Monday, December 4, 2023

Li’l Friday: Oktoberfests, Chapel of Horrors, Southern Culture on the Skids

Blue October performs Friday night at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater. (Port City Daily/File)

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. 28

Blue October
Greenfield Lake Amphitheater, 1941 Amphitheatre Drive • Tickets: $47.50

A Houston, Texas, rock outfit made up of singer/guitarist Justin Furstenfeld, drummer Jeremy Furstenfeld, multi-instrumentalist Ryan Delahoussaye, and bassist Matt Noveskey will head through Wilmington’s intimate amphitheater at Greenfield Lake.

First discovered by Kid Rock’s management in the late ’90s, the group has released 11 albums in two decades, scoring 17 top Top 40 singles, including tracks like “Hate Me” and “Into the Ocean.”

Their latest release, “Spinning the Truth Around,” will be a two-record installment. The first came out last fall, with the second released Friday, Sept. 29.

The band has opened for acts like Rolling Stones and Goo Goo Dolls.

Emo Night Karaoke
— Have big emotions? Need to belt them out? The Lookout on Front in downtown Wilmington is the place to be starting at 7 p.m. What makes this karaoke experience so special — aside from focusing on all your favorite emo songs by bands like Fall Out Boy or My Chemical Romance — is a live band will also be onstage, equipped with the skills to run through a prolific catalog to accompany vocalists. The event is put on by a national group that tours the nation, with three stops in North Carolina this weekend, including Greensboro on Friday and Charlotte on Saturday. Tickets are $15 and song signups are first-come, first-serve. The band’s full setlist can be found here.

Newsboys: Let the Music Speak Tour — A Christian music act is performing at Cape Fear Community College’s Wilson Center (711 N. Third St.) at 7 p.m. Newsboys have sold more than 10 million records, and are best known for songs like “We Believe” and “God’s Not Dead.” They also have been recognized with four Grammy nominations, two American Music Award nominations and have received multiple Dove Awards. Tickets start at $29.99

ARTFall — Thalian Association is hosting an annual art show and sale at the Community Arts Center, 120 S. Second St., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s free admission as folks can peruse the juried exhibition, featuring the work of new and established artists. The art show, featuring more than 100 works, will be on display through Sept. 30 in the lobby of the arts center. Cash prizes are awarded to artists for first through third place, with a People’s Choice also crowned.

Gimme Shelter — In Leland at the Barn at Rock Creek, a fundraiser for Good Shepherd Center will take place to help the nonprofit’s mission toward helping house the homeless. It will include live bluegrass by The Smoky Dunes, as well as a seafood boil provided by Cape Fear Seafood Company. The benefit takes place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with tickets costing $75. Funds help Good Shepherd feed more than 100,000 people a year, as well as operate its night shelter, rapid rehousing program, and other outreach opportunities.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? — Kure Beach Recreation Department welcomes residents to come out to Kure Beach Ocean Park to meet area neighbors from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The block party is being held in honor of National Neighbor Day and will include a cookout, with games like putt putt, giant Jenga, neighbor bingo, and a cornhole tournament (signups end for the tourney at 4:30 p.m.). It’s free.

Friday, Sept. 29

Bobcat Goldthwait
Dead Crow Comedy Room, 511 N. Third St. • Tickets: $25-$35

Eighties comedian and actor Bobcat Goldthwait will be performing four shows this weekend, Friday and Saturday, at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. 

Goldthwait got his start at 20 on the David Letterman show and has starred in upward of 50 films and TV shows, including “One Crazy Summer,” “Scrooged,” and the “Police Academy” franchise. He also opened his standup for alternative grunge outfit Nirvana in the ‘90s.

Once well-known for his signature erratic voice — he dropped the exaggerated timbre over the last decade — his black comedy has become revered in his directorial work, including “Shakes the Clown,” “Call Me Lucky,” “American Bigfoot,” and “Joy Ride.” 
Goldthwait performed at Dead Crow last year to sold-out audiences as well.

Tickets are $25 to $35.

Trey Kennedy
— Another comedian will be performing two blocks away from Dead Crow Friday night at Wilson Center. Trey Kennedy began his comedy climb while attending Oklahoma State University and posting bits on the video mobile app Vine; he gained more than 2 million followers. Today, after touring and selling out shows stateside, Kennedy still utilizes social media to keep up with his 12 million followers. He often posts on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, where he released his self-produced comedy special “Are You For Real?”  Many of his bits consist of impersonations of moms: sending kids back to school, new moms and dog moms. “Any time I say I don’t like dogs, a white girl pops out of a bush: ‘What did you say, what was that, what did you say? Say it to Winston’s face, I dare you. We don’t deserve dogs.’” Tickets to his show are $32.50.

Port City Fear Factory’s “Chapel of Horrors” — Did we mention it’s fall, y’all? That means goosebumps and gore are on the rise across the Cape Fear. Wilmington’s newest haunted attraction will add to the fun with a concept devised from players in the film and theater community. Port City Fear Factory is presenting “Chapel of Horrors” in the Soda Pop District’s Bottleworks facility starting Friday night. It will continue to take place Fridays through Sundays, and remain open through the last Monday of October, in celebration of Halloween. The backstory revolves around a church built in 1923 that has a “touch of darkness,” with every person that helped construct the sanctuary falling ill. When the church eventually opened, it already had a graveyard in place. Tickets are $25; to read more about the haunted attraction and how it came to be, catch up on previous PCD coverage here.

A new haunted attraction, Chapel of Horrors, will open at the Bottleworks facility in the Soda Pop District this weekend. (Courtesy photo)

Port City Taste Craft Cocktail Week — Underwhelming cocktails are a thing of the past during Port City Taste Craft Cocktail Week. For 10 days, patrons can flock to 25 participating businesses to enjoy one-of-a-kind, thoughtful sippers that move beyond a mere Jack and Coke. More than 50 specialty craft cocktails are featured, many boasting fresh fruits and creative techniques. There are concoctions celebrating fall, such as the Autumn Spritzer from The George highlighting End of Days Rum with prosecco, candied apple and maple cinnamon. Some also are soaking up the final warm days of summer’s past: Castle Street’s Desire from Greenfield Lake Yacht Club pairs End of Days gin with basil and simple syrup. Classics can also be found, such as the Paloma at CAM Cafe, featuring End of Days Distillery’s new tequila, Castillo 1810 Agave Blue. End of Days is CCW’s sponsor as well and has its own menu to boast in the Cargo District. To see all the participating menus, click here. And read more about CCW here.

“Blank Canvas” — The Fourth Friday Gallery Walk hosted by the art council was postponed last week due to the threat of Tropical Storm Ophelia. The opening of “Blank Canvas” was slated to take place at the art council offices, 221 N. Front St., which will now happen 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sept. 29. “Blank Canvas” celebrates artwork created to theme “Show Your heART” by youth and adults with learning differences. The exhibit is being held in recognition of National Dyslexic Awareness Month and remains on display through Oct. 20.

Saturday, Sept. 30

Rocktoberfest, featuring Southern Culture on the Skids
The Eagle’s Dare, 420 N. Third St. • Tickets: $15-$20

Grab your buckets of chicken! Southern Culture on the Skids are kicking off Rocktoberfest, hosted by The Eagle’s Dare in downtown Wilmington. 

SCOTS is known for their swamp rock and Southern-bent antics onstage, which in the past have included throwing fried chicken and banana puddin’ at the audience. They’re irreverent in their form, bringing an eclectic sound of Americana mixed with punk and honky tonk.

The Chapel Hill outfit got its start in 1983, with founding member Rick Miller on guitar and vocals. Miller is well known for his Southern drawl and animated lyrical calls  — likely most recognizable in the band’s 1995 popular song “Camel Walk,” where Miller howls and shouts.

Miller is recounted as starting the band after hearing Athens rockers R.E.M on the college radio station. The DJ announced: “That was R.E.M, the sound of the new South.” The story goes, Miller responded: “‘Gawd, if that’s the sound of the ‘new South’ I preferred it when it was on the skids.”

And the band was born. 

SCOTS released its first EP, “Voodoo Beach Party,” followed in 1985 by a self-titled LP.  To date it has put out 18 albums on Geffen Records, Yep Roc Records and Kudzu Records. It has toured with Loretta Lynn and Patti Smith. 

The band has shifted members throughout the years but its core remains: Miller, Dave Hartman (drums) and Mary Huff (bass).

Also on the bill are Mark Sinnis and The 825, Slim and The Gems, and Jared Petteys and the Headliners.

Phobia Haunted Trail
— Across the bridge in Leland, on Maco Road, a haunted trail is returning for its sixth season. The 30-minute walk will take those who dare through CarnEvil featuring live actors — so, yes, that likely means evil clowns will test the boundaries of extreme phobias. Two trails are featured: one that is a fully immersive clown trail and one to test phobias. It takes place Friday through Sunday, 8 p.m. to midnight. General admission is $20. Learn more here.

End of Summer Glow in the Dark Party — While some are getting into the celebration of cooler weather, Sauce’d, located at 224 Water St. on the Riverwalk, is saying sayonara to summer with a Glow in the Dark Party from 8 p.m. to midnight. Tickets are $5 in advance or $10 at the door and include live tunes spun by DJ BenGeeZ, mixing house, hip hop and R&B. Light-up party favors will be handed out and exclusive drink specials are on deck, too.

Oktoberfests — It’s the time of year where steins of beer flow and live music takes place throughout multiple events scheduled this weekend. The Island Men, a nonprofit group in Carolina Beach, is hosting its event at Good Hops Brewing from noon to 7 p.m. There will be bratwurst, pretzels and other food for sale, as well as craft-brewed beer and root beer for the kids. A hot-dog throwing contest will take place plus a beer stein-holding competition. Tickets are $10, with funds going to charities supported by Island Men. Downtown at the base of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, Waterline is also hosting its annual Oktoberfest. The Harbour Towne Fest Band will take the stage from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m and there will be German-style food trucks on site, as well as Crofton Pretzels. Games and contests are on the docket, welcoming folks to dress in their best lederhausen and dirndl for Best Dressed. Commemorative steins will be sold

Waterline hosts its annual Oktoberfest on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Port City Daily/File)

Poolside — Also sticking to the summertime party vibe will be L.A.’s “daytime disco” band Poolside. Jeffrey Paradise, Vito Roccoforte and Mattie Safer from The Rapture, Brijean Murphy of Toro y Moi and Casey Butler from Pharaohs are stopping at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater Saturday. Poolside has released numerous EPs and singles, as well as four independent albums to date. Its most recent is 2021’s up-tempo “High Season,” a companion record to 2020’s more introspective “Low Season.” It’s gearing up to release “Blame It All on Love,” and dropped its dance track “We Could Be Falling In Love.” Tickets are $29.50.

Philip Gerard’s “Words and Music” — Revered UNCW professor, prolific writer and musician Philip Gerard passed away unexpectedly in fall 2022. His final book, “Words and Music: An Album of a Life in Story and Song” will be celebrated at Cameron Art Museum at 3 p.m. Saturday. The memoir celebrates Gerard’s life journey, writing, sailing, teaching, performing and embracing art in its entirety. Gerard’s band Whiskey Creek will take to the stage, also made up of former colleagues Dargan Frierson, Jeff Reid, Rick Olsen and Bill Bolduc. A $5 suggested donation is requested; registration is open here.

Rhiannon Giddens — The native North Carolinian and Grammy-winning artist Rhiannon Giddens will perform at UNCW’s Kenan Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Giddens is a powerhouse of storytelling and musicianship, blending folk with gospel, blues and country, wrapped in rich historical tales that cross race, gender equality and social justice. A founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Giddens has released five solo albums including 2023’s “You’re the One.” She also won the Pulitzer Prize for Music this year for co-writing with Michael Abels the opera “Omar,” based on a memoir written in 1881, A Muslim American Slave: The Life of Omar ibn Said.”

Thalian Association opens “A Chorus Line” Friday to run through Sunday this weekend and next. (Courtesy photo)

Sunday, Oct. 1

A Chorus Line
Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St. • Tickets: $41

Thalian Association is bringing a musical classic to the stage for the next two weekends.

Directed and choreographed by Kendra Goehring with music direction by Cathy Street, “A Chorus Line” takes a behind-the-scenes look at Broadway theater. It’s centered on 17 dancers auditioning for a place on the chorus line and traces their backstories — both performers and the choreographer — to show what shaped and informed their decisions to become dancers.

With music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Kleban, and a book by James Kirkwood Jr. and Nicholas Dante, the musical won the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, one of the few ever to receive the honor. It also scored the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play of the season.

The show runs Sept. 29 through Oct. 8, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

Stillhouse Junkies
— Colorado band Stillhouse Junkies will be coming through Bourgie Nights (127 Princess St.) on Sunday. The trio — Fred Kosak on guitar and mandolin, Cody Tinnin on upright bass, Alissa Wolf on fiddle — performs “high-energy roots music,” blending Texas swing with blues. The band has toured stateside, playing popular root festivals like MerleFest, and across the pond in the U.K. They’re preparing to release their fourth album in 2024. Show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $12 in advance here.

Boogie in the Park — At Kure Beach Ocean Front Park, its free Sunday concert series continues with The Holiday Band performing from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The band was inducted into the Carolina Beach Music Hall of Fame and performs R&B, beach music and more. Dancing is welcome and chairs, blankets and picnics are welcome to the show. 
Prost Oktoberfest — Downtown Wilmington’s newest German restaurant is hosting Oktoberfest from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at 115 S. Front St. It’s free to attend and the Harbour Towne Fest Band will start at 1:30 p.m. Dirndls, Lederhosen and traditional German attire is encouraged to be considered for the best dressed contest. Stein holding competitions also take place throughout the day, with food and beer for sale. All ages are welcome.

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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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