Mary Beth Norton

Mary Beth Norton

Wednesday 19

In the late 1990s heyday of alternative rock, Toad the Wet Sprocket spent a few years at the top of the heap, starting with the lilting ballad “Walk on the Ocean” in 1993 and moving through mid-tempo acoustic-electric rockers like “Good Intentions” and faster tunes like “Something’s Always Wrong” and “Fall Down.” After a hiatus in the 2000s, the band reunited in 2009, and will bring those vintage hits and newer material to The Senate at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 ($30 in advance). For more info, visit thesenatecolumbia.comVincent Harris

The upscale Lula Drake wine bar on Main Street is all about upgrading Columbia’s game, from the drinks and food they pour and serve to the carefully renovated ambience of the place. Now, with The Blend, their vision comes into even clearer relief. Pairing not only six wines and six small plates, but also classical string duets (led by Nyamka Odsuren) and Mark Rapp’s jazz trio in one evening? This thing just screams classy. C’mon, Columbia. Up your game like Lula Drake. Tickets are $75 and available on Eventbrite and at the restaurant. — Kyle Petersen [This event has been postponed to Oct. 6.]

Thursday 20

The Lexington Live concert series at the Icehouse Amphitheater rolls on with Fantasy, a six-piece variety band that covers the R&B gamut, from Motown classics by The Four Tops and The Temptations to the smooth quiet storm soul of the 1970s, with some beach music thrown in as well, which makes the band a good fit for those who like to dance. The event is also kid-friendly, with face painters on site, and it’s free. Visit for more information. — Vincent Harris

It’s not every day that a Pulitzer-nominated historian blows into town. Cornell University professor Mary Beth Norton’s work focuses on the American Colonial era — and her free Thursday lecture at the University of South Carolina is enticingly titled “Fake News in 1773: South Carolina and East India Company Tea.” Turns out her re-examination of the Boston Tea Party and the Tea Crisis of 1773 has some connections to the Palmetto State. The free lecture kicks off at 6 p.m. at USC’s McMaster College, Room 214. — Eva Moore

If you want to get to heaven, you’ve got to go to church, but going to the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral for the God-sent baklava creations at Columbia’s Greek Festival doesn’t require a tie. The four-day festival runs through Sunday evening. Other classic Greek treats both savory and sweet return for a nostalgic taste that screams September in Columbia, plus traditional performances and art round out the cultural experience. Find out more at — April Blake

Friday 21

Free Times appreciates Jasper. A community such as ours, which continues to get richer and richer when it comes to the productivity of its local artists, needs multiple publications with multiple viewpoints digging in and dissecting that work. Free Times also appreciates that Jasper knows how to throw a party, as it will tonight to celebrate the release of its fall issue, leaning on the music of local group The Witness Marks, readings from the latest issue of its Fall Lines literary compendium, and $10 bottomless cups to keep you well ... hydrated. For more on the 6 p.m. event at Stormwater Studios, head to — Jordan Lawrence [Update: This event has been rescheduled for Sept. 27.]

Saturday 22

After last weekend’s storm, Columbians are ready to drink some beer outside. River Rat Brewery’s Oktoberfest runs from noon to 8 p.m. at 1231 Shop Road, and offers a prime outdoor drinking opportunity. Admission is free, and you can buy beer brewed by River Rat as well as other brewers, plus German food. More info at — Eva Moore

Al Black has been a major force in the literary and arts community thanks to his tireless devotion to organizing diverse open mics across the city, but he’s also grown into his own as an artist in recent years as he wood-shed his way from tentative hobbyist to accomplished poet. He celebrates the publication of his second collection Man With Two Shadows via Muddy Ford Press tonight at Tapp’s Art Center with a small reception and reading starting at 7 p.m. — Kyle Petersen

Sunday 23

The South Carolina Jazz Foundation, a nonprofit established to support saxophonist Robert Gardiner’s SC Jazz Masterworks ensemble, is throwing a sponsorship concert hosted by bassist Reggie Sullivan and which doubles as a fundraiser and goods donation drive to support homeless and women’s shelters in the Columbia community. Sullivan’s band will play along with the Jmichael Peeples Movement at the City Market Place in the Vista, and $50 VIP tickets scores your early (5 p.m.) entry along with light apps, beer and wine as well as  a guaranteed seat for the first 50 of you. Regular tickets are $25, doors at 5:30 p.m. Search Eventbrite for tickets. — Kyle Petersen 

Monday 24

Bringing together such diverse local voices as poet Nikki Finney, attorney Kathleen McDaniel and ACLU of South Carolina director Shaundra Young Scott, the Columbia Museum of Art’s For Freedoms Town Hall — part of a national series — will address the First Amendment right to freedom of expression and “how art can be a lens for civil discourse.” Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the program starts at 6:30 p.m., with a cash bar. Head to to find out more. — Eva Moore

Tuesday 25

There’s not a more South Carolina experience you can have than listening to Rudy Mancke talk about wildlife. The public radio favorite and former USC professor is a veritable encyclopedia of our state’s flora and fauna who also has the uncanny ability to find all manner of creatures in almost any outdoor environment. The free lunchtime lecture series Nature of Fall with Rudy Mancke meets right in front of McKissick Museum on the Horseshoe at noon today. Go to to find out more. — Kyle Petersen

Wednesday 26

There will be a screening of the 2017 documentary The Rape Of Recy Taylor at the Nickelodeon Theatre tonight, followed by a discussion with Mia McLeod (South Carolina State Senator), Dr. Valerie Ekue (director of Member Support and Community Justice for SCCADVASA), Dr. Jennifer Gunter (director of the South Carolina Collaborative on Race and Reconciliation), and Dr. Candace Cunningham (instructor with the TRIO Program at USC). The film delves into the gang-rape of Taylor, a 24-year-old black woman in Alabama in 1944, and the role of the NAACP’s chief rape investigator Rosa Parks, in bringing the rapists to justice. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. Visit for more info. — Vincent Harris  

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