Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Li’l Friday: Pride celebrations, Judy Collins, Food Truck Rodeo

Food Truck Rodeo is slated for Sunday at Ogden Park. (Courtesy photo)

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.

Thursday, June 8

Alisa Amador
Bourgie Nights, 123 Princess St. • Tickets: 

A Tiny Desk contest winner, Alisa Amador will be bringing her singer-songwriter sounds to Bourgie Nights. Amador was the first singer to win the contest for the Spanish song, “Milonga Accidental.” 

Her silky, falsetto vocals effortlessly move to lower octaves — recalling an essence of Lake Street Dive’s Rachael Price. Her music is backed by horns and easy guitar licks, blending alternative Latin folk and pop with jazz and funk.

“My music doesn’t fit into one genre or even one nationality or one culture, because I don’t fit into one genre, nationality or culture,” Amador told Charleston City Paper earlier this week.

Amador began playing guitar at age 10, influenced by her father; by 19 years old, she picked up the electric guitar. Her songs encompass emotional and vulnerable storytelling, enveloping themes of love to courage and strength.

The musician has been on tour stateside and in Europe, recently wrapping a show at Charleston’s Spoleto Festival. She was nominated as New Artist of the Year and won Folk Artist of the Year at the 2022 Boston Music Awards.

Her show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $20.

‘The Chinese Lady’ — A play by Lloyd Suh covers the history of America’s first Chinese lady, Afong Moy, who was put on public display in an effort to sell Far East imports to American women. While Moy thought she was traveling to America to share her culture with western society, she was written about in newspapers mainly as a side show, as seen in Philadelphia’s American Sentinel: “Unprecedented novelty! The Chinese Lady, Afong Moy!” Moy was eventually sold to P.T. Barnum American Museum in the 1840s before falling off the radar in the 1850s, all documentation of her disappearing with it. The play displays her life as a teenager and young adult with her interpreter and imagines what may have happened to her later in life as well. Read the full PCD coverage here. “The Chinese Lady” opens Thursday and runs through June 18 — Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, 3 p.m. Tickets are $34. The Ruth and Bucky Stein Theater is located on the second floor of Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St.

French Foreign Legion Wine Dinner — Sweet n Savory will host a six-course wine dinner, geared toward Francophiles. It will include sommelier Jimmy Higgins discussing varietals and vineyards outside of France. The menu consists of duck eggrolls with kimchee Brussels and orange sauce; asparagus risotto with poached shrimp; pan-seared red snapper with summer vegetables and chimichurri; duck breast with orzo salad and black cherry demi; pork tenderloin with roasted asparagus and blueberry peppercorn sauce; and lamp lollipop with couscous and red-wine demi. Tickets are $59 and reservations can be made here or by calling 910-464-6010.

Boardwalk Blast — Carolina Beach hosts free fireworks and live music every Thursday through the summer (with the exception of a few Friday dates). June 8 welcomes Uptown Easy, a party band playing funk, soul, rock and Motown, including covers of songs by Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone, The Temptations, Bruno Mars, Fleetwood Mac and Beyoncé. The event takes place at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk, starting at 6:30 p.m.; fireworks take place at 9:30 p.m., weather permitting.

Judy Collins will perform at UNCW on Friday evening. (Courtesy photo)

Friday, June 9

Judy Collins 
UNCW Kenan Auditorium, 601 S. College Road • Tickets: $54

UNCW is welcoming a folk-singing icon to its stage Friday night.

Regarded for her songwriting talent that has crossed genres since the ‘60s, 83-year-old Judy Collins has released 45-plus combined studio, live, compilation, and holiday albums.

The musician got her start in Greenwich Village, New York, covering recordings by the folk era’s heavy-hitters, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger and Leonard Cohen. Cohen — who died in 2016 — wrote “Suzanne,” which Collins first recorded in 1966. 

Like many musicians from that scene, Collins aligned with social activists of the time, including Abby Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, supporting the Chicago Seven and a woman’s right to choose. She used music to inspire change and went on to record with Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills and Nash, and earned her first Grammy 53 years ago for the song “Both Sides Now.” Originally written by Joni Mitchell, Collins was the first to record it on her seminal record, 1967’s “Wildflowers.” “Both Sides Now” has since been hailed as one of the greatest 500 songs of all time, as rated by Rolling Stone.

Collins didn’t receive a charted single until 1975 when she covered Stephen Sondheim’s “Send In the Clowns,” written for the 1973 musical “A Little Night Music.” It went to number 36 and two years later hit number 19, where it stayed for 27 non-consecutive weeks. The song earned Collins a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance.

In 2019 Collins received her first number-one charting track, with the duet album “Winter Stories.” It was recorded with Jonas Fjeld and featured North Carolina Americana act Chatham County Line. 

She is touring in support of her latest album, “Spellbound” — dedicated to folk masters Seeger and Woody Guthrie. It’s nominated for a Grammy for Best Folk Album in 2022.

Tickets to her June 9 show start at $54.

Modern dance and theater company Techmoja presents “West Side Story” this weekend only. (Courtesy photo)

Saturday, June 10

“West Side Story”
Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St. • Tickets: $32

Wilmington’s local modern dance company Techmoja will be presenting the Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim classic “West Side Story.” 

A take on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” the story takes place in the late 1950s as two lovers are caught between street gangs — the American Jets and Puerto Rican Sharks. Its members are fighting for dominance over a neighborhood, as two teenagers from opposite sides fall in love despite tumultuous circumstances they try to overcome.

The story is set to a score that blends Latin rhythms with jazz. The musical inspired hits like “I Feel Pretty” and “Tonight.”

Techmoja is Wilmington’s modern-dance and theater company, overseen by Kevin Lee-y Green. The show presents local talent and includes fight choreography overseen by John Sorie; it also includes a prop gun, though no ammunition, fired in the second act.

The show runs June 8 through 11, Thursday through Saturday, 7:30 p.m. with a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. and a Sunday matinee at 3 p.m.

Mud Day — The Children’s Museum of Wilmington welcomes families to get muddy this weekend. Multiple activities are planned for Mud Day: making mud pies in the mud kitchen, exploring magic mud and engaging with area organizations, New Hanover Soil and Water Conservation and Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, at a DIY water filter station. Kids are encouraged to wear a bathing suit or old clothes. A rinsing area will be set up to clean up after the fun; attendees are encouraged to bring a towel and change of clothes. The event takes place at 116 Orange St. from 9 a.m. to noon; admission is $10.

Blueberry Harvest Celebration — At Gregory Farms and Vineyard in Currie, North Carolina, in Pender County (2576 Montague Road), the blueberry harvest will be celebrated. Folks are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy live music from Flat Top Mafia (10 a.m.) and Austin Band (2 p.m.); there will be food trucks on site, including Lobster Dogs, Donut Bus, Tacos El Jefe, Mommiez and Lanes Ferry. More than 20 arts and crafts vendors will also be set up. It’s $6 to attend.

Port City Comicon — The YMCA Activity Center (7207 Ogden Business Ln.) will feature a day of cosplay and celebrity actors and wrestlers from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. as part of Port City Comicon. There will be question-and-answer panels as well; tickets are $15 for kids under 12 and $20 for adults.

Americana — The spirit of America will be celebrated at 7 p.m. with two troupes, Turning Pointe Dance Company and the Wilmington Conservatory of Fine Arts, coming together for a weekend show. The dances will be set to Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever,” and other American tunes, including military branch songs. The dances — a mix of jazz, tap, and neo classical ballet — are performed by professional, intermediate and novice dancers of the companies, in homage to servicemembers of the military. The show takes place on the Wilson Center stage June 10 (7 p.m.) and 11 (2 p.m.); tickets are $15. 

Here and Queer Festival — A celebration of Pride Month gets underway in  the Soda Pop district at the Bottle Works Building (921 Princess St.). The third annual Here and Queer Festival will feature more than 30 vendors selling ceramics, vintage clothing, art and more. There will be live music from Dissimilar South, an indie pop outfit from Chapel Hill, plus a community mural will be painted, with visitors welcomed to join. All donations accepted at the event go toward the recipient of After the Bloom’s Top Surgery Campaign. The vendor sells dried flowers and floral arrangements, with proceeds helping gender-expansive folks pay tuition, buy binders and afford top surgery.

Pride festivals are slated to take place across the greater Wilmington area throughout the weekend. (Courtesy photo)

Sunday, June 11

Pride Events
Various locations • Free

Celebrations continue for Pride on Sunday, including the Dock Street Block Party from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. along Dock Street downtown. The event is hosted by area businesses and organizations including The Husk, Opera House Theater Co., Duck & Dive, and Port City Pride. The blocked off portion welcomes those ages 18 and up and will include an LGBTQIA+ & Ally Vendor Market with DJs Bobby Zee and Brewtal spinning tunes. The bars in the vicinity are open for ages 21 and up.

A drag performance kicks off at 6 p.m. featuring Tara Nicole Brooks, Ebony Addams, Ebony Valentino, Prwincezz Malaysia Kay and Karma. It’s free to attend but donations are accepted to go to the LGBTQ Center of the Cape Fear Coast, which offers programming, advocacy, and outreach for the LGBTQ+ community.

Across town at the New Hanover County Arboretum, the  LGBTQ Center of the Cape Fear Coast is hosting its own Family Pride event. It takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include family-friendly entertainment, nonprofit vendor booths, food, and fun. Attendees are asked to park at Bradley Creek Elementary, 6211 Greenville Loop Road and take the free shuttle in.

At Carolina Beach’s SeaWitch Cafe and Tiki Bar, Pleasure Island Pride is hosting a Drag Me to the Beach brunch. Tickets are $75 and up, with all proceeds going to the LGBTQ Center of the Cape Fear Coast. It includes brunch, two drinks, a raffle ticket and the show; $100 tickets include the same but also VIP seating and three raffle tickets.

The brunch is hosted by Brenda the Drag Queen, with performances by drag performers statewide. Doors are at 11 a.m. with the show launching at noon; ticket-holders must be 18 and older.

Juneteenth Gospel Festival — Juneteenth Festival Week kicks off Sunday with 10 days of events slated to take place across the city. The gospel festival will be heldSunday, June 11, at Williston Middle School Auditorium at 3 p.m. The free event is open to the public and will include spiritual and praise music. The rest of the week includes: Teach-In on June 13, 1 p.m., at UNCW’s Congdon Hall; 100 Black Men Juneteenth Golf Tournament at St. James Plantation and “Faith and Freedom” film at MLK Center on June 14; urban hike, followed by a luncheon and panel discussion at MLK Center on June 15; Sorority and Fraternity Step Show at MLK Center on June 16; the Juneteenth Festival on June 17; father’s day gospel brunch and Speak Ya Peace events on June 18; and the Juneteenth breakfast and family movie night on June 19. Learn more about the events by following the Wilmington Juneteenth Committee here.

ALSO: City makes Juneteenth a paid holiday

Port City Music Festival — Celebrating 15 years, the Port City Music Festival has eight events to enjoy throughout the week. Sunday’s show includes a free concert at Kenan Little Chapel in Landfall, featuring Beethoven’s 12 Variations on Handel’s Theme, WoO 45; Ned Rorem’s “You the Young Rainbow,” “Far, Far Away,” “Look Down, Fair Moon”; Stephen Sondheim’s “The Girls of Summer,” “Everybody Says Don’t,” and Fauré’s Piano “Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 15.” The performance will include violinists Gared Crawford and Sarah Sutton, cellist Stephen Framil, mezzo-soprano Kyle Engler and pianist Daniel Lau. Free tickets are available at the New Hanover County Library’s northeast branch. See the full concert schedule here.

Food Truck Rodeo — Taking place in Ogden Park (615 Ogden Park Drive) noon to 5 p.m., New Hanover County Parks Conservancy hosts a food truck rodeo featuring more than a dozen trucks. Slated to participate are plenty of locals, like Poor Piggy’s, Bills Brewing Co., Noni Bacca Winery, T’Geaux Boys, Tasty Tee’s, Paella Fuson, and Michael’s Seafood. Also adding to the lineup are out-of-towners such as Raleigh’s Oak City Fish and Chips and Buff-o-lina, the latter of which sells items popular from Buffalo, New York, like beef on weck and pizza logs. Other North Carolina food trucks, like Caribbean Kicker and Gussy’s Greek Street Food, also will be parked. Live music will be performed by Boba Funk and the event is free to attend; food and beverages are individually priced.

Waterline Brewing — Two events are taking place at the brewery below the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge on Sunday — the first is Gears and Beers hosted by Audi of the Cape Fear. Car enthusiasts are encouraged to come and show off their rides — all makes and models welcome. A food truck will be parked on site. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Plant Palooza will feature tons of Wilmington plant vendors and food truck Philly Invasion. 

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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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