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To-Do List: Socially distanced Columbia arts and entertainment picks (April 21-28)

Tammaka Staley - to do.jpg

Tammaka Staley and THE Dubber perform at the Richland Library's Poetry in the Garden event this week.


Discussion, poetry and music from Richland Library

The Richland Library is more than your average local library, and it shows it once again this week with two compelling events. The first is Let's Talk Race: A Conversation with Dr. Monique Morris, an online event that will feature the author of “Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools” (for which she also co-wrote and executive produced a corresponding PBS documentary) and “Sing a Rhythm, Dance a Blues: Education for the Liberation of Black and Brown Girls.” The timely talk takes place at 6:30 p.m. on April 22, and is free to access after you register at The second event is Poetry in the Garden at the Hampton-Preston Mansion, a program celebrating National Poetry Month that will, per a press release, accentuate “words, rhythm and music.” This is easy to believe given the involvement of two standout local artists, local poet Tammaka Staley (the library’s current artist-in-residence) and genre-hopping singer-songwriter THE Dubber (a former artist-in residence). The April 23 offering goes from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and is free to attend. JORDAN LAWRENCE


Cola Concerts

Cola Concerts, the socially distanced series at the newly upgraded Columbia Speedway Entertainment Complex, continues its impressive spring lineup with two concerts this week. The first is on April 23 and features two groups of tried-and-true Southern-rocking road warriors in Georgia’s Blackberry Smoke (which will play ahead of the May release of its seventh album, “You Hear Georgia”) and the Magnolia State’s own North Mississippi Allstars. The 7 p.m. show costs $32.50. The second concert is on April 25 and brings the smoldery brass pipes of stalwart country chanteuse Wynonna Judd, who finally gets to play the gig she was originally supposed to play last fall. That 6 p.m. show costs between $41.25 and $56.26. Both shows are sold by the roped-off seating cove, so you’ll have to pay for at least four tickets to get in. Find out more at JORDAN LAWRENCE


The Reggie Sullivan Band/Hankfest/Beat on the Brats

There’s ample opportunity to catch some local music outdoors this week, too. The Lexington Live series at the Icehouse Amphitheater is once more lighting up Thursday nights, and this week The Reggie Sullivan Band, who bring an ever-enticing blend of rock ‘n’ roll swagger, funk adventurousness and jazz precision, takes the stage on April 22 at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. More info is available at Closer to downtown is the Hankfest on April 23, which finds harmonious married duos Admiral Radio and Kelley & Brodie Porterfield, and talented combo Parkers Back taking on the tear-stained classics of country legend Hank Williams. That show is also free and starts at 6:30 p.m. Find out more at At Granby Grill’s Beat on the Brats — which is on April 24, not April 17 as I mistakenly wrote in last week’s Free Times — the five-act lineup is highlighted by Wombat Junction (which filters ’90s indie rock through a rootsier lens) and Harry & the Hootenannies (who indulge disparate inflections from prog to folk that very much earn their claim, “We don't believe in ‘genre.’ We only believe in Hoots”). The event is also a stop on local brewery Bierkeller Columbia’s spring tour around various Midlands locations, with a biergarten to enjoy their ever-refreshing German lagers. Granby Grill provides brats and pretzels. The event goes from noon to 6 p.m., and admission is free. Find out more at JORDAN LAWRENCE

[Update: Beat on the Brats is postponed until May 22 due to inclement weather.]



The cosmic romance at the heart of Nick Payne's play connects theoretical physics to everyday life. Neurotic academic Marianne and taciturn beekeeper Roland meet and fall in love – or they don’t. Like all of us, Marianne and Roland reside in the multiverse where at any moment, several outcomes can coexist simultaneously. For Payne, contemplating string theory is a brain teaser that never loses touch with humanity. The University of South Carolina production runs from April 22 to 25. Tickets cost $10. Find out more info at PAT MORAN


Columbia Baroque

Columbia Baroque, the area’s foremost chamber ensemble composed of leading Baroque music specialists, teachers and soloists, ends their online spring concert series with special guests David Cutler on piano and William Douglas on organ. The ensemble will perform compositions by François Couperin, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Marin Marais and more, ending their season on an appropriately elegant note. The April 23 performance is free and begins at 7 p.m. on Columbia Baroque’s YouTube channel. More info available at VINCENT HARRIS


USC Student Choreography Showcase

USC’s dance program will have an extended moment in the spotlight this weekend with its Student Choreography Showcase, a virtual concert directed by USC dance instructor Olivia Waldrop. Eleven works spanning three to five minutes each will be featured in the virtual concert, and other than the time limit, and the required COVID-19 safety protocols, the choreographers were to create their own routines, following their respective muses and embracing “screendance,” a fusion of choreography and cinematography, as its own art form. Showtimes are 7 p.m. on April 23 and 2 p.m. April 24-25. To reserve your virtual seats and get the streaming link, visit VINCENT HARRIS


Chaye Alexander Live at Boyd Plaza: The Rhythmic Jazz Experience

Spring is in the air at Boyd Plaza — and so is the music of Nina Simone, George Benson, The Beatles, Miles Davis and more. Presented and hosted by Chaye Alexander, owner of the popular West Columbia performance venue Chayz Lounge, the outdoor concert features jazz along with jazzed-up pop and soul played with passion by vocalist Beth Inabinett and The SC SoulJazz Collective. Tickets range from $20 to $100 for the 3 p.m. concert on April 25. Find out more at PAT MORAN


Melrose Art in the Yard

As we begin to contemplate a post-pandemic life, it’s worth considering what we can keep from our crazy new lifestyles from the past year. Let’s add the series of front yard-centric art and crafts crawls to the “keep” column. The latest of these season-perfect events is being held in the Melrose Heights neighborhood from noon to 4 p.m. on April 25, centered around 1313 Shirley St. Pick up some cool art with the rest of that stimulus check, maybe? Find more info at KYLE PETERSEN


Uptown Hip-Hop Throwdown: ATL Edition

The Uptown Hip-Hop Throwdown: ATL Edition at Curiosity Coffee Bar is a kaleidoscope of Atlanta-hip-hop-based media and merch, featuring DJ Liv spinning the best ATL-based beats and rhymes, ATL Easy Ale from the Atlanta brewery Wild Heaven and vendors Turntable City, Soda Clothing Co., Swiff Brands, Screened Out Printers, Pannerpete Vintage Carters Candles & Co slinging the hippest vinyl, T-shirts and more. The Throwdown, presented by the Earlewood Community Citizens Organization, is free and runs from 5 to 8 p.m. on April 28. Visit for more info. VINCENT HARRIS


Talk It Out: The Spark Collective at the Columbia Museum of Art

The collaborative mixed-instrumental new music ensemble Spark Collective tends to come up with some pretty innovative and fun approaches to classical music anyway, so pairing them with the Columbia Museum of Art and Boyd Plaza for a free event in the fresh spring air is kind of a no-brainer. This hour-long concert of eclectic music for flute, saxophone, double bass, piano and percussion will feature limited seating and standing room in accordance with physical distance guidelines and face masks will be required. The free performance starts at 5 p.m. on April 22. Find out more at columbia KYLE PETERSEN


Punk & Old Time Radio: Conversations on Community, Conflict, and Cohesion with Roberto Coronado 

To appease his religious parents, Roberto Coronado went through a Christian rock phase before kick-starting a punk rock career in Chicago. But Coronado’s come-to-Jesus moment didn’t arrive until he moved to Madison, Wisconsin and met legendary street musician Catfish Stephenson. After learning about life and the power of traditional music from Stephenson, Coronado’s had remarkable adventures, busking across the USA, and riding the rails like Woody Guthrie. He’ll discuss all this on the McKissick Museum’s weekly WUSC radio show on April 22 at 2 p.m. Find out more info at PAT MORAN

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