Otis Taylor’s Picks of the Week

March 1, 2013 

6:30 tonight: The Big Read at Allen University. The school is participating in The Big Read, a National Endowment for the Arts program that seeks to stimulate that absorption of the written word. The school’s program, “Pulling in the Horizon: Celebrating Zora Neale Hurston’s book Their Eyes Were Watching God,” will be presented in Columbia, Sumter and the Lowcountry in 31 events. The keynote speaker at tonight’s kickoff is Michelle Martin, USC’s Augusta Baker Chair in Childhood Literacy. The school’s jazz ensemble will perform. Events run through March 30. The school is at 1530 Harden St. For more on the program, visit www.allenuniversity.edu/academics/big-read-program/.

8 tonight and Saturday: Ricky Young and Ty Bates at Tin Roof. Ricky Young, a Columbia native and former USC baseball player, has teamed with Ty Bates for the Honky Tonkin’ University Tour. Tin Roof is at 1022 Senate St.; www.tinroofbars.com/Home/Columbia or (803) 771-1558

8 tonight: Rickey Smiley at Township Auditorium. Rickey Smiley, a standup comedian turned radio host known for his elaborate prank calls, was supposed to perform Jan. 19. He postponed, I hear, to work on the show some more. Smiley rose to fame from appearances on BET’s “Comic View” and HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam.” Like Steve Harvey, Smiley has found a place on radio. His syndicated morning show is heard on WHXT-FM Hot 103.9. The Township is at 1703 Taylor St. $43.50-$52.50; (803) 576-2350 or www.thetownship.org

8 tonight: Sandy Hook benefit at Conundrum Music Hall. Daddy Lion, the bedroom-pop band helmed by Jeremy Joseph, likes to host benefit concerts for various charities. The beneficiary will be the United Way’s Sandy Hook School Support Fund. The Restoration, Company and Youngster also will perform. Good music paired with a good cause. Conundrum is at 626 Meeting St., West Columbia. $10; www.conundrum.us

9 tonight: The Lander University Jazz Ensemble at Speakeasy. The 23-person ensemble, directed by Robert Gardiner, will perform by Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus, among others. After the ensemble plays, there will be a jam session featuring Mark Rapp, Nick Brewer, Reggie Sullivan and Jeff Elmore. Speakeasy is at 711 Saluda Avenue. Free; (803) 255-0869

10 a.m. Saturday: South Carolina Cornbread Festival. The South Carolina Cornbread Festival will be held from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday on the 2800 block of Main Street, at the corner of Main and Newman streets. Taste competition cornbread that will be judged by celebrity chef Melba Wilson, who is known for her soul food. J. Anthony Brown, a Columbia native who is a co-host on the nationally syndicated “Tom Joyner Morning Show,” will be the festival’s grand marshal. The Mobros, Men of Distinction, The Fantastic Shakers, The Finesse Band and Chairmen on the Board will perform. Also: there will be a classic car and bike show, free health screenings and more. Free; www.sccornbreadfestival.com

5 p.m. Saturday: Ancient Order of Hibernians annual Ceili at the American Legion Hall. The Ceili, a traditional Gaelic social gathering, will feature Celtic music, Irish dancing and food. Of course there will be kilts, too. The hall is at 200 Pickens St. $5 in advance, $10 at the door; www.aohcolumbia.org

6 p.m. Saturday: Verlon Thompson at the Little Yellow Music House. Cathy Stayman’s Little Yellow Music House concert series is the go-to spot for house for Americana and folky songwriters. That’s smart; she brings the concerts she wants to see to her living room. This will be the first time seeing Verlon Thompson, a songwriter whose songs you might’ve heard listening to Jimmy Buffett, Alan Jackson and Randy Travis, among others. Thompson also spent a lot of time playing with Guy Clark, so you know he’s got the chops. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the pot luck. Bring your own beverage. With Elizabeth Cameron. $15; (803) 309-0214, littleyellowmusichouse@yahoo.com or http://verlonthompson.eventbrite.com/

7 p.m. Saturday: Le Bal Du Moulin Rouge at the Columbia Museum of Art. The museum’s black-tie gala will invoke Paris. There will be specialty cocktails and French-inspired cuisine. Performers include The Reggie Sullivan Band, the South Carolina Contemporary Dance Company and the USC Dance Company in the Moulin Rouge Theatre. The museum is at Main and Hampton streets. $150; columbiamuseum.org/gala or call (803) 799-2810

8 p.m. Saturday: Lorrie Morgan at Newberry Opera House. Lorrie Morgan has had a turbulent personal life which has, at times, overshadowed her music career. But that’s what happens when relationships — former Dallas quarterback Troy Aiken; actor and former presidential candidate Fred Thompson; multiple marriages — become tabloid fodder that is not entirely based on facts. Morgan has persevered in part because she has some country music gems in her catalog, including chart-toppers “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength,” “Five Minutes” and “What Part of No.” The opera house is at 1201 McKibben St., Newberry. (803) 276-6264 or www.newberryoperahouse.com

8 p.m. Tuesday: Helen Reddy at Newberry Opera House. Helen Reddy, often referred to as the queen of ’70s pop, is best known for her hit “I Am Woman.” Don’t forget “Angie Baby” and “Delta Dawn.” And “You’re My World” and “Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress).” “I Am Woman” earned Reddy a Grammy Award, making her the first Australian to take home a trophy. More importantly, the song became a feminist anthem. To end her acceptance speech, Reddy thanked God for what she had made possible. $60

9 p.m. Thursday: Justin Jones at Conundrum Music Hall. According to a post on his website, Justin Jones, an Americana singer, had to cancel more than 10 tour dates after falling and breaking a rib. Appropriately, he’s on the “I Can Feel It” tour. The first date back is at Conundrum. With Rachel Kate and Say Brother. $5

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