In recent years, interest in The Subway—a network of clubs, restaurants and shops that once thrived beneath what remains Cameron Village—has spiked, inspiring a series of tributes (and lame send-offs) to the memories of that once-thriving space.
Though she certainly wasn’t the first to explore that bygone era online, Candid Slice editor Heather Leahwood helped spark the wave of nostalgia with a blog post in the summer of 2013. And now, she’s about a month away from finishing Raleigh’s Forgotten Underground, an oral and photographic history of the space and its legends. Tomorrow, she’ll get some help after a presentation of some of her initial research at the City of Raleigh Museum. After the noon talk, Leahwood will collect photographs, documents and testimonies from people who frequented or worked in The Subway until 3 p.m.
“I always thought writing a book would be a solitary activity, an author sitting by himself, writing,” says Leahwood. “But this has been a very communal experience, with people crawling out of the woodwork to connect me with bands. People have been very generous in their willingness to help.”
When Leahwood asked attendees to give her some song titles for a playlist for tomorrow’s event, for instance, they sent her CDs and MP3s instead. Others have linked her with bands like R.E.M. for anecdotes for the book, while the photographers and photographs keep pouring in. Alas, this might be the last public opportunity for Leahwood to collect materials, as only one-third of the book is finalized. In order to have it available for a release party during September 2016 (likely during Hopscotch), she needs to file a draft by the end of February. A year later, she plans to stage a full exhibition of artifacts at the City of Raleigh Museum.
Several musicians who played the clubs of The Subway should be in attendance tomorrow, but so far, there are no plans for live music at the free event, slated to run from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
“If any of them happen to bring a guitar along, though,” Leahwood says, “I don’t think anyone would complain.”