Classes are resuming this week around the country in institutions that reactionaries and radicals have found common ground over, labeling them elitist and out of touch with the real world.  Yes, I’m referring to the so-called academic strongholds, portrayed as well-armed fortresses by those who would like to see them overthrown, while those of us who are temporary occupants can experience them more like delicate membranes of inclusiveness, ready to be blown away by the slightest ill-timed gust.

We start up today, here at the UNC School of the Arts, helping curious minds to think with depth and precision about dance, design, drama, filmmaking and music.  This is our real world — far more real, from our perspective, than many others.  It’s no paradise, and it certainly doesn’t resemble an ivory tower, it’s just where we gather to share ideas about the things we love.

While I prepare to join the imaginative journeys of my wonderful students, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give two cheers for Low and Lower for bringing my music to two esteemed learning locales this week.  On Tuesday night, they’ll be playing at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and on Friday they will take their act to the Cleveland Institute of Music.  If you see them there, give them a Poke for me.

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