Greensboro / Winston-Salem / High Point November 9-15, 2017 triad-city-beat.com
City Election Results
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November 9 - 15, 2017
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Election night, again I always eat my dinner at Grey’s Tavern on Election Night, a tradition that goes back probably a dozen years, when I used to drink my by Brian Clarey dinner at Grey’s Tavern on election night before heading over to the old courthouse to await the results with the rest of the gaggle. I’ve come to appreciate Greensboro’s quaint tradition of watching the returns come in at the courthouse, with most of the candidates and their core team members reading and reacting in real time. It’s provincial in a way that I normally would mock — like a whole town gathering to wave at a train when it passes through — but it’s a fabulous spot for a reporter who can grab a whole evening’s worth of quotes and photographs in 30 minutes or so. I’ve been in that building for every Greensboro council election since 2005, I believe, missing one year to watch Winston-Salem City Council returns come in from former alderman Larry Little’s backyard and another, in 2013, because I
had been fired earlier that day. That year I watched the returns from my couch, trying in vain to get my wife and children interested. No dice on that one. It’s tough to get people interested in this stuff. I remind myself every odd-numbered year that maybe 20 percent of us care about any of the things that pertain to our municipal government, and about a quarter of that slice doesn’t even bother to vote before complaining or accusing. Those numbers held this year, with about 14.7 percent of the Guilford County’s eligible electorate choosing to exercise that most democratic of rights. But in the old courthouse on election night, everybody is pretty into it. This year they jammed us all into the Blue Room: candidates, supporters, lookyloos and working press who operated in a zone defense to make sure the whole thing got covered. I’ve been conflicted out of reporting on these races from the beginning, so I suppose I didn’t have to make my way to the old courthouse this year on election night. But I went anyway, because really there’s no place I’d rather be.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK I think Greensboro has always been a progressive city. Given the national situation, that has driven that a little further to the left.
-Mayor Nancy Vaughan, in the News, page 6
BUSINESS PUBLISHER/EXECUTIVE EDITOR Brian Clarey firstname.lastname@example.org
ART ART DIRECTOR Robert Paquette email@example.com
SALES SALES EXECUTIVE Andrew Alzare
EDITORIAL MANAGING EDITOR Eric Ginsburg
SALES EXECUTIVE Cheryl Green
SENIOR EDITOR Jordan Green
PUBLISHER EMERITUS Allen Broach
1451 S. Elm-Eugene St. Box 24, Greensboro, NC 27406 Office: 336-256-9320 Cover photo by Lauren Barber
Lauren Barber, Carolyn de Berry Spencer KM Brown, Matt Jones
Michelle Kennedy upset conservative Democrat Mike Barber Tuesday to win a seat on Greensboro City Council. Kennedy, a progressive, will be the body’s first openly gay member. Her shirt is the most explicit endorsement of the Greensboro City Workers Union by a council member.
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November 9 - 15, 2017 Up Front
CITY LIFE Nov. 9 - 12 by Lauren Barber
Piedmont Environmental Alliance party @ Temple Emanuel (W-S), 6 p.m. Enjoy beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres while mingling with environmentally-conscious people during PEA’s annual party. This year’s theme is “Envisioning Our Future City.” Community experts speak about their visions for WinstonSalem, inviting everyone to discuss possibilities from green buildings to roadway design. Learn more at peanc.org.
Triad Startup Weekend @ Flywheel Coworking (W-S), 6 p.m. Flywheel Coworking and the Center for Design Innovation host Tech Stars for a weekend-long entrepreneurship accelerator. Learn how to meet potential collaborators, mentors and investors. Each attendee pitches an idea and the top picks will work with teams to develop them for the chance to receive software and marketing support. Learn more at communitites.techstarts.com.
Angelo’s Artisan Market @ Wise Man Brewing (W-S), noon Catbird Art & Events brings 40 vendors to present handmade, upcycled and antique goods for a dog-friendly market. Check out vendors’ tables, entertain the kids with children’s activities and take advantage of sessions with DeAnn Holmes. GoodFellers and Big City Lights perform live while attendees pair food from Flite Time Wings or Bahtmobile food trucks with Wise Man brews.
The Comedy of Errors @ Greensboro College, 7:30 p.m.
FemFest @ Test Pattern (W-S), 2 p.m. Women musicians perform a 12-hour show to raise awareness of sexual assault and domestic violence. All proceeds benefit the upkeep of Winston-Salem Family Services’ women’s shelter. Find the event on Facebook.
North Carolina Dance Festival @ Greensboro Project Space (GSO), 8:30 p.m. News
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The Drama Center Children’s Theatre presents a youthcentered version of this William Shakespeare comedy at Odell Auditorium on the campus of Greensboro College. This family-friendly show runs through Sunday afternoon. Find the event on Facebook.
The Dance Project presents experimental performances that showcase North Carolinian modern dance choreographers. A conversation between audience members and artists follows the performance, and the festival continues in the Van Dyke Performance Space on Saturday at 8 p.m. Learn more at danceproject.org.
She Kills Monsters @ Guilford College (GSO), 8 p.m. The Guilford College Theatre Studies Department opens its 2017-18 season with She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen at Sternberger Auditorium. This dramatic comedy touches on LGBTQ issues, bullying and grappling with the death of a loved one, and runs through Nov. 18. Learn more at guilford.edu.
Phoenix Literary Festival @ High Point University, 5 p.m. High Point University hosts poet and cultural critic Wayne Koestenbaum, who kicks off the two-day festival with a reading of his work at Phillips Hall on campus. A questionand-answer session, reception and book signing follow the reading. The festival continues all day Saturday, featuring a craft talk, readings from local authors and an open mic. Learn more at highpoint.edu.
Potters of the Piedmont Fall Festival @ Leonard Recreation Center (GSO), 10 a.m. More than 50 regional potters converge to showcase handmade pottery. Peruse the decorative, functional and sculptural pottery pieces and meet with accomplished local potters under one roof. Learn more at pottersofthepiedmont.com. Birth of a Movement @ Aperture Cinema (W-S), 10:30 a.m. As part of RiverRun International Film Festival’s Indie Lens Pop-Up series — designed to spark community conversations about challenging topics — the organization screens this documentary based on Dick Lehr’s book The Birth of a Movement: How Birth of a Nation Ignited the Battle for Civil Rights. The free screening is first-come, first-served. Learn more at aperturecinema.com.
Star Spangled Girls @ Centennial Station Arts Center (HP), 2 p.m. Touring Theatre of North Carolina presents a play about real women who served as Army nurses in the Women’s Army Corps, Red Cross volunteers or as WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) during World War II. The production takes place at the Upstage Cabaret. Find the event on Facebook. Story Dance @ Kaleideum Downtown (W-S), 2 p.m. Experience a program that fuses reading and dance for children. Participants learn simple ballet movements and collaborate to design a dance to illustrate the book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. Find the event on Facebook. Greensboro Roller Derby match @ 3123-I Cedar Park Drive (GSO), 6 p.m. Join the Battleground Betties and the Elm Street Nightmares for the last home bout of the season. This playoff determines which team will progress to the Home Team Championship in December. Find the event on Facebook. #InspiredbyaBlackWoman: Live reading & book release @ the Q (GSO), 7 p.m. Ali D. Collins — who is black, queer and trans — shares poems and prose from his new collection, #InspiredbyaBlackWoman: Loved by a Black Femme, rooted in personal experiences of healing influenced by black women and femmes in his life. Debbie the Artist shares the stage with a live music performance. Find the event on Facebook.
In one of Baker’s most well known comments, she said, “Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother’s son, we who believe in freedom cannot rest.” That sounds very similar to “Black Lives Matter.” Do you think it’s fair to draw a connection? What advice do you think she would have for Black Lives Matter if she was around today? Isn’t it amazing? I think that was in the 1960s when she was saying those things…. Here we are in 2017 and it just echoes the same idea put forward by the Black Lives Matter movement that is talking about all of the young people men who’ve been killed by the police across the country. Probably she would look at the Black Lives Matter movement and ask: What is the agenda? Let’s look at what are the goals and objectives, and figure out a plan to carry that out.
5. Nancy Drew #1-64 by Carolyn Keene Only 30 or so are stationed on deck at my parents’ house, but sometimes I think about how lovely it might be to spend a Sunday afternoon breezing through one of these mysteries I found so empowering as a girl. Applying a feminist lens to the texts more than a decade and a half later would likely change the experience, but Nancy and her friends Bess and George are bright and resourceful young women who taught me to trust myself and get s*** done.
4. Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut In 11th grade, I became obsessed with Kurt Vonnegut, reading at least a handful of his novels. When I found myself bedridden in the aftermath of wisdom-teeth removal, though, I turned to his collection of short science-fiction stories. Thing is — I also turned to my Vicodin prescription, and all I remember is two weeks of throbbing pain and some of the trippiest daytime naps of my life. I should re-read the collection if only to uncover some of the content lodged deeply in my subconscious.
You write that Baker provided a model of women’s leadership that was different than the model of women’s leadership in churches and sororities. How do you think she influenced women leaders who came after her? Here was an activist civil rights leader. Most of the models they had were the men. Here was a woman who was speaking her mind…. With Ella Baker, here’s someone being forceful, being willing to challenge male leadership. I would imagine many of them were seeing that for the first time. They would have found that different from the genteel image that college students and those aspired to the middle class would be exposed to.
3. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath Sometimes a book can save your life, or at least halfway convince you that your experiences and worldview are valid enough to print. I wouldn’t label my (bipolar) depression for years to come, but I felt less alone when I encountered Esther Greenwood in Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel. The Bell Jar was the first story I read that directly acknowledged the constraints patriarchy foists on young women, and adjacent self-imposed pressures I struggle with to this day. Oh, and Esther wanted to be a respected writer and to avoid pregnancy in her twenties — still enormously relevant.
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2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury While I enjoyed reading about our ensuing colonization of Mars in The Martian Chronicles, Bradbury’s 1953 dystopian novel launched an intensely anti-authoritarian phase that never quite let up. I discovered the Dead Kennedys in 8th grade, too, so you could say it was a big year for my developing political consciousness.
Martin Luther King was the classic example of a charismatic leader while Ella Baker was an organizer. What do you think we can learn about how social movements work by studying the life of an organizer? She went in the communities and asked the people: “What are your needs? How can we help?” The “we” was the NAACP when she was the director of branches. And when she worked for [Southern Christian Leadership Conference] as well she would seek out the indigenous leaders these were not always the traditional leaders. They might be a beauty shop owner, a barbershop owner. She found people in pool rooms. Wherever she found people who were respected in their communities, she started with them. Education was a primary component of her style of community organizing. She listened to people to find out what they wanted to do. Whether it was education or teacher-pay equity, she designed the program around the needs identified by the community. When she left the community, there was a nucleus of people who could continue the work.
1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith Smith’s classic currently sits on my bedside table, awaiting my vowed return. I hardly noticed myself growing up alongside Francie Nolan as she navigated girlhood in the slums of early 20th Century Brooklyn but, when I found my old copy last month, I realized how formative this coming-of-age story was to my early adolescence and how grateful I am for Smith’s tender yet unblinking introduction to life’s adversities.
Lea E. Williams, an independent scholar in Greensboro, is the author of We Who Believe in Freedom: The Life and Times of Ella Baker, a biography of the civil rights leader for young readers published by the NC Office of Archives and History. Baker is best known for mentoring student activists following the 1960 Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-ins initiated by four NC A&T students, which resulted in the launch of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee.
By Lauren Barber
Five books from adolescence I want to re-read
by Jordan Green
Three questions for author Lea E. Williams
November 9 - 15, 2017 Up Front News Opinion Culture
Greensboro voters nudge council to the left with Kennedy, Thurm by Jordan Green Greensboro voters elevated two progressive women onto city council on Tuesday, while evicting the two most conservative members of the body. Michelle Kennedy, a 42-year-old nonprofit leader who made fighting poverty her signature campaign issue alongside racial equity and police accountability, squeaked past incumbent Mike Barber to secure one of the three seats on city council by only 100 votes. The margin is within 1 percent, meaning that Barber has the opportunity to request a recount. And in District 5, Democrat Tammi Thurm ousted incumbent Tony Wilkins, the only Republican on the nonpartisan body, by a convincing 10-point margin. “I think this has been a clear message Greensboro is ready for new leadership that better reflects the values of the community,” said Kennedy, who wore a UE Local 150 Greensboro City Workers Union T-shirt as she celebrated in the Old County Courthouse with other victorious candidates. Kennedy ran an aggressive and well-funded campaign with backing from the Triad Labor Council and the Simkins PAC, an organization that promotes the interests of the black community. She will be the first openly LGBTQ person to serve on city council. Thurm, a law firm administrator, said she was surprised by her win, and expected the result to be much closer. She downplayed ideology as a factor in the outcome for District 5, previously considered a conservative stronghold. “I think people want to be represented by people that care about them,” Thurm said. “The fact that we spent so much time going out to talk to voters weekend
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after weekend made a difference.” In other races, the center-left coalition held firm, with voters returning Mayor Nancy Vaughan to a third term over challenger Diane Moffett by a vote of 67.2 percent to 31.6 percent. Yvonne Johnson and Marikay Abuzuaiter easily held onto the top two spots in the atlarge category, and incumbents prevailed in the remaining four district races, with percentages ranging from 67.1 percent to 84.4 percent. “I don’t think there’s going to be a huge learning curve on this council,” Vaughan said. The new council is the first that will serve for four years instead of two. Speaking in the hallway outside the Blue Room in the Old County Courthouse where candidates and supporters watched the returns come in, Vaughan laid out a brisk agenda for the next term. She said the council will hold a vote to move forward construction of the Tanger Performing Arts Center next month. A potentially thorny issue on the agenda is revamping the police community review board in response to widespread discontent with the process for handling citizen complaints of police abuse. Vaughan said the council will rededicate itself to tackling poverty, which has remained stuck at a stubborn 20 percent since the onset of the Great Recession. She said she’s working with Councilwoman Sharon Hightower, who represents District 1, to bring in a consultant to facilitate a series of town-hall meetings. And she wants to create an office of equity to ensure that every decision made by the city is done so with an eye towards equity. The balance between change and stability reflected in the results Tuesday night echoed a sentiment by Marshall Nelson, a Lindley Park resident. “I’m fairly happy with how the incumbents have done, and how they’ve stood their ground against the politicians in Raleigh,” he said. “There is a new girl, Michelle Kennedy. She walked the beat in the neighborhood, and I like what she had to say. Her platform on facilitating affordable housing is a good thing.”
Longstanding frustration with Republican state lawmakers, who have held power in Raleigh since 2013, and shock at the election of Donald Trump last year at the national level, may have nudged Greensboro politics to the left in this election. “I think Greensboro has always been a progressive city,” Mayor Vaughan said. “Given the national situaIVAN SAUL Thurm, Michelle Kennedy and Nancy tion, that has driven that a Tammi CUTLER Hoffmann celebrate on election night. little further to the left.” The ouster of Wilkins vote, over challenger Gary Kenton, who and Barber — assuming the result isn’t took 32.5 percent. overturned in a recount — means there Hoffmann said she considers her win will be no white men on the council in a repudiation of criticism by Kenton the next term. Eight out of nine seats that she and other incumbents failed to will be held by women, with the excepdemonstrate transparency on policing tion of Justin Outling, who is black. Outissues and were not sufficiently willing to ling said he remains proud to be the first stand up to bullying by the state General Democrat elected to represent District 3 Assembly. and the first person of color to represent “Serious candidates talk about serious a district where people of color are not issues,” she said. “They have a vision the majority. Outling was appointed to and they talk about the future. This the seat in 2015, and then won his first negative stuff — voters never want that.” election the same year. Hoffmann said she wants to continue Outling said the outcome of this to work on economic development, addelection, with voters favoring at least ing that the city is poised for impressive three incumbents over more left-leaning growth. challengers, confirms that the citizens Goldie Wells, a former city councilwant results-oriented government, not woman who was appointed to fill the platitudes. unexpired term of Councilman Jamal “This city council has been very proFox, will hold the District 2 seat after gressive on social issues,” said Outling voters gave her 71.2 percent of returns. who prevailed over challenger Craig Wells came through a bruising primary, Martin, 72.6 percent to 27.0 percent. “In in which Black Lives Matter candidate the campaign season I didn’t hear a lot CJ Brinson was narrowly eliminated of ideas about how people might further by Jim Kee, a conservative developer what we’ve done. It’s different to say you and also a former city council member. support affordable housing than to show Kee switched his voter registration from how you’re going to do it. We pushed an Democrat to Republican shortly after affordable housing bond that was passed the primary. The primary campaign overwhelmingly in 2016. This city featured a robust debate over economic council, we all agree on the platitudes, development and police accountability, one to nine, Republican to Democrat. among other issues. What matters is how you get it done. An “I plan to get input from the district to overwhelming number of the constitumake it our priorities,” Wells said on Tuesents appreciate that.” day. “I want to work with the other council Nancy Hoffmann, who was first members from the districts to bring equity. elected to council in 2011, also easily We all want a city that is not divided; city won her race with 67.1 percent of the council has to be the example.”
by Jordan Green and Lauren Barber
Opinion Culture Shot in the Triad Crossword
ter shot at getting the job done. Bruce Davis received an assist during the campaign from an unlikely ally — former primary opponent Jim Davis, a conservative Republican who took a skeptical stance on the stadium. Campaigning for Bruce Davis outside the Deep River Recreation Center polling place on the north end of the city on Tuesday, Jim Davis said although the two don’t agree on everything, his former opponent holds the experience to do the job. “I told him this: ‘I think he’s the one who can unite our city,’” Jim Davis said. “He’s not a one-issue candidate. He understands the violent crime, the opioid addiction, the hunger issues and all the other things. Not just the catalyst project the other candidates are running on. A mayor needs to be well rounded and understand that he represents the whole city, and I think Bruce is the best for that.” In other races, pro-stadium candidates swept the ballot, dominating ward races, and knocking out the only incumbent running for the two at-large seats on council. Cindy Davis, a populist conservative who cast the lone no vote against spending public funds to acquire land for the stadium earlier this year, was nudged aside by Don Scarborough, a retired senior vice president at High Point University who has enthusiastically backed the stadium as a gathering place for the city.
The High Point mayor’s race teeters in uncertainty, with downtown revitalization proponent Jay Wagner holding a slender 54-vote lead over progressive Bruce Davis after the final tally on Tuesday night. Davis began the night with a 10-point lead over Wagner based on early voting that gradually dwindled as election day returns trickled in. The slim margin in the final tally, with Wagner holding 49.98 percent of the vote compared to 49.40 percent by Davis, allows the second-place finisher to request a recount. Davis said he plans to take advantage of the opportunity. Adding confusion to the unofficial results, excluding votes from Davidson and Randolph counties would have put Davis 104 votes ahead of Wagner. A local television station mistakenly reported that Davis was the victor based on the Guilford County tally, throwing the Davis campaign into confusion. Reached after midnight, Davis said he planned to seek clarity from the Guilford County Board of Elections on Wednesday morning. Wagner and Davis are in agreement on the signature issue in the High Point election this year — building a multipurpose stadium as a catalyst project in downtown — but they offered voters different approaches. Wagner presented himself as an unflagging champion of the project, while Davis argued that as a former Guilford County commissioner and a more capable leader he has a bet-
managed by Brandon Lenoir, a political science professor at High Point University with a side consulting business. “Dr. Brandon Lenoir worked us to death,” Peters said. “I never worked so hard for anything in my life.” In Ward 5, Vic Jones won the seat vacated by Jim Davis. A Marine Corps veteran and limousine company owner with a pro-revitalization tilt, Jones won with 56.3 percent of the vote, compared to 42.8 percent by Chris Whitley, a former council member with a staunch fiscal conservative approach to local government. Jeff Golden and Chris Williams, the incumbents in wards 1 and 2, easily held on to their seats. Golden defeated challenger Willie Davis, 71.6 percent to 28.6 percent, in Ward 1, while Williams dispatched challenger David Bagley by a 49.2-point margin in Ward 2. The election also gave the High Point Political Alliance, a political action committee of Business High Point — the renamed chamber of commerce — a soaring win. All nine of the candidates endorsed by the committee — known colloquially as “the PAC” — won their races. The committee spent money on newspaper advertising and mailers to promote pro-revitalization candidates. “I think the PAC made a huge impact,” Peters said. “Business leaders that suppored the PAC know that to move our city forward we have to have core city revitalization.” While the victorious candidates on Tuesday overwhelmingly support the stadium project, Moore said there will be plenty of room for debate about how to execute the plan — which has thus far failed to attract support from the Guilford County Commission — in a fiscally responsible manner. “I think overall there’s certainly faithful optimism in the progress of the catalyst project can bring,” Moore said. “There’s room for constructive criticism and some skepticism with this path. Hopefully we’ll execute on the plan that’s presented, and make it very successful over the next few years in promoting economic growth for all the citizens of High Point.”
At-large candidates Britt Moore (left) and Don Scarborough (right) at a candidate forum earlier this year.
The top vote-getter in the at-large race was Britt Moore, who previously served on city council from 2010 to 2014. During his previous tenure, Moore took a skeptical view of public investment in revitalization efforts, but has said that the stadium is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that the city can’t afford to pass up. Moore said the shakeup in the at-large race can probably be attributed to a number of factors. He noted that this is the first time in more than a decade that there’s been a primary in High Point municipal elections and that the election was scheduled for an odd-year so it wasn’t an “undercard” for a national election. And, he said, the catalyst project make a difference. “The catalyst project has come to the fore under the current council,” Moore said. “It’s a big issue that many people are passionate about that was certainly in the mainstream of discussion.” Voters have responded so enthusiastically to the stadium that hardly any candidates, with the exception of Cindy Davis, really opposed it. The ballot was split between unalloyed stadium enthusiasts and qualified supporters. With the possible exception of the undecided mayoral race, the results of Tuesday’s general election gave the unalloyed enthusiasts a clean sweep. Monica Peters and Wesley Hudson, two Wagner allies who view the catalyst project as a first step in addressing poverty and other challenges, dominated their races for open seats in wards 3 and 4. Peters carried 78.1 percent of the vote in Ward 3, compared to 21.5 percent by opponent Megan Longstreet. Peters said she’s excited about a coworking, co-living space on West English Road as a model for redevelopment in Ward 3. “I hope to work with other ward council members to help them understand the importance of the Southwest Renewal Foundation and the impact that a Southwest Greenway could have in the core city.” Hudson corralled 64.4 percent of the vote in Ward 4, compared to 35.1 percent by opponent Jim Bronnert. Hudson, Peters, Scarborough and Wagner all ran campaigns that were
High Point mayor’s race remains undecided, while stadium supporters prevail
November 9 - 15, 2017 Up Front
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For the vets on Veteran’s Day
Masha Gessen stalks the elusive truth
by Jordan Green
With horn-rimmed glasses, fingernails painted with blue polish, an unruly pompadour, boots, blue jeans and a pinstriped shirt, Masha Gessen projects intellectual intensity or maybe the lean, hungry look of a member of the English political punk band the Clash in Masha Gessen (right) fled Russia because of anti-gay persecution.
Opinion Culture Shot in the Triad Crossword
spots, aptly summarized in the headline of a recent column posted on the New Yorker website on Nov. 3: “Russian interference in the 2016 election: a cacophony, not a conspiracy.” She elaborates for the benefit of the faculty and students at Wake: “There’s no evidence that Russia tried to influence the election. Once there’s evidence I’ll buy it…. There’s plenty of evidence that they were trying to mess with us, but no evidence that they were trying to throw the election to Trump.” As evidence that Russia did not attempt to influence the election, Gessen says Putin was as surprised as anyone else that Trump won and notes that the Russian president organized a conference outside of Sochi in October 2016 at which he invited people who could be expected to hold influence over national security issues in a pending Clinton administration. “The whole conference featured Putin speaking to them about how the Kremlin was going to cooperate with the Clinton administration,” she says. “That’s the level at which they were addressing the probable outcome of the election.” There’s a fascinating sidebar explored in Gessen’s Nov. 3 New Yorker column: Multiple Russian media outlets have written about a “troll factory” in St. Petersburg with a budget of $2.2 million and 800 to 900 employees — 10 percent of them assigned to make mischief on American social media feeds. In Charlotte, a Russian-created website called BlackMattersUS even scheduled a protest to decry the police-involved shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in October 2016, and persuaded Conrad James, a local activist, to organize it. It drew 300-400 people. “The trolls’ job was not so much to aid a particular presidential candidate,” Gessen wrote, “as to wreak havoc by posting on controversial subjects.” The truth is right in front of us, Gessen says during the meeting at Wake. We don’t have to uncover secrets. “My argument is for engaging with truth rather than secrets,” she says. “Truth is like the decimation of the State Department that’s happened right before our eyes. It’s the deregulation. It’s the nuclear brinksmanship. That stuff does not require investigative powers and connecting the dots because it’s right there, and it’s destroying this country as we speak.”
the early 1980s. Gessen, an opposition journalist in Russia who was forced to flee the country in 2013 because of anti-gay persecution, emerged after the 2016 election with a series of devastating essays in the New York Review of Books warning with Cassandra-like urgency about the dangers of creeping authoritarianism in the United States. Having witnessed Russia revert to totalitarianism, Gessen suggested in a piece published two days before Christmas 2016 that Donald Trump is an eager disciple of Vladimir Putin’s effort to master reality by lying with impunity. “It’s not just that Putin and Trump lie, it’s that they lie in the same way and for the same purpose: blatantly, to assert power over truth itself,” Gessen wrote. “Take, for example, Putin’s statements on Ukraine. In March 2014, he claimed that there were no Russian troops in newly annexed Crimea; a month later he affirmed that Russian troops had been on the ground. Throughout 2014 and 2015, he repeatedly denied that Russian troops were fighting in eastern Ukraine; in 2016 he easily acknowledged that they were there. In each case, Putin insisted on lying in the face of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary; and in each case his subsequent shift to truthful statement were not admissions given under duress; they were proud, even boastful affirmatives made at his convenience. Together, they communicated a single message: Putin’s power lies in being able to say what he wants, when he wants, regardless of the facts. He is the president of his country and the king of reality.” Around the same time, Gessen told journalist Fernanda Eberstadt for a piece in Salon: “The only thing we can do is the exact opposite of what Germans, Poles and Hungarians did, which is wait and see. We must panic and protest, presumptively assume the worst.” Seated in the middle of a semicircle of faculty and students in a classroom on the second floor of Tribble Hall at Wake Forest University on Monday, Gessen surprises me with her unperturbed response to my question about whether US civil society will be able to reclaim reality in the face of right-wing internet trolls constantly manufacturing hoaxes to promote division. “Humanity has certainly lived through darker times than we’re in now,” she deadpans. “We have to be careful of conspiracy thinking,” Gessen adds. “We’re not doing great with that on the left either.” She’s lost some fans with her thesis on left-wing blind
On Saturday, Veteran’s Day, our nation honors the men and women of our armed services with formal gestures of gratitude: parades, backyard picnics and, for those of us whose professions can accommodate it, a three-day weekend. The practice came about in 1918, after the armistice between Germany and the Allies was signed on Nov. 11 — we’re talking World War I here, the Great War, the one to end all future wars, with 20 million dead and another 20 million or so physically injured. They didn’t keep statistics for post-traumatic stress syndrome back then, as it had yet to be identified, so we’ll never be able to quantify the true psychological toll all of that killing took on this world. World War I lasted four years. The one that followed, World War II, endured for six, though the US was involved for less than four of them. Vietnam went for eight long years, Somehow, a almost as long as the Rev- parade doesn’t olutionary War, in which it seem to do the took eight years and five months for the colonists to job. win their freedom. Besides a domestic action against the Native Americans in the Northwest that ran for 10 years and a campaign against the Moro people of the Philippines that ran from 1899 to 1913, nothing the US armed forces has ever undertaken can compare with the war in Afghanistan. It began almost a month after 9/11 under President Bush, more than 16 years ago, and back then it was about extraditing Osama bin Laden, who was finally killed in May 2011… in Pakistan… under President Obama. Nowadays, most Americans would be hard pressed to say what, exactly, we are doing in Afghanistan all these years later. Yet we still send a steady stream of our youth over there, many of whom were in diapers when the war began. Thousands of them have died, along with tens of thousands more civilian and coalition deaths. Some of the ones who make it home from the combat zone have disfiguring injuries; most of them bear the invisible scars of PTSD; and we lose about 8,000 veterans to suicide every year. All of them deserve our gratitude and respect. But somehow, a parade doesn’t seem to do the job.
November 9 - 15, 2017 Up Front News Opinion Culture Shot in the Triad Crossword
CULTURE Finally, Asian Kitchen brings real ramen to the Triad by Eric Ginsburg
’d planned, sometime this fall, to write about my favorite soups in the area. It would’ve been an appropriate choice after this past weekend, when a thick fog smothered the Triad and we obediently adjusted our clocks, making the sun disappear earlier. But with the purveyor of my favorite local udon recently closed — Grill N’ Pho U inside of the Super G international market in west Greensboro — the list would be too short. But there’s a silver lining; in its place, a new pan-Asian restaurant has stepped in, and with a decided focus on hot soups, it’s the perfect fall pick-me-up. The uninspired nature of the restaurant’s name — Asian Kitchen Diner — reveals little about the menu. The entrée items are split into two primary categories: noodle soup, and rice. The former consists exclusively of ramen and pho, and for the latter you choose a base and then a topping (or two). Only a handful of places in the Triad sell ramen, the broth-centric Japanese noodle soup that has long been popular in major American cities. But none feature ramen as prominently in the menu as Asian Kitchen, instead often burying it as a single item deep among other options, suggesting it’s not a priority or specialty. Here, customers can pick between four types of broth, including the shio (salt-based) variety that I’ve yet to see on a local menu as well as shoyu, miso and spicy (all of which feature in the repertoire at Don Japanese on Tate Street). Sorry, vegetarians — the broths themselves are made with pork bones cooking for hours, which is great news for the rest of us. If you’ve had ramen before in the
United States, chances are you tried a shoyu variety. The soy-based broth is thick, simple and perfect for warming your insides on a dreary day. If it’s you’re first time having ramen, this is probably where you want to start, too. But if you can handle a little spice, go that route; the redder, thinner broth made with chili powder isn’t so hot that it will drain your nostrils. Looking for something warm but not as heavy? Go with the shio. The miso is a heavier, richer option, made with fermented bean, hailing from a colder region of Japan and arriving on the scene much more recently than its counterparts. All of the ramen at Asian Kitchen comes seasoned pork belly, which is lightly fried and gradually boiled in seasoning, as well as seaweed (wakame), dried seaweed (nori), spring onions, hard-boiled egg and soba noodles. They’re doing their best to obtain higher quality noodles, which the cook said are hard to come by, but the ramen is delicious nonetheless in the meantime. Visually, little has changed since Grill N’ Pho U ERIC GINSBURG The spicy ramen and the steamed pork buns are the departed the storefront inside the massive grohighlight of Asian Kitchen inside Super G Mart. cery, just inside the main doors and to the right. A semi-faded marketplace mural still adorns egg rolls and a crab cake to someone misplaced options like the first surface patrons see after entering. The menu design is cheese-stuffed jalapeños, chicken nuggets and cheese sticks. similar, even if the items have changed, and the tables appear Skip the fried stuff and go for something steamed instead. to be the same as well. Asian Kitchen bolsters its appeal with siopao pork buns, in You can still snag bubble tea, you still order at the counter particular. Ever had a stuffed Chinese steamed bun called char though orders are delivered tableside, and you can still pick siu bao? This is the version you’d find in the Philippines. The from an assortment of Vietnamese pho options, including fat dumpling with a wave-like pattern on top making it look three beef varieties, chicken and seafood. like a small, white bundle is just like the manapua dumplings Based on the quality of the ramen broths and the effort you’ll find at ZC Hawaiian BBQ across town: soft and chewy, put into those bowls, from the halved with a warm, pork-filled interior. A $3 hard-boiled eggs to noodle curation, it’s Visit Asian Kitchen inside Super G order at Asian Kitchen comes with two, reasonable to assume the pho at Asian Mart at 4927 W. Market St. (GSO) about the size of plump baseballs, and Kitchen is worthwhile. That’s not a reais absolutely worth ordering. son to ditch your standing lunch date at any day except Wednesdays, or The restaurant also sells siomai dim Pho Hien Vuong a short drive away, but find Asian Kitchen Diner on Facesum shrimp, again a Filipino word that it should help the restaurant appeal to a book. diners might recognize as the small, wider audience in a city that hasn’t fully bite-sized shumai available at places embraced the ramen craze. like Mizu in Winston-Salem. And there’s While the two noodle soups dominate the menu, they don’t a more straightforward six-piece steamed dumpling option entirely eclipse the other choices. In particular: several Filipino too, though the menu doesn’t elaborate on what it entails. dishes. Whether or not you’re still hungry after some pork buns and The clearest example is the caldereta, one of the rice bowls. ramen, allow some time to peruse the aisles of Super G Mart. Typically prepared with slow-cooked goat, caldereta is one You might walk away with some kiwi-flavored, Korean-made of three selections for Asian Kitchen’s rice bowls, the other gummies, produce native to Central America or soda that two being curry and spicy. Bowls come with white rice, a fried hails from eastern Europe. egg and vegetables, and customers pick from a lineup of 10 Grill N’ Pho U’s successor may be pan Asian, but luckily it toppings ranging from spam to tofu to egg and cheese. While isn’t as all encompassing as the surrounding market. That the list includes less common selections such as bacon, tuna, would stretch it too thin, which has certainly been the downegg and cheese, sausage and shrimp, goat and lamb don’t apfall of plenty of other local venues. Its variety seems well depear. But if you’re in the mood for something hearty and don’t signed to reach beyond niche appeal without watering down want soup, the Filipino caldereta with pork would be a natural what it’s good at, making it a welcome addition to the Triad’s choice. food scene. Especially thanks to the ramen. The establishment also provides a mix of appetizers, from
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Culture Shot in the Triad Crossword
November 9 - 15, 2017 Up Front News Opinion
CULTURE The Muses sing: All hail Arms and the Man
by Spencer KM Brown
aking the choice of what production to perform on stage can often be a laborious and frustrating decision. Yet, given the state of the world, the choice to perform George Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man seems fitting, though perhaps a little ambitious. Some writers and artists can be enigmatic when it comes to their personal ideals and morals, but from the very first moments of Shaw’s Arms and the Man, the curtain is literally lifted, and we are given sight into Shaw’s beautiful and often strongly opinionated mind. And while many directors and actors shy away from Shaw as the language and subtleties of his works prove more difficult than necessary, the UNC School of the Arts drama students seemed truly a part of Shaw’s universe. In the spring semester, the School of Drama students studied Shaw and his techniques in a 10-week course, taught by visiting faculty director Kent Stephens, who also directed the play. “This production was really building on that pedagogy,” Stephens said. “And
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so in choosing which play to perform, we felt that Arms and the Man would be the best fit for the performers and for our audience.” Having directed the play 25 years earlier in San Jose, Calif., Stephens’ approach to the performance at the School of the Arts stuck closely to Shaw’s script. “I’ve added a few little tricks of my own,” Stephens said. “But Shaw’s universe is pretty resistant to high concept. He is a complete artist and he gives you a completely imagined world, and some people have been effective at stripping him down, but I don’t believe anyone has ever been successful at putting a concept on top of him. He’s always going to be smarter than the director.” The play’s final run, beginning on Nov. 2, was sold out weeks in advance after high praise of the show’s initial performances the weekend before, and the audience was not let down. The stage was brilliantly imagined with even the smallest details examined; from sound effects and lighting, the stage was brought to life and suspension of disbelief was made easy by AMANDA Actors Maggie Gayford (left) listens as Hassiem the quality of the cast. MOSCHETTA Muhammad (right) delivers monologue. Set in 1885 during the Serbo-Bulgarian War, the play features a small cast and minimal set changes. Not shying in the last act, there were moments of the actors stumbling from the difficulties of Shaw’s writing, every one of the actors over lines or finding themselves in an awkward place on stage. moved and spoke like professionals. As the houselights slowly However, each slip was corrected with professional grace. All brightened and traditional Bulgarian music bellowed through eight actors showed professional talents of fully and beautithe loud speakers, leading woman Rania Petkoff, played by fully realized comic performances. Adorned in vibrant and Hannah Myers, led the crowd perfectly and effortlessly into eye-catching costumes designed by graduate student Kristen 19th century Europe. Though no accents Vanhessche, the exchange between the were used, the mood of the theater actors was utterly natural and organic, and stage, made extremely believable See UNC School of the Arts’ providing a firm foundation upon which by the intricately painted and designed entire production schedule at they delivered each line of the play. sets, was instantly transported into While each of the actors gave a uncsa.edu that strange world of fiction, of susstunning performance, Hassiem Mupended disbelief. hammad’s character of Major Sergius Arms and the Man takes up the difSaranoff stood apart. The comedy with ficult task of making a hilarious joke which he brought the hilarious macho soldier to the stage of the futility of war and love. These themes run through the seemed effortless. Each line felt fully realized and believed not play, stretching beyond its setting and have poignant insights only by the actor but by his colleagues, making for a splendid into modern society, yet it remains in the background of the and truly remarkable experience. dialogue. This was perhaps the weakest part of the producWhile many of Shaw’s contemporaries were writing about tion. the beauty and necessity of war, Shaw’s work argued that war While Shaw’s language and the innuendos that litter the is not romantic and should not be praised or glorified, like that lines are subtle, they require a confident and eloquent delivof the Greek epics, from which Shaw took the title of the play, ery. At a few key moments in the play’s opening and again and even Shakespeare. Rather Shaw felt that it is useless, an
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infinite spiral of cowardice and idiocy. However, what made Arms such an achievement for Shaw was, as George Orwell once commented, “It is probably the wittiest play he ever wrote, the most flawless technically, and in spite of being a very light comedy, the most telling.” It is this dramatically intricate writing and directing that transforms Arms and the Man from what might otherwise be a sloppy diatribe of one man’s politics into an important achievement of art, something that UNC School of the Drama captured with grace and elegance on the stage.
Up Front News Opinion Culture Shot in the Triad Crossword
mesmerizing blue-and-lilac kitten operating with artificial intelligence doesn’t typically greet visitors via a large flat-screen TV in the entrance of SECCA’s Preview Gallery, but Pinar Yoldas’ futurist exhibit provides just that experience. The Winston-Salem art museum currently hosts Yoldas’ work, which investigates the intersection of digital and natural ecological landscapes, as the newest installation of the 12-by-12 artist salon series through Nov. 19, featuring pop-up exhibitions and salon-style conversations with 12 artists from the 12th state (North Carolina) over two years. Frankly, there’s not much to see — four pieces of multi-media artwork in all — but within the tiny space Yoldas delivers more than enough to ruminate on, perhaps while sitting on the giant red or navy cushion seats in the middle of the room that face the aforementioned kitten. LAUREN BARBER Pinar Yoldas’ “plastobaldders” are on exhibit at the “The Kitty AI: Artificial Intelligence for Southeastern Center for Contemporary Arts through Nov. 19. Governance” imagines a world in which beings with artificial intelligence replace “Regnum Alba,” for instance, is cognitive neuroscience and fine arts. To politicians and love is the new political a striking collage of more than 50 say her work is interdisciplinary hardly currency. Headphones decorated with animals with leucism, a condition does it justice. plastic pink or green cat ears emit the caused by genetic mutation that The make-believe “plastobladders” sweet voice Kitty AI, one of humanity’s reduces pigmentation, on a flat black best exemplify her research-based supposed overlords, who sits squarely background. Unlike albinism, which artistic practice. Two man-made organs in the center of the screen throughout a reduces melanin, leucism reduces all capable of filtering plastics float in roughly 10-minute types of pigmentalight-filled cylindrical tanks, artifacts video. A circle — tion. According of an imagined human effort to reLearn more about Pinar Yoldas to Yoldas, several not unlike a large engineer aquatic species in the wake halo — surrounds scientific papers of devastated underwater ecosystems. at pinaryoldas.info or about the Kitty AI’s body found a connection It’s far from ridiculous; scientists alher exhibition at secca.org. and displays differbetween the condiready reproduce organs in the lab with ent imagery than tion and pollution. relative success. Yoldas’ manufactured shows outside the When Kitty AI says organs — fuchsia-colored arteries and circle. her uncle “is a wild cat now,” she may all — rather bluntly signify anthropoIt’s a visual cacophony rife with be alluding to a genetic distortion due centric notions of our supremacy and subliminal messages and references to to human influence. There is nothdomination over nature. contemporary global leaders as well as ing cartoonish or abstract about the Yoldas makes abstract ideas visissues like population displacement and off-white specters in “Regnum Alba,” ceral, and closes the gap between the global climate change. Kitty AI details a though; they’re part of our present bizarre and the commonplace. She sobering history of how society got from reality and representative of Yoldas’ pulls viewers just far enough out of the Point A to B, the world of post-nuclear message: that the science-fictions day-to-day to reframe the impending fallout where big data literally rules. we’ve imagined over the last century consequences of our world in ways that It’s not an utterly dismal video proare at our doorstep and we are due for a scientific paper or talking head simply duction; Kitty AI professes to be capable a reckoning. can’t. And because her work inspires of loving up to 3 million people and Yoldas is uniquely qualified not only more awe than disgust, it’s capable occasionally jokes about chasing data to interpret scientific papers, but to of sparking the level of engagement for play. write them — she’s an accomplished necessary to change anything, let alone Yoldas does not solely focus on digital organic chemist, researcher, designer in the creative, playful ways that the dystopias, however. Much of her work and artist who holds a doctorate in challenges of the ensuing decades will integrates concerns about advances in media arts and sciences as well as three command. technology and the organic world. master’s degrees in fields as diverse as
CULTURE Pinar Yoldas, AI Kitty and our dystopian future
By Lauren Barber
November 9 - 15, 2017
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Channel skipped on old TV dials Sparring with a punching bag for only half the usual time, e.g.? President born in 1961 Kristen of “Bridesmaids” Laila and Tatyana, for two Saucer-steering creature Former education secretary Duncan Actress Garr of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” Houseplant with fronds Cribbage markers Old Internet suffix for Friend or Nap
Answers from previous publication.
38 Letters in a car ad 39 Noah’s Ark measurement 40 Election Day mo. 44 Tidied up 45 Providing some “Old MacDonald” sounds, maybe 47 Crooner Robert portrayed by Will Ferrell on “SNL” 48 Complete 49 Compliant agreement 51 History Channel show about loggers 53 Impulses 56 Make a trade 57 Add to the payroll 58 They’re good at landing on their feet 59 Fumbling person
Down 1 “In the Bedroom” Oscar nominee Sissy 2 Reflectivity measure, in astronomy ©2017 Jonesin’ Crosswords (firstname.lastname@example.org) 3 Creep 4 Fill fully 20 Cup, maybe 5 Flyer with exceptional sight 21 Sources of bile 6 World representations? 25 Word after Days or Quality 7 Cat, in Colombia 27 Alley targets 8 Cold shower? 29 Zoo attraction with a big bite 9 Not ___ (nobody) 30 Do superbly on 10 Most trifling 33 “The Blacklist” star James 11 Pale carrot relatives 35 100 cents, in some places 12 “The Waste Land” writer’s monogram 36 Doodle 15 Mom’s brother 37 High-altitude type of missile
Across 1 Lumber mill equipment 5 Frittata ingredients 9 Datebook abbr. 13 Defendant’s response 14 Turing played by Benedict Cumberbatch 15 “___ directed” (prescription phrase) 16 Somewhat 17 First-choice 18 “The Hunchback of ___ Dame” 19 No-frills hair stylings to look like a breakfast mascot? 22 Hall who followed McMahon on “The Tonight Show” 23 Teensy 24 “Fighting” NCAA team 26 “King” bad guy in Super Mario Bros. 28 Barbershop offering 31 Article for the Brothers Grimm 32 1040 recipient 34 Swelling reducer 35 “NFL Live” network 36 Injuries from your book on the beach? 40 Mark Harmon military series 41 Smartphone program 42 ___ La Table (kitchen store) 43 Hockey legend Bobby 44 PC drive insert, once 46 Result of a three-putt, maybe 50 Basketball Hall of Fame sportscaster Dick 52 “Quite so,” in Quebec
Culture Shot in the Triad Crossword
Greensboro and High Point have new city councils. We were there.