Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Li’l Friday: Nick Carter, Pam Tillis, Ocean Fest, Art in the Arboretum 

Randy Davis and Jon Wallin star in Big Dawg Prodcutions’ “Waiting for Godot.” (Courtesy photo)

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

HALLOWEEN EVENTS: Ways to enjoy the spookiest season in the Cape Fear

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, Oct. 12

‘Waiting for Godot’

Thalian Hall Bucky and Ruth Stein Theater, 310 Chestnut St. • Tickets: $32 

The famed 1950s Samuel Beckett play, “Waiting for Godot,” opens from Big Dawg Productions for two weekends at Thalian Hall.

A leap into the absurd, the show follows the story of two acquaintances, Estragon and Vladimir — performed by Jon Wallin and Randy Davis — who await the arrival of a man named Godot. The two stop at a country road by a tree and engage in a day’s long wait.

The men explore existential philosophy, covering everything from religion to the mundane activities of day-to-day life to suicide. They engage in a few games and encounter some people during their wait, as their wordplay alludes to the meaning of life.

Yet, Godot never shows.

The stripped-down tragicomedy has been considered one in which very little happens, but instead leads audiences to stir in emotions, ask more questions and conclude what they think happened. It also gives them a jumping off point to discuss finding meaning in the otherwise meaningless.

The show runs Thursday through Saturday, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, 3 p.m., through Oct. 22.

Beehive Blondes — Two DJs, Jess James and Hannah Stewart, known as the Beehive Blondes, have garnered a followeing over the last six years for their retro dance parties thrown at various venues. Thursday night they’re celebrating their anniversary by returning to Satellite Bar and Lounge, where the first party was hosted in 2017. Stepping in for Stewart — who is in England currently — will be Lauren Jones. James and Jones spin tunes from the 1950s and up; the free party starts around 9 p.m. and attendees are encouraged to dress in their best vintage wear. 

Switchfoot — The San Diegan Christian rock band began touring in the mid-’90s and gained mainstream recognition when its song “Dare You to Move” was featured in the motion picture “A Walk to Remember,” based on the Nicholas Sparks novel. A decade later the band, comprising Joe Foreman, Tim Foreman, Chad Butler and Jerome Fontamillas, scored its first Grammy for Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album for “Hello Hurricane.” To date it has released 13 albums and outside of music continues to do charity work with DATA, ONE Campaign, Habitat for Humanity, and others. The group also started its own surfing contest, Switchfoot Bro-Am Surf Contest, to benefit organizations that work with homeless children in San Diego. They’ll be playing Greenfield Lake Amphitheater at 7 p.m. Tickets are $45.

Art in the Arboretum takes place at the NHC Arboretum this weekend. (Courtesy photo)

Friday, Oct. 13

Art in the Arboretum
New Hanover County Arboretum, 6206 Oleander Drive • Tickets: $5-$35

Art in the Arboretum takes place every fall, with the 2023 event slated for Oct. 13 through 15. 

It kicks off Friday, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., with a ticketed evening showcase, Sip, Savor and Shop, to give visitors first dibs on artwork for sale. The event welcomes more than 75 artists to its 7 acres of gardens to showcase original 2D and 3D works — metal sculptures, recycled garden art, driftwood furniture, photography, paintings, illustrations, jewelry and more.

Friday’s event is $35 and limited to 300 people. It also includes live music from El Jaye Johnson, wine and beer are provided by Art Centered Catering, and desserts by The Friends of the Arboretum. 

On Saturday, the event takes place 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday, noon to 4 p.m., with tickets costing $5; it’s free for Friends of the Arboretum members, children 12 and under, and military members with ID. Live music is planned throughout the weekend events with food trucks also parked on site.

Nick Carter — Everybody! The Backstreet Boys are back!? OK, maybe not fully, but one-fifth of the group, Nick Carter, is cruising through Wilson Center Friday night. Carter was the youngest member of the iconic mid-’90s boy band and embarked on a solo career in 2002, performing to fans in sold-out arenas, but also picking up television, film and publishing projects. He has released four albums, including his debut “Now or Never,” ranking number 17 on the Billboard 200 and recently released multiple singles, including 2023’s “Hurts to Love You.” It has topped the charts in the U.S. and went to number one in Canada. The song is a tribute to Carter’s late brother, Aaron, who passed away last fall. Carter’s solo tour, “Who I Am?,” will bring fans a Friday-the-13th treat, as the pop star is performing at CFCC’s Wilson Center at 7:30 p.m.; tickets are $46 and up.

‘Tapestry: Tribute to Carole King’ — One of America’s most celebrated singer and songwriters will have her music come to life at Thalian Hall, when a group of actors and musicians bring “Tapestry” to the stage for two shows: 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Carole King has a catalog more than 400 songs deep, many of which have been performed and recorded by others including James Taylor and Aretha Franklin. She is known for popular hits, such as “You’ve Got a Friend,” “One Fine Day,” “Up on the Roof,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” and “Natural Woman.” Her 1971 album “Tapestry” sold 25 million copies and remains her most popular, scoring three Grammy Awards. Tickets to the show are $57.

Bumps in the Night — Local bar owner Bryan Jacobs, seen behind the pine at Lula’s in downtown Wilmington, is hosting an art show of his latest works. Jacobs began selling his illustrations during the Covid-19 pandemic when shutdown orders had bars across the state closed for nearly a year. Jacobs will have 20 new artworks, 10 framed and 10 on canvas, for sale. He has become known for penning lifelike portraits — including of musicians like Tom Waits and Lou Reed or family members and their furry friends. He will have “seasonally-themed” portraits on display (Addams Family, anyone?) and beer will be served by Edward Teach. The show takes place from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Modern Love vintage store, 545 Castle St.

Amy Miller — A Portland comedian who has opened for Wanda Sykes and Tom Segura is coming to Dead Crow Comedy Room (511 N. Third St.) Friday and Saturday nights. Amy Miller was featured on the final season of “Last Comic Standing,” and has appeared on Comedy Central’s “Up Next.” Her comedy tackles the personal and political. “Isn’t it nice to be anywhere with anybody?” she asked the crowd in “Ham Mouth,” the half-hour special released after the Covid-19 pandemic in 2022. “I was trapped inside for so long with a little one. Do y’all have little ones? I’m not a mom, I just have a really young boyfriend. Classic joke — and you’re here at the retirement of that joke because we did break up. Yeah, I sent him off to college, he’s doing pretty good.” Tickets are $18 to $28.

Tyler Ramsey — For more of an indie singer-songwriter night of music, Bourgie Nights in downtown Wilmington is hosting Tyler Ramsey. The Asheville, North Carolinian was a co-writer and member for Band of Horses until 2017. The multi-instrumentalist has released four solo studio albums since 2002, the most recent being “For the Morning” in 2019, followed by 2020’s EP “Found a Picture of You.” He’s gearing up for a new album, “New Lost Ages,” scheduled to drop next February. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, 127 Princess St.

3 Chambers — A festival bringing together anime, rap and martial arts will kick off this weekend, from local documentarian Christopher Everett (“Wilmington on Fire”). The festival will include rap performances by Skyzoo, Solemn Brigham and Marlowe at Waterline Brewing (721 Surry St.) Friday night ($10-$20), followed by a screening of locally filmed “The Crow” featuring musician Shaolin Jazz remixing the soundtrack with hip-hop, soul and funk, live at Kenan Auditorium on Saturday, 7 p.m. ($20-$30). A tai-chi and qigong lesson will take place at Sokoto House (1213 Dawson St.) at 8 a.m. Saturday as well ($20-$30), led by martial science professor Shihan White Owl. Afterward, an anime after-dark party will be hosted at Waterline Brewing Company at 9 p.m. with free admission. It will include a Street Fighter 6 tournament, live DJs and music performances from Troop Brand and Kiko Blac, as well as vendors and food trucks. Learn more and reserve tickets here.

Wilmington Boat Show — Summer may have sunset but it doesn’t mean you can’t plan for next year’s escapades on the water. The Wilmington Boat Show is taking place downtown at Cape Fear Community College and Wilmington Convention Center on Nutt Street all weekend, Oct. 13 through 15. There will be displays, demonstrations and seminars on a variety of topics, from inshore saltwater fishing to boating safety. CFCC wooden boat builders will lead steam-bending clinics, which is a centuries-old practice used to bend wooden planks. Vendors will be lined up and admission is $5 to $10; kids under 3 enter for free. There will be free parking at the Battleship North Carolina and a complementary ferry (with festival admission) to take visitors to the site. Learn more details here.

Common Kings — Greenfield Lake Amphitheater is welcoming American-Somoan reggae-rap group Common Kings to the stage Saturday at 7 p.m. The band’s debut 2017 release, “Lost in Paradise,” was nominated for a Grammy. Since, it’s released an EP, “One Day,” in 2018 and in August this year its second studio album, “Celebration.” The group — consisting of Jr. King, Mata, Uncle Lui and Big Rome — brought in idols and reggae artists, J Boog, Demarco, Kabaka Pyramid, Marc E. Bassy, to contribute to the album. Tickets are $25.

Saturday, Oct. 14

Ocean Fest 
Downtown Surf City • Free

Happening both Friday and Saturday in the coastal town of Surf City in neighboring Pender County, Ocean Fest returns for a weekend of live music, beer, vendors, food, a surf contest and more. 

The four-year-old event was founded by three surfers — adventure journalist and filmmaker Mark Anders, who teamed up with Corey Snydes and Cody Leutgens — who started the nonprofit to educate the public on environmental threats posed to the coast and ocean. Ocean Fest celebrates preservation and scored three awards earlier in the year from the North Carolina Association of Festival and Events. 

This weekend’s festivities kick off Thursday night with tapping of the official Ocean Fest lager, created by nearby Salty Turtle Brewing, noon to 5 p.m. The light pale lager has become a staple at the festival, easy drinking for beachside sipping — and it sells out annually at the festival.

Friday night will feature free live music from The Alive and Wilmington reggae band Signal Fire from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 102 N. Shore Drive in Surf City. Folks participating in the Ocean Fest 5K Beach Run can also pick up their packets from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Eco Zone at the Roland Avenue Beach Access.

Saturday is packed with happenings, with the 5K starting at 9 a.m. at the Roland access. An hour before, the vintage surf contest will welcome the first heat at 8 a.m., with awards given on the mainstage in the beer garden at 3 p.m. 

Multiple zones are set up to reach various interests: arts and crafts in the north lot of Hot Diggity Dogs and Buddy’s parking lot, with the eco zone — featuring environmentally friendly nonprofits — at the Roland access. A kids area, with attractions and activities, is in the parking lot of North Shore Juice. The vendors are out until 5 p.m. Saturday and live music from upward of a dozen bands takes place all day, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (see schedule here).

Proceeds from Ocean Fest’s annual event go to nonprofit organizations, which to date has equaled $65,000. Funds have been disbursed to the North Carolina Coastal Federation, Plastic Ocean Project/UNCW, Surfrider Foundation, Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue, ECO Topsail, Oceana and more.

Veg-Out Festival — Live Oak Bank Pavilion is welcoming vegans, vegetarians and those who subscribe to a healthy lifestyle to attend Veg-Out. Returning for its third year with free admission, Veg-Out is about education and embarking on healthy fun. The event takes place at 10 Cowan Drive in downtown Wilmington from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be traditional medical providers, holistic health care providers, and vendors with organic, holistic, vegan, vegetarian, green, and cruelty-free products. Guest speakers, discussing the power of herbs or urban gardening with aeroponics, will be featured, as will cooking demonstrations. Arts and crafts, vegan and vegetarian food vendors — Sea Level, Well Fed Ed, Soul’s Kitchen — and nonprofit organizations will be on site, and there will be yoga taking place throughout the day. Learn more here

Back Door Kitchen Tour — Ever wanted a peek inside Wilmington’s renovated historic homes? The Residents of Old Wilmington is bringing back its Back Door Kitchen Tour, which hasn’t happened since before the Covid-19 pandemic. Nine historic homes are featured at the event, which takes place one day only from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors will see an 1889 Victorian bungalow that once housed local workers on Church Street (according to ROW, its first owner to reside there was Walter Taft, a possible cousin to President William Howard Taft) and the “Allen-Woodward” house on Third Street, built in 1886 to be earthquake proof. All the homes can be read about here, where tickets ($40) can also be purchased.

Fire in the Pines — Taking place for free at Halyburton Park is a family-fun event aimed at teaching the community about the importance of controlled burns, specifically in longleaf pine ecosystems. Events throughout the day include a hay-ride, live music by Folkstone Stringband, face-painting, arts and crafts, live animals, antique fire equipment displays, vendor booths and food trucks. A live controlled burn — a low-intensity fire — takes place at the end of the event. The demonstration Saturday will give details about the burn’s importance and aftereffects, including how it ensures a forest remains open enough so sunlight can penetrate to its floor and reduce buildup of fuel loads. It also protects habitats and wildlife. A scavenger hunt, to do at your own pace through Oct. 16, is also taking place and will educate on Venus flytraps as well as other areas of biodiversity in the region. Prizes will be given; learn more here. Parking for the festival itself will not be allowed at Halyburton Park; attendees can park at Lifepoint Church on College Road and 17th Street and take a free trolley to the event.

Pam Tillis will be at Wilson Center on Saturday. (Courtesy photo)

Pam Tillis — For country-music fans, Pam Tillis is coming to perform at the Wilson Center at 7:30 p.m. Tillis was a 2022 nominee for the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Daughter of country star Mel Tillis, she began performing in the 1980s but it wasn’t until 1990 she had her breakthrough album, “Put Yourself in My Place.” She won CMA’s Female Vocalist of the Year in 1994 and scored a Grammy in 1999 for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for “Same Old Train,” a song that appeared on “Tribute to Tradition,” featuring country songs from the 1950s through 1970s. Tillis, inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2000, has sold 7 million albums, had 13 top 10 hits, as well as six number-one chart toppers, including “Mi Vida Local,” “Shake the Sugar Tree,” and her signature “Maybe It was Memphis.” Tickets start at $26.

2023 Fall Skate Film Festival — Gnarly anchor grinds and acid drops will be screening at Satellite Bar and Lounge at 7 p.m. Friends of Wilmington Skateparks is hosting its second annual Fall Skate Film Festival for free. Footage was submitted by skaters and filmmakers across the region and the content will be family-friendly, inclusive and free of discrimination, in an effort to create a positive environment in the skate community.

Chatham County Line — The Americana singer-songwriters from Raleigh are performing at Bourgie Nights, 8 p.m. ($20-$25). CCL has been part of the North Carolina music scene for more than two decades, releasing eight studio albums, four of which ranked at the top of the Bluegrass charts. It wasn’t until 2020’s Yep Roc Records release “Strange Fascination” the band sidelined its all-string-instrument makeup and embraced the use of drums in the studio and onstage. Made up of Dave Wilson (acoustic/electric guitars, harmonica), John Teer (mandolin, fiddle), and Greg Readling (standup bass, pedal steel), the band also performed as the backing musicians to Michael Shannon’s George Jones in the locally filmed “George and Tammy,” which debuted on Showtime last year.

Hope Concert Series — It’s week two for a seven-week concert series that is celebrating sobriety. Started by Anna Mann, the series kicked off last week with Queen’s Giant and continues this Saturday with Crystal Bright and Delia Stanley. The series takes place at Hope Recovery Center, which provides a hub for recovery groups — such as Al-Anon — and offers help to the homeless community. Read PCD’s full writeup about the event from last week here. Tickets are $10.

Fall Markets — There are plenty of free fall markets to participate in this weekend, but three in particular take place downtown and at Riverlights. The Curated on Castle Street outdoor vintage market takes place the second Saturday every March through November, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s set up at Sixth and Castle streets, and features 20 independent vendors and nearby businesses like Gravity Records, and Jess James + Co. In downtown proper at the Cotton Exchange, there will be 10 vendors in the outdoor courtyard from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and area merchants will be open. A few miles away in Riverlights, 30 local makers will come together to celebrate Pop-Up for Pups — a dog-friendly market. There will be themed vendors plus pets up for adoption, a doggy costume contest, swimming pools and a raffle that supports local rescues. Live music will be performed and food trucks will be onsite with Riverlights’ merchants also open.

The Monster Splash — Want to put a little fun in your Saturday morning paddleboard or kayak ritual? Local nonprofit Carolina Beach Bar Club is putting together The Monster Splash, wherein paddleboarders and kayakers are encouraged to don Halloween attire before they take to the water. It’s free for all ghouls, witches, and pirates, and starts at 11 a.m. at Blackburns Seafood Market at the Carolina Beach Marina.

Pawtoberfest at Mad Mole Brewing will benefit Paws-Ability. The nonprofit organization raises funds to assist local animal rescue groups and support programs in animal welfare. (Courtesy Paws-Ability)

Sunday, Oct. 15

Mad Mole Brewing, 6309 Boathouse Road • Free

If your dog hasn’t been humiliated enough this Halloween season, welp, there’s more time still!

Costume up that cute critter again and head to Mad Mole Brewing for Pawtoberfest, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. It’s for a good cause, as raffle tickets will be sold to benefit Paws-Ability. The nonprofit organization raises funds to assist local animal rescue groups and support programs in animal welfare.

Last year’s event raised more than $10,000, which the group hopes to surpass this year. Raffle prizes include a pet portrait session, half-day fishing charter for up to six people, Aperol paddleboard, with paddles, pump,fins and bag, and more.

Plus, $1 from every draft sold at Mad Mole will go to the cause.

There will be a doggy kissing booth, live music and food trucks, such as Keith’s Memphis Style BBQ, parked onsite. 

Soja — To insert more reggae vibes into your weekend, Soja is headed to Greenfield Lake Amphitheater. The two-time Grammy Award-nominated reggae band from Virginia has performed for more than two decades. Soja — standing for Soldiers of Jah Army — released its first new album in four years, “On Beauty in the Silence,” and collaborates with artists from across the reggae world, including UB40, Slightly Stoopid, Stick Figure, and Rebelution. Jacob Hemphill (lead guitar, vocals), Bobby Lee (bass, vocals), Ryan Berty (drums), Kenny Bongos (percussion), Patrick O’Shea (keyboard), Hellman Escorcia (saxophone), Rafael Rodriguez (trumpet), and Trevor Young (lead guitar, vocals) comprise the band. Tickets are $37. 

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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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