Uncharted Call It a Facelift
Historic Playmakers Theatre reopens after renovations.
Bull City Crafts UNC alums bring crafting space to Durham.
Art & Soul The Artery brings
the UNC-CH art community together
a letter from the editor. There are a lot of great things to be said about Carolina, and I’m sure you’ve heard them all great value, great professors, great athletics, great arts - but Carolina would not be what it is without great students. The students give this University its soul. It’s about more than high G.P.A.s and graduation rates. It’s the dedication and innovation they bring to the many extracurricular activities that can be found around campus. From an art gallery, to a record label specializing in Missisippi blues to a 24-hour play festival, Carolina students provide flavor to the arts community and keep it going. It doesn’t hurt that the university has a long history of supporting the arts, a reputation that is still evident today with the renovation of Historic Playmakers Theatre or the art collection that is spread about the Union. But while these make up part of the foundation of the arts community at UNC, they wouldn’t matter without students. Historic Playmakers Theatre would be a waste of space without students willing to perform, and the art in the Union would be useless without students to appreciate it. But there is no lack of creative and involved students on this campus, and that is why our art community thrives and why we at Uncharted never have trouble finding interesting stories to share with you. So take this issue (our longest ever!) as a testament to the abundance of dedicated students that make this university, well, great.
Rebecca Collins Editor-in-Chief Uncharted Magazine 2
Uncharted. Rebecca Collins Editor-in-Chief Stephanie Bullins Managing Editor Nicole Yang Art Director Sarah Riazati Web Designer
Geoff Kelly Brittain McNeel
photographer photographer, designer, writer
Heejoo Park Ariana Rodriguez-Gitler Katie Sweeney Courtney Tye
writer designer photographer, designer designer
6 From William Blake to Shawn Carter 8 Univarsity Movie Series 10 Bull City Crafts: Creativity, Community and a Crib 14 Devil Down Records 16 Art & Soul 20 Call It a Facelift 24 The 24 Hour Play Festival 30 Fashion: The Most Accessible Art Form 34 Artwork for Carolina 38 Carolina Ukulele Ensemble Regular Features Editorâ€™s Picks
The Uncharted Editors pick their favorite art-related things that you should check out. PAGE 4
Let Them Make Crafts
Get your hands dirty with a Do-ItYourself project. PAGE 40 3
editor picks Uncharted
Rebecca’s picks S&B Galleria sbgalleria.com Michael Braly, an international business major in the Kenan-Flagler Business School opened this online art gallery to give student artists exposure. For more info about S&B Galleria check out our Q&A with him on the Uncharted blog!
This Is Not Porn Thisisnotporn.net For those of you tired of seeing the same old celebrity photos snapped by paparazzi to make celebrities look bad, “This Is Not Porn” is the website for you. Here you will find some of the most charming, artistic and surreal old celebrity photos on the internet. Enough to make the even the biggest techno-phile nostalgic for old hollywood, a kinder, simpler time when Mr. T dressed up as Santa for a White House Christmas party (I’m not joking. That’s really one of the pictures).
Frida Take some time to learn about not just one but two of the most charismatic and important figures in 20th century art, Frida Khalo and Diego Rivera, by watching this movie from 2002 starring Selma Hayek and Alfred Molina. Plus, it’s on Netflix instant, so watch it whenever you want.
Stephanie’s picks The Big-Ass Book of Home Decor by Mark Montano Innovative. Eclectic. Trendy. Everything in this book is unique. Montano gives the reader step-by-step help with detailed photos for all 102 DIY projects so beginners could complete most of these projects. From simple spin art on junk mail, to reconstructing furniture, to recasting plaster statues, putting a female’s head on an eagle’s body, any project from this book will blow you away.
Nicole’s picks Smitten Kitchen smittenkitchen.com This food blog has been around for awhile, but the recipes get better and better everyday! Cooking is an art, and that is apparent in Smitten Kitchen, where even the food photos can satisfy your arts cravings. If you love food and cooking, great photography and life anecdotes, than this is the place for you.
How About Orange howaboutorange.blogspot.com This blog is DIY heaven and the writer, Jessica also designs fabric and ribbon! With a little jolt of humor and a down-toearth vibe, she takes you through simple crafts and provides you with some fun print-outs and virtual goodies.
Carolina Performing Arts 2011-2012 Season The lineup is stunning. Carolina Performing Arts is bringing artists from 17 different countries in their 2011-2012 season. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will return to Memorial Hall, an “opera-masquerade” will take place on the loading dock, and world-famous banjoist Bela Fleck will make his premier in Chapel Hill. Be sure to watch out for the France’s Ballet Preljocag’s interpretation of Snow White-- a visually breathtaking retelling of the original Grimm fairy tale.
Adele 21 You’ve never heard so much soul in your life. Adele’s second album is an impressive show of vocals so strong they’ll make you want to cry and instrumentals so beautiful they’ll give you goosebumps. Put this album on repeat and be prepared to be blown away.
The Oatmeal theoatmeal.com A one-man enterprise, the Oatmeal (or Matthew Inman) creates hilarious comics with simple, clean design, sardonic wit and a cynical view of just about everything. Some of his most popular comics include “Cat VS Internet,” “How to Suck at Facebook” and “7 Reasons to Keep Your Tyrannosaur Off Crack Cocaine.” Not only is the Oatmeal unbelievably funny, but the design is incredible-- bright colors and simple shapes turn into both realistic and unbelievable illustrations.
From William Blake to Shawn Carter Sophomore Pat Robinson uses poetry classes to improve his rap skills
By Bailey Holman
hen I first meet Pat Robinson, he is rapping. I am at a house party and can’t hear all of his words over a loud beat coming from a nearby speaker, but the flowing rhythm of his lyrics catches my attention. I am surprised when a friend tells me he is freestyling. After talking to Robinson later, I am more surprised to find out that he is a poetry student. But I shouldn’t be. Somewhere down the line, it seems I have fallen victim to a stereotypical notion that rappers are more concerned with loose rhymes about debauchery and must be uninterested in the formalby-comparison environment of a poetry classroom. I was wrong. Rappers around the world are – and have been – interested by poetry for as long as rap has been around. And Carolina’s campus is no exception. When I sit down with Robinson a few weeks later to talk about
his dual life as a poet-rapper, he tells me that he is not the only UNC-Chapel Hill rapper using the poetry classroom as a workshop. Robinson, a sophomore drama major from Greensboro, raps frequently at open mic nights and parties around Chapel Hill with other local rappers – several of whom switch back and forth between the poetry classroom and the microphone, he said. Poetry professor Evan Gurney has noticed the presence of rappers in his classes, a trend that he says may be due to the fact that rap and poetry are cousins of a kind. “In some ways, rap accesses an older tradition of oral poetry that relied on alliteration and other rhetorical structures to aid in memory and generate rhythm,” Gurney explained. “Other formal elements of poetry abound in rap – there's rhyme, obviously, as well as other figures and schemes that emphasize repetition, like assonance, anaphora and epistrophe. You’ll see a lot of puns too.”
Putting all poetic jargon aside, he simplified: “The poet and the rapper are equally obsessed with the sound of words; both understand the intimate way we experience and take pleasure in the music of our language.” For Robinson, this love affair with words began in middle school, when he developed an interest in hip-hop. He had always liked to sing, and by the time he reached 8th grade he was rapping and writing lyrics all the time. His first informal performance was at a country club party his freshman year of high school, during which he took the stage and freestyled to Vanilla Ice. As he was immersing himself in hip-hop and listening to the well-crafted lines of the genre’s great artists, he was simultaneously developing a passion for poetry. “I was really into poetry, actually more than rap,” Robinson said. When he speaks of his favorite poets, he brings up names like William Blake, Raymond Carver, William Wordsworth and Bob Dylan – his enthusiasm making it clear that he could never choose just one. These men are more than just poets, he said; they are philosophers and visionaries. When he speaks of his favorite rappers, he brings up names like Nas, Jay- Z and Talib Kweli, all of which he sees as poets. “When they’re not trying to be rap stars, you can tell that they really understand poetry,” he said. In an interview with The New Yorker, Jay-Z has said that “hip-hop lyrics—not just my lyrics, but those of every great MC—are poetry if you look at them closely enough,” a topic that he discusses in his new book, Decoded. However, as closely as the two art forms are related, there are differences. The rapper is able to express himself through performance, where he can use inflection and emphasis to various effect. “This gives the rapper an advantage or crutch that isn't afforded most contemporary poets, whose work appears on the page alone,” Gurney said. “It seems to me that rappers can get away with more. They can alter the rhythm in performance through elision and so on. They can employ imagery that's more ephemeral and cliched, since the audience is carried into the next line by the performance.” But rappers don’t always have the advantage. “On the other hand, I think there's less opportunity for irony and ambivalence [in rap],” Gurney said. “It creates a different kind of experience. Not better or worse – just different.” Gurney has seen some of his student-rappers struggle with the transition to written poetry. “Clunky meter or shoddy metaphors won't stand up on the page, which some of my rapper-turned-poets need to learn. They need to cultivate better habits and apply more rigor to their work.” Robinson knows first hand that isn’t easy to switch back and forth from rapping to writing poetry. “It’s hard to go get out of that rap rhetoric,” he said. “Poetry is more subtle in its images.” As a frequent freestyler, Robinson also has trouble with the technicality of the written poem. “Scansion (a way of dividing lines of poetry into metrical patters) is frustrating – I don’t see it. Rapping is in-the-moment; poetry is a different art form, there is more editing,” he said. “A comma means so much.” Sometimes, Robinson feels like his background in rap hurts his poetry. “I write my poetry in the same stream-of-consciousness style as my rap. I don’t want to edit it.” But he wades through the scansion and technicalities because he knows eventually there will be a pay-off. “The best rappers will employ the same care as the best poets,
Photo by Bailey Holman
Pat Robinson recording a rap in the Undergradute Library studio at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
revising out the dead weight while aiming for compressed imagery, nuanced narrative, a textured sound, and so forth,” Gurney said. Robinson acknowledges, “Ultimately, learning the technical side to poetry is helping me as a rapper.” He hopes that poetry classes will help not only in form, but in content. “When you rap in front of a crowd, people want you to make clever metaphors about oral sex,” Robinson said. Don’t get him wrong, those kinds of rhymes can be enjoyable in the right time and place –like a party – he says, but he wants to get to something deeper. “I want to actually say something.” Much of Robinson’s poetry centers on nature or the human condition, themes he tries to bring to his rapping. “At some point, rap music got to be about being tough. I’m trying to make it more about how humans really are,” he said. “If you want to be a poet, chances are you want to be heard,” Robinson said. “Rap music is a good medium because people listen to rap.” As we move into the 21st century, Robinson believes rap will increasingly be accepted as a form of poetry. “Fifty years from now it will be taught in universities.” In terms of his own future with both rap and poetry, Robinson doesn’t see himself giving up either any time soon. “I’ve rapped so much,” he said. “I’ll probably be doing it when I’m old.” And when I ask him if he plans to continue taking poetry classes at Carolina, he doesn’t hesitate. “Definitely. Every rapper should.”
Movie Series Professors sponsor classic films at the Varsity By Tiffany Johnson
hree classic movies shown each semester, for free, at a theater within walking distance of the UNC campus, and explained by a professor well-educated in the language and mechanics of film. That is what the UniVarsity Film Series is, sponsored by the professors and graduate students in the UNC Department of English and Comparative Literature, the Institute for the Arts and Humanities and the Comparative Literature Organization for Undergraduate Discussion (CLOUD). “The UniVarsity Film Series began as a way to offer undergraduate majors and doctoral candidates in comparative literature a way to gather together and talk about film in an informal intellectual setting,” said Shayne Legassie, an assistant professor of English and Comparative Literature at UNC, and the current head of CLOUD. Legassie has been the driving force behind the program since he was hired by the university in 2009. In that time, he has managed to move the screenings from buildings on campus to the Varsity Theater on Franklin Street. This change brings in not only students but the entire community, while creating business for the theater. “Since the series’ beginnings, we have expanded our mission,” he said. “Our events are now open to the general public, and what we really want is to offer people who love the
cinema a chance to see some great, thoughtprovoking films.” Hayley Fahey, co-president of CLOUD and a sophomore English major at UNC, feels that the series offers people the chance to view the films in a new way. “Dr. Strangelove is always an experience, but having the opportunity to revisit it in a new context, with Professor Flaxman’s introduction and a room packed with laughing people, definitely made it worth being part of the entire series,” she said. Each semester, the professors, graduate students and members of CLOUD get together to discuss and pick a theme that will lend itself to an interesting and unique series. For fall 2010, the UniVarsity Film Series focused on controversial director Roman Polanski’s films — Rosemary’s Baby (1968), Chinatown (1974) and The Pianist (2002). In 1977, Polanski was convicted of the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl, yet continued to make successful movies like The Pianist, which won him an Academy Award for best director in 2002. The series was chosen in light of Polanski’s arrest by Swiss police in September 2009, and then the subsequent release of the director in July 2010. The creators of the UniVarsity series felt that the director’s guilt and success were highly debated topics worthy of discussion on an academic level. This semester, the theme is the “Cold
We...offer people who love the cinema a chance to see some great, thought-provoking films.” Shayne Legassie head of CLOUD
War Uncanny,” and the films shown are Dr. Strangelove (1964), The Innocents (1961) and The Manchurian Candidate (1962). “We chose to start the series with [Dr. Strangelove] because it offers a really keen insight into the role that individual and group pathology played in shaping the Cold War,” Legassie said. The film was shown on March 18 for a full crowd. Gregory Flaxman introduced Stanley Kubrick’s satirical masterpiece by discussing the thought that went into the production of the film. Kubrick originally planned on writing and directing a serious drama on the politics of a nuclear war, yet felt it would be too absurd. Kubrick instead turned the film into a political parody, stating, “As I kept trying to
Photo by Katie Sweeney
imagine the way in which things would really happen, ideas kept coming to me which I would discard because they were so ludicrous. I kept saying to myself: ‘I can’t do this. People will laugh.’” Jack Clayton’s The Innocents was shown on April 8 with an introduction by Legassie. Last semester, he incorporated the film into his “Horror and the Global Gothic” course, alongside films such as Halloween (1978) and Drag Me to Hell (2009). The course was an examination of the progression of the horror genre over time. With his pre-screening introduction, Legassie was able to bring a bit of his knowledge on the film and genre as a whole to the public. John Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate, the last film of this semester’s series, is to be shown on April 22 at 9 p.m. with an introduction by Florence Dore. Legassie said he feels as though the films each relate to the theme “Cold War Uncanny” both formally and thematically. “Taken together, the three films of the series do not offer a blanket condemnation of paranoia or hysteria, but seem more in-
terested in studying the question of how our familiar surroundings — our very homes — can take on sinister dimensions in historical moments in which we divide the world starkly between ‘Us’ and ‘Them.’” Though Dr. Strangelove and The Manchurian Candidate deal more directly with topics of the Cold War — mutual assured destruction and communism, respectively – The Innocents relates more abstractly under the relationship to the ‘other’ or ‘them,’ as Legassie mentioned. The three films relate to the ‘uncanny’ aspect of the “Cold War Uncanny” theme more formally. Uncanny is the English translation of Sigmund Freud’s German word unheimlich, which literally means “unhomely,” but also “unfamiliar,” and “creepy.” Legassie believes that the unheimlich aspect of these three film stems from the directors’ choice to “film in black and white during the 1960s, an era in which color had become dominant.” He said Clayton used black and white in The Innocents to create his own take on the horror film. “This decision was made in order to distance his film from the garishly colored, sen-
sationalistic Dracula and Frankenstein franchises that had dominated horror cinema in Britain in the 1950s,” he said. “In other words, in order to create a recognizably new kind of horror film, Clayton resorted to the older, dying practice of black and white cinematography. This odd scenario — where the new is thinkable only via the visibly antiquated — has suggestive overlaps with Freud’s notion of the uncanny. In the case of all of these films, it is worth asking the extent to which its uncanny take on everyday life is a product of the director’s decision to film in black and white rather than in color.” The UniVarsity Film Series offers a new experience at each screening every semester. The “Cold War Uncanny” series consists of a political comedy, a gothic horror film and a classic drama. The fall series represented the Roman Polanski controversy with a selection of his films from the horror, film noir and biographical drama genres. But more importantly, the UniVarsity experience brings students, professors, and the entire Chapel Hill community together to learn about film in an engaging, welcoming way.
: t f a r C y t i C l l Bu b i r C a d n a y t i n u m m o C , y t i Creativ UNC alums, Jessica Greene and Franklin Santana, recently opened Bull City Craft to provide supplies and space for Durham crafters. By Dan Byrnes
ix-month-old Frances Santana was bobbing up and down in her bouncy chair, clapping and generally loving life when I visited Bull City Craft in March. The store, which has become her home away from home, is also still young enough to sing lullabies to. Frances was born just months before her parents, Franklin Santana and Jessica Greene, opened the arts and crafts store in Durham. “Yeah, I’m a little bit of an overachiever,” Greene told me. She then turned to Frances, who was in a fit of giggles, and said, “It’s funny, right? It seems funny now. At the time it seemed like a good idea.”
From N.Y. to N.C.
Santana and Greene didn’t know that they were going to eventually run a business together when they met in New York while working for Central Park Conservancy. Greene, who graduated with a degree in art from UNC in 1994, did graphic design and Santana worked in the information technology department. In 2006, the couple moved to the Bull City, where they got married. Greene said that, at this time, downtown Durham was just starting to get renovated and was looking like an up-and-coming area.
Having lived in Brooklyn, Santana and Greene had seen this shift happen in a number of different neighborhoods. “There’d be a neighborhood where new restaurants and shops would start opening, and we kind of saw the same thing in Durham,” Greene said. They were right. In fact, according to Preservation Durham’s website, there have been several substantial renovations to downtown Durham since spring 2003. In the American Tobacco Historic District alone, three new parking decks have been built, a courtyard has been landscaped, new buildings and restaurant chains have popped up and the W.T. Blackwell & Company Tobacco Factory has been restored. Greene remembers thinking, “This is a great place to start a business,” and so they did. But it was a steady and strategic process.
Bright ideas in Brooklyn Santana and Greene tossed around a few ideas – should they open a café? A bookstore? What would thrive in Durham, a town they both openly and expressively love?
Photos by Dan Byrnes
Above: An Easter basket display at the front of the store; Owners Franklin Santana and Jessica Greene in their shop. Opposite page: Paints from the store as displayed on the shelf. Below: six-month old Frances Santana sits in a crib full of Uglydolls.
“We want to build a creative community space where you can come and make something or buy something that’s
inspiring. — Jessica Greene
Greene finally found inspiration when she and Santana were visiting Brooklyn on vacation. One of Greene’s friends, Cristina Dodd, had recently had a baby and didn’t want to return to her corporate job. Instead, Cristina and co-owner Stella Metzner opened a craft boutique called Spacecraft where customers could buy art supplies and gifts or stay a while and make a project. “When Jessica saw that, she thought it would be perfect for Durham,” Santana said. “That’s how the idea took root and flourished.” Santana and Greene knew they had found the perfect project that could incorporate both of their interests and expertise. While art was second nature for Greene, Santana had experience in both wholesale and retail. In fact, the wholesaler in New York where Santana worked for five years, Kikkerland, provided some of the inventory for Bull City Craft. Kikkerland’s website claims that the company offers “the world’s largest collection of ingenious items combining form, function and delight in equal parts.” Some of these uniquely functional and fashionable gadgets fit right in to Santana and Greene’s vision for the store. Before working for Kikkerland, Santana worked in retail for many years at a small leather store in New York, where he sold belts, jackets, bags and the like. “I’ve experienced as much on the retail side as Jessica has on the arts side, so together we can at least have one whole experience,” Santana explained. “I’ll handle the buying and Jessica will handle the arts and crafts.”
Piecing together the puzzle With the concept defined, Santana and Greene tackled the next
great decision: where to open the store. Originally, Santana and Greene had their sights set on downtown Durham. “I love downtown Durham,” Greene said. “I love being able to walk around down there and check out different places. There’s a great energy down there.” However, none of the spots they explored in downtown Durham fit their needs. They also looked at spaces on Ninth Street, thinking that a store close to Duke University’s campus would attract art students. “If we were to put it there, or if we would have put it downtown, it would have been a different store,” Santana said. “It would have had a different feel. It wouldn’t be the way it is now.” When a suite at 2501 University Drive opened up, Santana and Greene decided this was the place for Bull City Craft. “This space, it needed some paint and some different flooring, but it didn’t need a complete overhaul,” Greene said. “This was right around the corner from our house – that didn’t hurt either. It just fit our needs so perfectly that we just had to go for it even though it wasn’t downtown.” Santana said he asked himself why they hadn’t thought of the location sooner. Since it’s in a central part of Durham, it’s close enough to Chapel Hill and Raleigh that the store will attract customers from all over the Triangle, he said.
Community, not just commerce After choosing the space, Santana and Greene felt comfortable learning that many of the neighboring suites at 2501 University
Drive were occupied by other small, locally-owned businesses. Local Yogurt, Durham’s first locally-owned and operated yogurt shop, features toppings from area farms and vendors, and Wine Authorities, a locally-owned wine shop, has cooperative owners and loyal customers. Other area business owners and residents have been instrumental in the opening of Bull City Craft. Neighbors and friends of Santana and Greene have helped with everything from moving furniture into the store to promoting the boutique. DaisyCakes, a local cupcake shop on wheels, offered to park their Airstream trailer in the parking lot and sell cupcakes to visitors during Bull City Craft’s grand opening on April 9. Ironically, the owners of DaisyCakes are also a couple who met while living in Brooklyn. They are opening a cupcake store that will join Bull City Craft as another new local business in Durham and provide treats during birthday parties hosted at the craft boutique. “There’s a great food community in Durham,” Greene said. “I am trying to make some connections there. I think that people that appreciate good food appreciate art. It’s all creative and goes together.” Each day that I visited Bull City Craft to gather information for this article, customers came in and offered a hand. One woman offered to give knitting lessons in the store. Another woman and business owner in the same set of suites took a stack of fliers to share with her customers. Someone else offered to blog about the store’s opening, driving in more customers. “It’s just been one really good experience after another,” Santana said with a smile. “People really want to see us succeed. They are very open to having something very different. That’s one of the nice things. You can be inspired here.”
Santana and Greene want to incorporate this sense of community and inspiration into their business. “We want to build a creative community space where you can come and make something or buy something that’s inspiring,” Greene said. Santana explained Bull City Craft as a three-part store: “there’s the craft part, there’s the art part, and then there’s the gift part.” The front of the store is filled with displays of art supplies and gifts for sale, and the back of the store is set up with tables, chairs and supplies ready for use. Besides providing supplies and clean-up for walk-in crafts like bird-house making and Easter basket painting, Bull City Craft hosts workshops, parties and special events. Beth Palmer, a local artist, taught the store’s first card-making workshop on April 2. “That’s important to us: to really have a focus where we’re not just being commerce, but also being a community,” Santana said. “If it was some place that was just about commerce, I don’t think it would feel as good and as comfortable.” This comfortable atmosphere sets Bull City Craft apart from the other arts and crafts stores in the area. “As far as I know from searching, we’re the only place in North Carolina where you can come in and do crafts at any time,” Greene said. “That’s the great thing, it’s flexible. You can take as long as you want or as little.” Bull City Craft also has a unique selection of products that art lovers might not be able to find in a large chain store like Michael’s. Letterpress thank you notes, handmade stamps and Van Gogh watercolors are some of the distinctive items that have already been sold.
Staying grounded With the excitement of grand opening celebrations, the fostering of relationships with new customers and the general mayhem of opening their first business, Santana and Greene reflect on the most important thing – their family. “The thing that our baby does is make sure that we are grounded,” Santana said. “We need to make sure that we don’t focus too much on the store. We could really spend a long time discussing things about the store, but at some point, we have to put that down and focus on our family.” Santana said that is one thing he learned about owning a business – they are constantly working. When he comes home from his nine-to-five job as a realtor in Carrboro, he and Greene dive into emails to confirm appointments and begin planning for the next day. “It’s just the nature of owning a business,” Santana said. “At the same time, it’s very exciting. We’ve created this thing – this entity that is different than either one of us.” When I asked Santana if this was anything like having baby Frances, he thought for a minute. “They can grow up together. The store and her. I didn’t think about it until you brought it up. Yeah, they’re growing up together.”
Mississippi blues artist Kenny Brown (left) and Reed Turchi, founder of Devil Down Records
By Bailey Holman
Photo by Bailey Holman
hanks to Reed Turchi, the music of the North Mississippi Hill Country will be around for a long time to come. The music, a unique style of blues, has lost many of its greatest artists; it’s now up to family and fans to keep the music alive. Turchi, a devoted fan, has dedicated himself to preserving and spreading the music that he loves.“To me, North Mississippi Hill Country music is the best in the world.” Turchi, an American studies major from Asheville, said his reasons for this belief get a bit too philosophical to explain. “It’s not the only music I listen to by any means,” he said, “but it always strikes me the most.” It was this love of Mississippi Blues that led Turchi to launch his own record label, Devil Down Records, and
dive headfirst into a series of impressive projects. “Devil Down began when my interest and enthusiasm with blues crossed paths with an entrepreneurship class taught by Mark Katz and Ken Weiss,” Turchi said. The class required students to create a business plan for an imaginary business, but for Turchi, it wasn’t imaginary. “Suddenly a class gave me the excuse to draw up a business plan, and I knew the whole time that I could make it real,” he said. Turchi already knew where he wanted to begin. As a student in the Southern music class taught by UNCChapel Hill folklorist Bill Ferris, he had discovered Ferris’1967 recordings of “Mississippi Fred” McDowell, one of the genre’s greatest musicians. The recordings, which were taped in a home in Como, Miss., and include over three hours of intimate singing, bottleneck guitar playing and conversation are part of the Southern Folklore Collection at UNC, where Turchi found them and went to work. “Things began with the Fred McDowell album, ‘Come and Found You Gone,’” he said. “It was a crash course in music, in mixing and in managing money.” When it was all done, Turchi had taken more than three hours of raw recording and digitally mastered it into what would become Devil Down Records’ debut release, “Mississippi Fred McDowell: Come and Found You Gone. The Bill Ferris Recordings.” Turchi admitted modestly that the album has gotten tremendous feedback – it was named blues album of the month in Japan, Italy, England and France, has been featured on multiple U.S. radio shows, and even sold out of its initial 1,000 copy pressing. The Charlotte Observer has called it “a CD bound to become a landmark.” After the success of “Come and Found You Gone,” Turchi realized the potential of the record label and began work on a new project.
“Thanks to getting a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship grant through UNC, I spent the summer of 2010 in North Mississippi, working for the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic, which I now help run with the picnic’s founder, Sara Brown,” he said, noting that Sara Brown is the wife of Kenny Brown, one of the Hill Country musicians. “One thing led to another, and now I’m putting out the Picnic compilation album – and Kenny Brown’s next record – and I’ve put out a live record, my recording from the picnic, of the North Mississippi Allstars, perhaps the most well-known band from that region today.” And he didn’t stop there. Turchi has recently established the Sounds of the South Award, an undergraduate research award given to a UNC-Chapel Hill student who wishes to record musicians within any genre of Southern music during a summer. So what’s Devil Down’s next move? “I’ve still got a few more projects up my sleeve,” Turchi said. “It’s hard to believe it’s all happened in the last year, and makes it hard to imagine what will happen in another year. I feel grateful to still love the music as
much as I did when I began, and I don’t think I’ll be tired of it anytime soon.” The upcoming summer will find Turchi returning to Mississippi to work with the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic. “Devil Down works closely with the Hill Country community, and my goal is to have Devil Down become the source for Hill Country blues.” Talking about his accomplishments in the past year, Turchi makes it sound like they’re all in a day’s work. “I have a kind of blind enthusiasm and energy that keeps propelling me around,” he said. “As Ken Weiss likes to say, ‘Reed, you still have no idea what you’re doing, but that’s a good thing.’” Whatever he’s doing, it seems to be working. American Blues News has stated, “If [Devil Down Records] put this kind of effort into their future releases, blues fans will have a lot to look forward to.” When asked why he goes to all this trouble for the music of the North Mississippi Hill Country, his answer is simple. “‘Cause it sounds so good, you gotta boogie.”
To outsiders, The Artery may seem like just a gallery. But to the UNC arts community itâ€™s so much more. By Rebecca Collins
All photos courtesy of The Artery
es, technically the Artery is a gallery, in that it’s devoted primarily to displaying artwork. But to say the Artery is just a gallery would be to ignore the very things that make it special. It’s more than what can be contained in four walls. It’s a group of hardworking and committed students and it’s a force that has brought together and fostered the arts community at UNC. That is why, despite recently being forced out of its space at 136 E. Rosemary St., the Artery has no plans of stopping. “I’m optimistic that the Artery will continue on,” says Sheridan Howie, a sophomore studio art major who will be a co-director of the Artery in 2011-2012. The gallery came together in a flash in the fall of 2009. Founders Natalia Davila, Hallie Ringle and Gavin Hackeling were inspired by a conversation with Jeff Whetstone, an associate professor in the art department, about a “guerrilla gallery” run by students in 2003. “Just the thought of a student-run art gallery really inspired us,” says Davila, a senior studio art major and one of the current codirectors of the Artery (Hackeling and Ringle graduated in 2010). “Within a month, we had the gallery space and had it going. It was just that we took off with the idea immediately. I think he brought it up in early October and our first opening was November 5. We really got running with it.”
An installation titled “Squirt” made by Senior Mia Drabick for the October 2010 show “Work in Progress.”
The Artery was an offshoot of another young organization, Kappa Pi, the arts honor society founded in 2008. The goal of the organization was to bring together the two sides of the art department: studio art and art history. “We didn’t really combine very much,” Davila says, “like the occasional classes but other than that there wasn’t an organization to bring those two together.” But whereas Kappa Pi brought together the art department, the Artery has brought student artists together with the rest of the UNC community. “What we were really excited about was having something close to campus, but off campus,” says Juliet Sperling, a senior art history major and the other current co-director of the Artery, “so people who don’t walk around on campus, or who don’t know about Hanes Art, can see [the students’] art and give them exposure. I think that was the founding idea, the founding concept. It’s definitely grown since then but that’s still the core idea.” “Our main thing was bringing together the students to make this project happen,” Davila says, “more than anything else.” And it’s the tireless efforts of the 40-50 student volunteers who do everything from hanging artwork to overseeing the gallery that keep the Artery running. “There is no way it could exist without everybody’s help,” Sperling says. “We have amazing volunteers that are always willing to sacrifice two hours a week and work in the gallery.” “The two weeks before a show opening, we are spending countless hours on it,” Davi-
Topmost: Matt Jones works on a piece for his solo exhibit. Above: “What’s Going on Down There?” a piece by Mia Drabick la says. “Everyday, something new comes up because we have to deal with press, physically putting up the show, meeting the artists, collecting the work, all of that.… The Artery’s always working, basically, and the people are always working.”
But although Davila and Sperling feel the Artery has, to a certain extent, taken over their lives, they aren’t complaining. “It occurred to me everything that needs to go into a gallery and it was just like, ‘Of course you have to put in that amount of time if you want to run a gallery and keep it open,’” Davila says. “It’s not The Frank,” she says, referring to an art gallery on Franklin Street, “but it is the kind of place where we want people who want to work in galleries to gain experience working in a gallery and working in every facet of a gallery and getting experience they couldn’t get if they tried to work at a more well-known gallery or professional gallery.” Not only the student volunteers, but the student artists (a distinction that often overlaps) make the Artery what it is. “Our community of artists has been with us since we opened and we’ve showed the same people’s work over and over again and watched their aesthetic evolve,” Sperling says. “They always help us open and close shows and chip in for refreshments. It’s really made me realize how supportive the arts community here could be, something that I was hoping to find as a freshman and really didn’t stumble upon until I started working with the Artery.”
The artists also really appreciate what the Artery offers. “I think it is a great resource for student artists,” says Josephine McCrann, an artist who has shown at the Artery. “It is an opportunity to kind of see what it is like to work with other people in that way, and to have
“It’s really made me realize how supportive the arts community here could be, something that I was hoping to find as a freshman and really didn’t stumble upon until I started working with the Artery.” work exhibited. Walking into the gallery and seeing other people milling around, looking at your work and reacting to it, is really exciting...an impetus to make more.” “Our space is much more collaborative between the administration and the artists
and the people who just want to get involved to help the gallery run,” Davila says. “We kind of let the artists work together and do what they can with the space. They propose things to us and we work with them to make their vision happen.” To Kate St. John, a sophomore art history major, who will be the other co-director of the Artery in 2011-2012, the fact that the staff is young is what sets the gallery apart. “I think it’s the opinion of most people at the artery that we don’t like [the politics of the art world], and it gives flavor to the Artery,” St. John says. “I think this is a unique case in which you’re in Chapel Hill and you have students and they’re all still passionate about art and are not worried about supporting themselves yet. “Because we’re a student gallery and because of fact that we are a gallery that doesn’t pay rent, we are very different. Most of our stuff doesn’t get sold; that’s how we operate. It’s opportunity for artists to show, which I think is good experience, and I think they would like that whether their stuff is being sold or not.” When looking for places to house the Artery, the founders set up a deal with the owner of the Bank of America Building on Rosemary Street in which they could use the
Guests enjoy the artwork and atmosphere on the opening night of the October 2010 show “Work in Progress.” space for free, but that they could be forced out whenever someone wanted to rent it. “Our landlord was really supportive,” Davila says. “He just said, ‘Yeah, do whatever you want with this space, and you don’t have to pay rent.’” “We have a space and we get to fill it up and re-decorate it. It’s kind of like we’re squatters who decorate our squat once a month,” Sperling says. “We’re really not bogged down with… any of the concerns of the art market which I think really run a lot of galleries now. We are so lucky that we don’t have to worry about that kind of thing and we have the freedom to let our artists show whatever they’re making.” But while not having to pay rent has freed up the Artery in some ways, it has also caused many complications. For example, in the summer of 2010 the Artery had to move from its original space, which became the Expressions Hookah Bar, to their current space next door. But, taking the move in stride, the Artery used the new space to help the organization evolve. The new space, which was formerly a club, provided them with multiple levels and a theater. This inspired the staff to expand the Artery to be more than just a formal gallery by offering opportunities to other artistic
disciplines such as music and performance art. The Artery hosted several performances including a student comedy troupe and The Performance Collective, a group of student performing artists. “It became a new, experimental, collaborative space, which it wasn’t before,” Davila says. “We decided to kind of play up our flexibility. Why have it be such a traditional gallery when we can be flexible and give artists whatever they want and students whatever they want?” St. John and Howie hope to keep expanding the flexibility of the Artery next year. “I think there are a lot of things you can do in a gallery space that are not necessarily directly related to looking at art,” St. John says. But even more important to Howie and St. John is using that flexibility to bring new people to the Artery. Howie says her main proposal for next year is to increase campus awareness of the Artery. “I just want to make people excited about art,” Howie says. And St. John wants to reach out to other campus arts groups such as the Center for Dramatic Arts and student musicians in order to “cause a dialogue between arts communities.”
Howie and St. John plan to do just that, despite the obstacle of having to find a new space. In late March, a fire inspection of the Artery found several hazards which made the Artery a liability to the owner of the building and the Artery was forced to leave. They currently don’t know where they will move next, but they are not discouraged. “Even if we don’t have a set location we can still have guerilla galleries where you just hang stuff up for one show and then take it down,” Howie says. She adds that she hopes the new space that houses the Artery is more permanent, even if that means paying rent or moving to Carborro. Before finding out that the Artery would have to move again, St. John acknowledged the impermanence of the space, saying that they had to keep a “for lease” sign in the window at all times. But she said she still wanted to plan in advance whether they would be in their current location or not. But while the location of the Artery may change, the spirit of the organization never does. That is why it’s more than a gallery. No matter where it is, or who is running it, the Artery will always be a force to promote student artists and unite the arts community at UNC.
Call it a
Facelift By Dan Byrnes
Once home to performances by Thomas Wolfe and Andy Griffith, Historic Playmakers Theatre lay dormant for more than four years. But, thanks to a recent renovation, the theater is again open to the public and has still maintained its distinctive character. 20
ows and rows of plush, deep red seats; spectacular crystal chandeliers; stories-high wooden window covers, and an early 20th century formal proscenium (the large wooden frame surrounding the stage) are the first elements of Historic Playmakers Theatre that a UNC student group lays eyes upon when it enters the 160-year-old building. “We get brownie points instantly, as soon as they come in,” said Matt Johnson, one of the production managers for Carolina Performing Arts. “It’s universal that they’re very happy with how clean, how fresh the building looks.”
Photos by Dan Byrnes
The theater, located in the heart of campus to the east of South Building, sat dormant for more than four years—until recently. “The building had really gone downhill,” said Kelly Boggs, Audience Services Manager for Carolina Performing Arts. “It was just not in any condition to be performed in.” She said that some things had been
harmed and there was evidence of people breaking and entering to sleep in the otherwise vacant building. Finally, in the fall of 2010, the theater re-opened. “We’re not even calling it a renovation because all we did was give it a facelift,” Boggs said. The offices of the Executive Director of the Arts and the Provost funded the $225,000
touch-up, while an $8 million renovation is still necessary and among the desires of Boggs and everyone involved in Carolina Performing Arts. For most undergraduates at UNC, this is the first full semester that the theater has been open, and it has already been home to several studentand university-run events, which span the arts from music to theater 21
to poetry and beyond. “It’s designed as a multi-purpose space,” Johnson said. “We knew when we were going into the technical aspects of renovating the building that we weren’t simply setting it up for acoustic music. We were going to have to fit in a whole spectrum of things, so we tried to design the lighting and sound for general use to accommodate very different events. We could easily accommodate a lecture one day and then flip around and have a play the next day.” When the theater re-opened Nov. 2, 2010, student groups came together to put on “A Night of Poetry.” Carolina Union Activities Board or-
1,400, and Gerrard Hall, which seats about 360. Historic Playmakers Theatre creates a more intimate feeling with its 240 available seats. Johnson said that there is still a dearth of performing arts space, so as the word is spread about the theater’s reopening, student groups show more and more interest. “It’s a manageable number of seats, and it looks great inside,” Boggs said. “It feels like a smoky New York club.” With the window covers closed, the interior of the theater becomes pitch black aside from the golden hue from the chandeliers above and the uniquely red glow of the lights
“It’s beautiful, and it’s definitely unique.” ganized the special event in which an A capella group, Harmonyx, opened the night and Def Jam poet Shihan Van Clief introduced the open-mic performing members of Ebony Readers Onyx Theatre (EROT). “There was no grand opening,” Boggs said. “We were just happy to have another space and put it to use.” Besides Historic Playmakers Theatre, the Office of the Executive Director for the Arts manages the use of Memorial Hall, which seats about
lining the aisles. The front two rows of seats can be removed to provide space for an orchestra. During the uplift, new drapes were hung, new carpet was laid, and a new sound system was installed to keep up with current technology, among other changes. The surface of the stage was also replaced, and the stage itself was extended. In the basement, the outline of a set of stairs where the stage used to end can be seen covered in cement. You can also see a square in
the ceiling of the basement where a functional trap door was used by actors who would pop out during a performance. Several elements were purposely kept the same during the uplift. The arm rests and the proscenium still boast the original emblem of the Carolina Playmakers, the repertory company for whom the building was renovated into a theater in 1925. “We definitely kept an eye on maintaining that continuity so that the groups that are here now for the first time in four or five years still have that same experience of being in the original building,” Johnson said. Other parts of the theater could not be renovated during the uplift. For one, the theater does not have air conditioning, so it is only used seasonally. The bathrooms, located in the basement, are inaccessible to those in wheelchairs, and due to regulations by the Americans with Disabilities Act, they are closed to the public. The dressing rooms are also located in the basement and are only accessible through a narrow and squat set of stairs behind the stage. “People back in the day must have been shorter,” Johnson said, as we ducked to avoid hitting our heads on the ceiling above the stairs and the hallway leading to the dressing rooms. “And skinnier,” I added,
squeezing through the dressing room door. The dressing rooms have an ancient feel, lit by only a few round vanity light bulbs and lined with a couple of small square mirrors that one would have to bend over to look into. “The actors are using the same dressing rooms as Andy Griffith used when he was at UNC,” Johnson said. Thomas Wolfe is one among other notably famous alumni to use the theater. In fact, to say that Historic Playmakers Theatre is “rich in history” would be just as trite as it would be an enormous understatement. While there is dispute over the origins of the theater, Boggs sides with the university’s records that the hall was originally opened in 1851. The students at the time wanted a ballroom to be built, but the university would only pay for a library, so prominent architect Alexander Jackson Davis made the building into a dualuse space: a library and a ballroom. Stacks of books on wheels could be
moved to the sides of the space in order to make room for dancing. The theater is a Greek revival temple. Like other buildings around campus, the entrance is preceded by large columns. However, instead of the acanthus leaves that typically embellish the tops of columns, wheat and corn crown the pillars to exhibit North Carolina’s most important crops. The original name for the building was Smith Hall, named after Benjamin Smith, who was a special aid to George Washington and a former governor of the state. Smith donated a large expanse of land as an endowment which was later sold and helped fund the constitution of the building. Historic Playmakers Theatre is still disguised as Smith Hall, as the sign along East Cameron Avenue suggests. Over time, the building was also used as a space for journalism classes, UNC’s law school, a bath house, a chemistry lab, a meeting space,
and according to legend, a stable for union cavalry horses during the Civil War. Historic Playmakers Theatre and Old East, which was also renovated during the 2008-2009 school year, are the only buildings on campus that are designated as National Historic Landmarks. The space is still making history as “Kind of Blue,” the first performance written by an black undergraduate, was held at Historic Playmakers Theatre in February. Paupers Players, UNC’s premier musical theater company, also used the space for two weeks in the spring when they put on “All Shook Up,” the company’s first show back in their original performance home. “It still gives you that feeling that you’re performing in a real theater instead of a room or lecture hall that’s been made into a makeshift theater,” Boggs said. “It’s beautiful, and it’s definitely unique.” 23
The 24 Hour Play Festival. By Heejoo Park
One night only event. 8 p.m. Friday, February 25.
Light is flowing out of a room in an otherwise deserted corridor of the Center for Dramatic Arts. The people inside are greeting each other shaking hands or hugging. Who are these people and what are they doing here in an evening like this? UNC-Chapel Hill students, regardless of major or year but with the same passion for theatre, came together to put the 24 Hour Play Festival on stage. Jess Adams, the literary manager of the festival, said she wanted to do this project to reach out to the playwrights, tighten the community and build characters. “It takes a lot of vitality, fortitude, bravery and maybe a little bit of insanity,” Adams said. “It’s hectic. But I think some of the madness is the fun of it, because it is challenge.”
Greetings, everybody. The participants had exactly 24 hours to write, rehearse and perform six one-act plays and perfect them for a onenight-only showing the next day. Tick tock, tick tock, the clock went on ruthlessly. After going over the schedule for 24 hours it was time to learn about each other and get everybody on the same page. Playwrights, directors and actors presented their special talents and props for the show. Actors brought head-
shots of themselves for the cast selection during a part of the festival called “the icebreaker.” One actor demonstrated butterfly stroke on the dry floor and an actress sang her favorite song. Everyone pulled their hidden talents out of their pockets. “The icebreaker” was a show in itself answered by cheers and catcalls. The pile of props grew higher as everyone was introduced. The props came from all places imaginable from a wallet to a mother’s old wardrobe to help inspire the writers who had to work through the night.
Let the imagination fly. 9 p.m.
A little after 9 p.m. everyone is dismissed except for the writers. The company that set the format for 24 Hour Plays said in their introduction, “Like vampires, the writers dread the daylight. They realize that once the sun begins to poke its shiny little head above the skyline, their time is nearly up. That’s the anxiety every writer feels at 4:30 in the morning. Nonetheless, onward they type. Noun by noun. Adjective by adjective.” It is especially challenging for the writers because they have to fight off sleep at the same time. The six writers, after selecting their cast and props, go to find their favorite place to write. Three of the writers decide to work together in a living room. Holding their laptops, they start typing away. Adams said, “I am glad we have a variety in our play-
wrights. None of the plays are like one another either in genre or style.” The level of experience for the writers ranges from a freshman who has never written a play before to seasoned writer, Catya McMullen who wrote “The Collective” which was performed in March by LAB! Theatre. Yet, at 6 a.m. everyone had produced complete plays from 6 to 20 pages long.
Don’t Panic! 6 a.m.
Besides the literary managers, Adams and Natalie Pelletier, the directors are the first to see the scripts. They are amazed at the quality of the scripts and wonder who the unnamed writer might be.
The managers are making rounds with bags of chips, checking in on the groups rehearsing in various rooms across campus. There is tension in the air. Directors and actors put their heads together to interpret the play and get into action. By then all the writers have gone to sleep, exhausted from the night’s work. All the groups rehearsing separately are discussing the subtleties. Directors and actors are asking questions like, “Is it the right foot or the left foot?” or “Should we Google the lyrics and sing the Itsy-BitsySpider song in Austrian?”
Groups disperse to get lunch. Some have already memorized half of the lines. Those with longer monologues are faring well too. None of the actors look tired as they become more drawn into their characters.
By this time, the plays are almost coming to full shape. Actors are memorizing the songs, dialogue and choreography. It is four hours until the technical rehearsals begin. Practice to make perfect is the goal.
It is time! 8 p.m. Hanes Art Center.
The hard work of the group of writers, directors and actors pay off as the six 10-minute plays meet the audience. The madness has been tidied up by the last minute and relief and satisfaction wash over.
Photos by Geoff Kelly
Preivous page: Kathryn Leuci, Jo Saberniak rehearse “Ah, Austria.” Top: Matthew Hager rehearses for “Ah, Austria.” Right: Actors rehearse a scene from “Hell.mer.” Far right: An actor reads over a script from “Glitter”
I am an actor.
Name: Josh Churchill Year/major: Senior, History major Role: Andrew in “Hell.mer” How did you feel when you first met your assigned characters? “To be honest, I was skeptical. I’m 22 years old and I was born in 1988. They wanted me to play a 16-year-old kid who died in the 80s.” What were some of the challenges? For example, having to learn to sing the Itsy-Bitsy Spider in German? “The most challenging thing for me was figuring out what to do with myself when I wasn’t interacting with the others. My character generally gets ignored by the other characters.” What was the most fun part in all of this? “The best part for me was singing “Puttin’ on the Ritz” with Tyler Burt. That, and sketching out an exact timeline for when all of our characters died.”
I am an actress. Name: Angela Sibille Year/Major: Sophomore, English and Dramatic Art Major Role: Christine in “Walls of Lies” How did you feel when you first met your assigned characters? “It was kind of terrifying that moment when we were all cast into our respective roles, to realize that I had less than 12 hours to get to know this character, to pull every detail I could from the script and my director, and then get into the character’s head, which I’m used to having at least month to work on. But honestly, I didn’t have much time to think about it – we really had to jump right in.” What were some of the challenges? For example, having to learn to sing the Itsy-Bitsy Spider in German? “The biggest challenge was memorizing 18 pages of dialogue in a day. We also had to learn quickly some basic mime techniques.” What was the most fun part in all of this? “The most fun part was watching it all come together after having worked so hard all day. The performance went really well, which was a huge relief after all the stress, and it was so much fun to see the other five plays.”
A look at the plays “Missed Connections”
Written by Catya McMullen. Directed by Amelia Sciandra.
Written by Pat Robinson. Directed by Denver Carlstrom.
Cast: Flynn and male roles (Jeb Brinkley), Rae and female roles (Chessa Rich).
Cast: Adam (Luke Wander), Sam (Amanda Baldiga), Elena (Evangeline Mee).
It is a play about Craiglist posts and awkward meetings that happen between a homosexual, sorority girl, a construction worker from the South, a guy from Carrboro and a girl who likes stuffed animals too much. The two actors played different male and female characters.
What happens when poetry meets alcohol.
Cast: Evangeline (Melissa Parker), Tiffany (Stephanie Linas), Christine (Angela Sibille), Bradley (Brandon Rafalson), Georgie (Zachary Meicher– Buzzi).
Written by Bronwen Clark. Directed by Ben Schaberg. Cast: Grace, the priest (Lariah Ijames), Myrtle (Charlotte Mertens), Andrew (Josh Churchill), Kenneth/Matthew (Tyler Burt). An old guy cannot find his shoe. Meanwhile there is conflict among his wife, his son and the daughter-in-law. But are they alive or dead?
“Walls of Lies” Written by Chris McMahon. Directed by Travis Wright.
A Catholic conman, a rich prostitute, a tease of a Christian girl and a cocky physics major are being interrogated. They are all hypocrites, deceiving themselves in various ways.
Written by Dana Alibrandi. Directed by Christine Zagrobelny.
Written by Nicola Vann. Directed by Rebecca Watson.
Cast: Lauren (Julia Howland-Myers), Katie
Cast: Meredith (Erika Edwards), Emmy (Kathryn Leuci), Jamie (Mason Cordell), Parker (Matthew Hager), Logan (Jo Saberniak).
Glitter focuses on a college couple’s conflict as the boyfriend cheats. Another girl is hiding and hearing the conversation between the couple. The girlfriend feels like they need counseling because she wants to get married sometime soon but her faith has been broken.
Two girls meet two Austrian boys who turn out to be fake Europeans.
(Meghan Modafferi), Eric (Jacob Williams).
Right: Luke Wander, Amanda Baldiga and Evangeline Mee rehearse a scene from “Aoide.”
The most accessible art form
By Brittain McNeel
People often overlook the aesthetic value of beautiful, expressive clothes. These two designers demonstrate the art of fashion with their handmade, locally-designed pieces. 30
Current Residence: Asheville, N.C. Company: Leonine Designs Website: http://www.leoninedesigns.com/
Anna Young started Leonine Designs in 2004 as a way to sell the jewelry she made. She taught herself to make jewelry while working in bead stores, and originally gave her work away to friends and family. After deciding to make money from her passion for jewelry, Anna began selling items at Roulette Vintage in Carrboro. “The owners of Roulette Vintage were very supportive of local artists in the area, and my partnership with them really motivated me to pursue my dreams and cultivate my business,” Anna says. Since then, Roulette has closed its Carrboro store and now sells products exclusively online via Etsy.com.
Leonine Designs is primarily a jewelry company that uses unique materials from wood and fence chains to even beetle wings. “I love to use a variety of ‘ingredients’ in my work, with an emphasis on vintage, found and natural items,” says Anna. “I love the idea of taking something broken or unexpected and turning it into a beautiful piece of art.” She recently began working outside the realm of jewelry, making knit and crocheted items, hand-dyed linens and screen-printed clothing. Anna’s work is experimental and constantly changing— she has dyed yarn with plants from her own yard and also used hardware such as nuts and bolts in her jewelry.
Inspiration: Photos by Derek Featherston
Colors: Cornflower blue and warm sunset colors “I also like the feminine, white, flowing looks I’ve seen for this spring.” Artists: Alphonse Mucha, Chinese brush painting, Meng Xiangshun’s big cats “I have an undeniable obsession with art toys like Kidrobot’s Dunny series.” Music: Ben Folds, Thom Yorke Personal piece: gold and silver chain necklace “It could be worn long or wrapped around the neck twice. It had a large white pearl on it, a bone skull, and some red coral and blue lapis.”
“Pretty much everything. Nature, color, other artists, my customers, anything antique, vintage or bizarre. I love incorporating elements in my work that have a history or tell a story. The other day I saved a wishbone from a chicken I made for soup, spray painted the wishbone gold and made it into a necklace.”
Side Project: Teaching craft classes In addition to making her own jewelry and products for Leonine Designs, Anna teaches craft-making classes in one-on-one or group settings. The two classes offered are stringing and wire work, which teach students how to make their own unique necklaces and bracelets. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Right: Samples of jewelry and needlework from Leonine Designs.
Anna cuts the husks off black walnuts to be soaked in water and strained to make a rich brown dye. “They are one of the wonderful natural dyes that do not fade in sunlight and do not wash out,” she said.
River’s table for jewelry design is full of feathers, leather and other interesting items.
River wears a romper made from an oldfashioned swimsuit.
Medium: Sewing “It’s just so methodical, with the vibration of the machine and things just coming together.” Designer(s): Alexander McQueen, Madeleine Vionnet “[Vionnet] is a pre-Coco Chanel pioneer for loosefitting clothes.” Color (this season): Mustard yellow, grey “Something about grey is really comforting.” Artist: Tattoo art and graffiti “I like the idea of free art, like murals and art that doesn’t necessarily belong to a gallery or museum. I really like stencil art and things I see around town without knowing who did them.”
Current residence: Carrboro, N.C. Company: Riverbasin Outfitters Website: http://www.riverbasinoutfitters.com/
Riverbasin Outfitters is an EcoEco design company, meaning it is an ecologically and economically friendly clothing brand. “I try and price everything at what the market can bear so people can enjoy things without feeling like it’s an arm and a leg to buy it,” says founder River TakadaCapel, who designs all of the clothes for her brand. River uses materials that are second-hand, whether from thrift stores, flea markets, friends or the scrap exchange in Durham. Everything from fabric to zippers, buttons and the paper used for patterns is recycled. She uses minimum amounts of water when dying and screen-printing along with natural dyes that aren’t toxic to the environment.
River’s clothing products encompass a wide variety of styles inspired by her personal moods. She has made a romper from an old-fashioned swimsuit and a silk ruffled dress from an Indian sari. Each item of clothing is handmade and no two products are the same.
“I religiously look at catalogs and internet blogs. Some of my favorites are ‘Le Fashion,’ ‘Spanish Moss’ and ‘Night Kat.’ I get inspiration from young, flirty kinds of things and from Japanese fashion magazines,” River said. She is half Japanese, and enjoys visiting Japan to check out the latest Eastern fashion trends.
Screenprinted trench coat made by River.
Side Project: Cuke & Sew
With her friend Ashley Weinberger, River created Cuke and Sew, a local publication that combines food with local culture, art and fashion. The magazine, which contains homemade recipes, sewing patterns, literature and art, can be found in Chapel Hill at Internationalist Books or Flyleaf Books.
River’s screenprinting table, with a basket full of pouches she made from leftover scrap fabrics.
Artwork Carolina for
By Tiffany Johnson Photos by Tiffany Johnson
ave you ever walked by the brightly painted, sparkly critter sculptures on the first floor of the Student Union and wondered, “What is that, and where did it come from?” Those animals were made in 2006 by Clyde Jones, an artist from Bynum, N.C., known for his work with a chainsaw, and painted by UNC students. Since Jones’ eclectic sculptures became a part of the Union’s permanent art collection, they have been an important part of what makes the scenery within the building so charming. The Henry-Copeland Permanent Art Collection encompasses all three floors of the Union, the brick alongside it and various locations around campus such as the CampusY and Morrison Residence Hall. After being proposed and created in 1998 by the Carolina Union Board of Directors, the collection was named after art enthusiasts and former directors of the Union, Howard Henry and Archie Copeland. As the Carolina Union website states, the purpose of the art is to “enhance the experience of students, staff, faculty, and visitors.” Don Luse, current director of the Student Union, believes it can also “educate and inspire.” As the leading advisor of the collection and display of the artwork, Luse offers insight into the way pieces are chosen for display. The Henry-Copeland collection contains both donated works and those chosen by a selection committee headed by Sheridan Howie and the Carolina Union Activities Board (CUAB). The Parents Council provides the funds for the artwork selected by the committee, and as Luse mentioned, “connection to the state would be our first criteria.” Whether the work is done by a student, alumni or local artist, the work needs
to relate to North Carolina. “The closer we can get to UNC, the better,” Luse said. Paintings and sculptures that speak to a member of the Chapel Hill community can offer representation to groups that may not be well spoken for around campus. The calligraphy piece “As-Salaam” -- a white and gold scroll decorated with a black Chinese character for ‘peace’ -- was chosen by the Student Muslim Organization and speaks out for Chinese Muslims on campus. Though the work was purchased from Haji Noor Deen Mi Guang Jiang, an artist that lives in China, it was selected in 2009 by members of the Muslim Student Association who felt it symbolized their beliefs and lifestyle. The title of the scroll, As-Salaam, is a common greeting amongst Muslims. The 232-foot portion of patterned white and red bricks that lies between the Student Union and its annex is entitled “The Gift,” and was designed by Senora Lynch. The bricks form eagles, ears of corn and other symbols significant to the Haliwa-Saponi tribe of which Lynch is a member. Her other works have been displayed in both the Smithsonian and the North Carolina Natural History Museum in Raleigh. Luse favors this piece because he feels that Lynch “touches everybody’s lives” by being “one of those rare people you meet who just embodies her culture.” Her work offers Native American students “something here that they can make a connection to” while being “an amazing piece of art.” While some creations in the Henry-Copeland collection speak out for under-represented members of the campus community, creations like “On Our Way” and “Midday in the Pit” speak to the student body as a whole. “On Our Way” is a bronze, stainless steel and wood sculpture by Ruffin Mendenhall that can be found to the right of the main
Connection to the state would be our first criteria... the closer we can get to UNC, the better.” Don Luse Student Union director
staircase in the Student Union. The bodies are of all shapes and sizes, and blend together in a mass of people walking back and forth. The sculptor managed to capture the movement within the Union while unifying the student body in his work. “Midday in the Pit” pulls together the essence of the school with images of the pit preacher, Lenoir Dining Hall, the Student Union and the two giant pin oaks that shade activity during the sweltering hot and humid North Carolina summer. This watercolor painting by Brenda Behr can be found on the third floor of the Union. The collection includes a wide variety of outstanding sculptures and paintings with varied relationships to the state and school. A 27-foot untitled light sculpture made by Matt McConnell out of steel and fiberglass spirals through the main staircase, illuminating the entrance to all three floors of the Union. McConnell is an architect and artist out of Raleigh. “Sunset on Oak Island, North Carolina” – a piece donated by Bob and Kelley Germaine for their daughters that attended UNC – is unique in that it is not only a photograph of a beautiful Carolina sunset, but a door as well. The image has been built by Peter Houk into the two glass panels of a door on the third floor of the Union that is back-lit to
make the already vibrant colors glow. “Monk” – a vivid acrylic painting of Thelonious Monk playing the piano – was donated by Luse after he bought it from Joel Washington, a self-taught artist friend of his who had given him a similar painting for his office many years ago. It can be found outside of the Union’s administrative office on the third floor. Luse believes that the Henry-Copeland collection stands out from other galleries on campus in that it is “really contemporary.” Even though the Parents Council has donated thousands of dollars to the continuation of the collection, the biggest issue as of late has been the lack of support for the artwork. With the economy on a downward slope, art is not always the highest priority. “Funding is our biggest problem,” said Tammy Lambert, Luse’s office manager. “There’s not a lot of money for art.” Lambert would like to see the collection gain more sculptures, and perhaps a sculpture garden, while Luse says, “The life that we bring to this building, a lot of it is through the art we hang on the walls,” and would like to see more pieces reflective of the community. Until the collection is approved for more funding, remember to look around at the pieces already in the Student Union. Clyde Jones’ critter masterpieces, Senora Lynch’s brickwork and the other paintings and sculptures that deck the walls, doors and walkways were chosen for the students and faculty that use the Union on a daily basis. Take some time to appreciate it! For more information on the Henry-Copeland Permanent Art Collection, pick up a brochure in the Student Union, room 3103.
Carolina Ukulele Ensemble By Heejoo Park
Photos by Brittain McNeel
A new group comes to the Carolina music scene.
t’s a sunny day and you’re lying on the grass in Polk Place. Suddenly you hear music flowing from the steps of the library. You see several people in casual attire playing ukuleles and singing, and you wonder who they are. “Ukulele is a happy instrument,” said Jeff Hymes, who started the Carolina Ukulele Ensemble, “and the Carolina Ukulele Ensemble is a group of happy people playing happy instruments.” It all began with Hymes’ initial interest in the ukulele as a kid. He started playing during 7th grade after seeing Paul McCartney perform with a ukulele at a George Harrison tribute concert. When Hymes got to college, he thought it would be fun to have a group of people playing ukuleles together like the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain or a campus A Capella group. Once he had the idea, he researched the steps to make it come true and had the group ap-
proved by the university in January 2011. This new club started at first with only Hymes and his suitemates. At that point, Hymes decided to make more effort to recruit members. “I made posters and had them put up in the dorms, and the next meeting brought a lot of new members,” he said. Soon the word spread about people playing ukuleles together. “I didn’t know that so many people played ukulele,” says Jay Prevatt, a member of the ensemble. The outdoor meetings currently feature 10 to 15 people playing ukuleles in harmony. They are mini-concerts on the grass When the meetings started to attract larger numbers, they brainstormed ideas for the group name. On the list were “Ukulele Club” and “Ukulele Team.” However, “Carolina Ukulele Ensemble” was
The goal of the club is to build the skills of each member, while also showcasing the beauty of the ukulele to the rest of the campus through performance,
finally chosen as their name. Hymes says the name was chosen for three reasons. Firstly, the word “ensemble” gives a more professional air. Secondly, it allows the club to represent both UNC and the state of North Carolina. Lastly, the three words formed a nice acronym (CUE). “The goal of the club is to build the skills of each member, while also showcasing the beauty of the ukulele to the rest of the campus through performance,” Hymes says. The club is always open to newcomers, even to those who know nothing about ukulele but are willing to learn. The number of members has been growing steadily but the club hopes for even more expansion in the future. Some of the music the club has chosen to play were songs by Third Eye Blind, MGMT and Jason Mraz. “The meetings have been
very relaxed, and I hope to continue with the vibe in the future,” Hymes said. Billy Stewart, the sponsor of the Carolina Ukulele Ensemble and a guitar instructor for the UNC-Chapel Hill Music Department, said ukulele is an underrated instrument that is capable of wonderful things in a UNC-TV interview. Although Carolina Ukulele Ensemble is a budding group that’s just a few months old, it is beginning to gain fans across the campus. Those who wish to hear their music can find them practicing on the lower quad in front of Wilson Library when the weather is nice. Carolina Ukulele Ensemble’s Facebook page also features dates of the scheduled performances. Hymes says the club members enjoy reaching out to the audiences and you should contact them if you want them to perform.
Let them make crafts:
DIY friendship bracelets
By Stephanie Bullins
’ve always been a fan of summer flings. Not the relationship kind – those can be messy — but any other short-lived obsession I tend to develop over the hottest, most humid months in North Carolina. Tan lines, popsicles and Sean Kingston’s “Beautiful Girls” are all summer flings for me. But the most intense summer fling I’ve had to date has been with friendship bracelets. Friendship bracelets are a way of life at the summer camp where I work. No matter what exciting activity I’ve planned for the campers when they come to arts and crafts, they all ask the same question: “When are we making friendship bracelets?” And I have to admit, I get an enormous sense of satisfaction when I get to pass down the tradition to kids from 6 to 16, and even more so when I pass the craft along to the counselors who are years older than me. For me, friendship bracelets and what they symbolize are the definition of summer. They’re not permanent—they fade and break off, just like summer doesn’t last all year. Often, especially at camp, they’re made by friends you might only see over the summer and not during the year. They look best around a tanned wrist or an ankle above a flip-flop, and the easiest way to pull a bracelet tight while you’re making it is looping it around barefoot toe. Summer should be languid, and simple knot-based friendship bracelets are a relaxing but productive way to pass the time. I’m going to teach you the basic knot that most bracelets use and two of the simple patterns you can make, but the possibilities are endless. Once you get the hang of the basics, experiment with colors, more complex patterns and mixing patterns for a countless variety of bracelets. Keep in mind that your bracelet doesn’t have to be perfect. Don’t fret if your knots aren’t always the same size or if you mix up the colors. In fact, the mistakes make it unique, and no one can ever have the same bracelet you’ve made. So have a summer fling with me. Once you start making bracelets, you won’t be able to stop.
Making the Chinese Staircase bracelet
1. Cut four strings of embroidery floss, two in each color. The strings should be the length of your thumb to your elbow. Tie the strings at the top in a simple know. [Note: Bracelet simplified to two strings for clarity.]
3. Holding the three strings tightly at the end, pull the single string up, tightening the knot to the top of the bracelet.Repeat this knot 20 to 30 times, creating a band of one color.
2. Pull one string away from the other three, and group the remaining three together. Make the shape of 4 with the single string over top of the other strings. Pull the tail of the 4 through the gap right to left, then toward you, tightening the single string around the bunch.
4. Repeat the knot, putting the separate strand with the rest and pulling a different color string from the group.Use this color for the same amount of knots as the first.
5. Continue until the bracelet is long enough to wrap around your wrist or ankle, alternating strings so they stay close to the same length.
6. Tie it in a strong knot and wear your new creation with pride! Or do this project with a friend and switch bracelets for a true friendship bracelet!
Simple variations: Change the number of knots in each color, use more than two colors, or use a different number of strings to make the bracelet thinner or thicker.
Uncharted is an online magazine covering the arts community at the University of North Carolina and in the surrounding areas.