Monday, June 24, 2024

Li’l Friday: Amos Lee, Greek Festival, ‘SpongeBob’ musical

Amos Lee will perform at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater Thursday night. (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, May 16

Amos Lee
Greenfield Lake Amphitheater, 1941 Amphitheatre Drive • Tickets here

An American singer-songwriter with a silky-smooth falsetto, Amos Lee is coming to the Port City.

Once a second-grade teacher, Lee played his blend of soul, roots and rock at open-mics in Philadelphia two decades ago, armed with his guitar, before getting his start as a full-time musician by opening for Mose Allison and BB King.

Since he has continued performing and even opening for music greats like Norah Jones, Bob Dylan and Paul Simon before taking on solo tours across 11 released studio albums. He is scheduled to release the self-produced “Transmissions” (Hoagiemouth Records) this August. The single “Hold On Tight” has already been released from the album; blending folk and funk, it centers on the importance of loved ones.

The show is sold out though resales are available here.

One Tree Hill 20in23 Redemption Weekend — One of Wilmington’s most revered teen dramas filmed in town for a decade and ever since has been celebrated in some form or fashion through a convention or weekend of events. To commemorate 20 years in 2024, this weekend Friends With Benefits Charity Event is offering multiple opportunities for autographs and photos sessions, with Sohpia Bush, James Lafferty, Paul Johansson, Barbara Alyn Woods, Joe Manganiello and others. Events take place all weekend and include a Tree Hill Prom, 20in23 Redemption in Basketball Game, Red Bedroom Records Live Concert, and more. They are individually priced and 80% of proceeds from ticket sales go to nonprofit organizations, such as St. Jude Children’s Hospital. The full schedule can be accessed here.

Fleetwood Mac Tribute Band with Meat Loaf — It’s two tribute shows in one at Bowstring Bowyard (1002 Princess St.) this weekend. Both groups dress up like their rock ‘n’ roll counterparts and perform from the catalogs that made them famous; Fleetwood Mac songs include “Dreams,” “Rhiannon,” “Go Your Own Way,” “The Chain” and others. Meat Loaf is best known for “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” and “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through.” The bands will put on theatrical performances, with tickets available here or at the door if it doesn’t sell out.

Louis.The Rapper — The Cameron Art Museum hosts a Sunset Performance Series hosted in its outdoor park near the United States Colored Troops memorial and sculpture by Stephen Hayes. From 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. a show will be hosted by Louis. The Rapper and will include a backing band. Louis. The Rapper just released “Indigo Child,” which explores Afro-futurism themes, personal reflection and storytelling. Picnics welcome and CAM Café will be open; there is a $5 suggested donation. CAM is located at 3201 S. 17th St.

The annual Wilmington Greek Festival at St. Nicholas Church features tons of homemade food, dancing and bands. (Courtesy photo)

Friday, May 17

Wilmington Greek Festival
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 608 S. College Road • Admission: $5, free for kids 12 and under


It’s one of the most fun and highly anticipated springtime weekends in Wilmington. The annual Greek Festival kicks off at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church across from UNCW. The event takes place on both Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. 

It’s year 32 of celebrating the culture, rituals and food. Families are welcome — no pets — to enjoy authentic, homemade Greek food prepared by the congregation from family recipes. Gyros, platters, moussaka, pastitsio, spanakopita, dolmathes, and pastries galore are sold. Prices are $5 to $16.

There is also a drive-through for folks who wish to only pick up food; the menu can be accessed here. No pre-order or registration is necessary.

There will be music from a live Greek band, dancing, a marketplace and cooking demonstrations to partake in as well.

Free parking is offered in the UNCW Auxiliary Parking Lot behind Taco Bell and there is runover parking in Saint Matthew Lutheran Church, with donations requested.

Proceeds from the festival benefit the Good Shepherd Center, which works toward helping the homeless population.

Jordan Jensen — From New York to Nashville, Jordan Jensen’s comedy is on the road. She was the first female comic to win New York’s  “Funniest Stand Up award at its annual comedy festival. Jensen tackles her life and upbringing among an unconventional family. She said her dad smoked 12 joints a day and had a lot of Viagra in the house, found after he died. The family found him watching “West Wing” while snuggling next to a fire. “His funeral was funny,” she said. “All his ex-girlfriends were there … One was like, ‘Hi, my name is Rachel; I dated Jack in the spring of ‘99 to the fall…’ and another girl was like, ‘I also dated Jack that spring.’ I just slid over and I was drunk, and I said: ‘So what are you gonna do, kill him?’” She will perform multiple shows on Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; tickets are $20 to $28.

N.C. Black Film Festival — For 21 years, the North Carolina Black Film Festival (NCBFF) has celebrated Black creatives in a variety of events, such as screenings, fashion shows, history tours and awards. The 2024 festival will include 30 films out of over 200 submissions, including documentaries, shorts, and features. Tickets for the festival are available online on the Black Arts Alliance Inc. for $150; more than 500 tickets have already been purchased. The festival will run from May 16-19 in locations across the city such as Thalian Hall and Boseman’s Shoes and features films like the documentary “A Wu-Tang Experience: Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre,” as well as “The Kill Room,” starring Uma Thurman and Samuel L. Jackson. Read PCD’s full coverage here.

From 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Carolina Beach Pier, Ocean Events USA and the Surf Dog Experience welcomes pooches armored in life jackets to lodge soft-top surfboards with the help of experienced team members — or their owners — to ride the waves. To date, more than 250 dogs have participated. (Courtesy photo)

Saturday, May 18

Surf Dog Experience
Carolina Beach Pier, 1800 Carolina Beach Ave. N. • Registration: $30, free for spectators 

It’s baaacccck — time to watch the area pups take on the waves in Carolina Beach this weekend.

From 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Carolina Beach Pier, Ocean Events USA and the Surf Dog Experience welcomes pooches armored in life jackets to lodge soft-top surfboards with the help of experienced team members — or their owners — to ride the waves. To date, more than 250 dogs have participated.

The surfing is slated to begin around 8 a.m. and registration is open here. Prizes are given to first through third places as well. 

The event is a fundraiser, too, with half of registration proceeds going to Freedom Bridge Animal Rescue. To date, Ocean Events has raised more than $3,500 for the nonprofit.

The Carolina Beach Pier welcomes spectators and their own dogs to watch the fun, with vendors set up as well. A free shuttle service will run from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. from the Publix parking lot in Carolina Beach.

The rain date is May 21.

¡Viva Mexico! ¡Viva America! — To celebrate Mexican-American culture, ¡Viva Mexico! ¡Viva America! will take the stage. There will be mariachi playing, traditional Mexican dance and colorful, flowy dresses. Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles adds vibrant movement to the show; they’re best known for their Oscar-winning choreography in Disney’s “Coco.” Tickets start at $27. Wilson Center is located at 711 N. Third St. 

The Bow Wow Luau and Cat’s Meow — Thalian Hall is going to the dogs — and cats! The annual nonprofit events Bow Wow Luau and Cat’s Meow takes place at 7 p.m., to raise money for Heidi’s Hope for Homeless Animals. The annual event has raised and donated more than $68,000 for cats and dogs in need since the organization’s founding in 2009. There will be a traditional hula and luau, with island-style hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction. Tickets are $70 and open to the public.

Carolina Beach Skate Park Opening — Also taking place in Carolina Beach will be the official opening of the town’s skate park at Mike Chappell Park. From 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., families are welcome to come through the “kids business fair,” featuring entrepreneurs between the ages of 10 to 16 set up as vendors. There also will be a pump track race and mini bowl contest highlighting the park’s newest amenities. Skaters can also enter the biggest heart/best trick contest. Live music will play from Busted Radio, Emily Grimm, Photoclub, and Rocket77 and Seaview Food Truck will be parked on site. It’s free.

All White Party —  Ironclad Brewery will host Wilmington Latin Dance’s annual All White Party. It gets underway at 9 p.m. with an intro lesson and social dancing until 1 a.m. The tickets are $15 at the door or purchasable online for $5 off with the code “BLANCO,” available here. The brewery is located downtown at 115 N. Second Street; there is on-street parking and a deck across from the venue.

Thalian Association Community Theater’s ‘The SpongeBob Musical’ features Connor Perry as SpongeBob Squarepants and Kellen Hanson as Patrick Starr. (Courtesy photo)

Sunday, May 19

‘The SpongeBob Musical’
Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St. • Tickets: $28 and up 

Thalian Association Community Theater is premiering a musical that adults and kids alike will flock to — “The SpongeBob Musical.” 

“‘SpongeBob’ was created for my generation,” former TACT artistic director Chandler Davis, who curated the season, told PCD before retiring from the position last year. The 37-year-old was a self-described fan.

“Yes, kids are still watching it today, but the people who grew up with it are still fans,” she said, adding the 2017 stage version is “amazing.”

The musical takes the Nickelodeon animated series and ups the ante. Chaos ensues as SpongeBob Squarepants and all of Bikini Bottom face annihilation of their undersea world, but just when hope seems lost, a hero saves the day. 

The musical features Connor Perry as SpongeBob Squarepants and Kellen Hanson as Patrick Starr.

The musical received 12 Tony nominations, including for Best Original Score, which received help from Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips on “Tomorrow Is” (full circle moment: The Flaming Lips will be coming to town in July to Greenfield Lake Amphitheater).

“SpongeBob” won a Tony for Best Scenic Design of a Musical, as well as 2018’s Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards.

 “The music is fresh and catchy, and I believe it will be our most stunning show from a design perspective,” Davis said previously. “This is a show all ages can enjoy.” 

It runs May 17 through 26, Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, 2 p.m. Tickets start at $28 here.

Rock the Dock Summer Series — Bluewater Grill in Wrightsville Beach brings in live music every Sunday through September to play the outdoor deck overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway. This weekend features Key Lime Pie — not the dessert (though Bluewater has that too) but a rock group who takes on world music and Latin flair, as well as R&B and Cajun sounds. They play everything from Santana to Zeppelin, Arethat to Dr. John. They play 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 4 Marina Street.

An Evening with Dark Star Orchestra — Grateful Dead lovers often flock to see this tribute band, which, like their predecessors, never play the same set twice. For 25 years, they have played 3,100 shows, culling songs from popular Dead tours to create unique sets. The seven-piece jam band often come through Greenfield Lake Amphitheater (see last year’s photos here). Gates open at 5 p.m. this Sunday. Tickets are $45 to $65.

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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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