9.22 INDY Week

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Durham 2021 Pride Guide P. 15

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September 22, 2021



A look at this season’s local arts and culture highlights, p. 12


September 22, 2021


Raleigh W Durham W Chapel Hill VOL. 38 NO. 36

Regina Feucht, a former Wake County teacher, p. 6 PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA


Durham's 911 emergency call center is having a hard time keeping staffed.


Pandemic stressors coupled with long-standing neglect from the legislature are driving Wake educators out of the teaching profession.


Wake DA candidate Damon Chetson says, if elected, he wouldn't pursue capital punishement, nor prosecute low-level marijuana crimes.


The State Fair fast tracked a project to clear-cut 19 acres of forest in the Neuse River watershed to make way for a parking lot. BY LISA SORG





12 Carly Jones is shaking things up at Artspace. BY KYESHA JENNINGS 14 Six new art shows in the Triangle this fall. BY SARAH EDWARDS 19 Comedian Khari Reid lightens things up around the Triangle. BY THOMASI MCDONALD

20 After a long intermission, here are 14 new shows to see this season. BY BYRON WOODS

22 Durham writer Karen Tucker's debut novel takes a look at love, loss, and opioid addiction in North Carolina. BY SHELBI POLK 23 Seven new books to curl up with. BY SARAH EDWARDS 25 Local film festivals have been forced to reinvent themselves. Is it working? BY RACHEL PITTMAN

26 A rundown of local film festivals this fall. BY RACHEL PITTMAN 28 Hollywood is cranking out movies again—from The French Dispatch to King Richard, here are a few we're excited about. BY GLENN MCDONALD


4 15 Minutes



MaryAnn Kearns Durham/Orange/ Chatham Counties

John Hurld EDITOR I AL Editor in Chief Jane Porter Managing Editor Geoff West

Arts & Culture Editor Sarah Edwards Senior Writer Leigh Tauss Staff Writers Jasmine Gallup Thomasi McDonald Editorial Assistant Lena Geller Theater+Dance Critic Byron Woods

Contributors Will Atkinson, Madeline Crone, Grant Golden, Lena Geller, Spencer Griffith, Lucas Hubbard, Layla Khoury-Hanold, Brian Howe, Lewis Kendall, Kyesha Jennings, Glenn McDonald, Anna Mudd, Dan Ruccia, Jake Sheridan



Creative Director

Wake County MaryAnn Kearns

Annie Maynard Graphic Designer

Jon Fuller Staff Photographer

Brett Villena

Durham/Orange/ Chatham Counties John Hurld

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September 22, 2021



Last week for the web, we published a story by Greg Childress at our partner newsroom N.C. Policy Watch on U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s impassioned performance at a Johnston County school board meeting in an attempt to persuade the county’s school board members to drop its mask mandate for public school students, teachers, and staff. (On Monday, the school board voted 4-3 to keep the mask policy in place). Our readers had a lot of thoughts about all this.

“As a Johnston County resident, Cawthorn needs to go back to where he came from,” wrote Facebook commenter MARY ELISE. … “There is an intersection of freedom and responsibility that each of these CAAG and JCPS Parents for Freedom seems to be missing. You may have the right to bear arms, but you don’t have the right to walk into a school and start shooting without consequences.” Plenty of commenters echoed Mary Elise and suggested Cawthorn needs to go home. Facebook commenter LIZ PALEY did a little trolling of the anti-mask parents: “To the moms and dads who want to choose what goes on their kids’ bodies, why start with masks when pants are so much more pervasive and restrictive?” Liz has a change.org petition to ban pants and everything. Well played, Liz. For print, Thomasi McDonald wrote a piece on the Durham mayor’s race. We noted in the headline that the Bull City will likely make history this year by electing its first Black or Latina woman mayor. Facebook commenter MJ HYDE says it “would be nice if we focused on their qualifications.” Commenter JAMES GHEEN offered the following response: “Caballero has been a deeply effective community organizer for healthcare workers during the pandemic and established a language-access program for immigrants. Also she’s a member of the city council and has been for three years (granted not the longest time, but still.) O’Neal has 28 years of experience in judiciary work, including Durham County superior court, and is chair of the Racial Equity Task Force. Both are extremely qualified and would be excellent mayors for Durham.” Don’t forget to vote, Durham!


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September 22, 2021

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15 MINUTES Erica Hoff, 24 Hoff is documenting her quest to trade up a succulent plant to a camper van on social media BY HANNAH OLSON backtalk@indyweek.com

What inspired you to begin this trading project? I started the project in early August, and I was inspired by a project that was done in 2006, called ‘One Red Paperclip.’ This guy, Kyle MacDonald, had a red paperclip and he traded it up to a house over the course of a year. The projects I had seen where people had successfully done something similar, both of them had the end goal of a house. Given my more nomadic lifestyle, I am not looking to settle into a house right now, and so I was thinking, “What can I do that’s a little more on-brand for myself?” A Sprinter van.

What drew you to van living? I was traveling around the country for [political] campaigns. I started out in Iowa, working with Pete Buttigieg on the presidential primary. When he dropped out of the race, I did this whole crosscountry road trip on my own through 33 states over the course of 2020 in my little Acura TL. I ended with the campaign trail in November of 2020, and decided to go in a different direction. I still want to link social issues into everything that I do, but just not work directly in Washington. I think this van would, as a freelancer, give me the opportunity to move around and see the country as I continue to do my own work.

What role has social media played in your trade project? I’ve created TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram reels and short-form video content. For every trade, I’m trying to market it online. After I released that first video, I got 24,000 views and that was before I even made a trade. I felt like I had a lot of eyes on me and I needed to pick the right thing.


What are peoples’ motivations for trading with you? The second trade, I met this couple moving to Belize, and they gave me a tent, because they didn’t need to take it, I guess. The third person I met with the saxophone, he was a horticulturist and had played the saxophone for his entire life. He said he spends a lot more time outdoors now, so he has more use for a tent than a saxophone. Then the fourth person worked for USAID, the government aid relief agency, in Pakistan for two and a half years, where he purchased the rugs he traded me. We had a two-hour-long lunch conversation about his work in Pakistan, and his experience of the culture and purchasing the rugs.

Beyond the camper van, what is your end goal with this project? What will you do with the stories and footage you’re collecting? My dream is to be able to do some sort of cultural documentary interview series. I see [the project] as a first jump into working more with my camera in a home documentary style. Figuring out what storytelling looks like to me, and what kind of stories I want to share. That is definitely the direction I’d like to go—into documentary film production.W



Short-Handed Durham’s Emergency Communications Center has a staffing problem. BY THOMASI MCDONALD tmcdonald@indyweek.com


ast month Durham City Council member DeDreana Freeman called 911 to report that a 17-year-old boy had been shot in the parking lot of a convenience store at East Main and South Elm streets. Freeman, who lives in the community, heard gunshots while inside her home. Her husband went outside to see what was going on after they heard a woman screaming. Four minutes passed before an emergency dispatcher answered her call. Freeman told the INDY that the 911 line rang repeatedly while she watched the teen’s life energy bleed out into the asphalt. “I called at least twice,” Freeman says. “My husband and a neighbor tried to get through as well.” Another neighbor, Kosta Grammatis, posted on social media that “women were howling, men were pacing on their phones trying to get through to 911. “A boy, red shirt, closed eyes, lay motionless on the boiling sidewalk. Blood pooling around him,” Grammatis wrote. “It took 15 rings before the 911 dispatcher picked up my call, ‘police on the way.’ We waited. The police station is a block away, but we waited. “And as they pulled up a man started screaming and stomped right up to them: ‘Where the FUCK have you been?! Where the fuck HAVE YOU BEEN?!’” Freeman later learned the teen died of his injuries at the hospital. Durham Emergency Communications Center [DECC] director Randy Beeman says the DECC is reviewing the call and officer response time. Never mind minutes, seconds can make a world of difference during tragedies like the one Freeman and her neighbors witnessed on August 11, just after 6:30 p.m. And the Bull City is enduring a 911 staffing shortage. Emergency officials say the city needs call-takers, dispatchers, and supervisors quick, fast, and in a hurry to answer the phones and alert first responders. Things have gotten so bad that the 911 center this year started routing emergen-

cy calls to Raleigh’s emergency communications center. The mutual aid ended this summer when Durham’s emergency call volume was at its highest. Emergency officials have assembled short-term and long-term initiatives to bring in more workers, including online notices, social media postings, and job fairs. Last week, DECC officials hosted a job fair where 32 attendees applied for jobs. Earlier this month, 25 people applied for jobs with the 911 Center. The DECC is also working hard to retain its current employees with bonus incentives, double time pay, salary increases, and shifts that allow for a holistic “worklife balance.” Durham’s Public Affairs Director Beverly Thompson confirmed in an email that the Bull City’s emergency communications center—not unlike many 911 centers across the country—is facing a staffing shortage. Thompson says Durham has “experienced elevated vacancies for a number of years.” Last week, as of late Friday afternoon, only 50 of the 911 Center’s 83 full-time positions had been filled. More pointedly, just 30 of the 60 frontline positions for call-takers, dispatchers, and shift supervisors were occupied, according to DECC statistics. Thompson points to the pandemic as “a critical factor” in the shortages experienced over the past year. “The shortages were felt acutely when staff called out due to illness or were quarantined due to COVID exposure,” she adds. “Our high vacancy rate does have an impact on the workload for remaining staff, and we acknowledge it has resulted in some extended wait times.” Earlier this month, Beeman pointed to another reason to explain the 911 center’s high vacancy rate: the agency can’t seem to retain its employees. Thompson said the 911 center remains “fully functional,” despite the challenges


and wants to remind callers to stay on the line if they dial 911. “Don’t hang up,” she added. But city council member Mark-Anthony Middleton said during a September 9 city council work session that he’s “not comfortable” with the city in a “somewhat spectator” posture, watching and hoping for a better outcome in the midst of an ongoing 911 response crisis. Middleton called for an “all hands on deck” approach, including again routing emergency calls to another municipality. The impact of the staffing vacancies reached a dismal apex in July when 911 dispatchers fielded its highest number of calls for the year: 27,913, according to the DECC call data. Beeman, during the work session, told city council members that July’s call total was the most the 911 center had received over a one-month period in five years. “The August data will look a lot like the July data,” Durham Deputy City Manager Bo Ferguson told the council members. Thompson said as of July, the average call answer time is just over 10 seconds for someone dialing 911 in Durham. Beeman stated the obvious during his presentation at the city council work session: a fully functioning 911 center is critically important. “I recognize and take responsibility that we are not meeting acceptable standards of call answer times,” Beeman said. “We are not meeting the expectations of our residents or visitors when [911] callers are not able to receive assistance at an appropriate time for emergencies.”

Thompson said the 911 center is “continually evaluating the optimal staffing needed during various times” to meet the industry standard: 90 percent of all 911 calls answered in 10 seconds or less. Working at the 911 center is not a bad gig. It pays better than so-called “essential worker” positions like those at McDonald’s, WalMart, or Freddy’s, whose employees in Durham and across the country have been clamoring for a living wage of at least $15 an hour and a union. The starting salary at the 911 center for an entry level call-taker is $38,168 a year, with benefits. Beeman said the 911 center is shoring up the staffing shortage by asking administrative staffers and call-takers to be available when needed. The center is receiving help from 911 staffers with the fire department, sheriff’s office, emergency medical services, and Duke University. Some former and retired employees who are working part-time, on average about 20 hours a week, are also assisting the center. Middleton asked Beeman if the city is better off now than when “Raleigh left us in a lurch. What’s different?” Beeman replied that Durham is in the same place, “or better than we were. We’re better than we were.” Middleton was not convinced, and again stressed that the city should seek out another municipality for mutual aid until the Bull City’s 911 center is fully staffed. “We need to look for another partner to help us,” Middleton said. “There’s no shame in that. Durham sends out help to its partners all the time.” W INDYweek.com

September 22, 2021



Wake County

The Last Straw The pandemic coupled with the state legislature’s long-standing lack of support for public school teachers means many Wake educators and school staff are leaving the profession. BY JASMINE GALLUP jgallup@indyweek.com


ormer Wake County teacher Bekah Brown loved her job — and she was good at it. But after five years of her career going nowhere, and 18 months of working weekends during a global pandemic, she made the tough decision to quit in June. “It was really a bittersweet feeling when I finally decided, ‘OK, I’m not doing this anymore,’” Brown told the INDY. “Part of the culture of being a teacher is it attracts people who want to help, who are willing to sacrifice themselves to help their students, to help fellow teachers. It feels like you’re letting people down, especially in the middle of a pandemic when I know I’m not the only one putting in 20 plus extra hours a week.” Brown wasn’t the only teacher who burned out this year. At the end of the 2020-21 school year, about 12.5 percent of employees in the Wake County school district—teachers and support staff—opted to leave. That’s a slight increase over the 2019-20 school year when about 11.3 percent of school employees resigned or retired. The attrition rate last year was about on par with the rate before the pandemic—when about 12.8 percent of 6

September 22, 2021


teachers and staff chose to leave in 2018-19 — but the reasons teachers have for their leaving have changed. The challenges of the coronavirus pandemic combined with a decade of cuts to public school funding have driven many teachers to resign or retire early, says Kristin Beller, president of the Wake County branch of the N.C. Association of Educators. The pandemic alone would have been an “overwhelming challenge” to teachers and staff, but systemic defunding of public schools made it a true crisis, Beller told the INDY. In the past decade, “we lost 8,000 instructional assistant positions,” Beller says. “We lost over 5,000 teacher positions that were cut from the state budget. We lost close to $70 million in textbook funding one year. We lost master’s pay, we lost longevity pay. Those are things that help retain people. “The coronavirus pandemic is sort of like the straw that broke the camel’s back.” That was certainly the case for Brown, who says she felt an enormous feeling of relief after resigning. Even after her first year of teaching, “The anxiety of having to go to school

unsustain ongoing class size administr are being Former teacher Regina Feucht and ers, while grandchildren Jane, Patrick, & Paul cover clas PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA “Educat hour day on Monday never went away,” she says. Brown was havingspend ab panic attacks almost every Sunday night. dents and “(When I resigned), all of a sudden, it was Sunday, and Ining lesso was like, ‘I can breathe,’” she says. “I knew early on, for mynating wi mental health, it was not gonna be sustainable. When the “But in pandemic hit, it became very obvious. I had my children atdon’t hav home, downstairs, doing virtual learning … (and) because I’m trying to show up as my best teacher self, I’m not showing up for my family.” The pandemic may have pushed Brown forward, but her decision was a long time coming, she says. One factor was her fixed salary. Brown’s first year as a teacher was also her husband’s first year in an entry-level job at a financial company, she says. “After five years, he was making twice as much as I would make if I stayed in education for 25 years,” Brown explains. “As a fresh, coming-out-of-college kid, it (my salary) did seem like a lot of money. But then you realize very quickly, this is it. It doesn’t get much better than this.” Another former educator, Regina Feucht, was forced to retire early this year so she could look after her grandchildren at home. Feucht, in her mid-60s, was a teacher’s assistant at Abbotts Creek Elementary School before she gave up her work to help her daughter and son-in-law with childcare, she says. Feucht didn’t want to stop working, but when her grandchildren’s daycare service temporarily closed, her daughter needed help, she says. Even now, with the kids back in school, Feught’s daughter often needs someone on hand to pick up the kids if their classroom is quarantined or drive them to a COVID-19 test. “The pandemic drove the whole decision for me. I probably would have worked two or three more years. I had not contemplated retiring,” Feucht says. “I miss the work, I miss the people, I miss a lot of it.”

What the staffing shortage means At the start of the traditional school year, Wake County had 366 vacancies among 11,963 teaching positions, a vacancy rate of about 3 percent, according to Sara Clark, a spokeswoman for the district. That’s triple the number of vacancies in 2019 and 2020, where the county only had about 100 vacancies among 11,000 positions at the start of the school year. Part of the increase is due to the addition of new positions this year, Clark wrote in an email. Those positions include new openings for teachers in the district’s Virtual Academy and for long-term substitute teachers at each school building. The district has since filled some of these positions, bringing the overall vacancy rate down to 2.6 percent and the rate among Virtual Academy teachers down to 4.5 percent from 18.5 percent. Still, the number of open positions is creating an

unsustainable amount of work. With an ongoing shortage of substitute teachers, class sizes may be bigger, Beller says. Some administrators or instructional assistants are being asked to act as substitute teachers, while other educators are asked to cover classes during their planning periods. “Educators are regularly pulling 10 to 11 hour days,” Beller says, adding that they spend about seven hours a day with students and another three or four hours planning lessons, talking to parents, or coordinating with principals. “But in a situation like this, when they don’t have any planning period during the

middle of the day … they’re exerting more energy. Burnout is going to happen at a much higher rate.” Instructional assistants are also spread thin, according to Beller. Instead of being assigned to one or two classes, they’re being assigned to three or four, cutting back the amount of time they can spend in the classroom. Instead of helping students, they end up doing clerical work or taking on additional lunch duty, Beller says. Likewise, office and support staff are asked to cover double their usual amount of work. In most schools, there are only one or two custodians who work during the day,

while a contract service comes in at night to clean, Beller says. Bus drivers are doing multiple runs to and from school, starting work earlier and ending later. Earlier this month, one bus driver turned down a bottle of cold water because they didn’t have enough time to stop for a bathroom break, Beller says. “(They said), ‘I have four runs. If I stop at a school and go to the bathroom, that means I’m gonna be late dropping off my kids,’” she says. “So in addition to the impact it has on students—being able to get to school on time or get home at a reasonable time, and for parents to plan childcare—it also has a

really negative effect on the actual people who are caring for our students.” Before the pandemic, teachers and staff were able to “patchwork solve” problems that arose because of lack of resources, according to Beller. But when the coronavirus hit, staff and funding shortages severely curtailed the ability of schools to respond. “In a time like this, we’re really going to have to prioritize,” Beller says. “In a crisis moment, when we have a pandemic happening, a shortage of staff, no hope coming from the General Assembly … in a moment like that, we really just can’t keep doing things the way we’ve always done them.” W


September 22, 2021




Discretion, Advised Capital cases, marijuana misdemeanors, and police brutality are on the docket in the Democratic primary for Wake County district attorney. BY LEIGH TAUSS ltauss@indyweek.com


esidents won’t cast ballots in Wake County’s municipal race until next fall, but who they back in the March primary for district attorney could reshape the criminal justice system’s approach to everything from high-profile murder trials to low-level marijuana crimes. District attorneys don’t write the law, but they enjoy immense power in interpreting it—they decide whether to press charges against police officers who shoot citizens, or whether to pursue a case as capital. In the March 2022 primary, both major candidates are Democrats. They couldn’t be more different. For the last seven years, District Attorney Lorrin Freeman has taken a measured approach to prosecuting in the increasingly liberal county. Her philosophy, she says, is that it’s her job to enforce the law, not allow personal political beliefs to guide policy. While the number of capital cases has decreased over the last decade, Freeman says the death penalty is still warranted for the most egregious of crimes, and she’s pursued it in several high-profile cases. “At the end of the day, the legislature is the one who makes the determination as to whether [capital punishment] remains on the books or not,” Freeman told the INDY during a recent phone interview. “While I certainly have discretion in those cases in which I seek it, I personally believe that I’m sworn to uphold the law. To come out and say that I would never seek it I don’t believe is appropriate.” Freeman’s challenger Damon Chetson disagrees. If elected, he vows to use his discretion to effectively end the death penalty in Wake County and stop prosecuting certain nonviolent misdemeanors such as marijuana possession. 8

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“The Democratic voters in this county are progressive and yet we have a prosecutor who, in some ways, is far more regressive than Republican prosecutors in other counties, particularly on the death penalty,” Chetson told the INDY. Freeman and Chetson will face off at a forum hosted by Emancipate NC this week, fielding questions on criminal justice reform and racial equity. The debate will be moderated by Dawn Blagrove, executive director of Emancipate NC, who says the county’s DA “is the most powerful actor in the criminal justice system” and that the candidates must be “fully vetted by the community so an informed voting decision can be made.” “This office has the power to radically transform the experience marginalized people have when justice is involved,” Blagrove says. “As public servants, DAs should be guided not by upholding racist traditions and systems rooted in creating inequitable results but instead by policies that recognize the deep biases baked into the system and using the power of the office to undo past harms and create a more just system moving forward.” For Chetson, that starts with ending the death penalty. In 2013, the Racial Justice Act, which said race could not be a factor in seeking the death penalty, was repealed. Courts, however, have since ruled it retroactively available for the 145 inmates on death row at the time. Sentences in those cases are now eligible to be reheard in court. The outcome could effectively end capital punishment in the state, experts say. If the first few cases uphold the statistical evidence showing widespread racial bias in jury selection on the part of state prosecutors, the evidence will be binding for subsequent cases in that district.

Damon Chetson


North Carolina hasn’t executed anyone since 2006. There are now only 136 people on death row. State prosecutors just aren’t pursuing capital cases as often. In 2019, Wake County sentenced Seaga Gillard to death for the murder of two people in a Raleigh motel, the district’s first successful capital conviction in more than a decade. But Freeman has unsuccessfully pursued capital charges in other cases, including against triple-murderer Johnathan Sanders and rapist and murderer Kendrick Gregory (both were eventually sentenced to life in prison). But for Chetson, it goes further than the death penalty: he believes the county’s legal department needs to diversify from within, pointing to high turnover under Freeman’s tenure and her failure to hire more Black lawyers.

“This is a county that is 25 percent African American and to not have people in the DA’s office reflect the diversity is really appalling,” Chetson says. Freeman says a small pool of potential candidates and low starting salaries have made retaining diverse hires difficult—often, candidates are poached to higher-paying jobs within a few years. She’s hired 16 Black candidates since taking office in 2015, she says, and there are currently six on staff. Here, Freeman agrees with Chetson: it’s a problem, but one she’s committed to improving. “We know we have work to do in evaluating the criminal justice system and improving the way it offers services and protects our community,” Freeman says. W The debate takes place at 6 p.m. Thursday at Chavis Community Center.



Fair Games The N.C. State Fair exploited a change in state law to clear-cut 19 acres of forest in the Neuse River watershed to build a parking lot next to a 100-year-old neighborhood. BY LISA SORG backtalk@indyweek.com


he surveyors’ flags were the first warning. The whine of chainsaws was the second. On a sunny morning in mid-May, residents of the Westover-Mt. Vernon neighborhood awoke to hear the thud of trees toppling on adjacent land, which until that moment, had been a dense forest veined by streams and wetlands for decades. The purpose of the mass timbering was not houses or offices or shops, but a 19-acre parking lot, owned and operated by the State Fair, a division of the N.C. Department of Agriculture. When finished, the lot at 5900 Chapel Hill Road will accommodate more than 2,400 vehicles. A Policy Watch investigation found that, desperate for parking for the 2021 event, which runs October 14-24, the State Fair fast-tracked the parking lot project, bulldozing the equivalent of nearly 15 football fields’ worth of pines and hardwoods in a sensitive part of the Neuse River watershed. What the Fair did was legal, if disturbing. Because of a change in state law that favors government agencies, the Department of Agriculture could exempt its own projects, paid for by tax dollars, from stricter environmental rules. Even if 19 acres of pristine forest next to a 100-year-old neighborhood were at stake. The clear-cutting also was allowable under Raleigh ordinances. Julia Milstead, a City of Raleigh spokeswoman, told Policy Watch that projects on state or municipal property aren’t subject to Raleigh’s tree conservation requirements unless a building is constructed on site. Since no buildings are planned for the parking lot, “permission to clear the land is under the state’s jurisdiction for stateowned land,” Milstead said.

Nor was there a required comprehensive environmental review of the parking project or its cumulative impacts. And without that review, there was only one opportunity—poorly publicized—for public comment. “The State Fair is a great event with a long history,” said Gillian Coats, who lives on Gary Street and can see the clearcutting from her home. “But the neighborhood has been here as long as the Fair and has a concurrent history. Does the Fair not have to follow a protocol?” The parking lot was part of a $30 million land sale between Bandwidth, a publicly traded tech company, which bought state property at Edwards Mill and Reedy Creek roads for its headquarters. The State Fair had used that property for parking, so in return for eliminating those thousands of spaces, Bandwidth, via its developer, Athens Development Partners, agreed to improve “parking capacity and function” for the Fair, according to the purchase agreement. Athens Development Partners is a collaboration between East West Partners and Capitol Broadcasting; they are paying for the parking lot. Now Westover-Mt. Vernon is bordered on three sides by the State Fair, with only a thin row of trees to buffer the neighborhood. “They’re coming right at us,” neighborhood resident Tara Burgess told Policy Watch this summer. “This is a government agency abusing its power.” As trees fall, neighbors have questions It was early June, and the Carolina Hurricanes were trying to advance in the NHL playoffs. Dozens of fans clad in black-andred Canes’ jerseys had ditched their cars on neighborhood streets and were parading on foot through Westover-Mt. Vernon toward PNC Arena.

Nineteen acres of forest were clear cut to make way for a State Fair parking lot. PHOTO BY LISA SORG

This is nothing, Westover-Mt. Vernon residents said. You should see it during the Fair. People staggering through private yards, urinating, vomiting, yelling, littering. Because of the traffic on NC 54, it can take an hour to leave the neighborhood and twice as long to get back in. Westover-Mt. Vernon is a close-knit area of modest homes, most of them built from the 1920s to the 1960s. The winding, narrow streets, gravel drives, and copses of old trees imbue the neighborhood with a rural feel. On this evening, neighbors gathered in a yard—socially distanced and wearing masks—and shared tales of woe. Clear-cutting for the new parking lot had been going on for more than two weeks, within 50 feet of people’s property lines. Noise from chainsaws and bulldozers started at 7 o’clock in the morning. Rain had washed silt and mud from the property into backyard streams, which neighbors had captured on video. Those living closest to the future parking lot no longer enjoyed a buffer of green trees. Now they could see orange snow fence and daylight. Many neighbors felt stonewalled by State Fair officials, who had provided vague answers to their questions. On May 10, Coats emailed State Fair Manager Kent Yelverton, asking him what was planned for the property. On May 13, he

responded, acknowledging that the surveyors’ flags she had noticed were related to a “potential location for auxiliary parking for the Fair, as well as some of our year-round events.” “At this time, we do not have final site plans,” Yelverton wrote to Coats, “but did plan on sharing them with our neighbors in the Westover community prior to the start of the project. That is still our intention.” Coats fired back an email: “I do believe you have a plan set for this project because it is currently in its third permitting review by the City of Raleigh. Add to that the staking … onsite and it actually appears that you are getting ready to start the project.” Because the development is occurring on state-owned land, the City of Raleigh has limited authority over the project, primarily permitting the construction of stormwater systems. It is true that certain aspects of the parking lot project had not been finalized in mid-May; the State Fair was still waiting for approval of two water quality permits. Andrea Ashby, spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture, told Policy Watch via email that at that time there was still some uncertainty about whether the project would proceed. “We contacted the neighbors when we knew that construction would be starting,” Ashby said. INDYweek.com

September 22, 2021


However, emails obtained under the Public Records Act show that aside from the timbering, construction of the lot was more imminent than the State Fair led neighbors to believe. It was scheduled to begin just three weeks from when residents began inquiring. As Westover-Mt. Vernon residents continued to pepper the Agriculture Department with questions, on May 19, Yelverton mailed notices to neighbors about the construction of the “potential” lot, scheduled to begin as early as June 1. Trees had already been felled. While Yelverton was trying to placate Westover neighbors, behind the scenes, he and several Agriculture Department colleagues were working to expedite the project. The Fair had to get state and federal permission to cross, fill or otherwise disturb small portions of waterways on the property: Three wetlands totaling more than an acre, as well as five streams, accounting for over a linear mile. Two of those streams flow into Richland Creek, a tributary of Crabtree Creek, which flows into the Neuse River. Permitting, though, can take time. And time, the State Fair did not have.

Parking lot on the fast track

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bill.burton.lawyer@gmail.com 10

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In mid-April, shortly after the water quality permit application was filed with the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, Yelverton started pressuring high-ranking officials to expedite the decision so the lot could be built by opening day of the State Fair. In a letter to DEQ Chief Deputy Secretary John Nicholson and legislative liaison Joy Hicks, Yelverton anticipated that the 2021 Fair could be one of the largest ever, considering that the 2020 event was canceled because of COVID-19. “Of course, with large crowds parking is critical. [Bandwidth] has committed to having the new parking ready for the Fair, which opens on October 14. This is an aggressive schedule and is subject to weather and other impacts. I ask that DEQ give this project any priority you can in order to allow as much time as possible to construct the parking lot prior to the State Fair in October.” DEQ approved the permit June 3. There is no public documented evidence that DEQ gave preferential treatment to the Fair. A 60-day turnaround for a permit of this type is not unusual. Email discussions within the Department of Agriculture show that Yelverton was also concerned about complications regarding a second water quality permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. State Fair officials

wanted a nationwide permit, a type of general permit authorizing activities that have minimal individual and cumulative adverse effects on the environment. Had the Corps required an individual permit, which is subject to public comment, that could have delayed or derailed the project “Time is of the essence because construction is scheduled to begin June 1 so finding a means to fit under a nationwide permit is critical,” Yelverton wrote to several agriculture department colleagues. “The time required to receive an individual permit (if we can even get one) is not an acceptable solution. … A $30 million land sale and adequate parking for the 2021 State Fair is on the line for us figuring this out.” After the State Fair adjusted some stream crossings, the Corps granted a nationwide permit on July 6. No public comment was required.

2015 change to state law gives government a pass The lack of public engagement on the parking lot project is not surprising. Except for a purchase agreement, the paper trail did not lead directly to the State Fair, but instead was obscured by thickets of bureaucracy. First, the title under which city, state, and federal permit applications were filed—Project Athens, Area 4—omits any mention of the State Fair. “Project Athens” refers to the Bandwidth headquarters a mile north of the parking lot, presumably named after the development company. “Bandwidth Project” was also used in one document to describe the parking lot project, also known as “event parking.” Only by reading the fine print, sometimes pages deep into a document, could someone know that the State Fair was behind the plan. When the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality posted the State Fair’s application for a water quality permit, it did so under “Project Athens.” There was no mention of the State Fair in the public notice. Spokeswomen for both DEQ and the Agriculture Department said their respective agencies don’t title the permits; they come from the applicant, in this case Bandwidth and Athens Development. There is nothing in the statute, though, that prevents agencies from adding clarity to permit names. Yet the state’s water quality permit was the only formal opportunity for the public

to comment. There were none submitted, according to DEQ. Nor did the Agriculture Department know that there was a public comment period, Ashby said. State law also shielded the State Fair from scrutiny. Since 1971, the State Environmental Policy Act, or SEPA, has required state agencies to consider and report on the environmental impacts of actions involving the expenditure of public funds or the use of public land. SEPA also requires an environmental assessment and a public comment period, like its federal counterpart, the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. Under the 1971 version of SEPA, all aspects of the State Fair parking lot’s environmental impact, not just the waterways, would have required a full assessment and public comment. But in 2015, the Republican-led General Assembly passed a bill titled “SEPA Reform.” Signed by then-Gov. Pat McCrory, it significantly changed North Carolina law to exempt state agencies from some requirements of SEPA. Now, all but the largest state projects are exempt from SEPA. Even so, the State Fair parking lot is significant enough to have been subject to even a diluted SEPA. The project is disturbing more than 10 acres of public lands “resulting in substantial, permanent changes in the natural cover or topography of those lands (or waters).” And it could have a “potential detrimental environmental effect upon natural resources, public health and safety, natural beauty, or historical or cultural elements, of the state’s common inheritance.” Nonetheless, the State Fair plowed through another legal loophole. The 2015 changes to state law also excluded any project—private or public—from SEPA if it requires a water quality permit. Since the State Fair parking lot required both state and federal water quality permits, it was further exempted from SEPA.

Neighbors: a pattern of disregard Westover-Mt. Vernon residents were scheduled to meet with State Fair and Agriculture Department officials on the evening of June 3. Neighbors hoped they would finally get concrete answers about the parking lot project. The neighbors invited several media outlets, including Policy Watch and ABC11, to cover the meeting. After ABC11 called agriculture officials about the upcoming event, they canceled it with just two

hours’ notice. The department claimed that the cancellation was due to an unexpected scheduling conflict. Ashby, the spokeswoman for the Agriculture Department, told Policy Watch that state officials did not reschedule the meeting because the neighbors had hired a lawyer who had referred to the neighbors as her clients and which referenced potential legal action. “The only way we could get a meeting was to have an attorney from the neighborhood ask for one,” said Rebecca Evans, who until recently lived on Gary Street. She’s since moved to Colorado. “And then the department canceled the meeting because we [were bringing] an attorney.” The Westover-Mt. Vernon neighborhood had always been part of the State Fair’s 2009 Master Plan, the Department of Agriculture says. However, the master plan map doesn’t show a parking lot on the Chapel Hill Road tract; it’s merely labeled “Western Property.” The Master Plan is how a Fair campground wound up abutting the northwestern part of the neighborhood. In what neighbors say is a pattern, they said Fair officials did not fully address their concerns. Photos of the neighborhood before and after the campground was built in 2010 show yet another instance of clear-cutting at the dead end of Gary Street. “It was scorched earth to the edge,” Evans said. “They cut right up to the property line.” Because of the construction, Gary Street no longer has a turnaround. Campers routinely take the wrong route, end up at the dead end but can’t turn around. Those wayward vehicles now have to back down a circuitous street that has neither curbs nor gutters. The State Fair did modify parts of the campground plan to lessen the impact on the neighborhood. With the parking lot, Fair officials have increased the size of a buffer between the cleared area and the neighborhood; they also plan to erect a fence. “But they do all the damage to the neighborhood first,” Evans said. The State Fair’s opening day is less than a month away. This week, trucks were hauling in gravel and construction workers were trying to meet the deadline. “People in the legislature should take notice that the Agriculture Department is running roughshod over their constituents,” Evans said. “And you don’t think of the Agriculture Department as not on your side.” W This story originally published online at N.C. Policy Watch. INDYweek.com

September 22, 2021


Carly Jones wearing jewelry made by Artspace studio artists (brooch and earrings by Bongsang Cho) in front of work by Artspace artist Jane Cheek.



Arts Ambassador Carly Jones, a longtime advocate for the arts in the Triangle, starts a new chapter—and vision—at Artspace in Raleigh BY KYESHA JENNINGS arts@indyweek.com


’m settling in,” says Carly Jones. “It’s been a whirlwind, for sure. I’m learning how to be at the helm of an entire organization.” The day before our phone conversation, the African American Cultural Festival presented Jones with its “Trailblazer in the Arts” award, and just three weeks prior, Artspace, one of the largest open-floor studio spaces for artists in the country, announced that it was naming Jones as its new chief executive officer. Launched in 1986, the same year its new CEO was born, the Raleigh arts organization defines itself as a visual arts center that inspires positive community impact through art with access to working artist studios, exhibitions, and art education classes. 12

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Over the phone, as we celebrate her most recent accomplishments with lots of laughter and high-pitched Black girl “OMGs,” Jones shares that she’d attended camp at Artspace, as a child, which makes this “full circle” milestone of hers even more special. “Any arts institution has an obligation to their community to be in conversation with the community about what is happening in the world and what is happening around us. The arts are a powerful tool for conversation. It brings people together and makes sure voices that we don’t always hear are heard,” she says, the passion in her voice evident as she discusses the role of the arts and what she thinks the relationship between an arts organization and its community should look like and accomplish.

As a performing artist and seasoned arts administrator, the Raleigh native knows a thing or two, too. “The fact that Artspace is in the middle of one of the fastest-growing areas in the country, we have an obligation to make a home for artists of all backgrounds during this time of growth,” Jones says. “There’s just so much potential for community collaboration and artist support. I want to do professional development workshops for artists. I want Artspace to be this buzzing hub of activity in the middle of our city where artists can collaborate and be supported and create.” Born to an educator and a judge, Jones was an outspoken, energetic kid. An only child until she was eight, she was the natural center of attention. Her love for singing started early on. Like most kids, the nearest hairbrush was her faux mic for the many shows she staged for her mom and aunts. The social aspect of her parents’ careers allowed her to mature fast and gave her the skill set to navigate a room full of adults. It also inspired her to seek out career paths that would offer opportunities to connect with people. “Being raised by two public servants, I was always taught that success is not how much money you make,” she says. “Success is what you give back to your community. It’s how are you making this world a better place through your God-given talents? What are you doing to be able to make a difference?” After realizing that she liked playing the role of a lawyer rather than being an actual lawyer, Jones pursued music as an undergrad at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, double majoring in vocal performance and Black music history, with a minor in arts administration. “I remember telling my mentor [and] professor, Dr. Tammy Kernodle, ‘I wish there was a way that I could combine my love of public service with music and the arts, but I don’t know what that would look like,’” says Jones. “That was right when my university first started their minor in arts administration.” Like most industries, arts administration is overwhelmingly white. According to The New York Times, when looking at upper-level leadership positions and board members, people of color are significantly underrepresented. The field also has built a reputation for having leaders who are not artists, and Jones is adamant about changing that. “We need good arts administrators to work in funding, to work in granting organizations, to work at the helm of organizations, and it really helps, I think, for arts administrators to also be artists,” she says. “When you are an artist of any kind, you have an uncommon, burning desire to do what you do. Only other artists understand that passion.” The passion Jones has when it comes to advocating for artists can be seen in her long list of accomplishments: she 2021 FALL ARTS PREVIEW

has previously served as music director and senior programs manager at the North Carolina Arts Council. During her tenure, she broadened the categories of Council fellowships to make the opportunities more inclusive. This resulted in the first songwriting fellowship recipient being a hip-hop artist. Collaborating with the African American Heritage Commission and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Jones worked on the Nina Simone Childhood Home project where she curated events to raise awareness and funds to sustain the preservation. She also helped curate and roll out the campaign for Come Hear NC, a digital and in-person celebration of our state’s music. She was also the mastermind behind the governor’s mansion’s “Music at the Mansion” series. “I brought in different musicians from all over the state, and I made sure that they were from different demographics and music genres,” she says. “I wanted to also make sure that we did not just have concerts in the governor’s mansion. I wanted to make sure that the audience was filled with people from the artists [and] music performers community. It was truly the people’s house.” In 2019, she helped North Carolina hiphop legends Phonte and rapper Pooh get their two-part documentary Homecoming and The Listening funded, produced, and published. At the start of the pandemic, Jones along with her co-worker Sandra Davidson produced a virtual music festival, “Under One Roof,” which raised money for North Carolina artists. In response to the pandemic, viewers were encouraged to donate to the North Carolina Arts Foundation, a nonprofit established in 2013 to promote the growth and sustainability of the N.C. Arts Council. “I’m excited to build upon an already strong infrastructure and create something that will bring artists and community members together to collaborate, create, and help our creative community in Raleigh,” Jones says of the future of Artspace. “I’m most excited about being able to create a hub for artists from all backgrounds—Black artists, Brown artists, artists with disabilities. I want to make sure that there is a permanent place here in this city, which is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country. I want to expand the reach beyond the city. I’m talking a lot about the city but our space has the potential to have statewide, regional, and national reach. And I plan on moving that forward.” W 2021 FALL ARTS PREVIEW

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September 22, 2021


2021 Fall Art Preview BY SARAH EDWARDS sedwards@indyweek.com

ith ramped-up precautionary measures in place, gallery visits—where you can stroll and pause at your own speed, with plenty of space from other people— feel like one of the best opportunities to support the arts, soak in beauty, and learn something. Not all of these exhibits will necessarily function like a balm, though: whether you’re at Chapel Hill’s BASEMENT group show looking at a sculpture exploring connection, or one of the dozens of works in the Nasher’s thoughtful curation of politically engaged collection work, the reminder that art is meant to risk, move, and challenge is always near. Don’t forget to check museum websites before paying a visit: some may require additional special COVID-19 precautions, while others may yet need to move online at the last minute. As a bonus, maybe you’ll discover more exhibits beyond the handful of shows highlighted here.


Beautiful Proxy

Lump Gallery; through Oct. 2 Catch artist Jasmine Best’s uneasy, intricate inaugural Lump solo show before it wraps up in early October. Using a blend of colorful soft sculptures and fabric collages, the UNC-Greensboro alumna interrogates warped cultural perceptions of beauty and the exploitation of Black bodies. The Raleigh gallery is also celebrating 25 years this fall—no small achievement, especially after the past 18 months—so consider supporting its mission of invigorating contemporary art programming with both a visit to the gallery and a donation to its fall arts fundraiser. Limited-edition T-shirts and Risograph prints and posters by Bill Thelen and other Lump-affiliate artists await donors.


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From Fallujah

PS118; opens Oct. 1–Nov. 6 Curated by retired U.S. Army veteran John Bechtold, this group exhibit features work by four Iraqi photographers— Mohamed Alani, Mohamed Jamal, Harith Khaleel Ali, and Sura Abbas Jasim—with the motivation of installing “an Iraqi perspective in an American space.” (When it is remembered, Fallujah is most commonly remembered in American spaces as an Iraq War battlefield; these photographs attempt an adjustment to that public memory.) An October 9 reception will feature guest scholar Noor Ghazi. Horse & Buggy, the umbrella gallery space that PS118 is a part of, is also celebrating 25 years of being open; look to the H&B website for more exhibits, talks, and events.

Loose Footing

BASEMENT; through Dec. 5 The entry to BASEMENT allows in four people at a time, lending this young Chapel Hill space the feel of an artist’s speakeasy. If the setting is intimate, though, the scope of the questions that Loose Footing—which features sculpture, video, and installation by artists Felicity Palma, Kate Robinson, and Peat Szilagyi—asks are nothing less than epochal. Take, for example: ‘How do we make genuine and lasting connections to the places we live and with each other that transcend our inherited, systematic ways of thought and action?’

In Relation to Power: Politically Engaged Works from the Collection Nasher Museum of Art; through Feb. 13, 2022

A small hallway, with televisions broadcasting several news channels simultaneously, greets visitors upon entering this thought-

Llalla Essaydi, “Les Femmes du Maroc” PHOTO COURTESY OF THE NASHER ful exhibition curated by Nasher chief curator Marshall Price and assistant curator Adria Gunter—a greeting potentially either jolting or normal, to those dulled by 24/7 news cycles. But these electric works, organized loosely around three structural power themes, are anything but dull. Whether you find yourself fixated on a sculpture of welded AK-47 assault rifles or Wendy Star’s annotated prints that tell the story of circa-late1800’s Crow chiefs (whose portraits were appropriated commercially for years), you certainly won’t find yourself suffering from inertia.

Pieces of Light

Durham Arts Council; Oct. 1–Nov. 27 Just a few short months into 2020, “six feet” became shorthand for both mutual safekeeping and mutual loss. The Six Feet Photography Project, launched in early pandemic days by a group of Western North Carolina photographers, sought to document that dichotomy and ongoing uncertainty. In collaboration with Tom Rankin and the Durham Arts Council, Pieces of Light showcases works from the

project by 50 photographers across the Southeast. A drop-in opening reception on October 15 marks the first Third Friday event since the pandemic began; guests can otherwise view the photographs by weekly appointment blocks.

Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau Visionary

North Carolina Museum of Art; Oct. 23–Jan. 23, 2022 Take a trip to turn-of-the-century Paris with NCMA’s major fall exhibition, a collection of posters, sculptures, and ephemera by the Czech-born art nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha. The exhibit marks the Mucha Trust Collection’s first major U.S. tour in 20 years and tells the story of an artist whose intricate golds, pastels, and flowing-locks-figures elevated advertisements to art. That blurring of lines may not feel so radical now, when social media has increasingly grayed the distance between the two, but 100-some years ago, Mucha’s decorative arts changed history. W 2021 FALL ARTS PREVIEW


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Funny Business Comedian Khari Reid is on a mission to lighten things up in downtown Durham BY THOMASI MCDONALD tmcdonald@indyweek.com

omething funny has been going on in downtown Durham: standup comedy. The downtown pubs, bars, and breweries on Main Street, shuttered for months during the pandemic, are now abloom with giggles, groans, and guffaws to accompany their beers and burgers. Khari Reid, a transplant from Los Angeles, is the moving force behind these welcome bursts of communal laughter. A bespectacled, unassuming fellow, Reid rolls around in cargo shorts, Chuck Taylors, and a T-shirt underneath an open button-down. He’s on a quiet crusade to Make America Laugh Again, starting with Durham, when he moved here in 2017. “My mom named me Khari so that blind people would know that I’m Black,” Reid says by way of introduction at the comedy shows he organizes and emcees. “I’m the least threatening Black man since Jesus.” Reid’s decision to try his hand at standup happened around 2010 when he signed up for a comedy class. His final exam was a standup gig in the Belly Room, the smallest of three performance venues inside the famed Comedy Store on West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. “I apparently did well,” he says. “There was genuine applause and genuine laughter. Genuine laughter is continuous.” The stand-out moment during Reid’s set was his attempt to arrest a police officer sitting in the front row. But Reid says he grew tired of living on the West Coast. “I just kind of found Durham,” he says. “When I got here, all I saw was trees everywhere.”



In 2018, Reid resumed his fledgling comedy career “at the legendary Durty Bull,” a brewery that features live music and comedy performances in the NoCo District. The Durty Bull was one of the first downtown venues to regularly feature comedy. “They made me feel welcome,” Reid says, and The Durty Bull became a place where comedians would tell jokes to other comedians, and the 20 or so people who came to listen and laugh. Rob Schneider, a Raleigh accountant who does stand-up comedy on the side, has been organizing comedy nights at the Durty Bull since 2017. “Khari came and checked it out pretty early on,” Schneider told the INDY this week. “We became good friends and have done lots of shows together. He’s really taken the ball and gone with this one.” Schneider says the motherload of comedy currently taking place downtown “was kind of like a perfect storm,” because for years, local comedians had to pursue the art in other places. He said that the interest in downtown comedy is also tied to city and civic leaders’ push to bring people back downtown. One day, something tugged on Reid’s funny bone. Why not start booking standup shows for local comedians? He decided to shoot for local watering holes and eateries: opportunities for local comedians are rare at established comedy venues like Goodnights, which hosts an open mic on Wednesday nights, and the Raleigh Improv in Cary. Reid’s first booking was at the Honeysuckle on Chapel Hill Road, where he organized a comedy night in January.

Khari Reid at Maverick’s in Durham


“It was right around the election and people needed a reason to laugh,” he says. Reid contacted other night spots that might have needed a little something extra to get folk back into their businesses, after the shutdown. He made an agreement with Mavericks in Durham to book shows there for six months. “I told them ‘we don’t do clean shows’ and I can’t guarantee what the comics will say,” Reid says. “They told me, ‘we don’t care what you do.’” Last week at Maverick’s, after setting up mobile PA and lighting systems that Reid travels with, he kicked the ballistics of the comic craft with one of the night’s more than 20 performers who signed on to do a five-minute set. “People see you and you become part of the community,” Reid tells Albert Peele Brett James, a budding jester from Jacksonville who now calls Raleigh home. Brett is James’s comic name. “I used to write short stories,” Brett says. “Somebody told me I was funny, so I said, ‘why not?’” While the next Chappelle, Tiffany Haddish, or Durham’s own Dewey “Pigmeat” Markham has not yet emerged from downtown Durham’s comedy nights, Schneider says there are a handful of “legitimate traveling comedians who are featured or headlining comedy clubs throughout the region.”

“They can come here and try out new material before doing a paid show to kind of test things out,” Schneider says. Jessica Wellington, a Mount Olive native who recently returned to North Carolina after working in comedy in Los Angeles, stands on the stage of the outside plaza behind James Joyce on a recent night. She shares the joys of cursing out a turkey sandwich at a 7-Eleven, before ruefully telling the audience she was cast in a “reality” show on the West Coast, where she played a racist skinhead. “My dad called and said he was proud of me,” she says. Stand-up comedy is not for the faint-hearted. More than a few amateurs bomb, badly. During one memorable performance, a man listed all of the people he hated; the wiry guy who followed made comic currency of his predecessor’s hate list, but he bombed, too. It was also a tough night for Brett, who warned that “Durham is about to be a war zone,” owing to FDA plans to ban menthol cigarettes. But Reid is there after each act, to clean the audience’s comic palettes with a new round of hilarity. “My goal is to be a good regional booker of comedy shows,” Reid says of his growing role as an impresario and nurturer of new talent. “And also to host more open mics so that people can practice the art form, see how it’s done, and learn the business.” W INDYweek.com

September 22, 2021


A Thousand Ways (Part Two)

2021 Fall Stage Picks BY BYRON WOODS arts@indyweek.com

ur list of fall picks is drawn from roughly 85 touring and local theater and dance productions slated between now and the end of the season. Yes, that’s a lot of shows: an average of six per week between now and December 31. It also is well below half the number of productions our region has routinely mounted pre-pandemic. Even before the rise of the Delta variant, performing arts companies and presenters were warning us that business as usual wasn’t in the cards for local live arts this fall. If most companies survived closure for more than a year, the majority are only offering a fraction of their usual output. Others, including notables like Honest Pint, Bulldog Ensemble Theater, and Bare Theatre, are waiting until next season (or year) to return. Among the season’s outliers of all-singing, all-dancing extravaganzas, a brave new Durham theater company, Stone Soup, launches the manic musical Shakespeare send-up, Something Rotten!, for a weekend at the NC Museum of Art before a two-weekend run at Chapel Hill’s Forest Theatre, and DPAC hosts the touring production of The Band’s Visit, the winsome Broadway musical about a ceremonial Egyptian band stuck for the night in an Israeli backwater town. For the rest, over half of the shows on our list have at most a cast of three, like Burning Coal’s revival of South African playwright Athol Fugard’s drama The Road to Mecca. (Technically, A Thousand Ways (Part Two)—the ultimately mini-



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malist follow-up to 600 Highwaymen’s intriguing springtime telephone drama about intimacy—has a cast of zero: two unrehearsed audience members, following cues from a deck of index cards, are the only ones in the theater during four daily afternoon and evening shows.) A larger ensemble propels PlayMakers Repertory through its November season opener The Skin of Our Teeth, Thornton Wilder’s one-family assessment of civilization and its discontents. Sometimes, though, the smaller the cast, the bigger the impact. And sometimes just one person can speak incisively to the myriad disconnects between the worlds of Black and white culture, art, and dance, as Thomas DeFrantz does for his company, SLIPPAGE, in I Am Black [you have to be willing to not know] and White Privilege. A single actor can enlist us as a community of compassion. Brainy actor Thaddaeus Edwards enters into thoughtful dialogue with audiences in Every Brilliant Thing for Justice Theater Project. His middle-aged character gets us to help read entries from a list he began at age seven: things worth living for that might keep his mother from hurting herself again. As the list grows, this life-affirming work considers and reconsiders those things that isolate and unite us. One actor can also let us know how alone their character is and how far from safety we all can be, as when actor Angela Robinson evokes the specter of Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill at North Carolina Theatre. It’s a busy season for landmark local


playwrights Mike Wiley and Howard L. Craft. The premiere production of their collaborative drama, Peace of Clay, at Theatre Raleigh through October 3, depicts a young Black artist through trajectories similar to those both playwrights followed, out of racial and economic disadvantages in small North Carolina towns, to bear witness to the times, places, and people they have known—and become. Wiley tours his solo show, Blood Done Sign My Name, live at Temple Theatre on October 1, with recorded versions online afterward. N.C. Central University, meanwhile, revives Craft’s early drama, The House of George, October 21–24. In the dance world, choreographer Anna Barker was busy during the pandemic editing Level Up, her funny and revealing film in which a promising young dancemaker navigates off-stage hassles and interpersonal struggles as she attempts to emerge into her own as an artist. This slice of a dancer’s life premieres Friday and Saturday at PS37. Later in October, the American Dance Festival presents the newest work by Philadelphia-based choreographer Raphael Xavier, The Xcope, a collaborative work combining live music and electronic technology with hip-hop aesthetics, at Nasher Museum of Art. In December, Duke Performances presents the world premiere of ABHIPSAA – A Seeking, Bijayini Satpathy’s foray into making her first individual artistic statements through extending the precepts of Odissi, a classical Indian form she mastered as a principal dancer with Nrityagram Dance Ensemble. David Berberian did what more actors arguably should do when they tire of waiting for the perfect theatrical vehicle: he’s producing it himself. Berberian sought out top-shelf help for The Woolgatherer at Shadowbox Studio: Derrick Ivey directs and stage veteran Jeri Lynn Schulke co-stars in the psychologically dense two-hander in which two lonely characters in the big city may save (or betray) one another over one long night. Finally, in the genre-defying, immersive experiences of Atmospheric Memory, Carolina Performing Arts will transform Memorial Hall in December into 18 separate arts-meets-science environments that explore scientist Charles Babbage’s idea that every word spoken lives on in the atmosphere. W

Stage Season Preview 1. Peace of Clay Theatre Raleigh, Sept. 22–Oct. 3

2. Level Up Anna Barker / real.live.people, PS 37, Sept. 24–25

3. A Thousand Ways (Part Two): An Encounter Carolina Performing Arts, CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio; Oct. 1–17

4. The Band’s Visit Durham Performing Arts Center, Oct. 5–10

5. The Woolgatherer David Berberian, Shadowbox Studio, Oct. 7–16

6. Every Brilliant Thing Justice Theater Project, Oct. 8–24

7. Something Rotten! Stone Soup Theatre, NC Museum of Art, Oct. 9-10; Forest Theatre, Oct. 16-24.

8. The Xcope Raphael Xavier, American Dance Festival, Nasher Museum, Oct. 16

9. I Am Black [you have to be willing to not know] and White Privilege SLIPPAGE, Rubenstein Arts Center, Oct. 29–30

10. Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill NC Theatre, Nov. 5–14

11. The Skin of Our Teeth PlayMakers Repertory Company, Nov. 10–28

12. Atmospheric Memory, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer Carolina Performing Arts, Memorial Hall, Dec. 2–17

13. The Road to Mecca, Burning Coal Theatre, Dec. 2–19

14. ABHIPSAA – A Seeking, Bijayini Satpathy, Duke Performances, Dec. 10–11




September 22, 2021




[Catapult; June 2021]

Into the Wild

Durham writer Karen Tucker’s debut novel, Bewilderness, takes a hard look at love, loss, and opiate addiction in North Carolina BY SHELBI POLK arts@indyweek.com

n 2019, author and creative writing professor Karen Tucker began going for long walks around Asheville, collecting a kind of debris most pedestrians would avoid: used syringes. That habit ended with the pandemic and a move to the Triangle, but by that point, Tucker had already collected three jars of abandoned needles. As she wrote her first novel, Bewilderness, the jars served as a reminder of both the story she was writing, and the people she wanted to reach with it. Bewilderness, which came out June 2021 from Catapult, follows two young North Carolina women fighting substance use disorder alongside, and occasionally despite, each other. Tucker started writing the novel a month into Trump’s presidency. In writing the novel, her goals were clear: she wanted it to be explicitly political and to highlight scant-covered issues like abuses in the restaurant industry, access to education and health care, and stigmas surrounding substance use disorder. It was that last topic that took the majority of the research. “People say ‘write what you know,’ and I did that to a degree,” Tucker says over iced coffee at Cocoa Cinnamon. “But I think it’s also ‘write what you want to know’ or ‘what you dare know.’” Bewilderness isn’t exactly autofiction, though Tucker, who grew up in Greensboro, did put plenty of her own experiences into the novel. Her 20-year career in the restaurant industry began when she dropped out of college, unable to afford tuition. Though she never went back for her undergrad, she now has an MFA in creative



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writing from Warren Wilson College and a doctorate in creative writing from Florida State University. As she enters her second year as an instructor at UNC-Chapel Hill, Tucker says that she loves her colleagues and teaching creative writing, even though accepting the coveted instructor position did mean taking a pay cut from her career serving in fine dining. Some of the more disturbing elements of the novel, including the abuse that servers face, as well as a father dying of a misdiagnosis in a North Carolina VA hospital, are part of Tucker’s lived experiences. But it was thanks to the opioid research she did for this novel that Tucker knew what to do when she heard a close friend hit the floor last winter. When EMS arrived, she knew exactly what to tell them. “You write something,” she says, “and it shows up in your life.” She also knew how to respond to the situation with empathy instead of judgment. “I think if I hadn’t written the book it might have cost me a relationship,” Tucker says. Bewilderness is Tucker’s first published novel, but her third written one. She says setting it in central North Carolina’s Uwharrie Mountains, where her father grew up and where she often visited her grandmother on long summer trips, was a balm during a challenging writing process. “To have it set in a place that you love, where at least you get to spend time there in your imagination . . . it made it easier to open a laptop every day,” Tucker says. “At least I could go hang out in these rickety old mountains for a couple hours.”

Karen Tucker


That Appalachian setting is integral to the novel. Narrator Irene is a 19-year-old waitress who dreams (sometimes) of getting into school and getting out of her rural town. But she also waxes poetic about the region’s beauty in some of the novel’s most poignant passages. She loves the area for its wildness but feels trapped by the poverty that surrounds it. Irene feels similarly about waitressing. It’s fun and flexible, but she knows from experience that she’s vulnerable to exploitation. That double-edged affection defines her relationship (or obsession) with her best friend, Luce, and their shared struggle with opioids. Researching the novel prompted Tucker to be both an outspoken advocate for those struggling with substance use disorder and someone ready to help. Now she always carries Narcan—a prescription nasal spray that cost her $125—which can help bring someone out of an overdose. “I could have gotten it before, but I always needed that $125 for something pressing,” Tucker says. “We have such a tool that saves lives, and people can’t get access.” And, unfortunately, Tucker’s ‘what if’ dose of Narcan is more necessary than ever. North Carolina has long been on the list of opioid hot spots, but the pandemic pushed more of our neighbors into instability. In 2020, North Carolina saw as

much as a 23 percent annual increase in opioid overdose-related emergency room visits. People have lost jobs, homes, and health insurance—all situations that can trigger substance use. And that instability is hitting while “the street drug supply has become more contaminated and more dangerous,” as North Carolina Health News reports. And in a state where legislators have refused to expand Medicaid for years, appropriate help is often hard to find. “If a doctor finds out you have been abusing your prescription, they’ll immediately cut you off,” Tucker says. “If you’re cut off after you’ve been abusing, it’s too late. So then you go where it’s not safe.” Bewilderness was a different style of novel for Tucker. Her first two were quieter, focused on interiority and intricate prose. She took this novel, though, in a different direction, with a “lean and mean” voice that she hopes will make people think. “I wrote this book for people who are going through this experience of substance use disorder, but I also wrote it so people who aren’t maybe understand it a little more,” Tucker says. “I don’t think it’s going to do anything like change policy, as much as I would like it to. I just hope people continue to interrogate their biases and judgments. [Substance use disorder] is a medical disorder. I want everybody to live.” W 2021 FALL ARTS PREVIEW

2021 Fall Page Picks BY SARAH EDWARDS sedwards@indyweek.com


he leaves are beginning to flutter down, pumpkins are (prematurely) appearing on porches, and we’re all starting to remember that a new season of indoor time draws near. Thankfully, with indoor time comes more opportunities to catch up on reading. This year, we’re looking forward to diving into new books by North Carolina writers about football, cancer, big oil, and everything in between.

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois Honorée Fanonne Jeffers [Harper; Aug. 24]

Technically, this book came out over the summer, and technically, Jeffers isn’t based in the Triangle—but she did grow up in Durham, and her debut novel is too Southern, stunning, and sweeping to not include. Longlisted last week for a National Book Award in fiction, it is an ambitious trek through 200 years of American history, as told by a line of Southern Black women. The length is daunting (it’s 800 pages) but Jeffers is a poet—she was also a National Book Award nominee for poetry—and knows how to turn a phrase or two, compelling readers to keep turning pages.

Fight Songs

Ed Southern [Blair; Sept. 7] The strands that Ed Southern sets out to explore in Fight Songs are many—the dichotomies between football and basketball cultures, for example, or North Carolina’s tumultuous identity as a progressive state in the larger South. Or, to put a finer point to it, as Southern (yes, that’s his real name) does: why do Southerners care so much about college sports, anyway? Big questions, but Southern, an alumnus of Wake Forest University and executive director of the NC Writers’ Network, is well-poised to try and answer them.

The Actual Star

Monica Byrne [Harper Voyager; Sept. 14] Durham science fiction writer Monica Byrne’s ambitious second novel spans two millennia and six continents, with characters set in an ancient Mayan dynasty to the 31st century and beyond. Praised by Neil Gaiman as a “major player in science fiction,” Byrne gives language to existential undercurrents about climate change, resilience, and compassion. Bonus: you can buy signed copies from Letters Bookshop, The Regulator, or Golden Fig Books.

A Good Spy Leaves No Trace

Anne E. Tazewell [WriteLife Publishing; Sept. 20] What does an oil industry consultant have to do with an environmental advocate? A parent-daughter relation, for one. Carrboro writer Anne E. Tazewell’s fascinating memoir untangles family history and the story of her mysterious, bespectacled father, a decorated WWII intelligence officer and CIA agent based in the Middle East—the kind of real-life character Tom Clancy could only dream of—whose line of work left plenty of room for reckoning. Most people might (appropriately) question 2021 FALL ARTS PREVIEW

whether their own lives have enough material for a memoir. But Tazewell, who pursued a life of adventure diametrically opposed to that of her father, does not need to ask that question. She has plenty of fodder.

No Cure For Being Human

Kate Bowler [Penguin Random House; Sept. 28] Duke divinity professor Kate Bowler’s first book, Everything Happens For a Reason, a New York Times bestselling memoir, told the story of Bowler’s diagnosis of Stage 4 cancer, at the age of 35, as various American can-do aphorisms about the good life unraveled before her. Bowler—intriguingly described as “a Christian Joan Didion” by Glennon Doyle—is funny, extremely direct, and wise; she also survived cancer against improbable odds. No Cure For Being Human picks up the threads of that memoir with another aphorism as a title, though this one revels in human mess, brokenness, and crooked lines.

Letters from Red Farm: The Untold Story of the Friendship between Helen Keller and Journalist Joseph Edgar Chamberlin

Elizabeth Emerson [Bright Leaf; Sept. 24] It’s always astonishing and fascinating how many epistolary troves there are yet to uncover, from the lives of the past. Letters From Red Farm, based on exchanges between Helen Keller and the journalist and editor Joseph Edgar Chamberlin throughout their four-decades-long friendship, is certainly both of those things. Written by Chamberlin’s great-great-granddaughter, Chapel Hill writer Elizabeth Emerson, this work introduces another side of Keller (in particular, her social activism) as her friendship with Chamberlin deepens. Catch Emerson in person at a signing and launch event on November 2 at Flyleaf Books.

Now You Know It All

Joanna Pearson [University of Pittsburgh Press; October 5] With a day job as a psychiatrist, Carrboro writer Joanna Pearson knows a thing or two about messy inner lives. Her first collection of short stories, Every Human Love, previously reviewed in the INDY, was a finalist for numerous awards. Her new collection follows suit with the accolades, and is a recipient of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, selected by Edward P. Jones. Now You Know It All takes in a wide array of characters—a waitress, a student, adult sisters, a young child—with a keen, knowing eye.W


September 22, 2021



September 22, 2021




Screen Tests

Faced with shifting safety norms and streaming technologies, local film festivals work to reinvent themselves BY RACHEL PITTMAN arts@indyweek.com ast year, when COVID-19 rendered large events nearly impossible, the founders of Chapel Hill’s Film Fest 919 were struck with inspiration: while assembling in a theater felt unsafe, a distanced gathering where guests remained in their vehicles seemed plausible. “We knew we didn’t want to do a virtual festival because we felt that people don’t get the full movie-going experience that way,” says Randi Emerman, CEO of The Drive-In at Carraway Village and Film Fest 919 co-founder. “So we built a drive-in. All the parking spaces are socially distant, and you’re outside, so it gives you that freedom to go to the movies regardless of circumstance.” Emerman and her co-founder, publicist Carol Marshall, created Film Fest 919 from scratch in 2018 as a pre-Oscars showcase for the most buzzed-about feature films of a given year—a way for audiences to “catch the films before they catch on,” as the event tagline teases. “I’ve been in the movie theater business for nearly 30 years—my grandfather even owned theaters,” Emerman says. “Carol and I started working together years ago at Palm Beach International Film Festival and between the two of us, we have well over 75 years of experience.” Last year, the pair quickly built The DriveIn at Carraway Village—a 140-car, family-friendly outdoor venue showing the firstrun films you’d find at your typical indoor theater, along with themed laser shows and dog-friendly screenings. This year, Film Fest 919’s fourth edition will run October 18–24 and will mix drive-in screenings at the Carraway Village location with in-person screenings at Chapel Hill’s Silverspot Cinema.



The festival’s 2020 modality switch— and resulting hybrid format for 2021—are illustrative of many bigger conversations swirling around film festivals worldwide. Even before the pandemic, festival organizers were already negotiating the dawn of screening and a rapidly changing technological landscape. Did guests want to go out to movies anymore, especially to see the indie films that are the typical festival fare? But in 2020, the pressure to evolve film festival concepts compounded with the virus, and organizers found themselves at a crossroads—cancel events altogether or swiftly pivot to a safer hosting method? In the case of Film Fest 919, momentum was at stake. The festival enjoyed near-instant success after beginning three years ago, thanks in large part to Emerman’s and Marshall’s expertise. It screened several Academy Award-winning films and honored a star-studded roster of guests like Chloe Zhao, a winner of multiple Academy Awards. Plus, its formation filled an important niche in the Carolinas. In the absence of other major film fests, North Carolinian cinephiles, including groups of film students, had already become regulars. A drive-in seemed to be the strongest way to keep the ball rolling. “It was not the easiest thing to do with our own funds. There were a lot of hurdles,” Emerman says. “[But] we worked to find a way to keep the community engaged, and building a drive-in enables us to do that year-round with special events, too.” Other local film festivals also rerouted programming last year, taking chances on new virtual options in the hope that filmmakers and festival audiences would do the same. Carrboro Film Fest found an answer

Randi Emerman, co-founder of Film Fest 919 & owner of the Drive-In at Carraway Village PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA to the pandemic in fully virtual operations, screening Southern films on Vimeo and organizing events in other disciplines to bolster the online screenings. “To complement our official film selections, we hosted some cool live-streamed events with local performing artists,” festival director Bradley Bethel says. “Through those events, we were able to connect with the community and offer Carrboro a festival to be proud of.” “Still,” he adds, “virtual events just can’t build and energize community like face-toface interaction does.” In a typical year, Carrboro Film Fest offers attendees not only screenings and talkbacks but also networking events and lively after-parties at local bars. This year, Bethel and staff plan to hold an in-person festival November 19–21 and are considering requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test for entry. While Bethel says that the team “felt the love” at last year’s festival, he doesn’t plan to kick a virtual component into permanent gear. “I suspect some festivals will maintain virtual events, but I don’t expect virtual events to become the focus,” he says. BEYOND: The Cary Film Festival has navigated the pandemic with a nearly identical approach to that of Carrboro’s fest. In 2020, the event pivoted to entirely virtual showings and workshops but this year will screen its selected shorts for audiences at the Cary Theater. The festival will run October 7–10 with a mask requirement in place and health checks required for staff. Robbie Stone, the Town of Cary’s arts program and operations coordinator and Cary Theater’s

interim supervisor, says that the decision to hold in-person events this year was made with filmmakers in mind. “The sense of community was lost during our virtual festival, especially for our filmmakers,” Stone says. “We want to have these filmmakers back and have them interact with our audiences. It’s so vital for them to get that feedback; otherwise, they feel as though they are working in a vacuum. That can be a very dark place for an artist to be, and we don’t want that for our filmmakers.” However, Stone says that last year’s virtual offerings opened BEYOND to a wider audience than ever before. Viewers streamed the festival’s films from nearly every continent, and the accompanying workshops were available virtually to participants everywhere. This year, BEYOND will not offer any virtual components, but a hybrid modality is in talks for future years, once the event’s staffing is back to its pre-pandemic levels. As the film world continues to grapple with new limitations, the questions of how, when, and where audiences will engage are being widely probed. For film festivals, in particular, an emphasis on hybridity and flexibility—or, as Emerman says, getting creative with programming—could help maintain safety, grow audiences, and bolster local communities. Regardless of what new ways of viewing the future hold, Emerman, Bethel, and Stone all agree that visits to the cinema remain foundational. “Every film lover I know prefers to watch films on a big screen and with an audience,” Bethel says. “Only in that context do we experience the magic of cinema.” W INDYweek.com

September 22, 2021


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Brigid Kemmerer, Defy the Night

2021 Fall Film Festival Preview BY SARAH EDWARDS sedwards@indyweek.com




5:30PM FRI

9.24 6PM

Wiley Cash, When Ghosts Come Home VIRTUAL EVENT AT 7PM

A still from Red Rocket, screening at Film Fest 919


Kristin Hannah, The Four Winds




9.18 4PM

Lauren Groff, Matrix

Film Fest 919






Mary Kay Andrews, The Santa Suite





Trisha Yearwood, Trisha’s Kitchen

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Variety is the keyword for Raleigh Film & Art Festival, which has nearly 200 films to choose from. Attendees will have the chance to network, attend discussions with award-winning filmmakers, and absorb performances in other disciplines, from painters to fashion designers to spoken word poetry. General admission tickets are free and available to reserve on Eventbrite.

BEYOND: The Cary Film Festival

Oct. 18-24 Carraway Village Drive-In and Silverspot Cinema filmfest919.com In only its fourth year of operation, Film Fest 919 has already hosted a slew of Oscar-winning cast, crew, and films. A curated festival showcasing the most talked-about films ahead of awards season, Film Fest 919 is a unique event among local film programming, bringing a bit of Hollywood glamour to the Triangle. This year, films will be screened at both the Carraway Village Drive-In and Silverspot Cinemas—plus, Academy Award-nominated songwriter Diane Warren will be honored. Screenwriters Chris Bergoch and Sean Baker will also be presented with the festival’s distinguished screenwriter award, after a showing of their 2021 film Red Rocket. Passes for the entire festival start at $500 and can be purchased online, and tickets for individual films will be available when the full schedule is released in early fall.

Oct. 7-10 The Cary Theater thecarytheater.com

Carrboro Film Fest

With 37 independently-produced short films on the docket, BEYOND: The Cary Film Festival is sure to have downtown Cary humming with cinematic activity. In addition to three days of programmed shorts blocks, the festival will also offer three filmmaking workshops, filmmaker Q&As, and a table read of the event’s winning screenplay. Come for films ranging in genres from animation to horror to comedy, stay for a taste of Cary’s vibrant arts community. Full schedule to be released.

A hub for local cinephiles, this year’s Carrboro Film Fest will focus on “new Southern film”—and this year, that focus can be enjoyed in person. Last year, the eclectic festival was hosted virtually due to the pandemic, but this year’s festival will be held at Carrboro’s ArtsCenter and boasts a smorgasbord of locally-grown moving images, from shorts to features. The full schedule has not yet been announced. W

Nov. 19-21 carrborofilm.org




September 22, 2021



Last Night in Soho Oct. 29 in theaters

Filmmaker Edgar Wright can do it all, from top-shelf comedy (Shaun of the Dead) to operatic action (Baby Driver). He’s a cinematic technician with serious skills, and his new story sounds pleasantly bonkers: a London fashion student somehow flashes back into 1960s Soho and gets involved in a murder mystery, unmoored in time.

The Harder They Fall Nov. 3 on Netflix

2021 Fall Movie Preview BY GLENN MCDONALD arts@indyweek.com

Finally! The full-bore Black cowboy picture that old Hollywood never quite had the guts to make. Jay-Z produces and provides music, and the cast is just stacked: Idris Elba, Jonathan Majors, Zazie Beetz, Regina King, Lakeith Stanfield, and old pro Delroy Lindo.

King Richard

Nov. 19 in theaters and HBO Max Will Smith stars as Richard Williams, the hard-driving father of tennis superstars Serena and Venus. The film tracks the Williams family from Compton to their incredible reign on the international athletics stage. Early reviews suggest that director Reinaldo Marcus Green is going to be a Big Deal.

Licorice Pizza

Nov. 26 in theaters


he COVID crisis continues to play havoc with the movie business, but autumn is still the season for the year’s best movies. Here’s a sampling of upcoming films to watch for, both in theaters and on streaming platforms. Heads up, though. Distribution plans and release dates are changing constantly.


The French Dispatch

Oct. 1 in theaters

Oct. 22 in theaters

French auteur Julia Ducournau (Raw) won the main prize at Cannes Film Festival with this wigged-out body horror extravaganza, said to be one of the most shocking films ever. Like, ever ever. It concerns a female serial killer, her curious erotic fixation, and the one human-machine convergence theory that no one saw coming.

Wes Anderson returns with a triptych of stories, highly stylized in the usual Wes Anderson way. Inspired by The New Yorker magazine, the film concerns expat American journalists in a fictional French town and stars pretty much everyone in Hollywood, evidently.


Oct. 27 in theaters; Nov. 11 on Netflix

Oct. 22 in theaters Maybe the year’s most anticipated film—among us nerdcore types, anyway—Dune is the latest attempt to film author Frank Herbert’s thinky, highly allegorical sci-fi masterpiece. Early festival reviews have been ecstatic, crediting director Denis Villeneuve with finally matching the original novel’s wild ambition. 28

September 22, 2021



The directorial debut of the brilliant British actress Rebecca Hall, Passing is based on the 1929 Nella Larsen novel about mixed-race friends in Harlem. Hall comes from a multiracial background herself, and her work here earned fabulous reviews at the Sundance Film Festival.

Probably the most mysterious film of the fall season, Licorice Pizza is reportedly the name of the new one from revered director Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia). Details are scarce, but we know it’s set in 1970s California and stars Bradley Cooper and Cooper Hoffman—son of the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The Power of the Dog Dec. 1 on Netflix

Old-school arthouse types will be pleased to hear that filmmaker Jane Campion (The Piano) is back with this Netflix original, set on a 1920s Montana ranch. Expect some Big Sky drama with pedigreed actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, and Jesse Plemons. Sometimes you can tell a good movie just from the cast.

Nightmare Alley Dec. 3 in theaters

This noirish psychological thriller from director Guillermo del Toro stars Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett as sinister grifters in the sleazy 1940s world of bottom-end carnivals. It’s del Toro’s first straight noir—no supernatural elements, just shady people. W 2021 FALL ARTS PREVIEW




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su | do | ku

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

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September 22, 2021




Tuesday, November 2, 2021


The Municipal General Election will be held in Durham County, NC on Tuesday November 2nd. All Durham County precincts will be open from 6:30 am until 7:30 pm. Precinct 26 – Rougemont will not be open because no city area lies within this precinct.

On September 7, 2021, the Durham County Board of Elections met in Durham, North Carolina, at its office and adopted the following resolution:

Municipal residents who will be 18 years of age by the November 2nd election will be permitted to vote in the election if properly registered by the deadline. The following contests will be on the ballot: • City of Durham Mayor and Council • Town of Morrisville Mayor and Council • Town of Chapel Hill Mayor and Council • Town of Morrisville Referenda Early voting schedule: Thursday, Oct. 14th through Saturday, Oct. 30th, 2021 Hours will be consistent at all early voting locations. • Weekdays: 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. • First two Saturdays: 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. • Final Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. • Sundays: 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.


VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE: The voter registration deadline for the November 2, 2021 Election is Friday, October 8, 2021 (25 days prior). Voters that miss the registration deadline may register and vote during the early voting period. Voters who are currently registered need not re-register. Registered voters who have moved or changed other information since the last election should notify the Board of Elections of that change by October 8, 2021. SAME DAY REGISTRATION: Voters are allowed to register and vote during early voting. It is quicker and easier to register in advance, but if you have not registered you can do so during early voting with proper identification. This same day registration is not allowed at polling places on Election Day. Information regarding registration, polling locations, absentee voting, or other election matters may be obtained by contacting the Board of Elections. Website: www.dcovotes.com Email: elections@dconc.gov Phone: 919-560-0700 Fax: 919-560-0688 PAID FOR BY DURHAM COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS

WHEREAS the county board of elections is authorized upon adoption of a resolution to begin counting of 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, October 5th and at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, October 11th for the purpose of counting absentee ballots; WHEREAS the location of these meetings shall be held at the Durham Board of Elections Warehouse, located at 2445 S. Alston Avenue, Durham, NC 27713; 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 North Carolina General Statutes §§ 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 7th day of September 2021. Dawn Y. Baxton., Chairwoman

EMPLOYMENT Senior Data Ana (Raleigh, NC) Sr Data Analyst (SDA-VLS) in Raleigh, NC: Partner w/ stakeholders & business process owners to elicit & document business requirements for monitoring & trending key performance indicators & metrics. MS+2 or BS+5. Send resumes to Intuitive Surgical Operations, Inc., Attn: Hien Nguyen, 1020 Kifer Rd, Sunnyvale, CA 94086. Must ref title & code.

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September 22, 2021


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