Monday, April 15, 2024

Li’l Friday: Coastal Comic Con, N.C. Rice Festival, Port City Taste

Port City Taste continues through Sunday, including up to 20 participants, such as Shuckin Shack in downtown Wilmington serving oysters. (Courtesy photo)

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

READ MORE: In Photos: 7 more days of Port City Taste

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. 29

Port City Taste
Multiple locations • Prices range from $14-$45

Port City Taste kicked off last Friday, meaning diners have one more weekend to scoop all the deals from upward of 20 local restaurants participating in the 2024 restaurant week.

There are plenty of local prix-fixe menus and specials, including brunch, lunch and dinner, with prices starting as low as $14 and going up to $45 for dinner for two.

Going local is the heartbeat of Port City Taste; supporting restaurants created and operated by those who live in the greater Wilmington area helps foster a thriving economy. The nonprofit Business Alliance for Local Living Economies breaks it down like this: For every $100 spent at a local business or restaurant, $68 stays in the community, as compared to $43 retained by a national chain’s footprint. 

Check out all the participants and menus here.

Beer, Bourbon and BBQ — Local eatery Cast Iron Kitchen is celebrating a trifecta of Southern favorites on Thursday evening — beer, bourbon and barbecue. CIK chef and owner Josh Petty is bringing in Ron Simmons of Master Blend Family Farms for a culinary collaboration and tickets are $50. It includes all the barbecue your heart desires, as well as beer; specialty bourbon flights are available for additional costs. The event takes place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the restaurant, located at 8024 Market St.

‘Death of a Salesman’ — Local theater company Opera House has launched a classic from the American canon, Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.” The show follows Willy Loman, an aging salesman who is grappling with his failures as a father and husband. In order to cope with the disillusionment of his success, Willy recollects on defining moments in his past. The play stars NaTasha Yvette Williams, a newly minted Grammy-winning singer, as Linda Loman, and local Fracaswell Hyman, an executive producer, author, and actor, as Willy Loman. It will be staged at Thalian Hall, Thursday through Sunday, through March 3. The evening show begins at 7:30 p.m., and the Sunday matinee begins at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here; read PCD’s full coverage here.

Donald First Art Exhibit — A UNCW art professor’s retrospective collection of work is being showcased this month. The unique curation of mixed-media prints, created between 1974 and 2024, are on display in UNCW’s Cultural Art Building Gallery. Donald Furst, who became a UNCW faculty member in 1985, is set to retire after the spring 2024 semester.  Printmaking media include drypoint, engraving, etching, linoleum cut, lithography, metal relief, mezzotint, monotype, along with numerous other materials and styles. All work displayed will be available for purchase. The exhibition will run from Feb. 29 to March 28, with a reception at 5 p.m. on Feb. 29, in UNCW’s Cultural Arts Building, Room 2033. The reception will feature a talk by Furst at 5 p.m. ahead of the reception.

Friday, March 1 

David Drake
Dead Crow Comedy Room, 511 N. Third St. • Tickets: $18-$28

A comedian who has traveled the comic circuit and released five comedy albums in the last decade, David Drake is doing two sets at Dead Crow Comedy Room this weekend. He’ll perform at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., both Friday and Saturday nights.

Drake’s self-deprecating humor centers on his everyday life, including his shortcomings as a comedian: “I’ll do your podcast, that’s where I am in my career,” he said in his “That’s It!” released last fall.

The New York-bsaed comedian has been featured on Comedy Central, HBO, Sirius XM, and Fox and is a regular at the Comedy Cellar.

Tickets to his show are $18 to $28.

Junior League Bargain Sale — Established in 1952, the Junior League of Wilmington is a nonprofit organization of women committed to improving the community through leadership training and volunteer efforts. Its largest fundraiser of the year, the league’s annual bargain sale, will be hosted on the first Friday and Saturday of March at the Elks Lodge on Oleander Drive. On Friday, March 1, the sale will open with the Sip & Shop event. For a $15 admission ticket, attendees will be able to pre-shop the bargain sale and vendor items. Small appetizers, a selection of beer and wine, and admission to Saturday’s sale are also included with this ticket. The Sip & Shop event will be held in the evening from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. On Saturday, March 2, the bargain sale will continue from 7:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m. and all leftover items will be 50% off. Tickets are $5, card or cash accepted. All proceeds funnel back into the community for various nonprofits and scholarship programs that Junior League supports.

Marshall Brown Bluegrass Band — A North Carolina bluegrass outfit is coming through Live at Ted’s. The band, consisting of Zeb Gambill, John Duncan, Sam Weiss, Jacob Brewer and Sean Newman, released a new album “Another Day” in November. With crooning duets and driving banjo rhythms, the eight-track release was recorded in Asheville, and features the band’s old-school bluegrass tracks like “Seven Year Blues” and “Show Me the Way to go Home,” as well as originals. 

Love Is Bald Fashion Show — An annual fundraiser celebrating year 12 at Bakery 105 (105 Orange St.) will take place at 6:30 p.m. Formed in 2010, the fashion show has helped multitudes of families in the region by giving donations to nonprofits as Pink Heals Cape Fear, Steve Haydu Lo Tide Run, Lump to Laughter, Hope Abounds and Hoggard High School Scholarship Fund. Those who walk in the show are cancer survivors or representing friends and family members who have endured. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets ($35-$40) include hors d’oeuvres, sweet treats and the show. Proceeds will benefit Make-A-Wish of Eastern NC.

Coastal Comic Con takes place this weekend at the Wilmington Convention Center. (Courtesy photo)

Saturday, March 2 

Coastal Comic Con
Wilmington Convention Center, 10 Convention Center Drive • Tickets: $5-$30

Taking place March 2 and 3 on the downtown Riverfront, Coastal Comic Con will be packed with 150 artists, vendors, guests and cosplayers reveling in pop-culture, anime, sci-fi and more. There will be games, VR experiences, comic books, a vintage video game room and more.

Also, there will be plenty of special guests, including actors Michael Biehn (“Terminator,” “Alien,” “The Rock”) and his wife, Jennifer Blanc Biehn (“The Crow,” “Married … With Children”). The two started Blanc/Biehn Productions behind plenty of horror flicks like “The Victim” and “Killer Weekend.” 

Voice artists David Matranga, Billy West, Leah Clark, and others will also be on hand. A children cosplay contest takes place Sunday, with registration opening Saturday, 2 p.m., and closing, Sunday at 2 p.m.

Full schedule and tickets can be found here.

N.C. Rice Festival — Celebrating the Gullah Geechee Heritage and their impact harvesting local rice crops at area plantations in the 19th century, Brunswick County hosts the 2025 Rice Festival for four days at four locations. It kicks off on Wednesday, Feb. 28, featuring documentary films about the history of rice cultivation in Brunswick. On Thursday the 29th, residents meet in Navassa (338 Main St.) to explore ancestral connections of rice from West Africa; African Ancestry president Gina Paige will speak at the free event. A gala and dinner celebrating the Gullah Geechee heritage takes place Friday, curated by Keith Rhodes of Catch, at The Brunswick Center at Supply (101 Stone Chimney Road SE). Saturday features the all-day festival, with activities including demonstrations, arts and crafts, children’s performances, rice and food vendors and more at Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson Historic Site, 8884 St. Philip’s Road SE, in Winnabow. Find out more here.

Scotopia — Mouths of Babes Theatre Company is hosting two weekends of short plays at DREAMS theater, 901 Fanning St. “Scotopia” — meaning the ability to see in dim light or darkness — consists of short plays in various genres regarding social issues. Its goal is to challenge perception and what’s considered normal. For instance, one play, “The Line” by D.W. Gregory from “Out of Silence” centers on a woman who awaits outside an abortion clinic for a protest to die down; it will star Madisyn Fleming. Another is called “The Ballad of George Zimmerman,” directed by Kevin Lee-Y Green of Techmoja Theater and Dance. It’s a 10-minute folk opera about the murder of Trayvon Martin. Tickets are $25 and the show runs March 2-3 and 9-10.

Goat Therapy — Zen Hooves will be set up at Leland Brewing Company on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to provide visitors respite from the hectic day-to-day life. There will be goat dudling, bottle-feeding and petting baby goats allowed. Bring a towel to sit on and a ticket must be secured for one of the following slots: 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. It’s $28, available here. Leland Brewing is located at 2115 Ale Ave.

Azalea Spring Fashion Show — The N.C. Azalea Festival is hosting its second annual fashion show at the Embassy Suites (9 Estell Place) downtown. The models will be donning bright fashions for the annual Garden Party, Patron’s Gala or other Azalea Festival happenings. The tickets — accessible here — include brunch buffet, two glasses of champagne or wine and the show.  A live watercolor sketch artist, Kelsey Rae, will also be onsite. 

Auditions for Freaky Friday —  Thalian Association Community Theater is holding auditions for an upcoming Disney theater production, “Freaky Friday the Musical.” The story follows a mother and daughter who swap bodies and masquerade as one another. Auditions will be held at 10 a.m. at the Community Arts Center, 120 S. Second St. Directed by Stacie Smith and Logan Hayes, the show features music direction by Samantha Childers and is choreographed by Timothy Mills; it’s slated to run April 26 to May 5 at the Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center. Anyone auditioning will need to prepare 16 bars of a musical theater song and bring sheet music; callbacks will be at 2 p.m., if needed. TACT encourages youth ages 7 through high school, all races, genders and ethnicities, to audition. 

Circle the Wagens —VW lovers will flock to Waterline Brewing (721 Surry St.), noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, to talk shop over restoration and admire the work for fellow Volkswagen fans. Circle the Wagens car show takes place all weekend. All proceeds collected from vendors ($40-$50) and car enthusiasts ($25) who enter will benefit the local nonprofit DREAMS of Wilmington, which provides arts programming to underserved youth. The show starts at noon and all VWs can enter. Vendors, some set up out of their VWs, will park in a designated area to sell various wares and creations. It’s free admission to all spectators; awards will be given to Best In Show, Best Stock, Best Paint, and Best Survivor, to be given out at 3:30 p.m. 

Cars for a Cause — Another car show is taking place at Long Leaf Park this weekend, featuring all makes and models. Cars For Cause is being hosted by 13’s to Life and Collegiate Miss Princess of NC. There will be food and entertainment, and it’s $20 for car vendors, arriving from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., or free for spectators. Proceeds from the show will go to Victory Junction Camp, a medically safe place that challenges children who have a serious medical condition. The kids get to zipline or participate in archery.

Hidden Ones: The Joys and Frustrations of Doing Women’s History —  Laurel Thatcher Ulrich once wrote in “American Quarterly”: “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” In honor of Women’s History Month,  Kim Sherman will give a talk at Cape Fear Museum, 2:30 p.m. Sherman — an historian, UNCW lecturer, writer and textile artist — will reflect on her own research into the lives of women in the Lower Cape Fear. Her talk will cover how they rose above the challenges and can help with context on the shared history of women. It’s free and open to the public at 814 Market St.

Elizabeth Stovall and Michael Rallis will perform at Opera Wilmington’s fundraiser on Sunday. (Courtesy photo)

Sunday, March 3

Opera Wilmington 10th Celebration and Fundraiser
Country Club of Landfall, 800 Sun Runner Place • Tickets: $130

Opera Wilmington is celebrating 10 years in Wilmington. 

Cocktail attire is required during Sunday’s luncheon, which includes a champagne toast, silent and live auctions plus performances. The show will consist of a retrospective of OW’s favorite arias and a parade of costumes and mementos. It will be performed by John Dooley, Jonathan Kaufman, Nancy King, Shannon Kessler Dooley, Michael Rallis, Carl Samet, Isabella Stollenmaier and Elizabeth Stovall, accompanied by Elizabeth Loparits.

Since OW’s founding it has hosted “Merry Widow,” “La Traviata” and in July 2024, will stage Puccini’s “Tosca.” 

Tickets are $130 and it takes place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

Spring Festival  The Pointe at Barclay is hosting The Wave Market on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be 30 vendors and makers on site plus kid-friendly activities. It’s free to attend and dogs are welcome. The event is set up near the Pointe 14 Stone Theatre. 

Trudi Thornton: Pottery, Pantry and Seconds Sale — Art in Bloom is hosting a sale of Trudi Thornton’s works. The ceramicist passed away in 2023. Included in the sale are Thornton’s “seconds” — works that showcase slight imperfections, whether it’s a glaze drip or slight crack. According to Art in Bloom, these pieces ended up in Thornton’s pantry. Also on view is Cary painter and artist, Constance Pappalardo. The “Two Minds, One Artist” series features contemporary abstract watercolors from Pappalardo, influenced by nature. Art in Bloom is located in Mayfaire at 6866 Main St.

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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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