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Goodbye Ooh La 

Crumbling partnership dooms store, venue

A month after the beloved Butchies played their Triangle farewell show at Ooh La Latte, the venue and its accompanying vintage retail outlet, The Untidy Museum, have closed. Word went out Friday night announcing that the partnership between James and Michelle Lee and their business associates had broken and that all future shows--including a release show for Duke's Matter Magazine featuring David Karsten Daniels and The Physics of Meaning on July 1--had been scrapped. Saturday's benefit for the Durham Music Festival, Pin Projekt featuring Erie Choir and Regina Hexaphone, was the venue's last gig.

"This is a very sad time for us. We have worked very hard in hopes of keeping things going in spite of our partnership slowly dissolving," read the letter circulated through Ooh La Latte's e-mail list.

In retrospect, the news seems to have been a long time coming for the combination boutique and café: Last winter, the number of music events approached nil, and booking had been resurging but sporadic ever since. In a cryptic bit of hope following the announcement, a postscript reads: "If you want to know what happens next, sign up for our newsletter...." Durham, Love Yourself. --Grayson Currin

Theremaniacs
Patriotism seemed to be an underlying theme Sunday night at the Cave's first-ever theremin competition. Though no flags were flapping and George Bush was unsurprisingly absent, two of the eight contestants chose to play "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The theremin is an electronic instrument that is not played by physical contact, but instead produces sound when the electromagnetic field around the instrument is manipulated. This esoteric instrument has surfaced on the main stage through the years mainly as a novelty item, but competitions and festivals are growing in popularity.

Each contestant was allowed 10 minutes to wow the panel of three judges in one of two categories. Players could either compete in the unaccompanied theremin group, or use additional electronic effects when presenting their piece. The audience was much larger than expected and, through an elaborate ritual that included the passing of a stovepipe hat, organizers were able to offer a second and third prize.

Many contestants took much less than the allotted 10 minutes to do their thing. Joe Phillips, a virgin theremin player, stepped up to the instrument, played a few exploratory glissandi, and launched into what he called a medley of "Freebird" and "Over the Rainbow" before stepping back into the crowd.

Taking home the top prize was veteran thereminist Billy Sugarfix, who impressed the judges with his original tune, "I'm Not Gonna Drink Tonight."--Jon Ross

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