B E ACH W E E K • CO F F E E H O U S E • D B A P • D E V I N E ’ S • T H E D U K E I D E A • E L L A RY P O RT E R F I E L D FA C E B O O K • J A M E S S I E D O W • J O N S C H E Y E R • J O U R N A L I S M • M I K E P O S N E R
M I K E W O O D A R D • O N LY B U R G E R • R E Y N O L D S P R I C E • T 3 • T H A D D E U S L E W I S • T H E WA D U K E
WELCOME TO DURHAM.
BRICK BY BRICK, THE BULL CITY IS RISING THE 6TH-ANNUAL 10 TO WATCH ISSUE
FROM THE EDITORS IT’S HARD TO APPRECIATE Duke when you’re so f inely entangled with University life, when walking through the Gothic campus in sweltering humidity becomes routine and when you’ve forgotten how a college campus, bustling with energy in sunlight, becomes so dark and quiet when the lampposts f licker. There’s something refreshing about coming back to Duke each year, something entirely invigorating in doing it for the f irst time, and it’s hard to remember that feeling of return during the throes of another long semester. But there’s one quality you can’t acquire without leaving, and that’s perspective. And
TOWERVIEW Chelsea Allison and Ben Cohen EDITORS-IN-CHIEF
Lawson Kurtz DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
EDITOR, TV ONLINE
ar t s & let ter s
Larsa Al-Omaishi, Courtney Douglas, Michael Naclerio CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS
Jinny Cho, Taylor Doherty, Lisa Du, Andrew Hibbard, Andy Moore, Sam Schlinkert, Felicia Tan, Eugene Wang CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
business & produc t ion
RETAIL SALES MANAGER
SUMMER GRAPHIC ARTIST
Mary Weaver OPERATIONS MANAGER
STUDENT SALES MANAGER
that’s what we hope to infuse into TOWERVIEW’s 11th year. It’s simple, for example, to bemoan the plight of living in Durham. Until, that is, you drive through the Bull City and realize how far it’s come in the last two years. Andrew Hibbard, a Chapel Hill native who’s watched Durham shoot up before his very eyes, revisits the City of Medicine’s roots to project where the South’s sleeping wonder—and one of the top places to live in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Repor t—might be headed. When you f ly in from New York, as we did on a hot summer evening, one of the f irst things you notice is the silence of the airpor t; its stillness. The Big Apple’s din is nowhere to be found in the Triangle. But New York—the veritable center of the media world—has become quieter and quieter in recent months, and before we know it, the voice of the news might hush to a whisper. But not if anyone at Duke has any thing to say about it, Ryan Brown writes. Journalism may be changing, but a small wing of the new Sanford School of Public Policy is devoted to tracking and def ining the future of journalism, hopefully for the better. And lastly, anyone who spends some time at Duke is bound to hear the name Reynolds Price. Some lucky few take one of the famed American author’s two English classes in the spring. The fall is Price’s writing time, and his latest memoir, like so much of his work, has earned critical praise. He, too, knows the impor tance of getting away. After all, his latest effor t recalls his time in Europe as a Rhodes Scholar. Think of this installment as a preview: a weekend jaunt on campus amid these fading days of summer. You’ll be back soon, and so will we, for a few days, relishing our outsider’s perspective. Welcome to what promises to be another rewarding volume of TOWERVIEW and, as always, thanks for reading. We hope you enjoy.
Cordelia Biddle ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE
Ben Massenlink ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE
Towerview is a subsidiary of The Chronicle and is published by the Duke Student Publishing Company, Inc., a non-profit corporation independent of Duke University. The opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of Duke University, its students, faculty, staff, administration or trustees. Columns, letters and cartoons represent the views of the authors. To reach The Chronicle’s editorial office at 301 Flowers Building, call (919) 684-2663 or fax (919) 684-4696. To reach The Chronicle’s business office at 103 West Union Building, call (919) 684-3811. To reach The Chronicle’s advertising office at 101 West Union Building, call (919) 684-3811 or fax (919) 6848295. Contact the advertising office for information on subscriptions. Visit The Chronicle and Towerview online at dukechronicle.com 2009 The Chronicle, Box 90858, Durham, N.C. 27708. All rights reserved No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the prior, written permission of the business office. Each individual is entitled to one free copy.
CONTACT US AT towerview0910@ gmail.com or send letters to Towerview Magazine, Box 90858, Durham, NC 27708. To reach the main editorial office of The Chronicle, call (919) 684-2663.
VOLUME 11, ISSUE 1
BLUE DEVIL CROSSING
Thirsty at 1 a.m.? Start the pilgrimage to the COFFEEHOUSE.
City Councilman MIKE WOODARD checks in as this month’s man about town
10 TO WATCH
THE DEVIL’S DETAILS
Spotted on the silver screen and on campus: ELLARY PORTERFIELD
One IDEA from Duke that’s worth considering
roadside wisdom REYNOLDS PRICE
Duke’s resident wordsmith is fresh off publishing his most recent memoir, “Ardent Spirits: Leaving Home, Coming Back,” detailing his experience as a Rhodes scholar and young Duke professor. The North Carolinian shares his thoughts about the importance of loyalty, his literary ambitions and his current state of mind.
REARVIEW MIRROR Reflect on some of the summer’s best scenes
Junior/do-gooder LISA DU spent her summer in China. But before she could start volunteering, she was quarantined because officials suspected she had swine flu. It’s a long story. But a shorter one from Lisa is in these pages. Check page 22 for her profile of fellow junior Ellary Porterfield.
AGE: 76 AUTHOR, ENGLISH PROF.
NAUREEN KHAN is a Trinity senior and an English major with few employment prospects after graduation. Originally from Plano, Texas—home to the state’s largest hot air balloon festival—she’s spending this summer as an intern at The (Raleigh) News & Observer. Her current obsessions are sweet tea and Taylor Swift (please don’t judge).
ROADSIDE WISDOM REYNOLDS PRICE shares insights gleaned from a spirited life
Senior EUGENE WANG didn’t run a byline last year—he was “too busy” being managing editor of The Chronicle— so this overachiever has two in his Towerview debut. A native of Chicago, Eugene is an Economics and Public Policy Studies double major. He enjoys stick-shift driving, the window seat when flying and reading Cosmo on the beach, obvi.
on the cover: Junior and current editor of recess ANDREW HIBBARD poked around some of his favorite Durham haunts to get a sense of where Durham’s going—the history major knows that the best way to glimpse the future is to take a thoughtful look at the past. Sophomore MICHAEL NACLERIO, photography editor for The Chronicle, photographed our cover model “Major,” the one-ton bronze bull statue in downtown Durham. He took the shot outside the CCB/SunTrust Bank while wearing a Durham Bulls baseball hat. He used a Canon Mark IIId with a 16-35mm lens.
THE WA ELL DUK A RY E • POR MIK DDE TER E PO US FIEL LEW SNE D • R • IS • MIK JOU JAM E W RNA ES S OO LISM IED DA R OW D • • BE • T3 FA C ACH EBO • T WEE HE OK K • DUK • JO DEV E ID N S INE EA CHE ’S • • O YER DBA N LY • C BUR P OFF GER EEH • R OUS EYN E OLD S PR IC
W LC OM TO DEU RHAEM .
BRICK BY BR IC THE 10K, THE BULL TO WA CI TCH IS TY IS RISIN SUE G
(Adj.) 1. Of or relating to Beach Week. 2. Of or relating to debauchery.
P H OTO S P E C I A L TO TO W E R V I E W
>>>WONDERLAND WORD MYRTLEAN “GREEN LIGHT,” page 5
BLUE DEVIL CROSSING
Mike Woodard, city councilman >>> There’s no doubt about it: The city which councilmember Mike Woodard lives and works looks drastically different from the Durham he first encountered as a Duke freshman in 1977. “Ten years ago, the very building I’m sitting in was falling in on itself,” Woodard says of his office in the American Tobacco 4
complex, where he is now a Duke employee, working on implementing Duke’s computerbased financial system. The sur face renovations to Durham are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the transformation Woodard has witnessed in the Bull City. Over Woodard’s three decades in Durham, the city has grown in size, in its economy as well as in diversity, attracting a sizable Hispanic and immigrant population. And while the native of Wilson, N.C. has had a few oppor tunities to jump ship
and leave the City of Medicine once and for all, Duke—where he graduated with a degree in economics and political science in 1981—and Durham have always called him back. “I’ve always found Durham to be a very livable city,” Woodard says. “With each year I’ve lived here, I became more involved in the community and in my neighborhood. My roots here have gotten stronger.” It was love of the city and its unique challenges that prompted Woodard to run for a council seat in 2005. But being
both an emissary of Duke and Durham has not come without its dilemmas. When confronting the rezoning of Central Campus in early 2007, when negotiating the future of Anderson Street and when handling the current tussle over the area around Smith Warehouse, Woodard has found his two roles at odds. It’s a position, tricky as it can be, that the councilmember never theless relishes. And it’s not just some empty political talk: He plans to seek re-election in the fall. —NAUREEN KHAN
Sure, Beach Week’s a full year away.MYRTLE BEACH is worth the wait. Apparently. A mere seven purgatorial miles in to South Carolina lies a town that God either forgot about or gave up on. I don’t mean to belittle the weekly worship of the loyal churchgoers of North Myrtle Beach (and I’ve met a few, including the apparently not-so-literal Barefoot Community Church), but let’s just say sinning never felt so right as it does on South Ocean Boulevard. After two semesters of Duke, the celebrated college life eventually crumbles down to a rational exercise. Soon, everything is planned, from studying to partying; even eating becomes a budgeting of a dwindling food point total. Here in North Myrtle, we have a golden opportunity to shatter this mindset, if but for a weekend in the sun.
Trained in the Blue Zones of Tailgate, you and your peers will live the pure life for a whole week (or until you get evicted) rather than a few costumed hours on a Saturday morning, that, when compared to Myrtle, will seem as brief, awkward and unenjoyable as high school sex. (And don’t even get me started on whatever you called that trip after high school graduation when you got your older sis to buy you some cases and a fifth of Jack. Personally I rarely make it to the beach and I’ve never been allowed to stay a week, therefore the term should only be accompanied by over-emphasized air quotes, if at all.) No, this is something different. The sheer existential bliss of not having any responsibilities outside of personal survival is enough to set you off. Your
domain can shrink down to a space as small as one floor of a decrepit beach house. Hygiene is optional and food can be narrowed down to three possibilities, making almost every decision an easy one. Pent up aggression and evil urges spill out like a tipping water tower and, at times, people will be horrified. This kind of freedom is just short of a psychological necessity for the Duke student. In a sense, Myrtle isn’t a physical space or even a theological anomaly. It is a Dionysian state of mind, where destruction becomes creation and creation becomes lame. William Golding rubs his hands together and shrieks with delight as he watches us perform our merry Myrtlean comedy. Dirt cakes to sweaty legs and clothes are rarely
changed. The air is hot and thick and slows us down in the peak of the day. Eventually, the sun begins its descent and the distorted shadows of the crosses supporting the screen of the porch crawl across the tired, warped lumber. A palpable excitement gradually builds from somewhere in the house. “Night” and “day” shortly become just words and that part of you that loves Disney movies and hot chocolate and running down the stairs on Christmas morning and cuddling dies a little more as the shadows fall on our faces like war paint and the white moon shines off of our white grins. If we are but actors for the Gods then this is our sold-out, eternally recurring shot at immortality. Bring them to their knees. —SAM SCHLINKERT
Duke University Computer Repair www.dukestores.duke.edu email@example.com 919-684-6760
Warranty and non-warranty repairs and upgrades for computers by Apple, Dell, Lenovo, and HP printers
NO JOB TOO LARGE . . . . . Department of Duke University Stores®
Whether you’re searching for soul or some late-night joe, THE COFFEEHOUSE has the remedy. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never find the Duke Coffeehouse. At 1 a.m. in December, just a week before finals, I badly needed to study for Econ 51, but I really wanted to visit the Coffeehouse. So I did what any responsible Duke student would do: I called it a night and headed over with my roommate to check it out. We walked across the empty quad, passed Joe’s Dogs with the Marketplace on our left, and then took a right. When we got between Wilson and the Friedl Building, we were still lost but decided to walk around the building. Up the stairs, in what looked like some sort of delivery entrance, we saw someone enter the building. We followed. I peered into the coffeehouse through a partially open door, and I im-
mediately realized that the place seemed, well, out of place. The Coffeehouse has the feel of a genuine, New York City coffee shop with its mismatched couches and huge bean bag chairs. It’s the kind of place that Starbucks would run out of business. In this sense, it’s refreshing, a little café on a campus surrounded by commercialized coffee stores. After all, it is only a place like the Coffeehouse that could serve as a proper home for a loctopus—an animal with the sweeping tentacles of an octopus and the face of a lion that adorns the walls to the delight of visitors until 2 a.m. each morning. Even the bathroom has a cer tain charm, decorated by careful vandalism taking the form of ar t. The wall has been adorned with everything
from rap lyrics to Lewis Carroll quotes and even offers poignant advice. “F—cars, ride a bike,” reads my favorite piece of wisdom. “The bathrooms are colorful,” said senior Andrew Kindman, this year’s general manager. “Whoever the hell goes into the bathrooms with permanent markers is who writes them. I mean, I have no idea who writes them, and we neither encourage nor condemn [them]. We appreciate it’s there, and we certainly not painting over it, so if you have something profound to say, then by all means [share it].” There are lattes, cappuccinos and espressos—it is, after all, a coffee shop—but few trek through the dregs of East Campus just for the joe. “Generally, what people come for is either
the hookah or the milkshakes, which is funny since we are called the Coffeehouse, but most of what we sell are milkshakes,” said recent graduate Andrea Marston, last year’s general manager. And fortunately for visitors, the prices are the one reasonable element to an otherwise wild, eccentric atmosphere. Chai milkshakes—which the staff boasts are the most popular item—are just $3.50, and a hookah that can be split among a group goes for just $7. So while I appreciated what the Carroll-quoting guys and other pen-wielders wrote on the walls of the Coffeehouse, if I had my own spot to scrawl, I’d say this: Forget whatever you’re doing tonight, and run over to the Coffeehouse, even if it takes some searching to get there. —TAYLOR DOHERTY
P H OTO B Y M I C H A E L N A C L E R I O
the devil’s details UNIVERSITY TOWN/GOWN SPORTS CULTURE
WADUKE’S WORKING CLASS To see a room at the Washington Duke
Inn being cleaned is to see the room undress. Her elaborate coverings—nine pieces in all— are peeled off, replaced with fresh linen. In the bathroom, dirt from showers past swirls and gurgles down the drain. In an hour, or maybe more, Vanessa will emerge, a cart laden with soaps and mats and sheets in tow. When she’s done, the room will be spotless, and a rim of sweat will have formed on her forehead. She passes herself in the mirror, examining her reflection only for streaks. In a few hours, a man will brush his teeth before it. A woman will spill powder on the dresser. They will not think of the faceless women who readied the room for them. But Vanessa thinks of them. “I try to get to know who you are. I’m conscious of my guests and their needs,” she says, recalling the Duke families who stay in “her” hall. Even if she’s unable to greet guests (meeting people is one of her favorite parts of the job), she notices their habits—how much shampoo they use in a day, for example. Whether they drool during sleep. It’s attention to detail, after all, that makes the hotel worthy of its four-diamond status. “These ladies get paid next to nothing and they have the hardest job in the hotel,” says Ryan Maher, a recent grad of N.C. State, who’s now a manager at the Washington Duke. “So Mary Kay [Smith, his superior]
and I try to counteract that by giving them a fun place to work, where they can laugh.” One woman enters the staff meeting late, and Maher ribs her, thanking her for showing up. Cue laugh track. The ladies seem close, unified by a routine that plays out in back corridors and behind doors. Vanessa confirms that there’s a familial aspect to the job, talking about how she’s picked up a little Spanish from the Hispanic girls who work at the hotel. But Vanessa injects this family narrative into her relationship with guests, too. She seems to long to see them, to say hello, to know exactly what they’d like her to do with their sheets. She readily soaks the good from her prodigal sons while she washes away their trash. Their day starts early, 8:30 a.m., and it can get long if they don’t work quickly. Maher reminds the group not to forget Q-tips— and no, he clarifies, they’re not doing cotton balls this week. He doesn’t say whether this is among the kind of cutbacks most luxury hotels are making: scrimping in places that don’t really affect the guest experience. The recession has cut bluntly into the luxury hotel industry. Jim Bressler, director of sales and marketing, estimates a 30-to-40 percent revenue shortfall in the luxury/resort category, but happily adds that the Washington Duke’s shortfall is closer to 15 percent. On this day in May, a whiteboard in the back room reads, the Washington Duke Inn has 94 percent occupancy. 94 arrived, 53 departed, and 213 were in-hous It’s possible that the Inn has fared better
simply because of its superior service, that that alone demands double fees. More likely, it’s because of Duke. Duke, not exactly cheap itself, attracts the kind of family willing to pay more for quality. The University or the Hospital books the speakers, lures the luminaries. It provides the steady stream of girls walking pigeon-toed on heels through the WaDuke bar on an evening after classes. The Washington Duke has stumbled into a feedback model that works. The Inn’s market is convenient enough—rooms for Graduation 2010 filled within the first day families could book them—and it is an expert in serving them. “[When] people pay as much as they do here,” Vanessa pauses—it is, even with recent discounts, a lot of money—“They need to get the best.” Vanessa is a perfectionist when it comes to readying a room, and she narrates while she works. There’s a spot on this bathmat, she insists, though it can’t be bigger than a freckle. Still, if it’s mold, she doesn’t want to have anything to do with it, and she begins hunting for a fresh one. She returns and arranges the Gilchrist and Soames body wash, shampoo and conditioner at a 45-degree angle on the bath mantle, ordering them in the way a guest would wash his body. “I take care of all my guests as though they’re special,” she says, almost rebelliously. But some are more special than most, they might say. Internally, the Washington Duke Inn circulates a list reporting VIPs who are staying in the hotel, a system titled the “Special Guest Program.” Typically, the Inn—which is owned by the TOWERVIEW
P H OTO B Y M I C H A E L N A C L E R I O
the devil’s details
University, bringing it revenue—arranges rooms for Duke’s high-profile guests. This past year, both Ted Kennedy and Robert Redford visited Duke, and each chose the fifth-floor Homestead Suite. Three floors below sits the reportedly 1,900 sq. foot Presidential Suite—larger, probably, than many Durham residents’ homes. Maher heard that it cost more than a million to furnish. One might speculate that they could have counted on Oprah, but she chose not to stay there. Maher speculates that she unwound at the Umstead. Officials there did not respond to a request for comment. Bressler suggests they didn’t court Oprah, whose entourage would have numbered around several dozen. Maher adds that displacing so many guests for her benefit would have been contrary to the Inn’s commitment to its existing patrons. Simply put, the system ranks the Inn’s higher-profile guests in order to provide “enhanced” amenities. That’s not to say the hotel’s other clients don’t demand a particular level of service. “We never say no to a guest,” Maher says. “It’s yes—and then….” He rattles off the oddities he’s seen as he wanders into a closet where the hotel stores the relics: baby monitors (“How far away are you from your child?”), an especially ornate lamp, 60 hangers (“They were there for three nights!”). A guest’s vacant room, too, could probably be ranked according to its state of disarray. “The rooms are usually tore up,” Vanessa confides, shuffling around Mountain Dew bottles strewn about a third-floor room. Vanessa spends more than an hour on a single room. It’s more than the time she’s officially allotted, and the sooner she finishes, the earlier she’ll go home. She’ll have a four-day weekend whenever that last room is checked, the first time she’ll go home to Greensboro in awhile. Before she wraps up, packs up her cart for her next assignment, she checks under the bed, to “make sure they didn’t leave $1 million for me.” (Today’s vacationer, as it happened, didn’t.) She fishes in a dish for two chocolates wrapped with a Washington Duke crest. The chocolate is last—the turndown service was always last. But in a downturn, the chocolates are by the bed before the guests are. “I’m in here laughing at myself sometimes—all this for one bed,” she says, piling on pillow after pillow, tucking everything in before she leaves. “But they love the way it makes the bed look.” The intricacy seems to have grown on her, a creature of habit if ever there was one. “I be making my bed like this at home, and I’m like, oh my God. This is unreal.” —CHELSEA ALLISON TOWERVIEW
TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME There will always be something sublime about baseball on a warm
summer night. Provided I don’t have a rooting interest, I have never found the sport all that interesting to watch, but there’s something you can’t beat about the experience of going to the game: buying a hot dog and crackerjacks, even though you don’t like hotdogs and crackerjacks; singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” with drunk people falling on you; heckling the opposing team’s hitter in the on-deck circle until he turns around and scowls at you. I went to watch Duke and North Carolina play in the ACC tournament in Durham to get that experience. I took my dad, because I felt that’s what any good baseball fan would do—even if your father throws like a girl, as Kevin Costner’s dad did in popular culture’s seminal game of catch. (Thankfully, my dad played baseball in college, so I never had to see him throw like that.) We made the trek to Durham Bulls Athletic Park, this year’s host site, on a Wednes-
day night, bought our tickets, and waited with a large crowd of people bedecked in Carolina blue for a matinee to finish. Most buy tickets on a per game basis in the baseball tourney, rather than basketball’s weekend long pass, so there was a horde of locals waiting for the out-of-staters to finish playing. When it was time, we went in with the predominantly proCarolina crowd to the ballpark. The sun was beginning to set, and it was neither cool nor hot—a night where you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. The atmosphere was electric in anticipation of the rivalry game. DBAP, as the stadium is colloquially called, was designed by the architectural firm HOK Sport, which also did Cleveland’s Jacobs Field and Baltimore’s Camden Yards. Both of those stadiums, built around the same time as DBAP, are generally thought to have saved baseball from the cookie cutter multi-sport facilities that had characterized stadium design for the previous 30 or so years. It’s easy to become mushy, almost, when talking about the way that DBAP conjures up ballparks of old. Its brick exterior seamlessly blends with the American Tobacco warehouses that it borders. It appears to be, like Fenway and Wrigley, a simple extension of the city it inhabits—without the towering lights, it would be difficult for someone walking by it to rec-
ognize at first glance that it is a ball field. The bull sign atop the left field wall (called the “Blue Monster,” and after Boston’s Green and Florida’s Teal beasts, it might be time to stop calling tall fences “monsters”) says “Hit Bull, Win Steak.” The grass that the bull stands on is something for the vegetarian right-handed power hitters to aim for: “Hit Grass, Win Salad,” it says. When someone goes deep, as North Carolina’s Dustin Ackley did—twice—in the game I watched, the bull’s eyes light up as red as the T-800, and smoke billows out of its nostrils. Alas, this is not the same sign used in the film Bull Durham—that one is in the concourse, said a DBAP employee, who looked like he has answered that query too many times for his liking. The overwhelming consensus at the ACC tournament is that the games represent a kind of purity in sports, one simply not seen on the professional level anymore, in this day and age of higher and higher contracts, and of childhood heroes falling from grace, forever labeled roided-up cheaters. The fact that there is innocence really on just the superficial surface; after all, college baseball players are not playing simply for the love of the game. They are, on this level, as motivated by money as anyone else. People who go want that illusion of the amateur, even if it doesn’t really exist. This strive for the old ways, in both the design of the ballpark and the players on the field, creates a weird confluence of old and new. The park is so old-seeming (even if it was built just 14 years ago) that it almost feels wrong to look over the stands and see all the spectators wearing blue baseball caps and not dark wide-brimmed hats, like they wear in the black and white photos of Ruth, Williams and DiMaggio. It is also disconcerting to hear the ping of aluminum instead of the satisfying crack of a wooden bat, which, to any real fan, is the only way baseball should be played. And, in the everlasting strive to meet the modern fan’s new desires, Funnel Cake Guy has replaced Peanut Guy as the roving vendor of choice. None of that really matters, though. This is the closest they can get to their idealized version of baseball’s past. And on the night I went, the Carolina fans in attendance came away from the game much happier than their Duke counterparts. The Tar Heels won big against their Tobacco Road rivals. Their dominance of the hearts of North Carolina residents was never more transparent than when they successfully pulled off a TAR…HEELS chant across the stadium; the HEELS section being, of course, where “all the Duke fans” were sitting, said the ticket lady, who, if memory serves me correctly, had a smirk on her face when she made that remark. —ANDY MOORE
THE RIGHT IDEA FOR ALUMNI
The plush, upscale Ivy Room at Chicago’s Tree Studios, near the famed Magnificent Mile, once played host to the Windy City’s top artists. But for one remarkably warm and sunny evening in late May, the locale traded in its paintbrushes and palettes for power suits and pinot noir as it greeted approximately 100 Duke alumni, parents and a smattering of current students for The Duke Idea—a catered reception and discussion with two of Duke’s top administrators. Although the refined atmosphere of an outdoor reception complete with sushi rolls, skirt steak and sparkling water was probably standard fare for attendees—many of them lawyers, businesspeople and other well-off professionals— the event itself is a new entrant onto the alumni networking scene. Nearing the end of its inaugural global tour, The Duke Idea offers the chance to interact with President Richard Brodhead and another VIP—this time, Dean of the School of Law David Levi, a Chicago native— in an informal albeit professional environment. In return, Brodhead and his chosen companion criss-cross the country from New York to Seattle to Chicago (and even across the Atlantic to London) in an effort to keep alumni minds on the University—and maybe their wallets, too. “We’re showing off the intellectual assets of the University,” President Richard Brodhead said to me during an hour-long reception that preceded his discussion alongside Levi. “[The Duke Idea] is to give a sense of
how we define our educational mission.” The schmoozing segment of the alumni event felt like the biannual job recruitment process all too familiar to juniors and seniors, if the Washington Duke Inn were an enclosed courtyard and everyone was more than a few years older. For many, this event was a threehour pit stop on the way home from work, a chance to see old friends while listening to the head of their alma mater provide an update on the University and evaluate the challenges ahead for the field of law. What began as a networking reception soon moved inside to softly-lit banquet room with a—no joke—mock set-up of Brodhead’s office, complete with a scenic view of the Duke Chapel plastered to the outside of its faux windows. Duke’s ninth president chatted with Levi in Chicago, but previous Duke Idea events featured administrators including Fuqua Dean Blair Sheppard and even a few prominent alumni, like renowned journalist Judy Woodruff , Woman’s College ’68. Following a brief “state of the University” address, Brodhead lavished unequivocal praise on his counterpart on stage, calling Levi “one of the most highly regarded judges in America.” Although he spent much of his legal career as a prosecutor and judge rather than as an academic, Levi has demonstrated tremendous skill in recruiting top professors and managing Duke’s rise as a law school, Brodhead said. But the night’s centerpiece conversation between Brodhead and Levi soon moved beyond the successes of the past to the uncertainties of the future. Both seemed to agree that the future of the legal profession faces a number of challenges, ranging from developing new subfields of law such as environmental law to addressing the perceived disparities between academic law and law as it is practiced. And it doesn’t help that
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the devil’s details
the devil’s details
WHY DEVINE’S IS RECESSION-CHIC
Come springtime last year,
Duke students flocked to Devine’s—that faded, familiar Main Street bar—in greater numbers, angling for tall-boys of Bud Light and crushing cigarettes into the low wooden banquette tables. On an average night, scruffy locals linger at the bar over half-empty beers, college boys glance at the game on any of 24 TVs, and student bands play to drunken cliques congregated on the patio. On a special night—some may remember St. Patrick’s Day last year—the bar is four deep, you just got too close to that guy next to you, and not even the dry-cleaner can wring the cigarette smoke from your jeans. Sitting around a patio table outside Devine’s in May, I asked Gino Devine, the eponymous bar’s founder and owner, and Mike Tuttle,
its informal promoter, to explain the recent boom in business. Devine is a bulky man with a gapped, tobacco-stained smile, clad in what you might expect of a Durham sports bar owner—both Blue Devils and Durham Bulls athletic gear, rip-away sweats and white basketball sneakers. Tuttle, a recognizable face from behind the bar, squints from underneath a baseball cap, drawing infrequently from the pack of cigarettes on the table. For the two, the bar’s success comes from a combination of three factors: low prices, tight connections to students and patio real estate in Durham’s busiest restaurant and bar district. Have the prices drawn more patrons to Devine’s since the economy nose-dived into recession? “Absolutely,” Tuttle and Devine nodded.
P H OTO B Y L A R S A A L - O M A I S H I
big gaps exposed by the global economic downturn regarding risk management and regulation remain unanswered. But to bring it a little closer to home, Levi used the context of the changing landscape of law to express his desire to better blend clinical practice and academia. Students who develop a holistic understanding of the law are better prepared to deal in a world where the traditional walls between branches of law are crumbling, or so the argument goes. “My hope is that there will be many opportunities for students to learn about lawyering in the law school,” Levi said. “We’re trying to combine the world of practice with the intellectual world.” The event seemed to fulfill audience expectations, but the discussion made it clear that one can’t know what to expect for the field of law. The audience seemed to project a subdued acceptance that the future of the profession may be substantially different from the past. “There are a lot of wrenching changes going on right now, and nobody knows how things are going to change in the future,” said Loren Weil, Trinity ’82, Law ’85. “Everyone’s getting together and saying ‘What does the future hold?’ and everyone has the same answer, which is, ‘I don’t know.’” And although the future of law and many other professions remains in flux during a time of profound economic upheaval, officials with the Duke Alumni Association are confident that they’ve hit on a winning formula for engaging alumni and parents for the years ahead. After just one year for The Duke Idea, don’t expect to see any big changes when the president hits the road again this fall. “What our alums are saying is that they want to hear more about Duke, and they want more intellectual engagement…. [The Duke Idea] is a different type of program that showcases academics and intellectuals,” said Sterly Wilder, executive director of alumni affairs, in an interview with TOWERVIEW. “Alums have responded so well to the events…. I don’t think we’re thinking of any tweaks right now.” But if you’re waiting for a full-size replica of Brodhead’s office to come to an urban metropolitan area near you, don’t hold your breath. Wilder said the office set-up instrumental to conveying the real Duke feel to alumni isn’t always part of the president’s traveling entourage. And that’s unfortunate. Because for those who enjoyed the event— from its shrimp kebabs to its chilled wine to its intellectual exchange—the replica added a little nostalgia for dear old Duke. “It’s cute,” said Linda Arnade, Trinity ’06. “It’s nice. Just trying to bring you back, I guess.” —EUGENE WANG
P H OTO B Y L A R S A A L O M A I S H I
the devil’s details Devine’s is cheap—arguably the cheapest in Durham—by any number of bar price indices: beer, wings, cover charge. The $15 credit card minimum is a challenge to handle solo, even with two fists clutching drinks and a third on the table for later. “Our drinks are at least $2 cheaper than everywhere else. The last time we changed prices, it was a year ago,” Tuttle says proudly. He quotes the pricing of Buffalo wings from memory: Devine’s has nine wings for $7 vs. a dozen wings for $12 at Wild Wings. It took me a few years to realize that Devine’s revives itself to serve lunch during the day, which was around the time I also realized the grubby and infamous Shooter’s II could dish out a side of chicken fingers with that Jager shot. Items on the menu at Devine’s rank among standard bar fare, dishes that look more appetizing after a few drinks: chicken fingers, chili cheese fries, mozzarella sticks, and those wings—600 pounds per week, Devine says. “If he’s here, it’s chili fries,” Tuttle said, referring to a 2009 SAE grad he preferred not to be named. “If PIKA’s here, always chicken fingers. If the football team’s here, it’s like ten baskets of chicken fingers.” Both Tuttle and Devine recognize the importance of staying connected with current students and catering directly to them to ensure their loyalty. “One thing we do really well here is get a lot of feedback from students. Anything they like on draft, we can get it,” Tuttle said. “Whereas at somewhere like Parizade, they might not really care.” For Tuttle, students’ phone numbers are valuable assets, allowing him to link in with who or what group is running the social scene on a given night. Unlike at several other bars, fraternities and sororities pay no fee for hosting Devine’s, and usually receive free cover and discounts on certain drinks—a feature that makes the bar all the more competitive for organizations looking to cut costs on parties.
For Devine, Trinity ’75, the bar’s current name is the fourth in a series of iterations: first, “Uptown Main Street,” then “Maxwell’s on Main” (because “Maxwell” sounded good with “Main”), and “Chevy 47,” after Devine’s ride of choice at the time. “Before we came here in 1978, there wasn’t anything here, just one place called the Ivy Room,” Devines says. “The first thing I thought was, how can I get the Duke students down here?” His mission for the bar has remained the same, in spite of its name changes. In what students and recent alumni know well as Devine’s, Devine has established a comfortable, if tired, institution best suited for survival in a college town, where the price and selection of beer on tap overrides the importance of a trendy ambiance. “We’ve got a great mix of people who come in here—blue-collar, white-collar, downtown, uptown, a lot of Duke grads who work in the area,” Devine says. The bar he describes is a study in inclusivity, a local joint where students and area residents can mix to soothe town-gown relations. In reality, students overrun it Thursday through Saturday, crowding out even the most stalwart of locals who perch at the bar. Devine motioned me over to the back room of the bar, where dusty sports photography and beer signs crowd the walls. “You’re getting the grand tour,” said Tuttle with a smile. Devine introduced a signed action shot of “The Famous Chicken,” unofficial mascot of the San Diego Padres, who had come in for a drink one night—alas, in plainclothes. “The difference with here and most places is that I know 80 percent of the people who are on these walls,” Devine said, demonstrating what seemed like an encyclopedic sports knowledge as he reeled off noted players and coaches. Abruptly noticing the layer of dust coating a poster in the corner, he scowled. “We could probably clean some of the cobwebs off here,” he said, turning to address a waitress nearby. “Could you get a wet rag?” —CAROLINE McGEOUGH
WO RT H For the sixth straight year, TOWERVIEW presents a list of
THE SLEEPING GIANT • DUR HAM, N.C. BY ANDR EW HIBBAR D PHOTOS BY MICHAEL NACLER IO
WATCHING 10 people, places and local trends you won’t soon forget.
alking into Toast feels like walking into a venerated, Old Durham institution. It’s not the look, not as though dust has collected in corners, or paper browned to the color of tobacco on the walls. But the sandwich shop’s ambiance, the unique menu and Kelly Cotter’s warm smile give the establishment—or paninoteca, as the sign reads—the feel of something that’s been in Durham for decades. But only two years ago, the space that houses the downtown café was a clothing store, and the Five Points area lacked vitality and foot traffic. And eight years ago, when Cotter and her husband Bill moved to Durham from Atlanta with the dream of opening a restaurant, setting up shop in the city center district was hardly a viable idea. “It was good that we waited,” Cotter says, “because it would have failed surely.” In the years between moving to Durham and opening Toast, Cotter has seen the downtown scene change drastically. Downtown has grown up with businesses: big and small, commercial and otherwise, turning the heart of Durham from a ghost town to a thriving, cultural center. But the transformation didn’t happen overnight.
DECADES AGO, DURHAM WAS A BRIGHT SPOT in the South. Home to the American Tobacco Company, Black Wall Street and the black-owned North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company, downtown was a thriving district. But like the rest of the city, the landscape of downtown Durham changed following the departure of the tobacco, textiles and furniture industries. In the early 1990s, though, a band of Durham citizens (and some Duke faculty) organized efforts for revitalizing downtown. It led to the establishment of Downtown Durham Inc., a 501c(6). Headed by Bill Kalkhof since 1994, he and his small staff—now five strong—have played a big role in stimulating development. “We do everything from being the marketer for downtown to being the commercial realtor to doing tons of demographics for realtors,” Kalkhof told me. “We’re good at putting deals together. Talk about a major project in downtown, and we’ve been part of it somehow.” Working with public and, predominantly, private developers, DDI has seen many ideas for downtown go from fantasy
to reality. Outer areas of downtown, like the warehouse districts, were the focus of early development, thanks to the interest from development firms. Anchored by the $16 million Durham Bulls Athletic Park, the American Tobacco Campus was the first of these to see the light of day. Kalkhof said that starting on the outside of the greater downtown area helped to slowly draw people into the area. And as ATC and Brightleaf Square were completed, development grew closer to the city center. Projects like the West Village, now a popular off-campus housing option, and Golden Belt, historic textile mills reenvisioned as apartments and studios, helped drive the downtown turnaround. But the growth in the area has been significant across the board. Between 1994 and 2008, $1.3 billion in investment was poured into downtown, the amount of office space more than tripled and the area went from having less than 100 residential units to around 1,000—a number
that continues to grow. And much of this is the result of private development firms like Greenfire and Scientific Properties, which are working on large-scale projects ranging from housing to commercial. Scientific Properties’ Golden Belt is an arts-focused complex with loft-style apartments, artist studios and lots of exhibition space, with an expanding retail lineup. Kalkhof says the creative professional class, aged between 20 and 40—a demographic, he adds, that no one was considering when DDI was founded—has been a major player in downtown Durham, be it opening businesses, moving downtown or otherwise. “[Downtown is] supporting a different level of personnel. Artists are here. Scientists are here. It’s brought a more creative culture into the downtown area,” Durham Mayor Bill Bell said. And from businesses like Web receipt
company Shoeboxed Inc.—founded by a band of recent Duke graduates—to chef Jim Anile’s celebrated restaurant Revolution, the work of the creative professional class has an obvious effect. Just take a stroll into the Pinhook, opened last fall, and the atmosphere is young, hip and vivacious. But the marquee opening of 2008 was the $46.8 million Durham Performing Arts Center, a 2,800-seat facility. The Carolinas’ largest theatrical venue serves as a visual link between ATC and the city center, closing the gap between the two areas. Already having drawn the likes of B.B. King, David Sedaris and Morrissey, DPAC will play host to Robin Williams, Tori Amos and the 76th season of the American Dance Festival in the coming months. But one of DPAC’s most intriguing storylines has been its Suntrust-sponsored
SOMETIME SOON, BURT’S BEES will move into its 75,000 square-foot office space in the American Tobacco Campus, a major boon for raising downtown’s profile as a working space. On the food front, 2009 will see the opening of two eco-friendly restaurants in Rogers Alley (adjacent to City Hall Plaza). The first, Eno Restaurant and Market, is the latest venture from Richard Holcomb, owner of Raleigh’s nationally recognized organic eatery Zely & Ritz and Hillsborough’s Coon Rock Farm. Eno has attracted famed chef Marco Shaw all the way from Portland. Santa Cruz native Charlie Deal, owner of Chapel Hill’s Asian-inspired Jujube, will bring Dos Perros, a taqueria, bar and restaurant, to the Alley as well, enhancing the Bull City’s already rich taco scene. Both a coffeeshop from a Duke alumnus and a whiskey bar near Five Points are slated for openings within the calendar year. But Durham is a diverse place, and despite the variety of new establishments cropping up, one of the overarching challenges will be incorporating any number of the city’s demographics. “Marginalization is going to be an issue,” Bell, the Durham mayor, told me. Bell said the city is always trying to work giving more people access, whether it be through low-income housing or making sure businesses can hire existing Durham residents. And even though he’s cognizant of the problems, it’s more likely for the city’s leader to dwell on Durham’s strong points. Besides, he says, he’s aware of what it takes to make the district work. The downtown area can only be as successful as the community wants it to be, and if local citizens want a downtown renaissance, their tenacity might just be enough to pull it off. There is a reason, after all, it’s called the Bull City.
TO W E R V I E W F I L E P H OTO
Broadway Series, which has put a dent in the Broadway South series that plays in the state capital. The Raleigh version has reshuffled shows at its Progress Energy Center venue. And DPAC’s reach has been farther than the Triangle. At a recent production of the Color Purple, Bell reported seeing a tour bus from South Carolina. Major attractions like DPAC and the nearby Durham Bulls Athletic Park, as well as annual events that call downtown home like the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, the Durham Blues Festival and ADF, are critical factors in stimulating street-level business, Kalkhof said. Many of downtown’s street-level businesses are restaurants, which have become major selling points for the Bull City. A 2008 article in Bon Appetit dubbed Durham America’s foodiest small town (an honor it shared with Chapel Hill), and last month, US News & World Report named Durham one of the best places to live in the entire United States.
TO W E R V I E W F I L E P H OTO
THE COMEBACK KID • JON SCHEYER Back in May, the conventional thought process went like this: If Gerald Henderson stayed for his senior season, or if John Wall decided to grace Duke with his sensational talent, the Blue Devils would have a good shot at their first Final Four berth since 2004. With both, they could be the odds-on favorite for the national championship. But with neither? After Henderson opted for the NBA draft and Wall joined John Calipari’s traveling NBA-prep show, what’s left is a whole lot of questions—which makes Jon Scheyer’s role all the more critical. As a rookie, Scheyer stepped right into the starting shooting guard role vacated by National Player of the Year J.J. Redick. It culminated in Scheyer’s season-high 26 points against North Carolina in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Yet Scheyer was assigned 6th man duties as a sophomore, a demotion he accepted without fuss. His junior season, Scheyer made a key, late-season shift to the point guard spot. From there, he catapulted Duke to the ACC Tournament title as the Tournament’s MVP. And now? When Duke ousted Texas from the NCAA Tournament in March, Henderson embraced his leadership responsibility as one of the Blue Devils’ best players. Most would have handed him the ball right then and trusted him to go forth and score (1-for-14 in the Villanova Sweet 16 loss hadn’t happened yet). Such is the impact of having that kind of leader. Now, two of last season’s captains have gone, and Duke needs someone to fill their shoes. Who’s going to lead the next squad? Kyle Singler? Too soft-spoken. Lance Thomas? Hasn’t proven a consistent scorer. Brian Zoubek? Too likely to have playing time usurped by shiny new freshmen. Nolan Smith? Replaced at his own position last year. Which leaves Jon Scheyer. In some ways, the senior is an obvious choice, and in other ways, he’s not at all. He’s often understated and overlooked, and played most of last season behind Henderson, his flashier co-captain. Hell, when Scheyer went for 30—a career-high—against Wake Forest this February, Henderson bested him with 35 in the same game. But come November, Scheyer will be the only holdover captain. Finishing third in scoring last season, Scheyer rose to the occasion when put at the point in the last 12 games. That’s a position he will resume in the upcoming season, a prospect Scheyer feels good about. “I think with those  games at the end of the year under my belt, and playing [point guard] some before, it’s a really natural thing for me to do,” Scheyer told TOWERVIEW. “To be honest with you, at this point I would rather play point. I like having the ball in my hands and I feel I make good decisions.” Reestablishing himself at the point is hardly his only challenge. Scheyer must do it on the biggest Duke team he’s played on by far. And he’ll have to lead a squad that now has only three guards to speak of. “For me, whether it be this year or next year, I’ve always done the best I can to be a leader,” Scheyer said. “That’s the way it was last year with there being three captains…. For the [other] seniors, Lance and Zoubek, they know what it takes and they’re going to be right there with me.” Fair or not, their success will be judged against a lofty standard created by years of extraordinary Blue Devil accomplishments. Scheyer knows what kind of pressure can come along with those expectations, undoubtedly aware that his class, now entering its last year, has not yet beat the Tar Heels at home, let alone make a Final Four run. It’s Scheyer’s final challenge. —FELICIA TAN
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P H OTO B Y M I C H A E L N A C L E I R O
THE CULINARY CR AZE • MOBILE FOOD
Mobile eateries are becoming an increasingly popular dining option in Durham, proving that meals on wheels are not restricted to the geriatric crowd. The holy grail of the local traveling food scene is perhaps OnlyBurger, the truck that serves what it dubs “the only burger you’ll ever want.” The restaurant has attracted a large and loyal following, in part because it often parks on the East Campus circle and under the Bryan Center during the school year. Its popularity, however, can be attributed primarily to its acceptance of food points. On a recent summer afternoon, when most students were still at home, a group of locals tracked down the OnlyBurger truck to test the fare. Josh Harris, a clinical social worker at Duke University Hospital, often seeks out the business for lunch, and this particular Friday proved no exception. “It’s a really good burger, and it has such a rich flavor and they cook it just right,” said Harris, adding that the crowds have
been growing since his first visit. “This comes highly recommended from a co-worker of mine, so this will be my maiden voyage,” said Chad Saleka, a designer from Chapel Hill. “When she told me that she couldn’t eat Cookout and Chargrill because of this place, I had to try it.” When asked why OnlyBurger is so popular—why the eatery’s growing reputation brings out a growing stream of those ready to take the plunge—customers say that there is something pure about an oldfashioned hamburger stand, even if it is on wheels. “Everybody loves a burger joint,” Saleka said. “I mean, I’m an American.” Though OnlyBurger may be the most popular of the mobile food providers, with more than 700 people keeping tabs on the truck’s location on Twitter and its real-time GPS point on its Web site, the burger shop is only one in an expanding field. Bull Dogs is a food cart with a small, but growing following, and un-
like the constantly traveling OnlyBurger, Bull Dogs generally stations outside a few bars downtown. When TOWERVIEW caught up to the cart, it was in front of The Pinhook on a bustling West Main Street. “I’ve been cooking all my life and I really enjoy the freedom of coming outside the restaurant,” said Scott Curran, Bull Dogs’ proprietor. “I have friends who own some bars around here who said to me, ‘Hey, when people leave here, they don’t have anywhere to grab a bite to eat.’” Curran said he serves hot dogs daily, as well as a home-cooked option that changes from one day to another. Today, the home fare was soft tacos. He added that his business has been doing well lately, and he has seen a large proliferation of mobile food options in Durham. The competition doesn’t bother him. “I guess,” he said, “it’s just for the love of cooking.” —JULIUS JONES
THE DETERMINATOR •
TALLMAN TR ASK III After 13 years as Duke’s executive vice president, Tallman Trask III is no stranger to tough times. He’s navigated schools through two recessions—one in 1991 as EVP at the University of Washington and the other in 2001 at his current post—which perhaps makes him a good man to steer the University through these choppy financial waters. But experienced or not, this year may bring its biggest challenge yet for the University and its chief financial officer. “Nobody has seen anything quite like this,” Trask says. “It’s not going to be a fun time for the next 18 months.” If the last year is any indication, Trask’s prediction looks to be right on the money. The endowment, which hit $6.1 billion at the end of the previous fiscal year, stood at just above $4 billion in March. All large capital spending projects have been frozen, academic hiring has slowed and President Richard Brodhead has asked administrators to restrict spending and reevaluate priorities. Compared to Duke’s response to the 2001’s recession, this downturn demands more drastic measures. “[The 2001 recession] didn’t even come close in terms of impact,” Trask says. “There weren’t any major programs that got hit. There were a lot of adjustments around the margins whereas here, we’re going to have to look at some more substantial reductions.” What might those “substantial reductions” be? Tough to say, Trask concedes. But he notes that he and other administrators will have a better sense of cost-cutting measures once a redesigned voluntary retirement plan enrolls its first participants and provides cost savings this summer. “An awful lot of those reductions will be in non-academic areas,” he says. “We’re trying to do the best we can to not have faculty and students see very much of the direct impact of this.” Still, Trask acknowledges that the fragility of the global economy may only compound the uncertainty of budget cuts. The University is potentially exposed to a number of factors, factors like credit markets, global stock markets and federal stimulus money. While many companies have struggled to issue debt, Trask has maintained that turmoil in the credit markets will not affect the University. As if to retroactively illustrate his point, Duke issued $500 billion in bonds in January, debatably the worst period of the bad market, a testament to Duke’s strong rating. But uncertainties in investment returns and government money will undoubtedly shape Duke’s financial strategy in the months ahead. Trask also must keep an eye on the performance of Duke’s multibillion-dollar endowment, which provided 19 percent of last year’s $2 billion budget. But although policies regulating endowment spending are designed to smooth ups-and-downs in investment returns, they also mean that poor performance one year will ripple far beyond the end of the recession, even if markets improve in the short term. In May, Board of Trustees passed a pared-down budget of $1.8 billion for the upcoming academic year. Though slim, Trask clarified that the departmental breakdown for the budget is mostly the same as before. And federal stimulus money will prove an important part of financing. “I think we’re OK on the credit markets, and we’re not going to take significant policy changes around the new endowment spending rules,” Trask says. “The real unknown is how much of the federal stimulus money might head our way.” Despite the multiple moving parts, Trask remains confident. “We know where we’re headed and how to get there... and I hope people understand that just because we haven’t had a number of draconian cuts doesn’t mean we don’t have a problem, but that we’re trying to work through it systematically.” —EUGENE WANG
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THE BR AIN CHILD • MIKE POSNER BY BEN COHEN PHOTO BY LAWSON KURTZ
couple of mornings after Last Day of Classes, I came across a YouTube clip of Mike Posner, the producer-turned-performer who will have signed a major record deal before moving into his Onslow Street frathouse for his senior year at Duke. In the video, which had recently been watched by about 20,000 people, Posner is sporting dark blue jeans, a Detroit Tigers fitted cap and a black crew-neck sweatshirt that reads “YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO DRUGS TO BE DOPE.” The sweatshirt matches Posner’s retro style, capped with high-top Nikes and throw-back graphic tees, and it was provided, free of charge, by a clothing company called Pompous which, the next day, was already receiving calls about the $15 top. The crowd around the LDOC-erected stage goes about seven deep before it tapers off to the quad, where revelers are casually listening while pounding cases. The setting, in short, is quintessentially Duke. The owner of the FlipCam pans from the crowd to the stage, where Posner’s friend and co-performer, Big Sean, is rapping, the Chapel looming over his shoulder. Posner agreed to perform for free after the LDOC committee’s budget bled into the red, and Sean drove down from Michigan in a rental car, and even though Posner gets on late, the crew won’t let him stay past 6:30 p.m. Instead of playing a full set, he’s relegated to a five-song afternoon, and when Posner finishes his penultimate offering, “Smoke and Drive,” he informs the crowd of his timing predicament. “Thank you, thank you,” he yells. “They’re gonna kick us the f— off stage. You guys wanna hear one more song? Put your f—ing brains in the air if you want to hear another song.” Joined at the fists, arms jump in the air, dotted with red Solo cups and highlighted by cheap Aviators and Wayfarers. Then “Cooler Than Me,” Posner’s most-recognizable song, starts to play, and everyone in this gaggle of tipsy Duke students begins to sing, tilting their heads and belting out the ballad. The crew cuts the microphones—
Posner’s time is supposed to be over—but the singing doesn’t stop. It keeps going into the next verse and the next, until finally, mercilessly, someone backstage drowns out the chorus with exit music. So Posner jumps on top of a barrier to the delight of the crowd, his fellow students. I sent the video to a friend, expecting him to be aghast at the idea of Duke cutting off one of its own. Instead, he pointed out something I had taken for granted. “How did everyone know all the words?” he asked. POSNER IS A REGULAR on the large collection of music blogs that any one person could not possibly monitor, so instead of sifting through them to gauge the popular appraisal of Posner, I prefer the comments under his YouTube clips, where red-hot and ice-cold both indicate praise. A selected sampling from the gallery: “Dope.” “You killed this posner.” “Dope.” “Hot mind if i do a popping vid with this song?“ “Mike youre gonna be real big man.” “OMG! awesome.” “Grabbed it when I read about it on Twitter. Hot track.” “Dope.” Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, BlackBerry—Posner’s got them all, not to mention a posse of friends all over the country ready to help him make it however they can. They’re the latter half of Mike Posner and the Brain Trust, the band that put out “A Matter of Time,” Posner’s first mixtape, in March. I’m part of that crew, I suppose, and so is every other Duke student. Because what Posner’s doing—trying to make it, that omnipotent term in music circles—isn’t an individual effort, and it’s not something that happens overnight. Instead, there is a plan, and it wouldn’t exist without Duke. There must be times when Posner wants to go drink with his buddies during Rush but, instead, he commits himself to all-
night sessions in the recording studio under The Loop. There must be times when he disappears for a few months, when he decides that the best way for him to become a megastar producer is to be a megastar performer. Then come the autograph sessions, the reviews of the buzzy mixtape, the links to Kanye’s blog, the invitations to perform at other schools, the backstage parties at South by Southwest. Then come the contracts with the new manager, the encores on the beach, the noticing Beyonce in the hallway on the way to meet Jay-Z. Somewhere in between come the hordes of fans. First at Duke and in Detroit—where local schoolgirls waited in an out-the-door line to see him at a local shoe store. Now, it’s anywhere there’s iTunes, so, everywhere. “Oh my god, do you know Mike Posner?” my sister’s high school friend in New Jersey asks me in May. “Actually, I do,” I said. “We just talked the other day.” “Oh my God. No way. Oh my God. Can we call him?” THE BACKGROUND OF POSNER’S COMPUTER, an Apple laptop he uses to produce his beats, is his troupe’s logo, a yellow lightning bolt crashing through a pink brain that, if you look ever so closely, spells out Posner. (He didn’t want his name to be too overt.) The graphic represents the Brain Trust, the historical term Posner’s friend from high school suggested from their days studying Franklin Roosevelt in American history. Just like FDR, Posner is firmly in control of his Cabinet, even if he’s as unassuming and accessible as any other student. “You know really beautiful women, they get famous, they’re used to it to a certain extent because they’ve been beautiful all of their lives,” he said. “I’m just a normal kid. But I’m good at music. I think I’m known for music, and that’s what I want to be known for. That’s, like, the only thing that makes me different.” When one of his confidantes, DJ Benzi, told him that no real artist plasters his own insignia anywhere near his computer,
Posner ignored him. He’s different. Name one star, for example, who covers songs from The Fray, ELO, Gorilla Zoe and Beyonce on the same mixtape. Posner does so intentionally, all to accomplish what he considers his ultimate goal. “The larger impact my music will hopefully have,” he tells me one rainy night after finals, “is to force people who are really different into the same room. Sean does these shows at this place called The Majestic Theater, and I would always be the only white guy there. And then, the week before finals, we did a show together there and it was, like, 50/50. A bunch of people were in a room together who would never be in a room together.” Which is part of the reason he admires Outkast, a mainstream hit and critical darling. “I’m trying to shoot for the stars, right? I heard Coach K made [Brian] Zoubek watch tape of Tim Duncan because they were like, ‘This is the best you can be.’ So my Tim Duncan is Outkast.” It would be easy for Posner to fall back on mere crutches. He could release an entire mixtape of songs like “Drug Dealer Girl” and “Smoke and Drive,” two popular popular jams, and while that may satisfy one of Posner’s two goals—get as many people as possible to listen to him—it doesn’t fulfill the other. He needs a place to grow, a base to build a future, which is why he prefers songs like “Losing My Mind” and “Still Not Over You,” his personal favorite. “When I’m 22 and 23, when I fall in love and get my heart broken, I need a space to write that song, then,” he said. “I want peo-
ple to invest in me as a person, and not just as an artist or musician.” There are other traits that set him apart—the fact that he’s white and from Michigan might earn him Eminem echoes, even though he’s more like Justin Timberlake than Slim Shady and Southfield is hardly 8 Mile. But most intriguing is the fact that he’s a student at Duke. He doesn’t have to be here, and didn’t have to return for his senior year. (When Gerald Henderson, another probable millionaire-in-the-making, mulled whether to return for his last season on the hardwood, Posner tweeted: “I might sign but I’m coming back to finish my senior year. You hear that g?”) A diploma is nice, but he wouldn’t be where he is without Duke students, without the release parties at Shooter’s II and packed shows at George’s Garage, without the word-of-mouth grassroots campaign that bumped his mixtape up to the No. 1 free download on iTunesU. In fact, it was through Duke’s iTunes connection that he released the 12-song album for free on iTunesU, a savvy business move that earned him envy at SXSW, the ultimate tech nerd bash in Austin, Texas, to which Posner drove round-trip. Releasing a track on iTunes and leaking it on an insider site like zShare means that all the people Posner sings about—including the girls in designer shades that hide their face— actually have an avenue to access him. Duke is not a state school. Its students come from all over the country—all over the world, really—and every time one student
passes on a song to a friend at another school, Posner wins. “If I was in a different situation,” he freely admits, “I couldn’t go by my plan.” THERE ARE DOWNSIDES to balancing a fledgling career with schoolwork. At the end of April, he jetsetted from Duke to Dayton, Detroit and New York in just a few days. Next year, he told me, he’s going to be traveling all the time. With all the hoopla, it’s easy to forget that he’s only released a mixtape and “anything you really think is a smash, smash hit,” he told me, “you probably shouldn’t put on a mixtape.” In other words, he’s holding back his best. This is just the beginning, he reiterated in June, just days before he was about to sign the record deal that would put a “machine” behind him but probably change little more. (“Do I feel like people know who I am?” he said. “It’s hard for me to tell. What do you think?”) That reminded me of something he said in the middle of his LDOC performance, a speech that was more of a benediction than an interlude. It served as a toast, from one Duke student to many, many more. “Before we get into the next song,” he said, “I want everyone to put their drinks in the air. I just want to thank everyone for their support this year in getting me to where I am now. That’s what Duke is all about. So on the count of three, we’re all going to finish our drinks.” Posner lifted his goblet—which, at this Duke event, was simply a gleaming Solo cup—before finishing his thought. “One. Two. Three,” he counted. “Bottoms up.”
THE ECONOMY OF RESEARCH • JAMES SIEDOW Pledging in his inaugural address to “restore science to its rightful place,” President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law in February, allocating $10.4 billion to the National Institutes of Health and $3 billion to the National Science Foundation. It follows years of stagnant research budgets at the NIH, the NSF, the Department of Energy and other agencies, and despair at major research universities like Duke, which rely on the agencies to underwrite research faculty and laboratory infrastructure. The truth is that without funding, research cannot go on, says Vice Provost for Research James Siedow. So as unemployment rates, storefronts and con-
versations serve as daily reminders of the downtrodden state of the economy, researchers are ever hopeful that pumping funds into labs and infrastructure will rejuvenate American science and create lasting jobs. Siedow has held his post for eight years, but the past six months have been especially busy, he says with a chuckle. Months ago, as the University was first preparing for the stimulus bill, details of the NIH and the NSF’s distribution plans were just beginning to emerge. Unsure of how the stimulus’s effects would unfold in universities, administrators were quick to dampen soaring hopes for research funding. The message from the University is that the stimulus bill has never been implemented before and the future cannot be predicted, Siedow said during an interview in March. “There’s some uncertainty in what the cliff’s going to look like, how big it will be, whether it will be steep or a sloping road. It’s just not certain how the money’s going to
play out.” Put simply, don’t believe it until you see it. Now, months later, grant proposals are being submitted by the hundreds and funding is starting to roll into the Office of Research Support. From the looks of it, Duke is in “pretty good standing,” Siedow says. Seven hundred proposals have been submitted to the NIH and the NSF, and more will be in as this issue goes to press. In addition, The Office of Human Resources has received more than 1,600 applications for jobs that will open up for new ARRAfunded projects. And then comes a flurry of more work, Siedow says. After funds have been distributed, the ARRA response team must seek approval for human and animal subjects protocol and report spending and research progress quarterly, not annually as is usual. It’s all hard work, but he hopes the effort will pay off. “Basically, there’s a lot of money in play right now,” he says. “And there has never been
a better time in the last 20 years to apply for funding.” But although he seems confident about being able to secure a slice of the funds, Siedow is quick to downplay expectations. Even amid celebrations over renewed federal investment and accepted grant proposals, weighty questions about longterm support loom. Months ago, Siedow warned, “Don’t expect these funds to remain. Researchers shouldn’t become absolutely dependent on that money to keep the lights on.” Siedow, like so many, is still grasping for a pulse on the economy to get a better idea of the post-stimulus trajectory of funding agency budgets. For now, Duke researchers are scrambling to submit grant proposals while funds are flowing, and so far, they have “absolutely stepped up to the plate,” Siedow says. “They deserve so much credit.... We really have a faculty that proves its willingness to seek funding for the University.”
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THE THESPIAN • ELLARY PORTERFIELD Ellary Porterfield has a knack for making major life decisions on whims—and she’s got a lot to show for it. When she was 12, the junior took 30 minutes to put together two monologues for a nationwide talent contest, and ended up winning the Junior-Teen Acting competition. Now, the young actress has a slew of notable projects under her belt, including the movies The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio and Sugar, plus the CW’s O.C. riff, Hidden Palms. As a high school senior, she applied to Duke two days before the application deadline. Now, she’s at one of the most competitive colleges in the country. Entering the entertainment industry and attending Duke are two events that Porterfield says have immensely shaped the person she is today. But it is also a reflection of who she has always been—a girl in love with academia and acting. “It’s a weird place to be,” the Oregon native says of her current circumstances. “I’m here and loving it... but at the
same time I know what I want to do with my life, and that’s act and be involved in the entertainment industry.” Porterfield has put her acting career on hold in favor of getting a degree. The starlet filmed her last project, Sugar, the summer before her freshman year. Although she missed Orientation Week because of her filming obligations, she hasn’t missed much at Duke since. Porterfield notes that she feels a certain responsibility to dedicate herself to school because of the intensity and prestige of a Duke education. Although Porterfield admits that she sometimes becomes restless, she hasn’t had any regrets about going to college—a decision she made entirely on her own. “Duke has done a lot to strengthen me and I’ve met people I would’ve never met otherwise that have changed my life,” she says of her experience so far. That strength, along with her natural maturity, shows in the way Porterfield speaks about herself and her goals. She knows that her education will help her
both personally and in her acting profession, noting her desire to be a well-rounded individual. Her academic choices so far also reflect this philosophy. She’s majoring in International Comparative Studies and plans to complete the certificate in Film/Video/Digital Studies. Next year, Porterfield will study abroad in the Duke in France program, and plans to apply to the Duke in Los Angeles program for the spring. With her focus on academia, though, Porterfield has hesitated to use her acting talent at Duke. The budding actress has starred in a number of campus productions and is a member of the Antic Shakespeare Company at Duke. But whatever variety of things she may be trying and learning, Porterfield knows she’ll be heading down I-40 to Hollywood the minute she graduates. “I’m just itching to go to L.A.,” she says, “and delve into what I want to do with both feet—and nothing holding me back.” —LISA DU
THE SHOTCALLER • THADDEUS LEWIS win six games instead of seven. There’s Lewis, of course. He lost his best target in Eron Riley, but the Blue Devils replaced the wideout with budding superstars in Johnny Williams and Donovan Varner, and this year, Lewis has a better backfield than he’s ever had with Re’quan Boyette returning to the gridiron to join Jay Hollingsworth and Tony Jackson, not to mention a local four-star recruit, Desmond Scott, who has the Duke fan base foaming at the mouth. It’s another person who could drive this offense, and really, it’s a set of people: Duke’s coaching staff. A starting quarterback for three seasons, Lewis has thrown away his playbook after every one. New system his freshman year. New offensive coordinator his sophomore year. Whole new kit and caboodle his junior year. This campaign, his last one, is more about repetition than memorization, about mentoring Sean Renfree, the redshirt freshman who will take the reins next season, about striving for the only laurel that really means anything and finally, about adding another descriptor: the quarterback who changed a program. —BEN COHEN
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Don’t look now—you probably haven’t the last three years—but Duke’s quarterback is about to be the proud owner of perhaps the most decorated football resume in school history. He’s also emerging as one of the best quarterbacks ever to play in Wallace Wade Stadium, and there’s a difference. And if you’re finally paying attention, if you’ve managed to combat apathy for David Cutcliffe’s squad for just a few lousy paragraphs, then the fact that Thaddeus Lewis will finally get to enjoy continuity in offenses would make anyone wonder: Is this the year? Not Lewis’ breakout year—that came last season, when he was named to the All-ACC second team and paced an offense that was better than its 4-8 record—but something else: A chance to lead the Blue Devils to their breakout year, the installment of a team that vindicates Cutcliffe’s promise to revive a football culture and, more important, see results translate on Saturday afternoons from September to November, December and January if you’re a dreamer. For once, such a bowl berth might be possible, and it would have been more attainable if Duke only had to
TO W E R V I E W G R A P H I C B Y B A I S H I W U
THE FUTURE • SOCIAL NETWORKING When my ninth grade teacher explained the theory of “six degrees of separation,” I was skeptical. The 14-year-old me couldn’t fathom how 6 billion people were only six relationships apart. I was fascinated and in disbelief that I could track the number of different relationships that linked me to my teen idols. Little did I know that the challenge of finding your relationship to some obscure person in the world would soon disappear. I’m one of those wary Facebook users who attempts to only friend those people I have met. Yet even with my stingy friending practices, I have accumulated more than 600 “friends.” Still, it is common for people to have upward of 1,000 friends—and never have I seen that word deteriorate so much. Today, those
six degrees of separation are virtually gone: finding a relationship with someone is as simple as friending them on Facebook or following them on Twitter. Elisabeth Sloan, a junior, uses online social networking programs—like Facebook—but says she has seen a change in how people use them over the past few years. “I mean, I guess when I think about it, not everyone on my friends list is my friend or even knows me in real life,” she said. “That’s a little weird, but it’s important to have these social networking tools to be able to communicate with people all over the world.” She added that she also has noticed that many of the sites now help companies get in direct contact with consumers through advertising and marketing.
With the development of Web 2.0, social media outlets and networking sites have become increasingly prominent. The second generation of the Web focuses on communication, collaboration and the ease of information flow, all of which enable greater social networking—making it actually “World Wide.” According to a Pew Internet & American Life Project conducted earlier this year, 37 percent of people visit their primary social networking site on a daily basis, and 75 percent of people visit at least once per week (if not more often). Just today I got an update on rapper Xzibit’s whereabouts—globetrotting in Spain, evidently. Social networking, however, goes far beyond celebrity estalking and destroying the Six
Degrees of Kevin Bacon game. And individuals and college students aren’t solely responsible for this phenomenon. Very recently, marketing companies, advertising agencies and even Fortune 500 businesses have all jumped onto the social media and networking bandwagon. Burger King created a Facebook application—The Whopper Sacrifice—that encouraged users to defriend 10 people in order to receive a free Whopper. The result? 233,906 friendships were ended. Whatever the future might be for social networking and Web 2.0—whether it become commercialized or is used for purely social interaction—we can be certain of one thing: Kevin Bacon would be proud. —CHRISTINE HALL
THE HOPEFUL •
DEWITT WALLACE CENTER
BY RYAN BROWN
or journalism junkies, moonlighting as Duke students, the message from the news industry these past few years has been clear: Turn back. Jump ship. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Let’s put it this way—if you want to be a journalist right now, that’s fine, but maybe you should try something where the odds are a little more in your favor. Like winning the lottery. Or getting struck by lightning. Or setting the curve on an Econ 51 exam. And with newspapers across the country battling with declining revenue and dwindling readership, cutting staffs and even closing their doors in droves, the reasons to choose different career path aren’t exactly mysterious. “You wouldn’t believe what you have to go through to get a job,” says Janie Lorber, a 2008 graduate who now writes for The New York Times. “There’s absolutely no jobs in journalism. It’s depressing. And the money is really bad. There’s just a lot of talented kids who are going to be better rewarded in other industries.” For Lorber and other students whose dreams are written on newsprint, the future looks flimsy, and the siren’s lure of law school or the comforts of an investment
banking salary are never far out of mind. But not everyone at the University is predicting the apocalypse just yet. Another group of journalism nuts on campus has its sights set on reshaping the future of the struggling industry. And if they succeed, it might just be enough to give the AP style once more. The DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy in the Terry Sanford School of Public Policy cuts a strange profile on campus. At a university dedicated to the liberal arts, where a journalism school is as foreign an idea as a degree in firefighting, the center teaches students to study the news. Inside an institute of public policy, where the humanities, social sciences and quantitative studies tangle into one of those “interdisciplinary fields” touted in college guides, DWC offers know-how in the age-old field of simple writing. And most of all, in a journalistic world convinced of its own doom, DWC sees something more. But before it can think about the future of the news, DWC has its own future to consider. Despite a dizzying slate of responsibilities that includes conducting research, hosting “media
fellows”—visiting professional journalists from around the world—and offering the undergraduate certificate in policy journalism and media studies, DWC has long lacked a prominent presence on campus. But today, at the very moment when it seems a journalism institute would be teetering on the brink of nonexistence, the center wants to give itself a bigger name. “What we need to know is how to make journalism sustainable,” says Jay Hamilton, the center’s director. “That’s different than the work that we’ve done in the past, but it’s very timely.” Hamilton’s plan for the center is farreaching and demands that DWC take a leadership role in initiatives like nonprofit ownership of newspapers, extending media outreach to low-income communities and computational journalism—a computerassisted genre of reporting applies algorithms to data—such as public records on crime or government spending—to discover irregularities and fuel investigative journalism pieces, freeing journalists from the time-consuming work of sifting through data themselves. In the end, Hamilton’s philosophy is
down from his position at the Post and come to teach at Duke. “I’ve become convinced that the best place to discuss the future of journalism is no longer newsrooms but is increasingly becoming universities and foundations that had traditionally not offered very much to journalism in terms of ideas,” Bennett says. “I think [DWC is] in position to become a national leader in thinking about the future of news media.” That’s just what leaders at DWC hope: for it to become an incubator for the kind of ideas that will save journalism from extinction. Cohen and Bennett will be the workhorses of their effort—writing, researching and leading conferences. Both Bennett and Cohen will also teach classes to undergraduates, but as DWC officials are quick to point out, they’re not pre-professional classes for reporters. And with good reason. Remember that whole problem where jobs for reporters don’t exist anymore? As Ken Rogerson, the director of the media certificate for undergraduates, puts it, “We’re teaching about the media, but we’re not necessarily training journalists. Maybe in some cases, but not necessarily.”
What they are doing for the undergraduate population is something more nebulous. A wide sampling of Duke students take the certificate, and for varying reasons. Aspiring journalists study the bylines they hope to someday replicate, while those not planning to pursue a career in journalism learn to pick apart the news that they will be reading for the rest of their lives. Lorber says the certificate program helped fuel her interest in journalism, but she supplemented her coursework with internships and freelance writing and applied for more than 20 entry-level positions and internships after graduating. “The program is really good,” she says, “but most of the technical and practical work still has to be done outside of school.” Plus, she maintains, finding work in journalism is still a tooth-and-nail fight, no matter what your qualifications are. But there’s one man who still has his journalism job on lock. And Jay Hamilton aims to keep it that way—by ignoring those ready to give up on newspapers and tackling the hard questions of the industry’s survival. Will it be enough to save newsprint from obliteration? It’s a tall order, but at DeWitt Wallace, they’re not ready to stop the presses just yet.
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simple: The media is evolving, and journalism must stay fit to stay alive. That means embracing new ideas to create and transmit news, and the people who are making those ideas happen. Enter DWC’s new faculty appointment, Sarah Cohen. A long-time reporter for the Washington Post, she won a Pulitzer in 2002 for a series of investigative pieces on the failures of D.C.’s child welfare services and carries a resume stacked with other teaching and reporting credentials. She was also among the earliest proponents of computational journalism and is one of the emerging field’s most well-respected experts. In 2007, for instance, she used computerassisted reporting to sift through stacks of farm subsidy data and uncover glaring abuses of the system in a collection of Post pieces titled, “Harvesting Cash.” At Duke she will be joined by her Post colleague Philip Bennett. He, too, carries an impressive stack of credentials and experience. A 30-year veteran of reporting, he led to the Post to ten Pulitzer Prizes over the past four years as the paper’s managing editor, including a record six in 2008 alone. But this year he made the surprising decision to step
Before it lost to eventual national champion Syracuse in the Final Four, Duke beat North Carolina for the third time in a season on May 17. COURTNEY DOUGLAS
rearview mirror President Richard Brodhead speaks at a ceremony in the Duke Chapel to honor the lives of John Hope and Aurelia Whittington Franklin June 11. MICH A EL N ACLER IO
roadside wisdom REYNOLDS PRICE
AGE: 76 AUTHOR, ENGLISH PROF. Duke’s resident wordsmith is fresh off publishing his most recent memoir, “Ardent Spirits: Leaving Home, Coming Back,” detailing his experience as a Rhodes scholar and young Duke professor. The North Carolinian shares his thoughts about the importance of loyalty, his literary ambitions and his current state of mind.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? The loss of a child. Where would you like to live? Rural Cornwallis Rd., Durham, N.C. What is your idea of earthly happiness? Enduring marriage to a steadily rewarding partner (I’ve never married or been companioned for long).
What would you have liked to be? A better man. Your most marked characteristic? Investigative talking. The quality you most like in a man? Physical beauty. The quality you most like in a woman? Physical beauty.
The quality you most admire in a man? Loyalty.
What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes? Losing my mind.
The quality you most admire in a woman? Loyalty.
What would you like to be? The most memorable American writer of my time.
Your favorite virtue? Loyalty.
What is your favorite color? Dark blue.
What is your favorite occupation? Writing memorably.
Who are your favorite prose writers? Ernest Hemingway, James Salter.
Who are your favorite heroines of fiction? Emma Bovary, Daisy Buchanan. Who are your heroes in real life? Will Price Sr., Harold Parker (of the Duke history department). What event in military history do you most admire? The Normandy landing. What natural gift would you most like to possess? Playing the piano by ear. How would you like to die? Painlessly in my sleep. What is your present state of mind? In pain but at ease. What is your motto? You’ll only regret your economies.
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