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

Sunday, December 18, 1994

Pedigo and Martha rock Winter Commencement

"The University will hold its first mid-year Commencement ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Smith Center.

Jane Brown, faculty chair and professor of journalism and mass communication, will deliver the graduation address. The Winter Commencement recognizes students who complete degree work in August or December.

The University community is invited to help honor these new graduates.

More than 1,200 undergraduate, graduate and professional students have applied to receive their degrees in December. Graduates will wear traditional caps and gowns, and doctoral students will process across the stage. The platform party also will wear academic regalia, and music will be performed by student musicians.

Following the ceremony, a reception will be held on the concourse."

- "Brown to address first Winter Commencement," University Gazette, 12/14/94

Friday, December 16, 1994

Pine State

Perahps the most legendary of several outfits with claim to the title of Pink House house band, Pine State first secured their reputation as out-of-control rock'n'rollers at...what else, a series of raucous Pink House parties during 1994-95.

December, 1994 performance at the Cradle. Charlie Speight is on lead vocals and washboard.

Fronted by Charlie Speight, who shared the Mona Lisa room with Chris Palmatier in '94, Pine State also featured regular Pink House guests from the early 90s like Chris "A.C." Lee on guitar, Mike Shoffner on drums, and Dan Partridge on miscellaneous instruments (officially described by the band as "junkyard percussion, rants, screech vocals, saw and whistles").

Wednesday, November 23, 1994

A can't lose proposition for completely bizarre freaks, 11/23/94

From: (Tom)
Subject: free records! seeks artists
Date: 23 Nov 1994 04:21:34 -0000
Organization: Chapel Hill Music Lovers


if you would like to be a recording artist for the fastest growing record label in the world, this is your chance. !free records! is seeking demo tapes for inclusion in a series of tapes to be released and marketed to the public FREE OF CHARGE! absolutely no strings are attached, in fact, there is no catch, no hidden agenda, no contract and no obligation on the part of the artist! this is a can't lose proposition for struggling artists, established artists with side projects, completely bizarre freaks who make completely unlistenable music, and jaded cynics fed up with the corporate world of rock and roll.

all submissions will be considered based on their sound, authenticity, uniqueness, humor and general spunk. HOWEVER, everyone who submits a piece of work WILL make it onto one of the compilations. in fact, nothing will be turned down. !free records! lets the consumer decide what it wants. in the future, however, especially inspired work will be included on split cassette releases and perhaps, if god is willing, a flexi disc project.

all funding for !free records! comes from the wallet of the sole proprietor. !free records! is, however, seeking partners who share a similar vision for the de-commodification of music. negotiations are underway and a new partner may be added to the firm soon.

!free records! will NEVER turn down gifts in kind of blank tapes, prerecorded tapes (basically anything we can tape over), white and colored photocopy paper, original art for unique tape packaging, stickers, labels, bags, and photocopy privileges. contributors will not be recognized in print anywhere unless the contributor directly asks to be recognized. however, !free records! is not in the business of giving "indie cred" to any artists and thusly will go to no major extremes to promote the fact that you support free music. hell, we aren't even in business at all! we will NOT allow our counter-culture revolution to be co-opted. but, if we influence major labels to begin giving away their music, we will be vindicated.

direct all demo tapes, questions, comments, advertising (possibilities for !free records! to advertise in your mag), interview requests, and donations to

!free records!
c/o Charlie Speight
130 North Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

(919) 967-8969


!fr!001 French, New Wave, and Pretentious
cs compilation of short lived fantasy songs.
(available in time for christmas)

!fr!002 My Friend The Magic Microphone
experimental and noisy. essential for expecting mothers.
(available in early january)

!fr!003 What's Another Generation?
indecipherible meanderings from tortured souls.
(out before MLK Day!)


*all products are free.
*act now!

Timber Wolf

"A few people are trying to control radio, just
like the government is trying to control the masses"
-Merle Haggard

Thursday, October 13, 1994

Chillin' in Chapel Hill

If I was Woody Woodpecker, I would say, "Guess who!" If I was Woodsy Owl, I would say, "Hoot Hoot!" But guess what? I'm not either of those two wacky birds. I'm just your buddy Erik, here chillin' in Chapel Hill, missing you and hoping everything's going well for ya in San Jose. I assume you found a good place to stay and you're not living on somebody's bathroom floor. Well, I guess you never know with miscreant members of that Golden Fleece organization.


How's work? Say hello to Susan for me the next time you see her. We talked for a while when I called looking for you in Washington. Tell her I recently caught a bad case of boogie fever, so I went out and bought eight bona fide disco CD's.

I too am working full time these days. I got a job at FGI, the market research firm/advertising agency on the corner of Franklin and Church Streets, where the Cradle used to be. They started me in the phone center, down in the basement, working inbound and outbound phones on a variety of different projects for $8/hr. Could be worse - at least I get overtime pay. These past two weeks I've worked 50-60 hours a week.

My furniture business was a gigantic success. Thank you again very much for your generous contribution to Erik's Used Junk Corporation, I mean, Salvage Engineering Firm.

I finally sold your table and chairs after storing them at a variety of different places around town, and showing them to numerous skeptical customers. ("You want how much for these? Someone paid how much for these new?") But I knew we had some quality stuff, so I held on to them. One of Derek Shadid's housemates ended up as the buyer, so he's the one who's now eating meals at your table. Good karma prevails.

Let's see, what else is happening. Chilly was described in the paper today as having made an "eloquent speech" urging the town council to rezone the University's Horace Williams Airport tract so that any major UNC development/construction there could only go ahead with input from the town. The final vote was 5-4 against rezoning, so I bet he was bummed. I will try and call him tomorrow.

Rashmi was visiting from N.Y. last weekend. On Friday, Jenny and I had dinner at Pyewacket with her, James, and Stuart Hathaway, who I remember somehow from the Campus Y. Dana got engaged to Erika. It happened about six weeks ago. N'Gai returned home safely from Japan, and Thailand, and wherever the hell else he's been for five months. He's in New York, but he's coming back to Chapel Hill in January and applying to UNC for graduate school in music. Guess he's been playing his flute quite a bit lately.

Pedigo is doing well, as far as I can tell. He's enjoying the comfort of living in this new luxurious home in Durham where he's staying, right overlooking Duke Park. But he's all psyched up about applying to work for Morgan Stanley or some other mega-company and going to live in Boston. He called me the other night, so I really should call him back. That's the downside to working overtime - it's Wednesday, and it's the first night this week I've been able to sit down and call people on the phone, or write long overdue letters like this one.


I miss you and hope everything is turning out positive for you on the West Coast. Write back whenever you can - keeping up correspondence with a slack motherfucker like me should be a breeze.

- Letter to C-line

Saturday, October 1, 1994

Other than hearing Jay Murray sing "Plastic Disaster"...

Various: COGNITIVE MAPPING (Friction Media) (1994)

WXYC station manager Bob Boster put together COGNITIVE MAPPING to benefit the station's tower fund. Though a couple of the bands here have records out, (MINERVA STRAIN, JUNE), the cassette is mostly garden-variety home-recordings by XYC jocks. Consistently good stuff. . . my picks: PROTOBLAST (aka Nate Florin aka Asst. Manager aka housemate) doing the suspiciously Sebadoh-esque "Hardcore," DETERGENT's (aka Palmatier aka the guy who lets me use his e-mail account) twisted, "acoustic" habit, ALEX & RUGARE's (aka Graham Entwhistle and Bob) Gloria Steinem audio cut-up, "Sex and Race," and JOBY's OPINION . . . but best of all, other than hearing Jay Murray sing "Plastic Disaster," is the unlisted cut at the end; a couple guys (one sounding a lot like Palmatier) screaming in "unison" about Friction Media. A theme song.

- Stay Free! Magazine, 1994

Monday, September 12, 1994

The most glorious location in all of Chapel Hill, 9/12/94

Subject: Do you want to live?
Date: 12 Sep 1994 23:48:58 -0000
Organization: Chapel Hill Music Lovers


Forget what you've heard about the Pink House being exclusive,
Forget what you've heard about the Pink House lifestyle being too fast,
Forget what you've heard about Timberwolf's manners,
Forget what you've heard about Timberwolf's obsessions,
Forget what you've heard about the ghost of the Pink House.

YOU can live at the most glorious location in all of Chapel Hill,
with a birds eye view of the Phi Mu house,
and a 2 minute stroll to the quad,
and you get to ROOM with the TIMBERWOLF!!!!!

i'm dead serious.

email me for more details.

Timber Wolf

"I'll make a fist and put that fist right in yr. eye" J.O.

From: (Ian Williams)
Subject: Re: Do you want to live?
Date: 13 Sep 1994 08:25:57 GMT
Organization: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

In article ,

>Forget what you've heard about the Pink House being exclusive,
>Forget what you've heard about the Pink House lifestyle being too fast,
>YOU can live at the most glorious location in all of Chapel Hill,

I think it's common knowledge that the Purple House was, at its height,
the most glorious location in all of Chapel Hill. At least fairly common
knowledge. Plus, those guys never do their dishes.

Ian Williams, back in slow, sweaty, sleepy and sexy Chapel Hill, NC!
"Ohhhhh, we're half-way there...
Oh...whoa... we're livin' on a prayer"
-"Livin' on a Prayer," Bon Jovi

Sunday, September 4, 1994

The house predictably sank into utter summer filth

Whassup! This is your former Pink Housemate Erik coming through loud and clear on the straight-up tip, doing deals and making crazy cash while chillin' in Chapel Hill, sending you out a positive shout up there in D.C., where the word on the street says you've finally made the big move into an apartment of your very own! Well, actually I guess it's a place you're sharing with someone else, namely, Jenny's very close friend and former roommate Alston Neal. What a coincidence. Hope everything's going smoothly, from what I've heard you're having a great time living closer to the heart of the city.

Shelly was in town this past weekend and tried unsuccessfully to get in touch with me regarding your mail. It was a very hectic weekend for us both I guess, for me because of my latest, on-going, money-making venture. More about that in a second. Anyway, I figured I should get off my ass and send you this mail and your farewell videotape before any more time elapsed. It's a two-hour tape, and your goodbye party takes the award for most interesting portion.

Yeah, so the Pink House vibe has definitely dissipated. You're gone, I'm gone, and for a while it looked as if Mel was planning to jet as well. The troubles all started when I left town shortly after you, leaving a check for both our phone bills with Chris Palmatier. He proceeded to lose this check, and instead just assumed that neither of us had paid our bills. Jay Murray, of course, at this point hadn't paid the phone bill either. So guess what happened? The phone got disconnected. It took those kids about six weeks to finally get their phone service reconnected. Mel was truly bugging out. The inconvenience of not having a phone was really getting to her, plus the utter summer filth that the house predictably sank into within days of our departures, plus everyone else's general slack attitudes. And since I took most of my stuff with me when I jetted, the house got left kind of bare anyway. So Mel started thinking about jumping ship herself.

Then Charlie came back from New Orleans, Trent moved in, and I finished moving out. Mel came back from Pennsylvania and realized how much bigger my room was than the one she'd been living in across the hall. Trent is an actor, and he can't live without a phone, so within a few days he arranged to have the service re-connected. Then Charlie, Jay and Scott went on a mad furniture buying spree, and bought all this new funky furniture to replace the stuff I'd jetted with. I think they even started picking up after themselves. Mel tried looking around for apartments, and realized there wasn't much out there close to campus where she could keep a pet. Laverne is getting so big, by the way - you wouldn't believe it. So all these factors converged to influence a change in her plans, and now Mel is again staying at Chez Pink. You have their new phone number, I assume, but in case you don't, it's (919) 967-8969.

O.k., I'm on the verge of wrapping this letter up, but I did want to tell you how I've been making crazy money these last few weeks. Basically, I've become a used furniture broker! Selling absurd used furniture to kids moving into dorms and apartments, all kinds of crazy shit, and I've netted about $2500 since mid-August. I feel like I've been stuck in an extended episode of Sanford and Son, driving around town in my Volvo, scanning the streets for wayward couches and easy chairs, searching apartment complex dumpsters for those "special items" just waiting to make some furniture customer a happy camper.

Essentially, I'm raising capital. Kristen Schoonover (who told me all about the great night out at Fifth Column she had with you and Jyoti a few weeks ago) and I are now exploring becoming co-investors in a nightclub in Raleigh, a space over on Hillsborough Street. It's got 1500 square feet, rent is $1000/month, and we're going to look at it on Tuesday of this week. It's owned by two brothers who are friends of hers, Leon and Louie, and who own half the real estate on Hillsborough Street. I'll keep you informed of developments.

Feel free to drop me a line with all the latest lowdown on your plans and activities, because both Jenny and I would love to know how things are going with you. And you know you're welcome to stay with us whenever you come down to visit next - we've got an extra futon and it's all you. O.k., kid, I gotta go sell some more used furniture. My inventory is almost depleted, but I've still got about $800 worth of deals to close. Jyoti, Ryan, Firas, and Derek Shadid all say hello.

- Letter to Steve

Thursday, September 1, 1994

The Plastic House and Noble Street

During 1993-94, my two favorite spots to chill away from the Pink House were Derek Shadid's house at 112 Noble Street, with its beautiful backyard full of boulders dating back to glacier days, and the Plastic House at 207 Pritchard, home to Jyoti and Swati Argade, Martha Pryor, Kristen Schoonover, and a rotating cast of other cool women. Who were all very real, not plastic - the name was derived from the five-bedroom place's yellow siding.

In the fall of '94, I had recently moved out of the Pink House, but wasn't quite ready to ease into post-collegiate life. During those few months, if I wasn't on the clock at FGI or at home enjoying my new existence with Jenny as a condo-dwelling couple in suburban Chapel Hill, I could probably be found at 207 Pritchard. The Plastic House kept the vibe alive, and was the scene of many a legendary party that season.

After Martha graduated in December, she lived in the front room for one more semester before getting her own place with Mel the following summer.

Mel on Plastic House back porch, Spring '94

Wednesday, August 31, 1994

Wednesday, July 6, 1994

The rug stayed behind

Pink House residents all agreed to buy my big living room rug from me for $60 - I think I paid about $90 for it two years ago. I am going to organize a huge yard sale on the Pink House front lawn when school starts again and try to sell all sorts of things I don't want anymore. Until then, I'm going to keep what I don't take with me in the attic, the garage, and at places like Pedigo's and Jyoti's.

Talked with Beth Ising at N.C. NARAL today. She said they didn't need anyone right now, but asked me to mail her a copy of my resume for her to keep on file. She also told me how she meets weekly with the heads of several of the progressive N.C. activist groups and hears about job openings constantly, so she would keep me in mind if an organizing position opens somewhere, to start early next month.

Looked through want ads, too. The N&O classifieds sucked. The Village Advocate was a little more helpful. I am going to apply for a couple of positions. One is an office manager for a firm called Environmental Media. One is a Carrboro medical office assistant. T'boli needs a salesperson. A "medium sized" law firm in Chapel Hill at 100-E Franklin Square needs an administrative assistant. If all else fails, I could go work for Adam and Eve taking phone orders for $5 an hour. Wouldn't that be fun.

- Letter to Jenny, 7/6/94

Friday, July 1, 1994

Clint gets Mad as Faust with Zen Frisbee

In 1994, Zen Frisbee released I'm As Mad As Faust, their first full-length album on the band's own Flavor-Contra Records.

Featuring cuts like "Crazy Steven" and "Marsha Don't Play In The Fire," the record also featured Clint on drums. Having already honed his skills on the skins with Kung Fu Fighting and the Anubis Leisure Society, by the time he joined Zen Frisbee (becoming the latest in a series of replacements for original ZF drummer and Superchunk namesake Chuck "Chunk" Garrison), Clint's drumming was tight, as evidenced by the tracks on this album.

In fact, some believe it's the greatest unheralded indie rock record of its era.

During the heady days of the Chapel Hill, NC music scene in the early '90s, bands like Superchunk, Archers of Loaf and Ben Folds Five made their way out of the clubs on Franklin Street and into the national spotlight. Zen Frisbee was one of the bands to miss the glare of the music business' eye, and has gone relatively unnoticed even amongst the indie-rock intelligentsia (for proof, try finding the band in the Trouser Press Guide). What a shame. The Frisbee was (and is) perhaps the area's best live band, and this, their debut album, is one of the '90's most criminally overlooked albums. The band creates a mesmerizing blend of breezy songwriting, Fallesque controlled musical mayhem, countrified rave-ups, and searing funk that never falls for the cocky panderings of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Guitarist Laird Dixon (who also plays in the excellent instrumental combo Shark Quest) is one of the area's most inventive players and the lead singer (whose name escapes me, sorry!) is a dynamic performer and inspired vocalist. "Fraidy Cat" may be the best song released by any Triangle band, and "Clothes," "Crazy Stephen," and others follow a similar REM-inspired songwriting sensibility that is always wholly original. "Martha Don't Play in the Fire" moves with a steady fury--as fierce and wondrous an opener as can be found anywhere. "Cruising With Randy Travis" is simply a blast. A brilliant album indie-rock fans will cherish as a seceret treasure. It deserves to be so much more.

- Anonymous Amazon Customer, 1999

Bottom line, Zen Frisbee should have been a lot bigger than they were. Here's a rundown on ZF's history. And this look back by Ross Grady sheds a little light on why they never caught fire outside of the Triangle:

Zen Frisbee were the quintessential Chapel Hill band, whatever that means. In addition to "I'm as Mad as Faust," there's a singles/b-sides compilation called "Eat at the Burrito Bunker" and a somewhat mysterious release of material by an early/different lineup called something like "10 million years BC." (As far as I can recall, all the material from their various 7"s are included on the Burrito Bunker CD, so it's pretty crucial, as those early singles were most excellent).

They were notorious around town for many things, including the perhaps predictable tardiness, sloppyness and general slackness that concealed their underlying musical genius from anybody unwilling to stick around for the second half of their set, when they'd finally get to firing on all cylinders & would transform into a mesmerizing rockband, fueled equally by the intricate guitar lines of brothers Laird & Kevin Dixon, and by the hypnotic sleaze of frontman Brian Walker's voice.

ZF were also notorious for their Halloween show which involved the members of the band wearing actual flaming pumpkins on their heads.

Guitarist Laird Dixon joined Shark Quest towards the end of Zen Frisbee's lifespan, and you can definitely recognize his guitar playing in both bands.

Laird's brother Kevin is currently playing in a Chapel Hill band called Bringerer, with sometime ZF bassist Shawn Albert, and ex-Pipe frontman Ron Liberti. Kevin is also working on a seemingly endless weekly comic called "And Then There Was Rock" for the Independent Weekly in Durham, which chronicles the long slow rise of Zen Frisbee in a lightly fictionalized manner.

- Ross Grady, 2006

Friday, June 17, 1994

Cole Street

Lem, Dawad, and Derek Elliott set up their own post-Pink House crash pad on Cole Street during the spring of '94, in the shadow of UNC's Cameron Avenue power plant. The apartment was one half of a duplex, the other side rented by Charles McNair and Denise Matthewson. Meredith Smith lived down the street in a hipster bungalow with some musician she was dating, and Cole Street quickly became another stopping point on the Pink House legacy tour. It was on the couches of Cole Street that our jaws dropped as every TV station broke into live coverage of O.J. Simpson's infamous Ford Bronco chase on June 17.

All year long, Cole Street was the spot to be. Countless jams packed the place to capacity, and Pez's reputation as a DJ reached lofty heights. The vibe was strong, and Jungle Juice flowed freely. Other heads including Cherryl Aldave moved in and out. Lem left for a more secluded lifestyle living with his girlfriend Ebony. Derek eventually decamped for his own bachelor's lair in the back of a stately home near UNC Hospitals. At the time, N'Gai was traveling in Japan, Thailand, and other Far East destinations. When he returned to Chapel Hill in early '95, he moved in, too.

Tuesday, June 14, 1994

Everybody pursuing their own destinies

It is Tuesday, June 14, and I am staring at a huge pile of your mail that has been collecting in our house for God knows how long, probably since the last time I sent you your unforwarded mail. Wow. I assume your first year at Harvard has gone really well, since knowing you, you're astounding everyone with your talent and intelligence. As for myself, I graduated last month, hon! I snuck through right under the wire, but I'm finally done and I'm psyched as a motherfucker. In another month I'll be moving out of the Pink House...the end of an era...and in with Jenny, who since late April has been my fiancee! Yay! So I'm engaged now, too. Seems kind of unreal.

Jay Murray will still be here, the only one left from our year together, working to finish his Masters. Then he plans to complete his PhD, but maybe he'll get tired of living with undergrads by that point. Jay also recently cut his hair off - equally big life adjustment. Oh yeah, Scott Bullock is now living with us and will also still be here next year - Jay's friend from Duke who liked to sleep on our couch. He also just graduated.

Firas, N'Gai, Erik, Jay, Pat, Scott, Kyle, Caroline, Michael, and Lydia outside El Rodeo, Spring '93

I haven't talked to Kyle in nearly a year, so tell her I said what's up. Even though Michael now lives around the damn corner from us, I've probably seen him twice all year. I've hung out with Pat several times, though, until he left to tour Tibet a while ago. Lydia is in Australia now, living with her aunt, working, enjoying herself. Her address is... N'Gai Wright is doing some intrepid traveling in Japan, of all places! He was supposedly staying with Dai for a while, the kid who crashed with us for a couple of weeks last spring. But I haven't spoken to him in a month, so I hope he's not buried. Before that N'Gai was working in New York City all this past year.

I still see Michelle Sinott around town, though - her boyfriend got out of the Marines and they're living together now. Remember Lem? He's finishing school next year, but for the past six months has been spending lots of time being a mega party host and DJ at happening Pink House functions and various other locations around town. Do you ever see Erika Gantt in Cambridge? She and Dana are living together in an apartment in downtown Boston for the summer starting June 19 while Dana works at a law firm.

Looks like everybody's pursuing their own destinies, huh. I am currently deciding whether or not to do grass roots fundraising work for SEAC or work for NC-NARAL until I can begin to fundraise for my own voter registration/grassroots media projects. I will be living, working and organizing in North Carolina (and maybe Virginia, to try and stop bastards like Oliver North) for at least the next three years, while Jenny attends law school. I wish you all the best with everything, and maybe we'll see each other in Boston sometime. Take care of yourself, follow your dreams, be free...

- Letter to Caroline Hall

Wednesday, June 8, 1994

Pine State at Papagayo's, 6-6-94

From: (Christopher M. Riser)
Subject: HYPE
Date: 6 Jun 1994 16:41:56 -0000
Organization: Chapel Hill Music Lovers




Tuesday, June 7, 1994

Pine State...TRUTH or HYPE?, 6/7/94

From: (Christopher Riser)
Subject: Pine State stuff
Date: 7 Jun 1994 23:30:10 -0000
Organization: Chapel Hill Music Lovers


Someone wanted to know about buying a Pine State tape?? Guess that was
before I signed on. Well, if you want one, just send me two bucks and a
blank 60-minute tape and I'll slap some songs on there for you and mail it
back. May even be able to send you a videotape if you're interested. The
taped show was a Pine State classic drunken bash complete with blackeyed
peas, collard greens, fucked-up songs, obscenities and taunting matches,
and our first-ever totally unrehearsed (well, everything we do is totally
unrehearsed - we've never practiced as a full band before - provides that
important spark of spontaneity, dontcha know) set closer "Up Against the
Wall Redneck Mother."

C. Wiley Riser
Pine State conspirator

Wednesday, May 11, 1994

We celebrated by going on a free stuff tour

5/11/94. Wednesday.

First things first. Chillin' the night before with Mel, Martha, Scott, Jay, Christy, Erik the chinese food delivery guy, Caroline, Steve and Fred. Went to sleep around 7 am after I started re-organizing my room. I woke up around 10:50 and called Caroline. Rescheduled our Internet meeting for tomorrow at 11 am, then went downstairs and woke up Martha and Mel. Yay! Took Martha home, then Mel and I went and picked up my grade change form. Then I turned that fucker in! Officially graduated!

We celebrated by going on a free stuff tour all over town, mostly in Carrboro, for what seemed like an amazing four hours. Stops included the hardware store and every apartment complex in the vicinity. The killer joint was definitely Bolinwood. Free stuff was ubiquitous there, including a wig box and a new grill. Tried to go see Mel's new dog Laverne at the pound but couldn't. Took a long power nap in the afternoon (three hours) then got up and started cleaning the house.

Chillin. Very little food today. I am still very hungry. Martha came over again, plus Matt Schofield, Steve, Mel, Jay, Scott and myself watched the third part of The Stand. Jenny came back tonight. I am happy but I have so much to do.

- journal entry, 5/12/94 1:09 am

(Note from 2009 - this was written a few days before graduation weekend 1994. Counting down the final months of my stay in the Pink House.)

Wednesday, April 20, 1994

Tokyo beckons, and new paths to explore

Have you left New York yet? I hope this gets to you before the weekend. Exactly one week to go before my last day of classes at Carolina. Wow. The concept is deep.

So your time in the city has come to an end. Tokyo beckons, and new paths to explore. Instinctive travels are just around the corner, after a short trip to Indiana, I guess. For me, it's best anyway that you couldn't come down. Distractions are already ubiquitous, constantly watching for moments when I let down my guard. Lem, on the other hand, definitely wanted to see you. Oh well, sooner or later the crew will reconvene, perhaps learning to play their individual instruments in the meanwhile. The clarinet will be located after May 15th.

Here I am rushing this letter off because I wanted to give you a copy of my grant proposal. It outlines the sort of non-profit structure I'll create this summer. Got to have something to fundraise around. I'm applying for funds from both the Mary Babcock and Z. Smith Reynolds foundations, and looking for more dollars everywhere.

Both Charles McNair and Denise Matthewson are working for Community Self-Help in Durham. CSH fixed up that building in very styley fashion. I told you about going to the From The Hip opening. It was kind of sad, but still cool. This little community of twenty-something do-gooders has really developed over there. By the way, I think Ian Williams wrote a cover article in The Washington Monthly this week. Rush out and buy a copy. There's this one particularly positive woman in the office next to Chuck involved with some new group called S.E.E.D.S., some business about planting urban gardens, and she is so fine! She was giving me the eye the whole time.

Two a.m. is chillin' on the clock, and I'm surrounded by half a dozen supreme buzzkilling assignments to create for school. I'm so focused I've even given up music lately. But free deliveries of beautiful jazz CD's arrive weekly from BMG and Columbia House. Mostly addressed to motherfuckers I didn't even know lived in the Pink House. It's probably those damn raccoons.

Enjoy Tokyo, take care, and give a positive shout to my main man Daisuke. Send me a postcard with your new address when you get situated.

- Letter to N'Gai in NYC

Tuesday, April 5, 1994

What's up down here on Tobacco Road

Whassup, cat. This is a diatribe coming to you straight out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, home of that graduating motherfucker himself. How's life in the Apple treating you?

Right now we're looking at 'round about 2 am, chillin' with a new Bob Marley CD that arrived today courtesy of those ignorant imbeciles at Columbia House who seem to have no problems sending hundreds of dollars of free merchandise out to imaginary individuals. I'm procrastinating doing real work, like writing one of the ten papers I need to finish in the next month in order to graduate with two majors. I'm also putting off going to the copy store to work on a flyer for this benefit keg/rave we're throwing here at the Pink House next Saturday. Hundreds of drunk people destroying their brain cells in order to benefit a local literacy education project - makes sense! So it's a perfect time to write you a letter.


Let's see, what's up down here on Tobacco Road. Are you a big basketball fan, Robb? I hate sports in a general, ideological sense, but b-ball is so ubiquitous here that it's hard not to caught up in this March Madness bullshit. So, I'll admit it, I have been known to actually watch short stretches of particularly decent games. On TV, of course. I've been to exactly one home game since I've been down here. It was my junior year. We were playing Florida A&M, and the game before the one I went to, a brawl had erupted on court. One of their players actually stepped on another player's head. So I was like, cool! Let's check this shit out. But nobody even got elbowed.

This year the Heels got eliminated from the tournament right away. People were walking around like somebody had stolen all their comic books or something. There were positive and negative sides to this development. On the positive side, people weren't out mobbing the streets every night a game was on, fucking with me whenever
I wanted to drive somewhere around town. On the negative tip, it meant that all these basketball yahoos who would normally have been holed up in bars drinking beer were clogging up the libraries, cafeterias, and other places on campus where there are already far too many motherfuckers to begin with. Oh well.


I saw this cool play on campus recently called Life As Art: A Tribute to Paul Green. He was a Chapel Hill playwright who essentially set up my school's drama department. Have you heard of In Abraham's Bosom? This was the play he wrote about race relations that won a Pulitzer prize in 1927. Check out a copy of the script. It was incredibly hard-hitting for its time, especially for the South. Green also worked with Richard Wright to adapt Native Son for the stage in the 1940s.

Right before Easter, it was my birthday. I had a phat time, since my friends organized a little birthday get together for me at our house. Folks were stopping by all evening, bearing gifts.

My housemates baked me a cake, and one of my really good friends down here took me out to dinner. Her name is Jyoti (pronounced Jo-thee), she's a dancer, and a speech communications major. We're going to be working on business and activist projects together this summer. One of the profit-making ones will be a local ice cream delivery service. I'm also going to try and open up a Chapel Hill nightclub as a business partner with my housemate Steve, who's from the Bahamas.

On the non-profit end, I'm applying for grants to fund some grassroots democracy projects. I've enclosed a copy of one of my grant proposal project descriptions for you to check out.


I heard from Tony on my birthday. He was trying to come down here for his spring break (his perpetual quest for the past three years), but things didn't pan out. So he claims he'll make it down for my graduation in mid-May. Well, I won't be moving into condo land until mid-July. Until then, the Pink House remains the spacious crash pad of choice for any friends seeking to escape Northern landscapes. Don't know if you planned to get out of New York for a road trip any time soon.

- Letter to Robb

Friday, April 1, 1994

Was the Pink House haunted?

I remember when we all went down to the basement and tried to freak each other out. We were in a supernatural phase. I had found that bottle of old scotch stuck in between the dirt and the foundation - I'm pretty sure we drank it. Anyway, there we are in the dark, and suddenly Steve yells out "Oh my God, I smell raw chicken!" and busts out of there. Interesting how cultures have their ghostly warnings - I guess the islands lean toward the raw chicken smell.

Truly, though, a couple of times I heard noise downstairs when no one was home. Once sounded like furniture being moved, and another like someone scrambling in the ice in the freezer. Sally and I got inspired and tried to make everyone think the house was haunted by doing things on our own, but no one really cared. We had fun, though!

- Mel Keister (Lanham)

Saturday, March 19, 1994

Something to remember in your cooking travels

Attention Pink House Denizens

Folks, something to remember in your cooking travels.

This microwave has caught on fire in the past because it was allowed to get too dirty. Now, Jay Murray is the cool man who graciously labors to keep our microwave clean. But he should only have to clean so much. We can all help him out by doing the following:

Covering everything you heat in the microwave with Saran wrap

If everybody could please do this, exploding bursts of food will no longer fuck up our microwave and leave it in danger of burning down the house and killing us all.

Thank you - The Management

Saturday, February 12, 1994

HeartBeat at the Depot - a Unity Event

We closed this rave down, dancing 'til five o’clock in the morning. It was a packed event, held at the historic former train depot in downtown Greensboro. 14 years later, Barack Obama and Joe Biden would appear at this same spot, speaking on its front steps in the closing weeks of the '08 elections to a crowd estimated at 25,000. But on this cold night in the winter of '94, underground rave culture in North Carolina was in full bloom.

Were there a thousand kids at this party? Whatever capacity the fire marshals would allow, that's how many bodies were packed into the Depot. We met kids there from as far away as Nashville and Birmingham, AL who had come to Feel the HeartBeat.

The night was put on by Ed LeBrun, the owner of Spins record store in Greensboro. In June he would begin promoting the legendary First Friday monthly parties at Babylon, a newly opened dance club on Elm Street. Until his tragic murder in August, 1999, Ed was one of the driving forces behind the rave scene in the Carolinas.

Ed LeBrun outside Spins, mid-90s

The dancefloor space was small, and the amount of lighting and effects that Ed packed in there was truly breathtaking. I remember amazing video and computerized projections washing over the crowd, and constantly flickering on the walls.

The night's theme was love, and the house music and visuals were in perfect harmony. Even the floor lit up!

I remember thinking that the spot where our group of Pink House ravers were grooving was a dancefloor heaven, the perfect place to be at that moment in time. It certainly seemed that way. I was surrounded by the love of my friends, the energy of the night, and the smiling crowd. Everyone was beautiful, and happiness was in the air. Then, at five o'clock on the dot, the lights came up. I looked around, and saw that our mystical rave paradise was actually a shabby little room in the back of the Depot that resembled a broken-down high school cafeteria. It was a bit of a come down. But I was still smiling, all the way home to Chapel Hill.


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