It’s been a crazy month at Smith Manor. I’ve been thankful for opportunities for recent essays and directing an upcoming publication for an arts festival here in Charlotte. (More on that latter item soon.) But I’d also like to point to a few things I’ve had the chance to write for the two main publications I call home: Charlotte magazine and Hi-Fructose Magazine.

For CM: a piece on the rise of ticket-scammers in Charlotte (due to Hamilton)an Alzheimer’s study between the city symphony and Queen’s University, a Tony Bennett interview that touched on his painting career and arts education, and a city-wide museum/gallery effort center on contemporary Mexican photography.

For HF: an interview with Joe Vaux on splitting duties between directing Family Guy and his own art practice, a look at John Jacobsmeyer’s new show, exploring the Kehinde Wiley/Amy Sherald presidential portraits, and much more.

What works of art have you been digging lately? Let me know.

Part 2 of Charlotte mag accountability series is live

Mint-9657121b-0c5684f3 (1)Below is an excerpt from the second installment in my accountability series for Charlotte mag. The actually survey, with salaries, attendance numbers, and revenue for Charlotte museums, can be found here.

This week, the McColl Center for Art + Innovation named Alli Celebron-Brown, formerly of Foundation For The Carolinas, its new president and CEO. In 2017, the cultural sector has seen an enormous shift in arts leadership in Charlotte. With this in mind, the second installment of our series on accountability in Charlotte arts takes a critical look at the numbers surrounding Charlotte museums, in terms of leadership, revenue, and attendance. It’s been a decade since the recession that devastated the cultural sector. And as leaders now come and go, it’s difficult to keep up with the broader picture of our museums.

In a few areas, comparing museums isn’t a fair endeavor, as each has its own mission and audience. However, there are a few trends to notice as you read though this guide. There’s a gulf in compensation for leaders of similarly sized organizations. Also: The context of some of the higher numbers change when you consider whether an institution has multiple campuses. Read the list here.

Charlotte artist Dammit Wesley recently issued a great “WAKE N MAKE” activity on Instagram: “Find 5 new artists of color that inspire you, repost their work AND CREDIT THEM.” I took the opportunity to post a few artists I’m digging lately (and for a couple, have covered): Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Lavar Munroe, Haroshi, Tschabalala Self, and Alejandra Laviada. Check out the work below:

My Favorite LPs for Writing: 2017

I’m often asked about my favorite albums to play while writing, which is a very nice question since I’m just some goober. Here are a few of my faves in rotation lately:

Toe – “the book about my idle plot on a vague anxiety”
This one just narrowly edges out 2015’s “Hear You.” Toe is a fantastic post-rock band from Tokyo, with Kashikura Takashi’s drumming itself something to obsess over.


Thelonious Monk – “Thelonious Alone in San Francisco”
A best bet for Saturday morning, as it’s far more sparse than these other choices. Monk recorded this live at Fugazi Hall without an audience in 1959, making it something special for a quiet session alone.


The Perfect Sports – “Demo Songs”
Another Japanese mathrock group, but the energy is youthful and less polished here. I’m particularly infatuated with their “Demo Songs” collection from a few years back: