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February 17-23, 2021 YES! WEEKLY
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FEBRUARY 17-23, 2021 VOLUME 17, NUMBER 7
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The last week has been one filled with announcements as incumbents and challengers alike toss their hat in the ring for a seat on the GREENSBORO CITY COUNCIL. While the candidate-filing window for the Guilford County Board of Elections office doesn’t open until this summer, many on and off council have made their intent clear recently regarding public office. 8 During his storied career, HAL HOLBROOK portrayed, among other things, a President, a Senator, a Secretary of State, and a Deep Throat whistleblower. All of them spoke eloquently about life, politics, and the human condition. But it was Hal himself who often articulated views that were befitting of the characters he played, such as this gem from a private conversation we had in 2013... 9 Valentine’s Day may have been Sunday, but there’s always room for a good love story, and this biography of actress FAY WRAY and screenwriter ROBERT RISKIN qualifies as a great one, written with insight and compassion by their daughter, Victoria.
“Police misconduct has been tolerated in Greensboro, and, according to these employment histories, it’s even been rewarded with raises and promotions,” said Petty during the public comment section of the Feb. 2 virtual meeting of the Greensboro City Council. “We asked that the officers be fired, and what they got was BONUSES.” 13 JOEL HURT AND HIS SISTER KAILA GILLESPIE grew up in East Winston, finding hope where some might not typically see it, thanks to their mother’s arts organization. “We provide the inspiration. We’re giving them that little push to be able to come in and to be themselves and to open up. We see the hope and the talent,” Hurt said. 14 KEVIN “ROWDY” ROWSEY, the “North Carolina MC with the energy to light up the stage and the classroom,” is now lighting up televisions across the state as host of “At-Home Learning Presents: Classroom Connection,” airing bi-weekly, from 8 to 10 a.m. on PBS North Carolina.
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Campaigns kickoff for Greensboro’s Council Seats
he last week has been filled with announcements as incumbents and challengers alike toss their hat in the ring for a seat on Greensboro City Council. Chanel Davis While the candidate-filing window for the Guilford CounEditor ty Board of Elections office doesn’t open until this summer, many on and off council have made their intent clear recently regarding public office. With all nine seats up for reelection this upcoming 2021 election season, there are sure to be many more players to come to the table. Governed by a Council-Manager form of government, the eight council members and a mayor serve four-year terms. The mayor and three council members are elected At-Large, while the remaining five are elected from districts throughout the city in its nonpartisan election. Mayor Nancy Vaughan has declared that she plans to run for another four-year term. Vaughan, who has held the position since 2013, announced via video that she chose Valentine’s Day to announce her candidacy “because I love our city and I know that you do too.” Vaughan reassured residents that she has proven she knows how to get things done and reminded them of all they’ve been thru together - tornados, floods, earthquakes, and other disasters. “I’ve been your voice for better jobs, safer communities, affordable housing, and equal opportunities. You know me. I have without a doubt proven I know how to get things done,” she said. “My energy and attention has always been and will continue to be, focused on the real issues that impact our city. On that, you have my devoted commitment. Always have and always will. I will continue to lead by example and listen to the heart of our community.” She went on to say that the issues important to residents are also important to her - safety, economic recovery, and housing, etc. “The people of Greensboro have always come first and always will,” she said. “You matter. Your family matters. This city matters. I love our city and the people who call Greensboro home.” YES! WEEKLY
FEBRUARY 17-23, 2021
Greensboro City Council As of now, she faces at least one challenger, albeit a familiar one, in City Councilman Justin Outling. A lawyer at Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard L.L.P., practicing business litigation and white-collar criminal defense, he is the only male on the current council. Outling, who was appointed to fill the seat vacancy in 2015 after then council member Zack Matheny stepped down, announced in December 2020 via Facebook that he would be running for the Mayor’s seat. “The gap between Greenboro’s potential and reality is broad, and it’s been getting wider year after year,” he said in the video. “As a member of the Greensboro City Council, I know that my colleagues and I have worked hard to tackle each of those challenges. But in that role, I also know to reach our potential, we need a stronger, more effective, and a more unified voice in the Mayor’s office. And that’s why I’m running for the opportunity to serve you as Greensboro’s next mayor. Greensboro needs strong leadership for real progress.” With Outling’s District 3 seat opening up, attempts are already being made to commandeer the coveted space on the dais. Challenger Tracy Furman took to Facebook earlier this week to announce that she would be vying for the seat. Certainly not a stranger to Guilford County or the Greensboro area, Furman is executive director of the local nonprofit Triad Local First, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Greensboro that promotes and strengthens the economic growth and sustainability of local, independently owned businesses, according to its website. A position that could work to Furman’s advantage.
“Our independent business owners are our neighbors and friends,” she said in a release. “Our community is stronger when our small business economy is thriving.” In 2018, Furman also ran for the District 3 Guilford County Commissioner seat against Justin Conrad, where she garnered 49.62 percent, or 14,119, of the votes leading to a recount of the district’s votes with the 0.7 percent difference. A 216 vote difference led to Furman conceding and the race being called for Conrad. According to Furman, she plans to make safety and affordable housing a priority if elected to council. Challenger Chip Roth announced he would be running for the seat in early January. Roth is another that is no stranger to Greensboro or its politics. Some may even say he has somewhat of a home-field advantage. Roth is the husband of Denise Turner Roth, who served as Greensboro’s City Manager from 2012 until 2014 when she resigned to work in D.C. at the White House under the Obama Administration. He also served in the Obama administration as a senior advisor for the U.S. Small Business Administration. Between his prior SBA knowledge, his work at NDH Capital, and as a founding partner of Roth & Associates, a business consulting firm that assists other businesses with business development, it comes as no surprise that Roth’s campaign touts a focus on economic development for the city. Roth’s vision is one he bills as a “New Greensboro”, a city that includes people working, a thriving economy, and new opportunities for everyone. “He is focused on business success, but always puts people first,” and is “an independent, progressive
fighter for families and small businesses,” according to the campaign website. The city will see a familiar face in its District 5 as Incumbent Tammi Thurm has announced her reelection bid. Having held the seat since 2017, Thurm currently serves as the elected official to the Jordan Lake One Water Alliance, on the board of Greensboro Downtown Parks, Inc., on the Transportations Advisory Council, as an alternate on the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and has served on the Greensboro Minimum Housing Standards Committee and as Vice President of the Greensboro Jewish Federation. According to a release, Thurm has focused on supporting safe and affordable housing, working with neighbors, local businesses, and developers to promote growth, and providing residents with prompt services, along with helping the community fight through tough events in the last year. A law firm administrator, Thurm vows to “remain committed to ensuring” a stronger Greensboro. “When I look at all we’ve accomplished these last three years, combined with the unique challenges that will face us the next four, I am more motivated than ever to serve the people of the 5th District so we can finish what we started.” The Guilford County Board of Election will begin accepting Greensboro candidates’ filings at noon on Monday, July 26 thru noon, August 13. Primaries will begin on Tuesday, October 5, with the general election to follow on November 2. ! CHANEL DAVIS is the current editor of YES! Weekly and graduated from N.C. A&T S.U. in 2011 with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. She’s worked at daily and weekly newspapers in the Triad region.
OFTEN IMITATED NEVER DUPLICATED
February 17-23, 2021
[KING Crossword] BACKUP FUNCTION
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“When — your age ...” Having two systems One of the “Little Women” Angry crowd “99 Red Balloons” band Really foolish First digits dialed, often * President of Nicaragua Added yeast to, as bread San —, Buenos Aires Oklahoma tribe * Rock yielding element #28 Riddle-me- — 1/36 yard Jai — Head, to Fifi * Historical French area Way of being torn, thrilled or loved Put aside for future use Handed out Prefix with soul With 18-Down, 1859 George Eliot novel Cal. neighbor * Crank-turned instrument Prioritizes, as patients Hosp. area TV antennas Bond film actress d’Abo Place for a welcome mat CPR giver Mil. officer * An off-Broadway theater is named for her Linden of TV
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Ice-T’s music Plane fliers Viewpoint Apple tablet download A fifth of fifty Nuclear reactor part * Popular citrus fruit “I solved it!” Nile vipers China’s Lao- — Fully enjoy 1966-2013 bookstore chain Funny feline photo meme * Musical group playing industrial drums Egg cell Genesis twin Diana of “Dance Hall” Ball or bass ender * Mafia boss Newsman Koppel 2017 biopic about an Olympic figure skater Per-night cost to stay at a 105-Down “Mr. Mom” plot premise (and what the answers to the starred clues have) Like not-yet-sampled food Two-function Fodder tower Day, in Spain Squirmy fish Lee who advised Reagan and Bush Couturier Cassini
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Gandhi of India Ferret’s kin Lennox and Potts Uttered “Nonsense!” Kin of “equi-” Old space station Hip about Related to food intake African land Meadowland Island east of Java Build Stovetop whistler Can’t say no Part of MSG Polish river See 48-Across Big name “Fanny” author Jong San Fran NFLer Tribal groups Gordie of hockey Verdi’s title slave Makeup brand Pasta dish Head of corn Collects, as a harvest River duck Many heirs Sprang 24-hr. “bankers” Tow Business of Delta Chemistry lab tube Ominous threat Cup edge Female bud Rhea’s kin
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Fizzy drink Fraction: Abbr. — gin fizz Vicious vortex Lifesaving locs. “Lady for a Day” director Frank It flows in la Seine Rent- — (security guard) Classic Ford models Ending for lime Blueprints Part of IHOP: Abbr. Part of UTEP Claim the truth of Actress Edie Colorado NHLers, to fans Eminent Coll. seniors’ tests Challenging “Never on Sunday” rule Person who is prospering Opposite of east, in Madrid Key next to a period Disinclined Dine away from home Throat part “Casino —” (Bond film) Not digital Roadside lodging “Darn it!” Rice-A- — Greek vowel Crimson and cherry Boxer Oscar — Hoya Roughly Std. for a nutritionist Deep groove Suffix with Siam
leisure [NEWS OF THE WEIRD] BRIGHT IDEA
Parking spots are hard to come by in the snowy West Ridge neighborhood of Chicago, and resident Adam Selzer has become the talk of the town for the novel method Chuck Shepherd he’s using to save his spot -- freezing pairs of pants and standing them up on the street like traffic cones, WBBM-TV reported. “Soak a pair, put outside. In about 20 minutes you can form them to shape, and in another 20 they’re solid,” Selzer posted on Twitter. Next, Selzer is planning to perfect a frozen shirt. “We’ll see if this works,” he said.
NEW THINGS TO WORRY ABOUT
Bradford Gauthier of Worcester, Massachusetts, had a bit of trouble swallowing when he woke up on Feb. 2, but he went about his day after drinking some water. Later, “I tried to drink a glass of water again and couldn’t,” he said, and that’s when he realized one of the AirPods he sleeps with at night was missing and “felt a distinct blockage in the center of my chest,” he said. KVEO reported that it didn’t take doctors in the emergency room long to discover the AirPod lodged in Gauthier’s esophagus. An emergency endoscopy removed it and Gauthier went home feeling much better.
— Tessica Brown of New Orleans was out of hairspray in January as she got ready to go out, so she reached for the only spray she could find, Gorilla Glue, to shellack her hair into place. “I figured ... I could just wash it out,” she told WDSU-TV, but “it didn’t.” Brown and her mother tried olive oil and vegetable oil, to no avail, and the local hospital could offer little help. She cut off her ponytail to reduce the weight, but the spray on her scalp continued to painfully tighten and harden. On Feb. 10, she posted on Instagram, she was scheduled to fly to Los Angeles to meet with plastic surgeon Michael Obeng to undergo a procedure that costs more than $12,000 — for free. — Neighbors in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, called police on Feb. 8 after witnessing an unidentified man apparently take a joyride on an excavator parked in the street, knocking it into power lines and making a getaway on a bicycle. WPLG-TV reported the incident resulted in every sports fan’s worst nightmare: a power outage just before the big game. “About
30 to 40 minutes before the Super Bowl started, (the power) just went all the way out,” said Bubba James. Crews from Florida Power & Light attended to the problem, and the power was back on by halftime.
KEYSTONE CAR CHASE
In the wee hours of Jan. 26, police in Bellevue, Washington, spotted a car running a red light, so they ran the tag and discovered the car was reported stolen. The driver failed to yield when officers attempted a traffic stop, KOMOTV reported, but a mechanical problem prevented the vehicle from exceeding 25 mph. The driver also observed all traffic laws as the pursuit continued for about a mile and a half until the vehicle burst into flames and became fully engulfed. The suspect male driver fled into a nearby nature park and escaped; a female passenger was detained by police and taken into custody.
STATE OF THE UNION
Instagramer Matt Shirley of Los Angeles conducted an informal survey among his more than 300,000 followers, asking them which state they hate most, the Asbury Park Press reported Jan. 21, and from the 2,500 responses, he determined that, among the expected regional rivalries, New Jersey hates every other state and Florida hates ... Florida. The Sunshine State was the only one to choose itself as most-hated, with fourfifths of respondents agreeing. “I live in Florida, have my whole life, and would not hesitate to unironically put that as my answer,” one survey participant wrote.
Rapper Lil Uzi Vert, whose real name is Symere Woods, revealed on Instagram in early February that he has had a $24 million 10-carat pink diamond implanted in his forehead, reported Rolling Stone. According to Simon Babaev, spokesman for the New York-based jeweler Eliantte & Co. that implanted the stone, Uzi fell in love with the marquise-shaped diamond when he saw it in 2017 and has been making payments on it as he determined what he wanted to do with it. “We didn’t think he was serious about it,” said Babaev, but as it became clear that he was, “we engineered a specific mounting that clips and locks in place. There’s a whole mechanism involved.” !
© 2021 Chuck Shepherd. Universal Press Syndicate. Send your weird news items with subject line WEIRD NEWS to WeirdNewsTips@amuniversal.com.
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uring his storied career, Hal Holbrook portrayed, among other things, a President, a Senator, a Secretary of State, and a Deep Throat whistleblower. Jim Longworth All of them spoke eloquently about life, politics, and the Longworth human condition. But at Large it was Hal himself who often articulated views that were befitting of the characters he played, such as this gem from a private conversation we had in 2013: “What’s more important in a democracy, that somebody should become a billionaire at the expense of others, or that people who run things should make sure that the people of the United States have work and can feed their families?” It’s unfortunate that Hal never was a Senator or a President in real life, but he left us with a body of work that entertained
Remembering Hal Holbrook and inspired us, and we are better for having experienced it. Hal Holbrook passed away on January 23, 2021. He was 95. Harold R. Holbrook may have lived a storybook life as an adult, but his childhood was almost Dickensian. Abandoned by his parents when he was only two years old, little Hal was shuffled off to live with his grandparents for a while, and then sent away to military school. He made his way to Dennison College, where he studied acting and met his first wife, Ruby. The couple developed a two-person stage show in their senior year, prompting their drama teacher, Ed Wright, to help them make an important career connection. Hal recalled the story to me: “Ed ran into this man from the Southern School Assemblies company who was looking for actors to perform educational plays. Ed told the guy that Ruby and I did scenes from Shakespeare, Hamlet, and Mark Twain.” That led to a job touring a variety of venues. Hal: The first time we performed a Twain number was in the suicide ward of the Chillicothe insane asylum (later renamed Athens Lunatic Asylum), and the next time
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Hal Holbrook and Jim Longworth we did it was for the Kiwanis in Newark, Ohio. Jim: What was the difference between the Kiwanis and the asylum patients? Hal: Well, mainly, we didn’t know which ones were nuts. After the tour was over, the Holbrooks only had $200 in the bank and a baby on the way, so Hal went looking for work. That’s when an agent suggested that Holbrook start doing a one-man show of Twain. Hal took his solo act on the road and, buoyed by an album and a spot on Ed Sullivan’s show, he signed with CBS to televise a live performance of “Mark Twain Tonight” in 1967. He would continue to portray the famous humorist for another 50 years. Along the way, Holbrook starred in such films as “The Fog,” “The Firm,” “All the President’s Men,” “Star Chamber,” and “Midway,” and in countless television shows, including “The West Wing,” “Evening Shade,” “North & South” (as Lincoln), and the ground-breaking 1972 TV movie, “That Certain Summer,” about two gay men. Hal also headlined a one-season run of “The Senator” for NBC. His many awards included four Emmys and a Tony. I first met Hal through his third wife, actress Dixie Carter (Designing Women), who had participated in a panel I convened for the Television Academy in 2000. During that event, titled “Women in Drama,” Dixie recounted stories of how she loved to read
as a child. Naturally, then, I assumed that Hal had read all of Mark Twain’s books when he was growing up. I was wrong, as Hal explained. “I didn’t know anything about Mark Twain at all. He was a total stranger to me. But I do remember reading “The Rover Boys” books. You could call them corny, but they must have implanted something in me that gave me the kind of drive and work ethic that I began to develop through my life because I had no family, and I had to develop stuff on my own. I think reading those books gave me a sense of purpose.” Hal and I met up in 2013 when he performed “Mark Twain Tonight” at the Carolina Theatre in Greensboro. Dixie had passed away three years earlier, and the tour was starting to tire him out. Hoping to lift his spirits, I showed up backstage with an early edition of his favorite “Rover Boys” adventure. His long-time friend and assistant Joyce Cohen would later tell me how touched Hal was to receive the book. I once asked Hal if he ever changed his Twain material from one performance to the next, and he said that he did. Just before visiting Greensboro, for example, he played in Nashville, where he allowed Twain to ponder the “hypocrisy going on in religious circles.” But hands-down, my favorite piece from “Mark Twain Tonight” is when the author arrived in San Francisco with a really bad cold. Said Hal as Twain, “A lady at the hotel advised me to drink a quart of whiskey every 24 hours, and another friend recommended exactly the same thing. That makes a half a gallon.” Hal is survived by his children Victoria, David, and Eve, and by millions of fans worldwide who have enjoyed his stage and screen performances over the years. Rest in peace, Rover Boy. ! JIM LONGWORTH is the host of Triad Today, airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11 a.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).
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Wray and Riskin: A Hollywood romance for the age FAY WRAY AND ROBERT RISKIN: A HOLLYWOOD MEMOIR by Victoria Riskin. Published by University of Kentucky Press. 416 pages. $21.95 retail.
alentine’s Day may have been Sunday, Contributor but there’s always room for a good love story, and this biography of actress Fay Wray and screenwriter Robert Riskin qualifies as a great one, written with insight and compassion by their daughter, Victoria. That the book is so well-written and edited should come as no surprise given its pedigree: Victoria is a past president of the Writers Guild of America West and is married to David W. Rintels, a three-time Emmy-winning writer (Clarence Darrow, Fear On Trial, Day One). Of the many stellar biographies published in recent years by the University of Kentucky Press – Olivia de Havilland: Lady Triumphant, Jarmila Novotna: My Life in Song, and Maureen O’Hara: Queen of Technicolor, among others – Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir is one of the very best. Thanks to one movie – the timeless 1933 classic King Kong – Fay Wray (1907-2004) holds a special place in Hollywood history. Indeed, she may well be the first big-screen “scream queen,” having appeared in The Mystery of the Wax Museum, The Most Dangerous Game, Doctor X, and The Vampire Bat either just before or just after Kong. Robert Riskin (1897-1955) is no less celebrated in Hollywood circles, winning the Oscar for It Happened One Night (1934). His partnership with filmmaker Frank Capra is legendary. They collaborated on eight films, including Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) and You Can’t Take It With You (1938). Of the three Oscars Capra won for Best Director, Riskin wrote each film. There’s no denying that, in addition to being a versatile actress, Wray was quite the beauty, attracting the attention of Cary Grant, Clifford Odets, Sinclair Lewis, and Howard Hughes, and Riskin was something of a ladies man himself, having dated Carole Lombard, Loretta Young, and Glenda Farrell. Ironically, Riskin was dating Farrell at the same time she was co-starring with Wray in the Michael Curtiz horror classic The Mystery of the Wax Museum. At the time, however, Wray was married
to John Monk Saunders, a Rhodes scholar who wrote Wings (1927), the first film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, and later took home an Oscar for writing The Dawn Patrol (1930). Their union, which produced daughter Susan Cary Saunders (who later changed her name to Riskin), was a troubled one. Saunders was an alcoholic and a womanizer and displayed symptoms that today would indicate a severe “bi-polar disorder.” Yet the author never condemns him, only expressing sympathy for an undeniably talented man whose demons got the best of him. During her lifetime, Wray never spoke ill of Saunders, either. Then again, as this book clearly implies – and emulates – Wray detested salacious gossip and harmful innuendo. So, Wray and Riskin were acquainted with one another before they married in 1942. Robert Riskin Jr. was born in 1943 and the author in 1945. Although Riskin’s duties with the OWI (Office of War Information) during World War II led to long separations, cushioned by affectionate letters and telegrams, theirs was a happy union, some of which are included here. Their careers never came into conflict. There was no competition, no jealousy, and no recriminations. They took pride in each other’s accomplishments and found contentment in each other’s company. Sadly, Riskin suffered the first of several strokes in 1950, and despite Wray’s undying love and support, he succumbed in 1955, shortly after being awarded the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement. In the post-war years, like so many Hollywood notables, the specter of HUAC (the House of Un-American Activities Committee) and the Hollywood Blacklist loomed, and although it might have brushed Riskin, he emerged unscathed, unlike several of his contemporaries. Riskin’s death essentially brings a close to the book, although Victoria covers her mother’s remaining years, which she was content to spend out of the limelight and away from show business. She married once more to Dr. Sanford Rothenberg (who had been Riskin’s physician), who predeceased her. Victoria Riskin also discusses her career and those of her sister Susan and brother Robert, but as the title implies, it’s the Wray/Riskin connection that takes precedence, as it should be. In his later years, Frank Capra’s legacy embraced the “auteur theory” with a vengeance, brushing off the efforts of writers. It could be said that Capra was a complex man, but Victoria Riskin posits the highly credible notion that he wasn’t so complex and that when he finally achieved success, he was so consumed with trying to top
himself each time that it hampered his later career. When Capra died in 1991 at age 94, he hadn’t made a movie in 30 years. His final film, Pocketful of Miracles (1961), was a remake of his own 1933 comedy Lady for a Day, and one Robert Riskin had written the screenplay for that. There are tragedies and triumphs to be found within these pages, but also a lot of love, affection, and admiration. Those are
the elements that stand out . It’s impossible to conceive of a better book about these two luminaries. In terms of depicting Fay Wray and Robert Riskin’s relationship, this is the Hollywood memoir, second to none. - The official University of Kentucky Press is https://www.kentuckypress.com/. ! See MARK BURGER’s reviews of current movies on Burgervideo.com. © 2021, Mark Burger.
FEBRUARY 17-23, 2021
David Nguyen: Breakdancer and Community Builder David Nguyen began breakdancing at Four Seasons Mall in Greensboro when he was five years old. Now a senior at UNCG, he’s an accomplished hip-hop dancer and choreographer who Ian McDowell teach other students for free. “We all know that YES! Writer breaking was huge in the 80s and 90s,” Nguyen told YES! Weekly. “But in Asian and other minority cultures, it’s still huge. When I was little, my brother would take me along to dance YES! WEEKLY
FEBRUARY 17-23, 2021
with him and his friends, whether in the mall parking lot or inside at the food court. We would put on little shows.” One of the things he most remembers from those days is how much fun both the dancers and spectators were having. “At least, that’s what my eyes saw, people just enjoying themselves. There wasn’t money, there were just people collectively getting to know each other without even speaking. Dancing is such a great nonverbal tool for communication.” Despite that joyous first exposure, Nguyen said he didn’t start seriously pursuing the craft of breakdancing until he was in middle school. “That’s when, as a kid, you really find yourself loving it and stop doing it just to look cool. Every kid wants to look cool, to fit in and be a part
of something and get attention, and I’m as guilty of that as anybody. But lo and behold, I ended up falling in love with it in a way I never expected, loving the dancing itself rather than the attention it brought me.” By this time, he’d become obsessed with America’s Best Dance Crew, the competitive reality show produced by Randy Jackson and hosted by Mario Lopez that debuted in 2008 and ran for eight seasons on MTV. “Watching those dancers performing on stage and living their best life enthralled me. So, I really got into it and started practicing in my room.” Nguyen said he’d always done well in sports, particularly soccer and swimming. “But dancing was what really taught me about myself and helped me grow up. To
be completely honest, I have never had a father figure in my life. But I had dancing to guide me through my adolescence and later, from the Sixth Grade until now.” So how did he begin teaching it on a volunteer basis at UNCG, where he is now a senior marketing major? “I got involved in various campus organizations, such as FASA, the FilipinoAmerican Student Association, and VSA, the Vietnamese Student Association, and those two have collectively helped me invest into my career. I went to Kaplan Center for Recreation and Wellness right after it opened at UNCG in 2016, and was immediately struck by how much room and how many different rooms it had. I would find rooms that were open and available, which usually meant around 8
or 9 p.m., and started giving free classes as a way to give back to the community.” Those classes, said Nguyen, quickly grew in size. “When I began, less than a dozen people would show, but then it became around 20 and grew to more than 30. It was so unique and great to see everyone just sweating together and building a community. From that experience of privately teaching large classes, I was able to make contacts to hold individual instruction throughout the day.” He also began working with students, both individually and in groups, to choreograph routines for them to perform at the end of sessions and demonstrate what they had learned together. “Doing this, I’ve been able to build so many networks and connections, not just among people of my race, but across ethnicities. Even though these classes began predominantly Filipino and Vietnamese, I met so many other people outside of those cultures who were interested in learning this, and it made them feel more welcome. I myself feel more welcome than I used to, having this aspect of dancing and teaching in my life. It encourages what has been one of my biggest dreams because nothing beats a community. I’m all about communities, whether it’s service work, organizations, or whatever.” Nguyen said that this sense of community is what he loved about UNCG. “This school really does make you feel part of something. You’re not another number like you might be at some schools. That’s why I love both studying and teaching here. Other places may have great equipment and great campuses, but they don’t always have that sense of belonging and looking after each other. The great Gus Peña, Director of The Office of Intercultural Engagement, oversees all the campus organizations, and has been so much a part of that.” Nguyen’s family is from what was previously known as South Vietnam. “They came over during the rough times in the 80s because they wanted a better life, something North Carolina offered them. My brother served in the military here, and my sister has raised a family. I also do marketing and videography for my friends Ronny and Mary at Moshi Moshi Boba Café, and work there as well.” Nguyen said that, as much as he loves to dance, he doesn’t want to be good at just one thing. “I’ve learned that there are times when you have to put your eggs in multiple baskets. I use videography to record and share dance, but not just for that. I really want to work with artists who inspire me, and videography is a great way to do that, whether I’m working with dancers, musicians, poets, and visual artists, whatever. It becomes a collaboraWWW.YESWEEKLY.COM
tion and a synthesis. My ultimate ambition is to always feel inspired.” He’s not a fan of the style of editing that breaks dance and other movements into brief fragments. That kind of editing used to be called “MTV Style,” even though some of the most successful music video directors specialized in long takes (think of how Spike Jonze shot Christopher Walken’s dance in the video for Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice”). “I like to show continuous movement, full-form. Videographers who are also performers bring something extra to it when they are recording other performers. It’s so much more than just pointing a camera at somebody or something. It has to be a team effort. And I think that also being a performer puts me more in tune to whomever I’m working with.” When asked about his inspirations and idols, Nguyen cited friends and family rather than celebrities. “A lot of people would name somebody famous, but it can be hard to get inspired by someone you don’t know. I had a friend here in Greensboro, Eliot You, who’s a huge influence and inspiration, a dear friend driving me to push my creative field. Now, he teaches at three of the biggest studios in Atlanta; Xcel, 411 Talent, and Groove to Music. Atlanta is booming right now and has become a major entertainment city. When he was here, Eliot – that’s with one ‘l’ — gave me a huge amount of insight and guidance. I love that man to death. He’s shown me you can make a living dancing.” But there’s somebody even closer. “My mom is a single parent with three kids, all on her own in a country she’d barely heard of before she came here. She taught me what it means to work hard. When I was little, she worked as a nail technician in the morning, then worked at a jeans company, then cooked and cleaned at midnight and slept for a few hours before doing it all over again, six days a week. I learned what it means to work hard for your money and that nothing is handed to you. She put all her resources into my brother, my sister, and me. That woman is a warrior and my hero.” And what is Nguyen’s proudest achievement? “Overcoming insecurities. I learned that the hard way growing up. In my childhood, I was always comparing myself to the people around me and wondering if I was good enough. But I’ve learned that I am. Not in terms of arrogance, but of competence. So yeah, that’s what I’m proudest of.” ! IAN MCDOWELL is the author of two published novels, numerous anthologized short stories, and a whole lot of nonfiction and journalism, some of which he’s proud of and none of which he’s ashamed of. FEBRUARY 17-23, 2021
Seven of the eight GPD officers who hogtied Marcus Smith received merit raises On Sept. 8, 2018, eight Greensboro police officers were accused of fatally hogtying Marcus Deon Smith. Records released by the City of Greensboro reveal that seven of those officers subsequently Ian McDowell received merit increases, some multiple bonuses, YES! Writer and three of them promoted. This information was released on January 13 in response to public information request #14207 by Democracy Greensboro activist Hester Petty. “Police misconduct has been tolerated in Greensboro, and, according to these employment histories, it’s even been rewarded with raises and promotions,” said Petty during the public comment section of the Feb. 2 virtual meeting of the Greensboro City Council. “We asked that the officers be fired, and what they got was bonuses. The prone restraint, commonly called hogtying, has resulted in deaths in custody throughout the U.S. and has been banned in many communities because it has proven to be deadly force. The city has not overseen the Greensboro Police Department sufficiently enough, and it needs to do so now because there is another death from unnecessary force.”
FEBRUARY 17-23, 2021
On Sept. 8, 2018, Marcus Smith, a 38-year-old homeless African-American man, approached GPD officers on Church Street in downtown Greensboro and asked to be taken to the hospital. Smith was agitated but not violent or confrontational, according to reports. While awaiting an ambulance, Officer Robert Duncan decided Smith would need to be restrained with a RIPP hobble device. Former Chief Scott later stated this was done at the request of EMS, but bodycam videos do not support Scott’s claim, as they show Duncan unilaterally making the decision before he speaks to EMTs. As can be seen on the bodycam videos, Officer Duncan threw Smith down onto Church Street’s pavement. Then Duncan and Officers Justin Payne, Michael Montalvo, Alfred Lewis, and Lee Andrews, along with Sergeant Christopher Bradshaw and Corporal Douglas Strader, piled on top of Smith, rolled him over onto his stomach and stretched out Smith’s arms and legs. Cries of “Please don’t do that!” and “I ain’t resisting” can be heard, with pain and fear apparent in Smith’s voice. Officer Duncan handcuffed Smith’s hands behind his back. Officer Payne grasped Smith’s ankles and, bending Smith’s knees beyond a 90-degree angle, pushed Smith’s feet to the point that they were touching his handcuffed hands at the small of his back. Duncan, Andrews, and Montalvo used a RIPP Hobble device to bind Smith’s handcuffs to his feet behind his back, pulling the
device so tight that Smith’s shoulders and knees were suspended above the pavement. Smith moaned, gasped for air, and evidenced severe respiratory distress. In less than a minute, Smith became unresponsive. While police reports state Smith later died at the hospital, he appears to stop breathing on the bodycam videos, his body completely limp and his face slack and ashen, before the restraint is removed. Present at the scene and standing close by was Officer Jordan Bailey, who is also named in an ongoing Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit against the city over Smith’s death due to Bailey’s alleged failure to intervene. The employment records released by the city in response to Hester Petty’s request reveal the following information. Officer Robert Duncan, who made the decision to apply the RIPP Hobble, was making $40,363 annually at the time of Smith’s death, has received four merit increases and three other raises, and now makes $48,255. Officer Justin Payne was making $49,201 at the time of Smith’s death, has received one promotion, a raise, and two merit increases, and currently makes $55,472. Officer Alfred Lewis was making $49,201 at the time of Smith’s death, has received two merit increases and one promotion, and now makes $55,472. Sgt. Christopher Bradshaw was making $67,119 at the time of Smith’s death, has received two merit increases and one raise, and now makes $73,352. Officer Jordan Bailey was making $42,240 at the time of Smith’s death, has received one promotion and two merit increases, and now makes $51,150. Officer Lee Andrews was making $50,147, has received two merit increases, and was making $54,284 at the time of his resignation in December 2019. Officer Michael Montalvo was making $69,970 at the time of Smith’s death and received no promotions or raises before he retired in April of 2020. Cpt. Douglas Strader was making $58,348 at the time of Smith’s death, subsequently received two merit raises, and made $61,126 when he was fired in September of 2020 for an unrelated incident of excessive force. “The two ranking officers on the scene both received merit raises after 2018,”
stated Hester Petty in her speech at about an hour and ten minutes into the Feb. 2 city council meeting, referring to Bradshaw and Strader. “Corporal Strader was receiving merit raises until he was fired last year. Strader’s appeal of that dismissal was denied by City Manager David Parrish, who stated ’a single mistake, error or lapse in judgment while using deadly force can have tragic and long-lasting consequences for our community. As a result, we have no tolerance for the misuses of deadly force.’” “Well, apparently, the City of Greensboro does tolerate deadly force,” continued Petty, “because the prone restraint used on Marcus Smith was known to have caused deaths back in 1995 when the Department of Justice issued a warning about its use by law enforcement agencies. And 23 years later, it was still being used by the Greensboro Police Department until the homicide of Marcus Smith.” “Homicide” is what the N.C. State Medical Examiner’s office ruled Smith’s death on Nov. 30, 2018. When used in this sense, the term implies no guilt or legal responsibility but does mean that the primary cause of Smith’s death was being hogtied by the officers, and not any previously existing conditions or causes. Despite this, former Police Chief Wayne Scott stated that the officers did nothing wrong, and former Greensboro District Attorney Doug Henderson declined to prosecute them. At the Feb. 2 meeting, no council member responded to Petty’s comments. Other than one Dec. 2018 statement by Mayor Vaughan, who called the original police report about Smith’s death “a lie” (the report claimed that Smith became “combative” and “collapsed” without mentioning that he’d been thrown down and hogtied), no Greensboro City Council member has publicly condemned the GPD’s role in the homicide. After the federal civil rights lawsuit was filed against the city and the eight GPD officers in April 2019, all council members repeatedly stated they could not discuss matters under litigation. ! IAN MCDOWELL is the author of two published novels, numerous anthologized short stories, and a whole lot of nonfiction and journalism, some of which he’s proud of and none of which he’s ashamed of.
Hope Rising: Economic dreams rise with the arts in East Winston BY JOHN RAILEY | firstname.lastname@example.org Joel Hurt and his sister Kaila Gillespie grew up in East Winston, finding hope where some might not typically see it, thanks to their mother’s arts organization. “Especially on the east side, you see a lot of kids that really don’t have a lot of inspiration,” Hurt said. “We provide the inspiration. We’re giving them that little push to be able to come in and to be themselves and to open up. We see the hope and the talent.” Kaila Gillespie echoed her brother’s sentiments, adding, “There is so much talent in East Winston. And sometimes it gets ignored. Our group is changing that.” Stephanie Hurt, mother of the artistic pair and founding artistic director and board executive of Royal Curtain Drama Guild, a nonprofit that produces plays for the local community by auditioning and selecting its talent from the surrounding streets of East Winston, surrounding communities, and the Triad. Gillespie, 30, acts as the guild’s playwright while her little brother takes on the role of choreographer for the guild. Both parties are part of the new generation that Winston-Salem State University’s Center for the Study of Economic Mobility encourages through its Community Acceleration Research Track. CSEM recently presented the guild with an Economic Mobility Award, which came with a grant, and recognized Stephanie Hurt as a Community Scholar. The work that Royal Curtain Drama Guild does aligns with a 2017 study commissioned by CSEM that indicated high levels of hope among residents of East Winston, a community typically riddled with economic hardships compared to West Winston residents. Roughly 500 participants, selected via quota sampling, agreed that hard work could lead to success and higher education if they’d like. While Winston-Salem is often called The City of Arts and Innovation, and the artistic community can be seen as an economic driver in downtown WinstonSalem, the same can’t be said about East Winston. Stephanie Hurt and her children would like to change that through the Royal Curtain Drama Guild’s work. In 2020, the guild drew in more than 100 participants and had ticket revenues that amounted to a little more than $33,000. With an audience of roughly 1,800 people attending shows before restricWWW.YESWEEKLY.COM
Joel Hurt(left) and his sister Kaila Gillespie help run Royal Curtian Drama Guild tions, the Guild has continued to stage plays, albeit with smaller crowds and adhering to mask and social distancing guidelines. While most of the plays have been at Salem Chapel, except one at Parkland High School, The Guild recently began performing at the Enterprise Center on Martin Luther King Drive. Seeing participants fired up by their work with the guild, which provides stipends to actors and stage crew, encourages Joel and Gillespie to seek careers in the arts. “It’s awesome because it gives people an opportunity to find their gift,” Joel Hurt said. “If they love it, they may stick around and do a lot more. It kind of opens them up, so they’ll be ready to learn.” He and his sister have seen some of those contemporaries seek to further their artistic careers. “I definitely think people have grown through this,” Gillespie said. “A lot come in at beginner level and realize they have the means to do what they want to do.” That artistic transformation is evident in the two siblings, as well. Back in 2008, after Gillespie graduated from West Forsyth High School, her mother asked her to write her first play for Easter. She did drawing from what she’d learned from watching other plays. She has continued writing, living with her husband and their children in Illinois but frequently returns home to help with the guild. One play she’s written for the guild called “My First Love”, focuses on is a young woman who was “born and raised in the church, then is tempted as an
adult and goes through different trials and tribulations,” Gillespie describes. Her brother’s experience is different. Growing up in The Guild, Joel often found
himself helping out backstage and even playing an extra in a show or two. It wasn’t long before the performance bug bit him. He began performing with a local dance group during his sophomore year at West Forsyth High School and has dreams of studying dance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He wants to pursue a career in dancing while also teaching the craft. Joel Hurt grew up in the guild, helping out backstage and sometimes playing an extra. In his sophomore year at West Forsyth High School, he began performing with a local dance group. Soon, he had the bug. Now, the West Forsyth graduate wants to study dance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He wants to pursue a career in dancing and in teaching dance. Ultimately, the siblings are launching their careers through The Guild while helping others do the same. “The guild is community,” Gillespie said. “It’s unity. It’s love.” ! JOHN RAILEY, email@example.com, is the writer-inresidence for CSEM, www.wssu.edu/csem
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Introducing, Mr. R, your neighborhood hip-hop educator
evin “Rowdy” Rowsey, the “North Carolina MC with the energy to light up the stage and the classroom,” is now lighting up televisions across Katei Cranford the state as host of “At-Home Learning Presents: Classroom Contributor Connection,” airing bi-weekly, from 8 to 10 a.m. on PBS North Carolina. “I never thought being a host on a kid’s T.V. show would be something that I’d do, but it seems to fit with everything that I’m doing in the world of Hip Hop Academia,” said Rowsey, a U.S. Hip Hop Ambassador, and N.C. Arts Council Millennial Traditional Artist. “It means so much to see everything I’ve done as a performer resulting in this amazing production.” As the series host, Rowsey is featured
in more than 90 episodes targeted at providing literacy and math skills for kids from Pre-K through third-grade. “We’ve got workout videos, painting, dancing, yoga, wellness, counting in different languages, and several other edutainment content pieces,” he explained of the format that blends various sorts of animation and puppetry from Tarish “Jeghetto” Pipkins, a Jim Henson fellow puppeteer. Developed through collaboration between the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and N.C. educators, the goal is to supply lessons that adhere to state standards and, as Rowsey emphasized, “reach students that might have trouble accessing lessons online.” While licensed-teachers developed the curriculum, the wide-range of auxiliary content facilitating its delivery was produced through Blackspace, an Afrofuturist digital makerspace and teen center in Durham, where Rowsey serves as program director. Blackspace has long been providing “wokeshops” in a vast array of creative and
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digital arts, including videography, puppetry, and electronic music production. The fit was more than natural. “It was great to bring Blackspace along,” Rowsey said. “I knew we had the skills to provide for the needs of PBS, and it all worked out beyond our wildest dreams.” Those dreams, as Rowsey acknowledged (like any good kid’s show host,) were brought to life thanks to teamwork. “Shout out to Rem,” Rowsey noted of the fellow Blackspace facilitator who helped produce and engineer the show’s music. Likewise, he nodded to his team for giving life to his character, Mr. R. “My team had control over what the character embodied and represented,” he explained, “and to see Mr. R—a persona I made through my teaching—turned into a tangible host on T.V. has been amazing.” Beyond television, Rowsey’s role as an educator is both all encompassing and symbiotically tied to his work as a musician, with hip-hop hitting at the core throughout. By day, he teaches ESL for first and fourth-graders at Rankin Elementary. By pre-pandemic night, he’d hit the stage—or street—facilitating the various cyphers he founded through the Triangle and workshops he hosted at Blackspace. “The way I approach the stage and classroom is very similar,” Rowsey explained. “My shows are very crowd-oriented, and much like my classroom, I’m focused more on those I’m serving. If you can rock a packed-out music venue, that definitely translates to teaching a 15-person class.” Conversely, “even when I’m teaching in school, it’s helping me as a performer,” he continued, “the ability to apply myself to a diverse audience has allowed me to connect with students and audiences beyond the language barrier.”
While his skills aren’t limited to the classroom, that’s where he feels the umbrella of his talents rain the best—especially as the world shifts online. “The ability to edutain has allowed me to engage my students on a digital platform,” he explained of what’s become an essential skill in the era of zoom-teaching. As the pandemic shapes Rowsey’s career, its effect on performing forced him to reexamine his relationship with music— though it hasn’t slowed him down. His 2019 release, “Black Royalty,” was recently cataloged into the “Tracks Music Library,” a digital music streaming service through the Chapel Hill Public Library. “To have my project archived by the Library system was HUGE,” he said, noting he’s now also working with the program as an artist-curator. Rowsey’s Rowdy life is ever rolling. He’s in the process of creating a new record label and working on “Black Alchemy,” the third installment of his EP-series. “I’m waiting to put the proper touches,” he said of its progress, with an intended summer release. Work is also underway on the fourth-installment, which he surmises will be his “greatest work yet.” Looking at the big picture, Rowsey looks to take “local roots to an international audience” and spread N.C. hip-hop worldwide. Locally, he’s excited to bring hip-hop workshops to the Triad through a grant from ArtsGreensboro. And as for the show, he’s looking forward to the SocialEmotional Learning episodes coming up with a few puppet friends. “At-Home Learning Presents: Classroom Connection” airs Mondays and Fridays, from 8 to 10 a.m., on PBS North Carolina. ! KATEI CRANFORD is a Triad music nerd who hosts “Katei’s Thursday Tour Report,” a radio show highlighting area artists and events, Thurs. 5:30-7 p.m. on WUAG 103.1FM.
[THE ADVICE GODDESS] love • sex • dating • marriage • questions
Advice Goddess it? —Confused
Whenever I feel like I click with someone, I want to be upfront and tell them I like them right away. My friends all say this is dating suicide (and that’s how it’s been working out for me). But if I’m looking for emotional honesty in a partner, shouldn’t I lead with
If we’re arrested, we have a right to remain silent. Ideally, we don’t just confess: “That was me, robbing the 7-Eleven. See — there on the video — that’s my hair.” Best practices for criminals are also helpful for dating. In short, leaving some mystery as to whether you’re all in will make you seem more desirable. Consider that we value things that are hard to get, which is why people spend thousands of dollars on rings with sparkly rocks chipped out of African mines when there are very pretty sparkly pebbles that can be picked up all over suburbia. Psychologist Robert Cialdini explains that the less available something seems, the more desirable we perceive it to be. This doesn’t mean it is more valuable, but fear of losing access to it kicks off a motivational state in us: a drive to get it that we don’t feel when we hear, “More where that came from! Our supply’s basically on the level of ‘plague of locusts.’”
The thing is, you can tell somebody you’re into them through how you look at them and touch them. Consider where your longing to be immediately “honest” in spoken-word form might be coming from. Holding back information causes psychological tension, as does the suspense when we’re left wondering how another person feels. This tension is uncomfortable, so we long to relieve the pressure, like by exploding our feelz all over the person who inspired them. Tension released! Uh, along with the message that we’re probably deeply needy and “not all that.” Try an experiment: With the next three guys you date, make a pact with yourself to tough out the discomfort instead of flapping your lips to make it go away. In practical terms: Don’t confess. Just be. You’ll ultimately have a better chance of finding the “emotional honesty” you’re looking for than if you try to rush the process — like by calling the guy up and blurting out, “Hi...I really love you!” A strangely familiar male voice responds: “I’m sorry, Ma’am. This is the gas company.”
DAD MAN WALKING
Unfortunately, the men with the healthiest sperm are the 20-somethings who have trouble sustaining adult relationships — but no problem, because they’ll just have their mom call to tell you it’s over. We tend to have a weirdly one-sided view of fertility issues, as if a man’s only role in babymaking is the fun part, and never mind whether Daddy’s 27 or 70 at the time of conception. Meanwhile, women in their late 30s and their 40s get treated like they have dinosaur eggs. Having a bun in the oven at age 35 or older is referred to as a “geriatric pregnancy” or, less mortifyingly, being of “advanced maternal age.” It’s associated with increased risk of miscarriage and birth defects, as well as diabetes and high blood pressure in a woman during her pregnancy. There’s little understanding that aging sperm can be a problem, too. Researchers are still squabbling about when men hit “advanced paternal age,” but there’s general agreement that after age 40, sperm exhibit damage that can make it more difficult for a man to get a woman pregnant and are associated with greater miscarriage rates. There’s also an
increased risk of having children who develop schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders. OB-GYN researcher Dr. Nancy A. Phillips and her colleagues suggest that men “bank sperm before their 35th or, at least, their 45th birthday” to limit the risks to the mother, fetus, and child from aging sperm. In presenting this to your boyfriend, consider that how you frame a story changes the story that gets told. Make this a story not of elderly sperm but of the very manly act of protecting the woman he loves from harm (along with any baby who might enter the picture). Chances are he’ll see looking into spermfreezing as a positive thing: a way he can preserve his he-man-liest sperm — instead of waiting till his varsity swimmers are more like old dudes floating on water wings in the condo pool. ! GOT A PROBLEM? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or email AdviceAmy@ aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com). Follow her on Twitter @amyalkon. Order her latest “science-help” book, Unf*ckology: A Field Guide to Living with Guts and Confidence. ©2021 Amy Alkon. Distributed by Creators.Com.
I’m a 33-year-old woman with a male partner in his late 30s. We eventually want children, and I’ve been considering having my eggs frozen. My doctor suggested my boyfriend should consider freezing his sperm. He is a “manly man” type, and his masculinity is a strong part of his identity. How can I keep him from being insulted and angry if I suggest he look into sperm freezing? —Aspiring Mom
answers [CROSSWORD] crossword on page 6
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