The Scene: A look at arts and entertainment in the Port City is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Linda Lavin stars in "A Short History of Decay," which will have its southern U.S. premiere at this weekend's Cucalorus Film Festival. Photo courtesy Cucalorus.
Linda Lavin stars in ‘A Short History of Decay,’ which will have its southern U.S. premiere at this weekend’s Cucalorus Film Festival. Photo courtesy Cucalorus.

Get ready for a weekend in the dark.

Cucalorus Film Festival is here, and with it comes enough feature-lengths, shorts and documentaries from across the region, nation and world to keep you in your theater seat for days.

The 19th annual event–which runs today through Sunday at Thalian Hall, TheatreNOW, City Stage and Jengo’s Playhouse–features 227 selections. So as not to overwhelm audiences, organizers have broken those titles down into various categories.

“We know it can be daunting so we have several different programs that sort of help you navigate the festival,” Cucalorus founder Dan Brawley said during a recent interview with Aimee Bowen of Port City Radio.

For first-time festival goers, Brawley said “Magnolia” might be the track to take. That grouping features movies already on festival circuits, many of which have won awards and feature bigger-name actors.

The more adventurous can try out “Vanguard.”

“For me that’s the most exciting program–a lot of emerging directors (and) challenging work,” Brawley noted. “When you think of an independent film festival, the films that are in the Vanguard program are kind of the things you think of.”

Social justice films have a category all their own–“Voices”–as do late-night movies–“Midnight Madness.”

Of course, attendees are free to travel through all the “programs.” Multi-ticket and VIP passes are available, as well.

A full schedule, along with information about films and after-parties is available on the Cucalorus Festival website.

More to do and see around town over the next few days is listed below in our weekly roundup of arts and entertainment in the Port City.

Most of these items come from The Scene, where it is always free to post and peruse the latest happenings.


Local musicians can take the stage during Open Mic night at 8 tonight with Dennis Brinson at Local’s Tavern. There is no cover charge. A P.A. system and equipment is provided.

Squidco presents Brooklyn musician and composer Ashley Paul with guitarist Ben Pritchard at 8 tonight. Paul plays a variety of instruments including saxophone, clarinet, voice, guitar, bells and percussion in her free-form style. Husband-and-wife outfit Juice Machine opens. More information is available here.

The N.C. Symphony Orchestra presents Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in UNCW’s Kenan Auditorium. The concert features music director Grant Llewellyn, Olli Mustonen on piano and Michael Schultz on English horn. UNCW’s Dr. Barry Salwen leads a pre-concert talk at 6:20. Tickets are $24 to $50. More information can be found online.

Eastbound plays the rooftop bar at The Reel Cafe from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free, and complimentary appetizers are served while supplies last. More information can be found here.

Songs at Sunset, with Nicole Thompson, plays Ted’s Fun on the River from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday. The group plays a unique mix of smooth jazz, standards, Broadway tunes and nostalgic pop music. More information can be found here.

Greenville-based band Redhorse Black brings its bluegrass and Americana rock to The Palm Room Saturday at 10 p.m.

Local staple L Shape Lot is one of three bands playing a  Food Bank benefit concert at Ziggy's By The Sea Sunday. Photo courtesy L Shape Lot.
Local staple L Shape Lot is one of three bands playing a Food Bank benefit concert at Ziggy’s By The Sea Sunday. Photo courtesy L Shape Lot.

Ziggy’s By The Sea hosts a benefit concert for Food Bank and Central and Eastern N.C. from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday. The event features music from local staples L Shape Lot, No Dollar $hoes and Loose Jets. The concert is free with the donation of three non-perishable food items or $10 without.

The Wilmington Symphony Youth Orchestra and Junior Strings presents its fall matinee concert from 4 to 5 p.m. Sunday at UNCW’s Kenan Auditorium. Tickets are $5 for adults and free for youth ages 17 and under.

Area musicians are invited to join the stage at Locals Tavern for its Open Jam and Hot Dog Extravaganza Sunday from 6 to 10 p.m. The event is hosted by Randy O & The Mango Band. A P.A. system, lights, drums, keys and backline are provided.

Techmoja Dance and Theater Company presents “Children of Eden” at tonight through Saturday at the Hannah Block USO/Community Arts Center. The two-act musical play is based on the Book of Genesis. General admission is $20. Groups of 30 or more will be discounted to $17.

The UNCW Department of Theatre presents “Private Fears in Public Places,” at 8 p.m. tonight through Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday in UNCW’s Cultural Arts Building. The play explores the lives of six people with separate but strangely linked circumstances. Admission is $5 to $12. More information can be found here.

A reception for Todd Carignan's exhibition, 'Memories of Vietnam,' is held Sunday at Costello's Piano Bar. Photo courtesy Costello's.
A reception for Todd Carignan’s exhibition, ‘Memories of Vietnam,’ is held Sunday at Costello’s Piano Bar. Photo courtesy Costello’s.

Thalian Association presents the award-winning play, “Other Desert Cities,” Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at Red Barn Studio. “Other Desert Cities” won the 2011 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play before moving to Broadway, where it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The emotionally charged play centers around a family coming to terms with long-held secrets. Tickets are $25.

Super Saturday Fun Time Kids’ Variety Show continues this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at TheatreNOW. The ongoing series features Captain Plunkett, Dock the Dog and the Dock Street Kids as they unravel mysteries tied to Wilmington’s history and local attractions in Scooby Doo-style. A new “episode” happens each week. Tickets are $8.

The Mark of Our Hands” is a new exhibit opening Friday at 8, A Fine Art Gallery near Oak Island. The works of Wilmington artists Karen Crouch, a metal sculptor, and Janette Hopper, a printmaker, are featured between 6 and 9 p.m.

No Boundaries presents its 2013 exhibition from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Acme Art Studios. The exhibit features the work of artists from this year’s international art colony on Bald Head Island.

A reception for “Memories of Vietnam,” an exhibition of original oil paintings by Todd Carignan, is set for 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday at Costello’s Piano Bar. The exhibit, on display now through January, showcase Carignan’s impressions of his visit to Vietnam. Email Costello’s for more information.

The third Saturday of the month means it is time again for Bab’s Ballroom Blitz. The ballroom dancing event, open to all skill levels, runs from 7:30 to 11 p.m. at 6782 Market Street. The cost is $10 per person. Those attending should bring a dish to share.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at (910) 772-6341 or