Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Li’l Friday: ‘The Producers,’ NYE events, comedian Ben Roy

Comedian Ben Roy will perform four shows at downtown’s Dead Crow Comedy Room on Saturday and Sunday this weekend. (Courtesy photo)

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, Dec. 28

Wine Tastings and Dinners
Various locations

Bridgewater Wines, in both Leland (1132 New Pointe Blvd.) and Porters Neck (178 Porters Neck Road) is hosting Thirsty Thursday Wine Tastings. The tastings take place for free from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

In the South Front District in Wilmington at The Second Glass (1540 S. Second St.), Thursdays are for flights and bites from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Second Glass has special wine flights including three pours from around the world;  it comes with a free small plate.

In downtown proper at Floriana Restaurant, 2 Market St. overlooking the Cape Fear River, the last wine dinner of the year takes place Dec. 28. The weekly pairing menu features seasonal bottles from Italy, France, Argentina, Spain andPortugal, each paired with a delectable course from Floriana’s menu. There are four courses and four glasses of wine served for $75 per person. Balcony tables are available first-come, first-serve; reservations can be made here.

OTHER THURSDAY EVENTS
Dance Classes — There are a few places to enjoy dance lessons Thursday evening. In Carolina Beach at The Lazy Pirate (701 N. Lake Park Blvd.), there will be line dancing with beginner lessons at 7 p.m. from Wilmington NC Line Dancing. The floor will open socially at 8 p.m. Over in Leland at Gio Fund (1007 Northgate Drive), shag dancing begins at 6 p.m. All are welcome — beginner or advanced, single or with a partner.  

It’s the last weekend to catch the Lower Cape Fear LifeCare Festival of Trees, which closes Jan. 1 at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher. (Port City Daily/File)

Friday, Dec. 29

Festival of Trees 
NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, 900 Loggerhead Road • Aquarium admission

The region’s longest running holiday event celebrating tree decorating continues through Jan. 1 at Fort Fisher Aquarium (900 Loggerhead Road) in Kure Beach. Businesses and organizations sponsor more than 50 trees that are decorated in various themes; some honor loved ones who have passed, others embrace the spirit of the holiday. 

Proceeds from sponsorships go to Lower Cape Fear LifeCare, which helps patients with palliative care or their end-of-life journey. The display is included in the aquarium’s price of admission (reservations must be secured here).

OTHER FRIDAY EVENTS
Regifting Party — Come one and all: Bring your abundance of unnecessary mugs, candles and other tchotchkes received this holiday season to engage in a neighborhood gift swap in the Brooklyn Art District. Goat and Compass, at 710 N. Fourth St., is hosting a free regifting party at 7:30 p.m. There’s no cover and the college bowl games will be on.

The four piece rock ‘n’ roll outfit The Temp Agency will perform at Burnt Mill Creek in addition to four other punk bands, including Better Than Wet, The Pope’s Kid, The Explainers and Street Clones. (Courtesy photo)

Saturday, Dec. 30

Five Punk Bands at Burnt Mill 
Burnt Mill Creek Billiards and Wine, 2101 Market St., #7 • Tickets: $10    

To rock out the last weekend of 2023, Burnt Mill Creek is hosting five punk bands beginning at 7:30 p.m. 

Better Than Wet opens the show with what it describes as “hard and heavy sleazo rock,” followed by The Pope’s Kid’s funny and inflammatory punk stylings. Wilmington act The Explainers perform retro and pogo punk, with the Street Clones taking on nihilistic Southern punk.

The Temp Agency will close out the night.

It also will be the birthday of the lead singer of The Explainers, so come ready to celebrate. The evening has been dubbed “Night of the Living Greg.”

Cover is $10.

OTHER SATURDAY EVENTS
A Grateful Phishmas — An Ugly Sweater Christmas and New Year’s party will take place at Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, 111 Grace St., starting at 8 p.m. There will be live music from The Dubtown Cosmonauts, who will play original tunes as well as Grateful Dead and Phish covers. There will be prizes for the ugliest sweaters; the cover is $10 with doors at 8 p.m. and show at 9 p.m.

NYE with Ben Roy — Comedian Ben Roy will be performing at Dead Crow Comedy Room both Saturday and Sunday, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. shows. Roy’s ranting approach to comedy has drawn parallels to Lewis Black and Bill Hicks. He covers his own life, from youth to Covid-19, as well as presents plenty of social commentary. Roy, also a punk musician in the band SPELLS, has performed at Just For Laughs comedy festivals aplenty, from Montreal to Chicago to Toronto. He has released four stand-up comedy albums and was listed as one of Variety’s Top 10 Comics to Watch. In a recent bit, he started off one of his gigs saying: “If at any point you’re easily offended, I truly don’t fucking care.” Tickets are $18 to $28.

‘The Producers’ will open this weekend on Dec. 30, continue on the 31, and then Jan. 4 -7 and 11 – 14. Photo by Erik Maasch of EJM Photography

Sunday, Dec. 31

‘The Producers’ NYE Gala
Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St. • Tickets: $155

Historic Thalian Hall is bringing in a spanking new year with its annual New Year Gala — a production, dinner, and aftershow dance and karaoke party. First, there will be a dinner featuring arugula and pear salad, bread, beef short ribs, baked salmon, penne alla vodka, and roasted winter vegetables and red potatoes. Then Opera House Theatre Company will present “The Producers” — the first show of its new season. The Mel Brooks’ comedy was adapted from the famed 1967 film of the same name. 

The farce gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse into Broadway producers, two of whom take on a show destined to fail but fraudulently oversell the performance. It will be directed by Ray Kennedy, with music direction by Brian Whitted. 

After the show, audience members can dance the night away with the cast of the show, as a karaoke party and ball drop at midnight will take place in the ballroom at Thalian Hall.

“The Producers” opens Dec. 30 at 7:30 p.m. and continues after New Year’s Eve Jan. 4 through 7 and 11 through 14.

OTHER SUNDAY EVENTS
New Year’s Eve at Bourbon Street — Wilmington’s premiere groove band, Frank Grant and the Feelin’, will perform at downtown’s Bourbon Street (35 N. Front St.). There also will be a $5 champagne toast at midnight. The entry is free. 

New Year’s Noon — To celebrate with the kids in a more family-friendly fashion, the Children’s Museum of Wilmington is hosting its annual New Year’s Noon celebration. Beginning at 9 a.m., families will be welcomed to do arts and crafts, including creating a streamer wand and decorating a party crown. There will be an epic confetti toss as crowds ring in 2024 with a countdown to noon. The event takes place at the Children’s Museum of Wilmington, 116 Orange St. Tickets: $10. 

Beach Ball Drop — Downtown Kure Beach is preparing for its annual beach ball drop. New Year’s Eve festivities kick off at 9 p.m. with a DJ spinning tunes for folks to dance out 2023. And 2024 will kick off with a fireworks display taking place just after midnight. It’s free to attend.

Burgaw Blueberry Drop — Burgaw is celebrating year six of counting down the end of 2023 with its blueberry drop. The event begins earlier in the evening at 5 p.m., with entertainment provided by Ace Party Band performing all genres of music. The drop will take place at 7 p.m. — midnight Greenwich Mean Time, the local mean time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. Fireworks will follow the blueberry drop. Lawn chairs are welcome, but alcohol, coolers and pets are not permitted. Vendors will be set up in Burgaw Square, including Lanes Ferry Food Truck, Tasty Tee’s, Something Good Food Truck, Big Ralph’s Street Eats, Chris’s Cosmic Cheesecakes, and Jay’s Funnel Cakes. The Burgaw Lions Club will also be selling hot chocolate.It’s free to attend.

2024 Gold NYE — Wilmington’s retro DJs, The Beehive Blondes, and their jazzy swing band Gin Fizz are taking over The Eagle’s Dare (420 N. Third St.) for a celebration on Dec. 31. There will be 24 karat gold decorations with small bites and snacks, plus a champagne toast and midnight balloon drop. Gin Fizz will perform from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and The Beehive Blondes will be spinning solid gold hits from the 1960s through the 2000s. Attire is cocktail gold standard with prizes given for best dressed; the theme is “All that Glitters is Gold.” A prize will also be awarded to the best dancer. Webo’s Food Truck will be onsite. Tickets are $45 to $65. 

Fermental New Year’s Eve — There will be live music, wine, beer and more as Fermental in the Cargo District kicks off a new year. A complimentary champagne toast will take place at midnight and there will be live music from Joopiter from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. The indie-pop band is a blend of musicians from other local acts including The Search Continues, Boba Funk, Dirty White Rags, and Starlight Speedway. They will perform songs by Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, Spoon, Arctic Monkeys, with a sprinkling of Justin Timberlake, Harry Styles, and other pop icons. It’s free to attend.

Bull City Ciderworks Silent Disco — Across the street from Fermental at Bull City Ciderworks, a new year silent disco will be in full effect. Multiple DJs will be spinning tunes beginning at 8 p.m. and dancers will be given headphones to create their own dance party from three channels of music playing simultaneously. Tickets are $10 for early bird tickets or $15 otherwise; limited space and headphones available.

Ruckus at Bowstring — High-energy band Ruckus is performing at Bowstring Burgers (1002 Princess St.) this New Year’s Eve and has a few tricks up its sleeves. It will  perform a mix of rock classics and originals. It’s free admission and the band goes on stage in the Soda Pop District around 9 p.m. There will be a toast at midnight.

The Girls at Bourgie Nights — A New Year’s Eve show in downtown Wilmington will feature The Girls and The Great Outdoors. Both performances will take place at Bourgie Nights (127 Princess St.) with the show starting at 9 p.m. Wilmington rock band The Girls blend snarly punk with upbeat Glam rock, while The Great Outdoors takes on moody pop-rock. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the doors.  

Let’s Dance — Satellite Bar and Lounge (120 S. Greenfield St.) will host a dance party to bring in 2024. Let’s Dance is hosted by DJs James Tritten and Tracy Shedd of Fort Lowell Records; the two have been hosting listening parties as they spin vinyl on Tuesdays at Satellite over the last year. So, they’re continuing the celebrations as part of the new year; Drew Stevens Photography will be onsite to provide New Year’s Eve photographs for all. No cover charge and no reservations needed.

Underfront — North Front Street’s basement cocktail lounge is rolling in a brand new year with craft cocktails, The Fenton Trio, plus complimentary charcuterie and cheese and a champagne toast. Party favors will be available ahead of the midnight countdown.

Bluewater Waterfront Grill — A bash is taking place on the Intracoastal Waterway, to include free bites plus dancing into 2024. Bluewater at Wrightsville Beach’s NYE party is $80 a person and includes a DJ spinning tunes, plus live music from Uptown Easy. There will be complimentary late night bar bites, a champagne toast at midnight, party favors to ring in the new year, and a photo booth for participants to capture the moment. Cash bar will be open on both floors and should weather permit, the patio will be open. Music starts at 9 p.m. To enjoy dinner before the showdown, make a reservation at 910-256-8500.

Oceanic — To enjoy a party on the Atlantic Ocean, Oceanic is also hosting a NYE celebration in Wrightsville Beach. There will be a DJ for dancing all night long, complimentary passed hors d’oeuvres, lounge seating, midnight champagne toast and party favors. Cash bar will be open; the event — $80, tickets here — kicks off at 9 p.m. Dinner reservations open before the party; call 910-256-5551.

Noon Year’s Eve at Ocean Isle — The Town of Ocean Isle Beach Recreation Department and the Museum of Coastal Carolina are hosting a Noon Year’s Eve family-friendly party at 11 a.m. at Town Center Park, 11 E. Second St. The outdoor event is free and includes party favors, including hats and noisemakers, plus refreshments, prizes and dancing. 


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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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