his uncle – who helped stir
first make PBS must-watch material with “Firing Line” – Claude explains. “Our founding fathers were European liberals. They believed in self-determination, the strength of the individual, the natural law of inalienable rights. Those are the things our country was founded upon, and that includes a free market economy,” he says. “God, family, country, those were liberal ideas in Europe. Remember, they were breaking away from feudal systems, controlled by the church or the king, so this was revolutionary and radical for them. “Those are conservative ideals here, but we’ve busted all that now,” Claude adds wistfully. “I’m a history buff and I have yet to read about one large country that hasn’t ended in a human disaster – including the German National Socialist Party, the Soviets, Mao’s Cultural Revolution … the list goes on and it goes way back.” But, perhaps like his uncle and his father – a prolific author of politically flavored novels whose cover art is created by his artist son – Claude Buckley eschews labels.
22 * stir
“I come from a conservative family that gave me a liberal upbringing. We were like the Brady Bunch on acid. I’m a conservative-minded, liberal-minded citizen of the new world,” he says when asked to apply a label to himself. “How about that? I’m scared of ‘isms.’” Bred to Paint, an Appreciation of Patrons Claude spent much of his youth in Spain, where his mother, Betsy, was an editor for Harper’s Bazaar and his father wrote novels and screenplays for Warner Brothers. The Prado Museum was down the block and his parents “collected art and artists,” Claude likes to say. He also spent much time back stage at the Spanish Theatre of Madrid, where he became friends with some of Spain’s best known actors. At the American School in Madrid, Claude says, he flunked everything but art, and then went off to the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where he continued to study art before graduating and moving to New York City.
There, he attended classes at the Parsons School of Design and the New York Center for the Media Arts and forged his craft painting portraits of homeless people in his Bowery neighborhood. “It was the seedy kind of place you’d expect a struggling artist to live in,” he says. “Uncle Bill helped me, giving me a stipend that kept me fed and in materials. He encouraged me and helped me believe in what I was doing, and he gave a lot of my paintings to his fancy friends.” Claude then returned to Spain – “They consider painting to be a real job there,” he says with a quick laugh – and began painting landscapes, murals and a portrait of the King of Spain before returning to the United States, and to Camden, in 1991 to raise his kids and be near his father. Claude’s association with well-heeled patrons continues to this day. He has done scores of commissioned portraits of corporate executives and their families, along with large murals of sweeping scenes of various themes. His work hangs in private homes and offices and in public places such as courthouses in Washington, D.C. and Camden, the boardroom at the College of Charleston, the Kershaw County Center for the Arts, the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Atlanta, and, of course, the National Review’s lobby in New York City, which displays a portrait of his Uncle Bill, the publication’s founder. Claude says he enjoys his commission work, puts a lot of energy and time into it and appreciates the role those who can afford it have played in his ability to tell his tales on canvas. “Poor people can’t buy art,” he says. “I live off selling these paintings to rich people who live in a society where we have the wealth and leisure for the arts.” Therein lies a key to civilization, what separates man from beast, Claude says. “I believe man is a spiritual being and that everything is here on earth for a reason,” he says. “The grass is here for the cows to eat and the cows are here for us to eat, is one way to put it, if that’s not too crude. We’re the only species on the planet that creates temples. Since Neolithic times, there’s been something in our nature that accepts a role for spiritu-
ality in humans. Recognizing that can keep us from being animals, and it gives us compassion.” Claude’s sensibilities show the refinement of a classical education, as he deftly quotes Bulfinch’s Mythology while deferentially noting that “I studied in college what my dad studied in high school.” He’s also worked to refine his art and has some considered opinions when asked if he’s a “fine artist.” “Fine art is where you have a craft that you’ve developed over the years and you mix that skill you’ve developed with art, and you’ve got fine art,” he says. “Of all the thousands of artists out there, I’ve only known a few that are really there. “My major influence is Diego Silva de Velazquez,” Claude adds. “He influenced Manet, Goya, later abstract expressionists like Motherwell … all great artists. He was the best. I guess if I had to put a label on what I like now, it would be post-minimalism. I really just try to be honest with my painting. I would rather people be able to look at my painting and see what I’m saying than have to try to interpret it. That’s one criteria for good art … that it simply says what you’re trying to say. If you look at a painting and need a scholar to tell you that box of Brillo pads is very beautiful and symbolic of American society, but the guy down the road sees it and says that looks like garbage, then maybe you haven’t done your job very well as an artist.” Indeed, practicality informs Claude’s work now, as it did then. “When I was first going to Parsons, I had a wife and we were young and it was rough. I painted on the street, had a show and sold 68 paintings in two weeks. That led eventually to me painting the king of Spain and then we came back here,” he says. “Now I’m living out here in the woods. I know I need to get involved more. I love people and I love the people around here. It’s a great place to live. But I don’t have a lot of money, so I just sit out here and paint.” He concludes that while it’s not the best way to make it economically, he’s “just a dude that paints.” “It’s been the only way I could go, and my family educated us to go our own way,” he says. “This is the way I chose. And I told my boys that they can study anything they want, too, when they go to college,” ironically adding, “as long as it’s business.”
Ayala Asherov Kalu
er name translates to “a doe” or “a female deer” in English. The sound of Israeli-born Ayala Asherov Kalus’s music doesn’t involve yodeling or breaking into song in the Austrian mountains, but she did leave her homeland of Tel-Aviv, Israel with her husband, Dr. Ram Kalus, and relocated to where he practices medicine: Our very own Columbia. While she did not flee persecution of any kind, Ayala has used her musical talent to escape complacency and stagnation in her creative life. Over lunch at the Mediterranean Tea Room (thanks for buying, Ayala!), she discussed a few of her favorite things. She shared stories of her indirect route to our city, her connection to an international superstar and the culture shock of being a minority in the South. Ayala first started writing songs as an exercise to memorize poetry at the age of 15. An epic anti-war poem that required analysis was the catalyst for not only an aced exam, but also a discovery of her knack for creativity. The inevitable need to express her personal feelings and emotions meant that original songs began to take shape as much by necessity as design. Slowly familiarizing herself with how stanzas work, Ayala began composing her first songs. In her words, “all artists follow a path.” That path is seldom clear until looking back at it. Coming from a family of actors, Ayala naturally wanted to pursue theatrics. She explored stage performance while fulfilling her mandatory military service with the Israel
Defense Forces, performing with one of its entertainment troupes. This experience helped her to realize that she needed to “direct” herself and not wait for someone else to do it. Besides affording her a lot of stage experience, the discipline of the military helped to hone her performance chops. Each troupe also recorded songs by popular artists and produced a CD. Ayala was asked to provide a song for her group’s recording. Though she initially questioned this privilege, the honor of being included with other songwriters would eventually inspire her to seize opportunities as they presented themselves to her. One such occasion occurred while Ayala was pursuing further knowledge at the Rimon School of Contemporary Music in Tel-Aviv. Ofra Haza was an icon in the Israel music industry; she reached international fame both as a singer and actress. In 1994, the singer wanted to record a CD in Hebrew for the first time in seven years. Ayala’s song, “Along the Sea,” would end up in the hands of Haza’s manager. Not only would this song be one of Haza’s biggest hits, but it also became associated with the assassination of Prime Minister Yitshak Rabin. The melancholy lyrics of the song became even more symbolic following Haza’s death in 2000. The same lyrics would appear with her obituary in the newspaper and on her tombstone. Though from vastly different backgrounds and pursuing drastically different musical styles, Ofra Haza’s recording “Along the Sea” and the circumstances of her untimely death will forever link the two artists.
text: Tony Lee photography: Melinda Register
Illuminated Passage Lynn Greer 2008 Artisphere Commemorative Poster
3 DAYS OF VISUAL, PERFORMING AND CULINARY ARTS.
May 8-10 West End Downtown Greenville, SC
WWW.ARTISPHERE.US Presented by
26 * stir
While her songwriting was obviously blossoming, Ayala was not satisfied with her knowledge. This unquenchable desire to learn led her to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, which had academic ties to her former school. What began as a single semester of study became a three year degree and then some. After graduating with honors, Ayala’s path guided her south. She first moved to Winston Salem, North Carolina to continue her studies, then to Virginia for an internship. Though she returned to Israel shortly thereafter, her path would again turn toward the Southeastern United States. While home in Israel, Ayala met her husband, Israeli-born Dr. Ram Kalus, and moved back with him to his home in Columbia. As determined to grow as ever, she sought out local musicians with whom to collaborate. She and Dick Goodwin, a local treasure and jazz arranger, joined forces and performed her songs, as well as jazz standards, with his quintet. The two also composed a piece, “Porcupine Saves the Dance,” with author Jenny Maxwell. A show in the spring of 2008 was received with enough enthusiasm that another has been scheduled for February of 2009. She fronts a trio of her own as well, which performed at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston this past June. Ayala also released a CD, “Crossing the River,” which is available on iTunes and from CD Baby. Ayala admits that it while it takes self-motivation to keep growing in a relatively small town like Columbia, she feels there are enough musical outlets for a musician to develop his or her craft. Collaborating with local artists is one strategy she uses to inject the creativity needed for her development. Ayala advises that local musicians should be wary of stagnation. The lack of constant competition for gigs requires them to actively create situations that demand personal and artistic development. Another such outlet for Ayala is “personal songwriting.” She offers this service to anyone who wants to commemorate an event with a song specifically written for that occasion. A client can simply contact her, provide all of the pertinent details and receive a custom-tailored tune for posterity. It seems to be a logical step, especially for an artist who began by composing music to accompany poems. During our conversation over a great meal, Ayala often referred to musicians speaking a language, not only while they’re playing, but also in the way that they interact with the world. She suggests that the freedom experienced by playing music that is not written on a page, whether it be memorized or improvised, is at the center of our sense of communication. Ayala is a shining example of an artist who is constantly breaking free from the bars and lines (also known as “measures”) that seem to constrain written music. Information about her upcoming performances can be found at www.ayalaasherov.com.
The South Carolina Philharmonic’s Painted Violins
he artwork will be auctioned off to raise money for the SCP. Violins will again be the center of the fundraiser. But this year, one cello will be offered and a new feature is added: Full Symphony. Artists are using pieces of instruments such as violin, guitar and drum pieces; bows; the bell of a horn and even a cow bell to create musically-themed works. Also new this year, Painted Violins is part of the annual Artista Vista celebration, the Vista’s signature gallery crawl. The art will be exhibited, and bids will be accepted, from 6 to 9 p.m. on April 23-24 at the Whit-Ash Rug Gallery, 919 Gervais Street in Columbia. In addition to the artwork being auctioned, the SCP will take bids on a limited number of posters of this year’s art and limited-edition coffee table books that feature the art from the past three years of Painted Violins. In 2009, 23 artists are transforming the instruments and pieces into art. Among them are a scenic designer for SCETV, an author who predicted today’s economic conditions in a 2004 book and even a forensic artist. Warren Brussee, Ingrid Carson, Jeremy Carter, Anastasia Chernoff, Jeffrey Day, Cindia Deith, Coy Durham, Linda Dye, Jan Fleetwood, Dylan Fouste, Scott Hallyburton, Mary Ann Haven, Mana Hewitt, Tuula Imahaki-Widdifield, Doni Jordan/Janette Grassi, Alicia Leeke, Kristina Mandell, Roy Paschal, David Phillips, Nancy Strailey, Lani Mustard Stringer and Christian Thee are the 2009 artists.
Cello by Dylan Fouste
803.256.3255 713 Saluda Ave 5 Points Columbia, SC Greenville, SC l The Shops at Western Plaza, Knoxville, TN l Athens, GA l Birmingham, AL
Photography by Jen Ray
The Columbia Design League, a Columbia Museum of Art membership group, hosts a competitive fashion show featuring garments created by South Carolinians using items rescued from the landfill on Friday, April 24 at 6:00 p.m. at 701 Whaley Street. Hosted by The Lady Chablis, this avant-garde fashion show features local designers who turn garbage into haute couture. iPop! DJ Peter A sets the background for an exciting night of fashion, food, prizes, and a cash bar, and trashy fun. More info at runawayrunway.org
[happy hour] Meeting someone for happy hour and not sure where to go? Look no further than stir’s happy hour listing – a rotating collection of our favorite Columbia happy hours. Drink up!
Downtown The Whig 1200 Main St, 931-8852 thewhig.org Mon-Fri 5-8pm: $1 off drafts, house liquor and wine
The Vista blue. 721-A Lady St, 251-4447 Mon-Fri 4-8pm: $0.50 off all alcohol
Flying Saucer 931 Senate St, 933-9997 beerknurd.com Tue-Thu 4-7pm and Fri 4-8pm: 20 oz. drafts for the price of a pint
SakiTumi 807 Gervais St, 931-0700 sakitumigrill.com Mon-Fri 4:30-7pm: $2 crab, salmon, cucumber & asparagus sushi rolls / $4 pomegranate martinis, $2 dom beer
828 Gervais St, 461-4677 libertytaproom.com Mon-Fri 4-7pm: $1 off house liquor and drafts
32 * stir
Diannes on Devine
741 Saluda Ave, 779-2345, delaneyspub.com Mon-Fri 4-7pm: $1 off most beers and liquor
2631 Devine St, 799-7579 yoburrito.com Mon-Fri 4-7pm: $3 margaritas, $5 mason jar margaritas, $12 mexi beer buckets
Goatfeathers 2017 Devine St, 256-3325 Mon-Fri 5:30-8pm: 25% off food, variety of discounts on all alcohol
Jake’s Bar & Grill 2112 Devine St, 252-5253 Mon-Fri 4-7pm: $1 off liquor, $0.50 off beer
Village Idiot Liberty
2910 Rosewood Dr, 251-4474 Mon-Fri 4-7pm: $1 off drafts and liquor
827 Harden St, 771-8001 congareegrill.com Mon-Fri 4-7pm: $1.50 domestics, $2.50 hse liquor, $3 hse wine
Kelly’s 1001 Washington St, 254-4464 Mon-Fri 4-8pm: $2 bourbon, $3 aluminum bottles, $10 Long Island Tea pitchers
Cock ‘n Bull
2400 Devine St, 254-3535 diannesondevine.com Mon-Fri 5-7pm & Wed all night: Half price house wine / $0.50 oysters on the half shell (Wed only)
Gervais and Vine 620-A Gervais St, 799-8463 gervine.com Mon-Fri 5-6pm: $2 off all tapas / $1 off all drinks
2009 Devine St, 252-8646 villageidiotpizza.com Mon-Fri 4-7pm: $1 cheese pizza slices, $0.40 wings / $2.25 domestics, $2.75 imports, $3.50-$4.50 pitchers
Forest Acres Bonefish Grill 4708 Forest Dr, 787-6200 bonefishgrill.com Mon-Fri 4-7pm: 1/2 off house wine and liquor, $1.50 drafts
W. Columbia /Cayce State Street Pub 136 State St, 796-2006 statestreetpub.com Mon-Fri 4-8pm: $2 domestics, daily specials
SmashBox by Freya at the J. Thomas Salon 912 Lady Street 803 343 7000 in the heart of Columbia’s historic Congaree Vista district.
[love & money]
Helpful Hints for Nabbing Ms. Right By Ellen Putnam
Having a hard time attracting and keeping the right woman? Want to bring someone home who really gets you, instead of all those other women who, based on court documents, clearly didn’t? Try to remember the following pieces of advice, guys.
1: Dress to impress. When choosing a shirt, remember some key words – bright, pastel, neon, shiny, tight, pop-able collar – the more of these are true for what you’re wearing when you leave the house (or cardboard box, as the case may be), the better off you’ll be. As with birds in nature, the male with the brightest plumage always nails the chick. 2: Wear as much cologne as possible. Look at your bottle of cologne; (Or AXE™, as the case may be) consider the number of ounces in the bottle as a serving suggestion. Your goal is for her to smell you long before she ever sets eyes on you. If you can smell or taste anything other than yourself, you’re under-doing it. 3: Bold facial hair tells people you’re manly, regardless of how well you can grow it. If you haven’t already, consider growing a serious moustache. (For reference, see Adolf in Schindler’s List or Daniel in There Will Be Blood.) Mutton chops, a soul patch, and a unibrow are also powerful testaments to your masculinity. 4: Be loud in everything you do. Sometimes it’s hard to really hear in a bar or French-restaurant type atmosphere, what with all the other people opening their less attractive mouths. It’s your job to make sure that you stand out acoustically. Moving a barstool, speaking, laughing, burping, telling that great joke about how a woman is like a bucket of KFC – all of these things must be done at your maximum volume. Being loud tells her that you are an important man with important things to say and do. Loudly. 5: Catch her eye, but don’t look at it. If you’ve executed everything properly, she should be looking directly at you, possibly with her mouth open. Now is the time to further assess her assets. While she’s taking you in, make sure that her breasts are acceptable by staring openly at them. Remember, the face can always be covered with a paper bag later if there’s something wrong with it when you get up close. 6: Touch her breasts and/or ass repeatedly, and without her in any way soliciting it. Remember, it’s a well known fact that all women want and are attracted to a man who also makes them somewhat concerned that he will follow them into the parking lot later with a rag and a bottle of chloroform. More importantly, this tells her that you are interested in her as a sex object, which is the
34 * stir
reason she’s even out in the first place. You obviously care. 7: Engage her in conversation, but only about yourself. Your education*, your job*, your car*, your beachside condo in Hilton Head*, your childhood bedwetting problem, your belief that snuff films are the highest form of art, etc. – pontificate on everything you can think of. (*It is okay to make up these things if they don’t exist.) If she can get a word in edgewise that’s something other than “Please, tell me more”, you’re doing it wrong. 8: Gently insult her. No need to go overboard here, your goal is to make her think she looks slightly fat in that dress and that she should leave... with you, the only person honest enough to tell her she has the makings of some serious cankles. If she has or orders food or something non-alcoholic to drink, question if she really needs the calories in that glass of water with lemon or that small salad. 9: Be as cheap as humanly possible. Remember, there is always a chance things may not work out. You do not want to be left monetarily liable in any way. If possible don’t even pay for your own things. This tells her that you are thrifty and smart with money, and will also allow you to use the money you’ve saved to pay off your gambling debts by betting it all on what your bookie assures you is a sure thing. It also sets a good example later on should she request money for frivolous things like clothing, food, and whatever the hell “child support” is. 10: Extensively discuss your ex-girlfriends. Because really, she needs to know where she stands, or will be standing, if she’s lucky enough to get with you. Be sure to mention how the restraining orders were more of a suggestion than anything else, and that you’re still Myspace and Facebook friends with them under an assumed name. Also bring your distance shots of them leaving their apartments, going to the gym, dating other men, and sleeping. This will show her that once you’ve committed to her, you’ll never back down. Ever. Well, if you’ve been paying attention, you should by now be well on your way to marriage. Or at least not another restraining order. In short, it’s out of my hands… for now. Best of luck!
[on the calendar]
36 * stir
Published on Apr 14, 2009
Stir Publishing’s newest, monthly addition, stir, is an extensive city guide for Columbia professionals in their 20s, 30s and 40s. stir read...