The Good: The Local Artists Creating a New Performance Archive

As hard as the coronavirus shutdown has hit bars and restaurants, nightclubs and concert halls, it’s hit musicians and artists, too. They now find themselves without venues in which to perform and, often, means by which to get paid. But as the INDY’s Brian Howe has documented over the last week, lots of them have taken to livestreaming their performances, often raising money for themselves or worthy causes: Phil Cook, Blue Cactus, Carolina Ballet, Curtis Eller’s American Circus, the Jewish Authors Book Festival, The Mountain Goats, Django Haskins, the North Carolina Opera, author Jessica Q. Stark, C. Albert Blomquist, Juliana Finch, and many others we don’t have space to name. Oh, and Hiss Golden Messenger dropped an entire live album to benefit the Durham Public Schools Foundation, which is amazing.

The Bad: Mark Keith Robinson

The Republican primary for lieutenant governor had a crowded field with some big names, and no one expected any of them to cross the 30 percent threshold to avoid a runoff. But someone did—Mark Keith Robinson, a gun-rights activist best known for a viral speech he made at a Greensboro City Council meeting in 2018, who, if elected, would become the state’s first black LG. (His Dem opponent is black, too.) The problem is that no one had bothered to vet him, or even to read his Facebook page, which is full of the kinds of unhinged shit that would have been considered disqualifying not so long ago: COVID-19 conspiracy theories (the “globalist” did it!), gay-bashing, trans-bashing, more gay-bashing, immigrant-bashing, and so on. He says gay rights will lead to “PEDOPHILLA” [sic] and “the END of civilization.” He thinks the LGBTQ community is full of “devil worshiping child molesters.” He laments that black people enjoyed Black Panther, which was “created by an agnostic Jew and put to film by satanic marxist … to pull the shekels out of your Schvartze pockets.” We could go on, but you get the idea. 

The Awful: Wayne Johnson

On March 18, a Postmates delivery driver posted on Facebook her account of an exchange with Allison Johnson, a co-owner of Johnson Family Barbecue in Durham, in which Johnson snapped at the driver because Johnson had asked Postmates to take her restaurant off the site, telling the driver to leave the store, then following her outside and saying, “Bitch, fuck you, what you gonna do?” Two days later, another Facebook user, Noonie Jay, who had seen this post, left a (now-deleted) one-star review on Johnson Family Barbecue’s website. Wayne Johnson—Allison’s husband and a co-owner—responded in perhaps the worst way possible: “Noonie Jay you a a [sic] fucking [N-word] cunt.” He wasn’t done. When someone criticized his staff for being rude, he replied, “Blow me.” Another time: “How about sucking my dick.” In a private message, he threatened to sue the Postmates driver and kept messaging her after she asked him to stop. Just an all-around winner, that guy. 

Contact editor in chief Jeffrey C. Billman at 

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