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, July 31, 2011

Spirit of '76 at The End Unit and a Drive-By Disco Party

In past posts, I've waxed poetic about how the madness at 401 Pritchard Avenue kept the Pink House vibe alive, after Jay M. moved in and stayed for eight years. Well, it's now been six years since Mr. Murray left town, and we miss him. But for the past couple of summers, former 401 residents Ellie and Neill have been doing their own part to maintain a relaxed living environment at their Carrboro crib, affectionately known to visitors as "The End Unit."

Party starters at The End Unit, May 2011. Photo by DJ Old-Time Granny.

So it should come as no surprise that as the twentieth anniversary approached of when our original Pink House lease began (8/1/91), they would be hosting a movie nite at their place curated by yours truly. Utilizing the new indoor screening room that just got rolled out within the past week, in part to cope with the ongoing oppressive temperatures of the Great Heat Dome of 2011. And a new, giant wall-sized screen devised by Neill and unveiled for the first-ever time that night!

The consensus flick turned out to be The Spirit of '76, which I first discovered sitting on the living room couch at a Pink House movie nite back in the day. But this latest showing didn't get underway without much haggling and vote-trading in favor of other contenders (since it's safe to say every audience member in attendance was a certified film freak, with Claudio getting special props becuz it turns out he used to host a long-running outdoor movie series in his backyard on Lindsay Street, showing 75 flicks in all). Including another Chez Pink fave, Beyond The Valley of the Dolls, plus Lost City classics like Psych-Out ("Taste a Moment of Madness! Listen to the Sound of Red!") and Over The Edge, and a very recent discovery, I Was A Teen-Age Zombie, which I think sat on our dollar rental shelf for years, although it should have been a store favorite. Based only on the short clips I've seen so far of the Weed-Man ripping some dude's face off, once he's been turned into a zombie by the toxic lake that he was either pushed or fell into when he wouldn't give kids back their "monies" for a refund on the bad "marah-jahooby" he sold them.

Anyway, Spirit of '76 didn’t disappoint, as Leif Garrett aka Eddie Trojan put some kung fu fighting on the CIA so he could get back to "hustling" with Olivia D'Abo, "Downtown" Julie Brown dropped knowledge on Heinz 57 about how Watergate really started with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, and Adam 11 aka David Cassidy learned about Tang and all the other good stuff the astronauts did for mankind from Chris Johnson and Tommy Sears, aka Jeff and Steve McDonald from Redd Kross, the coolest kids ever to rock a pair of banana bikes. As our time-traveling heroes made it back safely with the cultural knowledge they'd gathered and turned the bleak future of 2176 into a sunny disco paradise, the credits rolled, leaving us cheering and getting our couch boogie on.

At which point we were spotted by other revelers from the street who decided to come join the fun. Starring frequent 401 traveler and Fly Five sista Alexis (who beat out like, 500 other costumed kids with her amazing sea algae outfit to take home the title of costume contest queen the night before), and her friend Jason, who was celebrating his birthday, plus his whole birthday crew. They were actually politely waiting out in the parking lot for the movie to finish, but busted in immediately after it ended, just like emissaries from a future dancefloor!

Alexis rockin' a past costume contest-winning outfit at 401 Pritchard, May 2004

Then a drive-by disco party erupted, kickin' off with Bobby Thurston's "You Got What It Takes" (a Francois K mix), followed by Suzy Q reminding us to "Get On Up" (during which Jason showcased his mad breakdancing and shoes-on-the-hands air moonwalking skills), continuing on and on via some Trammps and Debbie Jacobs, with Ellie serving up a healthy mix of Sylvia Stripland's "You Can't Turn Me Away" and other Roy Ayers productions sprinkled throughout, and climaxing with the epic 10-minute Alkebu-centric opus known as "The Crown," music by Stevie Wonder mixed with knowledge by Gary Byrd, aka "Professor of the Rap," which Neill found recently in Raleigh. Ellie and Alexis were both Dancefloor MVPs, as they made sure the whole joint was jumpin'.

We were also belatedly celebrating Ellie and Neill's 3rd wedding anniversary, and counting up various cosmic coincidences that kept occurring, so it's fitting there turned out to be three total that evening, the third undocumented until now. That being how the drive-by dance party extended the entire movie nite until well past the midnight hour, so we were all jamming and singing along to "The Crown" exactly twenty years after the modern Pink House era officially began. A "toad-ally awesome," unplanned bonus anniversary jam.

Friday, June 10, 2011

End of a WXYC Era: Thirty Years' Worth of Posters Gone

On this beautiful late spring evening, Ellie and Neill invited me to the opening of an exhibit at the old Chapel Hill Museum on Franklin Street that featured an installation they did in conjunction with their Abbey Court Community Project.

While hanging out there and enjoying the art, some dude came in all wild-eyed, and spread the word that the following Monday, thirty years' worth of posters that had graced the walls of WXYC were going to be torn down. In contrast to WXDU's studios at Duke, which for years have looked like a dingy dump with boring, barren decor, nearly every inch of the walls, windows, doors and even ceilings within WXYC's space in the Student Union were covered with posters, stickers, photos, clippings, and other memorabilia of the station's long history.

The story was apparently that the wing of the Union where the studios had been located since the early 80s was finally being renovated, and to bring it up to fire code all the posters and artifacts had to be removed.

I went home, grabbed my camera, and drove up to campus. Somebody let me into the Union, and then the station, where I hadn't set foot in nearly fifteen years.

Possibly the last time before that I was up there was when N'Gai and myself were guests on a show John Svara was doing circa '97 or '98, which we burst in on after hearing him on the radio and figuring it would be fun to stop by and say hi. He let us pick out tracks for the rest of the night, and it was a legendary broadcast. I should have imposed on Jay to let me crash his show a few times during the dozen plus years he was on air from the early 90s until 2005, but I never wanted to disrupt his sonic art. Jay recorded almost every one of his shows on hundreds of cassette tapes, and it would be great to hear them if he ever gets around to digitizing some.

XYC was a major influence on life at the Pink House, and not just because of the number of jocks who lived there. The dining room boombox was tuned to 89.3 FM day and night for years (when Jay wasn't playing tapes of his shows). I created all the mixtapes for our early parties at the station, crossed paths with Clint (and Ian!) for the first ever time at the 70's dance in 1991, and bonded with N'Gai when he sat in on my show a few times right after he and Dana hung out with Clint and me at the house over Thanksgiving that same year. We discovered Babatunde Olatunji's Drums of Passion during one memorable show that also featured guest DJ Myron B. Pitts, and it remains my pick for XYC's coolest record in the library.

Anyway, the jocks on duty on this June '11 night were super chill.

They had no problem with me wandering around the station for the next few hours, documenting everything.

Other jocks came through to pay their own respects to the posters, including the dude who had tipped me to the situation, and some posed for pics meant to send the message that they would have to go through us in order to tear down all the artifacts! In reality, everyone knew it was the end of an era.

What was so hard to believe about that night was that everything at the station looked almost exactly like I remembered it when I was a DJ and sub circa '91-'93. Very little had changed. It made it all the more heartbreaking to realize after that weekend, it would never look that way again.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hammer No More The Fingers rock the living room

So I was leafing through the DTH tonite, becuz that's one advantage of having not yet left Chapel Thrill, you get to read the DTH straight outta its blue & white vending boxes. Don't laugh, I know lots of expatriates who read it every day online. It's a hard habit to break.

And I spotted this week's Diversions feature story, on hot Durham band Hammer No More The Fingers, who have a CD release party coming up tomorrow nite at Motorco, over on Geer Street. That place was previously an abandoned car dealership that I passed every day for a year or so on my way to work circa 2006, and always thought it would make an awesome nightclub.

Then I saw the part of the story that said, "DTH staff met the band at a Chapel Hill house where they rocked out for our cameras (thankfully, the neighbors didn't complain)." And did a doubletake at the pictures, becuz clearly, Larry Short must not have been home that afternoon!

Gotta give Carolann and the rest of the current crop of ladies over there some props, for following through on their pledge to keep the legacy strong by hosting indie rockers in the living room. Their bona fides were already pretty apparent from their first party update, plus the fact that the Pink House mafia has got inside sources at Twitter that keep us on top of all the super-hilarious shit they tweet about...and think no one can see! Those girls are too funny. But don't worry, we won't publish any of it. :)

Now if they would just paint over that hideous Old Well mural...please?


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