My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Changes at the Clarion Content 

We are all playing for keeps.

As many of you know, there are major changes afoot at the Clarion Content. These changes are the simplest explanation for the dearth of articles this month past. We ask your forgiveness, dear readers, and offer assurance that we will have a better product on the other side.

The Clarion Content is moving from this location on Blogger to Wordpress

Follow this link to our new and improved site.

There are several reasons this is happening, but chief among them is that the Clarion Content has outgrown this site. The Clarion Content has also moved physical offices from Broad Street to the wonderful co-working space that is Mercury Studio on North Mangum Street.

We are moving virtual locations. We have moved physical locations. Beyond that, those of you who have dug all the way back to “The Introduction” to the first Clarion Content, on April Fool's Day 2006, know much evolution has taken place.

The Clarion Content was founded as a call to action. The word clarion was a deliberate choice to attempt to rally people around change. We desire a change in the human mindset to make the Golden Rule supreme. This belief remains at the core of all the writing we do.

However, the Clarion Content has grown and expanded beyond what we, your editor, could ever have imagined. If you read the introductory essay to this piece, you will notice there is little mention of covering Durham.

In the intervening years, Durham has become not only where we live, but our home. It, too, has also grown beyond all our expectations. When our editor moved here from Pacific Beach, California, no one was arguing that Durham might be the cultural capital of a generation. People from a little, old village, like Carrboro would have sneered (and probably chuckled) at the thought of moving to Durham for the culture. Now, folks regularly move to Durham from places like Portland and Brooklyn specifically for our fantastic culture.1 Now, Durham is lauded in the pages of the Boston Globe, the New York Post, the New York Times, Gourmet and more for our great food and cool atmosphere. Now, it is now entirely believable when people say Durham may be the Seattle or the Austin of the Millennial Generation.

The Clarion Content's coverage focus has shifted along with Durham's meteoric rise. It was a year and a half after our debut that we published our first Durham tagged article. Only four articles about Durham were published in 2007. Contrast that with each of the past two years where we have published more than 100 articles about Durham. We love Durham. We are proud of Durham. And we intend to continue to cover Durham.

We believe the press has an important function in free, civil society. Information is power. Distribution of information decentralizes power in a way that serves us all, provided we participate actively rather than absorb passively. We are proud to have broken stories from fracking deeds and Durham ABC misdeeds in these pages.

We have long taken a hardcore stance against advertising. But as we have ramped up our coverage, and ramped our coverage, we have heard time and again that we should reconsider. In the last year as we have approached the 10,000 hits a month level, we have started to listen. Our objection to advertising was always rooted in the anonymity. We don't want to adverse for companies or products that we do not know, that we do not feel comfortable with personally.

In an effort to find the compromise between the costs of doing this much coverage and the deleterious nature of advertising, we have decided to accept local ads on the new Clarion Content Wordpress site.2

Perhaps then accepting advertising on the Clarion Content is the biggest change, but there are a litany of other changes coming.

The Clarion Content started as a solo project. We have been incredibly lucky to add an excellent crew of people to our team over time. About a year and half ago, Cady Childs, of FashionablyTactless, came aboard and gave the Clarion Content, vim, verve, and a fashion sense we never had. Childs has been at the center of one of the Clarion Content's most successful projects, our Durham Fashion Drive-by's.

These Fashion Drive-by's were the brainchild of your editor, Ms. Childs, and one of the other core members of our team, the amazing photographer, Jessica Blakely aka Jessica Arden. We have been delighted to work with these talented folks. Their appearance on the scene began a transition that will become even more evident as the Clarion Content moves to Wordpress.

We refer to an emphasis on the visual. The original Clarion Content hardly featured a picture. Now one of the core members of our team is the brilliant, young director and writer, Ned Phillips. Phillips has written numerous extremely well-received articles for the Clarion Content. Phillips, the Clarion Content, and a nationally renowned team of filmmakers are in discussions about filming a series of Durham documentaries.3

The Clarion Content has been extremely grateful to have the contributions of these team members. Above and beyond that, we have been graced with efforts of many other outstanding contributors. Artist and community activist, Catherine Howard, has penned a slew of greatpieces. Superb photographer, Beth Mandel of BWPW Photography, has photographed innumerable subjects for the Clarion Content, from the arts to development to portraiture. Our North Jersey contingent has contributed pieces of great social importance. And scads of one-time contributors have put their thoughts out there.

This is a process and a formula that we want to nurture and expand. Our editorial philosophy is print as wide an array of thoughtful voices and opinions as we can find. Our goal is to be both a knowledge provider and a community connector. When we hear that magazines with the prestige of Newsweek are moving to an exclusive on-line distribution model, we are confident in our course.4

A central part of this drive is that your editor, yours truly, Aaron Mandel, wants to take a further step back from the role as primary author of this multimedia piece. We also want to move away from our mimicry of The Economist's "editorial we."

I have been tilling and maintaining the garden of the Clarion Content for more than six years, sometimes more fastidiously than others. The truth is, I think, "Gardens? Who has time for gardens??"

When I was a little kid, I used to nag my hard-working Pop to build us kids a garden. And he did. Found a way in his spare time.

When I was a little kid, I used to think gardens were perfectable, that they reached a finished state, where you were done. Now I perceive the fallacy of those delusions. But, as Dad knew intuitively, our imperfectability was not an excuse for not trying. He embedded the lesson. Thanks to entropy, life offers work, embrace it.

The key for me to best embrace the work life offers is to work on what I love. I believe this is true for many others, but I can only till the garden of my own mind. It feels to me, like the most important of all tasks. Artistotle's know thyself was not meant as a finished prescription, but rather as a first step for realizing one's fullest potential.

Now, I know the inevitable imperfectability of my mind and its precepts. I am both comforted and scared by it. I am succored by my belief that there is only one perfect in this universe of ours.5 I will effort my best. Moreover, I will put this effort into that which is most important to me.

This is not to say that the Clarion Content is not important to me. It is extremely important to me. But yours truly, must focus, first and foremost, on my fiction. Another thing under development, in this transition, is an Aaron Mandel fiction website.

I don't beat myself up for being imperfect. However, it does vex me greatly to struggle to find time to work on that which is most important to me. I am threatened by the reality of my own mortality. I know that like a garden, I will grow, ripen, wither, and die. I will not finish everything I want to read. I will know incomplete dreams. There will be journeys not taken. The measure for me will be did I put in the best, fullest, effort that I could.6

The Clarion Content's transition is rooted in this deep desire for more time to write fiction. We have been extremely fortunate to have the great contributors and collaborators we have had for these first six and a half years. We are so excited for the new voices that will be coming aboard as we make this transition.

As many of you know, the Clarion Content, in addition to publishing, is a multimedia consulting firm. We have had the pleasure to work with an amazing cast of movers, shakers, bon vivants, gurus, and intellectuals.7 In the next year, even more of those folks are coming to these pages.

We will be co-authoring a column with the amazing life coach Bonnie Cohen. We are promoting, covering, and imbibing, revolutionary thinker and serial entrepreneur, Carl Nordgren, aka the Creative Populist. We have had discussions with a panoply of terrific writers about their potential contributions to the Clarion Content.8 As we mentioned, we are working on a Durham documentary film project. We have brought on a fantastic dating advice columnist, who has an eye on the modern scene, having once held the same position for the highly regarded college paper, The Daily Tar Heel. We hope to bring on a coffee columnist. We intend to be an oral history collator for our beloved city of Durham.9

In an effort to embrace the multimedia ethic of the era, we are building a Clarion Content Pintrest, a Clarion ContentTumblr, and are in discussions with distributors about our video content. Of course, you know about our Facebook and Twitter. Like us and follow us as you please.

This is what's up. This is where we have been. This is where we intend to go.

As always, please tell us what you think, good and bad. Want to write, photograph, film or otherwise create great content for us? Please reach out to info at clarion content dot com (symbols and no spaces).

Want to find out more about our multimedia promotions, consulting, and management, pop over to the clarioncontent.com. Have a question? A suggestion? Again, please reach out to info at clarion content dot com.

Come along on the journey. It's gonna be a fly trip.


1And the reasonable cost of living, true then, still true now. Resist gentrification Durham!

2The Clarion Content has long had a donate here button connected our PayPal in an effort to solicit contributions in return for the free coverage. It has not been successful. If you wish to advertise on the new and improved Clarion Content, email us at info at clarioncontent dot com (symbols, no spaces,) for rates and additional information.

3Phillips just shot the Kickstarter video for Organic Transit's wildly successful $100,000 plus campaign.

4And note to self; we were ahead of the curve. Note to community, we were extremely fortunate to sit on the panel for the State of Publishing with a select group of Durham publishing leaders, this amazing forum helped imbue as with the confidence necessary to make these changes.

5Multiple universes totally allowed for, still believe perfection is a the singularity.

6We effort. We garden. I do so not in hopes of perfection, with love not desperation, hoping that I will be able to say on the way out I gave back more than I took. Lofty, but the truth.

7I would not be here writing this without the efforts of Javier Sandoval and Mark Coffman. 

8You know who you are! Please, please, please lend us and Durham your pen and your thoughts, we will all be the wiser for it.

9We hope to collaborate with as many top-notch Durham institutions as we can in this goal, including Open Durham and the Durham Art Guild.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Howard brings 13/13/13 Sketchbook Project to Durham 

Catherine Howard, artist and community activist, and occasional guest columnist for the Clarion Content, is bringing her 13/13/13 Sketchbook Project to Durham tonight at Mercury Studio. (Where else, right?) Howard and Mercury Studio are inviting the public to celebrate the launch of the 13/13/13 Sketchbook Project with food, music, wine, and what Catherine promises will be lots and lots of hugs! (Ed. note: We believe she means it.)

Howard painting a mural in South Africa

So what's the story?

Howard journeyed last year to South Africa to paint, write, teach and create. She returned with a magnificent work of art, "A Warm Space to Disappear," which is a compilation of Howard's sketches from her residency in Cape Town. This experience and the rave reviews inspired her to go bigger in 2013.

from her website...
"During the 13/13/13 Sketchbook Project, Catherine J Howard will live with 13 collectives of artists that use visual art to challenge and revitalize their communities -- from Tampere, Finland where artists band together to weather a harsh physical and economic environment to Karachi, Pakistan where artists are working under-the-radar to promote critical thinking about the implications of combining religion and materialism to Asuncion, Paraguay where street artists are invigorating shanty towns with color and pride. To document and disperse these experiences, she will publish sketchbooks..."
She intendeds for these sketchbooks to include everything from writing and drawings, to collage, to photographs and perhaps even Polaroids. Naturally, she is going to blog about her travels, as well. Her South Africa blog was riveting.

After a year roaming the globe, Howard intends to distill the lessons learned of her journeys into an educational curriculum for distribution to art educators and social activists all over the world to help reverberate the waves started by her 13/13/13 Sketchbook Project.

We applaud. And we encourage you to come out to Mercury Studios tonight between 6pm and 9pm, at 407-A Mangum Street to help support Catherine and Art.

"Art is at the nexus of protest."---A.Mandel

Labels: ,

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

At the center of the community: Durham Arts Council 

Friend, artist, community activist, and occasional guest columnist for the Clarion Content, Catherine Howard, has undertaken to pen a series of articles about how the visual arts have impacted Durham's community on her 13/13/13 Sketchbook site. Howard is both a leader on the ground in bringing the arts to communities worldwide and also a coalition builder who helped get the ball rolling for the Durham Storefront Project.

The Clarion Content was delighted that Ms. Howard selected our publisher, Aaron Mandel, and the co-founder/director of The Carrack, Laura Richie, as the subjects of her first pieces. Ms. Howard has generously agreed to co-publish this series on the Clarion Content. Her third piece is about an important Durham institution.

Creative Leaders of Durham: Margaret DeMott and Lindsay Gordon of the Durham Arts Council
by: Catherine Howard

One cannot discuss the development of "arts" in Durham without giving a hearty nod to the Durham Arts Council, one of the oldest arts councils in the United States. The Durham Arts Council, whose mission statement is to promote excellence in and access to the creation, experience and active support of the arts for all the people of the Durham community, combines arts education with exhibitions, performances, and community events, such as CenterFest* and Art Walk.

During a lunch at Toast, Margaret DeMott and Lindsay Gordon from the Durham Arts Council expanded on five factors that promote flourishing arts communities:

1. Public space where you can find the art. The Durham Arts Council is a physical place where things can happen - meetings, art can be hung, shows can be put on, people can find it. Although lots of arts councils don't have a permanent space, whenever they want to hold an event, their first challenge is finding a space. With an understood showcase, people know events will be happening. Town squares used to provide those spaces, and now those spaces often need to be run by groups to insure stability for cultural programming.

2. An educated adult audience. Even if expensive visual art is not being bought, an audience that is educated (either through school or person-to-person outreach from the artistic community) will support the arts by giving their time to attend events. Universities attract people with talent, curiosity and creativity, and in Durham, there are two large universities (Duke University and NCCU) which have launched and funded many arts organizations. In communities without universities, such as Sarasota, the arts can still flourish if wealthy individuals are eager financial supporters.

3. An educated child audience. Arts education has proven to promote critical thinking and social skills, which helps children to succeed in any career path they choose. Exposure to the arts from a young age, in school or in arts camps, also encourages children to grow into adults who understand and support the arts. As Lindsay put it, "If you catch them when they're young, you'll keep them."

4. Supportive government. If a community desires to encourage artistic engagement in the community and promote the reciprocal communal respect of the arts, government leaders can use the arts to denote respect and honor. For example, leaders can commission concerts or paintings to celebrate an official's service, rather than giving them a watch or plaque. The City of Durham has made a substantial investment over the years in public cultural spaces such as the Carolina Theater, Hayti Heritage Center, and Durham Arts Council building.

5. Recognizable leader. Even if there is not an arts institution in a community, there still must be a single recognizable leader who leads the charge on coordinating events. People will get excited about an idea, but unless there is someone to keep moving the ball forward, to keep sending the next email, to keep cajoling everyone, events just won't happen.

Artists displaying their wares in the Armory during Art Walk

According to one of those leaders, Margaret DeMott, "Artists are the "research and development department" of a community, and the arts non-profit sector helps the artists to do their work. When artists move into the commercial arena, their problem-solving skills can be applied to many different areas, making the community, as a whole, better."

A big "THANK YOU" to Margaret and Lindsay for meeting with me and to the entire DAC staff for their daily dedication to promoting the arts in Durham. Be sure to stop by their building at 120 Morris Street to see the current exhibitions by David Baker, Matthew Litteken, and Nuno Gomes. Join the mailing list to keep track of upcoming events or follow their Twitter here!

*This year was the launch of a revitalized CenterFest. The Clarion Content tracked the community input sessions and wrote a series of articles on the process of reinvigorating a community tradition.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, December 03, 2012

TUT... a note from the Universe 

Sometimes even your hardened Clarion Content editor is a sucker for sentiment. We have been working with an amazing life coach for the last two months, she is our partner and we are the grateful beneficiaries of her advice. We all need a little pick me up. And one doesn't have to wait until things are in crisis mode.

To that end, our dear friend, and life coach, Bonnie Cohen, introduced yours truly to a little thing called, TUT... a note from the Universe. TUT, the brainchild of Mike Dooley, stands for "totally unique thoughts." They are little, customized notes of inspiration emailed to all who sign up for the service. Sort of the opposite of Post Secret, rather than letting go your own personal demons via anonymously sending a confession out to the Universe, the Universe will anonymously send you a bit of positivity to get you through the day.

Our inner cynic alarms started buzzing immediately, the Universe is going to send me personalized daily happiness messages?? C'mon. But you know what? You read a few of'em, and you feel a little better, and then you realize it only took a minute or two. Cynic in retreat. It was so low maintenance.

Hey, what's not to like?

This may be how Dooley has gone from thirty-eight initial subscribers to just north of 450,000 today.

Read a couple good TUTs reposted by fans of the site here and here.

Labels: ,

Friday, November 30, 2012

New Railings in Durham Central Park 

special to the Clarion Content
by: Denise Schreiner

If you park in the Measurement, Inc. lot to go to the Durham Farmers Market, you already know there’s a new set of railings on the main stairs with an entry arch at the bottom. It’s a collaboration between Liberty Arts artist, Jackie MacLeod, and Monkey Bottom Gallery owner and artist, Joe Galas.

Turns out there’s an interesting story behind these railings...

Photos courtesy of Jackie MacLeod

For years Dale Evarts and his wife Betsy had brought Dale’s mother, Audrey, to the Farmer’s Market Saturday mornings. Audrey had both a hip and knee replacement, so it was hard for her to navigate the stairs, and every week she would say "It would really be good to have a railing there." And every week Dale would say "Yeah, Mom, someday we’ll have one."

After Audrey died unexpectedly last fall, Dale and his sister began talking about it.

And one Saturday this summer when Dale saw the Durham Central Park booth, he went over and said “You know, those stairs over there need a railing and I would like to support that in memory of my mother.”

As it happens, DCP had wanted to install handrails ever since volunteers had built the three stairways down the hill. They’d already enlisted Jackie and Joe to come up with a design, but had only been able to raise half the cost.

When Dale saw the drawings he knew immediately that Audrey would approve. The reason for his enthusiasm was that for twenty years (1965-1985) Audrey had run Eastgate Hardware Store in Chapel Hill (most unusual for a woman at the time), and the recovered metal components in the design reminded Dale of the old hardware from factories and mills in the area. He wrote a check for the balance on the spot.

Now Audrey’s legacy will become a permanent fixture at DCP.

Photos courtesy of Jackie MacLeod

Photos courtesy of Jackie MacLeod

Labels: , , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?