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Re: Art of Cool; Clay Aiken


Art of Cool got short shrift

As a longtime reader and former music writer for the INDY, I was shocked and embarrassed by the paper's extraordinarily thin and lazy coverage of the Art of Cool Fest, which took over Durham last weekend ("Start-up jazz," April 23).

Your paper ran one story the week of the fest, by Grayson Currin, your music editor, which said nary a word about the music, the musicians or their fans in our community. Rather, it was a nerdy, inside-baseball look at the mechanics of festival planning. Might I ask: Who cares, other than Grayson, a former festival planner? The AoC Fest was hailed in advance in the national media by the Huffington Post and NPR due to its extraordinary lineup of nationally acclaimed artists working in the jazz and alternative soul genres.

It took over every major music venue in the city short of DPAC—the Carolina Theater, Hayti Heritage Center, Durham Arts Council, Motorco, the Pinhook—and drew a huge, largely black audience from Durham and around the country. For a paper long respected for its progressive politics and authoritative music coverage, the fact that the INDY so utterly slept on the AoC Fest is an embarrassment at best. At worst, it looks like musical apartheid. I certainly hope the INDY wakes up next year and does this music scene—the music, the musicians, its fans and this part of our community—justice.

Farnum Brown, Durham

Editor's note: The INDY published four extensive stories online from Thursday, April 24, to Saturday, April 26.

Art of Cool Festival was a fiasco 

I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to express the level of disappointment my boyfriend and I experienced on Saturday night in anticipation of the Art of Cool Festival. Let me begin by saying that I lived in Durham for over 11 years of my life. I went to elementary school, middle school and high school here. So you would understand why I wanted to support an event in the city.

On Saturday, my boyfriend and I traveled from the Washington, D.C. area and Charlotte, respectively, in anticipation of this event. Our primary reason for coming was to see Foreign Exchange. We were unable to see this show. I am well aware of the capacity of the venue and surely expected to get in. Had I known I did not have two seats, I would have saved my $155.

I realized that the Hayti Center capacity was limited. So I believed when I got my general admission passes that indeed had seating assignments designated on the ticket, we would certainly be able to get in the show.

This show was poorly planned and even more poorly handled. I am totally embarrassed by the lack of respect and regard the promoters had for those that wanted to patronize this festival.

Allow me to speak on the volunteers whose duties seemed to include heckling and taunting the crowds that were patiently waiting for entrance. The "volunteer" at Hayti Heritage Center, for example announced our chances of getting in to see the artists were slim to none. He made the comment, "now I do know martial arts if anyone wants to try something" as a threatening response to those who had been outside standing in line. He even stated that as a "favor" to us, he would prop open the doors so we could at least hear the show. Incredibly insulting.

I will never patronize another Durham event. I will further recommend to my friends and family not to waste their money on this event, if it should return. Forget about an all-day pass; it does not guarantee entrance but rather, it's a total rip off for music lovers such as myself. This was a fiasco.

Adrienne Dew, Charlotte

Clay Nation in the 50th state


Would it be possible to mail two copies of Indy Week with Clay Aiken on the cover to me? I've enclosed a check for $4.00.

Thank you so much! I've been following Clay for 11 years. Living in Hawaii, it's difficult to participate in events, but I support him fully in all his endeavors. He is an honest, genuine man with a very good heart. I wish I could vote for him!


Gaylene Berssenbrugge, Hawaii

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