WFDD Triad Arts 88.5

postcards from the swamp

I can’t get that Nanci Griffith song out of my head. The one with the line, “Cause when you can’t find a friend, you still got the radio.” A great tune to hum on this dreary rainy day, listening to a story on WFDD Triad Arts about Postcards. Talking about it last week with the station’s assistant producer Bethany Chafin was one of the most pleasant experiences I’ve had in a long time. She’s got the presence of an angel feather, and she listens like a good friend. I’m looking forward to hearing more of her stories.

You can listen to the story she produced on Postcards from the Swamp here, at WFDD. And thanks again, Bethany.

Won’t Back Down/Stay With Me

music

For all the grief Sam Smith’s been given over the song, and Petty’s grace about the damn thing, I think in the end, the two tunes go pretty well together. Alex McKinney and I take a spin on the song one Sunday night in late February at Beer Co. in downtown Greensboro. The evening with music is hosted by Alan Peterson, and with all the music, the potluck, and the company, it’s a great balm for the Sunday blues.

MARCH SHOWS

music
Window display in a comic book store in downtown Johnson City, TN.

Window display in a comic book store in downtown Johnson City, TN.

March 21 House Concert (the date is wrong on the postcard!)
Benefit for the historic Aycock neighborhood association. RSVP for an invite. Seats are limited. 8 pm.

March 24 Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen
With the ever awesome fellas in Wurlitzer Prize, Dave Willis and Brent Buckner. 6:30 to 9:30 pm.

March 27 WFDD Triad Arts
Taping for the radio show, talking about Postcards from the Swamp.

The Only Place You Can See It Live On the Radio, Gate City Port Authority

music

Pardon the “musician face” in this thumbnail image. It happens sometimes when I hit a wrong note.

Regardless, remember Avant On Air? That renegade music show on WUAG hosted by musician Matty Sheets and writer Rae Alton? The duo have recently launched  a second iteration of the radio program on Wednesdays night, this time, it’s got video.

Subscribe to the show’s YouTube channel and watch interviews, odd questions, and the general mayhem that ensues whenever Matty Sheets is in the room. Previous guests include Crystal Bright, Sam Frazier, and yours truly. It’s always good to see what Matty’s up to. It’s always something.

Gate City Port Authority

103.1 FM WUAG, Thursdays from 7-9pm. Local music and culture. Hosted by Matty Sheets and Rae Alton. Stream live at wuag.net or use the TuneIn app.

We’re happy to be partnering with Cameron Hetteen to bring you two video series here. Live In The Booth, featuring live performances from musicians from Greensboro and surrounding areas, and Transmission, featuring interviews with our guests.

#GreensboroNow

writing
Four new digital citizens stand in front of the lunch counter at the ICRC&M 55 years after four A&T students launched the 1906s sit in movement. Left to right: Alexis Anderson, April Parker, Irving Allen, and Kristen Jeffers. Photo by Stephen Charles.

Four new digital citizens stand in front of the lunch counter at the ICRC&M 55 years after four A&T students launched the 1906s sit in movement. Left to right: Alexis Anderson, April Parker, Irving Allen, and Kristen Jeffers. Photo by Stephen Charles.

The four walk through the gift shop at the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, past souvenirs, ballcaps, 1960s Sit-In Movement T-shirts, and through a door marked “Employees Only.” It leads to a large exhibit room and the original Woolworth’s lunch counter where, 55 years ago this month, four students sat down and asked to be served.

Had it happened in 2015 the A&T Four would likely have tweeted that first meeting: #SeparateIsNotEqual.

Today, four new leaders line up in the front of the lunch counter: Alexis Anderson, April Parker, Irving Allen, and Kristen Jeffers. Local photographer Stephen Charles snaps a few pictures. Then Charles says, “Okay, hands up.”

It’s “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” a gesture that’s brought a mix of respect and revolt since it first appeared at protests in the wake of the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. And it’s just as clear a sign about where you stand on the issues facing black America today as it was for a black man or woman to sit at a lunch counter in 1960s. Only today there’s a museum rope around the lunch counter.

“Trust,” says Parker. “Fifty-five years from now, they’ll thank us.”

In the last four months there’s been a visible increase in civic activity in Greensboro, spearheaded by the national Black Lives Matter movement, and locally mobilized by digital activists like Parker and many others. Motivated by traditions of the Civil Rights Movement of the ’60s, such as the sit-ins, these young leaders are using new tools the keep the conversation going.

In November 210014, using social media and texts, protesters organized a 300-person march from the municipal building to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum and shut down South Elm Street in front of the museum.

In December, faculty, students and staff held a die-in at Bennett College.

In January, protesters packed city-council chambers to voice their support of the museum board’s concerns over the mayor’s offer for the city to run the museum.

This month, protesters held a daylong teach-in at Melvin Municipal Office Building, leading up to a council meeting where the council voted to keep the word “massacre” instead of “shootout” on the historical marker.

“There is increased activism, and I think that is a good thing,” says Mayor Nancy Vaughan, when asked if she’s noticed more civic activity from her side of the dais. “And I hope it will be sustained.”

In response to the Black Lives Matter Greensboro movement, Vaughan says the city is planning a series of conversations and hearings, starting on Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. at Bennett College. The first meeting will be on police accountability and neighborhood relations, Vaughan says.

“You have the trending topics… you see it in your newsfeed,” Anderson says about this hashtag activism. “There’s no way to escape it.”

Read the full story in Triad City Beat’s February 11 issue.