Durham

Vernelle Mack, pictured second from the right, posing with the U.S. Welfare Band.
bullcitysoul.org / Durham County Library

  

Soul was a mainstay in the Durham music scene during the 1960s and 70s.

Durhamites were dancing to songs like "Bull City Party" in 1977. It’s one of many songs that show Durham’s soul music had strong ties to the city, and built lasting connections within the African-American community. 

Today, a group of artists and collectors is on a mission to archive and preserve Durham’s soul. The Soul Souvenirs exhibit is on display now at the Durham History Hub

Howard Craft, creator of the Jade City Pharaoh
Carol Jackson

Howard Craft created The Jade City Pharaoh. The superhero guards Concrete Falls, a place not unlike Durham, North Carolina.  The Jade City Pharaoh has been the subject of a stage play, a comic book, and a series of WUNC radio shorts.

The Jade City Pharaoh is one of the few African American superheroes in the world, and he's the only one to have his own radio show.

WUNC's Carol Jackson interviewed Howard Craft and other members of the cast and crew for this feature:

Duncan Webster and Leah Gibson make up the Durham duo Beauty World.
the artist

Duncan Webster and Leah Gibson have each honed their chops with bands including Lost in the Trees, Hammer No More the Fingers, and Bowerbirds.  Recently the two Durhamites joined forces to form Beauty World.

The duo is also a couple. They've both played in several bands, but were introduced by a mutual friend.

The five-song E.P. features the song, "Architect". Webster wrote it about his own challenges in learning building design.

  The late 19th century American South was marked by inequality; Jim Crow was the law of the land and racial segregation was both a social norm and a legal requirement.

Audio Under the Stars

  

Live storytelling events have increased in popularity recently, but audio listening parties are still relatively rare. A monthly event called "Audio Under the Stars" seeks to change that in Durham.

Its organizers see audio stories as vehicles to other times and occasions for social engagement. The latest installment, "Fish Out Of Water: Stories of misfits, oddballs, mariners and real fish", is Friday at 8pm at SPECTRE Arts in Durham.

Below is a taste of the kind of stories "Audio Under the Stars" showcases. 

A Fresh Tune For West Africa

Jul 11, 2014

  

Grounded in West African tradition and propelled by the funk and jazz of today, Africa Unplugged blends its own genre of music .

The Greensboro group explores new ways to formulate West African music on their new self-titled album.

The band performs as part of the “Find Your Cool” concert series at the CCB Plaza in Durham next Thursday.

What do you think of when you hear the name Duke? That question is at the heart of a legal dispute between Duke University and the estate of John Wayne.

Fans of the late film star will recall that he went by the nickname "Duke," which his biographers have pointed out he picked up in childhood from a dog. (He preferred it to his real first name, which was Marion).

[Video] Inside Fullsteam's First Frost Beer

Jun 16, 2014
persimmon
David Huppert / UNC-TV

Paul Taylor Dance Company
ADF

The American Dance Festival kicks off today. ADF's mission is to support modern dance, and as a part of that they commission artists to create new work.

This year, there is a push to get a younger audience. Jodee Nimerichter directs the festival.

Meghan Modafferi and Durham Comics Project

Superheroes are not the only characters to grace the pages of comic books. The Durham Comics Project invites ordinary people to tell their own stories in cartoon squares. Started by Amy Godfrey, a librarian at Durham County Library, the project seeks to illuminate the small and big moments that make a community. 

Chatham County Line On A "Tightrope"

May 30, 2014
Chatham County Line
http://www.chathamcountyline.com/

Bluegrass group Chatham County Line may hail from Raleigh, but their rich acoustic sound has no borders. The group has two chart-topping records in Norway, but stays true to their North Carolina roots on their new album,Tightrope

Mike Birbiglia
The artist

Comendian Mike Birbiglia is headed to the triangle this weekend, for a gig at the Carolina Theatre.

Mike's film  Sleepwalk with Me won the audience award at Sundance in 2012. It was co-written by This American Life's Ira Glass.

The movie stars Mike and is about his own life -- trying to be a comic, and discovering he is a sleepwalker.

The stories are true, and they are really funny.

A member of the Pop Warner football league, the Durham Eagles (NC)
Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University

How much money does your family spend on sports? Do you spend hundreds each your on a traveling team for a middle schooler? Perhaps your child plays in more than one of these competitive leagues. How about a private conditioning coach? How much is too much?

There's an intriguing new project about the topic. It's called Contested, and it features families in Durham, NC.

>>Browse the multimedia site.

StoryCorps

StoryCorps, a national oral history project, has collected more than 50,000 interviews across the country. 

A picture of Sylvan Esso.
Sylvan Esso

Sylvan Esso's eponymous album is full of catchy tracks, ripe for getting stuck in your head. "Coffee" is hypnotic, with a droning vibe that's infectious and profoundly danceable.

The Durham-based duo filmed much of the music video for "Coffee" in Carrboro months back.

Singer Amelia Randall Meath designed the video to explore different kinds of dance parties. She  is a fervent fan of contra dancing, which kicks off the video and inspired the lyrics. Meath taught band mate Nicholas Sanborn to dance for the occasion.

Godi Godar (right) with a man from the Lac Tumba region, DRC
Godi Godar

Godi Godar lives and works in Durham, NC. He's a mechanic there. That's kind of amazing since Godar had never seen a car until he was in his 20s.

Godi grew up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). There was no running water or electricity in his town, Ikoko Bonginda. (Ikoko is in the Congolese rainforest, several hundred miles upriver from the DRC's capital, Kinshasa.)

Godi recalls seeing electricity across the lake, where the missionaries were.

"I remember saying, 'Wow, look at the lights there!' It was a trip."

Mike Roig preps his piece, Twist of Fate
Bull City Sculpture Show

    

Sculptures are often the trademark of a place:  Chicago has Cloud Gate, Indianapolis has LOVE and Durham has the Bronze Bull. Sculpture can truly embody a city.

This week the Bull City Sculpture Show comes to Durham, displaying 12 national works across the city.

The show is presented by Liberty Arts, a non-profit foundry and 3-D sculpture studio in Durham.

Musician Captain Luke (right) is 88-years-old. He talked with Music Maker Relief Foundation's Tim Duffy
StoryCorps

The StoryCorps Mobile Booth opens today. The first very first interview was between the musician Captain Luke Mayer, and Tim Duffy of the Music Maker Relief Foundation.

Captain Luke has a wonderful deep rich baritone. He came to music early in life. Music Maker has documented the story of his life and music:

A picture of the Durham Bulls mascot with the Merge Records logo.
Merge Records

It's a big year for Merge Records. The Durham-based label is celebrating its 25th birthday with a series of events, which has included concerts, limited release recordings and a 25K run.

Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance founded the label in Chapel Hill to promote their band, Superchunk. A quarter-century later, dozens of other celebrated artists have jumped on board, including the Grammy-winning Arcade Fire.

A picture of Bill Bell at a podium.
durham.gov

Durham Mayor Bill Bell has set in motion his campaign to reduce poverty. 

Bell said Durham has a lot of resources: good universities, a creative class, and a growing number of jobs. He believes that by using UNC Center for Urban and Regional Studies data about distressed neighborhoods, surveying residents, and planning area specific solutions, this push could make a difference.

“Poverty is an issue that I think we should be able to deal with in this community in a much more collaborative way than we're doing now,” said Bell.

The band Boneslinger will play at the event.
Boneslinger

Mardi Gras kicks off this weekend in both New Orleans .. and Durham, NC. Durham's celebration has been growing over the last couple of years. There will be a big parade on Fat Tuesday (March 4) starting at the bronze bull on CCB Plaza at 6 p.m., followed by eight bands performing on five stages.

The weekend begins though, with a celebration called "Hey Pocky Way- A Mardis Gras Primer."

Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men Of The South
sweettea-theplay.com / Sweet Tea The Play

Television shows like Glee, Will and Grace, and Modern Family portray gay identity as white, northern, and secular. But that was far from E. Patrick Johnson's reality growing up in Hickory, North Carolina. Johnson decided to travel across the South to unearth stories of African American gay men and document his findings in the book Sweet Tea: Gay Black Men of the South (UNC Press/2008).

Marine Corps Vet Finally Opens His Own Business

Jan 24, 2014

Here & Now’s Robin Young first met Matt Victoriano at the 2012 Democratic Convention in Charlotte. He was struggling with PTSD and also struggling to open his own business. We’ve been following him ever since (hear Robin’s October interview with him here).

Lem Butler (left) of Counter Culture Coffee and Robbie Roberts (right) of Joe Van Gogh pose for a photo with WUNC Morning Edition Host Eric Hodge.
WUNC

Coffee baristas and roasters across the East Coast are in Durham for a three-day regional competition that begins today. 

Competitors will make cappuccinos and come up with signature drinks. 

Lem Butler works for Counter Culture Coffee, the company hosting the competition.  He's also a former barista champ.  He said this weekend's events are really about taking care of the customer.

Creative Commons

Some scientists tout genetically modified food as a groundbreaking technology that can feed the hungry.

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