M. R. Wilcoxen | Indy Week

M. R. Wilcoxen 
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Re: “How My Childhood Love of Elvis Taught Me to Question Authority and Cherish the Blues

The word "appropriation" in this article is used in a negative sense, leading one to think that singers such as Elvis Presley were stealing music they performed. This reminded me of a youtube video playing Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog" back to back with Elvis' version and stating that "Elvis stoled the song." Actually the song writers, Leiber and Stoller, made much more money from Elvis' version than they did from Big Mama's.

If anything, Elvis' versions of songs from earlier records made many more music buyers aware of artists like Big Mama -- and, for example, Arthur Crudup, Roy Brown and Junior Parker -- I bought records by all of these great artists because Elvis' recordings brought those artists to my attention. Otherwise, it's likely that I would never have heard of them.

I'm sure that it wasn't intentional, but if there's any stealing going on, it's by Indy columnist Allison Hussey who didn't think about the implications of her indicating that her "guitar teacher Max Drake" gave her "a CD-R of Thornton's 'Hound Dog: The Peacock Recordings.' " Burning a CD-R actually eliminates any chance a recording artist (estate or owner) has of collecting any artist royalties from their work.

When introduced to other artists like "Memphis Minnie and other lesser-sung heroes," hopefully that wasn't via "artist royalty free" CD-R's as well.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by M. R. Wilcoxen on 01/11/2017 at 6:14 PM

Re: “Durham’s new boutique hotels are selling the past. What do they say about the present?

First, I have no attachments to either hotel mentioned in Brian Howe's recent INDY cover story, "The View From Below.”

Second, since I like to check out “what’s happening” in downtown Durham, I have visited and enjoyed both 21c (museum and dinner) and The Durham (rooftop cocktails; anxious to check out The Restaurant when it opens), thought that each makes a valuable and unique addition to downtown Durham, and was quite surprised that Brian Howe and the INDY decided to run such a biased article on The Durham at any time, let alone while it was still in its fledgling stage.

Then I recalled that when I was relocating here a decade ago, I read in the new-to-me INDY that the proposed DPAC would be not only a major flop, costing the city a bundle, it would kill the other live venues in Durham.


The INDY didn’t quite get that one right. Nor this one.

A hatchet job is one thing, but it's impossible to comprehend Brian Howe's reasoning behind reviewing the merits (or lack of) of the two new hotels based on his perception of "classes".....even throwing in a homeless person in case you miss his point.

The Durham hotel crowd, per "The View From Below," is “older and richer," the women wearing "towering cork platforms" and the men flashing “expensive wristwatches."

Bad The Durham.

Brian uses these phrases to describe himself: “a tattered…T-shirt,” “felt déclassé," "I could afford on my own dime only for the rarest of special occasions,” “crossing [class] lines jarred my everyday perspective on the layer of privilege above me, which I was intruding upon,” and when he bumped into a homeless person outside 21c, asking himself (and telling the reader), "How many meals could he eat for the cost of several ounces of absinthe?"

Brian writes about taking “my companion” about along with him on his ol' expense account visits to the two hotels, but he did have other options to consider which would have eased his conscience: “Hey, buddy, wanna join me on the INDY’s dime for some Char Roasted Figs and a Brown & Bitter cocktail?”

Brian uses the following phrases to associate the hotels with “classes": “wealth is never far behind,” “a heightened awareness of class,” “unusually lofty perches of fifth-floor rooms,” and “the issues of class you are confronting.”

I started to wonder….is this an article on a couple of new Durham hotels or a manifesto of some sort?

I remember seeing many young professionals at both hotels, and rather than begrudging them whatever career success they were enjoying, or simply a nice night out, I appreciated their efforts to succeed by setting goals, possibly furthering their education beyond high school, seeking meaningful and rewarding careers — i.e., working hard to get where they are. It never crossed my mind that perhaps they were possibly Romanov-types who were able to frequent local new (and hot) spots due to being born into wealth.

When describing the 21c, Brian Howe uses the phrases “the luxe setting” and “[an] indulgence.”

But he saved his best for The Durham: “imperious rooftop bar,” “opulent,” “most of [the building is] pay-walled behind key cards,” “top of the world,” “grander and more formal,” “an inverted crown,” “regally,” “harsh city views [Huh, Brian?],” “crowd feels older and richer,” “the women tottering on towering cork platforms, the men flashing [!] expensive wristwatches,” “patrician,” “as if someone in a linen shirt [OMG, Brian — Bad Linen!] were watching their every move,” “[The Durham made] me more uneasy,” “[The Durham presumes] to take the city’s name,” “self-elected namesake,” and “the limitations luxury places on community.”

And he continued, "there’s no reason to be at The Durham if you aren’t fairly wealthy,” “the gilt cage of a time when wealth and power were even more starkly delineated than today,” “a taste of an era when men of consequence looked down on the world, untroubled by their supremacy,” “a patriarchal echo,” “a working shoeshine stand also served as an aesthetic cue, a gorgeous wallpaper covering the reality of who sat and who shined in the era under reconstruction [Wow, a good one, Brian, bringing in Reconstruction!],” and “faded halo of masculine glamour.”

It doesn't take much of an imagination to think of where, when or from whom you might hear or read such thoughts.

As Brian wrote recently on his own "Wax Worth/tactfully ruthless" website: "The INDY paid for me to live it up for two days in the pair of boutique hotels......these are luxury institutions claiming to contribute to downtown life, and we felt that it was important to give people who can't afford them a look inside....the result is cover story.....part examination of class, privilege.....part Yelp review."

His piece came out less Yelp, and more "Storm the Bastille!"

That "Wax Worth/tactfully ruthless" line above exposes Brian as going in with an agenda, not so much to write a review, but to debunk these "luxury institutions claiming to contribute to downtown life" for the blood-sucking members of the privileged ruling class that they are!

Whoops, I got carried away with Brian's perspective on life in downtown Durham today.

I for one am looking forward to see how Brian works class distinction into upcoming DPAC reviews or maybe even seating at Durham Bulls games.

Bad orchestra front rows. Bad Bulls field boxes.

A few years before I relocated here, I was told by a former Durham resident, "If you decide to move there, whatever you do, do not go downtown!"

I now wish to thank all downtown Durham business owners and employees for their vision, risk-taking and hard work to make the city the extraordinary success story it is today -- with much more to come.

Good Durham.

Marshall Wilcoxen
Hillsborough, NC

12 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by M. R. Wilcoxen on 09/16/2015 at 3:57 PM

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