Pink House. 130 North Street. Back In The Day.

Fellow residents from the 1991-94 years were Clint Curtis, Shyam Patel, Raj Krishnasami, Lydia Craft, Jess Deltac, Kyle York Spencer, Caroline Rivers Hall, Mel Lanham, Michelle Sinnott, Jay Murray, N'Gai Wright, Scott Bullock (who crashed on the couch for a year before finally moving in), Bryan Ellerson, Karen Hurka, Sally Stryker, Ryan Mathias, Charlie Speight, Chris Palmatier, Trent McDevitt, and Steve William.

Besides holdovers and returnees Jay, Scott, Mel (& Laverne!), Chris, and N'Gai, residents during 1995-97 included Allen Sellars (who, like Jay, lived at both the Pink House and 401 Pritchard), Ian Williams, Zak Bisacky, James Dasher, Linden Elstran, Jiffer Bourguignon, Grant Tennille (who first made the scene as a fixture in N'Gai's room circa summer '93), Zia Zareem, Ben Folds, Tom Holden, and Chris "Chip" Chapman.

- Erik Ose

Wednesday, May 26, 1993

Digable Planets at Purple Gator

We rolled out of Chapel Hill on a Wednesday afternoon, and made it to our first destination, Myrtle Beach, S.C., before 10 pm that night. See, the Digable Planets were playing there, at this bizarre little club called the Purple Gator. They were on a mini-tour of the Carolinas, playing Wilmington the following night and Winston Salem the night after that.

But our paths crossed with theirs in Myrtle, and they were the shit. The crowd was totally biracial, white people and black people, partying together in harmony.

- Letter to Firas, 7/3/93

Wednesday, May 19, 1993

End of a Franklin Street Era for Cat's Cradle



As someone wrote in last week's issue, the Cat's Cradle is indeed closing down on May 19th. Frank Heath, the owner of the Cradle will be trying to relocate somewhere in town, and there are several rumors floating around about possible locations, but as it looks now, Chapel Hill will be Cradle-less through most of the rest of the year. The situation is this, four years ago, the Cradle moved into its current location from a smaller location two blocks down the street. The Cradle, in its twenty four (or five?) year history has occupied five different locations. Its current incarnation has done much to spawn the (Chapel Hill music scene’s) current media attention.

The Cradle was graciously allowed to temporarily locate in the building on West Franklin Street (an old bank building) while the building's owners looked for a buyer. Well, four years later, and a buyer/developer has emerged. One rumor is that the space will be used as a parking lot. Well, in most towns, the closing of a local club would be cause for celebration among local politicos and life-long residents. Not so in Chapel Hill. The Town Council is actually helping Frank scout new locations for the Cradle. It will be very interesting to see what this does to the local music scene, and to see how the whole situation resolves itself.

Well, with the cradle closed, the only place in town left to see indie/alternative music (as opposed to blues cover bands and frat-rock crap) is Local 506. I'll reserve my opinion of the new club because I work there, although there are some good shows coming up (Steel Pole Bathtub, Railroad Jerk). Local 506, however, is much smaller than the Cradle (250 capacity vs. 750/800 at the Cradle) and won't be able to accommodate a lot of the larger nationally touring acts that came through town. The Cave also books some of the cooler local bands on Sunday nights, but is also way too small to book some of the larger drawing acts in town.

Sunday, May 16, 1993

Note to Clint Curtis

Dear Mr. Clint Curtis,

What's up, g. How's life in the chill woods.

What could your pal Erik possibly be writing to you about? Might it have something to do with a certain $75 in parking money (three months) that you owe him and his housemates?

No, probably not. Au contraire, this letter is mostly about wanting to give you a shout and say "what's up" and "how's life," since it's been a long time since we've talked.

I actually don't even know whether or not you're going to be in town for the summer. But I'll be here, cooling at Chez Pink, living the life. So if you are around, we'll have to hang out at least occasionally. Maybe you can come over some evening and hang with N'Gai and myself, cooking some food, you know the score.

N'Gai will be here until August. He's working with Dave's brother Tony Deifell in Durham on the overall design of a photo-essay book documenting young people doing community service. There are over one hundred teams of writers and photographers all around the country also working on this project.

Dana will be in D.C. starting June 1, working as an intern with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. It should be a cool summer to be doing it, with Ben Chavis the new NAACP director and Clinton chilling in the White House.

So give me a call, bitch, and let me know your business.


Your Friend Erik, Knucklelectics Grand Wizard responsible for diligent recruitment of Nipple Knotting Finger-Licking Boot Sucking Crack Smoking Undercooked Bunny Fucking Wooly Blanket Up the Ass Ramming "Pay Us Our Money Goddamned Motherfucker" Shouting Syncophants and Miscreants.

Thursday, May 13, 1993

A minor scene report from "the next Seattle"


"Forward In All Directions - Playable At All Volumes"
Serving the International Pop Underground since 1992

From: (Paul R. Cardillo)

Well, a quick hola and quesadilla from Chapel Hill, N.C. and on to a minor "scene report." It's been several months since I last posted and the winter winds have given way to eighty degree days and the olfactory pleasures of wisteria and honeysuckle. Being a Yankee, I have never really experienced the true grandeur of springtime in the south, but I do so enjoy it... so far. Well, this is my second post from "the next Seattle" and the national media's favorite subject for the next wave of new music.

I'll try to give a small overview of what's happening in town lately in terms of the record-label jackals and our favorite bands.

Today (May 8th) is TRASH day in Chapel Hill - a fund raiser for a new local 'zine that's chock-a-block with musical and cultural info. TRASH day consists of sixteen bands split between two clubs all for $5 and - food is included in the ticket price. Pretty cool. I'll try to review what I can of it (I'll be bartending at LOCAL 506 one of the clubs involved) and will try to shuttle down to the cradle a couple of times to catch some of the bands there.

Well, I'm back, It's now Thursday (5/13), and this didn't make it in time for last Saturday's issue, but this strikes me as a good time to try to explain things in this town from my point of view. As a newcomer to C.H., I feel somewhat unqualified to comment on the scene as a whole. But, no one else from here is writing in Indie-List so, I'll try to do my best.

Trash day on Saturday kind of epitomized the spirit of this town's music scene. For one thing, there is no discernible Chapel Hill sound, and, Chapel Hill isn't the only town around here with a thriving music scene. What Chapel Hill has (had) that Raleigh and Durham are lacking is the Cat's Cradle. I also don't know if either town could have pulled of a day like "Trash Day" with sixteen bands at two clubs for $5 and food which was donated by local restaurants and merchants. Burritos, pizza, chili, veggie sandwiches, and sixteen damn bands! But, without the Cradle (yeah Local 506 was involved too) none of this would have happened.

I'll try to explain a little bit about the diversity of bands in town. It's important to know that Chapel Hill has a thriving folk-rock scene as well as the more alternative scene which is getting national attention. With a slew of cafĂ©’s and coffee shops which book live music, there is usually someone somewhere with a guitar performing in this town. But, I'll stick to what y'all are most likely interested in -- Who is the Next Superchunk? This question may not be as absurd as it sounds. Due to the nature of the scene, there is a lot of cross-pollination and in-breeding amongst the local bands.

Let's start with Chuck Garrison, former drummer for the chunk-meisters. Chuck is currently playing with Pipe and Small, as is Mike Kenlan. Both bands sound very different despite having Chuck on Drums and Mike on Guitar. Groves Willer is currently playing in Family Dollar Pharaohs (along with the Bassist from Zen Frisbee whose drummer Clint is also in Kung Fu Fighting and the Anubis Leisure Society), Bobo the Amazing Rubber Faced Boy, and Evil Weiner (whose guitarist Bill McCormick also plays in Hymen). Matt Goecke of 81 Mulberry is also playing in Spatula. Got it?

You see, it's this screwed up in-breeding that will keep Chapel Hill a local phenomenon in my opinion. Sure, Small and Archers of Loaf have signed with Alias, and Superchunk (as far as I still know) are free agents now, and Jennyanykind somehow managed to sign a deal with Shimmy-Disc, but the music will continue to go on at people's parties and more or less as a diversion from the mundane in this town (as it will just about everywhere, I guess). So let the media believe what they like, I'll believe it when I see Zen Frisbee or Family Dollar Pharaohs signed to a major label. I will try to review material in the future from all the bands mentioned up above. Most of the bands above performed at "Trash Day." All of them were good in their own way. No one emerges as "the next S-Chunk" or even as the best band in town. The styles, attitudes and people are so different in each and everyone of the bands, that it's hard to believe that people are expecting another Seattle of this place. I don't think we'll see anything nearly as big and I'm glad for it. There seems to be a reluctance to let any of this get out of hand it's kind of nice having a cozy but diverse scene. There certainly will be no "Stone Temple of the Pearl" or whatever.

Well' I must be going now. Time to sleep and to let all you nice people get on with your lives.

So long for now Indie-friends.

Lurid Crapolla (Paul R. Cardillo)

Monday, May 10, 1993

The Jum, or, A Tud Story

Erik: "You see, Jared, I think we've been having a tud."

Jared: "What?"

Erik: "A tud. You know, a tud."

Firas: "A tud...what's that?"

Erik: "You know, a totally unproductive day. And we've definitely been having one."

Firas: "If motherfuckers like us keep having tuds, somebody like the jum is going to rule the world."

Jared: "The jum...don't house the jum. These are my boys."

Erik: "What's up with this jum?"

Firas: "The jum is in the house."

Jared: "Somebody pass me a pen. Firas, you see that pen over there?"

Firas: "Of the jazz, of the jum, of the rhythm of the funk."

Jay (walking in, on the phone): "Does someone have the remote? What? No, the phone. Hey."

Firas: "Wake my ass up for court tomorrow.

Erik: "Yo man, what's up."

Jay: "Yeah. Uh huh. What's that? O.k. I don't care. You know, if you want to come over here, you can come over any time you want. So just come by whenever you feel like it."

Firas: "Yo, Jay, what's this party you're checking out?

Jay: "In Carrboro. On North Greensboro Street."

Erik: "Jay, tell us about the seventh grade aspect of it!"

Jay: "Spin the Bottle, Seven Minutes In Heaven, Suck and Blow."

Jared: "What does all this mean? What does it all mean, Firas?

Firas: "I don't know, dude."

Wednesday, May 5, 1993

Black and white social segregation at UNC-CH

(Editor's note - "The Theoretical Framework Behind Pink House Jams" would have been an appropriate subtitle. This could have been a direct rebuttal to a senior thesis being written around the same time somewhere across town, when its author wasn't hard at work administering the bass-ackwards policies of SBP John Moody, a document later known as How Not To Improve Race Relations on College Campuses.)

Living together and being able to party together - these two things allow people to chill with one another in relaxed, spontaneous, unstructured social situations. After these two developments are facilitated, all other aspects of social integration between people will flow - from eating dinner together at Lenoir, going out in public in interracial groups, studying together, sitting together in class, whatever.

Living together

The South Campus high rises had just been constructed when black students began arriving at UNC-CH in large numbers, during the late 1960's and early 1970's. At this point, many North Campus dorms had not been renovated in decades. The high rises were brand new, and therefore the most appealing dorms for incoming black students to choose to live in. Over the years, the center of Carolina's on-campus black student community has thus been maintained on South Campus.

If unaware of this racially segregated housing dynamic before coming to campus, white and black students quickly find out about it upon arriving as freshmen. New black students face peer pressure from other black students to remain on South Campus. Most white students who choose to live on-campus as upperclassmen gravitate North, whether to be closer to classroom and library facilities or for more race conscious reasons, i.e., to be closer to the center of on-campus "white" student life.

The only official student/administration response to this dynamic in recent years has been the RHA-conceived Residence Hall Diversity Program, in which one hundred eighty or so spaces in the North Campus residence halls are specifically set aside for black students. To date, this program has been a failure. Almost no black students have applied to make the move North.

RHA and the Department of Housing have been so backwards and uncreative about publicizing the program that people hardly know it exists. Those that do resent the program's paternalistic, top-down, imposed from above approach.

What needs to happen at this point in time is for activist black students to take advantage of the program's existence, and organize to make sure every black spot is filled. A void exists that committed leaders could fill, helping lead a movement of black students en masse to North Campus.

Ideally, there should be two established on-campus black communities, on both South and North Campus. To think that there can only be one is short sighted and ultimately, hurts the black student community by making it difficult for black students to enjoy a sense of community anywhere but in the dorms which are the farthest away from classrooms, libraries, the main cafeteria, and the student union.

Besides, the rooms in North Campus residence halls are nicer than ones in the South Campus high rises, they're bigger, and the buildings themselves are surrounded by trees, grassy quads, and the arboretum, instead of parking lots, roads, and traffic.

I lived on South Campus myself my freshman year. The one thing I liked about it was living surrounded by friends of all colors. But Hinton James was a huge, ugly, prison-like building, and it was damn too far to walk.

Partying together

There are few opportunities for black/white social interaction at Carolina. Particularly, it is almost impossible for black and white students to party together.

When black and white students started going to the same nightclub on Franklin Street, Club Zen, on the same nights, the management closed it down.

White frats have fraternity houses, which allow them to throw off-campus parties that white students attend. Black frats have no such fraternity houses. Black frats are only able to throw great hall parties in the student union. Even if black frats had their own houses, however, they would most likely throw jams that would be attended primarily by black students.

Why don't more white students have a love for and appreciation of black music? Why don't more white students attend great hall jams?

The answer has to be seen in terms of why more black students don't attend frat parties. Unless you set social situations up as consciously non-threatening to all participants, and ensure that no unequal power dynamics exist, you can't realistically expect people from different cultures to voluntarily come together. The problem with having social events centered around historically white or black fraternities is that it creates situations where one group is forced to venture onto another group's "turf" in order to participate socially.

It is only normal for both blacks and whites to feel uncomfortable going to a places where members of one group will be indeliably marked as "outsiders." Where discomfort exists, it is not possible for people to chill with one another.

White students also have an advantage in that their social lives include going to off-campus private parties, thrown by white students who live in off-campus houses. Some landlords in town won't rent to black students. But even excluding the racism exhibited by these landlords, vacancies in most off-campus housing is not publicly advertised. Rather, spaces in houses are passed down among friends, year by year. There is nothing deliberately discriminatory about this. However, black students have only been a large scale presence at Carolina since the early seventies, so going back through the years, these patterns of off-campus housing sucession tend to inadvertently benefit white students as a group.

Black students living off-campus are thus largely restricted in their housing choices to apartment complexes. And you can't throw a major jam in a two-bedroom apartment.


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