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Monday, October 31, 2011


Clarion Content political cartoonist and resident New Bruinswick philosopher, Storey Clayton, walks us through the occupation, eviscerating the media myths behind it. Why have people occupied? What has changed? From whence did they come?

Storey dredges his personal memory to deposit us all, readers and editors alike, in a profoundly thoughtful place. What might Occupy mean? Where might Occupy go? This piece doesn't have all the answers, but it will surely leave you reexamining the questions.

It is long, but very, very worth it---Ed.

Read more of Storey Clayton's work here at the Blue Pyramid
. Check out the insights of his famous cartoon Duck and Cover, here on the Clarion Content.


I used to counsel “emotionally disturbed” kids in a group home, the Seneca Center. That was my occupation. We used this system generally known as “behavior modification” whereby we rewarded good behavior and punished (to a degree) bad behavior, usually by changing the meter on what kinds of activities someone could do. There were behavioral levels someone would start out on in the morning based on their behavior the previous day. They were color-coded, running red, yellow, green, and then purple and finally gold, which could only be earned after sequential days on purple. For example, you couldn’t watch TV on red. You couldn’t watch TV after dinner on yellow. On gold, you didn’t have to stand at each doorway announcing yourself and waiting to be permitted to cross a threshold, as long as you told the staff where you were going and responded if they asked you to stop.

There were also behaviors which would warrant an immediate “level drop”. Contrary to my ex-brother-in-law’s assessment, this did not indicate that we would dump a kid off the stairs, but merely that they’d go from yellow to red or gold to purple if they swore or made a threat or tried to make a peer act out. And then violence meant “R&R”, a term I guess we were trying to reclaim for the bad, which would be resolution and restitution in this instance and prompt spending the rest of the day on red, usually after long periods of sitting time to calm down.

A lot of our job, other than navigating and assessing people through the process of earning their levels, was about keeping people motivated to meet their goals and make their level. After all, most of the kids had grown up in households where, de facto if not overtly, bad behavior was rewarded and good behavior was punished. If you were quiet and humble and polite and got your homework done, you’d get neglected. If you set the house on fire and kicked the family dog and yelled and screamed at the table, then you’d get some attention. And in the world of six year-olds whose parents are addicts, any attention is good attention, because it means you get fed or talked to or even physically contacted, even if it’s to be hit.

The hardest part of this engagement and motivation was finding ways to get people on red to believe that tomorrow would be a new day and they’d have some way of climbing out of their bad level. Often they’d be on red after spending significant portions of the day in R&R, which meant no points were being earned toward the next day’s level while they were in the quiet room (an Orwellian term if there ever was one) or restraint or sitting staring at a corner thinking about what they’d done. Usually this meant they’d spent the day not only being unstable and unhappy, but they knew that the next day was doomed to be another day on red – that it’d be 36 hours before they could watch TV or even think about going on the computer. And 36 hours is long enough for a well-adjusted adult human – for an anti-social adolescent, it’s an eternity.

One of the things my boss – an ex-drill-sergeant (literally) and college football player the size of a small house with the voice of an irate seal – was very good at was advising us what to do with these kids in these situations. He told us that the key to their motivation and improved behavior was engagement. Keeping them interested, distracted, putting their minds to something. In a word, keeping them occupied. The man was often a blunt instrument, but he had incredible insight into the mindsets of these kids, having worked in mental health facilities like ours and/or juvenile hall for the better part of two decades. And he implored us to, when times were stable, engage and stimulate the kids who were on red with the few activities always allotted to them – playing outside, playing board games, reading, talking with peers or staff. And there, over time, I learned a fundamental truth: that people act out when they’re bored. It’s something to do.

The human mind despises boredom. Probably more than pain, certainly more than sadness. The brain is too complex, too creative, too active, to tolerate monotony and absence of objects. It will create things to think about where none exist, it will foment processes and possibilities in a vacuum. The only antidote to this is another element of our strategy in engaging red-level kids: exhaustion. Playing outside was not only good because it kept someone occupied, focused, and not-bored, but it also meant they came in too tired to create a ruckus. Adolescents have restless unspent energy in the best of times – abuse/neglect victims triply so. A kid who comes in tired from his day will be disinclined to take offense at a peer’s comment or a staff direction to a time-out. One who has nothing but seething surging energy beneath the surface will be ready to rumble.

This difference of exhaustion is why so many people can put up with assembly-line jobs or grocery-checking or long commutes, but buckle under the universally feared torture of solitary confinement. The capitalist structure of our country went through a really glorious period of getting humans to willingly accept and even embrace monotonous boredom because the tedium of their jobs created the byproduct of wearing them down. So even if they were getting repetitive stress injuries from twisting the same widget the same way and almost falling asleep from the 3,275th time making the same commute, they would arrive at home too beat to complain about it, having only just enough energy to awaken the next day and do it again. Meanwhile, those confined to small dark boxes alone with little or no exercise were slowly driven insane in their prisons.

Something’s been happening in this country the last three years. People have lost their occupations. No matter how small and crappy and minimally engaging their jobs were, they were still jobs that carried the heavily taxing byproduct of exhaustion. They were still something that took enough mental and physical energy to negate the urge to rebel, to foment discontent, to hold out for something better. But one-by-one and in droves, they were turned out of the opportunity to spend their energy flailing in the capitalist mill and instead made to consider the walls and corners and televisions and want-ads of a solitary existence.

Some have turned to creativity. Some have expanded their minds to accept the lack of occupation as a gift and driven themselves to occupy themselves instead. Most have not. Most people turned out of work by downsizing or offshoring or consolidation or automation have turned forlornly and blankly into an abyss of disinterested blandness. They wake each day not even sure what to do without someone telling them. They wander aimlessly through a directionless day, storebought distractions no longer working for them in light of the fact that they are only sufficiently entertaining or engaging for an exhausted person, but not someone with all their faculties at disposal. No longer exhausted, they become restless, agitated, rumbling with a soul-deep longing for something to do, be, create.

This, my friends, is the fundamental root of the Occupy Wall Street movement. It is the quest for occupation. And despite my framing the question in the context of a job where I tried to modify violent kids’ behavior toward the more productive, I am very much in agreement with the principles and methodology of this budding revolution. The powers that seek to maintain order, stability, and the status quo in America have overlooked some fundamental tenets of how to stave off rebellion by controlling the masses. They have forgotten that bread must join circuses in sufficiently distracting the people, insisting instead on a system which puts bread at a premium as a mechanical rabbit to hold in front of the racers. They have allowed the attitude of those at the top to become perniciously elitist, rubbing superiority and greed in the face of all society. But most fundamentally, they have forgotten that people must have something to do or they will find something to do themselves. That people accept the terms of their social contract when they are too occupied or too tired to read the fine print, when people have nothing else to do but read the fine print because they are so bored, they will realize what they are forfeiting and rail against it.

What is most exciting and inspiring about the Occupy movement is that it does not overtly seek political solutions. Naysayers and corporate threshers want the occupiers to write their Congresspeople and go to the polls, knowing that anyone accessed in such a way has been bought and paid for to the point of complete imperviousness. Even those not explicitly on the payroll of corporate America are believers in the fundamental tenets of a system that rewards greed and punishes altruism, a way of aligning society to maximize the consolidation and stratification of wealth and power. It is blindingly obvious why this is so, as any student of history (from age eight on) could tell you: those in power like being there and will rig the game so they can stay there. And capitalism is one very effectively rigged game.

I myself have struggled mightily with the advent of the Occupy movement, feeling pulled almost inexorably to the front lines of its tent encampments and yet not even setting foot there, as yet, in the wake of my overwhelmed exhaustion at my full-time job. For me, unlike most, it is not the gun-to-my-head need for the pay of a job or even the expected pressure of finding fulfillment in one’s occupation, but rather the true motivation of actually loving my work and wanting to devote sufficient time to it that it brings me to the brink of capitulation and illness. I hung out with Ariel and discovered yesterday that I may be her only friend whose problems wouldn’t be largely or entirely solved by money. Which itself is no small factor in the Occupy movement, that reality. For me, I work because I want to and I love to, but it has thus far kept me off the sidewalks and streets of a rising tide that could sweep the whole world.

It is hard to feel twin obligations that are mutually exclusive and equally compelling. Even at Glide, I think I might have begged out of work to go join the protests, though there I may have felt the pull of alleviating the suffering that was driving so many to this brink. But I also must self-examine and recognize that each marginal person could be part of a tipping point in creating more change in this country than anyone born prior to this year could have imagined was possible. When I first saw the most recent Zeitgeist movie, I chuckled at the slightly naive vision of hordes of people gathering around Wall Street to give their money back in rejection of the system that printed it. Now it’s underway. And it feels wrong to not only not be a part of it, but to not be a spearhead.

And yet it feels like a hedge is in order too. It is unclear the direction or power the movement will have, whether it can be co-opted by money and politics and all the American powers that have resisted internal change before. And throwing away the best job I’ll ever have, one I created from scratch, and all my obligations to people I feel a deep personal bond with, for what could be a week and a jail term depending on how things bounce, seems crazy.

But it only seems crazy because I am occupied. Were I not, it would be the most obvious thing in the world.

I will continue to wrestle and struggle with the question, continue to dance on the razor’s edge of conundrum. I can’t really see myself abandoning everything to go live in the encampments, at least not yet, so the Rutgers debaters reading this should let out their breath. But there’s a big part of me that feels I should anyway. And I know it’s not zero-sum – I know I can go try to participate without sacrificing it all. And I will. More than anything, though, we need to develop a way that people who are occupied can still Occupy. We need a day where everyone who still wants or has to go to work can show their solidarity and support. Sometimes revolutions can’t all involve defection from the military, because they need people in the military to be quietly sympathetic so they can make sure that institution changes with the rest of society. This revolution needs occupied people too in order to make all the changes necessary.

If those on top of this precipitous pyramid know what’s good for them, they will create new incentives and occupations. They will come up with some way to motivate the masses and make use of their time and brains. But it can’t be through capitalism, at least the way it’s been manifest in society so far. The market is editing out jobs, ensuring they never return. We need a new system to occupy our minds. Until then, we must occupy the streets.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Duck and Cover 10.28.11 

Our thanks to "Duck & Cover" and creator Storey Clayton.

Check out his other projects, here, at the Blue Pyramid. All ideas and opinions are those of the cartoonist and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Clarion Content.*

*More often than not, we totally agree...

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Duck and Cover 10.27.11 

Our thanks to "Duck & Cover" and creator Storey Clayton.

Check out his other projects, here, at the Blue Pyramid. All ideas and opinions are those of the cartoonist and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Clarion Content.*

*More often than not, we totally agree...

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Scrap Exchange 

A few months back now... The Scrap Exchange just moving into the new space.

Surely Durhamanians know that The Scrap Exchange, an old community stand-by, a veritable institution, has moved to a new location, the Cordoba Center for the Arts. But have you been there yet? Have you given a thought to just what a valuable, local resource it is? Ask yourself, is it really a coincidence that we have the kind of creative, burgeoning artistic community that we do here in Durham? What Durham is, it is built on what Durham was.

Clarion Content Arts & Culture columnist, Cady Childs, digs deeper into the story, reminding us, pooling our collective recollections with the latest news about what's going on at 923 Franklin Street, Durham, 27701.

Keep an eye out for her upcoming piece on another Durham institution that has moved into the Cordoba Center, Liberty Arts.


As a child, if I made it through a trip to Northgate Mall with my parents without spending too long drooling over carousel globes and sparkly shoes, my reward was always a $5 grab bag at The Scrap Exchange store. Bins taller than I was, filled with millions of metallic scraps of paper, plastic nozzles and keyboard keys, floppy disks and pieces of fabric, bins full of the ideas rolling around my bright little mind that hadn’t brought themselves to fulfillment till I stepped in to the store. I couldn’t widen my eyes enough.

Now, The Scrap Exchange, owned by Ann Woodward, is located in the new Cordoba Center for the Arts, next door to East Durham’s Golden Belt, with space for studios, free workshops, and enough aisles and raw materials to seed and yield more projects than could fit into most childhoods.

“The expanse really shows how materials can occupy the space in so many different ways,” Woodward, who manages over thirty employees in the new location, said. The shelf behind her built from dozens of old VHS tapes stacked like bricks certainly flourished her point.

Since the original relocation in mid-June, the Scrap Exchange has been spreading it’s fingers and stretching it’s limbs more and more into the new opportunities provided by such a massive building.

Among the new projects and endeavors Woodward has been putting together is a woodworking shop, with classes taught by local artisans and a tool library free to the public, as well as craft workshops, often lead by Woodward herself. An artist’s marketplace, featuring over sixty local artists using reused, sustainable pieces provides retail space for craftsmen, as well as examples, for those of who aren’t sure where to start.

These endeavors give Durham residents a chance to experience, first-hand, how far their imagination and inspiration can truly go.

“There is so much potential in the world of reuse as a job creator,” Woodward said. “It is an unlimited opportunity in so many ways, individuality, resources, the environment. It’s a big resource to any community.”

The importance of reuse and the creativity it brings is clear to patrons of Scrap Exchange, both young and old.

“From the containers I use in my garden to the wreath on my door, I was able to build it out of what I got at the Scrap Exchange, “ Amber Crews, Durham resident, said. “Whether you are looking for materials for collages, fabric scraps, buttons, or just some inspiration, they have it all.”

The creative opportunities in these multifarious mediums are certainly motivating to anyone artistically inclined, but to a child’s eyes these items simply are more pliable, more malleable, more cross-applicable, one’s artistic inclination in adulthood is shaped by these kinds of memories.

“Scrap Exchange gives a question to kids in Durham that every child should be asked,” said Eli McDuffee, lead singer of Durham band, LiLa, “They said ‘Here are the objects---now tell me what you want to make out of this.’ It can be whatever you want, but it’s got to be all you.”

The creative stimuli in the air between the walls of The Scrap Exchange's new location is so strong you can smell it as soon as you walk in the door. On the way out, a small girl in a tie-dyed tank top and cut off pink shorts sits on the ground, sorting buttons into piles of similar shapes, holding each one inches from her eye, clasped tightly between her fingers, taking in their character fully before filtering them into their respective genre. Though we don’t know yet what she’s making, even she may not, we know what Woodward and The Scrap Exchange are helping her build- an outlet for her young mind to speak through. I can’t help but remember I used to have almost the exact same shorts when I was her age.

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Duck and Cover 10.26.11 

Our thanks to "Duck & Cover" and creator Storey Clayton.

Check out his other projects, here, at the Blue Pyramid.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Duck and Cover 10.25.11 

Our thanks to "Duck & Cover" and creator Storey Clayton.

Check out his other projects, here, at the Blue Pyramid.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Durham triumphant! 

Painting by Diana Ciompi from "Homegrown: under 35" at the Craven Allen Gallery, photo courtesy of Scenes from my Lunch Hour."

What a weekend for the Durham arts and culture scene! It was vibrant, exciting, invigorating and inspiring. Friday, when the Clarion Content rolled up to the Carrack Gallery at 111 West Parrish Street for the PoPuP 3 art show, they were literally hanging out of the windows. Cars of Durhamanians, young and old, were spilling their passengers on to the street.

We took the long walk back down the hallway and up the stairs to the second floor to discover a room bursting with people, burbling with sound. Joyous expressions and happy murmurs were everywhere. Not the least, on the faces of Adrian Schlesinger, the organizer of PoPuP 3, and Laura Richie, the director of the Carrack Gallery. It was their doing, their combined efforts that brought us and this crowd here.

And here we were, on what mere months ago, might have been accurately described as lowly, West Parrish Street. Now on a beautiful Fall Friday Durham's art scene was here, as they say, "blowing up." An all ages crowd delighted in the works from more than twenty local artists. The PoPuP 3, like all the PoPuP art exhibits, was a fundraiser. All of the artists donated a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of their works. The Carrack is a commission free space so these donations are crucial to keeping the gallery open. (Even the cash box was being run by a brave art-loving volunteer.)

We in Durham know well the slogan, "Arts creates jobs." The Carrack Gallery and the vibe it has brought to sleepy West Parrish Street is the proof in the pudding. Peter's Design Works is now selling its wears just up the block. Loaf Bakery, known from the Durham Farmer's Market, is reportedly opening beneath the Carrack. The boarded-up building across the street suddenly has a sold sign across its frontage.

And that was just Friday night...

Saturday the Clarion Content ventured just up the block from our Broad Street offices to the Craven Allen Gallery and another celebration of Durham arts and culture. Here sixteen homegrown in Durham, under thirty-five artists were opening an exhibit. This exhibit and the theme generated tons of press from the old stand-bys, like the fishwrap: the News & Observer and the Herald Sun, to new media like the Clarion Content and Durham Magazine, to Durham institutions using new channels to express their delight. Durham Public Schools has a Twitter feed! And they proudly tweeted about sixteen of their alumni showing their works.

Much like the PoPuP 3, "Durham Homegrown: under 35" was wall to wall with Durhamanians when we arrived. An all ages crowd sipped white wine, and under their breath could be heard the repeated whisper, in voices that combined pride and wonder, "Durham." It was in Durham and of Durham. Even the subject matter, from rural northern Durham County farmers fields to street scenes from Watts-Hillandale, was this place, our town. And the 21/2 degrees of separation that we love to brag about in our community was clearly in evidence, as hugs and smiles were shared, while acquaintances were made and renewed.

Unlike the one night explosion of artistic energy that is PoPuP, where we at the Clarion Content, like you dear readers, have to wait for the word from Ms. Schlesinger about her next conquest for charity and the arts, "Durham Homegrown: under 35" runs through November 26th at the Craven Allen Gallery at 11061/2 Broad Street. So if you missed the opening Saturday, you still have plenty of time to check out the work. It will resonate with you, Durham.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Craven Allen opens Homegrown under 35 

Artist Jeff Israel...all photos courtesy of Scenes from my Lunch Hour

This Friday, October 21st, Craven Allen Gallery, on Broad Street, opens a show called “Homegrown-Under 35 “ featuring sixteen young artists who all built their foundations in the Durham Public Schools.

Helen Griffin, curator of the show, was the art teacher at Riverside High School for over two decades and worked with all of these artists in their educations. “A teacher’s goal is for the students to go beyond what we teach them,” said Griffin, the 2011-2012 recipient of the Durham Art Guild’s Artist-In-Resident Award, “It’s special when you get to see that happen first hand.”

Artists featured in the show include Chris Alton, Harlan Campbell, Diana Ciompi, Mark Coffman, Jermario Couch, Bryan Crabtree, Jeff Israel, Whitney McDonell, Joe McDonough, Hannah Reed, Damian Stamer, Jacob Streilein, Robert Talley, Lizzie Tucker, Tyson Watson and Leigh Werrell.

A reception with the artists and Ms. Griffin, Saturday night from 5 P.M. to 7 P.M., officially kicks off the exhibition, which will be on display through November 26th.

Craven Allen, 11061/2 Broad St....all photos courtesy of Scenes from my Lunch Hour

A quick preview of the works shows a diverse, impressive collection of mixed media, sculpture, photography, painting, and graphic arts. It is a mélange of challenging works befitting the diversity of Durham. The echoes of this place ring true from scenes of Ninth Street institutions in a snowstorm to much more personal memories and iconography. The rich textured array of images, burbled forth from the wellspring of memories in these young minds: Durham.

The artists’ ages range from 18-35, all in different parts of their careers and creative discoveries, much like what is happening in our dear city, the ideas of ‘emerging’ and ‘established’ are becoming interchangeable. The new is rooted in the old. What is would not be possible without what was. Ms. Griffin’s years in the classroom, and her one time students fruits of their labors, bear literal testament to that truth.

The importance of arts education is a more heated topic than ever for our school systems, with the North Carolina General Assembly cutting $800 million from state public school spending this year alone. Arts programs across the state are under fire. A place like Durham, with our institutions and our individuals, is ever more important as a cultural reservoir, valuing, preserving, nurturing the arts in these challenging times.

“These artists are all homegrown- they all came from here, and part of them will always be here,” Griffin said. “It can be hard for artists to find their niche- but Durham will always be home to them.”

Artist Harlan Campbell...all photos courtesy of Scenes from my Lunch Hour

Craven Allen Gallery is located at 11061/2 Broad Street in Durham. Gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. For more information on the show visit www.CravenAllenGallery.com, or call the gallery at (919) 286-4837.

See more photos of the exhibit here.

Special thanks to Scenes from my Lunch Hour for the photos.

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Duck and Cover 10.21.11 

Our thanks to "Duck & Cover" and creator Storey Clayton.

Check out his other projects, here, at the Blue Pyramid.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Duck and Cover 10.20.11 

Our thanks to "Duck & Cover" and creator Storey Clayton.

Check out his other projects, here, at the Blue Pyramid.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Haymakers to debut at Man Bites Dog 

All photos courtesy of Allie Mullin Photography

About a year ago, Emily Hill was visiting Durham, N.C. with fellow Haymaker company members Akiva Fox and Dan VanHoozer. She found a $20 bill on the ground, and took this as the universe confirming what they already were starting to pick up on.

They were looking for a town that was growing. The kind of place where the community was positive and excited, the audience was diverse, where people liked to say yes. They ran through a long list of the usual suspects, Portland, Seattle, Baltimore and Philadelphia. They felt they would know the place when they found it. The energy in Durham rose up to meet them first through twenty bucks on the sidewalk, then Dan VanHoozer popped into the Manbites Dog Theater and was greeted with open arms.

The Haymakers say this has been the story throughout their year in Durham. Support and encouragement everywhere they turned, genuine generosity and warmth, a spirit that says: to assist you is to build our community, organically, from within. It started with Jeff Storer and Edward Hunt at the Manbites Dog Theater. The Haymakers found the same kind of help from artist Julia Gartrell on the design of their media material and logo. Likewise their promotional photographs, some of which accompany this piece, were taken by Allie Mullin in the same spirit. “How can I help?”

VanHoozer and Fox noted to the Clarion Content that in many places, including Washington, D.C. where they moved from, power is aggregated by saying no. The people in power try to deny access and opportunity to the up and coming, distrust, fear and negativity permeate the system. In Durham, they found, “everyone was so much nicer than they had to be.”

All photos courtesy of Allie Mullin Photography

And what is Durham’s reward?

This Thursday, October 20th marks the group’s first performance at the Manbites Dog Theater at 703 Foster Street, a three-week running showing of the self-written, self-starring, and self-produced work ‘Living with the Tiger’.

The play starts with a young couple in need of a change. Their mutual dream of owning a tiger lends to the group’s exploration of the ideals behind our ‘pursuit of happiness’ society, of the self-devouring urge for more and the constant chasing of these often fatal aspirations, of what happens when something is simultaneously captivatingly beautiful and heart-stoppingly terrifying.

“We like to start with something that grabs us by the throat, and punches us in the gut,” Akiva Fox said, when asked about what prompted the subject, “There are five-thousand domesticated tigers living in America, and only three-thousand left in the wild. A lot of these people [the owners] live in apartments, in cities, and areas where a tiger just isn’t meant to be.”

There are two sanctuaries for rescued tigers in the Triangle area alone, making this subject even more relevant to Durham than some might initially realize. These sanctuaries are home to tigers that were eventually given up by their owners, because they discovered, too late, just what they were getting themselves into.

“It shows you the good and bad side to the land of wonder,” Dan VanHoozer, who also works with the Playmakers Theatre Group, said. “Where is the end, satisfaction, if we’re always chasing?”

"Living with the Tiger," directed by Colin Hovde, at Manbites Dog, as part of the theater’s "Other Voices" series, will run three weekends, starting October 20th-23, and continuing on through Saturday, November 5th. For more information on the show, visit the Haymaker site at www.gohaymaker.com, or the Manbites Dog site for box office inquiries and other productions from the Other Voices series at http://www.manbitesdogtheater.org/.

Look for a review in the Clarion Content next week.

Edit. note---Please forgive our misspelling of the Manbites Dog theater in the title of this post. Our error. Unfortunately, changing the title of the post now would break any existing links posted with the old title. We humbly beg your forgiveness. Manbites Dog Theater! Sorry.

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Duck and Cover 10.19.11 

Our thanks to "Duck & Cover" and creator Storey Clayton.

Check out his other projects, here, at the Blue Pyramid.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Duck and Cover 10.18.11 

Our thanks to "Duck & Cover" and creator Storey Clayton.

Check out his other projects, here, at the Blue Pyramid.

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Have you heard about the PoPuP art shows? 

Artist: FRANCO, top left: Uhura, digital art, 28” x 22”, top right: Kidney Beans, digital art, 16” x 22”, bottom left: No Droids Allowed, Digital Art, 24” x 20”, bottom right: Sriracha, digital art, 16” x 20”
For sale, 1-Night Only: At PoPuP 3 Community Art Reception to benefit The Carrack Modern Art Gallery

One more sign of the artistic and cultural renaissance that is flourishing in Durham: have you heard about the PoPuP art shows? If the answer is no, it is not too late. The third PoPuP art show is in Durham this Friday, October 21st, at The Carrack Modern Art Gallery, 111 West Parrish Street.

Read about the Carrack's current exhibit, up for two more days, here.

These wonderful PoPuP art shows are coordinated by Durham resident Adrian Schlesinger. They are designed to benefit either the venue hosting the work or another cause. Ms. Schlesinger takes no commission. But there is so much more to this art crowdsourcing brainstorm, read the whole story below from Clarion Content special guest columnist, Rebecca Yan.


Impromptu art shows at barber shops are a rarities, but they exist.

Excelsior Barber Shop in downtown, Durham hosted, PoPuP
, a curatorial project designed to benefit its venue.

Rory Golden, a visual artist from New York, got a haircut from Excelsior during his visit to Durham and saw that the barbershop could benefit from community arts support. Wanting to help, he came up with the idea to put together an art show to benefit the barbershop.

Golden met Durham based artist, Adrian Schlesinger, for the first time through an event at the Durham Arts Council (DAC) later that evening. Golden presented his popup idea to artists at the DAC and asked Schlesinger if she would assist him in organizing the show, as he would be out of town during until the day of the event. Adrian Schlesinger, a Bachelor of Fine Arts student at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, agreed to take on the project and organized the show with Golden in only four days. The show successfully raised money for Excelsior and gathered the local community for a cause.

Schlesinger never would have thought that this single event would morph into her personal curatorial project and current thesis.

“I thought it was a one-time event, but people wanted it to continue,” said Schlesinger. “It took me almost a year before I thought I was ready for the second show [as the first show was organized in such a rush].”

She hosted the second show at Monkey Bottom Collaborative in downtown Durham to benefit The Scrap Exchange after the non-profit lost its space at the Liberty Arts Center due to an infamous roof collapse in May.

“I wanted to do something to help,” Schlesinger said.

She contacted Joe Galas, the founder of Monkey Bottom, about hosting a benefit show for The Scrap Exchange.

“Adrian approached us about it… [The show was to] benefit The Scrap Exchange, which we support too,“ Galas said.

Schlesinger said that the shows are open calls to artists and are usually made up of artists who “want to show their work in the community [and] beyond the confines of a museum or traditional gallery.”

PoPuP2 included both two-dimension and three-dimension art forms that ranged in price anywhere from $1 to $200. Artists freely price their own work and choose the percentage of the proceeds they want to accept and the percent that they wish to donate to the events' selected cause.

“PoPuP is different in the sense that [it’s made up of] a variety of artists [that want] to show their artwork,” said Luis Franco, a visual activist based in Durham. “It [gives] people a chance…[especially the] young artists.”

Franco participated in the second show and donated 100 percent of his profit to help The Scrap Exchange.

“I just wanted to help out The Scrap Exchange,“ Franco said. “He sees the non-profit as an integral part of the Durham community and wanted to support it during its difficult transition to its new location.

Ann Woodward, the executive director of The Scrap Exchange, said that Schlesinger contacted the non-profit to do the fundraiser.

“She was passionate about helping us,” said Woodward.

The second show tripled in size, in terms of the number of art pieces, participants, musical performances and funding raised.

“Everyone was super excited about it, “ said Nicole Hogan, the assistant manager of The Scrap Exchange. “The art was amazing…. I was really pleased to see so many people interested in displaying their art and offering. I was surprised by how much of the community feel it had…[everyone was] introducing themselves and people were [coming from all parts of] Durham. “

“I would love to have future collaborations with her,” said Woodward. “I’m interested in people who are creative. I consider what she did… helping to keep us in operation… that’s why Durham is so great.”

Franco also helps Schlesinger with graphic design work such as flyers and posters to spread the word and plans to continue his voluntary support.

“As long as she keeps doing it, I’m interested in staying involved… especially because there’s a cause behind it.”

Schlesinger said that the shows are not confined to the Triangle, but can take place anywhere in the country, and that she is working to put on a show in New York City next year.

What started as a benefit show in a local barbershop in downtown Durham with thirty attendees might “pop up” in San Francisco one day. And why not? Durham is renown the world around, one of the New York Times "Forty-one Places to go in 2011, ours is an artistic culture on the move.

Schlesinger recalls Golden telling her that PoPuP was “her calling.”

“He was so encouraging and so supportive of me,” said Schlesinger. “It was magical…and I’m so thankful that we met that day.”

PoPuP3 will be a one-night only reception on October 21, 2011 in one of at The Carrack Modern Art Gallery, 111 West Parrish Street, inside the downtown Durham Loop. The show will benefit the venue and will be part of Durham’s Third Friday Art Walk events. Works by more than thirty artists will be represented and there will be musical performances by Shana Tucker, Kim Arrington, and Jeghetto (Tarish Pipkins). The event is free and open to the public.

ASHLEY FLORENCE, untitled work.
For sale, 1-Night Only: At PoPuP 3 Community Art Reception to benefit The Carrack Modern Art Gallery

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Twitter Scam 

Warning! Warning! There is a Twitter password stealing scam rocketing through the ether. Please be careful. The Clarion Content just gotten taken in and nearly had our account hijacked. The bot scam comes at your Twitter through a direct message that says, "I found a fun photo of you" or a "cool photo of you," and there is a tiny url, that one might presume to be the photo.

Watch out!!! It is not. It redirects you to a site which asks you to verify your Twitter username and password. Type that data in there: and BAM! It is stolen. The redirect from that site after you give up your username and password takes you to a generic sales site. There is no picture of you. No. No. No. Nada. Don't get duped.

Warning! Warning!

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Occupy, one view 

Thinking about the Occupy movement?

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Duck and Cover 10.14.11 

Our thanks to "Duck & Cover" and creator Storey Clayton.

Check out his other projects, here, at the Blue Pyramid.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Duck and Cover 10.13.11 

Our thanks to "Duck & Cover" and creator Storey Clayton.

Check out his other projects, here, at the Blue Pyramid.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Facebook's evolution 

An insightful note we saw in the Duke Chronicle on the changing nature of Facebook,
"Facebook in its earliest form started out by showing all the information you would share with someone within the first five minutes of meeting. It was then expanded to all the information in a fifteen minute conversation. Now it has progressed to your entire life story."

Reading that in the light of a column by Clarion Content favorite, Stephen Marche, this month in Esquire arguing that the pendulum has swung as far away from personal privacy as we are likely to get and is in fact swinging back the other way makes for interesting grist for the mill. Marche argues that, "the terrible journey to the recognition of our own nastiness has been long and embarrassing. The violation of personal boundaries has always been at the core of celebrity culture..."

Are things really about to head in the other direction? Have we finally had enough?


Duck and Cover 10.12.11 

Our thanks to "Duck & Cover" and creator Storey Clayton.

Check out his other projects, here, at the Blue Pyramid.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Duck and Cover 10.11.11 

Our thanks to "Duck & Cover" and creator Storey Clayton.

Check out his other projects, here, at the Blue Pyramid.

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Time waster 

One of the Clarion Content's Allentown, Pennsylvania readers sent this link our way.

The game is called 33. All you have to do is mouse over the numbers from 1 to 33, in order, one at a time, as quickly as you can.

It seems so simple. Why would you want to do it over and over again?

It goes to those fundamental whys underlying game theory. Why do we as people play? Why are we entertained by games? The interesting twist, too, of the mimicry of society by its games---much to delve into there.

Or you could just mouse over the numbers 1 to 33 as fast as you can. Clarion Content record? 40 seconds.

Click here to play.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Violence flares in Egypt 

Reports out of Cairo indicate there have been violent clashes between Egyptian demonstrators and the Egyptian army. Government sources told Stratfor that demonstrators outside the state television station began firing on soldiers patrolling the area, and that two soldiers were reported dead and twenty-five wounded. Statfor goes on to note, "the military now has an opportunity to use the incident to justify an increased crackdown..."

Conflicting reports from the BBC indicate that plainclothes state policemen instigated violence with peacefully marching Coptic Christians. They say the violence began outside the state TV building and quickly spread to Tahrir Square, where there were reports of thousands joining in the street violence, attacking both sides. Rioters tore up the pavement and hurled stones.

The BBC says that the march was to protest against an attack on a church in Aswan and that many of those who were injured were protesters not soldiers. The Copts make up about 10% of the population of Egypt. The governing military junta has been lenient on, and possibly even tacitly encouraged, the perpetrators of a string of anti-Christian attacks. Reports of protesters in Cairo being crushed by military vehicles have further heightened tensions.

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Saturday, October 08, 2011

Searching for Ringside, Chapter IV 

Picture credit to the kickass folks at Carpe Durham

The Clarion Content is delighted to invite you to come along on a magical ride as Pop Culture columnist, Cady Childs, once again takes us "Searching for Ringside." This fictional look at life in Durham explores the common trials, travails and misadventures that so many Durhamanians face. The metamythical characters, Andrew, Vita, John, and Megan, and their sordid but bemusing stories will resonate with those of you who carouse in Durham. Cady knows our collective experience, she shines a light on it and relates it back to us with a laugh and a smile.

Check out earlier chapters here [you will have to scroll down]


Chapter IV, "What do you mean, relationship?"

John was on strike from his own head. He was stoned, bleary eyed, and watching Boardwalk Empire, trying to ignore the pulsing in his hand, that wanting to reach out to the pillow on the other end of the couch. He could faintly sense the smell of cloves and sex it was giving off, a scent he was lusting to bury his head in so badly it may as well have been crack.

Under normal circumstances, she would have been gone after two hours of hanging out, he would spray his house the minute she left with Slatkin & Co. room spray, Spice, and that would be that. And he wouldn’t be so tempted by this damn pillow. Or her mouth. Or her knowledge of hyphens. He went into his bedroom to read Martin Amis, a man who always helped him to think clearly.

Megan had accidentally run into this guy in a leather jacket the other night, and she ended up kissing him on her porch while motorcycles streamed by whistling and hooting, leaving the biker bar up the block. It’s not like she regretted it, but sometimes she wished her soul could be a little more Catholic so she had the option of making herself feel guilty. The leather jacket had done her in, but she refused to expect him to call (it had been four days, and he wasn’t going to). The funny thing was, what she was wishing for wasn’t far from the truth- she held herself back so much, she might as well have denied herself the experience if she wasn’t ever allowed to feel it.

Her leather jacket was hanging in the closet, and she thought about putting it on and going out to kiss a stranger. She cleaned the kitchen instead.

Andrew’s roommate was out of town. This meant he didn’t have to feel self-conscious whenever his bed creaked, and he could play Minecraft while blasting Nas all evening to his heart’s content. He drank cheap scotch and put up a Red Light District-esque alley in his medieval town, completing each window with the newly added feature that inspired his modern European tribute in the first place- red torches.

He didn’t want to talk to anyone, especially the junior from campus who had been making his phone buzz and twirl and jump like a cheap carnival ride every ten minutes, since 2 A.M. Thursday night. He’d dropped her off and nearly licked off her lips they made out for so long, but it was clear in the first five minutes she wasn’t going to give it up on the first date, which meant she wouldn’t on the second, or the third. He really didn’t have time for all that, and he should have listened when his older brother advised him ‘never give out your number’.

Vita was sick of compromising. Her roommate (who wasn’t as good at quoting Dylan Thomas as she was, but her hair was longer) had been almost permanently camped out at her flavor of the month’s place for the past two days. It was too quiet in her empty apartment- but she gave it roughly two more days before her roommate would be sobbing in her arms again, swearing off assholes between sips of cheap sparkling wine and changing the music about forty-five seconds into every song.

She knew it was better not to be like this, but she missed the tumble and tangle of affection and rage rolling together so often, and so quickly. In other words, actually saying it out loud- she needed to let guys treat her like dirt to write something truly great- it was the stupidest shit that she had ever mumbled under her breath. The moment she uttered it, she jumped up, knocking two magazines off the arm of the couch in her zealous haste to get dressed and go out, as soon and as fast as possible. There had to be something left to do in this town.

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Friday, October 07, 2011

Open Letter to the News & Observer 

Are Facebook status updates the new poetry?

Is texting vernacular just e.e. cummings shaken and stirred?

Hardly says Clarion Content guest columnist, poet and writer, Amber C. Crews. Ms. Crews pulls no punches with her take on an article penned by Taryn Oesch here in the Raleigh News and Observer. Ms. Oesch blithely asserts, "I've decided that 21st-century communication - email, Facebook, text messages - aren't a breakdown of human interaction and relationships, but a form of poetry." Like Ms. Crews, our editor's instinctive reaction upon reading that line was, "Wait. What?" We love that there are people who feel passionately about the state of poetry in our era.

Stretching the limits of Facebook...

We warn you, as we often do, dear readers, the following letter, which is from the heart and the gut, is PG-13, like a lot of excellent poetry.


"You’ve got to be kidding me, or we are all fucked."

-Amber C. Crews

If the opinions of Taryn Oesch in her article "In our text updates, we are making poetry and connections" are at all representative of our cultural attitude towards art and community, then we are all fucked. (Read it here.) As a poet and writer, I have a close relationship with words and meaning. Ms. Oesch proposes that "[t]he purpose of poetry is to get as much meaning and feeling across as you can in as few words as possible. Aren’t texts and Facebook statuses the same concept?"

I don’t want to get into an argument about the definition of art and its purpose. It has been debated ad nauseam and art is becoming increasingly difficult to define in the 21st century. But you have to be kidding me. Facebook status updates and texting are poetry? I have looked over the shoulders of more than a few friends, just curious about the whole Facebook thing, not having a personal account, and I remember a bunch of pictures, random quotes, and song lyrics, and status update gems like "like if you have That one friend who will borrow stuff from you & never give it back" and "that awkward moment When you have too much lotion on and don`t know where to put it."

Looking at my own text inbox now, I see "Please tell me you are enjoying this gorgeous day!" "Yep!" and "Can I borrow one egg pleeaaasseee!?" Grammar is largely out the window, context an idea of the past, and nothing exists that is not instantly forgettable.

I don’t know how other poets work, but when I’m creating a poem each word, punctuation mark, and even every space on the page is labored over, thought about, tweaked, laboriously re-written, all in the search for the perfect combination that will express the precise image, feeling, and meaning that I intend. I highly doubt that is what’s going on with the light speed, verbal vomit that litters cell phones and internet pages. Ms. Oesch states that “Some say it’s ridiculous, the need to put everything on Facebook. I say it’s fundamental self-expression. It’s art in its most basic form.” If Facebook and text messaging represent our cultural “self-expression,” our creative power, our ability to reflect and propose new ways of seeing the world, then again, I say, we’re all fucked. Art, writing, and the courageous exploration of new thought are what balance all the depression, debt, death, and darkness of this chaotic universe. To see the human spirit soar in something challenging or moving, anything that gets you to think, gives meaning to life. If I am looking into a future where all that is boiled down to unconscious streams of cyber-messaging . . . I can’t think of a more desolate existence pretending to be connection.

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Thursday, October 06, 2011

Veil Tease opens at Carrack Modern Art building 

Photos thanks to Scenes from my Lunch Hour

The opening reception for artist Catherine J. Howard’s ‘Veil Tease’ art installation and exhibit at the Carrack Art gallery building will be this Thursday, from 7pm to 10pm.

Hosted by the Duke Center for Eating Disorders, this exhibit creates a story of women’s struggles to balance between their internal illumination and the way society views them, their public "pose" and their hidden "veiled" personalities. The work, using fifteen fabric scrolls, combining graphite pencil outlines and oil painting, highlighting the stark contrast between these two mediums, lends itself to the emotional transparency and sensitivity of this subject and its long history. The tall, fabric pillars, standing alone and exposed, allude to the ‘vulnerable interior self’ that we all try to keep hidden away. Areas of body and self-image awareness observed and addressed by Ms. Howard include racial ambiguities, emotional abuse, failure, and self-preservation.

For a more detailed peek into the artist’s motivation and outline for the project, as well as an opportunity to discuss intended messages and misconceptions with Howard and other female artists from the area, the Duke Center for Eating Disorders is hosting a guided tour and panel discussion this Saturday, October 8th, from 1pm to 3pm at the Carrack at 111 West Parrish Street.

Photos thanks to Scenes from my Lunch Hour

In addition to these two special events, the space will be open from the hours of 2pm to 8pm, Tuesday through Friday, and every third Friday from 7pm to 10pm. For more information, visit the Carrack’s website here.

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Duck and Cover 10.06.11 

Our thanks to "Duck & Cover" and creator Storey Clayton.

Check out his other projects, here, at the Blue Pyramid.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Duck and Cover 10.05.11 

Our thanks to "Duck & Cover" and creator Storey Clayton.

Check out his other projects, here, at the Blue Pyramid.

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Duck and Cover 10.04.11 

Our thanks to "Duck & Cover" and creator Storey Clayton.

Check out his other projects, here, at the Blue Pyramid.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Duck and cover 10.03.11 

Our thanks to "Duck & Cover" and creator Storey Clayton.

Check out his other projects, here, at the Blue Pyramid.

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Duck and Cover 09.30.11 

Our thanks to "Duck & Cover" and creator Storey Clayton.

Check out his other projects, here, at the Blue Pyramid.

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Monday, October 03, 2011

Bees, en masse 

Did you hear about this one? 60,000 plus angry bees unleashed on the 18th hole of Waterchase Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas?

You think Angry Birds are a problem? Try bees. Yes, they sure did cancel the final eighteen holes of tournament. The University of Texas-Arlington men's golf coach Jay Rees was stung near his eye, several other bystanders were also stung. When a beekeeper was called to the course, it was found that a beehive had fallen from a tree branch above the 18th green, and split open. According to Coach Rees, the beekeeper recommended cancellation.

They took the professional advice and shut it down.

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Saturday, October 01, 2011

Food train advice for Food Trucks 

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus has been providing a mobile feast on a train since 1872, when the P.T. Barnum first put his circus entertainment on the rails. According to the Nation's Restaurant News, Ringling Brothers has two railroad routed shows, each running a mile-long train with about forty passenger cars and twenty freight cars. The train's mobile food car is responsible for feeding at any given time between 270 and 350 performers, from areas as far-flung and disparate as Morocco and China.

Michael Vaughn, the head chef, has to feed them 24/7 when the show is on the road. His train based operation has recently split-off its own food truck, Pie Car Jr., that moves to the tent for staff food service before, during and after circuses. They serve in excess of 2,500 meals a week.

He has some advice from his years of mobile operations experience for food truck operators, check it out here at the Nation's Restaurant News.


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