Local Gifts Worth Giving
Leonard Young's National Black Guide
Sug Daniels Is on the Move
DECEMBER 2021 COMPLIMENTARY
CENTURY MARK WFD: Celebrating a milestone, healing from a tragedy
DTC MDQ Out and About.pdf
COME SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROLL WITH DTC!
COLIN ESCOTT & FLOYD MUTRIX FLOYD MUTRIX
ORIGINAL CONCEPT & DIRECTION BY
DIRECTED BY MATT
DECEMBER 1956. FOUR LEGENDARY MUSICIANS. ONE UNFORGETTABLE NIGHT IN ROCK ’N’ ROLL HISTORY.
ETS TICK AS OW L S A
DECEMBER 1–19, 2021 DELAWARETHEATRE.ORG / 302.594.1100 For DTC’s health and safety policies, please visit our website or call the box office.
2 DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
rr e er ry y M M
tm st ma i is r r ass h h C C to to all all
Dec. 2: Pop-up record shop @ Wilm. Brew Works @ 6pm Dec. 5: Live Music with: Gravers Lane / Well Wisher Doors open @ 5:30 ~ Vax Cards & Masks a must $10.00 at the door Dec. 15: Get your vinyl on with a storewide 10% off sale! Dec. 31: Spend $100 get a $15 gift card!*
*1 per customer
302-510-9429 1901 w. 11th street Wilmington, Delaware 19805
ESTHETICIANS & COSMETOLOGISTS
Christiana Fashion Center | 302 731 2700 Wilmington 5603 Concord Pike | 302 529 8888 waxcenter.com *First Wax Free offer: First-time guests only. Valid only for select services. Additional terms may apply. Participation may vary; please visit waxcenter.com for general terms and conditions. European Wax Center locations are individually owned and operated. © 2021 EWC Franchise, LLC. All rights reserved. European Wax Center® is a registered trademark.
e v E s ’ r a e Y w e N AT THE GRAND
–– A not-for-profit arts organization ––
Delaware Symphony Orchestra Music Director David Amado
Guest Artists from OperaDelaware Broadway’s Tony®-Award Winner Brian Stokes Mitchell Honorary Chair: Mrs. Tatiana Copeland
December 31 at 7:30PM | TheGrandWilmington.org/NYE
Jane Lynch’s A Swingin’ Little Christmas! FRI | DEC 3 | 8PM | $31-$46
The Wizards of Winter
FRI | DEC 10 | 8PM | $34-$40
FRI | DEC 17 | 8PM | $35-$45 Fans of Trans-Siberian Orchestra will love this rocking way to celebrate the holidays
Whitney Cummings: Touch Me Tour SAT | FEB 5 | 8PM | $28-$40
Jane Lynch (Glee) brings Kate Flannery (The Office) and more to celebrate the holidays.
SUN | JAN 16 | 7PM | $40-$50 The HBCU percussion band experience comes alive!
The music of FRANKIE VALLI AND THE FOUR SEASONS comes to life
SAT | FEB 5 | 8PM | $33
SNL and Comedy Central favorite who calls them like he sees them
TheGrandWilmington.org 302.652.5577 | 302.888.0200
818 N. Market Street, Wilmington, DE 19801 This program is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.
Comedian, actress, filmmaker, and podcaster – she’ll have you LOL-ing
OPTIONS FOR ENTRY OR
PROOF OF VACCINE
NEGATIVE COVID-19 TEST
Masks Required Indoors Regardless of Vaccination Status
All tickets subject to box office service charges. Artists, dates, times and programs are subject to change.
DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
6 DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
Kenny Family ShopRites of Delaware are grateful to all our team members and excited to honor those celebrating their 25th anniversary with us!
Stephan Aghazadian Elizabeth Baginski Jill Baker Elizabeth Beatty Christopher Blanco Jaime Bush Michele Cammisa William Cathcart Lisa Chacosky Steven Chandler Albert Chavarria Katherine Chilcoat James Ciamaricone Kenneth Conway Lois Decker Deborah Dodds Mary Doherty-Cantler James Drummond Kisha Eatmon Kimberly Fenimore Nicholas Fugolino
Jimmy Gilbert, Jr. Melissa Gilbert Adam Gonzalez Randall Gordy Brett Grussemeyer Robert Hill Earl Hood Raymond Howard, Jr. Pamela Jacobs Elizabeth Johnson Francis Kulmaczeski Christopher Lario Stacy Leathern Earl Loﬂand, III Edward Mahaney Doris Martin Albert Matthews, Jr. Pamela Mcvey William Mestro, Jr. Shannon Mills Dawn Moore
Juan Morales Walter Murphy, Jr. Tina Nichols Robert Pierce Marsha Pollack Connie Pratt Diane Proﬃtt Richard Schaener David Schropp, Jr. William Sell Jennifer Selvaggi Christine Stracka Sheryl Sutton Pamela Sweatt Brian Tabor David Thomas Elaine Underwood Claire Ward James Watson Linda Weldin DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM 7 Suzanne Wisnewski
Light up the Holiday with fun delottery.com It’s the Law: You must be 18 years of age or older to purchase Delaware Lottery tickets. Play Responsibly: If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call the Delaware Council on Gambling Problems Helpline: 1-888-850-8888 or visit deproblemgambling.org
6 DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
2 INSIDE 2
Out & About Magazine Vol. 34 | No. 10
START 11 From the Publisher 13 War on Words 15 Learn 17 Innovation 19 FYI 23 Building Black Business
FOCUS 28 Local Gifts Worth Giving 31 Art Loop December 32 Gut-Check at the Century Mark
37 A Hometown Hospitality Group
Published each month by TSN Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact@TSNPub.com Wilmington, DE 19801 Publisher Gerald duPhily • firstname.lastname@example.org Director of Publications Jim Miller • email@example.com
41 Sug Daniels Is on the Move
WATCH 45 Two for the Show
DRINK 49 The Wine Merchant of Centreville
Contributing Editor Bob Yearick • firstname.lastname@example.org
Creative Director & Production Manager Matthew Loeb, Catalyst Visuals, LLC
Digital Services Director Michael O’Brian Contributing Designer Blair Lindley, Catalyst Visuals, LLC, Contributing Writers Jill Althouse-Wood, Danielle Bouchat-Friedman, Adriana Camacho-Church, JulieAnne Cross, David Ferguson, Mark Fields, Pam George, Lauren Golt, Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald, Ken Mammarella, Matt Morrissette, John Murray, Larry Nagengast, Kevin Noonan, Scott Pruden, Leeann Wallett
Contributing Photographers Jim Coarse, Justin Heyes and Joe del Tufo/Moonloop Photography, Butch Comegys, Lindsay duPhily, Matthew Loeb, Matt Urban Special Projects John Holton, Bev Zimmermann
53 Fill in the Blanks
54 In the City 56 On the Riverfront On the cover: Wilmington Fire Department Chief John Looney proudly leads city firefighters into the department’s second century. Photo by Joe Del Tufo
41 EVENTS CALENDAR
All new inWilmDE.com coming this month.
All new inWilmDE.com coming this month.
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Editorial & advertising info: 302.655.6483 • Fax 302.654.0569 outandaboutnow.com • email@example.com DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
Holiday Shop & Stroll on Brandywine Boulevard in the Town of Bellefonte Every Thursday leading up to Christmas December 2nd, 9th and 16th Shops will stay open until 7 p.m. Fun Family activities,
Food trucks & more! Then head to Bellefonte Cafe for dinner & live music!
Enjoy the uniqueness of small town holiday shopping just minutes from the city!
10 DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
From The Publisher
ast month, I attended a reception announcing City Theater Company’s new partnership with The Delaware Contemporary. Beginning Dec. 10, CTC will present its mainstage productions in the museum’s new black box performance space. In other words, two autonomous arts organizations are now operating under one roof. During the reception, CTC Artistic Director Kerry Kristine McElrone got a chuckle from those in attendance when she not-so-accidentally thanked COVID — then redirected the thanks to COVID relief funds — for underwriting the necessary upgrades to the new performance space. But as the chuckles subsided, I thought to myself: You know, thanking COVID may sound strange, but it isn’t wrong. COVID-19 certainly knocked us out of our daily rhythm. And it provided plenty of quiet time for indepth introspection. So, would this creative collaboration between CTC and TDC have happened otherwise? Would a lot of the new strategies developing across all industries be taking place were there no pandemic? I know of no business — or individual — that has simply picked up where they left off before COVID-19. In fact, the changes we have made here at TSN Media are head-spinning when I pause to consider. Necessity is, indeed, the mother of invention. And moving forward, the creative economy will continually need to live up to its name. Sure, COVID relief funds helped appoint TDC’s new Black Box space with state-of-the-art equipment. But it will take the ingenuity of both TDC and CTC to ensure that investment pays dividends. To their credit, these organizations are working in tandem to face the challenges ahead. And to that I say, bravo. Creative collaboration. For those in the arts community, those should be keywords in 2022. Now is the time to reinvent, rethink, reimagine. COVID
relief funding was just a life rope. It will be up to each organization to pull itself into the boat. That challenge is significantly easier with less weight (overhead). Or with the strength of an extra pair of hands (creative partner). Grants and donations will remain vital; however, we must recognize that government will be charged to replenish the coffers that provided those rescue funds. Furthermore, we must prepare for traditional funders to be more selective as they see requests for funds far outweigh the supply. So, why not put your organization in a better position by demonstrating the inventive ways you’ve found to stretch your dollar? Explore opportunities to split space, cooperatively market, barter supplies and share personnel. Several months ago, I had an individual responsible for corporate giving say to me: “Why does it seem like I’m getting five requests to fund the same thing?” “That’s because you probably are,” I answered honestly. But what if those five organizations collaborated and made one request? It won’t work for every situation, but you might be surprised by how often it does — especially when the focus remains on the mission, not maintaining status quo. Too often we resort to collaboration as an option of last resort. Why not reverse that thinking? Collaboration not only sends a positive message to funders, everyone involved also reaps the benefit of collective thought. In August 2019, two likeminded but separate organizations — Wilmington Renaissance Corporation and Wilmington Leadership Alliance — merged to create Wilmington Alliance. An internal goal of the move was to make 1 + 1 = 3. So far, that math is adding up for the Alliance. In fact, there’s a term for such an equation: synergy arithmetic. It may be new to the lexicon, but it’s one we should embrace as we emerge from this pandemic — Jerry duPhily
Too often we resort to collaboration as an option of last resort. Why not reverse that thinking?
DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
O&A Dec 21.qxp_FullPageBleed 11/19/21 2:40 PM Page 1
Introducing a special Offer,
purchase a Zoo Household membership and get four free passes to the Delaware Children’s Museum in addition to all the other discounts and perks provided to Zoo Members.
See membership categories and benefits online. There are three ways to order. Online, Call (302) 571-7788, or visit Zootique Gift Shop and get 10% discount on your purchases as a member.
Lock in a Household membership at $60 now before the price changes to $75 for 2022
Upcoming Zoo events: Dec. 1, 4, 8, 11, 15,18: Little Nature Explorers Dec. 4, 18: Make a Holiday Gift Workshop Dec 11,12: Santa at the Zoo Dec. 17: Behind the Scenes Virtual Field Trip Dec. 31: Noon Year’s Eve
Join Today or Give as a Gift: brandywinezoo.org/membership Brandywine Zoo, Wilmington, DE • FREE PARKING
1001 North Park Drive, Wilmington, Delaware 19802 • Open every day 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Brandywine Zoo is managed by the Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation, with the support of the Delaware Zoological Society.
A writer/editor’s slightly snarky and relentless crusade to eliminate grammatical gaffes from our everyday communications
Compiled from the popular column in Out & About Magazine
THE WAR ON WORDS A monthly column in which we attempt, however futilely, to defend the English language against misuse and abuse
HOLIDAY TIME As Christmas arrives, remember how to pluralize your family name. Sign those cards “The Smiths,” not "The Smith’s" or “The Smiths’" — no apostrophes! MEDIA WATCH • Josh Tolentino, in The Philadelphia Inquirer, committed a hall-of-fame-level dangling modifier: “Once considered a position of need, the Eagles signed veteran Steven Nelson during training camp to help solidify their depth and experience at defensive back.” The position of need is not the Eagles; it’s defensive back, which appears at the end of the sentence! • Dan Wolken, in USA TODAY, perpetrated this 44-word example of bad, redundant writing: “We should know better than to look toward college sports looking for logical solutions to problems, for cooler heads to prevail or for grown-ups to actually look out for the welfare of the so-called student-athletes as much as they like to pretend they do.” • The Associated Press, describing the Atlanta Braves’ victory parade: “The route took the busses, floats, and pickup trucks past a memorial to late Hall of Famer Hank Aaron . . .” We’re sure there were many kisses (busses) thrown at the Braves, but they were riding in buses. • Eagles Coach Nick Sirianni, during one of his oral-salad press conferences: “We need to hone in on being able to make throws from the pocket.” One homes in on an objective. Hone means to sharpen. • Like “home in,” “tough row to hoe” is often misused, as in this example from Politico, submitted by reader Joe Martz: “‘The committee has a tough road to hoe,’ said former House counsel Stan Brand.” The phrase refers to hoeing a row of crops on a farm. Hoeing a road is impractical, if not impossible. • A host on 97.5 The Fanatic: “Sam Darnold deserves a healthy modicum of respect.” A modicum is by definition small; it cannot be healthy. • Reader Debbie Layton submits her pet peeve from a story about Delaware health sites in The News Journal: “These staffing issues have resulted in nurses caring for more patients than what
Word of the Month
attrite Pronounced uh-TRYT, as an adjective it means regretting one’s wrongdoing only because of fear of punishment. As a verb it means to wear down, erode, or weaken through sustained attacks, friction, etc.
By Bob Yearick
many feel is safe.” “Why,” Debbie asks, “is ‘what’ necessary here?” • Similarly, The Inquirer’s Josh Tolentino wrote this about a fan throwing flowers at the Eagles head coach: “Sirianni did give a long look in the direction where they came from as a security officer guided him into the tunnel.” Where is a sloppy addition to this sentence.
DEPARTMENT OF REDUNDANCIES DEPT. Bill Cosby’s spokesman said his legal team “will vigorously fight any alleged allegations.” Mike Freeman in USA TODAY: “It is one of the most unique stories told about race, . . .” re Colin Kaepernick’s Netflix series Colin in Black and White. Two pages later Mike Jones authored this sentence: “There he [Ravens QB Lamar Jackson] was again, . . . further proving himself as one of the most unique talents the league has ever seen.” Note to Freeman and Jones: Unique means “one of a kind.” It has no degrees, takes no adjectives. PARTIAL CORRECTION Reader Geena Khomenko George disputes a redundancy we cited in October: “Despite your comment, ‘the play is under further review’ is actually correct. The initial review of the play was made by the officials on the field. Further review is conducted when the call on the field is challenged.” Turns out Geena is correct when referring to the college game, where a replay official must review every play. In the NFL, however, only scoring plays and those involving change of possession are routinely reviewed. In the final two minutes, plays are subject to review from NFL observers upstairs. LITERALLY OF THE MONTH Sixers Coach Doc Rivers doubled down in The Inquirer when asked if the team has to assume Ben Simmons will play for them this season: “Well, we have to. As a coach I’m literally in a tough spot, right? We literally have to.”
Follow me on Twitter: @thewaronwords
NOTE: To acquire Greer Firestone’s new book, Alexei and Rasputin, go to GreerFirestone.com. The second r was missing from the October FYI listing.
Buy The War on Words book at the Hockessin Book Shelf (hockessinbookshelf.com) or call me at 302-482-3737.
It's time for holiday shopping!
Wilmington Alliance, Downtown Visions and Cornerstone West are partnering to support our local entrepreneurs. From December 1st through the 12th, small businesses accross our city will be offering holiday promotions and special deals that you won't want to miss! Make an impact this season and remember to SHOP LOCAL and SUPPORT SMALL. To view the full list of participating businesses, visit www.wilmingtonMADE.com or www.downtownWilmingtonDE.com
WILMINGTONMADE is powered by Wilmington Alliance
14 DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
The Passion to Make a Difference Congratulations, Wilmington University Classes of 2020 and 2021!
n October 3, 2021, Wilmington University honored more than 6,600 graduates during its 49th and 50th Commencement ceremonies at the Chase Center on the Riverfront. It was the first time the University held its graduation ceremonies since January 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the excitement in the building was palpable. Members of the Classes of 2020 and 2021 hail from 80 countries, representing Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe. The most distant graduates live in Japan and South Korea. The youngest was 18 years old; the oldest, 82. More than 1,700 completed their degrees entirely online. Now, they join the WilmU Alumni Association, which hosts over 64,000 members. Reflecting on the extraordinary and challenging circumstances facing these students as they pursued their degrees, Wilmington University faculty and staff were struck by the passion exhibited by the 2020 and 2021 graduates—the passion to excel, reach for dreams, work through adversity, and make a difference in their communities. This passion was evident in commencement addresses given throughout the day. The speakers shared their WilmU experiences and reflected on how their families, as well as WilmU faculty and staff, supported them in realizing their goals. Dr. Lemar T. White, who completed his M.S. in Accounting, has a devoted history with Wilmington University. His accounting degree is the third master’s he has earned through WilmU, and he has taught at the University as an adjunct professor for more than 10 years. The Barbados native currently works at Google as its diversity, equity and inclusion learning strategist and emphasized how actions speak louder than words. “We all had dreams of someday graduating with our degrees,” White reflected. “But we didn’t just dream. We put in the work, the hard work, to be here today … You didn’t just say you are going to earn your degree, you did it.”
Make Your Move in 2022. WilmU works for you. XX DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
Samuel Kmiec, a graduate of the B.S. in Video and Film Production program, shared how his major league baseball career was cut short due to a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, and how this life-changing event revealed his passion for visual art and storytelling. “WilmU offered a chance to learn again, to speak with professors who are out in the field doing the work we all want to do,” Kmiec explained. "We all strive to make a difference, and WilmU has provided a strong foundation for us to realize our potential.” —Samuel Kmiec | Class of 2020, B.S. in Video and Film Production “Wilmington University offered support, guidance and accommodations to each of us during a time of tremendous uncertainty,” Jacqueline Cameron, who graduated with her M.S. in Management, shared in her address. “This institution provided a platform for us to receive valuable instruction in our chosen fields and laid the foundation for the many achievements we celebrate here today. The administrators, advisors, professors and countless others worked tirelessly to be the leading advocates for our success, and encouraged us to reach our greatest potential.” Supporting students’ passion to make a difference is just one of the ways Wilmington University has worked for these graduates, and many more like them. If you’d like to advance your education at an institution where passion is recognized, celebrated, and actively supported, go to go.wilmu.edu/2022 to get started. You could be in class by January 10!
Apply now to start January 10:
go.wilmu.edu/2022 WilmU is a registered trademark of Wilmington University. All rights reserved. © Wilmington University 2021
OpenING This DeCember
W I L M I N G T O N ’ S O N LY D U C K P I N & D I N I N G
NEW ORLEANS-INSPIRED C U I S I N E & C R A F T C O C K TA I L S
BOISTEROUS GAMES & D A N G E R O U S LY G O O D T I M E S
9 0 0 N . M A R K E T S T. W I L M I N G T O N , D E 1 9 8 0 1 16 DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
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Cultivating a Love of LEARNING Smart Kidz Club’s curated collection takes a digital approach to learning
Surinder Sharma, Founder, Smart Kidz Club
The only child of a firstgrade teacher, Surinder Sharma found comfort in books at an early age. “Books were my constant companion,” recalls Sharma, who grew up in New Delhi, India. She passed that love on to her first son, who was reading Harry Potter in first grade.
There are about 500,000 subscribers, who have options. Parents can choose the budget-friendly Read to Me app or the advanced Premium Library app with flashcards, quizzes, math, puzzles and interactive activities.
But by the time Sharma had her second son, she noticed that children reached for electronic devices more often than books. “They were playing games,” she says of her children’s peers. “The interest in reading paper books was waning.” To inspire kids to read and learn, Sharma and her husband, Harjeet Singh, started Smart Kidz Club in 2013. The Bear-based company’s digital library, designed for elementary school children, includes narrated and illustrated ebooks. There are no ads, videos or animation. The collection caught the eye of the NFL Alumni Association’s Caring for Kids initiative, which seeks to bring books to underserved and underprivileged children. The association’s Read to Lead campaign helps parents support children’s literacy and addresses the learning gaps exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In July, Smart Kidz Club and the Association partnered to produce the Read to Lead app. Sharma and Singh are no strangers to the publishing industry. After moving to the United States when Singh was in graduate school, they started Spearhead Global, specializing in academic publishing projects. The company expanded to include CD-ROMs, apps and testprep engines. “Print publishing was shrinking, and publishers were moving more and more into the digital world,” Sharma says.
In response to the pandemic, Smart Kidz Club developed a classroom app to connect teachers, parents and students. However, that app is only available abroad, where distributors have existing relationships with schools. It does not matter that the books are in English. Learning that language is a top priority in other nations, particularly in Asia. Smart Kidz Club will provide translations on an individual case basis. Since Smart Kidz Club has a global reach, Sharma appreciates the many Delaware services that support business, including Global Delaware, the state’s international economic development initiative. “Delaware, in terms of the ease of doing business and being a small state,” she says, “is a great place to be.”
Initially, Smart Kidz Club was a passion product. Sharma wanted to instill a love for learning at an early age. “We wanted to develop something so young kids could learn on their own devices,” explains Sharma, the company’s CEO. “We were making software engines for other companies. Why don’t we start something for young kids?”
As for the future, Smart Kidz Club adds new content each week, and the library will continue to feature books with a multicultural view. “There’s so much diversity in everything — animals, plants, culture, people,” Sharma says. “The more children expose themselves to the world, the more likely they will grow up to be tolerant adults.”
Singh has technical expertise, and Sharma handles the creative, including the app design, illustration and author contacts. “We make sure the content is of a superior quality. Kids need to know more about this world and reflect the diversity,” she says.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Initially, the content was on both the web and mobile devices. Parents, however, preferred to use mobile devices, perhaps because online connectivity can be unreliable. By 2020, the library shifted to a mobile-only offering. XX D ECE M B ER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
Have a suggestion for our spotlight?
choosedelaware.com DECEMBER 2021
Lindsay Ohse OperaDelaware
Photo by Joe del Tufo
FLAVOR SOUND LAUGHS STAGE
FIND IT ALL HERE:
START Things worth knowing HOLIDAY FUN AT BRANDYWINE ZOO NEW YEAR'S EVE FEST SET FOR THE GRAND
peraDelaware, The Grand, and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra will collectively present New Year’s Eve at The Grand featuring Broadway legend Brian Stokes Mitchell. Performing alongside Mitchell will be the Delaware Symphony Orchestra led by Maestro David Amado and four popular OperaDelaware soloists (Vanessa Becerra, Chrystal E. Williams, William Davenport, Erin McKeever). “We are elated to partner with our colleagues at The Grand Opera House and OperaDelaware to once again bring a glittering New Year’s Eve gala to Wilmington,” says J.C. Barker, Executive Director of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. “After a long break, we can’t think of a better way to celebrate — not only our musicians' return to the stage, but also The Grand’s 150th Anniversary.” Tickets to the concerts are $150 with proceeds benefiting each organization equally. Visit TheGrandWilmington.org/NYE.
NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR THE DELAWARE DIVISION OF THE ARTS
essica Ball has been named executive director of the Delaware Division of the Arts (DDOA). Ball replaces Paul Weagraff, who retired in June after leading DDOA since 2006. Ball has served as executive director of the Delaware Arts Alliance since 2018 and was instrumental in getting CARES Act funds for arts and cultural organizations in Delaware. “My vision for the arts post-pandemic is one that is centered on increased access, diversity, equity, and inclusion. I am eager to work with the Division of the Arts staff and our partners throughout the state to advance the sector for the benefit of all Delawareans,” said Ball.
he 115-year-old Brandywine Zoo may be in the middle of significant upgrades, but it’s doing so while maintaining many of its popular traditions. On Dec 1112, Santa at Brandywine Zoo (10am-noon) features a chance for kids to get a photo with the special guest, enjoy free hot chocolate and take part in a variety of family-friendly activities. The event is free to Zoo members; $7 otherwise. On Dec. 31, Noon Year’s Eve at Brandywine Zoo (11am-12:15pm) will feature a cider toast at noon, crafts and a daytime celebration to welcome in the new year. Free with Zoo membership; $5 Kids are kings of the jungle this month at Brandywine Zoo. otherwise. Visit BrandywineZoo.org
CELEBRITY CHEFS HEADLINE BENEFIT DINNER SERIES
elebrity guest chefs will team with a collection of popular Wilmington chefs and restaurants to present IRC x Wilmington, a series of missiondriven dinners to benefit the Independent Restaurant Coalition. The series is hosted by The Buccini/Pollin Group and Tyler Akin, chef-partner at Wilmington restaurant Le Cavalier and a board member of the IRC. The first event of the series will take place at Le Cavalier on Dec. 9 and feature Ashley Christensen (owner of AC Restaurants and a James Beard James Beard winner Ashley Christensen. Foundation award winner) in collaboration with Jim Burke (culinary director of Philadelphia’s acclaimed Wm. Mulherin’s & Sons). Mulherin’s is operated by Philly-based Method Co., which is collaborating with BPG to create a boutique downtown Wilmington hotel in the historic building at 519 N. Market St. The second event in the series is set for Jan. 20 and will feature Le Cavalier’s Akin teaming with Jennifer Carroll (owner of Carroll Couture Cuisine and finalist on Bravo’s Top Chef) and Tom Colicchio (host of Bravo’s Top Chef and five-time James Beard Award winner). Remaining dates in the series are Jan. 30, Feb. 17, and Mar. 10. In addition to Akin, local chefs participating include Antimo DiMeo (Bardea), Bryan Sikora (La Fia) and Dan Sheridan (Stitch House). “Every person collaborating on this series — from the IRC and its visiting celebrity chefs to our friends up and down Market Street — were instrumental in outreach to legislators that led to the creation of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund,” says Akin. “Since March, the IRC grew from a dozen chefs to an organization of thousands across the country who have given our industry a platform for change. This work led to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which helped over 100,000 restaurants across the country keep their doors open.” For tickets, visit EventBrite.com/IRCxWilmington. DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM 19
SHINE A LIGHT’S 10TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT
he annual Shine A Light concert celebrates its 10th year on Saturday, March 5, with a star-studded cast of more than 60 Delaware musicians rocking The Queen theater for a fitting cause. In 2019, Delaware Today honored Shine A Light with a “Best of Delaware” designation in the fundraising category. Area musicians united annually for Shine A Light. Showcasing the best highlights from shows over the past decade and offering plenty of new surprises, this year’s show looks to support musical programs in Wilmington’s most underserved communities. Tickets go on sale online January 1. For more information about the Shine A Concert series, go to LightUpTheQueen.com.
FREE SHIPPING WHEN YOU SHOP DOWNTOWN
HOLIDAY VILLAGE MARKET IN KENNETT SQUARE
owntown Visions is offering a free shipping program to support downtown Wilmington businesses. Through Dec. 31, 2021, those who shop online with participating downtown retailers will receive free shipping,both for the customer and the retailer, courtesy of Downtown Visions. For a list of participating retailers, visit DowntownWilmingtonDe.com
LITERACY TUTORS NEEDED
he number of adults in Delaware who cannot read at more than a third-grade level and/or who don’t speak English well would fill 11 UD football stadiums," says Cindy Shermeyer, Literacy Delaware Executive Director. To help address that need, Literacy Delaware is recruiting volunteers for its upcoming tutor training sessions. No tutoring experience is necessary. An orientation session will be held on Thur., Dec. 16 with tutor training sessions each Thursday from Jan. 6-27. Visit LiteracyDelaware.org or call (302) 658-5624.
LIST YOUR AREA EVENT... FREE!
InWilmDe.com 20 DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM | InWilmDE.com
Photo by Moonloop Photography
Things worth knowing
he Kennett Collective is presenting a holiday celebration in the style of a German Christkindlmarkt Dec. 4-5 and Dec. 11-2 (11am-5pm each day) at The Creamery of Kennett Square (401 Birch St., Kennett Square). In addition to dozens of curated artisans and vintage vendors, the Holiday Market will offer live music, ice sculptures, food trucks and Santa Claus. Visit KennettHolidayVillage.com
WILMINGTON BALLET’S HOLIDAY TRADITION
he Wilmington Ballet Academy will present its 53rd annual production of The Nutcracker Dec 17-19 at The Playhouse on Rodney Square. This production of The Nutcracker is the only one in the area featuring a live orchestra and a wide range of onstage performers. Featured performers include The Dance Theatre of Harlem's Amanda Smith & Anthony Santos, the renowned Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble and the Wilmington Ballet Ballet's performance of the holiday classic Orchestra. Additional guest artists Wilmington will feature special guests as well as local performers. include Pieces of a Dream Academy of Dance (Wilmington), American Dance Academy (Hockessin), Stage Lights Dance Academy (Newark), McAleer-Paulson School of Irish Dance (Wilmington & Lewes) and Wilmington's own Akua Noni Parker (Dance Theatre of Harlem & Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater). Showtimes vary. For tickets visit TheGrandWilmington.org/productions
MARKET ST. • PIKE CREEK • TROLLEY SQ. • BRANMAR PLAZA • MAIN ST. NEWARK DECEMBER 2021
THE ICONIC EXHIBITION RETURNS TO WILMINGTON Oct 23, 2021 – Jan 23, 2022
This exhibition was organized by the Delaware Art Museum and Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc. Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks and its related programming is made possible by a grant from PNC Arts Alive. This exhibition is made possible through support from the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund. This exhibition is made possible by Corteva Agriscience. This exhibition is made possible by the Johannes R. and Betty P. Krahmer American Art Exhibition Fund and the Emily DuPont Exhibition Fund. This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. This organization is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com. Image, left to right: Bonfire, 1962. Norman Lewis (1909–1979). Oil on canvas, 64 × 49 7/8 inches. The Studio Museum in Harlem, gift of the Estate of Norman Lewis, 1981.1.2. Photo: Marc Bernier. © The Estate of Norman W. Lewis; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY. Guardian of the Image Makers, c. 1975. Percy Eugene Ricks (1923–2008). Screen print, composition: 23 3/8 × 17 3/8 inches, sheet: 35 × 23 inches. Courtesy of JENN and Associates. © Estate of Percy Eugene Ricks.
AESTHETIC DYNAMICS, INC.
2301 Kentmere Pkwy | Wilmington, DE | 302.571.9590 | delart.org
For Your Best Christmas Tree Ever, Shop at Gateway Garden Center!
Gateway Garden Center | gatewaygardens.com (302) 239-2727 • 7277 Lancaster Pike Hockessin, DE
22 DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
Building Black Business
Delaware native Leonard J. Young says the inspiration for his two online ventures came from his grandfather.
A local entrepreneur’s mobile app has become a valuable tool for an overlooked market By JulieAnne Cross
hen Delaware marketers and event planners want to share news of particular interest to the Black community, they often turn to a local website, DelawareBlack.com. The site has delivered news, events, and Black business listings to readers since 2006, and has recently evolved. DelawareBlack.com is the creation of Leonard J. Young, of Newark, a 1994 Alexis I. duPont High School alumnus who returned to his home state after obtaining a mechanical engineering degree from Florida A&M in Tallahassee, Fla. After college, Young lived in Philadelphia and Texas. “These places had forms of Black media, whether it was radio, newspapers or magazines,” he says. “I thought, ‘Let me see if I can do something like that.’” In 2018, Young expanded his DelawareBlack.com brand by creating the National Black Guide mobile app. In January 2020, he relaunched the app, pairing it with a website to enable mobile and desktop access to the guide’s data. ► DECEMBER 2021
BUILDING BLACK BUSINESS
National Black Guide continued from previous page absorbed the previous DelawareBlack.com content and added city pages for 21 major metropolitan areas — from Atlanta in the East to Seattle on the West Coast. Young also added pages for Canada, the United Kingdom, and Africa, enabling the site to publish international news and Black business listings. The inspiration for DelawareBlack.com and now the National Black Guide began with Young’s grandfather, Leonard J. Young, Sr. “My grandfather had lived in Wilmington for a long time. He was always telling me that Shipley Street used to be all Black businesses. “He told me about a Black shoemaker. As the person was looking to retire, he was looking for someone to become an apprentice, and he couldn’t find one, so he went out of business.” Leonard J. Young's business ventures have allowed Today, Shipley him to do well while doing good. Street is dominated by apartment buildings and parking garages, not Black businesses. That story helped inspire Young in his mission to promote Black businesses and events around Delaware, and now beyond with National Black Guide.
#DigIN to Great Deals! There’s no better pairing DECEMBER 10, 11, 12, 15, 16,than 17,dinner 18 •andThe Delaware Contemporary • 200 Madison St. a show!
Directed by Joe Trainor • Choreography by Jackie Kappus Attention City Restaurant Week diners! Visit inWilmingtonDE.com/CRWdeals for a complete list of exclusive discounts and special offers just for you!
City-Theater.org 24 DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM | InWilmDE.com
His work has allowed him to do well while doing good. He and his wife, Yolanda, who is also self-employed in marketing and social media influencing and with whom he shares four children, are able to take frequent international vacations. Prior to the pandemic, the Youngs had also begun looking for investment opportunities. They secured financing, and once conditions allowed, they began searching for properties. They recently made their first major investment: a mobile home park, far from their Newark home — in Albertville, Ala. Young says he had no previous connection to Alabama before this transaction, but he and his wife jumped at the opportunity. Albertville Mobile Home and RV Park comprises 31 lots on six acres of land. The Youngs have done their research around the mobile home business, and Young says it is “really hot right now.” “We are focused on building wealth and building a legacy,” he says. “I really hope this is something we can pass down to our kids, as a wealth-building tool for them as well.”
Pedro Moore, a venture advisor and business owner in Wilmington, has known Young since the early days of DelawareBlack.com, and he sees the logic in the Alabama investment. “The Black and Hispanic communities suffer the most in terms of wealth creating,” Moore says. “One of the fastest approaches to acquiring wealth is to acquire something that exists rather than building from the ground up.”
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SIGNIFICANCE AND SYMBOLISM
Moore also recognizes the significance and symbolism of Young’s investment. “Especially for a lot of Black people down South, they grew up in mobile homes,” he says. “They rented. And here’s a Black couple who owns the whole mobile park. It helps set the tone for legacy.” While the mobile home park wasn’t much to look at, Young saw the potential to make it beautiful, and what began as a financial investment has come to inspire the couple. The Youngs have already increased occupancy by more than 70%, to 15 tenants, and are getting to know the residents. Young says that Alabama’s Marshall County, like many communities around the country, is experiencing a significant housing shortage. Now, he says, “We are directly able to serve those people in the community who are looking for affordable housing. We get calls every day and hear everybody’s stories.” While a property investment and a media outlet might look like disparate business interests, Young’s desire to uplift a community seems to be a common thread in his business endeavors. “Like how some people love volunteering, I definitely enjoy being able to help businesses and people get publicity and recognition,” he says. “It’s one of the reasons we started doing news coverage on the app. A lot of great things happen, and they don’t always get noticed.”
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The importance of Black-owned businesses is gaining recognition. Yelp added “Black-owned business” to its search tools in June 2020, in response to a sharp rise in such searches amid nationwide justice protests. What’s more, supporting Black businesses makes economic sense for the Black community. In 2009, a landmark study by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business showed that out of $1 trillion in Black buying power, only 2-3% goes to Black-owned businesses. The study further demonstrated that nearly a million new American jobs could be created if middle-class Black consumers would increase their spending within their community by just 10%. Beyond the economic advantages of the National Black Guide for the Black community, it may also create a subconscious feeling of safety. There are parallels between National Black Guide and The Green Book, a segregation-era travel guide known by various names, including “The Negro Travelers’ Green Book” and “the bible of Black travel.” ►
MIDDLETOWN 448 E. Main Street Middletown, DE 19709 Tel: (302) 376-6123
WILMINGTON 904 Concord Avenue Wilmington, DE 19802 Tel: (302) 652-3792
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HAPPY HAPPY HOLIDAYS HOLIDAYS
BUILDING BLACK BUSINESS continued from page 25
The book, published from 1936-‘67, highlighted restaurants, hotels and salons, much like the National Black Guide, although the book’s focus was on businesses that welcomed Black customers, rather than just Black-owned businesses. It enabled Black people who were traveling from state to state to obtain goods and services without being turned away, or worse. Although times have changed, safety may still be on the minds of Black travelers, and patronizing a Black-owned business can assuage worries. Beyond simple listings of selected businesses, the guides have another thing in common: both The Green Book and National Black Guide foster the possibility of making a visit to a new city more enjoyable. Where The Green Book offered travel essays and travel tips, National Black Guide features destination-related news, such as the Delaware Art Museum’s “Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks” exhibition on the Delaware page. And today’s content can be accessed with a mobile device, a tool a traveler from the Jim Crow era couldn’t have imagined. Dave Coker, Proprietor of DAV/Mark, Inc., a marketing and events company in Delaware that regularly uses National Black Guide for Delaware promotions, calls the guide “an excellent source for traveling and being able to patronize businesses that you would normally never know anything about.” National Black Guide continues to find ways to add value for its users, with recent stories about accessing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, vaccines, and unemployment benefits. Young does it all on a shoestring: his staff consists of himself and two interns — for a media outlet that has more than 6,000 businesses with listings and a million users. While National Black Guide is now international in its reach, Young sees plenty of potential right here at home. “There are a lot of Black businesses that are starting in Wilmington,” he says, “and we hope to partner with them to give them more visibility.”
MAKE YOUR COMEBACK
STRONG! ✔ Tons of class options- indoors, outdoors, online or in the pool! ✔ State-of-the-art fitness centers ✔ Pools ✔ Saunas ✔ Babysitting ✔ Access to all YMCAs in Delaware ✔ And more!
www.ymcade.org Financial assistance is available.
START A VINTAGE APPROACH
Distinctly Delaware Gifts Worth Giving This holiday season, it’s quite easy to be thoughtful and creative while supporting the local economy. Following are some ideas worth considering.
What’s old is new again and that certainly holds true with the vinyl records fascination. Thumbing through vintage albums brings back great memories — and is now creating new ones for teens and 20somethings. It also exposes younger people to older music, which is never a bad thing. So, consider the vinyl option for the music-lover on your list. You have ample options in the area. There’s Grooves and Tubes (Centreville), which also offers a wide range of turntables, speakers, receivers, etc. Same for SqueezeBox Records (Union Street, Wilm.), which sells and repairs equipment, has plenty of music inventory and occasionally features live performances. Jupiter Records in North Wilmington (2200 Marsh Rd.) has a large inventory of new and used music and offers you the ability to trade-in. And in Newark there is Wonderland Records, Delaware’s oldest record store (opened in 1972), and Rainbow Records, which has nearly as much history, operating on Main Street since 1979.
SUPPORT A LOCAL CAUSE Do you really need another sweater? Do they? How about paying it forward by donating to a local charity. The options are countless — animal rescue, historic preservation, youth arts enrichment, families in need…. You can even do it in the name of the person you were targeting with that sweater.
STUFF THE WAR ON WORDS The War on Words, a collection of Bob Yearick’s Out & About grammar columns from 2007-11, makes the perfect stocking stuffer. Chock full of (corrected) gaffes from national and local media as well as political leaders and sports figures, the paperback is a language purist’s delight. Each column also includes a “Word of the Month.” Get your copies at the Hockessin Book Shelf (hockessinbookshelf.com) or by calling 302-482-3737.
DISCOVER OUR STATE PARKS If we learned anything from the pandemic, it’s that the great outdoors is, well, great! So why not treat someone to an annual pass to Delaware State Parks? The decal you receive allows your vehicle and its occupants unlimited year-round entry to all state parks charging an entrance fee. Delaware registered vehicles are just $35 ($18 for seniors). Visit DeStateParks.com.
28 DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
Aw ri te r/ ed to el it or A wr ite im in ’s sl r/e dit ev er at e or’ s slig to eli gr am ig ht ly htl y sna yd ay mi na te sn ar m at rky an co m ky mmrelentless ic al eve ryd snarkygra A writer/editor’s slightly and crusade d relm ati cal an d untle en ay com icss ga ffe re le at iocru ga ff es mufrom s fro m nic ati to eliminate grammatical gaffes our nt le ns sad e fr om ou r on s ss ou r cr us everyday communications ad Compiled from the popular column in Out & About Magazine
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Com pi the led fro popu m co Out lumn lar in & Mag Abou azin t e
FOR ARTS SAKE
A CRAFTY CHRISTMAS
It’s always a grand idea to share the splendor of Delaware arts with loved ones, especially during the holiday season. Whether you choose an original piece from a local artist like Yakime Akéla Brown, Terrance Vann, Nanci Hersh or Linda Celestian; tickets to a show at The Playhouse on Rodney Square or City Theater Company; a concert at Arden Gild Hall or Market Street Music; or classes from The Music School of Delaware, Christina Cultural Arts Center or Center for the Creative Arts, a gift of art or music delivers a powerful, sometimes even transformational, experience to its recipient. It’s also a generous show of support for the many exemplary arts experiences we have here in Delaware. Google these fabulous artists and organizations to find out more.
Considering the two years we’ve been through, the gift of a local craft beer really does feel thoughtful. It’s also unique as area craft brewers continue to be especially creative. Your sibling loves apple pie? You’re in luck! Wilmington Brew Works just bottled That Pie Girl’s Apple Pie Cider last month. Your co-worker likes coffee? How about a six-pack of 2SP’s Wawa Mocha Latte Coffee Stout? Have a sentimental dad who drinks whiskey and beer? Get him a 750ml bottle of Iron Hill’s Big Pig Porter, celebrating the first beer they made 25 years ago — this time aged in Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey barrels. Looking for something else? Check out the Delaware on Tap app at VisitDelaware.com.
GETTING CLOSER TO NATURE During the pandemic, many on your Christmas list reconnected with their gardens or the outdoors in general. It was one of the crisis’ few silver linings, and why should the trend stop with the new year? Starting in late February, Delaware Nature Society hosts classes such as “Garden Design — Crash Course” at its Coverdale Farms. Likewise, Mt. Cuba Center offers single-session classes such as “The Beginner’s Native Perennial Garden” and “Wake Up Your Garden.” Both, along with Winterthur, offer birding classes, as well. You’ll find schedule details on their respective websites.
Y NOT? You can’t guarantee a clean bill of health with a gift membership to the YMCA, but it’s a darn good start. A membership to any of the area Ys is a treat, but Out & About has a particular soft spot for the Downtown Wilmington branches — Central and Walnut Street. Your membership not only entitles you to state-ofthe-art workout facilities, it supports the Y’s extensive community outreach programs — childcare, housing, youth development, teen leadership, swim lessons, summer camps… You don’t find that depth of community engagement at most fitness centers. Visit YMCADe.org.
A PIECE OF DELAWARE HISTORY The Delaware Historical Society’s Museum Stores (on Market Street in Wilmington and on The Strand in Historic New Castle) are a great source for distinctly Delaware stuff, including books, journals, mugs, toys, reproduction maps, prints, photographs, postcards and t-shirts. Purchases support the Society’s educational programs and if you join DHS, you get 15% off your Museum Store purchases. Visit DeHistory.org.
DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
WEST END & WEST SIDE
The Delaware Contemporary 200 South Madison Street 656-6466 • decontemporary.org • Art in Bloom • Annual Holiday Craft Show
Blue Streak Gallery 1721 Delaware Avenue 429-0506 Artists: Annual Jewelry Show + Alchemy by Rachel Romano
Continuing Exhibitions: - Fields and Formations, Group exhibition - Veils, Catharine Fichtner - Ballad of Spread, Michal Gavish - Traces, Cheryl Goldsleger Hours are 5-9pm
Delaware Center for Horticulture 1810 N. Dupont Street 658-6262 • thedch.org Artist: Garden on Glass, Harold Davis
DOWNTOWN City of Wilmington’s Redding Gallery 800 N. French Street 576-2100 • cityfestwilm. com/redding-gallery Artist: Terron Mitchell Delaware College of Art & Design 600 N. Market Street 622-8000 • dcad.edu Artist: Experimental Reality, Bronwen Hazlett The Grand Opera House 818 N. Market Street 658-7897 • thegrandwilmington.org Artists: Group show celebrating the Grand’s 150th Anniversary LaFate Gallery 227 N. Market Street 656-6786 • lafategallery.com Artist: Eunice LaFate Holiday-themed diverse folk art by Eunice LaFate. (Show closes December 15th.)
A program of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs
Friday, Dec. 3 5pm Start Complimentary Shuttle
Most exhibitions listed here continue through December
BEYOND THE CITY COCA Pop-Up Gallery 3829 Kennett Pike 218-4411 Artists: Group Show featuring local artists
Mezzanine Gallery 820 N. French Street 577-8278 • arts.delaware.gov Artist: Fleeting, Siobhan Duggan
Station Gallery 3999 Kennett Pike 654-8638 • stationgallery.net Artists: Art Works for the Holidays!
Milk and Honey Café and Gallery @ LOMA 239 N. Market Street 635-4201 Artists: Yakime Akelá Brown & Anthony Sealey
Arden’s Buzz Ware Village Center 2119 The Highway, Arden 981-4811 • ardenbuzz.com Artists: Light Weavings - Elisabeth Bard
MKT Place Gallery 200 W. 9th Street 438-6545 Artist: Streetlights by Jaquanne Leroy NextFab Wilmington 503 N. Tatnall Street 477-7330 Artists: Holiday Art & Gift Market
Telo Massage Studio 506 N. Union Street 384-7755 Artist: Memories of Wilmington, Jimmy Thompson
Next Art Loop Wilmington: Friday, Jan. 7, 2022 cityfest
Fire Chief John Looney (front center) leads the 150 men and six women of the Wilmington Fire Department, mustered here for the Oct. 23 parade. Photo by Joe del Tufo
AT THE CENTURY MA A tragedy that triggered an unflinching self-examination has become a turning point in the proud history of the Wilmington Fire Department By Bob Yearick
32 DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM | InWilmDE.com
akeview Road. The name conjures an image of an expanse of water dappled with moonlight, perhaps a rowboat gently bobbing by a wooden dock, pine trees lining the shore. But Wilmington’s Lakeview Road is the antithesis of that bucolic scene. It is nowhere near a lake, or any body of water. It is a narrow street of two-story rowhomes in Canby Park, a blue-collar neighborhood on the western edge of the city. In the early morning of Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, one of those homes, 1927 Lakeview, became a fiery hellhole that claimed three of Wilmington’s finest and injured three others, making it the most tragic day in the proud 100-year history of the Wilmington Fire Department. Adding to the tragedy was the fact that this was arson, and the deaths would be ruled homicides. Beatriz Fana-Ruiz, who lived in the house, told investigators she was drunk and on anxiety medication when she became angry early that morning and set the fire. In December 2019, she pleaded guilty to one count each of second-degree murder, arson, and assault, and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. To its credit, in this, its centennial year, the department made 1927 Lakeview a turning point, and it has risen from the ashes of that inferno to make changes and fine-tune procedures, thanks to a painstaking and unflinching self-examination.►
Along with this vision was a concept... to never let anyone build on this sacred ground.
| OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM 33
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Significant Dates in the History of the Wilmington Fire Dept. 1775 – Friendship Fire Co. No. 1 is formed 1828 – First fire hydrants installed 1882 – First hook & ladder truck 1896 – First horse-drawn ladder truck; first horse-drawn ambulance 1909 – First motorized fire engine 1910 – First motorized ambulance 1913 – Ladies Auxiliary formed 1921 – Professional department established 1922 – First recorded line-of-duty death: Edward J. Pappa 1923 – Firemen’s pension fund established 1961 – First Black fireman 1966 – “Fireman” changed to “firefighter” 1967 – First Hispanic firefighter 1968 – Civil unrest demonstrations 1970 – First SCBAs (self-contained breathing apparatus) purchased 1983 – First female firefighters (three) 1989 – First ladder tower purchased 1998 – Prince A. Mousley Jr. dies in the line of duty, marking the last line-of-duty death prior to Lakeview. A total of 18 firefighters have died on duty since 1922.
34 DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM | InWilmDE.com
The Lakeview fire took the lives of firefighters Ardythe "Ardy" Hope, Christopher Leach, and Jerry Fickes. Photo courtesy Wilm. Fire Dept.
Like most fires, 1927 Lakeview presented challenges. The street itself, with houses tight to both sides, made it difficult for large fire trucks to negotiate when they arrived shortly after 3 a.m. The panicked 911 caller had reported — accurately — that no one remained in the house. But 911 calls are notoriously inaccurate, and as neighbors at the scene insisted there were still people inside, firefighters entered the house to search for potential victimes. Instead, they became the victims.
The Heroes Ardythe Hope and Christopher Leach were among the first to enter, through the front of the house. Within minutes, the first floor collapsed, and they fell into the basement. (The first floor was burdened with three refrigerators, a commercial freezer, an aquarium, and a large TV.) Hope was pinned under a refrigerator and debris, and Leach under more debris, while the fire raged around them. Moments later, Jerry Fickes and another firefighter entered the house from the rear to help extricate their two comrades. A second collapse brought down the rest of the first floor on Fickes. Leach and Fickes would die at the scene. (The Elsmere Fire Co., which had joined the effort to extinguish the fire, went to their firehouse, brought a flag to the scene, and draped it over Chris Leach.) Hope, badly burned, spent 68 days in Crozier Medical Center before succumbing to her injuries on Dec. 1. All three were promoted posthumously. Leach to captain, and Hope and Fickes to lieutenant. Brad Speakman, Terrance Tate, and John Cawthray were injured in the fire. Speakman also was trapped in the basement and was severely burned on his hands, arms and other parts of his body. He spent 40 days in treatment and would take a medical retirement. Tate retired about a year later. Cawthray is still with the department.
What Might Have Been The deaths of the three heroes left their families and fellow firefighters to anguish over the saddest words in the English language: What might have been. All three lives held so much promise and potential. Ardythe Denise “Ardy” Hope was a 48-year-old single mother of three daughters who joined the WFD in 1993. She graduated from fire school with Chief of Fire John Looney, who remembers her as “fun-loving, always with a smile on her face.” A standout track and cross country runner in high school, she won the department’s Physical Fitness Award. While working full-time as a firefighter she attended school to earn her license as a practical nurse and was in the process of completing her training to become an RN. She planned to retire in early 2017 to begin a nursing career.
That analysis, based on the NIOSH report, took the form of Christopher Michael Leach, 41, had 14 years of service with what was called the First Annual Lakeview Road Fire Training the WFD. The father of a son and two daughters, Leach was a graduate Symposium. It was presented at Theatre N on Sept. 26 — five of Salesianum School. Brendan Kennealey, past president of years and two days after the Lakeview fire. About 100 firefighters Salesianum, was Leach’s classmate at Sallies. “Chris wanted to attended in person while a few hundred watched live remotely. be a firefighter as far back as I knew him,” Kennealey said. “We Gordon Davis, battalion chief in the Safety & Training Division, says the WFD is hoping to hold training sessions around that spoke about it often.” The week prior to the fire, Kennealey said, Leach had given a time every year. It’s safe to say that none will have the emotional talk at a local elementary school, telling the students how much impact of the first. he loved firefighting. Leach had a bachelor’s degree in fire science administration Human Drama and was working on a master’s in organizational leadership Available for all to see on YouTube (OutAndAboutNow.com/ with a concentration in fire/rescue executive leadership. wfdsymposium), the symposium is more than a detailed dissection Jerry Wayne Fickes Jr., 51, had been an Army Airborne of everything that occurred on that deadly morning; it is a fourinfantry officer. Airborne hour-long human drama that soldiers jump out of planes includes interviews with and fight the enemy on the many of the firefighters who ground, so charging into were there. At times, it is gutburning buildings to fight wrenchingly hard to watch, fires would seem to be a as these men — heroes every perfect civilian job for such one — struggle with their a man. emotions while speaking But that came after a on camera of their fallen successful stint in a much comrades and the events that more staid occupation: led to their deaths. actuary. While working Rev. Brad Martin, one those actuarial tables, Fickes of two chaplains serving the satisfied his need for action WFD, says, “the symposium by joining the Aetna Hose, was a timely step in helping Hook and Ladder Co. in everyone to move forward. Newark. Then 9-11 happened, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper joins WFD retirees on the day of the 100th annivesary parade. Chief Davis and Chief and he joined the WFD, and Photo by Joe del Tufo Looney did a great job on it.” firefighting became his true Martin describes Lakeview calling. as “a grave crisis” for the entire department. He went to the Remembers one of his comrades: “He was bright-eyed and scene that night, and in its aftermath counseled several firemen, ready to go into a fire, and when he’d come out, every piece of referring some to professionals. Since then, Martin says, the dirt in the place was on him.” department has established a peer counseling program. Fickes left behind a wife and two sons. The most visible result of the tragedy is the memorial that now stands at the scene of the fire. Made possible by donations to the Wilmington Firefighters Benevolent Fund, the non-profit branch 97-Page NIOSH Report The WFD began examining and improving its procedures of Wilmington Firefighters Local 1590, the memorial includes a soon after the fire, and that process was accelerated by a 97- flag pole, three granite benches engraved with the names of the page report from NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational fallen firefighters, and a fence. By next spring, pavers engraved Safety and Health), issued in December 2018. The detailed with the names of donors or messages from donors will replace report analyzed the fire and the WFD’s response, and listed 19 the bricks that are there now. “Volunteer fire companies in New Castle County were very recommendations based on the events of Sept. 24, 2016. Under then Chief of Fire Michael Donohue, the department generous, and we’ve also had several businesses that donated,” says set about implementing those recommendations, which included Lt. Jeffrey Schall, who was the driving force behind the memorial. more training for basement fires, more live fire training, improved At the dedication, Schall said the purpose of the memorial is “to communications, and increased training on handling mayday create a beautiful memory to honor our friends, Ardy, Chris, and operations, which occur when a firefighter is lost, or when someone Jerry. Along with this vision was a concept . . . to never let anyone build on this sacred ground." falls into a basement or falls through a roof. “Lakeview and what happened there will always be with us, Looney, who succeeded Donohue in May, says that almost all the recommendations have been implemented, and as it and we’ll carry it in our hearts and minds,” says Martin. “But the enters its second century, the WFD can take pride in a thorough symposium and the memorial were helpful in the healing process and transparent analysis and revision of many of its practices — the right things at the right time.” ► and procedures. DECEMBER 2021
| OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM 35
GUT-CHECK AT THE CENTURY MARK ontinued from previous page
The parade — called the largest in Wilmington's history — included more than 40 fire companies and 22 bands. Photo by Joe del Tufo
Marking 100 Years
“Home for the Holidays: A Celebration of Family” November 26, 2021, to January 2, 2022
See the du Pont ancestral home dressed for the holidays and find your favorite gingerbread house in our fourth-annual contest.
298 BUCK ROAD, WILMINGTON, DE 19807 • (302) 658-2400
A Holiday Tradition For Elegant Banquets & Holiday Parties Buy A $100 Gift Card Receive A Bonus $20 Gift Card 302.652.6780 | 802 North Union Street Wilmington WalterSteakhouse.com 36 DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM | InWilmDE.com
An Oct. 24 memorial service for Fickes, Hope and Leach at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church was a central event in the department’s 100th anniversary celebration, which spanned two months. Festivities also included open houses at the seven fire stations and a block party in October, and ended with a Nov. 30 banquet at the Chase Center on the Riverfront. That date was chosen because on Nov. 30, 1921, Wilmington transitioned to a professional fire department. Prior to that, beginning with the formation of Friendship Fire Co. No. 1 in 1775, it had been a volunteer organization. The highlight of the centennial events was the Oct. 23 parade in downtown Wilmington. Deemed by veteran observers as the largest in Wilmington’s history, it lasted some 90 minutes and featured 22 bands, including those from the University of Delaware and the Marine Corps, and more than 40 fire companies, as well as police agencies, paramedics, and emergency services. Looney, who proudly marched at the front of the department’s 150 men and six women, was clearly moved by the crowd’s cheers and applause. “It was humbling,” he said, “beyond what we expected. There was a roar when we came up King Street when we got to about 10th or 12th. I wish I had recorded it. It was overwhelming; it made your eyes water.”
Jamestown Catering's executive team members (l-r) Chris Blackwell, Ashley Ghione, Patrick Bradley and Paul Bouchard in front of Park Café. Photo by Butch Comegys
A Homegrown Hospitality Group Two Delawareans are building a culinary powerhouse By Pam George
s a University of Delaware student, Paul Bouchard waited tables to help pay for room and board. The Wilmington native enjoyed the job. But after graduation, he promised his father he’d spend a year outside of the hospitality business. It was a year he hated. “I would sit in my car until two minutes before 9 a.m., and I would watch the clock until it was 5 p.m.,” says Bouchard, who worked for an IT consulting firm. “On the last day of that year, I left.” Bouchard returned to restaurants, and he’s never looked back. Today, he is the managing partner of Wilmington-based Jamestown Hospitality Group. His partner is Chris Blackwell, whose background is in painting and construction, not hospitality. He owns Jamestown Painting and Specialty Finishes. ►
DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM 37
HOSPITALITY GROUP “I really hadn’t thought continued from previous page about being in the business,” Blackwell acknowledges. But like many investors, he was drawn to the social aspect. The rewards include “the opportunity to see old friends, meet new ones and provide a memorable dining experience to our customers,” he says. The partners are doing just that at Tonic Seafood & Steak and the event space Juniper by Tonic in downtown Wilmington. Across town, there’s Park Café, which is next to Jamestown Catering. The company has expanded beyond Delaware’s borders. Tonic operates the food concession at Braeloch Brewing in Kennett Square, and Jamestown recently purchased the Kitty Knight House, an Eastern Shore icon in Georgetown, Md.
Back to the Start
The story, in many respects, starts with Bouchard, who grew up in the Brandywine Hundred suburbs. His father moved the French-Canadian family to Delaware while working for Scott Paper. It didn’t take long for the six children to find the Skating Club of Wilmington. Bouchard’s father became the president, and his mother ran the pro shop. Bouchard, the youngest, went to St. Edmond’s Academy, Salesianum High School and UD, where his first job was at the Ground Round. He wound up at Café Bellissimo at Price’s Corner. When Bouchard quit his office job, he planned to return to the popular Italian restaurant. Unfortunately, there were no openings. So, he took a position at the newly opened Griglia Toscana in Trolley Square, owned by Chef Dan Butler. Bouchard rose through Toscana’s ranks. He managed the takeout shop and catering business. When Butler opened Deep Blue Bar & Grill in 1998, he brought Bouchard and Michael Majewski on board. In 2006, the trio partnered to open Brandywine Prime Seafood & Chops at Chadds Ford Inn. Bouchard returned to Deep Blue to oversee a freshening. He introduced more landlubber dishes to the menu and, on one Tuesday, sold 45 steaks. “I’m like, all right, this is telling me something,” recalls Bouchard, who added a menu section for steakhouse selections. “We started selling them left and right.” Butler’s renovation plans coincided with menu additions. It also opened the door to management changes. In 2015, Blackwell, a frequent customer and longtime friend of Bouchard’s, joined the two men to open Tonic Bar & Grill in Deep Blue’s space. It wasn’t such a stretch, Blackwell maintains. “One of our core values for Jamestown Painting and Specialty Finishes is focusing on relationships,” he says. “That value goes hand-in-hand with the hospitality business, as we are constantly building relationships with our customers, employees, local businesses and the community.” Some of his best construction customers are his best restaurant customers. He credits those relationships. Eventually, Bouchard and Blackwell purchased Butler’s shares. Jamestown Hospitality Group was born.
38 DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM | InWilmDE.com
Adjusting & Adapting
Like Bouchard, Blackwell grew up in Delaware and attended UD. During summers, he cleaned the offices of the family business, Blackwell & Sons, a painting company that dates to 1908. Little did he know that one day that office would become part of his restaurant business. Before becoming Park Café, the space was home to Movable Feast, a gourmet carryout shop, caterer and restaurant. After managing partner Steve Horgan died suddenly in 2018, the property went up for sale. Blackwell bought it, and Jamestown Hospitality Group opened Park Café, whose expanded commercial kitchen also serves Jamestown Catering.
ALL OF YOUR FAVORITES
ONLINE! Park Cafe lead cook Jose Louis Gonzalez works up a lunch order. Photo by Butch Comegys
Not surprisingly, catering hit a wall at the pandemic’s start. But things have changed. Equipped with the new kitchen and a new director, Jamestown Catering is “killing it,” Bouchard says. You know you have a decent operation when another restaurateur hires you to do his wedding. “People continue to reach out and rave about the food,” says Michael Stiglitz, owner of Two Stones Pub restaurants, who wed in November. “Their team was extremely professional, always attentive and more than anything; they eliminated stress at every turn.” It takes a village to run a catering and hospitality group. Ashley Ghione oversees catering and events for Jamestown Catering. ( Juniper and Kitty Knight House have their own supervisors.) While Ghione concentrates on Jamestown Catering, Chef Patrick Bradley oversees all the culinary operations for Jamestown Hospitality. The industry veteran, whose first job was at Annie Golden’s near Wawaset Park, was at Deep Blue when it became Tonic, and he created the first menu. In turn, he lets his chefs de cuisine at the various locations write menus. “I want them to have some creative freedom.” He now oversees a staff of up to 45 people. Jamestown Catering partners with Alexis Floral, which also provides flowers for catered events and activities at Juniper. Floral creations are available at Park Café. ►
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“She has an edge to her designs that really elevates us,” Bouchard says of Alexis Wirt Curtis. Stiglitz, a fan, calls her a “floral genius.” “They transformed our brewery wedding venue into a five-star space,” he says.
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All of this takes work. Bradley, who is usually in the kitchen at Park Café or Tonic, is on site by 6 a.m. Bouchard rolls in around 7 a.m. In the catering office across from Park Café, Ghione meets with clients and works on the schedule.
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Barbara Shellenberger (left), and Louise Sloane enjoy lunch and conversation at Park Café. Photo by Butch Comegys
“Catering is my passion,” she says. “This job lets me focus on that.” Staffing has not been an issue, partly because servers at Tonic and Park Café can pick up catering shifts if their schedule allows. This is a team that wants to work, she says. The pace is accelerating with the addition of the Kitty Knight House. “We really haven’t put our thumbprint on it yet,” Bouchard says. “We just hired a general manager, and I’m writing an action plan to elevate the whole level of the place.” Given the waterside location, seafood will be a focus. The team will give the site a new name but keep “at the Kitty Knight House” at the end. “Naming a restaurant is a challenge,” says Bouchard, who is still fond of Deep Blue. He no longer counts the minutes until he can leave work. “I really like the team we have put together and truly come to work with a smile on my face,” he says. “I genuinely care about each of my coworkers, and, honestly, that comradery is what helps us succeed.”
Sug Daniels is relocating to Philly, but says she will always consider herself a Delaware artist. Photo by Yarissa Luna
The versatile Sug Daniels continues her ascent to musical success
By JulieAnne Cross
ug Daniels has long been most recognizable as the leader of those darlings of the Delaware music scene, Hoochi Coochi, a self-described “hand-clapping soul-stirring, funky soul-blues band” that performs original music along with occasional crowd favorites. In their six years as a band, they’ve packed venues and festivals up and down the First State, and opened for national acts like Low Cut Connie, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, and Larkin Poe. They played XPoNential Music Festival in Camden, N.J., in September. Co-founder and vocalist Daniels, known also as Brown Sug (and as Danielle Johnson before launching her solo career), has had her hands in booking, promoting, and writing lyrics for the band since its founding. “We had a really busy summer,” says Daniels. “Like every other band, we didn’t do anything for a long time. Once summer kicked in and everybody was outside, we were booking shows like we never left.” For the past few years, she also has performed as half of an acoustic act, Brown Sug & Blonde Blonde Roast, with Lauren Kuhne. While the duo caters to Wilmington’s thirst for cover music, they also offer some original songs, and occasionally add drummer Barret May — from Kuhne’s band, Lauren and the Homewreckers — to make a trio. ► DECEMBER 2021
ON THE MOVE Solo Artist continued from previous page “Danielle is the most driven person I’ve ever met,” says Kuhne, “while also the most mindful about how to care for herself and others. She has a way of instantly drawing people in whether through warm conversations or her dynamic performances.” Daniels recently took an even deeper dive into music by adding solo artist to her resume. During the early months of COVID-19, when musicians were experiencing a booking famine, limited (by law) to outdoor events, Daniels spent her time writing music with a different goal in mind. “It was music for myself and by myself. It was fun to explore solo work because I’ve always been part of a collaboration,” she says. “For the first time in my adult life, I explored how to create on my own. It was very eye opening. I can’t say one is better than the other; they’re both every different, both very fun and cool.”
Releasing Franklin Street In September, she released a four-song EP, Franklin Street, under the fledgling boutique label Weird Sister Records, which was founded six months ago in Brooklyn by Deanna DiLandro and Madison Hetterly. DiLandro had booked Daniels for shows on occasion, and tapped her as the label’s first artist. Franklin Street is one of just two releases so far from the Sug Daniels has become one of the most fledgling label. recognizable faces of the area music scene. Photo by Joe Del Tufo Daniels has embraced the new relationship. “It’s fun to help them on their journey and I need the help, too,” she says. The newly-branded solo artist, as always, is a consummate collaborator. Once the pandemic response allowed group activities to resume, Daniels and her various musical partners were able to get together and rehearse again. She soon introduced her solo work to her band, with satisfying results. “I love letting people add their energy and spin to things I create,” she says. Two bands and a solo career would be a lot for anyone to juggle, but right now Hoochi Coochi is on hiatus. While that may disappoint the many fans of the band, it has given Daniels a bit of a breather. “I’m taking a break from one and doing the other,” she says. “It’s possible to do both at the same time, but I think I’m better when I’m able to focus on one thing solely. The band was ready for a break anyway, so it was perfect.” While she’s “enjoying life, spending time with family,” and “getting ready for holidays,” she continues to experiment. “I’m always trying to record, so me and my label are looking at having some artists remix my songs,” she says. “I have a home studio, so I have some music demoed, unreleased, with some different players and different music. It’s a great way to figure out how I want to record.” 42 DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
Adding a Uke The home studio isn’t her only new tool. In addition to singing and songwriting, she has embraced a new instrument. “I’ve been playing this little Fender ukulele [belonging to] my friend,” she says. “I was jamming on it. It was little and fun. I never owned one.” She says that her brain works “in a melodic way” and she just started writing songs with the ukulele and recording them, which in turn created a desire to play it for an audience. “An electric uke, a Fender, is definitely a conversation starter,” she says. “It’s so fun to play it, and it’s adorable and I like things that are aesthetically pleasing, too.” Daniels’ musical productivity changed with the discovery of the new instrument: Rather than waiting for someone to join her on a piano or guitar, she has gained more independence thanks to the tiny stringed instrument. “I have the ability to do it all the time now,” she says. Two Homeys Daniels’ versatility recently was rewarded by Mark Rogers, host of the long-running Delaware Valley radio show Hometown Heroes. He gave both Hoochi Coochi and Daniels the Delaware version of a Grammy: a Homey Award. The band won for EP of the year with The Watershed, and Daniels was named Artist of the Year, both for 2020. Rogers has high praise for Daniels. “She’s multi-talented and a very good writer,” he says. “Beyond that, I think of her as being kind of the face of the local music scene. It’s a lifestyle for her. “And once she moved to Wilmington, she moved full speed ahead.” Wilmingtonians will no doubt be disappointed to learn that the Smyrna native, having lived in Wilmington just since 2018, plans to move to Philadelphia. “I definitely am feeling like it’s time to spread my wings,” Daniels says. “I plan on moving to south Philly, and ingraining myself in the music scene there, and continuing to spread the Delaware gospel.” As she prepares for her next big-city move, she won’t be abandoning Delaware. “I absolutely cherish this state,” she says. “I love calling myself a Delaware artist and will always be one. I have so many connects here, no way I won’t come back.” The same is true for what was once her “day job” as a booking assistant for Gable Music Ventures, the founders of the Ladybug Festival and Wilmington’s premier music booking machine. Rather than saying goodbye to Gable, Daniels has taken on a new role: blogger. “I wanted to continue working with Gable,” she says. “I always thought about a blog, and we talked about starting one. There really aren’t too many, and there’s so much talent and so much art in the state. I love to write anyway, and I’m doing spotlights and interviews and music reviews.” The new blog demonstrates what Rogers says about the singer: “She’s always promoting other artists, not just herself.” “I love seeing people rise, it inspires me,” says Daniels. “If I can’t go to a show, the least I can do is highlight the people that are around me. I love it. It’s my favorite thing.” DECEMBER 2021
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Darby McLaughlin and Kyleen Shaw in a previous CTC production of Lizzie. Photo by Joe del Tufo
Two For The Show Delaware Contemporary, City Theater Company are now creative partners By Ken Mammarella
ity Theater Company is debuting its partnership with The Delaware Contemporary with a musical called Once, and leaders of both institutions hope the partnership goes on many more times. “The sky’s the limit for what we can do,” said Kerry Kristine McElrone, artistic director for City Theater. “Our hope is that this is Phase 1, and Phase 2 and Phase 3 involve working on building a better and maybe bigger space — and a space for other arts organizations to use.” In a separate interview five days later, Tatiana Michels, director of business advancement for the museum, echoed that feeling. “It’s a blank canvas, a black box for any organization to use for more intimate performances,” she said. “The sky’s the limit.” Tina Betz, director of the mayor’s office of cultural affairs in Wilmington, said that she suggested the arrangement. “This is perfect,” she said. “It could be the beginning of lots of creativity.” Betz said that she and Bev Zimmermann discovered the museum’s auditorium in the early 2000s when they were looking for a place to show the independent movies that they liked. The screenings there showed “a need, an appetite” for independent movies that eventually became Theatre N. The two new partners mesh by focusing on the contemporary. The museum, founded in 1979, doesn’t collect art, meaning its shows are always fresh. City Theater Company (CTC) regularly helps develop new plays. ► DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
TWO FOR THE SHOW Since its 1993 founding, CTC has performed at various Some financial issues are still continued from previous page sites in and around Wilmington, including multiple stints to be decided, McElrone and at OperaDelaware Studios and the Grand. Performers often Michels said, including whether rehearse in different spaces, meaning they must adjust when to offer naming rights to the auditorium, how to split they arrive at their performance venue. Costumes, platforms concession revenue and creation of a joint membership. and other material are stored in New Castle. When the two organizations announced the arrangement in September, they said All that moving around the partnership offers “an is somewhat inefficient. opportunity to collaborate.” So, CTC used the The first collaboration will pandemic shutdown to be Feb. 26 with a museum find a better space. fundraiser called “ART “We needed some pARTy.” Interactive work different things,” McElrone by CTC that will debut that said. “Money is obviously night will perhaps surprise a factor considering what supporters in the galleries, we need and what we net.” Michels said. The work also The group, which calls itself will explore different ways “Delaware’s Off-Broadway experience,” pays stipends Dylan Geringer, Jim Burns and Kerry Kristine McElrone in a scene from the David to tell a story, which echoes the museum’s winter-spring to all performers and Robson play, After Birth of a Nation. Photo by Joe del Tufo theme of NARRATIVES: Let backstage people. CTC signed a three-year lease with The Delaware the Stories Begin. City Theater plans on average two big shows each season, Contemporary. The lease lets the group rehearse and perform in the Wings Foundation Auditorium, which is shared with which runs from December to late spring. These shows run outside rentals and museum programs, such as artist talks, two or three weekends. Its typical third show features oneacts or new works. lectures, discussions and an annual symposium.
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At the Delaware Contemporary, CTC also plans to host monthly performances of Fearless Improv, its improv troupe, and in the spring will host its annual Tax-Free Comedy Festival, which brings in comedians and improv groups from around the country for performances and workshops. Once, which runs Dec. 10-18, won the Tony for best musical in 2012. It features 12 performers/musicians and a child actor. Up next spring is Blues in My Soul, a musical by Delaware playwright David Robson that City
Theater workshopped. The auditorium’s lighting and sound were upgraded with a coronavirus relief grant. It’s called a black box because it’s completely customizable for arranging the performance areas and the seating, aside from a 10- by 16-foot video wall of 16 screens and what Michels called a crow’s nest for lighting and sound equipment and operators. The 44- by 33-foot space has a fire department capacity of 120. And McElrone says there’s one more benefit for theatergoers: free parking.
Guests get a preview of the new Black Box theater in The Delaware Contemporary.
Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki cuts the ribbon on the new venture with CTC's Kerry Kristine McElrone (l) and TDC's Leslie Shaffer.
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The Wine Merchant
Linda Collier knows wine. Those who visit her 40-year-old wine shop are the beneficiaries.
By Scott Pruden
Linda Collier says nothing comes into her Centreville wine shop that she doesn't taste first. Photo by Butch Comegys
inda Collier has a bone to pick with me. Armed with an afternoon flute of German sparkling wine and the ebullient nature of a born hostess, she’s in disbelief that I, as someone who’s written about wine and beer around Delaware for more than 20 years, had never visited her shop, Collier’s of Centreville. On various trips up and down Delaware 52 I’ve probably passed the tidy former home that houses Collier’s shop hundreds of times. But given that the shop celebrates its 40th anniversary in December, I’m apologetic and a little sheepish, as this has indeed been a significant oversight. On the other hand, I must admit I’m glad this is my first visit. In the early darkness of this November afternoon, the shop is aglow not just with brilliantly lit bottles that have been hand curated by Collier and her staff, but with the presence of Collier herself. And it’s her passion for wine and everything that surrounds it that I suspect has resulted in her becoming such a treasure for area oenophiles. Collier is not simply a purveyor, she’s a valued resource to those who value her expertise and ability to uncover otherwise unknown vintages that span the spectrum of both price and customer preferences. Collier’s story as a wine merchant started in 1981 when she returned to the Wilmington area after having lived in Europe for six years. She could find no wine shop in the area that met the lofty standards she’d developed overseas. ► DECEMBER 2021
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THE WINE MERCHANT OF CENTREVILLE So, she opened one of her continued from previous page own that year on Union Street in Wilmington’s Little Italy neighborhood. It soon became the go-to location for those who already loved wine or were in the early stages of an affair. In 1990, she opened the first location of her Centreville store in the same building that houses Buckley’s Tavern. Collier maintained both stores for four years. “What I was finding is that people were driving by [my Centreville location] coming from West Chester or Philly or wherever they were coming from to go down to my [Union Street] store,” she says. “My physical presence was more [on Union Street], so people would drive by here because mostly I was down there and would come here [only] once a week.” Then 16 years ago the current building became available (she had been running her upstart wine school out of the room over the needlepoint shop that then occupied the ground floor) and Collier jumped at the opportunity to move. She consolidated the store and wine school into a single building and closed the Union Street location. “My thinking was if I sold the store down there [in Wilmington] and only had to work 60 hours a week, it would feel like a part-time job,” she says. “This seemed a better location, and if I was going to keep one it made sense to be out here because lots of my customers, whether they should or shouldn’t be, are from Pennsylvania.”
Collier says since first opening her doors, her goal has been to create a shop where her patrons can not only find incredible vintages, but also learn to appreciate wine as a pairing with all kinds of food and something beyond an evening cocktail. Give her your general wine preference, an occasion or a menu, and she’ll offer something from her inventory she is confident will delight you. “In 40 years, nothing has ever come in my shop that I don’t taste first,” she says. “Which is why customers will come in or they’ll call me and say ‘Linda I need five cases of wine — three red, two white — in this price category. I’ll swing by your side door, and I’ll pick them up.’ “That’s what they give me, and their feeling is: ‘I’ve never gotten a bad bottle. I love everything you do.’” Collier’s 40 years of experience in the wine business has also given her the confidence to recommend lower-priced and little-known imported wines from smaller vineyards over better-known yet expensive California varieties. That means customers not only walk away with superior wines, but often a superior value. “I taste things where the price-to-taste relationship makes sense,” she says. “I don’t have any numbers or ratings in my shop. The Linda rating is the most important rating you can have coming in here because that’s how people buy. What I always say is I will pick a wine that will fit your palate and your pocket, and I will grow you from where you were.” Despite all the bad the coronavirus pandemic brought on the world, Collier finds a bright spot in the increased appeal of cooking at home — and the desire to find the right wine to pair with that meal. “[The pandemic] changed a little bit about how [people] felt about food, cooking and wine,” she says. “They fell in love with it. And I think that’s something that’s stayed through all of this.” For the 40th anniversary celebration on Dec. 4 (the actual anniversary was Thanksgiving week), Collier says the main event will be a day of toasting the shop’s continued success. From noon-6pm, the shop will be pouring La Cuvee LaurentPerrier champagne from jeroboams (3-liter bottles) and two massive salmanazars (9-liter bottles, equivalent to a case). “I guess the logical thing to do is celebrate and drink out of giant bottles,” she says, laughing. “It’s fun, and everyone that comes in that day, we’ll pour. Anyone that knows me knows that that would be the only way to celebrate. Life is meant to be played with.” — Collier’s of Centreville, 5810 Kennett Pike, Centreville; collierswine.com
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THE CITY CLIFFORD BROWN JAZZ SERIES, ART LOOP WILMINGTON RETURN
ayor Mike Purzycki and Cultural Affairs Director Tina Betz are pleased to welcome back to Wilmington two of the City’s more popular cultural events: the monthly Clifford Brown Year-Round concert series, first launched in September 2020, and longstanding Art Loop Wilmington, which has been on a pandemic-induced hiatus since March 2020.
REVIVED CLIFFORD BROWN YEAR-ROUND KICKED OFF AT CCAC IN NOVEMBER
he Clifford Brown Year-Round series returned with a special performance by Gerald Chavis and the Clifford Brown Festival Orchestra at the Christina Cultural Arts Center on Fri., Nov. 19, in front of a limited in-person audience. Live-streamed virtual viewing was also available. “As we transition to regathering after a time of separation and uncertainty, there’s no better way to reconnect than through music,” said Cultural Affairs Director Tina Betz. “This series offers the chance to hear live music and interact with our talented artists in person, or to enjoy a high-quality live-streamed arts experience at home. It’s an incredible opportunity for all music lovers and a boost for the local arts and music scene.” Proceeds from Concert Series support programs like the Urban Artist Exchange Community Revitalization Project, Arts Work Summer Youth Apprenticeship Program, and the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival. Clifford Brown Year-Round will continue to showcase jazz musicians from around the world each month leading up to June 2022 and the 35th Annual Clifford Brown Jazz Festival — Wilmington’s premier music Gerald Chavis and the Clifford Brown Festival Orchestra. event and the largest FREE jazz festival on the East Coast. Details about Photo by Moonloop Photography future shows in this series to follow
54 DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
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DECEMBER SEES FIRST IN-PERSON ART LOOP IN 20 MONTHS
ecember 3rd also sees the return of the first in-person Art Loop Wilmington since March 2020. Shuttered last spring due to the coronavirus pandemic, the rejuvenated FREE art exhibition is a self-guided exhibition of visual art displayed at galleries, studios, museums, and alternative spaces in and around Wilmington. Now in its 33rd year, Art Loop Wilmington is a partnership between the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs and Out & About. Details about specific exhibitions scheduled for December as well as the return of the complimentary shuttle to and from The Delaware Contemporary can be found at artloopwilmington.org
The work of Terron Mitchell, exhibited in the Louis L. Redding Gallery, is part of December’s Art Loop Wilmington.
MAYOR HELPS CELEBRATE NEW ARTISTIC PARTNERSHIP
ayor Mike Purzycki joined dozens of longtime friends and supporters at The Delaware Contemporary to celebrate the new partnership between TDC and City Theater Company, Delaware’s OffBroadway collective. City Theater Company will use TDC’s refurbished Wings Auditorium Black Box performance space for its Fearless Improv performances as well as its mainstage productions, beginning with Once (December 10-18) and the Tax-Free Comedy Festival (May 6-7, 2022). The new space will also be available to other arts and culture organizations for performances and events.
A SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT TO OUT & ABOUT MAGAZINE
ABOVE: Mayor Purzycki joined in celebrating the new partnership between City Theater Company and The Delaware Contemporary in November. RIGHT: (l-r) Kerry Kristine McElrone, Mayor Purzycki, and Cultural Affairs Director Tina Betz.
DECEMBER 2021 | OUTAN=DABOUTNOW.COM
SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITY! AUTUMN ON THE RIVERFRONT!
Get out, enjoy nature, and dine from some of your favorite restaurants! The Riverfront is a perfect venue to enjoy the outdoors and walk our 1.75 mile Riverwalk along the beautiful Christina River! Additionally, the DuPont Environmental Education Center is now open to the public. DEEC’s nature trails, including the eight-mile Jack A. Markell Trail continues to be fully operational! Get out and enjoy some quality time in nature!
DCM is open on the Riverfront Tuesday-Thursday: 10am-3pm Friday: 10am-8pm ($5 admission from 5-8pm) Saturday-Sunday: 10am-5pm Admission: $12
Membership for the entire family is just $119 for the year
(302) 654-2340 56 DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
25th Anniversary In 1995, the Riverfront Development Corporation of Delaware was created to oversee the growth and restoration of the public and private land surrounding the Christina River. Formally home to shipbuilding and industrial centers, the land had become deserted and largely unusable. Thus, RDC began the process of rehabbing the landscape and working with local and regional developers to revitalize the area. Now, celebrating our 25th anniversary, Riverfront Wilmington has become one of the area’s most vibrant and exciting destinations to live, play, and work. Once a largely abandoned shipyard, the riverfront is now teeming with residences, hotels, restaurants and indoor and outdoor attractions. As we enter our 26th year — and look beyond — the Riverfront Development Corporation is thrilled to continue the expansion of the Riverfront area as we move to the east side of the river. We can’t wait to celebrate everything Riverfront Wilmington has to offer with you all year long!
MON-FRI: 9AM-6PM SAT: 9AM-4PM Stop in and enjoy fresh produce, salads, sandwiches, coffee, pizza, sushi, Mexican,Thai cuisine and much more!
The Riverfront Market
RIVERFRONT RESTAURANTS ARE OPEN
for in-house indoor and outdoor dining
Banks’ Seafood Kitchen & Raw Bar Big Fish Grill
Ciro Food & Drink
River Rock Kitchen
Taco Grande - NEW!
at the Riverfront Market!
The Juice Joint
Pachamama Peruvian Rotisserie Serena’s Soulfood
Drop Squad Kitchen
Timothy’s on the Riverfront
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
Dine-in or carry out NOW OPEN
DECEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
L I G H T D I S P L AY Title Sponsor
Starting Black Friday Through the New Year!
The holiday season comes to life as you drive your car through the Winter in Wilmington Light Show on Wilmington’s Riverfront. Thousands of lights make up this dazzling show. Dash through this electric trail in your one-horse open sleigh as there is so much to see! Your family will love the animated installations, interactive music, and holiday cheer. Create a new family tradition this year with The Grand’s Winter in Wilmington Light Show!
Advanced online purchase strongly suggested to help make the event enjoyable for everyone.
Hare Pavilion,Select Public between nightsDock, starting and the area on the PayRiverwalk by the carload at
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 27 Li g h t s through • Trees • D ec o rations $25 SUNDAY, JANUARY 3
SELLOUTS EXPECTED EARLY!events! LIVE on Wilmington’s Riverfront Commuter Lots Holiday music performances, carolers, food BUY and drink *Event only for up to 12 passenger vehicles. Sorry, no motorhomes or high occupancy vehicles over 12 passengers.
Santa appearances and other holiday activities along the Riverwalk.
Tickets at TheGrandWilmington.org or 302-652-5577
Join the team at Two Stones Pub!