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Monday, October 15, 2012

Untold Durham 

The Clarion Content's editor was lucky enough to be able to attend "Untold Durham" at the Carolina Theater last week, a fascinating presentation about Durham's cultural history by the creator of the amazing website repositories, Endangered Durham and Open Durham, Gary Kueber. Kueber promised "tales of the Bull City as never before..." and he delivered in a rollicking presentation that drew repeated laughter from the nearly sold out Carolina.

Photo credit BWPW photography.

Standing alone on stage and rarely referring to his notes Kueber spoke for more than two hours. He sketched an outline on his first slide that read as follows, "Dawn of Time *** Civil War *** Bull Durham Tobacco *** Duke *** Black Wall Street *** Freeway Destroys Haytai *** Durham Dies *** Food Trucks Arrive."

As this outline would suggest, it wasn't your standard Wikipedia entry style presentation. Kueber dug deeply into Durham's seamy cultural past from the saloons and taverns that started it all, once outnumbering the churches in town four to two, to tobacco, gambling, music, prostitution, dancing, drinking and finally food, revealing the first place where you could get a drive in burger in Durham and a spot where the Brunswick Stew was stirred with a paddle.

Like his Durham websites, his presentation was filled with terrific photos. They were backed with a panoply of audio clips of folks telling bits and pieces of Durham's cultural backstory story. The Clarion Content is hoping to secure an interview with Kueber, so we won't go into all the sordid details of the evening's revelations, but rest assured there were more than a few of them.

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