I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated Barbara Ehrenreich's "First Person" response, ("The Antichrist of N.C.," Aug. 20) to the capricious conservative objections to her book Nickel and Dimed being adopted by UNC-Chapel Hill for incoming students in 2003. I find it amusing that some young people, most of whom have had no real experience on fully supporting themselves or families in the real world, would object to the realities of the American working place. Is the thought that they, too, might be slinging hamburgers in Burger King or mopping floors in an office too frightening for them to consider? Or have they been so sheltered from the real world that they don't believe the tough working conditions many Americans face day-in and day-out of their lives?
Or maybe it's just that they are so blinded by the conservative ideology of the Heritage Foundation that they can't think for themselves. It would be interesting to have all the people objecting to Ms. Ehrenreich's fine book live the experiences she had in accumulating the data for her book and then ask them if they would still object to her conclusions.
As a regular fixture at Linda's Bar & Grill, I'd like to disagree with your assessment of the offerings there ("Annual Manual," Aug. 27). Your writer noted the "lower prices, but smallish cups and pitchers." Finn Cohen should do some more comparison shopping. The plastic cups are pint-size and the pitchers pour four good pints. At $6.25 to $9.25 a pitcher and $2 to $3.50 a pint, that is an excellent deal. It's the best deal in Chapel Hill, since they don't charge covers on drink special nights and don't magically start using smaller cups. I wonder where these larger cups might be, that Cohen is talking about. I'm glad you included Linda's in your recommendations, but I wish y'all hadn't made it out to be a place like some where you can get a beer for a dollar but you're going to need another before you walk away from the bar.
Triangle music history revisited
I enjoyed Brian Millikin's article on the history of the Triangle music scene ("Annual Manual," Aug. 27). I do wish he had recounted a bit more about the lively traditional music scene in the '60s, '70s and '80s. Here's a thumbnail history.
In the late '60s and early '70s, Leroy Savage and The New Deal String Band packed the house at the Pickwick on Columbia Street with their rock- and folk-influenced music that came to be called "Newgrass" and influenced a generation of young pickers, including Sam Bush, Ricky Skaggs and Jack Lawrence. They landed a recording contract and played venues like The Filmore East. Savage still performs locally with The Green Level Entertainers.
While a touch more traditional, The Bluegrass Experience burst on the scene in 1972 after winning the World Championship Bluegrass Band Prize at the legendary Union Grove competition. They began a nine-year gig at Cats Cradle, where their hillbilly/hippie sound was performed to standing-room only audiences. They played major folk and bluegrass festivals, recorded three albums and did a televised concert with Mike Cross. They still perform regularly--catch them at Cary's Six-String Cafe on the first Wednesday of the month.
Speaking of Mike Cross, his combination of clever songs, instrumental virtuosity and showmanship continues to entertain in his fourth decade of performing in the Triangle and beyond.
Then there is Durham's Alice Gerrard, musician, publisher of The Old Time Herald, singing partner of Hazel Dickens, and one of the groundbreaking women performers in traditional music. Alison Krauss and Rhonda Vincent should send flowers on her birthday.
There are many more legendary past and still performing artists, such as Elizabeth Cotton from Carrboro, Bill and Libby Hicks, The Williamson Brothers, Shady Grove, and new favorites, The Grass Cats and The Steep Canyon Rangers. Jerry Brown's Rubber Room studio has recorded Doc Watson, Jerry Douglas and many of the genre's greats.
The Triangle's traditional music scene has a wide range of appeal and influences. As it continues to expand, I would like to see The Indy give it its due. Thanks for keeping us informed.
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