INDY Week 5.12.21

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Raleigh | Durham | Chapel Hill May 12, 2021


DREAD UNC-Chapel Hill stalls on closing its coal plant as the climate crisis approaches catastrophe by Sara Pequeño, p. 11

Raleigh W Durham W Chapel Hill VOL. 38 NO. 17


Remembering the life of John Dee Holeman. BY DAVID MENCONI


Raleigh's TIG policy won't help its affordable housing crisis. BY JANE PORTER

10 Durham’s mayor claps back at the Northgate Mall developer. BY THOMASI MCDONALD


UNC-Chapel Hill stalls on closing its coal plant.


A Durham school for low-income students works to build a soccer field,


despite neighborhood pushback. BY THOMASI MCDONALD

Monét Marshall producing her new podcast, Red Clay Plays, at American Underground's Blackspace p. 15 PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA

13 In North Carolina, HIV cases are up and testing is down. BY HANNAH CRITCHFIELD

ARTS & CULTURE 15 Podcast Red Clay Plays is expanding opportunities for Black Southern playwrights. BY BYRON WOODS 16 Hillsborough's eclectic music scene is coming alive. BY ERYK PRUITT 18

An unlikely pairing at a lively local exhibit.

19 Monut's looks to get workers more dough.


20 Ten local beers to get you through the summer. BY JOHN A. PARADISO

WE M A DE THIS PUBLISHER Susan Harper E D I TO RI A L Editor in Chief Jane Porter Managing Editor Geoff West

4 Quickbait

5 Op-Ed

9 From the Editor

COVER Illustration by Jon Fuller


May 12, 2021

Interns Emma Lee Kenfield

C R E AT I V E Creative Director

Arts & Culture Editor Sarah Edwards

Annie Maynard

Senior Writer Leigh Tauss

Jon Fuller

Staff Writer Thomasi McDonald


Lewis Kendall, Kyesha Jennings, Glenn McDonald, Anna Mudd, Dan Ruccia, Jake Sheridan

Graphic Designer Staff Photographer

Brett Villena

Digital Content Manager Sara Pequeño


Copy Editor Abigail O'Neill

Director of Sales John Hurld

Theater+Dance Critic Byron Woods

Raleigh Sales Manager MaryAnn Kearns

Contributors Madeline Crone, Jameela F. Dallis, Grant Golden, Spencer Griffith, Lucas Hubbard, Layla Khoury-Hanold, Brian Howe,

C I R C U L AT I O N Berry Media Group

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Last week, we wrote about the new Starbucks that’s coming to Ninth Street, just a few doors down from the independently owned Triangle Coffee Shop, a staple that’s cherished by locals. Many of our readers, like the

aforementioned locals, are worried about what this means for locally owned businesses in Durham.

“Starbucks comes in the final stages of Gentrification,” wrote Facebook commenter JEREMY GILCHRIST. “It’s a horrible decision to allow a Starbucks in this location,” wrote commenter JOHN HITE. “Some of the things that make Durham great are being undone by allowing chains to invade downtown.” But some readers were more sanguine. “Anyone else remember when Starbucks only survived a year on Hillsborough St. across from State, and then when it closed someone tagged them with “STARBUCKS: you got SERVED,” thus perfectly dating this event?,” wrote Facebook commenter A HOLT WILLIAMS. “I see this issue both ways,” wrote commenter JUSTIN GORSAGE. “On the one hand 9th street does have a lot of charm. However, business is business and Triangle can either evolve and compete with Starbucks or they can double down on catering to a limited Customer base and ultimately get crushed. Time will tell what they choose to do.” Ultimately, commenter JOSHUA PATERNI says, the fate of local business is totally in the hands of locals. “Look, it’s up to Durham residents to decide what kind of businesses thrive. There’s no magical approval board that gets to control what kinds of businesses operate downtown. People vote with their patronage. ... The chains that have come to 9th Street and downtown proper haven’t fared well (Waffle House on 9th, that sandwich chain on Main St.). In my opinion Durham lacks a good coffee shop. … Whatever has prevented a great community coffee shop from thriving in urban Durham, I don’t think this Starbucks opening changes things a whole lot. I hope people just don’t go there.”



IN MEMORIAM Remembering John Dee Holeman, Durham’s Last Great Blues Elder BY DAVID MENCONI


n era of North Carolina music and arts ended on April 30 with the death of John Dee Holeman, Durham’s last great blues elder. Holeman had turned 92 years old on April 4 before he passed at Person Memorial Hospital in Roxboro. The official cause of death was a heart attack, following a prolonged period of ill health. “We’ve lost the last North Carolina blues musician who actually grew up with it as the popular music of both the countryside and the city,” said Wayne Martin, executive director of the North Carolina Arts Council. “I think he was the last one who connected the present day to the time when the blues reigned supreme in African American culture. It’s not the end of the blues, but the end of the generation shaped by that. I sure will miss him.” Born in Hillsborough in 1929, Holeman was already coming over to Durham to play music as a teenager. By the early 1950s, he was living in Durham and playing regularly with Arthur Lyons, an older bluesman who had been part of the Blind Boy Fuller/ Rev. Gary Davis scene in the city two decades earlier. In Fuller’s day, blues players had made a living busking around Durham’s tobacco warehouses during the harvest season. Holeman and Lyon played house parties as well as joints where people of color had to order food from the back door in those Jim Crow days. As the years passed and Durham’s older generation of blues players died off, Holeman aged into the role of elder statesman. A series of albums paired him with everyone from Taj Mahal to the Australian folk-rock group The Waifs, and he kept the old style of Piedmont blues alive with signature songs including the speak-easy ode “Chapel Hill Boogie” and Blind Boy Fuller standard “Step It Up and Go.” He was a regular performer at festivals including Eno and Bull Durham Blues, with enough of a nationwide reputation to earn a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1988.


“When white Durham finally began to recognize its blues musicians, very few of them were still alive and active at that point,” said Glenn Hinson, associate professor of folklore and anthropology at UNC-Chapel Hill. “John Dee was the youngest. He was a gentle artist and a gentleman, always someone who downplayed the versatility and depth of his artistry. In the midst of all the accolades, he very much stayed himself.” Holeman’s legacy extended beyond music and into dance, too, mostly through his longtime performing partnership with pianist Quentin “Fris” Holloway. At shows, Holeman and Holloway would dance as much as they played—mostly “buckdancing,” an old style involving lots of stomps and slaps. Indeed, he was every bit as influential in dance as he was in music. “He was our elder buckdancer, and this is the end of an era,” said Junious Brickhouse, a choreographer and urban dance culture educator, for whom Holeman served as mentor. “Buckdancing is something a lot of our communities have abandoned because of its association with slavery and Jim Crow.” “But John Dee helped me undo that shame of where we’re from,” Brickhouse continued. “He helped a lot of people in the street-dance community reflect where we come from. He was a guiding light, and so loved. I don’t think he realized how much he impacted our lives. He was someone very special, the last of his kind.”W

May 12, 2021



State (Park) of Mind

Quick Tip: The state parks have been busy during the pandemic, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead before driving out to these areas to make sure you can get parking.


Quick Fact: The newest state park in N.C. is Grandfather Mountain, which was established in 2008 when the state struck a deal with the corporation that runs Grandfather Mountain, the tourist attraction that includes the mile-high swinging bridge.


ay 15 is Kids to Parks Day, an annual celebration held by the National Park Trust that encourages kids (and kids at heart) to spend the day playing outside. This year, they’re highlighting state parks across the country and encouraging folks to visit in their “bubbles,” because COVID-19 is still a threat. To make sure you’re properly spaced out, here are all 34 state parks plus four state-run recreation areas. We’ve also highlighted a few of our personal favorites.

Quick Fact: The N.C. park system started in 1915 when Mount Mitchell was protected from loggers by the General Assembly. The governor then appointed a commission to buy as much of the summit as possible for $20,000 (about $500,000 in today’s USD). Quick Fact: Mount Mitchell is the tallest point east of the Mississippi River at 6,684 feet. The climate and vegetation are more akin to Canada than North Carolina.

Quick Fact: Gorges State Park is the westernmost point in the N.C. parks system, and sits near the South Carolina border. It is known for its waterfalls.

Quick Fact: Jockey’s Ridge, the easternmost state park, is home to the tallest living sand dune on the Atlantic Coast. It’s a well-known spot for hang gliding.

Pick a Park: 2

3 4

1 5

Lake James State Park Nebo

3 Haw River State Park Browns Summit

Lake James is at the base of Linville Gorge, giving you the opportunity for mountain views and lakeside fun.

Home to the state’s first residential environmental education center, which is offering virtual field trip options for schools.

Pilot Mountain State Park Pinnacle

Eno River State Park Durham

Raven Rock State Park Lillington

Great for hikes, and even better for rock climbers. (And my personal favorite).

Hey, I know that one! If you’ve been to only one entrance at the Eno, now’s the time to try out some of the other spots, or maybe go visit Occoneechee Mountain in Hillsborough.

Home to 47 campsites, from RV camping to primitive backpack camping. Former home to Slow Poke the opossum.





6 Fort Fisher State Recreation Area Kure Beach

Offers surf fishing, ocean views, and marsh trails. Close to the state aquarium.


Source: North Carolina Department of Parks and Recreation 4

May 12, 2021

OP - E D Demonstrators in downtown Elizabeth City PHOTO BY LEWIS KENDALL

Right to Know It’s time to put body camera footage on the record BY JASMINE GALLUP


North Carolina judge’s refusal to publicly release the body camera footage of the killing of Andrew Brown Jr. shows our state is once again behind the times. State laws about the release of body camera footage vary wildly, but North Carolina’s is one of the strictest. In Connecticut, for example, body camera footage is considered part of the public record and only specific incidents, such as communication with undercover operatives, can be withheld from family members or the media. In North Carolina, on the other hand, the release of body camera footage requires a court order, a petition process that can take days or weeks. The state’s off-the-record policy went into effect in 2016, and while the body cam law may be new, the suppression of information by law enforcement isn’t. Smalltown police forces have been shielded by secrecy and silence for decades. Even now, journalists in understaffed

newsrooms often struggle to get information from the police. Online databases with complete records are rare. A police chief might happily release arrest records within an hour or two—unless it’s an arrest for murder, and especially if it’s for murder at the hands of one of their own. The phrase “ongoing investigation” was originally used to help the police operate effectively by shielding sensitive information, but it can also be used to hide a multitude of sins. In 2007, however, something changed—Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone. Suddenly, cameras were everywhere. Within five years, 35 percent of U.S. adults owned a smartphone, according to the Pew Research Center. By 2019, that number jumped to 81 percent. In the age of technology, police have been forced into almost complete transparency. A reporter no longer has to be on the scene to know what happened—they can

just check Twitter. Videos of police killing Black men have started a nationwide movement for justice fueled by collective action. Make no mistake: there hasn’t been a sudden surge in the number of Black men and women killed by police. But in the 1920s, if a young Black man was quietly killed in a rural town, who would ever know? Would people across the country cry for him? Would someone 50 miles away know his name? Body camera footage was designed to serve the same purpose that the shaky cell phone footage taken by bystanders has come to fulfill—to increase transparency and police accountability. Instead of learning from the times, however, leaders in North Carolina’s justice system are displaying the same stubborn adherence to outdated tradition that they have for years. In the history of racial injustice, the deaths of Black people at the hands of police have too often gone overlooked. Now, video footage of shootings, of killings, of the last moments of someone’s life, have finally forced white people to look at the stories of their interactions with Black people and start circling the mistakes in bright red ink. The police may not have wanted this sea change, but it’s time they feel the way the wind is blowing and show the kind of transparency that can lead to real progress In the wake of Andrew Brown Jr.’s death, the need for transparency has become abundantly clear. The confusion and uncertainty over what happened to 42-yearold Brown has only inflamed tensions and obscured the truth. Releasing the body camera footage is a simple way to help clarify the conversation about social justice. Some hope for the family was sparked last month when Democrats in the state House and Senate mounted a push to repeal the 2016 law, although it doesn’t look like there’s much of a prospect for the legislation’s passage this session, though there’s some hope for a bill opening up video footage for viewing to victims’ families. The bills calling for police recordings to be released to the public within 48 hours are a start and could come back next year. By that time, video evidence of what happened to Andrew Brown Jr. will also be released. Maybe that can be the push that officials need to put police reform back on the table. Perhaps then, after more than 400 years of pointless death, we can finally consider making corrections. W Jasmine Gallup is a freelance reporter from Cary

May 12, 2021



From Elizabeth City

May 12, 2021

From top left: Images 1, 2, & 4: Protesters gather in Elizabeth City, North Carolina for the seventh straight night following the killing of Andrew Brown Jr. by Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies on April 21, 2021 Image 3: Harry Daniels (right) and Chantel Cherry-Lassiter (left), attorneys for the family of Andrew Brown Jr., speak at a press conference following a judge’s ruling denying the immediate release of law enforcement video surrounding Brown’s killing Image 5: Protesters march near downtown Elizabeth City Image 6: Ulysses “Bones” Edwards works on a mural of Andrew Brown Jr. on the side of Brown’s former home, near where he was killed Image 7: Attorneys for the family of Andrew Brown Jr. speak at a press conference Wednesday outside the Pasquotank County Courthouse in downtown Elizabeth City, following a judge’s ruling denying the immediate release of body camera video PHOTOGRAPHY BY LEWIS KENDALL

May 12, 2021



May 12, 2021


Community Benefits? Raleigh’s newly adopted TIG policy won’t make a dent in the city’s affordable housing crisis BY JANE PORTER


ast week, Raleigh’s city council OK’d construction of nearly 300 units of affordable housing. One multi-family development, Thrive at the Renaissance located at the intersection of Chapanoke and Ileagnes Roads, will add 90 units to the city’s stock. The other, New Bern Crossings located close to where New Bern Avenue hits Interstate 440, will add 192 units. This is good news. But, also last week, the city council adopted the Tax Increment Grant (TIG) policy in a 7 to 1 vote. While the TIG is being sold as an economic development tool that will secure public benefits for Raleigh residents, affordable housing as a public benefit is not a priority in the policy. Essentially, the TIG promises to reimburse developers with property tax revenues for a period of time upon the developer’s execution of a set of agreed-upon “community benefits” for the applicable project. Although TIGs are capped at 2 percent of the city’s annual property tax levy, projects as large as the $2 billion Downtown South could receive annual reimbursements that exceed annual property tax revenue growth, according to an N.C. Budget and Tax Center analysis; at minimum, that’s several million dollars a year for a period of 10 or 15 years. According to the policy, the TIG’s community benefits must fall into an investment category called Infrastructure/Facilities whereby developers build new infrastructure and facilities (such as, say, a soccer stadium). An additional investment category, Public Benefits, says the developer may provide benefits—job creation commitments, workforce development, or affordable housing—but only in conjunction with the Infrastructure/Facilities category. In other words, providing community benefits such as affordable housing and

jobs is completely optional for developers who will be repaid millions in public dollars upon the completion of their projects. That’s not ideal. Raleigh’s affordable housing crisis is well documented. In the city in 2019, there were 43,823 extremely low-income renter households— those who make zero to 30 percent of the area median income (AMI), which, for an individual, is currently $19,800 and for a family of four is $28,250—according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. For those 43,823 households, there were only 14,978 affordable and available rental homes, so we’re already at a deficit of 28,845 units; the city has added 2,900 units since 2015, a spokesperson said. An $80 million affordable housing bond plus other money the city has in federal and local funds, federal grants, and CARES Act funds—a total of $143 million—will go toward the city’s stated goal of constructing 5,700 units by 2026. That doesn’t seem like it will be enough money. It certainly won’t be enough units. That’s why city leaders should incentivize developers to build affordable housing to the extent that North Carolina law allows instead of adopting a mechanism that would reimburse developers with city property taxes. So far, this council has failed to persuade developers to take the construction of affordable housing seriously. The TIG does little to do so either, though it pretends to. A section on the city’s website describes how “affordable housing can be leveraged” through the TIG: “As part of a project qualifying for a TIG, a developer may obligate itself to construct a certain percentage of affordable housing units within the project.”

Downtown Raleigh from Boylan Bridge The developer of Downtown South has obligated itself to construct a very limited supply of affordable housing and does nothing to help the most cost-burdened households. As part of the rezoning conditions the city granted the project’s developers in December, the Downtown South project reserves 10 percent of its first 999 dwelling units for households making less than 80 percent of the AMI—$52,570 or less for an individual or $75,300 or less for a family of four—for at least five years. With the TIG, developers can get a good deal, and they know it. But the public should look critically at the opportunity costs of a policy that will give property tax revenues back to developers who aren’t asked to provide the types of housing the city needs most right now. What else could those property tax revenues pay for? Helping to finance small-scale projects such as Thrive at Renaissance and New Bern


Crossing. Acquiring properties located along transit lines and in other areas to keep housing affordable. Providing low- or no-interest loans to first-time or low-income homebuyers for down payment assistance or repairs. These are just a few options. Right now, we need to keep the context of what is happening top of mind. We’re still in a pandemic and an economic downturn. The recovery is uncertain and people are struggling. Jobs haven’t returned. Wages aren’t increasing. Evictions are leaving families houseless and, in the Triangle, the influx of large tech companies like Apple will continue to push up home prices. Instead of focusing on ways to subsidize large development projects, the city’s leaders should focus on growing the city sustainably and inclusively. Raleigh’s strategic documents already call for that. The council now needs to ensure that the city’s policy processes align with investment in the broader public good. W

May 12, 2021




Shots Fired Durham’s mayor claps back at the Northgate Mall developer in a testy exchange BY THOMASI MCDONALD


n executive with the real estate firm Northwood Ravin told Durham Mayor Steve Schewel in an email to “stop taking a confrontational attitude” toward the company as it moves forward with redevelopment plans of Northgate Mall. The email came after Schewel asked the firm to heed the concerns raised by residents of Walltown, a historic Black community located near the mall. Residents there fear that the firm’s multimillion-dollar redevelopment plans will force them out of a neighborhood where their families have lived for generations. Community leaders have asked Northwood, which purchased the property in 2018, to consider new development plans that include setting aside space for affordable housing, which Durham officials have endorsed. Jeff Furman, Northwood’s vice president of development, has said previously that he’s sympathetic to the concerns of Walltown residents. But in an email Tuesday to Schewel, Furman said he believes the city, not his company, should be responsible for addressing those concerns while ensuring affordable housing in Durham. “You continue to say it is up to us and our civic duty to resolve public issues,” Furman said. “But I will say again that the City merely asking private landowners to solve public issues such as affordable housing with no public involvement will not produce the results the residents of Durham want.” Schewel last month told the INDY that the city’s hands are tied in regards to gaining concessions from Northwood Ravin on behalf of Walltown. “Their current plans do not need to come to the city council [for approval],” the mayor said at the time. “Their plan for phase one is residential with some commercial, and my understanding is that they already have the zoning they need for that.” For some observers, including the mayor, the Northwood plan seems to be accompanied by a disregard for the historic Walltown neighborhood that sits about three blocks north of Duke’s East Campus. In an email last month to Durham officials, Furman said the responsibility to work with residents “to find solutions to relieve gentrification” lies with city leaders. “Asking private landowners to solve the City’s issues is a misdirected mission,” he wrote. “While we appreciate 10

May 12, 2021

Northgate Mall


the ideas coming from Walltown ... we instead encourage the neighborhoods to work directly with the City and its elected officials to change public policy to relieve gentrification and locate more affordable housing and affordable retail on nearby underutilized public land.” Last week, Schewel clapped back at Furman with his own email, saying that he was “genuinely taken aback by the tone and substance” of Furman’s remarks. “I hope you misspoke,” the mayor wrote. Schewel reminded Furman that they had talked previously about ways the proposed development could work with the Walltown community, and Schewel praised the “very constructive ideas” that Walltown leaders have shared with Northwood. “You are right that the public sector must take a leading role in solving problems like affordable housing,” Schewel wrote. “That is why Durham residents, with 76 percent voting in favor, approved the largest affordable housing bond in the history of North Carolina.” The mayor also pointed to the hundreds of affordable homes that are in the design stage or under construction throughout the city as well as the city’s subsidizing of affordable housing in partnership with both nonprofit and for-profit developers. The mayor referenced a for-profit development on Farrington Road. “This developer, with much, much less land than you own at Northgate … has donated land in its development for affordable housing,” Schewel wrote. “You can certainly do this at Northgate … We also need you to do your part. That is what the Durham community expects.” In a follow-up email, Furman told Schewel that asking private landowners to solve public issues like affordable housing with no public involvement “will not produce the results the residents of Durham want.” Furman praised the affordable housing bond but then wrote that the city submitted just four affordable project

applications this year to the state Housing Finance Agency for affordable tax credits, rehabilitation credits, and tax-exempt bonds. “This is the lowest number of applications among the largest cities and counties in North Carolina,” Furman wrote. But Schewel on Thursday told the INDY that applications for low-income tax credits are not submitted by cities. “They are submitted by private developers, including non-profits and for-profit developers like Northwood Ravin,” the mayor said. “I cited the for-profit developers on Farrington Road who donated land and infrastructure for affordable housing [and] is applying for a low-income housing tax credit and is being supported as well by City housing funds … Northwood could do the same thing—including applying for the tax credit and donating the land. That path is wide open to them. “They are the ones failing to apply for a tax credit, or to do anything else to support affordable housing on their property,” Schewel concluded. “If they would do so, the City could certainly be a partner, as they know.” Schewel wasn’t the only public official to weigh in. Tom Miller, counsel for the North Carolina Real Estate Commission and member of the Durham City-County Planning Commission, told Furman in an email that Durham is undergirded by the belief that “everyone should share in the benefits of the community, and that everyone shares in the responsibility of confronting and overcoming our community’s problems.” “No one is exempt from the obligations of community stewardship,” Miller wrote. “This applies to private landowners no less than anyone else. In fact, I would venture to say that when someone who owns so large a parcel near our city center as Northgate with all the opportunities from that ownership, the responsibility of community stewardship is all the greater.” W


Chapel Hill

Staying Power UNC-Chapel Hill stalls on shutting down its coal plant as the climate crisis inches closer to catastrophe BY SARA PEQUEÑO


NC-Chapel Hill’s Cameron Avenue coal plant—its smokestack, wires, and monstrous machinery—isn’t a relic of the past. It’s alive and burning tons of coal every day, while the university, in the meantime, is in another cycle of spin around its inadequate environmental promises. The university’s new Climate Action Plan, released in April, declares that the school will now aim to be emission-neutral—but not coal-free—by the year 2040. At about the same time the school released this information, it began litigating with the nonprofit N.C. Center for Biological Diversity over its alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. Additionally, the N.C. Division of Air Quality (DAQ) has finally drafted a new permit for UNC’s cogeneration plant after an earlier version was rejected in 2018. The new contract has no threshold for heat input, meaning there is no maximum amount of coal the university can burn in a given time period. While the Clean Air Act sets maximums at the federal level, the university wouldn’t be regulated by the state. The DAQ held a public hearing last week to hear what North Carolinians had to say about the new permit. Comments were overwhelmingly negative. Wayne Helms, who grew up in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, says he and his brother suffer from “respiratory afflictions” that started in childhood and persist today. Now, he says, today’s children breathe in the same toxins. “It’s been a constant assault, not only on the poor communities who live directly around [the plant] who are historically shafted at every turn. But also ... a constant assault on the middle class, and the rich, and their children, and every UNC student, faculty, staff member,” Helms said at the hearing.

UNC-Chapel Hill is the only school in the UNC System that operates its own coal plant. When it promised to divest from coal in 2010, it was one of 60 schools in the country that relied on a campus coal plant. Still, the school says it’s divesting from coal as quickly as it can. “We have a forward-focused and action-oriented approach to our sustainability efforts, and welcome community engagement in that work,” said Michael Piehler, the university’s chief sustainability officer, in a statement to the INDY. UNC’s original power plant opened in the 1920s in Phillips Hall. The Cameron Avenue plant was completed in 1940. It overlooks Pine Knolls and Tin Top, two historically Black neighborhoods at the edge of the university’s campus. This year, the Department of Environmental Quality counted a higher number of Latinx and Asian residents living in census tracts within a mile radius of the plant compared to the rest of Orange County, and a slightly higher number of Black, native, and biracial residents, too. But the problems are historic. In 1970, The Daily Tar Heel published an article about pollution from the plant; the report stated that the school burned 24,000 tons of coal in 1969. In 2006, the school reportedly burned 200-450 tons of coal a day—at least 73,000 tons per year. Since the mid-2000s, the university says it has worked to reduce its emissions. The 2021 Climate Action Plan draft reports a 44 percent decrease in coal use since 2007. The new plan is the fourth commitment the university has made in the last dozen years to a timeframe for weaning itself off coal. In 2009, the first Climate Action Plan vowed that the university would be carbon-neutral by 2050. In 2010, then-chan-


cellor Holden Thorp upped the ante, saying that the university would be completely coal-free by 2020. UNC was one of the few schools to respond quickly to the Sierra Club’s Campuses Beyond Coal action, and was praised by the groups it’s now battling in court. By 2012, the administration said going coal-free wasn’t possible, according to reporting from The Daily Tar Heel. The school announced in 2017 that it would revert to a 2050 deadline. Now, the university is targeting 2040—a year ahead of schedule and the year scientists predict we’ll be unable to repair the damage from climate change. Perrin de Jong, a staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, says the university’s flip-flops are indicative of the political changes that began around 2010, when the GOP took over the General Assembly, the Governor’s office, and, ultimately, the UNC System Board of Governors. “What I see is a pattern at UNC of waging the culture wars relentlessly,” de Jong says. He points to the shutdown of the UNC Center for Civil Rights legal clinic in 2017, and the 2019 multimillion-dollar settlement between the university and the N.C. Sons of Confederate Veterans. The ongoing litigation and permit changes are the same battle— just on the environmental front. The 2019 lawsuit from the Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity alleged that UNC is allowed to emit four to six times the nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide levels allowed under the Clean Air Act.

The new permit cuts out a heat input threshold entirely, despite the environmental groups’ findings that 269 violations of the current heat input limit have occurred since May 2019, a fraction of the 7,830 permit violations documented since December 2014. This first permit renewal came in 2018 and was redrafted after the environmentalists poked holes in the proposal and a court ruled in 2020 that UNC could not dismiss nine of 10 charges brought against it. Now, the state has months to settle the concerns before the current permit expires this year. Burning coal is not more economical for the university. It’s actually becoming cheaper to generate renewable energy, such as solar and wind. The coal plant comprises only about 15 percent of the university’s energy sources; de Jong says it’d be easiest for the school to convert entirely to the Duke Energy grid, which is powered by an array of services including renewable energy. That’s similar to the University of Georgia’s 2015 move when it decommissioned its coal boiler. “North Carolina is the number two producer of renewable energy in the United States,” de Jong says. “It’s also the second-fastest growing producer of renewable energy, and it’s now the number one state for renewable energy jobs. And none of those jobs are at UNC. So that shows you the difference between just plugging into the grid and taking the increasingly clean share of energy that’s coming off the grid, versus just continuing to burn coal on campus.” 2

May 12, 2021




Soccer Squabble Durham Nativity School wants a soccer field for its students; the school’s neighbors have other ideas BY THOMASI MCDONALD


urham Nativity School fulfills a unique and noble purpose: providing Black and Brown boys from families who qualify for the federal lunch program with a tuition-free education. DNS doesn’t have a gymnasium or a formal recreational facility, so the school is currently developing a soccer field at its Old North Durham location, one of the city’s oldest, predominantly white neighborhoods. The Durham Board of Adjustment will hold a May 25 public hearing to determine if they will grant the school’s request to allow lights on the artificial turf field. The original plans for the soccer field, which didn’t include lighting or turf, were approved in January 2018. DNS board member Jim Baker says a lighted soccer field would allow the school’s approximately 60 students to play outside during the winter months while awaiting rides home. “Between November and mid-March, there’s no place for them to go outside and play,” Baker said. “We think the soccer field would be a safe place for them to play instead of being cooped up inside. It’s a great thing for the community and a great thing for the school. That’s really our intent.” Construction of the field is not happening without a fight, however. Some homeowners in the Old North Durham Neighborhood Association say they supported the school’s original plans for an unlit grass field. But now, some residents are voicing opposition to a proposed turf field with lights mounted on 50-foot poles in the middle of the dense residential neighborhood. Neighbor Adam Haile said that residents were notified about the school’s original plans for a soccer field but that “somehow” 12

May 12, 2021

the project was upgraded without the community being notified. “Residents weren’t aware of any of that until construction began in the last few weeks, at which point many were upset by the bait-and-switch,” Haile told the INDY in an email. Haile and his neighbors wonder if the field will be rented out to private leagues rather than solely provide an athletic and recreational outlet for pupils. Baker told the INDY, however, that “at this time, we have no intention of renting the field to older or adult league members.” Haile says that school officials told neighbors they plan to spend extra to minimize the impact of lighting on the neighborhood. “Residents thanked them for that,” Haile wrote, “but there was still skepticism about whether it was enough and why hadn’t residents been included until after plans were made and construction started.” Meanwhile, Haile says “a few residents” whose homes are adjacent to the property “are very upset” and asking the neighborhood to take up opposition to the project. Haile pointed to what he says is checkered history of issues between the church and the neighborhood. “In particular, the school has been renting the site to a church congregation that has been holding very loud, amplified outdoor services every Sunday morning at 8 a.m., including a seven-piece band,” he wrote. “Residents found the church and school unresponsive to their requests to moderate the volume or start at a later time.” Other residens say the church did in fact turn its music down. In 2017, James Dardig and his wife Susan Johns moved into their home on North Roxboro Street. They can see a sliver of the


future soccer field from their porch. They see the school as transformative, but they also point to the neighborhood’s history of conflict with DNS. “The school has not been super-neighborly with its neighbors,” Dardig said. He said that his own experience with the school has been positive, however. Some residents park their cars in the school’s 78-car parking lot. Others played basketball on goals that have since been uprooted for the soccer field construction. The couple’s daughter enjoys riding her scooter on the campus. Meanwhile, Dardig says DNS has done a good job of prioritizing their neighbors’ concerns about the lit field. “They’re saying all the right things,” he said. Baker said after the original plan was approved by the city’s planning department, school board members thought it would be better to use artificial turf to keep the field green year-round and to include lights for evening soccer. After two years and sign-offs from “nine or 10 different departments,” the upgrades were approved by the planning department in February, Baker said. The plan stalled last month, however, when city planning officials contacted school board members and told them

they could not erect the lighting unless they obtained a special use permit from the city’s board of adjustment, which the board will now consider. Baker called the planning department. “They said, ‘We screwed up. We made an error,’” he said. DNS board members reached out to the neighborhood to participate in several town hall meetings once word of the lighting proposal circulated, Baker said. Baker said the lighting plan originally called for the lights to point downward and extend 30 feet in circumference. But after speaking with neighbors, the school decided to use LED lighting that would reduce the circumference to 22 feet. “What we were trying to tell the neighbors is that this takes a lot of money we don’t have,” Baker said. “We put a lot of thought and effort and more costs to avoid a lighting wash outside the field of play.” Susan Johns says it’s important for the school and community to strike a balance of trust. Her husband agrees. “At the end of the day, none of this is the fault of the 60 kids who need a lighted field with reasonable covenants to make sure the neighborhood is respected,” Dardig said. W


North Carolina

Ground Zero In North Carolina, HIV cases are up and testing is down BY HANNAH CRITCHFIELD


ven as vaccines temper the spread of the novel coronavirus in the United States, North Carolina advocates gathered to remind lawmakers that the country remains in the middle of another pandemic. The South is ground zero for new HIV cases within the United States, and the Tar Heel state is no exception. “After last year, there are a lot of people out there who are probably walking around with an STI, hepatitis, or HIV who are not aware of it,” Jacquelyn Clymore, HIV, STD, and hepatitis director at the Department of Health and Human Services. She spoke during “HIV Virtually Speaks on Jones Street 2021” last week, an HIV and hepatitis advocacy day hosted by the NC AIDS Action Network (NCAAN) and the Southern AIDS Coalition. HIV—or human immunodeficiency virus— has continued to spread in North Carolina during the pandemic, but significant changes may be coming to how the state attempts to provide healthcare access in the near future to people living with the virus.

Ground zero for new cases Just over half the people who are diagnosed with HIV in the United States each year reside in the South, despite accounting for just 38 percent of the country’s overall population. As the southern U.S. is the fastest growing area for the virus, about 50 percent of all deaths among adults and adolescents living with HIV also occur here. While North Carolina fares better than some of its neighboring states, it still ranks 12th worst among states for the highest rates of HIV.

Black Americans are at the greatest risk, accounting for 52 percent of new diagnoses in the South in 2018, the year for which Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data is most recently available. Black southerners have higher rates of HIV than Black people in all other regions of the United States. PHOTO BY TESTALIZE.ME ON UNSPLASH

Cases up, testing down in NC In North Carolina, efforts to combat the novel coronavirus at times subsumed HIV prevention and outreach initiatives over the last year, as many health officials were forced to shift their focus to pandemic-related work. “A lot of our resources at the state health department, just like in the local health departments, have had to work on COVID,” Clymore said at last week’s virtual event. “It didn’t mean that our HIV and STI and hepatitis work stopped, but it did mean that some things we thought we would be doing just had to be put on hold.” When last year’s public health crisis hit, one of the state’s most important resources was people power. But public health agencies across the state had bled resources for years and many were under-resourced. Many county health agencies shuttered their HIV testing entirely in the early months of the pandemic, and struggled to balance the tasks required of the often minuscule number of staffers—in some places, an entire local health department can have a staff of three. “The people who would normally be offering HIV or STI testing in local health departments were fully pulled into COVID, so those resources—those

human beings—were moved to other work,” said Clymore. Testing for sexually transmitted infections in North Carolina dropped significantly in 2020, according to Clymore. In some counties, STI and HIV testing was down by 50 percent. Early evidence suggests that HIV infection has nevertheless increased within the state over the last year. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen the numbers for STIs and HIV have gone up,” said Clymore. “Not a lot, but they have gone up some, even while testing has gone down. What that tells us is that there are a lot of other diagnoses out there waiting to happen. We know there has to be more HIV and STIs and hepatitis out there than is currently being diagnosed.”

Increasing access As COVID vaccines become widely available and accessible throughout the state, advocates and healthcare providers alike say they hope to move forward in the fight for better treatment for people living with HIV. “At this point, we’ve said that if you’re a community-based organization funded by us for [STI] testing, it’s time to get back out

there,” said Clymore. “Get on your PPE, you should be vaccinated, you should be able to do this testing now. “We’ve told our local health departments that if they can’t do that work because they’re still completely entrenched in COVID, please lean heavily on [these organizations] to do testing,” she added. “Because we need to get back to it.” Even before the pandemic, a person seeking to determine if they are HIV-positive could face barriers to getting tested. Although people with HIV can now live long, healthy lives if they have access to treatment, stigma around the diagnosis remains pervasive in many communities. A historical lack of cultural competency in the medical field, as well as a documented history of systemic racism, may lead some individuals—particularly people of color, LGBTQ community members, and those with substance use disorders—to be wary of trusting a provider with confidential information about their HIV status, or fearful of the experience they’ll have at a testing site. “This is still part of the ongoing problem that people living with HIV experience,” said Clymore. “There’s still a lot of judgment, and unfortunately some of it is affecting people as they come to clinics and as they come to care.”

May 12, 2021


“There’s still a lot of judgement, and unfortunately some of it is affecting people as they come to clinics and come to care.” To address this problem, the state aims to have home testing kits, with which a person can conduct an HIV diagnostic test themselves, approved and available by the end of June. Currently, only Mecklenburg County offers home testing through a direct agreement with the federal government, according to Jeffery Edwards-Knight, supervisor at the Mecklenburg County Health Department and longtime AIDS activist, who spoke at the event. “This is another access opportunity— removing barriers, whether they be transportation barriers or cultural barriers, and putting the power back to the person,” Peggy Weil, public policy and grants coordinator at Western North Carolina AIDS Project, said about home kits during the meeting. “There’s evidence out there that once people know their status, that even if they don’t immediately engage in care, it does alter their behavior.” DHHS is also developing a “cultural humility” training that, starting in August, will be mandatory for organizations that receive state funding for HIV testing, in hopes that it will improve the experience of people arriving for HIV testing. “We heard loud and clear that people really wanted that addressed,” said Clymore.

Other changes ahead The same day “HIV Virtually Speaks on Jones Street 2021” was held, lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill in the House that would amend the state’s “Good Samaritan Law,” which is intended to provide protection from prosecution to a person who calls 911 in the event of an overdose. “Our [current] law is actually one of the most limited in the country,” Lee Storrow, executive director of NCAAN, who helped lead the push for this legislation alongside members of the DHHS opioid overdose prevention team, said at the summit’s closing event. “When the Good Samaritan Law was enacted, our drug supply looked very different,” he added. “Right now the main case of drug overdose in North Carolina is fentanyl—but possession of fentanyl is not protected under our Good Samaritan Law, so it’s a real barrier for people calling 911.” House Bill 852, proposed by Reps. Donny 14

May 12, 2021

Lambeth (R-Winston-Salem), Gale Adcock (D-Cary) and Vernetta Alston (D-Durham), would expand those protections to people using a broader range of substances. Organizations like NCAAN are also advocating for a bill that would make it easier for people to access HIV prevention medication, following on the heels of states like California and Colorado. HB 691, sponsored by Rep. Wayne Sasser (R-District 67), would eliminate the need for a prescription to obtain PreP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) or PeP (post-exposure prophylaxis), medication that prevents infection after possible HIV exposure if taken within a few days. “It is 100 percent designed to allow someone to walk in the door and say, ‘I need post-exposure prophylaxis,’ and the pharmacist has the capacity to administer that without a prescription,’” said Storrow. Throughout the day, participants discussed another bill currently working its way through the legislature—one that could threaten syringe exchanges across North Carolina. Senate Bill 607 would, among other things, ban mobile exchanges, require programs to use engraved needles and force people using their services to undergo treatment. “Obviously there’s a lot of concern about what’s been introduced in the legislature to limit what syringe service programs can do that are absolutely not friendly to people who use drugs, people who are considering recovery, people who are actively needing the work of syringe services programs,” said Clymore. “We [at DHHS] have had the opportunity to comment on those and to say why we think they aren’t going to work, why we’re concerned about them, why they are not in the best interest of the people who those bills were created to help.” Next year, the state anticipates it will be ready to adopt an electronic portal for its North Carolina HIV Medication Assistance Program (NC HMAP), a federal- and state-funded program which provides financial assistance for medications specifically used to combat HIV. Once the program is implemented, Clymore said, case managers should be able to determine a client’s eligibility and quickly enroll them for assistance online. DHHS hopes to release its updated “Ending the Epidemic” plan for combating HIV in North Carolina in June, according to Clymore. W

d ople re.”


RED CLAY PLAYS | Episode One: Mother Nature and Mother’s Day Mojoaa Performing Arts Company | Free |

e Adcock Durham), to people ces. also advoe it easier ion meditates like 91, sponstrict 67), escriptionBY BYRON WOODS ophylaxis) is), medir possible w days. to allowThe South got something to say. nd say, ‘IFor real. and the—Dasan Ahanu and Scott Warren, Red Clay Plays dminister theme song Storrow. discussed hree women sit side by side on a sofa in a home in a y through plush suburban neighborhood in upstate New York. threatenThe area has the highest per capita of PhDs in the state. Carolina.Perhaps one percent of the population is Black. er things, The first woman, Big Mama, vividly evokes the stereoograms totypes put on Black Southern women circa 1850. A preppy, ople usingpeppy, conservative woman primly sits beside her: Amert. ican Mother, era 2009. To her right is Afro Queen, an concernembodiment of Afrocentric 1960s nationalism in dashiki, n the leg-beads, and platform shoes. rvice pro- Nanobots? Hardly. They’re Nannybots. And a hapless utely notBlack couple from the near future has to select one—and s, peopleonly one—to help raise their infant son. ople who You can hear the Afrofuturist one-act comedy, “Mother’s f syringeDay,” in the first episode of Red Clay Plays, a new podcast e. “We [atfrom the Raleigh-based MOJOAA Performing Arts Compay to com-ny that launched last week. The 18-week series—free to we thinklisten to on Audible and Spotify, among other streaming we’re con-sites—features works and interviews with nine Southern re not inBlack playwrights across eight states. ho those After opening with Lisa B. Thompson’s droll dystopia, the first season ranges from the lyric to horror, from Black es it willlife comedy to social issue dramas. The series’ objective is portal forto dramatically broaden the bandwidth available to playon Assis-wrights of color. deral- and “I think there is often this idea that there’s just one way des finan-Black Southern folks are writing theater, and it’s just not pecificallytrue,” says artistic director Monèt Noelle Marshall, the rogram isseries’ curator and host. e manag- “Southern Black playwrights are making and reimagina client’sing worlds, and creating so much more than what people for assis-expect. There’s such a wide breadth, and what I love most is that I can see myself, my family, my people in different updatedways in each of these stories.” ombating Marshall created the series to address the limited opporaccordingtunities that Black playwrights experience, especially outside of New York.

Southern Drama

New podcast Red Clay Plays brings together Black playwrights from across the South


From left: Red Clay Plays podcast team Danielle Harris, Keyanna Alexander, Kevin “Rowdy” Rowsey, Monèt Noelle Marshall PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA

“It became really clear,” Marshall says. “So many folks are writing about the South, and are from the South, but they’re not in the South anymore, because of lack of resources and opportunities. How can we change that?” The company currently accepts submissions from Black Southern playwrights and Black trans authors, regardless of region, “because we know the South is not the safest place for Black trans folks, and we want to include them,” Marshall says. “When we expand our idea of what theater is, it leaves room for more people,” Marshall says. “A love letter, when performed, is theater; a lyrical poem, when performed, is theater.” She shudders when she thinks of Black playwrights being turned away “because it doesn’t look like A Raisin in the Sun or an August Wilson piece.” “That’s not diversity,” Marshall concludes. “That’s not equity.” Thompson, an African studies professor at University of Texas at Austin, thinks Marshall’s current project is “monumental” in addressing the regional barriers that inhibit stage artists. “If we want to know the complexity and breadth of the nation and the world we’re living in, we have to look beyond what’s easy, beyond our native communities,” Thompson says. Her one-act comedy, “Mother Nature,” which opens Red Clay Plays’ first episode (she also wrote “Mother’s Day”), flips the script on gender roles and domestic relationships when a cozy mother-daughter talk goes astray in the near future. In Thompson’s otherworld, a matriarchy reigns in the chaos caused by free-ranging men, instilling a mandatory remarriage program that regularly replaces aging undesirables with younger stock. As she peruses an online catalog of potential new mates for her daughter, the mother mocks how men buy into

the conventions of matrimony: “That romantic mumbo jumbo…gives them, I don’t know. Purpose? A sense of fulfillment and hope, I guess.” She pauses on a specimen sporting an outdated press and curl haircut: “The Reverend Al model,” she notes. “I’ve gotten to the point now where I understand my superpower,” Thompson says. “It’s using wit and humor in order to make a statement. Humor’s disarming; it allows people to let go of their defenses. Then you go in with what you need to share.” These days, Thompson’s revisiting the bewildered new parents in “Mother’s Day,” turning the script into a screenplay for a short film. “The persistence of the stereotypes of Black women—they’re haunting this young mother, who is trying to be something that in many ways for the world is unintelligible,” Thompson notes. She also wanted to note how the modern Black middle class navigates racism in different ways than other social strata. “Even though you’ve ‘made it,’ you’re still having to deal with these ghosts.” Then there’s the capitalistic specter of manufacturing and marketing. “If someone’s going to create a technological answer to this—who’s going to have the resources?” Thompson asks. “In what images will those Black caretakers be?” Thompson hopes the podcast format, accessible to greater numbers than conventional theater, will bring in “what the theater desperately needs: cross-generational audiences.” Podcasts, she notes, can also expand the art form’s reach and lifespan. “Live theater is ephemeral, but a podcast can freeze a piece in the moment, and give people who can’t make it to the show an opportunity to experience it.” W

May 12, 2021


M U SIC Downtown Hillsborough PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA

Hillsborough Music Venues to Drop By Nash Street Tavern: 250 S. Nash St They care about music in this hole-inthe-wall powered by sound engineer Rainbow Cabbage’s perfect ear. Essential stop for music with true Hillsborough flavor. Bob Johnson says, “It’s a room that barely fits 50 but draws 60.” Yonder: 114 W. King St A “reasonably fancy” downtown cocktail lounge that hosts an eclectic array of live music on weekends, as well as a monthly comedy show. (Disclaimer: The author owns this venue). The open mic night draws talent from all over the state. Botanist & Barrel: 105 Persimmon Hill Lane This artisan cidery and winery (close to Cedar Grove) hosts outdoor events complete with their own food trucks and tasty beverages crafted onsite. Home to one of Katharine Whalen’s many residencies across town. The Colonial Inn: 153 W. King St. During COVID, the recently renovated hotel graduated from beloved eyesore to Hillsborough’s celebrated centerpiece. It’s home to many events, from wine tastings to live outdoor music. The Kraken: 2823 NC Hwy 54 W Don’t sleep on this road house waaaay off the beaten path. Although it technically has a Chapel Hill address, it hosts many Hillsborough musicians and residents. Its Wednesday night Shake Sugaree Americana Residency with Jonathan Byrd is the stuff of legends. Hot Tin Roof: 115 W. Margaret Lane This quintessential honkytonk will make you forget you are in colonial downtown with its cover bands and longnecks. It’s known for its late night DJ sets and Sunday night karaoke. River Park Concert Series: 228 S. Churton Ave This annual downtown celebration is a free outdoor live music event for all ages celebrating local music, art, wellness, and environmental communities. Hosted by the Hillsborough Arts Council, it draws international recording acts as well as homegrown talent. 16

May 12, 2021

Hillsborough Is Alive with the Sound of Music The pandemic brought a pause to this small town’s burgeoning music scene—but not for long BY ERYK PRUITT


he decision, March 14 last year, was a hard one. The JP & Leon Band were scheduled for their first live gig of 2020 in downtown Hillsborough, but grim reports of a spreading influenza virus were causing many other local acts to cancel their sets. All weekend, the band received texts from friends asking if the show was still on. A beloved fixture in town since their early days of Open Mic at the Blue Bayou, the JP & Leon Band could, under normal circumstances, guarantee a strong crowd. “I did a lot of reading that weekend,” frontman Bryan Leon Phelps says. “My father [guitarist Jerry “JP” Phelps] had turned 67, he’s much older. In the end, we decided to stay home and livestream the show. We thought the shutdown would only last three weeks, but as the year went on, we began to wonder if we should regret canceling the show.” No doubt this was a concern weighing on every Hillsborough musician. For a town its size—less than six square miles and a population a hair over 7,000—it boasts an embarrassment of riches. Visual arts are celebrated monthly with the Last Friday Art Walk, and there has been much written about the extensive coterie of writers who live there. The town’s best-kept secret, though, may be its eclectic live music scene. “Hillsborough has very open ears,” says Katharine Whalen, the founding member of the Squirrel Nut Zippers and a fixture in Hillsborough’s music scene ever since she stopped touring in the 90s. For the past few years, her current bands, Swedish Wood Patrol, Certain Seas, and JazzSquad could be found performing across Orange County on any given

week. Between venues, she’s just as comfortable in an evening gown paired with fur as in a pair of overalls. “It’s fertile ground because it’s a nice place for artists to get settled,” Whalen says. “It hasn’t always been like that,” Phelps adds. “There’s been a lot of change. I don’t know if everything just hit at the right place at the right time, or if we’re witnessing a runoff from the old Chapel Hill music scene, or if it’s because we have new music venues, but lately Hillsborough has truly offered a platform for musicians.” The front men for The Shoaldiggers, an “acid jug band” agree. “[It’s] the Hillsborough sound,” Shoaldigger Daryl White says. “The people here create music because they absolutely have to.” Bob Johnson, the often-barefoot co-host of WHUP 104.7FM’s live music show, Pass the Hat, has had a front-row seat, above the town in his broadcast studio on King Street, to the scene’s evolution. “The local sound has an eclectic nature,” Johnson says. “It’s very small-town, rural North Carolina. Folk, Americana, almost country. It’s always lacked diversity, but we see it growing, moving, and gaining diversity, moving from open mics filled with middle-aged white dudes with guitars to female, artists of color, and even alternative lifestyles.” That scene was gaining a special sense of momentum and stature, early last year, as tip totals, gig requests, and audience sizes swelled upward. Then came COVID-19. “And,” Katharine Whalen says, “everything just stopped.”


hankfully, that abrupt stop turned out to be more of a pause, as local musicians began to work on new directions. “COVID taught us what our priorities are,” White says. “I wrote for the first part of the pandemic, but in the back of my mind I wondered: How are we going to keep the band together?” Some members of The Shoaldiggers, a nine-person band, decided to step back and focus on families, while others lost themselves in music. In the end, the band has stripped down to three members playing pop-up shows at the local venues. Beck and White teamed up with local musicians Jess Klein and Mike June for dinners and band practices, and called themselves The Quarantine Quartet. They also released three

studio EPs, Ways, Wind, and Wires, and recorded another to be released in June. “People who cared about music before COVID are doing their thing,” White says. “It’s about the love of music.” That love, or impulse, was certainly felt by Katharine Whalen. The “beloved fixture of t as com- Hillsborough music,” as Bob Johnson calls d with fur her, never stopped working. Within days of the governor’s lockdown, she and bandnice place mates Danny Grewen and Austin Riopel were livestreaming their Way Out Yonder n says. t,” Phelps series, an extension of her residency at ge. I don’t the local cocktail lounge. They performed ight place live nearly every Friday to audiences across nessing a the world, despite tech issues and, in some usic scene, instances, an unruly goat. ic venues, “I feel stronger than ever,” Whalen offered a says. “I kept working and my bands are going great.” iggers, an Aside from socially distanced outdoor gigs, Katharine’s JazzSquad also released Shoaldig- an album amid the pandemic. To Hide A here cre- Heart That’s Blue was underwritten by the y have to.” Orange County Arts Commission and feaot co-host tures music from an early era of Billie Holhow, Pass iday’s repertoire. at, above Even Bob Johnson’s Pass the Hat experio on King enced a bit of an evolution. His show formerly hosted sets from two different musicians, an c nature,” audience, and a bottle of bourbon. Although wn, rural they never missed a show, he and co-host Kirk a, almost Ridge were forced to alter the format. Now ty, but we Plexiglas dividers separate the single artist ing diver- from the hosts and no audiences are allowed lled with in. But the bourbon and Bob’s passion for guitars to great local music have never wavered. n alterna- “It’s the new normal,” says Bob, “You can’t keep Hillsborough musicians down.” l sense of That sense of community inspires Bryan t year, as Phelps. The JP & Leon Band livestreamed ence sizes the show they decided to cancel in March 2020. They livestreamed a handful of othD-19. s, “every- ers throughout the pandemic, but he knew there was time to do more. “I looked at what The Shoaldiggers were urned out doing during lockdown and made a deciocal musi- sion,” says Phelps, whose band recorded four songs during the pandemic. “I knew ctions. priorities this was the time to get songs recorded.” first part As COVID releases its grip on the world, ck of my people are slowly reemerging from their ng to keep isolation. They are rediscovering what formerly delivered them joy. Drinks in pubdiggers, a lic. In-person conversations. And, of course, back and live music. In Hillsborough—where a giant ost them- mural of Billy Strayhorn outside the record band has store, Volume, boasts this rich musical herrs playing itage—its citizens are pleased to find the Beck and musicians have regained their footing cians Jess “It’s important that people know we and band didn’t just sink into a hole,” says Phelps. The Quar- “I want to show everyone what we’ve been sed three up to.” W

May 12, 2021





Saturday, May 15 & Saturday, June 5; 3–5 p.m.

Raleigh's Community Bookstore

Left: “Tropical Blue” by Annie Nashold, Right: Statue of Liberty Lamp by Mimi Logothetis

Listen to the latest podcasts on Bookin’


Ian Manuel, My Time Will Come: A Memoir of Crime, Punishment, Hope, and Redemption



Virtual Events

Sean Flynn, Why Peacocks?: An Unlikely Search for Meaning in the World’s Most Magnificent Bird


5.12 7PM

with Cate Doty

John Green, The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet


5.19 7PM

with Hank Green

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May 12, 2021

Coloring Outside the Lines At Horse & Buggy Press, an unlikely pairing in a new exhibit offers fresh insights BY SARAH EDWARDS


he Broad Street location of Horse & Buggy is tastefully crammed with handcrafted ephemera—poetry and photography books, paintings and ceramics, earrings and textiles—and anchored by printing equipment and a shelf of faded antique beer cans. At the fore of the space, currently, this swarm of visuals focuses with the works of the painter Annie Nashold and ceramist Mimi Logothetis, which are currently on display in an exhibit titled Mining the Personal. There are some similarities between the two artists: both use figures, packing their surfaces with narrative imagery and what Logothetis calls a “stream of conscious[ness] deep dive” that poured out during the pandemic. Obvious overlap ends there—Nashold paints canvases; Logothetis primarily makes porcelain works—but, side by side, the pair’s work sits in deep, inevitable conversation. And that’s what makes exhibits of independent local artists like this so fun. The first thing you’ll notice when viewing Nashold’s work is its color: her dreamlike surfaces pop with warm mustards, wild azalea pinks, and deep, plentiful turquoise. Nashold is attracted, she says, to the “physical and musical qualities of color” and the

kind of “vibrational qualities” they emit. In the works featured in Mining the Personal, long, severe faces and long, lopey bodies are her muses, overlapping each other in colorful pastiches, almost as if eager to crowd each other out of the frames. Nashold, a Durham chef-turned-master-gardener, quit her job at 58, to pursue art full-time. The works featured in the exhibit were painted during the pandemic. Last summer, she says, she found herself turning to her sketchbooks every evening, eventually filling two with the works that became the paintings in this exhibit. During those hours of sketching, the mistakes and imagery flowed freely, and the subconscious was put to paper. Looking at her surreal paintings—a couple perched beneath a beach umbrella; a figure playing a blue guitar; a large rabbit lurking near a man in a top hat—I had the feeling I’ve had when looking at David Hockney or Alice Neel paintings: that of having the curtain pulled back and glimpsing the secret lives of colors. Meanwhile, all of Logothetis’s works— razor-thin porcelains that take the shape of lights, vases, and other objects—are all

rendered in a black-and-white so stark and gripping you remember how transforming a lack of color can be. Some, like a candlestick holder that also functions as a vase, are absent of imagery altogether; while others, like a face mask with an image of a punk-looking Jesus gazing upwards, are printed with evocative images. Like Nashold, Logothetis says that she created most of the work in Mining the Personal during the pandemic, adding that she identifies with the titular use of “mining” because it implies that the work was dark and extracted from the subconscious, with isolation as a core theme. All of her featured work feels a little uncategorizable, superimposed with narrative and with forms that cut beyond the usual definition of function. “From the first cup of coffee in the morning to a cocktail at night use handmade, beautiful, thoughtful objects to hold on your hands and really look and think about process and materials,” advises Logothetis, who lives in Cedar Grove.“ It’s a wonderful way to live and connect with other artists and the world around you. It doesn’t feel consumer-based; it feels alive.” Mining the Personal is a fun return for Horse & Buggy, which, like other galleries, has weathered a slow pandemic year. The gallery also has plenty of other thoughtful work on display to check out while you’re browsing. (My favorites: dark wood engravings by John McWilliams, intense black-andwhite photos by Rob McDonald, and Noah Saterstrom’s Faces paintings, especially a striking one of Emily Dickinson.) Horse & Buggy Press owner Dave Wofford also opened up a secondary gallery space, PS 118 at 118 Parrish Street, which is also worth popping by; a Mother’s Day exhibit featuring seven guest artists—and a mix of jewelry, fibers and clothing, and pottery—runs through May 29. This sense of heightened aliveness that Logothetis references—maybe not one of the everyday, but of the dream world and the subconscious that seeps in when we’re alone and most receptive— holds true in both artists’ works. I won’t forget either anytime soon. W

FO O D & D R I N K

MONUTS 1002 9th St, Durham, NC |


we value our employees across the restaurant, and created a little bit of tension that folks in the back knew how much folks in the front were making. By and large, the way other restaurants address this challenge is by pooling tips and then distributing them to the back-of-house as well. And that does reduce the disparity between the different departments, but it doesn’t change the fact that they’re participating in a system that has racist and sexist roots. It seems more like a band-aid than an actual solution. Can you say more about how tipping perpetuates sexism? There’s a lot of research that shows how you can increase your tips. At the tops of those lists are always smiling more, dressing a certain way, being a certain type of person to accommodate what customers want. I think that’s ridiculous. Tipping never correlates with the quality of service; it almost always correlates with artificial indicators that have more to do with what a person looks like than how they do their job. We’ve always pooled tips at Monuts, so in some ways that has corrected for what individual consumers tip for one employee versus another. But participating in the system, even if we are insulated from its worst effects, is still turning a blind eye to the bad parts of it.

Tipping the Scale An interview with Monut’s co-owner Lindsay Moriarty about the decision to go tip-free BY LENA GELLER


urham’s Monuts Donuts has never been afraid to go against the grain. When Lindsay Moriarty and Rob Gillespie launched the breakfast joint in 2011, first selling donuts off the back of a custom tricycle, they were already actively committed to paying their employees a living wage. In the subsequent years, Moriarty and Gillespie proved the sustainability of their novel business model. After they opened a bustling brick-and-mortar bakery and brunch spot (originally on Parrish Street, now on Ninth Street) more than a dozen local restaurants followed their lead in becoming living wage certified. The move created a new norm, helping to shift the conversation around the conditions of industry workers in the community. But last year, as the pandemic devastated restaurants and social justice movements gripped the nation, Moriarty and Gillespie realized they needed to break conventions once again. This April, with hopes that they might be able to spearhead another standard for Durham businesses, Monuts went entirely tip-free.

INDY WEEK: Why did you go tip-free? LINDSAY MORIARTY: It’s something that Rob and I have thought about for a long time. We always had a hard time seeing how to make it work, because it’s so ingrained in how restaurants run. But then during the pandemic, a few things happened. One was that the Black Lives Matter movement really took a footing. As business owners as we watched that unfold and asked ourselves, “What are we doing to participate in the systems of racism that are built into our institutions?” Tipping began as a way for white business owners to pay certain professional classes less than a minimum wage. The industries that got put into this class were typically held by African Americans, so it was basically white people’s way of paying black people less. The other thing was that we saw tips increase significantly during the pandemic. It was wonderful that customers were attuned to the plight of restaurants and felt like they could chip in, but on the back end what was happening was a discrepancy between what our front-of-house and back-of-house employees make. It misrepresented how

How do you anticipate the pandemic changing tipping norms? We definitely saw tipping increase over the pandemic. I don’t know if that’s going to be a sustained thing as things return to normal. I know that our customers have been really enthusiastic about a switch to no tipping, so if more restaurants start to go that way, maybe a bigger shift could be brought on by consumer activism, like consumers saying, “Hey, we would pay higher prices if we didn’t have to tip.” Because it shifts things the way it should be, as opposed to leaving part of the wage in the consumer’s hand. What are some concerns you have about eliminating tips? One of our biggest concerns was that in raising our menu prices by 15% we would lose customers, but in the past we’ve been fortunate that our customers respond well to our political and social missions. The other major concern was that, in going tipless, the front-of-house was going to take a pay cut, even if the back-of-house was going to have an increase. We met with all of our staff members one-on-one to explain why we were doing it and what their wage would be afterwards. We were expecting to lose staff members over it, but we did not. When we initially set what the tipless range would be, it ranged from $16 to $22 an hour, with the average around $18. Our hope is that by the end of the year, we’ll be able to continue to funnel excess profits back into staff wages by way of raises and bonuses. If, at the end of the year, Monuts has managed to be more profitable as a result of higher prices, we have every intention of putting that money back into our employees’ pockets. W

May 12, 2021


FO O D & D R I N K

Drink This example of a West Coast IPA brewed by the fine folks at Trophy Brewing Co. Fans of beers like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or Bell’s Two Hearted should stock their cooler with Astrovan for summer BBQs.

Two Weeks Notice Wasn’t Enough Bond Brothers Beer Co. | Cary

The Turtle Whisperer at Fullsteam Brewery


The Turtle Whisperer

Beer Dreams

Fullsteam Brewery | Durham

Ten local brews to get you through the summer BY JOHN A. PARADISO


he summer months can pose a bit of a challenge here in the Triangle. By May, locals know to expect pollen, sweltering heat, and swarms of bugs. But the trials of summer are no match to a blindly positive attitude (‘It’ll probably cool down soon!”) and a cooler full of locally brewed beers. And as the state’s vaccination numbers rise, folks are more willing to safely meet and share a drink. To help you make the most of this summer, we put together a list of locally brewed beers to look out for. From crisp lagers to tropical fruit sours, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Erosion Theories: Strawberry Lemonade Barrel Culture Brewing & Blending | Durham

Barrel Culture continues to innovate with exciting, fruit-forward beers. The latest in their Erosion Theories line mimics the refreshing, sweet/tart flavors of a strawberry lemonade. Perfect for sipping on a sunny day!

Drives Like An Astrovan

Trophy Brewing Co. | Raleigh Gently bitter with a piney, slight citrus flavor, Drives Like An Astrovan is a classic

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May 12, 2021

Brewed in honor of their sales person who recently left Bond, this 5.5% ABV pale ale is light but packs a flavorful punch. Brewed with lemondrop, citra, and mosaic hops, this beer delivers a blend of fresh pine notes and plenty of lush citrus.

Billed as a hoppy Kolsch, The Turtle Whisperer is a blend of old and new. This beer stays true to the traditional style and includes new-world hops. The result is a balanced beer with tropical juice flavors and a crisp, clean finish.

Shady Grove Red Raspberry Sour Steel String Brewery | Carrboro

Shady Grove is Steel String’s annual sour release. The 2020 edition features North Carolina-grown red raspberries and was aged for over a year in Pinot Noir barrels. It’s a complex, tart, lovely beer that’s ideal for a cool, spring evening.

Strawbanero Mead

Honeygirl Meadery | Durham Sure, it’s not beer. But you should definitely add Honeygirl mead to your summer beverage rotation. Strawbanero is a honey orange strawberry wine made with habane-

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ro peppers. This mead starts out sweet with strong berry flavors before transitioning to spicy heat.

Valve Stem

Crank Arm Brewing Co. | Raleigh It doesn’t get much better than a cold lager on a hot day. Valve Stem from Raleigh’s Crank Arm Brewing Co. is just what the doctor ordered. This Vienna lager is slightly darker than your standard light lager but brings with it dry, crisp, and sweet malt flavors.


Ponysaurus Brewing Co. | Durham Pilsner may be a simple offering from Ponysaurus, but it absolutely gets the job done. Perfect for poolside hangs or grill nights, Pilsner is brewed in the traditional Czech style featuring a soft body, herbal flavor, and refreshing finish.

Passionfruit Gose

R&D Brewing | Raleigh Like tropical fruit juice in a can! Passionfruit Gose from R&D Brewing is a great summer pick. Packed with passionfruit aroma and flavor, this beer is guaranteed to transport you to the nearest beach.

Irish Dry Stout

The Glass Jug Beer Lab | Durham Looking for a local option to swap in for a Guinness? Look no further. Irish Dry Stout from Durham’s The Glass Jug is classically low-alcohol, light, and crisp with subtle chocolate and coffee notes. Cap off a weekend with a crowler of Irish Dry stout. W


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May 12, 2021




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May 12, 2021




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