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To-Do List: Socially distanced Columbia arts and entertainment picks (Nov. 25-Dec. 2)

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Comfort Monk's "Gratitude, Vol. II" is available to stream.


Frame x Frame

I’ll let the Frame x Frame Film Club speak for itself. The website describes the monthly virtual happening as “a collaborative project led by laid-off employees of the Columbia Film Society,” the group that runs Columbia’s Nickelodeon Theatre, “with support from previous employees who voluntarily left the organization. We collectively believe that independent film and media is a catalyst for critical dialogue in our community. We want to amplify voices that have historically been oppressed and marginalized in the Midlands of South Carolina, and beyond.” On Nov. 25, they discuss “Skate Kitchen,” which concerns an all-female skateboarding crew. You can watch the film for free (with a library card or university login) at and then view the talk via Frame x Frame’s Youtube page at 6 p.m. Head to for more info. JORDAN LAWRENCE


Comfort Monk’s “Gratitude, Vol. II”

How about a little (more) gratitude this Thanksgiving week? The second volume in the compilation series from local podcast crew Comfort Monk illustrates the valuable connections it’s bringing to our music community. There’s exciting Columbia inclusions — an invigorating jazz revision from indie rock crew Dear Blanca, an enveloping new tune from all-star vocal trio A La Mids — and some heavy hitters from elsewhere — Eddie Shaw of the ’60s’ legendary Monks offers an experimental delight, and cozy North Carolina self-recorder Floating Action also contributes. Stream the collection for free at JORDAN LAWRENCE


“Arcane Carolinas”

Promising an in-depth exploration of “the Carolinas’ folklore, legends, myths, and modern weird,” podcasters Michael G. Williams and Charlie Mewshaw give an off-beat insight into the history and happenings of both North and South Carolina. Episodes dig into the cursed dirt of The Devil’s Tramping Ground, illuminate the Brown Mountain Lights phenomenon and look into Columbia’s own Three-Eyed Man with dry humor and a genuine, infectious curiosity. Oddities abound in this haunted region, and there are few better tour-guides than Williams and Mewshaw to give new life to these old tales. BRYAN C. REED


“Myth of a Colorblind France”

Has France been a haven for Black creatives, or is it a former colonial power steeped in the slave trade and racism? Yes and no, this meandering documentary suggests. While vignettes on Americans like Josephine Baker and writer James Baldwin depict a Gallic society light years removed from Jim Crow, a contemporary account from Franco-Senegalese drummer Karim Touré reveals French abuse directed at Black citizens who trace an African or Caribbean descent. View the film via the Nickelodeon Theatre’s virtual screening room through Dec. 4. Access it for $10 via PAT MORAN


Lights Before Christmas, Holiday Lights on the River

If the family’s getting restless this holiday weekend at home, or you’re just going a little stir crazy while trying to avoid Black (COVID) Friday, why not jump in the car and peek some holiday lights. As November turns to December, two perennial displays are getting into swing. Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo offers such highlights as Santa’s Village and an animated LED story tree through Dec. 23 (through Dec. 30 without Kringle’s hangout), but is closed on Thanksgiving. Admission runs from $10 to $12; visit for more info. Saluda Shoals Park’s Holiday Lights on the River goes from Nov. 27 to Dec. 31, with a train ride through the lights among the available upgrade activities. Admission runs from $20 to $60 per vehicle; more info available at JORDAN LAWRENCE


“Backstage With a Magician”

You may have heard that a magician never reveals his secrets. It turns out that’s a trick, too. In this live-streamed backstage tour, the mysteriously named Noah — no last name — shares interactive magic tricks you can conjure up at home. Then he’ll execute some sleight of hand performed in extreme close up. Patrons will likely be baffled and bedazzled, even though they’ll have every opportunity to make sure nothing’s up the tricksters’ sleeve. Check it out for $25 at PAT MORAN


”The Last Waltz”

It might seem strange to consider The Band’s Scorsese-directed swan-song concert album and documentary as a seasonal film, but there’s always been something autumnal and celebratory about the experience. The guest appearances from the likes of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Neil Young and many more don’t hurt, but it’s really the convivial atmosphere and sense of fellowship that makes it the perfect Thanksgiving Day soundtrack. KYLE PETERSEN


”Barry Jenkins' “Yankee Purple Foxtrot”

This isn't a remix/mash-up as groundbreaking as Danger Mouse's “The Grey Album” or as smartly avant-garde as DARKSIDE's “Random Access Memories Memories,” but sometimes that's really OK. Instead, the “Moonlight” director gently justles and distorts a record that's already a bit disorienting anyway as he croons his own gentle versions of these 11 semi-iconic tunes. There's a certain sort of laptop-karaoke quality to it all, making it deeply relatable to legions of fans who spent most of their time with this album in front of a laptop, headphones on, too. KYLE PETERSEN


”Tower Heist”

Thanksgiving movies are not nearly as numerous at Christmas films, obviously, so it makes sense to cherish the ones that are even passable. “Tower Heist” can be a tad paint-by-numbers in its classic caper format, but it’s nevertheless carried through by its lively pacing and fun, carefree ensemble cast. Plus, it beats watching the actual Macy’s Day Parade by a mile. It’s currently streaming via Hulu. KYLE PETERSEN

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