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August 31, 2009

n36610546_32369976_7124With my new American Aquarium CD in hand, Kianga, my friend Josh (aka Juice) and I made our way to the Southside for a little taste of the  Nitty Gritty Soul Cafe. During regular business hours, 11:00am – 9:00pm, the Nitty offers the best soul food in town. From salmon patties to fried okra, a food connoisseur can feast on the delights of good old, down right southern cooking. However, after the last patty is fried and the greasy skillets are cleaned the Nitty transforms into a hype club featuring the raw talents of the Tre 4. (Slang definitions provided below)

It’s 12 o’clock on the dot and the parking lot is crammed with chrome 22’s and ice cream paint jobs. While the vibrations of the 808’s gyrated the walls and the rhythmic melodies of urban novels plunge into your ears. Quickly surveying the line of police cars surrounding the entrance I realized that I would have to, yet again adjust my comfort level, repeating to myself, “All in the name of Art”. At the door, a bodybuilding bouncer (tongue twister) proceeded to check our pocket books for weapons. When he opened Kianga’s bag, I had to laugh as he searched though her numerous maps and books of Winston Salem. I thought to myself, “The only thing we would be able to do in here is have a lesson on Winston Salem history and geography.” After shifting through our research materials, he explained how the club would close in 2 hours, but the cover was still $20. Now, I’m not a cheap skate, but $20 for 2 hours is ridiculous. I had to turn into Kianga’s manager and publicist.

If you didn’t know already, pulling out a card in Winston-Salem signifies professionalism. I asked to speak to the manager of the club. Handing him my SECCA card, I explained how the “Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art” was launching Kianga’s audio guided tour of the city and we needed to enter the facility for research purposes only. He glanced over the card and said we could come in. Our bouncer however had to stay outside. Kianga and I looked at each other puzzled. Who was our bouncer? Standing directly behind us, we realized he was talking about Josh.

I couldn’t abandon Josh! Leaving him outside with Winston Salem’s finest law enforcement and the other guys who enjoyed parking lot pimpin. I told the club owner Josh was an essential asset to the research and had to accompany us inside. He gave Josh a long stare and said okay. The cloud of smoke hit our lungs as we entered into a hole in the wall. (Well…a wall with two holes because of the exit). The impact of the music shook our bodies walking through the dance floor. Energy radiated throughout the small building and everyone danced off all the stress of the week. Kianga began to mentally record the uncut nature of the Nitty. She would use this experience within her walk.

On the other hand, I ran into people I hadn’t seen in forever, like Kim from Wiley Middle School. When you leave a city you’ve known all your life and return it’s mind boggling to see how things or people have changed; how exposure to new cultures and environments outside of Winston alters your perception. I told Kianga I appreciated her tour of the city. Only in a utopia would the people at The Garage interact with individuals from the Nitty Gritty. Yet, this tour would give them a reason to learn about each other; a reason to venture out of one’s comfort zone and experience something unknown.

Slang Definitions

Tre 4- Pronounced “Tre Fo”, the term is used to represent the City of Winston-Salem. Tre originates from the Triad and the area being the third largest city in North Carolina. The 4 defines Forsyth’s county code of 34.

22’s- Refers to the size of a car’s rims. Also known as double deuces

Ice Cream Paint Jobs- Refers to a motor vehicle that features a creamy interior, while also possessing an exceptionally clean exterior. This is analogous to a ice cream cone in which the “cream” is contained within the interior of the cone while the outside remains clean. Hence, the “Ice Cream Paint Job”.

Gyrate- To move in a circle or spiral, or around a fix point

808’s- Refers to a drum machine called a Roland TR-808, which has a heavy bass.

Hole in the Wall- Generally a small place (usually a bar or a club) that has very low quality equipment, furniture, but sometimes will provide the best variety of entertainment on any give night. Usually found in the south.

Parking lot Pimpin-  Driving through the parking lot at 2mph in order to receive attention for your vehicle, flat screen televisions, and sound system.

Photo by Anthony Andries

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