Plus, Here's what to do with your kiddos during spring break.
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🎬 “Hero": A love letter to Columbia
Hero film poster
Part of the film poster for the movie, “Hero.” | Provided by Kevin Bush, Marketing Director of USC’s Department of Theatre and Dance
Local Cinema Studios presents “Hero,” a locally produced feature film, making its debut at The Nick from Thursday, April 4, and running through Thursday, April 18.

This production was directed by filmmaker and USC’s Assistant Professor of Film and Media Performance, Dustin Whitehead, and written by Myles Isreal — an Atlanta-based screenwriter. Viewers can expect a coming-of-age dramedy film that follows Tre, the misfit artist protagonist, as he grapples with unexpected news and embarks on a journey to prove himself as a worthy father.


We challenge you to see how many locations you can recognize around Columbia when watching the movie. | Photo provided by Kevin Bush, the Marketing Director of USC’s Department of Theatre and Dance

How it was made

The film is a product of collaboration between USC, the SC Film Commission, and Local Cinema Studios, as part of the “Get on Set” initiative aimed at nurturing young filmmakers and advancing independent cinema.

In 2022, The Film Commission awarded USC’s Department of Theatre and Dance a $100,000 grant. The funding, combined with additional support from the university, paved the way for the production of “Hero,” providing students with real-world experience in narrative film-making. Bonus: Take a behind-the-scenes look at the film and how it was made.


Behind-the-scenes images of USC students filming “Hero” around Columbia | Photo provided by Kevin Bush, the Marketing Director of USC’s Department of Theatre and Dance

Local connections

Filmed in Columbia during the summer of 2022, “Hero” showcases various scenes from USC’s campus + throughout the region and features a talented cast, including USC students + faculty members.

Director Whitehead shared, “Trains, murals, and music just seem to be a big part of the culture and history of Columbia, so we decided to incorporate them in the film. It is wild to think about because now I cannot imagine “Hero” without all of the beautiful original music, incredible paintings, and the occasional train transition bringing us into the next scene. In a lot of ways, it is a love letter to Columbia.”

“Hero” is hoped to be an inaugural project that is the first of many yearly projects, demonstrating the department’s dedication to helping young filmmakers grow.

Watch the trailer and then purchase tickets on The Nick’s website.
Tuesday, April 2
  • Silent Book Club | Tuesday, April 2 | 6-8 p.m. | Graduate Hotel, 1619 Pendleton St., Columbia | Free | No discussion is required but will be available before and after a silent reading hour.
Wednesday, April 3
  • Nom Nom Namaste — a Celebration of Health and Wellness | Wednesday, April 3 | 12:30 p.m. | Good Life Cafe, 1216 Taylor St., Columbia | $10 | Guests will receive a small smoothie and a bite to eat.
  • Plink, Rattle, Toot! Words Meet Music: Jazz Edition | Wednesday, April 3 | 3-4 p.m. | Richland Library Main, 1431 Assembly St., Columbia | Free | Ms. Leslie from the Children’s Room and musicians from Cola Jazz bring together picture books and jazz music for an unforgettable performance.
  • Watch Freely: A Spring-Break Mix Up: Wish | Wednesday, April 3 | 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. | Richland Library Southeast, Southeast Social Meeting Lab 1, 7421 Garners Ferry Rd., Columbia | Free | Partake in movies, games, arts and crafts, and music during spring break.
  • Gamecocks Softball vs. Winthrop Eagles | Wednesday, April 3 | 6 p.m. | Carolina Softball Stadium At Beckham Field, 1318 Heyward St., Columbia | $7 | Root for the Gamecocks as they take on the Winthrop Eagles at home.
Thursday, April 4
  • Midlands Clay Arts Society Spring Sale | Thursday, April 4-Saturday, April 6 | Times vary | Stormwater Studios, 413 Pendleton St., Columbia | Free | Local ceramic artists will showcase their sculptural, functional, and whimsical wheel-thrown and hand-built ceramic art.
  • First Thursday: Peak Drift Patio Party | Thursday, April 4, Thursday, May 2 | 5 p.m. | Smoked, 1643 Main St., Columbia | Free | Indulge in meticulously crafted dishes + an elegant ambiance, enhanced by live music and soft lighting.
Friday, April 5
  • Live at Loveland | Friday, April 5 | 6:30-8:30 p.m. | Loveland Coffee, 7475 Carlisle St., Irmo | Free | Enjoy listening to talented musicians + connecting with the community.
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Try This
Give your wardrobe a seasonal refresh at Icon on Taylor
Icon on Taylor.jpeg
Whether you’re shopping for yourself or someone else, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. | Photo by Jessica Hunt Photography
New season, new looks. If you’re searching for springtime staples and resort-ready pieces, look no further than Icon on Taylor — a local, woman-owned boutique located in the heart of downtown (1218 Taylor St.) that encourages each shopper to “be their own icon.”

What we tried:

We took a trip to the store, which shares a building with Good Life Cafe, (read: perfect for a quick smoothie or juice so you can sip + shop, or grab lunch after your shopping trip) for a wardrobe revamp.

The store is filled with unique, trendy pieces whether you’re looking for outfits for your next afternoon brunch, or something tropical for your next vacay. Plus, it has a rotating selection of timeless jewelry, vintage + sustainable handbags (more on that later), and seasonal finds that will keep you coming back.
News Notes
  • Columbia College appointed Jake Deer as the inaugural Men’s Basketball Coach for the Fall 2024 season. With 21 years of collegiate athletics experience, Deer comes from Point University, achieving notable success, including a conference championship.
  • Shop ‘til you drop at the Midlands Plant and Flower Festival, happening on Saturday, April 13 at 114 Riverchase Ct., Lexington from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The annual plant sale focuses on blooming perennials, grasses, and smaller blooming shrubs or trees. Pro tip: Shop native plant books at All Good Books.
  • The Columbia Fireflies will host a Meet the Team event on Wednesday, April 3 at Segra Park. Fans can watch the team practice, get autographs, and enjoy food + beverages. Gates open at 5 p.m. for on-field workouts and batting practice, with autograph sessions from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 pm.
Try This
  • Germany’s Great Bavarian Circus debuts at the SC State Fairgrounds and will run from Friday, April 5 through Sunday, April 21, combining Oktoberfest vibes with circus thrills. Experience Bavarian treats and a vibrant show with European performers, clowns, and more.
  • SCDOT will conduct its annual “Spring Spruce Up” statewide highway litter cleanup event on Thursday, April 4. SCDOT employees and volunteers will work together to collect litter along highways across the state. Motorists are urged to drive carefully near clean-up crews + ongoing road work.
  • Dave Canales on the latest with the Carolina Panthers + interest in a Stephon Gilmore reunion. Go beyond the scoreboard and behind the scenes of the Carolina Panthers with Locked On’s daily, team-focused podcasts.
The 12th Annual Tartan Day South celebration
Tartan Day South Festival in Columbia, SC
Tartan Day South Festival in Columbia | Photo by @gocola
The 12th Annual Tartan Day South celebration returns this week, running from Thursday, April 4 through Sunday, April 7. Tartan Day South celebrates Celtic culture + heritage in the Midlands and supports the River Alliance.

The main event is in Cayce at the Historic Columbia Speedway on Saturday. Other free and paid events are held in West Columbia, Cayce, and Lexington.

Event lineup

Thursday, April 4 | The Tartan Day South Kick-Off Party | Steel Hands Brewing, 2350 Foreman St., Cayce | 7 p.m.

Friday, April 5 | The Celtic Concert | Icehouse Amphitheater, 107 West Main St., Lexington | 6 p.m.

Saturday, April 6 | Highland Games & Celtic Festival + Drumsmoke | The Historic Columbia Speedway, 2001 Charleston Hwy, Cayce | Events begin at 9 a.m.

Sunday, April 7 | The Kirkin’ of the Tartans | The West Columbia Riverwalk Amphitheater, 109 Alexander Rd., West Columbia | 11 a.m.
The Buy
Pvolve’s signature equipment bundle — the low impact, clinically-backed exercise method is a great way to work out from home, and the bundle helps you get started. It comes with a month of free classes and includes (bonus) some of Jennifer Aniston’s favorite pieces of equipment.
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The Wrap
Samantha Robertson in a white shirt and grey vest Today’s edition by:
From the editor
We know many of your kiddos may be on spring break, so if you find yourself wanting to get out of the house, check out our kid-friendly activities guide, highlighting the best kid-friendly activities that Cola has to offer — complete with art classes, animal encounters, and outdoor fun.
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