SC Jazz Masterworks

Robert Gardiner (center) leads the South Carolina Jazz Masterworks Ensemble.

This week's issue was Free Times' annual Best Of Columbia edition, which doesn't include much of our regular content. But we weren't going to leave you hanging without some arts and entertainment highlights for the coming week.

Thursday 22

Freedom Festival International is a multi-day film extravaganza running today through Sunday at Tapp's Art Center loaded down with screenings, networking events, workshops and an opening concert featuring six performers, a DJ and a lip-sync battle. Details are a bit scant, but a full schedule is up at, including a sizable set of shorts and feature films both local and international. If you dig the festival's thematic focus on underrepresented groups and social justice along with the professionalization bent, this should be a fascinating event to check out. VIP complete festival tickets are available for $60, with single-day options going for $20 and Thursday night concert-only passes on sale for $10. Find out more info at — Kyle Petersen

Read SC’s Authors of South Carolina series at the main branch of the Richland Library gives you a chance to catch up with writer Raegan Teller this week. You can learn all about her process and dig into her latest book about fictional reporter Enid Blackwell, who stumbles into grisly murders and dangerous intrigue so often that it’s worth wondering if she’s doing all these crimes herself, Jessica Fletcher-style. The event begins at noon, and it’s free. Visit for more info. — Vincent Harris

Friday 23

While Quentin Tarantino continues to hog the daily schedule of the Nickelodeon Theatre, there's always excellent special programming on the indie arthouse cinema's screens as well. Case in point is the Super Soul Cinema series, which features the blaxploitation classic SuperSoul Brother this Friday at 9:30 p.m. Hosted by DJ and hip-hop artist (and frequent Free Times contributor) Preach Jacobs, who will chat about the significance of each film in the series, this "love letter" to this famously low-brow and controversial genre actually slides in nicely next to Tarantino, particularly given his own past and current controversies, which includes his 1997 blaxploitation homage Jackie Brown. Screening is at 9:30; Tickets are $12. More info is available at — Kyle Petersen

Saturday 24

The Main Street Latin Festival is today, bringing a bevy of tasty food and drink to downtown Columbia along with some truly delectable music from Herman Olivera, Orlan, Patty Padilla and Banchata Urbana. Come on down, check out the food, arts and crafts and tunes, and do a little dancing while you’re there. The festival begins at 11 a.m, and you can visit for more details. — Vincent Harris

The SC Jazz Masterworks Ensemble is a classic big band made up of some of the brightest talents on the state’s jazz scene. And at tonight’s concert at the Harbison Theatre, dubbed The Art of the Big Band, it will flex the full range of what that means, “performing big band classics, music from the great American songbook and modern originals by the group's members.” Sounds like something that’s worth a trip out to the suburbs. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost between $25 and $30. More info available at — Jordan Lawrence

Sunday 25

If you know anything about us, you know we love alliteration and stand-up comedy, which is why we’re looking forward to Caffeinated Comedy at Curiosity Coffee Bar. Rather than trying to hear comedians telling jokes over a bunch of screaming drunks at a comedy club or bar, you can hear host Greg Hardy and other professional yuksters talking about their neuroses with a steaming cup of joe in your hands and a nice humming caffeine buzz. Showtime is 1 p.m. Find out more at —Vincent Harris

Only five short years ago, Columbia was eagerly waiting for its third production brewery to open its doors in the shadow of Williams-Brice Stadium, paving the way for the city to forge its own craft beer identity. Swamp Cabbage Brwing Company is still going strong and will be celebrating with an anniversary party from noon to 6 p.m. There will be food, live entertainment, plenty of beer on tap, and a commemorative glass to prove you were there. The party is open to the public, and admission is free. More info available at — April Blake

Monday 26

All good things come to an end. And so it goes with this year’s Columbia Fireflies baseball season. Your favorite minor league team kicks off its last homestand at Segra Park tonight at 7:05 p.m. against the Hickory Crawdads. It’s Kids Eat Free night, so bring the fam. Tickets range from $5 to $14, and there are group discounts available. This final home slate concludes on Thursday. Go to for more info. — Jordan Lawrence

Tuesday 27

Steel Hands Brewing is getting the four-course treatment from 1801 Grille to welcome the nearby brewery to its tap list. Chef Jason Bruner of 1801 will incorporate four of the brewery’s craft beers into a multi-course beer dinner, where each course will pair with a corresponding brew. Tickets are $45 per person, and dinner begins at 6 p.m. Go to to find out more. — April Blake

Wednesday 28

The idea of making raw food on purpose can seem daunting, and the chefs behind the rawest game in town, Good Life Cafe, want to change that perception. Today’s Raw Your Way class is an entry level class for those looking to get information on eating raw a little more often. Tickets are $10 apiece at, and you do not need to have attended the first two classes to benefit from this third class in the series. The learning starts at 6 pm. — April Blake

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