Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Get Bentz!

Sample Image On a stuffy and warm spring evening, Bentz Kirby --attorney by day, troubadour by night-- loads in the P.A. and other musical accoutrements that a one-man music impresario like him needs to ply his trade. He’s his own roadie, his own manager, his own songwriter, his own guitar picker, and this is another night of doing what he just might love best: making live music.

No Change

 Sample Image      A few new faces but no change ahead in the S.C. General Assembly

Not enemies!

Sample Image U.S. Rivals and Competitors

Show Dates

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Road Trip and Local Live Music Dates

June 25- July 9

Red Album

Finally we get a Weezer album that comes close to the first two releases.


Sample Image

Consolers of the Lonely has had me in a vice-like grip since the first I heard it.

Plan the 4th!

There are great July 4th Weekend events at the lake and aorund town on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 


The State Museum

20 Years of Art

A diverse and intriguing show opened at the State Museum presenting selected works of all media by South Carolina artists.  The juried show contains over 122 contemporary works from well-known and new artists chosen by Lia Newman and Brian Rutenberg as part of the State Museum’s 20th Anniversary.

Time To Fight


“A Time to Fight: Reclaiming a Fair and Just America”
by Jim Webb
(Broadway Books, $24.95)

Olympic Bound?

Ultra Swim 2008

Allison Brennan, a former Gamecock diver, who is training at USC is also facing the task of diving her way into the American Olympic team


Friday, June 20, 2008

State fought to execute mentally disabled killer

By Paul Blake

On Friday, June 20 the state of South Carolina executed a mentally handicapped inmate. The governor's office refused to comment on the inmate's mental condition.

"You can call the Department of Corrections and they can fill you in," spokesman Joel Sawyer told City Paper when asked whether the governor was aware the man scheduled for execution, James Earl Reed, had an IQ of 76. The IQ range considered borderline or mildly mentally retarded is between the 70-79 range. The state allowed Reed to represent himself in court despite his mental condition.

Fielding Pringle, a Columbia-based attorney, filed a last minute appeal on the day of the execution based on a Supreme Court decision a day earlier. Indiana v. Edwards held that a defendant could simultaneously be competent enough to stand trial but not competent to defend oneself. Pringle argued that the courts should not have allowed Reed to represent himself based on his mental condition.

The courts decision to find Reed competent to defend himself during trial raised issues of whether his Fifth Amendment rights were violated in regards to due process. In 1996, a jury found Reed guilty of murdering his girlfriends' parents Joseph and Barbara Lafayette. Reed also provided a confession to police which he later recanted.

On the evening of the scheduled execution U.S. District Court Judge Henry Floyd granted a stay based on Pringle's appeal, but S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster's office immediately fought the decision, getting it over turned in the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Only a few protesters turned out, including Salvador Macias, a Sumter resident who says he tries to attend and protest all executions in South Carolina.

At 9:20 p.m. the rain poured down and the electricity in the press room flickered.

Though the lights came right back on, the press was still in the dark on the status of the execution. WIS TV wanted to know whether it was on or off for their evening news segment and the Charleston Post and Courier had two versions of the story ready to go, depending on whether Reed lived or died. One reporter for the Associated Press was on the phone with her husband, seemingly annoyed her weekend trip had been postponed.

At approximately 10:30 p.m. attorneys on the defendants behalf filed another motion but the Chief Justice ultimately denied the request .

Spokesman for the Department of Corrections, Josh Gelinas, was unable to fill us in on the state's position on executing the mentally disabled nor would he discuss his personal feelings on the matter.

"I'm a flack for an agency," Gelinas said, scolding this reporter in the parking lot for asking his personal feelings during a press conference. Gelinas maintained he only speaks for the S.C. Department of Corrections. At approximately 11:20 p.m. the State of South Carolina officially demonstrated its position when Reed was hit with a fatal jolt of over 2,000 volts of electricity for four minutes. He was pronounced dead at 11:27 p.m.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Slogan Contest




Dear City of Columbia,
We shudder to think how much accommodations tax revenue you’re paying ADCO to come up with a new city slogan. Let’s just try to do a little bit better than our neighbors in Newberry who went with “A Place to Work, A Place to Live.” For the record, we have a few we’d like to suggest.

“Columbia: Home of the giant, flying cockroach”
“A Capitol Place to Be Homeless”
“At least it’s not Buffalo”
“The Geographic Center of Americas Nuclear Landfill”
“Where Hootie’s From”
“Uneducated, Well Armed”
“Beware of Our Gamecocks! ...No, seriously, beware.”
“NAMBLA-free since 1978”

Columbia City Paper

Add your slogan with a contact e-mail for a chance to win free swag including "I Hate City Paper" stickers, tees and more. Dinner for two to Copper River Grill and other prizes will be awarded for the best slogan to be announced in an upcoming issue of City Paper. Vote on comments by clicking "green thumbs up" or "red thumbs down icon." There will be a readers choice winner based on your votes. (If you receive an "request failed" error in your browser when leaving a comment, please refresh page don't re-submit as your comments have been received despite the error message. This started when we added voting and are working on the issue.)

Special thanks to the Post and Courier for suggesting slogans for Columbia as early as 2003 and to the cave man that created the first contest by pissing further than the guy to the far right of him. (Also Joe Azar who suggested this contest in late May and included it in his e-newsletter)


Monday, June 9, 2008

Blowfish are Back


Downpours on May 28 ushered in the first night of a new season of
baseball at Capital City Stadium, and when Columbia Blowfish players rolled up
the tarp to at last unveil the infield, I thought them bold to make their move
during what seemed to me only a break in the rain. Oh me of little faith.


Saturday, June 7, 2008


Columbia has fallen in love with Baumer, but is the rest of the world ready for thier dance infected tunes?


Photo and Story by Sean Rayford 

Sometimes accidents produce amazing results. Two anda half years ago Nate Boykin and Kenny McWilliams start-ed a joke that was never intended to even leave the studio. Eventually they added a live drummer and bass player–and Baumer was born. It only took a few months before theColumbia band was filling local rock clubs to near capacity. Everyone was talking about the band that had risen fromthe ashes of Courage Riley with the help of the singer from Tigerbot Hesh. At that time most regulars to the local music scene would have expected Baumer to have already sweptup the typically disappointing culture of music of the United States.

Perhaps single handily they would save pop music and Columbia would sit back proudly and say ‘they’re from here.’ Hootie and Crossfade would be left in a cloud ofsmoke.On their debut Baumer was even able to enlist the helpof super producer Mike Shipley (the Cars, Blondie, KellyClarkson, Devo). “Having a guy of that caliber working onyour stuff is amazing. He made it sound a hundred timesbetter,” says vocalist Nate Boykin.

“We started the band as a joke and side project and if youhappened to go to any of our early shows that was obvious that we were messing around. But then things got a littlemore serious when the label was interested and we signedwith them,” says guitarist Kenny McWilliams.It’s just taking a little more time thanexpected but slowly that experiment inthe studio has transformed into a worldwith a flashy music video, trips to LosAngeles, and even cell phone ring tones (a category that Billboard magazine now charts).This past spring the now five piece flew out to the WestCoast to work on a music video with famed director DaronDoane (Jimmy Eat World, Thursday, Atreyu, Underoath).

“We got there and there were donuts, bagels and muffinsand three big things of Starbucks coffee and we drink a lotof Starbucks on tour so it was killer,” says McWilliamsabout their experience shooting the music video for “TakeWhat’s Mine.” The new video will be included as bonus material alongwith a remix of the song on the re-release of Come On,Feel It, (September 12) theirdebut full length on AstroMagnetics Records. Doane found the set for the video in a town not too farfrom Los Angeles andintroduced Columbia’sBaumer to the process ofmaking a music video

“It was this crazy awe-some looking bar straightout of a movie,” saysvocalist Nate Boykin.“We were doing thesongs over and over. Allthese people standingaround watching you singthis one song. I had toprobably do the song 15to 20 times. It was superawkward,” says Boykin. The end result is a TRLworthy clip featuring a hot broad, piles of cash, and a yel-low ferrari just as slick as the songs on Come on, Feel It.“Daron was the man,” says McWilliams.“I think the plan now is to use this re-release as a build-up for the next album that we will probably be recording thiswinter,” says Boykin.“We’ve probably already written ten songs for the nextalbum. We’re still excited about the re-release and hopeful-ly we’ll be able to sell a few more copies and set up thenext album,” says McWilliams.

Originally released in September of last year people out-side of their hometown had a tough time finding the CD onstore shelves.“The initial idea with the re-release was that distributionwas kind of a mess on the last [release] and it wasn’t real-ly distributed any-where. Alot of thesales were onlinebecause peoplecouldn’t find itanywhere. Thatlooks good andmeans peoplewere looking forour record but notable to find it instores. So theywanted to rere-lease it and give itanother shot. 

We have a new distri-bution company and then the idea also was that we have a new publicistand to get her on board in time for the re-release,” saysMcWilliams.Baumer’s infectious tunes highlighted with Boykin’sinsane vocal range will surely be able to turn heads acrossthe country as the band gets the right exposure and peoplecan find the record in stores. For the time being, Baumer is Columbia’s big little secret. If Baumer can overcome theirdifficulties with distribution and find some success on theroad it won’t take long before the world finds itself holding Baumer dance parties in their living rooms.“

Touring has been the one thing that has plagued thisband. We’ve been through four booking agents now which is a ridiculous number for how little touring we’ve done,”says McWilliams.Until recently the band existed as a four piece and neverput too much thought to adding any additional members but this spring Baumer recruited Chad Rochester expand-ing and cementing their live sound.“

We eventually decided that we could make a biggersound if we had another guitar player. We could also gethim to play synth and the parts that we had tracked andwere playing along to we could do live and have a betterlive feel. We got to a point where we realized it would be ahassle but if we could make things just a little bit better it would be worth it,” says Boykin.Perhaps by the new year people will start to get it.

They’ll realize that pop music isn’t created on a Puff Daddy realityTV show. They’ll see that there isn’t a pop music formulacontrolled by the elite. Don’t miss the boat, it sets sail againat Baumer’s rerelease party September 9 at the NewBrookland Tavern.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

New Music

Colour Revolt

Reggie and the Full Effect

danPlunder, Beg, and Curse staggers out from a late night bar into the blinding heat of a Mississippi summer morning. It squints and shades its eyes as it rolls down the sidewalk avoiding the cracks in the concrete. It���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½s going to be a hot one and luckily there���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½s plenty of booze to sweat out.
���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½Naked and Red���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½ grooves with the passing morning traffic in a slow euphoric dance and is by far most reminiscent of anything from Colour Revolt���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½s self titled debut EP. It���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½s a strange lead-off track, not all that indicative of what���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½s to follow.
It finds its keys to an oversized convertible sedan and heads west out of town for a Friday morning drive through the countryside as more songs press on. Random pieces of of trash and dirt kick up off of the shoulder as the sedan speeds along through a part of the country that time has forgotten. The entire region has been engulfed in a serious drought and the grasses and shrubs are burnt as if from Sherman���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½s march.

danMastermind and conductor of the Reggie and the Full Effect express James Dewees has a passion for Jack Daniels, dwarves, Manheim Steamroller and pigieons crapping on rednecks. He���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½s a pretty funny dude.
But on his fifth effort as Reggie and the Full Effect, Last Stop: Crappy Town James checks the jokes at the door and brings us a concept album centered around the New York City subway system. Crappy Town is Reggie���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½s most straightforward release leaving Klaus of Common Denominator, Hungary Bear and British new waver Fluxuation waiting on the platform and the drunk guy at the Get Up Kids show begging on the streets above ground.
You���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½ll be filing this record closer to Coalesce than the Get Up Kids although you���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½ll still be privy to a sprinkling of keyboard infused Reggie love songs. ���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½E���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½ is the first stop that will leave your eyes misty and your heart sputtering as James repeatedly pleads, ���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½Don���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½t throw me away���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½ and asks ���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½Where���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½s that god damn wishing well, the one that sort of works.������¢���¯���¿���½���¯���¿���½

���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½Elegant View���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½ almost runs out of gas on Highway 28 near Union Church but you sputter into a service station called Bob���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½s or Cliff���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½s or Boone���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½s or something of the sorts. With $20  in the tank and a can of Tab in hand, the sedan lumbers westbound back onto the highway.
The afternoon sun approaches its height and the wind whips the hot chalky air around that can of great-tasting, one-calorie cola. ���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½Swamp���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½ is a dirty rumble across the gritty asphalt at a favorable pace. You���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½d be happy to pull over and jump into the water but its stagnant, very uninviting, and there are places to be.
���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½Shovel to the Ground���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½ pushes the pedal closer to the floor and the Mississippi River approaches at a more favorable pace. But as ���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½What Will Come of Us���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½ saunters in and Jesse Coppenbarger sings ���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½All them vultures circle me- like a ton of bricks might fall on me���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½ there���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½s a sense that something���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½s wrong in the not-too-distant road to the west.
The ���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½check engine���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½ light turns on as a wilting soybean crop flashes past on the right and this ambitious trip and record seem to be straying from the band���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½s freshman effort.  Whereas the debut EP was a romp through a crisp stream, Stumble, Brag, and Curse is a slow summer day entrenched in an antebellum drought.
Not Colour Revolt���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½s crown gem, but one worth owning, this is one haunting trip through Southern fuzz.

-Sean Rayford

Horse The Band


When you think of a world tour, you think of a band hitting Europe,
Canada and maybe Japan. A few months ago, Horse the Band set out on the
first seriously legitimate world tour I have ever heard of, even
hitting Kuala Lumpur, China and Macedonia. I didn�t even know Macedonia
was actually a country. In any case, Horse' --in Dornbirn, Austria at
press time-- took some time out of their very busy Earth Tour to answer
some of our questions.

Summer Sequels



Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Christian rock?

Dear contemporary Christian
rock song,

     You got me with the bait and
switch! I was sure I had stumbled across a run-of-the-mill modern rock
station and figured that whole verse about “him” was in reference
to your chick’s secret lover or a drug dealer or something. Good one.
But, when the church choir kicked in on the “glorify His glory”
chorus it became horribly, appallingly clear: so that’s
what it would sound like if the Osmonds tried to play metal.      Look,
a rock song without vice is like a soda without the fizz, a Judas Priest
video without the buttless chaps. I need cheating women and booze and
demons in my rock-n-roll, fellas. And if I’m damned for eternity,
well, I can only hope they don’t play Jars of Clay in hell.

Columbia City Paper

Summer at Hofp

Summer in the City

    “Summer in the City” in Columbia begins with HoFP Gallery’s new dual exhibit showing Keith Abney’s canvases and Fran D’ Ambrosia’s sculptures. New York’s energy on Abney’s canvases and D’Ambrosia’s functional and decorative metal sculptures greatly complement each other by creating a mixture of Southern Europe’s traditional craftsmanship and modern city scenes of NYC.


    ‘Nailed’ to the Creative Cross

The battle between art and commerce has come to our fair city in the form of the big-time Hollywood production Nailed.   As of this writing, the shoot has been shut down by the unions — for the third time —  over its production company’s financing woes. Director David O. Russell (Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees) now faces the grim reality that his modestly budgeted film.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi: More than just calisthenics


Most people associate Tai Chi with yoga or see it as an Eastern form of calisthenics. It was developed as a breathing system that utilized all muscles and joints while circulating the “chi” and is typically practiced for a variety of reasons.