‘Dreams’ deferred: Hearing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I first wrote the following piece in January 2011 for the now-defunct Option-Magazine.com. Each year since then, I have re-posted slightly different versions of it at Creative Loafing. This year, I’m posting it here at DailyKemp.com, and I suspect I’ll keep on posting it until Dr. King’s dreams become reality. I very well may be […]

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Yeezus! Is ‘Pazz & Jop’ Critically Ill?

Everybody’s a critic. That’s what they used to say. These days, it’s literally true. We have the Interwebs! We all can be critics. We all can be publicists, too. Maybe it’s just that I’m getting old, but the latest Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll looks critically deficient. I understand why Chance the Rapper, Vampire Weekend, and […]

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The Ballad of Wreckless and Amy: A Punk-Rock Love Story

Ever had a YouTube rabbit-hole experience? Sure you have. I had one tonight that warmed the icy punk-rock part of my heart. You know the kind of rabbit-hole experience I’m talking about — those time-wasting trips into the matrix that almost always begin on Facebook or Twitter. Someone posts a video of an artist or band […]

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My (belated) list of should-be 2014 Rock And Roll Hall of Fame inductees (with video)

I’m a little late with my picks for the 2014 Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. Sue me. I had to think about it. Have some coffee. Go for a swim. Take a trip to San Francisco and Vegas. Get a job. Pack the bags. Now, I’m ready. (As if the voters have been anxiously awaiting […]

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15 Minutes with You: Lou Reed, 1942-2013

“Ah, baby, you’re so vicious…” Reading on Facebook today that Lou Reed had died, I had one of those visceral reactions. I literally felt it in my gut. It was as though someone had punched me. Hard. With a flower. Lou Reed was too tough to die. He was too gentle to die. He was […]

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High school senior promotes free speech in Randolph County with a “Banned book read-off”

I’ve spent the past two days in my hometown of Asheboro, North Carolina, talking to residents in the small Randolph County community about books — the banning of them as well as the reading of them. Last night, Jessi Bowman, a senior at nearby Randleman High School, held a “Banned Books Read-off” at the Asheboro […]

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Critical Race Theory: School board reverses ‘Invisible Man’ ban, but American education still blind

If you don’t think race played a role in the banning of Invisible Man from a rural county school system in piedmont North Carolina, you haven’t listened to the nuances in the reasoning of the men who chose to censor the Ralph Ellison classic. On Wednesday, after outrage over the Randolph County Board of Education’s […]

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Open Letter to the Randolph County Board of “Education”

Earlier this morning, I sent the following letter to the Randolph County Board of “Education.” For those who haven’t read the news, this board voted to ban Ralph Ellison’s literary classic Invisible Man from the schools’ reading list. For me, this terrible decision was very personal. I was educated in the small Randolph County town of Asheboro. So, I […]

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“Civil rights freed the white southerner… It gave us grace”

Those words come from the late Phil Walden, one-time manager of the southern soul singer Otis Redding and southern blues-rock band The Allman Brothers. It was an unexpected observation Walden made to me about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during an interview a decade ago for my book, Dixie Lullaby: A Story of Music, […]

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Keeping it Real: A dusty Kentucky coal town outlaws LGBT discrimination

Thanks to a recent Stephen Colbert segment, I went back and found an interesting item that appeared in The New York Times earlier this year. It’s one of the more hopeful stories I’ve seen in a while: The city council in a small Appalachian coal town in the hollers of eastern Kentucky has voted to ban […]

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