Radio Free Records, the eclectic, music-fan friendly indie record store in Durham that's attracted a client base from across the Triangle, was broken into on the morning of June 4. The store was running a special DJ Shadow midnight sale (the album's street date was scheduled for the 4th) so owner Ethan Samsky was there late, leaving the store after 1 a.m. He arrived for work at 11 a.m. to discover the back entrance busted in--barbed wire on a fence surrounding the back of the property had been cut so that somebody could jump it. The store's cash register (with several hundred dollars), stereo and two CD players were missing, as well as other items. But the worst, most senseless part of the break-in was that boxes of CDs that were kept behind the sales counter--CDs sans jewel boxes, mind you--had all been taken. Samsky says there were about 29 boxes, which held 150 CDs apiece, meaning his inventory is down by some 4,350 discs. Police are still investigating. The store is uninsured, and he's not sure when he'll reopen. But locals, especially Duke radio station WXDU, are talking about a possible benefit. Stay tuned.
Yep, It's Good to Be Around White Folks Again
One visitor to the 25-year-old Bass Mountain Bluegrass Festival, billed as the oldest bluegrass fest in Snow Camp, North Carolina, was made uncomfortable by a racist comment made by a performer, one Dave Evans. According to festgoer Ann Humphreys, Evans introduced his encore song as follows: "Most of you folks don't know I was incarcerated several years ago. When I got out, well, all I can say is that I was never so happy to see so many white folks.' Then he said, 'Some of you folks know what I'm talking about.'" Humphreys says, "Probably a third to a half of the people cheered--clearly not all of the audience was into it."
Evans and his band Riverbend were playing the 8:45 p.m., Saturday night slot at the Memorial Day weekend, family-oriented event. She estimated the crowd size at around 500 people.
Bass Mountain Music Park co-owner Mike Wilson, who's been with the event "since day one," knew of the incident but didn't hear Evans' remarks himself. "I asked around--talked to another couple out in the field who said that he [Evans] had said something to that effect," Wilson says. Evans, who's played the festival the past three years, has had a rough few years since his spell in jail, according to Wilson. "His wife left him, he's going through some hard times. I'm not saying he was politically correct, but I think he was speaking from the heart.
"I really don't believe Dave meant it as a racist remark; he was just so glad to be back with his people," Wilson continues. "If it had been a black person saying, 'I was so glad to get away from the rednecks and get back to the brothers,' would she have been offended?"
Humphreys decided she'd heard enough and asked for her $25 admission fee back. She also explained why. "And then this guy said, 'Well, that don't sound racist to me,'" she recalls.
"Well I just think you're making something out of nothin', but I'll give you your money back," she says she was told.
"I grew up in North Carolina," Humphreys says. "But it's a different world when you get outside of Orange County."
The Pen is Mightier ...
An enterprising CD recording enthusiast found a way to outmaneuver Sony's new hi-tech copyright protection device: scribbling around the rim of the disc with a felt-tipped pen. (How MacGyver is that?) Take that, Celine Dion.
What's Tongue Got To Do With It?
Gene Simmons, the consummate self-promoter and merchandiser of all things KISS, has branched into publishing with Gene Simmons [sic] Tongue magazine. The cover features Playboy czar 'Hef' posed with a chick even more altered than Pamela Anderson Lee (in that she's not only been pumped, plumped and poked but also looks exactly like Lee), who's extending a moist tongue toward the aging cad's drooping earlobe. The mag also features tons of scantily clad curvy blondes who seem to find the jowly, bewigged Simmons irresistible. And for 14-year-old boys: There's a huge article on Fred Durst to go along with the T&A.
Ringside in Durham has added events on Wednesdays ("Queerer Than You Are" night) and Sundays ("Beer Bust" with draft brew and weenies). The club will also be hosting a lesbian cocktail hour from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday evenings. Also in the works: a new bi-monthly independent film series that, according to Jenn Duerr (of Café DADA and Rhythm Light Productions) that will be the Durham-based version of Flicker. The series, called "Show Us Your Shorts," will be hosted by local film buff Steven Matherly. The event premieres, along with the touring program "Hi Lo Landscapes," this June 19.
Next time: Tons of new local releases and labels.