Monday, April 15, 2024

Li’l Friday: Uptilt Film Festival, Prairie Home Companion, Craft Beer Week

Cape Fear Craft Beer Week kicks off with upward of a dozen events or more from March 22-31. (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, March 21

A Night You Won’t Remember
SRO Theatre, 5720 Randall Dr. • Tickets: $2-$10

The UNCW Department of Theatre is putting forth a student lab production that centers on improvised comedy this weekend. “A Night You Won’t Remember” will feature Andrew Page, Jake Denise and Trip Cameron taking ideas from the audience and bringing them to life through comedy. Some content may be explicit.

The hour-and-a-half show takes place Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m., with doors opening 30 minutes before curtain time. 
Tickets are $2 to $10 and the show takes place in the SRO Theatre in UNCW’s Cultural Arts Building.

Mary C. Williams — Cameron Art Museum’s Sunset Performance Series takes place at 7 p.m. in the USCT Park. It will be a free gospel performance by Mary C. Williams, whose voice is reminiscent of Mahalia Jackson. A Raleigh native, Williams has been ministering solo at local churches, festivals and other events, including at D.C.’s National Council of Negro Women, Inc. and Walnut Creek Amphitheater in the triangle. She has performed with Bobby Jones, Sister Cantaloupe, Lee Williams and the Spiritual QC’s, Luther Barnes, Keith “Wonder Boy” Johnson, as well as appearances on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. She received Female Vocalist of the Year at the NC Gospel Announcers Guild’s Prestige Awards ceremony.

The Uptilt Film Festival is held at Thal

Friday, March 22

Uptilt Film Festival
Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St. • Tickets: $11.50 and up

A three-day film festival celebrating women creators is happening this weekend at Thalian Hall, with parties and offshoot events also part of the lineup. Short films (39 minutes and under) written or directed by women or gender-nonconforming creatives who identify as female — or talent making up 50% of women — will be screened at Thalian Hall. 

The festival kicks off Friday with a comedy block from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Beforehand, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., will be dinner and an open bar hosted at 12 N. Fifth Avenue; T’Geaux Boys food truck is catering. 

Saturday’s event starts with a filmmaker brunch from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., at 213 N. 2nd St. Networking will take place and the senior director for the film festival department at the New York Film Academy, Crickett Rumley, will discuss “what’s next after your festival circuit.”

A families block starts at noon, followed by relationship block (2:30 p.m.) and horror block (4 p.m.). A shrimp boil tops off the evening with an open bar and live music from Delia Stanley from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Fifth Avenue location.

Sunday kicks off with an identity block at 10:30 a.m., animation at noon, strong female protagonists at 2 p.m. and suspense, sci-fi and experimental at 4 p.m.

A nonprofit film festival, Uptilt is North Carolina’s only women-centered film festival that has been going strong for seven years  featuring narratives, documentaries, animation and more. Awards are presented for the best in various categories.
Tickets are individually available for screenings and parties, $11.50 to $30, or an all-access pass is $75 ($50 for students). Proceeds from the event help fund grants or go toward various scholarships. This year’s recipients include Kate Hinshawa, winner of the Lisa Christine Hyatt Memorial Grant; Stevie Cavalier, winner of the Joy James, aka Livity the Poet, Memorial Grant; and Kim Carr, winner of the Silberman Family Emerging Filmmaker Grant.

Empty Bowls — A fundraiser to support two nonprofits that provide meals to families facing food insecurity is back after a four-year hiatus. Empty Bowls, benefitting Good Shepherd Center and Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, provides participants with a variety of soups prepared by area restaurants and served by local celebrity guests. The event was paused during the Covid-19 pandemic but raised $50,000 for the two nonprofits in 2018. Tickets for the fundraiser are on sale now with purchasers able to sample soups and pick out and take home a handmade pottery bowl, crafted by local artisans. The bowls serve as a reminder of the thousands of individuals — roughly 36,000 or 1 in 6 people — who are food insecure in New Hanover County. Empty Bowls will be held at First Baptist Activity Center, 1939 Independence Blvd., March 22 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 per person or $60 with a T-shirt on sale online through March 21. Those who can’t attend can make a donation here.

Florencia Feeling, Ranford Almond, Sean Thomas Gerard — Bourgie Nights (127 Princess St.) is hosting three bands Friday evening, including the pop-funk fusion of Tennessee’s Florencia Feeling. Having started in 2021, the band released a debut album, “Birthday” in March 2023, showcasing the quintet’s jazz and Latin fusion sound backed by four-part harmonies. The group — Florencia Rusinol (lead vox), Andrew Kramer (guitar), Isaac Ratliff (keys), Nick Castro (bass) and Austin Herron (drums) — brings a mix of influences to the stage, from Nu Soul to jam, roots, and more, and have played Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival and opened for bands like the Mavericks. They’ll be joined by Ranford Almond Duo out of Greensboro, an acoustic act, known for material that harkens to John Prince and Townes Van Zandt. Local musician Sean Thomas Gerard, who released “Finally Found a Paradise” in 2021, will also be part of the lineup. Tickets are $12 in advance or $17 the day of.

Passages: A Portrait of Cuba and Passenger Trains in the American South — A new exhibit is opening Friday at WHQR’s MC Erny Gallery, featuring artwork by Christina Beam and Karen Healy. The exhibit combines portraits Beam created while in Havana with Healy’s photographs and audio recordings as documented in “A Palette of Rust and Dreams.” These were culled from her train travels, including passengers and railroad workers, and touch on shared humanity across worldwide borders. The exhibit is part of the Fourth Friday Gallery Walk hosted by the arts council, with a reception featuring refreshments and meet-and-greets with the artists from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Feast, Wilmington’s new culinary festival, will take place at Riverfront Park’s Live Oak Bank Pavilion for three days this weekend. (Port City Daily/File)

Saturday, March 23

Feast Wilmington
Riverfront Park, 10 Cowan St. Tickets: $100 and up

The VIP Kickoff party technically takes place Friday evening, featuring a dozen or so restaurants showcasing the best of all the bites and sips Wilmington’s restaurant industry has to offer. However, three more events for the inaugural Feast Wilmington will take place through Sunday.

Feast is the latest culinary festival in Wilmington to be hosted at Riverfront Park all weekend. It’s produced by Wilmington Media and Marketing (Wilmington Business Journal, Wilma) and will showcase 70 or so restaurants and chefs, plus breweries, End of Days Distillery and Coastal Wines.

Saturday features both Brunch Elevated, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., showcasing 15 eateries, and the Pier Party follows that night, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., centering on seafood in the region.

Sunday is the finale with Craft + Cuisine taking place. The event started in 2017 and is hosted by the Cape Fear Craft Beer Alliance, which also is celebrating Cape Fear Craft Beer Week March 22 through 31.

“For the Craft Beer Alliance, being part of a larger food festival is going to give us more exposure outside of our local community, which has always been the goal for beer week and Craft + Cuisine,” founder Jeremy Tomlinson said. 

There are roughly 40 breweries and restaurants pairing up for a bite and a sip from noon to 3 p.m.

Read full coverage of the event from PCD here.

End of Season Oyster Festival — In other foodie news, Wrightsville Beach Brewery is hosting a throwdown to celebrate the end of oyster season (often known to be the best in North Carolina during “R” months of the year). Admission is free and there will be live music with Morning News Music (noon) and The Brown Dirt Cowboys (6 p.m.). Food and drink will be available for purchase, including oysters. WBB is located at 6201 Oleander Drive.

Cape Fear Pop Culture Festival — A local Elks Lodge will be celebrating all things comics, toys — Pokémon Cards, Hot Wheels, Legos — video games, movies, vinyl records and more ast part of Cape Fear Pop Culture Fest. It takes place at 5102 Oleander Drive from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with $3 admission (kids 12 and under free). There will be 80 vendors plus local artists featured.

Cape Fear Craft Beer Week — A celebration of local breweries, bottle shops, restaurants, and craft-centric businesses takes place in the Cape Fear region beginning Friday and lasts through March 31. Roughly a dozen events take place (see the full calendar here) but a few highlights to note: Saturday’s Party in the Back Mullet Pageant at Bill’s Brewing (107 Cinema Drive). Contestants will be judged to win a multitude of categories: Best Female, Best Business, Best Party, Most Classic, Hipster, and Best in Show. Interested parties can enter by emailing name, guest name, intro song, and category. Check-in is at 6 p.m. and closes at 6:30 p.m.; tickets are $15 GA or $40 to include a drink and appetizers. Also taking place during the week will be the Gose Off, to be held at Waterline Brewing, 721 Surry St. It takes place March 28, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and welcomes participants to vote on the best of four new goses from the brewery; flights will be available and barbecue from Smoke N’ Grind food truck will be open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Frankenstein Friday from Brewing at the Beach will take place the next day, featuring a new Fruity Pebbles Cream Ale. All events can be accessed here

Belville Easter Egg Hunt — Though the spring holiday is a little more than a week away, Belville will host a family-friendly Easter Egg Hunt at its Riverwalk (580 River Road SE) from 9 a.m. to noon. It’s free and open to the public.

Easter at the Farm — Also ahead of the Easter holiday, Old River Farms in Burgaw is hosting a springtime celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be visits with the Easter bunny, bounce houses, carnival games, face-painting, vendors — artisans and food — and more. Egg hunts are slated to take place at 10 a.m. for ages under 2, 10:15 a.m. for ages 3-5, 10:30 a.m. for ages 6-9, and 10:45 a.m. for ages 10 and up. Admission is $10 per child and free for 2 and under.

Leland’s Egg Hunt — Taking place at Northwest District Park, the Town of Leland’s Easter Egg Hunt takes place from 10 a.m. to noon. It will be divided into six age groups, 0 to 10. Bring a basket to collect the eggs and prepare for a special visit from the Easter Bunny.

Masquerade — The Wilmington Symphony Orchestra is hosting a pops concert at Wilson Center with pianist Richard Dowling. The concert will consist of Gershwin’s classic Concerto in F, as well as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s brand new Symphonic Suite from “Phantom of the Opera.” Tickets start at $31.

Garrison Keillor will bring through the Wilson Center the 50th anniversary of “Prairie Home Companion” on Sunday. (Courtesy photo)

Sunday, March 24

50th Anniversary of Prairie Home Companion
Wilson Center, 711 N. Third St. • Tickets: $46

The Wilson Center at Cape Fear Community College will welcome a tour of what was one of the last remaining live variety radio broadcast shows, “Prairie Home Companion.”

Its 50th anniversary tour includes “PHC” creator Garrison Keillor — the host who retired in 2016. Keillor is a fiction and comedy writer, who has penned a book of limericks and is well-known for “The Writer’s Almanac.” 

He worked as a contractor for Minnesota Public Radio for years, where “PHC” was taped in front of a live studio audience in St. Paul. At its height, the show reached more than 4 million listeners on 700-plus public radio stations.

MPR stopped distributing “PHC” in 2017 and Keillor maintained ownership rights over the name.

The writer has released “Boom Town,” a novel set in a fictitious town, Lake Wobegon, first born from “PHC.” It’s at the center of Keillor’s skit in the show, “News from Lake Wobegon” — “where all the women are beautiful, all the men are strong, and all the children are above-average.” 

For more than 40 years, “PHC” was part of National Public Radio’s Saturday evening programming. It brought in the likes of guest musicians, such as Chet Atkins, Mark Knopfler, Wilco, Gillian Welch, Neko Case, and Brandi Carlile.

It also launched many of Keillor’s fictional characters, such as Guy Noir Private Eye, Duane’s Mom and Ruth Harrison Reference Librarian. All the bits will be part of the March 24 show slated to take place at 7:30 p.m. in downtown Wilmington, complete with sound effects from Fred Newman. 

It will be a a two-plus-hour event, kicking off with a piece about “PHC”‘s beginnings in Minnesota and it will include Keillor’s standup routine musing about being 80.

One of the quirks of “PHC” comes in the live read advertisements, which for Wilmington’s show include an extended commercial for the faux Powdermilk Biscuits on the subject: Cheerfulness Is a Choice. There also will be a word from the American Duct Tape Council, Real Hot Coffee, Guy’s Shoes, and the Ketchup Advisory Board.

Tickets are on sale 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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