Our Favorite Biscuit Stories of 2020
Happy New Year.
(You’ve overstayed your welcome.)
On January 1, 2020, We’d just completed the first full year of publishing The Biscuit. We had a clear vision of exactly where we wanted to go in the 12 months that lay ahead. And, we were executing that vision … until a giant “closed” sign was hung on the world.
The first few days of the pandemic were scary. We weren’t sure where to go or what do to. But, we soon made a promise to ourselves: We’d spend the year getting to know as many as we could. We’d share them with you and we’d do everything we could to help tell the stories of how creatives persisted under the most terrifying and daunting of conditions. We committed ourselves to finding ways to fill your hearts, make you smile and, on occasion, laugh.
We knew going into all of this that Charlotte’s creative community was deep, resilient, collaborative and powerful. This year taught us how much of an understatement that was. At every turn, Queen City creatives rose to the challenge, seeing love and collaboration across our community.
Our Favorite Stories of 2020
We published more than 500 stories in 12 months and we barely scratched the surface of what creatives did to combat and rise above a year that pushed against them. We’re proud of our work this year, but some stories always rise to the top. In fact, from day one, we were running to catch up to all the amazing stories and creative Charlotteans we found.
Here are a few of our favorite Biscuit stories from 2020. We hope you enjoy them as we toast a fresh set of 365 days. If you haven’t subscribed to The Biscuit weekly newsletter yet, you can do it right here.
“Deborah Triplett Fills the Cracks of Cancer with Gold”
Created by Charlotte Star Room and Matt Olin
No one wants to hear: “You have stage 3 lung cancer.” Revelations like that affect people differently. The diagnosis informs them. But, it doesn’t have to come to define them. Charlotte photographer, Deborah Triplett — with help from a HUG Micro-Grant — chose a unique approach: She asked her creative friends to paint her bald head for a set of self-portraits. This was her way of embracing the ancient concept of Wabi-sabi — accepting the transience and imperfection of life. As Deborah says, she chose to “fill the cracks with gold.”
To help Deborah tell her story, Charlotte Star Room and The Biscuit created a special video (a “Hugumentary”) about her process.
Here are a few more creative Charlotteans we enjoyed sharing with you in 2020:
- MacFly Fresh FGives Us Something to SHOUT About
- Wet Pint: Meet Jen Hill
- CLTBlackOwned Has Pride, Purpose and a Plan
- Celebrating Charlotte’s Latinx Creatives
- Liz Clasen-Kelly is Finding Creative Ways to End Homelessness
- Jalil Pack is Funding the QC’s Creative Beat
Editorials & Photo Stories
OUR 2020 FAVORITE:
“The State of Our Stages”
Created by Heather Liebler, Matt Olin and Tim Miner
Stages need people. Audience banks need people. Backstages need people. Sound and light booths need people. Box offices need people. Without people, it’s just not the same. COVID-19 has been especially cruel to the performing arts. The world was full of empty stages in 2020. The stages — the creatives who perform on them and the crews who work around them — needed our help this past year. They will again in 2021.
To illustrate this, The Biscuit commissioned Charlotte photographer, Heather Liebler, to bring her lens to six of the empty stages of our city – the McGlohon Theater, the Knight Theater, Theatre Charlotte, the Neighborhood Theatre, the theater at Northwest School of the Arts, and the Sandra Levine Theatre at Queens University. We asked Heather to capture the perspective of both the audience member and the performer. We also asked the men and women who manage these stages to speak for them.
Other 2020 editorial & photo stories we’re proud of:
- A Note to Paige Johnston Thomas
- Call Us Crazy, But We’re Thankful for 2020
- Break. Create. Help Someone. Do It Again.
- Visions of the Not Normal: Yanira Fuentes
- Visions of the Not Normal: Kayden Hunt
Our Favorite of 2020:
The Black Lives Matter Mural – Letter By Letter, Artist By Artist
Written by Tim Miner and Porter Metzler
On June 6, a group of 16 artists wrote a universal truth on the streets of Uptown Charlotte so that all who saw their work would write it on their hearts: BLACK LIVES MATTER.
These artists were aided by the City of Charlotte, Charlotte Is Creative, BLKMRKTCLT, Brand the Moth and scores of assisting artists, photographers and videographers. In under nine hours, they created unique works of art for every letter in “Black Lives Matter” and their work resonated around the world. The Charlotte team went on to produce more social justice art across the city and South Carolina and advised other Black Lives Matter murals across the globe.
The Biscuit, which is published by Charlotte Is Creative, was on hand to break the story and chronicle the event from the very first brushstroke. Working with the artists, we were able to capture the story and meaning behind each letter, as well as how to thank the creatives who painted them. Read that story here.
“ARE YOU WILLING TO ATTACH YOURSELF TO A LEGACY THAT’S BIGGER THAN YOU?”
Our friends, Charlotte Star Room, were with us to film the creation of the mural, capturing a glimpse at the power and emotion of the day. From that, they created a short video featuring a spoken word performance by Greg Jackson of Heal Charlotte.
More stories of how Charlotte Creatives combined their talents with social justice:
- Black Lives Matter Mural – Letter By Letter, Artist By Artist
- Queen City Creatives React to the Death of George Floyd
- Fighting for Equity with a Jig Saw
- Why Our Grief is Loud When Black Heroes Die
- A Call & Demand for Respect of Black Artists
- Charlotte Artists Present ACT: NOW
Exploring CLT & Creative News
OUR FAVORITE OF 2020:
How to Help the Flood-Damaged Creatives at LaCa Projects
Written by Tim Miner
To add insult to injury on a very difficult year, Little Sugar Creek overflowed in mid-November. LaCa Projects, an art gallery and site of creative studios, was among the hardest hit.
Within the space of 15 minutes, LaCa, which stands for Latin American Contemporary Art, began to flood. Eventually, the gallery, The Batch House bakery and tenants in the studios behind the gallery, were filled with several feet of water. By the end of the day, the waters had receded, but the damage was done. The artwork on display in the gallery was severely damaged. And, the livelihood of many artists was put into question.
We were honored to work with the tenants to share how to help them immediate aftermath. But, the damage was severe. The gallery and the creatives who called it home will need our support in the months ahead. Read more about them here.
More content about interesting places, events and perspectives in Charlotte
- Podcast: Classic Black at the Mint Museum
- The Story of Restoring the Park Road Shopping Center’s Crown
- A Photo Tour of NoDa’s New Trash Cans
- Laura Wolff Sees the Soul of the Skyline
- Manor Theatre Closing. Out Hearts are Broken.
WOW! That’s What I Call Charlotte Music!
While 2020 was a challenge, it didn’t dampen our sense of humor. And, that’s where we want to leave you … with a parody video we made with Charlotte Star Room about Charlotte-themed lounge music. Give it a watch. It will bore itself into your brain and carry you into the New Year.