A Band Called Death, In the Season of Blood and Gold, Weatherspoon Art Museum, and Robert Ward
This week it’s a full arts spread with opera, literature, sculpture, and a film about a family that helped lay the foundation for punk rock. The documentary “A Band Called Death” has been called “one of the best music documentaries in years,” and today Eddie talks with its co-director Jeff Howlett. Then Bethany Chafin opens the book on the Press 53 short story collection “In The Season of Blood and Gold” with its author Taylor Brown. Next David Ford takes in the Weatherspoon Art Museum’s exhibition Nancy Rubins: Drawing, Sculpture, Studies with Curator of Exhibitions Xandra Eden, and Weatherspoon Director Nancy Doll. Then we revisit David Ford’s conversation with the late opera composer and former UNCSA chancellor, Dr. Robert Ward.
A Band Called Death
Before the punk rock explosion of the mid 1970s, there was A Band Called Death. That’s the name of the new music documentary co-directed by Eddie's guest, Charlotte North Carolina Film Maker Jeff Howlett. The film explores the musical and personal relationships of the Hackney Brothers and their proto-punk band Death. The band formed in a Detroit bedroom in the early 70s, and the brothers recorded an album IN 1974 that collected dust until being released in 2009. Howlett’s film traces the brothers’ journey from obscurity to critical success – a journey that took over 30 years. You can see the film right now on Blu-Ray and streaming on Netflix, and you can catch the band live in NC at this year’s Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, on September 6th. Eddie spoke to Jeff via phone from his office in Charlotte – but first, a little music – this song’s called Rock n’ Roll Victim, and comes courtesy of A Band Called Death.
A Band Called Death can be seen right now on Netflix or on Blu-Ray. Death just released the album Death 3, which compiles their remaining unreleased music. The band Death, with new guitarist Bobbie Duncan, have been on tour in support of the film & their recordings, and recently stopped by The Arsenio Hall Show for a blistering performance. You can catch them at this year’s Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, NC, on September 6th.
Taylor Brown and In the Season of Blood and Gold
Taylor Brown’s debut collection of short fiction comes out this Saturday, May 3rd. In the Season of Blood and Gold, published by Press 53, includes twelve stories of dynamic characters and timeless landscapes. From stories of alligator wrestlers, and Confederate soldiers, to a tattooed artist exploring the map to her heart and to her mother’s, the collection is varied and impressive. Writer Charles Dodd has said of the collection, “With ferocious economy and a great big heart, Taylor Brown writes one of the best debuts I’ve ever picked up. These are stories, verses, meditations, and accusations, everything in short you could hope to get from important fiction. This work demands your attention.”
Taylor is the winner of the Montana Prize in Fiction for "Rider," the first story in the collection, and his story “World Without End” was a recent finalist for the Dorris Betts Fiction Prize. Taylor’s work has appeared in numerous publications including the Coachella Review, storySouth, and the Baltimore Review. A native of the Georgia coast, Taylor now resides in Wilmington, North Carolina. Taylor stopped by WFDD on a recent trip to Winston-Salem. Bethany began by asking him when and how his interest in writing began.
Saturday, May 3rd is National Press 53 Day. You can celebrate with Press 53 and Taylor at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro on Saturday, May 3rd from 5-9pm. Taylor will also be doing a reading at Barnhill’s Books in Winston-Salem earlier that day at 2pm. Those interested can also order signed copied of In the Season of Blood and Gold from Taylor’s website.
Nancy Rubins and Weatherspoon Art Museum
American artist Nancy Rubins is best known for her enormous sculptures which have been commissioned and exhibited all across the country. They’re made out of things like boats, airplane parts, and hot water heaters. But Rubins transforms these materials into elegant and even delicate-looking objects of incredible beauty. You’ll find them on display alongside her captivating graphite drawings at the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro. Curator of Exhibitions Xandra Eden and Weatherspoon Director Nancy Doll spoke with me about Nancy Rubins: Drawing, Sculpture, Studies.
Weatherspoon Art Museum Curator of Exhibitions Xandra Eden, and Weatherspoon Director Nancy Doll. Nancy Rubins: Drawing, Sculpture, Studies will remain on display at Weatherspoon through Sunday, May 4th in The Bob & Lissa Shelley McDowell Gallery where you can take the last guided public tour from 2-2:30PM and trace the arc of one of today’s foremost scultures. During the tour which is free and open to all ages, visitors will see the major sculptural installation Drawings & Hot Water Heaters, graphite drawings from 1975 to present, collages, Nancy Rubins bronze work and more. You can view images from the exhibit on our website: wfdd.org where you’ll also find links to the remarkable new Weatherspoon UNCG and DelMonico Books publication chronicling Rubins’ amazing output.
Of the many famous American novels and plays that have been converted into operas The Crucible based on the Tony Award-winning play of the same name by Arthur Miller tops that list. The opera composer was Robert Ward who passed away in April of last year at the age of 96. The Crucible premiered in 1961 and the following year it won both the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Music Critics Circle Citation. The allegory weaves a tale of lust, revenge, and power against a backdrop of the Salem witch trials of the late 17th century, but the story remains extremely relevant today. In 2011 Robert Ward was the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Opera Honors. He was presented the award by the then University of NC School of the Arts Chancellor John Mauceri. Robert Ward himself was School of the Arts Chancellor from 1967 until 1975. He spoke with David Ford just ahead of the 2012 Piedmont Opera production of The Crucible.
Robert Ward died last April at the age of 96. I spoke with him days before the The Piedmont Opera and A. J. Fletcher Opera Institute’s production of Ward’s Pulitzer Prize-winning opera The Crucible.