From the desk of the Editor:
What is the recipe that makes Durham special?
I would say it is in the mix. The mezcla aqui is a powerful elixir. Durham’s diversity is part of it. Durham’s sheer quantity of educated people is part of it. Our citizenry’s intentionality is part of too. And right now, we still have a small town connectedness that sounds like a village or maybe The Village (before the gentrification and subsequent disneyfication of The City).
Full disclosure, when I am not banging away at the keyboard or scribbling with the pen, I work with one of downtown Durham’s finest dining establishments. Last weekend, the mix of people on the streets and coming through the door of that fantastic restaurant reminded me that we have both world class culture and 2.5 degrees of separation.
Let’s love it while it lasts. (Eh, Frozen?)
In one night:
I saw Pierce Freelon of the Durham super group, The Beast, on his way to MotorCo to share the bill with Durham Academy’s In the Pocket. That’s right, the guy that much of the DURM hip-hop community looks to as its touchstone, and he is humble enough to jump on stage with the local high school’s interactive adult-youth music ensemble (In the Pocket itself is a remarkable story in the Durham’s creative approach to education.)
The DA kids that I saw on their way to that show were over their skis about getting to see The Beast on the same stage as some of their own. Speaking of our own, I also saw Clarion Content intern and now Merge Records intern, Meriel O’Connell (whom we are hopeful will be writing us a piece about the show).
The very same evening the founder of the Open Art Society(OSA) came through the doors. What is the Open Art Society? Only another brilliant Durham idea. In this case to promote and share Art! The OSA is creating “Community Supported Art Subscriptions” modeled along the lines of community supported agriculture. They also organize and promote Pop-up Art in the community.
This weekend they are organizing an amazing open call for Art and performance in Northgate Park at the former location of the Museum of Life and Science. (Read all about it here.)
And they are not alone! Durham’s finds fantastic ways to use it’s space and share of itself. Tonight at one of Durham’s artistic epicenters The Carrack, Saleem Reshamwala aka Kid Ethnic and Gabe Eng-Goetz, the founder of Runaway Clothes, have organized a spontaneous show built on requests taken from people they encountered in the streets of Durham over the last twenty-four hours. See the super cool video for the “#WeTakeRequests” show here.
And the hits just keep on coming. At the very end of the evening, the poet and spoken word guru, Dasan Ahanu, stopped in for a bite. Like Freelon, Ahanu is down-to-earth and approachable, despite dripping with talent. He is another giver. He leads poetry workshops, he coaches the Bull City Slam Team, chairs the board for the Sacrificial Poets, all while maintaining a day job as a Professor of English and Creative Writing.
In Durham, above ground, in the streets, every day this wonderful, vibrant mix of people fills and re-fills the creative chalice.
“From the Editor’s Desk”
is written by our Editor: Aaron Mandel