Thursday, July 26, 2018

Listen Up: Dollar Signs Cash In on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 52

Posted By and on Thu, Jul 26, 2018 at 8:00 AM

A whole 52 episodes! By our horrible math that means we've been up to this Local Vibes thing for a year (we missed two weeks, so maybe a little longer). To celebrate, we brought in local favorites Dollar Signs — or three of them, anyway — to discuss open mics, anxiety, and the new album, This Will Haunt Me. [In the photo (from left): Mark Kemp, Luke Gunn, Dylan Thomas, Erik Button and Ryan Pitkin]

As always, make sure to catch up with the rest of our team at the Queen City Podcast Network. You can also catch up with all our past episodes on iTunes, Stitcher or simply by typing "Local Vibes" into your Spotify search bar.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Listen Up: Cyanca Brings 'Local Vibes' to 'The Isle of Queens'

Episode 51

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2018 at 10:40 AM

You've seen her at Made From Scratch Fest. You've seen her on the cover of Creative Loafing. Now hear her story on Local Vibes, as up-and-coming R&B/neo-soul singer Cyanca (pictured above, right) blesses the booth alongside her friend and manager Megan Wolford (left), whose poetry skills are featured on a track that the two share with me (center) in this fun and illuminating episode. Cyanca discusses her inspirations — both personally and artistically — and her friendships with local hip-hop luminaries Lute and Elevator Jay. And don't forget to watch the terrific video for Cyanca's song "New Phone, Who Dis?" (below), which we talk about in the podcast.

As always, be sure to catch up with the rest of our team over at Queen City Podcast Network, where we've joined with some of the *other* best podcasts in town. And you can catch up with all our past episodes on iTunes, Stitcher or simply by typing "Local Vibes" into your Spotify search bar.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Community Rallies in Support of Couple Targeted by Racist Ranter

Posted By on Wed, Jul 18, 2018 at 1:22 PM

Cat Bao Le (left) and Tin Nguyen stand with community support outside of their home. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)
  • Cat Bao Le (left) and Tin Nguyen stand with community support outside of their home. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)

More than 30 people rallied outside the home of Tin Nguyen and Cat Bao Le on Tuesday night just two days after the couple posted a video showing a man harassing them in their front yard.

The man, who can be seen on the video yelling "I'm going to get you" at the couple and calling them the N-word, was apparently upset that the couple had a sign in their yard that read, "Fuck Donald Trump."

During a press conference in front of the home on Tuesday evening, Le said she was in the shower when she heard someone banging loudly on her door. She said she grabbed a towel and her phone and began recording when she realized the man was acting belligerent.

Le, executive director at the Southeast Asian Coalition, said she believes the man's actions were part of a bigger pattern of harassment aimed at minorities and immigrants during Donald Trump's presidency.

"The Trump administration has allowed white supremacists to feel emboldened and to escalate attacks against our communities," she said. "And when I say our community, I mean a lot of the communities that are facing these attacks under this administration and continue to fear for their lives."

Multiple online sources have identified the man as Charlotte's Cullen Heald, although Creative Loafing has not yet confirmed this. Heald's arrest record shows 31 infractions and arrests, including multiple charges of assault on a woman and domestic violence.

Nguyen, a local lawyer, said he did not trust the police to take action against Heald, so he did not call them, but that he appreciates the response both from the community around him and from the online community, in which the video has been shared thousands of times and made headlines.

"We know what happens to people like him," Nguyen said. "In the past few months, just turn on your TV, turn on your Facebook, you will see some white person wanting to police somebody just for breathing ... and so we know that that’s our justice. This video went viral within hours, it got picked up by all the different news networks, so that’s the kind of transformative justice that we believe in."

Nguyen said it's not the first time he and Le have been confronted over the yard sign, but that a previous call to local code enforcement was fruitless, as they hadn't broken any city ordinance.

"We have these signs here because we know that the president deserves this sign, he deserves this big middle finger," Nguyen said. He then referenced other signs in the yard stating, "Black Lives Matter" and "Refugees Welcome."

"We know that Cullen Heald was not just perturbed by the 'F Trump' sign, but he was perturbed by all of this," he said, referencing the multiple signs. "And the signs that we have here is the vision of the community that we believe in. We believe that refugees are welcome here. We elevate black lives and queer and trans black lives. We believe in all the immigrants that are in this community, and we do not stand with Trump one bit." 

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Listen Up: Styles&Complete Bring It Home on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 50

Posted on Thu, Jul 12, 2018 at 8:00 AM

[From left] DJ Complete, Ryan Pitkin and A. Styles.
  • [From left] DJ Complete, Ryan Pitkin and A. Styles.

We've reached the half-century mark, so we brought in the big guns straight from L.A. Up until 6 months ago, A. Styles and DJ Complete were a pair split between coasts. Early this year, Complete made the move out from CLT to Los Angeles to join the other half of his electronic hip-hop DJ duo, but while they were recently in town for a homecoming show, Ryan sat down with the both of them to talk about their come up through plenty of PBR burps.

As always, make sure to go check out Queen City Podcast Network to find out what our friends with all of Charlotte's other coolest podcasts are doing. You can catch up with all our past episodes there, or do it on iTunes or Stitcher. Of course, another simple way of catching up is just by typing "Local Vibes" into your Spotify search bar.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Listen Up: Late Bloomer Ends the 'Waiting' on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 49

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Between their punk band, Self Aware Records and Lunchbox Records store, the guys from Late Bloomer have their hands in a lot of facets of the local music scene. Josh, Neil and Scott [from left, in above photo by Brian Twitty] sat down with 'Local Vibes' to talk mostly about the band and their new album, Waiting, out this Friday. We chat about what's changed in the four years since their last release, and what's stayed the same.

Make sure to check out the other great local podcasts at Queen City Podcast Network, and catch up with all our past episodes on iTunes, Stitcher or just by typing "Local Vibes" into your Spotify search bar.

Scott Wishart (from left), Neil Mauney, Josh Robbins and Ryan Pitkin.
  • Scott Wishart (from left), Neil Mauney, Josh Robbins and Ryan Pitkin.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Listen Up: Adrienne Nixon Basco Embodies Southern Rock on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 48

Posted By and on Thu, Jun 21, 2018 at 11:06 AM

Fresh off the Hog Happenin' Bikes and BBQ festival in Lincolnton, Adrienne Nixon Basco of Tombstone Betty dropped in to the Hygge West podcast studio to chat with Local Vibes' Mark and Ryan about the band's new album, being a black front woman in a Southern rock band, her connection to biker culture, writing songs while driving, and much more.

As always, be sure to check out the rest of our team at Queen City Podcast Network, and catch up with all the past episodes of Local Vibes on iTunes, Stitcher or by typing "Local Vibes" into your Spotify search bar.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Listen Up: Hectorina Experiments on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 47

Posted By and on Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 8:00 AM

The boys from Hectorina were gracious enough to spend a Sunday morning with us directly following an album release party for their new album, Muck, at Snug Harbor, so we've got to hand it to them for even showing up. We talk with Dylan, John and Zach about their fourth full-length release, the Charlotte scene and what's changed since the Over Easy Breakfast Machine.

Be sure to check out all the cool shit happening over at Queen City Podcast Network, or you can catch up with all our past episodes on iTunes, Stitcher or simply by typing "Local Vibes" into your Spotify search bar.

The crew (from left): Ryan Pitkin, Zach Jordan, John Harrell, Dylan Gilbert and Mark Kemp.
  • The crew (from left): Ryan Pitkin, Zach Jordan, John Harrell, Dylan Gilbert and Mark Kemp.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Listen Up: Lisa De Novo Triggers 'The Big Bang' on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 46

Posted By on Thu, Jun 7, 2018 at 11:43 AM

Ryan Pitkin (left) and Lisa De Novo
  • Ryan Pitkin (left) and Lisa De Novo

One of Charlotte's most popular singer/songwriters, Lisa De Novo has been working the open mic scene in the city for five years. Now you could say she runs that scene. She dropped in to chat about her newly released album, The Big Bang, her involvement with Girls Rock CLT and how her communications degree helped her build a name for herself in the Queen City.

She also plays a few songs live in the Hygge West studio, which is always our favorite part of any podcast recording.

Make sure to drop by the Queen City Podcast Network site to check out our amazing team of talented local audio authorities. Also, catch up on our past episodes on iTunes, Stitcher or simply by typing "Local Vibes" into your Spotify search bar.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Listen Up: Mineral Girls Bid Farewell on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 45

Posted By and on Thu, May 31, 2018 at 11:22 AM

Three days from playing their last show together as members of Mineral Girls, the band's vocalist/guitarist Brett Green and guitarist Audrey Ayers came in for a long chat with Ryan and Mark that covers everything from the ups and downs of their recent tour to future plans for both of them.

That's not to mention stories of all-nighters at the casino, fights amongst the band and someone at the end admitting to having been on acid for the whole podcast.

Be sure to check out the rest of our team at the Queen City Podcast Network, where you can find the best locally based podcasts covering everything from comedy to craft beer. Also, catch up on past Local Vibes episodes on iTunes or Stitcher, or by simply typing "Local Vibes" into your Spotify search bar.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Lawana Mayfield Is Who She's Always Been

She's an activist, and she won't back down

Posted By on Wed, May 30, 2018 at 7:00 AM

rhiannonfionn.jpg

When I first met LaWana Mayfield she was making a lunchtime presentation on for-profit prisons to a handful of elderly white folks at Myers Park United Methodist Church. It was around 2010, months before she announced her bid for city council.

While the District 3 city councilwoman's platform has since expanded, her message has remained much the same as it was back then when she could be found marching through the city's streets protesting inequality in its various forms — something she did for more than 25 years as an activist, she says.

One thing she wants her haters to know: she's not planning to shut up now.

"I'm doing exactly what I said I was going to do when I first ran for office, and that is highlighting what is happening in my community," she says.

Controversy has surrounded Mayfield since recent tweets of hers have made the news, including one on March 26 that equated some police officers with "homegrown terrorists." That led the president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fraternal Order of Police, the police chief and wives of Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers to speak out against her. Many people called for her to step down from the Charlotte City Council.

What I haven't seen reported is the text from the tweet that Mayfield was retweeting and commenting on when she made her controversial comment. Posted by NBC, via @NBCBLK, it refers to the shooting of Stephon Clark, shot and killed by two police officers in Sacramento on March 18. The original tweet reads, "Stephon Clark's grandmother Sequita Thompson: 'Why didn't you just shoot him in the arm, shoot him in the leg, send a dog, send a taser? Why? ... I just want justice for my baby.'"

On March 31, as the dust settled on news of Mayfield's tweets, the Associated Press reported: "Sacramento police shot Stephon Clark seven times from behind, according to autopsy results released Friday by a pathologist hired by Clark's family, a finding that calls into question the department's assertion the 22-year-old black man was facing officers and moving toward them when he was killed."

Charlotte media outlets have covered the Twitter-gate story by saying Mayfield is "under fire," with WCNC writing, "According to her Twitter page, Councilwoman Mayfield still has more than 4,000 followers, but she may be losing some voters after the latest Tweet." When she defended herself, also via Twitter, the headlines said she's "doubling down."

After Mayfield posted a tweet on May 31 specifically asking "So who is going work [sic] to remove the BAD cops?" WSOC reporter Paul Boyd posted a screenshot of the tweet, stating, "Fresh calls today for [Mayfield's] resignation after unequivocal broad statements like this that lump together all police officers."

Lawana Mayfield
  • Lawana Mayfield

According to Mayfield, whose district is in southwest Charlotte, her reality is different from the media's assumptions. "Good cops aren't paying attention to the media hype," she said. "I see them in the community every day. I've got support from officers — current and retired — that have come up to me and thanked me because they recognize that bad officers make their work more difficult."

More importantly, while the Charlotte media focuses on Mayfield's tweets it has failed to discuss what prompted her posts: the death of yet another young black man at the hands of the police.

I must admit, I feel a bit responsible for Mayfield's recent Twitter rant. When I thought to reach out to her for this column I reviewed our correspondence. The last written words to pass between us, the end of a conversation about First Amendment rights, were these, circa 2012, and they were written by me: "I'll urge you to be your own media. Video tape and take photos and blog. Show people what's going on. Don't wait for the media to notice. They probably won't. They want page views, because that's what drives ad revenue."

It's advice I've offered to many people over the years, though few take it. I realize it's not self-serving in a time when newspapers like this one could use that ad revenue. At the same time, I know how thinly stretched my media cohorts are as newsrooms slash staffs while the tenor of the day demands that the reporters who remain take on more and more work.

So when clickbait comes along – like a city councilwoman tweeting with a strong opinion, one who shared a link about a 9/11 conspiracy theory (stupidly, yes) in April – it's irresistible, since clicks equate to revenue for media companies.

"For seven years, I have posted so many things around housing, around community, around job creation, around coming out to the meetings to speak on the budget and those posts got no attention from the media," she said. "So all of this stuff I've tried to talk about to educate us, to try to uplift us, to try to put us in a position of power – the media doesn't want to talk about any of that, but they're going to focus on Twitter. So, I'm like, alright if that's the game we're gonna play then I'm just going to go straight to the people and say what I've got to say."

Don't expect her to hush up any time soon.

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