Writing

Now That's What We Call Aughties! by Brian Howe

Illustration by Shan Stumpf/Text and concept by Brian Howe

In last year's first-annual INDY Week Style Issue, we created paper dolls that you could dress for a number of character types and social circles in the Triangle. In this year's Style Issue, published today, we made a coloring book about aughties fashion nostalgia, which is nearly upon us (I've written about it a couple of times lately, so it was already on my mind). For next year, I'm thinking pop-up book, but our printer would probably murder me.

Ninety Freaking Seven Reasons to Love the Triangle Arts Scene This Fall by Brian Howe

cover by Shan Stumpf

To John Keats, autumn might be a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness when gathering swallows twitter in the skies. But to us in the INDY arts and culture department, it's more like a season of impossible events calendars, as all the arts presenters stir from their slumberous summers at once, when we pay more attention to our fruitful Twitter feeds than to anything twittering in the skies. The key to enjoying the fall arts onslaught is to just succumb to the madness—and don't fear the FOMO. The following package will help you navigate the former while avoiding the latter. (And, personally, I've developed a useful thing called "faux-mo," where you express regret for missing something you secretly didn't want to go to anyway.)

Ninety-seven. That's the total number of events we wound up highlighting in our 2017 Fall Arts Guide—and that's drawing only from events that are already booked; trust us, many more are coming down the pipeline. Our editors, contributors, and critics fanned out to learn about as many fall events as we could and then boiled them down to the affairs you absolutely cannot miss, whether you're a fan of music, food, visual art, theater, dance, comedy, books, or film. We also pumpkin-spiced things up with features that cut across genres, from a roundup of fall festivals and Halloween treats to a rundown on the Triangle's booming population of escape-room games.

All of these events will touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue from September through December. If you use this guide to master your calendar game, we'll see you there.

The New Frontier for Artists: Virtual Reality by Brian Howe

photo by Alex Boerner / design by Shan Stumpf

 

I'm still not rich enough to shell out for an actual VR HMD of my very own, but, as someone who has long been interested in the metaphysics of virtual reality and simulations in general, I get my hands on the technology in my journalism whenever I have the chance. In 2013, I went to various Triangle universities and played with their toys to write a long story focusing on DiVE, a CAVE at Duke University. In 2016, I went back to Duke to see what they could do with an HMD, and explored a virtual ruins in Brazil. Last week, I got to think through another potential path of VR: visual art, in a story on Tyler Jackson's exhibit at Lump, Before the War. Here's the nut:

"The story of VR began millennia ago, when humans first drew a boundary in space and agreed to imagine that whatever transpired inside it was set apart from the rest of reality—a world within a world. We call this device a frame when it outlines two dimensions, a stage when it outlines three. In the twentieth century, it flattened and deepened into screens that, with a certain inevitability, are becoming permeable in the twenty-first. Now we face the question of whether we'll soon reach the logical conclusion and lock the virtual door behind us."

Read it in INDY Week.

Mistaken Idenity by Brian Howe

To spice up a dying Facebook meme, here are nine true stories of concerts I attended and one I made up:

1. One time, at a Kanye West show, I was seriously mistaken for Chester French, or at least one of Chester French’s entourage.

2. One time I was up front at a show by the Swedish psych-rock band Dungen. During a quiet pause, by way of friendly greeting, I yelled the only Swedish phrase I know, “den javla opa.” They gasped in unison. “Do you know what that means?” one of them asked me. “Yes,” I replied apologetically. “You fucking monkey,” he marveled into the microphone, translating for the crowd.

3. I once saw a college bro in a polo shirt with a popped collar stage dive at a Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! show, to which a gaggle of shocked tweens sensibly responded by promptly parting like the Red Sea and letting him crash to the floor. 

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New INDY Culture Column by Brian Howe

Durham, with its famous "Big Box Store," in Champions #6

First let me tell you about the ordeal we endured trying to name this column: However. Howe + Why. The Tao of Howe. Howe Now. And so on. After every possible terrible pun on my name had been dispensed with, we landed on Artificer. It's my new INDY Week arts & culture column, and it begins with a look at Marvel Comics' social-justice experiment by way of Durham's cameo in Champions, a new teen team whose main superpower is hashtags.

Artificer will pop up whenever I have a sincerely contrarian opinion burning a hole in my pocket and there's a hole to fill in the paper; the next one will probably be about why women write better books than men. That should make for a fun time on the internet.