Puppets for Pot

INDY cover by Jeremy M. Lange (photo) and Skillet Gilmore (design)

INDY cover by Jeremy M. Lange (photo) and Skillet Gilmore (design)

I hope you’re up for a pretty long read on an interesting guy who makes a puppet show about marijuana legalization while also pursuing a mainstream puppetry career in kids’ TV and commercials. It’s a story about medical marijuana rights, but beyond that, it’s ultimately a story about obsession, and to be honest, I got a little obsessed with it. Grateful to Chris Chappell for sharing so much of his story with me, and to Skillet Gilmore and Jeremy Lange for their amazing work on the art and design side. (Find the pot leaf icon hidden in our logo on the cover!) Read it here.

Wonderland and more recent writings

"Party Boat" by Sarah Anne Johnson. Courtesy of the collection of Allen Thomas Jr. / CAM Raleigh

“Party Boat” by Sarah Anne Johnson. Courtesy of the collection of Allen Thomas Jr. / CAM Raleigh

Busy times at the INDY lately, so busy I’ve neglected to blog. Some recent pieces:

* I reviewed Sarah Anne Johnson’s Wonderland, a provocative mid-career retrospective featuring deceptive documentary and scary clown sex at CAM Raleigh.

* I interviewed the legendary filmmaker John Waters about his one-man show “This Filthy World” and more.

* I ran a multi-part cover story on the 15th annual NC Comedy Arts Festival, which has grown from a local institution to a national pacesetter.

* I interviewed theater director Monet Marshall about Hands Up: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments, staged readings responding to police brutality in Durham.

* I reported on a summit about arts education and access for people with disabilities, a reporting area I hope to develop further.

* I assessed an active but stratified North Carolina literary scene in a year-in-review piece about local books.

* And I reviewed the U.S. premiere of Tommy Noonan and Clint Lutes’ Brother Brother, an athletic but vulnerable dance piece that still lingers in my mind.

Wireless Philosophy

cult-led-imageThis week in the INDY, I wrote about Wireless Philosophy, a cool international project to bring philosophy to the masses via brisk, entertaining animated videos, which has strong ties to Duke thanks to Ph.D candidate and project co-lead Paul Henne, the subject of my article. Paul represents a new generation of philosophers who are defined by their focus on broadening popular access to the most practical tools and concepts of philosophy, setting the discipline in the ground-level present rather than the lofty past. Read it here.

Afua Richardson and NC Comicon

Afua Richardson. Photo by Camron Wiltshire.

Afua Richardson. Photo by Camron Wiltshire.

NC Comicon returns to the Durham Convention Center this weekend. I had a really interesting interview with Afua Richardson, a comics artist with a crazy-impressive background (Soul Train! MTV Jams! Melvin Van Peebles!) who broke out with the chillingly-timed Genius (it came out during and reflected events in Ferguson last August) and is now headed for Wonder Woman at DC. We talked about the new wave of diversity in comics and the likely MMA influence of her Wonder Woman. Read it here.