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It’s rare for a journalist to admire a public-relations person. You always suspect they’re just there to lie to you. A student journalist, racked by the insecurity of the novice, can (and maybe should) be especially wary. So it’s a testament to how special John Burness was that he won the respect of The Chronicle’s student staff year after year. As a former editor of the paper, a professional journalist, and a member of the Duke and Durham communities, I deeply mourn his death on Dec. 19.
I first met Karen Blumenthal when I was a reporter at The Chronicle and she was a member of the Duke Student Publishing Company board. Like a lot of people, I was initially intimidated by her; if I had to measure up to her, I was never going to make it in journalism. Also like a lot of people, I came to adore her, and she became my most important mentor. (I long ago gave up on measuring up to her.)
I’ve had a few experiences in the few months since graduating that have made me feel pretty old. One was seeing wasted frosh gathering to go to Tailgate and being appalled. The second was this week, when I saw that Chronicle editors deemed the financial crisis the biggest story of the decade, over even the Duke lacrosse case.
Many things pass over the desk of the recess editor, or would if I had a desk. Most of them end of getting chucked, but some are too weird to pass up. Like this one.
Bill Frisell, a jazz-and-other-things guitarist, plays deceptively complicated music--on the surface, it sounds sonorous, melodic and pastoral, perhaps even facile. Seeing him live helps to dispel that, particularly in a small formats. His whole arsenal of tricks--from tritone subs to harmonics to bluegrass pyrotechnics were on display for his duo with pedal steel guitarist Greg Leisz last night.
Last night 1210 Duke and UNC bands squared off at the Duke Coffeehouse to see who was least square. The show was put on by Duke's Campus Concert Series.
I'm not going to say much here because I'm not really that qualified (I'm a bit of a Modest Mouse poseur, having only really gotten into the band when I reviewed their 2006 release We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank and not being that familiar with the back catalog) and didn't take notes.
At first glance, it might seem a strange move for Carrboro's ArtsCenter to book singer-songwriter Richard Thompson for their American Roots Series. Thompson, after all, is not only a Brit, but was a founding member of the quintessentially English folk-rock founder Fairport Convention.
I don't have anything against Coldplay really; I just mostly agree with the New York Times' Jon Pareles that they are the most insufferable band of the decade. I guess they're pleasant enough. Now, however, I might actually have something to hold against them.
There's been a small flurry of items in the media about the 40th anniversary of the release of The Beatles (better known as the White Album) in November 1968. Whilst at home and headed to arguably the worst bar in Akron, Ohio (no small feat!) I heard a bit of this NPR documentary, with track-by-track analysis--it's long, but worth the time. It inspired me to listen to the whole album, all four sides, a couple times through.
When it rains, it pours. I'm on a blogging rampage. Anyway, eminent Bull City arts-boosting nonprofit the Durham Arts Council, along with the Durham Artists Guild, has issued their annual call for artists. They'll be accepting submissions for both solo and group shows through the end of January. Here are the detes:
Ladies and germs, here's a preview of an article that will be running in tomorrow's Chronicle about Duke Performances. DP has offered free tickets for several recent shows; officials are citing an overbooked season, entertainment fatigue after the presidential election and lots of local options as reasons for slow sales. For the full scoop, read tomorrow's paper. In the meantime, here's DP Marketing Director Ken Rumble's Nov. 17 e-mail to DP patrons offering the free tickets:
Perhaps, dear reader, you read about the new Durham Performing Arts Center in this week's issue of recess. We received a release from the city of Durham late last week announcing an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony the afternoon of Monday, Dec. 1. The assiduous reader will recall that there's a concert by blues legend B.B. King the previous night; recess doesn't understand how you can cut the ribbon for the center after the fact. Two theories: (1) DPAC has a time machine. Perhaps they scoped out the site using this machine, failing to notice that in the present day, there's a jail next day. (2) They're just going to ask people to be very gingerly and limbo under the ribbons Sunday night.
I swear after this we'll stop writing about Billy Bragg.
Billy Bragg. Image courtesy of unpiano.com