Saturday, March 25, 2023

Li’l Friday: N.C. Jazz Festival, library book sale, bagpipe fest

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

It’s wise to check in ahead of attending any one happening to ensure it’s scheduled as normal. Inclement weather and unforeseen circumstances may shift for organizers at the last minute.

READ MORE: ‘The Prom,’ ‘SpongeBob the Musical’ among 7 premieres coming from local theater companies

Thursday, Feb. 3

La Fiesta Latin Jazz Quintet
Cameron Art Museum, 3201 South 17th St. • Tickets: $35-$55

For a decade, a group of North Carolina classically trained musicians have been introducing rhythms of Latin jazz and African beats to audiences. The La Fiesta Latin Jazz Quintet will perform at Cameron Art Museum from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., a concert presented as part of Jazz at CAM.

Directed by saxophonist, clarinetist and composer, Gregg Gelb (Group Sax and Gregg Gelb Swing Band), the award-winning player (Raleigh Medal of Arts, Jazz Composers Award from the North Carolina Arts Council) leads his quintet through a coterie of high- energy sounds. They perform tracks from Latin jazz musicians such as Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Buena Vista Social Club, and Dizzy Gillespie, and also break out original tunes.

The band consists of Ramon Ortiz (percussionist), Steve Anderson (pianist), Beverly Botsford (percussionist), and Andy Kleindienst (bassist). The group often performs at schools, clubs and festivals. They debuted their first recording, “La Fiesta Latin Jazz Quintet,” in September  2016 and have released a new 2022 recording, “Latin Jazz Pandemic Suite.”

For 43 years, the North Carolina Jazz Festival has brought world-renowned musicians to Wilmington. The three-day event kicks off Thursday at downtown’s Hotel Ballast and continues through Sunday. (Courtesy NC Jazz Festival)

Friday, Feb. 3

43rd North Carolina Jazz Festival
Hotel Ballast, 301 N. Water St. • Tickets: $25-$240

For 43 years, the North Carolina Jazz Festival has brought world-renowned musicians to Wilmington. The three-day event kicks off Thursday at downtown’s Hotel Ballast and continues through Sunday. This year’s event features artists from the United States, Australia and Italy.

It kicks off Thursday with a showcase of styles from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., featuring the Steve Washington Trio, Lenore Raphael Trio and a surprise bonus set with Sydney professor Adrian Cunningham’s jam session.

Friday and Saturday nights feature 15 all-star musicians, playing seven sets of each with a different bandleader. There will be a Saturday patronage brunch as well. All musicians playing throughout the weekend can be seen here

The players also will be visiting three local schools and hosting eight free master classes for students throughout the weekend.

Ticket ranges exist for one or two nights, as well as weekend passes; see the breakdown here.

‘You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown’ — The Peanuts gang is back in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” featuring the local talent of members from the comedy and theater troupe Pineapple-Shaped Lamps and directed by Techmoja Dance Company founder Kevin Lee-y Green. The show runs for three weekends, Feb. 3-5, 10-12, and 17-19, at Hannah Block USO/Community Arts Center at Second and Orange streets. Based on the famed comic strip, the group of friends — Charlie, Lucy, Linus, Schroeder, Snoopy, Sally and others — ponder some of life’s biggest questions as they also do kid things, like play baseball, struggle with homework, sing songs, and swoon over their crushes. The high-energy musical contains dancing and singing and won a Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World award in 1967, as well as two Tonys and three Drama Desk awards for its 1999 revival. Tickets are $13 to $26 and can be purchased here.

Winter Book Sale — The county library holds its annual book sale in the upcoming two weekends. Hardbacks and audios will be $3, with paperbacks costing $2. Starting  Feb. 5, prices decrease by $1 through Feb. 6, then decrease an additional $0.50 Feb. 10 through 11. All items will be $0.25 on the final day. The northeast library at 1241 Military Cutoff Road will open to Friends of the Library members only Friday, Feb. 3, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. for first dibs on content. Anyone wanting to obtain a membership can for $20. The book sale opens to the public this Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; and Monday, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Next weekend, it will take place Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

Underfront Grand Opening — A new bar is opening in downtown Wilmington in the former home of Dead Crow Comedy Room. Underfront will unveil its new digs at 265 N. Front St., owned and operated by former owners of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Rumcow and Tacobabay. The bar has been upfitted to a modern-industrial vibe, tipping its hat to the art decor of modern mid-century. Joseph and Abigail Sena and Ivan “Chip” Moore are behind the new space, which focuses on craft cocktails and high-end snacks, such as charcuterie boards. Live music will be performed all weekend at 9 p.m.; the business opens from 4:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Read more about it here from PCD’s previous coverage. 

Concert tickets on sale — Consider this your official reminder to score tickets to two shows coming to town this year. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss are touring through in May to Live Oak Bank Pavilion, while Michael Franti and Spearhead plan its two-night run this summer at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater. Tickets go on sale to both shows tomorrow at 10 a.m.

Saturday, Feb. 4

Alex Strickland Williams
Dead Crow Comedy Room, 511 N. 3rd St • Tickets: $18-$28

A Los Angeles comedian and writer, Alex Strickland Wiliams will perform this weekend at Dead Crow Comedy Room. He has appeared on “Conan,” Netflix’s “Cooking On High,” and Comedy Central’s “Corporate.”

In 2019, he launched on a mobile streaming platform Quibi the show “Unmatched,” which forgoes the traditional dating app that helps people find a perfect partner and instead promotes promiscuity. 

Williams told Deadline: “This show is my dystopian love letter to non-monogamy, anti-capitalism and, most importantly, sex.”

His comedy often centers on overindulgence — sex, drugs and alcohol included.

Tickets to his show are $18 to $28 for Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Putting on the Glitz Fundraiser — A fundraiser for the CARE Project — which helps families with children who are deaf and hard of hearing — will take place at Landfall Country Club (800 Sun Runner Place) Saturday evening. Produced by local theater director Ray Kennedy, Glitz and Gritz is a black-tie affair featuring Southern fare, live music and dancing, and a silent auction. Tickets are $125 and include two complimentary drinks.

Contra Dance — Cape Fear Contra Dance is hosting music and dance at 7 p.m. Beginner lessons will take place first and social dancing thereafter. No partner or experience is necessary; a caller will lead dancers through moves and sequence repeats. There is  a $12 entry fee.

Azalea Sun Run — As part of the 2023 Azalea Festival, a 5K and 1-mile walk or run will take place at Wrightsville Beach. A participant packet pickup will take place at 4 p.m. on Friday at the Azalea Festival Office, 5725 Oleander Drive, Unit B7. On race day, Saturday, runners and walkers will meet at Oceanic Pier, with registration opening at 9 a.m. There will be a 10 a.m. 5K start, with the 1-mile beginning 5 minutes after. Awards are presented at 11 a.m., and there is an afterparty at the Oceanic restaurant. More information can be found here

Wilmington Symphony Orchestra: Gullah-Geechee Heritage — At Wilson Center (703 N. Third St.), the Wilmington Symphony will perform and celebrate Black history month as well as local heritage of the Gullah-Geechee people. Storyteller and singer Ron Daise will join the performance and the symphony will play work by Black composer Florence Price. The concert also features winners of 2022 Richard R. Deas Young Artists Concerto Competition, and there will be information highlighting the northern terminus of the Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. Tickets are $25 and up.

Bill Caudill will give a performance and teach a workshop on bagpipes as part of a festival hosted at UNCW Sunday. (Courtesy photo)

Sunday, Feb. 5

Second Annual Bagpipe Festival 
UNCW’s Cultural Arts Building and Beckwith Recital Hall, 601 S. College Road • Cost: $10

A festival celebrating bagpipes returns to UNCW’s campus this weekend.

Bill Caudill, professional bagpipe player, graduated from St. Andrews University and is vice president of the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association and founder of Scottish Heritage Center. A 28-time winner of the Best Carolinas Piper at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, Caudill will perform a recital at 4 p.m.

Beforehand, at 3:15 p.m., he will host a free demonstration. 

Caudill is also holding workshops for novices and beginners at 1 p.m., followed by  2:15 p.m. workshops for advanced and experienced levels. Workshop tickets are $25 for the general public and free for UNCW students and employees. All workshop participants should register by Feb. 3. 

Tickets to the concert are $10.

Swing Dancing — Ever wanted to learn to do the East Coast swing? Lessons will take place at WHQR studios (254 N. Front St.) from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. with live music played.

Friends and Lovers Vegan Pop-Up — A Valentine’s Day market is taking place at Panacea Brewing Co. (4107 Oleander Drive) from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. There will be multiple local makers selling handmade jewelry, art, candles, soaps, skincare and other products. Plus,  a raffle featuring prizes. The event is hosted by Wilmington Vegan.

‘The Green Book: Guide to Freedom’ film screening — The Smithsonian Channel is hosting a film screening of “The Green Book: Guide to Freedom”  at Cape Fear Museum, 814 Market St. The film looks back at the famed travel guide that African Americans used during the Jim Crow-era to safely move from town to town when crossing America. It showcases racial segregation that shaped the country 65 years ago when the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision declared separate was not equal. It screens at 2:30 p.m.

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Shea Carver
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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