O.Henry June 2015

Page 1

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M A G A Z I N E Volume 5, No. 6 “I have a fancy that every city has a voice.” 336.617.0090 1848 Banking Street Greensboro, NC 27408 www.ohenrymag.com Jim Dodson, Editor jim@ohenrymag.com Andie Stuart Rose, Art Director andie@ohenrymag.com David Claude Bailey, Senior Editor dbailey@ohenrymag.com Lauren Shumaker, Graphic Designer Kira Schoenfelder, Graphic Designer Contributing Editors Cynthia Adams, Harry Blair, Maria Johnson Contributing Photographers Lynn Donovan, Amy Freeman, Sam Froelich Contributors Jane Borden, Grant Britt, Susan Campbell, Wiley Cash, Clyde Edgerton, Rosetta Fawley, Pat Fitzgerald, Bill Hancock, Sara King, Brian Lampkin, Meridith Martens, Logie Meachum, Nancy Oakley, Ogi Overman, Sandra Redding, Kevin Reid, Deborah Salomon, Sandra James Snider, Astrid Stellanova


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4 O.Henry

June 2015

Subscriptions 336.617.0090 ©Copyright 2015. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. O.Henry Magazine is published by The Pilot LLC

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Tom Chitty & Associates Direct Line: 336-420-2836 Email: tomchitty@tomchitty.com Website: www.tomchitty.com

June 2015

O.Henry 5

June 2015 Features

57 Beach Friends

Poetry by Sandra James Snider

74 Mangum Opus

Greensboro’s artist Bill Mangum’s latest furniture line is inspired by the Sandhills of his birth By Deborah Salomon

58 The Sweet Salvation of Billy Crash Craddock

76 Perfectly Pastel

62 Diamonds in the Rough

78 Kudzu Hill

The saga of the talented homeboy who loves Greensboro more than fame By Grant Britt Greensboro bands and musicians to watch By Ogi Overman

66 The Day the Music Died

A somewhat peckish plea for the rebirth of live music in the Gate City By Grant Britt

70 Blues to Greens

Inspired by Edgar Degar, a fine exhibit of North State impressionist By Various Artist During the darkest days of their married lives, Dwight and Becky Thomas climbed a hill and finally found home By David Claude Bailey

87 June Almanac

Father’s Day, the Summer Solstice and June’s main man By Rosetta Fawley

A celebrated Jazz man creates a wonderful community garden By Logie Meachum

Departments 9 Simple Life By Jim Dodson 12 Short Stories 17 O.Harry By Harry Blair 19 The Sounds of Hometown By Maria Johnson 21 Omnivorous Reader By Brian Lampkin 25 Scuppernong Bookshelf 29 The Pleasures of Life Dept. By Grant Britt 35 Gate City Journal By Kevin Reid 41 Seen & Unseen By Bill Hancock

45 Pappadaddy’s Mindfield

47 A Novel Year By Wiley Cash

49 Birdwatch

By Susan Campbell

51 Life of Jane

By Jane Borden

88 Arts & Entertainment June Calendar 99 Worth the Drive to High Point By Nancy Oakley

101 N.C. Writer’s Notebook By Sandra Redding

1 03 GreenScene 111 Accidental Astrologer By Astrid Stellanova

112 O.Henry Ending By Ogi Overman

By Clyde Edgerton

Cover Photograph by Sam Froelich

6 O.Henry

June 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Art for Eyes | Eye for Arts Fine Eyewear, Artwork and Jewelry 327 South Elm | Greensboro 336.274.1278 | TheViewOnElm.com Becky Causey, Licensed Optician Find us on Facebook

Simple Life

Another Life

By Jim Dodson

Sometimes before dawn on summer

mornings, I let in the cats from their nighttime rambles and put on the coffee, then spend a few quiet stolen moments with my beloved Ruby Jane. To put it politely, she has a smoking-hot body that’s spectacularly curved in all the right places. If you touch her the right way, she really sings. Ruby Jane is the secondhand hollow-body electric guitar I bought myself fifteen years ago — my own version of B.B. King’s famed Lucille. (May the King rest in peace.) I bought her in memory of — well, the dream I never chased. The evening before I found her in a secondhand shop, you see, I’d spent a couple of hours listening to and chatting with a musical hero of mine, legendary Alabama singer-songwriter Mac McAnally, whom I helped bring to the Maine Music Festival. I first heard Mac perform at a bar in Athens, Georgia, back in the late 1970s and became an instant fan. I was the senior writer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Magazine and Mac was a rising star in country music who struck me as a Southern Harry Chapin, with a voice like James Taylor and a guitar-playing style that rivaled Chet Atkins. His second solo album had just been released, No Problem Here, still one of the finest albums ever. After his appearance in the main performance tent in Maine twenty years later, we shared a cold beverage and talked about where our careers had gone since that night we met in an Athens bar. When he learned I played guitar, we even jammed a bit with a couple of local musicians before he packed up to be driven back to the airport. On the way to the airport, he complimented my playing and asked me if I’d ever thought about making music a career. I thanked him for saying this but felt sure he was just being kind to his appointed limo driver — in my case a well-traveled, mud-freckled Chevy Blazer in which he seemed right at home. I explained that I once played the guitar extensively and, as a matter of fact, came dangerously close to heading for Nashville the year I graduated from college in 1975. “But that’s another life,” I said with a laugh. “The one I never chased.” I admitted I rarely had time to play anymore — not with two small kids and a busy journalism career that literally took me a lot of places around the world. As two old boys far from their native South might do, I asked him about his own musical journey. Mac grew up in Alabama, studied classical piano and played for his Baptist church before going on to a stellar career performing on his own

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

and eventually writing Billboard toppers for the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Alabama, Kenny Chesney and Sawyer Brown. A dozen solo albums, seven CMA Musician of the Year awards and one Grammy nomination later, he remains one the most respected songwriters and studio musicians of modern times. “Funny how life works out down the road,” he agreed. Interestingly, this very phrase turned up in Mac’s most successful song, “Down the Road,” a bittersweet anthem about a father and his daughter who was nominated for a Grammy in 2010. We turned out to have much more in common than I realized. I told him about growing up in North Carolina, singing in the church choir and teaching myself to play a secondhand Stella Concertmaster beginning around age 10. The guitar was a gift from a man I knew only as “Blind Jack,” who worked for my dad down in Mississippi at the weekly newspaper he owned for a time when I was very young. I taught myself to play this road-worn Stella, first copying the folk songs of Peter, Paul and Mary before falling hard for the music of George Harrison and jazz greats like Chet Atkins and Wes Montgomery. In the fifth grade I formed a band with two buddies. Our biggest gig was playing “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Louie Louie” for Fall Festival at Archibald D. Elementary School, prompting Della Hockaday to accept a mood ring afterward, proving musicians always get the girls. Not long after this I took Della to the Greensboro Coliseum to see Paul Revere and the Raiders, Bobby Sherman and the Monkees, whose show was opened by one Jimi Hendrix. Greensboro in those days was a major stop on the Chitlin’ Circuit and East Coast live performance music circuit. Everybody who was anybody came through the Gate City. Around age 13, I even saw a UNCG student named Emmylou Harris perform somewhere down on Tate Street, and was a regular at Aycock Auditorium, where I saw road shows by B.B. King, Isaac Hayes, Ike and Tina Turner, and Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose. By high school I was writing songs and teaching guitar at a Greensboro music store and performing with a traditional quartet out of the Grimsley choir called the “Queensmen,” performing for everything from Rotary luncheons to weddings. In college, I found gigs playing some of my own music at a coffee house and popular restaurant on weekends. My longtime girlfriend Kristin, who was a year older and in college in the mountains, was a remarkable singer and actress who encouraged me to keep writing songs and performing. But I was also the son of an itinerate newspaperman who had printer’s ink in his blood. I worked as an editor on my college newspaper and realized I loved writing newspaper columns. At that time, Woodward and Bernstein were almost bigger rock stars than Jimi Hendrix. June 2015

O.Henry 9

Simple Life June 27 - August 1 2▪0 ▪1 ▪5 Gerard Schwarz, Music Director Christopher L. Williams, Executive Director

Join us for a summer of extraordinary performances. Five Weeks – Five Series Festival Orchestra Chamber Music Friends & Great Performers

Young Artists Orchestra


North Carolina’s Musical Treasure For full schedule or to purchase tickets call Triad Stage (336) 272-0160 or visit our website www.EasternMusicFestival.org O'Henry Ad page 4.25 x 10.75 10EMF O.Henry Junehalf 2015

In June of 1975 — forty years ago this month — I came home to Greensboro to take my second internship at the Greensboro Daily News and write a bunch of new songs, figuring if I didn’t follow my father into journalism I could always take a run at Nashville. The problem was, the girl who encouraged me to chase music was murdered the previous autumn in a bungled robbery attempt of a Hickory golf club restaurant, and I couldn’t shake the anger I felt at the world for doing such an unspeakable thing. I wrote a few songs and put them in a folder and soon took a job in Atlanta writing about murder and mayhem and corrupt politicians — eager to learn more about the darkness of the human soul. During those years in the home of Bobby Jones, I quit playing golf and playing the guitar — the two things I’d loved dearly besides Kristin since childhood. One night I burned that folder of songs in the fireplace. Looking back, the thing that saved my life was a conversation with my dad that took place on the Donald Ross porch in Pinehurst in the spring of 1983 that prompted me to politely turn down a chance to work at The Washington Post and accept instead a job writing about subjects I loved for a legendary magazine called Yankee. That eventually led me back to the world of golf. From time to time, I picked up my old Alvarez guitar (the same model Graham Nash played) and played a few old tunes just for fun. It was soothing, like being with an old friend. That Christmas my new wife gave me a beautiful classical guitar. When our children were still small, I began playing for them. Soon they were performing in school shows and even singing on a local country music station with their old man accompanying on his guitar, singing background vocals. That’s why I was so happy with my life in Maine when my music hero Mac McAnally came calling to perform at the Maine Festival. I’d found a simpler life that was meaningful and safe and almost as far as I could get from those dark years in Atlanta. Naturally, I didn’t tell Mac any of this. We were just two middle-aged Southern boys far from home, chatting on the way to the airport. The last thing he said to me as I dropped him off, though, was kind of a kick. “Better keep playing that guitar. It’s like riding a bike. You never forget how. Who knows, you may wind up down in Nashville yet.” That afternoon, while waiting for my son Jack to finish his guitar lesson back in our little coastal town, I picked up a ruby-red, secondhand, hollow-body electric guitar and realized I’d always wanted a guitar just like that. My children grew up to be splendid singers and musicians, as did my second wife, Wendy’s, two sons — regular performers at our family’s annual Winter Solstice party when guests must all perform for their supper. Last Christmas, Maggie, the eldest and only girl, sharply pointed out that our family had never performed together — so we gave it a shot, working up a version of a Mumford and Sons tune. We even happily argued over what to name our new family band, settling on Maggie’s wry suggestion of the Just Shut Up and Sing Band. The crowd seemed to like the performance. Folks wondered why we hadn’t performed together years ago. My favorite Mac McAnally album is called “Simple Life.” It’s amazing how often I still play it — and play along with it on Ruby Jane. A line from the title song goes: A simple life is the life for me / a man and his wife and his family / and the Lord up above knows I’m tryin / to lead a simple life in a difficult time. I don’t miss a life I never had. I also never thanked Mac McAnally for inspiring me to pick up the guitar again. Playing in the early morning light gives me much needed peace and pleasure. The cats at least seem to enjoy it. That song, by the way, inspired the name of this column. OH Contact editor Jim Dodson at jim@ohenrymag.com. The Art & Soul of Greensboro



As a talented operatic singer and an honors student, Marika has always loved singing, and has known since the fifth grade that she would be a singer. She also knew she wanted to attend a college that made her growth a priority. At Greensboro College, Marika has found a supportive, nurturing music faculty, and she is also benefiting from a broad-based curriculum that has allowed her to sample musical genres including opera and musical theatre, while also learning the practical side of performing – staging, stage presence, voicing and diction. Now, Marika is preparing her honors thesis and a trip to study abroad at the University of Ulster in Derry, Northern Ireland. While there, she hopes to study traditional Irish music. When Marika graduates in May 2016, she has her sights set on graduate school and a career performing professionally, leaving Greensboro College uniquely prepared for the world stage.

Illustration by Kira schoenfelder

After all, Greensboro College is where she found her voice.

Greensboro.edu The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Uniquely Located. Uniquely Greensboro, June 2015 O.Henry 11 Uniquely You!

Short Stories Our picks for what’s happening in Greensboro this month

Gotta Shakerato?

Yes, America is besotted with deep-dark-roasted Starbucks, but there’s a place where you can try Italy’s creamier, milder and more subtle espresso — Coffeology (coffeeology101.com). Try the Scottish Dream, a refreshing “shakerato” — espesso, ice, sugar, citrus and cinnamon shaken until it’s so foamy it’s funny. And if you really want to push the java envelope, order one of their exotic single-origin, just-roasted coffees, made at the cafe’s full-brew bar, where maximum flavor comes from cutting-edge extraction methods like pour overs, AeroPress and Chemex. In the interest of full disclosure, my daughter Alice, Greensboro’s snarkiest and most beautiful barista, can be found, always fully-caffeinated, behind the coffee bar.

Burlington’s Lowe Down

I of the Beholder

Young and old alike will likely be entranced by New York artist Tom Burckhardt’s highly detailed, enchanting cardboard replica of a mythical artist’s studio, which will go on display June 13. “When you walk into it, as a viewer, there’s a sense of wonder,” the artist once told an interviewer. But what about “the blank canvas in the center [that] has been sitting there for a while,” the interviewer asked. “Right,” Burckhardt replies. “This painter is clearly frozen.” Which is one reason why Weatherspoon has invited six local artist couples to explore creativity — and what hinders it — during a series of talks coming in July: painter Mariam Stephan and ceramicist Ibrahim Said on the 9th; painter Jack Stratton and photographer Sarah Jane Mann on the 23rd; and videographer Harvey Robinson and photographer Carolyn DeBerry on the 30th. Info: weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

A Lot of Night Music

Walk into Lowe Vintage Instruments, and before you can congratulate the owners on their music store’s one-year anniversary in downtown Burlington, you’ll likely hear, “Come on in, Buddy! I’m Ed Lowe, and this is my son Will.” Soon they’re filling you in on the origin and history of the various treasures hanging on the wall — the “Stradivarius of mandolins,” a signed 1923 Gibson F-5, the twin of one played by Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass. Just down the wall is a hulking 1936 Gibson acoustic model L-5 guitar, identical to “Mother” Maybell Carter’s. Instrument aficionados from as far away as Maine and New Mexico make the trek to Burlington because this is one of the few places you can actually pick and grin on some of the rarest instruments around. Lowe Vintage Instruments, 327 South Main Street, Burlington, (336)-524-6250 or www.lowevintage. com — Stan Gilliam

If ginourmous Mahler symphonies and piano-punishing Tchaikovsky come to mind when you think of the Eastern Music Festival, you wouldn’t be wrong, but EMF’s chamber music series, which kicks off on Monday, June 29, offers music lovers a chance to hear more eclectic pieces, written for intimate gatherings. On Monday at UNCG and then on Tuesday in Dana Auditorium, the audience will get a taste of the sort of diverse ensembles and range of composers that will crowd July, not to mention once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to hear rare works — a sonata for horn, trumpet and trombone (Poulenc) or a flute quartet (Mozart). And don’t expect the same old dead guys. Tuesday’s concert also features works by Mark J. Connor and Patrick Schulz. It’s almost a definition of EMF: Live music, often from living composers, played by some of the livliest and most talented performers on the planet. Info: easternmusicfestival.org

12 O.Henry

June 2015

Free Throw Lane

Take a state where college basketball is almost a religion and team rivalries pit friends against friends, husbands against wives. Add an assistant professor at “Zebulon College” who’s intent on derailing the school’s athletic program just as the school heads to the NCAA basketball tournament. Mix all that up in local playwright Preston Lane’s head along with Henrik Ibsen’s attack on newspapers, An Enemy of the People, and you get the world premier of Common Enemy. “I love college basketball,” Lane says. “I want this play to provoke dialogue and create ideas that the audience will debate.” EMT techs will be on call in the case of fist fights. June 7–28: triadstage.org

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Whose Woods These Are We Oughta Know

In honor of A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, this year’s pick for the Greensboro Public Library’s One City, One Book reading campaign, O.Henry is having a Hit the Trail Photo Contest. Snap some photos on any of Greensboro’s or Guilford County’s many trails, and email your best shot to ohenryphotocontest@gmail.com by August 1. Include your name and daytime phone number. A panel of mosquito-bitten editors will judge the entries. First, second and third place winners will get outdoorsy swag, and their photos will be published in September, at the peak of the One City, One Book activities. Started in Greensboro thirteen years ago, One City, One Book is designed to get lots of people reading and talking about just one book — with a different book each year. Visit www.facebook. com/OCOB.GSO to see what’s happening when and where. — Maria Johnson

#One CityO neBo ok

Flickering Fame

One of downtown Greensboro’s most happening locales just got hipper with an outdoor film fest featuring local filmmakers. Find your way to the new park beyond The Forge and Gibbs Hundred Brewing to watch free flicks at dusk on June 4, June 11 and June 18. Workshops — on screenwriting, acting and film financing —run concurrently. The festival culminates with three ticketed screenings from June 24–26 at the Community Theatre of Greensboro. Flicks include the dark comedy Elephant Sighs, written, produced and directed in High Point by HPU prof Ed Simpson, starring Ed Asner; the romantic comedy Esposito by Charlotte’s Matt Nunn; and Lake of Fire, a Southern-fried gothic noir shot in and around Greensboro and Ramseur. Details at www.facebook.com/ barefootbijou


Photographs by Stan Gilliam, Justin Kirkus of Coffeeology PHotographs courtesy of weatherspoon, Eastern Music festival

Dawn Ashby Caldwell gazes at the whimsical painting done by one of the eight artists she supervises: “There’s not an inhibition,” she says of the work. “Our artists are not caught up in creating something without any imperfection. So what you see is a perfection of spirit.” Welcome to Mosaic, A Lifespan Studio. The work these artists have done, with supplies and coaching provided by nonprofit Lifespan, will be on display — and for sale — at Irving Park Art & Frame, with an opening reception on Friday, June 12, from 5–8 p.m. (irvingparkartandframe.com). During the fiscal year ending in June, art lover bought $36,000 worth of Mosaic art. Half of that went to the artists themselves. Caldwell, the art director of Lifespan, often works with the artists to create a prototype to work from. But, she says, “once they take that prototype and start creating their own expression of it, their art really comes to life.”

Worth the Drive — to Winston-Salem

Greensboro foodies may lament that one of the most delicious events of the year is moving to the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem, but, c’mon, the Twin City is only thirty minutes away. Four Greensboro chefs will compete in the fifteen-dinner Triad Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series (formerly Fire in the Triad) through July 7: June 1, Michael Harkenreader of the Undercurrent; June 2, Anders Benton of Gia; June 8, Alex Pierce of Greensboro Country Club; and June 9, Michael Roberson of The Iron Hen Café. Other Triad chefs include Dave Nicoletta of Giannos in High Point on June 3; plus Trey Prescott of J. Pepper’s Southern Grille in Kernersville vs. Tim Barbery of Perky’s Bistro in Jamestown on June 10. A final Battle of the Champions takes place in October in Raleigh. Tickets for the Triad contest range from $55 and up: competitiondining.com/events/triad.

Ogi Sez Ogi Overman

“Ain’t no cure for the summertime blues,” goes the song lyrics, which, aside from the poor grammar, is simply not true. The cure is music. It’s indoors and outdoors and right around the corner. So dive in and take the cure. • June 5, Cone Denim Entertainment Center: He’s not only alive and kickin’, but Leon Russell is sounding better than ever. And now a whole new generation is discovering what we boomers have known for forty-five years. • June 7, Blandwood Mansion: The Music for a Sunday Evening in the Park series (MUSEP) kicks off with saxmeister Wally West and his Little Big Band. Jazz at its finest, the perfect way to wind down the weekend. • June 12, Carolina Theatre: Songs of Water [see p. 64] is primed to make the leap from local to national, and this album, Stars and Dust, may well be the vehicle that takes them there. Catch their CD release party so you can say you knew them when. • June 14, Doodad Farm: When upstate New York’s Driftwood floats into town, the party is on, and when the venue is Doodad, you can double your pleasure, double your fun. A slice of Americana, roots and rock ’n’ roll at its finest. • June 28, Blind Tiger: Self-serving plug alert! I used to play with four members of Slider, but please don’t hold that against them. Funk from the Nevilles to Little Feat to Van Morrison; prepare to boogie your scruples away as you sail into the mystic under the yellow moon.

Picture perfect.

Before and after “I do”.

And still perfect for a future daughter’s “I do”.

14 O.Henry

June 2015

High Point

I Greensboro I Winston Salem


The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Martha’s Melodious Mix is Music to the Ears The versatile songstress found success migrating seamlessly among styles and genres By Ogi Overman


atching Martha Bassett perform, one is immediately struck by the obvious — her crystalline voice, unpretentious good looks and comfortable stage presence. But there are a few other elements at play that are more subtle. Most of the time she plays with her two longtime mates, to her right, guitarist Sam Frazier, and to her left, standup bassist Pat Lawrence. Onstage there is a balance, a certain symmetry, with her being the centerpiece with the three functioning as a single, harmonious unit. Unintentional though it is, that stage balance is a mirror of her career, indeed her life. Hers is a story of balancing the personal and professional, the secular and the spiritual, the creative side and the business side (the latter being something that musicians are notoriously bad at). She has perfected that oft-precarious balancing act with poise and aplomb. Classically trained (bachelor’s in music at University of Kentucky and master’s in music/voice at UNCG), the central West Virginia native settled in the Triad after grad school and a short stint in the banking business that, “Let me know exactly what I don’t want to do.” She discovered early on that versatility is one of the keys to sustainability, as evidenced by her wide-ranging repertoire that taps into jazz, country, bluegrass, folk, rock, swing, Americana and torch songs. She fronted Martha and the Moodswingers, a popular jump-swing ensemble, for several years, recording two albums with them. A large chunk of her work also involves church music at both Centenary Methodist in Winston-Salem and the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant in Greensboro. Martha’s gift as a songwriter is not to be denied, another reason she has succeeded where others fall by the wayside. She has recorded seven albums and is working on her eighth. “I’m hunkering down, spending a lot of time alone writing songs,” she says. “I have a lot but if they’re not unified in my head, they don’t go together in a cohesive way.” Local listeners will have several chances to see Martha and the band this summer. They play monthly at Lucky 32 (www.lucky32.com/fried_chicken.htm) and will appear at the Music for a Sunday Evening in the Park series August 23. She also breaks out her American Songbook renditions as one of the rotating featured vocalists at Thursday Cocktails and Jazz at the O.Henry Hotel (www. ohenryhotel.com/jazz.htm) with pianist Dave Fox and her old mate from the Moodswingers, saxophonist Neill Clegg. Her next show will be June 25. OH

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

June 2015

O.Henry 15


Sometimes less really is more.

Come visit a place where your brand becomes a reflection of solid knowledge and experience.



of service!


John E. Crutchfield III Founder




1949 - 2010

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

June 2015

O.Henry 17


2015 Concert Series

for a

Sunday Evening in the Park 336-373-2549 • www.musep.info • music@greensboro-nc.gov For cancellation information, call 336-373-2373.


6 pm


6 pm


6:30 pm


6 pm

Wally West Little Big Band

Playing two 45 minute sets

Greensboro Big Band

Playing two 45 minute sets

Philharmonia of Greensboro Zinc Kings

7:15 pm

Warren, Bodle & Allen

7:30 pm

July 4th Pops Concert Greensboro Concert Band

Swing, Big Band Jazz Classical, Pops Bluegrass Folk Classical, Pops

The Radials with Lisa Dames

Contemporary Country

7:15 pm

Carolina Coalmine

Country, Southern Rock


6:30 pm

Eastern Music Festival Young Artist Orchestras


6 pm

EMFfringe - The Meldavians

6 pm

Rob Massengale Band



6 pm


Classical, Pops

Blandwood Mansion W. Washington St. & Edgewood St. The Shops at Friendly Center between Whole Foods and the Movie Theatre Hester Park 3609 Betula St. Lake Higgins 4235 Hamburg Mill Rd. White Oak Amphitheater 1921 West Lee St. National Military Park Hwy. 220 N., Old Battleground Rd. Guilford College Founder’s Lawn

This concert is made possible by the generous support and sponsorship of VF Corporation. Jazz, Rock Variety, Rock & Roll

7:15 pm

Soul Central with Jay Bird

Blues, R&B, Jazz, Soul

6:30 pm

Greensboro Concert Band

Classical, Pops

6 pm 7:15 pm 6 pm

Sweet Dreams doby Martha Bassett Band

Playing two 45 minute sets

Blues, R&B, Jazz, Soul Funk Americana, Folk Rock

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The Sounds of Hometown

A David Among Goliaths Low-power FM station WDFC signs on with a divine local mission

By Maria Johnson

Today is smooth jazz day, says Morris Jeffreys.

Tomorrow will be classical music day. The day after tomorrow will be smooth jazz day again. You’re not going to find any other local radio station that switches formats like that, he says. He snickers at the thought. It’s the snicker of a 70-year-old businessman who’s having fun, one who thought he was retiring until he had breakfast with his pastor at Tex & Shirley’s Family Restaurant a few years ago, and they decided it would be a great outreach for Christ United Methodist Church to launch a radio station that played more than religious programming. So that’s what they did. WDFC — a compressed version of the church motto, “We’re Making Disciples For Christ” — started broadcasting in March, making it the first Greensboro radio station to broadcast on a new FM frequency in more than three decades. WNAA, the radio station at N.C. & A&T State University, was the last to occupy a new spot, at 90.1 FM, in 1978. WDFC lives around the clock at 101.7 FM, and it lives modestly. Classified as a Low Power FM, or LPFM station, it packs a mere 10 watts of punch. That sounds miniscule compared to 10,000 watts for WNAA-FM, or 100,000 watts for the area’s top-rated station WSMW-FM, better known as “98.7 Simon.” But watts don’t tell the whole story. The church’s reach is vast because it relies on a higher power. Make that tower. “Height is more important than power,” says Jeffreys. WDFC’s signal radiates 15 to 20 miles (compared to about 40 miles for WNAA and 100 miles for WSMW) because of the height of its transmission antenna, which is fixed atop a 250-foot steel tower that stands in the center of Guilford County, behind Outback Steakhouse on Westover Terrace. The church leases space on the tower, with its unobstructed view of the county and all of its potential listeners. “You can touch a half a million people if you happen to turn them on. It was a no-brainer to me” says Jeffreys, a Greensboro native who worked weekends as a sports writer for the Greensboro Daily News while in high school and later worked as a DJ and engineer at several local radio stations. He also owned three companies: a telephone system installation and maintenance business; the now-defunct Greensboro Monarchs hockey team; and a children’s gym franchise. He was looking forward to slowing down, he says, when the subject of radio came up during his 2007 breakfast with then-minister Jan Brittain, who was determined to reach out to nonchurch goers. “We talked about how you could build up participation in the church.” Jeffreys says. “I said, ‘You know, I read something the other day . . .’” The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Jeffreys was following how Congress wanted the Federal Communications Commission to use LPFM licenses to make air space available to community nonprofits. “Congress wanted to make sure localism came back into broadcasting,” Jeffreys says. Deregulation — and the resulting consolidation — of the industry, with the Telecommunications Act of 1996, has homogenized radio nationwide. Large companies have gobbled up stations, minimizing homegrown flavor to make room for cheaper one-size-fits-all programming. In the Triad, three companies own the top ten

FM stations. When the FCC opened up LPFM applications in October 2013, Jeffreys was at home, sitting at his computer, waiting to press the “send” button at the stroke of midnight. “I think we were the first application in North Carolina to be filed,” he says. Two other Greensboro nonprofits won LDFM licenses but have yet to go on the air. Jeffreys shrugs off credit for keeping the church on the ball, but Brittain, the former CUMC pastor who’s now at a church in Huntersville, says the station wouldn’t have happened without him. “Morris had the knowledge and the interest, and God used that to call him into this,” she says. “The only role I had was to say, ‘Let’s do it.’ . . . At that time, we were working hard to let ministry come from the hearts of the lay people.” The station has no studio, but Jeffreys and other volunteers are working on it. The computer that controls the prerecorded programming is housed in a shack at the base of the tower. A handful of church members arrange the lineup remotely, using their laptops. Daily fare includes national and international news, plus local weather. On Saturday mornings at 9, the station plays the popular Animal Radio, which features veterinarians taking calls from listeners. On Sundays, the station repeats sacred music programs including Day One, With Heart and Voice and Sing for Joy. (Click on www.christgreensboro.org/radioministry for details about the station and how to listen to it via computer.) The station is seeking underwriters, local people and businesses that will make contributions in exchange for acknowledgements on the air. As a nonprofit, the station cannot sell flagrant advertising. Right now, it gets support from the church budget and from individual donors. At some point, the volunteers will set up a studio at the church, and the station will broadcast live sermons and music programs from the sanctuary at 410 North Holden Road. The programming also will include live local shows about subjects such as business, education and the arts. “The concept of the project is that we’re a religious station, but if you program all-religion, you’re preaching to the choir,” says Jeffreys. OH Maria Johnson is a contributing editor of O.Henry. June 2015

O.Henry 19

The Omnivorous Reader

Just Enough Different Voices from North Carolina’s literary landscape

By Brian Lampkin

I am weary of any argument made for

the idea of an exceptional place. On the geopolitical scale, we see the folly of so-called “American exceptionalism,” which basically argues that our place is better than yours because we say so — and because we ignore anything dreadful about American history that would contradict our rosy view of ourselves. Don’t even get me started on the idea of exceptional children.

I’m not inclined to favor the premise of Marianne Gingher’s Amazing Place: What North Carolina Means to Writers (UNC Press, 2015. $20). I tend to think that the North Carolina mountains, while lovely, aren’t all that much different from the Tennessee or Kentucky mountains. My favorite place in North Carolina — the Great Dismal Swamp — cares not at all about an imaginary border separating the good people of the Old North State from the slightly less good people of the Old Dominion. Poet Gary Snyder has always argued against thinking of state boundaries as meaningful; we are less united by statehood than we are by the ecological factors of our existence, i.e. desert dwelling Arizonians have much more in common with Barstow Californians than Barstowians have with San Franciscans. So just as I’m ready for a good argument with this book, the book refuses to argue back. First off, editor Marianne Gingher recognizes that writers are primarily influenced by physical surroundings, and not so much by dotted lines on a map. She separates the various essays into three sections: “The Mountains,” “The Piedmont” and “Down East and the Coast,” and nearly all the writers collected focus on specifics of the natural environment surrounding them — or on the specific people in those environments who helped them become writers. Michael Parker begins his essay, “A Man Came Up from Wilmington, Carrying a Bag of Snakes,” with this observation: “When people in other parts of the country ask me why so many writers come from North Carolina I am always tempted to tell them that, proportionally, there are just as many people with messed up psyches in North Carolina as there are in New Hampshire, County Cork or Calcutta.” And many other essays similarly make no claim for North Carolina’s outsized sense of literary self. But every place is specifically unique; every place has its own language and flora and fauna and writers must be attentive to what makes their place in the The Art & Soul of Greensboro

world amazing unlike all the other amazing places. It’s not a matter of North Carolina being an unusually fertile environment for writers. It is a matter of North Carolina writers making exceptional use of what is uniquely wonderful about this particular place. In Parker’s essay, he focuses on the storytelling sound of North Carolina. His ear is tuned to the rhythms and scale of how Eastern North Carolinians tell stories, and, remarkably, he uses the facts of physical landscape as an explanation of the digressive nature of those stories and of his writing: “If you can’t get there from here — if the bridge is twenty miles north, if no one bothered to drain the swamp so they could put a road through it — it’s no wonder that your prose is occasionally described as orbicular, if not convoluted. My prose is often riddled with asides . . . because my sentences attempt to mimic their attempts to get to work on time in a terrain given to detour, if not dead end.” Fred Chappell’s essay, “100,” also zeroes in on the specifics of language, offering a few examples of how our disparate landscapes have their special ways with words (let me shout out for Walt Wolfram and Jeffrey Reaser’s book Talkin’ Tar Heel for an in-depth study of the various N.C. idioms), but most interestingly, Chappell tells of his need to keep his own voice alive. Chappell was once confronted by a colleague about, “Why do you say those hick things? You say ‘ain’t’ and the department head ‘don’t know what he is doing’ and ‘brung up ignorant’ and all that. It just sounds dumb. You would probably say, ‘mighty dumb.’” Chappell answers the somewhat belligerent question by saying that he speaks “in that manner to keep dialogue patterns secure in aural memory.” As a writer, Chappell is trying to keep the specific sounds of his North Carolina roots. He’s like the last of the Chickasaw speakers desperately trying to hear the language survive into the 21st Century. But Chappell is rarely so high-minded, or rather, he’s too self-deprecating to make such a claim; he chalks it up to his simple June 2015

O.Henry 21


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“orneriness” and “an odd feeling of pride.” So Parker and Chappell are making no claim for an “amazing place” other than their place in the world, no matter how denigrated, is amazing. And most of the other writers in the book say similar things, if not about physical landscape or language, then about particular people in North Carolina who made them the writers they are today. In “Fertile North Carolina,” Robert Morgan offers an explanation for the perceived notion of an odd plethora of literary Tar Heels: Thomas Wolfe. “Once Wolfe,” Morgan writes, “became such a celebrated writer and international celebrity . . . it was inevitable that the talented youth of North Carolina would think of following his career path.” Undoubtedly true, but surely also true for Faulkner’s Mississippi, or Cather’s Nebraska, or, for that matter, Atwood’s Canada or Márquez’s Colombia. We do need people to show us the way, to make clear that there is art in one’s hometown no matter where one comes from. (At a recent talk by Rocky Mount’s Allan Gurganus, several young people in the audience from Rocky Mount said that they didn’t know they could find a life in art until they discovered that the famous Gurganus was also from their humble town.) Teachers provide a different example, and many of these essays, including Morgan’s, talk about the value of certain teachers or academic institutions. Haters of Chapel Hill should avoid “The Piedmont” section of Amazing Place because both the town and UNC in particular are given serious respect. Lee Smith, Lydia Millet, Jenny Offill, Stephanie Elizondo Griest and others talk of their years in Chapel Hill with joy and, at times, complicated gratitude. Get over your petty grievances and enjoy the essays — but if grievance is more suited to your personality, then I recommend Rosecrans Baldwin’s “Diary, 2008–2013,” which begins, “1. Right around the time everything went to shit.” Amazing Place could certainly use more African American and other voices of color, but I say that with full knowledge that no anthology ever created has not been subject to overheated complaint about what is missing. Editor Gingher has put together a collection of writers any state would be proud of, and Gingher herself, in an excellent essay on Greensboro, “The Capitol of Normal,” knows that we’re no different than anywhere else — except in all the ways that we are: “Greensboro, North Carolina: a place of harmony, unrest, heartbreak, longing, boredom, hypocrisy, kindness, injustice, saints, blowhards, noisemakers, creators and destroyers, givers, takers, peacemakers, agitators, philanthropists, do-gooders, the homegrown and the homeless, visionaries, fools, and dreamers — same as any place, and just enough different, too.” OH Brian Lampkin is one of the owners of an extraordinary place, Scuppernong Books in Greensboro.

22 O.Henry

June 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Scuppernong Bookshelf

A Little Night Reading The long and short of the Summer Solstice

Why, I ask of you our O.Henry readers, is

the Summer Solstice always referred to as “the longest day of the year?” Isn’t it equally “the shortest night of the year?” It’s an obvious prejudice toward light, toward sun, toward the glare of the natural spotlight. Here, we’ll give the short night its due, because I don’t think we’re alone in our love of what the night offers. Our flowers tend to bloom under the moon, our secrets more readily shared in dark whispers than in bright shouts.

But the duration of day and night on the solstice is very specific (in Greensboro, N.C.: 14:36:45 of daylight and 9:24:15 of night), and this month’s reviews are no different. Our longest day reviews are exactly sixty words and our shortest night reviews exactly six words. Many of you know, I’m sure, of the famous six-word short story — often attributed, dubiously, to Hemingway — “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Or, as Hippocrates once The Art & Soul of Greensboro

said, “Life is short. Art is long.” We’ll try to bring the same artistry to our six-word experiments. Welcome to “constraint-based” reviews — the latest craze sure to be ignored by The New York Times Book Review! LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, by Eugene O’Neill (Yale, $13) Four Acts Addiction, dysfunction, desperation — all before midnight! PREPARATION FOR THE NEXT LIFE, by Atticus Lish (Tyrant Books, 2014. $15) If you haven’t read Atticus Lishs new novel Preparation for the Next Life, then you haven’t read the most unsentimental and unrelenting love story of our modern moment. In minimal prose pared down to its sharpest edge, Lish tells the inexplicably tender story of an immigrant woman and an aimless soldier finding companionship in a time of desperation and uncertainty. ATLAS SHRUGGED, by Ayn Rand (Plume, $26) Industrialists sulk, feeling unappreciated. Women swoon. A BRIEF HISTORY OF PORTABLE LITERATURE, by Enrique Vila-Matas (New Directions, 2015. $12.95) Ingeniously funny, deceptively simple history of a fake artistic moveJune 2015

O.Henry 25

Bookshelf ment of the 1920s. Figures such as Marcel Duchamp, Georgia O’Keefe and F. Scott Fitzgerald meet in strange locations to discuss the artistic possibilities of “portability,” a term which doesn’t seem to have an actual definition. The Shandies, as they are called, take the world by storm in their own minds. STILL LIFE WITH BREAD CRUMBS, by Anna Quindlen (Random House, 2014. $16) Stunningly crafted story of unexpected love. A SHORT GUIDE TO A HAPPY LIFE, by Anna Quindlen (Random House, 2000. $12.95) Need some pointers on how to stop and smell the roses? This tiny book offers a treasure trove of positive musings on meaningful living. It’s a guide for engaging in everyday moments, getting a life, and appreciating the little things. Pulitzer Prize winner Anna Quindlen’s A Short Guide to a Happy Life is the SparksNotes for living in the now. FLASH FICTION INTERNATIONAL: VERY SHORT STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD. (Norton, 2015. $15.95) Two page stories? Now we’re talking! LIFE IS SHORT—ART IS SHORTER: IN PRAISE OF BREVITY, by David Shields and Elizabeth Cooperman (Hawthorne Books, 2014. $18.95) An anthology of essays and fiction that argues that the weight of big literature is a guiltinducing sham. Bigger and longer is not necessarily better despite everything you’ve been told. If you don’t believe me, then take the words of Lydia Davis, James Tate, Barry Hannah, George Orwell, Annie Dillard, et al. Life is too short for big books! INFINITE JEST, David Foster Wallace (Back Bay, 1996. $18) Don’t be daunted; embrace the footnotes!

Our sign in your yard means you’re part of the family. Your success is our success. You get to go to bed early, and we don’t.







SURFACING, by Margaret Atwood (Anchor Books, $14.95) Psyche shattered, pasted back in mud. OH Scuppernong Staff: Brian Etling, Shannon Jones, Brian Lampkin, Steve Mitchell & Deb White.



June 2015






26 O.Henry




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THE BLIND ASSASSIN, by Margaret Atwood (Anchor Books, $16) In honor of her upcoming release, The Heart Goes Last, we’re celebrating Margaret Atwood! Her longest novel, Booker Prize winning The Blind Assassin, details the history of the Chases, a wealthy family whose former glory lies demolished and forgotten. Iris Chase’s narrative reads alongside her younger sister’s controversial novel, culminating in a mystery, sci-fi, and literary epic that defies categorization.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

A 1618 Celebration Join us June 16 – 18 as all three restaurants – 1618 Downtown, 1618 Seafood Grille and 1618 Wine Lounge – celebrate the Downtown opening with $16 - $18 samplers and special dinners. Awaken your curiosity and experience flavor. Elevated. Visit www.1618concepts.com/bigevent for details.

GRAND OPENING JUNE 16-18 1618 Downtown, now serving lunch and dinner.


312 S. Elm Street, Greensboro 336.312.4143

JUNE 18, 2015

GREENHILL INVITES YOU J O N AT H A N B R I L L I A N T O N - S I T E I N S I G H T June 18, 2015 from 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM Installation artist and guest speaker, Jonathan Brilliant will have a conversation about why nonprofit visual art organizations are critical to creative development and career path of the artist. Annual Meeting attendees will inaugurate Jonathan Brilliant’s monumental installation in the exhibition Jonathan Brilliant On-Site, June 19 - August 30, which will be created in The Gallery over the course of 10 days. Free admission.

YO U ’ V E G OT A F R I E N D A U C T I O N June 18, 2015, 6:45 PM – 8:30 PM Greenhill loves to throw a party and you are invited to attend the second biennial You’ve Got a Friend Auction… an auction full of “friend time” where our friends will teach you how to do or make something fabulous, take you on an adventure, or provide consultation on something you have always wanted to learn how to do. Items will include master gardener tips, chef secrets, creative + artful parties, how-to lessons, one-on-one yoga session and more. Light refreshments, cash bar. Admission is $10.00 per person. Annual Meeting attendees receive free admission. To view the full catalogue of items visit www.greenhillnc.org/friend-catalogue.

Downtown Greensboro | 200 N Davie Street | 336-333-7460 | greenhillnc.org Image: Jonathan Brilliant installation in To Weave, To Stack, To Stain, 2012, The Artspace, Raleigh NC

The Pleasures of Life Dept.

Camp Prodigy

For many young performers who find their way to the Eastern Music Festival each summer, the EMF is their first experience away from home — and a life changer

By Grant Britt

Summer camp. For some, it’s a

coming of age experience, the first time away from home without the parents, a chance to try to figure out who you are and where you fit in the grand scheme of things. For others, it’s a hellish separation, a wrenching apart of bonds unbroken since birth, resulting in pleas for lawyers, guns and money: Mommy, daddy, get me out of this. It’s also fraught with danger — poison ivy, sunburn, wedgies and an intro to intimacy are just a few items on the titillation and irritation agenda.

But for a talented few, summer camp can be an uplifting experience, shaping their future lives, giving them a taste of a lifelong profession doing something they love. Every summer for the past fiftyfour years, Greensboro’s Eastern Music Festival selects 200 students from the ages of 14–23 to participate in a summer camp program that gives them one-on-one tutoring and enables them to perform in Kevin Rogers concert settings with faculty and visiting artists. Most summer campers write letters to their parents to praise or complain about their new surroundings. In a twisted take on that time-honored tradition, O.Henry asked some former EMF summer campers to write us letters about their experiences. What transpired is a rare inside look at what the program accomplishes in the students’ own words. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“Ever since hearing the Kronos Quartet in High School, I had a huge passion for contemporary chamber music,” says Kevin Rogers, who attended EMF summer camp from 2004 until 2008. “My dream was to start a string quartet that would be a champion of new music,” writes the tall, lanky, redhaired violinist. “I wanted to be a strong voice in the dialogue of what the new repertoire should be,” Rogers writes. After getting his master’s in violin performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, he has, in fact, started two successful chamber ensembles. “I started Friction Quartet back in 2011, and although young, we have been given incredible opportunities to share our music.” They’ve performed in New York City, Austin, San Francisco, Seattle and L.A. “We have commissioned over twenty-six new string quartets.” In addition to studying with the St. Lawrence Quartet and the Muir Quartet, “We had the opportunity to open for the Kronos Quartet as part of the Under-30 concert series,” he says. “EMF prepared me in so many ways for all of the activities I currently do to earn a living,” Rogers says. “And most important to me, the festival instilled a love of and enthusiasm of being a perpetual student of the music.” Executive director Chris Williams says that the audition process looks for young musicians with a little something extra. Potential campers submit a video of a performance, but are also required to do a one-on-one live audition, which is often where the magic happens. “What we’re looking for are young artists who have a great potential, who play, of course, in rhythm and with the right pitch, but who also have that little spark.” That’s hard to pick up in a video but in person, “Our faculty can go, ‘Oh, that one’s got spark, there’s a little somethin’ there.’” Katherine Archer’s spark got her into the program and it was life-changing. The Greensboro violinist attended EMF in 2011, 2012 and 2014. 
“The very first year I attended EMF, I had just graduated from high school. I was confused about what I wanted to do with my life,” Archer recalls. “Originally I was thinking about doing pre-medicine. After my mom and I were in a car accident on the way to school one day, I had to meet with an Katherine Archer orthopedic doctor who basically changed June 2015

O.Henry 29

The Pleasures of Life Dept.

my whole perspective on life.” Instead of encouraging her to go into medicine, the doctor encouraged her to follow her heart and pursue music. “Being a supporter of the arts, he mentioned EMF to me. A few friends of mine had attended in the past and I knew it was a big deal in Greensboro, so I wanted to participate.” Although the deadline had already passed, EMF Admissions Director Melissa Edwards let Archer apply late. “That year, there was a donor who left scholarship money specifically for a student from Greensboro,” she says. “Attending EMF that summer was the best thing I could have done. I left that summer with even more passion for the violin and knew I wanted to pursue music in college.” Archer remembers having to live in the “under-18 dorm,” with curfews and Claire Thaler restrictions, which, having graduated from high school, she was ready to be free of. However, she says, “I got very close to one of the youngest students at EMF that year; she was only 14. She became the little sister I never had. I remember having sleepovers in her room and staying up to watch movies. She would even braid my hair. It sounds silly, but I really enjoyed feeling like a little kid again,” she says. “By the end of the five weeks, I was having fun being young with them.”

The second and third years she stayed in the 18-and-older dorm. “I was more independent. There were no curfews and I could go anywhere,” she says. But don’t think it was party central: “In the older dorm, everyone was much more focused and practiced a lot more,” she says. “Overall, my EMF experiences were nothing short of fantastic. It was the opportunity to train and learn with the best all summer, as well as play great music.” In between camp visits, Archer strutted her stuff on a different stage as Miss Rowan County 2013, winning the preliminary talent award at Miss North Carolina that summer. She is currently Miss Randolph County 2015 and will be competing for the title of Miss North Carolina again this June in Raleigh. She graduates from Appalachian State University this May with a bachelor’s in music. “The music world is smaller than you might think,” she says. “I have run into several EMF alums this year. You never know, one of them might even be my stand partner in a professional orchestra one day.” Claire Thaler, who’s 15 and has been studying violin since she was 4, attended the camp last summer. A member of the Tallahassee Youth Orchestra Symphony, Claire performs regularly in baroque music competitions and has been accepted to the Florida Music Educators Association All


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O.Henry 31

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June 2015

The Pleasures of Life Dept. State for the past three years. “Being able to perform with people from all over the world is something I never thought I would be able to do at a summer camp,” the Tallahassee native writes. “I still talk with many of them and am looking forward to seeing them this summer.” As for the music, “It was incredible,” she says, “and the level of musicianship was so high. I definitely learned so much over the summer.” What’s more, she says, “my EMF experience solidified my dreams to become a professional musician.” Claire’s mom, Erica, notes that her daughter was “one of the youngest campers last year.” She says neither of them knew what to expect since it was her first time away from home. But her daughter’s reaction exceeded both their expectations. “She enjoyed every part of camp and her photos and messages brimmed with excitement,” says Thaler, who’s the marketing director for the Council on Culture & Arts in Tallahassee. “The scope of the repertoire, the caring faculty and the chance to be immersed in performance and musicmaking day in and day out was transformational.” A self-described “enthusiastic violin student” herself, Erica Thaler reflects that “When I picked up Claire at the end of camp, and saw the energy with which she played in her final concert, I could see that EMF had worked its magic. Her passion for orchestral and chamber music went up several notches — it’s these kind of summer experiences that create a new generation of musicians, as well as patrons for the arts.” “I’ll talk about the spark again,”Williams says of the EMF’s appeal.“What makes EMF so special is that these are young people making these incredible sounds . . . There’s something that happens when you’re in a room and live music

is being created, an orchestra is performing and there’s that sound that makes your whole body shake, or when you can see eighty-five people make a sound that’s so soft that you have to lean forward to make sure they’re really playing. You can’t match it. You can’t mimic it. You can’t imitate it. You have to be there to see it.” It’s not just the students who benefit from summer camp. For faculty members, the experience can be just as rewarding. For Karen Birch Blundell, a freelancer in the New York metro region, teaching at EMF is sort of like coming back to camp. Blundell plays the French horn each summer with the Eastern Festival Orchestra as associate principal and is a member of the EMF oboe faculty. She has performed as principal oboe with Allentown Symphony Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra and Long Island Philharmonic. She has recently performed on English horn with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and has appeared internationally in France, Germany, Russia, China, Japan and Italy. In 1989, Blundell was on the verge of graduating from high school with a solid plan in place: Karen Birch Blundell attend UConn, get a Bachelor of Music Education and start teaching. Though she considered her plan practical and logical, something about it wasn’t sitting well with her. “By chance, I saw an advertisement for Eastern Music Festival. North Carolina seemed very far from Connecticut, but I figured auditioning for the program would be good practice for my college audition so I signed up even though the audition was only days away,” Blundel writes. Weeks later, she opened her mailbox and found an acceptance packet from EMF. “I was thrilled that I had been selected and offered enough scholarship to enable The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Pleasures of Life Dept. me to attend.” EMF was a revelation to her. “I had never been in a place with other performers who cared so passionately about music. I had never heard so many concerts in such a condensed time. I threw myself into the intense schedule of rehearsals, coachings and master classes . . . Hearing the faculty helped me set new standards in my own playing.” Then she learned she was to play principal oboe in the challenging Mahler’s sixth symphony. “I still remember that concert vividly,” she says. “By the final downbeat, my life plans had been shattered by the experience of playing this transcendent music. I knew that orchestral performance was my passion and that I needed to pursue it.” Fifteen years later, a friend informed her that EMF’s English horn position with the faculty orchestra had come open. “I wanted the job more than I had wanted any other job in my life. I wanted to go back to the place that I felt was my musical home . . . When I received the letter offering me a contract, I felt the same excitement as I had years before while receiving my original acceptance notice.” And Blundel feels the same level of exhiliration as a faculty member as she did when she was a student: “My first day on the faculty, I nearly broke down in tears when I stepped back onstage.” The transition from student to professional is a difficult one, she says. “Eastern Music Festival gave me the drive, determination and skills necessary to make that transition, and I am proud to have returned so that I can help the younger players do the same.” Blundel also uses her teaching skills to lead from behind as well as from the front of the class. She recalls having a very talented student who was stuck on the high school mindset that first chair equals best performer. “Essentially, he told me playing second was ‘easy.’” It just so happened that one of the hardest pieces for second oboe was being played that year. “I made sure he got the part,” she says. “After struggling through the early rehearsal process, he played beautifully in the concert. After the performance, he apologized and said he would never take playing second for granted again.” Jobs in professional orchestras are nearly impossible to get, she says. “Beggars really can’t be choosers. He needed to know how to play second so that he wouldn’t pass on great opportunities later simply because he was stuck in a high school mentality.” OH Look for Grant Britt, who writes regularly for American Songwriter, No Depression and Blues Music Magazine, driving around town in his vintage, red Cadillac convertible. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

June 2015

O.Henry 33

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Gate City Journal

The Last Royale

For Robert Burris, the final member to join a legendry hall-of-fame R & B band, fame was brief but the memories sweet

By Kevin Reid

Staff and faculty at Southeast Guil-

ford High School fondly recall Robert “Bobby” Burris sweeping up and mopping there before his retirement from the Guilford County Schools system. Members of Westover Church know him well as their lead custodian. But do any of them know that Burris is the last surviving member of the “5” Royales, a group that was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

“Those were exciting days,” recalls Burris of the years (1962–66) that he spent on the road as the lead guitarist with the “5” Royales. “I have no regrets. I enjoyed every moment of it.” Born in York, South Carolina, Burris has lived in Greensboro most of his life. Much younger than the original “5” Royales, Burris was born in 1942. For the first twelve years of his life, he was reared by his grandmother, who died in 1954. His mother, Annie Burris, unmarried and with no interest in raising a child, also eventually moved to Greensboro. “I thought Grandmother was my mother until I was 6,” Burris says. “When my grandmother died and my mother came to the funeral, I begged her to take me back with her.” Burris moved in with his mother on Cole Street in eastern Greensboro and enrolled at Charles H. Moore Elementary School. The school gave him a form to fill out, asking him, among other things, about his father. “Mother told me to go back there and tell them she didn’t know,” Burris says. “That really upset me.” One thing dulled the pain of not knowing who his father was — singing the blues. One R&B group that Burris idolized was the legendary “5” Royales (five in quotes because sometimes the band might be made up of four, five, or six or more members). Years before Burris moved in with his mother,

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

the predecessor to the “5” Royales, the Royal Sons Quintet — made up of Winston-Salem natives and singing gospel — had become one of the hottest acts in town. In fact, the group signed their first contract with Apollo Records in 1951 singing gospel as the Royal Sons Quintet. Apollo reps, however, urged the group to record some R&B tunes, which is exactly what they did. “Baby Don’t Do it,” recorded late in 1952, shot up to No. 1 on the R&B charts, and stayed there for three weeks. Other hits, including chart toppers “Help Me, Somebody” and “Laundromat Blues,” soon followed. Meanwhile, Burris adjusted to living with his mother. “My childhood was a happy one,” Burris reflects. “Back then, things were segregated, but I had a lot of good friends. I wasn’t around Mother much because she always had a lot of strangers there. She was a bit on the wild side.” As Robert’s love for R&B grew, he picked up an electric guitar. And his favorite guitarist was none other than Lowman “Pete” Pauling of the “5” Royales. “As I grew up in music, I started listening to Pete and the way he improved the ‘5’ Royales’ sound,” Burris says. “His music was just exciting to me.” By then, the “5” Royales had moved on to the King label. In 1957, they recorded “Dedicated to the One I Love,” a song that became even hotter after it was covered by the Shirelles. By this time, Pauling was both the chief songwriter of the “5” Royales and their lead guitarist. Once Burris saw the group, whose members lived just twenty-five miles to the west, he quickly adopted Pauling’s style of loosening the strap to allow the guitar to come down to his knees, allowing for an extra dimension of showmanship, not to mention a unique playing style. Meanwhile, after attending Lincoln Junior High and Dudley High, Burris was deciding where he wanted to begin his career. “It was in my mind to take the music business and get away from here,” he says. “I also thought about the army, but when they didn’t take me, music won out.” Burris was playing guitar with a local group called the Dukes of Rhythm, who happened to be backing up the “5” Royales in the early ’60s at the El Rocco Club. June 2015

O.Henry 35

Gate City Journal

This “chitlin’ circuit” club on the eastern edge of downtown not only gave Burris an opportunity to observe his favorite act, but also allowed Otto Jeffries, manager of the established group, to check out Burris. He was impressed with how the young man successfully invoked the style of his own guitarist. He also realized that Pauling was starting to get restless as the “5” Royales’ popularity faded and might be looking around. Maybe Burris could fill in for Pauling one day, the manager thought. You couldn’t play in a band like the Dukes of Rhythm or the “5” Royales without some stylish duds. Enter Ralph John, proprietor of a small clothing store on East Market Street. Unlike a lot of white businessmen in the late ’50s, John truly cared about his African-American customers. “Ralph did a whole lot for black people that he did not get credit for,” Burris says. “He ran a clothing store, and even though I didn’t have a job, my credit was always good with him. I’d make some money with the Dukes of Rhythm and pay him from that.” John did more for African-Americans than offer them credit. “He is the backbone of those guys going up to Woolworth’s,” Burris says of the four N.C. A&T students who sat down at the lunch counter on February 1, 1960, and are now known as the Greensboro Four. “He encouraged me to do it,” says Burris, “but I didn’t have sense enough to. The only thing I cared about back then was trying to get into the clubs with my guitar.” In 1962, the guitar worked for Burris. Joe Henderson had a national hit with “Snap Your Fingers.” Since the “5” Royales hadn’t seen one in a while, Pauling was delighted when Henderson asked him to join his road band. That led to Jeffries, in turn, to ask Burris if he wanted to join the “5” Royales. That first lineup included John Tanner and his brother, Eugene, who had replaced Jeffries early on when he became the group’s manager. They were the primary lead singers. Obadiah Carter and Jimmy Moore had also been with the act since it had been called the Royal Sons Quintet. Since Henderson turned out to be a one-hit wonder, Pauling soon returned to the Royales. (For what it’s worth, the name is pronounced “royals,” despite the “e” in it. I had been pronouncing it “roy-YOWLS” when Harold Lucas, a founding member of the Clovers, corrected me in the mid-1970s. Within the next few years, two other insiders confirmed this pronunciation, Oscar Alexander and Hank Ballard. (Alexander was a well-known disc jockey in Winston-Salem, where he went by “Daddy-Oh on the Patio” at WAAA in Winston-Salem, the Twin City’s African-American radio station. Hank Ballard’s group, in fact, changed its name from the Royals to the Midnighters to avoid confusion with the Winston-Salem group. The Midnighters, by the way, enjoyed several hits including “Work With Me, Annie” and “Finger Poppin’ Time.”) “Down South was the ‘5’ Royales’ territory,” Burris says of the early and mid’60s when he was in the group. “Texas, Alabama, Louisiana — all those big cities down South. If we were anywhere near Charlotte on a Sunday night, we would play at the Hi Fi Country Club. We always got a big crowd there.” When travelling, Burris rode in the Cadillac with the Tanners and other Royales. The back-up band followed in a station wagon with “The ‘5’ Royales” painted on each side. By this time, Burris was known as “Pee Wee” to members of the group. They gave him that nickname as soon as he joined them and it stuck. “Whenever Pete was ready, he was always welcome to come back,” says Burris. “I would always come onstage with my guitar hanging down to my knees like Pauling. When he was with us, we would have dueling guitars. It was really exciting for me to be up there with him.” These guitar duels — and the showmanship that went with them — were always a crowd favorite. James Brown was at King the same time as the “5” Royales — and he stayed at the label a lot longer. In fact, his sound was indeed influenced by this group, which is a reason they are considered a pioneer of soul and were inducted into the Hall of Fame before other better known bands. “Think” was a hit for the “5” Royales at King, and as they were leaving the label, Brown

36 O.Henry

June 2015

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came out with his own version of the song. Later Brown actually helped the Royales re-record and re-release several songs, including “I Like it Like That,” something Burris recalls vividly. “The movie [Get on Up] did a good job of showing the way Brown acted,” Burris says. “He was a slave driver, really demanding and tough on his band.” Brown also produced some songs for the “5” Royales for Smash records, but it was mostly remakes of their previous hits. By that time John Tanner and Jimmy Moore had left the group and it was disintegrating rapidly. Obadiah Carter shut it down in 1965 over contract squabbles with a former recording company. “I stuck with them until they got ready to quit,” Burris says. “After the originals left, I settled down in Winston for years.” Burris lived with June, his nickname for Eugene Tanner. He found some success with a local band, called the Eliminators. For a while, their bus driver was Curtis Pauling, Lowman’s brother and a former member of the Royal Sons. Another brother of Lowman and former member of the Royal Sons Quintet was Clarence Paul, who had altered his last name to avoid confusion. After serving in the army, he had moved to the Midwest, where he began mentoring his next-door neighbor, a blind boy named Steveland Morris. He talked Morris into changing his name to Little Stevie Wonder and got both of them jobs at Motown Records. Burris battled the bottle in those days, getting drunk-driving charges, which eventually led to some time in prison. “When I got out of the prison camp in 1985, I came back to Greensboro to change my life,” Burris says. “I stopped drinking and came to live with Mother.” He says his mother had gotten married and had changed her life. Through a cousin, he found employment at Southeast. After his retirement from the school system, Burris became the lead custodian at Westover Church on Muirs Chapel Road. “I moved away for a while, but eventually I moved back in with Mother,” Burris says. “Her mind went bad.” In May, Burris’ mother died. After the “5” Royales were elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame late last year, Burris’ friend, Nate Williams of the Eliminators, let him know that the “5” Royales were going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Although Burris did not get an invitation from the Hall, he is proud to have been part of the group that made it to its place in music history. “That’s something no one can take away from me,” he says. “Life goes on, but I really enjoyed my years with the ‘5’ Royales.” OH Greensboro writer Kevin Reid played bass in a folk music group, the Cordovas, while attending Grimsley High School. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 39

Seen & Unseen

Sixth Rock from The Sun Stephen van Vuuren wants to take you where no man has been before

By Bill Hancock

Space. Remember the final frontier? Boldly go-

ing where no man has gone before. We were so excited. John Glenn gleaming in his silvery suit and white helmet. The nerves-on-edge, one-upmanship race with the Soviets to the moon. Those faraway unmanned spacecraft beaming back first-ever closeups of a rocky, rusty Mars surface. Fingers crossed, we watched it all, the entire nation, from a front-row seat in front of the television. We cared back then.

Now, not so much. To think that a spacecraft, streaking more than six billion miles across the universe for a dicey, dangerous landing on a fast-moving comet, could be upstaged by Kim Kardashian. More specifically by her bare derriere. There it was, poking out at us in full color from a New York magazine on the very day in November as the comet touchdown. No more than a few brief mentions on the nightly news for the comet. But for Kim — who’s mostly famous for being famous — ten million hits for just one of a dizzying number of online videos about her that week. It’s clear that our priorities have shifted. Won’t someone save us from ourselves? Believe me, Stephen van Vuuren is trying. For seven years he’s been working at it from the bas ement of his town home of Greensboro. Much of it sitting in a black swivel chair, surrounded by computers and sound speakers. Working long into the night. Thousands and thousands of hours spent making a forty-minute documentary on space, concentrating on earth, the moon, the Milky Way and culminating with Saturn, a film the likes of which has never been seen. He’s even enlisted the Greensboro Symphony to help with the music. When finished — and he’s The Art & Soul of Greensboro

about six months away — it will dazzle us all. And maybe even bring back some of that Wow Factor about space. That’s his hope anyway. Aren’t you disappointed? I ask. No one seems to care or even know anything about the recent landing of the Rosetta spacecraft landing on Comet 67P? “That’s why I’m making this film,” he replies. His passion for the documentary he calls In Saturn’s Rings seems inexhaustible. So is his interest in space. It has to be to spend years stitching together two million photographs of the universe, most of them taken by the unmanned Cassini space probe that’s zooming around Saturn. Other photos come from the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope and various manned space flights. Using a photo process he had to invent — that alone took three years — van Vuuren gives motion to those photos, turning them into a movie. Or to put it another way, it lets us know what it’s like to fly through space, around Saturn, and through the rings of the sixth planet from the sun. And it’s all photos, no computer graphics, no artist creations. The process has been tricky and fraught with setbacks. But navigating Saturn’s rings sounds easy compared to his own story and the earthbound speed bumps along the way. We all have a back story, and his began with a biography of rocket scientist Robert Goddard, someone van Vuuren read about as a kid growing up in Johannesburg, South Africa. No television, radio or movies for him. His parents were strict adherents to an obscure Christian sect — his father termed it a benign cult — that looked askance at such distractions. So he read books. A lot of them. Jaws in the second grade. Shogun in the third. Then speed-reading his way through nonfiction and encyclopedias. When older, he fled to the U.S., finding his own country’s noxious apartheid intolerable. His dream called for becoming a nuclear physicist, or an astronaut. But when intellectual maturity bumps into emotional immaturity, lost years can happen. A succession of the brightest schools accepted him — MIT, Southern Cal, the Naval Academy — yet he graduated from none. He headed to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville but idled away his time watching movies at the library. Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey June 2015

O.Henry 41

Seen & Unseen

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was the game changer — “the ding, ding, ding moment for me.” It was now obvious. His future was to be a filmmaker. Of course, he had not the slightest of credentials to pull it off. But after a short stint working at a small television station, he found three film schools he could afford, choosing UNCG in 1988. Now fast forward. And, yes, he also dropped out of UT and UNCG, turning to computers, another long-held passion, eventually settling in a corporate job that brought financial success. But not happiness. So he quit that too. Big surprise. He wanted to make films. After all, his wife had quit her day job to study classical guitar. Call them both dreamers. He opened SV2 Studios in 2000, the name devised from his initials and the two v’s in his last name. He made videos, films and animation for clients. On the side, he headed up more than a half dozen short films over the years to compete in Greensboro’s 48 Hour Film Project. Then in 2004 the Cassini spacecraft, launched seven years earlier, reached its target: Saturn. “I couldn’t believe it wasn’t on live TV. It wasn’t on the front pages.” The next day he began working on a 12-minute film, sort of a one-act play of two people debating the merits of space exploration. It was less than satisfying. He rewrote it. Reshot it. Didn’t scratch his itch. And then an epiphany. In his car one day, van Vuuren slid in a CD of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, that sad, exquisite classical music that’s said to rarely leave a dry eye. Much loved by JFK. Played at the deaths of both FDR and Lady Diana. The sound track of the movie Platoon. It so moved van Vuuren that he conjured up visions of combining his film with that music. It would have that Wow Factor. But dreamers are often broke. His circumstances were dire, his project cratering. It was very nearly game over. In desperation, he headed to a Las Vegas convention on space exploration attended by NASA officials and by a top official of the Cassini project itself. Maybe she could assist. To save money, he roomed at a cheap, smoky motel and walked two miles to the convention center. It couldn’t have gone worse. He pitched the idea, to no one’s interest. He wound up dejected, sitting at a luncheon table, feeling alone. It was a shattering moment. Until the man sitting across from him said van Vuuren definitely needed to make the film but show it at IMAX theaters on screens that dwarfed those at regular movie theaters. Maybe that was it — just think bigger. Much bigger. Van Vuuren decided to bypass his financial dilemma by seeking volunteers to help make the film and donations to pay for the nonprofit venture. By creating a one-minute video — a fly-by of Saturn — for online, he thought donations would The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Seen & Unseen

stream in. They didn’t. The video sat largely unnoticed for nearly a year. Until March 2011 when an online sci-fi magazine asked to post the video on its site. Amateur universe watchers sat up and took notice. “The next day my inbox went crazy and donations started rolling in,” says van Vuuren. “The following weekend, NASA put the video up as their photo-of-the-day.” It went viral. Now more than a million people have watched it. He made a video for Kickstarter, a worldwide website to raise funds for creative projects. The goal: to raise $37,500 in donations. Today, he’s raised more than $63,000. Much of that funding was to hire the Greensboro Symphony to perform Adagio for Strings and record it live at nondenominational Westover Church. “It needed to be human,” says van Vuuren. “It needed a full live orchestra. Every violin is a different violin. You need that. Plus, I wanted it to be both global and local.” The recording was done in January 2014. A small, select group, a quiet contingent of space enthusiasts from around the world, also were clicking onto the video — an arcane community of amateurs who spend their spare time processing space photography. Using NASA’s public websites that store millions of photos of space, they turn the unprocessed electronic streams of data into images. One by one they emailed van Vuuren and began helping. The film moved forward. And now he hopes to be finished and showing it by the end of the year. Planetariums — those with full domes — will likely show it along with many IMAX theaters and other theaters with giant screens. There are none in Greensboro. The Regal Palladium in High Point, though a type of IMAX , isn’t equipped to handle Inside Saturn’s Rings. But van Vuuren is trying to find a way to schedule it here, too. Does he get tired? Burned out? Yeah. No way around it. But showing it to friends recharges his batteries. They are in awe of the visuals and music. For a few, it’s altered their lives, causing them to change careers, one to become an artist, the other to become a scientist. It brings to mind a simple quote, an anonymous one, about the universe around us: If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I bet they would live a lot differently. In a way, van Vuuren’s just trying to help us do precisely that. OH

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You can view a short clip of van Vuuren’s In Saturn’s Rings at www.youtube.com/ watch?v=ANuCH-_olaw or by Googling “In Saturn’s Rings Late Summer Teaser.” Bill Hancock is a writer in Greensboro. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

June 2015

O.Henry 43



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June 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Pappadaddy’s Mindfield

Theory of Madness Just something to chew on — not out, please

By Clyde Edgerton

While March Madness

Illustration by harry Blair

2015 was airing on TV I kept noticing coaches get angry, occasionally chewing out a team, or just an unlucky player who’d made a mistake. I noticed the Notre Dame coach didn’t do this. Therefore I started pulling for them after my team lost. (That tells many of you which was not my team.) The coaches who use anger as a strategy must believe it helps win games, or else they wouldn’t do it — or at least they’d be doing it less and less, as they gain control of their emotions. What do the players of anger-strategy coaches learn — in addition to “hard work, team play, and conditioning are good?” My guess is that some young players are learning that it’s not just OK but good strategy to get angry at their own players when they become coaches, or if they become leaders in other professions, it’s good strategy to yell at people they direct and teach. Or if they become parents . . . etc. Wouldn’t it be interesting (SNL interesting) to see a particularly smart and insightful college basketball player chew out the coach during a time-out? “Hey. Why the hell did you put us in a zone when the man-to-man was working?” Coach looks to the floor. “I don’t —” “Don’t you see how that left Turlington free to break for that lob? Get with it! Settle down. Think!” “Sorry, Player.” It’s wrong for a coach to scream into a player’s face — a player who is doing

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

all he or she can to be proficient, in a game, for crying out loud. So this leads to a modest proposal. I propose that coaches work hard during the week — teaching fundamentals and coaching — and then at game time, let a promising student player coach the team. Think about it: The coach sits in the stands; he’s done all he can during weekday practices; and now he has to be quiet and watch while one of the players (a different playerleader each game) makes decisions. Imagine what the player-leaders would learn about basketball, strategy, about psychology, leadership . . . life. The adult coach would work with team members on the court and in the classroom — and get a professor’s salary. Speaking of coach salaries, what happens when a basketball player wants to wear New Balance shoes on the court but his college team has a contract with Nike? The contract stipulates that the player, by wearing a commercial product produced outside the university, must help sell a commercial product produced outside the university. This way, the player learns to wear what he or she is told to wear — regardless of personal preference — because the college can get a lot of moola that way. That Nike contract is going to help allow, for one thing, the coach (wearing Clarks) to get a salary four to fourteen times bigger than college professors who are teaching, say, psychology, or history, or something less important than college athletics. Our universities are generally teaching our students, through adult leadership, the most important bottom line: Moola. March Madness. Coach Madness. Moola Madness. Let the Games continue. OH Clyde Edgerton is the author of ten novels, a memoir and a new work, Papadaddy’s Book for New Fathers. He is the Thomas S. Kenan III Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at UNCW. June 2015

O.Henry 45

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

A Novel Year

The Thing About North Carolina Writers A life of improvisation and friendship

By Wiley Cash

The thing about

North Carolina writers is that they stay levelheaded during emergencies.

In February, my wife, Mallory, newborn daughter, Early, and I visited Greensboro, where I’d been scheduled to join three other North Carolina writers for a Saturday evening fundraiser. That afternoon, the fire alarm went off in our hotel, and chaos erupted. A couple of hundred people — including Mallory, Early and me — evacuated to the cold, snowy parking lot while authorities investigated what turned out to be a false alarm. The three of us had been down in the lobby checking out the authors at a book fair, and we weren’t dressed for the frigid climes, so imagine our relief when a familiar voice called to us from across the parking lot: It was Clyde Edgerton, sitting inside his car, the heat and radio cranked up. My family and I joined him, and we watched the mass of humanity shiver while the coast was cleared. “It feels like we’re in a lifeboat,” Clyde said. We laughed. “You rescued us,” Mallory said while we watched Early’s cheeks grow rosy in the warmth. I told Clyde that I’d just finished his book Papadaddy’s Book for New Fathers and that it didn’t mention a word about how to survive a hotel fire. He smiled and said fatherhood is all about improvisation. And that’s the thing about North Carolina writers: They’re there when you need them. Before my second novel went to press, I reached out to Jill McCorkle and Lee Smith and asked if they’d consider reading the manuscript and offering a blurb. Not only did they write blurbs for the book jacket that were more beautiful than anything found inside, they showed up to support me during a stop on my book tour, and they brought friends. In Chapel Hill I took to the podium at Flyleaf Books and gazed out at the audience and saw Lee and Jill sitting with their longtime editor, the iconic Shannon Ravenel. It felt like I was shooting basketball with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant while Phil Jackson looked on. But that’s the thing about North Carolina writers: You never know where they’ll turn up. When my friend Tom Franklin left Mississippi on a book tour, he told

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

his wife he was taking along his copy of Cold Mountain just in case he ran into Charles Frazier on his stop in North Carolina. “You’re crazy,” his wife said. “North Carolina’s too big. What are the odds?” Halfway through his tour, Tom realized he needed a new pair of blue jeans, so when he arrived in Raleigh for his book signing at Quail Ridge Books, he headed first to the Crabtree Valley Mall, where he ran into Charles Frazier. “I saw him in J.C. Penney,” he said. “I told him I had a copy of Cold Mountain out in my car, and he said he’d be happy to sign it.” That’s the thing about North Carolina writers: They’re incredibly kind. My mother snatched up a copy of Jason Mott’s novel The Returned as soon as it was published, and she raved about it for weeks. Her fervor grew even stronger once the television show based on Jason’s novel aired. She began following him on social media and attending his book signings with the excitement of a teenager who’s just seen her first Justin Bieber music video. I thought she was going to pass out when I told her Jason and I would be doing a book signing together in Topsail Island, and I was even more certain of her passing out once we arrived at Quarter Moon Books and he presented her with a pre-publication review copy of his second novel, The Wonder of All Things, which he’d inscribed to “Mama Cash.” Now she’s a fan for life. So that’s the thing about North Carolina writers: Even their mothers support you. A couple of years ago I found myself giving a reading at the public library in Shelby only a few weeks after Ron Rash had visited the same branch. I told the audience that it almost felt sacrilegious to follow Ron as if he were my opening act when it should so clearly be the other way around. After the event concluded a woman approached me and introduced herself as Ron’s mother; my first thought was, “Ron who?” She must’ve sensed both my confusion and short memory because she followed by saying, “Ron Rash.” I responded by asking, “And you came to see me?” Ron was on book tour for his novel The Cove, and that month he and I crisscrossed the state and just missed each other many times. Well, that’s the one bad thing about North Carolina writers: Ours is a big state, and we don’t see each other as much as we’d like. OH Wiley Cash is a New York Times best-selling author whose second novel, This Dark Road to Mercy, was released last year. He lives in Wilmington. June 2015

O.Henry 47

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June 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Chimney Swifts Look up and watch them soar

By Susan Campbell

During the summer months, if

you happen to be walking around town and look up, you’ll likely see some small, twittering, fast-flying chimney swifts wheeling about. Sure, these “flying cigars” can be seen out in the country, but they’re more abundant where people, buildings, and, as their name implies, chimneys are found.

Chimney swifts breed throughout North Carolina, from the mountains to the coast. Historically, they were once sparsely distributed, nesting in big hollow trees in old growth forests in the eastern two-thirds of the United States. But as European settlers spread across our state, providing abundant nesting cavities in the form of chimneys, swifts became more common. Without a doubt, these small birds are incredible fliers, more so than swallows and martins. They spend the vast majority of their waking hours on the wing, except while nesting. Even courtship and actual mating occur in mid-air. Only at night do they descend to rest in a protected spot — which, except in the wild, is almost always a chimney of some sort. Today they are virtually dependent on humans for their reproductive success. Unfortunately, most modern chimneys no longer offer optimal nesting sites. Chimney caps are quite effective at keeping birds out of chimneys. And newfangled, smooth chimney liners don’t give birds anything they can cling to. Nor does the smooth substrate of a modern chimney’s interior offer purchase for nests that are built from small sticks and saliva. So it’s no surprise that declines in the chimney swift population have been reported across the species entire range. But if you look up during the summer, there does seem to be sufficient roosting and nesting spots to maintain a decent population of chimney swifts in The Art & Soul of Greensboro

central North Carolina. Look for them swirling around in the vicinity of older schools, churches and industrial buildings that still retain sizable brick chimneys. These larger chimneys are critical staging grounds for generations of swifts. It is an awesome sight to see thousands of swifts pouring into a roost site at dark. By late July, you can see swifts congregating in large flocks, feeding on abundant flying insects. In August, however, they begin to make their way southward on prevailing northerly air currents to wintering grounds in the tropics. During the winter months, chimney swifts are found in loose aggregations throughout the upper Amazon basin of South America. There they loaf and feed on an abundance of flying insects until lengthening days urge them northward again. The return trip brings pairs, swirling and darting, back to their summer homes by early April. Unfortunately, chimney swifts are sometimes mistaken for disease-carrying bats. As a result, significant numbers of nesting sites have been capped. Additionally, advances in heating technology have resulted in large chimneys being retired, covered or otherwise rendered unavailable to swifts. Quite simply, there is a general lack of awareness of these structures as an important biological resource. In North Carolina and other states, however, we’ve begun the process of identifying the major roost sites in a given area and raising awareness of their importance. To experience roosting behavior of migrating swifts in the Sandhills, plan to attend “Swift Night Out” during September, sponsored by the Sandhills Natural History Society. Visit the club’s website (www.sandhillsnature.org) in late summer for details. OH Susan would love to hear from you. Feel free to send questions or wildlife observations to susan@ncaves.com

June 2015

O.Henry 49

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Life of Jane

What Lies Beneath The true story [maybe] of The Spy and The Billy Goat

By Jane Borden

“What do you remember about the pho-

Illustration by Meridith Martens

tographer who was a German spy?” I asked my father, for this article, a couple of months ago.

“Oh that last part was probably a myth. We just thought it made a good story.” What? I’d been hearing this tale since my age was represented by a single digit, and it had never before been suggested as false. Do I have to stop showing the photo and repeating it? I don’t know how to issue a correction to every cocktailparty guest I’ve ever hosted. And I don’t want to. I love the story. It goes like this. In 1940, a year before the United States entered World War II, a man with a camera knocked door to door on Evans Street in Morehead City, across the sound from Atlantic Beach on North Carolina’s coast. He had a small, decorative, four-wheeled cart, big enough for two and, harnessed to it, an enormous billy goat with gleaming, prehistoric horns. One of the homes the itinerant photographer solicited was my grandparents’ summer residence. I treasure the photo of my father, uncle and grandmother squeezed into that cart, smiling, in spite of the imminent possibility of death-by-goring. Pictures from my father’s childhood are rare. Also, please regard the glee on Dad’s 3-year-old face. But the most exciting thing about the picture is who’s not in it: the photographer, who was discovered, after the war, to have been a spy [maybe]. Morehead City was a strategic port with military installations. When it became clear that America would join the war, Germany sent this man [maybe] to capture images of the area — the port, and any armaments or makeshift stations. To achieve the aim, he concocted the cover of family photographer [maybe], with the biggest of the Billy Goats Gruff as an alibi. I always wondered if, in addition to any assignment photographs captured, the Nazis might have also analyzed pictures of my family, noting that the Buick in the driveway could be commandeered if needed, and remarking on my father’s Aryan blond curls. I’m suddenly aware that I made up as much of this story as my dad and his friends [maybe] did. I heard it as a child, when you aren’t compelled to question

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

such narratives. You lack the skepticism, and also the curiosity, because your imagination fills in any blanks before you realize you’d wondered. You take it as truth, add in a little more magic and, as you age, carry it with you unadulterated and uninspected. In retrospect, the most obvious question is, how did you discover he was a spy? I’d never even considered this until I was writing this essay and making a list of things to ask Dad. But I suppose it’s clear that I’ve never sought clarification before, considering that my very first query — one as oblique as “What do you remember about . . .?” — blew apart the entire story. Now I’m flooded with questions. And all of my assumptions seem flimsy. For example, I’d assumed the spy was German, as in from Germany and speaking with a heavy accent, which, now that I think about it, would make him a hilariously bad spy: “Achtung, I’m just a traveling salesman from Havelock. Pardon, where are your fortresses?” My grandmother was German, born and reared in Wilmington, but fullblooded German. In my mind, this piece of information factored into the afternoon. I imagined she and the photographer had bonded over their shared heritage and despaired over the loss of their homeland to Nazis, which is surely why he said he’d defected and wound up in Morehead City, a small and isolated fishing town, the obvious place to settle. This exchange added some romanticism to the tale, making his eventual outing even more of a betrayal: “No, not that nice photographer?! But we shared recipes for prasselkuchen!” When you remember stories that you heard in childhood, they make perfect sense. But as soon as you put them into words, they sound ridiculous. Explanation is a prerequisite for investigation, and not just the other way around. Still, fictional prasselkuchen aside, there are many reasons to believe the story could be true. German spies certainly were infiltrating areas up and down the East Coast. And the German military did take special interest in North Carolina, because of its prime location for picking off military and merchant ships carrying supplies or otherwise en route for the war effort. Also, two U.S. artillery units were installed on Bogue Banks immediately after we declared war. If the Germans had any intelligence, they likely knew about these plans, or at least predicted them the summer prior, and very well could have arranged for June 2015

O.Henry 51

Life of Jane

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June 2015

scouts to start snooping around. Certainly they would send many men to North Carolina’s coast in the coming year. More ships were attacked by U-boats off the Outer Banks than in any other American coastline area, with 50–60 sunk, depending on estimates, all within the first 7–8 months of 1942. “I remember looking out over the ocean and seeing pockets of fire. They were burning American ships,” says my father, who was almost 5 in the summer of ’42. He also recalls detritus floating in the water: packages, paper wrappers, potato-chip bags. His first cousin and summertime next-door neighbor, Donnie Cobb, remembers the oil. “We swam in crude all summer long, for two summers, from the hit cargo ships and tanker ships. It stayed on your body. You’d wash it, but still have a dark blend on your skin for most of the summer.” The North Carolina coast earned the nickname Torpedo Junction. “The Germans called it ‘the happy times,’” Donnie recalls. “We were totally unprepared for what they brought. And they only had about six submarines out there.” Dad and Donnie both have memories of using blackout curtains, enforced by volunteer wardens, in their homes. “And we used to have to turn off the car lights 20 miles before we even got to Morehead, in Havelock,” Donnie says, “and drive at slow speeds with no lights. All of Morehead was dark.” But the U.S. military eventually caught up, with the help of almost every private boat on the coast, including the fishing vessel my grandfather shared with his siblings, which was commandeered. Antisubmarine campaigns sunk four U-boats off North Carolina, more than were claimed by any other state, and by 1943, the Germans redeployed their fleet elsewhere. The wreckage of American ships and U-boats, along with their torpedoes and mines, remain underwater, and in the late ’40s, much of it was still washing ashore. Donnie and my aunt Dana, Dad’s younger sister, both remember walking along Atlantic Beach with their siblings and parents, while Donnie’s dad pointed out black spots of sand and washed-up debris. Suddenly he told my grandmother to turn back with the younger girls. Dana only recently found out that, after she left, Donnie’s dad and the older boys gathered around to inspect the remains of a human arm. By then, Americans knew what had transpired at Torpedo Junction, but during the war, the military kept it secret. Most of the nation wasn’t aware of anything happening on the coast, and although Outer Banks residents knew something was happening, they didn’t know what. The secrecy fomented wild rumors. “Of course, we thought there were 100 submarines, with all the damage they did,” Cobb says. And Dad remembers fearing that the U-boats were at the end of his family’s dock: “They were awfully small, could come in through the channels in the inlet and come right The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Life of Jane

through town if they wanted to, and in front of your house.” Pretty much every foreigner who wound up on the North Carolina coast was assumed to be a spy. Suspicion ran high. Dad recalls, “One time my grandmother told my grandfather’s aunt, Auntie Glameyer, that she should speak English over the phone because otherwise people would listen in and think they were spies.” As a child I used to look out over the sound and the ocean beyond it, as my father had done forty-some years before, and imagine what was beneath the surface. I wasn’t allowed to swim far from the sound’s shore because of motor boats moving through the channel and, in my mind, U-boats still trolling up the Intracoastal. If I stared long enough, I could see them taking shape below the surface. Water is dark matter, unknowing like memory. It’s impossible to tell if what you see is actually there. Donnie’s family also had a picture made on the goat cart, and he feels certain that the spy story was an assumption he and his cousins made, based on suspicion, logic and mischief. “We always thought it was a curiosity that the photographer showed up right before the war and then disappeared right when the war started,” he says. I ask if he’d ever encountered an itinerant photographer before, anywhere. No, especially not in Morehead, where, he said, the only other people who came onto Evans Street were pickup trucks spraying DDT (which the neighborhood kids ran behind, soaking themselves in its spray to keep away mosquitoes), and an ice-cream truck. Then he explained, as he did five or six times during our conversation, that

the story is only conjecture, can’t be proven and probably isn’t true. All my father remembers with any real clarity is the goat. He was mesmerized by it. If the man wasn’t a spy, surely he started his business the moment he saw those horns. A goat like that is made to be in pictures. But neither dad nor Donnie remembers anything about the man himself. He isn’t in the picture. He’s barely in the memory. Yet he is the story, almost entirely. Or he was. Now he’s the word maybe in brackets. Brackets are dark matter too. The only person who believed the story as wholly as I did is Aunt Dana, my dad’s younger sister. Like me, she never met the man. She heard the story at about the same age I did. When I asked her about the photo, she said in the same excited tone I’ve used on all of my cocktail-party guests, “And the guy who took the picture, we found out later he was a German spy. That was his cover, to take pictures of all the armaments along the beach, and the fort.” Even though I’d already accepted that the story was probably false, I grew excited again by the certainty in her voice. How did she know this? “Donnie told me,” she said, a heartbreaking reply. She and I were quiet for a moment and then she said, “Huh,” as if thinking about it for the first time, before adding, “but I guess I can’t confirm it.” OH Greensboro native and I Totally Meant to Do That author Jane Borden now lives in Los Angeles. You can spy on her at twitter.com/JaneBorden.

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O.Henry 57

The Sweet Salvation of

Billy “Crash” Craddock


A homeboy’s head-on collision with show bidness By Grant Britt • Photograph by Sam Froelich

here’s an unadvertised special on the menu today at Tex and Shirley’s pancake house. It’s not listed under the major food groups, but it’s special all the same. Billy Crash Craddock is in the house, serving up a heaping helping of himself. From the second he strides through the door, you know he’s somebody. He looks more like a minister than a rocker, a rockin’ reverend dressed down for

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June 2015

ministering to his flock outside the temple, exuding charm and charisma. The voice is a bit gruff, but his demeanor isn’t. He’s very affable, and obviously this place is a favorite destination. One waitress calls him “honey,” another, “Billy.” He greets the busboy by name, slapping him on the back and asking them how he’s doing, stops to chat with the hostess/cashier on the way in and out. “I come here ’bout once a week,” he says. The setting is very much in character with Craddock’s folksy persona, The Art & Soul of Greensboro

and you quickly discover it’s genuine. He really is a homebody who wanted fame but on his own terms, willing to put himself out on the world stage but never tempted to leave his hometown behind. William Wayne Craddock crashed into life in Greensboro in 1939 amidst a gaggle of six brothers and six sisters. Craddock wanted to be a singer as far back as he can remember. “I grew up on country music,” Craddock says. “I used to look in a mirror when I was little. I was on stage at the Grand Ole Opry, and I’m singing. I’d be Carl Smith one time, Ernest Tubb, Eddie Arnold. I wanted to be on the Opry so bad.” But Craddock took a roundabout way to get to his dream. A fullback on his Rankin high school football team, he earned the nickname “Crash” because of the way he crashed through the opposing line. But Crash was working on another extracurricular project as well. “When I got to high school, me and my brother [Ronald], we had two more guys, Bill Leonard and Donnie Varner, and we’d go to the basement of the locker room of the High School and we’d just sit there and harmonize. And my brother-inlaw took me out to meet Fred Koury.” Koury, a Greensboro developer, owned the Plantation Supper Club, a 1,300 seat pleasure palace featuring dining and dancing to big bands and national touring acts. “So when we went out there, Fred put us on stage that night,” Craddock says. “We didn’t know we wuz gonna be auditioning.” It was 1958, and Craddock hadn’t yet begun to capitalize on his love of country music onstage. “We were doing the ’50s ’cause country wasn’t as hot in ’58, ’59, ’60. It got hot later. We were doing rock ’n’ roll, we were doing Pat Boone, Elvis Presley; different people on the charts.” But Craddock’s tastes in music transcended conventional rock ’n’ roll. Koury had sheet music available for bands passing through so Craddock had access to things from “Up a Lazy River” to Bobby Darin’s latest release of the day. “When I worked Fred’s, I was doing things like ‘Mack the Knife.’ That was one of the favorites out there. Every time I’d walk on the stage, first thing they wanted to hear was ‘Mack the Knife.’ I saved that till last, ’cause that was the best song we did,” he chuckles. “But I did rock ’n’ roll and pop music back then to work a little bit.” The audition that Craddock passed to get the Plantation gig with his brother and friends — calling themselves the Four Rebels — led to a run that lasted almost three years. “We started together and then Fred just didn’t use us anymore,” Craddock says. “He called me one day and asked me if I wanted to come work for him solo for the same amount of money he paid the whole group. I needed the money ’cause the drywall business wasn’t very feasible back then — you were lucky to bring home 10, 15, 20 dollars a week sometimes.” Although it wasn’t a big money maker, the drywall business would keep Craddock alive for more than a decade while he struggled to make it in music. And even though some have alleged that Koury held Craddock back by not exposing him to a national touring circuit, Craddock doesn’t see it that way. “A lot of people said if it hadn’t been for Fred, you’d have taken off a long time ago.” I said, “Naw, Fred Koury helped me. If it hadn’t a been for Fred, I would have never been anywhere. I was doing drywall, he’d call me down there at Nuckle’s Barbecue, I didn’t have a phone at the house, he’d leave a message at Nuckle’s for me to call him. When he had a big artist coming in, he’d try to put me on the show with ’em and let people see me. He carried me as far as he could. He didn’t have connections outside of Greensboro.” Craddock says when country music promoter Keith Fowler — who listed Alabama, Charlie Pride and Jerry Lee Lewis as clients and paired Conway The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Carol W. Martin/Greensboro Historical Museum Collection.

Twitty and Loretta Lynn for the first time — asked Koury if he minded if Fowler put Craddock on one of his shows, Koury let him go with no hassles. “Fred said. ‘Go ahead, I can’t help him anymore.’” And even though Fowler got him national exposure, Koury is the one who got Craddock his first real taste of stardom — as a teenage idol in Australia. “I wasn’t doing anything here,” Cradock says. “I was doing drywall, working at Fred Koury’s Plantation, and Fred called me one day and said, ‘Hey Billy, how’d you like to go to Australia for a thousand dollars a week?’ Well buddy, a thousand dollars a week back then to me was everything! I said, ‘Yeah man!’” After arriving in Australia, Craddock discovered that a video he had cut on a song called “Boom Boom Baby” had somehow made its way to Australia. Lee Gordon, who had called Koury with the offer, had a show like Dick Clark’s American Bandstand there. He got so many requests when he first played the video he had to repeat it the following week, and by the third time around, the requests were in the thousands. “Unbeknownst to me, when I got there I had the No. 1 record in the whole country. And Fred accepted it for a thousand dollars a week. I could have been making 20 grand a week back then,” Craddock says wistfully. Just before he left, Craddock jokingly told his wife that he wished somebody would tear his clothes off like they did to Elvis. “The first show I did at Sydney in the theater in the round, I worked in a half a shirt. They tore everything off me. Took my hair, jerked my hair, they wanted a piece of your hair. I couldn’t even get out of my hotel room. So I told the promoter, you gotta find a way to get me to the back door. So they started taking me through tunnels. I was scared to death. Green as a gourd.” When he went back five years ago, the promoter told him he was the substitute Elvis when he came over in ’59. Presley had just gone into service and the kids over there needed another Elvis, and Craddock fit the bill. Some thought he was wanting to be Elvis, from his rockabilly delivery down to the fancy jumpsuits, but Craddock says he had a different perspective on Presley. “I admired him so much. And the reason I did was because he was a truck driver. And I’m in drywall.” And reading about Presley’s trajectory to stardom, it wasn’t hard for that unknown drywall hanger to dream about what his future might hold: “You know,” he says he’d tell himself, “I’m a singer and if I could get a break, maybe I could make a good living in the music business.” June 2015

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And as for the stage clothes, Craddock admits he did look a lot like Elvis, but he insists his sartorial inspiration came from ’50s country music stars like the Wilburn Brothers, Faron Young and Jimmy Dickens. “When they came out with them rhinestones, I said, boy, if I ever get the money I’m gonna get me a suit. Well, when I got to where I could afford one of those, I wanted a jumpsuit. And after I got the jumpsuit, I went into the little short coats — what do you call that, toreador, matador suits?” he recalls. “That took me away from the Elvis look, see. But I didn’t do the other thing because of Elvis, I really didn’t look like him, I did it because I wanted to. But he influenced me a lot, just going from nothin’ to what he was.” When Craddock hit big on the county charts in the ’70s, he went first class, buying his suits from Nudie’s of Hollywood, who charged from $10,000–18,000 for the custom-made suits worn by artists including Porter Wagoner (who claimed ownership of fifty-two of his suits), Gene Autry, Elton John, George Jones, Hank Williams, Gram Parsons, and Z Z Top. Nudie suits were sewn by his tailor, the so called “Rhinestone Rembrandt,” Manuel Arturo José Cuevas Martínez Sr., who in the 1980s opened in his own business in Nashville. But Craddock didn’t buy the suits just for their looks alone. “When he makes ’em, it’s good — they don’t give out. I get down a lot of times stretchin’ out and they don’t rip like regular clothes do. They’re solid,” the singer says of the cotton and wool creations that move with the singer, unlike cheaper imitations that refuse to cooperate with onstage pelvic gyrations. “I been on shows where I bought tuxedos from different people and you go to do a certain move and when you go down, you split way up the middle.”
Craddock got his suits at Nudie’s and then Manuel’s, but also patronized a local business for some of his show boots. “I still got show boots from Nashville. But I was looking for a place here that had boots similar to what I was having them make. I saw this black fellow and I said ‘Where do you buy your boots? I like those boots.’ And he said, ‘Over there on Market Street,’ so I went over there, Mitchell’s store, they’re not the quality the boots of mine was but they looked like I wanted ’em to, you know?” Mitchell’s Clothing Store is still in business, and Craddock is still a customer. “I go in there periodically now and buy a pair of boots. These here,” he says, holding up a leg on the bench seat to reveal a pair of ankle length boots that look as if they’d be the perfect complement to a “toreador” jacket or jumpsuit as well as comfortable enough to wear to Tex and Shirley’s. “You can tell they’re good boots,” he says. “Down in Nashville you’d pay $700 for the boots, but here he sells ’em for 75 and 80 bucks. They’re pretty good.” But it would be almost a decade after his initial teen idol success in Australia before he could afford that look. Craddock came home to go back to work in drywall except for a brief stint at P. Lorillard.

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After three months, the boss man called him over and told him it was time he learned how to operate a machine that paid better money. But he offered some career advice as well. “He said ‘Well Billy, I’m gonna tell you somethin’, and if you tell anybody I told you this I’m gonna say it’s not so.’ He said ‘Somebody told me you had some talent.’ I said, ‘Yes sir, I sing a little bit.’ He said, ‘If I were you, I wouldn’t take this machine job, I’d pursue it.’ That’s how it came about. I’d go do drywall during the day and work at the Plantation at night.”


ut being in Greensboro didn’t keep Craddock from being in touch with stardom. In 1963, movie star Jayne Mansfield (Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter) played the Plantation, reportedly paid $23,000 to flounce about, displaying her skimpily-clad but considerable assets on stage. Craddock witnessed the show, which he says consisted of her bodybuilder husband Mickey Hargitay lifting her up to display the strategically placed sequins on her see-through mesh gown. “Her zipper in the back broke all the way down and Fred Koury swears she had that planned,” Craddock says. He was not impressed by her singing. “But I don’t think that’s why she was there. She’d sing two or three songs and walk around out there — she packed ’em in though.” Craddock was packing them in locally as well, and finally somebody noticed. Every year, Koury would host some record label execs and talent scouts at his club and make sure they saw Craddock perform. “He’d talked to the people about me, said ‘I manage this boy, if you could help me find a break for him, I’m looking to get him a contract.’ So that’s how the deal with Columbia came along.” That was in ’58, and although he appeared on American Bandstand twice that year, then did the Australian tour in ’59 with Bobby Rydell and the Everly Brothers, he still didn’t catch on in the States. He recorded briefly for King and Mercury. Then Craddock suddenly had his first country hit when Cartwheel released his cover of pop singer Tony Orlando and Dawn’s “Knock Three Times.” Craddock’s version is faster, flavored with pedal steel and twin fiddles, but his delivery is more pop than country. The singer says he practiced the record at the same tempo of the original, but when he got to the recording session in Nashville, he was appalled to find out the tempo had been goosed considerably. “I said, ‘What are you doin?’” What they were doing was making a record that would end up No. 3 on the charts. Along the way, Craddock had top-ten successes with more covers from a variety of genres. Bobby Darin’s “Dream Lover” rubbed elbows with Arthur Alexander’s “You Better Move On.” Willie Dixon was represented with “Seventh Son.” Paul Anka’s “Lonely Boy” was juxtaposed with a rollicking The Art & Soul of Greensboro

cover of Roy Head’s “Treat Her Right,” and Chuck Berry was paid homage to on a cover of “Promised Land,” which sounded like Elvis. “I did ‘Promised Land’ because we opened the show with that,” Craddock explains. “When I hit in country music with my first hit record [“Knock Three Times”], I started opening with ‘Promised Land.’” His first No. 1, 1974’s “Rub It In,” about applying suntan lotion to a friendly body, almost didn’t get radio play. “My manager called me, said you need to come to Nashville, want you to sit in the office — got about 1,200–1,400 radio stations you gotta call and get ’em to play it. And I said ‘Why,’ and they said ‘They think it’s a little risqué.’” Craddock remembers thinking that was a bit odd because radio was playing Conway Twitty’s “Darlin’ How I’d Love to Lay You Down,” but they thought “Rub It In” was out of line. “And I called ’em all up, and said ‘Just go back and listen to it. The song’s not dirty.’ One spot that we changed: the song was written, ‘put little bit on my left shoulder, put a little bit on my knee,’ and they changed it to ‘put a little bit right here,’” he warbles, recreating the song in a soft, sexy voice that nearly causes a passing waitress to drop her tray, “and they thought that was dirty. Now listen at the radio.” As bad as the singer wanted success, he had self doubts about his performances. “I’ve been scared every time I go up there,” he says. “Even after I was on some of the big shows, on Conway and Loretta’s show, Porter Wagoner’s show, even before I had hit records, I just didn’t like nobody wanting to hear me sing. When I’m on stage, probably you wouldn’t know it, but I don’t have confidence even then. I’m always afraid somebody out there is gonna say, ‘I don’t wanna see him.’” He takes a sip of coffee and reflects, “I felt like somebody out there don’t like me. I try to please everybody in the audience. It was really botherin’ me that I was thinkin’ people didn’t want to hear me sing or they wouldn’t pay attention. I couldn’t get it in my head that I had a No. 1 record.” Even in the confines of a restaurant he frequents weekly in his hometown, a place so down-homey that a waitress can be overheard telling a customer at the next table, “Honey, I microwaved those grits for you to melt the cheese,” he says he still fears performing on demand. “I see a lot of people right now that could get up on this table right now and sing and nothing would bother ’em. And somebody asks me to get up and sing, I couldn’t do it.” But he says he will make an exception if it’s for a good cause. “A lot of people say, ‘Crash, will you sing happy birthday to my mother? She’s 82.’ I’ll go over there and sing to her.” The singer’s reluctance to acknowledge his appeal is also complicated by his desire not to stray too far from home for any extended period. On his way back from Australia in ’59, Craddock was supposed to go to Hollywood to audition for a part in the 1960 movie Home From the Hill, starring Robert Mitchum, George Peppard and George Hamilton. “My P.R. lady was on the plane with me, and she said, ‘You take this script and read it, and they said if you read it anywhere close to how it should be read, you got the part of one of the sons.’” Craddock had just spent a week in Australia, and wanted to get back home to be with his first child, Billy Jr., born just before he left. “I started down the corridor and I saw a sign there that said Greensboro /Winston-Salem/ Raleigh/Durham. And I said, ‘Man I can’t go,’ and I took my bag and I ran to it. They were closing the door. And I said, ‘Honey, I gotta make this plane. Could you get me on it?’ And she held the door open and I got on the plane and come home. I was so homesick. Yeah, I always said I’d rather be home with my family and the people that I know and I love than to be out there on the road, although I wanted to.” Although he had offers to live elsewhere, home was always Greensboro, his sweet salvation . Nashville courted him frequently, but even though he says he likes going there, he always said no to living there. “If I die, you’re gonna put me in a pine box, you gonna send me back home, that’s where I wanna be buried.” He feels that Nashville is anything but a warm fuzzy place for musicians. ”They can tell you what they want, (that) it’s a family. But it’s a clique.” And he had doubts about his ability to fit in as well. “I just always thought The Art & Soul of Greensboro

I wasn’t up to par with some of the musicians, most of ’em are stars already, and if I had gone there, I didn’t know how I would be treated,” Craddock says. “No one of the artists has treated me bad, but the industry as a whole — Bill (Anderson) saw it and he’s one who told me — he didn’t think they’d give me a fair chance in Nashville.” Craddock’s biggest missed opportunity may be the Grand Ole Opry. “I could have moved to Nashville and played the game. They asked me to join the Opry right after ‘Knock Three Times.’ That’s something I wanted to do all my life. I listened to it every night with my daddy and my mom.” But his manager at the time told him they had so many show dates booked at that time he should wait till the next season, claiming that joining the Opry would cost him money because of the 25–26 weeks a year he’d have to perform on the Opry. “About ten years later, I learned that you can’t join the Opry next year or the year after, you can’t go and join it, they have to ask you to join . . . And that’s the biggest thing that I’ve missed that I regret. I believe today I could be closing the Opry at night with my variety of songs that I do, the way I communicate with the people, I think I’d be the closing act at the Opry.” Craddock says as hard as it was, he finally forgave the man, and moved on. “I prayed on it over the years, and got over it. But for ten years, I was down on him, man.” These days Craddock brings some Opry with him as well as rockabilly, rock, pop and whatever else he feels like tossing in his show. He says he based his selection on the advice bluegrass/country promoter Carlton Haney gave him years ago before Craddock had any success. Craddock remembers telling Haney, “If I don’t get a hit record pretty soon, I’m gonna get out of the business,” Craddock recalls. Haney replied: “Get out of it? You ain’t never got in it!” Billy cackles at the memory. “That hit me right between the eyes. ’Cause I hadn’t had a hit record yet. But he also told me, ‘Billy you got a good show. Now, when you change songs, if you ain’t got something good or better to put in the place of that song, don’t touch it. There are always songs you can find to put in there, but take your time.’ And that’s what I’ve done.” Over the years, he says, “I’ve kept the songs that the people love to see me do. I’ve just got the same basic same show, but I’ll put a song here, a song there, change ’em around just a little, and I might throw a little novelty song in there sometimes for the audience.” Craddock says he just tries, “to basically do my my stuff. I do 5–6 of my songs, I do a rock ’n’ roll medley, then I got a country medley I change over to. And then I do some other people’s stuff. I do a variety where people won’t say ‘I’ve heard that same old thing all night long.’ That gets old. I want to break it up and down.” Country is still his first love, but he finds it hard to find it in a palatable form today. Craddock recalls the lyrical “love songs we used to hear back in the early ’50s in the country singers ‘Bouquet of Roses,’ all that stuff.” Beautiful songs, he reflects. Nowadays, he says, “A love song today is ‘She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy,’ stuff like that — that is so stupid.” But Craddock’s not worried: “I believe the good song will come back around. We can’t continue with what we got out there now. You can’t do it.” The 76-year-old singer says he doesn’t work like he used to, but he’s still performing dates across the country. “If somebody calls and I’ve worked there before and I really liked it, I’ll do the show date, and if not I’ll just tell ’em I don’t want to do it.” And though he enjoys the accolades and attention from his music, he wants to leave behind a legacy based on his dealings with people on and offstage. “I treat people like I wanna be treated. Even when I was having hit records and on stage, I didn’t think I was a star. I just want to be remembered as a good guy, who loved his wife and kids and his grandkids, and was a heck of an entertainer, a good guy who loved people.” OH See Craddock on June 20, 7 p.m., at The Liberty Showcase. Info: www. thelibertyshowcase.com Grant Britt, who writes for American Songwriter, No Depression and Blues Music Magazine, first saw Billy Crash Craddock in the late ’70s. “He projected an easygoing country rocker persona that made you feel like you knew him and could go right up and talk to him like an old friend.” June 2015

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Diamonds in the

Rough Five Greensboro connected artists and bands to watch. And ten more to grow on


By Ogi Overman

everal months ago, O. Henry’s founding editor, Jim Dodson, bought me a cup of java and asked if I would be up to identifying some young, relatively undiscovered Greensboro talent so they could step out of the shadows and into the limelight. “Can you find five bands or solo artists who are destined for stardom,” he asked. I thought to myself, “Whaddaya think, I’m Clive Davis?” But instead I replied, “Yes sir, Mr. Dodson, sir. When do you need it and how high should I jump?” Embarking on my quest, I soon discovered that finding them was not problematic — narrowing down the candidates would be. I quickly realized that there were at least a dozen emerging artists who could easily have been included in my list of five. Which is why I’ve included a roster featuring a second wave of contenders. While my choices are unquestionably subjective and subject to the limitations of my barely trained ear and oft-addled brain, these are hardly one man’s opinions. I sought advice from many quarters — veteran musicians, radio folks, club owners, music journalists and longtime observers of the scene — to not only find but evaluate these acts. So there is a bit of a consensus here, although I did make the final call. I fully expect there to be disagreement. But please don’t shoot me, I’m only the piccolo player. Aubrey Shamel

Photograph by drew Davis

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Ania DeJoy

Ania DeJoy

Nineteen-year-old Ania DeJoy is the voice behind the Greensboro-based country/rock/ pop band Ania. Her first album was produced by Tom Rowan at SoundLab Studios, and it is stellar. Her angelic voice will carry her a long way, and once she gets more stage experience, the sky’s the limit. Band members: Ania DeJoy — vocals, keys, acoustic guitar; Jordan Powers — bass, backup vocals; Chuck Cotton — drums, backup vocals; Jack King – electric guitar; Jack Foster — keys/drums; and Tom Rowan — acoustic guitar. Principal songwriter: Mary Lyon Influences/mentors: Tom Rowan (from The SoundLab) and her father, Louis DeJoy. Memorable shows: DeJoy says her most memorable show was in August of 2013 when she performed live for the first time ever with a band at the Blind Tiger in Greensboro. “I was so ridiculously nervous I hid in the green room by myself right up until it was time to go on,” she says. “But after the first set was over I couldn’t wait to do another.” Listen: First Last Chance (album released summer 2014) available on iTunes and CD Baby. Plan for sustaining career: “I recently had my tonsils removed and have been taking time to recover from that as well as getting through my freshman year of college [at Duke],” DeJoy says. “But I’m excited to get back to music and am working on new, exciting things this summer. Beyond that, I’m looking forward to playing more gigs and gaining more experience in the music industry.”

Aubrey Shamel

Photograph by Natalie Carter Hyde

I first heard Lewisville-native singer/songwriter Aubrey Shamel about three years ago at the Creative Center when she was 17. I was so impressed with this young pop artist’s vocals, songwriting, and guitar and keyboard chops that I interviewed her on the spot and did a story on her for Go Triad. I’ve been watching her ever since. She studied music at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, and is now based there. Keep your eye on this young lady. Influences/mentors: “My biggest influences are Pink, Esperanza Spalding, Bonnie Raitt and John Mayer,” Shamel says. “My biggest mentors are Byron Hill, Pat Luboff, Pete Luboff and Ron Browning. Byron, Pat and Pete are all cowriters and Ron is my vocal performance coach.” Memorable shows: “I played at RayLen Vineyards for their wine festival two years ago to a crowd of around 800,” she recalls. “The rush was amazing! That is definitely the biggest show I’ve ever played. Most recently I played a show at the Garage in Winston-Salem, where I decided to take on a new challenge and perform as lead guitarist. I was ridiculously nervous to break out my lead-guitar playing to a packed house, but the show went beautifully and the power trio has since become our main full-band setup.” Listen: “I mostly release singles online [aubreyshamel.com] and give away small EPs at shows.” Plan for sustaining career: “I am currently in development in Nashville in preparation for approaching record labels. I’m continuing to write all the time and expand my networking circle.”


Yes, these guys are older than the rest — Josh King, 32, acoustic guitar and vocals; Tommy Scifres, 32, guitar and vocals; Jack Foster, 29, drums; Jordan Powers, 33, bass guitar and vocals. But the unit is still a young one and despite being based in Greensboro, Roseland is not well known in the Triad. Their rock ’n’ roll/Americana harmonies, musicianship and songwriting are outstanding in the Byrds/Flying Burrito Brothers/ Pure Prairie League vein. Influences: The Beatles, CSNY, The Grateful Dead, The Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, The Jayhawks and Ricky “Big Daddy” Willis Memorable shows: “It’s been our pleasure to share the stage with some amazing songwriters and musicians,” says Powers, “and each show has been memorable in its own way. Maybe that’s a generic answer, but we really enjoy playing every single time we have the chance to make music together.” Listen: Eponymous CD, Roseland, available, and another fully recorded LP ready for release in the near future Plan for sustaining career: “Making music with Roseland is always is always a top priority, but with Tommy [Scifres] living in Nashville,” says Powers, “playing shows isn’t always an option. But we still play as often as possible. We have an unreleased full-length CD, and we work as session musicians and producers and play in various other live bands. But Roseland is such an important creative outlet for us all, we’ll always make Roseland music together.”

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

June 2015

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Songs of Water

Songs of Water

You’ll not likely hear the Greensboro-based, alternative folk band, Songs of Water, on Top 40 radio, but with their intellectual, ethnomusical approach, complex arrangements and dizzying array of instrumentation, the Universe will make a place for them. Each member plays a multiple array of instruments too numerous to list. “Collectively we play with over forty instruments, many of which are ethnic, classical and percussive,” says Stephen Roach. Don’t miss their June 12 show at The Crown (www.songsofwater.com). Band members: Stephen Roach, Greg Willette, Elisa Rose Cox, Michael Pritchard, Luke Skaggs and Jonathan Kliegle Principle songwriters: Stephen Roach, Greg Willette and Luke Skaggs Influences/mentors: Dead Can Dance, Sigur Rós, indigenous music from around the world Memorable shows: Performing with Rusted Root and opening for Ricky Skaggs Listen: Via iTunes, Amazon, MP3.com, CD (The Sea Has Spoken and upcoming release Stars & Dust) or www.songsofwater.com Plan for sustaining career: “Long-term we want to contribute more in composing for film and television as well as create performing arts concerts involving multimedia collaborations with other art forms,” says Roach.

The Amigos

This indie/Americana band, which is now based in New York City, might be a little too big already to be included, but it would be a shame to leave this much talent out. Members include Justin Poindexter, 32, guitar and vocals; Sammy “Squeeze” Reider, 26, accordion and vocals; Brother Noah, 30, bass; and Willie P. Clark, 29, percussion. (Greensboro-native Justin, by the way, is the son of Ed

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Poindexter, who played with Streetfeet for over twenty-five years and now works at SE Systems.) Principal songwriters: Justin Poindexter and Sam Reider Influences: The Rolling Stones, Doc Watson, Paul Simon, the Everly Brothers, soul from Muscle Shoals, Father John Misty, Duke Ellington, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly and Willie Nelson Mentors: “We have been so lucky to be mentored by the great American composer, musician, and raconteur David Amram,” says Poindexter. “His openminded approach to creativity and collaboration has been hugely influential on us, and through him, we have been able to meet and play with some legends of American music. “Also Jim Lauderdale, Muscle Shoals songwriter Dan Penn and the Time Jumpers.” Memorable shows: “We traveled through Myanmar [Burma], Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and China on a State Department tour last year,” Poindexter says. “There was one particular show at a university in Dandong, China, where the audience screamed the whole time like we were the Beatles at Shea Stadium. Playing with Pete Seeger was an unbelievable experience, as well.” Listen: Streaming Digital via Bandcamp and downloading at MP3, FLAC and more. CD Diner in the Sky (2014) was nominated for Best Americana Album by the Independent Music Awards, and the song “More Than Friends” has been nominated for Best Song. Plan for sustaining career: “We have a strong commitment to education, and in addition to our regular touring, we do over fifty concerts a year for students about American music,” notes Poindexter. “We’re always looking for new ways to celebrate the music and musicians we love.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Amigos Photograph by Toby silverman

The next wave of contenders


o call this list the “best of the rest” or “honorable mention” is far too demeaning. Truth is, any of them could have been among the five artists and groups profiled. In fact, if space were not at such a premium, it could easily have been a Top Ten or Twenty list instead of five. Greensboro has that much talent. Every one of these musicians has a real chance at long-term success, and with a break or good timing could land in the big time. While some are perhaps not quite as far along in their journey as others, all are capable of sustaining a career in music. So, if you happen to see that they’re playing nearby or see a CD on the shelf, give them your support. They are worthy of it. Eric Robertson: Berklee grad and mandolin virtuoso out of the Chris Thile mold, his new band, The Rigs (formerly the Boston Boys), played The Crown in May and lit it up. Guy’s a monster. Nishah DiMeo: Somehow I missed her until recently, but am making up for lost time. She’s a featured vocalist at the Thursday O.Henry Hotel’s jazz night and The Kirkwood Kitchen. Major league pipes. Bryon “DC” Carter: When DC shows up at open mic nights, the whole room takes on an aura. His voice is on a different level, and his band, UpRite Lions, provides a powerful punch. “Alternative/acoustic/soul music to make everything all right,” he says. May be the sleeper of the bunch. Bronzed Chorus: Hunter Allen on percussion (keys and lots of other The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Eugene Chadbourne-esque things not meant to be instruments) and Adam Joyce on guitar are a delight to watch. Talented, quirky and fun — a great combination. Lowland Hum: Husband and wife team Daniel and Lauren Goans released a wonderful and well-crafted album last year. I did a story on them and fell in love with what they’re doing. You will, too. Laila Nur: Almost left her off because she’s become too well-established, with a huge cult following around here. But I couldn’t make myself do it. She’s not just good but scary good. Takes no prisoners. Shiloh Hill: Nick Wes was a terrific singer-songwriter before putting this band together and is now even better as part of an ensemble. They’re picking up a lot of steam and a lot of fans. Sam Fribush: The young keyboardist formed a killer jazz trio while still a student at Weaver. Now at Berklee, great things are expected. His dad is clarinetist Doc Fribush, late of the Swampcats, currently with the Sinai Mountain Ramblers. Dan River Girls: The Burdette sisters, Fiona, 16, on mandolin and cello, Ellie, 13, on double bass, and Jessie, 11, on classical violin and fiddle, will one day be huge. Martha Bassett is their teacher and Pat Lawrence just produced their debut album. Wait and see — huge. Daniel Greeson: He was a bluegrass prodigy at 12, winning fiddler’s conventions all over, and now, at 17, is simply one of the best fiddlers around. Already released an album, he’ll be around a long, long time. OH Ogi Overman lives — and listens — in Greensboro. June 2015

O.Henry 65

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James Brown

LaVerne Baker

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June 2015


nce upon a time, Greensboro was a magical, musical place. In the heart of the chitlin circuit, it was smack dab in the middle of a musical corridor that stretched from Boston to Miami, with stops in New York City and Atlanta. But on July 17, 1984, the music died. That’s the day President Ronald Reagan raised the drinking age from 18 to 21. No doubt it has spared some lives from alcohol-related incidents, but it was the death knell for the music scene in Greensboro and across the country. With one stroke of the pen, clubs and bars lost a huge slice of their youthful audience. Effectively banned from imbibing publicly, the newly minted under-agers now had to find another way to bond with their music. Many decided to curl up at home with their favorite records. Some eventually came back out as they got old enough to lubricate themselves publicly, but some areas never fully recovered. Greensboro was a major casualty. Let’s take a look back, try to figure out what happened and see if it’s possible to resurrect Greensboro’s musical scene. Back in the early ’50s, as they say, Greensboro was jumpin’. “We wouldn’t just have one band, we’d have a bunch of bands,” says Greensboro-based shag standout Larry McCranie. “I can remember at the Tobacco Warehouse way out on South Elm/Eugene, we’d have people like Fats Domino, Lavern Baker, Ruth Brown, Chuck Berry, all of them at one show.” The black-owned El Rocco club on Market Street in Greensboro also brought in big names in the ’50s, including Jackie Wilson and James Brown. “It also served the best fried chicken in town,” says Chic Carter, former pitcher for the Winston-Salem Pond Giants, a Negro League team in Winston in the 1950s. “El Rocco was something, like in New York you had the Apollo. You had the Regal in Chicago, Royal Theatre in Baltimore, Howard Theatre in D.C.,” Carter says, referring to stops along the chitlin circuit. El Rocco had a nice place over there for them to come,” the 80-year-old Carter says. And although it was a black club, white visitors were welcome. “One time in the mid ’50s, I took four girls down there and we was the only white folks in there,” shagger McCranie, who is white, recalls. They ended up dancing with all the black guys and I danced with black women and we just had a ball. Not too many white kids went over there,” he says. Remembering shows at the tobacco warehouse outside Greensboro on South Elm/Eugene Street, McCranie recalls how sheriffs’ deputies hired to keep order between the races would put a rope from the front where you entered, all the way up to the middle of the stage. “White folks would go on one side, and black folks would go on the other. Everybody had a little bottle in their pockets, they’d get to drinking when they opened around 8:30 or 9 o’clock,” McCranie says. “Around 11 o’clock, that rope would come down and there wasn’t nothing they could do about it. There wasn’t that many sheriffs there and then everybody danced with everybody.” Piedmont Blues Preservation Society founder Penn Martin remembers going to the Plantation Inn, but only for special occasions, “It was more dress up, grown-up stuff. Mom and Daddy and me and my brother would go out there on Sunday night because it was family night, and I had an aunt who waited The Art & Soul of Greensboro

tables — that’s where I saw Les Paul and Mary Ford.” But some enterprising teens took musical matters into their own hands. In the late ’50s and early Fats ’60s, high school kids formed social clubs based on college fraternities. Two main ones for boys in Domino Greensboro’s Grimsley High were the G-30s and the SWIT Club. Jot ’Em Down and Rainbow News and Cafe owner/entrepreneur Johnny Marshall was a member of both social clubs and had a hand in promoting a show starring Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs at Greensboro’s O.Henry Hotel ballroom. The show became infamous not just for its entertainment but for the aftermath, a bust for underage drinking that was used to whip Greensboro-ites into a righteous frenzy by village elders. “When you compare it to people going around shooting each other, it’s not very bad,” reflects Marshall. “We did make some ministers mad cause Jane Taylor, who looked like she was 12 her whole life, got caught down on the street intoxicated with a guy. I mean, if she hadn’t looked like she was 12, it might not have been such a big issue.” Local preachers made a big issue out of it for weeks from their pulpits, and Mayor David Schenck outlawed social clubs.” We were already outlawed anyway when we did it,” Marshall laughs. “We were under the radar.” But at least one more teen got caught in the radar that night. After attending the show, Martin went home and thought he had avoided alcohol detection until his daddy asked him if he had been drinking the night before. “No sir,” Martin promptly answered. “Then can you explain why the car is parked in the middle of the front yard?’ his dad asked.
 Marshall’s younger brother Allen had a musical-related alcohol incident in his formative years at a ’50s dance where “everybody was sweaty and smelled like Vitalis. One boy was drinking rubbing alcohol mixed with cola in a bottle He wasn’t too bright but he had big muscles and could have beat me up.” But Marshall’s musical experiences soon got better. He recalls seeing the Isley Brothers at the Shriners club and Chuck Jackson at some club out in the country. Later on in 1978 at the Boardwalk at 114 North Davie Street (the same building that later housed the Secret Garden before ending up as the now defunct strip Club Twiggy), he witnessed Eddie Hinton backed by the Nighthawks.“That guy was just amazing,” Marshall says, “one of the great shows in Greensboro.” He also remembers seeing Junior Walker around 1974 at the Plantation Supper Club, “not only playing all that good stuff from Allman Brothers Motown, but also playing ‘Headhunter,’ some of that Herbie Hancock shit.” He also was fortunate enough to see Johnny Copeland and Gatemouth Brown at John Rudy’s Rhino Club on Greene Street along with “some Norwegian/Scandinavian blues band whose lead guy looked exactly like a young Charles Bukowski.” While others were experiencing the music, Bill Kennedy was busy creating houses to put it in. Arriving from Norfolk in ’62, he was passing through selling cookware, china, crystal and sterling on his way to Ft. Lauderdale when Greensboro captured his heart. Passing by what is now Suds & Duds on Walker Avenue and seeing some construction going on, he stopped by, convinced the owners he could design and print them a new logo and make up and distribute fliers for their new venture called the Jokers 3. He came back opening night and was pressed into service as a bartender, making so much money he quit his sales job and stayed on. Soon he was booking bands for the club and then for his own agency, attracting hot beach bands like the Showmen and the Calabash Corporation. Kennedy managed to book the Allman Brothers early on, but nearly lost them before the show even started. The band had already set up their equipment when Kennedy stopped by to ask if everything was OK. “Got all of our money?” Duane Allman asked him. When Kennedy shook his head, Allman turned to his chief roadie and said, “All right Red Dog, tear it down.” Red Dog got up immediately and began to climb the light truss, a wrench in his teeth. “Nooo,” Kennedy screamed, scuttling from the room to frantically dig through the till, gathering up all the cash he had on hand. “I paid ’em $600 for the gig,” Kennedy chortles. At one point, Kennedy had five Jokers 3 clubs at various locations in Greensboro, but the change in the drinking age dealt his club a crippling blow, costing him nearly half of his clientele. Spiraling inflation only made things worse, he says. “Gasoline went from 29.9 cents a gallon to a dollar,” Kennedy remembers. “Bands couldn’t afford to pay the extra dollar a gallon. The motel was no longer $19.95, it was $39.95. Costing them out the ass to spend the night, to fill up the tank.” Eventually, the cost of booking bands exceeded what clubs could take in, especially on week nights: “So the club would say, ‘Screw you, I’m not gonna use a band on Wednesday anymore, I’ll just use a DJ.’ Kinda killed the band business.”
 Tech rep/bassist Bobby Kelly remembers another band killer as well. “The age change was a major R.E.M factor, but you gotta remember we were at the height of Reaganomics. There was gas rationing going on, and to pound the nail farther into the coffin, the dark days of disco were upon us.” Kelly, who plays bass for Tornado and Blues World Order, was the sound man for the Greensboro club Friday’s on Tate Street as well as hiring out as a sound man and engineer for nationally touring bands for decades. “I was working as a techie/ musician for some national acts in those days, and I found myself on the road with a disco showband for about a year and a half just to make it,” he says The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 67

Suddenly everybody had to downsize. “It was cheaper for clubs to hire one strung-out DJ as opposed to a whole band of strung-out felons,” Kelly says. “How can you compete with some guy who’s getting $150 a night compared with a band who needs to clear over a thousand bucks just to break even to be on the road every day?” But before it all went to hell, Kelly enjoyed a glorious run as the sound man for Friday’s. Owners Steve and Sharon Hayner were from New York City, knew many of the alternative rockers on the scene in those days and persuaded them to play there. R.E.M., Jason and The Scorchers, The Violent Femmes, the Bad Brains,The dBs, Black Flag, Evan Johns and The H-Bombs, and even Root Boy Slim and The Sex Change Band, all took the stage there. “When Friday’s closed its doors, I’m not sure that didn’t mark the end of an era as far as alternative music,” Kelly says. “Friday’s was a major stop for everybody in that scene.” The club closed in ’83. “I did the last show they ever did there with R.E.M.,” Kelly says. “I had done R.E.M. to start with. It was a nice tribute to see those guys, who were getting mega huge at that point, show up and pay homage to their lowly roots.” Friday’s may have been Nirvana for alternative acts, but in the mid ’70s through the early ’80s Greensboro did have a proliferation of clubs featuring national acts of all genres. Kelly’s younger brother Pat, who works at the UNCG library and has a musical resume playing guitar in bands including MOV, The Nervous Wrecks, Windham Hell, Ransom Notes and Hellhole, remembers how some nights it was hard to decide which act to see. “Back then you had Aliza’s, which later became the Nightshade, and Jot ’Em Down happening at the same time, then Friday’s opened up in the middle of all that. It was pretty cool — you had three places you could go in one night.”

Bob Margolin

Johnny Winter

John Lee Hooker

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ormer Muddy Waters guitarist Bob Margolin, Atlanta powerhouse guitarist Tinsley Ellis and Jimmy Buffet harpist Greg Fingers Taylor played the tiny Nightshade in the cellar of the Hong Kong House on Tate street. Johnny Marshall’s Jot ’Em Down featured Glenn Phillips, Rolly Gray and Sunfire, and Durham’s Irish Wildmen of the Nee Ningy Band. Kelly also remembers Kennedy’s fourth Jokers 3 club on Spring Garden Street hosting a treasure trove of blues in the mid ’80s. “The ones I remember the most were Johnny Winter, Willie Dixon, Albert Collins, John Lee Hooker, Koko Taylor, Chicago Jimmy Rogers, Robert Cray, the Blasters, and, oh yeah, the Butthole Surfers were there.” Los Lobos and NRBQ also played. That’s a good look at our rich musical past. But what about the future of live music in Greensboro? Why hasn’t this town bounced back like many others have from the dark days of disco, drinking age limits, the economic downturn and Reaganomics? “The city has made it tougher and tougher for people to do business,” Bobby Kelly says. “I understand we’re one riot away from closing downtown as it is,” Bobby Kelly says, referring to the June 2013 fight downtown that involved 400 young people — which resulted in a teen curfew being put in place after the police used pepper spray and a stun gun to control the outbreak.
 But if we can keep the kids at bay, how about doing something for the older folks. The Kellys, Martin and Kennedy all agree that earlier start time for shows would be helpful. Triad Acoustic Stage has set a good example with events that start at 7 p.m., like their recent David Lindley show. Even though it might be difficult at first to get them out, it would make sense to go after an older demographic who would have as much if not more money to spend than a younger audience and would probably be more likely to return once they got interested. Bobby Kelly thinks poor attendance by an older crowd is as much cable TV’s fault as it is due to age. “People get in and get comfortable at home and do whatever they want to do and not put themselves at risk out on the street, especially late at night.” But most serious TV devotees have DVRs these days, so it wouldn’t be too much trouble to hook into your favorite TV shows in advance and hit the streets early and still get home in time to have all the cocktails you want in the privacy of your own home. But that’s assuming you have something attractive enough to get ’em out in the first place. A revival could begin with more innovative booking. That the Carolina Theatre, which hosted musical luminaries like the 5 Blind Boys of Alabama, Dr. John and Mavis Staples, should be reduced to parading has-been disco revenant KC and the Sunshine band for an anniversary celebration is downright embarrassing. The theater seems to be coming out of its slump slowly, but still it would be nice to see the space utilized with a bit more imagination. It’s such a great space, with excellent sight lines and sound, a warm, intimate place to see a band and be able to participate fully in the experience, up close and personal. Instead of dragging worn out rock war horses through town or featuring third-rate lounge lizards like Engelbert Humperdinck, why not look to more eclectic genres? Cajun and Zydeco music has a huge following outside its native Louisiana border. Zydeco has a big following up the east coast in Virginia with Norfolk’s annual Bayou Boogaloo Festival in late May that attracts thousands for the last decade, featuring the best of Louisiana performers. Why not tap into that market, either in the The Art & Soul of Greensboro

cold months before the festival or later in the fall, bringing in a rowdy act like Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas who wowed the crowds at City Stage here some years back? Or take advantage of the local connection with Greensboro guitarist Tim Betts playing with Clifton’s Chenier’s son C.J. and his Red Hot Louisiana Band? Triad Acoustic Stage might consider relaxing the acoustic part of their name and having the rockin’ Cajun band The Pine Leaf Boys or Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. But it’s not just the acts that help shape more imaginative booking. Increasing the advertising footprint would also help. If Greensboro people won’t come out, go after people who will. Take out ads in the Raleigh News and Observer or The Independent Weekly in Durham. Try The Virginian Pilot or one of Norfolk’s free weeklies to get a chunk of that audience. Facebook and Twitter the hell out it as well. 
 It might also be feasible to hook up with other venues in other cities and co-promote shows. How about sharing acts with Durham’s Carolina Theatre, which brings a stunning array of talent through on a regular basis. And how about blues? You keep hearing that the crowd for blues has aged out, but maybe they’re just tired of the same old, same old. Perhaps Greensboro needs to pay attention to Durham’s Blue Note Grill. Little more than a small diner that would bust at the seams if more than seventy-five people crammed in the tiny space, the Grill nevertheless hosts national blues acts including Tinsley Ellis and Albert Castiglia as well as Greensboro locals Sam Frazier and Bobby Kelly’s Blues World Order Shows starting at 8, and you can get good ribs or cue before, during and after the shows. But there may be hope. The New G-Pac (aka Steven B. Tanger Center for the Performing Arts) promises great things. Bobby Kelly says that the Chapel Hill based firm hired to plan and design the programming for the the Center are clients of his and come highly recommended. “They’re the number one recognized theater consultancy in the U.S.,” Kelly says of Theater Consultants Collaborative, who also built Austin City Limits Theater and the George Lucas Theater as well as D-PAC. But no matter how fancy the house, it’s just an empty shell unless you can entice people to visit. Once again, innovative booking is key. A first-rate booking team needs to have a good working knowledge of quality, interesting and eclectic music in a variety of genres, researching what’s out there in person and not depending on promoters to put together client packages. And because you’ll now be competing with the D-PAC, the job just got harder. Any savvy venue is going to want some kind of clause in a contract that keeps the artist currently appearing from booking another show in the area for a time period up to several months to ensure that the show draws well, so piggybacking off Durham is not an option. In addition, some sources have postulated that the D-PAC and clubs in the Triangle area succeed because the clientele is better educated and more affluent with more disposable income. That stings, but the plethora of fancy electronic and mechanical toys (cars and such) Greensborians have on display, as well as the McMansions squatting ponderously across the landscape belie the monetary concerns. And as for education, that’s the job of the promoter and the publicist. Even the laziest sum bitch in town will get up off his recliner if properly motivated with an interesting act for the right price at the right time. Greensboro is hosting the free National Folk Festival this fall, and with more than thirty groups performing on seven stages over three days, that should be a motivating factor, a potential launching point for revival. But here again, that’s only a start. City Stage was free too, and attracted a lot of people, but it never put rear ends in seats in area clubs around the area. Local venues will have to use their imaginations to take advantage of the situation to get a festival headliner to do a more intimate show for a lower price since they are already in town, or take a chance and book a bigger headliner in the genre to enhance the festival experience. With the way UNCG is putting up student housing, you’d think that college kids might be a big part of the musical scene. But there’s not much evidence of their support. “They’re probably college kids out there that want alternatives, but there’s not much being offered up for them,” Bobby Kelly says. “The Blind Tiger’s trying to do their best to make that happen. I gotta give (booker) Don “Doc” Beck credit for trying to be open to about anything. They sure have let us old folks be in there on Sunday afternoons occasionally to do benefits and unusual shows.” Brother Pat Kelly also gives a shout out to a long time champion of local talent. “Burley Hayes is still doing Somewhere Else Tavern, giving these kids a chance to go out and give it a try.” But all this stuff is no good unless you cooperate. Due to its outstanding slackness in the area of musical entertainment, there’s an unofficial new slogan for this town: “Greensboro, North Carolina: You get used to it.” If you have a problem with that, and you really want musical change, prove it. Vote with your asses and your feet. Get out of the house and go out and support live music. If not, the day the music died is not something that happened in the past. It’s your legacy and your future, day after day. OH

Los Lobos

Jason and The Scorchers

The Violent Femmes

Grant Britt is not dead, but the stress of stalking live music in this town makes him appear undead. You can save him. Support live music and breathe life into his pallid musical soul. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

June 2015

O.Henry 69

Blues to Greens

In an unexpected community garden that grew up around an old oak stump, a beloved Gate City Jazz master’s vision came to life By Logie Meachum Photographs by Amy Freeman

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or over twenty years I have gone across the street from my house and planted a garden. As a young man, I helped my Uncle Henry plant that same garden. Years ago when I was a child, I delighted at helping my grandfather, Norman Chavis, plow the ground with his old mule so that Uncle Henry and my Aunt Annie Maude could raise a patch on that ground. For years, my father plowed it with his tractor and my family raised good vegetables there. Last year, I grew one of my best gardens in that spot with gladiolas, sunflowers and vegetables of all descriptions and sizes. At the end of the season when I had planted greens and was merely waiting for the first frost and Thanksgiving, I had a vision of expanding to a one-acre plot down the street where we could grow bigger and better. As spring approached, I started making plans. In my front yard, I had an old oak stump that I wanted gone. James Cooke, who’d been removing stumps at local Reynolds Chapel Baptist Church, brought a rented stump removing machine and dug up the stump and its roots. I didn’t know what to do with it and we didn’t have a truck to haul it off. I had an idea that made no sense to brother Cooke. I told him to take his machine and use it to walk the stump down the street to the one-acre plot and put it on the edge of the garden so that it overlooked the dying brown grasses that stood sentinel during the winter months. He did just that and looked at me as if I had lost my mind. I gave him some cash and a cold beer and his disgust with my nonsense disappeared.
 The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 71

Edward D. Finley, Logie Meachum, Daniel Webster, Natassia & Allen Cave

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Christmas came and went and the little half-acre plot nearer my house gave us the last of its greens, onions, sweet potatoes and jalapeño peppers that seem to grow all year. In February, I plowed it up to lie fallow for a while and piled leaves from the yard and clippings on top of it to enrich next year’s crop. Often, I walked down to the old oak stump and just stood there. I worked for Dr. Harold Martin when he was at Winston-Salem State University and on campus there is a clock tower that bears an inscription that is his legacy. The final statement of that inspirational note requests of all who read it, particularly young students and faculty, to “Imagine the possibilities.” All winter long, I did just that. I thought of just what to do with that acre plot and my greatest concern was what to do about the deer who came out and imagined what might be growing there soon while I was at home in bed at night asleep. They already had a vision too. Lately, no matter what you grow, you better count on sharing the bounty with deer, groundhogs, rabbits, and neighbors, who have been watching your envisioning, but are not prone to get up early and confront the necessities of manual, tedious, red-dirt vegetable gardening. And what about that Carolina red clay dirt? If you want an agricultural challenge, decide to grow a garden in that stuff that turns to Boren brick once it gets wet and the sun comes out to bake it — and your seeds — before they start to grow. I had some gentlemen who had come here all the way from Lebanon stop by one day and ask me, “How you get food to grow in that hard red dirt?” Family tradition was all I could say. Of course, if you know me, you know I will share a bounty, so I told him my secret. “You gotta hold your mouth just right and stand up straight when you plant your seeds or they won’t grow.” It must have worked because I have not seen him since. March came and after my Uncle Oscar Chavis and I spent all of January replacing a clutch in the old Ford tractor, I went across the street to plow my half acre for the traditional garden and then headed down the street to what we now proudly refer to as “The Old Oak Stump Garden.” I plowed it wide and deep with a walking and working path down the middle. Sitting there in the middle of the Woodyside Community where I grew up, this freshly plowed ground became a community conversation piece. Folks from everywhere came out to solicit a plot on which to try their green thumbs and little fingers. If you grow in red dirt, you better have more than a thumb on your side. Unfortunately, few of those winter farmers could be found when the March invitation turned into a rather warm April sun. There is something to be said for those folks who opt to forget digging in red dirt and buy from Harris Teeter and Walmart. Standing in the June and July sun while these folks watch The Young and The Restless with their mouths full of Walmart food, somehow they just seem smarter. But I’m not gardening for genius. I just want to have some food that has nothing in it but red dirt and sweat. Danny Webster, a childhood friend, had just lost his mother and I had recently lost my mind. We were a perfect fit. Together, we started creating what would turn into one of the best gardens in Guilford County last season. Jesus said in Matthew 17, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” For both Danny and myself, at that moment life itself seemed an impossibility. For me, continuing to breathe was seemingly too much trouble in this crazy world of 2014. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

We decided our first crop at the top of the garden would be mustard, turnips, kale and collards. A single mustard seeds is almost too small to be visible. But if you take that little bag of seed and spread it out over fertile ground, a delightful harvest will be your reward. One of our neighbors came out and planted a section that grew beautifully and we were proud of our labors as we watched God’s promise grow. Others saw the pictures we posted on Facebook and dropped by to say hello from time to time. We had challenges with water and deer and crazy neighbors but throughout the summer, our garden turned into more than we could ever have imagined. In addition, life itself seemed to show us that no matter what people are doing to make you crazy, God’s gifts in nature can make you whole. Danny canned beans and pickled squash, and made blackberry wine and pie. My mother and father called relatives from all quadrants to come by and get a bag of this and a bag of that. People we didn’t know stopped to get squash and potatoes because they could see from the street that their blooms and fruit were so plentiful and pretty. One of my greatest delights was observing the Carolina yellow finches as they darted back and forth between sunflowers that stood 10 feet tall. And yes, the deer and other critters ate some, but we seemed to have increase in spite of all kinds of critters, two- or four-legged, who came to raid The Old Oak Stump Garden. As Thanksgiving approached, we’d come full circle. In September, again we planted mustard, kale, collards and creasy greens. Nothing makes a fall and winter household smell as good as the scent of a pot of greens bubbling away in the kitchen. Cook some cornbread and call it a day. By winter, much of the garden was covered with nature’s painted brush of morning glories and still blossoming marigolds that Danny planted to keep insects away. Some folks came and picked greens for GHOE (Greatest Homecoming on Earth, for you uninitiated) while others were picking and freezing, anticipating a tasty Thanksgiving dinner. Danny moved into a new home with his wife in Madison where he is now planning and planting in his own soil, and I have invited college students from UNCG to join in and they have planted carrots and greens of their own for a winter harvest and in anticipation of a chance to grow spring crops in The Old Oak Stump Garden this coming season. The deer still come at night and nibble on this or that, and once again, I find myself standing in quiet reminiscent moments considering the coming season. I watched with the faith of a mustard seed this year. My heart and life were greatly affected by the adventure of gardening and community. My mountains were moved and in the solace of sweat in the hot sun and squash cooking on a kitchen stove, I found once again all the reasons to know that God and life are good. Are you struggling to find sanity in a world gone Ebola and ISIS crazy? Are you unsure of what is and what ain’t in a world of smart phones and dumb people? Have you reached your wit’s end with family and friends who seem consumed by a spiritual and mental cancer that is not killing but is definitely making good people crazy? Go find you a spot of red dirt and, in the words of Dr. Harold Martin, “Consider the possibilities” of a mustard seed. OH Although storyteller and blues singer Lorenzo “Logie” Meachum is the recipient of an O.Henry award for his contributions to arts and culture, only O.Henry magazine has recognized his skills as a gardener. June 2015

O.Henry 73

Mangum Opus North Carolina’s celebrated artist brings his homey touch to his native Sandhills By Deborah Salomon


ongs were named for New York, Chicago, San Francisco. Nashville scored on TV. Philadelphia brought home two Oscars. And now Southern Pines, the furniture collection designed by “North Carolina’s artist” William Mangum and produced by Klaussner Home Furnishings of Asheboro, scored at the High Point Market. But an artist, stooping to tables and chairs, headboards and cupboards? Picasso painted on ceramic plates. Architect Frank Gehry designed chairs. Leonardo DaVinci drew plans for the first food processor. Besides, home goods, like art, often reflect society, from unrelenting Shaker practicality to the gilded curlicues of Louis XIV. Interesting — but hardly Bill Mangum’s impetus. In an era when the Tar Heel trinity of tobacco, textiles and furniture has withered away, Mangum seeks to refocus attention on the state. His first collection, Carolina Preserves, introduced in 2013, featured the Blue Ridge (mountains) and Sea Breeze (coast) groupings. Bill credits its success to name recognition — his. To seal the deal, Bill will even paint a landscape in size and mode to hang over a Mangum breakfront. His choice to call the new collection Southern Pines has personal significance. Bill was born in Pinehurst, survived a bumpy childhood in Fayetteville and elsewhere but found his purpose at Sandhills Community College. “I was a terrible student in high school — SCC was the only place that would take me.” Here, a series of instructors inspired him to produce art in several forms.

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“I went from the bottom of the class to the dean’s list,” he says, Later, at UNCG, he discovered watercolors, still his favorite medium. Photorealism best expressed his desire to picture, in fine detail, North Carolina’s land and seascapes. Bill’s use of light has been compared to 17th century Dutch painter Jan Vermeer. His favorites are Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent. However, this Tar Heel had no desire to don the “starving artist” mantle. Furniture, in collaboration with Klaussner, might expand his brand and profits. Licensing isn’t new: Other companies produce collections bearing the names of Arnold Palmer, Ernest Hemingway, fellow-N.C. artist Bob Timberlake, even Humphrey Bogart. Coming soon for country music fans, Klaussner’s The Trisha Yearwood Home Collection. Klaussner suited Bill because it was “right down the road” from his Greensboro home and gallery, also that the upholstered pieces are made in North Carolina, while others are constructed from American woods shipped to a one-million square foot factory in Vietnam. He visited the plant: “The raw wood goes in one side and the finished piece comes out the other. Klaussner told me they never had anybody as intimately involved in production.” This includes choosing woods, finishes, hardware, creating and tweaking design; one piece — a kitchen island, morphs into a bar, gate-leg table, wine rack and storage shelves. Some pieces duplicate the practical yet stylish furniture in Mangum’s The Art & Soul of Greensboro

home. And it’s not for nothing that he has thirty years of experience in publicity and marketing: “I understand color, balance and scale,” he says. The affiliation with Southern Pines/Pinehurst holds another attraction, similar to Pebble Beach, where Bill lectures, socializes and paints golfscapes — obvious high-end souvenirs. His furniture line, however, is priced mid-range. Jacquard fabrics on the upholstered pieces interpret his paintings. He suggested pine cone and dogwood motifs — “a rich cottage feel” in wide-plank head and footboards; the dining table has gun-and-Bible drawers, common in the days when the father might defend his family during a mealtime attack or read scripture at Sunday dinner. Drawers now store cutlery and table linens. Southern touches like piecrust table tops and zinc sideboard surfaces continue the authenticity. Bill named pieces from the Southern Pines line Weymouth, Pinebluff, Whispering Pines, Loblolly, Westend, Forest Creek and Pine Needles. If Carolina Preserves scored a home run, Southern Pines has been a grand slam at showrooms, Bill says. The collection hit the retail market this month. The Mangum touch has also been licensed to other companies producing occasional tables, nightstands and rugs. His revamped Greensboro The Art & Soul of Greensboro

gallery, in a suburban strip center, is staged to illustrate how his paintings blend with the furniture. “Bill has been very fortunate to make a living [with his art] and also make an impact on Greensboro [with his charitable works],” says long-time assistant Joy Ross. Tall, lanky, soft-spoken, intense, Bill doesn’t fit the artsy stereotype. He appreciates being known for business acumen, also as a promoter, on canvas and in wood, of his home state. “I would starve to death in New Mexico,” Bill says. “North Carolina is an artist’s paradise — the colors, the diversity of topography and four seasons. I adore my state and capture it in every way possible.” OH William Mangum’s Greensboro gallery is celebrating the 40th anniversary of his art career until June 20 with a show that features seventy original works of art, Mangum’s new line of furniture and a tour of his revamped gallery. William Mangum Fine Art, 2146 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 379-9200 or williammangum.com Anyone who’s tasted them is urging Deborah Salomon to introduce her own line of baked goods. We suggest she call them Ms. Debbie Cakes. June 2015

O.Henry 75

Perfectly Pastel From the Age of Degas comes a

divine exhibit of Old North State artists


he names of just some of the paintings — Purple Mountain Majesty, Blue Ridge Clouds, Shades of Solitude, Going Fishing, Golden Sunshine, Morning Sky and Valley Pines — hint at what’s in store for anyone who catches an ongoing exhibition of pastels painted by North Carolina artists. But anticipating what people say about how many words a picture is worth, we decided to give you a glimpse of just a few of the works in On Common Ground: Pastel Paintings From the Mountains to the Sea. What’s neat about the exhibit is how painters from all three North Carolina societies — The Appalachian Pastel Society (www.appalachianpastelsociety.org), The Piedmont Pastel Society (www.piedmontpastelsociety.org) and the Pastel Society of North Carolina (www. pastelsocietyofnc.com) — have gotten together to hold one show featuring winners of their annual statewide juried competition. The best news of all is that it’s in Greensboro this year at The Art Shop, 3900 West Market Street, (336) 855-8500 or www.artshopnc.com. On display through June 16, the exhibit features pastels from artists from all over the state, a number of them from the Gate City. And just in case your art history is a little rusty, our beautifully bound Britannica says pastel is “a dry drawing medium executed with fragile, finger-size sticks . . . made of powdered pigments combined with a minimum of nongreasy binder.” It adds that the medium of pastels were “revitalized in the last third of the 19th century by the artist Edgar Degas.” Art historians generally agree that pastels reached their zenith in the age of Degas, but those critics obviously didn’t have the advantage of seeing the works of the North Carolina artists on display here. OH

Nancy Marshburn l Radish Family Davidson

James Smythe l Dairy Barn Gate Sylva

Kathy Brown l Last of Fall Apples Stoneville

Kathy Tice Phillips l Salem Lake Greensboro

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Carolyn Young l Games People Play Greensboro

Regina Burchett l Higher Kannapolis The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Judith Harron l Early Spring Greensboro

Cathy Ann Burgess l Blue Ridge Hillside Hendersonville

Verna Hash l Martha Indian Trail

Walter Sanford l The Eagle Owl Kannapolis

Lynette Bettini l A Bit of Sunshine Jamestown

Arlene Daniel l Reading Winston-Salem Anthony Hedrick l Asher Tega Cay

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

June 2015

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Story of a House

Kudzu Hill At the darkest moment of their married life, Dwight and Becky Thomas climbed a county hill and found exactly what they needed — home at last By David Claude Bailey • Photographs by Amy Freeman


s the sun backlights the soft, cottony green of the newly budding trees, the view from Kudzu Hill is luminescent. Sitting in the afternoon light that spills onto her cozy sun porch, Becky Thomas cradles her mug of tea in both hands as she recalls when she and her husband, Dwight Thomas, climbed Kudzu Hill and first set eyes on a run-down ranch house that a friend had offered to rent them. “It was carpeted with Howard Johnson orange carpet,” she recalls. Between the dark carpeting and the low ceiling was cheap Luan paneling, dark as dirt. And then there was “the hideous wallpaper. It was awful.” Dwight Thomas, though, immediately fell for the setting, a serene, remote hilltop, jungled with kudzu, high above Fleming Road on the outskirts of Greensboro. He immediately began clearing Before: circa 1992 away the tangle of undergrowth and formulating plans for renovating the house. “He moved up here and loved it . . . I didn’t know if I could do it,” Debby says as she recalls having to hunker down during renovations in one room with Dwight, three dogs and a dorm refrigerator. Then again, she reflects, “It was a roof over our heads.” Nowadays, the rustic-shingled roof over the Thomases’ head covers a striking

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palisade of Romanesque arches on one level, echoed by arched windows on the second floor. On twenty acres of green rolling lawn, seemingly high above the rest of the world, the two of them have created a spacious, light-filled eyrie, a 6,300-square-foot monument to their shared dreams, despite Becky’s initial hesitancy to embrace it. “We got up here and Dwight said, ‘This is where I want to stay.’” And so they did. How they got there involves good times, hard times and a sweet story about how a city boy fell in love with a country girl — and then fell in love with country living. Becky Thomas grew up on a farm where she helped her parents, Howard and Beulah Thornburg, raise chickens. “I learned to drive on a tractor,” she says, and went to school in, yes, Farmer, North Carolina, not far from Asheboro. She delivered eggs as a teenager to Mitchell’s Super Market, where it just so happened Dwight Thomas worked. “He was behind the counter, and we’d just grin at each other.” Says Dwight, “I remember making the comment, I’m going to date that girl one day.” But Dwight lived — and went to school — in Asheboro, where his daddy ran a string of saw mills. Still, over the years he kept running into Becky — on the street, at a high school social studies fair and at the First National Bank, where The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Whether under the pergola on the patio or under the grapevines’ arbor, swinging in the breeze is one of the Thomases’ favorite pastimes.

she worked one summer. “I made the mistake of telling my brother about her,” says Dwight. “You call that a mistake,” Becky says, taking another sip of her tea. “Let me finish the story,” says her husband, explaining that after seeing her crossing the street one day the summer after their freshman year in college. He called her up, under much pressure from his brother Morris “I said, ‘I can’t go because my grandmother’s sick,’” Becky says. “That was about the worst excuse I’ve ever heard,” says Dwight — until he ran into one of Becky’s girlfriends and found out that family members were sitting up with Becky’s grandmother around the clock. “My brother wouldn’t let up, so I called her and we went to a movie.” “Hole in the Head,” Becky deadpans. Starring Frank Sinatra and Eleanor Parker, to most people it’s a forgettable romantic comedy but not for the Thomases: “From that night on, it was nonstop,” says Becky. “ I basically fell for him right from the beginning. I just knew.” Not one to get all syrupy, Dwight Thomas observes, “By that age, you know what you’re looking for, and if the shoe fits, wear it.” After high school, Becky attended Flora McDonald College in Red Springs. Dwight went to Guilford College and, after meeting her, made the drive to Robeson County nearly every weekend. By August, he’d had enough driving back and forth, so he dropped in on Charlie Hendricks, then Guilford’s director of admissions, and explained Becky’s interest in transferring. It was only a week before classes started. “We don’t have room for her,” Hendricks told Thomas, “but tell her to come on. We’ll put her in the infirmary.” Although their parents weren’t enthusiastic about the idea, “We got married the summer between our freshman and sophomore years of college,” Becky says. “My parents loved Dwight to death, but they thought I’d never finish.” Living in the Frazier Apartments on campus, Dwight worked for the college’s PR department, took pictures for the year book and shot weddings on the side. Becky worked summers in a bank. Even though Dwight’s father died after his senior year, the couple graduated without having to borrow a cent. “We paid every dime of it,” Dwight says. “I did forty some weddings one summer.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro

After graduating, Becky taught home economics for several years — at Western Guilford, Walkertown and then Page. After his father’s death, Dwight worked on closing down his sawmill business. Although he contemplated dental school, Dwight eventually landed a job as a salesman for Allen Signs in 1964 and soon completely forgot about other people’s dentition. It seemed as if selling signs was what he’d been put on the planet to do, and within a few years, he and some partners bought Robert Cole Signs and changed the name to Graphicon. They launched their company at a time when corporations began branding themselves with signage featuring huge, three-dimensional cast-aluminum letters — brushed, anodized or painted — in response to the Modernist movement’s emphasis on bold, minimalist, direct communication. Thomas and his partners got in on the ground floor of this trend, custom-making signs for banks, corporations, nonprofits and schools. “We did signs for Jefferson-Standard, John. S. Clark, P. Lorillard, Greensboro College, you name it,” says Thomas. He says it really helped that he was a college grad and could hold his own in corporate suites, unlike some others in the sign business. By 1979, he had sole control of Graphicon and was, in a word he certainly wouldn’t use, tonning it. As he traveled all over North Carolina selling signs, Thomas took the back roads so he could scour the countryside for what he called his treasures. Most people would call what he brought home junk. “You have to get out in the older, smaller towns — into barns, chicken houses, old dry goods stores, in old woodsheds,” he told Southern Living magazine when they did a story about the imposing Colonial style house Thomas built in 1975. “We decided to build a house large enough to accommodate all the things we had collected over the years,” he says. Taking a page from — and a lot of liberty with — the architecture of Williamsburg and Deerfield, Massachussets, Thomas contracted a rambling, gabled two-story house, faced with redwood, unlike any other abode, anywhere. His vision was to make it seem 100 years old. Massive 12-inch heart-pines beams from an old fertilizer plant crisscrossed the family room. The Thomases’ three children padded across floors literally a century old, salvaged from old Mount Hope Church. The brick came from a graveyard in Salisbury. In addition to pots, pans, china, enamelware and baskets, the house was June 2015

O.Henry 79

chock-a-block with Dwight’s eclectic collectibles — chains, pulleys, a watering trough, a buggy seat, primitive furniture, a butter churn and a calf weaner. The tone was unmistakably masculine. “Everybody oohed and aahed over it because nobody had done anything like it,” Dwight says. “That was my dream house.” But was it Becky’s dream house? “She grew to like it,” he says a little sheepishly. “I learned to love it,” replies Becky with grace. But as we all know, dreams are ephemeral and have a way of slipping away from us. Through a series of financial setbacks due to the economy and a heart attack Dwight suffered, the Thomases’ dream house slipped away from them. “Those were not good times,” Becky recalls. Dwight’s father had had a heart attack at age 44 and died when he was 47. Dwight’s heart attack came on December 1, 1983, also at age 44. “I just wanted to get to 48,” Thomas says. “I was already a workaholic who stayed stressed out all the time,” he says. After the heart attack, the pressure of having twenty employees, three kids and a wife, all reliant on him, was crushing. Anyone

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who has ever had a heart attack knows that. “Nothing is the same,” he says. “What you eat; how you sleep; where you go; and what you do” In 2004, he had quintuple bypass surgery. In the meantime, his sign business was facing hard economic times and heavy competition. On top of that, Thomas took over a furniture plant from a relative. “I put $400,000 cash into it in thirty-six months and couldn’t wait to get out of it.” The stress was, quite literally, killing him: “I used to sit at my desk until 10 or 11 or 12 at night, all stressed out, trying to get certain things finished and I could feel it tightening up. I don’t do that any more.” In 1992, Thomas says he finally decided to downsize everything: “I didn’t go bankrupt. I didn’t go broke. I just shut it all down.” Says Becky, “We lost the house because we had no other choice.” The friend who rented them the house on Kudzu Hill was longtime Greensboro businessman and the Thomases’ friend Howard Clark. “He was a life-saver,” Dwight says. “He convinced me that this is what I needed to do. He The Art & Soul of Greensboro

When her decorator suddently moved away, Becky Thomas discovered her considerable gift for making a home light, airy and inviting while accommodating her husband’s collectibles.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

June 2015

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Becky’s grandmother’s chair surround a farm table that she salvaged and refinished. knew I was stressed out over the ordeal.” Despite the cramped living quarters while the house was being renovated, Becky immediately saw that Kudzu Hill was just what her husband needed: “He got up here and started working and clearing out the vines and it took his mind off everything else.” Thomas had another business he’d just started up that he didn’t shut down, Thomas Gourmet Foods, which makes the eponymous Thomas Sauce. As a kid delivering papers, Thomas remembers stopping by his Uncle Arthur’s restaurant in North Asheboro, a little hole in the wall named the King Tut, where he’d slather an orangish sauce made from a family recipe on barbecue sandwiches. Years later, when Thomas was the first president of the nearby Cardinal Country Club, he made a batch of it for a July 4 barbecue supper. After people began telling him he ought to bottle the stuff, he did just that in 1984 and the company has grown ever since. Greensboro-based Fresh Market was one of the first stores to realize Thomas Sauce’s potential. Boston Market in its hey day bought thousands of gallons to put on their meat loaf. As the company, which now offers more than a dozen products and is managed by the Thomases’ son, Dwight Clifford Thomas Jr., prospered, Dwight decided to totally renovate the house on Kudzu Hill. “We tore the old house down to the subfloor,” he says, contracting the work himself and developing the plans with major help from architect J. Hyatt Hammond. The footprint of the house was enlarged to add on a sun porch and a living room. The roof was raised three feet so the ceilings weren’t so low. Most of all, windows were added and the interior opened up so that the house is light, airy, comfortable and modern, almost the antithesis of their previous house. “I

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give Hammond credit for helping me envision what I wanted,” Dwight says. Did Dwight Thomas learn any lessons from building his first house? “I certainly learned one thing: She didn’t want that again,” he says, smiling at her. “We wanted it open and airy to take advantage of the surroundings and the hillside. It’s much more livable and comfortable than the other house,” he admits. Although Thomas concepted the exterior, he gave Becky free range on decorating the interior. “The decorating stuff, she’s got that down,” Dwight says. “I totally got out of the way.” When the interior decorator that the Thomases were using moved out of state a few weeks into the project, Becky took over. Proudly taking visitors on a tour of the house, she points out family heirlooms, like the dining room chairs that belonged to her grandmother. Lowering her voice, she says, “Dwight says they’re uncomfortable and let’s get other chairs. I just can’t let them go.” Nearby is a cherished family chest onto which her father, as a boy, scratched his initials. In the kitchen is a flour bin that belonged to her family. Tour the same rooms with Dwight and the curator of collectibles will point out the thirty-some clocks — Waltham, Sessions, Seth Thomas, Ingraham — that tick and tock and chime in contrapuntal cacophony. “All of them run,” he says. The three bedrooms are almost a museum dedicated to Greensboro-crafted Benbow Reproductions’ furniture: “This is a really unusual bed,” he says. “Mrs. Benbow only made four of them.” In one room is the oldest radio in Guilford County, a 33-volt Sears Silvertone. In the kitchen is a collection of blue-andwhite porcelain enamelware and Jugtown pottery. But what’s really winning about the house is how perfect it is for entertaining, The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Clocks, blue porcelain enamelware, quilts, baskets and pottery are showcased throughout the house.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The soft light invites a leisurely breakfast in bed — and what a bed, crafted by Greensboro’s Benbow Reproductions. with its openness and flow from room to room. Multiple doors beckon guests onto a patio, lush with verdant potted plants and inviting porch furniture, where Becky, Dwight and their guests spend hours enjoying the view and conversation. And unlike a lot of other houses that seem to be made to be seen rather than lived in, the Thomases’ house does not contain any hint of formality or stiffness. The seating areas are open and comfy. The furnishings are carefully chosen, but also highly personal, each with its own backstory. Looking out into the distance on a glorious spring day, the two of them reflect on their tale of two houses. Dwight reflects that the first day they climbed Kudzu Hill, “We had no idea where we were going,” he says. But over time he says they

realized, “We were already there.” Looking back onto their darkest hour, Becky says, “At the time it happened, you’re devastated, but when things fall into place, you think maybe there was a reason for it all.” Sitting with the two of them, sipping tea and looking out into the verdant distance, the voice of Mick Jagger comes to mind: “You can’t always get what you want,” he crooned, “But sometime you might get what you need.” OH O.Henry’s senior editor David Bailey buys — and consumes — barbecue sauce by the gallon.

Life & Home

Melissa Greer Realtor / Broker, GRI, CRS

Chairman’s Circle Diamond Award 2014 Chairman’s Circle Platinum Award 2013 Chairman’s Circle Gold Award 2010, 2011, 2012

336.337.5233 www.melissagreer.com melissa@melissagreer.com

Beautiful brick home in fabulous condition on attractive quiet cul-de-sac in desirable New Irving Park! Incredible landscaping! Back yard is a scenic oasis with privacy fencing, custom brick patio, deck and fish pond! Backs up to natural space with gate to walking trail. Renovated kitchen with attractive finishes and breakfast area opens to large den with fireplace. Master BR with tray ceiling and deluxe bath with jetted tub and seperate shower. 3rd floor set up for 5th BR, bonus and full bath. Originally built by Gary Jobe. Incredible detail and quality throughout!!!!

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Gracious brick home on desirable street in Irving Park. Spacious living room with fireplace. Dining room has pretty hardwood floors. Bright kitchen with breakfast area. Cozy family room with raised hearth fireplace opens to attractive sunroom overlooking beautifully landscaped backyard and deck. Perfect space for future garage on large parking pad. Large Master BR has private bath and big walk in closet. Upstairs walk in attic features great expansion possibilities. Incredible charm and meticulously maintained. A must see!!! The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Southeast’s Double Bass Specialists

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June 2015

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Life & Home

Empowering Dreams. Embracing Legacies.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows, Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine, With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine: There sleeps Titania sometime of the night, Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight;” Oberon, Act II, Scene I, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. By Rosetta Fawley

Don’t forget Father’s Day on June 21. It’s also the Summer Solstice. Make a weekend of it. Take your father to Sweden, where you can celebrate Midsummer at the same time, dancing round the maypole and feasting on herring and new potatoes, strawberries, beer and schnapps. Learn a drinking song or three. Head for the north and party there — the sun will stay up for the whole weekend. Or stay in the Americas and go to the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico, where you can gaze at Lord Leighton’s masterpiece Flaming June.

Mr. Toad’s Abode

Keep an eye out for June bugs, also known as green June beetles. As their name suggests, the adults start to appear in June. It’s a little early for rotting fruit, which is their favorite food, but the grubs can wreak havoc on a lawn. Insecticide is an option, but the Almanac is fond of insects and all who feast on them — who wants a silent summer? — and does not condone these methods. Attract frogs and toads, the gardener’s best friends, to your garden instead. Build a toad abode; it’s as simple as upturning a ceramic pot in a shady spot on the dirt. Balance it on a rock or two so the toad has an entrance and place a saucer of water nearby if you don’t have a pond. It’s easy to make a small pond to attract frogs. A sunken galvanized pail or tub of water will work if space is at a premium. Add rocks and plant native vegetation so the frogs can get in and out easily and have a little shade. Small snakes (don’t scream, they eat vermin) like vegetation too, as do lizards, green anoles, skinks and toads. Plant densely and try to choose native varieties, which will do better than imports and require less maintenance. Keep brush and arrange it in small piles to make cozy homes for reptiles. Don’t throw away rocks but arrange them nearby in a sunny spot to give your new friends somewhere to bask. For more details visit ncwildlife. org. At night, enjoy the chorus.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Butterflies Are Free

Another reason to put away the pesticides? It’s National Butterfly Education and Awareness Day on June 6. Back to those native plants — butterflies have evolved to thrive on the nectar of their environment. Try to plant so that your garden flowers through the spring, summer and fall, and remember that butterflies like to feed in the sun. Consult The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center website to find the best native plants for butterflies in North Carolina: www.wildflower.org/collections. The Almanac’s favorite choice for this month is, naturally, the Juneberry.

June’s Main Man

“I first heard of [Johnny Cash] through Elvis Presley. Elvis would make me go into these little cafes and listen to John [on the jukebox] when we played in the South in the Carolinas and all down through Florida and Georgia. Then, one night backstage at the Opry, this man walked up to me and said, ‘I want to meet you, I’m Johnny Cash.’ And I said, ‘Well, I oughta know who you are. Elvis can’t even tune his guitar unless he goes, ‘Everybody knows where you go when the sun goes down.’” June Carter Cash

Birthday Boys

Happy birthday to Johnny Depp, star of Benny and Joon. Mr. Depp celebrates his birthday on June 9. Also born on that date: Tsar Peter the Great (1672–1725), Cole Porter (1891–1964), Jackie Wilson (1934–1984), Donald Duck (1934) and Eric Hobsbawm (1917–2012).

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June 2015 Fairy Tale

Food Fight! 7/ 6/

1- 7

Jonathan Brilliant On-Site 6/ 8/

18-21 19- 20


June 1

Sueyoshi: Sculptural Clay. Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. (336) 333-7460 or greenhillnc.org.

June 3

Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

June 1–21

Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

AUTHORS, AUTHORS. 7 p.m. Meet Saralee • Stafford and Neal Shirlee, authors of Dixie Be Damned.

June 1–July 7

FOOD FIGHT! Will Undercurrent deliver a K.O. • to the Screaming Radish? Will Graze best The Iron

Hen? Will Gia emerge the victor? Triad chefs square off at Got to Be N.C. Dining Competition Series. Benton Convention Center, 301 West Fifth Street, WinstonSalem. Tickets: competitiondining.com/events/triad.

June 1–September 4

YANKEES VS. REB SOCKS. A register from the • Barbee Hotel, letters from Camp Fisher . . . these are just a couple of artifacts from Glimpses of High Point During the Civil War. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

June 1–10

CLAYMAKERS. Last chance to catch the work of • two North Carolina potters at Daniel Johnston/Hiroshi

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SHUTTERBUGS. Innovative techniques among mid-20th-century photographers are on view at Observed/Examined/Fabricated: Recent Acquisitions in Photography. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

June 2

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet John Batchelor, • longtime restaurant critic for Greensboro's News and Record and author of Chefs on the Coast: Restaurants and Recipes from the North Carolina Coast. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

AUTHORS, AUTHORS. 7 p.m. Meet poets Karol • Neufeld (Azarel’s Wings) and Kelly Cherry. Scuppernong

June 4

WAR-BLERS. 8 p.m. It’s summer; summertime is • here, and there’s no reason why you can’t be friends with 1970s funk and R&B band War. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 3332605 or carolinatheatre.com.

STRUNG UP. 7:30–10:30 p.m. Join the Piedmont • Old Time Society for some pickin’ and grinnin’. Gibbs

Hundred Brewing Company, 117 West Lewis Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-7087 or gibbshundred.com.

June 4–7

HOPPERS HERE. NewBridge Bank Park, 408 BY GEORGE! 7:30–8:45 a.m. Commemorate our first • • Bellemeade Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 268-2255 president’s stop at Dobson’s Tavern in Kernersville 225 years ago at “Breakfast with Washington,” which includes a talk by Dean Norton, director of horticulture at Mount Vernon. Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, 215 South Main Street, Kernersville. Tickets: cienerbotanicalgarden.org.


•• •

•• •


Art Music/Concerts Performing arts Film Literature/Speakers Fun History Sports The Art & Soul of Greensboro

June Arts Calendar June 5

FROSTY FRIDAY. 6 p.m. It’s First Friday, so drink • up at downtown’s “drink-in” beer store. Beer Co., 121-D West McGee Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-2204.

AUTHORS, AUTHORS. 7 p.m. Meet Okla Elliott • and Raul Clement, authors of The Doors You Mark Are Your Own. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

LEON-HEART. 8 p.m. He’s been so many places in his life and time. That would be singer/songwriter/ Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Leon Russell. Cone Denim Entertainment Center. 117 South Elm Street. Tickets: cdecgreensboro.com.

LET’S DANCE! 10 p.m.–1 a.m. Throw down to tunes spun by DJ Jessica Mashburn at a first Friday popup dance party. Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 379-0699 or printworksbistro.com.

June 6

VISUAL AND VERBAL. 10 a.m.–Noon. Hear • writers’ works inspired by works of art at a workshop

sponsored by Triad Writers Group of the Triad. Creative Center, 900 Sixteenth Street, Greensboro. Info: triadwriters.org.

Greensboro. Tickets: greensborocolseum.com.

June 6–August 23

FREEZE FRAMES. Candid moments are caught • in the images in Interludes: Discovered Moments. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon. uncg.edu.

June 7

WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS. Noon–5 p.m. • Where else “recreates the sights, scenes, sounds and

smells of a spring afternoon in Paris” than the Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden, 3211 West Cornwallis Drive, Greensboro? Info: greensborobeautiful.org.

MUSIC IN THE PARK. 6 p.m. There’s nothing bland about Blandwood, when Wally West Little Big Band strikes up the tunes for the first in the MUSEP Concert Series. Blandwood Mansion, 447 West Washington Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2489 or greensboro-nc.gov.

June 7–28

FULL COURT PRESS. Triad Stage stages Common Enemy, an original play by founder Preston Lane about fierce rivalries that occur during March Madness basketball season. The Pyrle, 232 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0169 or triadstage.org.

June 9

IN VINO VERITAS. Noon–6 p.m. Raise a glass — or HOT SEAT. 7 p.m. It put the bullet into the • • two — at Salute! a festival celebrating North Carolina Western film genre. Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles rides

June 12–30

FUN, FUNKY & FABULOUUS. That’s the name • of an exhibition of mosaics, jewelry and painting — and

more by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Irving Park Art & Frame, 2105-A Cornwallis Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-6717 or irvingparkartandframe.com.

June 12–13

GLORIOUS BASS-TERDS. 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. See if • local bass fishermen can resist the, er, lure of professional angler Sabrina Thompson of Houston, while kids catch catfish at a celebration of National Fishing Week. Lake Higgins, 4235 Hamburg Road, Greensboro. To register: (336) 373-3739.

June 13

WOO WHO? 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Put your little foot • right out and learn some 18th- and early 19th-century

country dances and courting rituals. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

KINDERMUSIK. 2 p.m. & 5 p.m. Let your tykes get • their groove on as the Kidz Bop Kids bring their “Make Some Noise” tour to town. Carolina Theater, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

PLAY BALL(ROOM)! 6 p.m. Watch the twinkling • toes of local celebs, Mayor Nancy Vaughan, Olympic speed skater Joey Cheek, among others at Arc of Greensboro’s fundraiser, Dancing on the Diamond. Newbridge Bank Park, 408 Bellemeade Street, Greensboro. Tickets: arcg.org.

wines. West Fourth Street between Spring and Marshall Streets, downtown Winston-Salem. Tickets: salutencwine.com.

again. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Ticktes: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

June 11

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet poet Valerie • Nieman who will read from her collection, Hotel Worthy.

Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

June 14

HEE HAW. 7 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. Country singer and comic Rodney Carrington elicits laughs with his corn pone brand of humor. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

YO! HO, HO! 8 p.m. Cedric the Entertainer, George Lopez, Charlie Murphey and more ham it up at the Black & Brown Comedy Get Down. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 7453000 or ticketmaster.com.

REAGAN ERA ROCK. 10 p.m. (doors open at 8 • p.m.). Relive the 1980s with tribute band The Plaids. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-9888 or theblindtiger.com.

June 6–7

STUFF. Browse antiques, collectibles, toys, • hobbies and sports cards. Times vary. Special Events

Center, Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street,

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

AUTHOR, AUTHROR. 7 p.m. Meet Darin • Kennedy, author of The Mussorgsky Riddle. Scuppernong

June 11–14

CENTRAL PORK. ’Cue from Poor Piggy’s of • Wilmington, Carolina Rib King, among others, live

music, luchalibre Mexican wrestling, can-can girls, a kids’ zone . . . Go whole hog at Twin City RibFest. Fifth and Spruce Streets, downtown Winston-Salem. Info: twincityribfest.com.

Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754 or tatestreetcoffeehouse.com.

AUTHORS, AUTHORS. 2 p.m. Meet poets Rachel • Richardson (Copperhead) and Tony Reevy (Passage).

Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

MUNCH FEST. Noon–4 p.m. Round up the family • and bring your appetite to the N.C. Food Rodeo, with

June 12

the state’s best food trucks, craft beers, wine. Grove Winery, 7360 Brooks Bridge Road, Gibsonville. Info: grovewinery.com.

Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

Big Band. Shops at Friendly. Info: (336) 373-2489 or greensboro-nc.gov.

H2O TUNES. 7:30 p.m. North Carolina band Songs MUSIC IN THE PARK. 6 p.m. Get your jitter• • of Water celebrates the release of its album Stars and Dust. bug on to the jazz and swing sounds of Greensboro


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Art Music/Concerts Performing arts Film Literature/Speakers Fun History Sports June 2015

O.Henry 89

First Baptist Church Greensboro

July 13 - 17 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

... engaging young artists in a life of Christian worship

July 27 - 31 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

VBS Picnic - Friday at 11:00 am | Front Lawn

Closing Concert - Friday at 1 pm | Sanctuary

Kids will explore Jesus’ hometown! They will visit the marketplace, play games, and sing and dance to songs as they learn more about Jesus’ childhood.

Campers will explore rooms of worship in Choral Music, Drama, Visual Arts, Instruments, Drama and Sacred Dance.

Grades 2-7 (2014-15 School Year) $15 per child; family maximum $40 Sign-up Deadline - June 26

Grades 2-7 (2014-15 School Year) $40 per camper Register NOW!

Information/Online Registration - www.fbcgso.org | 336.274.3286 | 1000 West Friendly Ave Children’s Ministry - x241 Music Ministry - x238

Lake Jeanette Recreation Association is a Private Swim and Tennis Club open only to members and their guests.

Come Join Us Today!

Call 601.3395

Lakeside Facility • 5040 Bass Chapel Road • 8 Har-Tru Soft Courts with Subsurface Irrigation and State of the Art Lighting • 4 Lighted all season Tennis Courts • Nationally Ranked and Recognized USPTA Tennis Pros • Tennis Programs and Social Events for all levels of play and ages • Two 6 Lane Pools with Baby Pools, Water Slides and Diving Well

Turnstone Facility • 312 Turnstone Trail • • • • •

Fun and Competitive Swim Team Poolside Social Events for all ages Group and Private Swim Lessons Full Service Grill and Lakeside Dining Fitness Programs for Men and Women including Free water Aerobics • Basketball court and fenced playground area • Large Rental space for Parties and Events

Thanks for

29 great years!

Check Out Class Times and more at www.ljclub.com

90 O.Henry

June 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

June Arts Calendar June 15

TERRA FIRMA. 6:30–7:45 p.m. Learn the intrica• cies of platting ancestral lands from Scott Wesson,

courtesy of High Point Museum. Morgan Room, High Point Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3637 or ncroom@highpoint.gov.

June 16

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet poet Jordan Windholz (Other Psalms). Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

June 16–21

eat his peas, pod-amonium ensues in The Boy Who Loved Monsters and the Girl Who Loved Peas, a UNCG Theatre production. Performance times vary. Brown Building Theatre, 402 Tate Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 2720160 or (336) 334-3492 or theatre.uncg.edu.

June 18–21

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 2 p.m. Meet Beth Macy, • author of Factory Man. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

SOUR NOTES. 10 p.m. (doors open at 8 p.m.). First there was bluegrass, then punkgrass and now there’s browngrass — a “dirtier” version of the original thanks to Austin, Texas–based Sour Bridges. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-9888 or theblindtiger.com.

June 18

BE A PAL. 6:45–8:30 p.m. Grab your bestie and • head to the biennial “You’ve Got a Friend” auction,

where the two of you can encourage each other to create or learn something new. Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Tickets: 336) 333-7460 or greenhillnc.org.

STRUNG UP. 7:30–10:30 p.m. Join the Piedmont • Old Time Society for some pickin’ and grinnin’. Gibbs

Hundred Brewing Company, 117 West Lewis Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-7087 or gibbshundred.com.

MOUNTAIN MAMAS. 8 p.m. Folk tunes, hymns • and mountain music inform the sounds of sibling duo Appalachian Rising. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

June 18–20

STAR-CROSSED. 5:30 p.m. “But soft! What light • through yonder window breaks?” See Shakespeare’s

Romeo and Juliet, a Drama Center production. Barber Park Amphitheatre, 1500 Dans Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2026 or thedramacenter.com.

June 18–20; 25–27

PEAS OFFERING. When young Evan refuses to

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

June 21

MUSIC IN THE PARK. 6 p.m. Greensboro • Philharmonic delivers a little night music in the form of

classical and pop tunes. Hester Park, 3906 Betula Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2489 or greensboro-nc.gov.

FAIRY TALE. At 133 years old, it’s still fresh: Gilbert and Sullivan’s satire of British government, Iolanthe by the Greensboro Light Opera and Song. Performance times vary. Aycock auditorium, 408 Tate Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or opera.uncg.edu.

June 23

June 19–August 30

Humble Pig. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

BEAN THERE, DONE THAT. See a work in • HOPPERS HERE. NewBridge Bank Park, 408 • progress in the evolving sculpture made from repurposed Bellemeade Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 268-2255.

June 17

Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

items scrounged from coffee houses at Jonathan Brilliant On-Site. The Raleigh-based artist will present a workshop for teens (5/22) and will be in residence through 5/27. Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or greenhillnc.org.

June 20

MARCH OF TIME. 8 a.m. Take a tour of his• toric Washington Street with historian Glenn Chavis. Changing Tides Cultural Center, 613 Washington Street, High Point. To register: Call the High Point Museum at (336) 885-1859.

PRECIOUS BANE. North Carolina artist • McDonald Mackey Bane explores linear relationships

in McDonald Bane: 2 Parts Art 1 Part Science, an exhibition of her prints, oils on canvas and more, dating from the 1960s. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet Mark Essig, • author of Lesser Beasts: A Snout-to-Tail History of the

June 24

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Benjamin Hedin, • author of In Search of the Movement: The Struggle for Civil Rights Then and Now. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

June 24–28

HOPS, SKIPS AND JUMPS. And other feats of ath• leticism inform the 2015 USA Gymnastics Competition. Times vary. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.

June 27

WARP AND WEFT. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Learn how to • card wool, which a costumed interpreter will spin, just

as the early Quakers did. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859.

AARON BOY. 8 p.m. Country star Aaron Lewis of • DRUIDS’ DELIGHT. 2 p.m. Where’d the year go? • “Grandaddy’s Gun” fame fires up the audience. Cone Celebrate its longest day at Greensboro Summer Solstice. Lindley Park, 3299 Starmount Drive, Greensboro. Info: greensborosummersolstice.org.

Denim Entertainment Center, 117 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: cdecgreensboro.com.

June 28

MUSKETS AND TRICORNS. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. MUSIC IN THE PARK. 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Tap • • Learn about the life of a Revolutionary War soldier from your toes to some bluegrass from the Zinc Kings, and folk the Guilford Militia Encampment. Historical Park, High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

tunes by Warren, Bodle & Allen. Lake Higgins, 4235 Hamburg Mill Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2489 or greensboro-nc.gov.

AUTHORS, AUHTORS. 10:30 a.m. Meet authors • Michael Briggs (Guilford Under the Stars and Bars) and

June 29

Lee Sherrill (The 21st North Carolina Infantry: A Civil War History, With a Roster of Officers) for a discussion and book signing. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859.

PREACHER’S KIDS. 3 p.m. & 7: 30 p.m. Enjoy • a good chuckle as you watch the secret lives of a prominent pastor’s children unfold in the play Can You Love Me Now? Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street,

EMF. 8 p.m. Mozart! Dvořák! Tchaikovsky! Oh my! • Catch the faculty chamber concert. UNCG School of Music, Theatre and Dance Recital Hall, 100 McIver Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or easternmusicfestival.org.


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Art Music/Concerts Performing arts Film Literature/Speakers Fun History Sports June 2015

O.Henry 91

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92 O.Henry

June 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

June 30

EMF. 8 p.m. A faculty chamber concert delivers • again with works by Telemann, Poulenc, Mark J. Conner and more. Dana Auditorium, Guilford College, 5800 West Friendly Avenue, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 2720160 or easternmusicfestival.org.

DOUBLE TROUBLE. 9 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.). • “Upbeat and adrenaline-driven,” is just one description of Little War Twins, fronted by Winston-Salem brothers Colton and Spencer Brown. Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-9888.

July 4–5

PROEHLIFIC Tee up Friday morning at • Greensboro Country Club's Farm Course for the Ricky

Proehl Celebrity Golf Classic and/or join NASCAR legend Richard Petty and Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera at a pairing party at Proximity Hotel Thursday evening benefitting Proehl's P.O.W.E.R. of Play Foundation. Info: www.powerofplayfoundation.org


BUZZING. 10 a.m. Your busy little bees engage • in a Busy Bees preschool program focusing on music,

June Arts Calendar

movement, garden exploration and fun in the kitchen, at the Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Preregistration: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com.

Dossett and Scott Manring; Molly McGinn; Martha Bassett and friends — at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3700707 or lucky32.com.

TALK IS CHEAP. Noon. Apprenez l’art de la con• versation française. Pardon our French and join French


Table, a conversation group. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.


TO MARKET, TO MARKET. 8 a.m.–1 p.m. Get fresh with locally grown produce, cakes, pies and cut fleurs for a pretty table at the Mid Week Market. Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville Street, Greensboro. Info: gsofarmersmarket.org.

READ ALL ABOUT IT. Treat your little ones to DOWNTOWN SOUNDS. Noon. Unwind with • • storytimes: BookWorms (ages 12–24 months) meets at 10 some live music during your lunch hour. Tunes at Noon a.m.; Time for Twos meets at 11 a.m. Storyroom, High Point Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or highpointlibrary.com.

STORY CORPS. 11 a.m. Book a slot in your sked for • Children’s Storytime. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

PICKIN’ AND GRINNIN’. 6– 9 p.m. The fried • chicken’s moving to Sunday, but y’all still come for

Songs from a Southern Kitchen, live music by Laurelyn

features Anonymous Bosch (6/3), Lauren Light (6/10), Clay & Benjy (6/17), Dana and Donna Hughes (6/24). City Center Park, 200 North Elm Street. Info: (336) 2721222 or citycenterpark.org.

MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7–10 p.m. Mussels • with house-cut fries for $15, wines from $10–15

a bottle and live music by Evan Olson and Jessica Mashburn — at Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 379-0699 or printworksbistro.com/live_music.htm.


StateState StreetStreet

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Art Music/Concerts Performing arts Film Literature/Speakers Fun History Sports

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507 State Street, Greensboro NC 27405 336-275-7645 • Mon - Sat 11am - 6pm www.LilloBella.com The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Ladies Night


O.Henry 93

June Arts Calendar ONCE UPON A TIME. 2 p.m. Preschool Storytime OPEN MIC COMEDY. 8–9:35 p.m. Local pros • • I convenes for children ages 3–5. Storyroom, High Point and amateurs take the mic at the Idiot Box, 348 South Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or highpointlibrary.com.

Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699 or www. idiotboxers.com.



THE HALF OF IT. 5 p.m. Enjoy the hands-on • exhibits and activities for half the cost of admission

TWICE UPON A TIME. 11 a.m. Preschool Storytime II convenes for children ages 3–5. Storyroom, High Point Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or highpointlibrary.com.

at $4 Fun Fridays. On First Friday (5/1), admission is only $2. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com.

VERSE-A-TILE. 3 p.m.–5 p.m. There’s plenty of • rhyme and reason at Third Sunday at Three Open

Poetry Reading and Open Mic, courtesy of Writers Group of the Triad. Common Grounds Coffeehouse, 602 South Elam Avenue, Greensboro. Info: triadwriters. org or email rmarhatta@yahoo.com.

334 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754

HALF FOR HALF-PINTS. 1 p.m. And grown• ups, too. A $4 admission, as opposed to the usual $8,

Downtown Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 905-4060 or carolinahistoryandhaunts.com/information.

CHICKEN’N’PICKIN’ 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Tuck into • Chef Felicia’s signature fried chicken and gravy, select

TO MARKET, TO MARKET. 7 a.m.–12 p.m. • The produce is still fresh and the cut fleurs still belles.

JAZZ NIGHT. 7 p.m. Fresh-ground, fresh-brewed cof• fee is served with a side of jazz at Tate Street Coffee House,


Fridays & Saturdays


Hotel Social Lobby Bar. No cover. 624 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 854-2000.

family. The Idiot Boxers create scenes on the spot and build upon the ideas of others, creating shows that are one-of-a-kind — at the Idiot Box, 348 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 2742699 or www.ibcomedy.com.

will allow you entry to exhibits and more. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com.

NIGHTMARES ON ELM STREET. 8 p.m. A • 90-minute, historical, candlelit ghost walking tour of

ALL THAT JAZZ. 5:30–8 p.m. Hear Live, local jazz • featuring Neill Clegg and special guests in the O.Henry

IMPROV COMEDY. 10 p.m. on Saturday, • plus an 8 p.m. show appropriate for the whole

Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville Street, Greensboro. Info: gsofarmersmarket.org.


• • Art


Performing arts

beverage specials, including buttermilk with cornbread crumbled in it. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace, Greensboro. Info: (336) 370-0707 or lucky32.com.

To add an event, email us at ohenrymagcalendar@ gmail.com by the first of the month prior to the event

• • Film


• • Fun



Greensboro Light Opera and Song presents

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June 18-21, 2015 Aycock Auditorium Tickets Available Now! 211 A State St. Greensboro, NC 27408 (336) 273-5872

94 O.Henry

June 2015

Tues-Fri. 10-6pm Sat. 10-3pm

http://opera.uncg.edu (336) 272-0160 The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Arts & Culture

Friday, June 12 @ Market Square Downtown Reidsville

The Plantation Singers Remember to bring your chair! Funding by:

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Sandra Piques Eddy as Cinderella


La Cenerentola

Sidney Outlaw as Dandini

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Andrew Owens as Prince Ramiro The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Donald Hartmann as Don Magnifico June 2015

O.Henry 95

Arts & Culture

96 O.Henry

June 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

June 2015

O.Henry 97


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O.Henry magazine is a complimentary publication supported by our advertisers. Please consider patronizing these businesses, services and nonprofit organizations and tell them that you saw their ad in O.Henry magazine.

Index of Advertisers • June 2015 1618 Downtown 27 Abbotswood at Irving Park 37 About Face Cosmetics & Day Spa 99 Airlie Gardens 96 Angie Wilkie, Allen Tate 55 Area Modern Home 102 Aubrey Home 100 Autumn Creek Vineyards 104 Barber Center for Plastic Sugery 48 Bass Violin Shop 85 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Yost & Little Realty IFC Bermuda Village 43 Bill Guill, Allen Tate 86 Blockade Runner 15 Broad Strokes 98 Burkely Rental Homes 100 Burlington Recreation & Parks 97 Careful With the China 50 Carolina Bank BC Carolina GroutWorks 86 Carolyn Todd’s Fine Gifts & Clothing IBC Carriage House 100 Chartreuse Barn Sale 50 Chateau Morrisette Winery & Restaurant 104 City of Greensboro 18 City of Reidsville 95 Cone Health 46 CP Logan 95 Crafted, The Art of the Taco 33 Crafted, The Art of Street Food 33 Crutchfield Advertising 17 Doctors Hearing Care 30 Dolce Dimora 110 Downtown Greensboro Animal Hospital 106 Downtown Greensboro, Inc. 16 Eastern Music Festival 10 Extra Ingredient, The 102 Feathered Nest, The IBC First Baptist Church 54, 90 Franklin County, VA 44 Friends Homes West 34 Furniture Medic by Jeff Hughes 85 Graham Farless, DDS Family, Cosmetic & Implant Dentisty 52 Great Outdoor Provision Co. 100 GreenHill I A Space For NC Art 28 Greensboro College 11 Greensboro Grasshoppers 40 Greensboro Historical Museum 109 Greensboro Imaging 2 Greensboro Light Opera & Song 94 Greensboro Opera 95 Greensboro Orthopaedics, Dr. Matthew Olin 4 Grove Winery & Vineyards 105 Guilford Green Foundation 24 High Point Bank 23 Home Instead 55 House of Eyes 39 Irvin Orthodontics 42 Irving Park Art & Frame 96 Jules Antiques 97 Katie Redhead, Tyler Redhead & McAlister Real Estate 3 Kay Chesnutt, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Yost & Little Realty 103 Kelly’s Golf 20 Kim Mathis, Allen Tate 109 Koshary Southern Mediterranean Eatery 106

98 O.Henry

June 2015

Lake Jeanette Swim & Tennis Club LaRue Restaurant Laura Dotson Designs Libby Hill Lillo Bella Boutique Linnea’s Boutique & Vera’s Threads Loco for Coco Gourmet Chocolates Lora Howard Lori Gordon 360 Los Gordos Mexican Cafe Marion Tile Maureen Mallon Melissa Greer, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Yost & Little Realty Melt Kitchen & Bar Meridith Martens Merle Norman Michelle Porter, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Yost & Little Realty Music Academy of North Carolina NC Golf Academy Old Salem Museums & Gardens Oscar Oglethorpe Eyewear Paws In The Grove Benefit for Ruff Love Rescue Penland Custom Frames Pest Management Systems, Inc. Piedmont Endodontics Polliwogs Children’s Boutique Priba Furniture Printers Alley PTI Quaintance Weaver Randy McManus Designs Re Bath of Greensboro Rennaissance Center for Cosmetic Surgery & Wellness Ruff Housing SanDan Farm Schiffman’s Scott Welch, DDS, PA Cosmetic & Family Dentistry Serendipity by Celeste Sheree’s Natural Cosmetics Shoppes on Patterson Shores Fine Dry Cleaning Slatter Management Services, Inc. Smith Marketing, Allen Tate Southern Lights Bistro Stacy Ofsanko, Tyler Redhead & McAlister Real Estate State St. Jewelers Stifel Investment Services Taylor’s Discount Tire & Automotive Ten Thousand Villages Theodore Alexander Tom Chitty, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Yost & Little Reaty Tops & Trends Tyler Redhead & McAlister Real Estate View on Elm, The Village at Brookwood Vivid Interiors Waban Carter, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Yost & Little Realty Weatherspoon Art Gallery Webster’s Import Service Wright Choices Yamamori, Ltd. •

90 5 36 102 93 93 110 86 20 101 85 53 84 42 98 42 85 54 20 31 22 105 106 86 38 IBC 48 46 37 8 110 56 92 53 85 1 56 IBC 56 90 14 54 32 90 39 94 55 44 109 43 5 50 26 7 53 106 85 97 102 99 92

Metal Giclees starting at $121 • Ready to Hang Prices vary with size



M A G A Z I N E Find it at these High Point Locations:

• Harris Teeter, 265 Eastchester Dr. • Harris Teeter, 1589 Skeet Club Rd. • J.H. Adams Inn, 1108 N. Main St. • Shores Fine Dry Cleaning, 804 Westchester Dr. • Tex & Shirley’s, 4005 Precision Way • Theodore Alexander Outlet, 416 S. Elm St. • Vintage Thrift and Antiques, 1100 N. Main St.

Broad Strokes We carry the entire line of Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan Classes and Workshops Available At the Depot 100 West High Street High Point Tues-­‐Fri 10-­‐5 & Sat 10-­‐3 336.884.3377

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

All Aboard!

Urban revitalization often starts with a core attraction that makes a downtown irresistible. In Greensboro, baseball at NewBridge Bank Park proved to be a homerun. The Rock the Block street festival got downtown WinstonSalem rolling in the early 2000s. Now High Point is pinning its hopes on a series of free, Friday night concerts as the catalyst to get its downtown moving — literally. Enter Ignite High Point Whistle Stop Concerts at the restored passenger train depot on West High Street. The concerts are an offspring of The City Project and Ignite High Point, twin pillars of a revitalization plan to make the business district more aesthetically pleasing, pedestrian friendly and economically diverse. The series started in May with Asheville’s Empire Strikes Brass and Americana band the Black Lillies, and continues this month with a variety of musical offerings. • On June 5th the International City lives up to its name with Brazilian music and dance from Batuque de Terreiro and Dance Gabriella. The band is named for the free-form drumming and percussion style that grew out of

Worth the Drive to High Point

the Afro-Brazilian religion, Candomblé, in Brazil’s Bahia region. With tattoos from percussionist Caique Vidal and moves from Dance Gabriella, you’ll have no trouble getting your groove on. • On June 12th, the grooves couldn’t be smoother when the Chit Nasty Band takes the stage. Frontman and keyboardist Christian “Chit” Foushee-Green, three guitarists and a drummer blend the sounds of gospel, R&B and funk in such songs as “Real Lady,” “Brand New” and “Love Unconditional,” daring you to feel inspired. • On June 12th, Father’s Day weekend, Holy Ghost Tent Revival will wrap up the series. In fact, why not take Dad with you to hear the homegrown rockers who will put you in the “Right State of Mind,” with Southern-style guitar licks, brass riffs and catchy beats? And you can always fill up on food truck fare and craft brews in between sets. So hop in your car — or board the Piedmont/Carolinian — and head straight for the depot to enjoy a hot town, summer in the city. OH For more information, go to highpointnc.gov/cityproject. — Nancy Oakley

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

June 2015

O.Henry 99

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Carriage House Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm • Sunday 1-5pm


Equipping Life & Adventure Thruway Shopping Center 336.727.0906 Friendly Shopping Center 336.851.1331

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By Sandra Redding

Wine and cheese are ageless companions, like aspirin and aches, or June and moon, or good people and noble ventures. — M.F.K. Fisher

Literary Events

June 18–21 (Thursday–Sunday). 2015 Jane Austen Summer Program, UNC-Chapel Hill. Have a passion for all things Austen? A symposium in celebration of Emma, published 200 years ago, spells romance. Info: janeaustensummer.org. June 23 (Tuesday, Time TBA). The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines. Michael Quick of N.C.’s Outer Banks will speak, answer questions and sign his 2015 novel, Love May Fail. The adaptation of his first novel, The Silver Linings Playbook, won the 2013 Oscar for Best Motion Picture. Info: thecountrybookshop.biz. June 26–28 (Friday through Sunday). Summer Writers Conference 2015, University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Enjoy an MFA experience at the beach. Dedicated university writers plus the esteemed Wiley Cash and Richard Krawiec will facilitate workshops, roundtable discussions, readings and book signings. Info and registration: uncw.edu/summerwriters/index.html. July 23–26 (Thursday through Sunday). East Carolina University, Greenville. The 2015 NCWN Squire Summer Writing Residency features workshops in poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. Includes panel discussions, faculty readings and open mic. Info: ncwriters.org.


Hurrah! Guilford County finally has a regional NCWN representative. On April 11, award-winning copywriter Faun Finley held a Meet & Greet, Write & Bite kickoff event at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro. Regional reps host free monthly events welcoming writers at all levels of skills and experience. Contact her at: faun.finley@gmail.com. Mebane poet Jaki Shelton Green, who celebrates a birthday this month, is back on top. Though she went through rough times — the death of her daughter, a personal illness and writer’s block — she’s writing again and winning honors. Her keynote address at the 2015 NCWN Spring Conference charmed attendees. Praising the beauty of diversity, she illustrated how sharing our poems and stories with one another creates community.

The Burlington Writers Club announced the 2015 first place winners: High School Poetry, R. J. St. Arnold; High School Fiction, Susanna Fox; Middle-School Poetry, Mallory Jones; Middle-School Fiction, Cassandra Sigmon; Elementary Poetry, Annalise Harter; Elementary Fiction, Lucy Hawkins. Praise to all winners of the 2015 N.C. State University Poetry Contest judged by Gibbons Ruark. First Place: Mary Hennessay of Raleigh; first place undergraduate prize winner, Darren Lipman of Asheboro. Mesha Maren of West Virginia won the prestigious 2015 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize ($1,000). New book releases include: Blue Yodel, a captivating book of poems by Greensboro Poet Ansel Elkins, winner of the 2014 Yale Series of Young Poets Award . . . The Beast and The Innocent, the fifth anthology of poetry by Diana Pinckney, prize-winning writer of Charlotte . . . Above Us Only Sky, a young adult release by Outer Banks writer Michele Young-Stone, which chronicles the curious behavior of a young woman who has her wings removed (frankly, if I had wings I’d keep them) . . . Refund, the collection of short stories by Wilmington writer Karen E. Bender, which was selected New York Times Book Review “Editor’s Choice” in March . . . Six Notable Women of North Carolina — spotlighting the remarkable lives of Kathy Reichs, Jennifer Pharr Davis, Sharon Decker, Anne Pender, Kathryn Stripling Byer and Millie Ravenel — is the latest book by Jack J. Prather, founder of the Young Writers Scholarship at Warren Wilson College.


I believe that the only lastingly important form of writing is writing for children. It is writing that is carried in a reader’s heart for a lifetime; it is writing that speaks to the future. — Sonya Hartnett

Fueled by the Harry Potter series, the juvenile fiction, aka young adult (YA) category, is booming. Twenty-seven N.C. authors appear on the American Library Association Young Adult Library Services list, including Cindy Cipriano of Greensboro, Sarah Dessen of Chapel Hill and David Macinnis Gill of Wilmington. During my last trip to the Greensboro Library, I picked up two YA books to check out. Deciding to add something more mature, I asked a librarian where books for more mature readers were located. She led me to the LARGE PRINT section. OH Please let me know about literary happenings in your community. Greensboro writer Sandra Redding’s novel, Naomi Wise: A Cautionary Tale, is a riveting story about heartbreak and hope in a Quaker community.

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O.Henry 101

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You’ve known Libby Hill for delicious seafood for 60 years. Now, with more Healthy options on the menu, its time to Re-discover Libby Hill. Want to be sweet? We are now offering desserts from The Sweet Shop & Pound Cakes by Margaret Elaine (in select locations).

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Ann Deagon, Jan Hensley

27 Views of Greensboro Book debut at Scuppernong Books Saturday, April 18, 2015 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Alex Stanley, Shahani Samarasekera Linda Beatrice Brown

Louise Skillman, Wendy Dodson, Lee Zacharias

Katie & Lisa Saintsing

Anne & Beth Deloria

Diya Abdo, Michael Gaspeny, Jeri Rowe

Julia Ridley Smith, Glenn Perkins, Michael Parker

Kelly, Jennifer & Rachael Pomeroy

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Chiswick Park

Granville Oaks Ct Irving Park Townhome that has it ALL!!! This fabulous 5 Bedroom, 5.5 Bath home has high ceilings, custom moldings, open floor plan with elevator to all floors (and stairs). Master Suite with his & her closets plus sitting area. Large lower level Den, wet bar, Home Theater, screened porch outside enclosed garden/patio/grill. Must see! One of a kind! Price upon request.

Ascot Point

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June 2015

O.Henry 103


Wine and More!

Includes Buffet Dinner and Show (Wine and beer available for purchase)

CHATEAU MORRISETTE Winery and Restaurant

Wine Tastings Offered Daily Restaurant Open Wednesday-Sunday

Arrive at 6:00pm to pick out your favorite Autumn Creek Vineyards wine and mingle with the Cast! Reservations only, Call 336-548-WINE(9463)

6th Annual “Shagging In Th e Vines” July 11th - 11am to 7pm



FIRST SUNDAY JAZZ SERIES First Sunday of Each Month June - October 1PM-4PM


THE BLACK DOG ARTS FESTIVAL Saturday, July 11th Featuring the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra


THE BLACK DOG MUSIC & BBQ FESTIVAL Saturday, August 8th Featuring Kopecky and The Alternate Routes

ith The Embers Featw uring Craig Woola rd along with Th e Night Move Band

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THE BLACK DOG BEACH MUSIC FESTIVAL Saturday, October 10th Featuring Band of Oz and Landshark www.autumncreekvineyards.com

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104 O.Henry

June 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


April & Todd Craddock

Greensboro Police Foundation Employee of the Month Recognition Wednesday, April 22, 2015 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Brian James, S. Fitzgerald Barnes Brian Price, Oliver Lloyd, Nikki Price

Jill Gladieux, Steve Williams

Joe Smith, John Franks, James Hinson

Cara & J.A. Buchanan, C. Abdullah Emily Bivens, C.B. Cline

Eric Hughes, Amy Druhan

Gabrielle Kiger, J.G. Samuels

J.C. Sieck, T.R. Geldner

Wine and More!

A.R. Palmer, A. L. Cummings Sr, Kisha Cummings

Wine and More! GroveWinery.com 7360 Brooks Bridge Road Guilford County NC 27249 336.584.4060

Upcoming Events June 14 NC Food Rodeo June 19 Wine & Song with Lauren Light June 21 Father’s Day Charcuterie & Cheese

Visit Grove website for more information

Tasting Room Open Daily from Noon until 6pm The Art & Soul of Greensboro

3rd Annual Bring your blanket, and enjoy an evening of dogs, wine, music and fun to benefit

Saturday, June 27, 6pm - 9pm Adoptable Dogs • Local Artisan Vendors • Baked Treats & Food Raffle • Grove Wine • Natty Green Beer • Dylan’s Hearts

Live Music by

The Gooseberry Jam

Your well behaved, leashed dogs welcome! Tickets $10 available on our website: www.ruffloverescue.com and at any of our events.

Grove Winery & Vineyard • www.GroveWinery.com 7360 Brooks Bridge Rd., Gibsonville, NC 27249 Cheers to our sponsors: Nature’s Emporium, Old Dominion Freight, Bolt Stump Grinding & Dog Days Greensboro!

100% of proceeds go directly back to the care of the dogs of Ruff Love Rescue

June 2015

O.Henry 105

Downtown Greensboro 106 O.Henry

viviD is in fuLL sWing! now open at 513 s. elm st. 336.265.8628 vivid@vivid-interiors.com

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June 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

GreenScene Kentucky Derby Classic Benefitting Make-a-Wish Saturday, May 2, 2015

Photographs by Lynn Donovan Saylar Wyatt, Brooke Price, Meagan Price

Paige Greeson on Ursula, Sydney Beason on Popcorn, Grace McDonnell on George, Sara Evans on Strati, Allie Poovey on Lance Vanessa Carroll, Ryan & Jenni Newkirk, Cameron Wannamaker

Justin Streuli, Katie Forker, Roger Meeh, Alyssa Cook

Cindy Dunham, Donnie Finch Gerald & Katrina Guiliao

Congressman Mark & Kelly Walker Stephanie Pedro, Andrew Thompson

Martha Parrish, Hayley Harwell, Fred Harwell, Scott Harwell, Joslin Davis

Nicolas Cook, Katherine Jones

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Alan Schiffman, Isabel Seifert, Antonina Lawrence, Brittany McGorarty

Michael, Jo & Phil McAdams, Julie & Mike Collins

Leslie & Eric Chilton

June 2015

O.Henry 107

Lisa Crawford, Laura Green

GreenScene Strings & Swings Champion’s Dinner Greensboro Symphony Guild Sunday, May 3, 2015 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Jo & Jerry Kennedy, Leigh Ann Safrit, Zach Veasey

Rebecca Schlosser, Mark & Kim Littrell

Sherry & Bob Harris

Josie Gibboney, George Beckerdite

Brad Buxton, Dabney Erwin

David & Claudia Reich

Pat & Bob Sevier Bob & Ann Kroupa

Pete & Caroline Pearce

Matthew Lamb, Katie Bracewell, Brittaney Lee, Jared Egan

Jack Glenn, Jim Metcalfe Carole L. Moore, Peggy Hamilton

April Parker, Jack Glenn, David Parker

108 O.Henry

June 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Serene sounds for summer noteworthy gifts and more.

All sales of our beautiful fair trade crafts benefit artisans in developing countries shop where your purchase makes a difference! 1564-A Highwoods Blvd., Greensboro NC 27410 (Target Shopping Center off New Garden Rd.) 336-834-4606 | greensboro.tenthousandvillages.com

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

June 2015

O.Henry 109

1616 Battleground Ave, Suite D-1 Greensboro, NC 27408


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110 O.Henry

June 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Accidental Astrologer

Here it Comes, My June Bugs Look up, live well

By Astrid Stellanova

June comes sashaying onto the calendar like something too good to be true. Like icing on an astral cake — sweet, smooth. If you don’t like June in the South, well, you just ain’t got your mind right. June suits me best; this is flip-flops, cut-offs and T-shirt’s prime time in the Cosmos. Now to deliver an Astrid-turf straight talk in response to some of my faithful readers. More than anything else, remember this: Get your happy on, children!

Gemini (May 21—June 20) Somebody whose opinion matters a whale of a lot hurt your feelings. You feel so flattened and low about now you could climb up on a box and see your emotions running away at least three days in the distance. Guess what? By birthday time, this whole flapdoodle won’t matter one iota, and you will be looking back at sorrow in the rearview mirror, with the bluebird of happiness showing the way out of Down-Town. If you get a chance to share a meal, drink or cup of Joe with somebody you don’t know, take it. Be generous. This is really a month about taking chances, especially second and third ones. Chin up; there will be cause for celebration and even a little jiggy dance by the 26th. Cancer (June 21—July 22) There is at least one astral event this month that will have reverberations for your sign, but they will be of the illuminating type. This will help shed light onto something that has bugged you and that seems stubbornly unclear. A supernova collapse in deep space has ripples here on Earth; think of it as a door opening onto the path of deeper consciousness for all Star Children. Ain’t that kind of strange and marvelous? Leo (July 23—August 22) A letter. A forgotten Polaroid picture. A movie receipt. A snippet of old newspaper aging inside a book. You find something that winds up being a treasure, a key, the code to crack an old mystery, long forgotten and long abandoned. Honey, put on your thinking cap. Use this little piece of information and read it like the real treasure that it is, like a cosmic message in a bottle. Sit with it; search out the hidden meaning and play detective. Something with real fabulosity is sneaking up right behind you. Virgo (August 23—September 22) It takes a lot to keep you from derailing, just because you get so caught up in somebody else’s drama. Life ain’t about borrowing meaning; it’s about making some of what is at the center of your own drama. Take yourself for a walk and a talk. Here is another little secret: Every single player in your story is there for a reason. But don’t think their mystery matters one little bit more than the one you are living. Libra (September 23—October 22) June can be slick as a wet road, and from the Juneteenth on, you will find yourself having to explain things that you thought were plain as day. You get frustrated. It shows. Shake it off, Sugar, like you are starring in a Taylor Swift song. Everybody ain’t born as smart as you were. By the end of this cycle you will get a break and a vacation that will make you forget the aggravation (and that is really all it was, you know). Scorpio (October 23—November 21) You love shiny and sparkly things more than Rain Man, and it may be because you need the reflected light when your heart sinks lower than whale manure (over the truly dangdest things). If you can lift your eyeballs up to the horizon, you will read the nice message written plain as day in the night sky. Know this, Sugar: You have been lucky to be well loved. Even adored. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Sagittarius (November 22—December 21) You are nectar to the bees, like somebody a friend dated once. (Her name, so help me Hannah, was Smoky Bacon. Unforgettable. But it turned out she was too much smoke and not enough bacon.) Now I ask you, have you capitalized upon this nectar-like appeal? Are you using the gifts you were given and can you just own them? You don’t have to be catty to dominate the catwalk, Darlin’. Capricorn (December 22—January 19) Well, here we go again. You had your chance, and you knew it — but still, well, you blew it. Given you are one lucky Star Child this month, it appears you get that chance circling back again. Stand still. Get your rope ready. Lasso that star and bring it on home. I ain’t going to say this again: Not everybody gets a chance to catch a comet. But you do. Aquarius (January 20—February 18) By the time you finish chewing that grass-fed beef burger, you already started thinking you ought to learn to make your own pasta. And then, by George, you do. There ain’t much of anything you cannot do, zany genius, except . . . realize it. A lot of people depend upon your can-do power to just keep on keeping on . . . your candle power is that great. Shine on, Baby. Pisces (February 19—March 20) There is one person in your life whom you can go to no matter what. They have been a fixture; sometimes back in the shadows, quietly watching. Always there for you, and offering exactly what you needed, even when you didn’t know what that was. They ain’t asked for anything. But a bill is due. The payment will have to be remitted from here on, due the first of every month: Pay it forward. Honey, you will find the deeper reward in this, same as they did. Aries (March 21—April 19) In the race of life, it ain’t hard to overtake the bow-legged woman at the finish line. That don’t make you a hero. So let her win once in a while, Sugar. You are going to discover something about yourself that will make that easy. There is also a lost treasure retrieved this month; Astrid ain’t sure if it’s a thing or a person. But you will know. Whichever, or whoever, it rightly belongs to you. Taurus (April 20—May 20) You knew that bottled water was going to be a big hit waaaaaaaay back. You knew that they weren’t making any more land and so you bought the farm for next to nothing. You had a shrewd way with women, horses, babies and bankers, and you were almost always right and almost always won. Now, you are faced with one gigantic conundrum. It is going to change your entire destiny. Astrid’s pulling for you, Sugar. OH For years, Astrid Stellanova owned and operated Curl Up and Dye Beauty Salon in the boondocks of North Carolina until arthritic fingers and her popular astrological readings provoked a new career path. June 2015

O.Henry 111

O.Henry Ending

The Boss and Me By Ogi Overman

I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in my life. Oh, I’ve been able to suppress most of them and tried to make amends when my poor judgment has hurt others. And, truthfully, most of them fade with time, anyway, so it’s not like I lose sleep over them.

But there’s one that will never fade. Never. On the rare occasion that I tell people about it, the response is always the same — a disparaging shake of the head and the comment: “What were you thinking?” or “What a dumbass,” or a variation thereof. And my snappy retort is always: “Well, how the hell was I supposed to know Springsteen would show up?” OK, now that The Boss got your attention, here’s the sad tale. Thirty years ago, The Boss was already The Boss, but not so bossy yet that he couldn’t go out in public without getting mobbed. And one night he did just that, right here in River City. Back when the Rhinoceros Club was one of the hottest (actually, one of the only) spots downtown, Springsteen and E Street mate Nils Lofgren waltzed right in the back door and started shooting pool. Naturally, the buzz made its way around the club in no time, but folks were respectful and kept their distance. Until, that is, they got up on stage with the band that was playing that night, an up-and-coming group out of Boston, the Del Fuegos. Then the place was en fuego. Bruce did two songs with them, “Hang On Sloopy” and “Stand By Me.” To put some context to the story, the date was January 17, 1985. Springsteen and the E Street Band had a night off before doing a two-nighter at the Greensboro Coliseum the 18th and 19th. Now, Springsteen and Nils didn’t randomly walk in the Rhinoceros to grab a Bud, shoot a rack of 9-ball and jam. Turns out, club owner John Rudy apparently had some connection with the E Street Band, and several of the road crew had stopped in that afternoon. Nils, too, dropped by and actually met the Del Fuegos and they set up the “impromptu” jam, according to their lead singer and guitarist Dan Zanes. Now, here’s where I come in — or actually don’t come in. The Del Fuegos didn’t carry a sound system, so John Rudy called our band, the Original Dogs, to ask if he could rent ours. We had a long association with him that predated the Rhinoceros, back to a club he owned in Hickory called Fast Company, so naturally we were happy to oblige. That afternoon, our soundman, Bob Thornley, and I took our P.A. sys-

112 O.Henry

June 2015

tem to the club and set it up. Around 5-ish the band came in to do the soundcheck. They ran through a few numbers which, no offense, I found just OK. It was only later that I learned that Zanes, clearly the centerpiece of the group, was not there. So, guess who stayed home that night to watch a basketball game. In my defense, this was back before every game was televised, and it was still an event when Thacker and Packer showed up. Plus, I’ve been a hardcore Duke fan since age 10, and they were ranked No. 3 in the country and were playing a top10 Wake Forest team. So I settled in with a six-pack (maybe a 12) to watch my Dookies romp over the hapless Deacs. Now, here’s where the story takes a nasty turn. Not only did Duke not roll, they lost in the worst way possible — in overtime, by two points, 91-89. And then it got worse. The next morning, long before I was ready to get up (before noon), the phone rang and it was Thornley. “Man, you missed it, Oges, you should’ve come back!” he said, just this side of a holler. “Huh?” I introspectively replied. “You’re not gonna believe it, Oges — Bruce Springsteen came in the club last night!” “Wha?” I mused, my curiosity piqued. “Springsteen came in the club,” he repeated, “and got up and sang two songs. The place went completely crazy.” “Who is this?” I queried dismissively. “It was unreal, man, you really should have come back.” “But, bu-but . . . Duke was playing and, and . . . they weren’t all that good . . . and, and I was tired and . . . Oh, I got nothin’.” We hung up and I began making coffee, still reeling over what had just transpired and wondering how it could get any worse. It didn’t take long to find out. The phone rang and it was Thornley again. “Oges, aw man, I forgot to tell you. You know how we always set the vocal mics the same, left to right, on stage?” “Well, yeah, what about it?” “Springsteen sang into your mic.” OH After what he describes as “a failed career as a musician,” Ogi Overman has been wowing Greensboro readers with words for more than three decades. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Illustration by Harry Blair

The night that almost was

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