Monday, July 15, 2024

Li’l Friday: The Grads Art Show, Cider Jam, Mac and Cheese Fest

The 10th annual StarNews Wilmington Theater Awards recognize winners in more than 20 categories, from best play to musical to original production, actress and actor (lead and supporting), to director, choreography, lighting design and more. (Courtesy photo)

Thursday, March 23

Wilmington Theater Awards
Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St. • Tickets: $32

The last time the theater community was recognized in an annual awards ceremony, hosted by StarNews, was one week before North Carolina’s governor issued a stay-at-home order due to Covid-19. Thursday night, the party will get underway again, with the Wilmington Theater Awards sponsored by the Arts Council of Wilmington and New Hanover County.

It will be the 10th annual event recognizing winners in more than 20 categories, from best play,musical, original production, actress and actor (lead and supporting), to director, choreography, lighting design and more.

The public was able to cast votes earlier in the year, after a panel of theater reviewers from StarNews put together the annual list of nominees. The publication also produces the ceremony.

The show will be hosted by Sydney Smith Martin, a local singer and actress who has performed in productions for Opera House Theatre Co., Thalian Association Community Theatre and other groups. Entertainment will be provided through songs and dances by area troupes who appeared in nominated productions. 

Honored for the Lela Thompson Award for Enduring Contribution to Wilmington will be Cherri McKay, the director for Cape Fear Shakespeare on the Green for more than two decades.

Awards begin at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $32, available here.

— Looking for free music to help jumpstart the weekend? Look not further than Satellite Bar and Lounge (120 Greenfield St.). It welcomes Palmyra, a traditional folk band from the Shenandoah Valley, whose sound is captured by three-part harmonies, string instruments and foot percussion The trio, Teddy, Manoa and Sasha, blend modern Appalachia and midwest Americana, and were named FloydFest 2022 On the Rise artists. The group considers itself a “distant folk cousin” of the Punch Brothers. The show starts at 8 p.m.

B.o.B. — A hip-hop artist and six-time Grammy nominee, Bobby Ray Simmons, better known as B.o.B., hit the scene in 2006 but rose to fame three years later with his debut single “Nothin’ on You,” featuring Bruno Mars. The song went to number on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and received a Grammy nod for Record of the Year. From Georgia, B.o.B. has been hailed as a lyricist, storyteller and producer and has continued to collaborate with industry pros, such as Hayley Williams of Paramore on “Airplanes,” another hit single, and English artist Jessie J’s on “Price Tag,” which reached number one in the U.K. Throughout the years, the rapper has released six albums, featuring artists like Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne. He is touring in support of 2022’s “Better Than Drugs.” Tickets to his show at Kenan Auditorium are $20 here; the show is presented by UNCW’s Association of Campus Entertainment.

‘Jingle Patrick’s Bells’ by Lesslie Yerena Saldana. (Courtesy photo)

Friday, March 24

The Grads Arts Show
The Bryand Gallery, 20 S. Front St. • Free

Local artist and GLOW Academy art teacher Greyson Davis — who helped lead the charge behind the Black Lives Do Matter installation and goes by HP Fangs for his pop art — is helping a group of students showcase their own art ahead of high-school graduation. They will display mostly acrylics on canvas at Bryand Gallery in downtown Wilmington.

The Grads Art Show will open as part of Fourth Friday Gallery Night with a reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The public can meet the young talent, which includes 

Jasmine Peña Medina, Brianna Dawson, Victoria Roblero, Marie Castillo Ruiz, Gethsemani Moreno Montes, Makayla Bilbrey, Thalia Arenas and Lesslie Yerena Saldana.

The girls will be a part of the first graduating class of GLOW Academy (also founding members of its art club) and designed the “D” in Black Lives Do Matter, now on display at Cameron Art Museum. They also have led family activities at Cameron Art Museum  and helped with the “State of the Art” exhibit installation

“I’ve always made a point to include my club members anytime I do art events in the community,” Davis said, “because I felt that having that kind of exposure opens ideas for the possibilities of art, especially when considering a career in any art-related field.”

Thalia Arenas, 17, is going to pursue a bachelor of fine arts and may pursue a career in teaching. 

“Art has always been a support system when I was too afraid to reach out to others,” she said. “I feel like a lot of the time, art can tell stories that I can’t figure out words for.”

Her final honors art project was inspired by the prompt “3 Emotions” assigned during her junior year. She stretched the canvas herself and created an image with acrylic paint and pouring technique and the use of string. The outcome is “hands scratching away at the skin revealing clocks.” It was her interpretation of anxiety and deadlines.

“3 Emotions” by Thalia Arenas. (Courtesy photo)

“The people at the bottom resemble intimacy,” she said, revealing a sense of connection, inspired by the pandemic lockdowns. They are unclothed, hands interlaced and also conjure a sense of isolation.

“Me and many people felt like we were wasting away in our beds,” she said about the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Eighteen-year-old Lesslie Yerena Saldana is pursuing a degree in veterinary medicine, but said her talent could play into her long-term goals.

“I do have aspirations of incorporating animal biology into art by means of illustrations and paintings,” she said. 

Her piece, “Jingle Patrick’s Bells,” at Bryand Gallery was created with acrylic paints, gloss paints, paint pens and gel pens. She was inspired to create the animated piece after seeing her brother’s T-shirt, featuring a sloth in space with Patrick Star, a character from SpongeBob Squarepants, riding his back. The painting took her four months to complete.

“Since it was Christmastime, I decided to make the sloth a Rudolf and Patrick a Santa,” she said. “Mr. Greyson has made me appreciate my skill and actually find a good use for it other than doodling because I was bored in class. He has helped me see an idea and bring it to life.”

Davis has been working with the students since 2017, when he accepted a teaching position at GLOW. He said it’s been most rewarding to guide them in technique but more so find their personal voices.

“I always think it’s dope that each of their styles have gotten so distinct that I can immediately pick out their art in any massive crowd of works,” Davis told PCD.

Throughout the years, he has developed a close relationship with gallery owner Mike Bryand. When he reached out to ask Davis about doing a show, the art teacher deferred from showing his own work, cartoon-like, with large smiles and teeth and X’ed-out eyes.

“With my girls’ graduation coming up, I wanted to give them something to show my appreciation for all of their work and dedication over the past seven years,” he said. “This just kinda seemed like the perfect opportunity.”

Roughly 50 pieces hanging in the gallery are priced $20 to $200; all proceeds go to the artists.

“Initially, when we were coming up with names for the show, the girls wanted to call it the ‘Senior Sweatshop’ — an inside joke,” Davis said.

It derived from a parent once visiting the students in the GLOW classroom during an afterschool event, amazed by the output of work taking place. 

“She said, ‘Wow, y’all are like a sweatshop in here!’” Davis quipped. “We’ve been laughing about that ever since, but it totally didn’t seem appropriate for their first gallery show.”

PrintFest — WHQR’s MC Erny Gallery is opening “Printfest Exhibition” featuring woodblock prints created from former printmaking celebrations hosted at UNCW. The works on display are from artists Aubrey Hedrick, Jeremy Millard, Stephen Bode, Danny Thomas, Shannon Bourne, September Kruger, Jacob Parker, Ben Billingsly, Tyler Wolf, Topher Alexander, Scott Ludwig and Nathan Verway. Covid-19 shuttered PrintFest, but it’s returning for the first year since on Saturday, March 25, beginning at 10 a.m., at UNCW’s Cultural Arts Building parking lot. Area artists and volunteers create large-scale woodcuts through the day and then use a construction paving roller to adhere imagery from the blocks onto canvas. At the end of the event, all of the prints will go on display in the Mezzanine Gallery on the second floor of CAB, with a reception from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The new works will remain on view through April 7. Any prints purchased from the day will have a percentage of proceeds donated to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. WHQR will have its art exhibit of previous PrintFest works on display through April 28

Ultimate Brewing Championship The annual event kicks off the 10-day celebration that is Cape Fear Craft Beer Week on March 24. Held at Hannah Block USO and Community Center in downtown Wilmington, the brewing championship is a wrestling-themed competition that pits local beermakers against one another. Participants develop unique styles of beer from unusual ingredients, which are then judged by the audience. New Anthem won last year with its chocolate and maple syrup brown ale. The participating breweries drew from a list of 36 ingredients in a January draft; they must use two drawn ingredients while also adding other flavors to create any beer style and alcohol by volume they choose. Some of the ingredient pairings this year include coconut and peanut butter, blackberry and chocolate, blood orange and ginger, mango and spruce, grapefruit and lemongrass, and yuzu and cardamom. The audience judges their favorite sipper via blind tasting, and the winner receives bragging rights and a wrestling belt to hang in their respective brewery. Tickets are $25; must be 21 and over to attend. Read more about Cape Fear Craft Beer Week and its events and fundraisers planned through April 2 here.

7th Upscale ReSale and Design Challenge — For seven years, area interior designers have been tasked with creatively showcasing the possibilities of taking used items — furniture, lighting, accessories and artwork — from the Habitat ReSale stores and transforming them into creative vignettes. As part of the ReSale and Design Challenge, the 2023 event takes place this weekend, starting Friday, March 24, with a VIP preview event from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine are served and the ticket holders get to choose their favorite designs, with first through third places awarded. VIP attendees also have a chance to purchase any of the repurposed items on display. The event opens to the public on Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., for $5 admission. Any items not purchased the night before will be for sale. There also will be DIY demonstrations presented by Flea Body’s Antique Mall. All proceeds benefit Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity.

“Mama Bears” Screening — Jengo’s Playhouse hosts the screening of “Mama Bears,” a documentary of Christian mothers who choose to advocate on behalf of their LGBTQ children. Based on a private Facebook group called “mama bears,” the film explores the moms’ struggles while fighting for a child’s human rights against the pressure of evangelical churches. The film is presented in partnership with UNCW and the South Arts Southern Circuit Tour. Admission is $10 and tickets can be purchased here. Jengo’s Playhouse is located at 815 Princess St. and is the headquarters of Cucalorus Film Festival.

End of Season Oyster Roast — As the old adage goes, months ending in “r” are best for oysters. As April approaches, Wrightsville Beach Brewery (6201 Oleander Drive) is hosting a season-ending celebration of traditional Southern oyster roasts. It takes place from noon to 6 p.m. Live music will be performed throughout the day — Morning News Duo from noon to 2:30 p.m. and the Brown Dirt Cowboys from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. It’s free to attend with food and drink vouchers available for purchase when entering. Bring an oyster knife to shuck.

Cider Jam at Bull City Ciderworks will feature music all day Saturday and a new Champagne cider release. (Courtesy photo)

Saturday, March 25

Cider Jam
Bull City Ciderworks, 615 S. 17th St. • Free

Local music and local cider — the celebration of both gets underway at 1 p.m.

A group of musicians will be ready to perform at Bull City Ciderworks in the Cargo District, starting with Smokey Dunes at 1 p.m. followed by Shane Meacom at 4 p.m. and Eastbound Acoustic at 7 p.m.

As well, a new cider will be released by BCC. It’s created with North Carolina-grown apples and has been fermented with Champagne yeast for a semi-dry finish.

The event is free and open to the public. Wheelz Pizza will have its food truck parked starting at 5 p.m.

Mac and Cheese Festival — The Island Men’s annual food festival draws in upward of 1,000 people to Good Hops Brewing on Carolina Beach Road. More than 40 types of mac and cheese will be served to the public, who then vote on the best, with the winner taking home cash prizes and the Golden Noodle award. Community members and a handful of restaurants entered the 2023 competition, which takes place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Monies raised from the $10 entry fee go toward helping community civic programs and nonprofits assisting youth education and sports, food insecurities and those with disabilities. Read PCD’s coverage here.

Belville Family Movie Night — The Town of Belville is hosting family movie night at its Riverwalk Park at 7 p.m. for free. Screening will be “Top Gun: Maverick,” one of the highest-grossing movies ($1.5 billion worldwide) upon its release last year. It’s the followup to Tom Cruise’s 1986 hit “Top Gun.” Blankets, chairs and picnics are welcome. Trolly Stop will serve concessions from its hot dog cart parked onsite.

Pop-Up Swing Dance — From 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. the Studio Collective will host a swing dance night at its 5629 Oleander Drive location. A one-hour beginner lesson will take place at 7 p.m. before the floor opens for social dancing. There is a $10 cash cover. 

Bluegrass Bash — For five years, Thalian Hall (310 Chestnut St.) has been celebrating the Southern stylings of bluegrass music in its historic theater. It’s welcoming The Brewer Brothers, Folkstone Stringband, and Massive Grass performing traditional and unique takes on the genre. A pre-show parking lot party also will take place with The Brewer Brothers, with local beer and food trucks parked and served. The event gets underway at 6 p.m.; tickets are $37.

POP Fundraising Gala — Plastic Ocean Project will host a black-tie fundraiser at Lumina Resort Holiday Inn on Wrightsville Beach from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. It will include a cocktail hour, silent auction, buffet dinner (vegan and gluten-free options will be available) and live music from local jazz artist Benny Hill Trio. The night will feature highlights from the nonprofit’s community efforts throughout the year, which includes decreasing single-use plastics that end up as litter in the ocean and hosting numerous cleanups to benefit the planting of more trees in the area. For every 25 pounds of trash collected, a tree is planted. To date, the initiative has culled 25,000 pounds; by fall, it will have contributed 6,000 planted trees. It also supports local research showing how ocean life health directly impacts human health. Local surf promoter Michael Beech is the master of ceremonies and Richard Craney of RLC Auctioneers will conduct several live auctions during the evening. Tickets are $75 and proceeds benefit POP’s eco-education programs, research and outreach through art.

The Sea Notes Choral Society will host a free concert both Saturday and Sunday. (Courtesy photo)

Sunday, March 26 

Sea Notes Choral Society
Odell Williamson Auditorium, 150 College Rd NE, Bolivia • Suggested donation 

The SeaNotes Choral Society is a nonprofit group made up of Brunswick County community members who simply love to sing. They were founded in 1974 and have performed concerts, civic engagements, youth shows and more.

The group presents its 2023 spring concert, “Memories of Concerts Past,” this weekend during two shows. Both take place at 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at Odell Williamson Auditorium on Brunswick Community College’s campus. 

Bob Marks will direct the show and Laura White will be the accompanist, as the choral group performs favorites from its 50-plus years: “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” Lennon and McCartney Medley, The Best of the Beach Boys, “The Impossible Dream,” Phantom of the Opera, “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” and “Dancing Queen.

The concert is free and tickets are not required. However, donations are appreciated.

For the Love of Tea — Queen Esther’s Herbal Teas, a Wilmington-based company, is hosting an afternoon of high tea, with scrumptious snacks and conversation. It’s open to tea connoisseurs and newbies alike to try Queen Esther’s quality products and meet community friends. Tickets to the party are $40 and the event takes place at 921 Princess St. in the Coca-Cola Bottleworks building from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Freedom Bridge Animal Rescue Pre-adoption — DrumTrout Brewing in the Pine Valley area (3710-143 S. College Road) is hosting a pre-adoption event as part of Cape Fear Craft Beer Week from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Families and individuals looking to adopt a furever friend can meet the available pups and view local art for sale. The Il Tano food truck will be parked for those looking to nosh on Argentinian-style street food. DrumTrout will also have its small-batch beers flowing.

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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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