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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Just between us 

"just between us" an art experience by Sarah Goetz opens Friday at The Carrack Modern Art, 111 West Parrish Street in Durham.

Like everything at The Carrack Modern Art1, it will be here and gone quickly, showing only through Thursday, June 7th. If you can make the time in your hectic modern schedule to get there, you should. And if you feel like you can't make the time in your schedule to get there, it is even more reason why you should.

If you can't make it for the opening, which is Friday night at 7pm, the Carrack Modern Art is open 12pm–6pm, Tuesday through Friday and Saturdays 2pm-5pm. Goetz installation needs to be digested and absorbed for the full impact.

The artist, herself, is extremely distinguished, having graduated from Duke University, where in 2011 she won the Louis Sudler Prize in the Creative and Performing Arts, the Julia Harper Day award in Documentary Studies, the Sue & Lee Noel Prize in Visual Arts, Distinction in Arts of the Moving Image, and Highest Distinction in Visual & Media Studies.

See her work and you will believe.

However, the real interest is in the message, the nuanced feel and understanding that girds the output. Goetz is grew up in Oklahoma2 and at first blush her installation in The Carrack is surely reminiscent of a storm, perhaps a tornado gathering force. The way it is hung, the work responds to air flow, swaying as people move about it.

Goetz readily admits to the storm motif and the influence of her past. But, she is openly also operating on another level. Goetz says she has spent nearly all of her free time consumed with this event since conceiving of the installation and confirming the Carrack date nearly a year ago, just as she was graduating Duke.

The thought that went into the process is immense. As she explained it to the Clarion Content, Goetz has been making multimedia installations and film for some time. She has only more recently come to painting. The exhibit brings all three together. The theme is about emptiness, the space between, which as Goetz demonstrates, without stooping to the ironic, can be quite full.

Paraphrasing her stream of consciousness. As we sat in The Carrack, with the late afternoon light pouring through the windows, she let flow, "from seeming emptiness, one can build an interest, recognition of little irregularities..." I drift along with her.

Personally, thinking back to being a small child, I can remember my endless fascination with dust motes in sunlight. I remember how I could amuse myself for hours, chasing them about, trying to capture bits of the ephemeral, in shafts of sun, that now, in my middle decades, I walk by without a second thought, presuming them empty, ignoring the texture, the microcosmos which once held the mysteries of an entire universe.

Goetz continues her thought on perceived emptiness, "but as soon as you add color or recognizable forms or people, the empty space suddenly becomes shockingly barren." Goetz has always been fascinated by, "the space between things," whether film splices, silence or white canvas. She melds this theme not only to her work, but to her understanding of human relationships and interactions. She asks, "What happens when you create a closed self-sustaining existence that is suddenly interrupted by something much more beautiful, that is subsequently taken away?"

Her thought hangs in the air, neither empty, nor visible.

What is left of those white spaces, those closed lives, when a dash of color is added, then snatched back? We are left, in her words, feeling abandoned and scared. The transcendence of her art is its mating with her experiences, its reflection of the commonality of all human experience.3 One is suddenly reminded of the Pearl Jam lyrics from, "Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town." Vedder sings "...haunting, familiar, yet I can't seem to place it...lifetimes are catching up with me...hearts and thoughts they fade...away..."

Goetz work feels hauntingly familiar, gives the aching sense of having experienced something similar. Bright color, joy, vibrancy has come into each of our lives from seemingly out of nowhere and fled again just as rapidly. The Buddhist finds momentary pleasure in a world of samsara. Yet when that moment of pleasure passes away, gone and as intangible as time passed, we are not left blank and empty. Time has passed and been experienced. The space between things has its own realm, as textured and nuanced as the colorful. Goetz refers to this reality as "the presence of absence."

Goetz exhibit also includes a short film she made called, "For the forgotten face of my lover/the silence after a cold goodbye." At eleven minutes with hardly a word spoken, one might be forgiven for thinking it would be impossible to follow or unreasonably dull. Hardly. Space flows, light moves, silence and shadow play, we are reminded of her caveat about the details and grains in what is seemingly plain, white, 'empty space.'

When color appears it is transformative. The process takes center stage as brush touches canvass, but we have already been shown that the void, the blank, is not as empty as it appears. She raises questions that have been beguiling philosophers from Genesis, Chapter One, Verse One. "In the beginning G-d created the heavens and the Earth. The Earth was without form and void...let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters..."

What was pre-existent? From whence come those waters? What form the void? G-d too, as detailed in the story, started with black and white, darkness and light, before dry land, vegetation, plants and fruits; and their concomitant bountiful explosion of color.4

Goetz says she drew some of her inspiration from a poem by Phillip Booth, "Relations: Old Light/New Sun/Postmistress/Earth/04421."

The opening lines appear at the beginning of this piece, the closing lines are below.

"just between us" an art experience by Sarah Goetz now showing at the Carrack Modern Art through June 7th.

It is not to be missed.

1Coming soon our piece on The Carrack's amazing first year.
2Though at this point she considers herself Durham through and through.
3Isn't this why art exists?
4Let alone made animals and man; Creationism aside, a Darwinist tells the story in much the same way, unable to conceive of a existence pre-existence, the void is as incomprehensible as the infinite for both believers and non.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer Tech Tips 

Special to the Clarion Content from guest columnist, Neil Berman, Helper-in-Chief at TheONbutton.

Summer's coming y'all! The weather is warming up nicely here, so here are my Summer technology tips to help you get the most out of your vacation, or staycation...

Don't let your smartphone lose its mojo

"Honey I forgot to print the flight confirmation!!" Don't worry, it's probably in an email on your smartphone, along with your hotel confirmation, rental car details, camera app, music collection, newspaper app, weather app, sudoku game...and phone app (yes phones still make phone calls!). Your smartphone needs juice to keep your Summer running smoothly! Invest in a portable charger because Great Lakes, national parks and beaches are notoriously lacking in wall outlets. Here's a solar model which can charge all manner of fancy gadgets. Other models charge up a portable battery from a wall outlet or an in-car charger. Approximately $20-50 from various retailers.

AirPlay: The new CD changer for Summer parties

Oh how we miss CD multiplayers! You could spend a whole afternoon programming it with a playlist of music from five CDs before a party! Fortunately Apple gave us Airplay which will play a playlist from iTunes on your computer to every room in your home. One of the specialities at TheONbutton is setting up AirPlay enabled homes; it's the simplest, most reliable and cost-effective way to get wireless music throughout your home. Plus you'll wow your friends when you pull out your iPhone or iPad to control your entire music collection. All you need is iTunes, a $99 Apple AirPlay music receiver in each room connected to speakers. An iPhone, iPod touch or iPad acts as the remote control. Get in touch for more info.

If you can't go on vacation, work outdoors

Hmmm...technology and the great outdoors don't always mix so well. Dust, sunlight and soda spills are all bad news for our favorite laptop! Fear not, fresh air fans can still enjoy working outdoors with a rugged laptop that is designed to have a daylight readable screen, be more resilient to the elements and withstand the occasional minor drop to the floor. In fact that also sounds perfect for families with small children! Check out Dell's Latitude ATG range, which is a hardened nature-ready version of Dell's popular Latitude E6420 laptop. You can even boast to friends that it meets military specs for dust, temperature and other environmental tolerances.

Backup your data, especially before traveling

In my recent talk at the Chapel Hill Leads Group about safeguarding data, "Sleep Well At Night", I held up a small Lenovo ThinkPad pin-pad protected backup drive. A great feature of this external hard drive is that its contents are always encrypted and easily accessible without the need for special software. It also has a built-in USB cable and travel pouch for convenience. A good choice if you like to carry a copy of important files when away from home or work. If it gets lost or stolen, then the only way it can be used is if someone reinitializes the drive, which will cause the contents to be completely wiped. Neat. Lenovo ThinkPad 750GB Secure USB hard drive, $199.99 from Lenovo.

Neil Berman is the owner of TheONbutton in Durham, which helps clients with computers, websites, smartphones and audio-visual technology at home and at work. Neil founded TheONbutton because he loves technology and understands that not everyone feels the same way! Neil previously spent twelve years in the corporate IT industry with Deloitte, Barclays Capital and Deutsche Bank. TheONbutton serves business and residential clients across the Triangle area and can be reached at 919-695-3899 or by email at contact@theonbutton.com.

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from the Fashion Drive-by Art Show 

The Clarion Content hosted a fabulous party last weekend to celebrate a year of our Fashion Drive-by photography in Durham. The Cordoba Center of the Arts new location, The Platform1, played host to the amazing work of the Clarion Content team and lead photographer Jessi Blakely.

As many of you know, we spent a year looking at the high and low contrasts of Durham. How can the same Durham that other members of the Triangle area defame be the artistic cultural center that outsiders are positioning as the new Brooklyn or Austin?

There is a kernel of truth in most stereotypes somewhere, and the facts remain, as we have stated many times, Durham could not be what it is, without having been what it was. The cultural melting pot that is burbling and artistic flowering that is blooming in Durham never could have happened in the plastic strip malls of Cary. Our brick city, and its cultural stalwarts, maintained through an era of blight. We are the beneficiaries.2

The Clarion Content is extremely grateful to Danielle Riley who took these photos of our event. It was as much fun as it looks like, maybe more.

See you next time??

Chinese lanterns, a Cady Childs inspiration
Photo credit, Danielle Riley

The star of the show, Jessi Blakely aka Jessica Arden
....................................And from the Cordoba Center of the Arts; Mr. Julio Cordoba

Photo credit left, Danielle Riley; Photo credit right, Jessi Blakely

A full, fun-filled room of Durham glitterati
Photo credit, Danielle Riley

RoSean Alexander of LiLa takes in the art
Photo credit, Danielle Riley

Jen and Dain of Dain's Place
Photo credit, Danielle Riley

One of the Secret Gardens' models
Photo credit, Danielle Riley

A triumph for Jessi Blakely and the Clarion Content team
Photo credit, Danielle Riley

Our publisher with local bon vivant and sculptor, Jackie MacLeod
Photo credit, Danielle Riley

Tony Waldron3 who brilliantly painted the door of The Platform
Photo credit, Danielle Riley

See even more photos here.

1A cast of many hands helped us decorate the space under the direction of the inspired Cady Childs. The before pictures tell the tale.
2This legacy is part of why The Platform was such a perfect space to hold the show.
3Full length feature on Mr. Waldron coming soon.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fashion Drive-by: The intern 

The Clarion Content has long supported working with the most talented people we can. We do not buy into the strictures of age. Where else is the old cliche, it is all relative, more appropriate?1

To that end, here at the Clarion Content, we make no discrimination on the basis of age when seeking to work with the best and most creative people we can. To move from the general to the specific, our fabulous new intern, Katie Davidson, is a senior at Durham Academy. She just won an award as the most outstanding photographer in the school. When you see her work in a few short weeks, you will know why...We are delighted to have her on board!

Seeking to give talent a platform, we offered Ms. Davidson the opportunity to channel her own Durham vision, by photographing her own Fashion Drive-By.

As always, we used local Durham models, partnered with local Durham fashionistas and shot the photos locally. Below you will find a little behind the scenes teaser from this latest Clarion Content Fashion Drive-by.

We collaborated with River Takada-Capel of Riverbasin Outfitters and the Gypsy Witch Collective out of the dtownMARKET in Durham to get the splendid, reworked clothes the models are wearing. The models went wild for these outfits and looks. Our amazing Creative Director, Cady Childs, worked with Ms. Davidson to channel the "Bohemian Redneck" theme. The outstanding team of Angela Goldman and Kara Pezzimenti combined to style the model's fabulous hair.3

This shoot will blow you away. In the meantime, here are some behind the scenes sneak peeks of Katie and her models.

Photo credit for behind the scenes shots goes to Scenes from my Lunch Hour.

Photo credit for behind the scenes shots goes to Scenes from my Lunch Hour.

Check out even more photos of the shoot here at Scenes from my Lunch Hour.

1As the editor is fond of saying, tell me how long you are going to live and I will agree that your age has become relevant.
2These photos are from our collaborating partners at Scenes from my Lunch Hour.
3The effort and ideas for hair were so spectacular we have a whole separate article pending about the amazing stylists, Goldman and Pezzimenti, and their upcoming endeavours.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

America's broke cities 

The Great Recession is raising a generation on austerity. While there are no breadlines, the cost of gasoline alone has made young people more fiscally aware. There has also been great hue and cry about the decrease in state and local services as budgets are pinched. Schools from elementaries to universities have suffered the impact of these cuts. Budgets have been pared and pared again as the nation grapples with choice to buy missiles and bombs, instead of books and computers, to build Iraqis and Afghanis schools and roads before we build our own.1

Amidst this slump, cities and municipalities have been forced to get extremely creative about how they can save money. We read this weekend about two new outside the box maneuvers. The city of Detroit is going to eliminate about half of its streetlights. The city admits that 40% of its 88,000 streetlights are broken and it can't afford to fix them.2 To reduce the number of streetlights to 46,000 and contract out maintenance would save Detroit about $10 million a year by its own estimates. Of course, it would mean the city would discontinue fixing lights along with services such as street and sidewalk repairs in “distressed” areas, defined as those neighborhoods with a high degree of blight and little or no commercial activity.

Sorry, your neighborhood. We don't work there any more. What, you are a taxpayer? Well, you had better move along.

The reality is Detroit's 139 square miles contain 60% fewer residents than in 1950. Bloomberg news notes, street lighting is an important civic issue, quoting the experts, "It touches kids going to school in the dark. It touches midnight Mass at a church. It touches businesses that want to stay open past 9 pm... Delivering services to a thinly spread population is expensive. Some 20 neighborhoods, each a square mile or more, are only 10 to 15% occupied... the city can’t force residents to move, and it’s almost impossible under Michigan law for the city to seize properties for development... there are tremendous political, administrative, financial and, to some degree, legal obstacles. Unless you phase out a neighborhood altogether, you still need lighting, and waste pickup and police and fire protection."

Meanwhile halfway across the country in Vallejo, California, it is the cops instead of the lights who are being replaced. First the city declared bankruptcy, disposing with massive salary and benefits guarantees in the process. Then under fiscal pressure, the police went high-tech and invested $500,000 in cameras, allowing cops to be stationary and monitor a larger area than they could before rolling around on patrol. Their department deputized citizens to participate in law enforcement by sharing tips on Facebook and Twitter. The number of neighborhood watch groups jumped from 15 to 350.

We would like to be happy for the civic engagement, especially the fellow citizenry replacing the cops, but when the technological Big Brother is so intimately intertwined, our libertarian nerves twitch.3

The real fascination to the Clarion Content is simply that so many innovative measures are being thrust upon America. These are tough financial times. Can America come out the other side leaner without being meaner?

The jury is still out.

1Brought to you by King George the II and his loyal vassal, the Dick Cheney.
2Wait this is an American city, right? Not the third world??
3Also snitching culture always feels awfully Soviet to us.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Facebook, it's all good 

Wait, what, Facebook sucks?

Like no way. I can't believe it.

All right, extract us from our dreamy Valley persona and perhaps we can believe Facebook stinks, after all we have been writing about the ways they have been screwing their users for years. As the Los Angeles Times notes, "[Facebook has] what is widely regarded as the world's largest cache of personal data — a treasure trove for businesses looking to reach their ideal customers."

Your info is for sale.

Unfortunately for investors in Facebook, the company has not figured out how to make money on all that data it owns. As the Wall Street Journal notes, "[Facebook] revenue fell 6% in the first quarter. Profit fell 32%. [2012]" As any Facebook user can tell you, no one clicks through on the ads. Corporate America, still slowly extracting their heads from their proverbial bums, is just coming to terms with this reality. General Motors recently pulled all of its ads from Facebook, saying it wasn't seeing a return on its investment. A recent AP/CNBC poll found 57% of Facebook users say they never click on ads or other sponsored content and another 26% said they hardly ever click through ads.1

And when the Facebook posse fishes for ways beyond traditional advertising to exploit its massive network, nearly one billion users, it often ends up running afoul of the law.2 For example, Facebook is still trying to settle a lawsuit regarding what it called 'sponsored stories.'

Beginning in 2011, Facebook let brands pay to retransmit users' activities to their friends' pages. So that, if someone clicked the "like" button for a corporate brand, the activity would show up as a "sponsored story" on their Facebook friends' pages. Sued for using its account holders images and likeness for commercial activity without their permission, Facebook is settling out of court without admitting wrong doing reports The Seattle Times.

Facebook's anecdotal popularity could hardly be lower among our peer group. Witness the hue and cry when Facebook bought popular photosharing service Instagram. The instantaneous reaction was, 'that sucks' and 'say goodbye to Instagram' and 'sh*t, how do I take my photos down.' The polling data backs up what we are hearing, the same AP/CNBC poll we cited above found 59% of respondents said that they had little to no trust in Facebook to keep their information private.

Facebook's fastest growing demographic of users is now the least technologically savvy, old people. It is rapidly gaining users in the fifty plus age set. And as we know, nothing makes something 'uncool' to youth than a bunch of old folks digging on it.

Facebook's footprint is far too big for it to go away completely, or even to collapse like MySpace, but it would not surprise the Clarion Content at all to see it lumbering down the dead end paths to irrelevance followed by the likes of once untouchable internet behemoths AOL and Yahoo.

As we have stated many times before, it is our contention that the internet's primary purpose is not simply to be a better sales tool than television.

The historical pattern on the internet3 has been when an organization tries to disguise its intentions, yet its ultimate and evident goal is 'Sell, sell, sell,' users eventually react with distaste, moving on to nimbler, more entertaining, less fiscally obtrusive sites that have likely yet to figure out their own revenue model; see Twitter, Pintrest, Tumblr, et al.

Facebook's huge public offering, the one that valued the company at upwards of $100 billion, marked a beginning all right, the beginning of its decline.45

1Not a math major, but 83% of your users hardly ever or never click through ads? What are you selling? The Brooklyn Bridge, you don't say...

2We are not referring to its monopolistic practices, although it is blatantly in violation of existing anti-trust laws in America.

3To date the internet has proved itself fairly well able to be lateral in its ability to adapt around and/or subvert existing hierarchies.

4They do have nearly a billion users so this fall may be glacial at first, but momentum in the internet age is a brutal leveler this is not the Roman Empire, Facebook's power is far more virtual.

5All predictions offered with heaping handfuls of salt.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Commie Ball 

Can these guys do it with line drives?

"Commie Ball" is the title of a delightful little piece that Clarion Content fave, Grantland author, Jonah Keri steered us to at the 619 Sports.net. The article could be subtitled, "How to win at Petco Park on a budget."

Herein a creative and learned Padres fan dissects the possibilities of building a batting order around small, speedy, line drive hitters; switch hitters, if possible. He calls it "Commie Ball." Petco Park may have fences that are hard to clear, but it has wide grassy gaps and plenty of space to dump the ball over the infield, and in front of the outfielders.

This is the kind of solutions based analysis that the Clarion Content loves. It does no good to whine about what you don't have, it is rather, about how to make use of what you do have. The author, Craig, does note that good defenders are essential for this kind of low power, high average, aggressive base-running style offense, "plus defense being a necessity in center and right field and all infield positions..."

Will Padres general manager Josh Byrnes continue to pivot in that direction? Or will the franchise simply attempt to move the fences in and sign aging, immobile big boppers? The last successful "Commie Ball" teams were the early 80's Astros1 and the early/mid 80's Cardinals.2

We have entered an era where pitching is back, is it so far back, that a team can win playing "Commie Ball?"

Saw one other interesting baseball note tonight, Justin Verlander pitched at least six innings for the 52nd straight start, the longest such streak since Hall of Famer, Steve Carlton, pitched at least six innings for sixty-nine consecutive starts from Sept. 13, 1979 to April 13, 1982.

1The 1980 Astros finished first in their division and were lead by Terry Puhl with thirteen home runs, five players topped twenty stolen bases. In addition to Puhl they featured line drive hitters such as Jose Cruz, Cesar Cedeno and Enos Cabell.

2The Cards won the World Series in 1982 with George Hendrick leading the team with a mere nineteen dingers, while featuring such notable line drive, high average, speed and defense guys as Tommy Herr, Willie McGee, Lonnie Smith and Keith Hernandez.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Urban gardening runs amok 

SEEDS garden at #706 Gilbert Street

Friend of the Clarion Content and fellow blogger, Durham Profiles, is a great place to read stories about fellow Durhamanians. We loved their profile of Durham musician, Steven Coffman, a couple of months back.

Durham Profiles and founder Ruth Eckles most recent article follows the story of urban farming in Durham through Homegrown City Farms. Local food is a cause near and dear to the Clarion Content's heart.

A brief excerpt from the latest pearl on Durham Profiles...
"There’s so much wasted land in a lawn," laments Collier Reeves of Homegrown City Farms in a recent interview. Her words remain on my mind as I drive to work, passing the broad expanse of lawns that surround office buildings, pedestrian malls, hotels, grocery stores and highway medians.

"We live in an agriculturally rich area here in the Piedmont, but there is a lot of underused land, especially in urban areas," Maryah Smith-Overman, the other half of Homegrown City Farms, adds.

Since moving from Asheville to Durham last year to launch the project, the two have steadily transformed a borrowed quarter-acre plot in East Durham into a small farm overflowing with sugar snap peas, chard, beets, radishes, spinach, arugula, carrots, and broccoli raab. On June 1st, they will begin distributing the vegetables through CSA shares. Homegrown City Farms grew out of Reeves and Smith-Overmans’ mutual desire to promote community, food sovereignty, and sustainable land stewardship practices...Both artists and musicians, Reeves and Smith-Overman are attracted to Durham’s overlapping social justice, farm-to-fork, music and art scenes.
Ms. Eckles teases out that uniquely Durham story, that vibe that makes our town a place where people find a way to say "Yes", rather than "No." Homegrown City Farms is clearly built on and sustained by a cooperative community effort.

They employ a process called a "Crop Mob" when they need extra help. A spin-off of the meme of the flash mob, crop mobbing is a way to harness the collective effort of the community. It is a natural pairing with urban farming because in the past when activities like planting, harvesting, processing, and barnraising almost always required local collective effort, the rural community was there. In the modern parlance, crop mobbers work together, share a meal, play, talk, make music and revel in life. No money is exchanged.

The Clarion Content knows we are not alone in Durham in our support for urban gardens, local farms and locally grown food. Just yesterday, we heard bon vivants, Jennifer and Dain Phelan, proprietors of a favorite Clarion Content watering hole and eatery Dain's, held a fundraiser to support SEEDS. SEEDS, a long time Durham institution, is a non-profit educational community garden that uses gardening and growing food to teach respect for life, for the earth and for each other. SEEDS young urban gardeners sell their wares at their own Produce & Craft Market Wednesday's from 4pm to 6pm at #706 Gilbert Street, in Durham and also Saturdays at the Durham Farmer's Market.

Read Ruth Eckles and Durham Profiles whole article here. Read more about Crop Mobbing here.

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They playin' basketball 

With all due respect to Kurtis Blow, this is the most fun we have seen an old dude have playing basketball in some time.

You go, Uncle Drew!

Highly hilarious... Creative... Well done!

1Very creative work, Mr. Kyrie Irving. But advertising, what a waste of our society's creative energies.

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fashion Drive-by #4, Secret Gardens 

The idea of a secret kept, a story or a memory or a place that no one else knows, can seem a romantic, aged idea in our era of omnipresence. This Spring, for our fourth Clarion Content Fashion Drive-by, we chanced to channel the idea at the core of all those old clever children’s stories we think of when the nights stay warm, and fireflies slowly make their way back out for the summer: The Secret Garden, Charlotte’s Web and even Alice and her rabbit hole… Like so many do, we felt an almost subconscious, pressing need to get away from the hurly-burly rush of every day life. To ensconce ourselves in the safety and privacy of a secret place, lucky for us, Durham has a bevy of such hidden gems.

To highlight this sense of freedom and getting away from our cares and worries, we attempted to gaze through the eyes of teenagers, the time when, more so than ever again, a new wardrobe can literally change your life. Our Spring Fashion Drive-by is built around the pastel tones that this season we’re seeing all over runways, fingernails, eye shadow pallets, and accessories. The lady’s wardrobe was provided by Dolly’s Vintage, one of Durham’s top spots for great quality, classic and timeless vintage at amazing prices. Dolly’s Vintage is rumored to have been visited recently by designers from Victoria’s Secret, who stopped and picked up tons of pieces for inspiration.

Stylist Angela Goodman created the fashion forward and fairy tale ready hairstyles seen on models, with makeup and wardrobe styling by Cady Childs. Our ethereal vision set in some of Trinity Park’s fabulous private gardens, features some of this season’s best trends. The photos were captured by Jessi Blakely, the Clarion Content’s lead photographer.

Dream a little dream...

Weaving time in a tapestry...

Every day it's a gettin closer...

Where in Trinity Park you say?
The three shots above come from where we started our secret garden adventure, at what is affectionately known in Durham circles as "The Pink Castle." It is one of the 'Faculty Row' houses built by Trinity College in 1891. According to our friends at Open Durham.org they were orignally built on campus. But, "The Pink Castle' which is formally known as The Crowell House, was moved intact from the campus to Watts Street in 1916. Open Durham notes three other 'Faculty Row' houses were also moved. Read more here.

A photo of the pink castle aka The Crowell House snapped by an amateur photog.

From Watts Street to Markham
Our second house was host to a wedding in its garden only last month, mere weeks after our shoot. The Ralph and Lucile Rogers House on Markham Avenue was built in 1935. Ralph Rogers succeeded his father as owner and pharmacist of the Rogers Drug Company. He also served Durham on the Downtown Commission in the 1960s. Open Durham reports he relocated to West Markham from a more modest abode at #405 Oakwood Avenue.

If you knew Time as well as I do...

It's always tea-time...

Have you guessed the riddle yet?

See even more photos from this fabulous shoot in Trinity Park's Secret Gardens at our Fashion Drive-by Art Event, tonight, Saturday, May 19th, 5.30pm-9pm, at the Cordoba Center for the Arts, "The Platform,", #923 Franklin Street, Durham.

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Fracking the Big Picture 

The Clarion Content has been following the fracking debate through our Durham lens. However, as we told you in our last article, fracking has a writ large context as well. It is a key player in the national debate about energy policy and energy production.

Image found here.

Witness an article in last week's USA Today, under the banner headline, "U.S. energy independence is no longer just a pipe dream" Their writer, Tim Mullaney, used the quaint home of the Little League Baseball World Series, Williamsport as his vehicle. Pennsylvania is a state where the fracking debate is manifest. Jobs and energy production meet local environmental and ecological concerns head on.

USA Today as is their want drifts through the highlights like daytime television: [footnotes we added]
"about 100 companies have moved to town..." and "Citigroup argues that the U.S., or at least North America, can achieve energy independence by 2020..." more citing Citigroup, "Counting the output from Canada1 and Mexico2, North America is 'the new Middle East'..." "It could help manufacturers and chemical businesses that use lots of energy or make products from natural gas. It might give the U.S. a structural advantage on trade partners in energy costs, helping to offset the edge that cheaper labor gives nations such as China.."

The general gist of it all is selling the amazing possibilities, and though USA Today is quoting Citigroup's report and analyst, is their readership nuanced enough to pick up on that? One wonders.

It becomes especially relevant in the next paragraph when the writer transitions from parroting citing Citigroup to this beauty, "A dozen years after Texas wildcatter George Mitchell commercialized a new gas-drilling technology called hydraulic fracking, the new energy boom is taking off..."

He then proceeds to tell the happy little tale, Wikipedia meets Johnny Appleseed style, of how fracking has spread its largesse from from Pennsylvania to Alaska to North Dakota back to Williamsport where, "Shell has announced plans to build a cracking plant, which will make chemicals from natural gas, outside Pittsburgh. The expected payoff includes 10,000 construction jobs..."

USA Today does caution its readership that this analysis assumes continued strong conservation trends, along with federal mandates for improved vehicle fuel standards. It also notes that this still won't lead to $2/gallon gasoline.

But what the Clarion Content finds most interesting, most relevant both in Durham and the proverbial Main Streets where the presidential election will be played out, is that never once does the author mention the environmental3 and ecological4 concerns that accompany fracking. Whether accidental or not, the Clarion Content finds it metaphorical for how we anticipate the soundbite politics of the presidential debate will approach fracking. The bitter irony is that here at home in Durham, across the fences and the backyards, concerns about health and the local ecology dominate. We don't want our families, friends and neighbors to get sick, we don't want our area polluted.5

Stay tuned.6

1Be nice to Canadians, on top of their wealth of natural resources, the Northwest passage is about to open, too.

2Seems like it would be in America's interest to quit destabilizing Mexico with an unsuccessful drug policy.

3 Environmental concerns in this case being human health concerns, pollution that harms ground water supplies or creates new cancer clusters.

4Ecological concerns in this case referring to environmental impacts to the local habitat affecting everything from farming and animal husbandry to wild species die-off.

5The energy industry PR machine has a swell label for that stance, it makes you a nimby. As in "Those damn nimby's, first it was power plants, then it was mountain topping, now its fracking." Let it be said to the Clarion Content whole-heartedly agrees that a realistic national conversation about consumption and conservation has to occur. Dick Cheney be damned.

6The record is not over yet. This will (or should) come up hundreds of times in the presidential campaign.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Iron Show at Liberty Arts 

Tomorrow, Friday, May 18th, as part of the Third Friday Durham Art Walk, Liberty Arts non-profit artist collaborative will be hosting a show of Iron works at their new location in the Golden Belt district, at Cordoba Center for the Arts, #923 Franklin Street in Durham.

Scraps of melting cast iron
photo credit Caperton Morton Andersson

Many of the works that will be exhibited and for sale were produced at a fantastic iron pour held earlier this month in Moncure, NC. The iron pour was a spectacular, dramatic scene, May 5th at the Moncure Museum of Art. Don’t be fooled by the high falutin name. This was serious work.

Liberty Arts, a socially conscious, ethically focused, non-profit, collected old scrap cast iron that might have been otherwise discarded to melt down for this pour; old boilers, bathtubs, sinks, radiators and more were transported to Moncure, just south of Pittsboro. Then the real fun began… Because before this scrap iron could be turned into molten metal, it had to be smashed (literally, with sledgehammers) into approximately one inch by one inch pieces. Fun, fun, fun turning scrap to smithereens.

From there, these tiny pieces were loaded into what looked like a thick walled oil drum, technically a Bessamer furnace, and heated to a molten 3000o. It is a methodical and precise process, a ratio of 35 lbs. of metal to 6 lbs. of coke/black coal has to be maintained throughout. When the mixture is ready, a stopper at the bottom of the furnace, called a “butt” is removed and the metal pours out. The “butt,” itself, despite the bemusing name, is a highly technical device made out of clay, sand, sawdust and water. This conical shape plug is holding back super hot liquid metal under pressure.

Butt removed
photo credit Caperton Morton Andersson

The pour itself is a multiple person job. Two kneeling iron casters poke a hole in the butt as a third person, “the butter” stands at the ready with a new butt, prepared to reblock the spout at a moment’s notice. Super intense heat sweeps across the room, even beneath goggles one imagines one’s eyelashes melting, one’s eyebrows being singed off the forehead. The molten iron pours into a crucible, fifty pounds at time, two workers muscle it across the room and begin to pour it into molds. Another iron caster, scrapes the floating detritus like enamel and other waste products from the molds.

As Liberty Arts own Jackie MacLeod puts it, “It is a well-choreographed and supremely serious ballet.”

A serious ballet
photo credit Caperton Morton Andersson

The results are amazing. Come see for yourself this Friday at Liberty Arts main facility, #923 Franklin Street, Durham in the Cordoba Center of the Arts. You won’t be disappointed. You will be able to take a bit of repurposed metal, crafted into a unique piece of art home with you.

Artists’ works featured include Tim Werrell, Leah Waller-Foushee, Mike Waller, Robin Holmes, Tripp Jarvis, Elijah Leed, GeorgeAnn Greth, Mike Lupa and more.

Majestic results
photo credit Caperton Morton Andersson

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Fashion Drive-by Art Show 

You are invited.

5.30pm---9pm, Saturday, May 19th, at "The Platform" the new venue at the Cordoba Center for the Arts...
#923 Franklin Street, Durham.

Take a second look, Durham.

Mad props and grateful thank yous to the Cozmik Production crew that made this video. Same to all of our Fashion Drive-by collaborators, contributors and models.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fracking follow-up 

The Clarion Content has been closely following the battle over fracking and subsurface mineral rights closely since we broke the story that national builder, D.R. Horton, had obtained fracking rights and mineral rights in the Triangle. Our sources are now saying that company holds these mineral rights in as many as sixty subdivisions in North Carolina.

However, they may be backing down in the face of massive amounts of bad publicity...

What? It isn't helping to sell homes when people discover you have the right to pump noxious chemicals 500 feet beneath the surface of their land? Just because those chemicals pollute groundwater and might cause earthquakes, people are concerned?

The Durham Herald-Sun's Laura Oleniacz reports that D.R. Horton gave mineral rights back to twenty-two Durham property owners according to the Durham County Register of Deeds office. The reason D.R. Horton gave was based on a technicality, "...company officials discovered last week that some property owners’ contracts didn’t mention that the company was reserving the mineral rights to some properties."

Oleniacz also notes that, "the D.R. Horton company also said that it is now stopping its practice of retaining mineral rights in cases where those rights have not already been reserved by a previous property owner, and until the state legislature 'has fully addressed the issues now pending before it.'"

Does not exactly sound like they have given up.

And clearly, statewide, the battle is not over yet, be prepared to hear the phrase "domestic energy production" hundreds of times in the upcoming presidential election cycle. Fracking is domestic energy production. Folks who attended the information session organized by Durham County Agricultural Cooperative Extension Services and Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA heard that while North Carolina farmers and landowners are being paid as little as a $1/acre for fracking rights, in some western states the going rate is $25/acre. Energy companies offer farmers and landowners, huge initial signing bonuses, too, in exchange for permission to frack on their property.

They build huge well pads, the hydraulic equivalent of open pit mines, often seven to ten acres in dimension. The pump their toxic brew beneath the surface, push what shale and natural gas products they can to the surface and leave, often with no reclamation provisions in place, not even minimal aesthetic repair.1

State Senator Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, introduced a bill to the North Carolina Senate's Energy Policy Issues Committee that recommends to the General Assembly eliminating the state's current prohibitions on horizontal drilling (fracking).

In the status quo many questions remain unanswered. Is D.R. Horton giving back mineral rights to all the North Carolina properties where they have claimed them? Or only where they did not properly disclose they were obtaining them? Are they willing to give back these mineral and subsurface rights to any D.R. Horton homeowner who requests them? What if your neighbor doesn't request their return? What is the effect on the property values of the neighborhood? The individual?

Durham property attorney, Carey Ewing, who was an essential part of bringing the story to the public eye, says that uncertainty prevails, "Homeowners need more information and no one is giving it to them."2

And while D.R. Horton's spokespeople insist, "D.R. Horton is not in the mining business. It is in the business of building, and selling, quality homes and providing excellent value to its homeowners..." What is the other part of their conglomerate up to? What is D.R.H. Energy's role in this dirty business?3

Stay tuned. We will keep you updated.

1If North Carolina does end up legislating to allow fracking, at bare minimum, the state must put in place strong regulation about how the land is to be left afterward, both above and below the surface of the ground.

2Ms. Ewing is quoted in both the Durham Herald-Sun's and the AP's recent stories about fracking in North Carolina. Full disclosure: the Clarion Content editor has previously retained, on an entirely separate issue, Ms. Ewing's firm, the Ewing Law Center.

3D.R.H. Energy also owns mineral and subsurface drilling rights to many D.R. Horton properties in North Carolina. The energy company has not issued a public statement about its role or intentions.

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Great...even if it is apocryphal.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Bits of Twitter wisdom 

Little slices of Twitter. Our Tweets of the week.

Real quotes from real tweeters. (PG)

Whenever I need to call my mom to ask her something and she doesn't pick up the phone I will always assume it was a yes.---Sydney

Oh, Lebron James got engaged? Congratulations to his fiancé for leading the family with one ring.---Condescending Wonka

"The boys that hurt you are like ants; they're so small it's not even worth it to crush them, just step over them and keeep walking" – mama (SophieG)

I come from where drama is excepted and credit cards are declined.---Kaleigh

Hot teachers make my day so much easier---Miranda

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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Vote no on Amendment One 

The Clarion Content's editorial staff is opposed to Amendment One. We support the liberty and freedom of our friends and neighbors to marry whom they please without government intervention.1 At the core of the American social contract is the freedom, within very large bounds, for each citizen to choose our own way of living.

We are once again enamored with Durham. This time it is our peoples approach to campaigning against Amendment One. The suave photo below is a from a VoteAgainst.org event held at Fullsteam Brewery. Seven supporters are pictured, including the Clarion Content's own Jessica Arden2 along with her sis, Amy Blakely and Kelly Clark, both Clarion Content Fashion Drive-by models.

The funny Durham-centric story about this photo is that Jessi had to dash across the street to Fullsteam from the LiLa3 video premier of Heart to Heart at MotorCo. Of course the vid is Durham themed and shot at the Durham School of the Arts to boot.

If you are new to this town, can you see how we end up marrying ourselves?!? We love it.4

Check out VoteAgainst.org's campaign here. Very cool. Lots of familiar faces.

Early voting is already open. Here is a list of places you can vote.

1Obviously, the State has an obligation and the power to say there cannot be adults marrying minors, nor people whom are immediate blood relatives getting married.

2aka Jessica Blakely

3Rollicking Durham based band.

4We frequently tell new Durhamanians that this town has only two and a half degrees of separation.


Monday, May 07, 2012

The John Owens campaign 

The Clarion Content has long had an affinity for stirrers of the pot. In the 2008 Presidential campaign when we heard Barack Obama referred to as a community organizer, we didn't see that as a slur, but rather a compliment. We believe complacency of the community is among the biggest threats to our individual liberties.

That said, this is not an endorsement. We were sent this video about Durham County Commissioner Candidate John Owens. His message to the establishment is radical.

From his video tag:
Elections in Durham County aren't what they seem. Powerful local PACs, individuals, and newspapers decide who you get to know about, and who gets a good shot at running. Candidates are even told they need to "Wait their turn because other people have been waiting in line for years" to get these seats. What, really? Yes. Really

The Clarion Content has absolutely seen some evidence of machine politics at work in Durham to our collective detriment.

It is quite last minute, as the last day to vote is tomorrow. But if you haven't met or heard from Team Owens (the green signs) yet. Here is the link to his site.

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Friday, May 04, 2012

Super Moon Saturday 

The biggest full moon of the year for the Northern Hemisphere is coming this weekend. Saturday night is what is commonly referred to as the "Supermoon." This results when the moon's perigee coincides with a full moon, like it does this month. In this case the perigee, the point in an orbit where the orbiting body is closest to the body it orbits, is the nearest to Earth the moon will be at any time this year.

We believe it should look something like this...

SPACE.com's skywatching columnist, Joe Rao, says that this happens because the moon's orbit is not perfectly circular. This month's full moon is due to be about 16 percent brighter than average. Although there is no obvious scientific cause for alarm or disquiet, SPACE.com does note that, "normal tides around the world will be particularly high and low. At perigee, the moon will exert about 42 percent more tidal force than it will during its next apogee two weeks later."

They also suggest, "To view this weekend's supermoon to best effect, look for it just after it rises or before it sets, when it is close to the horizon. There, you can catch a view of the moon behind buildings or trees, an effect which produces an optical illusion, making the moon seem even larger than it really is."

Read the whole article here.


Thursday, May 03, 2012

Company of Thieves and Grouplove 

"Not Quite Fan Girl Style..."
Guest Column By: Beth Mandel

Company of Thieves
Photo credit Scenes from my Lunch Hour

What I am most struck by as I enter Cat’s Cradle is how mixed the crowd is. Eighteen year-olds stand shoulder to shoulder with thirty-plus- somethings, both crowds unironically clad in canvas TOMS. I’m early, as I am perhaps more eager to see the opener, Company of Thieves, than I am to see Grouplove, technically the headliner of this tour. It’s not crowded yet, so I head up to the front and find a good picture-taking perch, a set of tween girls the only obstacle between me and the stage.

Before long a seasoned couple sidles up next to me. The woman, Allison, strikes up a conversation after she catches me taking notes. I observe that I am on the older side of this crowd, at a wizened twenty-eight. With a self-effacing laugh she tells me to hush up – she’s forty! She and her husband Matt, a cancer doctor, have been going to shows since Dave Grohl was still drumming with Nirvana. She went to Dave Matthews Band shows when they only cost a dollar. Though her fit frame belies it, she tells me she has three kids. The middle one is a nine year old whose preferred school outfit is an old world fedora, her Black Keys t-shirt and a tutu. Allison brings home a tee from every concert she attends for each of her kids. Her daughter’s two favorite bands are the Beatles and the White Stripes, and she’s crushed that they’re both broken up. I tell her to tell her daughter she’ll soon lose count of how many of her favorite bands have broken up over the years, and that she should instead feel good about the fact that she’ll undoubtedly be the coolest kid in her freshman dorm.

Before long, Company of Thieves takes the stage and Allison and I are instantly transfixed by the band’s glowing, magnetic centerpiece – Genevieve Schatz. Her band mates probably get tired of hearing this, since they’re all talented in their own right, but when COT is on stage there’s only one place the audience is looking and that’s at Genevieve. And really, what else can you expect from a rock band? What made Ozzy, Bono, or Mick great frontmen? Charisma – a tendency to draw the spotlight. And a solid set of pipes of course.

Genevieve has charisma and pipes in abundance. Her voice is an intriguing dichotomy – at once childlike and questioning and yet still soulful as all hell. When she sings, her whole body becomes involved in the effort. Her bony frame twists with the emotions she’s belting, her chest heaving like it may be ripped apart if she doesn’t excise what’s building up inside her. She is simply dressed, wearing a sheer ivory peasant blouse and skinny jeans that allow us see her serpentine gyrations. She is completely captivating. She pauses between songs only occasionally, like when she tells us the new song she is about to sing depicts our relationship with the environment. As she wails out “Gorgeous/Grotesque” she makes everyone in the room feel the conflict she’s illustrating. If she sang “Oscar Wilde” with slightly more twang and less wail then on Ordinary Riches (their freshman album from 2009), then it seems she was saving her wail for the closing number “Won’t Go Quietly” (from 2011’s “Running from a Gamble”). It was an explosion of feeling that perfectly closed an enthralling set.

After a quick set change, Grouplove took the stage. If COT was all about the lead singer, Grouplove is the exact opposite. Their lineup is democratically horizontal, and they share not only the spotlight, but the harmonies and melodies as well. Everything about this band screams equality, yet they are still permeated by dramatic individuality. Singer and guitarist Christian Zucconi wears a flowered t-shirt that Allison and I agree looks like a Laura Ashley couch, and then laugh about how most of the kids there won’t get the reference. Singer and keyboardist Hannah Hooper is like a slightly less ripened version of Genevieve, equally energetic and delightfully feminine, but lacking that radiating soulfulness. The band seems equally nascent, though their sound is well developed, their lyrics are a bit superficial: “Cruising on the highway with my friends, top down, and we're all on our way to the beach…Hot day, mid-June, naked kids, running wild, and free. It's summer time fun, relax and stay young.” By contrast, COT’s aforementioned “Gorgeous/Grotesque” spins this poetic yarn: “There's nothing more helpless or hopeless than the birds of the city streets, with the dirt on their heavy wings. In the evening, on my way to sleep, I hear them- screaming out into a bitter melody.” Still, it’s easy to see stylistic synergies between the two bands and their joint touring is a clever pairing.

Photo credit Scenes from my Lunch Hour

I leave the club shortly before Grouplove finishes, eager to go home and pen my review. As I turn the corner heading for the parking lot, I catch Company of Thieves scarfing down some pizza outside their tour bus. I stand in awe of Genevieve, even in such a casual environment. Searching for something to say while fully intimidated, I tell Genevieve something I once heard a radio DJ say: “You were like a Mexican jumping bean of energy out there tonight!” I see one of her band mates roll his eyes at this unoriginal pronouncement, but I hope she’ll be kinder. She is. She beckons me to sit next to her, and says between mouthfuls of white pizza (yum!), “Really? I don’t think I jumped enough tonight. I was afraid I’d crash into the drum set!” I agree with her that perhaps it wasn’t that jumpy, but it was certainly not lacking for energy. We chat for another minute, and not wanting to selfishly hog her time, I excuse myself and head out. Only later did I wish I had asked her for an autograph, fan-girl style. I’ll have to settle for enjoying my pictures instead. All in all, a great show.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The Platform 

Have you heard about the new space at the Cordoba Center for the Arts, "The Platform?"

This is "The Platform" empty and windswept.

Let us back up for one moment, first, you have heard of the Cordoba Center for the Arts, right?

It is the new home1 of The Scrap Exchange and Liberty Arts Casting. It is at the huge complex at #923 Franklin Street, immediate adjacent to the Goldenbelt District and just south of our friends at SEEDS.

The Platform is an amazing new spot that is opening in the former train off-loading platform connecting Goldenbelt and the Cordoba Center for the Arts. It will be available for bookings some time this Summer. This fantastic raised area at the west end of the parking lot hosted Brew Durham 2012. If you were not one of the over three hundred folks that attended that fabulous event, (Read all about it and see pictures here.) we have another opportunity for you.

The Clarion Content is hosting a pop-up, one night art event at The Platform, Saturday, May 19th, from 5.30pm until 9pm. We will be hosting the wonderful photographs from our Fashion Drive-by's, shot by Jessica Arden aka Jessi Blakely, and coordinated by our Creative Director, Cady Childs.

We have spent the last year looking for those off the beaten track Durham spots that make you stop and take a second look, make you say, wait, that was shot where?!?

First, last Summer, we were in Lakewood, a place, like so many in Durham, that has history both soaring and sordid, and is once again on the rise. We had so many fabulous partners, cool locations, and Durham institutions from the Azteca Grill to the Pauli Murray project murals, from the former Davis Bakery, now La Favorita de Oaxaca, to the new Neem Urban farm. The models were stunning in clothes from Dolly's Vintage.

Then for Autumn, we crept over from our Broad Street offices to shoot some spooky photos featuring one of Durham's most Halloween motivated neighborhoods, Watts-Hillandale. From Oval Park to the famous bathtub house on Club Boulevard, Jessica Arden and Cady Childs, captured amazing Fall flavored shots of local Durham celebrities: Jenn from Dain's Place, J-La of LiLa and Gabe Eng-Goetz, designer and head of Runaway Clothes. Jewelry and accessories were provided by Vaguely Reminiscent.

Finally on, Valentine's Day weekend we headed for some date spots, including the Whiskey Bar and Six Plates Wine Bar. Once again, we were able to talk various local celebrities into modeling. We had fabulous clothes and shoes for the ladies from Fifi's and the fantastic necklaces were provided by Tammi Floccare.

The final Fashion Drive-by of our first year, completing the seasonal fashion cycle, was shot this Spring in Durham's Secret Gardens of Trinity Park. Once again, the outfits for our models were provided by Dolly's Vintage. These photos and the story behind them will be coming to the pages of the Clarion Content in less than a week. So stay tuned.

And save the date, May 19th, Saturday, from 5.30pm to 9pm, for the Clarion Content's Fashion Drive-by show at "The Platform."

Julio Cordoba, of the Cordoba Center for the Arts

1That new-ness gets a little more relative every year.

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The Draft: The East Side Perspective 

The Clarion Content is always on the lookout for new talent. We are big believers in collaboration and promoting good work where and when we see it. Many of you may not know it, but the Clarion Content was originally a sports heavy blog. In part, the Clarion Content was founded with intention of being a safe place to voice strong opinions. It would be our contention that sports, itself, is situated as one such realm in America.

In effort to be a generalist, truly communitarian rag, we believe sports must have its place. Bread and circuses or not, sports has a massive audience in America. The Editor-in-Chief is a sports fan. We have longed to find a way back to our sports roots for some time. We believe that moment is here.

We have joined forces with the East Side Perspective. It is an up and coming sports and culture website published in Chapel Hill. They are going to keep you up-to-date, sports fans, so that you can turn to the Clarion Content and get what it is you need; Durham, Arts, Culture and Sports, all in one place.

For even more sports articles from the East Side Perspective, check here. For music articles from the East Side Perspective check here.

We will be co-hosting a sports podcast with the Co-Founder of The Eastside Perspective, Matthew Creatore, asap, featuring plenty of special guest appearances.

So without further adieu let us offer you the first of what we hope will be many co-hosted columns from the East Side Perspective.

The Debate Of The NFL Draft: Luck Or Griffin?

Adam Cubbage

With the NFL draft fast approaching the Indianapolis Colts confirmed what many believed in that they are taking Andrew Luck, quarterback out of Stanford University, with the number one overall pick.

The question some had leading up to the draft was whether or not Robert Griffin III should have been chosen before him. Some say it was never a conversation to begin with, others, even two weeks ago, said otherwise. Let’s take a look at both and see if the Colts are making the right call.

A quick tale of the tape:
Both have the physical tools to succeed at the quarterback position in the NFL, with Robert Griffin III at a slight disadvantage because of his height. Usually when I look at the quarterback position, I look at more than raw numbers and controlled NFL Combine/Pro Day scenarios. One of my biggest determining factors is their experience in college, and this is where I think Luck separates himself significantly from Griffin.

Luck played his college career in the Pac-12 and had career numbers of 9,430 yards, 82 touchdowns, 22 interceptions, 67% completion and 162.8 QB rating. He started three years in the conference, with his best year being his sophomore season. He took many by surprise when he decided to bypass the NFL draft and return to Stanford to finish his degree.

Last season gave me the opportunity to see what he could really do at the position and he didn't disappoint. Without elite weapons, Luck led the Cardinal to the Fiesta Bowl and continued to put up big numbers as he had in past seasons. The main criticism last season was that he didn't have great arm strength - I couldn’t have disagreed with that assessment more because he didn't need to use such pace as often last season because the offense was more conservative due to the talent level around him. He later showcased his full arsenal in the BCS game against Oklahoma State and later during his Pro Day.

Robert Griffin, who competed in the Big 12, had numbers most can only fathom in a video game. Throwing for almost 4,000 yards and rushing for almost 700, he became Baylor's first ever Heisman Trophy winner and deservedly so. For putting Baylor on the radar of college football fans for all the right reasons, Griffin was truly amazing last season. There were, however, some issues with his overall game.

His arm is great, his speed is off the charts, but his ability to read and adapt to above average defenses worries me. While the likes of Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State aren't pushovers, we can all agree that they weren't at the peak of their powers during his time at Baylor. His ability to make all of the throws is there, but I worry about him against NFL defenses because Griffin won't be able to improvise like he did much of the time in college in crucial moments when the pocket wasn’t there. I would also contend that while comparisons will be made, he isn't Michael Vick or Cam Newton.

Indianapolis is making the right choice in taking Luck over Robert Griffin III. Luck is more prepared for the NFL at this point because of his extra time in college and his knowledge of the position mixed with his physical attributes. Griffin, while immensely talented, could have benefited from another year in school. I don't see him as an immediate starter in the NFL, but someone who, with a year or two behind a veteran, could be a star in the league at the quarterback position.

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