Monday, June 24, 2024

Li’l Friday: Jesse ‘Jetski’ Johnson, Orange St. Arts Fest, Trombone Shorty

Trombone Shorty playing Wilmington in previous years will return to Greenfield Lake Amphitheater. (Tom Dorgan/MoonFrog Media)

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: Amos Lee, Julia Pratt

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 23

The Second-to-Last-Chance Ladies League
Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St. • Tickets: $35

The playwright trifecta of Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten are known for their Southern humor — something Big Dawg Productions has highlighted in its many years of scaling plays for local audiences. 

It’s opening “The Second-to-Last-Chance Ladies League” — a followup to “Always a Bridesmaid” — on Thursday. The show will run for two weekends at Thalian Hall’s Ruth and Bucky Stein Theater.

The show continues the raucous escapades of four middle-aged Southern women, also best friends. Libby Ruth, Deedra, Monette, and Charlie return to their home of Laurelton Oaks and start an event venue business to host retirement parties, baby showers — and, yes, memorial services. 

The show stars local actresses Erin Hunter, Deb Bowen, Shannon Playl, Tamica Katzmann and Krista Rivenbark. It will be the North Carolina premiere; tickets are $35 and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. except on Sundays, with 3 p.m. matinees.

Friday, May 24

Jesse ‘Jetski’ Johnson
Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St. • Tickets: $18-$28

Jesse ‘Jetski’ Johnson will perform four shows at Dead Crow Comedy this weekend. (Courtesy photo)

From trumpeter to comedian, one Phoenix-born, Los Angeles-based comic is hitting all the right notes on her current standup tour.

Jesse “Jetski” Johnson is coming through Wilmington this weekend at Dead Crow Comedy Room. She will perform at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes she even brings her trumpet onstage, which she calls her “rape whistle.”

“It’s pretty entertaining, but it’s not funny yet,” she said in The Comedy Store set.

Known for her two stints on “Kill Tony Podcast” and the “Bad Friends Podcast,” she’s been on the road as part of her Bad Friends Tour with Bobby Lee and Andrew Santino.

“On the first tour, they gave me this nickname: ‘Juicy,’” she said in one show. “And I don’t like it. … But it could’ve been way worse. It could’ve been ‘Dry.’”

Tickets are $18 to $28 here.

OTHER FRIDAY EVENTS
Deaf Andrews — Bourgie Nights is hosting three bands on its stage, including Deaf Andrews, hailing from Charlotte. The quintet performs indie pop rock and has released two singles, including 2023’s 2023: “Phone Line” and “Just Not Right.” Lawn Enforcement and Ridgewood are on the bill. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

Tell Me Lies — A Fleetwood Mac cover band will perform at Port City Marina, 10 Harnett St. The band utilizes four-part harmonies and meticulous musical details of the group’s famed catalog of music — ”Landslide,” “Songbird,” “Rhiannon,” and “Don’t Stop,” for instance. The band also brings the same style and essence of the band. Admission is $10.

‘The SpongeBob Musical’ — Thalian Association Community Theater is premiering a musical that adults and kids alike will flock to — “The SpongeBob Musical.” 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). It runs through May 26, Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, 2 p.m. Tickets start at $28 here.

Rock, Paper, Stitch — WHQR’s MC Erny Gallery is opening a new show featuring the works of many local artists — Fritzi Huber, Thomas Little, Leslie Marsh, Michelle May, Louise Curtin Ramseur, Jan Wutkowski and Rebecca Yeomans. The group works in natural/botanical dyes and paints, handmade paper, slime mold, contemporary stitching, encaustic wax, mineral ink and more. An opening reception with the artists will take place May 24, 6 p.m., and the show will close June 28 with a reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. as well. 

Carolina Beach Boardwalk Blast — The first fireworks show along the Carolina Beach Boardwalk feels like the unofficial kick-off to summer annually along the Cape Fear coast. Fireworks are blasted over the Atlantic for free through Labor Day. Playing at 6 p.m. on the boardwalk stage will be Carl Newton’s Review, who performs R&B and soul; fireworks blast at 9 p.m. Both are free. Moving forward, free concerts and fireworks are on Thursdays unless otherwise noted. See full schedule here.

Orange Street Arts Festival will take place at Second and Orange Streets both Saturday and Sunday, featuring almost 100 vendors. (Courtesy TACT)

Saturday, May 25

Orange Street Arts Festival
Second and Orange streets • Free

The 28th annual Orange Street ArtFest will take place all weekend and features almost 100 artisans and creators selling their unique works. 

Presented by The Thalian Association Community Theater, Orange Fest is the biggest springtime arts festival in downtown Wilmington, featuring artists from North Carolina and surrounding areas. The festival will be held May 25-26 on Orange St., next to Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center, and on Second to Dock streets along with artists inside the building. 

All artworks will be for sale, including acrylic, oils, watercolor, sculpture, drawing, graphics, wearable arts, leather jewelry, clay, glass, fiber, metal work or mixed media.

Artists are eligible for awards and up to $550 in prize money and the street fair is open at 9 a.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday, and closes both days at 5 p.m. 

OTHER SATURDAY EVENTS
Africa Day — Maides Park (1101 Manly Drive) is planning a day celebrating vibrant culture, music and cuisine of Africa. Families are welcome to participate in the unique traditions, rhythms, and flavors, as there will be arts and crafts, an Afrobeats dance lesson, drum and percussion, food and fashion vendors, poetry, games and more. It’s free to attend and African attire is encouraged.

Musical Salute to the Battleship  A two-hour concert to celebrate Memorial Day will take place on the fantail of the Battleship North Carolina at 6:30 p.m. The Brunswick Big Band will perform music from the World War II era, including special guests South Brunswick High School Jazz Band and Chorus. It’s the first musical salute to the USS North Carolina. Tickets: $5

Pride Prom — Celebrating the LGBTQIA community, a Pride Prom is being hosted at Thalian Hall from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The theme is “Bloom Where You Are Planted” and welcomes love in all forms, including members of the pride community as well as allies and supporters. There will be dancing and a prom court; tickets are $15 to $40 and the event is hosted by the LGBTQ Center of the Cape Fear Coast.  

Total Request Live Silent Disco — Remember MTV’s famed TRL? All those boy bands and girl pop groups featured from the late 1990s and early 2000s are going to be celebrated at a silent disco at Hi-Wire Brewing. Multiple DJ’s will spin tunes and there will be both the TRL ‘90s and TRL 2000s channel, allowing dancers to choose whatever they want to hear in their headphones. It’s basically a choose-your-own-adventure dance party. Headphones are handed out at 7:30 p.m. when the music starts and are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Otherwise, it’s free to attend.

Kidstock — Want to do something fun with the kids this weekend? From noon to 4 p.m. Wrightsville Beach Brewery is hosting Kidstock (6201 Oleander Drive). There will be live music with RetroMic from noon to 2 p.m. followed by Delia Stanley from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Food, fairy hair and Fresh Start Reptile Rescue will be on site. It’s free to attend, though food and drinks are individually priced.

To close out Charles Williams’ latest exhibit, ‘Stay in the Light,’ at CAM, some of his short films will screen Sunday, including ‘Nother/Day.’ (Courtesy photo)

Sunday, May 26

Nother/Day
Cameron Art Museum, 3201 S. 17th St. • Tickets: $5 and up

A film by Charles Williams, “Nother/Day,” will screen at Cameron Art Museum at 2 p.m. as part of the closing of the his latest exhibit “Stay in the Light.”

“Nother/Day” is a 3-minute short film about past and modern-day police brutality in America. It broaches the idea of regaining trust in authority. 

The filmmaker and visual artist centers his work on the Black experience and cultural identity. He opened “Stay in the Light” in February, telling his own story within Black history and the larger framework of moments in civil rights. It features  more than a dozen pieces of art reflecting on family and strength, protest, power struggles and more.

Williams utilizes film to also address these topics. The goal is to bring to light broader conversations that can overcome racism and stereotyping. Four more of his short films will screen as part of the exhibit’s closing, including “Continuum,” “Untitled,” “The Call,” and “Blessings Indigues.”

It’s $5 for members and $10 for non-members; registration is open here.

OTHER SUNDAY EVENTS
Trombone Shorty — R&B, funk, blues, reggae and rock will meld for an evening of iconic performance. Every year Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue head to Wilmington the band brings high-octane energy. The trombonist is headed to Greenfield Lake Amphitheater Sunday to perform songs from his 12-album catalog. Tickets to the show are available here. Read PCD’s interview with the artist from 2022 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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