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NEWS&CULTURE #METOO COMES HOME Sexual allegations rock Charlotte’s art
BY ERIN TRACY-BLACKWOOD 7 EDITOR’S NOTE BY MARK KEMP 10 THE BLOTTER BY RYAN PITKIN 11 JUSTICE SEEKER BY RHIANNON FIONN
FOOD&DRINK SIZE MATTERS Mini lettuce is taking over the green game BY ARI LEVAUX
14 TOP 10 THINGS TO DO THIS WEEK
‘THE TROUBLES’ WITH MICKEY A Charlotte singer revisits the ‘Wasteground’ of his Northern Ireland childhood BY MARK KEMP 20 SOUNDBOARD
ARTS&ENT CONVERSATION STARTER Behailu Academy brings recent discussion series to the streets with new NoDa mural
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LET’S TALK ABOUT OPPRESSION History tells us the end results aren’t pretty THE CHARLOTTE SINGER featured in
they in Ireland, the Middle East, Africa or this week’s music section grew up with bombs the United States. And if we don’t keep falling and cars exploding all around him. oppression in check, it’s almost inevitable He grew up around people who were put that violence will follow. Issues surrounding oppression is a up against walls and executed, got nailed to doors, had their arms sawed off with daggers. theme in this week’s Creative Loafing, and Michael Stephens didn’t grow up in the the problem seems to come down to this: Middle East or in an African-American or When people are oppressed, they are going to Latino neighborhood in the U.S., where people fight back. And when people continue to be are targeted for the color of their skin or the oppressed and pushed around at the whims language they speak. He grew up in Northern of powerful people or powerful governments, Ireland in the 1970s and 1980s, where almost they’re going to continue fighting back with everybody was white and spoke English. In ever-increasing vigor. We’re watching that play out right Northern Ireland during that dark period, you could be executed for having the wrong name. now in Gaza, where everyday Palestinians are hemmed in behind big walls and Stephens called himself “Mickey” harassed at checkpoints. We call when his band the Mighty their reactions “terrorism.” We Shamrocks played in the no-go say their oppressors are just zones of Derry, where in the “upholding the law.” late 1960s the Irish Catholic We also see it in the minority, oppressed by streets of urban America, the Protestant majority where people of color for centuries, had begun are regularly pulled over amping up violence in a by government officials desperate fight for their — the police — and civil rights. Stephens grew sometimes brutalized. up Protestant, which made And we’re seeing it in the him a target in certain areas. #MeToo movement, where MARK KEMP By the 1970s, some women, tired of being sexually Northern Irish Catholic groups harassed by men, are standing had resorted to unspeakable acts up and saying, “No more.” In recent of violence as a way to combat the unspeakable oppression they felt. That led to weeks, #MeToo has come home to Charlotte, unspeakable violence in return by Protestant where several men in positions of power extremists. And the cycle of unspeakable have been accused of harassment. Late last year, a prominent Charlotte doctor, Jonathan violence continued for three long decades. “Being in a band, you were at risk,” Christenbury, surrendered his medical license Stephens tells me in “‘The Troubles’ with after he was accused of sexual harassment. Mickey,” on page 16. “Because you were going Last month, Kyle Conti, the owner of a into areas — into bars and into neighborhoods Charlotte yoga studio, temporarily stepped — where you weren’t supposed to be and down after responding to allegations of sexual where you could end up dead if you didn’t harassment by posting an Instagram photo of himself wrapped only in a towel, mocking watch yourself.” Stephens and the Shamrocks — a mixed those who’d made the allegations against him. And now, in Charlotte’s arts community, group of two Protestants and two Catholics — weren’t particularly political. “I was Jim McGuire, a respected photographer who Protestant,” he says. “But all my friends were has done work for Creative Loafing and other Catholic, and so that just gets into everything Charlotte businesses and arts organizations, — those cultural divisions, that tribal identity.” has been accused of creating an unsafe The Shamrocks tried to stay out of the fray, environment at his 1212 Studio. In this but it wasn’t easy, and Stephens’ memories week’s cover story on page 8, Erin Tracyfrom his young adulthood in Northern Blackwood talks to McGuire and his accusers Ireland has dogged him for decades. This about allegations that have rocked the city’s week, his Charlotte band Poor Blue officially creative community. McGuire says it’s all a releases Wasteground, a new concept album in big misunderstanding. His accusers say his which Stephens reflects on the trauma that behavior is part of a pattern of harassment. However these situations pan out, one he and his old mates back home experienced thing is for sure: Charlotte needs to talk in the ’70s and ’80s. Too often in the United States, we equate about them, as we have talked about issues oppression and terrorism with skin color or of police violence against people of color and language differences, but the Northern Irish harassment of our Latino neighbors. Because conflict makes it clear that oppression is if we don’t talk about oppression, pushback is not necessarily an issue of color. Oppression sure to follow, and that pushback can become happens when tribes of powerful people violent. History tells us this. MKEMP@CLCLT.COM discriminate against vulnerable people, be CLCLT.COM | MAY. 17 - MAY. 23, 2018 | 7
COURTESY OF AMPLIFY & ACTIVATE
#METOO COMES HOME Sexual allegations rock Charlotte’s art community BY ERIN TRACY-BLACKWOOD
N SATURDAY, May 12, Linda Simthong sat with five other panelists in a hot room at Yoga One in NoDa to talk about the #MeToo movement. Many of her fellow panelists were there to address sexual harassment in the yoga community. But Simthong had a different story to tell. Before Simthong appeared at the Saturday event to speak publicly about her experience, she sat down with Creative Loafing and opened up about an incident that changed her perspective on the Charlotte arts scene and harassment in the workplace. It all started with a text. According to Simthong, after a long day managing a fashion shoot, she took a much-needed breather on a couch in Studio 1212, where she had hosted the event. Exhausted, sweaty and believing she was alone, Simthong kicked up her heels, laid her head back and browsed through her phone. Her shirt rode up, exposing her midriff, but Simthong didn’t bother tugging it down. It was hot and she was alone. Or so she thought. Moments later, according to Simthong, she received a text message which, to her horror, contained a real-time photo of herself. The caption read, “Sexy.” Simthong, 33, was being watched. The text was from Jim McGuire, 58, the local photographer who owns Studio 1212. Simthong said he’d made unwanted passes at her before and that it had made her uncomfortable. But this was the first time she felt unsafe. By now, most Americans are aware of the #MeToo movement, an international campaign against sexual harassment that took shape following allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein in October 2017. Supporters of #MeToo began using the hashtag #TimesUp as a warning to those who had mistreated women that their day of reckoning would come. Since then, the #MeToo movement has come home to roost in Charlotte, as multiple high-profile men have faced not only public allegations but legal and civil actions against them. Kyle Conti, owner of Charlotte Yoga, faces allegations from two former employees who say he groped and harassed employees and clients, creating a “sexually hostile work environment,” according to their complaint filed with the Equal Employment 8 | MAY. 17 - MAY. 23, 2018 | CLCLT.COM
Linda Simthong (center) stands with fellow panelists Jasmine Hines (from left), Kelly Carboni-Woods, Grace Millsap and Vivian Selles at a recent event in which Simthong shared her allegations of sexual harassment at the workplace. Opportunity Commission. Conti stepped away from the business in April after facing more criticism for posting a picture of himself in nothing but a towel on the morning of his meeting with his two accusers. Along with the photo were the words, “When your integrity is questioned & you get the opportunity today to look your accuser in the eyes you wake up at 4 am so excited for that moment...” Prominent Charlotte eye doctor John Christenbury, owner of Christenbury Eye Center, voluntarily surrendered his medical license in November after two former employees filed a lawsuit against him alleging he maintained a sexually hostile workplace environment. Now, Simthong says she was sexually harassed in the workplace, and is pointing to McGuire, a well-known and well-respected artist in Charlotte’s creative community. McGuire is highly regarded as a photographer (in the past, he’s done work for Creative Loafing), as well as an arts patron and co-creator of the Transformus Festival, a regional Burning Man-affiliated event. His studio shares a sheet metal duplex with The Actor’s Lab on 10th Street near Central Avenue in Plaza Midwood. It often doubles as an event space and is known for hosting a series of art parties earlier this decade called “The Happening.”
SIMTHONG SAID she began working with
McGuire at Studio 1212 in March 2017. “I was looking for a place to do a fundraiser for Standing Rock. A friend recommended the studio to me and it was perfect,” she told Creative Loafing. “We had access to a full studio, stage, a DJ booth. I was very grateful.” After the fundraiser was a success, Simthong said, McGuire expressed interest in partnering with her to bring more diverse events to the studio. She had recently founded an organization called School of Jai, which focused on diverse community events, and the partnership seemed a natural fit. She would schedule and manage events, then pay a percentage of the earnings to the studio in
exchange for the space. “After I finished two events, I liked our working relationship. He was becoming a great business mentor to me and I felt invested in the studio,” Simthong said. “I asked if he needed any extra help there and he said he needed someone to clean twice a month.” After that, Simthong said, things got weird. During one event, according to Simthong, a friend of McGuire’s told her to be careful where she undressed in the studio. “It didn’t make any sense to me at the time, but I didn’t press the issue,” she said. “I thought, ‘I don’t undress here, I manage events and clean. Why would I take off my clothes?’” Then, Simthong said, “One day in August, I was supposed to come in and clean. He texted me that morning to say I didn’t need to clean, but I could join him for lunch if I wanted. I wore wedges, shorts and a tank top — a typical summer outfit. When I arrived, he asked me if I was coming on to him because of the way I was dressed. I told him I was only interested in a professional relationship, that I respected him and my job, and saw him as a mentor. I told him if it ever crosses the line from professional to personal, our relationship would have to end.” Creative Loafing reached out to McGuire, who said he remembered the lunch, but recalled Simthong inviting him rather than him inviting her. “She invited me maybe the day before,” he said. “She arrived and she looked like she was kinda sexy and I was confused by that. I just wanted to clear the air because it felt weird she would ask me to lunch, then show up dressed sexy. I just wanted to establish boundaries.” According to Simthong, after she told him she was only interested in a professional relationship, McGuire persisted: “He said, ‘I actually think we’d make a good couple.’ And so then I told him I was already in a relationship and he started asking a lot of prying questions about my boyfriend.” McGuire said he does not remember that
part of the conversation. “I don’t think so,” he said, laughing. “She’s not my type. I might’ve said it as a joke, but I can’t imagine why.” After lunch, Simthong told her boyfriend and another close friend what McGuire had said, and that he had made her feel uncomfortable. Creative Loafing reached out to both parties, who confirmed the exchanges. “After that happened, I became more cautious,” Simthong said. “He would often make comments about my appearance. Nothing crazy, but I didn’t think they were appropriate. “That progressed into him telling me graphic details about his sexual encounters with women,” Simthong said. “I was like, ‘I’m not interested,’ and he was like, ‘Am I saying too much?’ I told him I wasn’t cool hearing about this. He also talked a lot about black women and their bodies. He would make comments about my clients’ bodies who were black women.” “I don’t remember having those conversations with her about women’s bodies, but I’m kind of an open-book person,” McGuire said. “I have been accused of oversharing, and I thought we were pretty close friends, so I might’ve shared something like that.” Appropriate conversation between bosses and their associates is a big topic of discussion in the corporate, entertainment and arts worlds today, in light of the rush of #MeToo allegations. Creative Loafing reached out to Red Ventures, a company known for being a fun and irreverent work environment, where co-workers often form friendships, and asked whether or not comments such as the ones Simthong remembers would be considered appropriate at that company. Maghan Cook, Red Ventures vice president of communications, declined to comment on this specific case, but said, “Companies must do everything they can to create safe, productive environments where their employees are able to do their best work. No good work environment tolerates harassment in any way.” In early October of 2017, according to Simthong, McGuire invited her to lunch again. She hoped he would honor her earlier request that he not cross personal lines. “I hoped it’d be productive for our professional relationship,” she said. It wasn’t, she said. According to Simthong, who is of Asian heritage, M cGuire began telling her about an encounter he’d had with an Asian woman. “He started talking to me about her body, especially about her rear end,” Simthong said. “Then he said, ‘Most Asian women don’t have curves, but you have a nice ass.’ I said, ‘Yo, that’s not cool. Don’t talk about my body like that.’ And he said, ‘Oh, I forgot, you’re sensitive about stuff like that.’ I said, ‘I’m not sensitive. I’m serious.’” Again, McGuire remembers the exchange differently. “Wow — I can’t imagine saying that. I don’t think I said that,” McGuire said. “I mean, I don’t remember that conversation. I might’ve said something like that. Yeah, it’s possible. I’m a fashion photographer. I talk a lot about women’s bodies in general. She might’ve been offended by something.”
IT WAS THE final straw for Simthong.
“After that, I knew I couldn’t be there much longer,” she said. “I could’ve left at that point, and I should have, but I had four more events booked and I needed those shifts. I thought, because it was just words, I could deal with it a little longer. But I knew I had to leave right after. The environment was no longer conducive to my well-being,and professional and personal lines were being crossed.” The first of two events Simthong worked happened on October 21, 2017 . It was a women’s fashion photo shoot, and it was after this event that Simthong said McGuire texted the photo of her on the couch inside the studio. “I was terrified, not just for myself but for all the other women and girls who had been in there,” Simthong said. “They had been undressing in there all day during the shoot. I knew I couldn’t have been the first one he spyed on.” According to McGuire, he had every right to photograph her. ““She was laying on my couch, in my lobby, under my employment,” he said. “She knew all about the secret cameras — I don’t want to say ‘secret’ cameras — she knew all about the security cameras. I even showed her how to use them one time. She knew they existed.” McGuire said he has a camera in Studio A, the big room where he holds events, which records a couple days of information in case there’s a break-in. There’s another camera in the lobby, and another in Studio B, which is where Simthong was on the night in question. All of the cameras have wide-angle lenses and can be moved around. “I usually keep them pointed at the doors,” McGuire said. “They’re big, they have blinking red lights on them.” In addition to their visibility, McGuire said he’s posted signs in front of his studio which state the area is under surveillance. “I don’t go out of my to not tell people there’s cameras there. They’re super easy to see,” McGuire said. “There’s absolutely no hidden cameras anywhere except... well, there aren’t any. There never was a shower cam, actually. There never was a dressing room camera.” The shower camera McGuire is referring to involves a story that showed up on social media after Simthong shared her experience at Studio 1212 in a Plaza Midwood Facebook page post. Wyley Buck Boswell, a booking agent who is well-known in the Charlotte music community, said he dated a woman who, in 2010, briefly lived at Studio 1212 with three other people. One day, the woman contacted Boswell, distraught, and told him that after showering, she was walking back to her room when she heard McGuire and another man laughing in another room. T he door was cracked and she looked inside to find the two of them staring at a monitor, Boswell said. The monitor displayed a live feed of the bathroom the woman had just walked out of, according to Boswell. After hearing this, Boswell said he drove to the studio to confront McGuire. “As soon as [McGuire] saw me, he said, ‘I know why you’re here,’ and in a nutshell told me he wasn’t proud of what he’d done, that it was meant to be a joke and he’d used poor
Simthong hosted multiple events at Studio 1212, and said owner Jim McGuire made it a sexually hostile environment.
PHOTO BY RYAN PITKIN
‘NO ONE DESERVES TO BE WATCHED WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT, ESPECIALLY WHEN THEIR BODY IS SHOWING.’ LINDA SIMTHONG judgement. I told him he was a pervert and that I’d be packing her things and moving her out right away. Then, he got down on his knees, begged for my forgiveness and asked me to punch him. At that point, I thought it was getting pretty weird, so I said ‘no thanks’ and left.” Boswell returned the following day to move his girlfriend out, he said. McGuire later came to the home Boswell shared with his girlfriend and again got on his knees, this time inviting Boswell’s girlfriend to punch him, according to Boswell. She declined. She has since moved to another state and CL was unable to reach her for comment. But, Boswell said, “I don’t mind telling my part of this story with [McGuire], because it happened, and clearly it’s still happening.
It doesn’t surprise me, with the kind of cronyism going on around him and how some people are saying what he does for the art community outweighs violating people in this way.” McGuire confirmed the shower story is true, but said it was all a big misunderstanding. “I was shooting a movie that had a shower scene and I told her I put a camera in the shower,” McGuire said. “Me and my friend were expecting her to put on a show when she went in there, but I guess she just didn’t even hear when I said the camera was in there. When she came out, we were like, ‘Oh wow, that was great show’ — knowing she could hear us, but she just totally took it the wrong way. “The facts are: We were shooting a movie
with a shower scene and I put a camera in there to test it and she just happened to be taking a shower,” McGuire said. “It was so boring, there was nothing to it, you couldn’t even see anything. I would say it was a bad joke gone really bad. I felt terrible and said, ‘I’m so sorry,’ and then she ran and told her boyfriend. We’re still best friends. I love her. She’s like my daughter. So I felt terrible and I wanted her to hit me.” Creative Loafingreached out to the friend McGuire said was with him that day, but the friend said he could not recall being there during the incident. In addition to Boswell’s story, a photo surfaced on Facebook, reportedly taken from McGuire’s personal account, showing a room full of half-dressed women in what appeared to be a dressing room at 1212. None of the women were looking at the camera or seemed to be aware a picture was being taken of them. According to McGuire, “There is a lobby that was being used for a green room and that lobby has a camera, but the picture that showed up, I believe, was taken with my iPhone. I walked in there just to see what was going on because it was a public area. It was a bathing suit fashion show, so it probably looks like everyone was scantily-clad, but it was just a fashion show.” Said Simthong, “No one deserves to be watched without their consent, especially when their body is showing.”
OTHER PEOPLE who have come forward
with stories about 1212 declined to speak to Creative Loafing , citing intimidation and McGuire’s power and stature in the community. In addition to McGuire’s aforementioned creative clout, he also works with some of the bigger corporate clients in Charlotte: Bank of America, Harris Teeter, RBC Centura, Carolinas Healthcare System (Now Atrium Health), Time Warner Cable (Now Spectrum) and even the Girl Scouts of America. Community stature of accused offenders seems to be a common deterrent for victims who have been allegedly preyed upon. Many don’t go public for fear of being ostricized. At the May 12 Yoga One event addressing the Kyle Conti case and the topic of harassment in the yoga community, Adam Whiting, a lead teacher at Charlotte Yoga, explained the dynamic. “There is a tendency to look at the teacher as a guru or the guide or the person responsible for this (life) change, when it’s the practice (of yoga), not us,” Whiting said. “Remember your first teacher? Mine were on a pedestal for me ... they were god-like.” Vivian Selles, a yoga teacher, shared her experience with the fallout from the Conti accusations. “When the recent news broke about Charlotte Yoga, I had known about that for a while, because it happened to my friend. And it shook me to my core just having to sit on it,” Selles said. “When the article came out, I watched social media, and I saw all these teachers in the community gaslight the victims, shame and blame the victims, question their sanity and their truth. I was watching teachers I had a lot of respect for, people we hold up on pedestals, do this. It SEE
MEETOO P. 10 u
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METOO FROM P.9 t was very disappointing.” The event was the first of a four-part series of community discussions on ethics in the yoga community, organized by Grace Millsap Yoga and the group Amplify and Activate. Simthong broke down in tears while sharing the story of her Studio 1212 experience. The audience of about 60 men and women remained silent as they waited for her to continue. “I decided to go public so people, at the very least, can make an informed decision if they want to go there,” Simthong told the attendees. Simthong’s last day at the studio was October 24. McGuire was out of town on a planned trip, which allowed her to finish her remaining events without him present. She didn’t speak with him again until November 6, she said, when she decided to confront him via Facebook Messenger. She said he first claimed it was a joke and that he’d made a bad choice. When she persisted in asking him how long he’d been spying on people, she said, he told her he saw a “monster” inside her, and then, “He said, ‘I know you’re really upset. Come to my studio and unleash it on me.’” Like both Boswell and his ex-girlfriend
before, Simthong said she declined McGuire’s invitation. McGuire does not dispute Simthong’s account. “I wanted her to get that anger out of herself. I invited her to confront me and us work it out,” he told Creative Loafing. He then proceeded to tell CL, unsolicited and on the record, a private story of personal trauma Simthong had confided in him much earlier, as a friend. He said he was sharing this information because he thought the “monster” inside her had come from her trauma. We will not include those details. After Simthong confronted McGuire, she said, she contacted his friend who had warned her to watch where she took off her clothes, texting, “Thanks for the warning. It happened to me.” The man replied, “A king will have his pleasures.” “People see him as some sort of god or something like a cult leader,” Simthong told CL. “They all benefit from him in the underground art world, whether it’s from photography or just the clout of being associated with him letting them make a name for themselves within that community.”
After Simthong posted her story in the Plaza Midwood Facebook group — a group with more than 8,500 members — on January 17,some members of that community rallied around McGuire, she said. “The backlash I got was interesting . So many people wanted to humanize the predator, but they never thought about those who’d been victimized,” Simthong said. “People I respected told me, ‘Think of his kids,’ ‘Think of his humanity,’ ‘You’re causing bloodshed,’ and ‘Do you really want him to be known for this?’ — like I should take responsibility for his behavior.” Teresa Hernandez, an administrator for the Plaza Midwood Facebook group, said she doesn’t believe anyone removed or blocked Simthong from the group. “Her post was removed because it was against the group rules of flaming a person,” Hernandez said. “We try to screen for potentially defamatory content. We’ve had, in the past, several instances where people made accusations and the accused party denied it. We admins are not in a position to investigate and determine who’s telling the truth.” Simthong said she was approached by
some of McGuire’s friends to participate in a community forum at Studio 1212 to discuss the issue. “They came to me and said, ‘We want to mediate it, and we’ll have 100 people there, half your guests and half his. He wants to give a public apology. “But I don’t want a public apology, I want him to recognize he has a problem and get help,” Simthong said. McGuire posted a public apology to Simthong on his Facebook account. It read, in part, “You are a beautiful person and friend. I have betrayed the trust we had. From the bottom of my heart, I ask your forgiveness.” “I don’t want to be known for this,” Simthong continued. “I’m speaking up because silence enables predators. I call him a predator and I don’t back away from that. He preyed on me. I wish more people would speak up. This isn’t about if Jim’s a good person or not, it’s about a public safety issue. Incidents like these have been a concern for me all my life. I’m in my 30s now and I’m gonna speak out. Time’s up.”
about noon “because of his behavior,” and he responded by picking up four cases of bottled water and a bag of ice and throwing them all across the parking lot “in a fit.” In the end, the man did $23 in damage before fleeing the scene on foot.
who works construction.” The vague report does not specify exactly what the kid brought in, but it definitely warranted a response, because it goes on to state, “The students [sic] friends told there [sic] teacher, she took the tool and contacted the principal. Parents were contacted and they came to the school immediately.” Well, WHAT WAS IT? I’ve got a lot of guesses, but I’m still between nail gun and power saw.
for cover, the suspects grabbed $300 worth of weave and left the store. Four employees were treated for minor injuries, with just one going to the hospital to be treated.
BY RYAN PITKIN
I’M LOVING IT Police responded to a
McDonald’s on South Boulevard last week after a car in the drive thru refused to pull up to the second window. Responding officers found a man passed out at the wheel of his car, and when they searched him they found two grams of heroin, to nobody’s surprise. They also seized the man’s Motorola phone, which some officer with a sense of humor valued at $1 in the report.
YOU SUCK Vacuums were at the center of
The temperatures have been rising as we get nearer to summer, so what better time to have a slushie dumped down your shirt? That’s what happened to a 23-year-old woman at a north Charlotte 7-Eleven last week when another woman “assaulted her by thowing a cup of Slurpee at her chest,” according to the report. Despite the hot weather, the victim wasn’t happy with the results, and pressed charges on the suspect for assault.
a few police reports in Charlotte last week _ that’s right, vacuums — and your trusty Blotter reporter is here to bring you the two most WTF ones of the week. First, at a SecurCare Self Storage on Independence Boulevard, someone attached a chain to a large vacuum unit and pulled it off of its mounted base at 3:45 a.m., doing $676 in damage. In an unrelated incident, a 34-year-old Hickory Grove woman filed a report claiming identity theft after someone allegedly used her name, date of birth and social security number to purchase a vacuum cleaner, although the suspect apparently used their own money in the transaction, leaving us to wonder … umm, what?
WATER FIGHT That wasn’t the only wet
SHOW AND TELL A young boy’s dreams of
and wild ridiculousness to happen at a north Charlotte gas station last week, as things got crazy at a Circle K on University Boulevard on the same day as the incident described above. According to the report, a man was denied entrance into the convenience store at 10 | MAY. 17 - MAY. 23, 2018 | CLCLT.COM
working construction were dashed at Newell Elementary School last week after he was admonished for bringing his dad’s tools in to share with the class. According to the report, “A student was excited about showing his classmates a work tool belonging to his father,
TAKE A HINT A suspect in east Charlotte
may have been just trying to send his family member a message last week, but in the end, he took things too far. Police responded to an assault call in the Silverwood area and found a 20-year-old man who told police one of his family members threw a bottle of body wash at him, then grabbed his neck and hair. Maybe he was just showing him, “This is where you need to wash!” Or maybe he’s just a violent asshole.
BOB AND WEAVE Police responded to an
armed robbery call at a hair salon in the Ayrsley area last week and found four employees who had been assaulted, but not with any of the weapons usually used in robberies. According to the report, two suspects came into Tisun Beauty Supply and immediately began spraying all the employees with pepper spray. While everyone else in the store ducked
ALL THAT EFFORT A suspect smashed his
way into a Subway at the Galleria last week, only to find that all his work was for naught. Police responded after the suspect used a rock to smash the front window of the store at 3:30 a.m. then made his way to the register. The suspect made off with the store’s empty cash till, but hey, that in itself is worth $100, according to the report. He did $300 worth of damage to the store window during his fruitless venture.
HANDOUTS Employees at a Dunkin’ Donuts
on South College Street called police after they were threatened by a woman who felt wronged by the company and planned to come back for what she was owed. The reporting person told police that the woman called the store at 8:30 a.m. and stated that she and her boyfriend were on the way there and planned to “tear the place up,” according to police. Employees told police they knew who the woman was, and that she was “upset due to not getting her free cup of coffee.” All stories are pulled from police reports at CMPD headquarters. Suspects are innocent until proven guilty.
ROYALLY SCREWED Remember when we scorned royalty? THE ROYAL WEDDING hasn’t even taken
fairy tale and don’t mind shrugging off a place yet and already I feel as though I’ve been little revisionist history even though we, of browbeaten by it, like if I don’t pay attention all populations, know better than most that African blood runs right through the current I’ll be a cultural moron. The media’s ads for 4 a.m. coverage of Queen Elizabeth. The superficiality of the moment is the May 19 wedding have been on repeat for weeks. The pre-coverage is so pervasive that stunning from my perch on the edge of the without spending one second looking into Hornet’s Nest. So, I’d like to suggest some the situation I can tell you quite a lot about things to do instead of watching an over-thethe princess to be, her family, her career and top wedding in the week hours on Saturday the fact that the world wrongly assumes she’s morning: Go home. The bars closed hours ago, England’s first biracial monarch. That distinction is Queen Charlotte’s. The lush. Sleep in. When you wake the media will city of Charlotte was named after her by British Loyalists in 1768. The same city that, gladly repeat the highlights of the wedding. according to local lore, produced the first Even if you hid in a media-proof, WiFi-free copy of the Declaration of Independence in shelter by yourself for the next week you’ll 1775. The one dubbed a “a hornet’s nest of still eventually hear about this damn wedding from someone. rebellion” during the Revolutionary Read the Declaration of War because we were so over Independence. It includes this Queen Charlotte’s husband, important point: “The history George III, a man who of the present King of Great purportedly said things Britain is a history of repeated like, “A traitor is anyone injuries and usurpations, who doesn’t agree with all having in direct object me.” the establishment of an It’s not that our absolute Tyranny over history is confused, these States.” (That means it’s that instead of he was an asshole and we submitting to English were like, “I know he di’in’t.”) RHIANNON royalty — to the status Plan a trip to the Mint quo of the time — as, FIONN Museum. See larger than life apparently, the founders of portraits of Queen Charlotte and Charlotte hoped, Charlotteans George III, then plan to stick around for a revolted against the king and flushed his people out of this land, the place that’s cut good cultural soak. Or hit the Charlotte Museum through by Independence fucking Boulevard. Still, vapid periodicals like Town and of History. Whether you’re a local or a Country magazine are offering advice on how transplant, it’s about time you learned the to throw “Royal Wedding Watch Parties” history of your city. Hell, just a day after the complete with formal invitations and recipes wedding, they’re throwing down to celebrate for lemon-elderflower cupcakes so you can the anniversary of the Meck Dec signing (see have the same taste in your mouth as the page 14). Read a book. I just asked Amazon.com world’s elite who will actually get to eat a piece of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s and can tell you that if you search that site wedding cake. This is absurd, people. Pathetic, for “Charlotte History” you’ll have more than 4,000 options. “Revolutionary War History” even. It’s not that I don’t wish the couple all pulls up more than 9,000 options. Stuff your face. Emotionally eat away the best, I do — as I would for any couple getting married this weekend, or at any time. the stress of realizing that you will never, It’s that here in Charlotte we are the people ever be an actual princess, no matter what of the Hornet’s Nest. If anyone should be your parents told you. If you really need to throwing up two middle fingers to the media escape the moment you can go to Amelie’s circus-slash-gigantic waste of money that is and pretend you’re French, something their nuptials — it’s been reported that the wealthy Southerners are wont to do anyway wedding will cost $45 million — it should be — or at least they were back when they were the oppressors in the 1800s right before the people of Charlotte. Who’s with me? Don’t answer. I know Charlotte’s other war. Watch something else. Find PBS’ “The that a large percentage of you will tune in, secretly hoping that the young Prince George American Revolution” series online and see will find your old ass when he comes of age for yourself a hint of the price paid by early and pop the question so that you, too, can Patriots so that we can experience freedom from kings. become an American princess miracle. BACKTALK@CLCLT.COM It seems the lot of us are agog for the
Account Sales Representative Womack Publishing, is seeking a creative Account Sales Representative for several newspapers in North Carolina to promote and market the business community through our products in print and online. A college degree is preferred but not required. A good work ethic, positive attitude and willingness to be part of a team will be an important consideration in selecting a candidate for this position. If you enjoy meeting people, this may be the perfect opportunity for you. Womack Publishing offers a competitive salary and a full benefit program. Womack Publishing is a family owned, growing multimedia company that publishes 19 regional newspapers. Please send your resume to: Ron Cox, Human Resource Manager, P.O. Box 111, 30 N. Main Street, Chatham VA or to email@example.com
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SIZE MATTERS Mini lettuce is taking over the green game BY ARI LEVAUX
HE MARKET FOR fresh
greens is being disrupted by a small, colorful assortment of European dwarf lettuce heads that are small in stature when fully mature. What they lack in size they make up in texture, flavor and remarkably dense foliage — along the lines of what you might expect from radicchio or even cabbage. These miniature lettuce heads are sometime erroneously labeled as “baby” lettuce — the fact that one variety is named Bambi probably doesn’t help clear this up, and that’s probably intentional. Despite being grown-ass lettuce, these heads nonetheless cater to the American appetite for babies. Mini lettuce has been on my radar for about ten years, since I visited a Bambi farm in Kona. Since then I’ve watched the popularity and availability of these delicious plants take off. Family farmers have been bringing them to market and selling them to high-end chefs. Johnny’s Seeds, one of the more popular seed suppliers to small and mid-sized veggie farms, sells a colorful assortment of ten mini lettuce varieties, including Mini Romaine, Mini Bibb and others. Johnny’s is a Maine-based supplier but Charlotteans can buy directly from them at johnnyseeds.com. According to the Johnnys’ number crunchers, adding mini lettuce to a farm’s offerings can be a good move financially. They can be planted more than four times as densely and have a 33 percent shorter growing cycle. Over the course of a 120-day period, Johnny’s estimates, the same 10by-4 foot bed could produce 120 full-sized heads or 720 mini heads. Despite being so amazing, mini lettuce can be difficult to find. My friend Mirella, a European mini lettuce head, has a hard time finding them in NYC. Surprisingly, one of the more reliable places to acquire mini lettuce are box stores like Walmart and Costco, both of which carry “artisan” lettuce produced by California-based grower Tanimura and Antle (T&A). According to taproduce.com, the original mini romaine seeds came from Europe, and growers with the company have been saving their seeds ever since. Last year T&A launched an offshoot, 3 Star Lettuce, a seed company that specializes in marketing mini lettuce seed to other growers. Multiple varieties of mini lettuce are grown in alternating rows in the same fields, producing the spectacle of long green and red stripes across the landscape. The crop is processed and boxed in the fields, sometimes with multiple varieties packed together in 12 | MAY. 17 - MAY. 23, 2018 | CLCLT.COM
Little gem lettuce corners (above) with peppers, onion, olive oil and tuna.
Little lettuce heads can often be found at box stores like Costco or Walmart. the same box. Field packing saves the lettuce a potentially hazardous detour through a processing facility. The fact that they are sold whole, rather than cut, is important from a food safety perspective as well. When food is cut, microscopic particles that had been on the outside of food can be introduced inside. For this reason, some food safety experts will go as far as to request their water without a lemon slice when dining out. Inside the lemon peel it had been sterile and safe, but the knife may contain pathogens,
PHOTO BY MARTA ORTIZ
PHOTO BY ETTIENE VOSS
as could the hand that holds both lemon and knife (with cooked food, precautions are relaxed considerably). Any time food is cut, the chances for contamination increase, which is why most food safety experts avoid cut or chopped bagged veggies like a plague of raw oysters. The recent outbreak of E. coli linked to chopped romaine lettuce hammers this point home, and makes field-packed mini heads all the more attractive. The contamination is thought to have occurred in a packing facility
in Yuma, Arizona, which handles lettuce from many different fields. Such places introduce myriad variables and opportunities for E. Coli to flourish; the chopping step quickly spreads the problem. While cutting food introduces the possibility of contamination, it also exposes the cut ends to oxygen, which begins a downward slope of deterioration known as oxidation. Rust, fire, even rotting are all examples of oxidation in other contexts. In the case of lettuce it can mean discoloration, loss of water content (aka crisp), changes in flavor, and other steps down in quality. In addition to the benefits of field packing and non-chopping, the mini lettuce plants themselves are also naturally dense in anti-oxidants and other compounds which extend the shelf-life of lettuce, and possibly the eater as well. A 2014 report in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis details the biochemical analysis of sixteen lettuce varieties from three general categories of lettuce. Seven varieties of Romaine, seven Little gem types, and two Mini Romaine varieties were analyzed and compared. The research was done at the University of Murcia in Spain, which is the world’s largest exporter and third largest producer of lettuce. The Murcia region is where most of Spain’s lettuce is grown. The team looked at the presence and composition of a number of classes of molecule, including organic acids, which impact flavor, phenolic compounds, which extend shelf life, antioxidant activity, which has both nutritional and shelf life implications and others. Big Romaine showed the highest levels of phenolic compounds, vitamin C and folate. Phenolics are great for shelf-life if the head is left whole, the authors note, but work against you when the plant is cut, as these same compounds will speed the browning process. Mini Romaine had the most organic acids, aka flavor, as well as the most carotenoids and chlorophyll. Little gem, interestingly, presented the highest nitrate content, “...which can be considered a negative characteristic of this lettuce type,” note the authors. My local Costco has bags of T&A Artisan Organic Romaine, five heads to a bag, seven bags in a box. I plucked apart a nice looking speciman and found 42 leaves inside, some as small as my thumb. Sliced in halves or quarters, the dense, crinkly interior leaves are sponges for dressing. Left to my own devices, I do little more than dip wedges in a cup of dressing — I like olive oil (two parts), balsamic and cider vinegar (adding up to one part) and soy sauce (one part). The size, shape and general beauty of mini lettuce also present the opportunity to serve in in whimsical, striking ways. Load them like boats, with aioli and cubes of mortadella like my friend Mirella does, or drizzle wedges with your favorite Caesar dressing. Some people grill their mini lettuce, others just chop them up and toss themselves a salad. And when the cutting is done at home, and under circumstances that you can control, slice and toss to your heart’s content. BACKTALK@CLCLT.COM
Snuggle Up with CL
CLCLT.COM | MAY. 17 - MAY. 23, 2018 | 13
PJ MORTON What: You may know him as the keyboardist for Maroon 5, but smart folks know PJ Morton as one of the best crooners in the game since his Stevie Wonder collabo, “Only One,” was nominated for a Best R&B Grammy in 2014. Since then, he’s launched his own record label, appeared on songs with Lil’ Wayne and Busta Rhymes and written and produced for the likes of Jazmine Sullivan and India.Arie. The show is sold out, so you better hit social media and find a ticket. When: 7 p.m. Where: Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. More: $20-25. neighborhoodtheatre.com
THINGS TO DO
Lillie Mae TUESDAY PHOTO COURTESY OF VISULITE THEATRE
DAYS OF THE DEAD
MECK DEC CELEBRATION
What: Charlotte is going to be invaded by supernatural serial killers, the possessed spawn of Satan and the devil’s rejects. Buxom 1980s horror movie host Elvira headlines this horror con, along with Linda Blair – who will always claim a place in our black hearts as The Exorcist’s head spinning, projectile-vomiting Regan. Retro rockers Dee Snider and Vinnie Vincent, plus cast members from the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, a handful of Rob Zombie flicks, and cult favorite Candyman round out the bill.
What: The legend continues to grow around the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, the document from 1775 that preceded the forefathers’ signing of one in the next year, even as historians call it a myth. True ot not, the museum will host a party on the lawn of one of the alleged signers, where attendees can watch reennactments of the signing, try cooking demos in the detached kitchen and take a Colonial beer brewing tutorial in Capt. Jack’s Tavern while enjoying a few suds from Bold Missy Brewery.
What: Remember when we published that big bon voyage to Shiprocked? Yeah, well, the party’s back in all its debauched glory to kick off the summer. We told you it’d be pulling into dock now and then for return visits, and this is one of those. It’s a tiki/drag/ burlesque bonanza featuring old favorites like Hellcat Harlowe and Heiress Hilton — and of course, your captain Scott Weaver at the helm. Get especially sexy and cool, because this is the first Saturday night Shiprocked!
What: Despite it’s title, this handson, interactive gathering is not a gaggle of flat earthers, or people who are convinced that aliens built the pyramids, the Nazca lines in Peru and our interstate highway system. The Charlotte Atheists and Agnostics host this family-friendly event where kids get to build a flying saucer and learn about hoaxes and how to employ critical thinking. Maybe the adults can listen up and gain this skillset too – prior to being abducted by those creepy Roswell Greys. Those guys ruin everything.
When: 1 p.m. Where: Sheraton Charlotte, 555 South McDowell St. More: $30-$75. daysofthedead.com
When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Where: Charlotte Museum of History, 3500 Shamrock Drive More: Free. charlottemuseum.org
When: 10 p.m. Where: Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St. More: $5. snugrock.com
When: 1 p.m. Where: Reedy Creek Park, 2900 Rocky River Rd. More: TBA. charlotteatheists.org
Check CLCLT.com on May 17 for episode 43 of our podcast. We’re not quite sure who will be dropping by yet, but we don’t have wack guests, so give us a listen. check out Local Vibes now on spotify!
14 | MAY. 17 - MAY. 23, 2018 | CLCLT.COM
NEWS ARTS FOOD MUSIC ODDS
Mystic India SUNDAY PHOTO COURTESY OF AATMA DANCE COMPANY
PHOTO COURTESY OF CMCU AMPITHEATRE
HIP HOP WEDNESDAYS
What: One of the joys of watching Bollywood films is that everything that could possibly happen in a movie usually does — there’s room for dance, drama, romance and action. This lavish theatrical production by New York-based AATMA Performing Arts Dance Company may be as close as you can get to seeing a lavish Indian feature onstage. The troupe takes audiences on a journey through the subcontinent with an explosion of color and energy.
What: The last time we saw St. Vincent in Charlotte was five years ago, when she played an otherworldly set with David Byrne at Belk Theater. Now that Byrne just performed another reinvention of himself in the Q.C. earlier this month, his musical soul mate Annie “St. Vincent” Clark — the wildly inventive singer, songwriter and masterful, Robert Fripp-level guitarist — will bring her futuristic pop, rock and electronics back to town as well. Who’s filling Bowie and Prince’s shoes today? St. Vincent.
What: It’s been a strong month for fans of Third Man Records in Charlotte. Following Margo Price’s May 16 gig at Neighborhood Theatre, her labelmate Lillie Mae will be performing in the Elizabeth neighborhood at the other Theatre. Mae gained attention as the violinist in Jack White’s band, but this multiinstrumentalist has a lot more going on for her, and her debut album, Forever and Then Some, shows off a distinctive songwriting talent over a mix of bluegrass, folk and blues with a modern edge.
What: We can’t say enough about the importance of low-key, free events like Common Market’s Hip Hop Wednesdays. You can catch some of CLT’s best hip-hop acts every Wednesday in an intimate setting with a chill atmosphere. This week, check out one of the city’s most intriguing up-and-coming acts, Indigo Bleu, who’s got a smooth, laid-back flow made for a spring evening at the Market. Keeping things chill will be Raleigh’s melodic vibe cultivator Seph Dot.
What: Georgia-born Khalid calls his music R&B, but it’s so much more: shades of indie-rock, electronic pop, folk, reggae. country and hip-hop that all come together in a sweet swirl of delicious melodies and lyrics expressing the confusion of being young in 2018. Songs like “Young, Dumb & Broke” eschew the bling and bravado of other pop music and admits the truth — that most millennials right out of high school are just looking for their place in this cold world.
When: 8 p.m. Where: The Fillmore, 820 Hamilton St. More: $36. fillmorenc.com
When: 7 p.m. Where: Visulite Theatre, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. More: $12-16. visulite.com
When: 8 p.m. Where: Common Market, 2007 Commonwealth Ave. More: Free. commonmarketisgood.com
When: 8 p.m. Where: CMCU Amphitheatre, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd. More: $74-up. amphitheatercharlotte.com
When: 7 p.m. Where: Ovens Auditorium, 2700 E Independence Blvd. More: $32 and up. ovensauditorium.com
We joined up with heavy hitters on The Charlotte Podcast, The Comedy Zone Podcast, Cheers Charlotte Radio and The Yelp Charlotte Podcast to show what CLT has to offer in the audio realm. Be sure to check out our new squad at queencitypodcastnetwork.com. CLCLT.COM | MAY. 17 - MAY. 23, 2018 | 15
‘THE TROUBLES’ WITH MICKEY A Charlotte singer and songwriter revisits the ‘Wasteground’ of his Northern Ireland youth BY MARK KEMP
HE SINGER and guitarist for the Mighty Shamrocks was packing up his gear one night after an early-’80s pub gig in the Bogside neighborhood of Derry, in Northern Ireland. Most of the crowd had left, but a small group of men still sat drinking at a table up front. One pointed to the black scarf draped across the Shamrocks’ bass drum. “Did one of our hunger strikers die today?’” the man asked. “I don’t know, I didn’t see the news,’” the guitarist replied. The hunger strikers that the man, a member of the Irish Republican Army, was referring to were the imprisoned IRA members who, in 1981, were bringing attention to their demands as political prisoners of British authorities. The IRA, an Irish-Catholic paramilitary group, had been fighting Protestant militant loyalists for centuries in an attempt to end British rule in Northern Ireland, but by the early ‘80s things had reached a boiling point. The Shamrocks’ guitarist, born Michael Stephens in a Protestant Northern Ireland family, was nervous. After all, merely being Protestant in this no-go zone during the height of what was dubbed The Troubles era in Northern Ireland could get him killed. The IRA guy continued: “Well, we were just wondering. We thought maybe that black scarf was in memory of one of our boys.” As Stephens recounts the story, he pauses often and gazes out at the traffic passing by on Central Avenue, still vividly remembering the details of that dark night as if it were yesterday. We’re sitting together at an outside table at the Workman’s Friend pub in Plaza Midwood on a steamy Friday afternoon, chatting over fish and chips as Van Morrison’s “Caravan” wafts through the patio area. Earlier this year, Stephens wrapped up his autobiographical concept album Wasteground, and on Saturday, May 19, he and his Charlotte-based band Poor Blue will perform it during a release show at Petra’s Bar. With song titles like “Childhood,” “Mr. In Between,” “The Troubles” and “Causeway Street,” Wasteground documents Stephens’ life growing up in a troubled Northern Ireland. Having now lived in the United States for more than three decades, Stephens’ 16 | MAY. 17 - MAY. 23, 2018 | CLCLT.COM
PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL STEPHENS
‘Wasteground’ album cover: That’s Stephens as young punk, amid the violence that ripped through Northern Ireland in the ‘70s and ‘80s. harrowing memories of the terrorism on both sides of the Irish conflict seem dusty, as though they’ve been torn from the yellowed pages of a book about someone else’s life. And yet that period in Stephens’ life has informed his every move since then. “I was shitting myself. I was so scared,” Stephens says, continuing his recollection of his conversation with the IRA guy. He told the man he wasn’t sure what the black scarf meant. “I said, ‘You better ask Paddy.’” Paddy MacNicholl was the Mighty Shamrocks’ drummer, one of the band’s two Catholic members. Stephens was one of the two Protestant members. Paddy is a Catholic name. “Oh, Paddy!” the IRA guy said. “Well OK!” Then he paused, and asked, “What’s your name?”
Stephens knew the correct answer to the question. Though his born name is Michael, he replied, “I’m Mickey.” Mickey is the Catholic name for Michael. In the Northern Ireland of the early ’80s, the wrong answer to “What’s your name?” could get you killed.
BORN IN 1951 in a much quieter Derry, Michael Stephens is the product of mixed parentage. His Irish mother met his English father while she was attending drama school in London. It was an accidental pregnancy, and Stephens wound up being adopted by his maternal grandparents, spending his youth living in his grandfather’s lush hotel on the gorgeous Antrim Coast. “Think The Shining,” he tells me, with a laugh.
Stephens never talked much about his English bloodline, mainly because he’d never met his father and felt no connection to him. “It wasn’t something I advertised, but there was kind of an identity crisis,” he says, his Irish lilt still very prominent. “In Northern Ireland, you’re either a Protestant or a Catholic and…” He trails off and laughs. “Even if you’re an atheist, you’re either a Protestant atheist or a Catholic atheist. So since I came from a Protestant family, I was Protestant. But all my friends were Catholic, and so that just gets into everything — those cultural divisions, that tribal identity.” Stephens was about 16 when The Troubles broke out in 1968, after peaceful protest for civil rights by the Northern Irish Catholic minority had been attempted. Almost overnight, the tiny country — surrounded by
PHOTO BY MARK KEMP
MICKEY STEPHENS & POOR BLUE 8 p.m. May 18. Petra’s Bar, 1919 Commonwealth Ave. $10. petrasbar.com
Stephens has coffee at Workman’s Friend pub.
Stephens (at right) with his Charlotte band Poor Blue. They’ll perform ‘Wasteground’ live at Petra’s.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL STEPHENS
‘THERE WERE SOLDIERS WITH MACHINE GUNS WALKING AROUND, BOMBS GOING OFF, ASSASSINATIONS . . . YOU COULD BE KILLED JUST FOR GOING INTO THE WRONG NEIGHBORHOOD.’ MICKEY STEPHENS the Republic of Ireland to the west and south, and England to the east, across the Irish Sea — went from being a place where there were hardly any guns at all to a place of constantly exploding bombs. “All of a sudden, the British Army was a presence, and there were soldiers with machine guns walking around, bombs going off, assassinations and all that,” Stephens remembers. “You could be killed just for going into the wrong neighborhood.” During his late teens Stephens began playing guitar and writing songs, and by the mid-’70s he’d landed a regular night playing in a pub. His uncle James Simmons, a wellknown Northern Irish poet and folksinger who wrote the ballad “Claudy,” about the victims of a 1972 car bomb, had given over his Wednesday pub gig to his nephew. After one performance, guitarist Dougie Gough told Stephens he liked his songs and suggested the two form a band. Stephens was excited, although the idea of touring Ireland during The Troubles era was scary. In 1975, British Army-clad members of the Ulster Volunteer Force, a terrorist group associated with the Ulster Defence Association, made up of Irish Protestant loyalists, massacred a southern Irish musical group called the Miami Showband as they drove back south to Dublin after a performance in the Northern Ireland town of Banbridge. “They were just going home one night, and they were all Catholics, and the UDA lined
them up against a wall and assassinated them,” Stephens remembers. “So being in a band, you were at risk, because you were going into areas — into bars and into neighborhoods — where you weren’t supposed to be and where you could end up dead if you didn’t watch yourself.” Meanwhile, during the same period, punk rock was emerging from England and the U.S., and Stephens loved it. “The Ramones first album came out around 1976 and the Undertones formed in Ireland, and I just identified with that music so much more than I did the music of the ’60s,” Stephens says. “Back then, punk was more than just the stereotypical heads-down, loudfast, na-na-na-na-na. There were also artists like Ian Dury and the Blockheads and John Cooper Clark — all these uncategorizable people who couldn’t fit in anywhere else, and suddenly they had a place to be because of punk rock. It wasn’t until later that punk became a cliché. As it was happening, it was just this big flowering of all kinds of crazy music.” In 1979, Stephens and Gough put together the Mighty Shamrocks along with drummer MacNicholl and bassist Roe Butcher. They recorded some demos and passed them along to Terri Hooley, who had discovered the Undertones and ran the Irish punk label Good Vibrations. Hooley had released the Undertones’ classic first single “Teenage Kicks,” and got the band airplay on British DJ John Peel’s influential BBC radio show.
The Shamrocks hoped he could do the same for them. At first, things looked good. The Shamrocks were gigging around Ireland, opening for other punk and pub-rock acts, form the Undertones to Elvis Costello and the Attractions and Dave Edmunds’ Rockpile. They released a single, “Condor Woman,” got positive notices from the Irish music press and made TV appearances. Stephens eventually married, and the Shamrocks went into a studio and began recording a fulllength album. But by the time it was done, Good Vibrations had gone belly up, and the Shamrocks failed to find interest in the album from other labels. “We went to Elvis Costello’s label, because he had heard one of my songs, ‘Coronation Street,’ and liked it,” Stephens remembers. “But I was drinking a lot and using a lot of drugs at the time, so I really wasn’t the best representative for the band at the time.” By the mid-’80s, punk had given way to the synth-pop of Culture Club and A Flock of Seagulls, who were ruling America’s then-new MTV. The Mighty Shamrocks’ moment had passed, and the band members went their separate ways. Stephens and his wife moved to America. “At that point I couldn’t get a job, I’d been in a band for six years, and I didn’t know what to do,” he says. “So I got the opportunity to study popular culture at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.” He laughs. “Basically I came to America to study rock & roll.”
In Ohio, Stephens played in bands and taught English to pay his way through school. But alcohol and drugs had taken control and he was about to lose everything. “I was drinking heavily, just like I had been doing in Ireland, and I would come into classes drunk in the morning,” he remembers. “The department chair pulled me into his office one day and said, ‘You can’t act like this.’ I was terrified, because I really did not want to go back to Ireland.” The final straw came when he, his wife and friends went to Wilmington on spring break. Stephens was arrested and charged with drunk and disorderly conduct. After sitting in a jail cell with a guy who’d gotten drunk and killed his wife, Stephens was released the next morning and decided it was time to put down the drugs and alcohol. Soon thereafter, he and his wife divorced, and Stephens eventually met and married another woman in Ohio. She was from South Carolina, and the two eventually moved to Charleston, where Stephens landed a job teaching courses on religion at culinary school Johnson and Wales University. When the school moved to Charlotte in the early 2000s, Stephens came here, too. In Charlotte, Stephens and his second wife divorced, and he met and married his current wife, put music down for a while and focused on teaching. Then, eight years into his quieter life in Charlotte, Stephens got a call from the Shamrocks’ old manager, Willie Richardson, who was then managing Van Morrison. Richardson wanted to release that dormant Shamrocks album and put together a reunion tour. They named the album Paddy, for drummer MacNicholl, who had since died. Then, with MacNicholl’s son on drums, the Mighty Shamrocks returned for a successful reunion tour of Ireland. After the tour, which generated huge excitement in Ireland, coming back to Charlotte was a letdown for Stephens, who began traveling back and forth to Ireland for Christmas reunion shows. By 2014, though, the traveling was getting old and Stephens decided to move on. But not from music. The music bug had bitten him hard again, so Stephens decided to put together a band in Charlotte. The problem was, he didn’t know any local musicians. “I hadn’t played in Charlotte at all,” he says. He went into a studio to record some demos and asked around about local musicians. He was introduced to bassist Otis Hughes, who had played in the Charlotte metal band Animal Bag in the ’90s, and the two began recording songs at Rob Tavaglione’s Catalyst Studio. One was “You’re Welcome,” an immigration song for which the band did a video. And then Stephens went to see a reading by the poet Stefan Lovasik, a Vietnam vet CLCLT.COM | MAY. 17 - MAY. 23, 2018 | 17
Clockwise from above: Stephens’ band the Mighty Shamrocks in the mid-1970s; Stephens (foreground) rehearses with the Shamrocks for their 2012 reunion; The Mighty Shamrocks pose for a reunion tour publicity shot (with Paddy MacNicholl’s son in the foreground). who wrote about the PTSD he suffered after the war. Stephens identified with the fear and paranoia in Lovasik’s poems. “I had an a-ha moment,” Stephens says. “This guy had been a sniper during the war who had gone into the jungle and killed people, and he was blown up by a grenade and came back and became a heroin addict. So he had a very heavy story. And I could relate to it.”
Stephens had been living in fear his entire life, too — fear based on the bombs exploding around him during his teen and young adult years. “I realized I had been running on fear for years — just trying to survive, grinding through everything, coming to America, where you gotta get a green card and how the fuck do you do that?” Stephens says. “My whole life has been like running down a tunnel just trying to be safe.
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18 | MAY. 17 - MAY. 23, 2018 | CLCLT.COM
PHOTOS COURTESY OF MICHAEL STEPHENS
“It had a lot to do with my childhood — living in that environment, where you go into a bar and you had to look around and you didn’t know who was sitting next to you,” he continues. “It’s not like I suffered from terrible violence like [Lovasik] did — I mean, I got beat up and stuff like that — it was more just the long-term effects of living in that society at that time. A place where you’re afraid to be yourself, you’re afraid that somebody might be listening. You’re pretending to be someone else. Like Mickey, not Michael. “There’s a line in my song ‘The Troubles’ about a guy getting his arm sawed off with a blackened dagger, and that’s what the IRA used to do in the no-go areas, and that’s the kind of thing we were hearing about when we were sitting around stoned as kids and this stuff came on the news,” Stephens says. “They’d broken into the guy’s house and tied him to a chair and sawed his arms off,” Stephens continues. “And just hearing shit like that every day, and about people getting nailed to doors and about the Shankill Butchers [a group of loyalist Protestant terrorists] — it was just too much. We would be like, ‘Oh fuck,’ you know, because that could be us.” Stephens soon began to work on the songs for Wasteground, initially writing his stories from a detached point of view. “And then all of a sudden the songs just started coming from my heart instead of my head,” he says. “You know, you can write songs from an intellectual perspective and come up with clever lyrics and stuff like that, but this had to be personal.” Perhaps the most poignant lines on Wasteground — a mesmerizing song cycle that runs from impressions of Stephens’ peaceful childhood playing on the rocks of the beautiful Antrim Coast to his paranoid young adulthood in the clubs of the no-go zones in Derry — come after the acoustic strumming of “The Troubles” gives way to fuzzy electric guitars. “Before it got started I walked on my own two feet,” Stephens sings. “Never had to think twice if a car was parked down the street. / But that yellow Cortina looked out of place / Ordinary things blow up in your face.”
When most Americans — particularly young Americans — think of terrorism, they think of images the media feeds us of Islamic terrorists. Brown people with bombs. They don’t think of white people with differentsounding names killing each other on the streets of small towns similar to Kannapolis or Waxhaw. That’s because it’s maybe easier for us to think of terrorism as something “other people” do to us — not something we do to ourselves. Mickey Stephens knows that’s a bunch of bullshit. He knows about the heinous violence we do to ourselves and to others — the heinous violence that puts scars on all of our human brothers and sisters for the rest of their lives. He knows what living under the constant threat of terrorism looks and feels like. Stephens spent his entire young adulthood worried about finding himself in the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time and being tortured, assassinated or blown up. And on Wasteground, Mickey Stephens tells that story with heart, soul and beautiful nuance. MKEMP@CLCLT.COM
CLCLT.COM | MAY. 17 - MAY. 23, 2018 | 19
SOUNDBOARD MAY 17 CLASSICAL/JAZZ/SMOOTH First Night: I Dream (Knight Theater)
COUNTRY/FOLK Beavergrass Bluegrass Jam f. Jim Garrett (Thirsty Beaver) Mike Alicke (Summit Coffee Co., Davidson) Nathan Stanley, Jordyn Pepper (Evening Muse)
DJ/ELECTRONIC DJ Matt B (Tin Roof) Le Bang (Snug Harbor)
POP/ROCK Carmen Tate Solo Acoustic (Eddie’s on Lake Norman, Mooresville) Open Mic for Musicians (Crown Station Coffeehouse and Pub) Babymetal, Skyharbor (The Fillmore) Goat City Records presents: Enoch, Nasir Ali, Crutch, Atticus Lane (Petra’s) Karaoke (Hattie’s Tap & Tavern) Karaoke with Battleship and Wyley B! (Milestone) Mike Strauss Trio (Comet Grill) MollyWops (Jack Beagles) Papa John Gros Band (U.S. National Whitewater Center) PJ Morton (of Maroon 5), Brik.Liam (Neighborhood Theatre) Roshambeaux (Tin Roof) Shana Blake and Friends (Smokey Joe’s Cafe) Steady Flow (Heist Brewery)
Rock the Ride Friday (Charlotte Trolley Powerhouse Museum) Beatlesque: A Tribute To The Beatles (The Fillmore) David Wilcox (Neighborhood Theatre) Dollar Signs, The Eradicator, The Emotron, Sext Message (Milestone) Dragondeer (U.S. National Whitewater Center) The Eyebrows (Birdsong Brewing Co.) Ink & Ash, Jesse Tyler (Dreambrother) (Evening Muse) Kairos, Reason Define, Arborlea, As Oceans (The Underground) Leon III (Evening Muse) Linnie & Amy Joy (Hattie’s Tap & Tavern) Mickey Stephens & Poor Blue, Leadville String Club, Mary Massie Band (Petra’s) Of Good Nature, Mike Pinto (Visulite Theatre) Pluto for Planet (RiRa Irish Pub) Primus, Mastodon (Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre) Qwister (Jack Beagles) Steven Metz (Tin Roof) Sunday Union (Summit Coffee Co., Davidson) The Ruach Shabbat Experience (The Rabbit Hole) Uncle Buck (Birdsong Brewing Co.) Venus Invictus, No More People, Malhond (Tommy’s Pub)
MAY 19 BLUES/ROOTS/INTERNATIONAL Dennis Spring (The Workman’s Friend)
Opera Carolina: I Dream (Knight Theater)
MoFunGo, DJ Kato, Juan Guiterrez, Sir Chocolate Milk (Snug Harbor)
CLASSICAL/JAZZ/SMOOTH Jazzy Fridays (Freshwaters Restaurant, Charlotte) Opera Carolina: I Dream (Knight Theater)
COUNTRY/FOLK The Lenny Federal Band (Comet Grill)
DJ/ELECTRONIC DJ RWonz (RiRa Irish Pub) Intensity (Crown Station Coffeehouse and Pub)
20 | MAY. 17 - MAY. 23, 2018 | CLCLT.COM
Dylan Scott, Josh Mirenda (Coyote Joe’s)
DJ/ELECTRONIC Adventure Club (World) DJ Ragoza (RiRa Irish Pub,) Tilted DJ Saturdays (Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery)
HIP-HOP/SOUL/R&B AJ Ghent Band, Pierce Edens (Evening Muse)
POP/ROCK Carmen Tate Band (Beantown Tavern, Matthews) Paleo Sun (The Brickyard) Billy Jones & Friends (Summit Coffee Co.,
SOUNDBOARD Davidson) Black Ritual, Annabel Lee, Blackwater Drowning, Dragged by the Neck (Milestone) Chubby Checker (Don Gibson Theatre, Shelby) The Clarks (Visulite Theatre) Dūk Tan, Motion, Crackers & Snackmeat (The Rabbit Hole) Iioioioii, 30 Year Sick, Solemn Shapes (Tommy’s Pub) Jamie McLean Band (Evening Muse) Jeff Sipe Trio, Toney Eltora Band (The Music Yard) Linnie & Amy Joy (Hattie’s Tap & Tavern) Mike Strauss Band (U.S. National Whitewater Center) Olde Towne Criers (Smokey Joe’s Cafe) The Outliers (Tin Roof) Séance Kids, Birds With Teeth, Ma’am (Crown Station Coffeehouse and Pub) Shane Blake Band (Jack Beagles) Yes Ma’am, Crystal Fountains, The Darnells (Petra’s)
MAY 20 BLUES/ROOTS/INTERNATIONAL Archaic Agenda (RiRa Irish Pub) Mystic India: The World Tour (Ovens Auditorium) Reggae Bash (Crown Station Coffeehouse and Pub)
CLASSICAL/JAZZ/SMOOTH Opera Carolina: I Dream (Knight Theater)
DJ/ELECTRONIC Bone Snugs-N-Harmony (Snug Harbor) More Fyah - Grown & Sexy Vibes (Crown Station Coffeehouse and Pub)
POP/ROCK Albert Strawn, And The Luckier, Ennie Arden, GG Hellderman (Milestone) Bullfrog Moon (Cornelius Drafthouse, Cornelius) City on Down (Tin Roof) Lincoln Durham, The Ghost Wolves (Evening Muse) Metal Church Sunday Service (Milestone) Omari and The Hellhounds (Comet Grill) She Wants Revenge (Neighborhood Theatre) Skinny Beaver & The Honeysuckle Playboyz (Evening Muse) Sunday Music Bingo (Hattie’s Tap & Tavern)
Tiny Stage Concerts Songwriter Showcase: Joe Middleton, Mark Tebalt, Thomas Garlow (Free Range Brewing Company)
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MAY 21 CLASSICAL/JAZZ/SMOOTH Jazz Jam (Crown Station Coffeehouse and Pub)
HIP-HOP/SOUL/R&B #MFGD Open Mic (Apostrophe Lounge) Stitchy C, Kyng Rash (Sylvia Theatre, York) Knocturnal (Snug Harbor)
POP/ROCK Find Your Muse Open Mic welcomes Chris Watts (Evening Muse) Music Bingo (Tin Roof) Music Trivia (Hattie’s Tap & Tavern) Open Mic with Lisa De Novo (Legion Brewing) St. Vincent (The Fillmore)
MAY 22 HIP-HOP/SOUL/R&B Eclectic Soul Tuesdays - RnB & Poetry (Apostrophe Lounge) Soul Station (Crown Station Coffeehouse and Pub)
COUNTRY/FOLK Lillie Mae (Visulite Theatre) Ruby Boots (Evening Muse) Red Rockin’ Chair (Comet Grill)
POP/ROCK Cheesus Crust (Snug Harbor) Uptown Unplugged with Todd Johnson (Tin Roof) Open Jam with the Smokin’ Js (Smokey Joe’s Cafe) Open Mic hosted by Jarrid and Allen of Pursey Kerns (The Kilted Buffalo, Huntersville)
MAY 23 HIP-HOP/SOUL/R&B Khalid (Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre) Free Hookah Wednesdays Ladies Night (Kabob House, Persian Cuisine)
DJ/ELECTRONIC Karaoke with DJ Alex Smith (Petra’s) BYOV: Bring Your Own Vinyl (Petra’s)
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Cyclops Bar: Modern Heritage Weekly Mix Tape (Snug Harbor)
Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band (Stage Door Theater) Open Mic/Open Jam (Comet Grill)
POP/ROCK Charles Walker, Apricot Blush, J.S. Terry, Family Friend (Milestone) Fuel On Fire (Jack Beagles) May Residency: The Wormholes, Astrea Corp, UpDn, Estuarie (Snug Harbor) Open House & Karaoke (Sylvia Theatre, York) Pluto for Planet (RiRa Irish Pub) Robbie Fulks (Evening Muse) Songwriter Open Mic @ Petra’s (Petra’s)
NEED DIRECTIONS? Check out our website at clclt.
com. CL online provides addresses, maps and directions from your location. Send us your concert listings: E-mail us at mkemp@clclt. com or fax it to 704-522-8088. We need the date, venue, band name and contact name and number. The deadline is each Wednesday, one week before publication. CLCLT.COM | MAY. 17 - MAY. 23, 2018 | 21
MEALS, MINDS, AND MOVEMENT: IMMIGRANTS, REFUGEES, CITIZENS & NEIGHBORS
Free. Open to all teens. Wednesday, June 6, 6-8 p.m.; Behailu Academy, 451 E. 36th St. behailuacademy.org
Behailu Academy brings recent discussion series to the streets with new NoDa mural BY RYAN PITKIN
ARLY ON A recent Saturday morning in NoDa, a group of about 20 students and volunteers from nearby Behailu Academy made their way to the edge of the neighborhood to begin a project that they hope will spark dialogue, even if they don’t know how it will end. The students started what will eventually be a large mural along Matheson Avenue, although the end design will continue to take shape in coming months, as it’s based on an ongoing series of events being held at Behailu through November. The mural will be the first of its kind in Charlotte, as organizers plan to make it interactive, complete with moving parts so residents can express their own ideas through it. On Saturday, students and volunteers worked in the heat from 9 a.m. until noon to create much of the mural’s background, a mix of orange, blue, green and yellow set apart in triangular designs. They worked off of a photo of the planned finished product read, “I am, you are, they are, we are,” with a map of Mecklenburg County and photos of a diverse group of Behailu volunteers and students. However, involved artists emphasize that the mural, which is funded by a beautification grant from the city’s Keep Charlotte Beautiful program and the Foundation for the Carolinas, won’t look quite like the original design when it’s finished. Bree Stallings, a local artist who also teaches at Behailu, came up with the idea for the mural after helping organize Behailu’s recent “Meals, Minds, and Movement” events. The monthly dinner meetings are designed to spark discussions around social issues. The events have already touched on power, privilege, race, gender, class and sexual orientation. The last event, held on May 9, was titled “Let’s Talk Sexuality: The Growing Alphabet of LGBTQIA+.” Before that, on April 11, attendees discussed how gender roles shape their experiences and perspectives. May’s discussion was the fifth of the year, with five more set for each coming month until November. On June 6, organizers will take on “the New South,” a term often used to describe Charlotte, discussing what it means to be a resident here and inviting city leaders to 22 | MAY. 17 - MAY. 23, 2018 | CLCLT.COM
The Behailu mural will be along a stretch of fence donated by a neighbor.
PHOTOS BY RYAN PITKIN
“We want to allow the students to take their experiences and interpret them in a way that’s larger than life, that can be permanent in the community.” BREE STALLINGS, ARTIST, TEACHER AT BEHAILU ACADEMY
Students worked on the background for three hours on Saturday, but will continue to add to it until November.
address those in attendance. Attendees will discuss immigration, refugees, citizenship, being a good neighbor and other similar issues. The year of discussions will end on November 6 with an event that looks over everything that’s been discussed. Stallings said her plan is to change the design of the mural as she attends more Meals, Minds and Movement events and collects more data from attendees. “Since Behailu is an arts-based academy, we want to allow the students to take their experiences and interpret them in a way that’s larger than life that can be permanent in the community,” Stallings said as she wrapped up the first day of work on the mural. She plans to have the first part of the mural finished by July 1, then add the moving interactive parts by November. Though the plan isn’t finalized, her wish is to add pieces attached to a sliding track, allowing residents to manipulate the images as they wish. “I thought it would be a great way to have this second metaphorical layer about the conversations, because it continues,” Stallings said. “Even though we’ll be done with the 10 months of conversations, we’re nowhere near being done talking about these topics in Charlotte, so hopefully it will be like a ripple effect and continue to allow these things to be brought up and discussed.” She said the interactive aspect of the mural will be a way to get more people involved. Thus far about 200 people have attended Meal, Minds and Movement events. “It might be the easiest way to really commemorate the organic nature of the conversation, that it’s not just one voice, it’s many interpretations of different topics from different angles,” she said. “And also that the audience participants and the people walking by in the community at large interact with this and make it what’s interesting.” RPITKIN@CLCLT.COM
THEY’VE BEEN TO THE MOUNTAINTOP Photographer documents a vanishing breed of ‘Climbers’ BY PAT MORAN
JIM HERRINGTON HAS BEEN on what he calls an endless book tour for The Climbers, his photographic collection of the icons of mountaineering. So it’s somehow fitting that when Creative Loafing reaches Herrington by phone, he’s in the mountains of North Carolina, trying to get a signal. “I seem to be in a good spot now,” Herrington says. The Salisbury-born and Charlotte-raised photographer’s statement can be taken several ways. One is that we obviously have a clear signal for our conversation — at least until the call drops and Herrington has to hike further up a mountain path to reconnect. Another interpretation is that Herrington is in a cool location that is rich in North Carolina history. He’s visiting a friend at the Penland School of Crafts, an education center founded in Spruce Pine in 1929. “It’s a kind of commune where they do photography and various crafts,” Herrington says. “There were a lot of progressive establishments and experimental communes like [Penland] that started up in these mountains in the 1920s and 1930s.” It seems the 20s and 30s fascinate Herrington. It was his interest in that same period in the mountaineering field that pulled him away from his main gig of photographing famous musicians, and launched his international journey more than 20 years ago, a jaunt that culminated in The Climbers. Released last October, the volume has garnered positive reviews from Outside Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and BBC World News. On May 24, Herrington comes to the Light Factory, where he will present a slideshow and talk about his book, which also represents a labor of love for the long time photojournalist and mountain climber. But first, Herrington talks with Creative Loafing about how a trio of passions – photography, music and mountain climbing – took him around the world, and for one night at least, back to Charlotte. Creative Loafing: What drew you to photography? Herrington: I think everybody’s pretty visual when they’re young. Growing up in Salisbury in the 1960s there weren’t that many visuals, but we had some old Life magazines from the 1930s and 1940s laying around. Seeing those graphic, stark black and white images captured my imagination — pictures of Antarctica, Paris and Brigitte Bardot. I was five and six when I saw those
magazines and got turned on by those visuals. Later on I figured out that someone was taking those pictures. It seemed like the life I wanted to live — see interesting people, places and things, and get paid to do it. It’s giving your personal interpretation of things. It’s art reportage. I started studying the great photographers and the arts side of it. So I had to get my hands on a camera as soon as possible. I started using my parents’ camera when I was 8 or 9. I got a Kodac Instamatic when I was 10 or 11, and then I got a 35-millimeter when I was 13. You don’t use digital cameras. Why? I still shoot with silver halide analog film. The Climbers is shot on that [and] I shoot on it for most things — certainly all my personal projects. It’s what I learned on, and it’s what I’m comfortable with. I like the way it looks. I like the way the cameras behave. There a certain personality to the way these various film cameras work. I have a Leica, a Hasselback and a Rolleiflex, and I like their limitations — not being able to know what you’ve got, having to know what you’re doing, and running out of film after 12 or 36 pictures. There’s a break and then you load more. It’s like being an oil painter. Nobody asks why an oil painter doesn’t just scan stuff off a scanner. I love the process [with film]. It just feels more real to me. You started your career by photographing musicians like Tom Petty, Dolly Parton and Merle Haggard. How did that happen? I was lucky to grow up with parents who had excellent taste in music. My mom was into rock ‘n’ roll, soul and Motown. My dad was into big band music and bluegrass. I grew up loving music and getting into it from a very early age. Then Benny Goodman came to town when I was 13, and Dad asked if I wanted to go. I think it was at the Charlotte Convention Center downtown. I went with my 35-millimeter camera and took what I now consider to be the beginning of a massive project, which was documenting the legends of music. [Based on] my personal taste, these are people that I think are relevant and important –people either playing or influenced by some kind of American music – whether it be R&B, jazz, rockabilly, country, rock ‘n’ roll, or some spin off. How did you go from photographing musicians to mountain climbers? It seems like everything got formed in my life when I was quite young. In the old Life magazines, I saw these photos from the 1930s and 1940s of people holding ice axes up on the summit of the French Alps or the Himalaya. Just like with photography, I immediately saw a thing that I wanted to do. I had a lot of physical energy, but I wasn’t interested in sports. Climbing seemed like something that involved science, romance, arts, literature, adventure, travel, craft and skill. I was a climber from the first time I saw a picture of someone climbing. I just had to find some people to do it with. When I get into something, I get into its history: Who did it first? Who did it best? Who are the masters? By the 1990s, The Serra Nevada Mountains had become my favorite place in the world to climb, my home away from home. I realized there were still
PHOTO BY SARA ZMUDZINSKI
a couple guys alive who had climbed in the 1920s in the Serra Nevada. I met these people and photographed them. That was 20 years ago. I had no idea that it would turn into this two-decade long project and a book. I was interested in people that came before me and I started climbing in 1975, so I ended up picking the mid-seventies as the cut-off point, and the 1920s at the beginning. I created this self-defined golden age of climbing which was the 1920s through the 1970s. Things changed in the 1970s. More people started climbing. You were able to get rescued easier. The gear improved. If you look at the 1920s through the mid 1970s; there is still not that many people in the world climbing, and they’re using rudimentary gear. If you look at the early rock ‘n’ rollers in photographs those guys were very much outsiders. Playing rock ‘n’ roll in 1955 was as weirdo as you could be. And being a mountain climber in the 1930s and 1940s was the same thing. It was misunderstood, and done by a tiny slice of the population. It was a punk rock, under the radar, outsider thing to do. It looks like you capture these men and women in casual moments. These are not obvious heroic portraits. These were not photo shoots organized by a magazine. The whole thing was self-funded until the very end when I got a book deal and got some money to finish it. Until then I was doing all of it — calling people and sending them letters. A lot of this happened before the internet took off. I would end up in Italy going up to somebody’s door. It was a big adventure doing it with a very thin budget. I missed some people because they died and I just didn’t have the money or the time to find them or get to them. I really wanted the oldest ones from the 1920s and 1930s and the clock was ticking louder and louder. Were some of these people surprised that you tracked them down? Some of them may have feigned surprise. Climbing is a literate activity, especially
PHOTO BY JIM HERRINGTON
American mountaineer Fred Beckey
ARTIST TALK: JIM HERRINGTON The Light Factory Thursday, May 24, 6:30 p.m. lightfactory.org
for the older generations. If you go to any climber’s house, they’ve all got great bookcases full of great writing from the Victorian era of climbing and from the turn of the century. So they know the value of books like mine. When they figured out what I was trying to achieve, they were usually game to do it, and happy to be included. PMORAN@CLCLT.COM
CLCLT.COM | MAY. 17 - MAY. 23, 2018 | 23
Ajiona Alexus and Gabrielle Union in ‘Breaking In’
Ryan Reynolds in ‘Deadpool 2’
SUMMER CINEMA SEASON Deadpool, Denzel, dinosaurs, and more BY MATT BRUNSON
VENGERS: INFINITY WAR
got a jump on the summer movie season by opening the last weekend of April, but there are plenty more titles to fill out the official seasonal slate. Tully premiered this past weekend, and over 50 other movies are expected to debut locally between the start of May and the end of August. Here are sneak peeks at some of these films — one per release date — followed by checklists of the remaining titles. But unline the normal movie experience, we’ll get to the previews last. Let’s first go over last weekend’s releases. Panic Room meets The Three Stooges in Breaking In (*1/2 out of four), a dim-witted thriller that mainly functions as a reminder that the talented Gabrielle Union should be landing better roles in bigger movies. Union (who also co-produced) stars as Shaun Russell, a mom who travels with her two children (Ajiona Alexus and Seth Carr) to her late father’s desolate mansion to settle his affairs. Her dad was a bad guy, and, unknown to his daughter, he left a sizable sum of cash in the hidden safe at his maximum-security home. But the crooks who murdered the old man know it’s there, and they break into the house eager to commence their search. What they didn’t know is that Shaun and her kids would also be there — given the situation, 24 | MAY. 17 - MAY. 23, 2018 | CLCLT.COM
they hold the children hostage while Shaun, stuck outside the house, must figure out a way to get inside and rescue them. It’s a wonder that something as generic as Breaking In would actually secure a theatrical release, since it’s the sort of movie that only plays well on HBO at 2 a.m., after roughly 10 wings and 20 beers have been consumed. The script by Ryan Engle (the recent Rampage) is exceedingly sloppy on all fronts, with logic apparently having already taken off for summer vacation. These hoodlums instantly kill Shaun’s dad in the film’s first scene — wouldn’t torturing him for the safe’s location have saved them a lot of time and bother? Various articles have already described Shaun as a “single mom” — understandable, since it’s never made clear until waaay late in the game whether she’s married, separated, divorced or (as the pulpit preachers proclaim) living in sin. The imbecilic villains, meanwhile, are strictly cut from crinkled cardboard — there’s the leader (Billie Burke) who admires Shaun’s resilience, there’s the psycho (Richard Cabral) who repeatedly threatens to gut anyone who gets in his way, and there’s the simpering kid (Levi Meaden) who doesn’t want anyone to get hurt. I suppose the fourth member of the outfit is slightly original: a nerdy dude (Mark Furze) who would seem more
at home warbling Dave Matthews covers at some third-rate bar than chasing Gabrielle Union through the woods. Spatial relations are important in movies like this, but director James McTeigue fails to establish the palatial layout in any significant way, meaning it’s often impossible to determine the distance between the various characters as they prowl through the estate. As such, the suspense can’t even reach the level of a low simmer. Indeed, most aspects of Breaking In prove to be uninspired, relying instead on lazy conventions. Ultimately, the film isn’t must-see as much as it’s simply musty. Now for what you’ve got to look forward to: MAY 18: Although the plot of Deadpool 2 will find the wisecracking hero (Ryan Reynolds) protecting a young boy from Cable (Josh Brolin), the studio synopsis cheekily explains that, “after surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Mayberry’s hottest bartender while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste.” Also: Book Club; Pope Francis — A Man of His Word; The Rider. MAY 25: Solo: A Star Wars Story casts Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!) as the young Harrison Ford, as Han Solo initially hooks
up with Chewbacca and deals with Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). JUNE 1: The owner (Johnny Knoxville) of a dilapidated and dangerous amusement park rallies his friends when a rival theme park opens in the area in the comedy Action Point. Also: Adrift. JUNE 8: A follow-up to the popular film series starring George Clooney as Danny Ocean, Ocean’s 8 finds Danny’s sister (Sandra Bullock) assembling a crack team (Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, and more) to steal diamonds owned by an A-list actress (Anne Hathaway). Also: Hereditary; Hotel Artemis. JUNE 15: Fourteen years after the Oscar-winning original, The Incredibles 2 hits theaters, this time with Bob (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) forced to stay home with the kids while wife Helen (Holly Hunter) stays occupied with a series of secret missions. Also: The Seagull; Superfly; Tag. JUNE 22: Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, in which their characters attempt to save the dinosaurs from an island about to be destroyed by a brewing volcano. JUNE 29: Emily Blunt’s character is MIA, but Benecio Del Toro and Josh Brolin return for Sicario: Day of the Soldado, in which Del Toro’s enigmatic assassin and Brolin’s federal
Alden Ehrenreich in ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’
agent step up their efforts to eliminate various drug-cartel kingpins. Also: Uncle Drew. JULY 4: The First Purge is not a sequel but a prequel, as the events that led up to the original film’s law of lawlessness are detailed. JULY 6: Ant-Man and the Wasp, the follow-up to 2015’s Ant-Man, finds Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) teaming up with Hope van Dyne, aka the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), for a mission overseen by Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). JULY 13: In the action thriller Skyscraper, a former FBI agent (Dwayne Johnson) has to contend not only with a towering inferno but also with the fact that he’s been framed for causing the rampaging fire. Also: Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation. JULY 20: Amazingly, The Equalizer 2 will be the first sequel in Denzel Washington’s lengthy career as a leading man, with the two-time Oscar winner returning to the role of taciturn do-gooder Robert McCall. Also: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. JULY 27: Plot points are still vague, but Mission: Impossible — Fallout has something to do with agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his allies (among them Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson and Simon Pegg) involved in a mission that goes wrong.
Again. Also: Blindspotting; Boundaries; Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. AUGUST 3: In The Spy Who Dumped Me, two best friends (Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon) learn that one of them has been dating a secret agent, thus thrusting them into the world of international espionage. Also: Christopher Robin; The Darkest Minds; Mile 22. AUGUST 10: Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman is based on the real-life story of an African-American police officer (John David Washington) who, along with his partner (Adam Driver), goes undercover and manages to infiltrate a Ku Klux Klan chapter in Colorado. Also: Dog Days; The Meg; Puzzle. AUGUST 17: The comedy Crazy Rich Asians follows a New Yorker (Constance Wu) as she accompanies her boyfriend (Henry Golding) on a trip to Singapore, whereupon she learns that her beau comes from a wealthy family and that seemingly every single woman in the country desires him. Also: Captive State. AUGUST 24: Already made into a well-regarded 1973 movie starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, the true story of wrongly convicted Devil’s Island prison Henri “Papillon” Charrière (Charlie Hunnam) is retold in the new drama Papillon. CLCLT.COM | MAY. 17 - MAY. 23, 2018 | 25
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artists you may never have heard of. That being said, my partner and I are “Are you telling me he’s gotten you to like really good at communicating when it comes country music?????? #truelove” to laughing at the haters, ignoring the “Ummmm you know I’m excited about ignorant and reconciling our differences. this! #countrygirlnow?” That’s why it was easy for us to laugh at the Those were the comments that appeared fact that we anticipated the absence of black underneath a picture of my boo and me people at the show. (Some would maybe chop after we went to the PNC Music Pavilion this up to the fact that we were #blessed with to see Old Dominion and Kenny Chesney. box seats. But I don’t have time to get into Why, you may ask? One, I’ve never liked social politics and perceived financial status. country music. Two, I’m dating a white guy, I don’t care what color you are, free tickets, if you didn’t know already. And some of my especially when they’re epic, are free tickets.) friends, past and present, are just now We settled in our seats as Old finding out both of these little facts. Dominion was performing their That’s what happens when you first song – traffic to PNC fall in love and go on hiatus for on a Friday afternoon is a while. I can’t blame them. horrendous. Immediately, After all, the transition I noticed two things: between single life to, how amazing it was to “‘We like going to the sit underneath fans with poke spot near Dilworth misters and how upbeat Neighborhood Grille … the atmosphere was. And terrible customer service when “Written in the is one of ‘our’ biggest pet Sand” came on, my boo peeves … ‘we’ love watching turned to me quickly flashing AERIN SPRUILL scary movies together… ” a smile so big I could’ve melted. happened overnight for some By the time Kenny Chesney – including my mom. And this, my actually came on, I can honestly say I friends, is what love is. felt right at home. I observed cougars twerking That being said, my taste in music (and in a box with a man who I’d imagined was their partners) has always been fairly diverse. In sugar daddy — after all, he wasn’t “easy on fact, I sent him a screenshot of “Written in the eyes.” I witnessed Medics wheeling a girl the Sand” by Old Dominion asking him if out of the stadium — yes, country folk get lit, he’d heard the song before. too. I thanked the high heavens that we didn’t He and his friends have had to “adapt,” too tailgate all day when we saw how sloppy drunk – by adapt, I hope you understand that I mean some people were — you would’ve thought the “sometimes you got to” make adjustments to stairs were never ending. Can you ask for more your behavior, worldview and conversation in entertainment? order to understand others. After all, Aerin’s But then it happened. THE moment we’d still going to turn up to Cardi B and argue laughed about and had been waiting for. I saw about why #blacklivesmatter - and everyone my first black person. It was as if the heavens listens. But I digress. opened up. A black woman walks toward When one of my love’s friends invited us hand-in-hand with a white guy, donning us to go to the concert last Friday, there was cowboy boots, a cowboy hat, booty shorts no hesitation when I responded with, “Yes, and 18-inch yaki weave. Get. It. Bish. My boo that sounds like fun.” I didn’t care who was and I burst out laughing and it’s as if she was performing, if I’d heard a song, that the genre reading my mind when she glanced at me and was country or that we’d have to hike to PNC. smiled the biggest smile of recognition. All I cared about was the fact that I was going Anyways, I joke a lot about the dynamics of to be able to spend that time with the man of social interactions in nightlife. However, there my dreams. And to me, that’s the type of love are specific situations which really highlight that Kenny Chesney is talking about in “Get how set in our ways we really are. A black girl Along,” released on April 6 this year. at a country concert being one of them. But if “We find out when you die the keys to we’re really going to learn how to “Get Along” heaven can’t be bought. We still don’t know we’re going to have to try to understand one what love is but we sure know what it’s not. another in a wide variety of spaces and figure Sometimes you got to ... get along.” True love out how to appreciate our differences. means being willing to step outside of your When’s the last time you pushed the comfort zone, trying to understand ideas boundaries of your comfort zone in Q.C.? you’ve never been introduced to and even Share it with me. BACKTALK@CLCLT.COM going to country concerts at PNC to listen to
INTRO TO POE ACROSS
1 Iraqis, e.g. 6 Yank’s Civil War foe 9 “View of Toledo” artist 16 Road sign no. 19 -- Haute, Indiana 20 Fruit eater in Genesis 21 “Naked” rodent 22 Byronic “before” 23 A second time 25 When you get there 27 Flat-topped rise 28 Choose to participate 30 Nosh, say 31 Like a desert 32 “Sister Wives” airer 34 Lots of 38 Greater than 40 President Nixon 44 Snatch 45 RV hookup gp. 46 Zilch 47 Love of Lennon 48 What jailbirds are behind 50 Color akin to navy 54 Pop singer Lovato 56 Journalist Paula 58 Dimwit 59 Lock plates 60 Cold, cloudy conditions, say 64 See 77-Across 65 Declaration at the door 66 Spock player 67 Has a printed price of 72 Secretive U.S. org. 73 “Since the subject has come up ...” 77 With 64-Across, of equal status 78 Olympic skater Witt 80 Packaging abbr. 81 Ugly beasts 83 Puppy’s bite 84 “Seems suspect to me” 87 Dimwit 90 Singer with the 2001 hit “Thank You” 92 Kemo -- (the Lone Ranger) 93 Simon or Diamond 94 Meditated on 98 Guitar great Lofgren 100 “Botch- --” (1952 hit song) 101 “What --!” (“He’s the best!”) 102 Balkan repub.
103 Shag, e.g. 105 Get flushed 107 Actor Michael of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” 108 Cowardly 112 Day, in Peru 113 Shed tears 115 Rap’s “Dr.” 116 Arsenal 118 Take apart 122 “Such is life” 126 One may seek respite 128 Family cat, e.g. 129 Stephen, French-style 130 & so forth 131 Huge name in insurance 132 Voting “yes” 133 Least lax 134 With 135-Across, poem whose first line is found among this puzzle’s 11 longest answers 135 See 134-Across
1 Quark locale 2 Actress Russo 3 Oval portions 4 Respiration 5 Briny deep 6 Lop a crop 7 Best Musical of 1980 8 Gentle 9 Kiwi relative 10 Trotted 11 Twilight, old-style 12 1995 Leslie Nielsen comedy 13 Long span 14 Avis offering 15 Other, in Peru 16 Restorations 17 Exchanged for the better? 18 Slippery sort 24 Flip out 26 Jail cell parts 29 Linguist Chomsky 33 Testing spot 35 Osaka sash 36 Off-limits 37 Slangy “OK” 39 Actress Charlotte and others 40 Tennis champ Andy 41 Notion about motion 42 Charges 43 Enticed 49 Aussie miss
51 Post-WWII prez 52 Fish-fowl link 53 “Yes, it’s also included” 55 “-- so sure!” 57 Put a label on 61 Second draft 62 Pull along 63 “Laughing” mammal 64 Greek letter 67 Guy keeping the peace 68 Smidgen 69 Refrain 70 Former 71 Grappled, in dialect 74 In the know 75 Amp (up) 76 Summers, in French 79 Painkillers 82 Fired thing 84 Altar words 85 Carpooling lane abbr. 86 Misleading sort 87 Apple debut of 2010 88 Person with a pet pooch 89 No longer fazed by 90 Editor’s mark 91 Pin-ons worn by staffers 95 Not refined 96 East ender? 97 Repents of 99 -- Lankan 104 Not stay dry 106 Queasiness 109 Norway’s currency unit 110 Wails in lamentation 111 Performs, in the Bible 114 Virgil, e.g. 117 Indy 500, e.g. 119 Tube fan’s punishment 120 Desert hill 121 “The Good Earth” wife 122 87-Down user’s buy 123 Suffix with Seattle 124 Pewter part 125 In place 127 Lt. Tasha on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”
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CLCLT.COM | MAY. 17 - MAY. 23, 2018 | 27
LIVE SAVAGE One question at a time at Denver’s Oriental Theater BY DAN SAVAGE
SAVAGE LOVE LIVE at Denver’s Oriental
Theater last week was epic. I fielded sex questions in front of a sold-out crowd, singersongwriter Rachel Lark performed amazing news songs, comedian Elise Kerns absolutely killed it, and Tye — a token straight guy plucked at random from the audience — joined us onstage and gave some pretty great sex advice! We couldn’t get to all the audience questions during the show, so I’m going to race through as many unanswered questions as I can in this week’s column… You’ve famously said, “Oral comes standard.” How long before anal comes standard? How does a week from next Tuesday grab you? I enjoyed a great sex life with many kinky adventures until my husband died suddenly two years ago. I have insurance $$$ and a house to sell and a dream of using the proceeds to become a sex-positive therapist. Crazy idea? Or something the world needs more of? Judging by how many people tell me they’re having a hard time finding sex-positive, kinkpositive, open-positive, and poly-positive therapists, I would definitely file “sex-positive therapist” under “world needs more of.” Chase that dream! What resources are available — which do you recommend — to share with my male partner so he can improve (learn) oral sex? (Girl oral sex!) Two book recommendations: The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus: How to Go Down on a Woman and Give Her Exquisite Pleasure by Violet Blue and She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman by Ian Kerner.
How do I come out to my family as a My boyfriend told me that women orgasm stripper? I’ve been dancing for more only 60 percent of the time compared to than two years and don’t plan to stop. men. I said I want orgasm equity. How Some of my family members are biased do I navigate his pansy-assed male ego against sex workers, but I’m tired of to find a solution? keeping up the facade (I told them I’m a The orgasm gap — 91 percent of men bartender). reported climaxing in their last opposite-sex It’s a catch-22: People are afraid to come out sexual encounter compared to 64 percent of to their closed-minded families as queer or women (National Survey of Sexual Health poly or sex workers or atheists, but closedand Behavior) — doesn’t exist for lesbians minded families typically don’t open their and bi women in same-sex relationships. So minds until after their queer or poly or sex the problem isn’t women and their elusive working or nonbelieving kids come out to orgasms, it’s men and their lazy-ass bullshit. them. To open their minds, you’ll have to risk A contributing factor is that women often blowing them first. Tell them your truth and have a hard time advocating for their own stand your ground. pleasure because they’ve been socialized to defer to men. I keep having sex dreams about There’s evidence of that in Kanye West. What does that your question: You want mean? to navigate this problem You’re Mike Pence. — the problem being a selfish boyfriend who Am I doing society a doesn’t care enough disservice by dating an about you to prioritize international drug dealer? your pleasure and has A sexually frustrated taken cover behind the international drug dealer is orgasm gap — but you DAN SAVAGE arguably more dangerous than want to spare his ego a sexually satisfied international in the process. Fuck his drug dealer — so you may be doing precious ego. Tell him what society a service. you want and show him what it takes to get you off. If he refuses to Can I want to be monogamous without do his part to close the orgasm gap in your any reasoning? My boyfriend would apartment, show him the door. probs be in an open relationship, but I’m not interested for no reason in How do you prioritize sex with your particular. partner when life gets so busy and Speaking with a low-information voter is masturbation is so much easier? My frustrating because they can’t tell you why fiancé is down for quickies sometimes they voted for someone; speaking with a lowbut not always. information fucker — someone who can’t tell Forgive my tautology, but you prioritize you why they’re doing/screwing what they’re sex by prioritizing sex. Scheduled sex can doing/screwing — is just as frustrating. be awesome sex — and when you’re truly It’s even more frustrating when the lowpressed for time, you can always masturbate information/low-self-awareness fucker together. happens to be the person you’re fucking. It’s
fine to want what you want — because of course it is — but unless you’re interested only in solo sex, you need to be able to share your reasons. I dated a guy who said he was in an open relationship. We started working together on a podcast. I got irritated because after two months he never did any preliminary research. When I pointed that out, he deleted all our work and blocked me on FB. Now he’s asking for some stuff he left at my place. Do I give it back? Yep. As tempting as it might be to hold on to his stuff or trash it, that just keeps this drama alive. If you keep his stuff, he’ll keep after you for it. If you trash his stuff, you’ll have to worry about the situation escalating. If you want him out of your life and out of your head, put his crap in a bag, set it on your porch or leave it with a neutral third party, and tell him when he can swing by and get it. How clean should a bottom be? A little bit of shit is kinda expected, isn’t it? I mean, you are fucking an ass, right? My expectations for sterling silver, crystal stemware, and fuckable ass are the same: I want it sparkling. Zooming out: One doesn’t have anal sex with an ass full of shit for the same reason one doesn’t have oral sex with a mouth full of food — it’s going to make a mess. Making sure your mouth is empty is easy, of course, but it’s not that difficult to empty or clean out an ass. Also, a good, fiber-rich diet empties and cleans out the ass naturally. Yes, you are fucking an ass, that’s true, and shit sometimes happens. The top shouldn’t poopshame the bottom when it does happen, and the bottom doesn’t need to have a meltdown. It just means you need to pivot to some other sexual activity — after a quick cleanup restores the sparkle. BACKTALK@CLCLT.COM
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LIBRA (September 23 ARIES (March 21 to April 19) Lots of possibilities begin to open up by midweek. Some seem more appealing than others. But wait for more facts to emerge later on before you consider which to choose. TAURUS (April 20 to
May 20) Bravo to the determined Bovine. While others might give up, you continue to search for answers. Expect your Taurean tenacity to begin paying off by week’s end.
to October 22) Expect to hear good news about a loved one. Also, be prepared for some changes in several family relationships that could develop from this lucky turn of events.
SCORPIO (October 23
to November 21) Some surprises are expected to accompany a number of changes that will continue through part of next week. At least one could involve a romantic situation.
GEMINI (May 21 to
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June 20) You might want to consider stepping back from the task at hand for a while. This could help you get a better perspective on what you’ve done and what still needs to be done.
(November 22 to December 21) You might be upset by some of your critics. But most of your associates continue to have faith in your ability to get the job done, and done well.
CAPRICORN (December 22
(June 21 to July 22) Your keen Cancerian insight should help you determine whether a new offer is solid or just more fluff ‘n’ stuff. The clues are all there waiting for you to find them.
LEO (July 23 to August 22) Being ignored is difficult for any proud Leo or Leona. But pushing yourself back into the spotlight might be unwise. Instead, let things work themselves out at their own pace. VIRGO
(August 23 to September 22) Trying to uncover a colleague’s secret under the pretext of showing concern is illadvised. Control your curiosity to avoid raising resentment in the workplace.
to January 19) A workplace goal that suddenly seems out of reach is no problem for the sure-footed Goat, who moves steadily forward despite any obstacles placed in his or her way.
AQUARIUS (January 20 to February 18) Uncertainty about who is right and who isn’t might keep you from making a clearcut decision. Wait until you know more about what you’re being asked to decide. PISCES (February 19
to March 20) Be careful to keep your emotions in check when dealing with a demanding personal situation. You need to set an example of strength for others to follow.
BORN THIS WEEK You have an extraordinary ability to rally people to do their best. You would be a treasure as a teacher. 30 | MAY. 17 - MAY. 23, 2018 | CLCLT.COM
CLCLT.COM | MAY. 17 - MAY. 23, 2018 | 31
32 | MAY. 17 - MAY. 23, 2018 | CLCLT.COM