Friday, April 19, 2024

Li’l Friday: ‘Rumors,’ Wilmington Record Show, Jason Isbell

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, Feb. 15

UNCW Mainstage Theater, Cultural Arts Building • Tickets: $5-$14

The Neil Simon play “Rumors” is being staged at UNCW. It runs the next two weekends, Thursday through Saturday, at 7:30 p.m. and on Sundays at 2:30 p.m. 

One of the famed playwright’s most popular shows, the story follows the guests of an anniversary party for Charlie Brock, deputy mayor of New York City, and his wife, Myra. But it turns rather murderous when Brock shoots himself in the head and his wife ends up missing. The party guests then descend into chaos, spreading rumors trying to get to the truth.

The farce premiered in 1988 and locally is being directed by UNCW theatre department professor and local actor Ed Wagenseller. Tickets are $5 for students and $15 for the general public.

‘The Cher Show’ — A Broadway-touring musical will come through Wilson Center at 7:30 p.m., celebrating one of music’s most iconic pop stars. “The Cher Show” is a Tony Award-winning musical featuring three performers who tackle Cher’s bigger-than-life showmanship. The jukebox musical goes through various stages of her life, from the 1950s and ‘60s to the 1970s and the ‘80s and ‘90s, all accompanied by her music: “I Got You Babe,” performed with Sonny, “Dark Lady,” performed with Greg Allman, and of course “If I Could Turn Back Time,” “Believe” and others. Tickets start at $32 here.


Coming up, Alex English! Get your tickets online now! 📸 @Alex English 📍 House of Comedy – Detroit 🗓 August 25th & 26th #comedy #comedian #standup #comedyshow #standupcomedian #alexenglish

♬ original sound – Detroit House of Comedy

Friday, Feb. 16

Alex English
Dead Crow Comedy Room, 711 N. Third St. • Tickets: $18-$28

Detroit comedian Alex English has opened for Michael Che, Colin Jost, Roy Wood Jr. and Michelle Wolf and recently was hired as a writer for “Saturday Night Live.” He’s also an actor who has performed on “Inside Amy Schumer,”  “That Damn Michael Che,” “Pause with Sam Jay,” and “High Maintenance.”

English covers a plethora of topics, from dealing with Covid-19 (“how many times do you have to be tested before it becomes a kink?”) to growing up in Detroit to dating white men.

“I believe in Black love, but after a while it becomes exhausting. We both commiserate over problems we both can’t help each other solve. You know, when I date a white dude I feel like I’m on vacation,” he said, but added the caveat he was tired of hearing about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. “You know how many wealthy white families I’ve infiltrated and dismantled?” 

English will perform both Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; tickets are here.

‘Steel Magnolias’ For more comedy — and a mix of heartfelt drama — Thalian Association Community Theater continues with the play-turned-Oscar-nominated film “Steel Magnolias.”  Playwright Robert Harling wrote the script in 10 days in homage to his sister, whose health was compromised by type 1 diabetes after the birth of her son. The story goes beyond Shelby’s health battles, though, and delves deep into the relationships of a tight-knit group of Southern women from a small parish of Chinquapin, Louisiana. They gather in a beauty parlor to share stories about life and help each other through hardships. The show was first performed Off-Broadway before becoming a feature film in 1989. It earned Julia Roberts, who played Shelby, an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. The play has been produced internationally from the U.K.’s West End to Australia’s York Theatre at Sydney’s Seymour Center (starring Nicole Kidman as Shelby). It eventually made its Broadway debut in 2005. TACT will stage the show through Feb. 18, Friday through Saturday, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, 2 p.m. Tickets are $41.

Pink Beds and Deau Eyes — Bourgie Nights is hosting an evening of indie pop-rock. Pink Beds — a quartet out of Asheville — is known for their dreamy, cerebral soundscapes blending New Wave with disco. They debuted their LP “All I Have” in December 2020, followed up by a couple singles and a live album in 2022, “Live from Echo Mountain.” They’re preparing to release their latest album, “Spare Key to a Memory,” next month. Richmond artist Ali Thibodeau is a one-woman show, better known as Deau Eyes, also performing genre-bending sounds. Her latest release “Legacies” showcases pop, Americana, indie rock and more. Tickets are $16 and the show starts at 9 p.m. 

‘Swan Lake’ — World Ballet Series is presenting at Kenan Auditorium the famed ballet “Swan Lake.” The Swan Queen and her 32 fouettés performed by Odile come to life through Tchaikovsky’s music. The show is accompanied by hand-painted set designs and one-of-a-kind costumes — roughly 150 of them. The tickets are $49 and up here.

Metalrecords Online will be at The Wilmington Record Show this Saturday at Waterline. (Courtesy photo)

Saturday, Feb. 17

Wilmington Record Show
Waterline Brewing, 721 Surry St. • Free to attend

Roughly 20 vendors will come together Saturday to sell vinyl galore at Waterline Brewing Company. 

The Wilmington Record Show will feature selections from 20 or so vendors, such as Gravity Records, Mark Parsons, TCB Vinyl, Rabid Stagg Records, Country Feedback, The Fuzzy Needle, Yellow Dog Discs, School Kids Records, Record Bar, Cisco Kid Records and Fort Lowell Records, among others. New vendors include Metalrecords Online, Neuse Records, and Anarchy Vinyl.

There will also be food trucks Sealevel City Vegan and A&M  parked on site. Plus, live music will take place from Stowe from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Billy Heathen from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

It’s free to attend, but records, food and beer are individually priced.

UNCW Homecoming: Games, Step Show, Socials — Seahawks are celebrating teal pride all weekend long for its annual homecoming. A host of events are scheduled through Sunday, including a Thursday men’s basketball game where the Seahawks face off against N.C. A&T. Baseball games are taking place Friday through Saturday, as well as a homecoming kickoff party downtown at Shaka Taco and Pour Taproom, followed by a champagne brunch Saturday at the Burney Center. Also on Saturday, the Homecoming TEALgate takes place on the Hoggard lawn at 4:30 p.m. There will be food, drinks, bounce houses, face painting, outdoor games and more ahead of the 7 p.m. men’s basketball game against Elon. Plus, there will be a step show that night, featuring performers from the National Pan-Hellenic Council, consisting of people from historically Black sororities and fraternities at 7:30 p.m. at Kenan Auditorium (tickets: $7 and up). Sunday, the women’s basketball team goes up against Charleston, and for runners, the NC Azalea Festival Seahawk Sun 5K takes place. A full lineup of events and various ticket pricing can be found here.

Sweetheart Swing Dance — Cape Fear Swing Dance is hosting a social to celebrate Valentine’s Day at the Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center. All are welcome and no partner is needed; a beginner lesson takes place at 6:30 p.m. with social dancing starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 ($5 for students with ID) here or at the door.

Living History: The 159th Anniversary of the Fall of Fort Anderson —  The Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson State Historic Site is hosting a day of commemoration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be artillery firings and infantry demonstrations and it’s free to attend. The historic site is located at 8884 St. Phillip’s Road SE.

Howling Wolfe Pop Up Market — A market featuring up to a dozen vendors will be set up at Freya’s House in Scotts Hill on Saturday. On site will be S. Lillian & Links Permanent Jewelry, Half Cup Confections, Pure Romance By Haley, and others, as well as the food truck Smash N Dash and coffee by Dawn Patrol. The vendor market is hosted by Wolfe’s Melting Pot jewelry and will have free 5-minute chair massages by Aimee Castro Coastal Mobile Massage. Representatives from The Warming Shelter will be on hand and there will be a gift basket raffled off with proceeds going to the pop-up shelter. The Warming Shelter opens to the unsheltered population when temperatures drop below 32 degrees, with cots available on a first-come, first-serve basis; the shelter also provides dinner, snacks and breakfast as well, so money collected from the market will help fund those needs. 

Echromatics — Blending jazz with funk, hip-hop, and R&B, Echromatics will perform at Live at Ted’s on Saturday; doors are at 7 p.m. The band name, fusing echo and chromatic, represents a “non-traditional approach to harmony (often chromatic or modal vs. diatonic), while showing an echo of nods to the other listed styles of music.” The group formed last January and consists of saxophonist Sean Meade, guitarist Jay Killman, bassist Michael D’Angelo, and drummer Jon Hill. This month UNCW is sponsoring the group to promote jazz workshop programs the school offers to grade schools around the state. They’ll also be previewing their debut album of original music. Tickets to the show are $20 here.

‘Dearly Departed’ will be produced for one more weekend at Thalian Hall’s Ruth and Bucky Stein Theatre. (Courtesy photo)

Sunday, Feb. 18

‘Dearly Departed’ 
Thalian Hall’s Ruth and Bucky Stein Theater, 310 Chestnut St. • Tickets: $35

A farce by playwrights David Bottrell and Jessie Jones, Big Dawg Productions continues its second weekend of “Dearly Departed” at Thalian Hall’s Ruth and Bucky Stein Theater.

The show takes place in the Bible Belt and follows the Turpin family. The comedy centers on Bud Turpin, who happens to drop dead at the breakfast table while reading the morning paper. His sons, Ray-Bud and Junior, now must step up to the plate to help their mother Raynelle and sister, Delightful, get through the grief and funeral. 

The show isn’t necessarily subtle in its comic portrayal of Southern stereotypes, but it is a (chicken) bucketful of laughs, complete with trailer parks, funeral fainting and fire-and-brimstone preaching. 

The show runs through Feb. 18, Thursday through Saturday, 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday, 3 p.m. Tickets are $35.

Bad and Boujee Black History Brunch — WilmingtoNColor is celebrating Black history at Belle Vue (1125 N. Fourth St.) in the Brooklyn Arts District, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The district is home to the Northside neighborhood, which throughout its history has been a mecca of diversity. After the Civil War, immigrants ran multiple businesses there, which evolved by the mid-modern 20th century as a primarily Black neighborhood and commercial district. WilmingtoNColor will be offering tours launching every hour in front of the venue for an hour of learning Wilmington’s rich heritage. The ticket also includes brunch from the newly launched Brunch Thyme across from Belle Vue. Afterward, networking, drinking and dancing to the sounds of Coast 97.3 DJ Bigg B is encouraged. Tickets are $20 to $60 here.

The Sweet Lillies — Eagle’s Dare is hosting an early concert at its Third and Red Cross street location at 3 p.m. American bluegrass band The Sweet Lillies consist of Becca Bisque, Julie Gussaroff and Dustin Rohled. Their music is a blend of powerful narratives, a lineup of guitar, viola, upright bass, drums and ethereal vocal harmonies. The group calls their sound “String-Americana,” crossing multiple genres — folk, rock  and hip-hop.

Adopt a Grandparent — Artworks in the South Front District is hosting an event with Caring Senior Service of Wilmington for folks to “adopt a grandparent.” Caring Senior Service works with elders to help them continue living independently by providing home care assistance. Entry is a gift to be given back to seniors in the community via Caring Senior Service partners; needed are toiletries, socks, chapstick, crossword puzzles, or other useful items. Raffles and a cash bar will be available; entrepreneurs, businesses, individuals and families are welcome to network. The event takes place at 200 Willard Street, 11 a.m to 2 p.m. 

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit performs Monday at Wilson Center. (Courtesy photo)

Bonus After-weekend Show

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit — Monday night The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Jason Isbell and his band the 400 Unit will be celebrating their ninth studio album release, “Weathervanes” — released in June — at the Wilson Center. A part of Drive-By Truckers for six years (2001-2007), Isbell embarked on a solo career in 2007. He has taken home numerous awards over the years, including Americana Music Honors (both stateside and in the U.K.), Country Music Hall of Fame, and even a Grammy with his current band, featuring Sadler Vaden, Jimbo Hart, Derry DeBorja and Chad Gamble.  The show will open with Palehoud. It takes place at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are here.

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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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