Rock music

Dear Ace, Who made that fabulous soapstone guitar erected in the front of the Music Resource Center on Ridge Street? When did it go up and why did I just start seeing it?—Sculpture Lover

Dear Sculpture Lover, Ace can’t account for why you just started seeing the sculpture, but he can tell you that it’s been mounted in front of the Music Resource Center since mid-April. According to Sibley Johns, Executive Director of the MRC, “The sculpture was created by a local sculptor, Gina Carroll, who largely donated hundreds of hours of labor and destroyed sculpting tools to make this.” Ms. Carroll unveiled the sculpture last October, but ground conditions in the 105 Ridge Street churchyard had to be amenable before the Center could install the piece. The original soapstone slab was quarried from Schuyler, Virginia, and it started out weighing a whopping 1,500 pounds.

After a long day at the museum (or was it a long two hours at Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian?), Gina Carroll described to Ace her whole artistic saga: “We used a crane to lift [the soapstone] into the carving room at our home studio. Standing on top of the slab, I drilled out the basic shape of the guitar, then used a jig saw with a diamond blade to cut between the holes. Then, using grinders and air compression tools, I shaped the rest of it. It is polished up to about 800 grit using diamond sand paper.” Oddly enough, “diamond sand paper” is exactly how the ladies describe Ace’s 5 o’clock shadow.

In other Music Resource Center news, the music facility for teens was recently promised 10% of sales from the first three days of business at the new Urban Outfitters store downtown. Judging by all the high school kids loitering out front at quarter to 10 on opening day, Ace imagines this was a lucrative pledge. Young rock stars must dress the part after all, so they might as well have some financial stake in the fashion they buy. This same thought is what inspired Ace to buy stock in Leatherman Briefcase Manufacturers as a young man. With all the investigative reporting and document-carrying Ace does, he goes through about a briefcase a month. Fortunately every new one he buys is money right back in his pocket. Not that he uses pockets for carrying money; that’s what briefcases are for. The briefcase: an investigative reporter’s best friend and sometime lunchbox.

You can ask Ace yourself. Intrepid investigative reporter Ace Atkins has been chasing readers’ leads for 20 years. If you have a question for Ace, e-mail it to