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February 2019 FEATURES
49 Why Poetry?
Poetry by Sarah Edwards
50 The Soul of the Circuit
By Grant Britt Once a preferred stop on the legendary R&B Chitlin’ Circuit, The Historic Magnolia House reclaims the glory of its Green Book days — and then some
54 Crossing That Bridge
By Maria Johnson How a home designed by a famed Greensboro architect in the 1960s ushered one couple into a new phase of life half a century later
By Ash Alder
DEPARTMENTS 13 Simple Life By Jim Dodson 18 Short Stories 21 Doodad By Grant Britt 23 Life’s Funny By Maria Johnson 25 Omnivorous Reader By D.G. Martin 29 Scuppernong Bookshelf 31 Life of Jane By Jane Borden
35 Conversations By Billy Ingram 41 True South By Susan Kelly 43 Birdwatch By Susan Campbell 45 Wandering Billy By Billy Eye 66 Arts Calendar 73 GreenScene 79 The Accidental Astrologer By Astrid Stellanova 80 O.Henry Ending By Cynthia Adams
Playing Her Cards Right
These ornate confections expressing the tenets of Valentine’s Day — “affection,” “courage” and “love,” as symbolized by a red rose — sprang from the imagination and marketing savvy of Esther Howland. In the mid-1800s, after receiving a lace Valentine from England, the Worcester, Massachusetts, native, whose father was a printer and bookseller, felt she could go one better. She designed her own cards, favoring the ornate, sentimental flourishes of the day: lace borders; cutouts, images of hearts, flowers, birds, lovers, children and cherubs; small envelopes for concealing hidden messages, talismans or engagement rings. The business of sentiment proved profitable when Howland’s brother returned from a sales trip with $5,000 worth of orders (about $150,000 today) for her wares. Establishing a Victorian equivalent of Etsy, she hired a group of women to assemble the cards in her home, and the cottage industry exploded, grossing $100,000 ($3 million these days). Howland would add occasions — Christmas, birthdays — to her company’s card inventory, until she sold the enterprise in 1880. But it’s her legacy as “the Mother of the American Valentine” that is most profound and enduring: Today Americans spend $19.6 billion worth of cards and gifts on February 14 — all for affection, courage and love. OH
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M A G A Z I N E
Volume 9, No. 2 “I have a fancy that every city has a voice.” 336.617.0090 1848 Banking Street, Greensboro, NC 27408 www.ohenrymag.com PUBLISHER
David Woronoff Jim Dodson, Editor • firstname.lastname@example.org Andie Stuart Rose, Art Director • email@example.com Nancy Oakley, Senior Editor • firstname.lastname@example.org Alyssa Rocherolle, Graphic Designer CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Cynthia Adams, David Claude Bailey, Harry Blair, Maria Johnson CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Mallory Cash, Lynn Donovan, Amy Freeman, Sam Froelich, John Koob Gessner, Bert VanderVeen, Mark Wagoner
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CONTRIBUTORS Ash Alder, Jane Borden, Grant Britt, Susan Campbell, Wiley Cash, Tony Cross, Clyde Edgerton, Billy Eye, Ross Howell Jr., Billy Ingram, Susan Kelly, Sara King, Brian Lampkin, Meridith Martens, D.G. Martin, Ogi Overman, Romey Petite, Angela Sanchez, Stephen Smith, Astrid Stellanova
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Darlene Stark, Circulation Director • 910.693.2488 Steve Anderson, Finance Director 910.693.2497
Private Client Group Alex Sigmon Branch Manager 806 Green Valley Rd. Greensboro, NC 27408 Phone: 336-545-7100 www.wellsfargoadvisors.com Investment and Insurance Products:
Wealth Brokerage Services Greg Costello Regional Brokerage Manager 100 N. Main St. Winston-Salem, NC 27150 Phone: 336-842-7309 www.wellsfargoadvisors.com NOT FDIC Insured
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©Copyright 2019. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. O.Henry Magazine is published by The Pilot LLC
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Letter From an Enchanted Hill And life-changing leaps of faith
By Jim Dodson
For Christmas, my clever wife gave
me a pair of expensive boxer shorts that claimed to be “nothing short of life-changing.”
The gift was the result of a running joke between us. During the consumer melee that is the holiday shopping season, you see, she was amused by my reaction to half a dozen TV spots and radio commercials that claimed their products were “life-changing.” My short list of disbelief included a magical face cream that can allegedly make you look 30 years younger in less than two minutes, an expensive brain supplement that can supposedly restore failing memory to youthful vigor, and a luxury mattress so “smart” it can cure snoring and calculate your annual earned income credit. Funny how times have changed. And here I thought it took things like falling in love, surviving a crisis, awakening to nature, taking the cure, making a friend, finding faith or discovering a mentor to change a life. Anytime I hear an ambulance or happy news of a baby being born, I think “someone’s life is changing.” Looking back, my life has been changed — I prefer to say shaped — by a host of people, events and moments both large and small. One example that stands out early was my old man’s passion for history and the lessons of nature, which probably explains why both my older brother and I became history nuts as well as Eagle scouts. History and nature, Dad believed, were life’s finest teachers, the reason he brought along a small satchel of classic books on our early camping and fishing trips in order to share bits of timeless wisdom from his favorite poets and philosophers by a blazing fire. This was his version of the Athens School, a campfire Chautauqua. It’s also why I took to calling him “Opti the Mystic.” “All history is personal,” Opti liked to say, “because someone’s life is being changed. We grow by learning to pay attention because everything in nature is connected — including people and events.” He illustrated both points powerfully on a cold February day in 1960 when Opti unexpectedly turned up at our new elementary school to spring my brother and me from class. We’d only been in town since the week before Christmas, barely enough time to acquire public library cards and reconnoiter the neighborhood on bikes. But we sensed that one of his entertaining field The Art & Soul of Greensboro
trips was in the offing, possibly a romp through the nearby battlefield where General Greene’s ragtag army gave Lord Cornwallis and his redcoat army all they could handle. Instead, a short time later, we wound up standing near the “colored” entrance of the Center Theatre across the street from the F.W. Woolworth building in downtown Greensboro, where four brave young men from A&T State University were attempting to peacefully integrate the all-white lunch counter, an event regarded today as a defining moment in the birth of the nonviolent American Civil Rights movement. “Boys,” he told us, “this is living history. This isn’t just going to change the South. It’s going to change America.” The date was February 2, my seventh birthday as it happens, and Opti was right — though that change has yet to be fully realized more than half a century later. A few days before my birthday this month, my daughter Maggie turned 30. She’s a senior copywriter for a major Chicago advertising firm and a gem of a writer with a bright future, a chip off her granddaddy’s block. The summer after Mugs (as I call her) turned 7 in the aftermath of a divorce neither of us had seen coming, she and I and our elderly golden retriever took a two-month road trip around America, a fly-fishing and camping odyssey to the great trout rivers of the West. We rode horses, frightened a few stunning cutthroat trout, met a host of colorful oddballs and characters, lost the dog briefly in Yellowstone, blew up the truck in Oklahoma and generally had the time of our lives. I eventually put these adventures in a little book called Faithful Travelers that is still in print two decades later and closest of my books to my heart. One night, sitting by a campfire on a remote mesa near Chaco Canyon, in a state that calls itself the Land of Enchantment, my precocious companion wondered why her old man had never bothered to write her a letter offering thoughts and advice the way she knew Opti had done for me many times in life. Just days before, she’d written me a letter thanking me for taking her on the trip. When she and Amos the dog turned in, I tossed another log on our signal fire, sending up a spiral of embers to the gods of Enchantment, reached for a pen and paper bag and jotted the following letter from the heart to my wise and faithful fellow traveler. Every year around our shared birthdays, I take out that letter and read it just to remind myself how all history is personal and everything really is connected in nature. February 2019
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Dear Maggie, I’m sorry I’ve never written you a letter before. Guess I goofed, parents do that from time to time. I know you’re sad about the divorce. Your mom and I are sad too. But I have faith that with God’s help and a little patience and understanding on our parts, we’ll all come through this just fine. Being with you like this has helped me laugh again and figure out some important things. That’s what families do, you know — help each other laugh and figure out problems that sometimes seem to have no answer. Perhaps I should give you some free advice. That’s what fathers are supposed to do in letters to their children. Always remember that free advice is usually worth about as much as the paper it’s written on and this is written on a used paper bag. Even so, I thought I would tell you a few things I’ve learned since I was about your age. Some food for thought, as your grandfather would say. Anyway, Mugs, here goes: Always be kind to your brother and never hit. The good news is, he’ll always be younger and look up to you. The bad news is, he’ll probably be bigger. Travel a lot. Some wise person said travel broadens the mind. Someone wiser said TV broadens the butt. Listen to your head but follow your heart. Trust your own judgment. Vote early. Change your oil regularly. Always say thank you. Look both ways before crossing. When in doubt, wash your hands. Remember you are what you eat, say, think, do. Put good things in your mind and your stomach and you won’t have to worry about what comes out. Learn to love weeding, waiting in line, ignoring jerks like Randy Farmer. Always take the scenic route. You’Il get there soon enough. You’ll get old soon enough, too. Enjoy being a kid. Learn patience, which comes in handy when you’re weeding, waiting in line, or trying to ignore a jerk like Randy Farmer. Play hard but fair. When you fall, get up and brush yourself off. When you fail, and you will, don’t blame anyone else. When you succeed, and you will, don’t take all the credit. On both counts, you’ll be wiser. By the way, do other things that make you happy as well. Only you will know what they are. Take pleasure in small things. Keep writing letters — the world needs more letters. Smile a lot. Your smile makes angels dance. Memorize the lyrics to as many Beatles songs as possible in case life’s one big Beatle challenge. Be flexible. Your favorite Beatles song will probably always change. Never stop believing in Santa or the tooth fairy. They really do exist. God does too. A poet I like says God is always waiting for us in the darkness and you’ll find God when it’s time. Or God will find you. Pray. I can’t tell you why praying works any more than I can tell you why breathing works. Praying won’t make God feel any better, but you will. Trust me. Better yet, trust God. Breathe and pray. The Art & Soul of Greensboro
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Always leave your campsite better than you found it. Measure twice, cut once. If all else fails, put Duct tape on it. Don’t lie. Your memory isn’t good enough. Don’t cheat. Because you’ll remember. Save the world if you want to. At least turn it upside down a bit if you can’t. While you’re at it, save the penny, too. When you get to college, call your mother every Sunday night. Realize it’s okay to cry but better to laugh. Especially at yourself. If and when you get married, realize it’s okay if I cry. Read everything you can get your hands on and listen to what people tell you. Count on having to figure it out for yourself, though. Never bungee-jump. If you do, don’t tell your father. Make a major fool of yourself at least once in life, preferably several times. Being a fool is good for what ails you. We live in a serious time. Don’t take yourself’ too seriously. Always wear your seat belt even if I don’t. Remember that what you choose to forget may be at least as important as what you choose to remember. Someone very wise once said this to me — but I can’t remember who it was or exactly what it means. Admit your mistakes. Forgive everybody else’s. Notice the stars but don’t try to be one. Always paint the underside first. Be kind to old people and creatures great and small. Learn to fight but don’t fight unless the other guy throws the first punch. Don’t tell your mother about this last piece of advice. Learn when it’s time to open your mind and close your mouth. (I’m still working on this one.) Lose your heart. But keep your wits. Be at least as grateful for your life as I am. Despite what you hear, no mistake is permanent, and nothing goes unforgiven. God grades on a curve. One more thing: Take care of your teeth and don’t worry about how you look. You 1ook just fine. That’s two things, I guess. Finally, there’s a story I like about an Indian boy at his time of initiation. “As you climb to the mountaintop,” the old chief tells his son, “you’ll come to a great chasm — a deep split in the Earth. It will frighten you. Your heart will pause. “Jump,” says the chief. “It’s not as far as you think.” This is excellent advice for girls, too. Life is wonderful, but it will frighten you deeply at times. Jump, my love. You’ll make it. Love, Dad For the record, my fancy new boxers didn’t change my life. They are quite comfortable, in fact. OH Contact Editor Jim Dodson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Short Stories Nectar and Food of the Gods
You’ll find both at the Wine and Chocolate Festival, the perfect antidote to the winter doldrums. Just head to the Coliseum’s Special Event Center (1921 West Gate City Boulevard) on February 9, either at 1 p.m. or at 5 p.m., where you can sip and savor a variety of indulgences produced right here in the Old North State. Purchase a glass —or a bottle — from vintners such as Chatham Hill, Stonefield Cellars or Weathervane, unless you’d prefer a cup of heaven from Bessemer City’s Celestial Cocoa Exchange. And we dare you to resist the jewel-like confections of the Greensboro’s La Pallette Artisan Chocolates, or bites of good ole fudge from Pfafftwon’s Dragonfly Farms. There’ll be other enticements — sauces, jellies, distilled spirits — not to mention locally crafted art and jewelry. Sweetest of all? Providence Culinary Training, a program of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina for the under- or unemployed, receives a dollar of every ticket purchase. Buy yours now: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com, or wineandchocolatefestivals.com.
Worth the Drive to Winston-Salem Once considered avant-garde, Modernist painters are becoming — dare we say it? — the Old Guard. You’ll better understand their influence on the national art scene from 1902 to 1952 by visiting Reynolda House Museum of American Art (2250 Reynolda Road), which presents Hopper to Pollock: American Modernism from the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. On view February 15–May 13, the exhibit features 40 works — stark urban scenes by Edward Hopper, iconic drip paintings by Jackson Pollock, abstracts by Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko — all of them responses to economic, political and cultural upheavals of the last century. Tickets: reynoldahouse.org/hopper.
Gone to the Dogs Pops are Tops
Turn your face away from the garish light of day, dream a dream and let it go when the show ends. We’re talking about Greensboro Symphony’s Tanger Outlets Pop Series concert, “From Broadway, With Love.” Getting under way at 8 p.m. on Valentine’s Day at Westover Church (505 Muirs Chapel Road), the performance features stars of the Great White Way, Hugh Panaro (Phantom of the Opera) and Scarlett Strallen (Travesties). Among the songs in their repertoire are faves from Phantom, Les Miserables, Frozen, Carousel and then some. Tickets: (336) 335-5456, ext. 224 or greensborosymphony.org.
And cats and birds too! This year, Raise the Woof is raising the stakes: The High Point—based event dedicated to helping our furry friends, (as chronicled in this pages in July of 2018), has encouraged participants — individuals, builders, companies, such as Home Depot — in this year’s fundraiser to construct not only fanciful dog houses, but fantastical abodes for cats and birds, as well. Have a gander at feathered nests, kitty condos and Fido chateaux, or better yet bid for them at auction, at RTW’s event at 1 p.m. on February 23 at HPU’s Community Center (921 Eastchester Drive). Admission is $5, and proceeds will benefit Chair City MAKERspace in Thomasville; GO FAR, which encourages healthy eating and exercise among children; K-9 Health Fund, which provides assistance to retired police dogs; and Davidson County Animal Alliance. Info: raisethewoof.us. The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Five and Alive!
Take that, Amazon! Though the online Goliath has shuttered many an independent bookseller, our pals at Scuppernong Books (304 South Elm Street) have gained a national rep for how to run a highly successful bookstore for five consecutive years. And they’ve done it by building a community of booklovers who cherish their eclectic, and stimulating mix of books, readings, book clubs and a Wit and Spark Trivia night, not to mention the Greensboro Bound Literary Festival and so much more. Celebrate their anniversary at 6 p.m. on February 9, or simply patronize the shop and keep literary liberty going. Info: scuppernongbooks.com.
To Be or Not To Be
Want to tap into your inner Laurence Olivier or Sarah Bernhardt? Then take advantage of a sweet deal from the Drama Center: As a nod to its 50th anniversary, the organization is offering drama classes and workshops for $50 (that’s $40 less than the normal cost). Open to everyone from newborns to nonagenarians, the classes, which run from early February to April, will teach you the fundamentals of acting, characterization, monologues and more. Additionally, the All Abilities Actors Legion will offer an inclusive program, open to all. Before you know it, you’ll be strutting and fretting on a stage like a pro — so start preparing that Tony Award acceptance speech now! To register: (336) 373-2728 or thedramacenter.org.
Fancy Footwork for the Famished
Marvel at some some literal steps to stamp out hunger: Hope Fest Dance for Urban Ministry. A brand-new event, Hope Fest includes performances by seven international dance groups showcasing the moves from Hindu, Israeli, Cambodian, Irish, Native American, African-American and Latino cultures, as well as the sweet sounds of The Tapestry Chorus, an international children’s ensemble chorus. Nosh on snacks, sip some water or tea as you watch the dancers, and if you’re so inclined, make a donation that will benefit Greensboro Urban Ministry and A Simple Gesture, which fight hunger in the community. The festival takes place from 2 p.m. to 4: 30 p.m. on February 24, at First Lutheran Church (3600 Friendly Avenue). Info: firstlutheran.com.
Sure, silent movies may seem quaint or even silly in an age that encourages baring and telling all (live dental streamings, anyone?) But we suspect, once the lights are dimmed on February 26 at Carolina Theatre (301 South Greene Street), and organist Ron Carter makes the old Robert Morton organ sing, the 1926 classic Flesh and the Devil will hold you under its spell. We’ll allow you a giggle here or an eye-roll there at the exaggerated gestures and long close-ups of stars Greta Garbo and John Gilbert, but ultimately, their onscreen chemistry, fueled by an off-screen romance, will ramp up the dramatic tension of the story’s tortured love triangle. Oh! Rapture! Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Ogi Sez Ogi Overman
Oh, February, I wish there were more good things to say about you. You’re dreary, wet, cold and have only Valentine’s Day to make you brighter. Well, that and a plethora of fabulous concerts to take the chill off and put the thrill back in.
• February 2, Greensboro Coliseum: It’s hard to get any hotter than Luke Combs. After three EPs, he released his first major label LP in 2017, which yielded four No. 1 singles on the country charts. Plus, he defies the pretty boy-cowboy hat Nashville stereotype, wearing a ballcap and a scraggly beard. • February 9, Community Church of Chapel Hill: Yes, you read that right, a church. But, regardless of venue, after you’ve heard the Seldom Scene, you’ll think you’ve been to church. Still the best bluegrass band of all time, even without any original members left (although that’s a source of debate among purists). The chill bumps after their patented endings tell the story. • February 14, High Point Theatre: Although Branford Marsalis is generally considered the most respected jazz soprano saxophonist alive, to pigeonhole him into jazz would be a gross mistake. He has played with the likes of the Grateful Dead, Dave Matthews, Bela Fleck, Gov’t Mule, Sting and Phil Collins. In short, there is nothing he can’t play — and play it better than anybody else. • February 16, The Crown: OK. I admit
it; I’m prejudiced. Blues-jazz-Americana artist Seth Walker grew up in Alamance County and went to East Carolina, as did I. The difference was that he had a wheelbarrowful of talent and I had a thimbleful. Plus, he went to Austin to break in, and I came home after a week with a godawful hangover and no gigs. His nine albums to my zilch prove the point.
• February 19, UNCG College of Visual and Performing Arts: Well, what’s left to say about keyboardist Herbie Hancock that hasn’t been said before? Fourteen Grammys, 42 albums, 11 films, an Academy Award, and Kennedy Center Honors in 2013 say it all.
Good Hare Day
Chatham County Rabbits Revisited
Most folks go rabbit hunting with a rifle.
W R I G H T S V I L L E
B E A C H
PHOTOGRAPH BY KENDALL ATWATER
Sarah McCombie’s weapon of choice is a banjo. But bludgeoning the furry little buggers with her axe or feeding them a lethal lead and copper sandwich with a firestick is not on her agenda.
With husband Austin, the duo pay musical tribute to their adopted hometown’s former favorite pastime and means of support. The mill village of Bynum in Northern Chatham County was once the rabbit capital of the United States. “Tons of people were coming here to hunt, and there were lots of rabbits being shipped out of Chatham County, even to Europe,” the singer/banjoist says. To keep their millworkers’ spirits up, the cotton mill sponsored a string band, the Chatham Rabbits. The original group was quite an ensemble. “We had two good fiddle players and a banjo player and a harp and a mandolin and two guitars,” original member Frank Durham bragged in a 1970 interview with UNC’s Southern Oral History Program. With the blessings of their neighbors, the McCombies adopted the name, preserving the sound, but not the size. “It wasn’t so much of a decision as just like naturally how we ended up,” McCombie says. “We’ve always played music as a duo. We really enjoy it that way, and we’ve been really successful so far just as a two-person band.” Sarah’s intro into string-band show business sounds like Lifetime movie material. A rabid fan of David and Ivy Sheppard’s outfit, The South Carolina Broadcasters, she joined them onstage at a show in 2012 at Prissy Polly’s BBQ in Kernersville. McCombie’s sing-along warbling from the audience so impressed the Sheppards that they called her later that night, said they were looking for a banjo player and a singer and invited her to come on a radio show with them. Under the Broadcasters’ tutelage, she perfected her banjo skills and became a band member for three years, before and finishing college and marrying Austin. They ended up in Bynum living in the house formerly owned by Randolph Riddle, the guitarist for the original Chatham Rabbits string band. The duo has since taken up music full time, selling the house and living the road dawg life in an ’86 mini Winnebago. They funded their debut release, All I Want From You, with some unique pledge inducements on Kickstarter, like baking pies for a $50 donation. “I made close to 50 pies for people this summer,” McCombie says. With a few more to make, she adds, “If we ever do that again, I don’t think I’m gonna put that on there.” She wants people to remember this iteration of the Chatham Rabbits for their Carter Family–style vocal harmonies as well as their songwriting. “I really hope people view Chatham Rabbits and listen to our music long after we’re gone because we really do feel like it’s timeless, like a lot of old-time and bluegrass music is. Ours just happens to be a little more of the 2018 and 2019 version of that.” — Grant Britt OH Catch the Chatham Rabbits’ album release on February 3 at the Carolina Theatre. Info: chathamrabbits.com. The Art & Soul of Greensboro
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• Zumba Gold - Tuesdays at 12:00 pm $3 • ShakesCollage by the Shared Radiance Performing Arts Company - $25 per person- March 12th at 2:30
Performers from the Shared Radiance Performing Arts Company will be performing interactive monologues from Shakespeare’s greatest works.
• Aging Mastery Program - April 3rd-May 1st 11:30am-2pm $40 A 5 week fun and engaging education program for aging well. Topics include advance care planning, exercise, nutrition, finances, and more!
• Craft Fair - April 27th 9:00-3:00 free admission Seeking vendors. Contact Joëlle Begic at 336-373-4816 ext. 237 or email email@example.com Weekly activities also include jewelry making, Tai Chi, chair Yoga, AHOY (Add Health to Our Years), Bridge, conversational French lessons, day trips, and more. Call to have a monthly calendar sent to you.
1401 Benjamin Parkway Greensboro, NC 27408 336-373-4816 Fax: 336-373-4922
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The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Swan Lakes A torrid romance for the bird-brained
By Maria Johnson
Hamilton and Euphemia were happy.
Until Rhett showed up. How can there not be trouble when a Rhett shows up? They all lived together for about a month. Everyone got along swimmingly, until . . . lust and jealousy busted out. “I cannot tell you the violence,” says John Atkinson, a neighbor who witnessed the chaos first hand. Hamilton and Rhett brawled out in the open. They pummeled each other. They tried to drown each other. They tangled so fiercely that another neighbor called Atkinson to say the brutal displays were upsetting her daughter. Couldn’t Atkinson do something? He intervened. He helped Rhett to find a new place, a few streets over. Rhett was alone until . . . he found another lady. Her name was Scarlett. C’mon. You knew it was coming. At this point, I should probably tell you that the main actors in this drama — except for Atkinson — are swans. Specifically, they’re the swans of Hamilton Lakes, the woodsy west-Greensboro neighborhood that mushroomed in the 1950s and ‘60s. At some point, someone decided that a pair of mute swans — so named because they’re relatively quiet compared to their louder cousins — would be a fine addition to the lakes. Mail-order swans and their offspring came and went, thanks mostly to foxes and snapping turtles. Various neighbors kept tabs on the long-necked birds. Eventually, the baton passed to Atkinson and his wife, Lee, who moved into the neighborhood in the late ’80s. It made sense. The Atkinsons live right next to Lake Euphemia and the Jim King Pond, so they have a front-row seat for the swan drama. Plus John, a former bird hunter, has an enduring love of nature. “God has created an unbelievable universe,” he says quietly. He dived deeply into the swan life about six years ago, when a pair on Lake Euphemia hatched five cygnets. Fearing that snapping turtles would gobble the babies, John gathered up the chicks and took them to his house. “I put them in the basement and made them a cardboard house, and put a light in there for them, and figured out what to feed them,” he says. John exercised them in the vacant dog runs behind his house. He let them swim in the koi pond. One of the cygnets died. When the four survivors were big enough to fend for themselves, John installed them in the Jim King Pond. The biggest male, a.k.a. Big Boy, and the biggest female paired off and harassed
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
the other two swans — John assumed both were females — to no end. So John transplanted the two outliers to Lake Euphemia, where the sisters lived alone until . . . one of them turned out to be a male, which explained the territorial squabbles. The expats became Mr. Hamilton and Miss Euphemia, and the two swan couples lived side-by-side in the adjoining waters for years. Until . . . Big Boy’s mate died, leaving him alone on the Jim King Pond. One day, a couple of months ago, Lee Atkinson announced that three swans were on the pond. “What the hell?’ said John. Sure enough, Hamilton and Euphemia had returned, looking for revenge from the days when they were bullied. Hamilton and Big Boy rumbled. Hamilton won and claimed the pond. Later, he smacked down Rhett, a rescue who evacuated over to Lake Hamilton to live with Scarlett. Incidentally, Scarlett was found dead not long ago. There are whispers of a vixen in the shadows. So, Rhett is alone again, but friends are trying to hook him up. Meanwhile, Big Boy lives the bachelor life on Lake Euphemia. Everybody has heard that swans mate for life, and as far as John can tell, that’s true. Once paired, they remain coupled. They swim side by side. If they’re separated, they call to each other with lonely coos. If one of their babies dies, they mourn. If a competitor shows up, especially during mating season, they fight bitterly. Courtship is elegant, often involving intertwining like dancers in a Tchaikovsky ballet. It’s hard not to project human emotions onto their behavior. John reminds himself that they’re not people, and yet — he feels for Big Boy. He has heard that widowed swans will accept a new mate. He knows a man Down East who sells mute swans, and he’s thinking of ordering a female. He goes outside, scoops chicken feed into a bucket and walks to the edge of Lake Euphemia. Big Boy watches from a bank 20 yards away. John approaches slowly, talking in soft tones. Big Boy lumbers to the base of a tree and settles on a pad of grass and pine needles. He picks gently around the edges. To Atkinson, the mound looks like the beginning of a nest. Spring is almost here. OH Maria Johnson is a contributing editor of O.Henry magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. February 2019
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The Art & Soul of Greensboro
The Omnivorous Reader
A Hunger for Life, A Passion for Words Deep dives into the mythic life of Sir Walter Raleigh
By D.G. Martin
East Carolina University professor and distinguished public historian Larry Tise recently argued that Sir Walter Raleigh’s attempted settlement on the North Carolina coast was an “egregious error” that we have spun “into the romanticized saga of a ‘lost colony.’”
Tise is an expert about Sir Walter, but there is more to the story, as retold in two new books: The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke, by Andrew Lawler, and Anna Beer’s Patriot or Traitor: The Life and Death of Sir Walter Raleigh. Although Lawler acknowledges Raleigh’s errors and weaknesses as outlined by Tise, he sets out in great detail the magnitude of his efforts to establish an English colony on the North Carolina coast. “The Roanoke venture lasted for six years and involved two dozen vessels and well over a thousand people crossing the treacherous breadth of the Atlantic to establish England’s first beachhead in the New World. In size, scope, and cost, it far outstripped the later inaugural voyages to Jamestown and Plymouth. It was the Elizabethan equivalent of the Apollo program.” On March 16, 1584, Queen Elizabeth granted Raleigh the right to colonize the East Coast of North America south of Newfoundland. The next month Sir Walter had two ships on their way conducting an exploratory mission. The ships arrived on the North Carolina coast in July. After six weeks of scouting and making friends with the native population, the expedition had not found gold mines or a short cut to China. However, it came back with tales of the good life, samples of tobacco and pharmaceuticals, and two natives, Wanchese and Manteo. Raleigh then organized a much larger effort. On April 9, 1585, five vessels carrying between 400 and 800 men left England. Manteo and Wanchese were on board. So were soldiers and scientists, including a brilliant scholar and linguist, Thomas Harriot; a metallurgist, Joachim Gans; and a draftsman and artist, John White. By June 26 the colonizers arrived and began the process of exploring the nearby sounds and adjoining lands. The results were mixed. While they gained good and valuable information, the expedition ran low on supplies and all but about 100 men returned to England in September.
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The remaining men suffered through the winter. Food was scarce, and the formerly friendly natives had become hostile enemies. When a fleet of English ships under the command of Sir Frances Drake appeared in early June 1586, the settlers abandoned the project and returned with Drake to England. The disappointing result did not deter Raleigh from organizing a third effort in 1587 — a group of men, women and families that became North Carolina’s legendary Lost Colony. In July 1587, the colonists arrived on Roanoke Island led by their governor, John White, whose granddaughter, Virginia Dare, was born on August 18. A few days later, White sailed to England for much-needed supplies. When he finally returned in August 1590, the colony had disappeared, leaving only a carving of “Croatoan” on a tree as a clue. The mystery of what happened to Virginia Dare, her family and their fellow colonists is the stuff of legend. One fable says Dare grew to be a lovely young woman and was transformed into a white doe, an animal that still haunts coastal North Carolina. A somewhat less fantastical theory maintains she and other colonists made their way to Robeson County, where locals will show you her purported burial site near Red Springs. Other authors suggest the colonists, including Dare, died from hunger, disease, or were killed by Native Americans. Or perhaps, in order to survive, they joined nearby Native Americans and were absorbed by them. In The Secret Token, Lawler gives a history of the developing interest in Virginia Dare and the Lost Colony. After her baptism certificate in 1587, there was no public mention of her until 1834. In that year, Harvard-trained historian George Bancroft published his influential A History of the United States. Lawler writes, “It is difficult to overstate his impact on the way we see Raleigh’s colony today.” For Bancroft, the colony was “the germinating seed” for our country and its institutions, “just as important as its revolutionary coming of age.” Lawler writes that in Bancroft’s view, “Roanoke was, in essence, the nation’s humble Bethlehem, and Dare was its infant savior destined for sacrifice.” Lawler chronicles efforts to learn where the colonists, if they survived, went. To Croatoan, now a part of Hatteras Island? To Site X, a place marked under a patch in a map drawn by John White, located where the Roanoke River flows into the Albemarle Sound? Or to the Chesapeake Bay, near where the Jamestown Colony settled, and where Powhatan, the local Indian king, massacred them? Maybe it was near Edenton, where in 1937, a California man said he found a large stone inscribed with a message from Dare’s mother, Eleanor, to her father, John White, reporting the death of her husband, her daughter Virginia, and February 2019
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other colonists. Lawler’s account of this likely scam is almost as interesting as the story of the colonists told by Harnett County native and Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Green’s outdoor drama, The Lost Colony. In Patriot or Traitor Anna Beer devotes only a few pages to Raleigh’s colony on Roanoke Island, saving space for other and more significant parts of his life in chapters titled as follows: “Soldier” — In 1569, as a teenager, he fought with the Huguenot Protestants in France and later in Ireland. “Courtier” — By 1581, he had gained a position in the queen’s court. “Coloniser” — As a favorite of the queen, he was given authority to establish settlements on the North American coast. “Sailor” — No great sailor himself, he was nevertheless responsible for important naval actions and victories over Spanish naval forces. “Lover” — Beer writes, “Sir Walter and his Queen were lovers, but it is highly unlikely that their ‘love’ was ever physically expressed. It was an eroticized political relationship, not a political sexual relationship, and Elizabeth was on top.” “Explorer” — Although he never set foot on Roanoke Island, he personally led two ambitious, risky, and ultimately unsuccessful explorations to Guiana in today’s Venezuela in search of gold. “Writer” — Beer heaps praise on his prose, “His writing stands shoulder-to-shoulder with that most remarkably rich and enduring of contemporary works, the 1611 King James Bible.” Beer begins Raleigh’s story, not with these looks into his extraordinary early life, but in 1603. In that first year of the reign of King James I, Sir Walter was found guilty of treason for allegedly plotting against the new king. His sentence, quoted on the first page of Beer’s book, is a horrifying reminder of the gruesome justice of those times: “You shall be drawn upon a hurdle through the open streets to the place of execution, there to be hanged and cut down alive, and your body shall be opened, your heart and bowels plucked out, and your privy members cut off, and thrown into the fire before your eyes . . . ” How Sir Walter was able to defer his execution for almost 15 years and use the time to continue active participation in public life is the material for Beer’s final chapters. In conclusion she writes that Raleigh “lived more lives than most people of his time, or of any time” and that he “had a hunger for life, a longing for death, a despair for truth and a passion for words.” OH D.G. Martin hosts North Carolina Bookwatch, airing on UNC-TV Sunday at 11 a.m. and Tuesday at 5 p.m. The program also appears on the North Carolina Channel, a digital channel carried by many cable systems.
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
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The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Some Love for the Paperback Portable, affordable and light, what’s not to love?
Compiled by Brian Lampkin
Admit it, you love the paperback. We’re forced
to buy hardcovers to stay au courant (typically the paperback comes around about one year after the hardcover pub date), but the soft cover allows for a haphazardness that mirrors the way we actually read: on the train, in the bathtub, at the beach, falling asleep in bed (the pain of a pb falling onto your head pales in comparison to the bruising of a hc collapse into your cheekbone). For February we’ll share the love and highlight new releases in paperback. It hardly needs mentioning that they’re also 30 to 40 percent cheaper than their upper crust doppelganger.
February 5: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, by Trevor Noah. The Daily Show host shows us that he’s quite a writer in this oddly humorous look at the horrors of South African apartheid. We waited a long time for this one to come out in paperback — the hardcover first published in November 2016. This is how the industry works: If we keep buying the hardcover there’s no incentive for the publisher to issue the paperback. It’s also true that if no one buys the hard shell then we’ll never see a soft wrap. February 5: The Friend, by Sigrid Nunez. This 2018 National Book Award winner makes it to pb exactly one year after its initial release. One should not necessarily equate awards with sales, which is reflected by the relatively normal schedule of the pb release. Novelist Cathleen Schine says, “Sigrid Nunez creates an irresistible tale of love and an unforgettable Great Dane. A beautiful, beautiful book — the most original canine love story since My Dog Tulip.” February 19: Startalk: Everything You Ever Need to Know about The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Space Travel, Sci-Fi, the Human Race, the Universe, and Beyond, by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. This is a book you need to keep in your car for the inevitable alien abduction. You’ll want to know where you’re going as you watch the stars fly by out your warp-speed window. February19: Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine, by Alan Lightman. More stars, but this time Lightman merges science with spiritual wonder. One of my favorites from 2018 and highly recommended for the right book club. February 26: The Hush, by John Hart. A favorite son of North Carolina, this two-time, Edgar Award–winner wrote a moving sequel to The Last Child and continued his run of New York Times best-sellers. Shouldn’t all mysteries be read in the paperback form — preferably with a lurid cover? February 26: Birthday, by César Aira. We can’t forget the publishing oddity of the “paperback original.” New Directions is the acknowledged literary leader in this field and you can always count on exquisitely curated work from them. “Among the international brotherhood of readers, César Aira is not just one of today’s most remarkable Argentinian writers, he is also one of the most original, most shocking, most intelligent and amusing storytellers in Spanish today,” says Spanish literary critic and editor, Ignacio Echevarría. Translated by Chris Andrews. And mark your calendars for the 2019 Greensboro Bound Literary Festival May 17–19! Watch these pages for a complete list of authors, but you should know now that on Saturday, May 18, the remarkable Zadie Smith will headline our festival with an appearance at the Cone Ballroom in the Elliott University Center on UNCG’s campus. Her appearance is made possible by the University Libraries at UNCG. Other early commitments include Wiley Cash (The Last Ballad), Astra Taylor (Democracy May Not Exist, But We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone), Frances Mayes (See You in the Piazza: New Places to Discover in Italy) and a special performance of Greensboro icon Fred Chappell’s new work As If It Were with puppeteers Marianne Gingher and Deborah Seabrooke. Much more to come! OH Brian Lampkin is one of the proprietors of Scuppernong Books. February 2019
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The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Scarred for Life
Life of Jane
The pros and cons of model behavior
By Jane Borden
My daughter fell on her face.
ILLUSTRATION BY MERIDITH MARTENS
By the time she lifted her head, she was screaming. I scooped her up and, with blood dripping onto her shirt, my dress and her lunch box, ran the block back to preschool. When we arrived, I was crying too.
“I think she needs stitches,” I said. They washed her a bit and agreed. Miss Claudia, her teacher, bandaged the gash above Louisa’s left eyebrow to keep her from fiddling with it and offered to chaperone us to urgent care. Yes, please. Someone needed to remain calm, and clearly it wouldn’t be me. Louisa settled, once we were moving, mostly because Miss Claudia engaged her the whole way. I continued to panic. Driving to the emergency room, I was reminded of my own incident in second grade, when I smashed my finger in jazz-ballet. The class was at the Lewis Center in Greensboro, and one of the administrators drove me to the emergency room to meet my mother. At the time, I had a paranoid fantasy I was being kidnapped — this made sense because, if you’re going to steal a child, it’s especially convenient for her to have just sustained an injury requiring immediate medical attention. This time around, while I was driving, I considered kidnapping Miss Claudia. Often, when Louisa disobeys at home, we ask, “Would Miss Claudia let you do that?” It’d be easier just to have her at home. My childhood injury resulted not from my falling, but from something falling on me, namely a heavy steel bar. The jazz-ballet teacher was stern, therefore I thought she didn’t like me and so I endeavored to suck up. When she asked someone to pull the bars out onto the floor, I volunteered. There were two portable bars, small and large. Shaped like two-dimensional soccer The Art & Soul of Greensboro
goals, they stood upright by resting on feet made of shorter steel rods that attached at perpendicular angles. To pull a bar into the room, I tilted it forward and dragged it, bearing the weight of the uppermost rod. I transported the smaller bar with ease. But the larger one overpowered me and I dropped it. Next, I remember seeing the tip of my right middle finger about an inch from the rest of the phalange but still connected by a strip of something corporeal, all against the white background of the Lewis Center floor as it began to stain red. Presumably the teacher had lifted the bar off my mangled digit. I doubt, in that moment, she’d liked me any more. The staff wrapped my hand in an ice pack and washcloth. After I left, class resumed. My friend later relayed that some of our classmates had cried. I felt flattered at the time, but, in retrospect, realize their tears were probably from terror. Who wiped up the blood? Louisa loves to tell the story of her scar. Someone will notice it and ask, with a wince or at least great concern, “What happened?” Then Louisa replies in excitement, sticking her little hand out to gesture, “Well, I was swinging on a chain and I fell face-forward onto the concrete.” She smiles as she recalls, enjoying the attention. She didn’t smile at the time. She gave the nurses hell. A young woman, who was as kind as she could imagine necessary, announced that she’d clean Louisa’s wound with a spray bottle. My husband, Nathan, who by then had joined us, shared with me a skeptical look. The nurse asked that he and I hold Louisa still. Having been to doctors’ appointments with Louisa before, we knew that wasn’t possible. My child cannot be restrained. Instruments have been flung across floors. Clothing has been torn. An octopus couldn’t hold her down with eight arms, and Nathan and I only had four. Even under normal circumstances, she can’t sit still — her definition of a hug is a one-second squeeze before she’s onto something else — and especially not when being forced to. Nathan and I did our best. The nurse squirted at the wound twice. Most of the fluid went into Louisa’s hair. The nurse had the idea to numb the wound with gel and then return to evacuate February 2019
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it later. A good portion of the gel also wound up in her hair. Three hours after the fall, Louisa was finally ready for stitches. The team of nurses assisting the doctor decided to immobilize her with a series of sheets. They asked her if they could wrap her up “like a burrito,” which she found hilarious. Delighted, she laughed as they transformed her from a child into a potato with a head. But when they started touching said head, the fighter returned. Nathan and I had been banished to the hallway because the doctor feared I would faint — if that gives you any indication of my mental state — and so, I listened to my child scream bloody murder, while a nurse shouted out to us, “We’re only cleaning the wound.” “I thought you said she’d be numb?“ I asked. “She is,” they responded, in unison. At one point, still during prep, a nurse exited the room to retrieve something. She passed us, sweating, and said to another nurse in the hall, “This kid is strong.” Then she literally wiped her brow. Atta girl, Louisa. Moments later, the room grew completely silent. Were they delaying the procedure? Had they put her under anesthesia? Neither. The doctor said, “All done.” Turns out Louisa had exhausted herself resisting, and had fallen asleep just before the doctor began. Thank goodness, for if she hadn’t, the stitches would probably be crisscrossed all over her face. All I got out of the stitches on my finger was a funny looking nail (it grows to the right like a curve in the road), a silly party trick (a bang of it sounds like a knock on the door), and a story. Sometimes a friend will suddenly notice the finger, years after knowing me, and say, “How could I never have noticed?” It’s less fun when the disfigurement is on your face. Louisa’s scar currently includes not only the horizontal gash, but also the entry and exit points of all four stitches. We massage cocoa butter into it, a process she abhors. We say we’re saving her from a scar. But she doesn’t care about a scar. How can I explain that one day she’ll be vain, when I certainly don’t want her to be? Occasionally, people tell her she’s beautiful. I don’t want her to be. Attractive, sure. But not beautiful. The world treats pretty girls differently, teaches them to value the wrong things in themselves and, sometimes, in others. Now, with this scar, I’m afraid I got what I wished for. In an effort at gallows humor, I occasionally joke, “At least she’ll never be a model.” Honestly, though, that couldn’t happen anyway. Models have to sit still. OH Jane Borden lives in Los Angeles, where reckless drivers occasionally have reason to see her disfigured middle finger. The Art & Soul of Greensboro
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For Greensboro pop virtuoso Joey Barnes, the sun always shines and the hits keep coming
By Billy Ingram
Joey Barnes is an anomaly, a singer-
songwriter of extraordinary proportions with an amazing vocal range whose power-pop creations don’t stray too far from his 1980s’ electronic new wave influences. Yet he’s just as comfortable crooning jazz standards with a Cy Coleman-like harmonic swagger distilled from the days of Bing, Dean and Dinah (Washington not Shore).
In 2006, Joey went from thumping bass for The Patrick Rock Band to bashing skins and cymbals for Daughtry, a local band fronted by Chris Daughtry. They were riding high that year with a quadruple platinum album spawning four hit singles while scoring the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200. What followed was a whirlwind of international dates and the sort of blankcheck, rock ’n’ roll antics one indulges in when there’s a cadre of bodyguards and professional babysitters sweeping up those messy entanglements left littering the landscape behind you. Joey’s recorded seven EPs and LPs on Nascent Republic Records since 2008, including an impressive live album, “On With The Show,” tracking a one-night-only performance backed by Luna Arcade, Tracy Thornton and the Greensboro College All-Stars. On albums like “A Dance Where Worlds Collide,” his romantically infused Pop Rock candies for the ears crackle with effervescence, tempestuous tunes pinballing from the sublimely melodic to the infectiously facetious. The Art & Soul of Greensboro
A voice sometimes smoky, other times Smokey, always searing, this Greensboro native has played London’s Wembley Arena twice, but his roots reach way back into the city’s musical aristocracy. Can you recall the first time you performed on stage? Well, both my parents were musicians — it must have been with one of the bands my dad was playing in. I do recall a gig playing drums with Rob Massengale. The Massengale family and the Barnes family grew up together as best friends. I was around 12 years old, my dad was playing with Rob, I sat in on drums and played Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.” In the 1990s, I was starting to get with other musicians to try and start bands. I do recall playing at somebody’s house party in a garage. A bunch of up-and-coming young musicians, we all knew about four or five chords. I got up there and just started beating around on the drums and it basically turned into “Wipeout” and everybody really loved “Wipeout” like they had never heard it before. I don’t think I played it very well, but that was the first time I gained the attention of girls. I always wanted to travel, to see the world, and I wanted to perform. It wasn’t about who I could play to, but where I could go. That old cliché thing where you put pins on a map and say, “I want to go here.” Dreams of doing something, being with your friends, playing music. On your recordings you play almost all of the parts yourself, how did you master such a wide assortment of musical instruments? Having them around. They were just there. I was never taught; I just watched. You just sit down with something you’ve never played before, like a trumpet or a clarinet, and squeal and sound like you’re strangling a goose until you get a note out of it. Then you get two notes, three notes, then scales and you’ve got it. February 2019
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Who influenced you most musically? The Beatles. They were like the foundation of everything. And Frank Sinatra. I grew up in the ’80s so ’80s’ music was a big deal for me — George Michael, Tears for Fears, The Police, a-ha was one of my favorites. Duran Duran was like my Beatles, they were the Fab Five for me. I was friends with Warren Cuccurullo who joined Duran Duran after Missing Persons, his supergroup made up of Zappa alumni, broke up. You knew Warren? That guy is a genius, he’s brilliant. He was single-handedly responsible for bringing Duran Duran back in the ’90s with “Ordinary World.”
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On the road with Daughtry, did you feel relegated to playing drums, or was that offset by being on tour with the hottest act in America? It wasn’t rocket science, it was just bash it out. It was about aesthetics and it was about rock ’n’ roll. So easy but it was fun . . . for a while. As the tour went on, I was seeing how much I could do at one time, so I had a piano to my left while I was playing drums. I was trying to make it interesting but that situation . . . there wasn’t a lot of room for playful or, you know, anything artistic. As far as touring, I was ready to go. I didn’t have any family, kids, so I was game all the time. A lot of sleepless nights, sleeping on airport floors. The adventure and the experience was what I signed up for. I was just like, “This is going to be a good time and let’s see how long it lasts.” Like George Harrison said, “The farther one travels the less one knows.” I changed over the course of that tour. I became a completely different person. For better and for worse, I suppose. I’ve been consistently progressing since then. I learned a lot about what I love, about art, music and learned a lot about what I don’t want to deal with. After you left Daughtry, you didn’t get much of a hiatus from the road before you were thrust The Art & Soul of Greensboro
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
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Conversations out before the public again. This time with one of the 1980s symphonic synth bands you admired, a-ha, who had massive hits with “Take On Me” and “The Sun Always Shines On TV.” They were one of my favorites since I was about 8 years old. One of the cornerstone bands, they were always about crafting great pop songs. Dark and mysterious. They’re from Norway, so it kinda sounds like music you would write when half of the year is cold and dark and gray. One of my good friends, Jimmy Gnecco, is in a band in the Jersey, New York area called Ours. I’ve been a big fan of his for a long time. We met almost 20 years ago. I played drums for him awhile, opened up for him, so we became good friends. He knew the guitar player, Paul [Waaktaar-Savoy], from a-ha. As I was getting out of the Daughtry thing, I thought I had almost done everything on my list of things to do, places to go. I thought it couldn’t get any better. Within a couple months, I get a call from Jimmy saying, “Are you sitting down? How would you feel about me, you, and a couple of other people opening up for a-ha in Europe for three months?” I couldn’t believe it. It raised the bar for me personally, It was beyond cooler than anything I did with Daughtry. I cried every night, I couldn’t believe I was there. Your first time was with Daughtry, but opening for a-ha offered you another opportunity to take the stage at Wembley Arena. The Beatles jammed there, Depeche Mode, The Grateful Dead, Prince, Dylan, Duran Duran. Playing Wembley was always the pinnacle for me. Everything was about playing Wembley and then to do it again with a different band was pretty insane. The first time I did it, I was in my underwear. Why not? After that, I toured the United States with my own band. So I ate the road up as much as possible for a decade. Once you’re on the road by yourself, when it’s your thing and it’s coming out of your pocket, your bank account, then you realize this is really tough. Even when you’re making good money. Being a live performer is a bit like having an alter ego, isn’t it? I think so. Was it Oscar Wilde who said, “Give a man a mask and he’ll tell you the truth?” I think it’s really good to get in touch with that other person. I think some people are afraid to do that, they don’t know how far they’ll take it into madness. You can lose yourself in the other person. You have to find a balance, to be one [personality] here and another there. I designed Mötley Crüe’s very first posters. Those skinny boys Nikki and Vince would come peacocking down Santa Monica The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Conversations Boulevard afternoons to our studio in full regalia, neon-colored spandex, makeup, hair crimped to ridiculous lengths. And they wouldn’t even have a show that night. Not everyone is able to become a David Bowie as the Thin White Duke or Ziggy Stardust. I don’t want to show up at a party and everybody be like, “Oh, there’s Lady Gaga, we see you.” Some people like to draw that attention. I get that but that’s just not me. I can’t stand it, honestly.
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Do you prefer recording or live performing? I prefer the creative process involved in recording. I think that, on certain occasions, if I’m able to take the essence of [a recording], bottle that up and successfully do it justice on stage . . . yeah, then it could be equally gratifying. For the last decade you’ve worked closely with producer Josh Seawell. What does he bring to your recordings? For me personally, I come into the studio and Josh facilitates quite easily whatever I hear in my head. He’s a musician as well, and he does put out his own stuff, but he’s been in the engineer seat, the mixing seat, the producing seat, for a long time. I first met Josh when I recorded with Patrick Rock back in the late-’90s. Josh set up his first studio in his parents’ basement. Our friendship built from there. He stuck with it, invested everything he had in a legit studio on the side of his house with the latest and greatest equipment. And he’s brilliant. To have somebody who has a great ear, that you’re friends with, that you respect. Plus to go to his home. His wife’s the best, his kids, it’s just a really nice atmosphere to be out in the country where you just kind of feel free, to relax and see your vision to fruition. When he started a record label, Nascent Republic, I was, “I’m totally signing with you.” Josh also does song placement; he’ll get songs on E!, TLC, or Lifetime. The other day one my songs played in a commercial for Turner Classic Movies and I was like, “Yes!” Your image is on the first modern day mural that emerged downtown, a Pop-Art portrait painted on the side of Design Archives. How did that come about? I met a girl, Kim Kennedy, in Nashville and she’s a muralist. I have no idea how or why, but she knew some people in Greensboro and it just happened. It really was crazy. I still have tons of people randomly sending me pictures of it saying, “Oh, I’m hanging out with you today.” She started something; now murals are everywhere. OH Billy Ingram covered the underground East Los Angeles punk music scene for a Hollywood bar rag in the early-1980s. He wrote about it in PUNK, the kind of book the whole family can gather around the bar and read together. The Art & Soul of Greensboro
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The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Be My Valentine ‒ for Life You may get a good laugh out of it
By Susan S. Kelly
I don’t know how
ILLUSTRATION BY MERIDITH MARTENS
you’re spending Valentine’s Day, but if you’re feeling blue, hie yourself to the Harris Teeter around 5 p.m. and hang out around the flower counter. Just watching the clerks pumping out last-minute arrangements for all those lost men scrambling to purchase posies is bound to make you laugh. If that fails, call a single friend to regale you with fun facts about dating after 40. A favorite is my pal who has a “guillotine realization” for blind dates. As in, “He was wearing a necklace.” Chop. Another has a Jesus clause in her marriage: If he ever gets religion, she’s excused. And for those of you eyeing that 10-years-younger mate, remember this: You’ll have to take on all their 10-years-younger enthusiasms too, for organic food and exhaustively researching kindergartens. Ugh. Makes reaching the point in a marriage where you get up every morning, ask each other how you slept, and actually answer each other seem far preferable.
Valentine’s is an industry now, but then so are weddings, and if you don’t believe me, ask my friend who went around at his daughter’s reception offering $20 bills to people if they’d just go home. Now, even “the ask” is elaborately planned for some mountain top or sunset beach scenario. As opposed to, say, the way my husband asked me to marry him, in the parking lot of the SAE house, where we’d gone with the rest of a frat friend’s reception carousers because we’d broken every glass at Hope Valley Country Club in Durham. It just doesn’t get any more romantic than that, unless you count my son’s friend who let everyone know he’d gotten engaged by sending a mass email with “Man Overboard” in the subject line. My husband and I — well, OK, my mother — set my wedding date depending not on weather or venue availability, but by asking the folks at Tiffany’s how long it would take to get the invitations printed and counting backward from there. My sister was so jealous of my getting married. She said, “Just think. Now you can do anything to your hair and he still has to love you.”
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
And then, happily ever after. Or as my other sister put it, “I’ve loved him ever since he had that awful The Price Is Right furniture.” Forty years on, I’m still wondering if I get marital points for putting on mascara for my husband just for dinner. But I gave up on wishing for a What Now? day many anniversaries ago. A What Now? day is a Saturday when your husband just follows you around all day and says, “What needs doing now?” Although I once read the lips of a new bride dancing that first dance with her new husband. “Turn me now,” she instructed him. Wonder how that’s going. Ah, the nuptial valleys and peaks. Not the toothpaste caps, or shirts put inside out in the laundry basket, rather, the day my father came home for lunch, as he did every day, and it wasn’t ready. “What have you been doing all morning?” he asked my mother. For the first and last time, I bet. Or my sister, who once proclaimed, “All we talk about are calendars.” Yes, at one stage, marital conversation gets pared down to timetables. And while toothpaste tops may be a cliché, the bathroom does seem to be the locale for many a Grrr moment. Take this direct quote from an email: “This amazes me. We’ve had the rug on our bathroom floor for 10 years. D (name withheld to protect the guilty) steps on it when he gets out of the shower, stands on it while brushing his teeth, ponders on it while on the commode. Today when I asked him to bring the rug up from the dryer, he asked what bathroom it belonged in.” Still, the bathroom moment I recall most fondly took place not in a bathroom, but in an aisle at Lowe’s. It’s a weeknight in a nearly vacant, fluorescently lit, concrete-floored, utterly charmless big box store. My husband and I are debating a new shower door for a bathroom renovation. Most decisions are easy: a towel bar on the outside, a grab bar on the inside. Small house and aging issues we’re used to, and don’t even blink. We look at those doors a long time, slide them back and forth, compare, dither. I’m leaning toward the clear, see-through panel — contemporary, clean, trendy — and a significant departure from our old frosted one. My husband nods, thinks, and finally says, “You know, I just don’t think I can go there.” I laugh. “Who do you think is going to be looking at us besides each other?” He laughs too, then, admitting to an idiotic objection, after 28 years. Never mind that both of us had nine years of two to four roommates before we got married, and have experienced countless shared-bathrooms oops moments on family vacations. But then, I lift my shoulders and say, “You know, I can’t go there, either.” And there, in the middle of Lowe’s, on a weekday evening, under fluorescent lights, the pair of us double over, giggling at our ridiculous, bogus-modest, longmarried selves. If that ain’t the essence of romance, I don’t know what is. And they’ve lived happily ever after. With the clear shower door. OH Susan Kelly is a blithe spirit, author of several novels, and proud grandmother. February 2019
Music for a Great Space presents Trio Valtorna Concert benefitting the Shepherd Center Christ United Methodist Church 7:30 pm
Local Food Demo with 2nd Harvest Food Bank Food Demo
Greensboro Farmers Curb Market 10:00 am
Trust Your Gut Probiotics and Prebiotics Lunch & Learn
The Cooking School at the Greensboro Children’s Museum 12:00 pm
A Chef’s Table with Jacob Boehm
Adult Cooking: Eat the Season - Root Vegetables
The Cooking School at the Greensboro Children’s Museum 6:00 pm
The Cooking School at the Greensboro Children’s Museum 6:00 pm
Ingram Memorial Dinner Music for a Great Space
Bonjour! French Night Out Cooking Class
Reto’s Kitchen 6:00 pm
Christ United Methodist Church 5:30 pm
Local Food Demo with Guest Chef Morgan Powell
Music for a Great Space presents Richard Valitutto, piano
Greensboro Farmers Curb Market 10:00 am
Christ United Methodist Church 7:30
2/7 Romantic Dinner for Two
Bonjour! French Night Out
Reto’s Kitchen 6:00 pm
Reto’s Kitchen 6:00 pm
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Adult Cooking: Good and Cheap
The Cooking School at the Greensboro Children’s Museum 6:00 pm
The Cooking School at the Greensboro Children’s Museum 6:00 pm
Adult Cooking Class
For more events, visit
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Call 336.907.2107 for more details. The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Sightings of the evening grosbeak are fewer and far between
By Susan Campbell
The evening grosbeak is one special bird:
one that old-timers in Piedmont North Carolina may remember from winters many years ago. Anyone newer to our fair state has likely not seen one here. Those who have been feeding winter songbirds for decades know this bird as the one that can show up in massive flocks and has the capacity to devour black oil sunflower seed in huge quantities in no time at all. It has never been a regular here even when sightings did reliably occur every few years. During winters when northern hardwoods — ash and conifers, such as pine and spruce — set little seed, grosbeaks must fly farther afield to find food. Across New England and the upper Midwest, flocks are forced to move southward in search of sources of nuts and seeds to nourish them during the cold weather. Farther and farther they fly until they find trees laden with fruits — and feeders well-stocked with black oil sunflower seed.
Although populations are quite healthy in the western United States and Canada, evening grosbeaks are not doing well at all here in the East. In the last 50 years a huge decline (as much as 95 percent) has been documented, likely as the result of habitat alteration, from large-scale aerial spraying of boreal forest to counter diseases such as salmonella and West Nile virus. So, it is no surprise The Art & Soul of Greensboro
that appearances of grosbeaks as a result of eruptions this far south are few and far apart these days. Evening grosbeaks are easy to recognize: They are a bit larger than cardinals and have varying degrees of yellow plumage. Adult males are mostly yellow with splashes of white. Females and young males only have limited amounts of yellow plumage on a pale background. But all have black wings and a black tail. The most prominent feature of these handsome, husky birds is, as their name implies, a huge white bill. During the warmer months, grosbeaks have quite a broad diet consisting of a variety of invertebrates, buds of trees and flowering plants along with tree sap as well as larger fruits and their seeds. The birds will forage from the ground to the very tops of trees, especially in the summer months when they have young mouths to feed. Not only will they clean up fallen fruits but they will also hunt aerial insects on the wing. There are several curious facts about these beautiful birds. One is that for a songbird, the males do not sing. Both sexes simply employ short calls to communicate, especially during the breeding season, but also during the rest of the year. Another interesting tidbit: There is no territorial defense around the nest site. The explanation for the evolution of both these strategies is that resources (especially food) are so abundant that there is no need to advertise or create a territory during a good portion of the year. At feeders, adult males may occasionally chase females and younger males, but generally they feed peacefully, shoulder-to-shoulder. I will be watching closely for evening grosbeaks in the Sandhills and Piedmont until spring. I have memorized their calls — and have vowed to keep my sunflower feeders full through the winter. However, if any of these large, colorful birds with well-endowed bills end up in our mist nets at the banding station at Weymouth Woods, I guarantee I will be pulling out the heavy gloves as well as a big dose of courage. OH Susan would love to receive your wildlife sightings and photos. She can be contacted by email at email@example.com. February 2019
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The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Where Everybody Knows Your Name — and Game How Jake’s Billiards and Freeman’s Grub & Pub defied conventional wisdom and beat the odds
By Billy Eye
“Once you’ve started for the end of the rainbow, you can’t very well turn back.” — Cecil Beaton
a table at Freeman’s Grub & Pub with proprietor Jessie Kirkman, perhaps the most successful restaurateur you’ve never heard of, talking about what it takes to make it in an environment where most ventures fail in the first year. “There’ll always be people with a dollar and a dream,” she tells me somewhat wistfully. “But they have no idea what they’re getting themselves into.” Freeman’s is a relatively recent but highly successful culinary detour for Jessie, the guiding force behind Jake’s Billiards, a Greensboro institution where, if everybody doesn’t know your name they certainly know your game. The only place I know where aging hippies and glorified hipsters party harmoniously alongside students, day laborers, architects, musicians, salespeople, you name it. An alchemic mix of disparates drawn inexorably, though not entirely by accident, to Jake’s Billiards. Originally known as Rack’m Pub & Billiards, a joint located on Battleground perpetually behind the eightball with (so the story goes) numerous Alcoholic Law Enforcement violations back in 1991, a smoky establishment rechristened “Jake’s” four years later after regular customer Jacob Segal acquired the place. Jake’s Billiards banked off of at least three different locations before finding
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
its permanent side pocket on Spring Garden in 2002. “I was a server at a few places around town and, of course, everyone hung out at Jake’s,” Jessie tells me. “I fell in love with their bartender, Josh. He’s now my husband.” By that point, Jake’s had earned a reputation for their solid menu at an unbelievably low cost. “That’s actually why I started going there,” she confesses. “I was vegetarian and it was the only place to get quality good food.” Jacob passed away in 2004, that’s when Jessie and Josh purchased the business. “It was really rough for a while,” Jessie remembers. With a graduate degree in economics she hammered out the paperwork that was in utter disarray, bringing the operation into alignment when, as if on cue, a bartender didn’t show up for his shift one day. “Well . . .” she reasoned, “I know how to ring everything in and I know how to bartend so I just sort of took over the place and quit all my other jobs.” Refusing to fall prey to conventional wisdom suggesting that Jake’s Billiards needed gimmicky promotions, karaoke nights, beauty contests, or punk bands thrashing against one wall to attract crowds, “I wanted it to be word of mouth,” Jessie insists. “The people that like us will tell their friends [and so on].” Food was a key element and margins were incredibly tight at first. “I remember going to Sam’s Club to buy $300 in food and we’d do $300 in sales. Then I had to go out and get $300 more food.” The pub side may not have been generating a profit but burgers, wings, quesadillas and top-flight bartenders kept customers hanging out, playing pool, buying drinks. “My husband ran the kitchen and I ran the front of house.” Skillful execution not high concept, Jessie believed, would grow the business. “For the longest time, Josh and I survived on tips because we took very good care of our employees,” she says. “We offered insurance way before we had to.” Of those early years she says, “It took everything from us to be able to do that but it kept employees there and feeling valuable. They don’t teach you that.” February 2019
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Around 2011, Jake’s Billiards expanded to fill the enormous building they had been leasing only half of. The couple had to spend hours clearing away dust and debris each morning but, even during construction, “We were still open,” Jessie remembers. “I’d reach over the bar to grab somebody a Miller Lite while they’re tearing down the wall between the two places.”
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“This rich retired man and a plumber on his lunch break, you’d never think they’d talk to each other. The next thing you know they’re playing pool together. It’s a spider web of beautifulness.” After the expansion Jessie was equipped with a proper kitchen, able to prepare more adventuresome fare like Spicy Wontons (jalapeño, cream cheese, corn and grilled chicken), Angus Mushroom Swiss Burgers, Baja Tacos ($2 on Tuesday) and my persona fave, Cobb Salad (for less than 5 bucks). You know how hard it is to find an authentic Cobb Salad at any price? “We had a chef who was very creative,” she recalls. “The next thing you know we’ve got avocado aioli and mangos in here for mango salsa.” Just about everything, right down to the dips and sauces, is made from scratch in-house. It’s not uncommon for NFL athletes or touring musicians from the nearby Coliseum to blend in late night at Jake’s. I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t feel at home there and it all works precisely because of that peer-to-peer business model. Not to mention, pool is that rare pastime attracting devotees both serious and casual from across all nations. “You’ll have a table with people from India, from Germany, people just get together,” Jessie has noticed. “This rich retired man and a plumber on his lunch break, you’d never think they’d talk to each other. The next thing you know they’re playing pool together. It’s a spider web of beautifulness.” Growing from eight employees to 75, with 69 taps and almost 200 varieties of beer alongside an arsenal of liquor, Jake’s became the No. 1 ABC account in North Carolina outside of Grove Park Inn and the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Every aspect of the business is thriving as Jessie points out. “After the The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Wandering Billy smoking ban, our food sales were 10 times what they were.” When a former mom-and-pop grocery store built in the 1920s became available in 2014 just a couple of blocks west from Jake’s near the corner of Elam and Spring Garden (then serving as home to Sessions coffeehouse), the Kirkmans purchased it. They did so with no intention of opening a restaurant. “We closed on the building December 31st,” Jessie tells me. That was the day after being told Sessions wouldn’t be renewing their lease. “So we sat on it for about a month.” Because the property wasn’t zoned for a bar, Jessie realized, “We had to do a restaurant and it would have to open within a year to be grandfathered in for handicap issues and the parking lot, things like that.” From the beginning, Freeman’s (named after that aforementioned grocery store) has been garnering the sort of reviews a restaurateur dreams of, diners raving about their mojo pork Cubans, braised collards, chopped sirloin Banh Mi, and fried chicken you’d slap Aunt Frannie for. “For the first year I shoveled money down here from Jake’s,” Jessie says. “But I don’t buy anything that’s not quality, I won’t sacrifice anything to make a dollar.” She had the luxury of staffing Freeman’s with the best and brightest from Jake’s. “I needed a dream team down here.” While we were talking, I glanced into the kitchen as the staff was prepping for the lunch crowd, the crew smiling, laughing, clearly having a good time. “Restaurant people in general, we’re a
FALL IN LOV E WI T H OUR C U STO M H O ME S, BUI LT JU ST F O R YO U.
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Ke vi n O t e y • 3 3 6 . 6 6 9. 3 6 9 1 different type of people,” Jessie says. “It’s in our blood and we’re not going to be happy at a desk. We thrive on chaos.” This is all quite an accomplishment when you consider what else she has on her plate: “My husband and I adopted two children when we opened Freeman’s. They didn’t die so we decided to have our own,” she quips. “They’ve really changed the dynamic of our lives. It showed me that there’s more to life than a restaurant.” Meanwhile, Jake’s Billiards never closes. Neither snow nor rain nor blackouts nor holidays will keep their loyal players from their appointed rounds of pool. And Super Bowl Sunday — fuhgeddaboudit. No need for Bar Rescue here. Jessie could teach Jake Tapper a thing or two. “I cannot watch that show without having extreme anxiety because I can’t jump into the TV and fix things!” OH
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The Art & Soul of Greensboro
A robin comes to my yard in spring, breast like sun, bead-black eyes, slate-blue wings. He cocks his head, this way and that, listens for breakfast, grubs and insects rustling in fresh soil. No promise in those eyes how long he’ll stay. He may follow other birds, songs from somewhere far away muffled in the gusting wind. He may leave when cold begins to mute the green, or morning frost spreads sparkling icing on the ground. Winter comes, steals my memory of spring. But I return to this poem’s page. The robin never flies away. Sarah Edwards
Photograph by Debra R egula The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Ike & Tina Turner
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
The Soul of the Circuit
Once a preferred stop on the legendary R&B Chitlin’ Circuit, The Historic Magnolia House reclaims the glory of its Green Book days — and then some By Grant Britt
nce upon a time, there was a magical musical pathway that wound through the Piedmont, carrying deliverers of soul on their appointed rounds. AfricanAmerican singers and musicians toured the country on a beltway that connected the East Coast to a string of clubs specializing in R&B and soul. The pathway was called the Chitlin’ Circuit, named after a stinky comfort food made from a pig’s large intestine, initially favored by folks who by economic necessity had to use every part of the hog but the squeal. James Brown spotlit some of the Chitlin’ Circuit’s whistle stops including Raleigh, North Carolina, on his 1961 version of “Night Train,” recorded at one of the Circuit’s top venues, the Apollo Theater in New York City. Other notable stops along the way included The Howard Theatre in D.C., the Royal Peacock in Atlanta, Richmond’s Hippodrome Theater, and The Ritz Theatre in Jacksonville, Florida. Greensboro was an important stop along the way as well, with The Ritz and the Carlotta Club providing a showplace for big names like Brown and Joe Tex. Getting there was the easy part. But finding a place to eat,or more important a place to stay, was a problem for black artists for decades in those preintegration days. In 1936, New York City mailman Victor Hugo Green compiled a coast-to-coast compendium of establishments that catered to African- American travelers. The Negro Motorist Green Book, (inspiration for the current Oscarnominated film, Green Book) became the Negro Travelers’ Green Book in the early ’50s when it expanded its coverage to Mexico, Canada and part of the Caribbean. It provided names and addresses of restaurants, bars and hotels that would let roadweary African-Americans eat, drink and rest with dignity and in comfort. The 1939 edition, expanded from early editions only listing New York destinations, shows a variety of establishments in Greensboro that welcomed black travelers, including the Legion club, listed under hotels on 829 East Market Street and the Travelers Inn, also on East Market, and several private “Tourist” homes on East Market: T Daniels at 912 East Market, Mrs. Evans at 906, Mrs. Lewis at 829, as well as the Paramount Tavern at 907 East Market. The Art & Soul of Greensboro
But one of Greensboro’s most prestigious Chitlin’ Circuit rest stops wouldn’t show up in the Green Book till 1955. The Magnolia House Motel was built by Daniel D.Debutts in 1889 at the corner of Gorrell and Plott streets in the Southside community. The 5,000- square-foot Victorian was a showplace even back then with its wraparound porch and imposing façade with five chimneys. The house began its career as a lodging destination when the Gist Family bought the property in 1949, catering to a Who’s Who of Chitlin’ Circuiters Magnolia House today including James Brown, Ray Charles and Hank Ballard and the Midnighters. State legislator Herman Gist and his wife, Grace, inherited the property from their parents and ran it as a motel for several years. But the house fell into disrepair in the ’70s and remained a decaying shadow of its former self till 1996, when neighbor Sam Pass, who lives right around the corner on Martin street, saw the property up for sale. “It was in pretty bad demise. The roof was caving in, she [Grace Gist] couldn’t keep the street people out of here.” Pass was so determined to own the property that he ripped the for sale sign out of the ground and hid it until he could make Gist an offer, which she accepted.“ I remember the big marquee in the front yard,” he recalls. “It always said ‘NoVacancy.’ Magnolia House has been in existence as long as my generation has been in existence.” “I noticed Magnolia House when I was a kid,” Pass continues, recalling that his older brother Bobby, a music promoter, brought his 13-year-old sibling to the house and introduced him to Joe Tex, who was playing in town. Pass met Tex on the front porch and remembers him as being very cordial to his tongue-tied, starstruck younger self. Pass’s brother introduced him to several other of the celebs staying at the Magnolia, and Pass says he heard stories of Tex and Brown playing baseball with the neighborhood children. “We knew about the Magnolia House even before then.” Pass says. “This was the first black hotel. When they couldn’t stay anywhere else, they stayed here.” Greensboro had several musical hot spots from the mid-’40s through the ’60s. The black-owned El Rocco club on Market Street in Greensboro also brought in big names in the ‘50s including Jackie Wilson and James Brown, as well as Otis Redding. It also served the best fried chicken in town. “James Brown used to come to El Rocco,” Pass recalls. “My cousin George Simms was a drummer. He [James] used to come to my grandmother’s house and beg her to let George play for him. ‘I’ll keep him outta trouble, Miz Pass,’” he remembers Brown promising. “El Rocco was something like in New York,” says Chic Carter, former pitcher for the Winston-Salem Pond Giants, a Negro League team in the 1950s. Evoking comparisons to Gotham’s famous Apollo Theater and a few others on the Circuit, he adds, “El Rocco had a nice place over there for them to come.” Although it was a black club, some white visitors were welcome. “I used to take some girls to the El Rocco,” says Greensboro-based shag dancer Larry McCranie, who is white. “One time in the mid-’50s, I took four girls down there and we were the only white folks in there. They were cool girls, they ended up dancing with all the black guys and I danced with black women and we just had a ball. Not too many white kids went over there,” he reminisces, “but occasionally they were invited, the girls could dance, and you could just have a good time.” McCranie also recalls a tobacco warehouse in Greensboro outside the city limits on South Elm/Eugene Street that hosted big-name acts about every other month. He says he remembers seeing Fats Domino, Lavern Baker, Ruth Brown and Chuck Berry, all on one show. Sheriff’s deputies hired to keep
order between the races would put a rope from the front where you entered, all the way up to the middle of the stage. “White folks would go on one side, and black folks would go on the other. Everybody had a little bottle in their pockets, they’d get to drinking when they opened around 8:30 or 9 o’clock,” McCranie says. “Around 11 o’clock, that rope would come down and there was nothing they could do about it. There weren’t that many sheriffs there, and then everybody danced with everybody.” Pass also heard about the warehouse and mentions another club, the Carlotta, down off Market Street, that was also a popular destination for Chitlin’-esque performers. There was the ABA club off High Street near Ray Warren Homes. “Then there was this little club called the Americana up near Gillepsie Golf Course. My brother used to frequent the place,” Pass says, recounting an anecdote about how older sibling Bobby once introduced their sister Ruth to Ben E. King of “Stand By Me” fame. The clubs showcased them, but the Magnolia nourished black entertainers and gave a place to rest their weary heads; Pass wanted to pay homage to that tradition as well as preserving a piece of African-American history. He had the house, but now he needed help with the restoration. Retired from FedEx, Pass set up a mobile kitchen outside the property, selling ribs, chicken and fried fish to help raise money to put with $70,000 of his own. The city of Greensboro gave him a community block grant, and he got some help from suppliers impressed with what he was undertaking. “It’s family basically,” Pass says of his renovation and restoration team. “Me, my wife [Kimberly], my oldest daughter [Natalie Miller] are what’s making this happen. Hopefully I’ll be keeping it in the family. That’s why I restored it.” On a guided tour of the property, Pass’s pride in the work is evident in his voice as well as in the finished product. “A lot of it I did. But of course, I don’t have the talent to do all of this,” he says. “We didn’t renovate; we totally restored it.” With the help of local cabinetmaker Pete Williams, the Magnolia was gutted to its skeleton. “Then we came back with everything.” The heart pine floor came from the American Tobacco Company Warehouse in Reidsville. The owner of Reidsville’s Tobacco-Pine Reclaimed Timber was so impressed at what Pass was doing, he gave him a steep discount. “The entire house is the same heart pine lumber — the chair rails, the window casings, door casings, all the interior doors,” Pass says. “The baseboards, quarter rounds, the crown moldings, all of that are from heart pine lumber. We did the house the way it was supposed to be done.” Working from the original blueprints, Pass and family did their best to keep the house true to its original design. “It was important that we leave the outside just like it was, as far as structure was concerned, since the house was on the National Register of Historic Places.” He did do a kitchen makeover, installing a commercial kitchen. The outside wall was improved on as well to create the majestic stonework that surrounds the house today. Part of the restoration phase was to repair and restore the original 2-foot retaining wall going around the house at 442 Gorrell Street. He approached Mount Airy’s North Carolina Granite Corporation about cutting the granite for the needed repairs. The company ended up donating not only rocks to make repairs but additional granite. “So we were able to repair the wall, but they also gave us 160 tons of it,” he says. “That’s how we got that 7-foot wall built around the house on our property line.” Architectural Salvage of Greensboro donated period furniture, including The Art & Soul of Greensboro
PHOTOGRAPH BY CASSIE BUTLER
a dresser with an impressive pedigree. “We didn’t know what we had until one of our customers for Sunday brunch came through, looked at the piece and said, ‘That looks like Thomas Day furniture,” referring to perhaps North Carolina’s most famous black cabinet maker. “Of course, we researched it, and come to find out, it is.” Daughter Natalie Pass Miller oversaw the furniture restoration. Pass calls her “an innovative Alpha woman,” which causes Miller to break out into peals of laughter when told of the description. “That is so Sam,” she says, when she can catch her breath. “Oh gosh, I don’t know about that. I’m just trying to help Daddy carry out his vision.” Miller stepped in about a year ago, bringing back period pieces from Atlanta, where she was living at the time. “This was my very first time driving a U-Haul packed with furniture long distance, praying all the entire way cause I’d never done it before,” she says. “When I pulled up, Dad just happened to be on the porch and you could see the look on his face, like, ‘Is that my kid driving a U-Haul? It is!’” But her furniture -moving project turned to operational matters once she started probing her father about his intentions for Magnolia House. “Dad’s tone changed to a sad one,” she recalls. Pass’s renovation work was going slowly due to his daily commute to Durham, where he inspects buildings for Duke University in advance of fire marshal visits. His daughter could tell he needed some help. She suggested to him “Dad, why don’t I come in, and let’s work together to see if we can complete this vision that you have now that you’ve done the hard part of restoring the house?” Pass’s efforts hit another snag when he had a stroke in early November. These days, he is just getting back to work and seeing the changes Miller has implemented. “One of those priorities, including making over the ambiance is, ‘How do we rebuild our brand and reputation and what do we want people to experience when they walk in the house?’” Miller explains. To that end, she’s changed up the serving format of the weekly Sunday Jazz Brunches from a buffet line to family-style dining in the large front room that was once a porch. “The room is cavernous, with 14-foot ceilings,” she says. “The Gist family had renovated it and lowered the ceiling with tile, but I put it back the way it was,” Pass explains. Brunch is served here, with servers bringing out large bowls of sides and entrees to several long trestle tables set end-to-end along the length of the room. “When the Gist family had it as the historic Magnolia House, one of the key things that I noted was that they were really big on creating a sense of family and engagement and unity, bringing that concept to the table,” she says. “And if you think about it, that process exists even in the overnight stay, because not every room had its individual bathroom, so if that doesn’t bring a community together, nothing does,” Miller chuckles. “So moving over to the family-style dining was really created as a part of continuing the legacy of what the motel created.” The current menu has a number of staples, but introduces a few unique dishes every week. Feedback from guests plays an important role as well, with Magnolia brunch regulars praising the fish and grits, and fried chicken. “We also have a penne pasta in garlic Parmesan sauce with seasonal vegetables that is just to die for,” Miller says of the fare she’s proud to label as comfort food. But Pass is quick to point out that the family is not calling the new Magnolia House completely a restaurant. “We do have a commercial kitchen in the facility, but it was our intention to open up as a bed and breakfast, and will still be a component because we have the upstairs mostly finished, Pass says. But we haven’t gotten to that point yet.” Right now the focus is on using the house for The Art & Soul of Greensboro
special events, with bridal showers and baby showers, as well as hosting several local clubs and civic associations parties, including A&T State University Alumni Association events. Pass has also introduced a series of presentations he calls the Juke Joint Series, dinner and a show, sort of like The Barn Dinner Theatre. “We do tributes to some entertainers that registered here during segregation. First one, we did a tribute to Ray Charles and Ruth Brown, and we just recently did a dinner and a show, a tribute to Gladys Knight and the Pips, and we’re working on a Valentine’s show now. So we do events here, Sunday brunch here every Sunday from 11 til 3:30. And the public will come here for some of the good food that we cook.” He’s got quite a list of celebs who stayed at Magnolia to sustain the Juke Joint Series for quite a while. Duke Ellington almost made the list. “Duke didn’t stay here, but his band did, “ Pass says. “Duke was comfortable enough financially to have his own rail car. So he stayed in his own car on that train,” he explains. “Ray Charles stayed here, Ike and Tina Turner, James Brown, heavyweight champ Ezzard Charles. Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige, they came here to play at War Memorial Stadium. And Ruth Brown stayed here; she was very hot, had top billing on the Chitlin’ Circuit. Gladys Knight and the Pips, stayed here, Smokey Robinson stayed here, The Midnighters stayed here. Buddy Gist donated Miles Davis’ trumpet to UNCG. He talked often about how his mother used to cook for Louis Armstrong when Armstrong would come here. The place was just the vortex of the African -American community here,” Pass says. Pass and family hope to return to the Magnolia House’s long tradition of hospitality both for events and as a bed and breakfast. “We hope to cater to the furniture market when we finish upstairs,” Pass says, referring to the five bedrooms on the top floor, two of which are fully completed and Sam Pass ready for guests, but currently used only for family and friends. “People who own homes in the High Point area rent out their entire houses to people who come to furniture market. We’d be interested in doing that same thing with the Magnolia House,” he says explaining that they would offer a full package of services — concierge, transportation to Market, for example. To kick off Black History Month, Miller has organized an event to share the Magnolia House’s current path and history with the public. “We’re calling it our Magnolia Table Talk. And it’s the Green Book edition because we’re celebrating that we’ve been listed in the Green Book for six of their editions,” she says. Miller adds that she envisioned the event as an upscale intimate setting “with my dad and all of his siblings sitting at the table leading a panel discussion with the audience, talking about the history of the Magnolia House, how it tied into history of the Triad and how our family line contributed to that history of the Triad as well.” Pass says that the Magnolia House resurrection is for his community as well as his family: “I restored it because I am interested in preserving our history. My grandchildren won’t know where they’re going until they know where they’ve been.” OH Grant Britt lives in a much humbler abode than the Magnolia House, but he shares the same reverence for its soulful musical guests who provided the soundtrack of his young life and still resonate in his residence and his head. For a complete list of events open to the public at The Historic Magnolia House, please visit thehistoricmagnoliahouse.com. February 2019
Crossing That Bridge
How a home designed by a famed Greensboro architect in the 1960s ushered one couple into a new phase of life half a century later By Maria Johnson • Photographs by Amy Freeman
small bridge delivers visitors to Lovelle and Alan Overby’s Modernist home. The bridge’s span is short: 13 feet from driveway to double doors. The deck arches slightly, and the planks and rails are painted a tasteful, receding taupe. But the tendency is to notice the roof over the bridge — a pointy Asian-flavored cap of weathered copper. Or you can find yourself staring down into the gurgling water, a hyphen of a koi pond that hugs the house. Physically, there’s not much to the bridge. But figuratively, it bears a lot of weight. It has carried the Overbys into a new phase of life.
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
hey came to a place that’s familiar to the fortunate. Their children were in college, and Alan was selling his business — an employee benefits consulting firm — as the couple edged toward early retirement. They loved the two-story white brick home where their two boys had grown up on Greensboro’s Starmount Drive, just around the bend from a country club golf course. They had great neighbors, great memories and the great luxury of choice at a crossroads. Their house was “done,” their parenting was mostly “done,” and Alan’s CEO responsibilities were fast approaching “done.” What would they do together next? Lovelle, who has a master’s degree with a concentration in English education, had lusted after a midcentury house ever since she read The Fountainhead, an Ayn Rand novel that loosely echoes the life of legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. “It inspired me to want to live in a house that was completely an American original,” she says. She loved the lines of mid-century houses, the openness, the history and the furniture that went with them. Alan didn’t care for mid-century homes — he didn’t know much about them, he’d later admit — and so he’d often nix the houses that Lovelle pointed out in their drive-by games of “Do you like that one?” “What about that one?” They agreed on a few places. A tawny, low-slung home on nearby Kemp Road East was one of them. They studied it as they walked the trails around Hamilton Lakes. Yup, that horizontal honcho had character. And so, when it came up for sale in 2017, Alan agreed to see it — all 9,400 square feet of it, including the indoor swimming pool — but he was reluctant. He was sentimental about the home where they’d raised the boys. The move was going to cost a fortune. And they really didn’t need to add one more change to their lives.
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
He sighed, went to meet the real estate agent, and was sold by the time he hit the bridge. A walk-through confirmed it. “It was different from anything I’d ever seen before,” says Alan, a Greensboro native. “It was open. It was bright. It gave me the excitement of the next chapter of our lives. We had to have it.” The fact that celebrated Greensboro architect Edward Loewenstein had designed the house made it even more appealing. Built in 1964, the house was the residential fantasy of Greensboro internist Dr. Edgar Marks, who was in his early 40s when the home was built. Marks knew Loewenstein socially; the architect was the go-to guy if you wanted Modern in Greensboro. Marks hired him to design a medical building on Olive Street, and later to draw plans for a seven-bedroom home on side-by-side lots in Hamilton Lakes. Then a hive of construction, the neighborhood was a boon for Loewenstein; he drew at least nine homes around the lakes. Marks, now 97 and still living in Greensboro, remembers the must-haves he directed Loewenstein to include in his showplace: floors with radiant heat, a feature he’d learned about as an Army doctor in post–World War II Korea; an indoor swimming pool with a retractable roof; front doors carved in Mexico; a master and guest bedroom on one side of the house; a separate bedroom wing, on the other side of the house, for the family’s four children; another room for the housekeeper; and a façade of the very same tricolored volcanic rock that distinguishes buildings at Duke University, where Marks was an undergraduate. Loewenstein made it happen with style, using plate glass windows, asymmetrical rooms, recessed lighting, ceilings of various heights and slopes, and a squiggle-shaped pool. Marks, his wife, Ellen, and their kids, moved from a home on Hammel Road in Irving Park to their new home near Starmount Forest Country Club, where Marks enjoyed hacking around the course. When the Greater
Greensboro Open came to town, Marks and family entertained pro golfers in their home. Tony Lema, Lee Trevino and Tony Jacklin visited what became known as the Marks House. Others stayed with the family. “One night, I came in after the GGO, and Tom Weiskopf was lying on the floor, looking up at the TV in our bedroom. Everyone made themselves at home,” says Dr. Marks. Marks and his wife divorced in 1972. She got the house. There was a fire, then renovations. The house changed hands three times before the Overbys walked over the bridge.
oving was tougher than they’d thought it would be. Lovelle and her mother packed up the house. They climbed into the attic, where, over the years, the family had stashed the markers of their lives. Cribs. Children’s toys. Books. Sorting was nostalgic; discarding was painful. Alan and Lovelle felt the pangs of what-have-we-done? Their friends, who’d hopped online to discover how vast the house was, despite its modest appearance from the street, were more pointed. “Are you nuts?” they asked. “Why are you moving into a house that big, at this point in your lives?” It was true; the new house would be the biggest house they’d ever lived in, and it would bring not only a new address, but a new style and new stuff. Their old furniture didn’t fit the contemporary spirit of the house, so they farmed it out to a consignment shop. Later, while browsing for mid-century pieces in the same store, they had the eerie experience of seeing their old furniture for sale, of seeing other people pause, consider the pieces they’d lived with for so long, reject them and move on. “When you walk in and go, ‘Oh, that was ours,’ and ‘That was ours,’ you The Art & Soul of Greensboro
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
kinda feel like you’re dead,” says Alan. “It was like we were starting over, in a new life. It was weird.” “It was weird,” says Lovelle. Life did what it always does; it went on. Alan and Lovelle got help. Interior designer Donna Keel showed them how to kindle warmth in the vast, sometimes chilly spaces of Modern architecture. Thanks to the collaboration, the creamy formal living room — with its towering chalky fireplace — is punctuated with loud pillows, funky chairs, Picassolike art and a gleaming ebony grand piano. The “kids’ den,” a gateway to the wing of children’s rooms, is an open intersection defined by dove grays, a giant arcing lamp and a formidable painting of a Chinese food take-out box. Lovelle jolted a couple of bathrooms to life with wallpaper. The pool bath teems with pink flamingoes. The bath nearest the formal living room swims with foil fish on a black background. In shopping for the house, Lovelle has rediscovered the thrill of the hunt. She and Alan prowl art galleries in North Carolina and New York. “It makes you feel young again,” she says, noting that instead of combing Pier 1 like she used to, she now haunts Modernist stores such as Area and West Elm, as well as antique shops, eBay, and designer-only caches. The harvest is evident in the main den, a trove of mid-century icons: a cushy black leather Eames chair with footstool, a chestnut leather sofa, a bristling metallic wall sculpture, a skinny Lucite table, a spotted cowhide rug, a plush chartreuse ottoman on splayed legs and a 75-inch flat-screen TV that’s easily viewed from the pool, on the other side of a glass wall. The Overbys have let the house be, structurally. They’ve mostly freshened surfaces, keeping intact many of the original features: mirrored walls, louvered closet
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
doors, grass cloth (now painted) and some classic 1960s bathroom fixtures. They foresee a few crowbar moments — in the bar and a couple of bathrooms — but nothing major. They feel a certain amount of pressure, Alan says, to maintain and preserve the home in its original form. “We’re really caretakers. The goal is for us to leave it better than we found it,” he says. “We’re fortunate enough to be able to enjoy it.” Entertaining helps them to justify the home’s size. They’ve hosted a smattering of parties: political fundraisers; a sorority function; a business gathering of Alan’s associates. Their sons invited friends over during the holidays. One day, the Overbys hope, the pool will draw grandchildren. “I want people to make memories in this house with us,” says Alan.
ou’ll see them standing on the bridge almost every evening, just before bedtime. They come outside to feed the fish. There are 17 of them, koi and goldfish of various colors. Some of them have names: Pongo and Perdita, the blackand-white pair named after the canine heroes of Disney’s 101 Dalmations. Then there’s Franco, the slippery black-and-gold stand-in for former Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back Franco Harris, a favorite of Lovelle, who grew up in western Pennsylvania. The fish surface, all eyes and mouths, when they see the couple approaching to cast food pellets. The water roils and splashes with life. “It’s like a feeding frenzy,” Alan says, smiling broadly. “It’s a lot of fun.” “When we have company, we love to take them out there,” says Lovelle. “It’s an event. I think it’s my favorite part of the house.” OH Maria Johnson is a contributing editor of O.Henry magazine.
Hansel and Gretel
March 8 - 10, 2019 The Theatre at Well-Spring GreensboroOpera.org (336) 273-9472
NC GLASSFEST A premier sale of handcrafted glass
state of the ART • north carolina
Dead and Gone • Original Artwork Oil on Linen Canvas • 36” x 48” • $3,500
f MeridithMartens.Artist • 910.692.9448
Join us for this celebration of our founders Henry & Lucy and our amazing MGS community.
The delicious three-course meal is served on
MARCH 1, 5:30PM
Christ United Methodist Church Proceeds benefit the Ingram Memorial Endowment Fund
March 2, 2019 9am - 5pm
Glassblowing demonstrations throughout the day
RICHARD VALITUTTO, PIANO
MARCH 1 - 7:30PM
Christ United Methodist Church Brianna Gluszak
For tickets or call 336-638-7624 or visit ticketmetriad.com
100 Russell Drive • Star, NC 27356 (910) 428-9001 • www.STARworksNC.org
Claim your spotlight Rainbow Glass Productions
To advertise here, call 336.707.6893 The Art & Soul of Greensboro
tickets | ucls.uncg.edu
CARRIE MAE WEEMS 02.07.19
Arts & Culture
HERBIE HANCOCK 02.12.19
Photo credit: Douglas Kirkland
MARK MORRIS DANCE GROUP 02.27.19
AUDRA MCDONALD 03.09.19
Photo credit: Allison Michael Orenstein
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Arts & Culture
ABSTRACTS & COLLAGES (FEATURING LITTLE YANNICK & HIS FRIENDS)
FROM GREENSBORO ARTIST
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21 • 6-8 PM
LUNCH & LEARN THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21 11:30 AM-1 PM • $20
Kevin will talk about his Finishing Business, Fe Fi Faux, as well as his paintings
307 State Street, Greensboro | (336) 279-1124 • www.tylerwhitegallery.com 64 O.Henry
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
A L M A N A C
By Ash Alder
Spring violets follow snow; the daffodils push through it. Whoever grumbles curses at this cold month need only witness an explosion of February Gold, the early bloomer that utterly beams with exaltation. We thaw from the inside out. In the garden, wren and titmouse sing out from bare branches, and something within you stirs. You put on the kettle, light a candle, phone a friend you didn’t know could use the extra warmth. Come over, you say, reaching for an extra mug. Some days, just as the daffodils push through snow, your kindness is the February Gold that lights up the world.
Say It in Flowers (or Spoons)
This and every month, red roses say I love you. But if you’re looking to dazzle your sweetheart with something different this Valentine’s Day, here are a few customs from around the world: • Exchange pressed snowdrops (Denmark). • Pin the name of your one true love on your shirtsleeve (South Africa). • Offer carved melons and fruit (China). • Although the Welsh celebrate their patron saint of lovers on Jan. 25, this gift might take the cake: the love spoon. Carved with intricate patterns and symbols, these wooden spoons have been given as tokens of affection for centuries.
Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius. — Pietro Aretino The Art & Soul of Greensboro
There is a privacy about winter which no other season gives you . . . Only in winter can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself. — Ruth Stout, How to Have a Green Thumb without an Aching Back
This Little Piggy
Tuesday, Feb. 5, marks the celebration of the Chinese New Year. Cue the paper lanterns for the Year of the Pig, a year of wealth and good fortune. Also called the Spring Festival, this lunar New Year is considered a fine time to “sweep away” ill fortune and create space for your abundance to arrive. It’s also a fine time for dumplings. Because they resemble ancient gold ingots, Chinese dumplings are made by families on New Year’s Eve for the same reasons we slow-cook black-eyed-peas and collards. In honor of the Year of the Pig, consider trying your hand at homemade dumplings. Or, in case you missed out last month, here’s a Hoppin’ John recipe adapted from The Traveling Spoon Chef on Instagram: Ingredients: 1 pound dried black-eyed peas 10 cups water 1 medium onion, diced 1/4 cup butter 1 ham steak, diced 1 teaspoon liquid smoke 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon pepper 1 bunch chopped kale (optional) 1-2 cups cooked rice (optional) Directions: Soak black-eyed peas overnight in 6 cups of salted water. Rinse and drain well. In a large pot, sauté onion in butter until tender. Next, add one diced ham steak (optional), 4 cups water, liquid smoke, salt and pepper. Add drained black-eyed peas to the pot, cover, and let simmer for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. If desired, stir in kale and rice just before serving. And a pinch of extra luck. “Save some leftovers for the following day,” says the chef, and call it “Skippin’ Jenny.”
The Garden To-Do
This month, plant your greens, Brussels, peas and beets. Turnips and radishes. Broccoli and carrots. Asparagus. And Irish potatoes, three inches deep.
February 2019 Luke Combs Preforms 2/
February 1 RISOTTO MIO! 6 p.m. Risotto is the focus of “Let’s Go to Northern Italy,” with Chef Reto as your guide. Reto’s Kitchen, 600 S. Elam Ave., Greensboro. Tickets: ticketmetriad.com. AUTHORS, AUTHORS. 7 p.m. Meet UNCG M.F.A. students Kris Brunelli and Michael Pittard, who will read from their works. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com. MUSIC FOR A GREAT CAUSE. 7:30 p.m. Help the Shepherd’s Center of Greensboro by attending a benefit concert featuring Trio Valtorna, playing Ravel, Brahms and N.C. Composer Caroline Shaw. Christ United Methodist Church, 410 N. Holden Road, Greensboro. Tickets: ticketmetriad.com. ARLO SHOW. 8 p.m. There’s only one: Folk legend Arlo Guthrie brings his “Alice’s Restaurant Tour” to the stage. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com. SAINTS ALIVE! 8 p.m. The Vagabond Saints cover the tunes of Tom Waits. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.
February 1–3 LAST CHANCE. To see Andy Warhol: Prints, Photographs and Polaroids from the Collection. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.
February 1–17 DEARLY DEPARTED DECADE. The exhibition,
For the Love of Coffee 2/
1960s: Survey of a Decade lingers for another two weeks. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu. LOVE AND LIQUOR. As in, White Lightening, the latest from Triad Stage. Performance times vary. The Pyrle, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or triadstage.org.
February 1–March 22 BLOCK PARTY. Life does give second chances. In case you missed last year’s Reflections of Elegance: Kenneth Paul Block and the Masters of Fashion at Alamance Arts in Graham, try again. Theatre Arts Galleries, 220 E. Commerce Ave., High Point. Info: tagart.org.
February 1–April 13 TWOFER. In the era of Fake Everything, the exhibit Two Artists One Space: Cathy McLaurin/Dane Winkler, seeks out authenticity. Walk-through tour and opening reception 2/8 at 5:30 p.m. GreenHill, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: greenhillnc.org.
February 2 AND THE BEET GOES ON. 10 a.m. Learn how to cook beets at a Local Food Demo with Second Harvest Food Bank. Greensboro Farmers Market, 501 Yanceyville St., Greensboro. Tickets: ticketmetriad.com. FROM THE HEART. 11 a.m. Family cooking class serves up a “Little Love Lunch,” (ages 3 and up). Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. To register: gcmuseum.com. BEERS FOR TEARS? 7 p.m. Not likely. Country crooner Luke Combs brings his “Beer Never Broke My Heart” Tour to town. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.
Pretzel-making Class 2/
AUTHORS, AUTHORS. 7 p.m. Meet poets Steve Cushman, Mike Gaspeny and Janis Harrington. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.
February 3 LOCAL LAGOMORPHS. 4 p.m. The Chatham Rabbits perform cuts from their new album, All I Want From You. The Crown, Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.
February 4 GUT CHECK. Noon. Learn how to eat right at “Trust Your Gut: Probiotics and Prebiotics,” (age 18 and up). Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. To register: ticketmetriad.com.
February 5 CHOW DOWN AND CHILL. 11:45 a.m. Or rather, Lunch and Jazz. Brown bag it to a streaming of jazz from Lincoln Center, with a 15-minute intro from a Jazz Ambassador. High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org. FROM HEART TO STOMACH. 4 p.m. A kids’ cooking class (ages 6–8), “Will You Be Mine,” includes tasty treats and Valentine-making. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. To register: gcmuseum.com.
February 6 & 7 FOOD OF LOVE. 6 p.m. Steak au poivre, shrimp orzo and chocolate . . . find out how to make ’em at “Romantic Dinner for Two.” Reto’s Kitchen, 600 S. Elam Ave., Greensboro. Tickets: ticketmetriad.com.
The Art & Soul of Greensboro
February 7 THE CONVERSATION OF ART. 5 p.m. Local artist Steven Cozart discusses his work in The Pass/Fail Series: Steven Cozart’s Art (through March 8). Sechrest Gallery, HPU, One University Parkway, High Point. Info: hpu.edu. WONDERFUL WEEMS. 6 p.m. As in, Carrie Mae Weems, Falk Visiting Artist, who will discuss her 2008 project, “Constructing History,” at UNCG’s Concert & Lecture Series. Elliott University Center Auditorium, 507 Stirling Street, Greensboro. Info: vpa.uncg.edu. ROOTS REUNION. 7 p.m. Ellie Holcombe rejoins her old band, The Neighbors, fronted by husband Drew at “An Evening with Drew and Ellie Holcombe.” Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-3506 or carolinatheatre.com.
February 7, 9 & 28 SWARM UP. What’s the buzz? Find out, by watching the Greensboro Swarm. Game times vary. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.
February 8 AUTHORS, AUTHORS. 7 p.m. Meet UNCG M.F.A. students Shuvam Kabir and Joey Lew, who will read from their works. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com. STAR-CHRIS’D. 7:30 Rock 92 morning show hosts, Two Guys Named Chris, present a comedy lineup with funnymen Mike Speenberg, James Sibley and Dale Jones. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 3333506 or carolinatheatre.com.
February 9 TOASTED. 8 a.m. Chow down on French Toast prepared by Melt Kitchen & Bar at Love Your Local French Toast Fundraiser. Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville St., Greensboro. Info: gsofarmersmarket.org. INDULGE! 2 p.m. & 6 p.m. Wine & Chocolate Festival. ’Nuf said. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com. MANY HAPPY RETURNS! 6 p.m. To Scuppernong Books, celebrating five years. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com. SPINNING WHEELS. 7:30 p.m. Catch the thrills of off-road motorcycle racing and stunts at Kicker Arenacross. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.
February 10 OPUS CONCERT. 3 p.m. Get ready to cut a rug at the Sweet Sounds Valentine’s Concert and Dance, courtesy of Greensboro Big Band and conductor Mike Day. Berry Hall, Canterbury School, 5400 Old Lake Jeanette Road, Greensboro. Info: gsomusiccenter.com.
February 12 HERBIE: FULLY LOADED. 8 p.m. Loaded with tunes and riffs, that is. Hear jazz great Herbie Hancock, courtesy of UNCG’s Concert & Lecture Series. UNCG Auditorium, 408 Tate Street, Greensboro. Tickets: vpa.uncg.edu.
February 12 & 13 PHO THE FUN OF IT. 6 p.m. A Vietnamese classic takes center stage at The Art & Soul of Greensboro
“Pho is Fun! Easy Asian Part 2.” Reto’s Kitchen, 600 S. Elam Ave., Greensboro. Tickets: ticketmetriad.com
February 13 BEAN SCENE. 6 p.m. At an adult cooking class, “For the Love of Coffee,” Green Bean’s Audrey Sheldon will reveal the key to a damn fine cuppa Joe. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. To register: ticketmetriad.com.
February 14 SHOW TUNES. 8 p.m. Musical theater stars Hugh Panaro and Scarlett Strallen perform faves from Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis, Frozen and more at Greensboro Symphony’s “From Broadway with Love” pops concert. Westover Church, 505 Muirs Chapel Road, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 335-5456, ext. 224 or greensborosymphony.org.
February 15–17 FLIPPANT. See gymnasts perform at the Atlantic Coast Trampoline and Tumbling Invitational. Times vary. Tickets available at the door. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Info: greensborocoliseum.com.
February 16 SNAP TO IT! 6 p.m. With Snap Pea Creative headed by Chef Jacob Boehm, who will prepare a meal from the Edible Schoolyard and local farms. BYOB. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. To register: gcmuseum.com. WARBLING WALKER. 8 p.m. Roots singer/songwriter and local talent Seth Walker takes the stage. The Crown, Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 3333506 or carolinatheatre.com.
February 17 EXHIBIT A. 2 p.m. Demonstrative evidence specialist Thomas Dew discusses how to present crime scene evidence to juries at “Dew Process: Crime Scene Reconstruction,” a lecture courtesy of Murder We Write, the Triad Chapter of International Sisters in Crime. High Point Public Library, 901 N. Main St., High Point. Info: murderwewrite.org.
February 18 ART FOR ALL. 10 a.m. Hear speaker Cheryl Stewart discuss public art. Greensboro History Museum, 130 Summit Ave., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2043 or greensborohistory.org. HISTORY 2.0. 6:30 p.m. Find out the best social media channels for genealogy. High Point Public Library, 901 N. Main St., High Point. Info: highpointmuseum.org.
February 18, 20 & 21 JUST SAY “OUI!” 6 p.m. Learn how to prepare tarragon chicken with shallots and chocolate soufflé at “Bonjour! French Night Out.” Reto’s Kitchen, 600 S. Elam Ave., Greensboro. Tickets: ticketmetriad.com.
February 19 TIC TAC(O) DOUGH. 5 p.m. Tweens (ages 11–14) learn knife skills and how to make tortillas from scratch at Taco Tuesday. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. To register: gcmuseum.com. PHILLY FARE. 7 p.m. Given the choice of a wealthy industrialist, a roguish ex-husband and a charming newspaper reporter, what’s a socialite to do? See The Philadelphia Story, starring
Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and James Stewart. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 3333506 or carolinatheatre.com. A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE. 7:30 p.m. Guilford College Bryan Series presents Dr. Paul Farmer, who will discuss his work providing first-rate medical care to some of the world’s poorest citizens. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.
February 20 AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet poet Lindsay Bernal, author of What It Doesn’t Have to Do With: Poems. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.
February 21 AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 4 p.m. Meet Cathryne Schmitz, author of Critical Multiculturalism and Intersectionality in a Complex World. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.
February 21 & 23 RHAPSODIC. 8 p.m. Bartok, Kodaly, Brahms. Hear ’em all at “Austro-Hungarian Delight,” part of Greensboro Symphony’s Tanger Outlets Masterworks Series. Dana Auditorium, 5800 W. Friendly Ave., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 335-5456, ext. 224 or greensborosymphony.org.
February 21–March 22 ARTY PARTY. Kick off an exhibit featuring the work of local artist Kevin Rutan, with a lunch-and-learn at 1 p.m. on 2/21 and an artist’s reception at 6 p.m. The O’Brien Gallery, 307 State St., Greensboro. To reserve a spot: (336) 279-1124.
February 22 CHEAP EATS. 6 p.m. Learn some tips to eating well on a budget at an adult cooking class, “Good and Cheap.” Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. To register: ticketmetriad.com. AUTHORS, AUTHORS. 7 p.m. Meet UNCG M.F.A. students Richard Moriarty and Wes Sexton, who will read from their works. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.
February 23 SPROUT AND ABOUT. 10 a.m. A family cooking class (ages 3 and up) teaches you how to grow your own sprouts with windowsill gardening. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. To register: gcmuseum.com. TWIST AND SHOUT. 3 p.m. Kids ages 8–11 will be rolling in dough at a pretzel-making class. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. To register: gcmuseum.com. SCRAM TO THE JAM. 6 p.m. Winter Jam 2019, that is. The Christian rock extravaganza features the sounds of Newsboys United, Danny Gokey, Mandisa, Rend Collective and more. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Tickets: A $15 donation is accepted at the door.
February 24 HOPPIN’ AND HOPIN’. 2 p.m. See some international moves at Hope Fest, a dance festival benefiting Urban Ministry and A Simple Gesture, both of which combat hunger in the community. First Lutheran Church, 3600 W. Friendly Ave., Greensboro. Info: firstlutheran.com. February 2019
Arts Calendar February 26
SUFFERING IN SILENCE. 7 p.m. A tortured love triangle among two soldiers and a countess is the stuff of the silent-era classic Flesh and the Devil, starring Greta Garbo and John Gilbert. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-3506 or carolinatheatre.com.
February 26 & 27 OLE! 6 p.m. Take a bow after preparing tapas dishes at “Spanish Tapas Night.” Reto’s Kitchen, 600 S. Elam Ave., Greensboro. Tickets: ticketmetriad.com.
February 27 MEMORIES OF ANNE. 7 p.m. Discover another side to Anne Frank, as told by her stepsister Eva Schloss, who recounts their childhood days prior to the Holocaust that engulfed them. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-3506 or carolinatheatre.com. MORRIS DANCERS. 8 p.m. No, not the English folk steppers sporting bells, but contemporary company Mark Morris Dance Troupe. See ’em in action at UNCG’s Concert & Lecture Series. UNCG Auditorium, 408 Tate Street, Greensboro. Tickets: vpa.uncg.edu.
February 28 ROOT LOOT. 6 p.m. Sweet potatoes, rutabagas and pah-snips are the stars of an adult cooking class, “Eat the Season — Root Vegetables.” Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. To register: ticketmetriad.
WEEKLY HAPPENINGS Mondays BUZZING. 10 a.m. Your busy little bees engage in a Busy Bees preschool program focusing on music, movement, garden exploration and fun in the kitchen. (Members only). Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. Preregistration: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com. CHAT-EAU. Noon. French leave? Au contraire! Join French Table, a conversation group. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.
Tuesdays READ ALL ABOUT IT. Treat your little ones to story times: BookWorms (ages 12–24 months) meets at 10 a.m.; Time for Twos meets at 11 a.m. Storyroom; Family Storytime for all ages meets at 6:30 p.m. High Point Public Library, 901 N. Main St., High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or highpointpubliclibrary.com. ONCE UPON A TIME. 2 p.m. Afterschool Storytime convenes for children of all ages. Storyroom, High Point Public Library, 901 N. Main St., High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or highpointpubliclibrary.com. THEY GOT RHYTHM. 3:30 p.m. Introduce your kiddies (ages 3–5) to music and the great outdoors at “Nature Beats,” which introduces children to the marvels of nature through instruments, song and dance. (2/26 through 4/2). Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. To register: gcmuseum.com.
THEY GOT ALGORITHM. 3:45 p.m. At Techie Kids, children ages 6–8 learn the rudiments of writing code. (2/26 through 4/2). Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. To register: gcmuseum.com. PICKIN’ AND GRINNIN’ 6 until 9 p.m. Y’all come for Songs from a Southern Kitchen, featuring: Doug Baker & Mark Dillon (2/5), Dave Ray Cecil & Jack King (2/15), Windfall (2/19) and Lynn Koonce & Raymond Brooks (2/26). Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 W. Westover Terrace, Greensboro. Info: (336) 370-0707 or lucky32.com/fried_chicken.htm. CREATIVE KIN. 5 to 7 p.m. Moms, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins: Enjoy a free evening of artistic expression at ArtQuest. GreenHill, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 greenhillnc.org. MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7 until 10 p.m. Mussels with house-cut fries for $15, wines from $10–15 a bottle and live music by AM rOdeO — at Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 379-0699 or printworksbistro. com/live_music.htm.
Thursdays TWICE UPON A TIME. 11 a.m. Preschool Storytime convenes for children ages 3–5. Storyroom, High Point Public Library, 901 N. Main St., High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or highpointpubliclibrary.com. ALL THAT JAZZ. 5:30 until 8 p.m. Hear live, local jazz with Dave Fox, Neill Clegg and Matt Kendrick (aka the O.Henry Trio) and featured artists Jessica Mashburn (2/7), Joey Barnes (2/14), Vaughan Penn (2/21) and Clinton Horton (2/28). All performances are at the O.Henry Hotel Social Lobby Bar. No
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cover. 624 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 8542000 or www.ohenryhotel.com/jazz.htm. JAZZ NIGHT. 7 p.m. Fresh-ground, fresh-brewed coffee is served with a side of jazz at Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754 or www.tatestreetcoffeehouse.com. OPEN MIC COMEDY. 8–9:35 p.m. Local pros and amateurs take the mic at the Idiot Box, 2134 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699 or idiotboxers.com.
Fridays THE HALF OF IT. 5 p.m. Enjoy the hands-on exhibits and activities for half the cost of admission at $5 Fun Fridays ($3 on First Fridays). Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com.
Fridays & Saturdays NIGHTMARES ON ELM STREET. 8 p.m. A 90-minute, historical, candlelit ghost walking tour of Downtown Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 905-4060 or carolinahistoryandhaunts.com/ information.
Saturdays TO MARKET, TO MARKET. 7 a.m. until noon. The produce is fresh and the cut fleurs belles. Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville St., Greensboro. Info: gsofarmersmarket.org. THRICE UPON A TIME. 11 a.m. Hear a good yarn at Children’s Storytime. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.
GENIUS AND JAVA. 11:15 a.m. With a cup of Joe as inspiration, create that masterpiece at Coffee and Canvas, which pairs painting and sipping. Cost is $5 and includes art supplies and bean. Griffin Recreation Center, 5301 Hilltop Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2928 or email Latrisha.Carmon@ greensboro-nc.gov. WRITE IS MIGHT. 3 p.m. Avoid writer’s block by joining a block of writers at Come Write In, a confab of scribes who discuss their literary projects. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com. JAZZ ENCORE. 6:30 p.m. Hear contemporary jazz cats, Steve Haines, Greg Hyslop, Chad Eby & a surprise guest vocalist (2/2); Aaron Matson, Dan Hitchcock, Andrew Berinson & Aaron Gross (2/9); Nishah DeMeo & her band (2/16); and Lalenja Harrington & the O.Henry Trio (2/23), while noshing on seasonal tapas at O.Henry Jazz series for Select Saturdays. O.Henry Hotel, 624 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 854-2000 or ohenryhotel.com. IMPROV COMEDY. 10 p.m. on Saturday, plus an 8 p.m. show appropriate for the whole family. The Idiot Boxers create scenes on the spot and build upon the ideas of others, creating shows that are one-of-a-kind — at the Idiot Box, 2134 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699 or idiotboxers.com.
Saturdays & Sundays KIDS’ CRAFTS. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop — unless you enroll Junior in one of three structured activities at Greensboro Children’s Museum: Art Studio encourages making art in all kinds of media; at Music Makers kids can shake, rattle and roll with percussion instruments; while Get Moving! inspires physical activities. Times and dates vary. Greensboro
Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or send an email mailto: email@example.com.
Sundays GROOVE AND GRUB. 11 a.m. Chow down on mouthwatering Southern brunch fare (biscuits, anyone?), courtesy of Chef Irvin J. Williams, while students from the Miles David Jazz Program serenade you with smooth jazz. The Historic Magnolia House, 442 Gorrell St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 6173382 or thehistoricmagnoliahouse.com. HALF FOR HALF-PINTS. 1 p.m. And grown-ups, too. A $5 admission, as opposed to the usual $10, will allow you entry to exhibits and more. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com. MISSING YOUR GRANDMA? 3 p.m. until it’s gone: Tuck into Chef Felicia’s skillet-fried chicken, and mop that cornbread in, your choice, giblet gravy or potlikker. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 W. Westover Terrace, Greensboro. Info: (336) 370-0707 or lucky32.com/fried_chicken.htm.
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PLEASE ADOPT • Check your car before starting. Cats often seek warmth under the hood. Tap your hood or honk your horn to make sure your car is clear. • Consider using booties to protect your dog’s paws and a sweater to stay warm. • Use a non-toxic, animal friendly de-iceing solution.
We hope you and your pets stay warm and safe this winter
1052 GRECADE ST. | GREENSBORO, NC 27408 Conveniently located in Midtown
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Women Build Sip & Say Hello Habitat Greensboro Women Build Tuesday, November 27, 2018 Photographs by Lynn Donovan
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There are times when it’s smarter to lease than to sell your home. Call me when you think you’re there! I’ll be pleased to discuss how Burkely Rental Homes can help you.
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GreenScene CFGG Heritage Society Monday, December 3, 2018
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The Running of the Balls Sunset Hills, Greensboro, NC Saturday, December 15, 2018 Photographs by Lynn Donovan
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LET US BE YOUR MATCHMAKER
22 Fountain Manor Drive | Greensboro | $229,000
Fountain Manor - Great Location! 3 Bedrooms, 3 Baths, Nine ft ceilings, hardwoods on main level, large kitchen with stainless appliances. Sunroom with skylights. Large upper level Master & dressing area. Enclosed brick patio. 3 Beds 3 Full Baths.
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Toys for Joy Holiday Luncheon Women of the UNCG Board of Trustees & Jacquelean Gilliam Tuesday, December 4, 2018 Photographs by Lynn Donovan
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knitting Shop LocaL for Best Prices 1614-C WEST FRIENDLY AVENUE GREENSBORO, NC 27403 336-272-2032 firstname.lastname@example.org
We Service What We Sell & Offer Personal Attention 336-854-9222 • www.HartApplianceCenter.com
2201 Patterson Street, Greensboro, NC (2 Blocks from the Coliseum) Mon. - Fri.: 9:30am - 5:30 pm Sat. 10 am - 2 pm • Closed Sunday
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Practicing Commercial Real Estate by the Golden Rule Bill Strickland, CCIM Commercial Real Estate Broker/REALTOR 336.369.5974 | email@example.com
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There’s so much going on in Greensboro and O.Hey wants to tell you all about it. Think of us as your new friend in the know. Go to www.oheygreensboro.com to sign up and pop over to Facebook and Instagram and follow us. When something happens, you’ll want to hear -O.Hey!
ASHMORE RARE COinS & MEtAlS Since 1987
• 30+ years as a major dealer of Gold, Silver, and Coins • Most respected local dealer for appraising and buying Coin Collections, Gold, Silver, Diamond Jewelry and Sterling Flatware • Investment Gold, Silver, & Platinum Bullion
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5725 W. Friendly Ave. Ste 112 • Greensboro, NC 27410 Across the street from the entrance to Guilford College
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2222 Patterson St. 2222 #APatterson St. #A YOUR LOCAL Greensboro, NC 27407 Greensboro, NC 27407 OPTICAL SHOP 336.852.7107 336.852.7107 www.houseofeyes.com www.houseofeyes.com Since 1980 Only one block from Onlythe onecoliseum. block from the coliseum.
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The Accidental Astrologer
Fanciful February This month’s star children are intelligent, intense, creative and sensitive
By Astrid Stellanova
Some of my best friends are February-born, and they bring a lot to the
table. They are intense. Intelligent. Sometimes standoffish. But best known as creative and sensitive. They do something with that intellect, too. Did you know if you’re February born, you are very likely to become famous? At least three presidents (Washington, Lincoln, and Reagan) were born in February Liz Taylor, Steve Jobs, and Michael Jordan are all February babies, too. Fancy that, Star Children.
Aquarius (January 20–February 18) Friends say you’ve been acting more stuck up than a light pole, Sugar. And the reason is why, exactly? You got to this place in life by paying attention. If you can do that, there is an excellent reason for you to stick your nose upward when you win the big prize you seek. You are a gifted and talented star child. It shows. Pisces (February 19–March 20) You are a tad bit tetchy these days. After fending off more trouble than a one-eyed horse running at Churchill Downs, you did your best, and Sugar, you came oh-soclose to a photo finish. But, you got shoved to the inside, and second place didn’t feel good. The thing you Pisces children have going for you is more determination than Seabiscuit. Aries (March 21–April 19) You’re off like a dirty shirt the first time someone ticks you off. When was the last time you took a day off just for quiet time and dialed things back several degrees? It’s time to let more roll off your back and forget all the slights. Taurus (April 20–May 20) Lord, Honey, let’s get past the cooling of the Earth and try and live in the present without all this scorekeeping. Yes indeedy, you were right about a point you made. And you drew a line. But the price was wa-a-ay too high. Maybe slide that line over? Gemini (May 21–June 20) You had a handle on things but it broke off, right? You knew before you were stretched thin, and then life showed you just how thin it really was. Now is a time for the easy option. Get centered, Sweet Thing. Cancer (June 21–July 22) What happened was about as funny as a three-legged dog race — not a bit funny. Now, don’t waste your time expecting a real apology. But as the person who insulted you sobers/grows/wises up, he will wish he had been kinder.
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Leo (July 23–August 22) If somebody gave you two nickels for a dime, you’d act like you were rich. Is that optimism? Or is it just a little bit nutty? You must pay attention to where the money flows this year and not play Diamond Jim. Nickels matter. Virgo (August 23–September 22) Your allies would support you no matter what. But when you saw a snake and called it a lizard, you overplayed your hand. Give them every reason to stay in your corner. They will tip things in your favor. But don’t underestimate your allies. Libra (September 23–October 22) Feeling lonely as a loblolly pine tree in a parking lot, are you, Sweet Thing? Well, it is a cold winter, and you struggle till the sun shines, and life feels good. It will feel good again, but you are coming through the most difficult passage and know it. Scorpio (October 23–November 21) They peed down your back and said it was raining. That ripped your shirt, alright. But you are not stupid. You still see them as an asset. Good enough, Honey. But keep both eyes open in this pending venture. Sagittarius (November 22—December 21) That dog just won’t hunt and you know it straight down to your tippy toes. Even so, Sugar, it’s a real sweet dog and you want to keep it. Not all causes are lost — just one that you have been so committed to for about a year too long. Deep breaths, Sugar. Capricorn (December 22–January 19) The problem with somebody you look to for advice is this: If they’re moving their lips, they’re lying. But what wildly entertaining tales they can tell! You feel protective and that is another reason you are so committed to them, mother figure. OH
For years, Astrid Stellanova owned and operated Curl Up and Dye Beauty Salon in the boondocks of North Carolina until arthritic fingers and her popular astrological readings provoked a new career path. February 2019
Mad Bride Sydrome
By Cynthia Adams
The average American wedding now
costs over $33,000. Everything about a wedding reads like fiction. Case in point: the wedding of a young friend I’ll call Heather.
Heather, a normally even-tempered girl with a serious job, descended into MBS — Mad Bride Syndrome. Notably, she opted into an honored wedding tradition: attention-hogging. She was careful not to include attractive women in her party. Heather’s a looker — sleekly athletic — but not a single one of her bridesmaids was of more than average looks and none had Heather’s stunning figure. Even the flower girl was cute, but not too cute. I love weddings. Where else do you get so much theater and drama, with champagne and cake served at the end? And though I may seem a willing party to many, I am the last person anyone should consult. (I tied the knot at another friend’s wedding, discretely taking my vows inside a utility closet during their reception rather than going through the whole drama. We splashed out on a great honeymoon instead.) The fact that brides still sometimes seek my opinion tells me something: Their inner circle threw up their hands and gave up. As someone known to court disaster, seeking my counsel reveals a level of total desperation with wedding planning. Heather began texting me things that had me questioning her rational mind: What did I think about script versus block text on the wedding program? What did I think about a Tyrannosaurus rex groom cake for Les, who loved dinosaurs as a child? What do you think about the playlist for the reception? U2 first, or Fergie? Lex likes U2, but I dunno, she texted. Huh? Heather’s increasingly nutty messages made me gawk but, this doozy
zipped onto my phone screen at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday: I don’t want visible panty lines at the wedding. What do you think if I tell the bridesmaids not to wear underwear? Bridesmaids going commando? Heather hammered out this message while testing 10 different fingernail polishes — each fingernail a different color — while working her power job as an assistant district attorney. She spent that day asking felons, court reporters, and even one probation officer, what they thought of the various polish colors — Shell, Veil, Whisper, Nice and Naughty, Sassy and Bridal Slipper. Heather has a good memory, so she had each color memorized. She was truly ticked off at what one uppity clerk had to say. Thing is, I don’t even recall what I replied to Heather’s panty query. But on the Big Day, I could not drag my eyes from their derrières as they made their pantyless way down the aisle. The only competing thing that drew my eyes away from their bottoms was their hair. Bridal hair deserves its own essay. Heather’s bridal hair was Marge Simpson–huge, and the bridal party’s updos appeared to be sized in descending order of importance. But Heather isn’t alone in lusting for something magical atop her head. My mother has dedicated, by my quick calculations, at least $99,600 and more than 204 days of her life — nearly a full year — to her hair. My sister inherited the trait. On her birthday, she sent me an email about a recent hairdo gone wrong. When I asked exactly how bad her hair was, she emailed back something about Dog, a TV bounty hunter and his mullet. I asked if she had wanted a mullet. Actually no, she replied. But if I knew about Dog, I also knew about his wife, who had a hair color even worse than his. Whose hair looked more chewed than cut. My sister added she was pretty certain that when she sat her ass down at the salon, she hadn’t requested to be a reality celebrity look alike to Dog’s wife. It was a slow morning, so I mulled over Dog’s mullet and chewed-off hair. I mulled over Heather’s quest to be perfection from fingertip to wobbly bottoms and towering tops. At Heather’s outdoor wedding, I was tapped to do a poetic reading, as lightning flashed and a deluge broke. Rat wet, with multiple hair products streaming down my face, I determinedly, gamely, gripped the microphone and invoked Pablo Neruda’s poetry. Taking my seat, I am sure I heard the whisper: “You know who she looks like? Have you ever seen that bounty hunter’s wife?” OH Cynthia Adams has spent the past year trying to undo a hair-misfire. She remains mesmerized by weddings. The Art & Soul of Greensboro
ILLUSTRATION BY HARRY BLAIR
Going whole hog — or whole Dog — over weddings
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