Raleigh | Durham | Chapel Hill May 4, 2022
by Madeline Crone, p. 16
Raleigh W Durham W Chapel Hill VOL. 39 NO. 18
Dissimilar South's first full-length release, Tricky Things, releases Friday, May 16, p. 19 PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA
CONTENTS NEWS 6
District court judge Pat Evans draws ire from those in her courtroom and attorneys and activists for what they say is her disrespectful behavior. BY THOMASI MCDONALD
Conservatives are creating a culture of fear in an effort to unseat Orange County's progressive school board members. BY JASMINE GALLUP 11 Candidates for the Carrboro Town Council's open seat have different ideas about how the town should grow. BY LENA GELLER 13 The race for the Wake County DA's seat is getting uglier. BY JANE PORTER
ARTS & CULTURE 15 Across the Triangle, small business owners are harnessing a delectable new tool: Food Tik Tok. BY RACHEL SIMON 16 Phil Cook and Lena Mae Perry's friendship grew into Stay Prayed Up, a gospel documentary that captures the vibrant regional spirit of traditional music. BY MADELINE CRONE 18
Roger Mitchell's final film, The Duke, is a charming caper about a legendary 1961 art heist. BY GLENN MCDONALD
19 On Tricky Things, Chapel Hill band Dissimilar South charts a fresh, confident course forward. BY NICK MCGREGOR
THE REGULARS 3 Backtalk
20 Culture Calendar
COVER Photo by D.L. Anderson
WE M A DE THIS PUBLIS H ER S Wake County
Arts & Culture Editor Sarah Edwards
Staff Writers Jasmine Gallup Thomasi McDonald Lena Geller
EDITOR I AL
Copy Editor Iza Wojciechowska
Durham/Orange/ Chatham Counties
Editor in Chief Jane Porter
May 4, 2022
C RE ATI V E
A D V E RTI S I N G
Wake County MaryAnn Kearns
Annie Maynard Graphic Designer
Jon Fuller Staff Photographer
Durham/Orange/ Chatham Counties John Hurld Sales Digital Director & Classifieds Mathias Marchington
C I RC U L ATI O N Berry Media Group
Managing Editor Geoff West
Contributors Madeline Crone, Grant Golden, Spencer Griffith, Lucas Hubbard, Brian Howe, Lewis Kendall, Kyesha Jennings, Glenn McDonald, Gabi Mendick, Anna Mudd, Dan Ruccia, Rachel Simon, Harris Wheless
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BACK TA L K
Last week, we released our endorsements for the 2022 primary, including for the local races in Wake, Durham, and Orange Counties. We endorsed incumbent Wake DA Lorrin Freeman’s opponent, Damon Chetson, over Freeman largely based on Freeman’s stance on seeking the death penalty. Reader MARY WILLOUGHBY, a Freeman supporter, had some thoughts about our endorsement.
I read through your most interesting endorsement for Wake DA. The compliments to Lorrin Freeman were kind and well founded—based on her long history of public service and accountability to this county. Who is Damon Chetson? A lifelong Republican who previously worked at Goldwater Institute who you currently label progressive? As a progressive myself, I find the label on such a man offensive. Maybe best to call him an “opportunist” in a race that is often overlooked by the general public. Freeman, as you likely know, spent many years as the Clerk of Courts, running literally hundreds of thousands of cases through the system smoothly. Truly a thankless job—no one sees the work behind the scenes and it takes a lot of it! When she became District Attorney, Freeman also created a roundtable group in Wake County of all the major players in mental healthcare locally (hospitals, non-profits, counselors, public services) to discuss best ways to provide services to those suffering from mental health illnesses but stuck cycling through medical institutions and jail. What a visionary. Wake County also has more deferral programs than any other district in the state. When I think progressive, I don’t consider simply the words that someone says but am more interested in the actions they have the capabilities of taking. With Damon Chetson’s unusual history and lack of experience managing a large office (the DA’s office for the largest county in the state!), I would view his talk as just that—talk. Was he advocating at the legislature for legalization of marijuana? Or did he advocate to end the death penalty via NCGA as well? Has he worked to deliver needed care to the mentally ill citizens of our county, about whom he purports to be so concerned? If he has performed even one of these actions, I sure haven’t heard about it. Reader KATIE O’NEAL PATTERSON had some thoughts, too: As a progressive publication, how can you in good conscience endorse Damon Chetson? As a progressive and a female, a man who openly referred to himself as “Raleigh’s sex crime lawyer” and used his website to help sex offenders is the furthest person I want sitting in the district attorney’s seat. I fail to see what in Damon Chetson’s past experience warrants any kind of endorsement from your publication. If he has done anything for the progessive cause, why not mention it in your endorsement? Is the entire argument for Damon that he is NOT Lorrin? Because that is pretty much how it reads. Lorrin was the first female district attorney here in Wake County and arguably one of the most powerful DAs in the state. Where is the recognition she deserves for blazing that trail for women? She fights for women (like the two women who were tortured and murdered on video in that double homicide your article referenced but conveniently left the details out of) and instead you endorse yet another white male. Not just any white male—a former vice president at the Goldwater Institute whose only progressive experience is that he canvassed for Bernie Sanders? Is he at the legislature working to legalize marijuana? Doing anything to work on encouraging the legislature to get rid of the death penalty? Is he doing anything to promote the progressive causes you are holding against Lorrin? You’re against capital punishment and I respect that opinion. But to endorse Damon, given his history and lack of experience, solely on the fact that he is against capital punishment is wrong and irresponsible. At best you should have declined to endorse either. This man does not deserve this job and if you were unable to write an endorsement of him that includes any positive thing he’s done for the progressive cause, you know it as well as I do. See our story on the Wake District Attorney’s race this week on page 13.
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May 4, 2022
RESOLUTION TO ADOPT TIME FOR COUNTING OF ABSENTEE BALLOTS May 17, 2022 ELECTION At a meeting duly called and held on the 17th day of February 2022, at 2445 S. Alston Avenue in Durham, North Carolina, the Durham County Board of Elections passed the following resolution: WHEREAS the county board of elections is authorized upon adoption of a resolution to begin counting all absentee ballots between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Election Day; WHEREAS such resolution also may provide for an additional meeting following the day of the election and prior to the day of canvass to count absentee ballots received pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. §163-231(b)(1) or (2); WHEREAS the times for these meetings will be at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17th and Thursday, May 26th for the purpose of counting absentee ballots;
Durham County Board of Elections
Tax Hikes BY JASMINE GALLUP email@example.com
s Raleigh's housing market booms and gentrification takes hold, Black and brown residents have been hit the hardest. From 2019 to 2021, as home values rose, property taxes in southeast Raleigh also shot up 20–23 percent, accord-
ing to data from the Wake County Department of Tax Administration. The increase was even more dramatic from 2016 to 2020, with data from Habitat from Humanity of Wake County showing similar areas experiencing property tax increases of 50–75 percent.
WHEREAS the location of these meetings shall be held at the BOE warehouse, located at 2445 S. Alston Avenue, Durham, NC 27713;
Black share of population in 2020 3%
WHEREAS the Board shall not announce the results of the count before 7:30 p.m. on Election Day; WHEREAS these meetings are open to all who may want to attend; and, WHEREAS the adoption of this resolution is in compliance with N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 163-234 (2) and (11) and will be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county within the statutory time frame. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Durham County Board of Elections hereby unanimously approves the time for Counting of Absentee Ballots as set forth above. This the 17th day of February 2022. —Dawn Y. Baxton, Chairman 4
May 4, 2022
Percent change in property tax from 2019 to 2021
Sources: US Census Bureau and Wake County Tax Administration
Voter Guide State & Federal U.S. Senate D Primary: Cheri Beasley R Primary: No endorsement US House: Congressional District 4 D Primary: Nida Allam R Primary: No endorsement US House Congressional District 13
Supreme Court, Seat 5
NC House District 35
R Primary: No endorsement
R Primary: No endorsement
NC Senate District 13
NC House District 37
D Primary: Lisa Grafstein
D Primary: Elizabeth Parent
R Primary: No endorsement
NC House District 40
NC Senate District 18
D Primary: Joe John
R Primary: No endorsement
NC House District 50
NC Senate District 22
D Primary: Renee Price
R Primary: No endorsement
NC House District 56 (Vote for one)
D Primary: Sam Searcy
NC Senate District 23
R Primary: No endorsement
D Primary: Graig Meyer
NC Court of Appeals, Seat 9
R Primary: No endorsement
NC House District 33
NC Court of Appeals, Seat 11
D Primary: Rosa Gill
R Primary: No endorsement
NC House District 34
NC District Court 14, Seat 3
R Primary: No endorsement
Jonah Garson Allen Buansi NC House District 66 D Primary: Sarah Crawford NC District Court 14, Seat 1 Dave Hall
THE INDY T ENDORSEMEN ISSUE
Wake County Board of Commissioners, District 1 (Vote for one)
Durham District Attorney
Donald Mial Shaun Pollenz Wake County Board of Commissioners, District 3 Cindy Sinkez Wake County Sheriff D Primary: Willie Rowe R Primary: No endorsement Wake County District Attorney Damon Chetson Cary Town Council At-Large Not endorsing Cary Town Council District A Not endorsing Cary Town Council District C
Satana Deberry Durham Clerk of Court (Vote for one) Archie Smith Aminah Thompson Durham Sheriff Clarence Birkhead Durham Board of Education, District 1 Emily Chávez
Durham Board of Education, District B Millicent Rogers NC Superior Court District 15B, Seat 1 No endorsement
Orange County Orange/Chatham County District Attorney (Vote for one) Jeff Nieman
Durham Board of Education, District 2
Durham Board of Education, District 3 Matt Sears Durham Board of Education, District 4 Natalie Beyer
Orange County Register of Deeds Orange County Board of Education (Four seats open, we endorsed two candidates) Sarah Smylie Ashley Wheeler
Carrboro Town Council Eliazar Posada
Not endorsing INDYweek.com
May 4, 2022
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Forthcoming Judgment Some Durham residents praise Chief District Court Judge Pat Evans’s brand of tough justice, but for others, it feels more like disrespect. BY THOMASI MCDONALD firstname.lastname@example.org
ne of Durham chief district court judge Pat Evans’s courtroom decisions was cast in the glare of a critical public spotlight last month when The News & Observer reported that Evans denied a Duke University student a no-contact order that would have given the student protection from a male student who she says initiated nonconsensual sexual contact and stalking. The female student described two October encounters with the male student in his dorm room, including one when she spent the night there. She testified that the student repeatedly bit her breasts and penetrated her with his fingers without permission. The young woman submitted photos and in her testimony said they showed 10 to 20 bruises from the bites, the N&O reported. Before issuing her ruling, Evans said it was a difficult case and that the “young lady is obviously in distress.” But she added that she was “reminded of the reason for marriage and commitment,” according to a copy of the court transcript the INDY obtained. “Now these are old-fashioned principles, but there is a rationale behind them because when we do things, because we have the opportunity or you have the free choice, you can choose what you’re going to do, but you cannot choose the consequences of those actions,” Evans said in court. “Therefore again, we have a young lady in obvious distress. We have a young man whose life could be changed forever as a result of my decision.” The female student’s attorney, Kerry Sutton, told the N&O that it was “classic victim blaming.” Sutton last week told the INDY that her client was “hurt.” “What it tells me is that there is a whole class of litigants who shouldn’t be in front of that judge if she feels that strongly.” 6
May 4, 2022
vans was first elected as a district court judge in 2002. She’s facing a formidable challenge this election season from Kevin Jones, who has earned endorsements from the city’s two most influential political action committees, the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People and the People’s Alliance, to preside over District 14’s Seat 3. Jones has also outraised Evans by $11,823 to Evans’s $1,500, as of December 31. As the INDY researched this story, Bull City journalists, residents, and members of Durham’s judicial community unfailingly posed one question in their descriptions of Evans’s courtroom behavior: “Have you talked with Muffin?” “Muffin” is Andrèa Hudson, a longtime Bull City resident and executive director of the NC Community Bail Fund of Durham. She told the INDY this week she’s been waiting for someone to run against Evans since 2014. “She’s a tyrant,” Hudson says of Evans’s courtroom behavior. “I haven’t seen any compassion in her sentencing, or how she talks to folk, even in juvenile court. She says she’s a devout Christian. But to me, when she looks at Black men or Black women, it’s like she’s disgusted and upset that they are there for any reason. She’s a Black woman and it’s like she’s offended that they are in court.” Hudson says she was on probation in 2014 for a traffic violation when she served 30 days in jail after she was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. The day she got out of jail she had to return to court and stand before Pat Evans. “My attorney told her I just did 30 days [in jail],” Hudson says. “Pat told me, ‘If you did 30 days, what’s 10 more,’ and sent me back to jail.” Upset, Hudson says she started yelling that she had to pick her eight-year-old child up from school.
Judge Pat Evans and Clay Aiken
PHOTO BY JENNY WARBURG
“Pat told the court clerk to call child protective services to pick him up,” Hudson says. “My daughter ran out of the courtroom to pick him up. My child stayed out of school the whole 10 days I was locked up because she was afraid child protective services would take him away.” Hudson’s work with the community bail fund includes court watching. She says it was while working as a court watcher with the nonprofit Spirit House in 2014 through 2016 that she realized that what happened to her in Evans’s courtroom was not an isolated incident. But Evans has her defenders. They include young attorneys who are making a decisive footprint in the city, older legal colleagues, her fellow candidates campaigning together on the “Better Bull City” slate, along with Durham activists and residents who see her in the streets trying to stop gun violence. Evans, they say, is cut from the same fabric as longtime, no-nonsense Durham judge Carolyn Johnson, who in 1986 became the second Black woman elected to the bench, with the campaign slogan “Firm and Fair.” Evans declined to comment for this story after receiving phone calls and an email from the INDY. A cursory look at Evans’s social media presence reveals a longtime, trusted public servant who has earned respect among residents in some of the city’s communities hardest hit by gun violence. Evans is frequently lauded by Durham mayor Elaine O’Neal as a person making a difference in the streets during a period of near-unprecedented gun violence. One of Evans’s colleagues and peers is Karen Shields, who started practicing law
in Durham in 1974 and who served as a district court judge from 1975 until 1980. Evans was an assistant district attorney, while O’Neal was a young attorney. Shields, who now works as a defense attorney, endorsed Evans and told the INDY this week that “Evans is a good judge.” “I was a judge, and I don’t say this lightly,” Shields says. “I know Judge Evans and I have watched her over the years. I have been in her courtroom and have seen how she administers justice.” Shields says when people are not satisfied with how justice is dispensed it leads to dissatisfaction and criticism of a judge’s decision. She adds that even among fellow judges there might be disagreement with how a case was handled, but it’s also important to consider a judge’s entire record and not “base it on one, two, or three cases.” Shields questioned the agendas of the people and media outlets who are criticizing Evans’s administration of justice, and wondered why they aren’t “spending time keeping folks out of jail” or addressing “mass incarceration, not whether a person smiles or doesn’t smile.” “The North Star is always fairness,” Shields says.
his is what it’s all about,” Evans said on April 9 while standing in front of a cache of long rifles and handguns that were turned in as part of the Bull City Strong Gun Buyback program she organized with Durham sheriff Clarence Birkhead. “Stop the violence,” Evans said. “We have to take our streets back and make them safe.”
Former Durham police chief Steve Chalmers told the INDY that he’s not familiar with Evans’s work in the courtroom but lauded her work with justice and gang-involved youth since 2016 with several community groups. Those groups include Men of Vision; Women of Vision, of which she is a charter member; and New Durham Vision, through which she facilitates meetings between justice and gang-involved residents as a means of addressing violence and providing them with support. “I know where her heart is, and her passion for this community,” Chalmers says. But nearly a dozen of Evans’s critics, including activists and attorneys, told the INDY that while presiding from the bench she doesn’t respect young women attorneys or newcomers. She makes negative comments under her breath about the people appearing before her and berates prosecutors and defense attorneys. As the county’s chief district court judge, Evans supervises the county’s magistrates and is in charge of the district court judges’ schedules. She has been accused of scheduling judges based on favoritism. “The judges she doesn’t like she schedules in places where they have no impact,” one young woman attorney told the INDY. “She has a different demeanor out in public,” the attorney added. “To the voters she presents as a sweet old lady. But she’s hell on wheels.” Another woman attorney told the INDY that Evans “criminalizes people’s feelings and places them in contempt” of court. “She locks people up longer because she doesn’t like their attitude. She has put lawyers in contempt too. She doesn’t discriminate.” Most of the incumbent judge’s detractors—particularly attorneys—declined to make their names public because they did not want to cross any ethical boundaries but mostly feared having to go before Evans if she wins another term. “If she wins, their clients will suffer,” Hudson says. “They know she will retaliate. They can’t say that, but believe me, I asked. They say, ‘If I say something and she wins, I won’t be able to win another case in her courtroom.’” Shea Ramirez owns ShBella Dreamz, a recreational center along US 15-501 that focuses on personal empowerment, self-esteem, and confidence. Ramirez says Evans presided over a case in 2017 when her then 18-year-old daughter, who is gay, was served a no-contact order at the behest of the mother of a 17-year-old girl who was her daughter’s girlfriend while they were both high school students “The woman didn’t want my daughter turning her daughter gay,” Ramirez told
the INDY, adding that Evans “didn’t really comment” about her child’s sexuality, “but how she treated her—I knew where she was coming from.” “Pat went there,” Ramirez says. “She was nasty and rude. Her whole demeanor was disrespectful and rude.” Ramirez says she went to court several times with her daughter before the other mom dropped the case. “Don’t say you’re a Christian and you can’t do the one thing God commanded each and every one of us to do: love people,” Ramirez says of Evans. “God is love.” Questions about whether Evans could rule fairly with cases involving members of the LGBTQ community came up again early last month when she posted photos on social media about her attendance at an event to receive a Domestic Violence Heroes Award with Lt. Governor Mark Robinson, who made public comments calling transgenderism and homosexuality “filth.” Evans is campaigning with a group of candidates who have come together as “Better Bull City.” The other candidates include Jonathan Wilson, who is challenging Satana Deberry for district attorney; Jessica Major, who is vying for a district court seat held by incumbent Dave Hall; school board candidates Jasper Fleming and Donald Hughes; and Clay Aiken, the openly gay 2003 American Idol runner-up who is running for the US House seat in District 4. In a statement to the INDY this week, Aiken said that he’s a Christian and is disappointed that “anyone would assume someone to be anti-LGBT based on their Christian faith.” “The God I worship loves all people, and in every encounter I have had with Pat Evans through the years, I’ve experienced only the same type of love and acceptance from her,” Aiken said. Aiken added that Evans was the very first elected official in Durham to call and congratulate him when he entered the US House District 4 race. “I’ve seen her be a champion, a supporter, and a friend to me and to many LGBT people, including her own openly gay son,” Aiken said. “She’s shared wisdom from her decades of public service with me and other aspiring LGBT leaders, like Donald Hughes. I have never once felt anything but loved and respected by Judge Evans.” In an April 8 social media post Evans dances in her judicial robes while demanding folks “put some respect on her name.” Activists, residents, and members of the local legal community who say they have been berated and brow-beaten by Evans ask that the sentiment be reciprocal. W
Defend the Eno
A Message from the Nygard Family Speak out against the development planned next to West Point on the Eno City Park, the most intrusive development ever proposed beside Eno parkland. Let Mayor O’Neal and the Durham City Council know that you oppose this. Ask them to do everything in their power to stop it, and let them know you have their back. Send a letter to the Mayor and City Council. Or have your group, club, team, or organization issue a resolution advocating the preservation of Black Meadow Ridge with the request that there be no development. Stand up for the preservation of the unspoiled forest on the ridge and for protecting the historic Holman Cemetery at the top of the ridge. Ask the City to add Black Meadow Ridge, which embodies African American history at West Point, to the Cultural Heritage Park by the Eno. The Eno River will no longer be a wild river in Durham if this development is built. It would cover almost a mile in the river valley on the park’s south border. People will not want to swim or wade in the river with run-off from 376 housing units that will cause pollution and sedimentation. Act now to protect the watershed and the nationally significant aquatic habitat and wildlife corridor at West Point. The federally threatened Neuse River Waterdog and the other rare species the Eno still harbors cannot endure if their habitat is degraded. The quality of the drinking water in Raleigh’s Falls Lake and the future Teer Quarry in Durham is also at stake. Durham and the Triangle region must not accept this environmental travesty. You can help keep the Eno a wild river by telling the City how much you care and urging the City to take action! Go to enoriver.org or blackmeadowridge.org These sites have posted the list ~ “Reasons to Save Black Meadow Ridge,” the contact emails, and more. ~ paid for by Erik, Kerstin & Jenny Nygard, family of the late Holger & Margaret Nygard, who did not falter from 1969-1975 in the battle to save West Point on Eno
May 4, 2022
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A Culture of Fear Conservatives are creating a culture of fear in an effort to unseat Orange County’s most progressive school board members and change the direction of education in the county. BY JASMINE GALLUP email@example.com
edophiles. Groomers. Communists. These are names angry parents, railing against mask mandates, LGBTQIA+-inclusive books, and classroom discussions of racism, have called members of the Orange County Board of Education. For the past two years, run-of-the-mill conservatives and right-wing extremists have turned out in force to decry the school district’s progressive policies, wearing T-shirts that read, “Educate, don’t indoctrinate,” and echoing the motto of “parental rights” group Moms for Liberty: “I don’t co-parent with the government.” Tensions peaked in September when some 50 members of the Proud Boys, a white nationalist hate group, attended a board meeting in uniform, prompting the board to pass a resolution opposing “incidents of hostile and racist behavior” and consider measures to buffer schools from political protests. That hasn’t dampened conservatives’ fervor. As the election approaches, some liberals are worried about the momentum groups like Moms for Liberty and the Education First Alliance have built among voters in Orange County. Local members of these groups are active at OCS board meetings, showing up weekly to criticize the board’s actions. Now, these groups’ members, along with members of local parent protest group OCS Truth, are campaigning to elect a slate of conservative candidates to the board who are expected to reverse progressive policies. With four of seven seats up for grabs, the future of education in Orange County is on the line. Republicans and unaffiliated voters could flip the current progressive majority, especially as board members Brenda Stephens and Hillary MacKenzie, whose terms end this year, are not seeking reelection. Of the seven candidates running, three are conservative—Bethni Lee, Penny Carter King, and Anne Purcell. Some hold worryingly extreme views. 8
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What’s Happening in Orange County? During the past two years, a quorum of board members—Stephens, MacKenzie, Carrie Doyle, Jennifer Moore, and Sarah Smylie—have passed some of the most progressive school system policies in the state. The board’s gender support policy, approved in 2020, outlines how staff should support trans students by using preferred names and pronouns, addressing health and social needs, and preventing discrimination and harrasment. Conservatives have attacked the policy, saying it allows school staff to keep secrets from parents about their child’s gender identity. In fact, the policy attempts to balance support for trans students with “the requirement that parents be kept informed about their children.” “In some cases, transgender students may not want their parents to know about their transgender status,” the policy states. “These situations must be addressed on a case-by-case basis. The paramount consideration in such situations is the health and safety of the student.” To promote racial equity, the board has worked to reduce suspensions, reduce student proficiency gaps between minority and white students, make schools more responsive to alternative learning styles, and hire more minority teachers. Last year, board members also voted to change the names of two schools originally named after people with racist ties. Most recently, the board voted unanimously to retain LGBTQIA+-inclusive books Gender Queer, Lawn Boy, and Out of Darkness in school libraries. Moms for Liberty and OCS Truth campaigned to ban those books. Board members Will Atherton and Bonnie Hauser joined the progressive cohort on that vote.
PHOTO VIA UNSPLASH
An Incumbent’s Perspective Atherton, who is running for re-election, has been relatively quiet about his decisions to vote “yes” on the gender support policy and retention of LGBTQIA+-themed books. In INDY Week’s candidate questionnaire, he simply stated he voted “to support families and students.” “Everybody seems to want to make this election about books and whether you support LGBTQIA+ students,” Atherton told the INDY. “Equity is about making sure every student is getting what they need. It’s about making sure our schools are welcoming, inclusive.” Although Atherton and another candidate, school resource officer Andrè Richmond, have received some support from conservative groups, they each espouse progressive ideas. “I am not a conservative,” Atherton says, adding that people should look at his record of voting “yes” on progressive issues. “I am not running on a campaign of ‘change.’ What I want to do is go forward and improve [our policies] as we’re coming out of the pandemic.” Atherton says he will focus on students’ academic success and retention of teachers. He says the district needs to continue work to reduce racial disparities between students and disavows the idea that critical race theory is taught in schools. Richmond, who is campaigning on school safety, did not respond to requests for comment from the INDY, but did talk about his platform last month during a ‘Meet the Candidates’ roundtable discus-
sion hosted by Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce. Richmond favors letting school administrators handle student discipline and sending students who commit crimes to diversion programs rather than juvenile detention, he said. “If a child does something wrong, we normally allow the schools to deal with the situation first. And if it’s a repeated offense, then we get involved and we send them through diversion programs, we try to get them help,” Richmond said during the roundtable event. “We’re not here to see how many kids we can lock up. We’re here as a resource, and we’re here to bridge the gap to make sure our kids understand how important law enforcement is.”
A Wave of Backlash The current school board’s progressive platform has drawn conservativ ire, prompting criticism from the Orange County GOP and spawning groups like OCS Truth. They, along with Moms for Liberty, encourage parents to monitor district curricula and speak up about lesson plans they don’t like, and file complaints about teachers who discuss race, gender, or sexuality in the classroom. “It’s actually a pretty scary situation,” says Christina Clark, a high school English teacher and president of the Orange County Association of Educators (OCAE). “We have this very active group that has been going to car lines… and giving parents misinformation about what our intentions are as far as teaching.”
The group has also passed out fliers in teacher mailboxes, Clark says. “That feels like a threat,” she says. “It’s like, ‘We’re watching you. We’re making sure you’re only teaching whatever they think is appropriate for students,’ rather than (trusting) our discretion as professional educators.” Without context, nationalist, racist, and transphobic arguments can come across as patriotic and protective. Moms for Liberty frames its attempts to ban books as efforts to protect children from pornography and sexual predators. Rightwing activists frame attempts to teach students about white supremacy as efforts to indoctrinate children, foment division, and take agency away from parents.
A Slate Of Conservative Candidates: Bethni Lee Bethni Lee, Penny Carter King, and Anne Purcell are three candidates right-wing groups support in this year’s race. Neither Lee nor Purcell responded to requests for comment from the INDY. King responded to the INDY via email. Lee, a stay-at-home mom and registered nurse, has adopted the arguments of Moms for Liberty, her top campaign contributor. Lee’s campaign manager, John Posthill, is also the vice chair of the Orange County branch of Moms for Liberty. During last month’s roundtable event, Lee said she entered the race because she was frustrated by the lack of support her daughter, who has Down syndrome, received at school during the COVID pandemic. Lee said the requirement that her daughter wear a face mask during speech therapy impeded her progress. She also said that mandates around COVID testing, mask-wearing, and participation in sports and extracurriculars should have been lifted last spring. When asked if she supported using LGBTQIA+ students’ preferred names and pronouns, Lee said no. “Just because a child says that they’re Batman doesn’t mean they’re Batman,” Lee said during the roundtable event. “I’m not gonna sit there and tell a 5-year-old they’re gonna be a girl just because one day they decide they want to be a girl.” In a candidate questionnaire in The News & Observer, Lee wrote that schools have punished teachers for “personal health decisions” and ignored and excluded parents. She also argued teachers are trying to sway children to accept their views on “ideology, sexuality, (and) politics.” In a questionnaire from the OCAE, Lee wrote that “explicit books should be moved from school libraries and sent to public
libraries,” overlooking the fact that schools are public institutions. “None of it is for educational purposes,” she adds. “It’s material that in no way should be in schools.” On race, Lee suggests schools have discriminated against white students by discussing racism in our society and political institutions. “The continual narrative that people are treated differently based on color only makes people believe it’s true,” Lee wrote in The N&O questionnaire. “People are literally segregating themselves in the name of racism based on the color of skin, not realizing that this is racist in itself. (My cousin has) adopted two, girls, one white and one Black. They all have the same opportunities … No one color has it harder than any other.” Lee has made concerning comments about racial disparities in education. In response to a question about the achievement gap between students of different demographics on the OCAE questionnaire, Lee wrote it is not a school issue. “The fact is that each race has their own culture and way of seeing education,” Lee wrote. “Some communities do not value education as much as others. Some parents push their kids to be as educated as possible, and some don’t.” Registered in 2010 as unaffiliated, Lee, voted in the Republican primary in the 2016 presidential election.
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Penny Carter King King, a pharmaceutical researcher, takes a softer approach to criticism of the current school board. She writes on her website members are more “focused on furthering political agendas” than improving teacher morale and student performance. “Politics are the enemy of our children,” she wrote in an email to the INDY. “If we cannot get it together then there is no progress. We need to elect candidates that put our children and educators first. We should be laser-focused on our children’s education.” This is a narrative of OCS Truth, which paints itself as an advocate for students and teachers, insisting the current school board is not focused on improving student achievement, nor giving teachers the support they need. The OCAE recently denounced OCS Truth in a statement on social media asking the group to stop using OCAE’s data, logo, and name “in a confusing attempt to legitimize their cause.” “These groups claim concern for teacher morale while, disturbingly, they exacerbate low teacher morale by breaking down
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trust between educators, students, and families,” the statement reads. “They break down this trust by spreading false fears about the material that we carefully select for students; they question our professional judgment and our compassionate pedagogy.” Although OCS Truth argues teachers and staff are distrustful of the administration, Clark says the school board has been extremely supportive of educators. “This board has been singular in how responsive they’ve been to educators, to parents, even to students as well,” Clark says. “They talk to everybody, they come to events. This is something that I don’t think was happening before we had this board. Compared to other districts in the state, our district has been very supportive of educators.” In King’s OCAE questionnaire, she says she is in favor of “vetting books” with LGBTQIA+ content, adding, “The problem is explicit images.” “I would like to see these books available but maybe not to all the students,” she wrote in her email to the INDY. “Perhaps we could house them in the guidance counselor’s office.” King, who is unaffiliated, has voted in primaries for both parties, most recently the Republican primary in 2020. If elected, King says in a News & Observer questionnaire that her top advisors would be current school board members Atherton and Hauser, as well as Stephen Halkiotis, a former school board member and one of her top campaign contributors. Halkiotis served 12 years on the school board before stepping down in 2020. He was a moderate voice for the district, advocating for an examination of possible legal landmines before voting to ban the Confederate flag and other symbols of hate in schools. Halkiotis also initially opposed the board’s racial equity policy before ultimately voting yes on the measure in 2019. Today, Halkiotis is the co-founder of the Friends of Orange County Schools, a PAC that supports King, Purcell, Atherton, and Richmond. Halkiotis describes himself as a “moderate Democrat” and is no fan of the current board, saying their “far-left” agenda distracts from issues of student performance and teacher morale. “So much attention has been paid to political ideologies of the far left, we have forgotten that the primary mission of a public school system is to educate children,” he told the INDY. “It is not to be a social media platform denigrating Christopher Columbus, denigrating Abraham Lincoln,” Halkiotis adds, referencing debates over whether to teach children about Columbus’s massacre of Native Americans and Lincoln’s complicated views
on slavery. “This is kind of nonsensical.” Halkiotis argues the school board has prevented parents and community members from expressing their concerns. He cites the now-infamous fall school board meeting when sheriff’s deputies escorted public commenters, including Proud Boys, out. “There’s too much influence going on by too-far-right groups and too far-left groups,” he says. “All [the current board has] done is provide immense dissension and division. They, in effect, have prohibited the community from having a reasonable discussion because of fear-mongering.” Ultimately, Halkiotis says he wants the board to refocus on helping all children become successful, including through creating individualized education plans and giving more resources to schools, he says.
Anne Purcell Purcell, a former Orange County Schools principal, has said some LGBTQIA+-inclusive books would be better kept in the guidance counselor’s office. “That way, it’s giving the child a chance to have somebody to talk to. It’s giving them a resource,” she said during the Chamber’s roundtable event. “It’s giving them an opportunity to not be checking something out in the media center where other children are looking at them and may taunt them or bully them.” On racism, Purcell said she’s observed more among students of color than among white students. During the roundtable event, Purcell’s initial statement was that while she was principal, any incidents of racism in schools were dealt with immediately and thoroughly. “Anytime you have a situation that is bringing up issues of race or somebody being racist, it needs to be stopped right then and it needs to be met with head-on,” Purcell said. “The only way to do that is to have conversations.” She added that she mostly observed name calling between students of color rather than between white and minority students. “I have seen students of color calling other students of color names, and when I have had conversations with those students, they say ‘It’s ok for me to say that to my buddy. They’re my friend.’ But I’m saying, ‘No, it’s not okay to say that. Not here,’” Purcell said. “That’s where I have seen (problems on race) the most. I have seen some white students calling students that and with me, it’s been addressed. But I have seen more cases than not of students of color saying to other students of color that I have called them out on it.” W
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Carrboro Carrboro town council candidates Aja Kelleher (l) and Eliazar Posada PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE CANDIDATES
Double Visions Carrboro’s two town council candidates are both well suited to continue the town’s work on racial equity—but they have different ideas about growth. BY LENA GELLER firstname.lastname@example.org
omeone has been stealing Aja Kelleher’s campaign signs. During a six a.m. stakeout, one of her supporters caught the culprit on video, but police have yet to ID him—the grainy footage shows a white guy in his twenties or thirties, wearing a neon yellow vest and running fast enough that he could’ve been the star of his high school cross-country team. In some small towns, that might’ve narrowed it down. But this is Carrboro. Kelleher’s signs were stolen last November, too, during her first bid for Carrboro Town Council. She lost that race, receiving the fewest votes of the five candidates, but when former town council member Damon Seils was elected mayor of Carrboro that month, Kelleher decided to vie for his empty seat. She’s currently running against Eliazar Posada in the upcoming special election on May 17. The reason for the sign stealer’s spite is up for speculation, but Kelleher, who works as a senior principal engineer at Fidelity Investments, emphasizes that she’s “considered an outsider” in this election—her campaign is largely self-funded, her public service experience is minimal, and
she doesn’t have ties with the town’s mayor or existing council members. “I think people look at me as if I’m some sort of rogue,” Kelleher says. She’s also running as an independent—which, in a town as liberal as Carrboro, is turning some heads. “I don’t agree with everything the Democrats endorse,” Kelleher says. “But I identify more with Democrats than I do with Republicans since Trump came into office.” Kelleher comes from a conservative family. Her father is a Korean immigrant and her mother is from Alabama, and “Southerners and foreigners tend to be more conservative,” she says. She was born and raised in Chicago, where she met her husband, an Irish national who also works in big tech. A little over a decade ago, Kelleher and her husband moved to a subdivision in Carrboro to accept job offers in RTP; after relocating, Kelleher also spent seven years at the helm of two small businesses in Carr Mill Mall: The Bead Store (now known as Firefly Carrboro) and Artizan Gifts. “There’s a lot of Koreans that are merchants here in the States,” Kelleher says. “It’s a very entrepreneurial, self-starter-type culture. That’s one thing that makes me different
from a lot of councilors on the board, because they all work for universities and public entities.” Kelleher was a registered Republican until July 2020. Some of her fiscal stances still swing conservative, she says—for example, she’s against the town’s 203 Project, a $30 million development that will house a new library, a performance space, and a virtual justice center, among other community-based facilities. “It’s like, whoa, you’re turning all of downtown into a social agency,” Kelleher says. “Even on a liberal level, we have to have some retail.” Building a library doesn’t increase the town’s revenue, but it does suck up taxpayer money, she says. (Critics have countered that libraries actually do bring in additional revenue, and that the 203 Project is not projected to increase tax rates.) Kelleher also takes issue with the project’s impact on available parking, and, generally, with the town’s negligence in implementing a parking plan. Last week, when the Carrboro Business Alliance raised the need for more parking at a town council meeting, council members disregarded the alliance’s concerns and changed the subject to bike racks, Kelleher says. “I was like, for God’s sake, we’re not talking about bicycles. We’re talking about parking cars,” Kelleher says, adding that the town’s “anti-car” rhetoric is elitist. “Can we just not talk about bicycles for five minutes?” Affordable housing is also a priority for Kelleher. She thinks the town should use existing buildings or develop complexes downtown instead of constructing high-density housing in single-family subdivisions. The latter approach will aggravate tensions between old and new residents, she says, pointing to one proposal to construct a complex in the Fairoaks neighborhood. “There are neighbors and residents at odds over these parcels … neighbors being labeled as ‘NIMBYs’ and others shaming people on not wanting to create a dense housing complex as being ‘anti–affordable housing,’” Kelleher wrote in her INDY questionnaire. Building affordable housing in subdivisions may also come with environmental problems, she adds, again using the Fairoaks proposal as an example. “Is this land, with an 18-degree slope that flows down to a drainage pond below and houses at the bottom of its ravine, even appropriate for development?” Carrboro’s “terrible track record for stormwater management” is what initially motivated Kelleher to run for town council. She used to be neighbors with a man named Tim Carless, who spent years begging the town to do something about stormwater flooding issues in his home. The town never did anything, Kelleher says— then, last June, Carless died of esophageal cancer. She felt compelled to step up. INDYweek.com
May 4, 2022
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“He was constantly getting sick from the floods,” Kelleher says. “I theorize if that hadn’t happened to my dear neighbor, his life might have been different. He might be alive right now.” If Kelleher doesn’t win the upcoming election, she has pledged to never run for public office again. She’s tired of having her signs stolen, being labeled a NIMBY, and receiving hateful comments on Twitter. Recent Twitter attacks have focused on her tangential involvement in an alleged racial assault at Carrboro coffee shop Present Day on Main, where a woman carrying Kelleher’s campaign materials called 911 after the shop’s owners—one of whom is Black and queer— told her to leave the premises (the shop was closed for a private event). Despite not knowing the woman, Kelleher released a public apology after the incident, calling it “white privileged behavior.” Kelleher, who contributed to the One Orange Countywide Racial Equity Plan, emphasizes that one of her goals is to give a voice to underrepresented groups in Carrboro—communities of color, for one, but also all those who don’t exclusively adhere to progressive ideals. “Look, the town is like 90 percent liberal,” Kelleher says. “But the 10 percent that isn’t liberal just doesn’t say anything, because it’s too divisive.” The winner of the upcoming election will serve on the council until December 2023, when Seils’s term was supposed to end. If Kelleher succeeds in her bid for Seils’s open seat, she says she doesn’t plan to run for reelection next year—but “you never know.”
May 4, 2022
liazar Posada’s birthplace was determined by sugarcane season. While he was in the womb, his mother worked as both a farmworker and an itinerant labor organizer, traveling around the country to liaise between farm owners and their employees. Posada’s late October due date happened to coincide with the start of sugarcane harvesting season in South Florida, where his mother, a bilingual immigrant, was helping secure workers’ pay, housing, and transportation—and working alongside them to support her family. “She taught us from a very young age that community work was the key of what we were going to do,” Posada says. Several years later, Posada’s parents settled down in Texas so that their children could have a more permanent home base. Soon after, though, his parents divorced, and his mother found herself struggling to make ends meet.
“Look, the town is 90 percent liberal. But the 10 percent that isn’t liberal just doesn’t say anything, because it’s too divisive.” Posada and his brother started waking up at four thirty a.m. every day to peel potatoes and crack eggs, which their mother cooked into burritos and tacos and sold to neighbors for breakfast. She went with them to school, where she worked in parent engagement; then, in the afternoon, she brought them along to her restaurant job, where they helped her clean. “I learned very quickly what it means not only to have housing insecurity but also what it means to make a dollar,” Posada says. When Posada’s mother remarried, the family moved to Knightdale, North Carolina. After Posada graduated from Campbell University with a degree in political science, he dove headfirst into the world of community building, landing a job as community specialist at El Centro Hispano and quickly working his way up to be the nonprofit’s youngest president and CEO. A year ago, he left El Centro to start his own consulting firm, Posada Strategies, where he works with grassroots and nonprofit organizations to strengthen their community outreach and advocacy efforts. Now 29, Posada has held positions on nearly 20 different boards and commissions for local government and nonprofit organizations, and he’s ready to assume a role in elected office. Affordable housing is a chief tenet of Posada’s platform—he’s currently a renter, and his family lost their home when he was a child, so the cause is close to his heart. “We have single-family-use zoning that is preventing people from being able to afford not just living there but also building and expanding on our affordable housing stock,”
Posada says. “We want to look at changing the zoning so that it includes more people, rather than excludes.” He’s not pushing to build massive apartment complexes in the middle of old neighborhoods, he says, “but you know, maybe a house can be turned into a duplex or a triplex without changing the aesthetic of the neighborhood.” Posada also prioritizes transit and infrastructure, though he wants to “move away from parking”; he’s most focused on increasing and improving bus routes, bike lanes, and walkways, specifically for communities that currently don’t have easy access to the downtown area. Unlike Kelleher, Posada thinks the passage of the 203 Project is one of Carrboro’s greatest achievements of the past year, describing it as a “huge economic boost to Carrboro.” The project will attract new people to the area, which means more traffic for local businesses; it will also encourage new development that increases the town’s housing stock and retail space, he says. The last major component of his platform is “equality for all.” As an openly gay Latino man who earns significantly less than the median income in Orange County, Posada says he’s intimately familiar with the pressing needs of marginalized communities and wants to ensure that their views are sufficiently represented in local leadership. “When I’m talking about representation, I’m talking about bringing in those voices, those community members who have not had the opportunity to be heard, to have a seat at the table,” Posada says. As part of his initiative for inclusivity, Posada intends to further the work he’s done with the Reimagining Community Safety Task Force in building trust between residents and law enforcement and exploring options beyond traditional policing. “While Carrboro is super welcoming, not everyone is 100 percent OK with changes that take power away from some of these systems of privilege,” Posada says. “It’s reflected in events like what happened at Present Day on Main. We can find better ways of addressing security.” If he wins this race, Posada plans to run for reelection next December. In many ways, his life’s work has been leading up to this opportunity. “I’ve always been into policy and systematic change, and I’ve learned how to do it from community building,” Posada says. “The next step for me is holding one of these seats of power and advocating from the inside rather than the outside.” W
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Bad Blood The race between two Democrats vying for the Wake district attorney’s seat has been ugly for a year now. It just got uglier. BY JANE PORTER email@example.com
t’s clearly a stock image but a disturbing one nonetheless: a sideward shot of a woman’s face, her eyes fear-stricken, as she is pinned down by a man’s hand smothering her mouth. The image appears on a June 29 blog post on the website of Raleigh criminal defense attorney Damon Chetson’s law firm. The post, entitled “How to Defend against Statutory Rape Charges,” goes on to explain how to do just that. (There’s only one way: get a defense lawyer. Any claims that you didn’t know that the victim was underage or that the encounter was consensual “isn’t enough to protect you.”) The race between the two Democrats running in the primary for Wake County district attorney has been ugly for a year now. Last May, Chetson, who is challenging two-term incumbent DA Lorrin Freeman, sent a grievance-filled letter to the INDY that, among other things, alleged that there are no Black or Latinx prosecutors on Freeman’s staff. Freeman defended her hiring practices and asserted that attrition of prosecutors is an issue that DA offices across the state have to contend with. Since then, attacks against Freeman, including from an anonymous Substack account called Raleigh Watch, have trickled out on social media. Chetson, who has shared several of the Substack reports to his campaign’s social media accounts, told the INDY the Substack account is not connected to his campaign. Some of Chetson’s and Raleigh Watch’s critiques against Freeman are well founded. They go after her for seeking the death penalty, for instance, which she has done six times in eight years as DA—securing capital punishment in one case—or for her seeming reluctance to punish law enforcement officers who abuse their power (in her eight years in office, Freeman has not prosecuted any of the 21 officer shootings that happened in Wake County). Some are a bit more of a reach: the Substack account accuses Freeman of acting unethically in a case she is prosecuting for the Granville County district attorney. Another claims that her office “made history for illegal race discrimination” after a state appellate court overturned an armed robbery conviction after one of Freeman’s prosecutors didn’t seat a Black juror. Up until now, Freeman has seemed unperturbed by attacks on the job she has done as Wake DA.
But her campaign fought back last week, sending out a mailer that contrasts her with Chetson. Under Freeman’s own headshot, next to a green checkmark, reads the line “Fighting for Us: Working to Stop Abuse of Power.” Under Chetson’s photo with a red X beside it, the heading “Sex Crime Lawyer: Promoting Tips to Beat Rape Charges.” Freeman confirmed the mailer is from her campaign. She referenced the image of the woman on Chetson’s website and wrote in a text message to the INDY that her campaign “chose not to use the picture … because we were concerned it was insensitive to victims.” In a follow-up conversation with the INDY, Freeman said the mailer is “a contrast piece of what my work has been about both in terms of my community involvement and service, and then what [Chetson’s] political background and history is and the way he markets himself in his current role as a defense attorney.” Freeman says that Chetson and “other special interest groups” are working to try to define Chetson as “the real progressive in this race.” “They have been attacking me for months on a wide range of things, about my operation of the office, my effectiveness, and whether I can keep the community safe,” Freeman says. “The question is, is [Chetson] going to keep our community safe? The way that he defines himself and wants to be seen is something the voters need to be aware of.” Referencing the website image, Freeman says the way Chetson “markets himself” is different from other defense attorneys in the community. “The fact that he blogs about things, like how to beat drug trafficking charges, and this picture he has of a woman being pinned down with her mouth covered on his website … to me that shows an insensitivity to victims that’s not your run-of-the-mill ‘I’m out here defending somebody’s constitutional rights,’” Freeman says. “This is something different that, to me, shows an insensitivity and effort to promote oneself that, certainly, the voters have a right of deciding if that’s what they want in a DA.” Chetson, who was preparing for a trial scheduled this week, declined to respond to Freeman’s comments. “Democrats rejected the sorts of attacks by my opponent when Republicans tried them on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson,” Chetson wrote in a text message to the INDY.
Mailer from Lorrin Freeman’s campaign In a statement, Chetson wrote that he is “focused on making the case to end the death penalty in Wake County, stopping the prosecution of adult-use quantities of marijuana, ending pay-for-play justice in Wake County, and building a diverse Wake County,” adding that he plans to “rebuild” the DA’s office after it has lost “more than 20 of the 43 assistant prosecutors” in the past three years “due to leadership problems in the DA’s office.” “In talking to thousands of Wake County voters over the past year, the people of Wake County care about these issues and approve of my experience with more than 25 jury trials, my commitment to the accused and victims who I’ve represented, and my plans to implement sensible progressive reforms,” Chetson wrote. Freeman and Chetson look to be running a close race. Campaign finance reporting through December 31, the latest that data is available, shows that Freeman has raised $80,574 and spent $34,355. Chetson raised $57,786 and spent $53,560. Others in the local legal community criticized Freeman for the mailer, noting that Freeman’s husband, Robert Padovano, is a criminal defense attorney who practices in Johnston County. Karl Knudsen has worked as a lawyer in Wake County for more than 40 years, including as an assistant DA. He wrote in a social media post that he was “deeply troubled” to find Freeman’s mailer attacking Chetson “for being a defense attorney who has the audacity to offer to defend people accused of committing sex offenses.” INDYweek.com
May 4, 2022
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“She did so by cherry picking one small part of [Chetson’s] description of the types of cases he handles,” Knudsen wrote. “Defending individual people (who are BTW presumed to be innocent) who are charged with sex offenses is not the same thing as defending the practice of committing sex crimes, but many people cannot make that distinction, and this attack will no doubt be emotionally effective on many voters.” Lindsey Bivens Granados, another local attorney, called Freeman’s mailer “a disgraceful, shameful, cheap shot at her opponent.” “Attitudes like Ms. Freeman endorsed in her ad cheapen our profession and increase animosity between the DA’s office and the criminal defense bar, and lessen the overall level of professionalism and collegiality we should have in the courthouse,” Granados wrote. But Freeman maintains she’s not criticizing Chetson for his work. “This is not about being a defense attorney,” she wrote in a text message to the INDY. “I have tremendous respect for what they do. This is about letting the voters know who Damon Chetson is and how he chooses to define himself.” W
FO O D & D R I N K
Taste Makers Across the Triangle, small business owners are harnessing a delectable new tool: Food TikTok. BY RACHEL SIMON email@example.com
ndia’s Ice Cream had been on TikTok for about six months, sharing entertaining if little-seen clips highlighting the Cary shop’s cones and milkshakes, when the business had its first viral hit. An April 2021 video rating the “scoopability” of the monthly flavors racked up over 2 million views and nearly 300,000 likes, with commenters buzzing over unique offerings like Flamin’ Hot (cream cheese and hot Cheetos) and Cannoli Cream. Inspired by the video’s success, Andia’s started posting monthly “Scoopability” ratings on TikTok, in addition to regular clips spotlighting specific flavors and creations. Before long, the shop had amassed nearly 180,000 followers and almost 6.5 million likes across the platform. Even better than the virtual love, though, were the real-life visits to the store that the videos inspired. “I’d be in the shop and people would be like, ‘I just drove from Wilmington,’ or ‘I just drove from Wake Forest’” because of TikTok, recalls Andia Xouris, the company’s cofounder. “That’s when we knew [the videos] were actually reaching an audience that would come and buy our ice cream.” While businesses gaining word-of-mouth sales due to social media is nothing new, the rise of TikTok, with its massive audience and curated “For You” algorithm, has given the many companies—big brands but also small local companies—that utilize the platform an unparalleled boost in exposure. A single viral video can earn a business thousands of new followers, many of whom may decide to turn their online fandom into real action by buying products, or—as in the case of Andia’s—traveling miles to see the selections for themselves. TikTok, which officially took off in the United States in 2018, is best known for
memes and viral dance trends, but food businesses have also thrived on the app. Mouthwatering videos of staples like pizzas and sundaes have proven to have star power, gaining users’ attention and propelling dishes to virality—and driving sales. Of course, as with all trends, there’s no way to know if TikTok’s enormous popularity will last long term and if food creators using the app will eventually find their audiences dwindling. For now, though, the platform is an ideal space for business owners with ample creativity and products to sell; in the Triangle, several food-focused businesses have taken full advantage of TikTok’s benefits by posting videos meant to get viewers first salivating, then buying. Courtney Bowman, the owner of the custom charcuterie board shop Raleigh Cheesy, has earned nearly 36,000 followers on TikTok since joining the app in late 2019. Many of the videos showcase her impressive creations, but some of her most popular clips feature the mundane, behind-thescenes process of running the shop: counting inventory, assembling tables, and cutting cheeses. Recently, a time-lapse video of Bowman cleaning a 16-foot pew for her new second storefront garnered 1.6 million views, much to the owner’s surprise. “I was like, ‘I’m sorry, what?’” she says with a laugh. “It has nothing to do with cheese!” Not that she’s complaining, though: the more views her videos bring in on TikTok, the more sales made by Raleigh Cheesy. Bowman estimates that 10–15 percent of her in-store customers find the business due to TikTok, in addition to online shoppers who cite the app as their influence for booking cheeseboard-making classes or ordering snack boxes for delivery. “I’ve noticed big spurts of business that come from it,” says Bowman.
Raleigh Cheesy owner Courtney Bowman
PHOTO BY J.P. LORD PHOTOGRAPHY
Maintaining that business flow requires significant effort. The owner spends hours filming, editing, and uploading multiple videos each day, making sure to always post at the same time to maximize viewing potential, per TikTok’s algorithms. At Andia’s Ice Cream, meanwhile, the team—which includes Xouris, her husband and cofounder George, their two children, and the company’s creative director, Nancy Thapa—frequently comes together to brainstorm ideas for new TikToks, pulling inspiration from the app’s constantly changing trends or pop culture releases. Their efforts pay off; last November, a video pairing flavors with Taylor Swift albums posted two days before the singer’s Red re-release garnered more than 770,000 views. Although Xouris was skeptical about using TikTok at first—“I really thought it was just young teenagers and there really wouldn’t be anything to actually market our ice cream to people who’d come and buy it”—she’s thrilled to have been proven so wrong. The ice cream shop’s videos, she says now, have been crucial to growing the brand’s presence both in-state and out. “Our goal is to be able to ship our pints to all of those wonderful people who are seeing our videos and aren’t able to come drive locally to come pick it up,” she says.
Thanks to the tagging feature, some local businesses stand to benefit from just being on the platform, even if they don’t post. Queso Monster, a Mexican food truck that travels around the Triangle, has a relatively small 2,100 followers on TikTok, but widely seen videos from North Carolina food blogs and photographs spotlighting the company’s offerings have led to increased exposure. When Bray Holt, a TikToker with over 106,000 followers, posted a clip in June 2021 calling Queso Monster “the best Mexican food truck in North Carolina,” people from all over the state started seeking out the truck. “I kept getting people coming in and being like, ‘Oh, we saw you guys on TikTok,’” recalls Mariana Martinez, the daughter of co-owners Miguel Lopez and Patricia Martinez and the company’s social media lead. Although Queso Monster hasn’t been posting much content of its own as of late, Mariana Martinez says the family is planning to change that soon with videos showing the behind-the-scenes efforts of running a food truck and appetizing offerings like birria tacos and chorizo quesadillas. “People tend to really like eating with their eyes on TikTok,” she notes—and as she and the others now know well, the more videos that go viral, the more real eating will be done as well. W INDYweek.com
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STAY PRAYED UP DURHAM PREMIERE
Saturday, May 7, 4 p.m., $15 | The Carolina Theatre, Durham
Lena Mae Perry and Phil Cook during rehearsals at the Perry Home PHOTO BY D.L. ANDERSON
Sacred Roots What started as a friendship between Phil Cook and Lena Mae Perry grew into a gospel documentary that captures the vibrant regional tradition of spiritual music. BY MADELINE CRONE firstname.lastname@example.org
ometimes an outside presence can help uplift the remarkable nature of something deeply ingrained in ordinary life. Stay Prayed Up—a gospel documentary that premiered to critical acclaim at the Telluride Film Festival and DOC NYC—offers a fresh way of looking at what has always been a fixture of Black Eastern North Carolina communities and beyond. Triangle-based documentary film directors D.L. Anderson and Matt Durning have a knack for excavating the extraordinary simply by naming it. The project spawned from Triangle-based musician Phil Cook’s magnetic pull toward gospel music that resulted in a friendship with Lena Mae Perry, the 83-year-old matriarch at the helm of legendary gospel group The Branchettes. For Perry—best known in her close-knit Johnston County worship community as some variation of “Mother Perry,” “Ma,” or “Mom”—gospel music has been a constant for as long as she can remember. And for the last 50 years, Perry has helmed the performance group named for her 16
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home church, Long Branch Disciples of Christ Church, in Newton Grove. “It really makes me feel good when I come up in this driveway because this is my stomping ground,” Perry says. Her grandmother and aunt were members of this church when she was young. Perry, her sister, and her brother were known in the church community from a young age as “The Bennett Three.” “We pop up, go down there to the front of the church, and we would start singing,” Perry says. “They would just be, you know, clapping their hands and some singing along with us. And I heard my grandma say, ‘Tear it all to pieces!’” Stay Prayed Up is a poignant reminder that roots can tighten their grip as branches reach out for new generations. And to honor North Carolina’s musical heritage, you must pay special deference to the depths from which those traditions bloom. What began as a “simple vision,” Cook says, transformed into a preservation project to showcase the regional tradi-
tion of spiritual music, transferring every bit of soul onto the screen. As a producer and multitalented musician, he considered what he could offer Perry as a token of his admiration and care for her and her musical ministry. “It’s a staple and goal of a gospel group to put out a live record and get the spirit in the room,” Cook says. “I had enough resources to pull together the band and wrote a grant for the actual recording of the thing. And that is where D.L. and Matt came on board.” The project brought another career milestone for Cook: When considering the recording and release process, he wondered, “Who is going to put this out?” He answered his question with a new record label called Spiritual Helpline. (“I’ve never started a label before,” he laughs. “So there was so much learning involved.”) The project, on a fundamental level, was one of relationship building. The team worked to build trust not only within the Perry family but also with the church congregation, deacons, and the bishop. The question of who should tell this story, and how, remained at the forefront of their minds from inception to final edits. “The distinction is that I’m in the service of telling Black stories and not telling them myself,” Anderson says. “No one should get paid more than Mother Perry. Typically, in journalistic circles, that’s frowned upon. But this is a documentary film about a person’s life and their place, so Mother Perry has a 50 percent stake in any profits.” While editing the film, Anderson and Durning wielded a careful 2:1 ratio of “hearing from the Black women of the church and Johnston County twice as much as we’re hearing from Phil.” “A resounding central tenet of the film is the strength to carry on and to be in practice, as a community leader as a church mother, and as someone devoted to ministry,” Anderson says. With deep reverence and real relationships, the story of Mother Perry and The Branchettes as they recorded their hallmark live album was brought to life over the course of three years. Stay Prayed Up, at a 73-minute run time, is the result of these efforts. Mikel Barton, Phil Cook, Lena C. Williams, and Leslie Raymond served as the producers—each offering critical perspectives to a communal uplift. As the pandemic played out across the world, the team’s initially broad vision shrank into the confines of their tight-knit, COVID19-cautious group. “I think that focused the film in a powerful way because most of the scenes were just Mom on her own or with Wilbur, and it was more intimate than it would have been if we had the whole world available to us,” Durning says.
econdary to the primary plot of the life and musical works of Mother Perry and The Branchettes is the
story of three transplants who gravitated toward a niche music tradition in an adopted home state chock-full of folklore. It was North Carolina’s rich musical heritage that drew Durning and Cook to the region, and it was the Hillsborough-based nonprofit the Music Maker Foundation that introduced them to community musicians like Perry. Before arriving in Durham, Durning had a soul onto copy of the Music Maker Foundation book sician, he full of Tim Duffy’s photos and biographies his admi- of the artists who—like his own musical background—were steeped in roots and out a live blues music. ys. “I had “For me, that was really special to be able d wrote a to so intimately connect my own interest d that is in music with a proper project that I have something I could offer back to that comfor Cook: munity,” says Durning. ocess, he Cook originally arrived in North Carolina wered his from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Helpline. “The world felt so far away for me when I there was was a kid, the music I loved was so far,” Cook says. “As a result I had probably developed e of rela- some really romantic notions about the t not only outside world. Now I understand that I’m congrega- destined divinely to be in this place where ho should I could strip away those romantic notions t of their and replace them with real relationships.” As Mother Perry explains in the film, the ing Black gospel tradition is an inherent counter to says. “No the violent history of racism that has ruled pically, in the Southeast. is a docu- “It had three great big K’s: K-K-K,” Perry so Moth- says, remembering a sign on Highway 70 toward Smithfield. “It was a sense of fear. g wielded There were some Klansmen in our commuwomen of nity. Some families had said they was afraid h as we’re to go outside. Somebody said they gonna come to their house. We couldn’t do that strength much about it. All we could do was pray.” ity leader On one occasion, while crowding into the ministry,” pulpit for rehearsal, Cook saw a plug with a Radio Shack security camera, its countere story of part pointed outside the front doors. ded their “As I unplugged it, I realized it was—in course of the wake of Charleston—the only piece of me, is the security this pastor would have, just a few seconds’ heads-up,” he says. The instance nd Leslie highlighted the gaping distance between ing criti- Cook and the film’s subjects. pandem- “That is nothing I’ve ever had to deal ally broad with,” he says. “It was very humbling. I went t, COVID- from being really super stoked to just being stirred up.” y because Part of the strength of this story, pern or with haps, is the lens through which these transhave been plants admire the soul of the state. ng says. Reflecting on a time when another person has brought something seemingly mundane into his cognition, Cook references the d musical first snow of his sophomore year of college es is the at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.
He was walking across a bridge, which he describes as the “coldest place in Wisconsin,” when he ran into a Nicaraguan exchange student. “She had on her brand-new first-everowned winter coat, hat, and mittens,” Cook says. “The wind chill was like -18, so everyone is holding their ears like they’re getting yelled at. And this student was like, ‘It’s so beautiful.’ She just couldn’t get over it. And at that moment, I was like, ‘Wow, it really is.’” “I think my relationship with Mother Perry was like my first snowfall,” he continues. “Understanding how someone’s daily life has so much beauty that they cultivated just endeared me to her right away. I felt the power of what she was doing on a daily basis. I saw how wide her influence spans over the years and how many seeds she’s planted.” More than a witness, Anderson experienced Perry’s spiritual strength when he was handed a devastating non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis in the fall of 2020. His eight-month journey through chemotherapy paralleled the editing process. “It was the most challenging thing I’ve ever been through, but I was absolutely lifted and carried through by everyone on this team and found such strength,” Anderson says. “This film, rather than being like this burden was such a central point of light and love.” “You don’t need to be a practicing devout Christian to understand the power of prayer,” he continues. “As Mother Perry says, prayer changes things. And she’s gonna stay prayed up. It’s such a wonderful time to be offering that to people as we try to figure out how to be around each other again because we’re facing tumult, division, and animosity.” Raised in a Congregationalist church in Massachusetts, Durning lost interest in faith by eighth grade. In getting to know Perry, he realized the varying definitions of faith. “For me, it was about connecting faith with gratitude,” he says. The process, compounded with Anderson’s diagnosis and Wilbur’s declining health, he says was “heavy but also incredibly therapeutic.” “Mother Perry talks about music as medicine, using her songs to heal,” he continues. “And this moment of bringing the right people together at the right time where there was so much trust built—during the pandemic when we were all kind of reevaluating priorities in our lives and relationships— became a powerful, cathartic thing. Listening to Mother Perry was affirming every day for those three years. In most film projects, you’re not that lucky.” W INDYweek.com
May 4, 2022
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THE DUKE | HHHH
Now playing in theaters
Raleigh's Community Bookstore
Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren in The Duke PHOTO BY NICK WALL
with Esme Addison & Sarah Penner
An evening of magikal thinking
John Hood, Forest Folk Floyd Cooper Day Story Time with Kelly Starling Lyons IN-STORE
Kids Lit Ice Cream Social with authors
Kelly Starling Lyons, Stacy McAnulty and Ali Standish
MEET & GREET
Alli Hurley, 100 Things to Do in Raleigh Before You Die
in conversation with Kwame Mbaliaages 14+
Mary Kay Andrews, The Homewreckers Samia Ahmed, Hollow Fires
Register for Quail Ridge Books Events Series at www.quailridgebooks.com. www.quailridgebooks.com • 919.828.1588 • North Hills 4209-100 Lassiter Mill Road, Raleigh, NC 27609 Offering FREE Media Mail shipping and contactless pickup!
Paint Remover Roger Mitchell’s final film, The Duke, is a charming, nimble caper about a legendary 1961 art heist. BY GLENN MCDONALD email@example.com
n the early morning hours of August 21, 1961, Francisco de Goya’s painting “Portrait of the Duke of Wellington” was stolen from the National Gallery in London. The Crown had recently purchased the famous painting for £140,000, and it was a big deal in the papers. Police were baffled by the crime and concluded that the theft was the work of a crack squad of international art thieves. The painting was later returned by a neighborhood activist and semiretired taxi driver with the admirable name of Kempton Bunton. Outraged at the price the government had paid, Bunton had planned to hold the painting hostage until £140,000 was paid out to charitable causes, including free TV for pensioners. At his subsequent trial, Bunton confessed that he had stolen the painting by simply climbing through a bathroom win18
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dow while the alarm system was deactivated for the cleaners. The caper was highly embarrassing for London law enforcement, and Bunton became a folk hero to antiestablishment British people. It’s a great story, it’s all true, and it’s depicted more or less faithfully in The Duke, the charming and nimble comedy opening in local theaters this week. The Duke is a throwback kind of movie—an old-fashioned crowd-pleaser with a quietly brilliant script and great lead performances from old pros Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren. Director Roger Mitchell (Notting Hill) keeps a lightly comic tone throughout, but he also digs into the family dynamics of the Bunton family. Kempton and his wife Dorothy are still in pain from the loss of their teenage daughter 13 years prior, and the script has some things to say about the toxic nature of unprocessed grief.
The film layers in some spiky social critique, too, as it addresses the politics behind Kempton’s principled stand. The little details add up, and references to Martin Luther King Jr. and George Orwell are there for a reason. Kempton believes deeply in working toward the common good and treating all people fairly. His convictions cause trouble in the class-conscious society of early 1960s Britain, and they have some contemporary American resonance too. The film succeeds in threading these various textures together while keeping the comic caper plot moving forward. The jokes are funnier because they’re character driven, and we come to care about these people. Kempton, for instance, may be England’s luckiest thief, but he’s the world’s worst liar. His attempts to hide the theft from Dorothy result in panicked improvisations that backfire more or less instantly. Mirren and Broadbent play these scenes with virtuoso comic timing. The supporting characters, meanwhile, riff on the classic comedy mode of the British eccentric, like Kempton’s female supervisor at the taxi depot. In the later courtroom scenes, one tightly wound bureaucrat gets laughs from his hairpiece alone. Sharp-eyed Anglophiles might catch some visual gags concerning that most British of breakfast foodstuffs, the blood sausage (which is great). The Duke is professional-grade British comedy in a low-key register, the kind of gentle import that used to be a staple in American art house theaters. It’s heartwarming and funny, and it develops its more ambitious themes subtly. This was director Michell’s last film; he passed away last September. One final note: Michell throws in an unexpected plot twist toward the end of the story. This twist, also based on real events, comes from more recent disclosures about the original theft. So don’t read ahead about the Kempton Bunton case if you want to enjoy the surprise. (And you do.) W
M U SIC
TRICKY THINGS RELEASE SHOW W/ CHESSA RICH, EARLEINE
DISSIMILAR SOUTH: TRICKY THINGS
Friday, May 6, 8 p.m., $15 | Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro
Cruisin’ Records: Friday, May 6
Creative Renewal On Tricky Things, Chapel Hill band Dissimilar South charts a fresh, confident course forward. BY NICK MCGREGOR firstname.lastname@example.org
he past two years have prompted countless reckonings, reinventions, and resets—especially for musicians, whose best-laid plans have been repeatedly dashed on the rocks of a pandemic that refuses to recede. Carter Hodge and Maddie Fisher need no reminders about such cruel twists of fate. Since forming intimate indie-folk band Dissimilar South in 2015, they’ve graduated from college, released a well-received EP (2019’s Treehouse), severed their own romantic relationship, and lost two longtime bandmates. Those obstacles have seemed to only strengthen their connection, though, and they made plans to record a new album with acclaimed Tar Heel producer Jason Richmond in summer 2020. Then, of course, the world stopped because of COVID-19, leaving Hodge and Fisher adrift personally and professionally—which led to their strongest set of songs yet. After honing new material for a year, Dissimilar South finally entered Richmond’s studio in summer 2021 to record nine songs for Tricky Things. The band’s debut full-length drops May 6 on New Orleans–based label Cruisin’ Records; the same night, Hodge and Fisher and a new backing band will celebrate with a record release show at Cat’s Cradle. “We’ve spent so much time trying to make this happen that it’s a little intimidating,” Fisher tells INDY Week, one recent breezy Wednesday morning. She and Hodge fluently finish each other’s sentences over coffee outside Weaver Street Market in Carrboro, communicating silently with sly smiles and raised eyebrows. “It’s mostly a celebration—just elongated and intensified by the pandemic,” Hodge says. “We’re excited, but it’s also daunting to let this album go into the world. Releas-
ing something new is your biggest moment as an artist.” Tricky Things meets that moment by drastically expanding Dissimilar South’s sonic palette. Synthesizers shimmer on “Midnight,” slide guitar slithers on “Seven Lights,” and lusty bass riffs strut over syncopated beats on “Melodrama.” Even songs like “Mountain Girl” and “Baby Blues” that skew toward traditional Americana get gently chopped and screwed with distorted vocals and psychedelic percussion. Hodge and Fisher credit those creative leaps to their work arranging and refining the material with Richmond and Triangle stalwarts Joe Westerlund, Joseph Terrell, Alex Bingham, and Joe MacPhail. “‘Melodrama’ didn’t have that groove to it when I first wrote it,” Fisher says. “Joe and Alex constructed it in the studio, and I said, ‘Ooh, this is a little different! I’m a little scared of this.’ Thank God we tried it in a new, cool way.” That experimental approach even led Hodge to rethink how they play their guitar. “I’m a maximalist, and I like texture and fullness,” they said. “And Jason’s like, ‘Carter, just wait—just hold back.’ It was a good intellectual exercise in sparseness and seeing the space you can create just by having fun.” Dissimilar South do hold the line when it comes to their defining feature: close vocal harmonies, which Fisher says are “a core part of our sound together.” First honed years ago when they played traditional bluegrass together, their voices became even more intimately intertwined during their time as a couple, with all the tension, resolution, and effortless conversation that entails. Tricky Things also finds Hodge and Fisher growing as lyricists. Memorable one-liners fill the album: the sly come-on “I’ll be the driest thing in this climate / Well what about a sad boy? / You know I’ve tried it”
Dissimilar South bandmates Maddie Fisher and Carter Hodge on “Melodrama”; the subtle clapback “You want my apologies? / I really couldn’t be more sorry / For getting off on technicalities” on the brutally honest “Fear of Flying”; and the incisive observation “Young child with a steadfast cynicism / Cringed at the idea of lessons given” on “Grand Adventure.” That latter song is surprisingly mature, with Hodge and Fisher embracing the humdrum here and now at the ripe old ages of 26 and 25, respectively. “I have a tendency to only write when things are sad and intense,” Hodge laughs. “‘Grand Adventure’ is a meditation on satisfaction and being OK with what you’re doing today, instead of finding meaning and satisfaction in, like, going to Spain for six months.” Fisher delivers a related take that telegraphs the band’s scrappy spirit: “We’re not on one super clear path. We’re not making any money. We have no career prospects. But we do see people immediately out of college with ambition and a good job … and I actually don’t think that they’re happy.” That conflicted feeling is uncannily captured on “Letting Go,” which closes Tricky Things with tender uncertainty. Somehow, Fisher speaks for a generation while retaining her own piercing interiority on the yearning verse: “Maybe this time, maybe not / What we do will be enough / Our lease is
PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA
ending / Now where to? / I’ll scrape off my knuckles before losing you.” “People love that song,” Fisher chuckles, referencing the cathartic joy of singing along to the chorus (“Here’s to letting the fuck go”). But its meaning runs deeper, Hodge emphasizes: “Everyone’s got something that they’re trying to let go of. And letting go of what is not serving us leaves us open to what we want. We’re fighting to protect that openness.” Dissimilar South hopes to achieve the usual hallmarks of success: broader recognition, bigger shows (“or, paradoxically, smaller, shittier shows farther away,” Hodge laughs), financial freedom. But they’re also chasing loftier goals—namely, better representation for other all-queer bands comprising women and nonbinary musicians. Fisher hopes she can eventually transcend being seen strictly as a superb vocalist, while Hodge hopes to dispel gendered roles about who can confidently claim space as a shredding lead guitarist. Both also believe in a basic tenet: “Any time you do something and it resonates with someone, that’s valuable,” Hodge says. “You’re being an artist in that moment. That’s a radical form of acceptance, and we want to create space for that in our music. That’s what makes us happy. Our dreams for the band are big, and our desire to inhabit those dreams is big.” W INDYweek.com
May 4, 2022
Please check with local venues for their health and safety protocols. Bat Fangs performs at Local 506 on Saturday, May 7. PHOTO COURTESY OF LOCAL 506
Ballyhoo! $18. Sat, May 7, 8 p.m. Cat’s Cradle Back Room, Carrboro. Bat Fangs $15. Sat, May 7, 9 p.m. Local 506, Chapel Hill. Defacto Thezpian $15. Sat, May 7, 9 p.m. Rubies on Five Points, Durham. Jordan Lake Swimmers Sat, May 7, 12:30 p.m. Mystic Farm and Distillery, Durham. Kate McGarry & Keith Ganz Quartet $25. Sat, May 7, 8 p.m. Sharp Nine Gallery, Durham.
music North Carolina Theatre: Ring of Fire $56+. Apr. 29– May 8, various times. Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Raleigh. Dan Andriano & The Bygones $19. Wed, May 4, 8 p.m. Cat’s Cradle Back Room, Carrboro. Live Jazz with Marc Puricelli and Friends Wed, May 4, 7 p.m. Imbibe, Chapel Hill. Pup Returns: Thank F*cking God $23. Wed, May 4, 7:30 p.m. The Ritz, Raleigh.
Queer Country Night Wed, May 4, 8 p.m. The Pinhook, Durham.
Michael Seyer $13. Thurs, May 5, 9 p.m. Local 506, Chapel Hill.
Born Ruffians $15. Thurs, May 5, 8 p.m. Cat’s Cradle Back Room, Carrboro.
Pastor Shirley Caesar & The Caesar Singers $20+. Thurs, May 5, 7:30 p.m. Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Raleigh.
Jon Mueller / Attorneys General Thurs, May 5, 7 p.m. Shadowbox Studio, Durham. LIVE@Lake Raleigh: Tumbao Thurs, May 5, 8 p.m. Lake Raleigh, Raleigh. Madhouse Presents: Spring Rave Edition $8. Thurs, May 5, 9 p.m. The Pinhook, Durham. Mellow Swells Thurs, May 5, 7:30 p.m. Imbibe, Chapel Hill.
NC Symphony: Women Rock! $34+. May 6-7, various times. Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Raleigh. Bombadil / Stuart Robinson $12. Fri, May 6, 9 p.m. The Pinhook, Durham. The Dead Tongues $15. Fri, May 6, 8:30 p.m. Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro.
Dissimilar South Album Release Show $15. Fri, May 6, 8 p.m. Cat’s Cradle Back Room, Carrboro. Lowell Ringel Trio $25. Fri, May 6, 8 p.m. Sharp Nine Gallery, Durham. Shadowplay $10. Fri, May 6, 9 p.m. Local 506, Chapel Hill. The Steeldrivers $30+. Fri, May 6, 8 p.m. The Carolina Theatre, Durham. Tori Amos: Ocean to Ocean Tour $32+. Fri, May 6, 8 p.m. Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Raleigh. Town Mountain $20. Fri, May 6, 8:30 p.m. Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh.
Lauren Mia Virtuoso EDM $15. Sat, May 7, 10 p.m. The Fruit, Durham.
Dirty Bird $10. Mon, May 9, 7:30. The Pinhook, Durham. Freddie Gibbs: The Space Rabbit Tour $28. Sun, May 8, 8 p.m. Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh. Mappamundi Sun, May 8, 3 p.m. Shadowbox Studio, Durham. Mother’s Day Brunch + Live Music Concert $75. Sun, May 8, 2 p.m. Renaissance Raleigh North Hills, Raleigh.
Live Jazz with Danny Grewen and Griffanzo Mon, May 9, 6 p.m. Imbibe, Chapel Hill. Black Label Society $35. Tues, May 10, 6:30 p.m. The Ritz, Raleigh. Brian Horton Trio Tues, May 10, 9 p.m. Kingfisher, Durham. The Brian Jonestown Massacre $25. Tues, May 10, 8 p.m. Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro. Donovan Melero $15. Tues, May 10, 7 p.m. Local 506, Chapel Hill.
Jenny Besetzt $10. Tues, May 10, 8 p.m. The Pinhook, Durham. Joy Oladokun $16. Tues, May 10, 8 p.m. Motorco Music Hall, Durham. Mysti Mayhem Tues, May 10, 7 p.m. The Oak House, Durham. The Offspring: Let the Bad Times Roll Tour $59+. Tues, May 10, 8 p.m. Red Hat Amphitheater, Raleigh. Stan Comer Tues, May 10, 7 p.m. Imbibe, Chapel Hill.
Joy Oladokun performs at Motorco Music Hall on Tuesday, May 10. PHOTO COURTESY OF MOTORCO MUSIC HALL
Queer Agenda! $5. Sat, May 7, 10 p.m. The Pinhook, Durham. Rissi Palmer $5. Sat, May 7, 11 a.m. The Carolina Theatre, Durham. Snail Mail SOLD OUT. Sat, May 7, 8 p.m. Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro. The Antlers $20. Sun, May 8, 7:30 p.m. Cat’s Cradle Back Room, Carrboro. Built to Spill $25. Sun, May 8, 8 p.m. Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro. Dirty Bird $15+. Sun, May 8, 6 p.m. Down Yonder Farm, Hillsborough.
FOR OUR COMPLETE COMMUNITY CALENDAR: INDYWEEK.COM 20
May 4, 2022
CULTURE CALENDAR screen
Car Wash and Wildcats $10. Fri, May 5, 7 p.m. The Carolina Theatre, Durham.
Mamma Mia! Brunch $10. Sat, May 7, 10:45 a.m. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Raleigh.
NCMA Cinema: ¡Fiesta! Quinceañera $7. Sat, May 7, 2 p.m. NCMA, Raleigh.
The sculpture“Whisper” by Eric Serritellafrom the Sharing Spaces exhibition at the Gregg School of Art & Design PHOTO COURTESY OF THE GREGG SCHOOL OF ART & DESIGN
Jim Grimsley: The Dove in the Belly Thurs, May 5, 5:30 p.m. Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream $20. Apr. 29– May 8, various times. Sertoma Amphitheatre, Cary.
Alli Hurley: 100 Things to Do in Raleigh before You Die Sat, May 7, 10:30 a.m. Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh.
The Rebecca Show: What if I’m the Becky? $25. Apr. 29–May 8, various times. Pure Life Theatre, Raleigh.
Banned Books Celebration Sat, May 7, 11 a.m. Halifax Mall, Raleigh. Mary Kay Andrews: The Homewreckers Sat, May 7, 6 p.m. Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh.
Joseph Bathanti: Light at the Seam Tues, May 10, 5:30 p.m. Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill.
My Fair Lady $35+. May 3-8, various times. DPAC, Durham.
art Guided Tour: Ackland Collection and Modern Black Culture: The Art of Aaron Douglas May 5-6, 1:30 p.m. Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill.
Exhibition Opening Reception Thurs, May 5, 6 p.m. Gregg Museum of Art & Design, Raleigh.
Family-Friendly Tour Sat, May 7, 10:30 a.m. NCMA, Raleigh.
Dirty Dancing Movie Party $24. May 8 and 10, various times. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Raleigh.
stage How I Learned What I Learned $20+. Apr. 27– May 15, various times. Playmakers Repertory Company, Chapel Hill.
John Hood: Forest Folk Thurs, May 5, 7 p.m. Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh.
Welcome Center Author Event: Mignon Durham Sat, May 7, 2 p.m. NCMA, Raleigh.
Stay Prayed Up $15. Sat, May 7, 4 p.m. The Carolina Theatre, Durham.
Comedy Night under the Stars Wed, May 4, 9 p.m. James Joyce Irish Pub, Durham.
Beth Hart: The Thankful Tour $40+. Thurs, May 5, 8 p.m. The Carolina Theatre, Durham. Emma $22. May 5-21, various times. Leggett Theatre at William Peace University, Raleigh. Tony Rock $18+. May 5-7, various times. Goodnights & Factory Restaurant, Raleigh. Tablao Flamenco $30+. May 6-7, various times. Motorco Music Hall, Durham. Incognito $19. May 7-8, various times. The Cary Theater, Cary.
Samira Ahmed: Hollow Fires Tues, May 10, 7 p.m. Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh. FOR OUR COMPLETE COMMUNITY CALENDAR: INDYWEEK.COM INDYweek.com
May 4, 2022
P U Z Z L ES
NEWDED AN S! EXPO R H U
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this week’s puzzle level:
© Puzzles by Pappocom
There is really only one rule to Sudoku: Fill in the game board so that the numbers 1 through 9 occur exactly once in each row, column, and 3x3 box. The numbers can appear in any order and diagonals are not considered. Your initial game board will consist of several numbers that are already placed. Those numbers cannot be changed. Your goal is to fill in the empty squares following the simple rule above.
If you just can’t wait, check out the current week’s answer key at www.indyweek.com, and click “puzzle pages.” Best of luck, and have fun! www.sudoku.com solution to last week’s puzzle
May 4, 2022
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EMPLOYMENT Release Train Senior Advisor (Raleigh, NC) Release Train Engineering Senior Advisor for Evernorth Enterprise Services, Inc. (Raleigh, NC) to be responsible for managing risks & dependencies. Optimize flow of value through prgms, escalate & track s/ware issues, & ensure strategy & execution alignment by working w/ product managers & stakeholders. Drive prgm-level delivery & facilitate the Agile Release Train Sync meetings. Background check & drug screen reqd. Telecommuting allowed. Position reqs a Master’s deg or equiv in Comp Info Systems or related +2 yrs of exp in s/ware dvlpmt or a Bach’s deg or equiv in Comp Info Systems or related +5 yrs of exp in s/ ware dvlpmt. Exp must incl Agile, JIRA, Confluence, Dev Ops, & a Scrum Master Certification. Resumes to kimberly.miller@ evernorth.com Software Engineer II (Raleigh, NC) Software Engineer III at Truist, F/T (Raleigh, NC) Deliver highly complex solutions w/ significant system linkages, dependencies, associated risk. Lead & perform dvlpmt efforts such as analysis, dsgn, coding/creating, & testing. Oversee & participate in testing, implmtn, maintenance, & escalated support of Truist’s most complex solutions. Must have Bach’s deg in Comp Sci, Comp Engg, or related tech’l field + 6 yrs of progressive exp in s/ware engg positions performing the following: applying in-depth knowl in info systems & understanding of key business processes & competitive strategies related to the IT function to identify, apply, & implmt IT best practices; applying broad functional knowl in reqmt gathering, analysis, dsgn, dvlpmt, testing, implmtn, & deployment of applications; planning & managing projects & solving complex problems by applying best practice; providing direction & mentoring less expd teammates; & utilizing exp w/: TFS, DB2, Rally, SSIS, FTP, SOAPUI , VersionOne, ALM, UNIX, Visio, Apache Tomcat, Websphere, Shell Scripting, Pega, FileNet, Open API & service architectures, GIT, Maven, Jenkins, Java, Azure DevOps Svcs, Jfrog, & CICD. In the alternative, employer will accept a Master’s deg in Comp Sci, Comp Engg, or related tech’l field + 4 yrs of exp in s/ware engg positions performing the aforementioned. Position may work remotely but is based out of & reports to Truist offices in Raleigh, NC. Must be available to travel to Raleigh, NC regularly for meetings & reviews w/ manager & project teams w/in 48-hrs’ notice. Email resume w/ cvr ltr to: Paige Whitesell, Paige.Whitesell@Truist.com. (Ref. Job No. R0058397)
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May 4, 2022