Editor’s Note: Before we dive into Hubcon 2022 coverage, let’s take care of the elephant in the room—what the hell is Hubcon? Hubcon is a gathering of Part-Time Audiophile writers and editors. During our planning of this strategic-social event several exotic locations were discussed: those included Toronto, Hawaii, and Cartagena. Alas, we decided on something closer to home for our initial outing—the state of North Carolina. Home to both Dave McNair and Eric Franklin Shook, and within reach of Grover Neville, Graig Neville, and Jameson Mourafetis. In short, Hubcon is where love and audiophilia meet and shake hands.
Vinyl Night, Video Games, and Beer!
It’s refreshing to hang out with people whose relationship with music is spiritual rather than technical. Not to say that Grover, Jameson, and myself don’t also have that relationship with music, it’s just that sometimes it’s hard to turn off the analytical side. It’s also nice to have a beer.
Words and Photos by Eric Franklin Shook
The evening was a true pallet cleanser from all the high-end audio listening, which tends to arouse our neurotic sides a little too much at times, allowing us to reset our energies and cleanse our mental tools before jumping back into the hi-fi mindset for the remainder of the Hubcon week.
Credit to Langston Stiles of EMBER Audio + Design, for suggesting this event to our group, and being the best draft beer guide along the way.
Our Gracious Host and Master of Ceremonies
Vinyl Night at Wise Man Brewing in Winston-Salem, North Carolina is a weekly event hosted by local legend and DJ, Leena Ou.
It’s a B.Y.O.V. (bring your own vinyl) event, however Leena and her team always bring more than enough records of their own for bar patrons to sift through and make selections.
For a full year Leena Ou has hosted the Sunday night event, being only the second person to play ringmaster since the Vinyl Night idea was launched in February of 2021. Leena was chosen to be the new host of Vinyl Night as she was the most frequent vinyl toting participant of the event to date, and that kind of passion must be rewarded.
Vinyl Night event has been in collaboration with Underdog Records, also of Winston-Salem. They’ve provided records and promoted the event since its inception and inaugural run.
Sadly circumstances change, and Leen Ou will be hosting Vinyl Night for the last time at the end of July, but Wise Man Brewing is hoping to find a new host and keep the event going as its popularity is still growing.
Bar Tricks to Impress Your Friends
Unless you are familiar with the online tower defense game known as Kingdom Rush, you might as well skip this part—but if you do have any subtle awareness of game strategy, do follow along. Surrounded by my Part-Time Audiophile friends, and fellow vinyl lovers at Wise Man Brewing, an unfair wager was made.
Someone in the elder-Gen Z category, which makes up most of the group here—yes, they’re old enough to drink beer now—mentioned Kingdom Rush, and now my temptation to display what a Gen X’er from the Nintendo era can really do in the gameplay arena could not be contained.
Could I solo the final level, “The Dark Tower“, with only two defense towers (barracks and artillery), defeat the dread wizard Vez’nan, not lose a single heart, nor let one enemy troop pass through my gates, left handed, while chewing gum, and drinking my third beer with my dominant right hand? The group consensus was: “Heeelllllll noooo!”
There’s a reason I’m the managing editor and why the writers jokingly call me “Daddy.” Of course I did it successfully, and to anyone thinking of replacing me at Part-Time Audiophile they better know that this type of feat is part of the entrance exam to “PTA Editors Training.”
A Passion That Knows Generosity
It’s often spoken in hi-fi circles about passing on the hobby and interest of music and its playback to the next generation. Often I feel like this sentiment is more spoken about than practiced. Audiophile outreach seems to be at an all-time low from my own reckoning, but I could be wrong.
When it comes to recognizing a passion for vinyl and its heritage, Leena Ou is no stranger.
When I asked Leena about her home hi-fi system, I learned that she, being so generous and ready to mentor anyone willing to take up vinyl collecting and listening as a hobby, gave away her first turntable to an eager friend, because she saw the passion and love for vinyl in their eyes.
If anyone is deserving of praise (or a gifted turntable) it’s Leena Ou, for actually doing what so many audiophiles only talk about. MENTORING!