Tickle Your Funny Bone—Comedy in the Upstate

Tickle Your Funny Bone—Comedy in the Upstate

If laughter is the best medicine, have we got a dose for you! This weekend alone, there are three comedy shows to choose from in Greenville: America’s Got Talent  winner Terry Fator, with an act full of characters and musical impressions, will be at the Peace Center on Friday night; at Comedy Zone Greenville, physical comedian Arnez J—dubbed the “Black Jerry Lewis,” appearing on the Comedy Club Network, his own BET comedy special, and numerous other shows—will perform five shows; and Alchemy Comedy will host Atlanta comic Damon Sumner, who co-hosts the podcast “Forth and Ten.”

Comedy Zone Greenville has more shows on the calendar on upcoming weekends as well, including “In Living Color” cast member Tommy Davidson and Carlos Mencia, whose show “Mind of Mencia” was one of Comedy Central’s strongest original shows. And for more home-grown comedy, Comedy Zone Greenville hosts The Joke Show, a stand-up comedy open mic, every Thursday night.

In addition to its comedy shows in Coffee Underground’s theater, Alchemy offers improv classes for anyone interested in learning the art of sketch comedy—the classes are not at Coffee Underground, but at their training center at 400 Birnie Street. No comedy or theater experience is necessary to begin, but each class is a prerequisite for the next. An added perk is that students get free admission to Alchemy shows!

Sparkle City Improv in Spartanburg performs on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Growler Haus (parental discretion advised), and they offer improv workshops as well. These are somewhat sporadic, and there’s not one on the calendar at the moment, but if you’re interested, follow their Facebook page so you can be alerted when one pops up.

For more home-grown comedy in and around Greenville, check out Stone Grown Comedy, No Expectations Comedy,  and the New South Comedy Festival, which happens every November.

by Sharon Purvis

Small Town, Big Talent—Get In on the Act!

Small Town, Big Talent—Get In on the Act!

Broadway theater in New York City is the pinnacle of success for stage actors who dream of making it big—and there’s no doubt that seeing one of those big city productions is an unforgettable experience. The closest thing to that around here is the traveling Broadway shows at the Peace Center, and those shows are worth seeing if you can get tickets.

Those actors and actresses decided to pursue acting for a living, which is a choice that comes with a lot of sacrifice—there’s no question about that. But there are talented people who stayed in their own communities, too, making different choices but not losing their talent.

For every famous actor or singer who says they got their start singing in their church choir or doing school theater, there are a hundred more who still sing and act beautifully while being teachers and car salesmen and nurses and stay-at-home moms by day. And a lot of those people are acting in plays and musicals right here in the Upstate, giving some really remarkable performances.

I went to see Fun Home put on by the Proud Mary Theatre Company last weekend, which performs in a small space in the West Main Artists’ Co-op in Spartanburg—and in front of a crowd of 50 people or so, the cast performed their lines and songs with every bit as much emotion and nuance as they would have in front of a packed house at a larger theater. Dean, our executive director, took his daughter to see M*A*S*H at the Abbeville Opera House, and they were pulled into the characters’ story as much as they would have been with a traveling Broadway show. My husband, who never thought he would enjoy a musical play, now is the one to suggest that we go see the latest offering at the Spartanburg Little Theatre. And there are lots of other theaters in towns all over our ten counties putting on great shows.

Supporting local theater keeps the arts alive in your community. It’s an affordable evening out. You may see someone you know in a production and get to see a different side of a neighbor or co-worker. You might even be inspired to join the cast or crew yourself! There are a lot of plays listed on our calendar, so why not go check one out this weekend?


Article by Sharon Purvis

Ten at the Top Is Hiring!

Ten at the Top Is Hiring!

Ten at the Top is seeking an individual to serve as Collective Capacity Coordinator.

Job purpose: The mission of Ten at the Top is to foster collaboration and increase collective capacity across the 10-county Upstate SC region around issues that impact economic vitality and quality of life. The Collective Capacity Coordinator is responsible for coordinating, facilitating and implementing meetings, initiatives, activities and programs focused around key regional issues within the five driver areas of the Our Upstate Vision.

Basic Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Minimum of five years of full-time work experience in a professional setting
  • Experience coordinating work groups, volunteers or committees
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office products (Excel, Word, PowerPoint)
  • Writing proficiency (please provide samples)
  • Attention to detail and the ability to produce quality work in a timely manner
  • Ability to manage multiple projects or initiatives at one time
  • Ability to work independently and accomplish tasks with minimal daily supervision
  • Knowledge of South Carolina’s Upstate
  • Strong organizational and customer service skills

Key responsibilities:
1. Coordinate regular meetings, activities and initiatives for task forces and committees around the five driver areas of the Our Upstate Vision.
2. Regularly communicate with task force, committee members and other volunteers.
3. Conduct research related to projects, initiatives and driver areas.
4. Write reports, white papers, summaries and support material as needed.
5. Regularly update web site components with information related to task forces and committees.
6. Facilitate committee and task force meetings.
7. Conduct presentations and represent organization in a professional manner at meetings and community events.
8. Become familiar with key stakeholders within task force areas and across the ten Upstate counties.
9. Flexible schedule that allows for occasional attendance at early morning or late afternoon meetings as well as travel across the Upstate and occasionally to other parts of South Carolina.
10. Writing and coordinating the mailing of correspondence to funding partners and stakeholders across the Upstate.
11. Manage mailing lists including task forces, elected officials, board of directors and other stakeholder groups.
12. Coordinate community workshops and regional forums.
13. Regularly share TATT information through social media.
14. Other duties as assigned by the Executive Director.

Position Information:

  • Full-time 40-hour per week salaried position
  • Salary Range: $40,000-$50,000 (depending on experience and background)
  • Benefits include company health insurance, paid vacation, cell phone stipend and paid holidays
  • Applications will be considered when received until position is filled

Submission Information:

Interested candidates should send cover letter (including specific experience as a capacity builder), resume and support materials by e-mail or standard mail to:
Dean Hybl
Executive Director
Ten at the Top
150 Executive Center Drive, Suite 202
Greenville, SC 29615

The Upstate Embraces Disc Golf Craze

The Upstate Embraces Disc Golf Craze

by Sharon Purvis

Disc golf enthusiasts in the Upstate have no shortage of options to choose from in order to enjoy the sport that has been growing in popularity since the 1970s. As far back as the 1920s, people have been throwing discs at targets in a golf-like game, but it wasn’t until the late 1960s, when a California parks and recreation supervisor petitioned Wham-O, the makers of the Frisbee, to supply discs for a tournament, that the seeds of the sport were planted.

Wham-O executive Ed Headrick took notice of the growing popularity of the game and included it as an event at Frisbee

Photo credit: Glenn Riser

championship meets, and eventually, after patenting the chain baskets that are still used today in disc golf, he left Wham-O to start the Disc Golf Association, a precursor to today’s Professional Disc Golf Association, in 1976.

Forty years later, there are thousands of courses across the U.S., and hundreds more in locations all over the world, including one in Mongolia and another in Togo, West Africa. The discs have developed over the years, evolving from the Frisbees that are thrown in parks and at the beach to smaller, heavier discs that have variations in shape and weight for different kinds of throwing—but with many free courses and minimal equipment investment, disc golf is a sport that can easily be enjoyed by almost anyone.

Here in the Upstate, there are plenty of options for enthusiasts. There are courses and clubs for players of all levels, with the Grand Central Station course in Central being described as the longest and most difficult course in the Upstate. The Upstate Disc Club has involvement at seven courses and nearly 650 members on their Facebook page. The 27-hole Holston Creek course in Inman is the newest course in the region. “It being new and tournament quality, that’s my new favorite,” says Woodruff disc golfer Glenn Riser. “But I also love the Tyger River disc golf course in Reidville and the Pipeline off Canaan [Road] in Spartanburg.”

In addition to the many public courses available, colleges and universities in the region also have courses for intramural teams and recreational play: Furman University in Greenville, USC Upstate in Spartanburg, Clemson (though not officially sanctioned by the university) as well as the Clemson University Outdoor Lab in Pendleton, Wofford College in Spartanburg, Erskine College in Due West, and Lander University in Greenwood.

No matter where you live in the Upstate, a course is bound to be close by. If you’re already an enthusiast, challenge yourself with a new course, or get started on a course near home. In addition to the courses already mentioned, here are some other Upstate courses:

photo credit: Bret Moore

Anderson County:

Mountain View Park Disc Golf Course at 298 Mountain View Lane in Clemson

The Trails Disc Golf Course at 3027 Martin Luther King Blvd. in Anderson



Greenville County:

Century Park Disc Golf Course at 330 Brushy Creek Road in Greer

Gower Park on Evelyn Avenue in Greenville

Holmes Park at Holly Street and Mayfair Lane in Greenville

Simpsonville City Park at 149 Park Drive in Simpsonville

Laurens County:

Laurens County Park at 1 Recreational Park Road in Laurens

The Firecracker at Fountain Inn Elementary at 608 Fairview Street in Fountain Inn

Oconee County:

Shaver Recreation Center at West South 4th Street and Ploma Drive in Seneca

Photo credit: Chad Knight

Tamassee DAR School at 9695 North Hwy. 11 in Tamassee

Chattooga Belle Farm at 454 Damascus Church Road in Long Creek

Sertoma Field off of North Catherine Street/Pickens Hwy in Walhalla

Pickens County:

Easley High School Disc Golf at 154 Green Wave Blvd. in Easley

Foothills Disc Golf Course at Walkers Way in Easley

Spartanburg County:

Edwin M. Griffin Preserve at 1083 Woodburn Road in Spartanburg

Tyger River Park at 195 Dillard Road in Duncan

The Pipeline at 551 Old Canaan Road in Spartanburg

Shoally Creek at 591 McMillan Blvd./Val Du Mar McMillan Park in Boiling Springs

USC Upstate on North Campus Boulevard

Photo credit: Glenn Riser

1 Million Cups

1 Million Cups

by Dewey Evans

A million cups of coffee – that’s what, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, connects entrepreneurs in over 180 communities in the United States to the resources and solutions needed to help start or grow their business ventures.

1 Million Cups (1MC) is a program of the Kauffman Foundation, which seeks to “fulfill its mission to educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs with their communities.” Three communities, of the aforementioned 180+, are here in Upstate SC. Anderson, Greenville, and Spartanburg counties regularly host local gatherings of entrepreneurs and their support networks.

The format is simple: Each month, entrepreneurs present their ideas and startup companies to their local ecosystem partners in hopes of gaining valuable feedback on how to best grow their business.

“The essence of an entrepreneurial ecosystem,” as defined by the Kauffman Foundation, “is its people and the culture of trust and collaboration that allows them to interact successfully. The ecosystem allows for the fast flow of talent, information, and resources so that entrepreneurs can quickly find what they need at each stage of growth. As a result, the whole is greater than the sum of its separate parts.”

Typically, each 1MC gathering sees one to two entrepreneurial presentations, followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience. The benefit here is two-fold. First, entrepreneurs are able to gain genuine feedback regarding their ideas at no cost. Secondly, the community is made aware of new business activity and how they are able to best support their local entrepreneurs.

Erin Ouzts, director of VentureSouth and community organizer for 1MC Spartanburg, had this to say regarding the program:

“1 Million Cups is like a workout for startups: entrepreneurs talk about the challenges of the heaving lifting and their goals. The audience is the spotters and coaches, challenging the founders to approach problems differently and cheering them on with connections and leads.

“In the 1.5 years we have been meeting, the audience has grown in their ability to ask questions that get to the heart of the founders’ problems and expanded their ecosystem of connections and support for our startups.”

As the Upstate continues to develop its reputation and capacity for entrepreneurial success, it is crucial that we have programs such as 1 Million Cups to champion this cause. The onramps (access points) for entrepreneurs to enter the ecosystem must become smoother and be available to all Upstate citizens, regardless of their background.

To get involved with a 1 Million Cups event in the Upstate, attend one of the next gatherings:

1MC – Anderson

Meets weekly on Wednesdays in the Anderson Community.

1MC – Greenville

Meets the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 4:00 p.m. at the Clemson MBA Program in Greenville.

1MC – Spartanburg

Meets the 1st Wednesday of each month at Ciclops Cyderi and Brewery in Spartanburg.


Please visit the Upstate Business Ecosystem Resource Map to find ecosystem partners in your area.

Do you or your organization provide support to entrepreneurs or small businesses in the Upstate? Consider joining TATT’s Entrepreneur Support Providers Network on March 20th, 2019 for our first workshop of the year. The network will be reviewing lessons learned in 2018 and looking ahead to building the regional awareness and capacity during 2019. Register here for the March 20th workshop.

Senior Issues Group Hosts First Workshop About Lifelong Learning in the Upstate

Senior Issues Group Hosts First Workshop About Lifelong Learning in the Upstate

On February 7th, Ten at the Top’s Upstate Senior Issues group reconvened for their first session of the new 2019 Senior Issues Workshop Series.

In September of 2018, the Ten at the Top Senior Issues group convened to discuss goals for 2019. It was determined that moving forward, that this group must be more intentional with their approach to address senior needs collectively. After much conversation, the group decided to move forward with topic-focused meetings that address the top senior needs in our region.

The Appalachian Council of Governments proposed that the group utilize data from their 2018 Senior Needs Assessment, which was conducted in early fall. It was agreed that these topic-focused workshops seek to address the most pressing senior needs that were identified in this assessment. The workshop series will address topics such as food access, transportation, and senior household needs.

The first session was surrounding lifelong learning opportunities in the Upstate. Lifelong learning is an important topic of discussion because studies show that those who are well connected to family, friends, and community are happier and physically healthier, and they live longer than those who are less connected.

Nancy Kennedy from OLLI at Furman led a panel discussion, which included panelists:

  • Jack Hansen, Author, Speaker, OLLI member
  • Andrea Smith, Executive Director & CEO, Senior Action
  • Morgan Jordan, Director, Lifelong Learning at Wofford College

The group engaged in a thoughtful dialogue about lifelong learning and other social engagement opportunities available in the Upstate. They also talked about the challenges of reaching parts of the senior population with these opportunities.

Some of the many opportunities available in these ten counties of the Upstate are:

  • OLLI@Clemson
  • OLLI@Furman
  • Senior Action
  • Lifelong Learning at Wofford
  • Lifelong Learning Institute at Anderson University
  • Lakelands Lifelong Learning Network in Greenwood
  • Community Centers/Senior Centers in many communities
  • Those 60 and older can audit courses at no charge at state colleges, universities, and technical schools.

The goal of these discussions is to raise more awareness than ever before of our seniors in the Upstate and the issues they face on a daily basis. The workshop series is sponsored by Upstate Home Care Solutions and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

To get involved or attend a workshop please contact Adelyn Nottingham at: anottingham@tenatthetop.org