Saturday, October 1, 2022

Li’l Friday Roundup: Tenacious D., ‘Laser Stranger Things,’ Oktoberfest

’90s alt-rockers Built to Spill perform at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater Thursday night. (Courtesy photo)

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Li’l Friday is a weekly roundup of events in art, music, theater, comedy, pop-up markets and more.

All events featured were scheduled as of Thursday; however, it’s wise to check in ahead of attending any one. Inclement weather, changes in schedules and unforeseen circumstances may shift for organizers at the last minute.

Thursday, Sept. 8

Built to Spill
Greenfield Lake Amphitheater, 1941 Amphitheater Dr. • Tickets start at $32 

American indie-rock outfit Built to Spill — consisting of founding member Doug Martsch — was formed in the early ’90s with the intention of switching out bandmates. Throughout the years, almost a dozen players have performed as Built to Spill; in 2022, it consists of Martsch, Melanie Radford and Teresa Esguerra.

The band has released 10 albums to date, full of fuzzed-out guitar riffs and dreamy alt-pop rhythms (many hail 1997’s “Perfect From Now On” as a flawless indie-rock experiment with longer song structures). Though the band hasn’t released an original album since 2015’s “Untethered Moon,” it debuted a tribute to a former touring friend; the 11-track “Built to Spill Plays the Songs of Daniel Johnston” came out in 2020. BTS often opened for Johnston on tour. 

The Idaho-based act signed with Seattle’s Sub Pop Records last fall and will drop a new release Friday, Sept. 9, “When the Wind Forgets Your Name.”

Tonight’s show — likely to feature the new tunes — gets underway at 6 p.m. and tickets start at $32. Check out a show the band played in February here.

“September Blues” — Local artist Carleigh Sion will have new work displayed at Flytrap Brewing (319 Walnut St.). An artist meet-and-greet takes place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. An illustrator, Sion’s work utilizes watercolor and pen-and-ink to create land and waterscapes of the southeastern coast’s flora and fauna. The Cheez Boss food truck will serve up grilled cheeses, and Coast Beverage Co. will have “Simply Swell” frozen fruit bars for sale, with musician Asia Daye providing tunes.

Jazz at the Mansion — Presented by the Cape Fear Jazz Society, Bellamy’s Jazz at the Mansion will feature the talent of El Jaye Johnson Band at 6:30 p.m. on the mansion lawn. Concerts take place at 503 Market St. Blankets and chairs welcome; beer, wine and snacks for sale. No rain dates; tickets are $10-$20 at the door.

PUFFS or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic — Harry Potter fans will delight in the tale, which follows a group called “PUFFS,” who happen to be attending the wizard school at the same time of a well-known boy wizard and his pals. Taking place at Wilson Center Studio Theatre, local comedy troupe Pineapple Shaped Lamps launched the production, written by Matt Cox and directed by Beau Mumford. Its final weekend run takes place Sept. 8 through 11 at 7:30 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 for general admission; adult language and viewer discretion is advised.

Cape Fear Civil War Round Table — The public is invited to hear author Harold M. Knudsen speak from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Harbor Church, 4853 Masonboro Loop Rd.  A former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, Knudsen wrote “James Longstreet and the American Civil War: The Confederate General Who Fought the Next War” (Savas Beatie). The author analyzes Longstreet’s wartime record via his own point of view as a combat veteran who served in the Middle East and as an artillery officer in Germany opposite the Soviet Army. The event is free to attend.

Friday, Sept. 9 

Laser Stranger Things
Ingram Planetarium, 7625 High Market St., Sunset Beach • Tickets: $8-$10 

The all-things-‘80s Netflix series “Stranger Things” now has its own laser show to boot.Sunset Beach planetarium launches its fall season laser shows Thursday to Saturday nights through the first weekend of November.

‘80s iconography will be taken to new levels at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, as the planetarium showcases “Laser Stranger Things.” Projected laser beams roam across the theater, featuring various geometric patterns and shapes, as well as imagery from the Netflix hit “Stranger Things.” It’s syncopated to music, including the series’ electronic opening track and ‘80s hits. 

The latest season of “Stranger Things” propelled music from the mid-’80s back into the modern pop culture ether: Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” and Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” both tracked number one on music charts some four decades after being released, due to the show’s popularity this summer.

The planetarium will continue to celebrate the ‘80s heavy rock outfit, founded by Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield, on Saturdays at 6 p.m. Metallica music will be set to the laser show, an experience not recommended for children.

Five shows take place every Thursday through Saturday through Nov. 5. It also features “Fright Night,” with spooky imagery and sounds, on Thursdays at 5 p.m., and a show to thrill Michael Jackson fans on Fridays at 6 p.m.

Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors 62+, and $8 for children 3 to 12. Children 2 and younger are free.

Tenacious D. will land at Live Oak Bank Pavilion Friday night. (Courtesy photo)

Tenacious D
Live Oak Bank Pavilion, 10 Cowan St. • Tickets: $27

Funny man Jack Black is turning his wit into rock gold this weekend as he takes the stage with longtime bandmate and guitarist Kyle Gass as Tenacious D. Their brand of in-your-face rock blends full-throttle sounds of metal punched up by comedy. 

The duo began in the mid-’90s in L.A. and have gained a following over three decades. They have released four albums, including 2001’s self-titled release, 2006’s “The Pick of Destiny,” 2012’s “Rise of the Fenix,” and 2018’s “Post-Apocalypto.” 

Many of TD albums have been heralded by musicians like Dave Grohl (who played on their debut) and Kanye West. The band even won the Grammy in 2015 for Best Metal Performance for the cover of Dio’s “The Last in Line,” which appears on “Ronnie James Dio — This Is Your Life” tribute album. 

Tenacious D tickets start at $27; the show takes place at downtown’s Live Oak Bank Pavilion at 7 p.m.

Wilmington Rock Fest — The Lookout at Iron Front will turn heavy both Friday and Saturday nights as 10 bands turn up the electricity overlooking Front Street. On Friday night, Paper Skulls, Escape Velocity, Primordial Tides, Celaris and Vestige of Mora will perform. Saturday will feature Through the Tallwoods, Hyperloops, Break the Skyline Busted Radio and Giant Robot Academy to many headbangers’ delight. Tickets are $10 for one show or $15 for both. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. 

Full Moon Fire Ceremony — Healing Begins Within is offering a soul-cleansing group event during the harvest moon at Amber Sun Office Suites (5000 Blue Clay Rd.) in Castle Hayne. A bonfire will be lit on the lakeside property and folding chairs will be available. It’s $15 to attend, with a notepad and pen required to write down all that is negatively weighing down participants, later to be tossed into the fire. The intention is to focus energies as a group to release the burdens and move forward in life with more clarity. Tickets are available here; rain date set for the following evening.

Hobby Greenhouse Fall Plant Sale — Every fall the Hobby Greenhouse Club hosts a plant sale in the Forest Hills neighborhood at its greenhouse (2318 Metts Ave.). It takes place 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. this weekend. All plants are grown by club members and profits benefit local student scholarships. Admission is free, but cash or check only is accepted to purchase items. 

Reno Collier — Comedian Colier got his start in the early aughts and had a captive audience on Larry The Cable Guy’s Tour of America, in turn leading him to a Comedy Central half-hour special. His blue-collar humor continued to gain steam and landed him on tours with Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Ron White. He has made appearances in films “Witless Protection” (2008) and “Jingle All the Way 2” (2014). He will perform four shows at Dead Crow Comedy Room downtown, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., both Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $18-$28.

Saturday, Saturday 10

“Wilmington on Fire Chapter II” Preview and “Mississippi Masala” — Jengo’s Playhouse is hosting movie night. A 3-minute preview to director Christopher Everett’s “Wilmington on Fire” — released in 2015 — will screen. The original flick told the story of the Wilmington Massacre of 1898 and descendents living today still dealing with its aftermath. “Chapter II” continues to capture a marginalized community’s fight for justice and equality in the Port City and how the coup that took place over 120 years ago continues to resonate. Thereafter, “Mississippi Masala” — a Mira Nair romantic drama from the early ‘90s — will screen, starring Denzel Washington, Sarita Choudhury and Roshan Seth. The story follows an Indian family expelled from Uganda and whose daughter falls in love with a Black man. Tickets are $10.

Leland Founders Day Celebration — The Town of Leland is celebrating 33 years of its incorporation, which took place on Sept. 12, 1989.  At Founders Park (113 Town Hall Dr.), there will be live music with Masonboro Sound, Gump Fiction and Carolina Casuals. Plus, a carousel and swings will be set up to ride, in addition to the Leland Express Train. Lawn games and food trucks will be on site, and local organizations will man booths with interactive activities and information. A fireworks display will cap off the evening. Coolers, blankets and chairs welcome, but pets are not allowed. The event and parking is free, and there will be free shuttles available for participants to access to and from the event site. Accessible parking will be available at the Leland Library/Brunswick Center (487 Village Road NE). Town Hall Drive will be closed from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Old Fayetteville Road will be closed starting at 8:30 p.m. through the end of the fireworks.  

Curated on Castle — Castle Street’s outdoor vintage market takes place the second Saturday every March through November, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This weekend it will be set up in the lot at 6th and Castle streets, across from Michael Moore Antiques and adjacent to Luna Caffe. Vendors include Second Skin Vintage, Gravity Records and Jess James + Co., as well as up to 20 local independent vintage collectors selling clothing, records, home decor and more. Free to attend.

Pop-Up for Pups — Watermans Brewing Groove Market is going to the dogs this week! Taking place Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be vendors selling locally made candles, jewelry, beauty products and pup-approved products. Rescues and nonprofits that work with dogs will also be on site. Leashed and well-behaved furry friends are welcome. Food and beer sold by the brewery, plus there will be live music. 

Oktoberfest + Fundraiser — Flying Machine Brewing Co. (3130 Randall Parkway) is getting into the fall spirit early with Oktoberfest held 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. It’s free to attend and there will be live music with Jared Cline starting at 2 p.m., as well as Grimmburger food truck on site with a special homemade wurst menu. Plus, Oh My Cod — a vegan seafood truck — will be offering everything from vegan lobster mac and cheese to crabby cakes, “fish” and chips and Bang Bang “shrymp.” Oh My Cod is donating 10% of proceeds, with a Flying Machine match, to Operation NC Freedom, which relocates and finds pigs in need of forever homes. Flying Machine will also have its Bier Fest marzen-style lager for sale.

Pickup Dodgeball Game — Stonewall Sports Wilmington sports league will host a pickup dodgeball game at Capt’n Bill’s Backyard Grill (4240 Market St.) at 6 p.m. It’s free to play. The sports league is all-inclusive of LGBT+ community and allies.

Harvest Moon Contra Dance — Slated to take place at Riverside Park Community Building (6710 Old Bridge Site Rd.) in Castle Hayne during the harvest moon is the Cape Fear Contra Dancers monthly social. The group is pairing up with Charleston’s Tea & Whiskey to perform the music, with Warren Doyle calling the dance. A beginner’s lesson begins at 6 p.m., and dance is from 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Admission is $12. No experience or partner needed.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit — Originally scheduled to play in January, Isbell — formerly of the Drive-By Truckers (DBT) — will finally land on the stage of Wilmington’s state-of-the-arts performing arts venue with his band 400 Unit at 7 p.m. Isbell has toured his way through Wilmington since the Soapbox Laundro-Lounge days (RIP). This go-round is in support of his latest release “Georgia Blue,” as well as 2020’s “Reunions.” Isbell was part of DBT for six years (2001-2007) before embarking on a solo career in 2007. He has scored Americana Music Honors (both stateside and in the U.K.), been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and won a Grammy with his current band, featuring Sadler Vaden, Jimbo Hart, Derry DeBorja and Chad Gamble. Tickets start at $60. 


Kendra Goehring stars as Fanny Brice in Opera House’s production of “Funny Girl.” (Erik J Maasch/EJM Photography)

Sunday, Sept. 11

“Funny Girl” 
Thalian Hall, 123 Princess St. • Tickets: $40

The musical classic “Funny Girl” is staged locally at Thalian Hall for one last weekend. Opera House Theatre Company has cast veteran talent Jon Berry, Kendra Goehring, Jason Aycock and Holly Saperstein, among a 32-person ensemble, to tell the story of Fanny Brice — who got her start in the Ziegfeld Follies and became a singer and actress for radio and films in the mid-20th century. 

With the book by Isobel Lennart, and music and lyrics by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill, the show is set in World War I as Brice awaits her husband’s release from prison. The story unfolds upon her rise to stardom and is told through flashbacks, including her first encounters with the man she eventually marries, Nick Arnstein — a professional con artist, arrested for embezzlement.

The show features songs like “Don’t Rain on My Parade” and “The Greatest Star,” among other classics and is directed and choreographed by Ray Kennedy. 

Tickets are $40 and can be purchased here; showtimes are 7:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, with a matinee at 2 p.m. on Sunday. 

Dawes + Bahamas — After touring with The Head and the Heart, Dawes has picked up co-headliners Bahamas for a run of shows this fall. “An Evening with Dawes and the Bahamas” will stop at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater Sunday. The show will feature two sets with Dawes backing Bahamas — consisting of Canadian musician Afie Jurvanen. Then Jurvanen will join Dawes’ set. Dawes is touring in support of a new album, “Misadventures of Doomscroller,” while Bahamas is promoting 2021’s “Sad Hunk,” which received the Juno Award for Adult Alternative Album of the Year. Read PCD’s interview with Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith here.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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