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: Eat better, support local: Port City Taste kicks off Monday
Thursday, Feb. 23
2023 Port City Taste
Various locations • Various prices
If you’re making weekend dining plans, Port City Daily’s annual restaurant weeks, Port City Taste, has more than 20 options to consider.
Port City Taste showcases local prix-fixe menus and specials offered for 14 days every winter. Items include brunch, lunch and dinner, with prices starting as low as $8 and going up to $45.
Going local is the heartbeat of Port City Taste; supporting restaurants created and operated by those who live in the greater Wilmington area helps foster a thriving economy. This helps circulate more money directly within the region.
The nonprofit Business Alliance for Local Living Economies breaks it down like this: For every $100 spent at a local business or restaurant, $68 stays in the community, as compared to $43 retained by a national chain’s footprint.
Check out all the menus here.
OTHER THURSDAY EVENTS
“Dwell with Gratitude and Pride” — A discussion is taking place with local historians at 5:30 p.m. at the New Hanover County Library (201 Chestnut St.). It focuses on those who fought in the Civil War locally in January and February 1865. The discussion, part of “New Perspectives of the Wilmington Campaign,” homes in on servicemen and civilians of all races — white, Black, Asian, Indigenous, and Hispanic. A moderator will guide the talk, and audience members are encouraged to ask questions. It’s free (access brochure here) and sponsored by the North Carolina Historic Sites, Cameron Art Museum and the library.
An Evening in Italy — The Bluffs at Cape Fear and Bridgewater Wines + Dines in Leland are pairing up to host a wine and food pairing at 6 p.m. in the Bluffs’ Clubhouse (9700 Strawberry Hill Drive NE). For $40 per person, the menu features four wines and five courses. The meal includes bruschetta with TriBeCa Bread, Caprese pasta salad, Tuscan meatballs, bucatini with marinara and TriBeCa bread, paired with four wines. Served will be Minini pinot grigio, Atalia trebbiano, Minini Montepulciano and Morris Farms sangiovese. The event is limited to 50 people; call 910-383-2820 to reserve a spot.
Oscar Nominated Shorts — For years WHQR and Thalian Hall’s Cinematique have shown all Oscar-nominated shorts on the big screen ahead of the Academy Awards, set to take place next month, March 12. Thursday at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. is the last run, featuring live action in the earlier slot and animation tonight. The flicks will screen in the Ruth and Bucky Stein Theatre; tickets are $10, available here.
The Hatch Brothers — For a little live music on Thursday evening, local rock ‘n’ rollers The Hatch Brothers will be set up at Smoke on the Water (3704 Watercraft Ferry Ave. in Riverlights) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The trio has been playing since 2010 and released its debut album, “Twelve Bar Grievances,” in the fall of 2021. The band’s set includes covers across various genres of music along with originals. Smoke on the Water has a large outdoor patio to catch sunsets over the Cape Fear, with food and drinks served.
“Journeys” — The Wilson Center (703 N. Third St.) presents the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble Thursday for a production of “Journeys.” Its story was developed in homage to “legends born from our history, our origins, race, identity, and beliefs,” the company noted in a release. CPRDE united with artists in Mexico to explore Nuestra Mexicanidad (“Our Mexicanism”) and highlight complexities of identity. The goal is to connect cultures through art. Two shows take place at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., with tickets starting at $25.
Book Talk with Bertha Todd — Local resident and former New Hanover County Schools librarian and administrator Bertha Tood will read from her book “Reflections on a Massacre and a Coup” at Cameron Art Museum (3201 S. 17th St.) at 6 p.m. Todd writes in the book how locals banded together to create a centennial commemoration of the 1898 Massacre. It is the only successful coup on U.S. soil, taking place after white supremacists overthrew a biracial government and killed many Black Americans, while driving others out of Wilmington post-Reconstruction. The 1898 Centennial Commission eventually transformed into the 1898 Memorial Foundation, leading to the creation of the 1898 Memorial Park on Third Street in 2008. Pre-registration is required; $10 suggested donation.
Friday, Feb. 24
“Ring of Fire”
Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St. • Tickets: $35
A jukebox musical surrounding the life and music of country’s most beloved rebel rouser, Johnny Cash, is opening at Thalian Hall for two weekends.
Opera House Theatre Company presents “Ring of Fire” from Feb. 23 through March 5, created by Richard Maltby Jr. and William Meade, with music by Steven Bishop and Jeff Lisenby.
The show is led by Chris Blisset. Blisset’s previous work includes national tours of “Stand by Your Man: the Tammy Wynette Story.” Also a musician, based mostly out of New York, he wrote the arrangements and led the band for the musical “Outlaws: The Ballad of Billy the Kid.”
Among its seven cast members is also including Brian Whitted and Michelle Braxton. They sing and play their instruments on songs like “I Walk the Line,” “A Boy Named Sue” and “Folsom Prison Blues.”
The story follows the Man in Black’s triumphs and tribulations, from his rise to fame to his struggles with drugs. It covers his journey of love and faith, rowdiness and redemption, and the healing power of home and family.
Cash found sobriety with the help of his wife, June Carter, who actually wrote the musical’s title track, “Ring of Fire,” which became Cash’s hit.
Tickets are $35 and can be purchased here.
OTHER FRIDAY EVENTS
Fourth Friday Gallery Night — Multiple galleries and arts venues will stay open longer than normal Friday evening for Fourth Friday Gallery Night. Some are opening new shows, such as New Elements’ annual “Home Show.” Works from gallery artists have been placed in simulated home settings, as designed by Jo Howell of Ginger Interiors. The event takes place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and is free. Another Fourth Friday participant, Acme Studios, will open “Cabin Fever.” It will feature works from Acme studio artists, located at 711 N. Fifth Ave., from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Burgwin-Wright will feature art by Veronica Wilson who works in alcohol inks. Wilson began experimenting with the medium on ceramic tiles years ago. Her exhibit opens from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. as well. See more Fourth Friday exhibits here.
Country Line Dance Lessons — Taking place at Gio Fund (117-G Village Road) in Leland, country line dance lessons will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Instructors will lead the group through a few moves before social dancing begins. Tickets are $5 at the door. Gio Fund is a nonprofit that benefits animal welfare.
The R&R Comedy Tour — Dead Crow Comedy Room is hosting a one-night event featuring the comedy of Ron Nobles and Ryan Brown. Nobles, originally from New York, touts himself a clean-cut comedian. A North Carolinian, Brown covers bits about his everyday life, from family to weird idiosyncrasies. Tickets to the 7 p.m. show are $15 to $20 and can be purchased here.
Saturday, Feb. 25
Dead of Winter
North Front Theater, 21 N. Front St., 5th floor
The Plastic Ocean Project is hosting a Grateful Dead musical experience at the North Front Theater in downtown Wilmington from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
The show brings together three local acts and four local vendors. Musicians include The Possums, Benny Hill and Wes Hunter of Steal Willin’, with vendors being Anastasia Sweeney, Mountain Soul Designs, Nothing Too Fancy Designs and Love That Baby Aaron. There also will be a light show and live art.
To gain admission, audience members must sign up to volunteer at a POP event or start a membership with POP here; first 50 people will gain access to the pit and receive a free T-shirt.
OTHER SATURDAY EVENTS
Cape Fear Heart Ball — Annually, a fundraiser takes place that helps raise money for science and improving behaviors surrounding heart disease research. The 2023 black-tie event will happen at the Landfall Country Club from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. It includes dinner, an auction and dancing; tickets and donations can be made here.
Coverlip — A hodgepodge of Wilmington rock ‘n’ roll acts — including Thunderlip, hence the name — are taking on radio hits from the ‘70s and beyond in their cover bands. Expect to hear Bowie, T. Rex, the Stones and others. Concert starts at 9 p.m. and it’s a $10 entry ahead of time or $15 the day of the show at Bourgie Nights, 127 Princess St.
Waterman’s Wintergrass — If Americana sounds are more your style, Waterman’s near Wrightsville Beach is hosting an afternoon of live music in its beer garden and patio. Bands include Songs From the Road, Massive Grass, Into the Fog, The Brewer Brothers and The Smoky Dunes. Tickets are $20, and the show takes place from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Chairs, blankets, kids and dogs welcome.
Divine Divas — The Thalian Association Community Theatre is hosting a fundraiser for Thalian Youth Theatre and She Rocks, a nonprofit that helps with ovarian cancer research and funding. Divine Divas present On Broadway, a cabaret-style performance from the theater community. The evening includes a seated dinner, as well as silent and live auctions. It starts at 6 p.m. at Union Station downtown on CFCC’s campus. Tickets are $125, with parking included across from Union Station. Pre-show entertainment includes music from local pianist Donna Merritt. TACT has hosted the fundraiser annually and over five years has donated $34,227.65 to She Rocks.
Camellia Show — The local Tidewater Camellia Club is hosting its annual springtime sale on Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. It’s free admission and there are various activities planned throughout the day, including educational opportunities, a children’s art show, family activities and a bloom contest. Events go until 4 p.m. at 6206 Oleander Drive.
Vegan Potluck — Calling all vegan diners: At 5 p.m. at Element at Barclay Place Apartments (1605 Barclay Place), a group of area vegans are coming together to host a potluck. All are welcome to bring an appetizer, entrée, or dessert to share and enjoy socializing with like-minded folks. Labeling of ingredients and sharing recipes are encouraged, and participants should bring their own reusable utensils, bowls, plates and drinks as it’s a “trash-free event.” Recipes must not contain meat, fish, milk, butter, eggs, chicken stock, honey, and so on. Limited parking is available in front of the building and unlimited parking is right across the street at The Pointe Cinema.
Wilmington Marathon — Around 4,000 athletes, plus their friends and families, will descend on the Port City this weekend for the annual Novant Health Wilmington Marathon. The event benefits numerous area nonprofits — NourishNC, Boys and Girls Club, Good Shepherd. It has donated more than $500,000 and makes “millions of dollars” in economic impact for the Cape Fear, according to its website. It’s calling for volunteers here and will make donations to various agencies according to how many volunteers it receives. Find more information about road closures in the area here.
Sunday, Feb. 26
Southport at Sunset Walking Tour
Waterfront Park, East Bay St. • Cost: $20
With mild temperatures continuing on Sunday, a visit to Southport may be in order. Why not make a day out of it, with lunch at one of the quaint region’s restaurants followed by a sunset walking tour to begin at 5:30 p.m.
Participants will meet at the picnic pavilions in Waterfront Park for a mile or so walk around the town to learn about its history. Notable homes will be discussed, perhaps even some facts about films that have been shot in the area (“I Know What You Did Last Summer,” “Safe Haven,” “Providence”).
Tickets are $20 per person and must be reserved here. Prepayment is not required; cash and Venmo accepted on-site.
OTHER SUNDAY EVENTS
WSO’s Classical Kids Education Concert — The Wilmington Symphony Orchestra is trying to turn on future classical music enthusiasts with a concert from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Wilson Center, 703 N. Third St. Billed “Vivaldi, Venice and Violins,” the show includes all three as celebrated in Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery. The story is about an orphan girl in the early 1700s yearning to learn more about her heritage. A missing Stradivarius violin the Duke of Cremona brings to Vivaldi’s school of the Pieta becomes a clue. Tickets are $15 and under.
Trees for Trash Monthly Pickup — Along Highway 421, a monthly cleanup is taking place, hosted by the Plastic Ocean Project. Gloves, grabbers, safety vests, and reusable bags will be provided for the cleanup, taking place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; meetup is at Cape Fear Catamarans, 2102 North Carolina Highway 421.The event is part of POP’s Trees4Trash campaign, meaning for every 25 pounds of trash collected, one tree can be planted in the area to help regrow the tree canopy in Wilmington.
1068 Jazz Collective — If jazz music seems more interesting to vibe with on a Sunday, then head to Barzarre (1612 Castle St.) to hear the UNCW-based jazz ensemble,1086 Jazz Quartet. The concert, which could include an open jazz jam, takes place at 7 p.m. and entry is $10.
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