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Saturday, April 26, 2014

An evil stepmother and a sad princess: Just another Saturday morning in Durham

Posted By on Sat, Apr 26, 2014 at 1:55 PM

"I went to the Durham Farmers Market this morning," I once commented to my husband after a particularly colorful trip. "It was very Portlandia." "Really?" he replied. "Was anyone nursing a python?"  Even though I occasionally poke fun at the Saturday Durham Farmers Market for bordering on hipster preciousness, it's one of my favorite rituals of the Bull City—and the best place to people watch.   This morning, among the baskets of strawberries and field loads of greens, the Legacy Repertory Company in Durham was plugging its performance of Cinderella at the Carolina Theatre on Saturday, May 10.  The evil stepmother with the large...

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

As part of Paradoxos, artists brighten the green wall in Durham

Posted By on Sun, Apr 13, 2014 at 9:05 PM

For those of you who frequent downtown Durham, the green wall is an unfortunate punchline, a reminder of failed developments during the Great Recession. The building has no roof (but there is a piano inside), and at one time it was feared the green wall was so unstable it could fall. But the green wall is also a landmark that I've grown fond of. I can see the facade, its paint exfoliated over the years by the elements, from my office window. I love the adjacent green space, a de facto park, where the Woolworth's Building used to be. ...

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Small moments at St. Stephen's AME in Liberty, N.C.

Posted By on Sat, Apr 12, 2014 at 3:37 PM

St. Stephen's AME Church in Liberty, N.C., sits adjacent to the former Randolph High School, an African-American public school the powers that be closed in 1965. Even though Randolph High was new—less than 20 years old—and accredited with advanced science and math programs, the school board determined it should close and the black kids should be bussed to the white Liberty High School. Liberty,  population 2,668, is about 20 miles south of Burlington in Randolph County. It's about 45 minutes west of Chapel Hill. Although Randolph High has been designated a cultural heritage center, it is nonetheless dilapidated and...

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Friday, April 11, 2014

This Durham corner is sick: McPherson Hospital as it becomes a Residence Inn

Posted By on Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 3:58 PM

When I arrived in Durham nearly eight years ago, one of my first views was the old McPherson Hospital. It was in ruin then, and in ruin it has remained. It always depressed me to see one of Durham's architectural and historic legacy sites in that state of entropy. Part of the 1926 building has already been demolished, and now it's being denuded as it transforms into a Residence Inn.  It appears that the entrance is being "preserved," but as for the rest of the 143-room chain hotel, well, the drawing of the finished product is not impressive. I...

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Wait for the white man: Counting the jaywalkers in Durham

Posted By on Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Security guards have been hanging out at the corner of Blackwell and Pettigrew streets in Durham all week, tiny steno pads in hand, their pages crammed with hash marks. Yesterday I overheard one of them discussing the problem of jaywalking with some passersby. "Can you get in trouble for jaywalking?" one pedestrian asked. "Sure you can. The police can ticket you if they catch you," the guard replied, eyeing me as I was, well, jaywalking toward the American Tobacco Campus. Ever since I heard that police were ticketing people who trespassed on Norfolk Southern property—for months, I had been...

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