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, November 28, 2010

Flashback to the New England Tour '93 and a Suede/Bowie soundtrack

Now that I've got the digital audio hook-up, I'm gradually recording artifacts from my cassette collection. It was while looking for more tapes from the Pink House era earlier tonight that I happened to find the mix tape Mel Benner made for us the day we left town with Lem and Derek Elliott to drive north on the New England Tour '93.

Lem's cousin, Derek, Lem & Erik at Lem's aunt's house in Boston, Dec. '93

It wasn't really a mix, it was simply Bowie's 1973 LP Aladdin Sane on one side, and on the other, a new, self-titled debut LP by Suede, a UK group I'd never heard of. Although apparently, that's because I wasn't reading any issues of the British music press that littered the XYC studios. During '92-'93, Suede were the most-hyped English band since the Sex Pistols, and when their debut record dropped in late March '93, it was the fastest-selling UK debut since Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Welcome To The Pleasuredome in 1984.

Mel, however, was tuned in. At the time, she was living in a tiny house on one of the streets of Northside that ran west off Church Street, a little ramshackle shotgun shack. She was really excited about Suede, and thought they were the reincarnation of glam-era Bowie. So she made this tape for us to play on our roadtrip. It added some rockin' flavor to everyone else's preferred vibes (hip hop for Derek, deep house for Lem, and 70s funk for me).

I was hooked from the first song (So Young), because their debut album was a freaking classic, a neo-glam masterpiece.

It didn't hurt that it was probably also the first time I'd ever heard Aladdin Sane (except for the better known tracks Panic in Detroit and The Jean Genie).

For the next seven years or so, this tape never left whatever car I was driving at the time. Even during the period I was rocking my deathtrap '84 Mazda GLC that lacked a tapedeck and I had to cart around a little boombox in the back floorwell. The Suede/Bowie tape became part of my essential driving soundtrack. I’m shocked it's still playable.

Don't know what happened to Mel Benner, because she graduated and left town the next year and I never saw her again. I can't find a Facebook or other definitive link for her, but she was a track star at UNC, and I did find mention of a Melisssa Benner in PA who was still running in charity 5K races as of 2009. So hope she's doing well.

While googling Suede to see where they are today, I found out they're back together and touring Europe right now! They've got a UK gig coming up at London's 02 Arena on December 7. Not that I'm gonna hop on a plane and go, and unfortunately, they're touring without their original lead guitarist Bernard Butler, who co-wrote all the songs on their first LP and played a huge role in shaping their sound. But surely it will be a great show, and for that reason alone, right now seems a particularly appropriate time to be looking back to the moment 17 years ago in a Northside driveway when we were preparing to embark on yet another memorable Pink House road trip and Mel first turned us all on to Suede.

"This is dedicated to all those who will contribute to the New England Tour '93, whether in the city or on the road..." – Lem, 12/21/93, 2:32 am

Monday, November 15, 2010

The August Sessions...Unearthed

Recently while visiting North Carolina, N'Gai convinced me to patch together all the equipment I needed to digitize some sound recordings. The occasion was his unearthing of a forgotten stash of cassette tapes documenting the legendary August Sessions. Dating from the infamous summer of '93, the second summer N'Gai lived at the Pink House before leaving Chapel Hill for the Far East, these tapes captured a series of day and night jam sessions held in his downstairs room.

They featured a rotating cast of musicians, including N'Gai on flute, Lem on buckets and various other percussion, Grant Tennille on guitar, Bryan Ellerson on keyboards, Charles Overbeck on the cello, and Karen Hurka on harp. The sound quality is surprisingly clear for having been recorded on an old boombox ("I think the cassette door was broken off, and the tape was just held there by the heads," according to N'Gai), and several priceless, previously unheralded moments in Pink House history have been discovered (like Lem macking on Jyoti). More details will be forthcoming.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Since we've been here, the ghost has appeared

From: Carolann Belk
Date: Sun, Aug 22, 2010 at 10:23 PM
Subject: First Pink House Update!

Oddly enough, your most recent post of my message coincides with the e-mail we were planning on sending after our Pink House christening party, which occurred last night. Needless to say, it was epic. Two kegs were tapped, random freshmen made appearances, and the night ended in a mud puddle that we drunkenly attempted to mop up in the kitchen. Luckily we didn't get in any trouble except for a comment from a neighbor about having to clean pink cups out of the street (oops!).

I guess I should begin this story telling how we worked our butts off to get this house a year ago. I saw it come up online in July, didn't really consider it due to the price ($3500-yikes) but then once we shopped around some and realized the study would have to be a 5th bedroom, we knew we had to go for it. We conned 2 of our guy friends into signing the papers needed for us to get the house since we needed at least four people and told them they could switch off the lease later, which inevitably happened and they probably regret it now. Long story short, we called the realty company about every day after touring the house to beat out all the other people that they said were also looking at it, and ended up getting our official papers in the day before another group of girls - sucks for them, good for us.

Since we've been here, the ghost has also appeared. On top of the upstairs shower turning on by itself incessantly – which we attribute to a lose knob – one of the roommates was doing laundry one night and turned on the dryer, left, and came back into the room 5 minutes later to find the dryer door wide open. Then about a week ago one of the upstairs roommates woke up in the early morning hours to someone apparently attempting to enter her locked door by shaking and turning the knob, and when she asked who was there it stopped. Creepy.

Here's a link to our facebook event for the party.

I'm also attaching a picture of the roomies from last night + the 2 other roommates who I photoshopped in because they were probably off filling their cups. And a picture of randos in the kitchen and the keg gargoyles keeping watch.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

We'll try to keep the legacy going strong!

(8/20/10 - I got an e-mail a while ago from Carolann Belk, one of the new crop of Chez Pink residents. Classes start next week for the Fall '10 semester, and hopefully at some point they'll drop us a more detailed update about life on North Street. Welcome to the spot!)
May 15, 2010 at 2:17am

So this is super random, but I was just updating myself on y'alls pink house blog on account of I'll be residing there as of a week from today (along with some friends of course) and thought you should know the identity of the "unknown occupants".

As of next school year they'll include me (a senior) as well as 4 other senior girls and an additional junior moving in second semester. Shockingly, only one of us is in a sorority. And I will be an assistant editor of the design desk at the DTH, but actually had no plans to work for the DTH when we signed the lease last September. The close proximity was definitely one of the deciding factors on applying for an assistant editor position though.

For 2011-2012, the junior moving in will probably take over and have some of her friends move in. Anyway, I just figured I should keep the pink house alums updated and let you know that we'll try to keep the legacy going strong!

Future Pink House Resident

P.S. - Do you have any idea where I can get a copy of that movie?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pink House back in business

Groundhog Day seemed as good a time as any to check on the rental property time almost forgot. Except Bill Murray was nowhere in sight, and it wasn't snowing on North Street. And in the clearest sign that the hours were indeed marching on, the for rent sign had vanished! Yet the place was still deserted.

Further investigation revealed the house has been rented for next year, with a May-to-May lease signed by as-of-yet-unknown occupants. Looks like Larry Short's McMansion plans will have to wait awhile. I'd be shocked if the new crew didn't include some DTH staffers excited about the prospect of a 30-second commute to their reporting jobs. Starting in the fall, the paper will be operating out of the building next door at 151 E. Rosemary Street.

The Chi's took quite a bath while it sat vacant for two whole years, which probably translates to slapping the new residents with a sharp rent hike in May 2011. But as of this moment, the place is still available, "for a short term lease only."

So if deep-pocketed alums have any unfinished biz with 130 North Street, now's the time. Like, Ben Folds Five needing some studio space with authentic crash pad flavor to record a reunion album. Or Ian deciding he wants more re-shoots for the movie. This offer is only good until April 20, 2010. An appropriate date (4/20) to mark the end of a peculiar chapter in Pink House history.

Broken mirror in back yard, Dec. 3, 2009. Photo by Further Musings.


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