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, Aug. 24
‘Man of La Mancha’
Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St. • Tickets: $35
Opera House Theatre Company has opened the 1965 production inspired by writer Miguel de Cervantes’ 17th century book “Don Quixote.” “Man of La Mancha” won five Tony Awards and ran for more than 2,000 productions in the ‘60s.
The show has local ties as well, as Opera House founder Lou Criscuolo — who passed away almost a decade ago — performed in the Broadway production in the late ‘60s. The show became known for the hit “The Impossible Dream,” now considered an American standard.
This rendition has been updated a bit by director Ray Kennedy. Fracaswell Hyman takes on the role of Cervantes, who performs a play within a play with his fellow inmates while detained at the U.S.-Mexican border. The story that unfolds shows Quixote traveling worldwide to right the wrongs of humanity.
The show also stars Brian Whitted as Sancho and Coleman Cox as Aldonza.
Music is by Mitch Leigh, with lyrics by Joe Darion and libretto by Dale Wasserman. The show runs Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.
OTHER THURSDAY EVENTS
Boards and Brews — The Cargo District’s bottle shop, Fermental, is pairing up with Cape Fear Games for Boards and Brews. There will be experienced staff onsite to help teach the board games and rules to participants. Fermental will be serving wines and beers; the event is family-friendly and free, sans purchases from the bottle shop. Free parking is open throughout the Cargo District and Fermental is located at 600 S. 17th St.
CAM In Conversation — Free with museum admission, the community is welcome to sit in for a conversation between Cameron Art Museum executive director Heather Wilson and local arts council executive director Rhonda Bellamy. The two will discuss CAM’s community engagement strategies under Wilson’s new leadership. “I’m looking forward to talking about my focus on community engagement in southeastern NC, which includes accessibility, inclusivity, and collaboration with our community, while focusing on presenting the highest quality modern and contemporary art,” Wilson wrote to PCD. The conversation starts at 6 p.m. Participants are encouraged to register here and the event takes place at the museum, 3201 S 17th St.
Fort Lowell Records Vinyl Night — Looking for a chill night with cocktails and maybe a vinyl-record listening sesh? Fort Lowell Records and Satellite Bar and Lounge (120 Greenfield St.) can help. Bo Fader will be behind the turntables spinning dance-centric electro-synth-funk and post-disco sounds. So maybe it won’t be so much chill as it will be filled with funk, maybe some dancing — but a little groove never hurt anyone. It’s free to attend.
Back-to-School Beach Bonfire — The Carolina Beach Pier (1800 Carolina Beach Ave. N) is hosting a back-to-school bash from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. It’s welcoming all college students, teachers, parents, friends and graduates to enjoy bonfires, as well as live music from Courtney Lynn and Quinn. There also will be s’mores, ice cream and food and drinks for purchase at the tiki bar and in the dining rooms. It’s pet-friendly and there will be corn hole, Tic-Tac-Toe and beach volleyball. The fireworks launch over Carolina Beach at 9 p.m., viewable from the pier.
Dorothy Gillespie: Portraits and Self-Portraits — On display in the gallery at UNCW’s Cultural Arts Building through Sept. 1 are the works of 20th-century American artist Dorothy Gillespie. A well-known painter, sculptor and installation artist, Gillespie is best known for her metal ribbon sculptures. This work features portraits and self-portraits and is being hosted in conjunction with additional galleries showcasing the artist’s work throughout Wilmington, including Art in Bloom Gallery, Cameron Art Museum, Thalian Hall and the Wilson Center. The exhibits are a partnership with the Dorothy Gillespie Foundation and the Radford University Art Museum. Gillespie had close ties to Thalian Hall’s former executive director Tony Rivenbark, who passed away last summer. He acted as her assistant in New York in the 1970s. CAB’s hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on UNCW’s campus.
Friday, Aug. 25
Dead Crow Comedy Room, 511 N. Third St. • Tickets: $18-$28
A comedian living in New York City, Ariel Elias will be touring through Dead Crow Comedy Room to perform four shows this weekend at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
Elias — a “Kentucky Jew” — mixes backstories about her life with wry observations on being a woman.
“I’m a deeply insecure person,” she said. “I have body dysmorphia. If you don’t know, body dysmorphia is the condition: if you are a woman.”
Named a “New Face” at the 2021 Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, Elias tours comedy clubs nationwide and has made an appearance on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
One of her standup videos from Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club in New Jersey went viral last fall. A Trump-supporting heckler threw a can of beer at her onstage, which she in turn chugged. It prompted her appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
Tickets to her shows are $18 to $28.
OTHER FRIDAY NIGHT EVENTS
Shawna Kenney and Barb Morrison — A local writer known for her releases “I Was a Teenage Dominatrix,” “Imposters” and “Live at the Safari Club: A History of Hardcore Punk in the Nation’s Capital,” will be at Bottega Wine and Art Gallery on Friday, 6 p.m., for a book signing. Kenney released her “Dominatrix” memoir in 1999, which went on to win a Firecracker Alternative Book Award in 2000. She will be joined by Barb Morrison, a former record producer (Blondie, Rufus Wainwright, Franz Ferdinand), who published “Bottoming for God,” a love story that touches on gender euphoria, sobriety and life in old-school New York City.
Fourth Friday Gallery Night — Downtown’s Fourth Friday Gallery Night returns with new exhibits across town to catch new art. The Big Fun Art Show, featuring the paintings and illustrations of Mark Weber, will be on display at Acme Art Studios (711 N. Fifth Ave.), while Tiffany O’Brien’s “Cute Creepy Things” opens at The Eclectic Artisans (219 Water St.). Wilmington Art Association artists William Hubbard, Lisa Myers, Cathy Poulos, and Becky Steele will have art on display at Gallery Citrine (17 S. Second St.). The galleries stay open late during Fourth Fridays, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; more information about participants can be found here.
Leland Fourth Friday Art Market — In more arts news, across the bridge there will be 30 artisans and vendors lined up to participate in the Friday Art Market at Shuckin’ Shack (1175 Turlington Ave.) in Leland, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. There also will be live music, drinks and seafood to enjoy while shopping and supporting local creatives. The market also donates a portion of proceeds from booth reservations to charity. For August it will benefit Saving Dogs 4 Betty’s Sake; the event is taking donations for the nonprofit, which rehomes abused, abandoned, surrendered and rescued animals.
Gin Fizz — Love the sounds of funk, jazz and swing? Gin Fizz is your new favorite local act. The groups takes classics like Blondie’s “Call Me” or The Beatles’ “Come Together” and flips them into tunes with sultry, slinky appeal. Plus, they cover the stalwarts of jazz like Nina Simone. They’re playing Waterline (721 Surry St.) from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 26
Surf Dog Experience
Carolina Beach Pier, 1800 Carolina Beach Ave. N. • Registration: $30, free for spectators
The Atlantic is going to the dogs this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Carolina Beach Pier.
Hosted by Ocean Events USA, 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 event is a fundraiser, too, with half of registration proceeds going to Freedom Bridge Animal Rescue. To date, Ocean Events has raised nearly $3,500 for the nonprofit.
This year a “Hang 20” competition is taking place, with prizes awarded to first, second and third place. The surfing is slated to begin around 10:30 a.m.
The Carolina Beach Pier welcomes spectators and their own dogs to watch the fun, with vendors set up as well. Registration is $30 here.
A rain date has been set for Aug. 27.
OTHER SATURDAY EVENTS
FILMington Popcorn Festival — OK, so it’s not a film festival, but it is a market to celebrate film and bring together those in the industry who make the magic happen. FILMington Popcorn Festival is billed as “a flea market with film flair” and is open to the public. Vendors will have film-related items to sell, among other wares. As well, the Uptilt Film Fest — a nonprofit event hosted by females in film — and Citizen Studios will have local art, crafts, specialty items, and food vendors on site. The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Citizen Studios (2722 Carolina Beach Road), a creative space and gathering place for storytellers.
Wilmington Goth Night — The Brewer’s Kettle at 4718 Oleander Drive is celebrating the darkness Saturday night from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. It will include moody goth sounds and plenty of visuals — a laser light show, videos and fog machines. Sounds will be heard across a spectrum of dark music — synth pop, cold wave, dark medieval folk tunes, contemporary dark metal and post-punk. It’s free and open to all ages.
Hell and High Water Fest — If metal is more your speed, Reggie’s 42nd Street will have a weekend dedicated to fast-pulse rock to keep the blood pumping. On Aug. 25, it will feature bands Open Wire, Mortal Man and Slumberwave, while Aug. 26 features Reflect & Refine, Echonest, To Begin Anew, Escape Velocity and Clout Chaser. Tickets are $10 for one night or $15 for both; Reggie’s is located at 1415 S. 42nd St.
Saturday Night Fever — Grab your dancing shoes and head to the the Elks Lodge, 5102 Oleander Drive, to enjoy the hustle, shag, disco, salsa, tango and line dancing. DJ Dance Gypsy will spin hits across many eras and gatherers are encouraged to dress in their best John Travolta white leisure attire. There will be a free disco lesson by dance professional Patricia Carver-Garcia. Bring a snack to share. It’s $8 for members, students and military and $10 for the general public. No dance experience or partner is necessary.
The Groove Market and Concerts on the Square — Riverlights has a packed Saturday in store, welcoming shoppers to support 30 local vendors and makers at its Groove Market, located at Marina Village from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Coffee and food trucks will be on site as well. From 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Uptown Easy will take the stage, performing a multitude of sounds from Motown to R&B, including Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone, The Temptations, Chicago, Bruno Mars, Fleetwood Mac and Beyonce. Food trucks Platypus and Gnome, Chocolate and S’more, Coastal Creamery and Smash N Dash will be parked and lawn chairs and blankets are welcome. Both the market and concert are free.
Sunday, Aug. 27
Forward Motion Dance Company
Cameron Art Museum, 3201 S 17th St. • Tickets: $10-$12
A group of choreographers and dancers are coming together at Cameron Art Museum from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. to showcase new and recent works.
The performance from Forward Motion Dance — a nonprofit formed by Tracey Varga, lead choreographer, in the early aughts — includes the art of movement paired to live music and film. Afterward, there will be an audience discussion with the performers.
The preview event is hosted ahead of the company’s annual performance, “Cape Fear Arts in Motion: Film, Fire and Fusion,” taking place in September at Thalian Hall. The volunteer organization aims to offer local and regional audiences access to modern and contemporary dance performances, as well as a educational opportunities within its genre.
Tickets to the preview are $10 for CAM members and $12 for the general public.
OTHER SUNDAY EVENTS
United Souls Band — Waterman’s Brewing is getting into the reggae vibes on Sunday. United Souls Band, from Virginia Beach, has been taking the stage for more than three decades and was last in Wilmington 20 years ago. The band is returning as part of the Night Nurse’s Radio Redemption Concert Series to bring its amalgamation of sound, from soul standards to African and Latin rhythms. See an interview with Night Nurse here. Concert starts at 5 p.m. and is family-friendly.
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