Continuing the DIY legacy

by Eric Ginsburg

Ishould have talked to her last week. We ran into each other at the Hand-to-Hand Market and joked that she applied her curating skills to the chip selection in front of her as she sold refreshments, and made plans to talk telephonically soon. I wanted to learn more about the process of creating the ______ horn, a new seasonal anthology beckoning creative types to Greensboro.

By the time Rebecca Henderson more fully explained her vision for Mono Sound and partnership with On Pop of the World — a recording studio hidden away in Glenwood run by Randy Seals — my cover story on Andrew Dudek and the DIY music scene had already hit the racks (“A scene grows up,” Dec. 12). Henderson’s story would have been a perfect addition to the article, so it seems fitting that a short follow-up continues the threads started last week.

Without knowing about the cover story, she led the conversation towards an issue at the core of social movements and music scenes a like — the need for space — and lamented that independent venues were constantly being shut down in Greensboro. If all goes according to plan, Henderson may have found a way around that.

Utilizing a new and relatively unknown legal status known as an LC3, or lowprofit limited liability company, Henderson plans to launch Mono Sound. The specialty venue would have a symbiotic relationship with the recording studio — the two spaces share a wall — and a sparse booking schedule, indicating that Mono Sound would really be vouching for the independent acts it brought in.

She’s still working out the specifics, from where a stage may go to what the space will encompass, but the fire marshal has already come through and explained the necessary changes, a historic hurdle for DIY music venues in the city.

Giving a nod to people like Sam Martin and the folks behind Legitimate Business, Henderson said she’s drawing on what others have laid out.

“I am standing on the shoulders of the precedent of other people,” she said. This cowboy-boots-wearing artist who moved here two years ago because of Elsewhere after studying sculpture and extended media has dabbled in stand-up comedy and writing music, booked an all-female art show in a mostly forgotten building in Richmond, Va., worked on a sculpture commissioned for an airport and co-launched the _____ horn this summer.

Her proximity to such an array of artists and forms of expression aligns neatly with her philosophy on art. Rather than operating on a capitalist model of scarcity she relies on the praxis of complimentary work, operating in community, emphasizing the need for caring.

She plans to book shows far enough in advance that they aren’t double-booked with other venues, to collaborate with groups like Avant Greensboro and to start booking in February.

Yet while much of the local cultural scene is trying to bust out of Greensboro, Henderson said she’s aspiring to siphon people in, both through submissions to the ____ horn anthology and Mono Sound. Like Dudek’s Dick Street days where bands were welcomed with a meal and a place to stay, Henderson hopes by offering a unique and accommodating experience, bands will make it a point to come here.

You can tell she’s satisfied with the test run, sitting at On Pop of the World listening to the mix of a test run of what’s in store. After booking three bands to play at the Flat Iron as a Mono Sounds soft launch last week, Henderson invited the touring acts to record a short live set in the studio, something she intends to be a regular component of Mono Sound’s events.

She’s also in the middle of curating the second issue of the ____ horn, excitedly discussing the excellent art submissions to her “pricy pet” and adding that she wants it to turn out like the “fetish art objects that sign when you hold them” like the ones she grew up around in Charlotte. Henderson, known as “the hapless editor,” said that she and her co-editor in Little Rock, Ark. plan to release “issue ii: prophetic” relatively soon.

Henderson’s partner-in-crime, “the besotted editor” who declined to give his name, confirmed her description of a project that they simultaneously take very seriously and have a “huge sense of humor” about. The spirit of the project was obvious in an e-mail offering five different acceptable names for him including “the real Brad Pitt,” “Elroy Sachnutte” and “secretary in charge of Midwest affairs.”

“If you need anything else from the Midwest office, don’t hesitate to ask,” he said as the message drew to a close. “Otherwise, Rebecca AKA the editor, hapless, should be able to handle all normal affairs from headquarters. For your convenience, my entire message is copied in German below.”

The pair’s sense of humor and style is at times indistinguishable, which is understandable given that they worked on their high school newspaper in Charlotte together and have remained friends, instigating the ________ horn out to help fill a void they felt at a time when they both still resided in Greensboro.

Standing in the middle of Mono Sound’s future home, I couldn’t picture exactly what she had in mind for the space as I watched her eyes take in the room that recently served as the clubhouse for a motorcycle club. Her perpetual restlessness and dedication to her vision will help ensure the project comes together — maybe, like Dudek, she was born to be a host.

Mono Sound is a work in process, like the ____ horn, with a partially written future.

“You approach life with questions, right?” she said at the outset of our conversation. “The _____ horn was an answer to a question.”

Maybe Mono Sound is part of the answer to some of the questions raised in “A scene grows up,” but it’s clear that Henderson, Seals and the besotted editor are in good company here.