December 12-13, 2014

As I noted Friday on Twitter, I’ve had to buy an unusually large number of tickets via Ticketmaster this month. 90% of the time, the shows we attend are at local rockclubs, or via Duke Performances, so at worst I wind up paying a couple of bucks in fees to Etix or TicketFly, or having to navigate Duke’s Byzantine online ticketing system.

But if you want to attend anything at the Carolina Theatre, or DPAC, or now at the newly LiveNation-managed Ritz in Raleigh, it’s Ticketmaster. So this month, having bought tickets to Sleater-Kinney, Erykah Badu, and two of the Carolina’s Film Acoustic screenings, I’m literally out something like $70 in fees to Ticketmaster.

In the case of the Carolina, this is partly because I was too lazy to walk the 5 blocks to the box office and buy them there, so there is a significant self- component to the loathing I’m feeling.

Friday was pretty brutal at work for both M and myself, so I walked over to Toast for takeout, and then we wound up watching Ravenous, which had been recommended earlier in the week by johndarnielle

It’s an odd one. I had seen it before (though M hadn’t), but I had forgotten just how odd the tone was. It’s bloody & deadpan and kind of unsatisfying, but in an interesting way. Plus it features Jeremy Davies lurking in a small, amusing role as a highly-religious private.

Saturday was bullshit errands, and then a matinee screening of Mockingjay. Which starts out pretty terrible – limp dialogue, lots of catch-up exposition, not much action – but then slowly morphs into a really interesting (and DARK) meditation on the role of propaganda in political and revolutionary conflict. 

It’s not as good at that as Starship Troopers, but there’s still a lot going on there. I probably wouldn’t watch it again for fun, but I could see myself teaching it in a class.

After the movie we had an invitation to attend the friends and family pre-opening at Juju, the new venture from Charlie Deal, chef/owner of Jujube in Chapel Hill and Dos Perros in Durham.

Juju is much closer in vibe and spirit to Jujube (as the name implies), although if anything the space is more beautiful. The website says “Asian Tapas” and when I was talking to Charlie about it a few months ago, he said that part of his vision was to have dim sum carts circling so that you could be offered something delicious within a few moments of being seated.

There was a little bit of that happening last night, along with a lengthy menu of moderately-priced small plates, including a whole section of vegetables. In fact, the lightly glazed roasted brussels sprouts with dried apricots were our favorite dish of the evening.

Some of the dishes – dumplings, the mushroom curry soup – will be familiar to anyone who has eaten at Jujube. Others are unique to Juju.

For a friends-and-family pre-opening, the kitchen was doing a remarkable job – we had several dishes that are as good as anything I’ve eaten in Durham in the past year or so.

They open for real on Tuesday. It’s a pretty big space – and there’s lots of room at the center bar, as well as a kitchen bar like the one at Jujube – but I still predict they’ll hit a Mateo level of crammed pretty quickly once word gets out.

After we got home from Juju, I started seeing tweets about a protest march from Walltown, down through Ninth Street, and in the direction of 147. A friend who was there said that the decision had been made early on NOT to try to take 147, but somehow the march still wound up on the Swift Avenue bridge over the freeway, where they were apparently met by riot police with their LRAD noise weapon.

[Aside: when did Durham buy that? How much did it cost? Or was it one of those federal government cast-off freebies?]

Here is video of a little bit of what happened next:

It’s pretty shaky and hard to make out, but this video and the protesters’ tweets seem to suggest that the police pursued the protesters back across the bridge and to the Main/Broad intersection, in several cases chasing and tackling fleeing protesters.

I haven’t seen or heard anything in the news about this, and it’s unclear to me what the protesters could have done to deserve being chased and tackled after they were already leaving the area that the cops had blocked off.

There was also this little detail:

Pretty classy, Ben & Jerry, you old capitalist faux-hippie farts.

December 12-13, 2014

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