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encore | june 17 - june 23, 2020 | www.encorepub.com 1


Vol. 36 / Pub. 50 June 17-June 23, 2020

ENCOREPUB.COM encoredeals.com

NEWS pgs. 10-11 • By Shea Carver Shea Carver talks with Black Lives Matter leader Sonya Patrick, who is charging the fight for racial justice throughout the Cape Fear Region. Courtesy photo

word of the week BUTT SPIDER (N) Mike Adams. “We have to get that butt spider out of UNCW.” Credit: Haji P, Wilmington artist (p. 22)

EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief:

Shea Carver >> shea@encorepub.com

Staff Editors:

Shannon Rae Gentry >> shannon@encorepub.com Jeff Oloizia >> jeffrey@encorepub.com

Art Director/Office Manager: Susie Riddle >> ads@encorepub.com

COVER STORIES Artist Haji P. uses his work to speak out on social injustices and systemic racism happening across America (pg. 22) and has been reflecting as mush in his ar. our cover photo features his chalk drawings expressing the heat UNCW is MUSIC pg. 24 • By Shannon Rae Gentry catching heat once again for racially charged and insensitive remarks from Prof. Mike Adams, with thousands David Dixon just released his latest single leading up to his forthcomcalling for his removal (pgs. 14-15). ing EP ‘Small Circles.’ Photo by Slone Eller


Chief Contributors: Gwenyfar Rohler,

Anghus, Tom Tomorrow, Mark Basquill, Rosa Bianca, Rob Brezsny, John Wolfe, Joan C.W. Hoffmann

SALES General Manager/Owner: John Hitt >> john@encorepub.com

Ad Representatives

John Hitt >> john@encorepub.com Shea Carver >> shea@encorepub.com Published weekly on Wednesday by HP Media; opinions of contributing writers are not the opinions of encore.

Businesses, please, contact us to find out more about our COVID-19 relief program that can put money in your pocket now and get you ads later.

ALSO INSIDE THIS WEEK P.O. Box 12430, Wilmington, N.C. 28405 encorepub.com • (910) 791-0688

DRINKS pg. 30 • By Joan C.W. Hoffmann See all those numbers above? That’s how long the bars in ILM have been closed, but now they’re filing a lawsuit against Governor Cooper for the right to reopen. Courtesy photo

Best Of Winners, pgs. 4-9 • News, pgs. 10-15 • Live Local, pgs. 16-17 • OpEd, pgs. 18-19 • News of the Weird, pg. 20 Gullible’s Travels, pg. 21 • Art, pg. 22 • Gallery Guide, pg. 23 • Music, pg. 24 • Film, pg. 25 • Dining, pgs. 26-30 Carpe Librum, pg. 31 • Extra, pgs. 32-33 • Horoscopes/Tom Tomorrow, pg. 34 • Crossword, pg. 35

2 encore | june 17 - june 23, 2020 | www.encorepub.com

encore | june 17 - june 23, 2020 | www.encorepub.com 3

encore Readers’ Choice Awards


FRONT ST. BREWERY Circa 1922 Dram + Morsel





Empire Deli & Bagel Mr. Bagel Meister


APPLE ANNIE’S BAKE SHOP One Belle Bakery The Red Eye Bakery


SATELLITE BAR AND LOUNGE Tavern Law 1832 Cape Fear Wine and Beer



SeaWitch Cafe & Tiki Bar Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar


JIMMY’S AT RED DOGS The Palm Room King Neptune Restaurant

% OF BEST BURRITO VOTES FLAMING AMY’S BURRITO BARN 38% 32% 30% 67% 17% 16% 58% 25% 17% 58% 26% 16% 64% 20% 16% 42% 33% 25% 47% 27% 26%


JACKSON’S BIG OAK BARBECUE 44% Mission BBQ Moe’s Original Bar B Que



Brandy Smith Tomcany (Slainte) Ron Blois (Tails)


CAPE FEAR WINE AND BEER Wrightsville Beach Brewery Fermental Beer & Wine

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K-38 Baja Grill Burrito Shak


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Josh Petty (Cast Iron Kitchen) Carson Jewell (Kitchen at Palate)


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APPLE ANNIE’S BAKE SHOP Nothing Bundt Cakes Circa 1922



Jimbo’s Breakfast & Lunch Goody Goody Omelet House




Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar Cast Iron Kitchen



Cast Iron Kitchen Eternal Sunshine Cafe

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Barbary Coast Duck & Dive Pub


BRITTS DONUT SHOP Wake N Bake Donuts The Donut Inn



Joey Dunn (Pour House) Bogdan Roberson (Earnest Money and Sons)

WILMINGTON BREWING COMPANY 42% BEST FAST FOOD 31% Wrightsville Beach Brewery P.T.’S OLDE FASHIONED GRILLE 27% Flying Machine Brewing Company



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Boca Bay Restaurant Casey’s Buffet Golden Corral Buffet and Grill



P.T.’s Olde Fashioned Grille Fork ‘N’ Cork

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Chick-fil-A Cook Out



Circa 1922 Port Land Grille



WilmyWoodie Wood Fired Pizza Joe Loves Lobster Rolls



Brasserie du Soleil Our Crepes and More

4 encore | june 17 - june 23, 2020 | www.encorepub.com


BILL’S BREW FOOD Rooster & The Crow Casey’s Buffet


PT’S OLDE FASHIONED GRILLE Poe’s Tavern - Wrightsville Beach Five Guys

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Blue Shark Vodka Mason Inlet Distillery

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Paul’s Place Charlie Graingers




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Roko Italian Restaurant Rosalie’s Trattoria

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37% 35% Genki Sushi Okami Japanese Hibachi Steak House & Sushi 28% BEST LATE-NIGHT EATS 42% SLICE OF LIFE 30% I Love NY Pizza 28% Front Street Brewery

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Luke Carnavale (Earnest Money and Sons) Greg Matheson (City Club of Wilmington)



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Flea Body’s Cape Fear Jewelry & Antiques



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Wilson Center at CFCC The Cape Fear Playhouse

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John Wolfe Brent Holland

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Laney High School Theatre Snow Productions

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66% 17% 17%


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Cape Fear Museum Children’s Museum of Wilmington

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encore | june 17 - june 23, 2020 | www.encorepub.com 5

WINNER WRITEUPS WINNER WRITEUPS WINNER WRITEUPS WINNER WRITEUPS and Elijah’s on July 9. After reaching out to McQuay for a quarantine playlist (linked at encorepub.com) a few weeks back, encore followed up to ask him about the love of his town.


RANDY MCQUAY toes. I’ve had to be very creative to make ends meet. While there are some very cool silver linings, streaming is pretty lame. Even through all of this, the local community and my fanbase has been very kind, understanding, supportive and generous to me. The world is an incredible place that humans will inevitably destroy.

encore (e): What’s your favorite part of living in Wilmington? Randy McQuay (RM): My favorite part of living in Wilmington is the brewery, food truck and music scene. It’s really a special scene of small business owners that help each other prosper ... and it’s a lot of fun. One good thing out of COVID-19 quarantine is a new single from blues singer-songwriter, guitarist and Best Male Musician, Randy McQuay. While “Better with a Song” doesn’t have a release date yet, McQuay gave an acoustic performance of the song on his Facebook page. With NC’s phase two opening, allowing for certain businesses and activities resume with limited numbers, McQuay has a few upcoming local shows across town: Edward Teach Brewery on June 18, Blockade Runner’ Blues Brunch on June 21, Holiday Inn Wrightsville Beach on June 27, Cloud 9 Rooftop Bar on July 3,

e: What do you think is our town’s best hidden secret?

e: What’s the best concert/theatre event/art show you’ve ever been to here?

RM: Wilmington’s best kept secret is its people. There is a good vibe here overall.

RM: It’s so hard to pick my favorite concert. I’ve had the opportunity to be an opener for some really great bands that were touring through Wilmington.

e: What was the last thing you remember doing before things shut down? RM: Play a brunch show at Blockade Runner (March 15). I streamed the performance in anticipation of what was to come. I also went out for more supplies on the way home from the show. In hindsight, I wish I’d bought some more toilet paper.

e: What has this pandemic taught you about yourself? About your community? About the world at large? RM: The pandemic has kept me on my

I always love to see JJ Grey at Greenfield Lake. I had the chance to open for him in Myrtle Beach and he’s been one of my favorite artists since. His style and energy, along with the scenery at GLA, is such a perfect match. I remember taking my (now) wife and my mother to a show. It was fantastic!

Monkey Junction’s only wine bar! Delivery available for FREE! Or call us to make an appointment in our shop: 910-338-4027 or 910-685-4334. Special orders accepted. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Discounts for purchases of 6 and 12 bottles.

5226 S. College Rd, 9B | (910) 338-4027 | www.soifdevin.com 6 encore | june 17 - june 23, 2020 | www.encorepub.com

WINNER WRITEUPS WINNER WRITEUPS WINNER WRITEUPS WINNER WRITEUPS work? Bo Dean (BD): My volunteer work has been directed differently as events and games cannot happen, but, recently, we were able to have a drive-by parade at multiple group homes for our players for the Miracle Leagues. I have even been an auctioneer on a Zoom fundraiser—that was a blast! But my work as a public servant became a living tribute to what we share as part of our model of good governance, where we say we have to be agile and flexible. I serve our 1,800-plus public servants by developing learning and professional development opportunities. Readers would be hard-pressed to find someone as busy and involved in ILM as Bo Dean: He works with Miracle League and Access of Wilmington, Wilmington Rotary, Cape Fear American Heart Association, the NHC Resiliency Task Force, and this year, he was voted onto the NHRMC Hospital Foundation board.


each other in those times when we are in our place of resilience. e: Back to ILM—is there a silver lining in all of this? BD: It may sound like semantics, but I don’t like “silver linings” because I believe that imposes an idea of covering what is. I do, however, like the idea of “highlight.”

Since March, the work we have focused on has been really amplified on resilience, and how to help folks manage all of the changes and still meet the needs of the citizens we serve. I am so humbled every day by the commitment and drive of those I work with. From the sheriff and fire rescue, to public health and DSS, and all the [county and city] departments in between, like planning, landfill, you name it. It is truly awe-inspiring.

“In all of these groups, I’m able to see ways we can include people in every part of our community, and find ways to [meet] needs that may not always be met in the day-to-day,” Dean shares. “It may be e: How are you processing the uproar health or wellness, or another essential of voices being heard worldwide in the need. What is a joy in being a part of these aftermath of George Floyd’s brutal killgroups is that each believes we are our ing? brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, and look BD: For as long as I have been in Wilmout for one another in those ways.” ington, I have learned about 1898. I intenIt’s no surprise Dean’s volunteerism is tionally took time to listen to the stories recognized again this year with the Best and understand events that followed [the Humanitarian award in 2020. Beyond coup d’état], like the Wilmington Ten and countless board meetings, Dean often other pivotal moments in our community. volunteers to play auctioneer or to emcee It was, however, in this last couple of events, ranging from Temple of Israel’s years that I became a resilience educator Gala for Gratitude to Coastal Horizons’ through the NHC Resiliency Task Force. annual meetings, where he gives the inThen I began to understand more about vocation. historical trauma. “What joy it is to be able to offer my George Floyd’s death was not the first, big mouth and energy to events and ocand yet somehow, it was the death that casions that lift up and create change!” woke trauma inside of people. His murder Deans quips. “My favorite of all those was a catalyst to drive out into the open [events] is being the announcer for the all that is not talked about in the broadMiracle League of Wilmington. I get to sit er communities: complacency, bias (of behind home plate and watch athletes of all forms), systemic racism, economic different abilities, from ages ranging 5 to engineering, microaggressions and the 82, get on that field and have the time of like. The brutality [caused] a bursting of their lives every Saturday for six hours. It all that lived and historical trauma. Maybe is something I would pay to do because previous events did, too, but it had quickly it is, without a doubt, the best of who we been tamped down. are as people—the epitome of excellence, Not this time. teamwork and inclusion.” This time the experience of the opWe interviewed Dean about the world as we know it, in the midst of a pandemic and pressed connected with a common civil unrest, to find out how he is unpack- good—a shared humanity, a connection to a rejection of oppression, but also to a ing it all. connection to histories of oppression of encore (e): How have the pandemic and non-majorities, or to those who had seen protests directly impacted you and your and experienced suffering and had not


found equity or justice or resolution. I am hopeful about that, but I am still processing. See, as a white man, although I am not cis, I know well my privilege. This journey of learning and understanding is still my privilege because I do it while listening and watching rather than experiencing it. e: How has it inspired you toward personal and community change? BD: I am doing much the same as I have done until now. I hold fast with equity, justice, fairness and equality as a guide in all I have, and all I am involved in. I have a quote on my whiteboard in my office by James Baldwin that pushes everything I do: “I can’t believe what you say because I see what you do.”

In these hard and real discussions, I see the highlight where we are moving to expose those who harbor racism. They can choose to move differently, or we can move differently in our relationships with them and/or their businesses. We see opportunity to hear what is best for our public spaces, sharing histories, hearing lived experiences, finding connections in ways we have not [before] because we did not talk about it, and maybe even having a generation of children to come who will have a better experience overall. e: Have you been venturing out at all in phase two? What are you looking forward to enjoying most when we are out of the COVID-19 cloud? BD: Not going out much. Just kayaking since the beach access is open. [I am looking forward to] being on the microphone at a baseball game at the Miracle League, watching our players, run, walk or roll out to the plate, hit, dance and have an amazing time, feeling what it means to be included, loved and fully able to have fun, play and be a part of a team.

I am not perfect; I fall short all the time. But, I will say, as I shared above, I am listening more intently. I do not speak on the lived experience of another. I will continue to learn more about others, though. Not because of this but because I find in connecting with people, we can find solutions and ways to do good things. In community change, the efforts [toward] resilience are my focus, and those efforts lie in our biology to get us to a place where we can think and act with intention and good. I cannot wait to do more with more people in that regard. We have good people all around us. We just have to find encore | june 17 - june 23, 2020 | www.encorepub.com 7

WINNER WRITEUPS WINNER WRITEUPS WINNER WRITEUPS WINNER WRITEUPS Our current art exhibit is “Visions of Inspiration: Featuring Artists Brian Evans, Dianne Evans & Kirah Van Sickle,” through July 19, 2020. In addition, we are featuring photography by Barbara Snyder and scanography by Susan Francy.



We have a program where customers borrow selected art for up to three days to see the art at home to decide if it is a fit. If customers are not able to visit the gallery, we will deliver the art to the customer.

Art in Bloom Gallery (AIB) is making an appearance on our poll for the first time as Best Art Gallery 2020. Owned and operated by Amy Grant at 210 Princess Street, the gallery works with 45 or so artists. Though the pandemic has shut down the physical gallery to foot traffic, it hasn’t lessened its output via virtual tours or opening one-on-one for customers by appointment. More than ever, art is needed to bring joy and reflection to our chaotic world. “Art has the power to change our community and improve the lives of our current and next generations,” Grant says. We interviewed the gallery owner about life during COVID-19 and how it’s affecting her business. encore (e): How are you processing the pandemic? Amy Grant (AG): I am hoping in the November/January timeframe, we will have a change in leadership in the presidential and legislative branches of the federal government and in the legislature of North Carolina. We need leaders who will unite us and bring together collective efforts to reduce and eliminate COVID-19, and to also partner with the Black Lives Matter organization and other groups and individuals working for change. e: Clearly, the pandemic has really changed life in ILM; give us an idea of how AIB has adjusted. Amy Grant (AG): Our gallery team is adapting to life in the time of COVID-19. The gallery is open by appointment only by calling or texting 484-885-3037 (mobile). Face coverings are required, and the gallery provides masks, hand sanitizer, and handwashing stations as needed. The online gallery is open 24/7, and may be viewed and purchased via our website (we also ship). Virtual tours of the gallery are available at aibgallery.com/videos/ virtual-tours (thanks to Steve Smith of Angle Pros). A tour is created each time we change an exhibit (about every 30-40 days)

We created a “Studio Views” series where our artists share photos of their studios and stories of their lives during COVID-19. Also, we have created short films and video clips of our artists in their studios and/or at the gallery. On April 20, I had a Zoom video chat with Miriam Oehrlein, the owner of New Elements Gallery, about art and galleries in the time of COVID-19. Depending on feedback from viewers, Miriam and I plan to have a series of chats on other topics of interest. Gallery owners in our area tend to be collaborative. I believe we are stronger working together, and these partnerships will be more visible during the pandemic. In the long run, this type of cooperation will make our area more visible as an arts destination. e: How are you measuring/considering when to open up again? AG: I believe the gallery will not be able to open to the general public until next year. We are being cautious and protective of everyone’s safety and health since there is currently insufficient testing, no contact tracing, no proven safe and effective treatments, and no vaccine against COVID‑19. Local and state cases of COVID-19 are increasing due to many variables including human behavior such as not wearing face coverings and being in denial of the pandemic. Also, many visitors on summer vacation are visiting our community from other areas, including COVID-19 hot spots. During my morning and evening walks, I have noticed we have more people in town and most people are not wearing face coverings. It seems as if simple, common-sense practices are being ignored. Perhaps many people are in denial or do not understand that wearing a mask protects other people as well as the person wearing the mask. Or maybe convenience and comfort are more important than taking responsibility for the health and safety of self and others. In order for the gallery to open to the public, we would need to see fewer cases of COVID-19, changes in human behavior, and public-health measures such as sufficient testing, comprehensive contact tracing, proven safe and effective treatments, and eventually an FDA-approved vaccine. We are monitoring local, state, and national emergency authorities for mandatory and recommended practices.

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We also look to the Arts Council of Wilmington and to the North Carolina Arts Council for recommendations. “A Guide to Reopening the Arts” has been helpful (files.nc.gov/ncarts/guide_to_reopen_the_ arts.pdf). e: What’s coming up for the rest of 2020? AG: We are reconfiguring our exhibits and events planned for 2020 and 2021. For example, we had planned an art exhibit in honor of the 40th Anniversary of the Lower Cape Fear LifeCare (aka Hospice) in July. We also had planned an exhibit about the Hidden History of Princess Street with Mike Williams of the Black on Black Project (https://www.blackonblackproject.com/) in November. We are rethinking what we might be able to display virtually. At this time, we do not know if the American Craft Walk Wilmington will take place or if it will be virtual. It is scheduled for September 19 along Front Street. We have two booths scheduled to feature Bradley Carter (acrylic and mixed media) and Debra Bucci (oil on canvas and archival prints). Our artists have also been flexible to meet customers during the appointments. Many have led to new connections, joy, and wonderful conversations. Due to logistics and safety issues, we have ended our partnerships with other locations where we installed art and held receptions. We are working with several community partners to offer gift certificates for purchases of art over $200 from AIB Gallery. We are currently offering $25 gift certificates to Foxes Boxes Restaurant (takeout), Flytrap Brewing or The Basics Restaurant. e: How many shows do you normal-

ly host a year? Are they typically group shows? AG: AIB Gallery normally hosts about 25 shows a year counting art exhibits at 210 Princess Street (permanent gallery) and other locations, such as 216 N. Front Street, The ArtWorksTM, Ethan Allen Showroom, and various restaurants. Since the pandemic, we have hosted only group shows so far. e: What is your most memorable show to date and why? AG: It’s hard to pick one. Each art exhibit has something in common: original art by artists who are experimenting and willing to take risks. Each artist is evolving in his or her own way. Each artist is connected to the community in some way. I will always remember our first art exhibit and opening reception on Friday, October 2nd, 2015 with Elizabeth Darrow’s original art (oil and oil and collage on canvas), Debra Bucci’s original art (oil on canvas), and Traudi Thornton’s stoneware and raku ceramics. I am grateful the artists took a chance on our start-up gallery. I am also grateful that over 100 people visited the gallery during the opening reception, despite the cat 1 Hurricane Joaquin. I started to realize how much people love art in our community when people called the gallery to see if we would still be open during the hurricane. Other galleries had closed, and a lot of people told me that they had to see art! I lived a few blocks away from the gallery and had worn my rain boots and raincoat to walk to the gallery not knowing what to expect. When people called, I asked them to use their best judgment and not to drive during flood watches or warnings. The reception was a full

WINNER WRITEUPS WINNER WRITEUPS WINNER WRITEUPS WINNER WRITEUPS house, and we sold a lot of art that night and the next day, Saturday in the middle of the hurricane.

e: Has art helped you get through this time (pandemic, racial injustices, economic shutdown)? AG: Yes. In many ways, we are forced to be more creative and thoughtful. Working with original art has been good for everyone, including our families, staff, artists, customers, and colleagues. Art is a wonderful way to build stronger relationships and to enhance our skills including seeing, listening, and communicating, resulting in meaningful conversations. I participate in Zoom meetings with the Arts Council of Wilmington and New Hanover County, and stay in touch with owners and managers of other art galleries and art spaces. Art is helping us stay connected and making us stronger. I also participate in Zoom meetings with an Arts Advocacy group via the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) at UNCW. Last year and earlier this year, I participated in an Arts Equity 2020 project, supported by the Cape Fear Collective. I believe that project will reactivate in 2021. I am sad and horrified at what is happening with the COVID-19 pandemic and with

the struggle for justice and equity [among black Americans]. AIB Gallery and our gallery team support the Black Lives Matter movement. I believe art has the power to change our community and improve the lives of our current and next generations. I hope what we are doing may contribute to the collective effort to improve our community. We strive to be the change we need to see in our local, state, national, and international communities. e: What’s your favorite part of living in Wilmington? AG: The Cape Fear River. I treasure early morning walks in downtown along the Riverwalk and have seen dolphins and other wildlife in and around the river. The water is brackish (saltwater and fresh water mixed together). AIB Gallery partnered with the Cape Fear River Watch a few years ago during an art exhibit by the wonderful artist, Janette Hopper. There is so much to learn about the river. The work of the Cape Fear River Watch is important and reminds me not to take the river for granted. Another favorite part of living in Wilmington is all of the nonprofit and commercial groups and individuals working to help

people in our community. When I moved to Wilmington in late 2014, I started volunteering with DREAMS Center for Arts Education, an afterschool and summer camp arts program, and with Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, an emergency food pantry. Both organizations work closely with other groups in our community, and I like the way people work together without reinventing the wheel. DREAMS will be 25 years old in April 2022. And Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard is over 30 years old. I believe the work of these nonprofits and other groups are bringing us to a tipping point for real change, social justice, and equity. e: What do you think our city should do to help evolve into a true artistic hub? What do we need to take it to the next level? AG: [We] need to increase support of the Arts Council of Wilmington and New Hanover County (NHC), both financially and in other ways, such as partnering, raising awareness, volunteering time, and supporting arts programming. The mission of the council is to support artists and art organizations through innovative public/private partnerships that support jobs, stimulate commerce, and showcase the region as an arts destination.

the North Carolina Arts Council and with partners in Brunswick, Pender, and Columbus counties. Executive director Rhonda Bellamy also works with the Airport Authority, Chamber of Commerce, Wilmington Downtown Incorporated (WDI), the Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) at UNCW The Wilson Center at Cape Fear Community College (CFCC), Cucalorus Film Festival, WHQR Public Radio, the Wilmington Rail Trail, the Pedestrian Art Walk (Public Sculpture Program), the City of Wilmington New Hanover County, and many other organizations and projects to make our area more visible as an arts destination.

I believe Wilmington is evolving into a true artistic hub in our own, unique way. From a visual art perspective, I believe we will see more public art, including murals. Dumay Gorham, III, the sculptor told me he would like to see public sculpture on every other block. I agree! I would like to see more art galleries and more spaces for artists to display and sell their art. Also, the visual arts rely on the culinary arts (restaurants), film, music, dance, theatre, literary etc., to make our area more visible as an arts destination and hub.

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It used to be all black in the ‘70s. My family used to own a lot of property, and my grandmother had a house where the hardware store is. There was a little road beside my grandmother’s house that she’d always tell us never to go down. But we were little kids; we didn’t pay attention. So we went down the road, and two little white kids came out, and we thought they would want to play or something. I’ll never forget, they were mad we were on their property. We had never heard the ‘n word’ before then. Me and my brother looked at each other, and we knew something with it was wrong, but we didn’t know what.”


Black Lives Matter Wilmington’s Sonya Patrick looks back and forward on systemic racism

Around the same time in 1971, the Wilmington Ten were wrongfully convicted of arson and conspiracy. Patrick’s father coached baseball and oversaw a local Boy Scout troop, which included many of the young men accused of burning down a white-owned grocery store. Even the pastor of their family church was shot in the leg while checking in at the scene to see if one of his parishioner’s children was involved in the incident. “To this day when he talks about it, he says he feels traumatized—like he was in battle,” Patrick says.


In 2014 the Wilmington chapter of Black Lives Matter (BLM) was started on the heels of four fatalities over 90 days. One of these deaths was Brandon Smith—accused of shooting a police officer in the Creekwood neighborhood before being shot 27 times three days later by New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputies and an agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Sonya Patrick—who oversees the local BLM chapter and its 501(c)(3) affiliation through its sponsor, National Black Leadership Caucus, of which Patrick is the southeastern regional director—has provided resources to local families facing such atrocities. Black Lives Matter advocates in local government and legislature, and has access to lawyers and therapists who support the cause of helping families cope and seek justice for people they have lost to police brutality. One example of BLM’s activism came in 2019. Thirty-seven miles up the road in Shallotte, an unarmed 28-year-old named Brandon Webster was pulled over at a traffic stop and shot. He then drove home to his parents, who rushed him to the hospital where he died. The state trooper who shot him claims Webster was operating his truck like a weapon, threatening to hit the officer. The family maintains, even after seeing released video footage from two cameras, he was not so much a threat to have been killed. “What was worse, [officers] put the parents in the back of the police car while they were at the hospital for their son,” Patrick says. “So I went down to [Brunswick County district attorney] Jon David’s office and asked, ‘Why did you do that?’ And he began to say any time it’s an open investigation, they have a right to. But come on: You gonna put the parents in the car that just lost a child and they weren’t even at the scene?” David recused himself from the case, as Webster’s stepmother worked in his office. It was passed to Cumberland County,

The incident also affected Patrick firsthand. The thought of it brings her to tears, with a pause for reflection. “My daddy was a very strong person,” she manages to say, “but that’s the only time I remember seeing him worry. Because it could’ve been my brother. When it happens to one, it happens to all.” which couldn’t staff it appropriately, and so up to NC attorney general Josh Stein’s office it went. Stein cleared the state trooper of any wrongdoing. “When I saw the press conference they did with George Floyd, I thought, This sounds familiar. It sounded just like Josh Stein’s insane staff when we went up there and talked to them about Brandon Webster’s case,” Patrick recalls. “I asked them, ‘What am I supposed to tell the black community when I go back?’ They said, ‘Tell them we are working on justice in the criminal system and working on it getting better.’ I told them, ‘But this is the chance you can do it now. This is a chance for North Carolina to set a standard because no officer has been convicted for senselessly killing a black person.’” Stein maintains State Trooper Scott Collins didn’t use excessive force—despite the fact Webster was unarmed and hadn’t committed a major crime. It’s become an all-too-familiar situation in America, which is why Patrick says the call to action must reach beyond black people now; it has to affect the majority of white people to see and act for incremental change, for equity and justice for black Americans. “People ask me often: What’s it like to live in an institutionalized racist system being black?” Patrick says. “I can describe it in one word: hell. That’s what it’s like. You

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RALLY THE VOICES Black Lives Matter leader Sonya Patrick is helping lead the fight for racial justice in the Cape Fear. Courtesy photo

can do all the right things and still may not come home. They can film it, and it still may not matter. You can go to college, live in the right neighborhoods, get a good job, have a family, but you’ll still run into racism as a black person in America. It’s immoral, inhumane, and it doesn’t benefit anybody. We have to be better.” Patrick was affected by the power of activism as a child born in 1963 right before the height of civil rights. She read the “Autobiography of Malcolm X” and watched the impact Dr. King had across the nation. Still, the harassment she endured for trying to play with white neighbors as a 7-year-old never trailed far from her thoughts. “My family on my dad’s side lived at Wrightsville Sound,” she remembers. “That’s where they kept black folk to keep us off Wrightsville Beach. If you go over, you’ll see the black churches are still there.

It took 40 years for the Wilmington Ten to be cleared of charges and released from prison. It came back full circle for Patrick, who worked on their pardon of innocence project. In 2012 former Governor Beverly Purdue passed and granted each of the nine men and one woman $50,000 for each year they were wrongfully imprisoned. “I really get emotional when I hear some of the stories they went through,” Patrick says of the convicted. “It’s a shame to live in a city that takes 40 years to see their innocence—or that it even had to happen. It took so much out of their lives. They had promising careers: one could have been the next Arthur Ashe, one a professional football player, one was an entertainer/artist. Some came out  OK, but others were very scarred and never came back.” Patrick’s older brother carried the injustices of their early years into protests with the Black Panthers in the mid-to-late ‘70s. When Patrick’s son reached Roland Grise Middle School in the ‘90s, he wanted to do a project on his uncle’s involvement in the organization. It was the same school his mother attended in the ’70s. Unfortunately, it also was a place where both mother and child felt the pains of racism. “I was bullied all the time,” Patrick admits of her attendance, “and nothing would happen to any of the white kids doing it. It didn’t get better when my son went there either. It was worse for him, even.”

Patrick remembers being called to the school’s office numerous times, once because her son looked at the teacher in a funny but non-threatening way. Another time she was called for something inconspicuous. It turned out to be a problem the administration had with her son’s project on the Black Panthers.

cre. Most Wilmingtonians didn’t even know about the event until the ‘90s. How and why it was covered up for so long can be traced back to deep money that runs through the city. Case in point: the naming of Hugh MacRae Park. It’s a prickly point for Patrick, who has refused to patronize the park since she was a child.

“It focused on positive things they did— free lunch programs and protecting black neighborhoods—because no one else was [doing that] during that era, and how they had white allies,” Patrick remembers. “I asked the school staff, ‘Well, what’s wrong?’”

“My family’s history traces back to the late 1800s in Wilmington,” she says. “When we were growing up in the ‘70s, we didn’t go to Hugh MacRae. We didn’t know anything about the massacre of 1898 at that time, but there were rumors Klan meetings were held there.    . . . We took pride in not going because we had a choice, so we went to Greenfield Lake, which used to be an amusement park in the ‘70s and ‘80s, with games and rides.”

Looking back she wonders if the administrators associated her son’s project with the Black Panthers’ violence rather than looking at how it actually portrayed them. “But black people don’t have a history of violently killing white people,” Patrick clarifies. “They have a history of being killed, number one— for 600 years, actually. And people aren’t gonna sit back and let you kill them without self-defense.”

Once stories began to circulate about the massacre, Hugh MacRae was revealed as a coconspirator of the vigilante group that murdered black Americans and pushed them out of local government on November 10, 1898. The MacRaes were entrepreneurs across the state, and Hugh was revered locally for engineering and development, as well as creating agricultural efforts and becoming a stealth businessman for local power and mill companies.

Nothing happened to her son, though she pulled him out of New Hanover County schools and put him in Brunswick County. While he thrived there, it wasn’t without its own hardships. Once a campus officer told her son he would amount to nothing and end “In the ‘90s, when the story came out of up behind bars. It thrilled Patrick to confront the officer years later and inform him of her the 1898 massacre, it put a stamp on [black son’s success as a graduate from NC A&T. people] not supporting it,” Patrick tells. “Out of all the things I’ve ever advocated against “My son also had very strong father figin this city, I got more backlash about wantures,” Patrick says. The family’s reinforceing to change the name of Hugh MacRae ment was another priority that prevented Park. It is unbelievable. . . . and the county him from becoming a statistic in the schoolis giving them a quarter-million dollars [to to-prison pipeline. “We can’t keep sending upkeep the park] but not one dime to deour kids through a system that fails them,” scendants of the massacre.” Patrick adds. “And if we don’t take extreme Patrick continues to work with the Black steps, what will happen? People are sick and tired of being sick and tired. That’s reality.” Leadership Caucus to get the few remaining 1898 descendants in Wilmington reparaAs a result, Patrick—who has attended tions, and she started a hard-copy petition more school board meetings in the last year for the removal of the park’s name years than she can count—has become an adago. (To make it onto a ballot, petitions must vocate for more black teachers, especially be handwritten, not electronic). She only black males, hired to fairly represent diversineeded 25 percent of signatures from folks ty in the school system. She also says there who voted. Word reached ILM’s city council should be cultural competency training for which then went to the legislature, and a bill teachers to understand how to work with called HB1083 was passed requiring 25 perand for students of color. Most importantly, cent of all registered voters to sign, not just the curriculum needs to change in order to ones who voted. “That would equate nearly highlight the foundation from which true ra25,000 hand signatures,” Patrick says with cial disparities arise in our nation. exasperation. “The mayor didn’t even need “They don’t really teach about the Civil 25,000 votes to get elected.” War and slavery appropriately,” she says. “I It still hasn’t stopped her. A new petition know; I went through the public school sysis circulating with 14,000 signatures to tem. I had a teacher at Roland Grise look at date. Patrick, with the the help of ally Beth me after making us watch ‘Roots’—which is Kline-Markesino, posted a video on June 15 a fairytale about slavery, by the way—and to reveal Kline-Markesino spoke with Hugh say, ‘The slave owners were very good to MacRae III about their cause. He has come black people.’ They need to add real eduforward in support of the name change; cation for the development of our children. though, Kline-Markesino makes it clear he Tell me how America got its name; it wasn’t doesn’t speak for the whole family. The two from Christopher Columbus. It’s time to women are now in contact with the county stop teaching myths.” attorney to keep the ball rolling and hopefulThis also includes teaching about race ly see a victory that highlights Wilmington in riots that have taken place across our na- a more inclusive light. tion, including the Wilmington 1898 MassaNaturally, the next progression would be

removing Confederate monuments from our city’s public spaces; though a law was passed by the state in 2015 prohibiting their permanent removal.  ”Maybe the city and county officials have a hotline to the general assembly to change that,” Patrick says, adding that tax-payers shouldn’t pay for any structure that legitimizes the oppression of black Americans. “I know it won’t change the heart of people,” Patrick admits, “but my tax dollars won’t have to take care of a park that’s named after a white supremacist. Black people pay taxes, too. I don’t want to see my taxes pay for ‘Bellamy House of Horrors’ either, which is just preserving slavery. I guess I’m very sensitive, but I’m a great-granddaughter of former slave captives, and that trauma runs deep.” It all comes back to the George Floyd video, one she admits she can’t watch. Patrick can’t bear hearing the grown man ask to breathe or call for his mother or be held down by a white man to his brutal death. It reminds her of what her ancestors must have watched. It reminds her there’s a bill that still hasn’t made lynching illegal in our country. Yet, if the Justice in Policing Act 2020 passes, racial profiling, no-knock warrants, lynching and chokeholds will be made illegal. Those will be victories worth celebrating. “It’s not a perfect bill, but it’s a start,” Patrick says. “Folks should be calling their representatives, Rouzer, Tillis and Burr in NC, and demanding support.”

Locally, Patrick wants to see the call answered for a citizen’s review board with subpoena power, in order to hold the local police department and sheriff’s office accountable and offer full transparency. Ideally, the committee would feature a wide representation of passionate black voices and include people well-versed in areas of law, policy and the political process. More so, she would like to see the committee voted on by the public rather than chosen by county commissioners. “It will build confidence between citizens and law enforcement,” Patrick says. So too would requiring New Hanover County officers to turn on body cameras at all times. “It’s required in Brunswick County,” Patrick tells. “We need to do things on a local level in case [the Justice of Policing Act] doesn’t pass federally.”

Patrick is steering Black Lives Matter Wilmington into the continual fight for as long as it takes. She welcomes folks interested in joining the cause to sit in on their Zoom town halls every Monday at 3 p.m. and also encourages support for the downtown protesters, led by the new young group, lowercase leaders, who are at City Hall every night until 9 p.m.

“The peaceful young kids protesting is impressive,” she says. “I hope these tragedies wake people up. We have to speak truth to power; people before me did and gave their life for us. I hope this becomes the final chapter in our fight.”

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for now, with tan application deadline of July 2 for priority consideration. The goal is to select the ideal candidate as soon as we are able, following that date. The total number of positions have not yet been determined; however we would expect at least two additional staff members to assist in the office in the near future. The number of additional staff needed will be based on an assessment by the new chief diversity and equity officer. The chief diversity and equity officer will work collaboratively with staff members, department heads, executive leadership, the Board of Commissioners, and the community to present data-driven recommendations on initiatives that advance diversity and equity in New Hanover County. You can view the full job description at https://www.governmentjobs.com/ careers/nhc/jobs/2791642/chief-diversity-and-equity-officer.

New Hanover County’s new Office of Diversity and Equity hiring for chief officer





ollowing Black Lives Matter protests in downtown Wilmington—and across the world after the death of George Floyd—New Hanover County has called on its elected officials to spark legislative change: hiring a leader to head the new New Hanover County Office of Diversity and Equity. Their mission is ‘to promote an inclusive and fair work environment and build a culture and community where employees and residents are respected, valued and understood for their own identity,.” We reached out to Jessica Loeper, TITLE, to answer questions for us about this new position, which will pay $92,842-$157,831 (full job listing: www.governmentjobs.com/careers/nhc/jobs/2791642/chief-diversity-and-equity-officer). Applications made before July 2 will be considered first. encore (e): Tell us about why the county decided to create the Office of Diversity and Equity. Have the Wilmington protests influenced the county’s decision to create the new office? Is this a direct response? Who decided on adding it exactly? What did those conversations consist of? Jessica Loeper (JL): County Manager Chris Coudriet created this new office. An excerpt from his email to the Board of Commissioners can be seen below that provides context to answer your questions: “Commissioners: “Administratively, we need to follow your lead. You have called out and called for change in social and racial injustice. You have established as a bedrock the expectation of equity in our actions and recommendations. You have created a mission and vision for our organization that ensures stewardship and diversity for generations to come. Our team has determined that we need

to make an obvious, real, and resourced commitment to diversity and equity. This commitment needs to inform all that we do as a public staff – internal and external to the organization. It needs to inform every policy recommendation we bring forward to the board for its consideration. It needs a presence. “I plan to move existing people and space resources to accomplish a goal: create the New Hanover County Office of Diversity and Equity. I’m not asking the board to approve new positions or secure new space. I want to make this a priority by using resources you’ve already made available to us. It’s our plan to begin a public recruitment asap for a chief officer position dedicated to the values of diversity, inclusion, and equity. Upon the chief’s hire, she’ll/he’ll invite existing personnel to transfer into the department as staff assistance. We’ll also redirect a vacant staff position to aid the work of the office. “Personally and professionally, I believe this dedicated office is too long in coming. I fault myself for that. However, I can work with you and the organization to fix it and help lead positive change inside and outside our organization. I also believe we as a team can better serve the board and in your service to the community with this focused and dedicated capacity.” e: Can you tell us how you will “build a culture and community where employees and residents are respected, valued and understood for their own identity”? How is that not being done now? What’s the measurement for success? JL: New Hanover County offers a lot of training opportunities for employees, and has included implicit bias training and many other trainings focused on diversity, inclusion, and understanding. Our organization-wide respectful workplace policy establishes a standard for appropriate workplace conduct – focused on building

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e: How many staff members will the counand maintaining a respectful workplace ty hire? Will they all play the same role? Or where each person is valued and respect- will there be different subcategories? ed. And this will be even more of a focus JL: The county will hire a chief diversity moving forward. and equity officer first, and allow the officer Recent events have also highlighted the to make an assessment to determine the fact that many organizations aren’t dis- need for additional support staff for the ofcussing biases or racism in the ways they fice. should. The county plans to be much more e: Tell us more about the New Hanover open and active in this, to ensure employCounty Sheriff’s Office working with the Ofees have a safe place to speak with one fice of Diversity and Equity. Why is this necanother and with leaders, to ensure we adessary that the two organizations join todress any possible racism in the workplace, gether? And will this new office be in charge and ensure our policies and practices are of holding NHCSO accountable? How? always inclusive and focused on equity. The Sheriff’s Office is a function of New This new office, and its leadership, will Hanover County Government, so Sheriff’s create a diversity and equity strategic plan Deputies are also county employees. It’s with clear measures to help achieve diverimportant for this new office to work closely sity and equity goals in three primary focus with the Sheriff’s Office and all other counareas: training and education, internal opty departments, to review policies and proerations, and community outreach. The dicedures, ensure training continues and is versity and equity strategic plan will adopt furthered to create an inclusive workplace targets with key measures for advancing and to help employees understand and diversity and equity throughout the enterminimize the role of unconscious bias, and prise and the community. Those measures much more. The exact role and specifics have not been established yet, but we are in coordinating with the Sheriff’s Office is looking forward to getting this new office something the new office will help deterup and running so they can be. mine. e: Is this type of “office” being modeled e: Is there a list of top items to be adfrom another county/city that has it? dressed first in the new office? Can you tell JL: This office is being created specifi- me what they are? Also we would like to cally based on our organization and our know long-term plans. community’s needs. With that being said, Like I mentioned above, this is a new ofwe may find ourselves reaching out to peer fice and the strategic plan and goals of the organizations who have a similar office to office are yet to be set. As County Manager learn from them. Chris Coudriet said in the news release that e: What will be the main role of the Office was sent: “This new office and its staff will of Diversity and Equity? What’s the timeline work daily to promote racial and social jusfor getting it staffed and how many other tice, cultivate important relationships, have positions will there be? What will the po- crucial conversations, be a resource for our sitions look like and what will they be re- community, enhance training for our emsponsible for? ployees and law enforcement, and so much JL: The Chief Diversity and Equity Officer more. The county is committed to be an ally will report directly to the County Manag- and an advocate for diversity, inclusion, and er and serve on the executive leadership equity in all that we do.” team. The job is currently being recruited

e: How is it being funded? If monies have

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“W is enough.”


e are tired, our alumni are tired, our students are tired. Enough

These are two resounding sentences from the roughly four-page letter to UNCW’s chancellor, Dr. Jose V. Sartarelli, addressing recent comments from Professor Mike Adams (of the sociology and criminology department) as “racist, stereotypical, discriminative, and derogatory.” Composed by the UNCW Black Student Union (BSU) and signed “with Seahawk pride and disdain” by more than 140 current and former student leaders (representing just as many majors, organizations and interests), the letter is part of an orchestrated campaign calling for Adams’ removal.

ENOUGH Calls for Mike Adams’ dismissal grow louder from UNCW community

ty, to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement,” Matute recounts. “Chancellor Sartarelli responded with, ‘If you are asking me tomorrow to start painting and decorating the University with Black Lives Matter, that’s going to be very difficult because I believe All Lives Matter.’”

Among those efforts is the Facebook group Justice and Equality for UNCW, which officially launched on June 4 and has grown to 7.6k members. Its intent is to put pressure on the university to dismiss Adams. A network of almost 270 criminology professors and graduate students released an open letter calling for Adams’ dismissal on Monday, June 15. An on-campus protest was held in the rain on Monday. Several UNCW departments have openly condemned Adams and the university’s inaction, including Adams’ own department. This is not the first time the professor has come under fire for making inappropriate and insensitive remarks in the classroom and online. In 2007 he won a lawsuit against the university when he claimed he was denied a promotion because of his outspoken political views. He won based on his violation of First Amendment rights. UNCW settled the case to the tune of a little less than $700,000 in fees and back pay in 2014 after an unsuccessful appeal. In September 2016, Adams published

“It is this type of rhetoric that further proves the institutions disregard for the black community,” Matute adds.

an article titled “A ‘Queer Muslim’ Jihad” on the conservative website The Daily Wire. He mentioned a UNCW student by name and accused her of plotting a “queer Muslim jihad.” Thousands cried harassment, and a petition circulated calling for Adams’ removal. The university again claimed he was protected by the First Amendment, and the student left UNCW. The most recent outrage was sparked by a racially charged tweet Adams posted on May 29 among the pandemic shutdown and civil unrest circulating our nation: “This evening I ate pizza and drank beer with six guys at a six seat table top [sic]. I almost felt like a free man who was not living in the slave state of North Carolina. Massa Cooper, let my people go!” The aforementioned letter to the chancellor demanding action this time

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SPEAK OUT FOR CHANGE UNCW Black Student Union is joined by thousands of peers, faculty, staff and alumni in calling for the removal of Mike Adams.

Photo by encore staff

around follows the UNCW Black Student Union’s (BSU) meeting with Chancellor Sartarelli on June 11. In the meeting, according to 2020 alum Mannie Matute, black student leaders addressed the chancellor directly on how to improve the experience of black students and to move forward as a united community. “[BSU] asked him, and the universi-

This latest development quickly has led to more scrutiny and disappointment in administrative leadership and its handling of the Mike Adams’ controversial tenure, as well as the university’s perceived racial biases. Alex Payton is a junior, double majoring in public health and Spanish, and serves as president of the Black Women’s Association. She is one of the hundreds of students who have criticized the chancellor for his tepid email response to the UNCW community at large. She wants Chancellor Santarelli to understand his solidarity is most needed by black students, and by incoming and potential Seahawks. “As a black woman and student at UNCW I know how it feels to be alienated, discriminated against and unwelcome,” she tells encore. “Chancellor Sartarelli emphasizes the importance of increasing retention and graduation rates but fails to realize these numbers will steadily decline if he does not implement a plan of action. . . . [Black students] are tired of being overlooked, and having our voices silenced to spare the white fragility of our predominantly white institution. If he really wants to promote diversity and inclusiveness, then he has to do the work where it counts: Show up and speak up for the black community. We are the ones hurting right now and are looking for support from our university that we are pay-

ing to attend.” Dozens if not hundreds of individuals have posted to the Justice and Equality for UNCW Facebook page recounting disturbing interactions with Adams, often sharing their letters and emails to the chancellor. Most of these correspondences have been met with unsatisfactory responses. The page’s cofounder Justice Jones (name changed for anonymity) thinks this fight is no longer about evidence but rather is a numbers game. “[UNCW has] forced us to be more expensive than [Adams] is,” she says. “We have asked scholarships to withdraw funding, and students to reconsider attending. . . . We’ll continue reaching out to more people, and get louder and louder until they realize we aren’t stopping this time.” Jones says it’s a different time now for social justice and real change. People are ready to see this through until Adams resigns or is dismissed. Jones says the group will continue to work with various student and alumnae to see UNCW enforces policies they have in place, as well as help establish additional policies aimed at creating a safe and diverse campus.

ynistic culture we have been living in,” she continues. “We know we are going to win this fight, and this is going to establish that UNCW has to hold itself to a higher standard, or we, the people, will make them.” Students like Payton are hopeful this time around, too, because history shows persistence is key to achieving change. She and her peers don’t view previous attempts to remove Adams as defeat but as fuel for the fight ahead. “Civil rights activists did not give up after one march,” she notes. “We have support systems that are more than willing to speak up for us, which means we are going to do everything we can to exhaust all resources to seek what we want.” The spotlight on the professor has begun to travel to national news headlines. In the last two weeks, coverage has been seen on CNN and USA Today, and even has reached the attention of celebrities from the locally filmed teen drama “One Tree Hill” and Orlando Jones, who filmed “Sleep Hollow” in Wilmington.

High-profile coverage aside, the crux of all efforts is the question how Adams’ conduct (whether in the classroom or online) falls in line with UNCW’s own Seahawk Respect Compact. Fairley Lloyd “People are tired of the racist, misog- graduated in May with her BFA in cre-

ative writing. She cites the Compact, as well as the university’s anti-harassment policies and core values in diversity and inclusion, in her own letter to the chancellor.

see Adams as a victim of the “PC Police” and defend his words as freedom of speech, it is hard to argue his position as a white male doesn’t afford him safety nets unavailable to others.

“By having people like Adams employed at their institution they are completely disregarding their core values,” she says. “No matter how many statements they make, if they keep people like Adams in the name of free speech, they are inevitably endorsing his behavior.”

“Mike Adams is not a victim in any way, shape or form,” Payton clarifies. “If we want to talk about victims, let’s discuss all of the black men, women, and children whose lives were unjustly taken because of white violence and police brutality. If we want to talk about victims, let’s talk about the centuries of systemic and systematic racism built and implemented to keep my ancestors, myself, and future generations enslaved to the system. His victim mentality is an example of white fragility. Mike Adams is not a victim of anything.”

Adams’ fate at UNCW aside, this movement raises questions about roles and expectations of professors—namely, how much protection tenure should offer, and what standards and codes of conduct they should be held to, both in and out of the classroom.

“We are often told in school by menNeither Mike Adams nor Chancellor tors and potential employers you have Sartarelli responded to encore’s reto conduct yourself professionally at all quests for interviews. times, not just at school or work but on your social media presence,” Lloyd offers. “Some people have been fired or not given a job based on inappropriate content they’ve posted on their private social media.” Adams’ maintained role at UNCW also ties into a larger, ongoing conversation about privilege. While some folks might

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prove that situation.


Please, research the Save Our Hospital movement, and consider getting involved and voicing concerns regarding equal access to quality health care in our community. EDUCATION For far too long, this country—and New Hanover County, specifically—has used access to education as a weapon. We are standing in a city and state where it was once illegal for the black community to learn to read or write. A “literacy test” was used as one of many tactics to keep black Americans from exercising their rights to vote and participate in our democracy. Black schools were woefully underfunded throughout the era of official school segregation. Then, an actual physical battle using children as the soldiers on the front lines was necessary to integrate schools: Who can forget the picture of Ruby Bridges getting escorted to class by Federal Marshals? Though that image was immortalized by Norman Rockwell, it was far from isolated as across the country. The children integrating schools bore the brunt of the adults’ plans. The Swann case in Charlotte in 1971 mandated school busing as the method or achieving school integration.

Ways to effect change in the fight against systemic racism


he poem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was written by civil rights activist and writer James Weldon Johnson in 1900. His brother, composer John Rosamond Johnson, set it to music in 1905. It has become “The Black National Anthem.” For the last week, I have found it running through my head, in conjunction with other thoughts: How do we harness the energy and the magnitude of the protests and channel that into specific, concrete, lasting change? Where does art, symbolism and dialogue meet specific actions? The enormity of what we have witnessed as a nation, and experienced as a city, is profound. I also keep wondering: What would our community conversations look like if that intense energy were channeled into local issues like healthcare equity, access to education, the school-to-prison pipeline, and cash bail? All of these issues are pertinent right now in New Hanover County. Though I am impressed with white allies who say they are listening or making space, I have to wonder how much of that silence is consent and compliance by inaction rather than heavy lifting. If white privilege includes getting voices heard more easily, well, in order for us allies to become true advocates, we must raise our voices on these issues: HEALTHCARE Healthcare access isn’t really sexy—it doesn’t fit comfortably on a sign or a poster. Yet, it is essential, real and necessary. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported prior to COVID-19 that black Americans were dying at a disproportionately high rate to whites from diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Access to  health care during the pandemic has made the inequity even more striking. American Public Media (APM) Research Lab reported black American mortality rates from COVID-19 are 2.3 times higher than whites and Asians. Just the same, black American infant mortality is reported twice that of white infants. We who really believe Black Lives Matter must advocate for access to health care for all stages of life, from cradle to grave.


NYFA New Hanover Regional Medical Center is a R RO community-owned hospital that came into HLER existence shortly after Dr. Hubert A. Eaton (who desegregated Wilmington College before it became UNCW) led a lawsuit by black American physicians against then-segregated James Walker Memorial Hospital for physicians’ privileges (the scope in which WILMINGTONIAN FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE black physicians could practice in the hosDr. Hubert A. Eaton helped desegregate Wilmington pital). The first proposal for New Hanover Memorial Hospital failed because the black College, which became UNCW, and fought for equal community was (justifiably) skeptical of the health care among African Americans in Wilmington. promise that the new “community” hospital actually would serve African Americans, and Courtesy photo they would have to pay for something they would be prohibited or limited from using. The issue forced the white power structure at the time to make concessions, promises we live in a country that treats healthcare and ultimately build some (admittedly tenu- as a commodity. A privately owned hospious) bridges, in order to get the bond to pass tal owes its allegiance to the balance sheet, the profit margin and the CEO’s salary.  That the second time it was on the ballot. CEO will probably not live here. They may According to the Healing Through Time not even visit. Discharging patients with exhibit in NHRMC’s lobby, “When New Ha- a quick fix and a prescription that will run nover opened in 1967, Community Hospital out and bring them back to the emergenand James Walker Memorial Hospital both cy room sooner, generates more income closed, and New Hanover Memorial merged for a private hospital group than addressthe black and white hospitals without inci- ing patient health and long-term positive dent, a civil rights milestone for the region.” outcomes—especially for chronic health When considering the political climate in conditions. A patient’s ability to pay comes 1967, that is pretty remarkable. more sharply into focus as costs rise and Once again the future of New Hanover care decreases. If African Americans are alRegional Medical Center is in the lurch. As ready receiving a disproportionately poora community, we must participate to ensure er quality of health care across the nation, health care is a human right. Unfortunately, then losing a hospital that is, ultimately, answerable to the people is not going to im-

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After decades of fragile balance, with the Supreme Court overturning Brown v. Board of Education, our school board embarked upon a course of “neighborhood schools” that have effectively resegregated our elementary schools. In the last two years, the school redistricting map has been in play. Roughly 3,700 to 4,000 students are expected to be moved with the school redistricting. Somehow, when initial community partners were selected to work on redistricting maps, three white people were chosen to represent the community. Apparently, there are no people of color in this community that deserved representation and voices in the process of choosing where their children would go to school, and what quality of education said children would receive. How tone deaf is it that? This is the city of the Wilmington Ten! As a result of the justifiable public outcry, the community partners committee was adjusted, but it would not have been without significant pushback. It is clear not all schools in New Hanover County provide the same education to all students. Getting involved with community and citizen response and oversight processes are ways to effect change. Even as I write this, Deborah Dicks Maxwell, president of the local chapter of the NAACP, is getting stonewalled in her attempts to join the Board of Trustees for Cape Fear Community College—and it’s not the first time. She applied before, sent in her résumé showing her experience as a social worker, and went through the full interview process. Yet, when they reached back out, it was to say they were looking for an engineer. She wrote an open letter to CFCC Board of Trustees last week after getting passed over once again, which in part stated:

“This was a waste of my time, but [at least] you could say a minority was interviewed. Because I was clear at that time about being transparent in the applicant interview process, I was blindsided when this occurred again. “There is a lack of transparency in the process. I recommend that henceforth when you are seeking a position that you inform the school board prior to posting what type of experience you are looking for. The subterfuge must end. Students are on 3rd Street trying to bring change and equity, [yet] it appears by these subtle ploys you do not want it to occur within the Board of Trustees at Cape Fear Community College. If you were looking for a nurse, you would not interview a teacher. The time is now to be clear and transparent each time you post for a position through the schools. You know your vacancy needs in advance.” Getting back to my earlier point: We must speak out when we see things are off. Part of why I respect and admire local author and UNCW professor Clyde Edgerton so much is he is prepared to utilize his local celebrity—and, frankly, his very privileged status as a white male—to lead a fight. The last several years of Clyde’s time have been given over to a fight with New Hanover County Schools. He called out a principal for actively filling a coveted school program with white children and working to prevent children of color from applying to join. That issue, which seemed so small to so many and wasn’t worthy of a march or protest, was one Clyde wasn’t willing to let slide. All of these pieces add up to the whole and help put an end to systemic racism that typifies our education system. Without pushback, it will (and does) snowball quickly. We can’t be stronger united, as long as unfairly distributed resources exist only to benefit a select few. We must be prepared to take on the fight with the school board directly because there is still a lot to be done. Please, do not discount the power of making a difference one person at a time, and volunteering with organizations that provide tutoring, meals, activities and enrichment for students. Indeed, that might be the most important contribution any of us can make. SCHOOL-TO-PRISON PIPELINE

public life and become productive members in our community. Volunteering with them would be a great way to spend energy and time fighting for the cause. At the same time, the injustices of our cash bail system ensure wealthy, comfortable people can pay their way out from behind bars. Yet, people without the same economic advantages sometimes sit in jail because they can’t raise a couple of hundred dollars. Donating funds to a bail movement is worthwhile. Locally, as protests continue, Wilm-Protest on Venmo accepts donations, which go toward anyone arrested during ILM protests led by the lowercase leaders. Monies not needed for bail bonds go toward funds for resources at the protests, which will continue through June 6, 2021. VOTER SUPPRESSION All of this will mean little, however, if we do not put a halt to the aggressive and insidious voter suppression campaign that North Carolina has perpetrated for over 200 years. Since the beginning of our nation and state, North Carolina has sought to limit who can vote by race, religion and gender. Catholics and Jewish people legally have been prohibited from voting here, as have people of color (including Native Americans) and, of course, women. Voter ID laws, gerrymandering districts, limiting early voting, and reducing polling locations are but a few examples of the weaponization of the ballot box. Right now, especially, voting can feel insignificant. However, imagine your non-vote being the one that allows the school board to decide your child’s quality of education. Or imagine not choosing the right county commissioner to decide the fate of our local healthcare system. Or what if only one senator is holding up the passage of the bill that would finally make lynching a federal hate crime, and you sat out the vote? Currently, the senate needs to pass the Emmett Till Antilynching Act. If passed into law, it would finally make lynching a federal hate crime. It has passed the House of Representatives and, as of press, is held up by Senator Rand Paul (L), who wants it amended. This would send it back to the House for another vote. If ever there was a moment when Congress could take a step toward healing the country, it is right now, with this legislation. Let your voice be heard and petition your local representatives. (Incidentally, James Weldon Johnson, who wrote the lyrics to “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” campaigned for the passage of the Dyer Antilynching Bill, which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1918.)

When we do reach out to correct injustices in education, we close the gap in the school-to-prison pipeline. Basically, that means minorities—disproportionately young black men—are often treated with harsher punishments, many times for minor or zero infractions. When criminalizing youth with strict disciplinary policies and practices, inevitably, we also break their Our elected officials have power over polconfidence and progress. This often sets icy, and they will determine who get the reup a path that could very well lead them to sources to have a decent quality of life. We prison. Improving educational opportunihave to choose those representatives wisely ties and outcomes help correct this path. to make sure they represent minorities, too. Thankfully, ILM also has LINC (Leading Activism for equal rights is a marathon, not Into New Communities), which works to a sprint. Silence is not support; it is consent educate young people, and help those who to the status quo. have been imprisoned find an empowered, healthy and economical way to re-enter


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stood a brief moment with peaceful protesters in front of Wilmington’s City Hall last Monday evening. For weeks, in the middle of a global pandemic, citizens in cities around the world have protested violence and racial injustice on American streets. (Did I just write that?) The world is worried civilian deaths, including the killing of disproportionate numbers of black civilians killed by police, will continue to escalate under our birther conspiracist president’s overt racism. Even a blind man can see America is no longer the world’s shining city on a hill. We’re far from a global “Mayberry,” where Sheriff Andy kept the peace. As I stood with protesters, a pair of WPD officers sat across from City Hall on bicycles. Two NHC Sheriff cars and two WPD cars grabbed snacks and Gatorade in the parking lot of the convenience store a few blocks away. That was the night’s show of force. The police were calm and chatted with colleagues, on relaxed alert in the event their expertise was needed to defuse a tense situation, or keep the peace, like Sheriff Andy.

ed? d o o l F r a C

A few days later a friend questioned me about the protests. “Are you one of those that blame the police? Do you really want to eliminate or defund law enforcement?”

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“I’ll have to think about it,” I said, honestly. He shared his thoughts—views that turned out to be pretty much anti-protest, pro-SWAT team and allowing tanks in every town. Apparently, he’s an “All Lives Matter” kind of guy who has yet to really get in touch with his inner James Baldwin. I considered his questions for several days. Do I blame the police for the current violence? Do I want to eliminate the police? Do I want to defund the police? How will blaming the police help (“the police” used as a collective noun, only reflect our values)? In a paranoid post-9/11 nation, ruled by fear, police have been militarized. They’re American snipers on the street, combat-ready to fight global terror. Because we fear any program with the word “social” in it, police are asked to build positive relationships with the community on multiple levels: intervene before gangs get your kids, prevent heroin overdoses, stop the opioid epidemic, and talk your cousin off a ledge and chauffeur him to the psychiatric hospital. It’s Andy Griffith and American sniper all in one wellarmed, poorly paid package. Individual police officers are at fault for brutal crimes they commit—not “the police.”

Shifting from law enforcement to peace officers True, the healthy police brotherhood too easily slides into an “I got your back” tribalism that protects the guilty. Still, police racism is America’s racism, and police brutality is America’s brutality. Racism has been institutionalized in America since our founding. America is built upon noble values, and it’s also built on the genocide of indigenous peoples and the enslavement of men and women of color imported against their will from around the globe. Defunding the GOP, the NRA, Tucker Carlson, and the current administration might go further toward restoring justice on the streets and in the courtrooms. Defunding the police is also a first step in the right direction. Does Wilmington really need a tank to fight crime? Decreasing bloated budgets that support military-grade toys is a first step to help us reinvest in other community necessities like public health. Do we really want Sheriff Andy talking Cousin Ralph off the ledge, while loaded down with more gadgets on his belt than Batman? Perhaps we should cut the number of police in half and pay them twice as much. But when I suggest paying teachers a living wage, reforming health care or fighting poverty, my conservative friends shout, “You can’t just throw money at a problem!” I agree. Paying half as many police twice as much also would require communities to shift responsibilities away from police. It would require we pay a living wage for most jobs (including teachers), plus universal basic health carem with mental health and substance abuse parity, higher education and fair housing. We would need to find the courage to shift from a “law enforcement” to “peace officer” mindset. We can’t keep dividing the world into perps and probable perps. We see officers as warriors who must be weaponized for battle. The police officers I’ve known lean more toward peace; they primarily want to protect people from harm and promote peace. In the months leading up to the election, we’ll have time to consider whether we want to weaponize and go full American sniper or move toward a modern racially integrated Mayberry.



appy Juneteenth, y’all! Today is one of my favorite holidays— and, yes, it’s also my birthday. If you’re black, brown or mixed race living in America, Friday, June 19, is a day to rejoice. Yet, it’s a holiday most white people have never heard of. To say this year has been a weird ride barely scratches the surface of the science-fiction nightmare we’ve been living. A global pandemic? Check. A president melting down with hourly Twitter tirades (and shucking all responsibility)? Check. A country divided over whether to follow stay-at-home orders or reopen (enter your state here)? Check. As a black or brown person, this isn’t just a nightmare; this is America. Many folks assume since we’ve had one black president, racism has finally come to an end and black people should celebrate their status as equal, free Americans. In reality 100% freedom and equality for black Americans has been a ferociously contested battle since the Emancipation Proclamation. The lack of justice following the murder of Trayvon Martin all the way to George Floyd has become an ad-nauseam cycle we’ve been stuck in for the past eight years. It has become predictable, infuriating, sickening and heartbreaking. Today I honor the black women who have done the emotional labor in this country for far too long. To Sandra Bland, Atatiana Jefferson and Breonna Taylor; your faces are forever painted in my mind and I hope your spirits find rest. More importantly, I hope justice is served. As a mixed-race woman of Jamaican, Greek and Hungarian descent, it has taken me 34 years to find my natural self and acceptance in a society that glorifies the “adorable” mixed-race baby, but has no clue what to do with the living, breathing, confused, hurting mixed-race adult. I’ve been called everything from “Oreo cookie” to “mulatto” to “mutt” and worse. I’ve been told more times than I can count: “You’re not white enough or black enough; you sound too sassy or too white; you should be more urban, sing it more black, not be so difficult.” While this may seem incredulous to my white friends and family, it’s all part of the underbelly of America. It starts with language and too often ends in death. This is what we are made from, and for decades to come, we as Americans—especially white Americans—will need to work to reconcile the sins of our forefathers. That being said, it is nice to see a majority of people finally falling in step with the Black Lives Matter movement. All of the hard

COOKOUT Cost of entry: equality

work is finally being recognized to elevate the voices of black people in Wilmington and the country at large. Today, Juneteeth, is the oldest nationally recognized commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19th, 1865—two years after the Emancipation Proclamation—General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas. As one of his first orders of business, he read the following to citizens: “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.” Hundreds of thousands of slaves were freed and they hadn’t known it. (I bet no one in the Union was in a rush to tell them, either.) Yet, in this same order, the general implored slaves to stay with their masters and work for wages. No hanging around being free (“no loitering,” anyone?). Their freedom wasn’t exactly welcomed, either, as many were murdered for leaving the plantations because slave owners didn’t want their “property” running off. That brings some perspective to the conversation about monuments and history, doesn’t it? Juneteenth should be a federal holiday. A young senator by the name of Barack Obama wrote legislation declaring as much, but it never passed. As the protests and tough conversations, hopefully, continue toward meaningful change, I say this to my black, brown and mixed-race friends: If you need to take a break, do it; protect your energy. Today, we celebrate how far we have come and honor that the road ahead is long, but we will have justice and true equality. To my white and white-adjacent friends and family: Please, remember to listen, humble yourself and act with care. If uncomfortable feelings come up or you feel defensive when called out, take a minute, take a breath and stay in it for the long haul. We need everybody in this fight. So, grab a strawberry soda, light up the grill and take a moment to celebrate this day, June 19, 2020, which marks my 34th birthday and a mere 155 years since we as black Americans have been free … ish.

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LEAD STORY The 95-year-old Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster at Belmont Park in Mission Beach, California, is a National Historic Landmark, but it, along with all of the other rides in the park, has been closed to riders since March. To keep it in good repair and ready for reopening, the coaster must run 12 times every day, and park mechanics discussing how reopening would happen hit upon an idea: They loaded the coaster’s 24 seats with giant plush animals from the park’s midway games prize stash. “People are loving it,” Steve Thomas, the park’s general manager, told The San Diego Union-Tribune. “We’ve seen tons of videos and pictures that people have been posting online.” Thomas said when the coaster reopens, he may keep the furry riders on board to help with social distancing rules. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/2/2020]

LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINAL An unnamed 29-year-old man in Berlin, Germany, triggered alarms at a supermarket on June 5 when he tried to leave without paying for $5.65 in merchandise. The Associated Press reported that police had little trouble apprehending the man because, in his hurry escape, he left his 8-year-old son behind. Not only did the burglar’s “accessory” help police identify him, but the thief fell down as he was escaping and ended up in the hospital. [Associate Press via Norfolk Daily News, 6/8/2020]


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The Daily Star reports that a 30-year-old man turned up at Zhaoqing First People’s Hospital in Guangdong, China, on June 3 suffering from abdominal pain. Doctors performed a series of scans before discovering a freshwater fish in the man’s large intestine, the presence of which he explained by saying he had accidently sat on it. “Do you think I’m an idiot?” one of the

doctors replied. The spiny fins of the Mozambique tilapia had caused ruptures in the man’s intestine and had to be removed through his abdomen by surgery, but the man survived the ordeal and recovered. [Daily Star, 6/8/2020]

THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT —Canadian Glen Richard Mousseau’s adventure with Michigan law enforcement began on May 10, when he was arrested in St. Clair County driving a U-Haul truck and in possession of $97,000. He cooperated with authorities, admitting he was the owner of a submarine seized by the Border Patrol April 23 and he had been using it to ferry drugs between Michigan and Ontario, Canada. Mlive.com reported Mousseau agreed to await the investigation’s outcome in a local hotel, but on May 22, federal agents said he had absconded, leaving behind five phones, a laptop and a diving suit. On June 5, Border Patrol officers observed packages thrown into the Detroit River from a vessel entering U.S. waters and found Mousseau unconscious in the water with 265 pounds of marijuana tethered to him with a tow strap. He’s being held on charges of smuggling and possession of a controlled substance. [mlive.com, 6/8/2020]

FAIL Several sailors of the Royal Navy found themselves in over their heads on May 30 as their plan for a barbecue and beers got out of hand. A witness told The Sun, “They were smashed and hadn’t bothered to watch for the tide.” The Daily Star reported that one partier became cut off from the group, and when another went out to rescue him, they both struggled. Emergency services had to be called in, and one of the sailors had to be lifted off a cliff with a winch, the coast guard confirmed. The Royal Navy expressed its regret that emergency services were needed, but they “remain grateful for their help.” [Daily Star, 6/8/2020]




Angry low clouds threaten and pass quickly. The camera moves closer through the waving wet dune grass. We see the flickering, warm light of a kerosene lantern inside. A large, evil-looking dog, scarred from battles, dozes in the entrance. We hear three voices. V1: Well, we’ve got four months left to get it all done. How are we looking? V2: I tell you, Illuminati.com is definitely the place to do this kind of business. The hospital deal proved that, once and for all. Although I don’t understand why we couldn’t just fax our blood signatures. Right now, the Chinese are interested in the fire department. They like the fact the vehicles are already painted red. A couple of Putin’s gangster friends like the airport. They want to make sure security people will be gone for a couple hours every night and the runway lights are left on. I said we could arrange it.


Screenplay treatment for Trump administration to plan ILM takeover you guessed it— ALL THREE VOICES TOGETHER: Delaware! [general laughter] V1: Well, then, no problem. How do we proceed? V2:  Stick with the same old game plan. Meetings with no quorum. A consulting firm that works out of a Post Office Box in Newark. A citizens advisory board made up of anyone named Anytime Annie. V1: Who? V2: It’s a joke from “42nd Street.” The character Anytime Annie always said yes before she heard a question. By the way, Market Street might be a problem ‘cause it’s a federal highway.

V3: By the way, I was approached by someone who is interested in buying Market Street.

V3: Secretary of transportation is Elaine Chao—our mystery man’s favorite daughter. Married to Mitch McConnell.

V2: You’re kidding! How stupid of us to never think of that! Parks, of course, but streets? Where did you meet this guy?

V1: I guess that explains the eternal Yertle the Turtle look on Mitch’s face. If you’ve seen what he must have seen.

V3: Oh, one of those pentacle parties I go to on occasion. He bought me a horn of goat kid blood. We got to chatting. Interesting guy. His tailor is a genius with asbestos.

V2: So why does he want Market Street in particular?

V1: Oh, bestill my beating heart! Was it ...? V3: Most definitely. You know, when they talk about his burning eyes, they really mean it. Next time I’m wearing sunscreen. V2: So he says he wants to buy Market Street? Seems doable, but we need to get paid in U.S. currency. I understand he once tried to pay a hotel bill with J. Edgar Hoover’s soul. Not cool. V3: Real money, he says. I think he’s one of the reasons Steve Mnuchin won’t release the receiving names of the $500 billion. V1: Wait. He got federal bailout money? V3: Steve Mnuchin is his son-in-law. V2: Didn’t know that. So his wife, that weird wannabe actress who says she was raised in a Scottish castle... V3: Castle Wolfenstein, to be more accurate. Turns out they have to shut off all the smoke alarms in the Treasury building if she decides to visit. Anyway, his financial offer is very generous. He’s got an LLC registered in,

V3: Something to do with all the churches. There’s a bunch of them. He started to explain, paused and touched my forehead, so I forgot. But I can’t imagine that anything really bad will happen. Can you? V2: We’d better get ready for Gene Merritt, whiner-in-chief, and his bleeding-heart committee to try to make it a problem. Harper will have to get involved. Can we trust Satan to put the needs of the community first? What about minority access to Market Street? Where’s the crisis that needs this decision to be made before the end of the year?

11am-10pm Mon.-Sat. 11am-9:30pm Sunday

V3: Which is why we’ve always set up a citizens advisory board. This time can we persuade the members who aren’t speaking to refrain from huffing while cameras are rolling? V2: It’s settled. We roll out a PR campaign saying it’s time to stop being so divisive. Time for us all to work together. What gives us the right to feel morally superior to anyone, just because they have flames coming out of their eyes? V3: Personally, I’ll make a deal with anyone who promises to paint some lines on the pavement between 23rd and 17th streets.

103 N Lake Park Blvd #B Carolina Beach, NC (910) 458-5226 elcazadormex.com encore | june 17 - june 23, 2020 | www.encorepub.com 21



Haji P on his new collaboration, creating socially conscious art


ast year we spoke with Greyson Davis, a.k.a. Haji P, about his art show “Happyfangs” at Wabi-Sabi Warehouse. The GLOW Academy art teacher has been busy since, working with and being inspired by his students, despite the COVID-19 shutdown. “I get all my teaching energy from being able to engage with my students, so it felt a little like operating without a full battery [when schools closed,]” he says. “We weren’t able to do big elaborate art projects like we would having class on-site.” The works his students have managed to churn out have impressed him nonetheless—especially those inspired by the worldwide protests spurred by George Floyd’s murder.

that developed software for left-leaning groups to use as a platform for fundraising efforts. “Our views on community and positive energy are completely in sync, so it was a total no-brainer to work together,” Haji P. says. “I already  was  donating profits from my other designs to the Black Lives Matter organization, so TVM suggested going through ActBlue. In doing that, we were able to contribute monies to multiple organizations whose primary goal was fighting for equitable justice.” Haji P  also has been doing chalk art across town, including on UNCW’s campus, speaking out against racism and even racist professors like Mike Adams. Plus, he’s been approached about helping with a possible Black Lives Matter mural that the city will decide on this week. We interviewed Haji P about his work, how he processes the world around him, and his experiences as a black man in America.

“One of my students (an eighth-grader) drew an original character with a speech bubble overhead, reminding people to be safe and love one another,” he explains. “In a second drawing, she did that same character, again with a speech bubble overhead, saying ‘Black lives matter,’ and letting people know there are fundraisers available to help George Floyd’s family. That stuff helps me to shed some of the resentment—being encore (e): Tell us how the collaboration able to see that generations younger than came about between you and TVM. me get it.” Haji P (HP): I’d long been a fan of TVM’s Haji P also has turned to art in these dif- art, since the first time I visited his shop. I ficult times, specifically in a collaboration think it’s dang near impossible to not like with local artist Hey TVM. Together they the dude. He’s got Olympic-level affabilidesigned a T-shirt that combines Haji P’s ty. The first time we met, we’d talked about famed toothy smile with TVM’s signature seeing each other’s work all over the place. I cycloptic pineapple (described as a way did caricature work at Sharks games, he to  “keep an eye on  your paradise”) and a was doing their promo posters. I would sell simple message made loud and clear: “End artwork through Memory Lane Comics, he racism!” was designing their T-shirts. There was so “[The design is] a reminder for young cre- much crazy intersection. I’d just released a atives that, no matter how big or small your separate fundraising T-shirt design before I dream might be, it is possible,”  Hey TVM got an IG message from him, asking if I’d be tells. “This personal paradise is way more willing to collab on another one. possible when there is justice and equality e: You’ve also been using art as a voice for all.” for social justice with chalk drawings on Tees sell for $25 each, with proceeds campus and the upcoming (hopeful) BLM benefitting ActBlue—a nonprofit tech group street art that the city is considering. How

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HP: UNCW was my first experience being inundated with white people. The first time anybody ever called me a “nigger” was at UNCW. It was during an intramural flag football game. In that same week, a white student moved her seat to a different lab table to not be seated next to me because she “didn’t feel comfortable.”

My first day as a freshman, I’d met another black student, and we’d played ball on the courts until night. Campus police rolled up on us and forced us off the courts, claiming BEHIND THE CURTAIN we weren’t really students and accused us of stealing bikes on campus. After all that, Artist Johnny Bahr III’s digital projection in I was 1 bajillion percent ready to leave the the windows of the Atlantic Trust Building school—until I started working at the college was created in solidarity with those proradio station, WLOZ. I met a gang of dope testing against police brutality. people, of various races, and we all bonded Screenshot by Jeff Oloizia over similar interests—people who I’m still close with today and who are directly tied to whatever modicum of success I have now. This showed me it wasn’t the entire student is art helping you process everything going body that was prejudiced. It encouraged me on currently? to be more active in the school. Eventually, HP: Art is the difference between me keep- I’d come to love the school and felt like the ing my cool and throwing trash-cans through school loved me. pizza shop windows, screaming “Wakanda When word started coming out about Forever!” I put a lot of effort into smiling. But Mike Adams, it felt like a slap in the face I’ve been watching people who look like me to the progress I thought UNCW had made, get mistreated, beaten and murdered with or that they’ve really just been fronting this impunity for 30 years. I’ve experienced it whole time. It was hella personal to me. So I firsthand for 30 years. Having to watch peo- drew a huge picture of my “Underwear Bear” ple, my people, being murdered by people character in the amphitheater character charged to protect us on repeat starts to feel holding a sign that read “Fire Mike Adams.” like a scene from “A Clockwork Orange.” So That dude is a butt spider that needs to be I’ve been mad. Hella mad. Which is an emo- removed immediately. Same with anybody tion I try my best not to bake in. who shares his views. I hate being ashamed There was a point where I was pacing around my house with a face full of boiling hot tears, punching pillows, thinking I don’t care if every brick in the city burns if it means rebuilding a better place for my daughter, my students and anybody else I love. Art helps me redirect all that Godzilla energy. It puts me in a place of emotional control, where I get to smile at the suck and create something that can be a catalyst for change.

of my alma mater.

e: Have you always used your art as a voice for social justice? HP: I don’t know if it’s accurate to say I use art as a voice for social justice. I’ve always used art as a way to advocate for good humaning—specifically as a way to repel hate.

When I was making music, a large part of my songs were about calling out racism. I e: Why did you decide to do the chalk art used to write a satirical blog, “Blackfacechicken”; the sole intent was to poke fun at at UNCW? the base-level ridiculousness and interga-

lactic absurdity of racism. I love being able to poke fun at it because it’s stupid. With drawing, I get to be a lot more playful and still communicate. I recently did an art show at Memory Lane called “Affirmative Action.” I wanted to put a spotlight on all the “token black” characters from my favorite cartoons that were only included for stereotypical purposes. My favorite pieces were “Go Home, Franklin” and “White Rangers Only.” I remember watching “Power Rangers” as a kid; they used to hang out at this weird teen center/juice bar, and they’d always have Zack dancing around for no reason. He’d pop and lock to the counter and order a collard-green smoothie, or some other repugnant shuck-and-jive-like action. “Peanuts” is and will always be my favorite comic strip, but I used to feel for Franklin. They would only highlight him when it was time for sports, dancing or elaborate soulbrotha handshakes! In the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving episode, all the friends are sitting on one side of the table, and he’s sitting alone on the opposite. It’s easy to say these are just cartoons, but for me (and other people of color) these are our representation! We see how you see us! So I drew these characters as I imagined they felt in the moment. Which is the same way I feel when I’m in those moments. e: Why the cartoon-like work? How do you feel it enhances your message?

There was also a time [a police officer] put a gun to my head while I was going for my registration, during a stop that I’m only assuming was based off the car and neighborhood I was in (because I was never given a reason why I stopped).   e: Can you tell us about any local organizations you’ve worked with that help toward rectifying injustices toward black Americans? HP: I’ve done a lot of work with Support the Port, but I pour most of my energy into working with kids. I’ve been a speaker at schools in New Hanover and Brunswick county, and that’s where I think I’ve been most effective. Kids haven’t turned into human canker sores yet. They’re still willing to be open to new ideas. They’re excited and unafraid. That’s where I feel best putting my hope.

HP: I wish I had a more profound answer other than I just really love cartoons. My bad! Also, cartoons are disarming. Everybody has a character they’ve always loved that triggers a time when they were genuinely happy—a time when they weren’t too tough to smile. That’s the target I’m trying to e: What has been some of your favorite art hit. You can’t be a bigot and sing the theme to Scooby-Doo at the same time. What kind to come out of the protests lately? of supervillain does that? HP: It’s been like Christmas to see the arte: Would you like to share any person- ists I admire speak out about racial inequalal experiences as a black man in America ities. Accomplished artists who are putting that have impacted your caution/reaction to careers and fanbases on the line, to step up in defense of people of color. That speaks safety, freedom and justice? big volumes. HP: I have about 5 trillion and 12 personal My favorite art, by far, has come from stories, from subtle to severe. my students. I’ve been having students, of Once, I was trying to get a job at this multiple races, emailing me with paintings restaurant, and there were like three signs in they’ve done of George Floyd and Breonna the window saying they were hiring. It was Taylor, [and] other artwork asking for peace a small spot. The host reluctantly gave me and equality, poems, etc. the application. I sat at the table to fill it out, e: What’s next for you as an artist in 2020? watched her go back to the kitchen and then


Freshly brewed iced coffee blend served chilled over ice. Available in regular or decaf.

a manager came out, took the application HP: Well, I had all these plans to work from me, told me they weren’t hiring and with Cameron Art Museum, the Wilmingripped it apart. ton Sharks [and] Comic-Cons that got punt Another time, I was jumped by a group of kicked because of COVID. So, now, I’ve been white guys calling me “nigger,” “black boy” trying to be more creative with how I put art and just singing all the hits! One of the guys into the community. I’d be real hyped to do stomped on my face 10 times, according to another show though. the Snapchat video he posted. I had broken teeth, a hole in my face, eye damage and almost bled out. It was a three-year-long court process. I had to listen to people on the stands call me a thug, gang member and accuse me of waving a gun (of which none is/was true). I even heard the defense attorney call me a monster from a horror movie, using sound effects to punctuate his claim.

Also, I’ve been approached to help with BLM mural if the city passes it. My vision for the mural, very simply, is that it screams love and empowerment. I’m excited I was chosen to be a part of it, and I’m eager to collaborate with other artists and community members who share that vision.

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David Dixon releases third single ahead of 2020 EP BY SHANNON RAE GENTRY


avid Dixon’s forthcoming single, “Better With You By My Side,” isn’t subtle. He wrote the song as a love note for Lauren, his wife of almost three years,. The single’s artwork even features a photo of the couple from their wedding day: Lauren rests her head on his shoulder. In Dixon’s own words, “She’s the best.” “Beautiful, funny, kind, supportive, loves music,” he adds. “We met in my hometown of Greenville, NC, years ago when she was working at the same venue where I hosted a weekly gig.” “Better With You By My Side” came about after running into a dead end with another song. The goal became simple: “Work out an upbeat, cheerful groove on guitar and try not to overthink it.” Dixon wanted to create something that made people feel good. “It immediately turned into a love song,” he remembers, “and I retroactively wrote the story of the song around that one line [“better with you by my side”]. I spent two days on an outline, and then I spent two months tweaking the lyrics and arrangement. I love how it turned out; it’s one of my favorites.” Dixon recorded the guitar, bass, organ and vocals at his Wilmington home. Live drums were added later by Pennsylvania-based mixing engineer Carl Bahner. Dixon’s friends played a role as well: Hourglass Studios’ Trent Harrison lent gear, and Signal Fire’s Sean Gregory loaned guitars and amps to provide a wider range of sonic options. Dixon’s music can be heard from free at daviddixonmusic.com or via streaming platforms, such as Spotify and Pandora. However, “Better With You By My Side,” won’t be available until Friday, June 19. It’s the third single from his upcoming fivetrack EP, “Small Circles,” slated for release later in the year. The EP was funded in large part by a successful Kickstarter campaign. Most of Dixon’s scheduled shows were canceled or postponed due to the pandemic, but a few livestreams and pre-recorded home sessions can be found on social media. Sessions typically feature Dixon’s root-

DETAILS DAVID DIXON Single release ‘Better With You By My Side’ Friday, June 19 www.daviddixonmusic.com @daviddixonmusic on Instagram, FB, Twitter sy originals and he plays covers. “I recently made videos performing a Beach Boys song, a Foo Fighters song, and I did a fun Justin Timberlake/Chris Stapleton cover a while back,” he explains. “They are all free on my website for anyone interested.” encore caught up with Dixon to learn more about how he’s staying positive amid the pandemic and civil unrest. encore (e): How much of this song is literal and how much is figurative/metaphorical? David Dixon (DD): The verses of this song are very literal: “I’m not the best at keeping plans / I’m scatterbrained with calloused hands / You always seem to understand, and I’m better with you by my side.” I’m not officially diagnosed with ADHD, but my wife jokes she thinks I [have it]. I get distracted easily. Sometimes I’ll be unloading the dishwasher and will abort the job midway through to go work on a song idea. The lyrics directly refer to my life and my relationship with my wife, but I tried to write them in a way that is relatable to other people and their relationships. Universal concepts are a good tool in songwriting; people tend to understand the story better if they’ve shared similar feelings and experiences. That’s why songs about love and heartbreak are so common. The trick is trying to find a

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fresh or unique way to say something that resonates and matching that with a memorable melody. e: In the song you write that you “wouldn’t mention her tattoos” … a promise not exactly kept! DD: [laughs] That line was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. Lauren has a tattoo on each foot. They aren’t really obvious unless she’s barefoot or wearing sandals. When she was considering getting her first tattoo, Lauren’s folks gave her a little bit of flack. Once she got the ink she didn’t tell them right away. When I told Lauren I was writing a song about her and jokingly asked if anything was off-limits, she said, “Just don’t mention my tattoo.” I ultimately decided the line was too good not to use. e: Tell us more about the EP you’re working on. Is there an ETA? DD: The EP would have been released already, but the pandemic pushed things back a bit. I really wanted to have a traditional album release and throw a big party at a local venue, perform the new music live, pass out CDs and have fun hanging out with everybody. I’m not sure when that will be possible due to the pandemic, so I’ve been taking some extra time to obsess over the last song in the meantime. If the quarantine/ social distancing continues to be necessary for much longer, I’m just going to release the EP and make it available for purchase on my website within the next month or two. I’m grateful to have a platform where people can hear my new music, whether or not they can see me perform live at the moment. e: How are these days of COVID-19 and social unrest treating you as a whole? DD: There have been pros and cons. The pros being I have had more time to work on writing and recording music than during my normal, performance-heavy schedule. Honestly, balancing the live show schedule and trying to finish the EP at the same time was grueling. I felt really burnt out for a couple of months. The break from performing three to five nights a week was really nice at first, but I miss playing live music. There is absolutely

no substitute for performing to real people in the same room and feeding off their energy. The main con of the current tribalized state we are living in is all the hate and negative energy. It seems like a lot of people would rather their team “win” than to do what’s right. Pretending either political party is standing on moral high ground, or is “right” about every major issue seems a little naive to me. I’ve seen corruption so often coming from both sides of the aisle. (I mean, right now, our own NC Senator [Richard] Burr is being investigated for dumping a bunch of stock immediately after finding out about COVID-19 and the resulting economic shutdown, and then sharing that info with his donors but not his constituents. How is that not corrupt?) When I get on social media and see endless insensitive comments and insults, it has a strong effect on me. Mostly, it makes me sad . . . so lately I’ve been limiting my time on social media. Don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly agree with the recent protests. The lack of empathy from some people and their willingness to place “peaceful protesters” and “rioters/looters” in the same category is extremely disappointing. Our country was founded on protesting against injustices, and we consider our forefathers heroes for standing up to unfair treatment. I can’t think of a cause more important to demonstrate for, and we’re damn lucky to live in a country that allows the freedom to do so. There’s no quick or easy fix, but raising awareness about racial injustices and admitting they exist is the first step. e: How is it all impacting your music? DD: Musically, I’m trying to add to the positive and steer away from the negative, for the sake of my own sanity. The main reason I wanted to release this song now was to put out a feel-good song about love at a time when so much negativity is present. Starting in August, a lot of my bookings are supposedly back on but we’ll have to see. I’ll be putting out new material one way or another!

Answers have been edited and condensed.

SEARCHING FOR GOLD Isiah Whitlock, Jr., Norm Lewis, Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, and Jonathan Majors in a scene from Spike Lee’s new film, ‘Da 5 Bloods.’ Courtesy photo




ne of the most troubling aspects of this turbulent time is dealing with the countless voices offering various perspectives on the anger and frustration over the injustices perpetrated against people of color. There’s an important conversation happening right now, one of the most vital in my lifetime, and the volume of noise out there is monumental. It’s a time when trusted voices are needed and are, sadly, in short supply. For me, Dave Chappelle is a trusted voice—a performer who seeks truth and pushes the envelope in productive ways. His latest special is a lo-fi sermon on the death of George Floyd and the variety of topics stemming from Floyd’s execution at the hands of police. Racism is a topic Chappelle has discussed at great length over the course of his career. His most recent stand-up special on Netflix, “Sticks & Stones,” includes dissertations on race that are honest and fearless in a way few stand-up specials are. There’s depth to Chappelle that eludes his contemporaries—a balance between getting laughs and getting real that elevates him to a height few performers achieve. “8:46” is a very candid performance—a socially distanced set done at an amphitheater with very little polish. It’s by far Chappelle’s most serious piece of work and lacks the cavalier cadence of his previous specials. In a 25-minute breakdown, the comedian calls out a culture that has denigrated and deprived the black community of dignity, finding unique insights into a troubling topic. He also eviscerates several narratives around the “responsibility” of celebrities to contribute to the narrative. This is not your typical stand-up set or an escape from the difficulties we’re currently wading through. It is, however, work from a trusted voice—someone whose experience and perspective is desperately needed.

How indeed.

DETAILS 8:46 Available on YouTube 27 min Starring Dave Chappelle

DA 5 BLOODS Available on Netflix Rated R, 2 hrs 34 min Directed by Spike Lee Starring Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters Da 5 Bloods Directed by Spike Lee There’s a quote from Muhammad Ali, who famously stood up for his beliefs, even when it cost him everything. When asked why he refused to serve the American military during the Vietnam War, he said, “My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me n*****, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father. . . . Shoot them for what? How can I shoot them poor people?”


There’s a lot of questions presented in Spike Lee’s new film “Da 5 Bloods.” It’s a fascinating examination of the difficulties surrounding race, war and the conflicts that continue to challenge American society. Last week I wrote about my unflinching admiration for Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing.” Arguably, it’s one of the 10 best American movies ever made. I could spend countless columns discussing Lee’s masterpiece and its invaluable contributions to cinema and black culture. Like most filmmakers, Lee has a filmography that contains some great films, some good films and some less-than-stellar efforts. I liked his 2018 film, “BlacKKKlansman,” for which he won an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay. I also found it to be bloated and blunt. “Da 5 Bloods” is an interesting endeavor. There are invaluable truths woven into a more bombastic storytelling narrative. Lee sets up the story using real-life incidents of racial brutality and injustices perpetrated against those who stood up for racial equality and against the Vietnam War. He peppers the film with moments and monoliths of the time, blending his brutal fiction with even more brutal facts. There’s a brilliant moment early on in the film where the propaganda mouthpiece of the Communists, “Hanoi Hannah,” reveals the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and presents the idea that black American soldiers are no different than the North Vietnamese they are at war with; both are expendable and viewed as less-than human by a racist society and an American government who doesn’t care about anyone who isn’t white. The movie’s central story revolves around four Vietnam vets who have headed back to Vietnam to try to locate the body of a fallen comrade, as well as a treasure of buried gold. The cast, led by the exceptional Delroy Lindo, does a good job of making

Anghus looks at two flicks surrounding discussions of racism these characters feel like genuine, life-long friends, which works well in the film’s first half as they relive “the good olds days.” This dynamic is even more effective in the film’s second half, when the plan goes off the rails and alliances become fractured. There are elements of this film I really enjoyed. The central question of “What are we fighting for’” weighs heavily in the film’s first half and comes back like a boomerang in the second half, as greed threatens to take everything from the vets. I also appreciate how Lee isn’t afraid of wading through deep, dark waters, cinematically speaking. Violence is unflinchingly portrayed, and the brutality of war seeps through every scene. Man’s inhumanity toward fellow man has rarely been portrayed with such horror. I also have criticisms. At times, “Da 5 Bloods” feels like two completely different movies: a traditional action-thriller and a drama about dealing with racism and the horrors of war. Sometimes these two divergent aspects blend well together. Other times, they’re wildly disconnected. Still, I admire Lee for taking passionate swings. Having senior-citizen actors play their younger selves was ... interesting. Nowadays, everyone is looking for a computer-generated solutions or bold creative choices instead of just finding younger actors with some resemblance to their counterparts. The payoff isn’t always there. Regardless, “Da 5 Bloods” is a worthwhile experience. It’s a unique cinematic experience and an emotional journey  into the heart of darkness.

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Enjoy spectacular panoramic views of sailing ships and the Intracoastal Waterway while dining at this popular casual American restaurant in Wrightsville Beach. Lunch and dinner are served daily. Favorites include jumbo lump crab cakes, succulent seafood lasagna, crispy coconut shrimp and an incredible Caribbean fudge pie. Dine inside or at their award-winning outdoor patio and bar, which is the location for their lively Waterfront Music Series every Sunday April - October. Large parties welcome. Private event space available. BluewaterDining. com. 4 Marina Street, Wrightsville Beach, NC. (910) 256-8500. ■ SERVING LUNCH & DINNER: Mon-Fri 11a.m. - 11 p.m.; Sat & Sun 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: Wrightsville Beach ■ FEATURING: Waterfront dining ■ MUSIC: Music every Sunday in Summer ■ WEBSITE: bluewaterdining.com


Since 1984, Elijah’s has been Wilmington, NC’s outdoor dining destination. We feature expansive indoor and outdoor waterfront dining, with panoramic views of riverfront sunsets. As a Casual American Grill and Oyster Bar, Elijah’s offers everything from fresh local seafood and

shellfish to pastas, sandwiches, and Certified Angus Beef selections. We offer half-priced oysters from 4-6 every Wednesday & live music with our Sunday Brunch from 11-3. Whether you are just looking for a great meal & incredible scenery, or a large event space for hundreds of people, Elijah’s is the place to be. ■ SERVING LUNCH & DINNER: Sun-Thurs 11:30-10:00; Friday and Saturday 11:30-11:00 ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: Downtown ILM; kids menu


Pine Valley Market has reigned supreme in servicing the Wilmington community for

years, securing encore’s Best-Of awards in catering, gourmet shop and butcher. Now, Kathy Webb and Christi Ferretti are expanding their talents into serving lunch in-house, so folks can enjoy their hearty, homemade meals in the quaint and cozy ambiance of the market. Using the freshest ingredients of highest quality, diners can enjoy the best Philly Cheesesteak in Wilmington, along with numerous other sandwich varieties, from their Angus burger to classic Reuben, Italian sub to a grown-up ba-

nana and peanut butter sandwich that will take all diners back to childhood. Served among a soup du jour and salads, there is something for all palates. Take advantage of their take-home frozen meals for nights that are too hectic to cook, and don’t forget to pick up a great bottle of wine to go with it. 3520 S. College Road, (910) 350-FOOD.


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■ SERVING LUNCH & DINNER: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Closed Sun. ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: South Wilmington ■ FEATURING: Daily specials and take-home frozen meals ■ WEBSITE: pinevalleymarket.com


Trolly Stop Grill and Catering is a four store franchise in North Carolina. Trolly Stop Hot Dogs opened in Wrightsville Beach in 1976. That store name has never changed. Since the Wrightsville Beach store, the newer stores sell hotdogs, hamburgers, beef and chicken cheese steaks, fries, hand dipped ice cream, milk shakes, floats and more. Our types of dogs are: Southern (Trolly Dog, beef and pork), Northern (all beef), Smoke Sausage (pork), Fat Free (turkey), Veggie (soy). Voted Best Hot Dog in Wilmington for decades. Check our website trollystophotdogs.com for hours of operations, specific store offerings and telephone numbers, or contact Rick Coombs, 910-297-8416, rtrollystop@aol.com We offer catering serving 25-1000 people. Franchises available. ■ SERVING LUNCH & DINNER ■ LOCATIONS: Wilmington, Fountain Dr. (910) 452-3952, Wrightsville Beach (910) 2563921, Southport (910) 457-7017, Boone, NC (828) 265-2658, Chapel Hill, NC (919) 240-4206 ■ WEBSITE: trollystophotdogs.com


If you’re ready to experience the wonders of the Orient without having to leave Wilmington, join us at Indochine for a truly unique experience. Indochine brings the flavors of the Far East to the Port City, combining the best of Thai and Vietnamese cuisine in an atmosphere that will transport you and your taste buds. Relax in our elegantly decorated dining room, complete with antique Asian decor as well as contemporary artwork and music. Our diverse, friendly and efficient staff will serve you beautifully presented dishes full of enticing aromas and flavors. Be sure to try such signature items as the spicy and savory Roasted Duck with Red Curry, or the beautifully presented and delicious Shrimp and Scallops in a Nest. Be sure to save room for our world famous desert, the banana egg roll! We take pride in using only the freshest ingredients, and our extensive menu suits any taste. After dinner, enjoy specialty drinks by the koi pond in our Asian garden. Located at 7 Wayne Drive (beside the Ivy Cottage), (910) 251-9229. ■ SERVING LUNCH & DINNER: Tues.- Fri. 11 a.m.- 2 p.m.; Sat. 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. for lunch. Mon.- Sun. 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. for dinner. ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: Midtown ■ WEBSITE: indochinewilmington.com


For more than a decade, Nikki’s downtown has served diners the best in sushi. With freshly crafted ingredients making up their rolls, sushi and sashimi, a taste of innovation comes with every order. Daily they offer specialty rolls specific to the Front Street location, such as the My Yoshi, K-Town and Crunchy Eel rolls. But for less adventurous diners looking for options beyond sushi, Nikki’s serves an array of sandwiches, wraps and gyros, too. They also make it a point to host all dietary needs, omnivores, car-

nivores and herbivores alike. They have burgers and cheesesteaks, as well as falafal pitas and veggie wraps, as well as an extensive Japanese fare menu, such as bento boxes and tempura platters. Daily dessert and drink special are also on order. Check out their website and Facebook for more information. 16 S. Front St. (910) 7719151. ■ SERVING LUNCH & DINNER: Mon.-Thurs., 11am 10pm; Fri.-Sat., 11am-11pm; Sun., 12pm10pm. Last call on food 15 minutes before closing. ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: Downtown ■ WEBSITE: nikkissushibar.com


We have reinvented “Hibachi cuisine.” Okami Japanese Hibachi Steakhouse is like no other. Our highly skilled chefs cook an incredible dinner while entertaining you on the way. Our portions are large, our drinks are less expensive, and our staff is loads of fun. We are committed to using quality ingredients and seasoning with guaranteed freshness. Our goal is to utilize all resources, domestically and internationally, to ensure we serve only the finest food products. We believe good, healthy food aids vital functions for well-being, both physically and mentally. Our menu consists of a wide range of steak, seafood, and chicken for the specially designed “Teppan Grill.” We also serve tastebud-tingling Japanese sushi, hand rolls, sashimi, tempura dishes, and noodle entrees. This offers our guests a complete Japanese dining experience. Our all-you-can-eat sushie menu and daily specials can be found at okamisteakhouse.com! 614 S College Rd. ■ SERVING LUNCH & DINNER: Mon.-Thurs., 11am 2:30pm / 4-10pm; Fri., 11am-2:30pm / 4pm-11pm; Sat., 11am-11pm; Sun., 11am9:30pm ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: Midtown ■ WEBSITE: okamisteakhouse.com

Leland’s friendly neighborhood Irish Pub with the best pub fare in town.

We are open! Come check out our newest menu. Look forward to serving you soon!

1174 Turlington Ave., Leland 910-408-1400 www.thejoyceirishpub.com


Craving expertly prepared Chinese food in an elegant atmosphere? Szechuan 132 Chinese Restaurant is your destination! Szechuan 132 has earned the reputation as one of the finest contemporary Chinese restaurants in the Port City. Tastefully decorated with an elegant atmosphere, with an exceptional ingenious menu has deemed Szechuan 132 the best Chinese restaurant for years, hands down. 419 South College Road (in University Landing), (910) 799-1426. ■ SERVING LUNCH & DINNER ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: Midtown ■ FEATURING: Lunch specials ■ WEBSITE: szechuan132.com


Lively atmosphere in a modern setting, Yosake is the delicious Downtown spot for date night, socializing with friends, or any large dinner party. Home to the never-disappointing Shanghai Firecracker Shrimp! In addition to sushi, we offer a full Pan Asian menu including curries, noodle dishes, and the ever-popular Crispy Salmon or mouth-watering Kobe Burger. Inspired features change weekly showcasing our commitment to local farms. Full bar including a comprehensive sake list, signature cocktails, and Asian Import Bottles. 33 S. Front St., 2nd Floor (910) 763-3172. ■ SERVING DINNER: 7 nights a week, 5pm; Sun-Wed. ‘til 10pm, Thurs ‘til 11pm, Fri-Sat, ‘til Midnight. ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: Downtown ■ FEATURING: 1/2 Price Sushi/Appetizer

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Menu nightly from 5-7, until 8 on Mondays, and also 10-Midnight on Fri/Sat. Tuesday LOCALS NIGHT- 20% Dinner Entrees. Wednesday 80S NIGHT - 80smusic and menu prices. Sundays are the best dealdowntown - Specialty Sushi and Entrees are BuyOne, Get One $10 Off and 1/2 price Wine Bottles.Nightly Drink Specials. Gluten-Free Menu upon request. Complimentary Birthday Dessert. ■ WEBSITE: yosake.com. @yosakeilm on Twitter & Instagram. Like us on Facebook.


Round Bagels and Donuts features 17 varieties of New York-style bagels, baked fresh daily on site in a steam bagel oven. Round offers a wide variety of breakfast and lunch bagel sandwiches, grilled and fresh to order. Round also offers fresh-made donuts daily! Stop by Monday Friday, 6:30 a.m. - 3 p.m., and on Sunday, 7:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.


cheeses, donuts, sandwiches, coffee and more ■ WEBSITE: roundbagelsanddonuts.com


Wilmington’s favorite fondue restaurant! The

Little Dipper specializes in unique fondue dishes with a global variety of cheeses, meats, seafood, vegetables, chocolates and fine wines. The warm and intimate dining room is a great place to enjoy a four-course meal, or indulge in appetizers and desserts outside on the back deck or in the bar while watching luminescent jellyfish. Reservations are appreciated for parties of any size. Located at the corner of Front and Orange in Downtown Wilmington. 138 South Front Street. (910) 251-0433. ■ SERVING DINNER: 5pm Tue-Sun; open daily from Memorial Day through October ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: Downtown ■ FEATURING Sunday half-price wine bottles; Monday beer and wine flights on special; Tuesday Local’s Night $11/person cheese and chocolate; Wednesday Ladies Night; Thursday $27 4-course prix fixe; Friday “Date Night” $85/ couple for 3 courses and a bottle of wine. ■ MUSIC: Tuesdays & Thursdays, May-Oct., 7– 9 p.m. (weather permitting) ■ WEBSITE: www.littledipperfondue.com


Experience the finest traditional Irish family recipes and popular favorites served in a casual yet elegant traditional pub atmosphere. The Harp, 1423 S. 3rd St., proudly uses the freshest ingredients, locally sourced whenever possible, to bring you and yours the most delicious Irish fare! We have a fully stocked bar featuring favorite Irish beers and whiskies. We are open

every day for both American and Irish breakfast, served to noon weekdays and 2 p.m. weekends. Regular menu to 10 p.m. weekdays and 11 p.m. weekends. Join us for trivia at 8:30 on Thursdays and live music on Fridays – call ahead for schedule (910) 763-1607. Located just beside Greenfield Lake and Park at the south end of downtown Wilmington, The Harp is a lovely Irish pub committed to bringing traditional Irish flavor, tradition and hospitality to the Cape Fear area ■ SERVING BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: Greenfield Lake/DowntownSouth ■ FEATURING: Homemade soups, desserts and breads, free open wifi, new enlarged patio area, and big screen TVs at the bar featuring major soccer matches worldwide. ■ WEBSITE: harpwilmington.com


Slainte Irish Pub in Monkey Junction has traditional pub fare with an Irish flair. We have a large selection of Irish whiskey, and over 23 different beers on draft, and 40 different craft beers in bottles. They have a large well lit outdoor patio with a full bar also. Come have some fun! They currently do not take reservations, but promise to take care of you when you get here! 5607 Carolina Beach Rd. #100, (910) 399-3980 ■ SERVING LUNCH & DINNER: 11:30 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: South Wilmington, Monkey Junction ■ FEATURING: Irish grub, whiskeys, beer, wine, fun. ■ WEBSITE: facebook.com/slaintemj


Serving fresh, homemade Italian fare in midtown and south Wilmington, Antonio’s Pizza and Pasta is a family-owned restaurant which serves New York style pizza and pasta. From daily specials during lunch and dinner to a friendly waitstaff ensuring a top-notch experience, whether dining in, taking out or getting delivery, to generous portions, the Antonio’s experience is an unforgettable one. Serving subs, salads, pizza by the slice or pie, pasta, and more, dine-in, take-out and delivery! 3501 Oleander Dr., #2, and 5120 S. College Rd. ■ SERVING LUNCH & DINNER: Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun., open at 11:30 a.m.) ■ NEIGHBORHOOD DELIVERY OFFERED: Monkey Junction and near Independence Mall ■ WEBSITE: antoniospizzaandpasta.com


• Wings • Salads • Sandwiches • Seafood • • Steaks • Ribs • Chicken • Pasta •

Inside and Outside Dining Curbside and Take-out Available Hours: 11am to 5pm Sunday - Wednesday 11am to 8pm Thursday - Saturday

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The Italian Bistro is a family-owned, fullservice Italian restaurant and pizzeria located in Porters Neck. They offer a wide variety of N.Y. style thin-crust pizza and homemade Italian dishes seven days a week! The Italian Bistro strives to bring customers a variety of homemade items made with the freshest, local ingredients. Every pizza and entrée is made to order and served with a smile from our amazing staff. Their warm, inviting, atmosphere is perfect for “date night” or “family night.” Let them show you why “fresh, homemade and local” is part of everything they do. 8211 Market St. (910) 6867774

■ SERVING LUNCH & DINNER: Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Sun brunch, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: Porters Neck ■ WEBSITE: italianbistronc.com


“Slice” has become a home away from home for tourists and locals alike. Our menu includes salads, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, homemade soups, subs and, of course, pizza. We only serve the freshest and highest-quality ingredients in all of our food, and our dough is made daily with purified water. Voted “Best Pizza” and “Best Late Night Eatery.”All ABC permits. Visit us downtown at 125 Market Street, (910) 251-9444, in Wrightsville Beach at 1437 Military Cutoff Road, Suite 101, (910) 256-2229 and in Pine Valley on the corner of 17th and College Road, (910) 799-1399. ■ SERVING LUNCH, DINNER & LATE NIGHT: 11:30 a.m.-3 a.m., 7 days/week, 365 days/year. ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: Midtown, Downtown and Wilmington South. ■ FEATURING: Largest tequila selection in town! ■ WEBSITE: grabslice.com


Zocalo Street Food and Tequila brings a modern version of cooking traditional Mexican street food through perfected recipes, with excellent presentation. Zócalo was the main ceremonial center for the Aztecs, and presently, it is the main square in central Mexico City. It bridges old school tradition with a twist of innovative cooking. Zocalo also has weekly events, such as their margarita and food tasting every Monday, 5-8 p.m., and a live taco station every Tuesday , 5-8 p.m. Live Latin music Is showcased every other Saturday and Sunday brunch begins at 10 a.m. Be sure to try Zocalo’s wide selection of the best tequilas! Owned and operated locally, locations are in Wilmington and Jacksonville, NC. Take out and delivery available through most apps. ■ SERVING LUNCH, DINNER AND BRUNCH: Monday - Saturday, 11 a.m - 10 p.m.; Sunday brunch, 10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.; closes 9 p.m. ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: Pointe at Barclay ■ WEBSITE: zocalostreetfood.com


The Philly Deli celebrated their 38th anniversary in August 2017. Thier first store was located in Hanover Center—the oldest shopping center in Wilmington. Since, two more Philly Delis have been added: one at Porters Neck and one at Monkey Junction. The Philly Deli started out by importing all of their steak meat and hoagie rolls straight from Amoroso Baking Company, located on 55th Street in downtown Philadelphia! It’s a practice they maintain to this day.

We also have a great collection of salads to choose from, including the classic chef’s salad, chicken salad, and tuna salad, all made fresh every day in our three Wilmington, NC restaurants. 8232 Market St., 3501 Oleander Dr., 609 Piner Rd.

, ■ OPEN: 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Monday , -Thursday,11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. Friday Saturday.

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■ NEIGHBORHOOD: Porters Neck, North and

South Wilmington, ■ WEBSITE: https://phillydeli.com


Founded in 2008 by Evans and Nikki Trawick, Cape Fear Seafood Company has become a local hotspot for the freshest, tastiest seafood in the area. With it’s growing popularity, the restaurant has expanded from its flagship eatery in Monkey Junction to locations in Porters Neck and Waterford in Leland. “We are a dedicated group of individuals working together as a team to serve spectacular food, wine and spirits in a relaxed and casual setting,” restaurateur Evans Trawick says. “At CFSC every dish is prepared with attention to detail, quality ingredients and excellent flavors. Our staff strives to accommodate guests with a sense of urgency and an abundance of southern hospitality.” Cape Fear Seafood Company has been recognized by encore magazine for best seafood in 2015, as well as by Wilmington Magazine in 2015 and 2016, and Star News from 2013 through 2016. Monkey Junction: 5226 S. College Road Suite 5, 910799-7077. Porter’s Neck: 140 Hays Lane #140, 910-681-1140. Waterford: 143 Poole Rd., Leland, NC 28451 ■ SERVING LUNCH AND DINNER: 11:30am4pm daily; Mon.-Thurs.., 4pm-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 4pm 10pm; Sun., 4pm-8:30pm. ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: Midtown, north Wilmington and Leland ■ WESBITE: capefearseafoodcompany.com


Serving the Best Seafood in South Eastern North Carolina. Wilmington’s Native Son, 2011 James Beard Award Nominee, 2013 Best of Wilmington “Best Chef” winner, Chef Keith Rhodes explores the Cape Fear Coast for the best it has to offer. We feature Wild Caught & Sustainably raised Seafood. Organic and locally sourced produce & herbs provide the perfect compliment to our fresh Catch. Consecutively Voted Wilmington’s Best Chef 2008, 09 & 2010. Dubbed “Modern Seafood Cuisine” we offer an array Fresh Seafood & Steaks, including our Signature NC Sweet Potato Salad. Appetizers include our Mouth watering “Fire Cracker” Shrimp, Crispy Cajun Fried NC Oysters & Blue Crab Claw Scampi, & Seafood Ceviche to name a few. Larger Plates include, Charleston Crab Cakes, Flounder Escovitch & Miso Salmon. Custom Entree request gladly accommodated for our Guest. (Vegetarian, Vegan & Allergies) Hand-crafted seasonal desserts. Full ABC Permits. 6623 Market Street, Wilmington, NC 28405, 910-7993847. ■ SERVING DINNER: Mon.-Sat. 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m. ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: North Wilmington ■ FEATURING: Acclaimed Wine List ■ WEBSITE: catchwilmington.com

s s Voted Best Oysters for over 10 years by ene core readers, you know what you can find at C Dock Street Oyster Bar. But we have a lot more , than oysters! Featuring a full menu of seafood, pasta, and chicken dishes from $4.95-$25.95,


there’s something for everyone at Dock Street. You’ll have a great time eating in our “Bohemian-Chic” atmosphere, where you’ll feel just as comfort able in flip flops as you would in a business suit. Located at 12 Dock St in downtown Wilmington. Open lunch and dinner, 7 days a week. (910) 762-2827. ■ SERVING LUNCH & DINNER: 7 days a week. ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: Downtown ■ FEATURING: Fresh daily steamed oysters. ■ WEBSITE: dockstreetoysterbar.net

dinner, and drink specials. It’s a Good Shuckin’ Time! ■ SERVING LUNCH & DINNER: Carolina Beach Hours: Mon-Sat: 11am-2am; Sun: Noon2am, Historic Wilmington: Sun-Thurs: 11am10pm; Fri-Sat:11am-Midnight. ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: Carolina Beach/Downtown ■ FEATURING: Daily lunch specials. Like us on Facebook! ■ WEBSITE: TheShuckinShack.com



Established in 1998, Michael’s Seafood Restaurant is locally owned and operated by Shelly McGowan and managed by her team of culinary professionals. Michael’s aspires to bring you the highest quality and freshest fin fish, shell fish, mollusks, beef, pork, poultry and produce. Our menu consists of mainly locally grown and made from scratch items. We count on our local fishermen and farmers to supply us with seasonal, North Carolina favorites on a daily basis. Adorned walls include awards such as 3 time gold medalist at the International Seafood Chowder Cook-Off, Entrepreneur of the Year, Restaurant of the Year and Encores readers’ choice in Best Seafood to name a few. 1206 N. Lake Park Blvd. (910) 458-7761 ■ SERVING LUNCH & DINNER: 7 days 11 am – 9 pm ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: Carolina Beach ■ FEATURING: Award-winning chowder, local se food and more! ■ WEBSITE: MikesCfood.com


The Pilot House Restaurant is Wilmington’s premier seafood and steak house with a touch of the South. We specialize in local seafood and produce. Featuring the only Downtown bar that faces the river and opening our doors in 1978, The Pilot House is the oldest restaurant in the Downtown area. We offer stunning riverfront views in a newly-renovated relaxed, casual setting inside or on one of our two outdoor decks. Join us for $5.00 select appetizers Sunday-Thursday and live music every Friday and Saturday nigh on our umbrella deck. Large parties welcome. Private event space available. 910-343-0200. 2 Ann Street, Wilmington, NC 28401 ■ SERVING LUNCH & DINNER: Sun-Thurs 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm and Sunday Brunch,. 11am-3pm. Kids menu ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: Riverfront Downtown Wilmington ■ FEATURING: Fresh local seafood specialties, Riverfront Dining, free on-site parking ■ MUSIC: Outside Every Friday and Saturday ■ WEBSITE: pilothouserest.com


Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar has two locations in the Port City area. The original Shack is located in Carolina Beach at 6A N. Lake Park Blvd. (910-458-7380) and our second location is at 109 Market Street in Historic Downtown Wilmington (910-833-8622). The Shack is the place you want to be to catch your favorite sports team on 7 TV’s carrying all major sports packages. A variety of fresh seafood is available daily including oysters, shrimp, clams, mussels, and crab legs. Shuckin’ Shack has expanded its menu now offering fish tacos, crab cake sliders, fried oyster po-boys, fresh salads, and more. Come in and check out the Shack’s daily lunch,

■ WEBSITE: caseysbuffet.com


Located in downtown Wilmington, Rx Restaurant and Bar is here to feed your soul, serving up Southern cuisine made with ingredients from local farmers and fishermen. The Rx chef is committed to bringing fresh food to your table, so the menu changes daily based on what he finds locally. Rx drinks are as unique as the food—and just what the doctor ordered. Join us for a dining experience you will never forget! 421 Castle St.; 910 399-3080. ■ SERVING BRUNCH & DINNER: Tues-Thurs, 5-10pm; Fri-Sat, 5-10:30pm; Sun., 10am-3pm and 5-9pm ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: Downtown In Wilmington, everyone knows where to go ■ WEBSITE: rxwilmington.com for solid country cooking. That place is Casey’s Buffet, winner of encore’s Best Country Cookin’/ Soul Food and Buffet categories. “Every day we are open, somebody tells us it tastes just like their grandma’s or mama’s cooking,” co-owner Gena Casey says. Gena and her husband Larry Under new ownership! Tom Noonan invites run the show at the Oleander Drive restaurant you to enjoy his remodeled space, featuring where people are urged to enjoy all food indig- a new sound system and new bar, in a warm, enous to the South: fried chicken, barbecue, relaxed environment. Taste 40 craft beers, catfish, mac‘n’cheese, mashed potatoes, green over 400 wines by the bottle, a wide selection beans, chicken‘n’dumplings, biscuits and home- of cheese and charcuterie, with gourmet small made banana puddin’ are among a few of many plates and desserts to go! And don’t miss their other delectable items. 5559 Oleander Drive. weekly wine tastings, every Tuesday, 6 p.m. - 9 (910) 798-2913. p.m. ■ SERVING LUNCH & DINNER: Open Wednes- SERVING DINNER & LATE NIGHT: Mon., days through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed; Tues.-Thurs., 4 p.m. - 12 a.m.; Fri., 4 and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed p.m. - 2 a.m.; Sat., 2 p.m. - 2 a.m.; Sun., 4 - 10 Mon. & Tues. p.m. ■ NEIGHBORHOOD: Midtown NEIGHBORHOOD: Downtown, 29 S Front St. WEBSITE: fortunateglass.com ■ FEATURING: Pig’s feet and chitterlings.





• American comfort food, with a Southern twist • Handpicked bourbons and whiskeys • House-made barrel-aged cocktails • Excellent wine selection • 34 beers on draft Mon. 4pm-12am • Tues.-Thurs. 11:30am-12am Fri. & Sat. 11:30am-1am • Sun. 11:30am-12am

15 S. Front St. 910-399-1162 www.rebellionnc.com

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s North Carolina restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries, bottle shops, hotel bars, and country club bars gear up for Monday service, a clock ticks away on ncbata.org. The North Carolina Bar and Tavern Association website has been keeping track of how long bars operating with a DZ Mixed Beverage Private Bar license have been closed due to the novel coronavirus. Right now, that count is at 90 days. On Friday, June 5, Governor Roy Cooper vetoed House Bill 536. It would have allowed bars to open with 50% of their capacity outdoors. “House Bill 536 would limit the ability of leaders to respond quickly to COVID-19 and hamper the health and

safety of every North Carolinian,” he said in a statement.

as part of Governor Cooper’s phase two plan. This was not the case.

This refusal to compromise has enraged bar owners, including Wilmington’s own Lector Bennett and Maaike Brender À Brandis of Cape Fear Wine and Beer. They’ve released official statements on the bar’s Facebook page supporting NCBATA in their decision to file a lawsuit against Governor Cooper.

“It was devastating,” Bennett says. “Restaurant bars, hotel bars, breweries, wineries, distilleries, [and] bottle shops can have people drinking beers but we cannot! This seems crazy. We are able to sell off-premise beers, wines, ciders and meads but now that all the other types of drinking establishments have opened, our sales have dropped.”

“As a part of the 15% of NC ABC permittees that cannot open, we are appreciative of [NCBATA’s] initiative to make progress,” explains Brandis. “If [other bars] can be trusted to open safely, why can’t we?” Initially, Bennett and Brandis thought they would be granted permission to open

Much of the bar owners’ frustrations stem from the fact that every single other type of permit holder in the state of North Carolina has been given the green light, while 1,063 private clubs remain dark. The governor’s hemming and hawing, while costing North Carolina residents thousands of dollars, is also bad for morale. “We’re all feeling slighted, like second-rate establishments,” laments Brandis. “We want to be given the chance to open—and do it safely and cleanly—just like everyone else.” Among other Wilmington business opposing the governor’s actions is Rocco’s Cigar Bar. Despite the bar’s unique business model—which currently allows customers to smoke but not consume alcohol in the indoor space—owner Steve Gimello expresses solidarity with bars unable to open. “We have been unfairly singled out,” he says. “Bar owners can handle any guidelines the governor has set for restaurants, breweries or distilleries.”

Class action lawsuit seeks reopening for NC’s private bars Jason Ruth, owner of Tinyz Tavern on Gordon Road, sees only one way forward. “While lines of communication remain open with the Governor’s office, we feel the courts are the best route for us all to get equal treatment under the order.” The lawsuit demands a temporary restraining order from Executive Order 141, also known as phase two, allowing bars to reopen. Zack Medford, president of NCBATA, insists that, even though he has requested scientific data, proving that keeping private clubs closed is preventing the spread of COVID-19, the governor’s office has no such data. The lack of proof makes the governor’s decision seem arbitrary—or, worse, anti-bar. “The governor keeps saying he’s based his decision on facts and data but refuses to show any proof that drinking in a bar is riskier than drinking at a restaurant or hotel bar,” explains Bennett. “When we are able to reopen, we plan on following the CDC and WHO guidelines to ensure safety.” “Cape Fear Wine & Beer is very concerned about the spread of COVID-19,” Brandis confirms. While North Carolina lawmakers continue to try to pass legislation to ease the financial burden of novel coronavirus, the infection rate and death toll continue to climb. Just last week, NC’s health secretary Mandy Cohen warned the recent spike in cases could cause current policy to roll backward and result in a second shutdown. The NCBATA is pushing forward to try to get Governor Cooper to change his mind. The organization has started a GoFundMe page, in an attempt to raise capital for the extensive legal fees it takes to pull off the case. As of Monday, they have raised more than $20k of their $25k goal. Bennett is hopeful this will be the bar’s saving grace. “Other than relocating the bar 70 miles south, this is our best chance at prevailing.”

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me. “Enjoy” is not really the word. It is tough reading about the Klan organizing and terrorizing in our home state. I lived in North Carolina in the 1980s, and I remember one of the rallies Segrest describes from my early childhood: the flyers advertising it, the local news coverage, the images of the men in white robes. I saw it all closer back then on a TV screen, but not as close as the 4-year-old she describes in the book, watching “white men in white” take her mother away from their house late at night.




ilmington’s literary community keeps gaining accolades (two National Book Awards nominees in 2015) and attention in the press. With multiple established publishers in the state (Algonquin, Blair) and new smaller presses gaining traction (Lookout, Eno, Bull City), and a pair of well-regarded literary magazines out of UNCW, it is timely to shine a light on discussions around literary publishing. More so, it shows the importance of communicating a truthful story in our present world. Welcome to Carpe Librum, encore’s biweekly book column, wherein I will dissect a current title and/or an old book—because literature does not exist in a vacuum but emerges to participate in a larger, cultural conversation. I will feature many NC writers; however, the hope is to place the discussion in a larger context and therefore examine works around the world. Memoir of a Race Traitor Mab Segrest The New Press, 1994, rerelease 2019, pg. 319 Mab Segrest paved the way. It was (and still is) a rocky, stony way, but thanks to Segrest it’s now visible through the woods. Born to a pro-segregationist white family in Alabama, Segrest came to North Carolina in the 1970s for grad school at Duke. Life in North Carolina allowed her more breathing space and freedom as a young lesbian and emerging civil rights worker (which should really say something about Alabama in the 1970s). It was in the maelstrom of life here that she found a voice and a venue to use it. “Memoir of a Race Traitor” is her memoir reflecting on that time. Originally published in 1994, “Memoir of a Race Traitor” has been reissued with a new introduction by Segrest. It is an odd and remarkable book. Parts in which Segrest cites and quotes other source material read like a master’s thesis. Some parts are deeply personal, while others are written with an aesthetic distance that borders on surgically cold. Segrest devoted much of the ‘70s and ‘80s to investigating and organizing against

Gwenyfar finds the perfect read for Pride month, civil rights and activism the Klan and other white supremacy hate groups in North Carolina. Sometimes her work coincided with Morris Dees at Southern Poverty Law Center. As she recounts the work documenting Klan rallies, hate crimes and court cases, her writing reads more like a newspaper report. One has to extrapolate that the stress, fear and drive to keep going forced her to view the battle from a longer lens—one from necessity. With the same reporter’s tone, Segrest describes her father’s work organizing private whites-only schools in response to the forced desegregation of Alabama schools. She explores family history that brought him to that crusade and also ignited her rebellion against it. The personal, deeply real parts of the book—the ones that make you want to cry for her pain—are those concerning her mother. Segrest so desperately wants her mother to choose differently, act differently and have a courage. Though hinted at in private, that courage is never acted out in public. While Segrest leaves and finds a stage for her beliefs and activism, her mother lives out her life in the same town with the same neighbors, and frankly, the same social controls.

As Segrest travels backroads around the eastern part of the state, what she describes and experiences isn’t just close to home, it is home. The necessity to make “home” a safe place for everyone becomes more and more real. It all makes for fascinating reading.

wounds that continue throughout her life. It isn’t a simple story of cutting off from family, bur rather a far more complicated story of trying to maintain family ties amid deep schisms of belief about race, gender, sexuality, power and privilege. Frankly, those discussions and struggles have not gone away for many families in America; they have changed, perhaps, in the last 40 years but not disappeared. “Are you enjoying the book?” Jock asked

Many memoirs of activism happen far away or tackle large and almost intangible topics. This is a deeply personal exploration of hate in our home state and one person’s journey to find not just light, but justice and the building blocks of a new home and new safety. Finding widely published LBGTQIA memoirs from North Carolina authors is difficult but worth the work (we will be talking about Armistead Maupin again soon). Not only is it Pride month, but we are currently engaged in a deep community conversation that has been centuries in the making. Segrest’s book could not be more timely.

With the work against white supremacy at the forefront of her mind, Segrest tries to navigate coming out as a lesbian—all while Anita Bryant is crusading against gay people holding jobs as teachers or participating in society at all. Segrest leaves her closeted teaching job, and while she works tirelessly on civil rights, the AIDS epidemic erupts around her. The disease, which disproportionately affected, first, the gay community and then communities of color (both of which Segrest worked closely with at the time) is an unavoidable nightmare. With candor she recounts a housemate contracting and dying from AIDS. It is a complicated human relationship without a good resolution. The housemate insists on dying on his own terms and refuses to mask his illness; his obituary actually lists his life partner as his “friend” rather than omitting their relationship altogether. For the time, Segrest notes, it was a win in the public relations war. Coming out is a complicated process still today, and in the 1970s it was no simpler. Segrest continues to pursue a relationship with her family, scoring minor victories, while still feeling the pricks and pains of the

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Author Ashleigh Bryant Phillips on her debut story collection and writing with authenticity


n Ashleigh Bryant Phillips’ revelatory debut story collection, “Sleepovers,” characters in rural North Carolina fight through adversity while finding refuge in life’s tiny pleasures. They chew tobacco and fish for bass with crickets, and drink Crown and Mountain Dew from a “special shrimp cup.” There’s a little girl named for country singer Shania Twain, and another who names her dog for her favorite racecar driver, Bobby Labonte. Despite the impressions they leave, the characters defy easy description. Perhaps that’s because North Carolina native Phillips— who grew up in Woodland, near Roanoke Rapids—isn’t interested in glossing over hard truths. “Sleepovers” was selected by novelist Lauren Groff (“Fates and Furies,” “Florida”) as the winner of the 2019 C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize, awarded annually to a debut author residing in the South. The award comes with $10,000 and publication by Hub City Press, the Spartanburg, South Carolina-based imprint run in part by a pair of UNCW MFA alumnae.

DETAILS ‘SLEEPOVERS’ Debut fiction by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips Hub City Press, 204 pgs. $16.95 • hubcity.org ly committed to the truth no matter how dark or difficult or complicated it may be.” encore spoke with Phillips by phone earlier this month.

encore (e): I know you to be a great reader, but I also know that a big part of your writing process is listening to people Though she now lives in Baltimore, speak. Can you describe that process? Phillips also earned her MFA from UNCW. Ashleigh Bryant Phillips (ABP): I hon(Full disclosure: I was one of her class- estly never thought about it much until mates.) And while the 23 stories in her “Sleepovers” became a thing and people collection largely draw from her mile- started asking me about voice. I grew long hometown, many were dreamed up up in the old-school tradition of passand written in Wilmington. ing down stories from family member to Of “Sleepovers,” Groff writes, “Ash- family member. Where I’m from the newsleigh’s prose often holds an incantatory papers aren’t exactly the most funded or crispness that lulled me into forgetting staffed, and they get some things wrong, that I was reading … I see in this collec- so maybe that’s why the oral tradition is tion a steely writer, one deeply moved by so strong—everyone’s keeping their own her place and her people, but also fulrecords straight. [laughs] 32 encore | june 17 - june 23, 2020 | www.encorepub.com

e: I won’t give anything away, but there are several stories in this book that start out as one thing and very suddenly become another. I’m thinking in particular of “An Unspoken” (in which a senior citizen witnesses her young neighbor defiling his dog). How intentional are those shifts?


PAJAMA PARTY Ashleigh Bryant Phillips’ ‘Sleepovers’ was selected by novelist Lauren Groff as the winner of the 2019 C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize. Photo by Missy Malouff

ABP: In that story, I wanted the reader to feel like Miss Clara. In order for that to happen, I knew it had to unfold just as it happened for her. In real life, we don’t have trigger warnings. I wanted it to feel as close to the real thing as possible; I wanted it to feel as jarring as I could. That story started off in close third from Clara’s point of view, and then I knew that wasn’t the right way because it wasn’t just about the shocking incident. It was about something bigger. That was just an event, but that’s really not what it’s about. The bigger story is someone’s hurting somewhere, and someone’s really lonely somewhere. I had to expand the focus through an alternating point of view with Clara’s husband, Hal. To have made it just about the event would have cheapened it. That would have made it more like a story. I wanted to make it more real.

In order to have a story be remembered, you have to tell it in a short enough amount of time, with just the right amount of details. It has to really hit you in the gut. This is also the way preaching is. The preacher is up at the front of the room, and he’s trying as hard as he can to get you to come to Jesus because he believes with all of his e: What, if anything, do we lose when heart that’s what he has to do. There’s a lot of conviction and passion in his commu- writers from cities write about rural placnication, and I think that’s always present es? inside me as an influence. ABP: We lose everything. In all art But all you gotta do is really listen. I had forms, I’m interested in the purest form of the advantage of hearing stories told to me the thing; I want to know where it comes by the people it happened to, in the place from. I don’t care for it being diluted. In where it happened. So all I had to do was other words, while I enjoy listening to “Let listen and have a little imagination, and I It Bleed” by the Rolling Stones, and it’s could see the story unfolding right there great, I know that if I really want to get to in front of me. I guess kinda like what his- the root and the lifeline of that, I need to torical place tour guides are aiming to get go and listen to Lead Belly. their listener to do. I feel like [writing in someone else’s

voice from a lower socioeconomic background or place] has been a trend, and I get why it’s happening. It’s because people want to be heard, and they feel like they have to write a book from an “interesting” place that isn’t their own, when in fact if they looked into their own life and were honest about what was happening around them, they would have good fiction. Instead of mining other cultures— which are likely more impoverished than yours—and using their experiences, and attempting to write in the way they talk and not even getting it right, you should put money toward organizations that are working to uplift those voices, so those voices can speak for themselves.

ing along on the same dirt as them. But if you’ve got to sit down and do a lot of research in order to create your characters, in order to create the world they’re in because you’re confused about what it looks like—maybe you need to reassess and start writing something that’s closer to you. Because only the work that’s close to you is going to move the reader. e: Without naming other authors or books, can you discuss the various influences on your book?

ABP: While I was writing some of these stories, I was doing a lot of housesitting, and one of the houses belonged to [Wilmington artist] Virginia Wright-Frierson. Her house is filled with these Imagine how powerful it would be if we self-portraits that kind of track her whole were to equip poor rural people with the life. So that was really amazing because I ability to get their work published with its was taking [MFA] workshops, and people flaws and all. I want to see misspellings were giving me suggestions on my short and run-on sentences, I want it to be as stories, and all the while I’m living in this pure and untouched by editors in New amazing house, surrounded by self-porYork City as possible. Because that’s re- traits by a woman who really was just flective of our current America. How pow- doing them for herself. She wasn’t thinkerful would it be to see something like ing about an audience. that? Virginia Wright-Frierson also had this This has a lot to do with this white sav- bottle house in her backyard. I told her ior complex. And I know that in my book how much I loved it and she told me there’s characters based on folks I have she’d created the Minnie Evans bottle never been, but they’re all from the same chapel at Airlie Gardens, and I was like, place I’m from. I feel like it’s OK for me “Who in the world is Minnie Evans?” My to tell them because I love them, and I mind was just blown. That was my first grew up breathing the same air and walk- [understanding of] what outsider art is.

Here was this visual example of what I’d been rolling around in my head, art in its purest form. Minnie Evans grew up in poverty in Pender County, NC, leaving school after the 6th grade. But she ended up becoming the gatekeeper at Airlie Gardens. One day the Lord came to her and said, “Why don’t you draw or die?” And her drawings are so original and so authentic and unlike anything else I’d ever seen. Minnie Evans believed angels told her what to draw. It was amazing to discover Minnie Evans while in a program that was constantly like, “Oh, well, this short story is definitely a derivative of this writer,” and “You should do this because this writer did this.” It was really wonderful to see someone authentically being themselves. Other than that, I was definitely going to Orton’s a lot, and Lula’s and The Fat Pelican. I haven’t figured out how those directly influenced the collection, but I’m sure being able to play whatever song on the jukebox I wanted at those places had something to do with something. [laughs] e: What moves you most in a work of literature? ABP: Authenticity. Because authenticity is going to make it powerful, and it’s going to make you remember it.

I remember reading “Lolita,” and that was the first time I realized what powerful literature could do. I thought it was magical how Nabokov could make me feel for this pedophile. I felt for him. My whole life up to that point, I had no idea it was possible to empathize with someone so different and mighty deranged. After that I was like, “Oh my god, this is what it’s all about.” I’ve tried to do that in my work, to get people to feel for or relate to folks they never thought they would. That’s the greater gift of fiction: to build empathy and connection and understanding. I’m not interested in work that’s just trying to be clever, and show off as many similes and metaphors as possible. I understand why we need that, and it serves a purpose, but that’s not my favorite. I want to come away feeling like I understand the world a little more, and if I have to be hurt in the process, it seems to me that’s the most effective way to get people to listen. You have to hurt ‘em in some way.

“Sleepovers” can be purchased at Pomegranate Books or directly from Hub City at hubcity.org. In lieu of funds raised at public events, Ashleigh asks that donations be made to Repairers of the Breach, a Goldsboro-based nonprofit that works to reconnect shared faith traditions with public policies rooted in the moral values of justice, fairness, and general welfare.

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CROSSWORD ARIES (Mar. 21–Apr. 19)

My Aries friend Lavinia told me, “The fight I’m enjoying most lately is my fight to resist the compulsion to fight.” I invite you to consider adopting that attitude for the foreseeable future. Now and then, you Rams do seem to thrive on conflict, or at least use it to achieve worthy deeds—but the coming weeks will not be one of those times. I think you’re due for a phase of sweet harmony. The more you cultivate unity and peace and consensus, the healthier you’ll be. Do you dare act like a truce-maker, an agreement-broker, and a connoisseur of rapport?

TAURUS (Apr. 20-May 20)

“The answers you get depend upon the questions you ask,” wrote physicist and philosopher Thomas Kuhn. That’s always true, of course, but it’s especially true for you right now. I recommend that you devote substantial amounts of your earthy intelligence to the task of formulating the three most important questions for you to hold at the forefront of your awareness during the rest of 2020. If you do, I suspect you will ultimately receive answers that are useful, interesting, and transformative.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)

“A finished person is a boring person,” writes author Anna Quindlan. I agree! Luckily, you are quite unfinished, and thus not at all boring—especially these days. More than ever before, you seem willing to treat yourself as an art project that’s worthy of your creative ingenuity—as a work-in-progress that’s open to new influences and fresh teachings. That’s why I say your unfinishedness is a sign of good health and vitality. It’s delightful and inspiring. You’re willing to acknowledge that you’ve got a lot to learn and more to grow. In fact, you celebrate that fact; you exult in it; you regard it as a key part of your ever-evolving identity.

CANCER (June 22-July 22)

“To hell with pleasure that’s haunted by fear,” wrote Cancerian author Jean de La Fontaine. I’ll make that one of my prayers for you in the coming weeks. It’s a realistic goal you can achieve and install as a permanent improvement in your life. While you’re at it, work on the following prayers, as well: 1. To hell with bliss that’s haunted by guilt. 2. To hell with joy that’s haunted by worry. 3. To hell with breakthroughs that are haunted by debts to the past. 4. To hell with uplifts that are haunted by other people’s pessimism.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)

Experiment #1: As you take a walk in nature, sing your five favorite songs from beginning to end, allowing yourself to fully feel all the emotions those tunes arouse in you. Experiment #2: Before you go to sleep on each of the next eleven nights, ask your dreams to bring you stories like those told by the legendary Scheherazade, whose tales

were so beautiful and engaging that they healed and improved the lives of all those who heard them. Experiment #3: Gaze into the mirror and make three promises about the gratifying future you will create for yourself during the next 12 months.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

Vincent van Gogh’s painting *The Starry Night* is one of the world’s most treasured paintings. It has had a prominent place in New York’s Museum of Modern Art since 1941. If it ever came up for sale it would probably fetch over $100 million. But soon after he created this great masterpiece, van Gogh himself called it a “failure.” He felt the stars he’d made were too big and abstract. I wonder if you’re engaging in a comparable underestimation of your own. Are there elements of your life that are actually pretty good, but you’re not giving them the credit and appreciation they deserve? Now’s a good time to reconsider and re-evaluate.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Now is a favorable time to make adjustments in how you allocate your attention—to re-evaluate what you choose to focus on. Why? Because some people, issues, situations, and experiences may not be worthy of your intense care and involvement, and you will benefit substantially from redirecting your fine intelligence in more rewarding directions. To empower your efforts, study these inspirational quotes: “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” —philosopher Simone Weil. “Attention is the natural prayer of the soul.” —philosopher Nicolas Malebranche.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Scorpio poet Marianne Moore’s poem “O To Be a Dragon,” begins with the fantasy, “If I, like Solomon, could have my wish . . .” What comes next? Does Moore declare her desire to be the best poet ever? To be friends with smart, interesting, creative people? To be admired and gossiped about for wearing a tricorn hat and black cape as she walked around Greenwich Village near her home? Nope. None of the above. Her wish: “O to be a dragon, a symbol of the power of Heaven—of silk-worm size or immense; at times invisible. Felicitous phenomenon!” In accordance with astrological omens, I invite you to be inspired by Moore in the coming weeks. Make extravagant wishes for lavish and amusing powers, blessings, and fantastic possibilities.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

“Poems, like dreams, are a sort of royal road to the unconscious,” writes author Erica Jong. “They tell you what your secret self cannot express.” I invite you to expand that formula so it’s exactly suitable for you in the coming weeks. My sense is that you are being called to travel the royal road to your unconscious mind so as to discover what your secret self

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has been unable or unwilling to express. Poems and dreams might do the trick for you, but so might other activities. For example: sexual encounters between you and a person you respect and love; or an intense night of listening to music that cracks open the portal to the royal road. Any others? What will work best for you?

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

“We must combine the toughness of the serpent and the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart.” Capricorn hero Martin Luther King, Jr. said that, and now I’m conveying it to you. In my astrological opinion, his formula is a strategy that will lead you to success in the coming weeks. It’ll empower you to remain fully open and receptive to the fresh opportunities flowing your way, while at the same time you’ll remain properly skeptical about certain flimflams and delusions that may superficially resemble those fresh opportunities.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

“If it makes you nervous—you’re doing it right,” says the daring musician and actor Donald Glover. Personally, I don’t think that’s true in all situations.

I’ve found that on some occasions, my nervousness stems from not being fully authentic or being less than completely honest. But I do think Glover’s formula fully applies to your efforts in the coming weeks, Aquarius. I hope you will try new things that will be important to your future, and/or work to master crucial skills you have not yet mastered. And if you’re nervous as you carry out those heroic feats, I believe it means you’re doing them right.

PISCES (Feb. 19-Mar. 20)

Piscean author Patricia Hampl understands a lot about the epic tasks of trying to know oneself and be oneself. She has written two memoirs, and some of her other writing draws from her personal experiences, as well. And yet she confesses, “Maybe being oneself is always an acquired taste.” She suggest that it’s often easier to be someone you’re not; to adopt the ways of other people as your own; to imitate what you admire rather than doing the hard work of finding out the truth about yourself. That’s the bad news, Pisces. The good news is that this year has been and will continue to be a very favorable time to ripen into the acquired taste of being yourself. Take advantage of this ripening opportunity in the coming weeks!


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