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Friday, April 27, 2012

Art Walk weekend: Liberty Arts 

For Durham Art Walk’s Spring Market, this coming weekend, the Liberty Arts group will be hosting two events. There will be one at their new location in the Golden Belt area, as well as another at the Pavilion on Foster Street.

Saturday glass blowing classes and demonstrations will be happening all day at the Sculpture Studio, located at #923 Franklin Street in Durham in the Cordoba Center for the Arts. There are still a few time slots left for participants to take part in the full class, taught by George-ann Greth, as well as an opportunity for individuals to walk-in and view the demonstrations, the Liberty Arts gallery, and take a look at everything their new space has to offer.

On Sunday, Greth will be offering shorter, twenty-minute tutorials for students to design and create their own glass blown ornaments. At only $25 a person, these are a perfect idea for Mother’s Day gifts, wedding shower presents, and more.

Also as a part of Community Art Day on Saturday, Liberty Arts will also be hosting a hands-on event ‘Making Art that Moves’, with materials for patrons to create their own mobiles out of provided items or their own findings. In response to the Alexander Calder exhibition at the Nasher Museum, this opportunity is free to the public, with all donations benefiting the Liberty Arts Group.

For more information on these and upcoming events, email contact@liberty-arts.org, or visit their website www.liberty-arts.org for a full calendar, updated newsletter, and more.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Durham Storefront Project 

The Durham Storefront Project is presenting its fantastic second round of site-specific installations in downtown Durham storefronts. Last year's install was amazing! As you will see in the photographs below, by our beloved Scenes from my Lunch Hour, this year is even better.

The installations are already up and will be through May 18th. There are all kinds of easily walkable locations ranging from the Five Points intersection to Parrish Street and beyond.

This Spring the Durham Storefront Project invited artists to examine the growth in downtown activity through an architectonic, theoretical, or experiential lens. After reviewing over thirty proposals, the Durham Storefront Project selected artists who it felt explored points of connection within the spaces themselves as well as the downtown environment and its surrounding community.

The list includes artists Justin Cook, Gabrielle Duggan, Elsewhere and Whitney Trettien, Julia Gartrell and Julianne Alexander, Jessye McDowell, Parasol B, Marc Russo, the Triangle Performing Arts Network (TPAN), and the Sacrificial Poets.

Center Studio Architecture at #339 W. Main St. hosts “Static Live” by Jessye McDowell. This interactive piece displays simple animated graphics that respond to the movements of passersby. As viewers play with the installation, they can see the immediate and rebounding effects of their interactions.

“Static Live”
Photo credit Scenes from my Lunch Hour

Elsewhere and Whitney Trettien transform the windows of #212 W. Main St., the Trust Building (Teermark Building), into a “biblio-geography” - a landscape of books that highlights the book’s purpose as a site of exchange between people and ideas. The piece also has an interactive element that allows viewers to send a text to which the books will respond.

Photo credit Scenes from my Lunch Hour

Through this Lens at #303 E Chapel Hill St. hosts the video piece “Bringing Nature In” by artist Marc Russo. He creates an uncomfortable and harmonic combination of digital and natural elements. Surrounded by natural textures, foliage, and falling leaves, two video monitors play abstract documentary footage of places throughout Durham.

#200 North Mangum St. features an installation by Gabrielle Duggan. Entitled “Wrapped Interiors: Sinew and Synapses,” the piece reveals ideas of survival through adaptation and the impact that has on the mind and body. The installation itself is evidence of adaptation as the fibers create a site-specific network connecting found and makeshift talismans and transform an empty window into a site of public art.

“Depiction” by Parasol B. starts with the large, hand-painted QR code featured in the window of Scratch Bakery and continues with QR codes scattered throughout downtown. The piece takes participants on a journey through downtown and prompts them to contribute to a photo album of less-noticed details about the area.

The windows of #119 Market St. feature the documentary work of Justin Cook. Viewers can revel in the powerful imagery, examining the faces of friends, neighbors, and strangers – real people building their lives together who would be harmed by Amendment One. The photographs are part of the COMMITMENT | NC documentary project, an initiative Cook and other photographers started in order to communicate the injustice of the proposed Amendment One to the North Carolina constitution.

Photo credit Scenes from my Lunch Hour1

The Durham Storefront Project’s spring installations will be accompanied by some live public performances from the Triangle Performing Arts Network (TPAN) and the Sacrificial Poets. Performances will take place during the Spring Durham Art Walk on April 28-29.

What a project! What a weekend! Get out and celebrate your artists Durham. Exercise. Stop and get a bite to eat. Stroll past all of these storefronts. Revel in the fact that you live in a city where all this happens and it is still easy to park and commute.2

Photo credit Scenes from my Lunch Hour

1Obviously this is a photo of a photo.

2For those of you who say it is getting harder, yes, but compared to elsewhere...EASY PEASY.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mercury Studios 

Have you heard about the newest entry to the Durham creative milieu, Mercury Studio? If you haven't, don't feel too bad, for in fact they have yet to open the doors.

Mercury Studio's space at #407 North Mangum Street

Here is the skinny. Two young Durhamanians, uninspired by their grind it out nine to five options, looked around the landscape of our city and said to themselves; "there is room to open a collaborative space where individuals and small businesses can work, bond, build and thrive." The exact definition of their space is purposefully amorphous because they want to leave room for their confederates, who have the options to lease desks or studios, as well as floating cafe memberships, by the month, half year or year, to participate in the co-creation of the environment.

This is not to say Katie DeConto, the Community Director, and Megan Jones, the Art Director, don't have plans. They do. And things have really started to come together since they leased the fabulous space at #407 N. Mangum Street. You can check out the floor plan here. The highlights include 2457 sq.ft., with six studios, a conference room for members and community use, and a kitchenette1. If you are a cafe member who doesn't lease a permanent desk, there are even locker spaces for storage.

DeConto's and Jones's vision is that Mercury Studio is far more than a place to merely work. They both spent time job searching and entrepreneuring out of coffee shops with Wifi. They are trying to take things to a much higher level. For example, they are going to publish a quarterly newsletter touting upcoming events, highlighting the projects and achievements of their members. Mercury Studios intends to promote its members and provide a space for them to host events. Anyone in the arts or creative industry knows this kind of marketing support is essential, but so hard for the creator of the work to find time to do. They are going to have special satellite memberships for artists who might already have a studio, but want to connect monthly with other artists.

On an even more elevated plain, it is their vision that members will partner, collaborate and co-create. They hope to replicate more of the collective spirit of the university than the atomized individualism of the earbud wearing Starbucks customer. They see, not a bunch of individuals in the same place working alone, but rather a like minded group of energetic, driven, inspired Durhamanians networking and co-creating at a level above and beyond the traditional glad-handing and business card exchanging at a Chamber of Commerce event. DeConto and Jones both intend to continue pursuing their own work at Mercury Studio.

Jones has been an artist for most of her life. She started in oil painting, and in recent years has moved on to drawings and collages. She found herself drawn to paper and old books and working within the more limited medium of collage, which gradually led to book binding, specializing in Coptic stitching2.

DeConto is starting an additional division of Mercury Studio that will provide online marketing, editorial, and web design services to a variety of clients. She will be the project manager, pulling in freelancers and additional partners, as needed, ideally, from the ranks of the Mercury Studio members.

It is a post-modern conception. Commentators from as far afield as Berlin, New York and San Francisco have been pointing their compasses toward Durham in the last year or two. We are adventurous and creative.

Mercury Studio, welcome to the stage.

You can help fund their IndieGoGo here.

1They are waiting to hear on a grant from the City of Durham, with possible kitchen expansion in mind.

2Jones plans to get back into oil painting with the additional space provided by Mercury Studio, in comparison to her home based studio now.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Fracking meeting 

Since the Clarion Content broke the story that Mineral Deeds were being signed in Durham County granting national builders like D.R. Horton fracking rights, there has been much hue and cry.

The Assistant Attorney General of North Carolina, M. Lynne Weaver, wrote D.R. Horton asking them for further information about how they disclosed to potential homebuyers that they were reserving such rights. (See below.)

That they reserved the rights, and have been reserving them in certain property agreements as far back as 2010, is not in dispute.

What does that mean? What can you as a Durham resident and/or homeowner do?

One place to start getting answers to some of those questions is a public meeting tomorrow night. Durham County Agricultural Cooperative Extension Services and Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA have organized an informational session at the Durham Agricultural Extension Center, #721 Foster Street, at 7pm.

Some of the topics on the table include: Understanding the hydraulic fracking process, the potential impacts of drilling on crops, livestock, forest land, and water resources, how to understand oil and gas rights lease terminology, how to fairly negotiate a mineral rights lease and landowner protections,1 and adequate compensation for mineral resources.

We hear that the organizers of the No Frack PAC might be in attendance.

For more information contact: Jordan Treakle at Jordan@rafiusa.org or 919-444-1321

1Remember these agreements are fairly common in some of the Western and Rocky Mountain states.

2Letter from the Attorney General's office.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Heart to Heart 

Durham, have you seen the new LiLa video? It premiered last week at the MotorCo. Featuring scenes from Durham School of the Arts, along with some of their students, and various local celebrities, it was a hit with those in attendance at the debut showing.

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Soul Souvenirs 

"Soul Souvenirs: Durham's Musical Memories from the 1960s and 1970s," brought to you by the Bull City Soul Revival, opened this weekend at the Hayti Heritage Center, #804 Old Fayetteville Street. It runs through May 31st. Hours can be found on our calendar page.

from the exhibit courtesy of Carolina Soul dot org

Curated by Josh Davis and Jason Perlmutter and designed by Lincoln Hancock and Robin Vuchnich, "Soul Souvenirs" is not only about music. It also examines how the sounds and scene were shaped by the culture of record stores and night clubs, local high schools and churches, and even the civil rights and black power movements of the era.

In short, this exhibit tells the story of Durham's African American community in the 1960s and 1970s.

It is a powerful opportunity to know thyself Durham. Don't miss it.

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Full Frame breaking new ground in downtown Durham 

Full Frame breaking new ground in downtown Durham

by Ned Phillips

I first attended Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in 2007. I was midway through my program at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and getting ready to begin production on a short for Duke’s Summer Documentary Institute. I had never been to a film festival before and when the dust had settled four days later I was speechless. Stunned, by not only the films themselves, but the high level of discourse that they inspired, it deconstructed and rebuilt my understanding of documentary art and what it was capable of.

Since Scottishman John Grierson coined the term documentary in 1926, documentary film has attempted to capture some aspect of reality. Originally used for historical archiving or instruction, documentary had the connotation of being slow paced, boring or over-informative. Through the years, non-fiction filmmaking has become more creative and experimental with the incorporation of new techniques and technology. Animation, state of the art photography and dramatic reenactments are just a few examples of the tools filmmakers now have to help tell their stories. The conversation about what documentary art is continues in academic and artistic circles, and with the increasing popularity of the internet and reality television, the lines between truth and fiction become evermore blurry.

That is why Full Frame is so refreshing. It is a rocket ship from the mundane to the extraordinary. With the overwhelming saturation of screens, information and “entertainment” we find ourselves in on a daily basis, Full Frame emerges, phoenix-like, to lift us above the bullshit and mediocrity we’ve grown all too comfortable with. For four days in April, Durham, North Carolina becomes the epicenter of the universe for the most talented, cutting edge non-fiction storytellers.

During my first festival in 2007, my preconceptions were shattered immediately by a film called Manda Bala (Send a Bullet) directed by Jason Kohn. Kohn, who previously worked as researcher for doc-legend, Errol Morris, wove together a head-spinning tale about the current socio-economic and political climate in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Kidnappers, politicians, frog farmers, doctors, businessmen, detectives, lawyers, plastic surgeons, victims and criminals tell the story of their beloved, albeit flawed country, which culminates in a dazzling final sequence of profound realizations and stunning super 16mm cinematography over a soundtrack of psychedelic 70s Brazilian rock. It was documentary film like I had never seen before: gripping, beautiful and engaging, it had all the aspects of my favorite popcorn blockbuster with one exception- this story was unfolding in actuality. These were real people.

In addition to introducing us to new characters and situations playing out in our world, documentary can also delve deep and provide new insight to characters and issues we’re already familiar with. In 2007, one such film was Kurt Cobain About a Son, directed by AJ Schnack. Interestingly enough, it was a mellow, contemplative portrait of the Seattle rocker and Nirvana front man. Set against gentle footage of the Pacific Northwest, we hear a publicly perceived wild Cobain telling his own story, in his own words through a series of previously unreleased audiotapes. We eventually realize that the imagery we’re seeing are the places Cobain grew up in and around, including the ocean view from the apartment where he eventually committed suicide. It’s an intimate depiction of an artist, often misunderstood, who still represented and spoke to an entire generation: mine.

After completing my program at The Center for Documentary Studies, I moved to Paris, France where I worked as a tour guide, travel writer and photographer for nearly four years, so this year’s festival was the first I’d been able to attend since 2007 and having been around the world, I can’t imagine a better setting for such an event.

Full Frame takes place in downtown Durham, with five cinemas spread between The Durham Arts Council, Durham Convention Center and the Carolina Theater including the beautiful, historic Fletcher Hall. The plaza in front of the Carolina Theater serves as the nexus of the festival, offering ample room for discussion, networking, and general chitchat. Here, while talking shop, you can grab a cocktail or a coffee, amid various top-notch Durham eateries, including Rue Cler and Parizade, which set up onsite restaurants making it easy to enjoy a quality meal between films and events.

Here, at festival headquarters, the energy and enthusiasm for Full Frame is palpable and I find myself wanting to eavesdrop on every single conversation happening around me. People at the top of their game are talking about their next projects, what’s gotten funded and telling war stories about the films they are showing. Introductions are being made and reflections are being shared, all propelled by a thirst and passion for the art and culture of documentary storytelling.

The festival is also a great way to showcase Durham as the next cultural boomtown. Full Frame draws a lot of attention from the best and the brightest and I had many conversations with out-of towners who had nothing but positive things to say about the Bull City.

Everyone’s film festival experience is different due to that fact that films are often showing at overlapping times. You must cultivate a plan of attack, yet be flexible. Films sell out, recommendations get made, you meet people you want to sit next to- the possibilities are endless. Just sitting in the cinema waiting for the show to start, I met fascinating individuals; a cameraman who works for the Canadian Broadcasting Company, traveling the world for forty years shooting documentaries; a local physician interested in health reform checking out the array of health related films. You’ll find yourself secretly checking out the passes everyone is wearing around their necks to figure out who they are and what they are up to. You never know- you might be standing in the beer line, chatting up a beautiful girl from NYC with long brown hair. Suddenly, she flips her pass around to reveal herself as a world-class filmmaker in town to show her latest project. Cue the nervousness.

Perhaps the best thing about any festival of this nature is the opportunity to interact with the filmmakers. Whether they are telling you a dirty joke after too many cocktails at one the evening parties or answering a tough question during the Q&A after their screening, it’s an invaluable experience to gain insight into their process, their challenges and then hear their stories of success.

The scope and subject matter of this year’s selections were wide and diverse, ranging from a film about a cat living in South Carolina named Mr. Lee to a documentary filmed in twenty-five countries over the course of five years that the filmmakers describe as “a nonverbal, guided meditation that will transform viewers around the world as they are swept up along a journey of the soul.” Whoa…

Whoa, indeed. The opening night film was the world premiere of Jesse Owens, directed by Laurens Grant. It was fairly straightforward, highlighting the track star’s athletic accomplishments during the racially charged 1936 Berlin Olympics. By winning four gold medals, he single handedly foiled Hitler’s plot for an Aryan super-athlete dominated games. And although his victories were celebrated abroad, his heroism did not exactly translate to success in his American homeland. Making outstanding use of archival footage, as well as interviews from both sports writers and scholars, the film tackles the fascinating life of a revolutionary athlete at the intersection of sports and race- a conjuncture that still fuels passionate debate today.

Other highlights for me included, the world premiere of Herman’s House, a film about an unlikely friendship between a New York City artist named Jackie and a man named Herman who’s spent forty years in solitary confinement for a crime many believe he is innocent of. Together, they design Herman’s dream home, which will serve as youth center until Herman moves in- if he’s ever released from the penitentiary. The audience is easily carried by Jackie’s energy and enthusiasm for the project and a particular credit goes to director Angad Singh Ballah’s ability to make us care so deeply about Herman, a character we never actually meet on screen. While illuminating some very unsettling issues within the American justice system, the film is ultimately about friendship, hope and what we can accomplish when they’re kept alive.

Then there was The Imposter, a beautifully photographed film directed by Bart Layton. In this head scratching mystery a 13-year-old boy goes missing in San Antonio, Texas only to turn up years later in Spain. When his family travels all the way across the Atlantic to collect him there is immense relief, but as time goes by, it becomes obvious that something is wrong. Powerful interviews drive this story of perception, deception and the subjectivity of truth.

The Queen of Versailles tells the story of the obscenely rich Siegel family who plans to build the largest home in America, modeled after Louis XIV’s palace in France. However the film takes an unexpected turn when the real estate bubble bursts and the family has to make serious lifestyle changes. These setbacks reveal true character, as the family comes to grips with the fact the American Dream may not be what it seems. Director Lauren Greenfield handles what could easily have turned into a Real Housewives-eque nightmare with graceful craft and skill.

Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry tells the story of Chinese artist and political activist Ai Wei Wei, who’s held exhibitions in the top venues all over the world. Alison Klayman’s incredibly intimate portrait shows how one man’s crusade against censorship and oppression has inspired many to push for free speech and transparency of government, often at their own risk. By examining the changing landscape of art and activism, with particular regard to technology, the film shows just how far one visionary will go to inspire change in his homeland.

However the film that rocked me to my soul the hardest was Samsara, the latest from meticulous filmmaker Ron Fricke. The title derives from a Sanskrit word, meaning to flow on, to perpetually wander, to pass through states of existence. More specifically, the titles relates to the cycle of birth, life, death and then rebirth. It’s hard for me to describe what the film is about because in a sense, it’s about everything. Throughout the feature length documentary, there is not a single word of dialogue. The hypnotic imagery, captured masterfully on full 70mm film explains the cyclical nature of life on earth from both a natural and human perspective. A sweeping soundtrack provides emotional and narrative structure as the film expertly juxtaposes the personal versus the collective experience. Art, war, technology, architecture, religion, natural disaster, urban planning, farming, sex, death and industry are all touched upon, again, without a word uttered. I was so flabbergasted when the credits rolled, that I started to wander aimlessly through the streets in deep contemplation, only to discover myself at my doorstep hours later, in the middle of the night.

And there lies the power of documentary film- the ability to transport us to worlds and situations otherwise inaccessible. One thing that struck me about the films this year was that every single one contained some sort of thematic cycle: political, economic, natural, human. These movies hold up a mirror to the world we live in and ask us whether we will continue down that same road or will we break the cycle. Documentary is social commentary at its highest form. At times, it entertains us. At times, it uplifts us. At times, it sickens us. At times, it calls us to action. But above all, documentary will always provide understanding and give merit, meaning and example to the old cliché that truth is stranger than fiction. I look forward Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, right here in Durham, for years to come.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Liberty Arts: The Little Show 

Tonight as part of the 3rd Friday Durham Art Walk, Friday, April 20th, Liberty Arts non-profit artists collaborative will be hosting a special gallery show at their new location in the golden belt district, at Cordoba Center for the Arts, #923 Franklin Street in Durham.
From "The Little Show" opening tonight at Liberty Arts

Entitled ‘The Little Show’, artists will be making and selling smaller pieces, all under $100. The idea of the show is a chance to bring reasonably priced pieces of sculpture to the widest audience possible. The Liberty Warehouse and gallery will be open from 6 to 9 P.M, with The Scrap Exchange celebrating it’s 21st birthday next door, featuring the opening of their Friends & Family Exhibit, and other special events for third Friday across the Golden Belt district (for complete schedule, see here: http://www.goldenbeltarts.com/newsEvents_featuredEvents.shtml)

If you missed the Liberty Arts grand opening, this is an excellent opportunity to check out the Liberty Arts space, see the studio and the gallery, and get more information on signing up for classes and workshops offered. Such full-spectrum accessibility to the modern, definitive creations this group is known to create is certainly not to be missed. Some artists’ projects for sale at the event include: brushed ceramic sculptures, an ‘All About the Love’ collection of stained or oxidized copper sheet hearts, plate and bowl sets, hand-blown glass and small scale castings of the work normally seen from Liberty artists in massive, grand form.

For more information on Liberty Arts, visit their website at http://www.liberty-arts.org/ or stop by their new space and take a peek at the gallery, class list, and see what they do first hand.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Worried about Bank of America? 

Don't be. Even though the bank reported a massive drop in first-quarter profits, they still made $653 million dollars in just the last three months, so they are probably not doing too badly with the money1 they took from American taxpayers to bail themselves out of their own mess.

Their shareholders aren't so happy, but the CEO is doing great, according to the LA Times, Chief Executive Brian Moynihan's compensation has been more than quadrupled this year to $8.1 million per annum.2

How do young folks entering the job market feel about this kind of thing? Read this screed in the Arizona State University college newspaper, The State Press, for some insight. Hint: they're bent.

1Bank of America borrowed and repaid in-full $45 billion from the U.S. Treasury.

2You know how that goes, lower the CEO's pay when under scrutiny, raise it back when you think no one is looking.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Heard about the Don's Basketball League? 

“The DBL takes Durham by storm”

Have you heard about the DONS Basketball League, the DBL?

Durham community organizer and Campaign 4 Change founder, Otis Lyons aka Vegas Don, has organized a FREE, basketball league for youth ages twelve to sixteen. You can volunteer or your son or daughter can register to play on-line at www.carolinadons.com <---Warning loud, obnoxious music at this link...

The league, the brainchild of Vegas Don, stemmed from his initial creation of a single free youth traveling basketball team. Although the team, The Carolina DONS, were two time tournament champions and the kids involved had tons of fun last year, Vegas was crushed when he had to turn away more than fifty kids after tryouts, because only twelve could be recruited for the traveling squad.

This year Vegas has solved that problem by constructing an entire youth league. There will still be an elite, traveling Carolina DONS team, but there will also be eight additional teams. Each team has a local business sponsor, which is providing their team with uniforms and all the components to run the league. Except for the referees, the league is staffed entirely by volunteers, most of them recruited by Vegas Don’s non-profit anti-gang, anti-drug organization Campaign 4 Change.

The league’s games will be played at the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club at #810 North Alston Avenue. Sponsors include the league’s official sponsor, Capitol Broadcasting Company, and the team sponsors: Fox 50, the Law Office of James D. Williams, the Triangle United Way, Bull City Renters, Dreamworks Motorsports, Harris Incorporated, NCM Capital, Hendrick Durham Automall and Campaign 4 Change. Each sponsor has contributed to make the league free for the youth, with no cost to parents either.

But believe it or not, that isn’t even the best part. Wait, what? NBA Style basketball with great uniforms, announcer-commentators, live DJs, halftime entertainment, a league draft and a cool league website all FREE for youth to enjoy and none of that is even the best part?? That’s right, because as entertaining as it will be, like Campaign 4 Change’s other productions, Vegas prioritizes educating our youth over everything else.

In this case, that means mandatory community service projects for all players in the league. It means weekly educational workshops before games. And Vegas is serious. Kids who miss workshops aren’t eligible to play in the first of half of that week’s games, miss more than two and you are out of the league entirely. And these aren’t just any workshops, they are given by local luminaries, educators and public officials on important topics like, “The Law and You,” “Conflict Resolution,” and “Gang & Drug prevention.”

It also means following the league principles which include “Being respectful to elders and parents,” “Being a positive role model,” “Being loyal to your team,” and “Finishing what you start.” Volunteer coaches strictly enforce the league’s conduct principles, valuing brotherhood and sportsmanship over a win-at-all-costs mindset.

It is a win-win for all youths, their parents and our community.

For more information please check out their website at www.carolinadons.com or contact the league Director, Vegas Don at c4c4life@yahoo.com or by phone #919.519-8156.

Tryouts will be held May 5th and 6th at the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club at #810 North Alston Avenue. Players must pre-register on-line to try-out.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Durham Art Walk mini golf course 

Yeah, so we're thinking, maybe, something like this??

The Clarion Content has been touting for some weeks now on our "What we've heard" page that there is going to be a nine hole mini golf course specially constructed for the Durham Art Walk in the area between Golden Belt and the Cordoba Center for the Arts.

Here is what we know. Artists from Golden Belt studios, LabourLove gallery, Scrap Exchange and Liberty Arts are contributing knowledge, design expertise, materials and sweat to construct this fantabulous temporary golf course. Word is among the hole designs there are a marvellous dragon, a tunnel of love and a soft "Claes Oldenburg" version of mini golf, as well as a hole based on Pachinko, which is Japanese for Pinball machine.

Hoping that Scenes from my Lunch Hour will find time to take a few snaps of what is sure to be an amazing temporary exhibit.

The leaderboard will be posted at Blend Cafe and the winners will get free scoops of frozen yogurt.

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Catherine Howard update 

Been wondering what the Clarion Content's erstwhile Arts Correspondent has been up to? When last we left Ms. Howard, after publishing a series of delightful columns in the Clarion Content, she was heading off to South Africa.

That's Catherine, in the blue, still in Durham in this photo

Ms. Howard was to both further her own work and creative process, while also working with local South African children. Catherine has taught a series of workshops in South Africa called "Commune/Communicate/Comment." As the culmination of the workshops, Catherine organized a pop-up exhibition featuring the boys' work, her newest body of work inspired by the boys, and some printed photographs that were taken during the show.

Life moves pretty fast and a lot can happen in six weeks.

Keep up the good work, Catherine! We are looking forward to welcoming you back to Durham.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

LiLa video premier Sunday 

Durham faves, LiLa, are premiering their new video this Sunday. Always supporters of Durham culture, the LiLa boys have out done themselves this time. The video for the song, Heart to Heart, was shot entirely on location in Durham.

LiLa and their fans rocking out
Photo credit Scenes from my Lunch Hour

With the gracious cooperation of Durham Public Schools and specifically Durham School of the Arts, prominently located between Duke and Gregson Street, they were able to produce a magnificent little vignettte which will be the centerpiece of a viewing party this Sunday evening at the MotorCo, #723 Rigsbee Avenue. Word is that there will also be a live performance by the band.

The video is shot in and around Durham School of the Arts and features some of its students, as well as, various other Durham local celebrities, including Hammer no More Fingers frontman, Duncan Webster, who sings on the Heart to Heart track on "LiLa III." The Clarion Content has had a sneak peek and there are a couple of other sweet cameos, too.

Full disclosure, or perhaps more accurately simply bragging about our fabulously talented creative team, two Clarion Content types were central in the production of this video. Ned Phillips directed and edited the video. Jessi Blakely aka Jessica Arden (renown photographer of our Fashion Drive-by's) was the Director of Photography.

It is a fantastic video for a tight little ditty!

Come feel the Love.

Be there or be square!

Sunday, 5pm at the MotorCo. Admission is FREE!!!

Guest appearances by Kokyu BBQ and members of the cast of the video.

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Delete those Instagrams 

Time to delete those Instagrams, dear readers. Instagram, a mobile phone to mobile phone picture sharing app, was bought by Facebook for a billion dollars this week. This means not only will Instagram's cuddly indie status go away. Right now, nobody sells Instagram's users' personal details to advertisers, but also that Facebook owns every photo you every put on Instagram in perpetuity.

Instagram has 30 million users, Facebook probably figured it was worth a billion dollars for the photos alone. Say goodbye to private photos.

Facebook is, of course, pandering to Instagram users' privacy concerns. But as Facebook users know, that is all it is, pandering and claptrap.

As NY Times tech blogger, Jenna Wortham, put it, "Its [Instagram's] ability to let its users delicately toe the line between public and private gave us a little breathing room from the all-pervasiveness of Facebook...The sale of Instagram brings a harsh reality into focus, the realization that the secret rooms or private spaces online where we can share, chit-chat and hang out with our friends are...next on the shopping list for a company like Google, Apple or Facebook."

Sad day, for social networking. At the Clarion Content, we are looking forward to the next lateral innovation around this monoliths.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fashion Drive-by: Secret Gardens, a preview 

The Secret Gardens of Durham, a world away or right next door? Like so much of Durham's mysterious charm, dig another layer and you find even more.

Get ready for the Clarion Content's next Fashion Drive-by...

Anyone can shoot in Duke Gardens. The Clarion Content's fabulous team, photographer, Jessica Arden, and Creative Director, Cady Childs, and a cast of ethereal young beauties wanted something different and more intimate. As so often happens, Durham and its denizens said yes. Opened their doors, their gates, their portals and we were transported into a few of Durham's beautiful secret gardens.

Clothing provided by Dolly' Vintage.

See our other Fashion-Drive by's here.

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Bull City Soul Revival continues 

The Bull City Soul Revival continues tonight with Dr. Bruce Bridges performance and lecture, "Signifying the Monkey, Toast and the Humor Tradition in African-American music."

The term “Signifying Monkey” comes from a folk trickster figure said to have originated during the slavery era. In the meta-narrative archetype, the monkey dupes a powerful lion by “signifying”: employing a speech pattern using connotative, contextual key words, the significance of which are accessible only to those who share unique cultural values and perspective. It is insider speech deliberately coded to be understood only by the intended audience.

In Henry Louis Gates’s highly influential book, The Signifying Monkey, he expands the term to refer not merely to a specific vernacular strategy, but also to a trope of double-voiced repetition and reversal that exemplifies a distinguishing property of African- American discourse.

Dr. Bridges breaks it all down tonight at the Stanford L. Warren branch of the Durham Public Library, #1201 Fayetteville Street, at 7pm. Admission is free.

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Engineering World Health fundraiser 

Friends of the Clarion Content, Engineering World Health are holding their annual fundraiser all day this Thursday at Alivia's bistro on the corner of Gregson and West Main Streets.

Engineering World Health is a good cause. It is a non-profit that mobilizes the biomedical engineering community to improve the quality of health care in hospitals that serve the poorest communities of the developing world.

For example, after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti recently, Engineering World Health gathered teams of biomedical engineers to fly into the country immediately to begin repairing hospital instruments and equipment.

They also, through a network of university-based chapters and contract with Duke University, manage summer programs that send student biomedical engineers to developing country hospitals where they help with repairs, upfits and new installations.

Engineering World Health also sponsors continuing education training sessions on biomedical equipment technology in lesser developed countries, as well as science seminars right here in North Carolina designed to increase science, technology, engineering, and mathematics literacy and enthusiasm among our k-12 students.

A portion of all food and drink sales from Alivia's Thursday will be donated to Engineering World Health. There will be a silent auction from 6pm to 9 pm with some really good prizes, including gift certificates to local restaurants, a weekend get-a-way at the Grove Park Inn, dance lessons and more.

So come out to Alivia's this Thursday to support a good cause.

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Monday, April 09, 2012

Justice is not blind 

Why the murders of Trayvon Martin and Eve Carson cannot be compared.

by: Alicia Towler

Today when I logged into my favorite news site, I saw the headline: “Poll: Trayvon Martin case divides U.S. by race, age, wealth, and politics.” The poll taken by the Christian Scientist Monitor reports that the country is split in its perceptions of the handling of the case and whether or not the crime was racially motivated.

When I logged into Facebook, I saw that yet another friend had shared this poorly reasoned blog post asking why people were so outraged at the shooting of Trayvon Martin but not the Eve Carson murder four years ago in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The author argues that Carson was similarly racially targeted for being “a rich, blue-eyed, blonde haired, white girl” when she was kidnapped, robbed, and killed.

There are many differences between the two cases, but here are the core issues that make the comparison irrelevant:

When Carson was murdered, police worked quickly to identify her, find her car, phone, laptop, and wallet, and develop leads to identify her killers. Within days, police SWAT teams had stormed houses in Durham looking for the two identified men, Atwater and Lovette, and shortly after, both men were arrested, charged with 1st Degree murder, and imprisoned to await trial.

When Martin was killed, police did not use his cellphone, which was at the scene, to try to identify him or canvass the neighborhood where they would have found Martin’s father. There was no need for a manhunt - the killer was at the scene when police arrived. George Zimmerman was questioned and released that evening, and Zimmerman returned home.

And there is the problem – we were able to move on from Carson’s death without marches or phone calls from the president because justice was served. In Martin’s case, without the attention of the national media, there is no indication that there would have been any further investigation into the murder. Zimmerman would have been able to quietly return to his neighborhood watch with his concealed weapons permit and would have remained a threat to any “suspicious” persons who crossed his path.

So to the blogger who asked why there was no outrage over Carson’s death - hundreds of students showed up for a vigil on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus just hours after Carson’s body was identified. There was so much interest in the case and so much tension in the area that Lovette's attorneys had to request that his trial be moved to another district because they didn't think they could find an impartial jury in Orange County. But this outrage was channeled into remembering the contributions Carson made to the community and finding constructive ways to keep her legacy alive. The community was able to move on because it had closure.

At the time Carson was murdered, I was living in the same neighborhood, I had recently graduated from the same university, and I, too, felt safe on the streets of Chapel Hill alone at 3am. It’s been four years, and the town has never been the same to me. Personally, I am angry that two cruel young men took my sense of safety along with Carson’s life.

In the past few weeks since the news of Martin’s murder caught fire in the national media, I have read articles from black parents whose sense of safety has also been taken. These parents fear that their children may be perceived as suspicious, as dangerous, as criminal because of the color of their skin, and worse yet, that if a neighborhood watch captain gunned down their unarmed child on a residential sidewalk in the middle of the night, no one would even care.

The unnerving issue in this case is that police were immediately willing to believe that Zimmerman needed to use deadly force against an unarmed teenager. The unanswered question is whether Zimmerman would have been released without charges or further investigation if the races of the two men had been reversed.

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Sunday, April 08, 2012

What are they watching... Episode XXVIII 

Our look at what the teens and tweens of America are watching. We peer into their world through the lens of You Tube. You may have caught some of our earlier episodes, if not, follow this link [and scroll down past this post].

Ellie Goulding

This week is a bit more teen rather than tween. It is not that the content is especially risque. This music was sent our way by a graduating senior who told us it is blowing up in high school, and it was reaffirmed as "kick butt" by a young twenty-something. However, we are not so sure Skrillex's talented paramour Ellie Goulding has made it into the middle school's yet... Give her her a listen below.

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Thursday, April 05, 2012

Ocean Currents 

Billed as better than a Van Gogh, this fascinating NASA animation of the world's ocean currents, and the oceans' topography, give the viewer a window to reflect on the complexity of our planet.

It makes you wonder about everything affected by the oceans' movements from navigation to the weather, the net number of valuables involved, boggling.

from NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio


Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Emergency Landing 

Dateline-Door County, Wisconsin-How about this for a wild true story? Eighty year old, Helen Collins, non-pilot, was forced to take over the controls of a Twin Engine Cessna yesterday evening after her husband eighty-one year old, John Collins passed away mid-flight.

The rare, often fictionalized, plot of television and movie shows actually happened in real life. Robert Vuksanovic, a pilot with 28,000 hours of flight experience, coached Helen Collins in from the air flying along side of her.

Read the rest of the details here.


Skate Away the Hate pics 

Our intrepid correspondent and Beth, photographer for Scenes from my Lunch Hour, attended the Skate Away the Hate event to benefit the Durham Rescue Mission outreach to battered women. Over a $1000 was raised for charity by the team of Toon and The Real Laww. DJ Shahzad weaved and spun some fly grooves. And Runaway Clothes had'em all looking tight.

A few pics from the event courtesy of Scenes from my Lunch Hour...

Wheels got right
Photo credit Scenes from my Lunch Hour

Toon rapping and rolling
Photo credit Scenes from my Lunch Hour

DJ Shahzad spins and smiles
Photo credit Scenes from my Lunch Hour

Good times. Good cause.
Photo credit Scenes from my Lunch Hour

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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Bull City Soul Revival: Soul and the American Imagination 

Tonight, "Soul and the American Imagination," is brought to home to Durham by the Bull City Soul Revival, in the form of a lecture.

Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, is a renown author and a professor of Black Popular Culture in the Department of African and African-American Studies at Duke University. Dr. Neal will explore soul and its influence on the American imagination, dream and character. It is Dr. Neal's contention whether through President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, or the 1980s nostalgia of the film "The Big Chill," or the California Raisins’ ads, soul music has greatly influenced popular American culture.

Find out more tonight at the Historic Parrish Street Forum, 108 West Parrish Street, 7pm, admission is free.

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Monday, April 02, 2012

What we have heard, April 2012 

April 2012

We heard...

that there is Harris Teeter going to open on 9th Street!!!

We heard...

that there is vegan bakery going to open in the new building going up on Broad Street...

We heard...

that the same building going next to Nataraja Healing Arts will house dance studio space for the ADF...

We heard...

that The Federal's Deep Fried Half Chicken is banging...

We heard...

that The Surf Club and Bull McCabe's are both opening beer gardens this Summer...

We heard...

that a community workspace called Mercury Studio is opening in downtown Durham this May.

We heard...

that the legendary local act Sleepsound has recorded a hot cover of LiLa's "Misjudged You."

We heard...

that the Bull City Soul Revival is coming to Durham, with a variety of great events, music and lectures through April 27th.

We heard...

that there may be live music on the Bull City Connector buses during the Durham Art Walk.

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Fracking in Durham 

The Clarion Content has been tweeting for several days that we are sitting on an amazing fracking related story. We have waited on the sidelines as political figures from Governor Bev Perdue on down have told constituents what a boon fracking will be to North Carolina, and specifically our region of North Carolina, which sits on the geologically promising Deep River Basin.

Quite obviously the debate between the believers in the economic benefits of fracking and those who fear its massive environmental costs are unresolved. There is strong opinion and strong emotion on both sides.

What we believe most of you, dear readers, are unaware of, is that in some parts of Durham County permission to frack is already being granted, in advance of state legislative approval and in preparation for private profiteering. The Clarion Content and our sources have obtained deeds from the public records that indicate prominent builder D.R. Horton is securing rights to frack underneath some of its most recent Durham developments.1 (See below.)

We have redacted these deeds to protect the homeowners and their communities, but they should make you jump right out of your skin.

Public records indicate D.R. Horton homebuyers are using D.R. Horton's attorney at closing are receiving a "Special Warranty Deed" to their homes, rather than the far more common "General Warranty Deed." These "Special Warranty Deeds" grant D.R. Horton, a Delaware company and D.R. H. Energy, Inc.2, any and all rights, titles and interests to subsurface resources beneath the homebuyer's property.

Fracking is the process of drilling into shale deposits and using water and toxic chemicals to break up the subsurface rock and extract natural gas. The fracking process usually comes in from the side, it is not drilling straight down like an oil well, so D.R. Horton and D.R. H. Energy do not need to own the land they intend to frack, if they own the rights to the minerals buried deep beneath the land.

As you can see in the deeds below D.R. Horton and their pals D.R.H. Energy have reserved:
"Any and all oil rights, mineral rights, natural gas rights, rights to all other hydrocarbons, geothermal heat rights, water rights and all products derived from these, collectively 'Subsurface Resources'."

They have also secured:
"the perpetual right to drill, mine, explore and operate for and produce, store and remove any of the Subsurface Resources on or from the Property by any means whatsoever including without limitation the right to whipstock or directionally drill and mine, from lands other than the Property wells, tunnels and shafts into, through or across the subsurface of the Property...and to redrill, retunnel, equip, maintain, repair, deepen and operate any such wells or mines..." ---All italics added for emphasis.


We sought comment from numerous Durham politicos and finally got this back from Amy Blalock, a Senior Public Affairs Specialist in the Office of Public Affairs, of the City of Durham,
"Ultimately, the State’s General Assembly will make decisions about where North Carolina goes on this issue, and local government authority over the matter will be determined by the State. In the meantime, all property owners should carefully consider any offers to purchase mineral rights, thoroughly research the matter themselves, and if necessary, consult an attorney with expertise in real estate and mineral rights law."

Doesn't exactly sound like city government has your back on this one, Durham.

D.R. Horton spokesman did not return calls requesting comment.

Considering fracking's potential list of harms include everything from ground water and well water pollution to increased seismic activity (yep, earthquakes) in previously seismically inactive areas, homebuyers ought to look long and hard at their deeds before signing anything.

See full size document here.

See full size document here.

See full size document here.

See full size document here.

1The Register of Deeds Public Records Search reveals five Durham developments where D.R.H. Energy has secured similar rights. We have also seen similar deeds for properties in Granville, Franklin and Wake Counties.

2Think the similarities in the two companies' names might be more than coincidental?

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Sketchy, Etch A Sketchy 

When the Clarion Content's editorial offices were in San Francisco, one new piece of slang verbiage that was increasing popular was "sketchy." In the late 90's sketchy's meaning had been modified to refer to something shady or unsavory. The word had morphed from our youthful understanding of it as unfinished or incomplete to a much darker cloud of meaning.

Sketchy situations were to be avoided. People who appeared to be trouble or bring trouble were referred to as "sketch." As in, "Watch out for that dude, he's sketch."

A situation that was extremely ugly or clearly bad news was often tagged with a superlatively construction, "Etch A Sketchy," meaning supremely sketchy.

So it was with personal amusement, as well as societally, that we laughed along with those who mocked Mitt Romney's campaign for saying that the move from the G.O.P. primaries to the general election was "...almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again."

The truth has slipped out!

How sketchy!

You are not supposed to reveal the shape-shifting nature of your candidate that openly and plainly. They will argue, everybody does it. It being, tack one direction for the party's primaries, and tack back the other direction for the general election. They will tell you, dear readers, it is common place. And maybe so, the Clarion Content would hardly argue that today's politicians aren't a sketchy bunch, maneuvering and crafting their message to their immediate audience.

The interesting element to this story is two-fold, one, that Romney's closest adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom, put it out there. As we said, it is amazingly indiscreet, an open secret that you just don't say, especially about your boss.

And two, we find it fascinating that this is the core of the criticism a hard right candidate might make against Romney. He is a position shifter. The evidence of it is litany.1 It is the stick a Palin or a Bachmann might have used to bludgeon Governor Romney. He was the primogenitor of "ObamaCare," now he is running against it. His 2002 Gubernatorial campaign website said he would support the strict enforcement of gun laws and recognition of domestic partnership for same-sex couples. One doesn't win Republican presidential primaries talking like that, ask Jon Huntsman. Political guru Nate Silver, over at the 538, wonders why Republican primary challengers haven't used this line of attack more successfully on Romney.

The Clarion Content agrees, the man has no core. And his own team found the perfect metaphor. When we once would have referred to Romney as slippery, hard to pin down, constantly flopping around; sketchy is much evocative of the reality. Romney is not simply a flip-flopper, he is an impermanent outline, not a line drawn in the sand, but sand blowing in the wind, positionless, ever shifting, ephemeral, willing to simply shake the board and start over with the next set of hollow promises and platitudes.2

1Ironically, it does not help President Obama much as a campaign tactic, because Romney's position shifting generally pushes him towards the middle. Obama can't very well attack, Romney for flip-flopping on "ObamaCare" or generally moving leftward.

2Lucky for President Obama, with $4/gal gasoline and a closet full of his own empty promises, he needs to face a candidate this lousy to have a good chance at re-election.

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Weekly Twitter wisdom 

Little slices of Twitter wisdom. Real quotes from real tweeters. (PG)

damn be a real friend and don't influence someone to make a bad decision just cause you wanna have a good time. #selfish ---Autumn

You were really popular in high school, you say? I bet that helped you out later in life.---Condescending Wonka

Beer is now cheaper than gas. Drink, don't drive.---Hannah

well I texted "you" about a party turns out it was your moms number......... Why do I have your mothers number" LOL---Rachel

And the Twitter picture of the week, here.

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