Pink House Forever

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 Ian Williams, Greg Humphreys, Allen Sellars (who, like Jay, lived at both the Pink House and 401 Pritchard), 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

Featured Post

Remembering the Pink House, 15 Years Later

2009 marks fifteen years since I graduated from Carolina and moved out of the Pink House, the legendary off-campus crash pad located at 130 ...

Friday, October 3, 2014

We really did talk like the Talking Heads

(Editor's note: After unearthing the DTH article that former Kaleidoscoope editor Peggie Porter wrote on life at the Pink House, right when her crew was about to move out in the summer of 1985, we were thrilled to hear from her with more details of that era. Spoiler alert: this post solves the mystery of the Mona Lisa!)

by PEGGIE PORTER ('83-'85)

Lindsay Anderson (Sablosky) lived in the Mona Lisa room. That's her in the Batman mask on Halloween, 198?. I was Robin. Bill Burd stayed in the little room off the kitchen. A girl named Marita lived upstairs. Her boyfriend Gregory Owcarz was an unofficial resident. He painted the Mona Lisa with a stencil. Now he's a philosophy professor and lives in France. Bryce Lankard also lived upstairs, and was the photo editor or maybe the editor of the Yackety Yack.

One time Lindsay found a piece of gum in the shower, and she used it to stick a note to the mirror:

"Found this in the shower. Thought someone might want to put it back in their fucking mouth. This ain't no party, this ain't no disco."

Yeah, we really did talk like the Talking Heads.

We did not, however, listen to the Smiths. Or major in history, or entertain "like-minded female English majors" (most of us were female English majors). Or sip wine. When buying alcohol, we focused on potency, not flavor. We were poor, you see - college poor, not real poor - and a sixpack of Natty Bo in bottles would get you just as shitty as the good stuff.

What we listened to was REM. Incessantly, obsessively, REM. Chronic Town, Murmur, Reckoning. Talk about the passion...we could not get enough of it.

Also the Grateful Dead. Also Dire Straits and Tom Waits. Also Don Dixon and the dBs. Guadalcanal Diary. Pet Shop Boys. David Bowie. Wall of Voodoo. Aztec Camera. Lou Reed. English Beat. Prince, but only ironically.

But not, as far as I recall, the Smiths. That would have made us posers.

Peggie in mid-'80s Chapel Hill. Photo by Bryce Lankard.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Chez Pink isn't so pink anymore...

Spent a wonderful evening in Chapel Hill with Anne Michaud Brooks! Chez Pink isn't so pink anymore...

- Jennifer L.J. Koenig (Johnson)

(Editor's note - Looks a little faded, but it's not like they painted it Carolina blue!)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Clint's L.A. Story

(Editor's note: From the time Clint left Chapel Hill for Wilmington in 1995 to pursue his acting career, his former housemates were rooting for him to make it big. And we were totally psyched when the following year, he went out to California and popped up first in a music video on MTV, then a small role in Blade, and in 1998, graduated to supporting role status in Deep Rising. But Clint's time in Hollywood was a trying one, and recently he wrote about those days on his excellent blog, From The Bar.)

(Cross-posted courtesy of From The Bar)

by CLINT CURTIS ('91-'92)

I did everything ass-backwards. After University, I went out to L.A. to be a movie star. Hilarious, I know. But I was committed. I was going out there to be a working actor. I had a little money saved, about $2,000, a reliable car, and a house-sitting gig. I was pretty set, in a modest way. Like I said, I didn't go out there to be a server. I wanted to be an actor.

When you go out to L.A. to become an actor, one of the smartest things you can do is get a commercial agent. And that's what I did. Stew Strunk was my first agent, at RLA – Robin Levy and Associates. After sending out a bezillion headshots, I scored one, and was able to start going out on auditions. It wasn't a theatrical agent (movies) but it was a good start.

If you do a commercial, it can definitely buy you some time. In my career, I was fortunate enough to act in 12 national commercials, and I made great money. I did a Phillips Light Bulb commercial, I'm not bragging, just giving an example, that made me over $100,000, for 1 day of work. But that wasn't without rejection. A lot of rejection. In the beginning, I was going out on 6-8 auditions a week, and nothing. Rejection, rejection, rejection. For 8 months I booked 1 paid gig. I was down to about $13.00 in my bank account. I remember having a mini-nervous breakdown. What am I doing? I'm a failure. I have a college education, and I'm broke. I was crying. Sobbing, really. I wasn't embarrassed. I was at the end of my rope.

But then, at the end of that period, it happened. I booked 3 gigs in a week and a half. A music video, a short film, and a feature. I was lucky. But I paid my dues.

When people ask me about my time in L.A., I tell them, "It was the best of times, and worst of times." I was blessed to meet thousands of people, make a few friends, and have some mind-blowing experiences. Go on YouTube and search "Stairway to Heaven Compact For Tube Playboy Mansion" and you’ll see me sneaking into the Mansion, with a couple of friends, for the Millennium party. Crazy times. I don't regret the experiences I had, good or bad, I look back on them, without remorse. You have to go after your dreams, or you'll be sitting around 10 years from now, wondering what if.

So why did I move back to Iowa? To summarize, there was a 6 month commercial strike, and I worked on 1 movie in the span of that time. It destroyed me – both mentally and financially. I hobbled back to Des Moines and lived with my mom and step-father until I was able to pick up the pieces.

And here I am now, 13 years later, with a wife, 2 kids, a mortgage, and a job as a bartender – at age 40. I've never been more fulfilled in all my life. That's what I'm saying about doing things ass-backwards. I did the acting first, then the bartending, instead of the other way around.

And you know what? I absolutely love my job at the Mews. Yes, I'm 40, and doing a 21 year old’s job, but what else am I going to do? Take your time and get back to me on that. You can't worry about what others think about what you do for a living. If you're ecstatic working at McDonalds making Apple Pies, then you should do that. Customers ask me when they enter the bar, "Are you the owner?" as if I must be something more. I say, "Nope. Just the bartender."

I'm still doing a little acting. I have an audition next week for Veridian Bank. I’m sure I’ll get it. Not! I play a 50 year old. Good one. I'm a damn senior citizen!

But I try to look on the bright side. It's for Veridian...not Viagra. Yet.

From my heart to yours,

Clint Curtis. Bartender.

Photo by Joey Leaming.

"Even famous people lived in the Green House. There was Curtis Clintwood, star of several real blockbuster movies. Like Five Fingers of Tooth, which was the sequel to Tooth Chow, this movie about a vampire superhero from Hong Kong terrorizing the streets of Miami. Curtis was one of the victims, actually, he was one of Count Tooth's victim's victims, he was the young intern on duty in the ER at South Beach General when they brought in one of the streetwalkers who got bit by Count Tooth.

And Curtis also had a great role in Up From The Deep, about the giant octopus aliens who decide to conquer the world one day, not realizing Eric Stolz is on the case. An Eric Stolz action vehicle. Betcha didn't know one of those was around. Curtis played one of the desperados who are trying to hijack this floating casino that just happens to be anchored off the coast of Los Angeles when the alien octopus clan makes their bold move. You could tell which desperado he was right off the bat, all the rest of them were big, beefy, mercenary looking dudes, then there was Curtis, who weighs about 130 pounds wet. But he kicked some ass, anyway! He blew smoke in somebody's face, and punched some guy during a fight. This was before the octopus aliens ate him alive."

- The Green House, 2003 short story

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Nice Price shuts down and another slice of local civilization disappears

"Nice Price Books in Carrboro to close," Indy Week, 2/12/13

"From its original location now occupied by Cat's Cradle to the free-standing Boyd Street building it's resided in since 1992, Carrboro's Nice Price Books has been open longer than many UNC-Chapel Hill students have been alive. The venerable store boasts of the likes of Billy Bragg, Nick Lowe and Thurston Moore stopping by while in town. But a changing marketplace for used books, combined with the changing face of Carrboro, means the original shop that spawned additional storefronts in Durham and Raleigh will soon close its doors for good..."

Nice Price had been a fertile hunting ground for gently used books, vinyl and videos since it opened in this location back in '92, although the first time I shopped there was actually during their previous closing sale. That took place at their original spot on Main Street, right before it was remodeled to make way for the Cradle's Carrboro incarnation.

But the little house on Boyd Street was much cooler. And with their own community bulletin board out in front of the store, it was also a great place to put up posters.

Thanks for everything, folks.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Farewell to the original Breadman's

January 15, 2013. Photo courtesy of David Sutton.

The original Breadman's building was demolished to make way for Pink House next-door neighbor Larry "911 speed-dialer" Short's latest venture, Shortbread Apartments. The towering condos that replaced the Lost City are visible in the background of this photo.

Breadman's was located here until it moved across Rosemary Street in 1992, into the building where it remains today, formerly home to a Western Sizzlin' steakhouse. For a time around this period, Mark Chilton lived in a house tucked behind the new Breadman's parking lot.

After lunch with C-line at Breadman's, Sept. 6, 2009.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

R.I.P. Mel Benner (1973-2012)

(Note from 8/1/12 – Yesterday I got a heartbreaking message from Elizabeth Deifell (Dryman):

"I am writing with the sad news that Mel Benner passed away. She was killed by a drunk driver outside of Philadelphia. I posted links on my FB page. She had moved back from LA to be closer with her parents and was planning on starting a MA program in June. So sad."

Mel's online obituaries including guestbook tributes are here and here.

Mel's last FB profile pic

What a tragic, senseless death. I unsuccessfully tried tracking her down in 2010 after digging up the cassette tape she gave me when she came along with me, Lem, and Derek Elliott on our New England Tour roadtrip back in '93. Now I really wish I had re-connected with her.

Mel was such a sweet, gentle soul. And what an amazing athlete. She was a track star in high school:

YOUNG MUSTANG POWERS TEAM TO 3D AT STATES (Philadelphia Inquirer - May 25, 1987) Melissa Benner may have been one of the youngest competitors in Friday and Saturday's PIAA Class AAA and AA track and field championships at Shippensburg University, but the Gwynedd-Mercy Academy freshman made her elders take notice. Benner won the Class AA 800- and 1,600-meter runs and teamed with Jennifer Budniak, Jane Heffernan and Debi McMahon to finish fourth in 4 minutes, 4.69 seconds in the 1,600-meter relay...

BIG DAY FOR GWYNEDD-MERCY'S BENNER (Philadelphia Inquirer - April 26, 1990) She has run in the Penn Relays a grand total of one time, but the event already has become Melissa Benner's personal favorite. In fact, it has become such a highlight of her outdoor track season that she is willing to curtail another of her favorite activities: eating. "It's a race I've been looking forward to all year," said Benner, the talented senior distance star from Gwynedd-Mercy Academy...

and later at UNC-CH. In fact, while in junior high, she set at least two national track records, in the 800 meter and 1500 meter runs. Her time of 2:11:28 in the junior girls’ 800 meter run remained unbroken as of 2006, and may stand to this day.

She had great taste in music. Although she’s not listed on the Fall '93 WXYC schedule, I could have sworn she was a DJ around that time.

I will always remember her mom cooking us breakfast when we dropped Mel off at her folks’ place in Philadelphia. I think she made us pancakes, and she was super warm and welcoming to our road-weary crew. It was great to get to see Mel at home like that. My heart goes out to her parents and brother and sister.

Seriously, drunk drivers need to be kept off the freaking roads. I’ve never felt as anti-DUI as I do right now. The girl who killed her was only 19. Why can’t breathalyzer ignition locks become mandatory for vehicles registered by drivers under age 21? And heavy fines instituted for parents who allow underage kids to drive vehicles without ignition locks. And the locks certainly made mandatory for anyone convicted of even one DUI. That all seems like common sense. But none of it will bring Mel back, and that’s what really sucks.)

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.

WXYC Posters and Artifacts

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.

Save the WXYC Posters!

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?

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.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Confessions of the Switchboard Operator - Part 1

by Jessica Deltac ('91-'92)

1991. That was the year the Pepto-Bismol house was liberated from the sorority house next door and its real reputation got started. I have an incredible slew of memories of not just the original housemates – Raj, Clint, Lydia, Erik, Shyam & myself – but all the regulars who were always hanging around or just crashed at the house (if you cooked for us honorary status was immediately conferred): Pam, Deepu, Raj, Dana, Kendall, Pedigo, Dave, Ian, Jason, and... Oh, my mind isn't sharp enough to remember any more names – I just see the faces of the friends and the faces of the short-lived boy and girl friend/toys we had too.


At times living at the Pink House seemed like having a part time job that was a cross between Cruise Dir. Julie McCoy and a Switchboard Operator, as everyone seemed to call our house looking for where to go that night or the upcoming weekend. Looming over our housephone was a corkboard overflowing with flyers and handwritten addresses to the best shows and parties! I really am amazed that I got great grades while living in that house. But to me, the aforementioned Social aspects of University life far outweighed the value of my GPA-incented learning.

I have been requested to share my version of the first time the 2nd most mentioned person on Pink House Forever ever stepped foot into our community house. (How is it that he has 29 posts about him, anyway?)

Jay Murray in his (formerly Jess's) room. Photo courtesy of Mel Keister (Lanham).

(Editor's note - 'cuz he's so he stuck around for FIVE YEARS! But Jess is right - to date, only N'Gai has gotten more blog love.)

Well it was the night of the BIG party in October. It was our coming out party if you will, the one that started the all-campus craze. But it was also slated to be a Birthday Party for our Lydia, the soft spoken but willful feminist of the house. And it was also to be the Debut Show of Chapel Hill's latest band with our Dramatic (drama addict) housemate, Clint Curtis, debuting as frontman!

The band name itself had arisen from a heady post-dinner chat with housemates. I don't remember any other band members present beyond Clint. Raj and I pushed the name Dada Veda after our impressive discourse on fusing the untouchable Hindu scriptures that existed for over 4,000 years, the Vedas, with Dadaism, the art movement that questioned the validity of art. With just a name, we were questioning one of the world's oldest spiritual arts, while covertly Raj & I were questioning the validity of the band itself.

And only days before the party, I had designed the T-shirts that would have one day made epic cover art – the back for Dada Veda and the front celebrating Lydia's Birthday. I wish I knew what I wrote on them, but I am being blackmailed to pen this account in order to get one of the last remaining shirts that were made for the party! Sadly, Dada Veda were short lived and never gave me the chance to design their album covers, owing to the typical tragedy of differing musical dreams that most bands experience before any real money is dangled by signing labels. Or maybe it was just because of Clint. Who knows?

So back to prepping for the party. We were all on switchboard duty that week, as everyone seemed to be calling the house to confirm the BIG PARTY. With Erik as a housemate, you know the party had been well publicized. We were beginning to believe the Pink House Party had been Over-Advertised. And we weren't just plugged into the UNC campus, we were plugged into the local scene as well, so there seemed to be no parameters for the invite list! The whole house was starting to get nervous. What was the phrase in the early 90s? We were Buggin!

And that wasn't all. The 100 t-shirts Erik had ordered to help recoup for the beer and what ever else we had spent money on weren't done and the almost full keg we were supposed to get from someone had mysteriously disappeared (that's not so mysterious, is it?). This all led to the serious conversation we had about what if we locked the doors and killed the lights in an attempt to pass on having this party.

In the midst of this somber and yet paranoid mood, Erik brought a big cardboard box into the house that shifted the vibe upward. The shirts were completed and looked great.

Everyone was thrilled. I went out and spent parental funds earmarked for food on four dozen OE's from the bowels of Big Bertha's. Olde English - brewed since the 800's! With no legitimate coolers, I filled up my kiddie pool with ice and water and loaded them all in. If we were anything, Pink Housemates were resourceful. I think there was also an amp issue, (isn't that a given with every band?), but by the time the sun started to set, it was getting squared away. Somehow we got the backyard trimmed too. I don’t know if we borrowed a weed-whacker or what, but it was well groomed by the time we put sofas outside and other suitable furniture absconded from the sidewalks of nearby neighborhoods.

And then with a toast to the Gods, other Housemates, and honorary Pink Housers, the First Pink House party began!

To Be Continued...

Pink House O.G.'s. Photo courtesy of Jess Deltac.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Two Mayor Marks and a Cowboy on Election Night

On the night of Nov. 3, two-term Chapel Hill town council member Mark Kleinschmidt was elected mayor of Chapel Hill in a hard-fought race, becoming the first openly gay and youngest mayor in the town's history. I may have seen a sign for his opponent in Larry Short's front yard, but that might just be wishful thinking.

Mark threw his victory party at the R&R Grill (aka Papagayo's), and it was packed with Chapel Hill's liberal political establishment. As an official Kleinschmidt campaign donor to the tune of $20, Mani was there to witness her investment paying off, and got to hang with her former FTI co-workers who came out in force to congratulate their director.

At one point, I was sandwiched in conversation between Donna Bell, who was calling out election results from the Board of Elections website, and a tall, dark stranger in a ten-gallon hat and black leather jacket who was talking about what Chapel Hill used to be like circa 1970. He turned out to be...Randy Jones, the original cowboy from the Village People!

Former Morehead scholar at UNC, graduate of Enloe High in Raleigh, who knew? And the only member of the group to ever really live in Greenwich Village (from 1975 to this day). He happened to be in the neighborhood, and dropped by to celebrate Mark's historic win. Not just a pretty face, his book Macho Man: The Disco Era and Gay America's "Coming Out" is a behind-the-scenes account of the emergence of gay culture in the 70s. It tells the real story of disco's black and gay roots, and how the music changed America.

Anyway, Mark joined two-term incumbent mayor of Carrboro Mark Chilton (who was re-elected to a third term the same night) in an elite club, besides N.C. mayors named Mark - mayors who can say they attended Pink House parties back in the day, and still managed to get elected to public office. Congrats, guys!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Gorgeous magnolias, purple living room, and gooey mold on the ceiling

By Mel Keister (Lanham) ('93-'95)

Originally I lived in the Mona Lisa room with Sally. Then I lived in the little pink room upstairs, then moved across the hall into Erik's old room. The upstairs rooms were the BEST.


There was an older lady who lived next door. She was the house mother for one of the sororities. She was a sweetheart, and she also asked us girls about our lives. I don't know if she chatted with the guys much.

I was always cleaning that place - especially the dishes. And the downstairs bathroom would get this virulent-looking gooey mold on the ceiling, all brownish-black, that looked like it would drip on you.

Painting the living room purple was a bitch! Looked cool though. I'm sure whoever came after and repainted it was cursing my soul.

I had heard the place used to be a garden showplace (maybe someone else had heard it from a neighbor?), even having been photographed for a magazine. There wasn't much left of that, but in the spring, these odd-looking lilies would pop up in the far back yard, right in the middle of the grass. Like red alliums, but with no leaves - just a big ball of delicate flowers.

And there were these gorgeous magnolias, but they were being killed by the wisteria, so I got Steve to help me save the trees. He wasn't into it, so I promised we could dress up in ridiculous outfits first. Wish I still had that picture!

Oh, God! And those creepy spider crickets! They were always in the bathtub! Jay was so freaked out by them - I used to get the critters for him. It was so fun saving the day for Jay. He was always making those huge pots of spaghetti.


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