JAZZING IT UP
Last Saturday, locals Karen Chandler, Jack McCray, and the Charleston Jazz All Stars, led by CJI composer, arranger, and band leader Quentin Baxter — all of them representatives from the Charleston Jazz Initiative — performed a multimedia presentation at the New York Hilton for the esteemed International Association for Jazz Education's annual conference. The 50-minute session featured a slideshow as well as a (presumably more energetic) performance of two numbers highlighting Charleston's native jazz musicians. "Corner Pocket" was written by Count Basie's rhythm guitarist, Charlestonian Freddie Green, and attendees also heard an original written by Baxter in honor of William Blake, a music teacher at the famed "Charleston jazz nursery" Jenkins Orphanage during the turn of the 19th century, titled "Brother Blake." The Jazz Initiative, a collaborative effort of CofC's Arts Management Program and the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, took a big step forward with the New York appearance in bringing to light the contributions our city has made in the advancement of jazz since in the late 1800s. Keep up the good work, guys. — Neal Sakash
COLUMBIANS HAVE NO TRUCK WITH MUSEUMS
It's no secret that Columbia residents aren't the most culturally enlightened Americans, but city officials seem to think the fault lies not with Columbians but with an altogether too narrow definition of "culture." On Jan. 29, the South Carolina State Museum will open its newest ennobling exhibit, Monster Trucks: The Science of Extreme Machines. The exhibition will offer museum visitors a hormone-injected rendition of high school shop class while also explaining the mechanics behind the loud lowbrow attraction. In a press release, curator Tom Falvey struggles to elevate the exhibit by pointing to the "science" underlying the redneck motor sport (to which we can only reply that a pig in a dress is still a pig). The exhibit features the trucks "Grave Digger" and "Hot Wheels"; highlights include viewing the museum floor from a 12-foot-high driver's seat and the chance to turn a 66" "Tera Tire" by hand.
Further, the exhibit is expected to edify museum-goers with a whole section devoted to the clarification of such monster truck terminology as "dry hop" and "gription." Ironically, the exhibit will open the same weekend as Norman Rockwell's America closes, offering a gentler representation of country life. What next? Let us be the first to suggest either a gushing paean to hobbit cottage artist Thomas Kinkade or an exhibit on the physics of cow tipping. —NS