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Chasing the KKK Out of North Carolina

This past Saturday, the Loyal White Knights, a branch of the Ku Klux Klan in Pelham, North Carolina, vowed to hold a Donald Trump victory parade. Thanks to roughly a hundred counter-protesters that never happened — well, not exactly.

When word spread about the KKK rally about a month ago, activists immediately began organizing peace marches. Hundreds gathered in Raleigh for the NC Justice and Unity Rally, while a smaller group of counter-protesters attempted to intervene the KKK in their home base of Pelham — a rural town, just south of the Virginia state line in Caswell County.

The 2016 election made clear that North Carolina isn’t as red as it used to be, largely because of its changing demographics. Latinos have significantly diversified the state, and so have interracial marriages. While the majority of voters in North Carolina voted for Trump, they also voted for a Democratic governor. (The current GOP governor waited until today to concede.)

John Roberts, an “exalted cyclops” of the KKK, told the Times-News the night before the planned event that the group would be holding a car parade in “the general vicinity of Pelham” sometime around 9 a.m. Roberts also called it a “national event,” and that people who couldn’t make it out to their “normal rallies and meetings” would be flying or driving in to attend.

The counter-protesters, a majority of them wearing all black with their faces partially covered, waited for the KKK at the Pelham Methodist Parsonage Church but the KKK never showed. Organizers were informed that the group had moved their rally to Danville, across the state line, 10 miles away.

Lone truck, bearing Confederate flags and Trump bumper stickers, drives around downtown Danville, Virginia.
Lone truck, bearing Confederate flags and Trump bumper stickers, drives around downtown Danville, Virginia.

When I arrived in Danville a couple of minutes before the demonstrators, only one truck bearing several Confederate flags and Trump/Pence bumper stickers could be seen driving around downtown. A female anti-KKK demonstrator approached that truck and began yelling, “No hate, no fear, the KKK is not welcomed here!”

Moments later, they drove away.

An organizer then announced that he had been informed the KKK was actually back in Pelham, at the visitor’s center. When we arrived, only truck drivers and tourists making pit stops could be seen, but no sign of the KKK. Demonstrators remained there for at least 40 minutes, and they were clearly frustrated. “There’s no fucking plan,” one male demonstrator said to no one in particular.

The anti-KKK group consisted of mostly white people, a few African-Americans, some children, and at least two lawyers from North Carolina who were there just in case anyone got arrested.

One man, while looking at his phone, said that he got word from one of his people “out there” that the KKK was actually holding a rally that very second in Danville. “The address is 527 Main Street,” he told the crowd.

Counter-protesters march through the streets of Danville, Virginia.
Counter-protesters march through the streets of Danville, Virginia.

“They’ve been giving us the runaround, and things are starting to fall apart a little bit,” the organizer (who refused to disclose his name) told the crowd. “So we’re going to go to Danville now, get situated, and see if they show. If they don’t show, we will be holding our own rally, and then we’re going to head back home.”

According to a press release from the Danville Police Department, the Caswell County’s Sheriff’s Office informed the Danville police that dozens of anti-KKK protesters were heading toward the city because “they believed a KKK rally was supposed to occur there, and their intent was to engage in a counter protest.”

Earl, a spectator, was initially hesitant to disclose his thoughts of the anti-KKK march through his city of Danville. Then he said he loved it.
Earl, a spectator, was initially hesitant to disclose his thoughts of the anti-KKK march through his city of Danville. Then he said he loved it.

Once again, the KKK was nowhere to be seen. So the anti-KKK group went on with their march. The group walked along Main Street through the Old West End neighborhood. Several Black residents could be seen coming out of their homes and encouraged the marchers by raising their fists and chanting along with them. The Census reports that 48% of the population in Danville is Black.

In a press release, the Danville Police Department and the Virginia State Police called the protest “spontaneous and peaceful.”

I asked a spectator, who simply went by Earl, what he thought about the anti-KKK march. Initially he was initially speechless. Then he said that he was “scared to say.” He then asked me what I thought about the march. I replied that I loved it. “I love it, too,” he said with a huge grin.

A couple of hours later, the KKK did finally show up. A reporter for the Burlington Times-News said that a 30-car motorcade did drive through the streets of Roxboro, a town 36 miles from Pelham, with at least one person chanting “white power.”

While KKK parades and rallies are nothing new in the state of North Carolina, they’re not as accepted as they once were. Last year, the same group held a rally against undocumented immigrants, though no speech about the topic was ever given. Again, they just chanted “white power.”

Counter-protesters march through the streets of Danville, Virginia.
Counter-protesters march through the streets of Danville, Virginia.

It’s not clear why the KKK didn’t hold their event at the location and time that they had planned to. Reporter Natalie A. Janicello tweeted that the KKK had experienced a “snafu.”

Richard Dillon, 47, of Indiana, was stabbed at a KKK pre-rally meeting in Yanceyville, a town neighboring Pelham.

Two men were charged with the crime. One of the men that police arrested is Christopher Eugene Barker, founder of the Loyal White Knights. Police report that a verbal dispute led to the stabbing.

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NYFW is Over! Here are 20 Things We Actually Would Wear

Me, now that fashion week is over.


After 10 fun-filled days of New York Fashion Week chaos (it’s never just a week), the fog has finally lifted, sort of. Aside from actual proof that we were there — mounds of fashion-week swag and countless Instagram images — it still feels as if it never happened. Like it was one big dream in which we’d leave work in the middle of the day, take the subway uptown, and enter a world of pure fantasy. But then I look, with pride, at my calloused feet, and remember, yes, it did in fact happen.

So before we truly get back to our boring lives, we’d like to snuggle with our fashion-week memories and recap the very best Spring/Summer 2015 pieces that we liked this season.

Timo Weiland

One of my favorite shows each season is Timo Weiland’s menswear collection, and once again the collective (made up of designers Weiland, Alan Eckstein, and Donna Kang) delivered with this preppy/cabana punk-boy line. Would I actually wear these drawstring pants, with a tucked-in white button-down shirt, and Dr. Martens sandals made for a man? Hell, yes! -AC

LITKE

These white linen get-ups by LITKE, with the addition of a bra and higher shoes to mature the look and downplay the whole sexy-adolescent-Quaker image.

Likewise these black above-the-ankle slacks with miniature hand-stitched X detailing, also by LITKE. They would streamline well with a solid black or white top and Birkenstocks or ankle boots. -Heather Baysa

Jay Godfrey

Jay Godfrey’s country-goddess collection was kind of refreshing, as it was one of the most attainable collections I saw. In other words, you can actually wear this and not look weird. Long skirts, fringe coats, ponchos? Yes, please! -AC

Daniel Silverstain

I loved this shirt and pants by Daniel Silverstain, though I wouldn’t wear them together, and would wear the pants in black rather than red. The futuristic take on the peplum is interesting, especially in how the texture of the stiff, astronaut-y neoprene contrasts with the girly silk pleats. -Nikkitha Bakshani

Charlotte Ronson

Although I’m not a huge fan of pastels, as seen heavily in the Charlotte Ronson collection, there were a couple of items that I wouldn’t deem extremely girly. I really liked the big polka-dot pattern, and a navy blue see-through top. -AC

Thaddeus O’Neil

This knee-length relaxed military jacket by Thaddeus O’Neil. So what that we’re women and this is a men’s line? Nothing is more feminine than over-sized surplus this fall. -HB

Mara Hoffman

Mara Hoffman’s S/S 2015 collection was a much-needed vacation to a tropical island in which Pharrell-type hats are the norm. Though, more thrilling were the patterns used, from blue swirls and suns to star-shaped plants. Because even if you can’t escape to a remote paradise, you can simply wear these long flowy dresses and pretend you did.

Mark & Estel

This whole casual rocker look by Mark & Estel. The brown bootleg jeans and faded black tank would flatter even a body that wasn’t as absurdly linear as this model’s, especially with that medium-brimmed hat. In fact, we have that hat. Also, this billowy Seinfeld frock. Hear us out: It would be great office-wear underneath a structured blazer or tucked into an A-line skirt. The mini and stiletto pairing is a bit too Renaissance-era strip joint for our liking. -HB

Luis Antonio

Puerto Rican designer Luis Antonio made an outstanding debut at the tents, so much so that he was the only one to receive a standing ovation, at least at the shows I attended. His entire collection was high-glam, and definitely what I would wear if I were a high-power woman who could easily jet-set it to Paris for dinner and a show. You see, that’s what fashion week is all about…fantasizing.

And watch the video below to see what the style looked like outside:

 

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Interpol – The Met – 9/2/14

Better Than: Being inebriated during mass at the Vatican.

Is Interpol art? I asked myself that very question as I watched Paul Banks — a ridiculously handsome man, in a black suit and tie with slicked hair a la Don Draper (’cause that’s how he rolls) — perform inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and wondered if I was witnessing some kind of majestic piece of historic art come to life.

Over the top? Perhaps. But when you’re inside this particular concert venue (which isn’t typically a concert venue) where there are no sticky floors, harsh lighting, or grotesque bathrooms, but rather Egyptian artifacts that date back from the Paleolithic to the Roman period, it feels special. It’s not every day a New York band performs inside a New York institution.

See also: How Interpol Took the Dirtiest Word in Rock ‘n’ Roll and Turned It on Its Head

In less than a week Interpol’s fifth album, El Pintor, drops, which is why we gathered last night to celebrate this monumental moment inside the Met’s Temple of Dendur. We’re also here because (a word from the show’s sponsor) the Met launched its new app, blah, blah, blah.

Another reason why this show important: it marks the start of the band’s first global tour in three years.

As the band made their way onto the makeshift stage it felt as they too were an ancient artifact being unearthed. They looked reborn. It may be the three-year hiatus, but the band seems a lot happier these days, Banks does anyway. The dude had a grin the entire time! It was kind of spectacular, considering he’s not exactly known for his smile. Although he was short on words during this brief hour-and-a-half show he was visibly taken by the entire of experience. He’d look around the museum, smile at the crowd, and gaze at the Egyptian temple in front of him.

“What an honor it is to play a hometown show at the Met,” Banks said, in awe. “This is pretty fucking cool.”

The show started promptly with “Untitled,” the slow, hypnotic tune from their 2002 debut album Turn on the Bright Lights, which was a good way to ease into things. That tune led into the sluggish, ballad-esque “Leif Erikson” from the same album.

It was during “Length of Love,” off 2004’s Antics that the show really began to pick up. Drummer Sam Fogarino played with such vitality; it was as if his intentions were to break his kit, especially during “My Desire” from the new album. He pounded hard and heavy.

From my angle I couldn’t really see guitarist Daniel Kesller, but he sounded right on point. Everyone did, even the new guys helping out — though the new bassist had a not-so discreet cheat sheet handy. The drumming and Banks’ signature monotone vocals reverberated incredibly off the glass surroundings. At one point, while everyone clapped in unison during “Narc,” it felt as if the windows were going to give.

The band played one other song from El Pintor, the dance-y first single “All the Rage Back Home.” The rest of the set was uber-nostalgic and it, sadly, ended too quickly. Though not before riffing into “Not Even Jail” off of Antics. What a highlight it was hearing Banks belt it out in that room. Alas, they didn’t even get to the scheduled last song, which should have been “PDA” (see setlist below). I guess I can always make it out to this week’s show at the Bowery Ballroom. Oh wait, it’s sold out, and oh, it’s not the effing MET!!!

Critical Bias: Paul Banks was my second sexual awakening (Slash was my first).

Overheard: “How precious,” some lady said at the end of the show when Banks and Fogarino hugged it out.

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MANDALAY INDUSTRIES

The southeast Asian nation of Myanmar (also called Burma) has become more open to the West in recent years, following political and economic reforms, but its cuisine remains elusive in New York. The sixth annual Burmese Food Fair fills the void, serving a range of traditional appetizers, entrées, and desserts in Long Island City. Proceeds from the event benefit the Moegyo Humanitarian Foundation, which aids orphans and disadvantaged children in Myanmar’s most impoverished regions. So what is Burmese food? Visitors will encounter flavors reminiscent of Chinese, Indian, and southeast Asian cooking. This year’s menu incorporates ingredients as diverse as preserved tea leaves, tapioca, crispy pork belly, and shaved ice. Purchase tickets at the door for $1 a dish, which will allow you to sample items like Burmese summer rolls, noodles with spicy pepper fish, and rose-flavored milkshakes.

Sun., June 8, noon, 2014

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Here’s a Taste of Sycamore Bar & Flower Shop’s Crawfish Boil

Summer is the season of the outdoor seafood feast, which means opportunity abounds to strap on a bib and belly up to huge piles of crabs, clams, lobsters, or crawfish and shuck and slurp your way into a food coma. One such chance went down over the weekend: Sycamore Bar & Flower Shop (1118 Cortelyou Road) held its fifth annual Crawfish Boil on Saturday afternoon.

The party experienced a tiny snag: The main course was running late. Very late. It was almost two hours after the first tasting session began that the FedEx truck finally arrived with several cases of large crawfish.

Luckily, the lively crowd hanging in the outdoor patio didn’t seem to mind. Plenty of Abita beer was poured, keeping everyone content.

When the cooks finally got the crawfish into the large steel pots, they dumped in potatoes, celery, heads of garlic, lemon and oranges cut in halves, and corn on the cob. They also poured in a dark orange seasoning.

“It’s an ancient recipe!” one of the cooks told us, with a laugh, after we asked him about the seasoning. (We later caught a glimpse of the yellow bag containing the spices — it was called Louisiana Crawfish Co. Seafood Boil.) The cooks handed out shots of the broth for those who inquired; it was deliciously potent.

At last, the crawfish was served (we’re not sure exactly when because we stopped looking at the time after the third pint of beer), and it was worth the wait. Each person, it seemed, had his or her own method for eating the shellfish; some began by twisting the head from the tail, while others first pinched the tail to loosen it up in order to easily pull out the meat. One thing everyone agreed on: sucking the meat from the head is optional.

Missed this but interested in future seafood bacchanals? Sycamore will also host a South Carolina-style oyster bake on June 28, and a clambake on August 23.

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GET SUMMER SCHOOLED

Now that the worst winter of all time is finally a distant memory (sort of), let’s rejoice under the sun and sing songs that make us nostalgic for those carefree days of our youth. Tonight’s Summer Jam Sing-Along promises an escape to the tackiest era of all: the ’90s, in which flannel, neon windbreakers, and chokers lived in harmony. For two whole hours (could you handle more?) sing along to music videos by Sugar Ray, 2Pac, Sublime, LEN, Third Eye Blind, and many more. Naturally there’s a dance-off, ’90s-themed giveaways, and a costume contest, so don’t forget your slap bracelet.

Fri., May 23, 9:30 p.m., 2014

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THE ORIGINAL

Millions of immigrants came through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954, but who was the first? A couple of years ago, after researching records from the Netherlands, scholars at the Dominican Studies Institute at CUNY City College identified the first immigrant to New York City. His name was Juan Rodriguez, a sailor turned merchant who arrived in 1643 in downtown Manhattan from his home on the island now known as the Dominican Republic. Director Maija Garcia presents I Am New York: Juan Rodriguez, a new work of theater that imagines the story of an unsung hero of mixed race who defended his freedom to live in this incredible city.

Wed., May 28, noon, 2014

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BAND OF BROTHERS

Today, Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal are two of the most accomplished actors, directors, producers who infiltrated American cinema in the early ’00s in a wave of thespians and filmmakers from Mexico. However, back in 2001, when Y Tu Mamá También was released, these two young men were up-and-coming indie actors with a certain gleam in their eye, and we just knew they’d hit it big. The film, about two best friends on a road trip to a mysterious beach with a Spanish beauty who’s hiding a secret, went on to win a slew of awards, and became a classic coming-of-age film. Tonight, Nitehawk reminds us why we fell in love with Luna and Bernal in the first place — as if we could ever forget.

Wed., May 21, 7:15 p.m., 2014

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A LIVING SPACE

Controversial photographer Andres Serrano, most (in)famous for his Piss Christ, is taking on another hot topic: New York City’s homeless. For his new show, “Residents of New York,” Serrano followed 85 homeless people for several months and interacted with them daily. “They are people with dreams and aspirations who, for a multitude of personal and external reasons, are living a very difficult situation,” he said. “I see this project as an opportunity for us to look deep inside ourselves and examine our sometime hypocritical attitudes toward charity.” Beginning today, the public can see these large-scale portraits around Washington Square Park, including the entire West 4th Street subway station, along with LaGuardia Place, Judson Memorial Church, and public phone booths.

Mondays-Sundays, 10 a.m. Starts: May 19. Continues through June 19, 2014

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JUST BREATHE

On any given day, making your way through the mazelike Museum of Modern Art can be a bit daunting. However, beginning today, visiting this institution is a lot more exciting as your very attendance becomes part of an exhibition. “Breathe with Me,” in conjunction with “Lygia Clark: The Abandonment of Art, 1948–1988,” featuring varying ways to learn about art. Some highlights include Rio, in which participants read Clark’s work on a long strip of fabric that “becomes a line of text that flows like a river,” and Sirva-Se, which asks you to communicate using glasses of water attached to different parts of the body, and, through the simple act of passing water from one participant to another, explore issues such as trust, cooperation, silence, and flow.

Mondays-Sundays, 10 a.m. Starts: May 16. Continues through June 29, 2014