Greensboro / Winston-Salem / High Point May 17 â€“ 23, 2017 triad-city-beat.com
The last days of
DARRYL HUNT by Phoebe Zerwick
May 17 – 23, 2017
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by Brian Clarey
The kid tried to pull a caper the other night. It involved a bogus party, a questionable sleepover and a vague itinerary that left me with nothing but
questions. There were red flags all over this one. Still, I let it play out to a point just short of actual transgression, at which moment I swept in like a ghost in the machine and set everything right with a jarring dose of reality. It was fun for me, really. And on some level I was pulling for the kid, who bears the misfortune of having a seasoned mischief-maker for a father. I know all the tricks: the Bogus Sleepover, the Phantom Chaperone, the Risky Business — I was just a junior in high school when I pulled off the Fake Freshman at no less a venue than Georgetown University, an illusion I was able to maintain until the hours after midnight when I tripped over a tree root and rolled face-first down a hill.
But kids don’t run game on their parents like they used to, just like they don’t play football in empty fields after school or ride their bikes for miles until the streetlights come on. Some of it I blame on laziness and video games, like a proper old grouch should. Also, most parents I know keep pretty tight tabs on their kids via text and social media. But part of the reason, I believe, is that these kids just aren’t creative enough to grift the Ferris Bueller generation, raised in suburbs where someone’s parents were always on vacation. We can smell an unsupervised kegger a mile away. Most of us still remember, and some of us remember why. When I was a teenager, every plan my friends and I hatched was done with the express purpose of shaking the parental shackles, to be as free as teenagers could be, even if just for a night. And so, though I am as vigilant as Batman when it comes to my teenage children’s nocturnal activities, I wouldn’t be entirely put out were I to discover they got it together enough to pull one over on their old man. It’s even possible, I suppose, that they already have.
Running game on the ’rental units PRESENTS
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
[Ranting and raving] is unprofessional behavior when you’re talking to professional people who are your colleagues. Perhaps it was a tactic to camouflage his incompetence or intimidate us as faculty members. — Elwanda Ingram, English professor emeritus and former department chair at Winston-Salem State University, in News, page 6
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Cover photograph of Darryl Hunt by Garrett Garms, a photographer with Winston-Salem State University
THE NORTH CAROLINA
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May 17 – 23, 2017
SPREADING JOY ONE PINT AT A TIME
Monday Geeks Who Drink Pub Quiz 7:30 Tuesday Live music with Piedmont Old Time Society Old Time music and Bluegrass 7:30 Wednesday Live music with J Timber and Joel Henry with special guests 8:30
Thursday Beer and baseball
CITY LIFE May 17 – 23 by Eric Hairston
Robert Beatty @ Barnes & Noble (W-S), 6 p.m. The New York Times bestselling author of Serafina and the Black Cloak and Serafina and the Twisted Staff will be reading and signing his books. The event includes Q&A with Beatty, Serafina giveaways, and an opportunity to pre-order Serafina and the Splintered Heart. Additional information can be found on the Facebook event page.
Producer battle and concert @ Greene Street Nightclub (GSO), 8 p.m. The event features 16 hip-hop producers competing for a chance to take home the championship plaque and $300. Performers from independent North Carolina hip-hop artists before the competition. Additional information can be found on the Facebook event page
Green Acres Gala @ Greensboro Children’s Museum (GSO), 7 p.m. This event includes craft beer, wine and cocktails as well as live music from Jazz Revolution and a mobile auction. The event is adults only and casual summer attire is permitted. All proceeds benefit the Greensboro Children’s Museum. For more information, visit gcmuseum.com.
Whitetop Mountain Band @ Centennial Station (HP), 7 p.m. The Whitetop Mountain Band is a nationally known bluegrass band from Whitetop, Va. The band has performed at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and Merlefest just to name a few. For additional information, visit highpointsarts.org.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday BEER
Art on Paper 2017: @ Weatherspoon Art Museum (GSO), 1 p.m. This event celebrates contemporary art, with most of the pieces using paper as a medium. The collection includes art from the nationally recognized Dillard Collection and containing 600 hundred pieces of art from numerous artists. For additional information visit weatherspoon.uncg.edu.
joymongers.com | 336-763-5255 576 N. Eugene St. | Greensboro
Greensboro Host Lions
Charity Golf Tournament
May 24 1:00 PM
$125/Player – Captain’s Choice
Cost includes box lunch and awards dinner. For more information please call
(336)937-5504 or email
Swerve meet-up @ Center for Design Innovation (W-S), 11:30 a.m. Swerve is a creative group that brings together business professionals for informative meet-ups in order to improve business strategies and networks. Additional information can be found at centerforcreativeeconomy.com. Chamber music @ Steinway Piano Gallery (GSO), 7 p.m. Chamber music from Annie Brooks on the Steinway, Anna Cromwell (violin), Lisa Nelson (viola) and Mira Frisch (cello) highlight this event. For more information, visit steinwaypgg.com.
Starmount Forest Country Club 1 Sam Snead Drive • Greensboro
Jaws @ Bailey Park (W-S), 7:30 p.m. Bailey Park hosts a free screening of Jaws with pre-show entertainment including a photo booth. The event includes two food trucks — Food Freaks of NC and Zeko’s 2 Go, as well as beer and wine. For more info, visit the Facebook event page.
An assault on the Census quantify the undocumented residents of the country, though the Census makes a valiant effort. But we all should agree that this is our best effort. Thompson has said that the current methodology, which includes utilizing land-line accounts and other outmoded technological means, is inadequate to the task. Budget funds were scarce for a digital data-collection system, the cost of which jumped this year by about a third, to $965 million. Rather than fight with the new regime, he split. When a guy like Thompson, who has been with the department for more than 30 years — four of them as director — walks off the job, we should all be concerned. Especially since appointing positions does not seem to be a priority these days. Just a few years ago — a few months ago — the idea of the federal government dropping the ball on something as basic as this would have been inconceivable. But in Trump’s America, even the head count is up for negotiation.
Up Front News Opinion Cover Story
by Brian Clarey Lost in the shuffle of the James Comey firing last week was the indignant resignation of another department head: John H. Thompson, director of the Census Bureau. It might be easy to dismiss a department that performs its core function just once every 10 years — until, that is, the full scope of our decennial counting sets in. The Census gets its own department because it’s major: We allocate Congressional seats and Electoral College votes based on this number, earmark resources for roads, schools and other public works. Our state, county and city districts are drawn with these numbers in mind. And corporations rely on them for insight into investments like grocery stores, apartment buildings and professional sports franchises. Not that it’s perfect, nor does it claim to be. Subsequent measures showed the 2010 Census came up short on African-Americans, renters and young males and overcounted the total population by about 36,000 people out of 325 million. And really, there’s no perfect way to
Crossword Shot in the Triad Triaditude Adjustment
There’s another development in Marchi’s case. On Monday, ICE granted Marchi a three-month stay to allow his family to work with contacts in Brazil to arrange continuity in his healthcare. The decision followed a petition drive by American Friends Service Committee that collected almost 2,000 signatures. The TCB story that brought the case to public attention received more than 6,000 pageviews. The ACLU tweeted the story. Local print and TV news stories followed, and the Daily Kos blog picked it up. While it’s far short of the outcome Marchi’s family is seeking, the threemonth stay likely indicates that ICE, and possibly even the Trump administration, can smell the BS too. We still have a democracy if we’re bold enough to keep it, and an agency that doesn’t want to be viewed as arbitrary and cruel will sometimes yield to pressure from the people.
by Jordan Green The only plausible reason for deporttype of quiet raid,” McKinney said. “It’s ing Nestor Marchi would seem to be the not the big, flashy knocking-downone posited by his immigration lawyer, the-front-door raid. These individuals Jeremy McKinney: Scrambling to help checking in have no criminal record.” President Trump fulfill a campaign It stands to reason that individuals promise with limited staff, US Immigralike Marchi are easier to deport than tion and Customs Enforcement is tarcriminals or absconders who evade law geting the most cooperative offenders. enforcement. The nativist constituencies Marchi has worked for two decades that fueled his rise argue that people in the aviation industry around PTl like Marchi broke the law by overstayAirport and raised a son, who went on ing their visas, and they should pay the to become a Greensboro firefighter and consequence. That may be true, but recently got married. After an immioverstaying a visa is a civil violation, not gration raid in the mid-2000s, Marchi a criminal matter. One could argue that cooperated with officials and regularly it’s in the best interest of all concerned checked in with ICE. At the age of to let people like Marchi stay in the 59, he faces serious health challenges, United States, even to allow them to including congestive heart failure and become citizens and impose a fine diabetes. Due to the deficiencies of the to remedy the violation. A medieval Brazilian healthcare system, Marchi’s punishment like chopping off someone’s family argues that the deportation order hands to punish stealing seems moderamounts to a death sentence. ate in contrast to the deportation order “These check-ins have become a Marchi is facing.
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May 17 – 23, 2017 Up Front News Opinion Cover Story Culture Sportsball Crossword Shot in the Triad Triaditude Adjustment
Faculty members back allegations about department chair’s abuses by Jordan Green
Students at Winston-Salem State University, backed by two faculty members, allege that the chairman of the English department engages in bullying, including the use of a homophobic slur, in the classroom. William Boone, who chairs the English department at Winston-Salem State University, consumed the majority of instruction time in his classes with “rants and tangents, yelling and standing on the table,” said Zana Holden-Gatling, a senior. Worse for Holden-Gatling, Boone was also her faculty advisor, and she alleges that he subjected her to power games and evasion as she attempted to address a deficit in course credits. Due to his faulty advising, Holden-Gatling said, she wound up falling behind by 16 credit hours in the past academic year, and as a result will not be able to graduate with her peers on Friday. Eventually she decided she’d had enough. “I’m broken,” she recently emailed her new advisor. “I can’t do this anymore.” On May 5, Holden-Gatling emailed a letter to Chancellor Elwood Robinson, along with Vice Chancellor and Chief of Staff Camille Kluttz-Leach, accusing Boone of an array of unprofessional conduct, including cursing at students and using a homophobic slur, along with faulty advising. On May 9, unsatisfied with the response from administration, Holden-Gatling copied the letter to Thomas Shanahan, senior vice president and general counsel for University of North Carolina General Administration in Chapel Hill, and asked his staff to investigate. Josh Ellis, a spokesperson for the University of North Carolina, said general administration typically defers to the campus administration to respond to student complaints, but stands ready to assist if needed. As an example of Boone’s alleged bullying in the classroom, Holden-Gatling described a discussion involving the iconic photograph of Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the two black Olympians who gave a raised-fist salute at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Boone
Winston-Salem State University student Zana Holden-Gatling alleges that the chair of the English department bullied students.
erupted in anger, Holden-Gatling said in an interview with Triad City Beat, when one of the students mentioned Peter Norman, a white athlete who is pictured next to Smith and Carlos. Holden-Gatling recalled that Boone interjected: “We’re not talking about him, brother. That’s the problem. You’re always trying to bring white people into the conversation.” She said the student responded: “You brought it up; I was just trying to close the circle.” After the student left the classroom, Holden-Gatling said Boone told the rest of the class: “You shouldn’t listen to what that f****t says.” Holden-Gatling said when she confronted him about the homophobic slur, Boone told her: “Stay in your lane.” A second student, who spoke to TCB on condition of anonymity, said they also witnessed the incident, and that it transpired as Holden-Gatling described. Audrey Forrest-Carter, a professor and former chair of the English department, said faculty members are aware of the students’ complaints about Boone. “On one or more occasions, students complained to me about Dr. Boone’s unprofessional behavior (ranting, bullying and berating them) in the classroom,” Forrest-Carter said in an emailed statement to TCB on Mon-
day. “Several colleagues in the English department also indicated that they had heard of students’ complaints about Dr. Boone’s unprofessional behavior in the classroom.” Elwanda Ingram, a professor emeritus and former department chair who retired from Winston-Salem State at the end of 2016, said that although Holden-Gatling was not enrolled in any of her classes, she heard from other faculty members that students complained about Boone. “He was incompetent as an administrator, as a department chair,” Ingram said. “Some of the behavior that the students talked about — rantings and ravings — was evident in departmental meetings. He was erratic.” Ingram went on to say that when she worked with him, Boone seemed to lack an understanding of departmental and university policy and procedures, and that she found his “rantings and ravings” to be unprofessional. “It’s unprofessional behavior when you’re talking to professional people who are your colleagues,” she said. “Perhaps it was a tactic to camouflage his incompetence or intimidate us as faculty members.” Other faculty members contacted for this story declined to comment, saying they had not witnessed any of the conduct described by Holden-Gatling
or were prohibited by university policy from making any statement. While enduring Boone’s classroom dramatics, Holden-Gatling said she was driven to the brink of desperation by what she describes as “a lot of run-around” from him in his role as her faculty advisor. By the fall of 2016, Holden-Gatling said she had fallen behind by four credits due to Boone’s “numerical oversight,” even though she had earned all her required major, minor and general education credit hours. In September 2016, Holden-Gatling met with Boone, along with Dean Corey Walker to try to straighten out the shortfall. “Here I am short a few credits,” Holden-Gatling said she told Walker and Boone. “How did this happen?” Neither man offered a remedy, she said. Holden-Gatling said Walker displayed an indifferent attitude towards her and seemed more concerned with protecting Boone. “He always listens to what Boone has to say and ignores everything else,” she said. “He hushes me down, saying, ‘This is your problem. I can’t help.’ His attitude was that he was not concerned. If he was concerned at all, it was with faculty.” Holden-Gatling said she continued to fall further behind on her credit hours when Boone refused to see her and stood her up on appointments. “I would call him, and he would say, ‘Sister, you got to make an appointment,’” Holden-Gatling recalled. “I said, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, you’re right.’ I would make an appointment for 10. I would show up at 9:30 and he would never show up. I would call and email and threaten to leave the department, but I never heard back from him. He’s playing this cat-and-mouse game, refusing to do his job, which he claims can’t be taken away from him.” Boone, who is traveling abroad with a group of students and will return on May 22, said through a lawyer on Monday that he “adamantly denies the occurrence of any misconduct or inappropriate behavior alleged by” Holden-Gatling.
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One day after requesting that UNC General Administration investigate her allegations of misconduct against Boone, Holden-Gatling received an email response from Kluttz-Leach, the vice chancellor and chief of staff at Winston-Salem State. Kluttz-Leach serves as the officer for the university’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Diversity. The office handles more than just employee matters; according to the university website, the office “is dedicated to fostering and nurturing an equitable, diverse and inclusive learning and working environment.” In Kluttz-Leach’s May 10 email to Holden-Gatling, she wrote, “I apologize for the delay as we are in transition in our EEO office.” Holden-Gatling was initially reluctant to file an official EEO complaint, saying she held no confidence that it would be investigated, but eventually she did file a complaint on Monday. Jaime Hunt, a university spokesperson, said Winston-Salem State “is taking Ms. Holden-Gatling’s allegations seriously,” adding that, “due to the serious nature of her concerns the university has elected to conduct an investigation. “The university is deeply committed to providing and sustaining a learning environment that is free from harassment, violence and discrimination,” Hunt said. Elwanda Ingram, the retired English professor, said she applauds Holden-Gatling for speaking out about her ordeal. “What she’s saying is valid,” Ingram said. “I’m glad she’s done so. I commend her for doing so. I certainly hope there will be some results in her favor.” Holden-Gatling said her experience at Winston-Salem State has exacted a financial and emotional toll. “I am now 16 credits behind in classes because of my faculty advisor, William Boone,” she told TCB. “I am going to have to take summer classes, which cost $10,000. I’m not going to ask my parents for help with that because it shouldn’t be their problem. I’ve gone out of my way to accommodate him. “I am broken,” Holden-Gatling added. “I’m definitely not as confident. I down myself and sometimes walk on eggshells. I’m surprised I’ve made it this far.”
The statement provided on Boone’s behalf continued, “It should be further noted that the student’s allegations and factual assertions directly relate to Dr. Boone’s current employment and his professional and personal reputation. The student’s allegations will be further assessed and responded to if and when and how appropriate but note Mr. Boone’s objection to these allegations. Dr. Boone anticipates a full accounting of the relevant facts with appropriate parties with said facts to necessarily include multiple facts beyond what the student apparently reported” to Triad City Beat. Boone did not respond to an invitation to respond to the allegations in detail or provide documentation to challenge Holden-Gatling’s allegations by the deadline for publication. And Boone did not respond specifically to the statements by faculty members Forrest-Carter and Ingram despite being given the opportunity. (The lawyer who had provided the statement said on Tuesday that he was no longer representing Boone.) Holden-Gatling’s May 5 letter to the chancellor charged that Dean Walker bears responsibility, along with Boone, for the fact that she will not be graduating on Friday. “This academic year, I have been given the run-around by Dr. Boone, the English department chair, and Dean Walker,” Holden-Gatling wrote. “I cannot adequately express the disappointment I have in WSSU, and the lack of support I have received from the dean, who has supported Dr. Boone’s unprofessionalism.” Walker did not respond to multiple phone messages and emails for this story. Elwanda Ingram indicated she is mystified by Walker’s support for Boone. “I wonder why [Boone] was appointed [department chair] by the dean of college arts, sciences, business and education,” Ingram said drily, referring to Walker. Earlier this year, Holden-Gatling said, Boone released her to another advisor for her 90-hour review, a critical checkin to determine if students are on track to earn the 122 credit hours needed to graduate, adding that he has yet to officially withdraw his name as her advisor despite her requesting it.
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May 17 – 23, 2017 Up Front News Opinion Cover Story Culture Sportsball Crossword Shot in the Triad Triaditude Adjustment
New electioneering group wrestles with identity and representation by Jordan Green Organizers set an ambitious goal to assemble 1,000 Greensboro voters in August and ask city council candidates to respond to a people’s platform, but questions about Democracy Greensboro’s political identity and constituency remain unresolved. What would come to be Democracy Greensboro began last summer as a group of Bernie Sanders supporters met at Glenwood Community Bookshop looking for a way to remain engaged after their favored candidate conceded in the Democratic primary. As the November 2016 election approached, they began to set their sights on the 2017 Greensboro municipal elections. The initial group, which skewed white and older, began working on outreach to diversify its ranks, and over time embraced the cause of police accountability and reform. At a May 11 general meeting at Central Library the 40 or so people in the room, including both committed members and people wanting to learn more about the group, were split roughly equally between black and white residents. The meeting drew two elected officials — Greensboro Mayor Pro Tem Yvonne Johnson and Guilford County School Board member Byron Gladden — along with former Councilwoman Goldie Wells. Their idea is simple — develop a platform by the people and compel candidates to respond to it — but discussion at the May 11 meeting suggested that execution will require dealing with messy questions about what the group stands for and who decides its priorities. “Our goal is a collaborative citywide platform that reflects the values of the people of Greensboro as whole, not just a few individuals with money and access, but everybody living in Greensboro,” said Susan Pharr, who co-facilitated the meeting. “By developing [a platform] first, we can have the individuals running for office speak to the ideas that they represent, that came from the community — speak to our priorities. And we can use what they say to evaluate them in November when we vote.” Speakers articulated varying notions about whether the purpose of the project was to build a progressive force in local electoral politics or promote a more ideologically inclusive vision. “The idea is we want a truly progressive city council,” said Larry Morse, a member of the steering committee. As an example of a political decision
Lissa Lowe-Harris of Parents Supporting Parents speaks at a general meeting of Democracy Greensboro.
that might have gone differently with a more progressive council, Morse said the current council reduced funding for affordable housing in the 2016 bond referendum from the $34 million recommended by staff to $25 million, while maintaining the downtown infrastructure allotment at $25 million. Lewis Pitts — a retired civil rights attorney, frequent face at city council meetings and an active participant in the group — suggested a more elastic conception. “Talk about a big tent — how do we get the ones who aren’t self-labeled as ‘progressive’?” he said. “Let’s forget about left-right, liberal-conservative. I’ve got people in my family that I suspect voted for Trump, but I’m not willing to write them off, because I know they believe in fairness, equality and a decent wage. It’s just gotten so confused by all that dominant culture imposed by what — the corporate world.” He added that people don’t have to agree with his analysis of the current political stalemate in the United States to join Democracy Greensboro. Meanwhile, as Democracy Greensboro’s organizers wrestle over how to identify their politics, public sentiment in the city appears to be rapidly polarizing over the question of police accountability. Democracy Greensboro’s preliminary platform, which was printed as a tri-fold brochure and distributed at the meeting, calls for civilian oversight of the police that includes “full investigative and subpoena power” and for the disbanding of the department’s civil emergency unit. The Rev. Nelson Johnson held up the campaign to support Jose Charles, a 16-year-old who became a focal point for recent police accountability efforts in
the city, as an example of how Democracy Greensboro should operate. “The picture I want you to see is that whenever people work together, there was natural rivalry,” Johnson said. “We humans are incapable of doing things without it. But somehow we were able to tame the egos, [and] walk together, believing that if we did this together that this mother’s child would not have to go to a training camp for a year, where she cried because she believed he would never return alive because of his condition. “And I want to say it was a multitude of activities, but I do want to point out that it was the young people who got a thousand names on a petition, and they stood like Moses, saying, ‘Let my people go,’” Johnson added. “And I think when you get clergy and Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ groups and young people, students, and focused on a cause, it happens. What I want to say to you tonight is that’s our challenge, our opportunity.” Almost as a matter of political physics, conservative backers of the police have become increasingly vocal as a countervailing force to the growing support for Charles’ cause. As a likely indicator of sentiment within the police department, and among retired officers and their supporters, retired Deputy Chief Brian Cheek took aim at Johnson, civil rights leader the Rev. Cardes Brown and Mayor Nancy Vaughan in a recent post on the Greater Greensboro Politics Facebook page following a May 2 city council meeting taken over by Charles’ supporters for almost 30 minutes. “Nelson Johnson and Cardes Brown are the two biggest race hustlers in this city, and the mayor with her weak leadership has emboldened them,” Cheek
wrote a day after a contentious city council meeting devolved into shouting, with Charles’ supporters taking control of the council chamber for almost 30 minutes. “Shame on all of them.” (Cheek prefaced the statement with a broadside against two Greensboro journalists: Triad City Beat Senior Editor Jordan Green and News & Record columnist Susan Ladd; he wrote, “I don’t know who is more biased in their writing (not reporting): Jordan or Susan Ladd.”) Adding to the confusion about Democracy Greensboro’s agenda, the group has scheduled a meeting at the Central Library on June 3 to draft a platform, even though the brochure distributed at the May 11 meeting already includes a 21-point platform with items addressing economic justice, social justice, criminal justice and environmental justice. One member of the audience expressed confusion about whether the June 3 meeting would be open to the public. “I think we need to make it clear that this June 3 meeting will be for two or three representatives from various already-formed groups and not open to the general meeting where everybody can come, although I hate to be un-democratic,” said Bob Foxworth, a longtime participant. Pitts contradicted Foxworth. “I think you should come if you want to come on June 3,” he said, adding that there would be no credentialing process. “Please show up,” Pitts continued. “We don’t want to assume that Democracy Greensboro, our group, is the lead point.” He added that the name of the group might even change on June 3. The Rev. Nelson Johnson, who expressed agreement that the June 3 meeting should be public, set an ambitious goal. “If we can get 200 people by June 3, and then if we have a platform conference in August at one of these high schools where we can get a thousand people in the auditorium,” he said. “We need at least a thousand people. And then you don’t have to look for any candidates. [Mayor Pro Tem] Yvonne [Johnson] will testify to this. Wherever there’s a thousand people, [candidates] will come. And actually they speak to the platform. And you have to feel the process in order to believe it. And I’m saying this with a certain amount of energy because I want you to feel it.”
Shot in the Triad
May 17 – 23, 2017 Up Front News Opinion Cover Story Culture Sportsball Crossword Shot in the Triad Triaditude Adjustment
NC’s voter ID bill: A flat circle It wasn’t the first illegal action our legislature undertook since the Republican takeover in 2010 — the marriage amendment, a racial gerrymander of our Congressional districts, an attempt to reconstruct Greensboro City Council and a move to merge state elections and ethics functions have all been struck down by judges in the last few years — but a lot hinged on the omnibus elections bill that sailed through the legislature in 2013. It was popular among Republicans in the legislature, enjoying sponsorship by Triad Reps. John Blust, Debra Conrad, Jon Hardister, Julia Howard and Donny Lambeth, which is every single one of them in the GOP save for Rep. John Faircloth, who was busy writing a bill that allowed judges and county clerks to wear sidearms at work. But like a lot of illegal legislation, this law did not make it past the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which struck down five key provisions in 2015. One judge called it “one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history.” But the faithful held out hope that their colossal wrong could be made right by the US Supreme Court. On Monday, that body declined to hear arguments on the case, effectively shooting North Carolina’s voter ID law dead. Normal humans might, at this point, accept that they tried to foist something horrible upon the people they were elected to represent, that they were caught doing this thing, and that maybe expending their energies on getting votes for themselves instead of preventing people from voting for anybody else would be the way to go here. But that’s not what happened. Within hours of the Supreme Court decision, the News & Observer reported, House Republican leadership had already begun crafting a bill designed to wriggle out of the restrictions imposed by the Fourth Circuit. Meanwhile, four years — four years — have passed while these jokers continue their fruitless efforts to erode to our democracy. The punchline, though, is that voter fraud is practically nonexistent in NC. An audit of the 2016 election showed that just 508 people —441 of them active felons — cast ineligible ballots out of 4.8 million votes cast. No races were affected.
Commissioners: Police accountability is broken
The string of unanimous votes by the Greensboro Human Relations Commission on Monday night was all the more remarkable for the wrenching internal division that had preceded them. The unanimous votes revealed a by Jordan Green tacit acknowledgement among the members of the volunteer board, who are appointed by city council and represent all five districts, that there’s something fundamentally wrong with the way police treat black men and boys in Greensboro, and that the process of citizen oversight of the police is essentially broken. In no particular order of significance: • On a motion from Black Lives Matter activist and Commissioner Irving Allen, the board voted to issue a public apology to Jose Charles, his mother Tamara Figueroa, and the entire community “for the inadequacies of the process” undertaken by the commission and its police complaint review subcommittee to provide citizen oversight in response to the family’s complaint about police mistreatment of Charles during a July 4, 2016 incident at Center City Park; • On a motion from Commissioner Samuel Hawkins, the board voted to recommend that the video be released to the public; • On a motion from Commissioner Chantale Wesley-Lamin, the board voted to request that city council review the police body worn camera video of the incident with Figueroa, and with Ed Cobbler, the chair of the police complaint review committee, to ensure that everyone saw the same footage; and • On a motion from Commissioner David Sevier, the board voted to create a study subcommittee to review and improve the police complaint review committee, and to not take additional cases until the review is complete. On another night, a separate unanimous vote unrelated to the Jose Charles case would have likely made more waves. Commissioners passed a resolution expressing support for Nestor Marchi, a native of Brazil who has lived in Greensboro for two decades and is facing a deportation order. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a threemonth stay on Monday to allow Marchi to make arrangements for him to receive healthcare in Brazil (see “Calling BS” on page 5). All that took place after the commission voted 7-6 to recommend reinstatement of Commissioner Lindy Garnette to the police complaint review committee. Garnette had been unceremoniously removed from the committee by Human Relations Commission Chair Zac Engle, with the consultation of City Attorney Tom Carruthers, after she spoke out about the police treatment of Charles. The vote was determined to be non-binding because Carruthers provided an opinion at the meeting on Monday that Engle had sole
discretion as chair to remove Garnette from the committee, and Engle announced that he had no intention of reinstating her. Next, Commissioner Wesley-Lamin made a motion to remove Engle as chair of the commission, but the motion did not go forward because Carruthers provided an opinion there was not a legal cause for the action. Garnette said at the meeting that she appreciated her colleagues’ support, but the more she witnesses the more she’s persuaded that she wasn’t the right person to serve on the police complaint review committee in the first place. “Who’s gonna sit on this board who’s got a conscience and is willing to watch police misconduct and sit quietly while that occurs and know that there’s no way to go public with that without being kicked off or being threatened?” she asked. Garnette said she has come to the conclusion that the city is either incompetent or hiding something from the citizens. “I apologize to city staff, but since all my contact with the PCRB has been cut off, I guess I have to do this publicly instead of addressing it with the PCRB,” Garnette explained. “There have been a number of times when there have been disconnects in terms of the instructions that are given to the PCRB and what we were told we could and couldn’t do. Ms. Figueroa told us in a public meeting that was an open meeting that she had asked the city staff about providing witnesses and witness statements to her complaint, [and] that she was told by the city staff that that wasn’t possible. And yet the city staff sat in our meeting and told us it was possible. So both of those things can’t be true. Either we have to assume that Ms. Figueroa is being dishonest with us — and I don’t know what her motivation would be for that — or the city staff is dishonest with us in terms of saying that that wasn’t what was reported. And that’s one concrete example, but there are others.”
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Shot in the Triad
May 17 – 23, 2017
The last days of
by Phoebe Zerwick
Darryl Hunt speaks to law students at Duke University in 2014.
Editor’s Note: Phoebe Zerwick, director of the journalism program at Wake Forest University, first came to know Darryl Hunt in 2003 when she investigated his wrongful conviction for the Winston-Salem Journal. After his exoneration in 2004, he became a nationally known advocate for social justice. When he took his life last year, the story pulled at her again. With her permission, we are pleased to publish an excerpt from “The Last Days of Darryl Hunt,” a magazine piece published with support from Duke Law School. The piece may be read in full at lastdays.atavist.com/the-lastdays-of-darryl-hunt.
he last time I saw Darryl Hunt,
he came to speak with students in my first-year writing seminar at Wake Forest University about what it was like for him to spend 19 years in prison for a murder he had nothing to do with. We met outside on a cold but sunny January morning. Hunt wasn’t wearing a coat and I could see he had lost weight since the last time I had seen him, but he looked rested and fit. We took a shortcut through the Starbucks in the lobby of the library to the building where I teach, and as usual in Hunt’s hometown, he was recognized immediately, this time by the women who worked the counter. They offered him free coffee,
JARED LAZARUS/ DUKE PHOTOGRAPHY
anything, it seemed, to take him by the hand and feel his presence. Polite as always, he smiled, but I could tell the fuss made him uncomfortable. Hunt’s early-semester visit was the highlight of my composition course on wrongful conviction, a way for students, especially the white students, to connect the issues of race and justice that we would later study with a real person. Hunt played that role well. Soft-spoken, with a solid build and warm smile, he put people at ease. Ever since his exoneration in 2004, he had traveled around the country helping people understand the flaws in our criminal justice system through his story, which was one of extraordinary injustice. It was one thing for them to read
something through these stories, something essential that animals. A former client of the foundation Hunt foundwe didn’t hear. ed after his release to help ex-offenders with re-entry There are lots of stories out there about Darryl Hunt. said, “Darryl Hunt saved my life.” I told the stories he There was the story the police and prosecutors told that had shared with my class, stories that suddenly seemed led to his wrongful conviction. In that story, eyewitnesses steeped with meaning. placed him at the scene of the crime, either attacking “Once you’re hooked by Darryl you can’t be unhooked Sykes, or just before or after the brutal stabbing. There by Darryl,” said Mark Rabil, the lawyer who represented were always pieces missing from that story, but it held up him for 20 years and remained his advocate and friend through years of trials and appeals. until his death. “It’s this strength, it’s this courage that you There was the story his supporters told about race just can’t let go.” and injustice. In that story, Hunt was part of the long and Mendez, the pastor, who had gone to the scene early brutal history of oppression in the South, a place where that morning with Little and Carlton Eversley, another a black man could be lynched for something as minor as member of Hunt’s original defense committee, struggled whistling at a white woman and false arrest was underto compose himself. stood as a fact of life. “I didn’t know if I could do this, after last night,” he said. There was the story I told as a newspaper reporter, Mendez spoke about the anguish Hunt had suffered in an investigative series published in the Winston-Salem prison and the ways in which we all internalize pain. “That Journal, which laid out the facts in a way that refuted the was Darryl’s struggle,” he said. “We saw Darryl on the prosecutor’s version and set off a series of events that led outside but a lot of us did not see Darryl on the inside.” to the arrest of the real killer in the crime. There was the The formal memorial, the following Saturday at story told in The Trials of Darryl Hunt, an HBO documenEmmanuel, raised even more questions about his life and tary that’s been screened around the world, which cast death. Police had announced by then that Hunt had died Hunt as a champion for racial justice. And there were the of a gunshot wound to the abdomen, a shocking final stories Hunt told, like the ones he moment of violence. told my students, about his years of Television cameramen crowded The story that has yet to imprisonment, stories that captivated into the church lobby with mourners, audiences at film screenings, law who quickly filled the sanctuary that be told, and might never schools and political rallies, spoken holds more than a thousand. Most be, is how Hunt came to in a steady, deliberate manner that of those closest to Hunt were there be found by police one seemed at odds with the outrage — Rabil and activists from around they made us feel. the state who worked with him after Sunday morning in 2016, The story that has yet to be told, release to lobby for criminal slumped dead in the front his and might never be, is how Hunt justice reforms; Khalid Griggs, the came to be found by police early one seat of a pickup truck. imam at the Community Mosque of Sunday morning in 2016, slumped Winston-Salem, where Hunt was a dead in the front seat of a pickup member, and the rest of the clergy truck he had borrowed from a friend. He was 51. By the who had led the rallies in his support; Jo Anne Goetz, time he was found, shortly after midnight March 13, he’d his sixth grade teacher, who later wrote a book about the been missing for nine days. He had parked the truck, a lessons his case taught her about racism; and Hunt’s sister, white Ford, at a shopping center on University Parkway, Doris Hunt, unknown to him until his fame helped her a main north-south artery, across from the city’s colisetrack him down. James Ferguson, the noted civil rights um, near a thrift store, a gaming parlor, and an all-night attorney who represented Hunt at his second trial, was diner called “Jimmy the Greek.” The truck belonged to there, too. So were Judge Gregory Weeks, who presided his friend Larry Little, a former city council member in over the first sentencing hearing under the Racial Justice Winston-Salem who had organized support for Hunt the Act, a law that Hunt lobbied for to provide for appeals in entire time he was in prison. Hunt had been living with death sentences on the basis of systemic racial bias; SupeLittle since the beginning of the year, about a mile away rior Court Judge Andy Cromer, who exonerated Hunt in from where the truck was parked. Little and others had 2004; and Pam Peoples Joyner, the director of the Darryl looked for him for nearly a week, but never noticed the Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice, now a community truck in a well-lit parking lot so near a busy road. liaison for the city police department. News of Hunt’s death spread quickly. By that evening, Behind the scenes, there’d been some question about dozens gathered for an impromptu memorial in the where to hold the funeral. Hunt was a practicing Muslim sanctuary at Emmanuel Baptist Church, where many of most of his adult life, but Little, the executor of Hunt’s the same people had celebrated his release in 2003 and estate, had his body cremated, contrary to Muslim pracwhere one of his early supporters, John Mendez, is pastor. tice. Griggs, the imam, later told me that they held funeral Theresa Newman, a law professor at Duke University, prayers, or janazah prayers, for Hunt at the Community which had awarded Hunt an honorary doctorate in 2012 Mosque that Friday afternoon, for Muslims who had and where he spoke every year to the entering class of law traveled from across the Southeast to honor him. students, talked about the impact he made on them, and The service Little organized focused on Hunt’s public his neighbor, a state legislator, spoke about Hunt’s love of life, with a program that cast him as a martyr for social
about the mistaken eyewitnesses whose testimony landed Hunt in prison and his nearly two-decades long quest for justice, and quite another to hear him speak about how he was arrested when he was their age, a 19-year-old kid hoping only that someone would listen and believe him when he said he was innocent. One story Hunt told that morning dated back to 1994, 10 years before his exoneration. His attorneys had presented DNA evidence proving that he wasn’t the rapist in the stabbing death of 25-year-old newspaper copy editor Deborah Sykes. Such evidence had cleared others wrongly convicted of crimes. But it didn’t clear Hunt. Instead, the superior court judge ruled that even if someone else raped Sykes, that didn’t mean Hunt hadn’t stabbed her. He was sent back to the Harnett County Correctional Institution, where another inmate, whom he called “Shorty Red,” met him in the yard. “I’m glad to see you,” Hunt remembered Shorty Red telling him. “What kind of sick joke is that?” Hunt replied. “Ain’t no joke,” Shorty Red said. “I was getting ready to jump the fence” — prison-speak for suicide, because the guards in the tower will shoot to kill a prisoner who tries to break away — “but now that you’re back, I know I’ll be okay.” As Hunt saw it, he may have lost in court, but in defeat he had saved another inmate’s life. It was a story that revealed the light so many saw in him. The second story I had heard before. It was a darker story about the lingering trauma of what it must have been like to spend 19 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. I had never asked him much about those years, but every once in awhile he would hint at the horror. The night of his arrest in Winston-Salem, in 1984, the guards put him in a cell at the end of a corridor with a warning. “The last n***** we had in here we found hanging from the bars the next morning,” they told him. Hunt slept that night with his head by the toilet and his feet by the bars so that no one could reach in and strangle him, a habit he continued once he was in prison and skinheads targeted him with death threats because he was a black man convicted in the murder and rape of a white woman. Guards tried to lure him to hidden corners of the prison yard; when he refused, they put him in solitary, the hole. By the time he came to speak with my students, he’d been out of prison for a dozen years, but the fear of returning never left him. His alibi back in the Sykes case hadn’t held up: His witnesses cracked under pressure, so he couldn’t prove that he had not been at the scene of the crime, a field in downtown Winston-Salem, where, in the predawn light, the state’s witnesses testified that they had seen him. Now that he was out, he made a daily habit of stopping by an ATM machine, figuring the surveillance camera at the ATM would capture his image and the receipt would prove he’d been there, at that machine, on that day, at that time, an irrefutable record, in case he ever needed one again. I looked around the room and could see that his words kept my students enthralled. He had that effect on audiences. But I wonder now whether he was trying to tell us
May 17 – 23, 2017 Cover Story
justice and comparisons by speakers to Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Eversley gave the prayer, Mendez a eulogy and Rev. William Barber, the head of the state’s NAACP and the Moral Monday movement, made a surprise appearance, delivering a second eulogy, later posted to YouTube, that addressed some of the turmoil he imagined Hunt had been feeling. “Too often our warriors can’t even be human, even for a public second,” Barber intoned. “The relief it might give to help, even this must die because very few, even those who look to them, can handle the truth, that even our heroes get weak sometimes, so they have to smile when only crying makes sense.” Little spoke too, a rambling talk about Hunt’s legacy that brought people to their feet and turned the atmosphere into something that felt more like a political rally than a funeral. Little showed a video, listed on the program as a “Message from Darryl Hunt.” Most of it was scenes from Hunt’s public life combined with footage of a walk he made on the 30th anniversary of his arrest, past landmarks from that period of his life: the lot where the apartment building where his friend Sammy Mitchell lived; the spot where police first questioned him; and the white-frame Lloyd Presbyterian Church where the early rallies for him were held. But it was the opening scene that I can’t forget, and neither can anyone else I’ve spoken with who saw it. Hunt is seated in an ornate love seat, upholstered in a white satin or brocade, looking directly at the camera. “If you see this,” he says, in a flat, lifeless voice, “I am probably already dead.” The woman behind me gasped. “Jesus,” she said. The stories we told shaped Hunt’s life. Convicted him. Set him free. Made him a champion of justice. But his death seemed to be telling us that these narratives missed something. They didn’t exactly lie, but they weren’t the entire truth either. That’s the trouble with storytelling. This is my attempt to get the story straight.
who lied repeatedly to the police; the third, a hotel clerk who came forward eight days after his arrest (after Hunt’s photograph had been widely published in the newspaper and on TV news) to testify that he’d seen Hunt leave a hotel bathroom where he saw bloody water in the sink; and a fourth, a black man who’d been bullied into testifying it was Hunt he saw at the crime scene. I also knew the obvious and subtle ways in which racial bias at all levels of the criminal justice system made the conviction of a black man accused of raping a white woman almost inevitable. Perhaps I was naive, but back when I first reported on the case, I didn’t worry much about whether the fact that I was a white, female reporter would taint my reporting. I believed, and still do, that the facts, when I found them, would speak for themselves. That hadn’t always been the case. In 1994, DNA testing showed that Hunt was not the one who had raped Sykes. But in a series of convoluted rulings, judges found a way to uphold his conviction. I also knew about the DNA match with Willard Brown that led to Hunt’s exoneration and how that match almost slipped away. In my reporting, I had reviewed hundreds of pages of court filings and interviewed dozens of people, but I overlooked one critical clue. I had heard about a rape downtown six months after Sykes’ murder and looked into it, but dropped it when the detective who investigated told me that the suspect in that case had been in prison when Sykes was killed. The series ran in November 2003, with the first installment published on a Sunday. The next day, a woman called me to tell me about a crime that she always believed was related, the rape of her daughter-in-law in February 1985. It was the same rape I’d looked into earlier, but the woman on the phone told me that police discouraged her daughter-in-law from pressing charges against the man she identified. I couldn’t ignore such a compelling call, and This excerpt skips over Part 1, which tells the story called the detective again, who told me again of Hunt’s exoneration and his rise to national acclaim that the suspect had been in custody the day through the film, The Trials of Darryl Hunt. Part 1 may Sykes was attacked. This time he gave me a be read online at lastdays.atavist.com/the-last-days-ofname, Willard Brown. A quick records check darryl-hunt. supported the detective’s claim that Brown was in custody the day Sykes was murdered. I should have known better than to stop there, but with unt’s story shaped my life, my work already edited and laid out on the page, Trials of Darryl Hunt, an HBO documentary that’s been screened too. Because of my work on his story, the The I was out of time. I hastily wrote about the second around the world, casts Hunt as a champion for racial justice. Winston-Salem Journal made me a full-time investirape as an unexplored lead, another flaw in the gative reporter in 2004. When I left the newspaper deeply flawed case against Hunt. four years later, I used it to establish myself as a freelancer. was murdered when he was 9, how he never knew his When the series ran, a court order was pending, the one Largely on the strength of my work on his case, I landed father. By the time he was 19, his grandparents were dead that prompted my investigation, for new DNA testing. A a full-time job teaching writing and journalism at Wake and the small inheritance they had left him was gone, month later, the state ran the new DNA evidence against Forest, where I have used his story to inspire my first-year spent in part on setting up a home for his girlfriend and its database and came up with a near match, which led composition students and help them understand how her daughter. He was homeless, staying some nights with police to look again at Brown, a 43-year-old man with a race shapes our justice system in ways that remain true girlfriends and other nights with his friend, Sammy Mitchlong criminal record. A closer look at the record showed today. Its details are woven into my family’s story, too. My ell. I also certainly knew the facts of the case: how he had that while he had still been under state supervision the day memory of walking my son to school includes the image been convicted on the strength of four eyewitnesses, one Sykes was murdered, he hadn’t actually been in prison. of Hunt, grinning at the wheel of his cobalt blue Ford of them a member of the Ku Klux Klan; another a criminal DNA testing matched him to the rape and he gave a
truck with his stepson in the front seat, also on their way to Brunson Elementary School. At Passover every year, when Jews gather over a Seder dinner to celebrate the ancient exodus from Egypt, we read a letter Rabil wrote to Hunt in 1994, right after he was refused a new trial. “As long as you are shackled, so are we,” Rabil wrote. “Remember what Moses said to Israel before the Red Sea parted: The Lord himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still.” I know Hunt’s early story up until his exoneration as well anyone. In the 2003 investigative series, I wrote about how he had been raised by his grandparents, how his mother
afterward for coffee. We chalked it up to stubborn pride. The following January, when it was time for Rabil to speak to my composition class, he told me Hunt had moved back to town, and he’d see if Hunt could come, too. I met Hunt outside the library, unsure how much to ask after his health, so I played it safe. “Welcome back,” I said, or something close to it. “I’m sorry you’ve been sick, but you look good.” “Yea,” he said. “If I’m going to die, I might as well come home and be close to people I love.” I hadn’t intended on writing about Hunt again. In fact, I figured I never would. My friendship with Rabil and Hunt’s work with my students meant I had lost the distance expected of journalists. But when Hunt died, the story pulled at me, in ways I couldn’t ignore. In part, I regretted that I had accepted his calm demeanor, which made him so inspiring to my students, but, I was now beginning to suspect, concealed a more troubled life. I fell back on what I knew best, a dogged reporting method developed over years in a newsroom, in the stubborn belief that if there’s truth to be told, it lies in the facts. I checked the court file on his divorce. I talked to the people who worked in the stores and restaurants at the College Plaza shopping center where he was found. I even tried tracking down the permit friends told me he had to carry a concealed weapon, but those are no longer public record. I hoped to find surveillance footage of the shopping center, but the manager told me they didn’t have a camera set up. I talked to anyone I could think of who had been close to him the last year of his life. And I pored over the Facebook posts that appeared within hours of the news breaking that police had found his body. One surprised me. It was a 10-second video of Hunt driving with April in a convertible, on a country road somewhere, with R&B playing on the radio. Hunt wore a red hat, April wore shades that made her look like a star. The moment looked recent and carefree. Phoebe Zerwick is a journalist based in North Carolina and the director of journalism at Wake Forest University. Her work has been published in Glamour, O, The Oprah Magazine, National Geographic online, and The Nation online. Research for this story was supported in part by a grant from Duke Law School.
full confession. He is now serving a life sentence plus 10 years. My professional role in Hunt’s story ended when I left the newspaper, but I kept up with him informally, mostly through Rabil, whose life was shaped by it in ways more profound than mine. Rabil describes some of those experiences in a 2012 article he wrote for the Albany Law Review titled “My Three Decades with Darryl Hunt,” which is part case study, part memoir, part warning about the pitfalls of tunnel vision and our belief in reason and action. In it, Rabil tells how other lawyers in town ridiculed him for his relentless dedication to Hunt’s case and how Hunt’s post-conviction appeals and losses coincided with his first wife’s battle with cancer and then her death. Throughout, Rabil was driven by a burning anger. “I think I broke my hand when I slammed it on the courthouse as I left following my brief statement to the media,” he wrote Hunt in 1994, in the same letter I read every year at Passover. “So it will probably be a long time before I stop feeling this day. I went to the YMCA and ran one mile for each year of this case in the wind and rain.” Rabil also landed at Wake Forest, directing the law school’s Innocence and Justice Clinic, which reviews claims of wrongful conviction like Hunt’s. Occasionally I would see Hunt and Rabil together, when I was invited to sit on panels with them at screenings of the documentary. Hunt never watched the film, but instead appeared at the rear of the theater as the credits rolled; seeing his ordeal unfold on the screen had become too painful to watch. He suffered panic attacks, too. They could be triggered by something as simple as seeing a lime green light, which reminded him of the day he was convicted, when he stared at a reporter’s lime green socks to keep his composure in front of the cameras. Rabil called them symptoms of what he believed was post-traumatic stress disorder. Rabil kept me up to date on Hunt, the way friends talk about another friend in trouble. By 2014, Hunt and his wife, April, had separated and he had moved to Durham. In 2015, Hunt moved to Atlanta to live with a half-sister. Sometime that year, I heard through Rabil that Hunt had prostate cancer. Rabil had driven to Atlanta, hoping Hunt would allow him to accompany him to the doctor to discuss treatment options. Instead, they met
CULTURE An unofficial vegetarian restaurant within a restaurant
by Eric Ginsburg
n most regards, La Botana is the typical Mexican restaurant you’ll find around the Triad — booths, kitschy signs that say things like, “If you’re drinking to forget, pay in advance,” a TV playing Univision and bright colors everywhere. It’s the kind of place where the clientele is a mix of Latino and otherwise, where you pay at the register and can count on a bounty of free chips while you’re waiting. But for the faithful, just hearing the Winston-Salem restaurant’s name will bring electricity into their eyes. The food is tasty, yes, but there are copious firstrate Mexican options in this area. What makes La Botana unique, and what makes its customers so loyal, is the expansive and creative vegetarian menu. It’s not uncommon to find vegetarian food at a Mexican restaurant, of course, whether it’s the veggie quesadilla at El Azteca or the nopalitos burrito at Villa del Mar. But La Botana provides an entirely separate, two-sided vegetarian menu, and if you don’t know to ask for it, you won’t be handed one when you sit down. Instead, it looks like on first blush that there’s nothing meatless offered there. Located in a shopping center in southwest Winston-Salem on Hanes Mall Boulevard, La Botana stands next to the forgettable Tanoshii restaurant, Om Indian Groceries, Spices & More and an assortment of other businesses. It’s tucked in the back corner, unassuming and average sized, just waiting to blow the minds of vegetarians who are used to asking for substitutions or being stuck with only a couple options. Instead, La Botana’s vegetarian menu brags 20 distinct items, most of which you won’t see anywhere else. At least not around here. You can order portabella or nopalitos (cactus) sopes, a broccoli jicama bowl, loaded tostadas, a veggie-filled burrito or one of five chimi selections. The black-bean chimi is the cheapest vegetarian option at $9, while almost half hit the $14 mark, which means this isn’t exactly cheap eats. But it’s worth it, especially if you’re a vegetarian who’s used to feeling like an afterthought at restaurants. Show up for dinner on Mondays or Tuesdays when all of the items are $11 if you dine in. Try the poblano corn stinky
The poblano corn stinky tacos come loaded with zucchini, squash, potatoes, onions, corn, tomatoes and poblano topped with stinky cincho cheese, radish and avocado. In other words, it’s amazing.
tacos, which come stuffed with zucchini, squash, potatoes, onions, corn, tomatoes and poblano topped with stinky cincho cheese, radish and avocado. The small servings of white rice and pintos that come on the side aren’t that great, but the house hot sauce with them doesn’t play around. It’s potent enough that you should be conservative when first applying it, but it does enhance the flavor of the massive tacos. “Stinky” certainly is an accurate descriptor of the cheese — it may not be the first thing you smell when dishes like this one or the stinky loaded tostadas arrive, but it’s hard to miss. But the cheese takes these vegetable-laden tacos to the next level, and they wouldn’t be nearly as good without it. Other dishes make use of Swiss chard, kale or burnt queso fresco, but no matter the dish, each does more than just Experience La Botana’s extenprovide a typical menu item with the meat removed. The sweet chile potasive vegetarian menu (dinner toes, for example, come with zucchini, only) Monday-Saturday at asparagus, broccoli, mixed peppers, 1547 Hanes Mall Blvd. (W-S) red onions, pineapple, potatoes, cherry or at labotana-ws.com. tomatoes and spicy arbol chiles. And the trio Huasteco quesadillas include a squash blossom, a Huitlacoche and a spicy nopalitos and mushroom corn quesadilla with avocado and cincho cheese. Huitlacoche is a Mexican delicacy, a fungus that grows on corn and is variously called “Mexican truffle” or — less appetizingly — “corn smut.” Maybe you’re not ready for that, or the Huitlacoche and blossom sopes, but you can’t deny that it helps differentiate this vegetarian menu from somewhat pithy options elsewhere. When was the last time that a vegetarian menu had this much variety and adventure? Probably when you were traveling.
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distilleries pay the same amount book signing doesn’t of tax on bottles whether they’re often look like a cocktail sold on-site or at ABC stores, but party. But John Francis selling more than one bottle to Trump, author of Still & Barrel: tour participants would mean Craft Spirits in the Old North greater revenue in the long-term, State published by Winston-Saas would being able to mix their lem-based John F. Blair, Publishliquor into drinks at the tasting er, made the event at Greensby Kat Bodrie room. boro’s Scuppernong Books on The backwardness makes sense May 12 a conversation by talking from his chair and when you consider the state’s allowing guests to interject questions throughout. history: As the first in the South Inspired by a distillery passport produced by the to ban alcohol, it ended Prohistate Department of Agriculture and Consumer Serbition four years after the 21st vices — which is now the app “NC Spirits” — Trump and Amendment and lifted the ban his wife, Lisa Snedeker, traveled last summer to every North Carolina distillery with products on ABC store on making liquor in 1979. Even shelves. Snedeker snapped photos while Trump — the then, North Carolina’s first legal managing editor of the conservative Carolina Journal distillery, Piedmont Distillers in KAT BODRIE John Francis Trump, author of Still & Barrel: Craft Spirits in — talked with distillers about what they do and why Madison, opened in 2005. the Old North State, and Andrew and Bill Norman of Fainting Goat Spirits they’re in a business that sees very little profit for the Liquors like moonshine, vodka engage audience members at a discussion at Scuppernong Books on May 12. local guy. and gin can be sold immediately, “North Carolina liquor sales account for only 0.3 but aged products such as whisOften, the North Carolina section is in a corner of percent of alcohol sales in the state,” Trump said at key and bourbon take time to barrel age, particularly the store. And to put their products on ABC shelves, the reading, echoing the introduction of his book. in the traditional method with new American oak barlocal distillers must visit the municipality’s board Scot Sanborn, owner of Sutler’s Spirits in Winston-Sarels. That’s why Fainting Goat Spirits’ Tiny Cat vodka in person and show them the product, which is not lem, had told him the profits from his business were and Emulsion gin are on the distillery’s and ABC stores’ tasted. “enough to buy sushi once in a while,” but not enough shelves — and why their three whiskies aren’t. However, as Trump writes, “Craft distillers press forto get rich. “Kentucky has a 100-year ward because they believe their products pay homage Particularly given the jump on everyone else,” to the distillers who once saturated North Carolina pace of the state’s current Trump said, since some Attend John Francis Trump’s book and because their spirits are better than those proliquor laws. Senate Bill 155, distillers “barreled through signing and release party Thursday duced on a massive scale.” known as the “brunch bill,” Prohibition.” at 5:30 p.m. at Broad Branch Diswas referred to the finance And while it might sound Kat loves red wine, Milan Kundera and the Shins. She committee on March 30, and nice that ABC stores have a tillery, 756 NW Trade St. (W-S). Pick wears scarves at katbodrie.com. has yet to advance. If passed, North Carolina section, “it up a copy of Still & Barrel: Craft it will not only allow restauends up being the opposite Spirits in the Old North State at rants and bars to serve alcoof what you want,” Bill said. Pick of the Week the event or at Scuppernong Books hol at 10 a.m. on Sundays; Not only does the practice distilleries will be able to sell silo the local products, as at 304 S. Elm St. (GSO). Food Truck Friday @ Bailey Park (W-S), Friday, five bottles per customer per distillers say; consumers go 11:30 a.m. year on-site as opposed to to the vodka section if they This event includes food trucks from Food Freaks the current one bottle per year limit. want vodka, for instance, but the North Carolina prodof NC, King-Queen Haitian Cuisine, Hickory Tree Bill and Andrew Norman, a father-son team at ucts aren’t there. Turkey BBQ, La Vie en Rose and a handful of others. Fainting Goat Spirits in Greensboro, were part of the “Unless you know where to look for them, you won’t For more information, visit the Facebook event page. panel discussion during the event. Bill noted that find them,” Trump said.
NC liquors’ strained history in ‘Still & Barrel’
Shot in the Triad
onpopstudios.com • 336.383.9332 • 1333 Grove St, Greensboro
Wednesday, May 17 Hotlanta on Pop Paralyzer/Bad Spell/Wahyas Saturday, May 20 Eugene Chadbourne w/ Stray Owls & JPhono1 Monday, May 22 Corporate Fandango/ the Freecoasters/ DOG Wednesday, June 7 Richard Lloyd (Television) w/ Peter Holsapple (DB’s) Friday, July 7 Sarah Shook & the Disarmers w/ Sugar Meat
May 17 – 23, 2017
CULTURE Raising hardcore from the underground
All Showtimes @ 9:00pm Crossword
5/16 Everyman, Power Animal, Pastor John 5/17 Comedy Night 5/18 Joy on Fire, Space Cadet Orchestra 5/19 Crow’s Birthday Bash: Offending
Shot in the Triad
People for 45 Years
5/20 Super Nite Moves Dance Party 5/21 Hometown Girl, Comfort Link,
NewAgeHillbilly, Jack Swing, The Bird Hour
5/22 D. Henry Fenton
5/23 20 Watt Tombstone, Matt Walsh
701 N Trade Street Winston-Salem, NC 27101
by Spencer KM Brown t’s a ritual. Nearly sacred and methodical, each musician has their own pattern. Cymbals stacked and zipped up in padded bags and amplifier cords unplugged and wrapped and wound. One band’s guitars and bass laid to rest for the night as they clear the stage and others are brought out into the lights. It’s all neatly handled in a dark, ceremonial manner as ears rang and eyes watched the performers clear that small stage, like holy shaman at an altar; their part of the ritual over and the next act taking their place. The crowd at Test Pattern on May 8 stretched across the club and up on to the long ramp that leads into the back of the bar. Opening band Trudge cleared their equipment as Austin-based hardcore band DSGNS (pronounce “designs”) loaded large amp cabinets across the stage. Drummer Keith Hernandez tightened and lugged around his snare drum and the guitarists plugged in and tuned up, silently staring down at their effects pedals. The crowd pushed forward in a semicircle around the stage, watching the musicians prepare. The lights went dim in the club and from amid the crowd the SPENCER KM BROWN The lead singer of Austin-based DSGNS climbs vocalist appeared. onto the railing at Test Pattern. Suddenly, it began. With a heavy strum on guitars, the opening Based in Greensboro, Born Hollow began in 2010, gaining chords echoed from the amps. The crowd pushed together, fans with shockingly wild performances that entered the leaving space between the front lines and performers for fans realm of Keith Moon and Pete Townsend’s on-stage destrucwho let their wildness show in the violent moshing and danctions — throwing guitars into drums, jumping off amps and ing for which hardcore is famous. chairs, moshing amid wild fans. The group lived up to their Only a few measures into the first song, the lead guitarist reputation at this show, yet beyond the grinding chords and walked across the stage and climbed up onto the bar, standing thrashing storm of heavy drums, it’s what these bands drew high over the crowd as he ripped into a solo. The room burst out from the crowd that makes it something else entirely. with music and a dark, pulsing energy that emanated from the Like punk and metal before it, hardcore takes rebellion and instruments. pent-up energy from fans and all is released and left looming The Winston-Salem show marked the start of DSGNS’ among the crowded club. short-run tour with Greensboro’s Born Hollow, which headIn the middle of Born Hollow’s closing set, even those on lined for the evening. Along with openers Gaffer Project from the fringes of the crowd pushed closer. People lifted smartRoanoke, Va. and Boone, NC’s Trudge, this show brought a phones overhead to capture videos and pictures of the bodies night’s revival of the Triad hardcore scene. being thrown around in the moshing storm in the center of One of the most prominent scenes both locally and the room. Great white lights flashed piercing bursts like firethroughout North Carolina, hardcore music has held a strong works at various moments of the breakdown. The room grew fanbase for several decades as a mostly underground scene. to a sweating heat as the cheers grew in crescendo with the From shows at house parties to skateparks and dive bars, music. hardcore bands have seemingly remained in the background of And just as it all began in a sudden moment, the last chords Triad music. But with Test Pattern’s method of hosting a myrrang and reverberated from the monitors and into the air, and iad of genres, hardcore was able to take center stage in one of it was over. the most popular clubs in Winston-Salem. The usual post-show exodus for cigarettes and beer cleared the floor, leaving only the bands to catch their breath and Pick of the Week begin the process of breaking down their instruments. Drums were stacked and carried off backstage, guitars and microLatham skate park grand opening @ 790 Hill St. (GSO), phones unplugged and silenced, but the wildness of the night Saturday, 4 p.m. still caromed among fans as everyone lingered after the music. The brand new 10,000-square-foot skate park opens to It was the music that brought everyone out for the night, and the public with a ribbon-cutting starting at 5:30 p.m. Live the music which held them together thereafter. A revival of a music comes from bands Totally Slow and the Old Onescene which is there for however long the show runs and slips Two. Porterhouse Burgers, Ghassan’s, Matt’s Gelato and into hibernation, building and building, until the next show Kona Ice food trucks will be on hand. For more informawhen all will be set free again. tion, visit the Facebook event page.
CULTURE Career Suicide at the Blind Tiger
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WEDNESDAY 6 – 8PM
Brews and Brushes (tickets online or at the door) and $5 wine specials THURSDAY 6 – 7 PM
Pocky Pairing Flight
Shot in the Triad
by Lauren Barber Growing up as an adolescent with a disability, no one ever talked to me about sex and that’s always the number-one question when I meet somebody is, ‘Can you have sex?’” said Ananda Bennett, 28, of Greensboro. Bennett, who showed up front and center for the the SuicideGirls Blackheart Burlesque performance at the Blind Tiger in Greensboro on May 11, is quadriplegic. “It’s always been very taboo to talk about having a disability and sex, but these days it’s not quite as taboo,” she added. “There aren’t many disabled people in porn and I’m a very sexual person. It’s liberating to me that there’s a place that I can go where people appreciate me. I really like that they accept all kinds of people. I feel like I fit in there. For a long time, I didn’t have friends, so it’s a very cool space.” At the Tiger, for two and a half hours this handful of women performed more than a dozen routines, sensually shaking and slapping their athletic, tattooed and sometimes cellulite-padded skin. SuicideGirls emerged more than 15 years ago as a platform to support pin-up girls who subvert beauty norms: Heavily tattooed and pierced with dyed hair, they don’t care what you think of their bodies. The founders derived the name from the idea that women commit social suicide when they work in sex-related industries and experiment with body modification. They describe SuicideGirls as an “art-sleaze phenomeLAUREN BARBER Sunny Suicide titillates the audience during a non,” offering a self-defined alternative to mainstream marijuana-themed burlesque routine to Tove Lo’s “Gotta Stay High (All contemporary pornography. These women celebrate the Time).” their outcast status and redefine standard conceptions A reading-comprehension test for third graders served as an of beauty. unexpected prop later in the evening when Peneloppe invited In one instance, garbed as Frank the Bunny from Donnie a diffident man with wire-rim glasses and three degrees to Darko, Kathleen Suicide managed to seduce the audience to the stage and teased him — as well as the audience — with an the soundtrack of Gary Jules’ “Mad World” in an act of perenticing routine. The bit required him to read to quietly and formative genius. Not 30 seconds after donning the sinister keep his hands on the sheet of paper. When bunny head, Kathleen ricocheted water from the emcee tested him on his comprehension her bare chest into the crowd. after her tantalizing performance, no one Previews suggested that the show would be Find out more about was surprised to learn he could only make it riddled with pop-culture references, and set the SuicideGirls at through the second paragraph. after set the performances delivered. Welcoming a young couple to the stage, suicidegirls.com. Among nods to cultural classics like Star Liryc taught the five steps to a classic lap Wars and Ghostbusters were lesser-known dance and encouraged a playful competition cult classics like A Clockwork Orange. During between the lovers, to everyone’s delight, Liryc’s individual routine, video-game protagonist Zelda, from highlighting the SuicideGirls’ philosophy that confidence is the the Legend of Zelda, made a salacious appearance. most essential element of erotica. Audience member Sachiko Harding, 29, of Greensboro relished the opportunity to experience an ultimate fan fantasy. “Nerds historically-speaking were not looked at as sexy,” she said. “In the Revenge of the Nerds days, to be smart was not cool and certainly was not hot. Pick of the Week “Them spinning it by presenting that culture or the cult culture of the nerds and the freaks and the weirdos… in such an Old Salem Pottery Fair @ Old Salem Visitor Center (Wovertly sexual fashion is a super-hot and striking dichotomy.” S), Saturday 10 a.m. The troupe didn’t disappoint hardcore Disney devotees The seventh annual pottery fair features more than 30 either. After a routine set to a dubstep-y remix of the “Fresh potters from throughout the state. The fair hosts a variety Prince of Bel Air,” Sunny Suicide slowed the pace as she sang of handmade stoneware and earthenware. This event will an adult version of The Little Mermaid’s “Part of Your World,” take place rain or shine. For additional information, visit employing props like handcuffs and a pink dildo. oldsalem.org.
SPORTSBALL Girls on Fire engages in intellectual sport
creations until the tournaments started. undreds of people For this year’s competition — FIRST Steamworks packed the stands and — teams faced off in a simulation of airship-travel floor of UNCG’s Flempreparation, which included tasks that represented ing Gymnasium back collecting fuel to build steam pressure, installing gears on March 10 and 11, while others to engage rotors and, finally, ascending their robots watched anxiously from desigonto the ship. nated pit areas. Six teams took Twenty-six teams from the Triad, Charlotte, Hillsborthe court at a time, forming by Joel Sronce ough, Durham and other North Carolina cities came rival alliances of three teams to UNCG for the first of several district contests that each. The intense, two-and-a-half-minute matches would determine who qualified for the state chammarked the first contest of the season for Girls on Fire, pionship at Campbell University on April 1 and 2. For and the competition was hard on everyone. Even the Girls on Fire coach Melissa Bube, her team’s inaugural robots. competition felt like a mix between participating in The 20 high-school students who make up Girls on a state basketball tournament and a comic-con. The Fire competed as a FIRST Robotics Competition team FIRST competitions have all the emotion attached to — the only all-girls team in the Triad and one of only more familiar games, but they’re two in the state. FIRST (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Scialternative reality of sports Visit girlsonfire5679.com the Bube has always wanted. ence and Technology), a worldwide for more information on “[The contests are] less about nonprofit, encourages the pursuit physical prowess and more about of education and careers in science, how to get involved with team’s problem-solving skills and technology, engineering and math, Girls on Fire and the FIRST engineering acumen,” said Bube, while building confidence, underan employee at the technology standing and life skills. Robotics Competition. company Inmar, a sponsor of Girls In early January, all participating on Fire. “All teams are focusing on teams received information regardhelping each other out so that everyone can get better ing the rules and tasks involved in this year’s compeand perform better.” tition, as well as a very spare starter kit of parts. They But on the court in Greensboro, Bube’s team was had six weeks to conceptualize, design, program and in trouble. Originally they had designed a robot to build their robots, and then couldn’t return to their resemble a waterwheel: A central cylinder with paddles that stuck out in order to gather whiffle balls (or “fuel”) to then shoot into boilers — the task that resembled building steam pressure for the airship. Unforeseen to the team, the paddles impacted the robot’s ability to climb into the ship, an important achievement in terms of overall points. Ultimately unable to board their robot onto the airship, Girls on Fire didn’t perform up to its expectations on the home court. But more than anything involved in the competition, the high schoolers’ resolve going into the
next district contest in Asheville impressed Bube. “They took that experience and debriefed: What they should stop doing, keep doing and do better,” she said. “All the students rallied and channeled their energies into performing at their utmost.” Before the next round of competition, Girls on Fire made the choice to cut off the paddles and wrap the axle in velcro in order to help maneuver the robot up the rope and into the ship. On the court in Asheville, the robot’s ascent started off well. “The robot had started to climb, and the ropes are only lowered in the last few seconds, so you could hear people going, ‘Climb, climb, climb!’” Bube said. “But then the knot [at the top of the airship] slipped through the hole and the rope and robot fell.” In that alarming moment, members of other teams ran over to offer their assistance to their opponent. “The robot ended up being fine, but I know the students really appreciated the potential help and encouragement,” Bube explained. “It showed how encouraging and inclusive and open for achievement everyone is.” Their robot unharmed, Girls on Fire went on to finish the Asheville competition on the winning alliance and qualify for the state championship at Campbell University. But this year, their road ended there; the all-girls team didn’t advance from the state tournament to the world championship in St. Louis. Fearful moments like the robot’s fall have been some of the most educational for Girls on Fire members like Dani Coan — an 11th grader at Early College of Forsyth in Winston-Salem. “I’ve learned how to deal with mistakes and realize that nothing is going to be perfect,” Coan said. “The beautiful thing about engineering is that there is something that can always be improved. I love the spirit of constant innovation and improvement on Girls on Fire.” For Coan’s teammate McKenna Slozer, an 11th grader at RJ Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, her experience may lead her into a career. “I have learned about coding, making web pages and safety,” Slozer said. “The team helped me find what I want to do in life… I want to keep doing robotics and animatronics.” For many of the Girls on Fire, their experience has come to represent the mission of their team name: A way to show their empowerment and excitement for the game and for what lies ahead in the world of science.
Pick of the Week Winston-Salem Dash vs. Carolina Mud Cats @ BB&T Ballpark (W-S), Saturday 6:30 p.m. The Dash take on the Mud Cats for the second time this season, the meat of a five -game series that the Dash hopes will bring them out of the basement in the Carolina League South. Tickets and information available at wsdash.com.
Letter’--same letter, different CROSSWORD ‘Mystery means of wordplay. by Matt Jones
Playing May 19 – 21
David Lynch’s Twin Peaks is BACK!
TV Club Presents the SERIES PREMIERE! 8 p.m. Sunday, May 21st! FREE ADMISSION WITH DRINK PURCHASE!
Playing May 18 – 22 Friday Night Standup Presents
Kenyon Adamcik and Friend He’s Young as Hell and Funny as S***! 8:30 p.m. Friday, May 19th. Tickets $10
--OTHER EVENTS & SCREENINGS--
Board Game Night
7 p.m. Friday, May 19th. More than 100 BOARD GAMES -- FREE TO PLAY!
Saturday Morning Cartoons
Great Cartoons! Free Admission! 10 a.m. & 12 p.m. Every Saturday!
Geeksboro Anime Club Free admission. 1 p.m. Saturday, May 20th TV CLUB: American Gods 9 p.m. Sunday, May 21st. Free admission with drink purchase
2134 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro idiotboxers.com • 336-274-2699
Large 1-topping pizza
99 Good through 5/23/17
Monday – Thursday
Order online at pizzerialitaliano.net
219 S Elm Street, Greensboro • 336
WE ! DELIVER
Shot in the Triad
Beer! Wine! Amazing Coffee! 2134 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro geeksboro.com •
OTHER SHOWS Open Mic 8:30 p.m. Thur., May 18th. $5 tickets! Friday Night Open Mic Anyone Can Join In! 10 p.m. Fri., May 19th. $8 tickets! Family Improv 4 p.m. Sat., May 20th. $6 Tickets! Saturday Night Improv 8:30 p.m. & 10 pm. Sat., May 20th. $10 tickets! Monday Night Roast Battle 8:30 p.m. Mon., May 22nd. $5 tickets Discount tickets available @ Ibcomedy.yapsody.com
“Injustice 2” Premiere Tournament! 5 p.m. Saturday, May 20th. Free admission with drink purchase! Winner gets $50 Cash Prize!
29 “Asteroids” game company 30 “I dunno” gesture 32 Infuse (with) 33 Applied intense cold to 37 “Why don’t you make like a ___ and leave?” 38 Some broadband connections 40 Jake Shimabukuro instrument 41 It may get covered in throw pillows 42 Pantry stock 43 Dr. ___ (sketchy scientist who’s a supporting character on “Archer”) 46 “___ With Flowers” 47 Kagan of the Supreme Court 48 Metal-on-metal sound 49 Attacked in the groin, maybe 51 “___ Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” 52 Hawaiian foods 53 “Green-eyed monster” 55 Shad eggs 56 2022’s Super Bowl 57 “___ Can Cook” (former cooking show) 59 “___ Gratia Artis” (MGM motto) 60 Body art piece
Down 1 La preceder 2 “Bali ___” (“South Pacific” song) 3 Had an evening repast 4 Sonata automaker 5 Pissed-off expression 6 Energizes, with “up” 7 Dead set against 8 It may get dropped 9 Reno and Holder, briefly 10 Beats by ___ 11 “Good King Wenceslas,” e.g. 12 Tylenol rival 13 Plantain coverings 16 Only three-letter chemical element 20 Brewer’s equipment 22 Rattle 23 Put forth 24 “One of ___ days ...” 25 Civil War soldier, for short 26 Buckeyes’ initials 28 Rude expression
Across 1 Iranian leader until 1979 5 Resort with hot springs 8 Wacky, as antics 14 “... stay ___, and Wheat Chex stay floaty” (Shel Silverstein’s “Cereal”) 15 Thermometer scale 17 “In ___ of gifts ...” 18 Visually controlled tennis move? [go the opposite direction] 19 Keeps from leaving the house, at times 21 “Texas tea” 22 Like England in the Middle Ages 24 2016 Justin Timberlake movie 27 Org. that awards Oscars 28 Pageant contestants’ accessories 31 Suddenly shut up when collecting pollen? [tilt uppercase on its side] 34 Summer on the Seine ©2017 Jonesin’ Crosswords (firstname.lastname@example.org) 35 Four-time Indy 500 winner Rick 36 Airport approximation, for short 39 Actor/sportscaster Bob and family, Stretch Armstrong-style? [flip over lowercase] 44 It’s the “K” in K-Cups 45 Cosmetics purveyor Adrien 46 Drop out of the union 49 Slashes 50 The whole thing 51 “The Faerie Queene” poet Edmund 54 Annual reports, completely vanished? [turn to a positive] 58 Chevre source 61 Like Consumer Electronics Show offerings 62 “In the Blood” band Better Than ___ 63 Absorb 64 Barrett who co-founded Pink Floyd Answers from previous publication. 65 Doctor’s order for the overly active, perhaps
May 17 â€“ 23, 2017
Cridland Road, Greensboro
Shot in the Triad
SHOT IN THE TRIAD
PHOTO BY CAROLYN DE BERRY
The Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship... connect your business to success. 336-379-5001
As prolific as an aphid colony
(919)748-9546 CrisisDogsNC is a 501c3 non profit that relies on donations to rescue dogs from kill shelters.
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Jelisa Castrodale is a freelance writer who lives in Winston-Salem. She enjoys pizza, obscure power-pop records and will probably die alone. Follow her on Twitter @gordonshumway.
moves, breakups and it’s been in a cardboard box with my other belongings when I was escorted out of more than one office building. Back in Carrboro, Hitchcock filled the spaces between songs with observations about everything from relationships to Eastwood’s Magnum Force to politics. “When they said it’s a free country, they meant it’s free for any bozo to come in and hijack it,” he said, introducing “1974.” That was one of two songs that sounded more relevant than ever; it chronicles the entire year, from the “ghastly mellow saxophones” on the radio to the uncertainty of watching Nixon circle the drain. (“And as Nixon left the White House/You could hear people say/’You’ll never rehabilitate that mother, no way.”) The other was the Soft Boys’ eternally vicious “I Wanna Destroy You,” which he dedicated to the politicians he despised. “This isn’t a folk song,” he said, but even an acoustic version gave those lyrics (“Cause if you want to fight/Then you’re just dying to get killed”) as much politically charged menace as Dylan’s “Masters of War.” For me, the highlight was hearing the new songs from Robyn Hitchcock (The Album) including the Johnny Cash-ish “I Pray When I’m Drunk” and the muscular first track “I Want to Tell You What I Want.” The latter is a hopeful 21st Century wishlist, for “world peace, gentle socialismo, no machismo.” All we need is L-O-V-E — he spells it out — because that’s the one thing that iParts, AI and binary code can’t replace. (“Eight billion zeros is still zero/If you’ve got no heart.”) Maybe something will change in that familiar parking lot, or happen to the strip mall or to the stage at the ArtsCenter before he comes back again. It may look the same, but for those of us in the crowd on Sunday night, he made it all feel different — even without his cassettes.
Robyn Hitchcock, who performed in Carrboro on Sunday night, changed Jelisa’s life.
17 pounds, cheerful, sociable, good with people, dogs, even cats. The perfect little dog. Lily is healthy, spayed, heartworm negative, house trained and also Microchipped. A little gem rescued from the Burlington shelter. Contact CrisisDogsNC@gmail.com or text (919) 748-9546.
The first time I played here, I had a tour bus, brown hair and lots of cassettes,” Robyn Hitchcock said from the ArtsCenter stage in Carrboro on Sunday night. “I miss the cassettes.” Hitchcock pushed his now-white hair back from his forehead and wondered by Jelisa Castrodale aloud how the squat former strip mall — “the square behind Milltown” — had managed to survive since his first trip to Carrboro, when seemingly everything else has been rebuilt, paved over or given a Google-era facelift. He dedicated the next song, “My Favorite Buildings,” to anything that might’ve been demolished that he didn’t know about. If the neon green gigography on RobynWare, a long-abandoned Hitch-centric website, is accurate, his first appearance in that square was on April 27, 1990, when he played an 18song set that spanned an already impressive career. Twenty-seven years later, he’s cut the mullet that brushed against his collar and has further established himself as an inimitable songwriter, psychedelic statesman and undeniable influence on your favorite band’s favorite band. Hitchcock is also as prolific as an aphid colony — which may be one of the few insects he’s never name-checked in a song. Last month, he released his 21st album, the self-titled Robyn Hitchcock (on Hillsborough’s own Yep Roc label), a collection of mostly plugged-in songs that are among his most personal. They might be some of his most optimistic, too. Hitchcock’s carefully crafted lyrics often explore the underside of the human condition, pointing out its absurdities and illustrating how the familiar and the freakish fit together. He carefully runs his fingertips along the gossamer threads that connect us, while tucking some of his sharpest observations behind references to wasps, skulls, reptiles, ghosts and the occasional corpse. (He’s the only songwriter whose liner notes could come with an illustrated taxonomy.) On Sunday night, he and his Fylde acoustic played requests that had been submitted on Facebook and Instagram, pulling 20 selections from 13 different records and two outtake compilations, from solo albums and those he’d made with his three bands: the Soft Boys, the Egyptians and the Venus 3. With hundreds of songs to choose from, there were several surprises, including Egyptians-era “Luminous Rose” and “Airscape,” the Clint Eastwood-inspired “(A Man’s Gotta Know His Limitations) Briggs” and the deep cut “A Skull, A Suitcase and a Long Red Bottle of Wine” (“If you requested this, you’ll be glad to hear it,” he said. “If you didn’t, it won’t last long.”) Regardless of what he played, someone in the crowd was mouthing along with every word: The man beside me practically twitched out of his dad jeans when he heard the opening notes of “She Doesn’t Exist,” from the long-out-of-print Perspex Island record. As an aside, that’s the one that started it for me. When I was a college freshman, I spent a lot of time at the now-extinct Record Exchange, trying to trade stacks of scuffed ska CDs for something less stupid. I’d just picked up all of my unsold Mighty Mighty Bosstones discs when a sullen, smoking employee pressed play on Perspex Island. Before the opening track had ended, I’d asked what it was and if I could buy it. That CD changed my life and, in the years since, it has survived
Summer Sale! EVERYTHING
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Published on May 17, 2017
An excerpt from Phoebe Zerwick's longform piece about Darryl Hunt, who served 19 years for a murder he did not commit and died by his own ha...