August 2021 - Why The Arts Matter

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Delaware's Sudi Green on Writing for SNL

Keith Powell's Time to Shine

The Magic Began with La Casa Pasta

Why The


Matter Here's what Delaware Art Museum's Molly Giordano & others have to say















Out & About Magazine Vol. 34 | No. 6



7 From the Publisher 9 War on Words 11 Worth Trying 12 Learn 13 FYI 15 Remembering Crabmeat 17 Game Venture by Futures First

FOCUS 21-24 Why The Arts Matter 25 A Resurgent Delaware Art Museum 30 Keith Powell’s Time to Shine 37 Five Questions with Sudi Green


EAT Published each month by TSN Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Wilmington, DE 19801 Publisher Gerald duPhily • Director of Publications Jim Hunter Miller • Contributing Editor Bob Yearick • Creative Director & Production Manager Matthew Loeb, Catalyst Visuals, LLC Digital Services Director Michael O’Brian Contributing Designer Allanna Peck, Catalyst Visuals, LLC, Contributing Writers Jill Althouse-Wood, Danielle Bouchat-Friedman, Adriana Camacho-Church, JulieAnne Cross, David Ferguson, Mark Fields, Pam George, Lauren Golt, Jordan Howell, Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald, Ken Mammarella, Matt Morrissette, John Murray, Larry Nagengast, Kevin Noonan, 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

41 A Delicious Legacy

LISTEN 47 Clifford Brown Jazz Festival Turns 34

WATCH 50 Matt Damon Shines in Stillwater

DRINK 51 Mispillion Brewery Loves Company 53 Hoop Tea Finds Sweet Spot


PLAY 57 Fill in the Blanks

WILMINGTON 58 In the City 60 On the Riverfront On the cover: The Dale Chihuly glass at the entrance of the Delaware Art Museum works to cast its executive director Molly Giordano in a colorful light through in-camera double exposure. Photo by Joe del Tufo/Moonloop Photography



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From The Publisher



Imagine, for a moment, what those returns could look like with a greater investment. Imagine what that could mean for Wilmington. I have, and here are a just a few of the benefits I see from an increased commitment to Arts funding in our city:

Well, I do, but it is best made with the assistance of the creative coalition we have assembled on pages 21-23. Out & About asked each of these individuals to share their thoughts — in 100 words of less — on the proposition: Why the Arts matter. No one passed on the opportunity. In fact, and you be the judge, their words are deeply personal — in some instances, profound. They leave you with the sense that the Arts are as important as the oxygen we breathe — and the food and water we consume to subsist. The Arts, to borrow a line from Jerry Maguire, complete us. “On a trip to Bali, I learned there is no word for artist because [there] everyone is an artist in some way,” shares Blue Streak owner Ellen Bartholomaus. “Art tells us who we are,” adds actor-writer-director Keith Powell. “We couldn’t exist in this world without art,” argues Sara A. Crawford, co-founder of The Original Coloure Collective. No gray area in those statements. Or in the dozen others provided by our guest contributors. Yet, we don’t treat the Arts as if we were all artists; like we couldn’t exist in the world without art. We treat the Arts more like dessert— a tasty option, but not an indispensable part of the meal. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider. Post-pandemic, everything is being reinvented. Why not our approach to the Arts? Instead of treating arts funding as philanthropy, why not treat it like an investment? And the beauty of this investment: the returns are both immediate and long-term. The infographic you will find on page 24 reveals that arts and culture was a $919.7 billion dollar U.S. industry in 2019, representing 4.3% of the nation’s GDP and 5.2 million jobs. How much did the federal government invest in the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in 2019 to get that return? A relatively modest $155 million. What about Delaware? In fiscal year 2020-21, the state allocated almost $4 million to the Delaware Division of the Arts. That was supplemented by another $734,500 from the NEA. In return, the state’s arts and culture sector delivered more than $1 billion to Delaware’s economy and nearly 9,000 full-time jobs. Now, that’s ROI.

• Helps us sell our city to outsiders. As Jessica Ball, executive director of the Delaware Arts Alliance states: “You cannot get the vast arts and cultural offerings and venues that you can get in Wilmington in other comparatively sized cities.” We need to market that. • Helps us sell our city to insiders. Expand free arts events such as the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, Art on the Town, Drumming Circles ... . Make regular free arts events a privilege of living in Wilmington (Montreal does an enviable job of this.). These also provide paying gigs for our resident artists. • Helps us redirect the paths of underserved youngsters through creative inspiration. Enhance the resources of front-line organizations such as Reed’s Refuge, Teen Warehouse, Christina Cultural Arts Center…The success stories these organizations can share will bring you to tears. • Helps bridge the racial and socio-economic divide. Many city residents have never set foot in some of our renowned arts centers. They either don’t feel welcome, can’t afford the tickets, don’t like the programming, or didn’t hear about it. So, provide funding that rewards organizations for breaking down these barriers. The benefit is mutual: arts organizations expand their audience; residents feel more connected to these institutions. • Helps support efforts already underway to promote a creative economy. Wilmington Alliance’s place-based initiatives are a great example — from transforming vacant lots to community gathering places to repurposing abandoned homes and buildings for artist workspaces. • Helps beautify our city by challenging artists to transform unsightly structures and areas to public works of art. The artists get a job, and we get a more attractive city. • Helps with workforce reentry programs for everyone from the previously incarcerated to those in dire need of a change. Creative Visions Factory and Next Fab are excellent examples of this work in action. More opportunities exist. These are not novel ideas. Nor are they initiatives that haven’t received some financial support. However, what I’m suggesting is that we’ve run the numbers, now let’s increase the funding on an investment with proven returns. What’s the downside, we have too much art? Is there such a thing?

he Arts matter. Well, of course they matter, you’re thinking. How profound, Jerry. The Arts matter. Wow! And we all need oxygen to breathe. And food and water to subsist. Please, dear Out & About publisher, tell me you have something more. Surely, if you expect me to keep reading, you must have a deeper point to make with this column.






11:42 AM









WHAT'S UP WILMINGTON!? It's Time to G.O.A.T. (Get Out Around Town) and have some fun this summer! We're bringing you all the BEST outdoor dining and music experiences with our #GOAT entertainment series. We're talking live music, dining in the streets, outdoor theater productions, and much more.

June – October 2021 Presenting Sponsor:


Visit our website for a full list of events (scan that QR code below)! For updates and exclusive, behind the scenes content showcasing all the amazing things coming your way, be sure to follow It's Time Wilmington on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok (@itstimewilmde).



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

PHILLIES FOLLIES The Phillies have had their share of problems on the field this season, and recently those problems seem to have spread to their media presence. Examples: Reader Walt DelGiorno reports that Phils TV color commentator John Kruk reconfigured an old expression. After he and booth partner Tom McCarthy had made an on-air blunder, the Krukker said they needed to be more careful and “bust down the hatches.” That would be batten down, which means to tie, close, or cover. Phils Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, in a piece written for the Associated Press in which he lamented the lack of hitting in Major League Baseball: “It’s the shifting defenses combined with hitters being lead astray by information.” The past tense of lead is led. Former Phils relief pitcher and current NBC Sports Philadelphia analyst Ricky Bottalico, in a segment of the show called “What is he doing?”: “He supposably was warming up.” This is reminiscent of the Friends episode in which Chandler recalls dumping a girl because she pronounced supposedly that way. And then there was Manager Joe Girardi, as quoted in The Philadelphia Inquirer: “I think we’re pretty fortunate that no one’s ran away with it in our division.” He should’ve said “no one’s run.” Joe has trouble with the present and past perfect of many verbs. He frequently mangles “has gone” into “has went.”

MEDIA WATCH • The Wilmington News Journal’s Kevin Tresolini missed the grammar bull's-eye when he wrote this: “Justin Best was playing middle school football when a concussion led he and his parents to reconsider his athletic pursuits.” As the object of the verb led (unlike Schmidt, Kevin spelled it correctly), the pronoun should be him. • TNJ quoted Ray Taylor, of the 4H Afterschool Program in Newark, thusly: “Students and teachers have been through the ringer this past year.” The writer should have spelled it wringer, which is a device for wringing water from wet clothes, mops, or other objects.

Word of the Month

shambolic Pronounced sham-bol-ik, it’s an adjective meaning very disorganized; messy or confused.

By Bob Yearick

• A testimonial from something called The Beauty Blog contained this sentence: “I have found the missing key to my skin regiment!” A regiment is a body of soldiers, in the strictest sense commanded by a colonel. A regimen, the word needed here, is a systematic plan or course of action, usually having to do with self-care.

HOW LONG, OH LORD, HOW LONG? (In which we chronicle the continuing abuse of the apostrophe) A chyron, or crawl, on ESPN informed us that “There have been four different ladies champions at the last four Wimbledon’s.”

DEPARTMENT OF REDUNDANIES DEPT. • Jeff Zillgitt, reviewing the book Home Waters in USA TODAY: “I reread ‘A River Runs Through It’ again . . .” Wait . . . does that mean he has read it three times? • Headline on ABC news: “Search and rescue efforts are still ongoing.” • Headline in The Inky: “Jon Rahm rallies back to win Open.” • Reader Jane Buck spotted this in a story in The Washington Post: “The U.S. economy is emerging from the coronavirus pandemic . . . as businesses and consumers struggle to adapt to . . . higher prices, fewer workers, [and] new innovations . . .” As opposed to old innovations? • An online news report about Simone Biles gave us this classic: “The winning performance left commentators speechless as they failed to vocally analyze the gymnastic champion's performance.” • A recent email from Wordsmith extolled the virtues of “three pocket-sized handbooks that are chock-a-block full of recalcitrance, Shakespeare, history . . .” Chockablock (the no-hyphens spelling is preferred in the U.S.): overflowing with; bursting with. • Another email, reported by a reader, contained this: “Tehorah first premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2015.” When a production premieres, it’s always the first time.

Follow me on Twitter: @thewaronwords

NEED A SPEAKER FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION? Contact me for a fun presentation on grammar:

Buy The War on Words book at the Hockessin Book Shelf ( or call me at 302-482-3737.



Worth Trying

Suggestions from our staff and contributors

TRO’S BEATLE FEST You don’t have to be a gonzo Beatles fan to fall in love with The Rock Orchestra’s BeatleFest. You just have to appreciate live music. Picture it: Over six consecutive nights, 40 musicians perform every single Beatles song in the order that the band’s entire catalog was released. All 215 tunes with every detail captured down to the last note — whether it be played by guitar, sitar, harp or harmonica. I can clearly remember a few years ago sitting in the audience in the sold-out theater, the hair standing up on the back of my neck upon hearing the TRO’s ethereal harmonies on “Because” from Abbey Road. Like the song says, it blew my mind. To hear these songs played live — many of which the Beatles themselves never played live — is something to behold. Trust me: Your mind will be blown, too. But your ears will thank you. BeatleFest runs August 2-7 at Wilmington Drama League. Get tickets early as some shows sell out quickly: or find The Rock Orchestra on Facebook. — Jim Miller, Director of Publications

PACKAGING PERTURBATION Takeout, readyto-eat dinners and mail-order meal kits are all the rage, but the amount of plastic waste they generate is as maddening as the clamshell boxes holding your holiday gifts hostage. Analyzing the packaging you throw away can be eye-opening, and finding ways to reduce singleuse plastic usage can save you money. Recycle, sure, but do more: Switch sandwich and quart bags for silicone. Cling wrap for beeswax wraps. Take a bag from home to your produce stop. Use bread bags on your dog walks. Donate what you can’t reuse to Eco Plastic Products of Delaware. — JulieAnne Cross, Contributing Writer

MOVIE NIGHTS AT THE MUSEUM KENNETT BREWING COMPANY There are many charming spaces in Downtown Kennett Square, but Kennett Brewing Company is one of my favorites. This cozy brewpub, located in a basementlike setting at 109 S. Broad Street, has great light fare (love the empanadas), a solid assortment of beer it brews on premise, and a regular menu of live music. In fact, KBC now takes its show outside when weather permits, closing the adjacent alley and setting up tables in the street while bands perform from a garage bay. It’s funky and it works. In fact, everything seems to work at KBC. The place has a Cheers-like vibe, a credit to its gregarious husband-and-wife owners, Mark and Jossy Osborne. — Jerry duPhily, Publisher

Looking for an inexpensive night out? Try catching a film on the lawn of the Delaware Art Museum’s Sculpture Garden on Friday nights through midSeptember. Admission is free for the outdoor films, just bring a chair or blanket to make yourself comfortable. Movie theater concessions will be available for purchase, along with beer, wine, soft drinks and water. To see what’s playing, visit — Bev Zimmermann, Special Projects




Face the Future of Technology with Wilmington University's Cybersecurity Education


ansomware attacks, data breaches, and other highly publicized E-crimes are highlighting a nationwide demand for cybersecurity experts. As businesses, health care providers, and government agencies seek skilled technicians to assess their operational risks and defend their computer networks, Wilmington University's College of Technology stands ready to prepare job-seekers to enter or advance in one of today's fastest-growing career fields. "Cybersecurity is a frontline issue for business," says Dr. Mark Hufe, director of WilmU's Center for Cybersecurity Education. "It's also a matter of national security. There's a critical need for cybersecurity professionals in corporate America, as well as in government, law enforcement, military and intelligence. Wilmington University is uniquely qualified to train students to meet this demand." WilmU offers a range of practical, career-focused degree and certificate programs at the undergraduate and graduate level that combine academic rigor with hands-on opportunity. Industryexperienced instructors and cutting-edge technology provide agile and responsive training for a wide range of positions in the rapidly evolving world of cybersecurity. The new Associate of Science in Cybersecurity degree, available in Fall 2021, introduces the basics of digital defense, including data and network asset protection, penetration testing (aka ethical hacking), and forensic investigation. Graduates of this two-year program can transfer seamlessly into the Bachelor of Science in Computer & Network Security (see below) to complete the degree in another two years. The Bachelor of Science in Computer & Network Security provides a broad foundation in cybersecurity while qualifying its graduates for entry to industry-recognized certification exams, including CISA, CISSP, A+, Linux+, Security+, and Network+. Students can also customize their degrees with a concentration in Digital Forensics and/or certificates in Digital Evidence Discovery and Digital Evidence Investigation.

Ready to make a move? WilmU works. XX AUGUST AUGUST 2021 12 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM

Mid-career professionals can master offensive security tactics through the Master of Science in Cybersecurity, an in-depth review of cyberintelligence, cybercrime investigation, forensics, critical structure preservation, countersabotage, and espionage. MS in Cybersecurity candidates can specialize their degrees through concentrations in Cyber Terrorism or SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) Cybersecurity. The Information Assurance concentration of the Master of Science in Information Systems Technologies explores cybersecurity's complex systems from a business perspective, preparing graduates to develop, implement, and protect technological solutions through the use of managerial concepts. The College of Technology's five-course graduate certificate in SCADA Cybersecurity focuses on the strategic monitoring and control of the infrastructure and processes behind such critical industries as power generation and transmission, water treatment, transportation, and pipelines. Since 2011, WilmU and its bachelor's degree in Computer & Network Security have been named a National Center of Academic Excellence for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency, a designation that strengthens students' career prospects. "Our CNS bachelor's curriculum, faculty, and academic activities meet the federal government's rigorous standards," says Hufe. "That means the program's graduates have the qualifications that the government is looking for." Affordable and available 100% online, WilmU's cybersecurity degree and certificate programs allow you to learn while you earn, acquiring the professional skills necessary to meet tomorrow's challenges while putting your coursework lessons to work on the job today. For more information about cybersecurity education at WilmU, please visit:

Next classes start August 30! Apply today at WilmU is a registered trademark of Wilmington University. All rights reserved. © Wilmington University 2021

Things worth knowing CURBSIDE WILMINGTON


hrough September 30, residents and visitors can enjoy Curbside Wilmington daily Monday through Sunday at one of 24 participating restaurants (hours vary per restaurant). Enjoy expanded outdoor dining and drinks and free valet on Friday and Saturday evenings. Live music is every Thursday night at various Downtown locations starting at 5pm. See the participating restaurants at


veryone is welcome to form a team for the family-friendly Easterseals/CAI Volleyball Challenge and Spiker Stroll set for Sept. 1718 at the Chase Fieldhouse in Wilmington. Money raised supports EasterSeals’ efforts to improve the lives of people with disabilities in our communities. The event offers three ways to participate. Visit




he state’s largest and oldest HIV/AIDS fundraising and awareness event will take place on Sat., Sept 18 in two locations: Brandywine Park in Wilmington and Grove Park in Rehoboth Beach. Both walks kickoff at 10am. Historically, the event has attracted more than 800 participants and volunteers. This year’s fundraising goal is $90,000, with money raised supporting free HIV testing, education and prevention programs, case management services, HIV-specific mental health counseling, and housing services. Visit



he historic river towns of Delaware City, New Castle and Wilmington will once again join forces for a recreational bike ride on Sat., Oct. 2. The ninth annual River Towns Ride & Festival will give cyclists of all ability levels the opportunity to visit these three towns by bike and earn a medal for the miles they complete. A post-ride party open to the public will take place on the riverfront in Delaware City’s Battery Park with live music, craft beer and food. Visit


he 11th annual Delaware Beer, Wine & Spirits Festival returns to the Delaware Agricultural Museum & Village in Dover on Sat., Aug. 28 from 4-7:30pm. The event is the only statewide festival for the state’s craft alcohol industry and features every producer on the Delaware Beer, Wine & Spirits Trail. The event features more than 70 products for sampling, live music by Lyric Drive and Blue Cats Blues, lawn games and food trucks. Admission is limited to 500 with VIP option. Visit



myrna at Night is a two-day music festival that will feature 34 acts from Aug. 27-28. Activities kick off on Friday from 5-8 with a happy hour and music crawl. On Saturday, four outdoor stages will be positioned throughout George C. Wright Municipal Park with live music presented from 1-8pm. Admission is free. Visit



t one time, the du Pont family had an orchard of nearly 400 tree varieties on grounds that are now part of Hagley Museum & Library. Fifty of those varieties still grow in that orchard and the fruit is now being used by Wilmington Brew Works to produce a new line of cider, The Fruits of Eleutherian Mills. The limited run has been available at WBW since late July in 22-ounce bottles and on tap and the intention is to have the cider available at future Hagley events. Visitors to Hagley can explore the E.I. du Pont Garden and stroll down the orchard meadow pathway where the Montmorency and Black Tartarian cherry trees are found. Visit or



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Crabmeat Thompson entertained audiences for decades in Delaware and beyond.


Remembering Crabmeat


ne of the great pleasures of producing this magazine for more than three decades is the wide range of talented storytellers we’ve had the privilege of publishing. And one of the special gifts of storytelling: The words outlive the person who wrote them. In late June, Jerry “Crabmeat” Thompson passed away at Wilmington’s St. Francis Hospital. Like Satchel Paige, Crabmeat never shared his age with anyone, confessed his wife of 23 years, Janice “Crabcake” Thompson. I’m guessing he was in his mid-70s. Crabmeat was an author, educator, musician, advocate, ambassador, and all-around fascinating guy. He also produced award-winning stories for Out & About Magazine for more than a decade — and was a friend of the magazine since its inception. To say his writing style was unique is an undersell. His pieces never took a linear path. Instead, they took you over the river and through the woods — then around some fields, over an embankment, into a creek, and through a tunnel…with you ultimately arriving on horseback. Yes, Crabmeat’s stories were quite the journey. Out & About is honored to have had Crabmeat’s prose grace our pages. And if you didn’t know him, well, perhaps the following piece (Crabmeat’s last contribution to Out & About, August 2011) will help paint a picture — not to mention provide invaluable crab-eating tips from the legend himself.

— Jerry duPhily

The Fine Art of Eating Crabs By Crabmeat Thompson


hen Out & About called me suggesting I write a piece on “how to eat crabs,” I figured it had something to do with my nickname, “Crabmeat” — stuck on me years ago because of a brief lapse in personal hygiene. What the editors didn’t realize was that my moniker often gets me invited to play music at crab feasts. And though they are jolly events, and often for charity, they present three problems: 1) the banging of hammers doesn’t provide the optimum backup for folk music; 2) the Old Bay in the air tends to get up your nose, into your lungs, and down the old raw throat; 3) starvation, which ordinarily sets in as you scrape out your fourth or fifth crab, attacks the guitar picker much sooner. No way one can pick crabs without scarifying the fingers and filling the abrasions with spicy Old Bay. So you starve in the midst of plenty. ► AUGUST 2021





Celebrating 88 Years



Cape May Fordham & Dominion

Mispillion River Big 2SP Oyster TROEGS First State BREWING COMPANY

A Delaware Tradition Since 1933 MIDDLETOWN 448 E. Main Street Middletown, DE 19709 Tel: (302) 376-6123

WILMINGTON 904 Concord Avenue Wilmington, DE 19802 Tel: (302) 652-3792 16 AUGUST 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM


REMEMBERING CRABMEAT continued from previous page

Moreover, you do so to that beat of that constant pounding: “Kum bay yaba, Lord, K…” BANG BANG BANG “… bay ya …” BANGITY-BANG “…ord, Kum by ya...aaaah” CRASH, BANGITY HAMMER, etc. So I have mixed feelings about eating crabs. But then, there’s the rent to pay. Plus it occurred to me how nice it would be to, for once, sit somewhere by the water and actually eat some crabs; so I emailed the spouse to see if she could join me for crabs on Friday. She faxed me back that she had to work that night, so we decided to go for lunch somewhere close, and settled on a rustic place in Delaware City. The day was gorgeous — one of those low-humidity days in the 80s with a blue sky half full of fluffy cumulus clouds, a light breeze ruffling the river into wavelets, a few boats buzzing out around Pea Patch Island, and the bushy midsummer tree canopy hiding “our” reactor as we strolled near the little traffic circle at the north end of Delaware City’s main drag. The restaurant menu stated that rookie pickers could ask for assistance from a veteran to help them crack that carapace. So as soon as we were seated I explained to our comely waitron that Janicemeat was from rural Pensyltucky and had never really done the crab thing; hence we’d like a crabtutor. Also that I would be taking photos and that she would be in them since JM said she was really cute. I have no opinion in these matters. Sadly, that was all she needed to avoid us as if I had dropped my drawers and jumped upon the table to recite “Kubla Khan.” So, I took on the role of tutor and proceeded to teach Janicemeat all I know about cracking crabs, and I believe the pictures will bear me out when I say that I did a half decent job. Disassembling a crab, you can first pull its legs off or leave them on to use as little handles. Turn the crab on its back and prize up the “apron,” the little pop-top thingy near the bottom. If you do it right the top of the shell will come off, too. Then turn the crab over so it is right side up and lay it down and you are looking at some greenish stuff, the “mustard.” Some people eat this and some don’t, but it isn’t recommended. Beneath the mustard are the gills, and these should probably be tossed. Which brings up: don’t wear fancy clothes for this, have plenty of napkins or towelettes, and NEVER point a crab you are cracking at anybody else. Now you’ve divided the crab into body and legs. You can toss the little back legs away unless you want to try to suck out the teeny bit of flesh inside. By this time I’m pretty hungry, so I set them aside and crack the large claws with a hammer. There’s nice meat in the claw and some in the “arm,” but don’t waste your time on the elbow. Get right to the body. You can pick up the body and crack it in half and find nice fluffy white meat inside the chest cavity. Get it out with a knife or just use your mouth and fingers. By this time everything is a mess anyway, so why put on airs. By this time, if you have been drinking responsibly you may give in to the temptation to start mashing stuff (responsibly) with your mallet. Crabmeat Thompson with his wife Janice Go ahead! You worked hard "Crabcake" Thompson on one of their all week! Enjoy. many adventures.


Stephen Sye (l) and Malcolm Coley of Futures First help students step up their game.

Game Venture Futures First founders work to make Wilmington a center for esports By Ken Mammarella Photos by Joe del Tufo


he three founders of Futures First Gaming are paying forward some of the help they’ve had to become successful in work and life. They’re doing it with video games and esports. “We resonate with kids. We understand their struggle,” said Malcolm Coley, who grew up amid the scourge of violence in Salem, N.J. “I’m not a role model. I’m a real model. I make mistakes, too, and learn from them.” “We’re living proof that you can get there,” said Stephen Sye, a friend from Salem. “We’re all serial entrepreneurs.” Newdy Felton grew up with a single mother in Wilmington’s Hidden Valley. “I had to learn on the streets how to be a man,” he said. “I didn’t sell drugs. I sold candy.” Inspired by his grandmother, who sold platters of food and other items from her home in Wilmington’s Southbridge, he was just 10 when he hired his first employee for his candy empire. ▶



GAME VENTURE continued from previous page

Futures First is hoping to turn a youngster's gaming passion into opportunity.

All three believe in the potential of esports. “Gaming is a carrot for Black and Brown players to get into coding, streaming, event planning and production,” Sye said. “We’re leveraging their passion.” Sye said 83% of Black teens play video games, but Black entrepreneurs make up only 2% of the gaming/technology developer community. They hope to make Wilmington a center of esports. Futures First is headquartered at the Win Factory, a coworking space on the Wilmington Riverfront. They dream

83% of Black teens play video games, but Black entrepreneurs make up only 2% of the gaming/technology developer community. — Stephen Sye

of the Futures Dome, ideally a 20,000-square-foot space that would have enough room for all that they want to do. Geography may help. Recent number-crunching by WalletHub of America’s 100 largest cities places Philadelphia and Baltimore in the top 20 for gamer and developer opportunities. “Gaming builds skills on how to get through life and work,” Coley said. Teams. Interpersonal communication. Strategies. Camaraderie. Entrepreneurship. Focus. Skills for the 21st and even 22nd centuries, Sye said, saying he and Coley hope their children will carry on the philosophy. Futures First is accredited by for the curriculum and authorized by the State of Delaware as a workforce development program provider, starting with a partnership with the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services. 18 AUGUST 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM


They want to create more opportunities for Black coders and Black gaming/technology entrepreneurs. For this school year, they want to get into as many school districts and create a scalable model. They want “participants to explore educational and career development pathways in science, technology, art and relevant esports disciplines,” explains. So far, they have contracts with Freire Charter High School in Wilmington and Egg Harbor Township schools in New Jersey. They’re talking to the William Penn School District in Landsdowne, Pa., school districts in DeKalb County, Ga., and Orange, N.J. One early and promising find is Delawarean Jordan Pierce. After his parents invested in a gaming computer, he’s “in the position to monetize his gaming,” Sye said. And he’s only in middle school. A summer camp at the end of June

The Futures First Gaming triumvirate (l-r): Newdy Felton, Malcolm Coley and Stephen Sye.

for Freire students featured Rocket League and Call of Duty: Warzone, popular games that they know will connect to local teens. For the community at large, they regularly host leagues. They also have two tournaments planned:

the Fall Brawl in September and Pandamonium at the end of the year. Futures First’s mascot is an angry panda named Jerome. “He signifies the reputation of gamers,” Sye said. “They tend to be solo, peaceful, insightful. But incite them, and they’ll go wild.”

don’t waiT. Heal. Enroll now.




Aunt Mary Pat INdependent Comedian

Events & More


Why The Arts Matter In 100 words or less, following is what this month’s collection of guest contributors had to say:

I have been involved with art for 40+ years as a weaver and the owner of the Blue Streak Gallery. Art can communicate, inspire, motivate, and educate! It is almost as important as food, shelter, and air as it makes life worth living and delights the soul. On a trip to Bali, I learned there is no word for “artist” because everyone is an artist in some way! I hang artworks in my gallery and in places people eat, recreate, live and exercise to encourage them to view art in their daily activities. Be courageous and create something.” — Ellen Bartholomaus, Artist & Owner of Blue Streak Gallery, Trolley Square (Wilm.)

As I walk tree-lined streets and city blocks with beautiful exteriors of storefronts and sit in the park watching the sun rise — I see ART everywhere! Art tells stories, art allows us to express who we are and what we love. Art is everything from music, style of dress, pictures hanging on a wall, to the tone in which we speak to someone. We couldn’t exist in this world without art. The Arts matter, the Arts lift spirits, they help to break barriers of social injustices, brings forth unity, and creates a space of personal and artistic open mindfulness.” — Sara A. Crawford, Co- Founder, The Original Coloure Collective (Wilm.)

I think that we can always place more importance on the Arts. Even though I’m a comedian, that is really what fuels me. As much art that you can bring into your life — and as much self-expression — the happier you will be. Honestly, that’s kind of been my life so far. I’ve been lucky to be able to express myself.” — Sudi Green, SNL Comedy Writer, Actress and Delaware Native (See her full interview on page 37)

Who are we without the Arts? The Arts matter because they reflect the culture of our community. They are a part of our identity as a city. All of the members of a community play a role in helping it to thrive. Artists in our city use many forms of creativity to tell stories and reflect who we are. The Arts are a playground for creativity, innovation, and collaboration. Moreover, the Arts not only matter, but they are essential to our emotional well-being as a community. We need the Arts to reflect who we are.” — JaQuanne LeRoy, Curator-Art Director



In 100 words or less, following is what this month’s collection of guest contributors had to say:

WHY THE ARTS MATTER continued from previous page

Theatre is a living art. We are watching real people in real time and we can immerse ourselves in the live action unlike watching a movie on a pixilated screen. Live theater has demonstrated that seeing plays is an effective way to increase tolerance and empathy by providing exposure to a broader, more diverse world. It improves our ability to recognize what other people are thinking and feeling; and the satisfaction of three-dimensional human connection, an experience unlike any other.” — Bud Martin, Executive Director, Delaware Theatre Company (Wilm.)

Art tells us who we are. That’s the simplest way to explain it. It tells us who we are, and we don’t always know who we are, so we need to be told. It is an artist’s responsibility to tell the truth. To tell their truth, to show the world either the way that it is or the way they want it to be. The way it should be or the way it shouldn’t be, but tell the truth. Through any art you are looking at an artist’s truth. And that tells you something about yourself.” — Keith Powell, Actor-Writer-Director

Advocating as a volunteer for NIVA (the National Independent Venue Association) in the past year, I met professionals across the country in desperate need as most had suspended all indoor concerts. The pandemic brought home why the Arts matter, because without them life becomes hollow and the economy stalls. I can summon statistics such as for each $1 in ticket spending, $12 is generated for the economy. But it is the beauty and depth of a life filled with music that makes the strongest case. Go see live music!” — Ron Ozer, Chairman, Arden Concert Gild (Arden)

During our songwriting and album-production residency at Hill-Freedman World Academy, a Philadelphia public school, 10th grader Jaelynn said, ‘We have a story that is important to listen to and we can shine light where you can’t see.’ Art shines a light that helps us see things we might miss, see things we need to see, see brightness where others might see darkness. Art helps us tell the important stories that bring us together. That’s why venues like World Cafe Live exist. Independent music venues elevate independent voices. As our world rebuilds, we need stages to amplify the power of music to connect and shine light.” — Hal Real, Co-founder and Board Chair of the National Independent Venue Foundation and Founder & President of World Cafe Live (Phila.)

Art matters because it helps our brains make sense of our complex world. Art in its many forms is the best way for us to create a shared understanding, navigate challenging conversations, or simply to see an issue, an idea, or a person in a new perspective. Art also gives us a language for emotions we struggle to verbalize. Joy, grief, anxiety — all are brought to life with art. This is why art is essential. This is why artists are central to the health of our communities and our society." — Molly Giordano, Executive Director, Delaware Art Museum 22 AUGUST 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM |

In 100 words or less, following is what this month’s collection of guest contributors had to say:

WHY THE ARTS MATTER continued from previous page

The Arts helped shape who I am today. They gave me hope and taught me to cultivate my talents. Ultimately, they offered me a better life. Today's urban environment can be even more challenging than the one I grew up in. But through our Arts program, I see children we serve take on a different outlook on life. I have seen the Arts function as a powerful catalyst for improvement in mental and physical health. We believe that programs like ours, over time, can increase community engagement and social cohesion on a much larger scale. The Arts are transformational. They deserve the high-priority status they have earned.” — Frederick Reed, Co-founder, Reed’s Refuge (Wilm.)

With all the storms, challenges, obstacles, roadblocks and realities that have accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic, one that has remained a constant in our normal and ‘altered’ lives even before the pandemic is the ARTS. While the Arts are not viewed in most arenas as a 'vital' service or need such as food, shelter, or clothing, from where I sit, the Arts are right up there with oxygen and breathing. The Arts provide hope, healing, joy and stir a myriad of emotions that allow us to touch our heARTstrings and recollect moments in time. Art allows for individual and collective expression that when strategically purposed also breaks down those self and system-imposed barriers that are so evident in society. Art, including music is a universal language that everyone to some degree can understand, embrace and share despite our similarities and differences.” — James “Ray” Rhodes, Executive Director, Christina Cultural Arts Center (Wilm.)

To say the Arts have sustained me is an understatement. I met my wife in the theater and watched our two children grow up to be creative, compassionate adults. While performing in 19 theatrical productions together, we learned valuable life skills: from listening and empathy, to discipline, cooperation, and coping with rejection. We examined topics like women’s rights, racial strife, and social injustice. But theater has also brought great joy and humor to our lives, giving us cause to laugh at, and recover from, the unexpected: the accidental trip on stage, the flubbed line, or the awkward ad lib.” — Paul Weagraff, Director, Delaware Division of the Arts (2006-July 2021)

As the City of Wilmington’s Director of Cultural Affairs with more than 30 years experience in arts administration, event coordination, and fund development, I find it challenging to offer a ‘fresh’ perspective when discussing why the Arts matter. After all, what can one say that has not already been said in countless articles, essays, term papers, and grant applications? Reciting data collected by numerous ‘Why the Arts Matters’ studies and has been utilized as ‘measurables’ and ‘outcomes’ can be more than a bit uninteresting. Offering quotes by the famous (If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint — Edward Hopper) and by those whose names we may never know (Art should disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed — Anonymous) is a technique for making the point that has been done before. So instead of restating what has been said by me and others many times, let us EXPERIENCE ‘Why The Arts Matter’ by stepping up to the plate when called upon for board service and by purchasing season subscriptions or memberships and by being an enthusiastic audience member at a live performance.” — Tina Betz, Director, City of Wilmington Office of Cultural Affairs AUGUST 2021


As of 4/2/2021


As of 4/2/2021 As of 4/2/2021

As of 4/2/2021 As of 4/2/2021

ARTS & CULTURE SECTOR'S PERCENTAGE OF U.S. ECONOMY (Artists, University Arts, Commercial & Nonprofit Arts Organizations Combined)

U.S. Bureau Analysis reportsPERCENTAGE that nationally the andECONOMY culture U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that theArts artsOrganizations and culture sector ARTSof&Economic CULTURE SECTOR'S OFarts U.S. (Artists, University Arts, Commercial & Nonprofit Combined) sector was a $919.7 billion industry in 2019, representing 4.3% of the contributed $1 billion to Delaware's economy in 2019, representing 1.4% of 4.3% OF 5.2 NATION'S GDP & 5.2 MILLION JOBS 1.4% OF STATE'S & compensation 8,854 JOBS nation's GDP, jobs, and total compensation of $466 billion. (Artists,the state's GDP, 8,854 jobs,GDP and&total of $524 million. &million CULTURE SECTOR REPRESENTS DE ARTS &Commercial CULTURE SECTOR REPRESENTS ARTS &ARTS CULTURE SECTOR'S PERCENTAGE OF U.S. ECONOMY University Arts, Nonprofit Arts Organizations Combined) U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that nationally the arts and culture U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that the arts andpandemic) culture sector Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2019 (Prior to COVID-19 pandemic) Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2019 (Prior to COVID-19 4.3% OF NATION'S GDP & 5.2 MILLION JOBS 1.4% OF STATE'S GDP & 8,854 JOBS sector&wasCULTURE $919.7 billion industry in 2019, representing 4.3% of the (Artists,contributed $1 to Delaware's economy in 2019, representing 1.4% of ARTS PERCENTAGE OF U.S.the ECONOMY University Arts, Commercial &SECTOR Nonprofit ARTS &aCULTURE SECTOR REPRESENTS ARTS &billion REPRESENTS U.S. Bureau ofSECTOR'S Economic Analysis reports that nationally arts and culture DE U.S. Bureau ofCULTURE Economic Analysis reports thatArts theOrganizations arts and cultureCombined) sector BILLION BILLION Arts of & $466 Culture Sector Arts & Culture Sector $919.7 $1 nation's sector GDP, 5.2 million jobs, and total compensation billion. the state's GDP, 8,854 jobs, and total compensation of $524 million. was a $919.7 billion industry 2019, representing 4.3% of the contributed $1 billion toGDP Delaware's economyJOBS in 2019, representing 1.4% of 4.3% OF NATION'S GDP2019 &(Prior 5.2toinMILLION JOBS 1.4% OF STATE'S &20198,854 Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis,jobs, COVID-19 pandemic) U.S. Bureau ofCULTURE Economic Analysis, to COVID-19 pandemic) ARTS & CULTURE SECTOR REPRESENTS DE ARTS & SECTOR REPRESENTS nation's GDP, 5.2 million and total compensation of $466 billion. Source: the state's GDP, 8,854 jobs, and total (Prior compensation of $524 million. BILLION BILLION Construction Construction U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that nationally the arts and culture U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports culture sector $3that the arts and $892.7 Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2019 (Prior to COVID-19 pandemic) Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2019 (Prior to COVID-19 pandemic) 4.3% NATION'S GDP &in5.2 MILLION JOBSofSector 1.4% OF$1STATE'S GDPArts & economy 8,854 BILLION Arts & Culture & Culture Sectorrepresenting 1.4% of sector wasOF a $919.7 billion industry 2019, representing 4.3% the contributed billion to Delaware's inJOBS 2019, $919.7 $1 BILLION MILLION BILLION $464 Services Education Services U.S. Bureau Economic Analysis that nationally the arts and culture U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that the arts culture sector nation's GDP,of5.2 million jobs,reports andEducation total compensation of $466 billion. the state's GDP, 8,854 jobs, and total compensation ofand $524 million. $269.9 BILLION BILLION Arts & Culture Sector Arts & Culture Sector $919.7 $1 sectorU.S. wasBureau a $919.7 billion industry in 2019, representing 4.3% of the contributed $1 billion to Delaware's economy 2019, representing Construction $3(PriorBILLION $892.7 Source: of Economic Analysis, 2019BILLION (Prior toConstruction COVID-19 pandemic) Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2019 toin COVID-19 pandemic) 1.4% of BONUS:GDP, In 2019, exportsjobs, generated $33compensation billion arts tradeofSURPLUS. BONUS: 2019,8,854 DE artsjobs, and and culture wascompensation also larger thanofthe Agriculture industry. nation's 5.2U.S. million and atotal $466 billion. the state's InGDP, total $524 million. BILLION Construction Construction $3 BILLION $892.7




$269.9 $919.7 $269.9 Culture Sector BILLION BONUS: In 2019, U.S. exports generated a $33 BILLION billion artsArts trade&SURPLUS. Construction $919.7 $892.7

$1$464 $464 Arts &also Culture Sector BILLION Construction $1artsBILLION BONUS: In 2019, DE and culture was$3 larger than the Agriculture industry.

BILLION BILLION Artspandemic) & Culture Sector Arts &(Prior Culture Sectorpandemic) MILLION Education Services Education Services Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic BILLION Analysis, 2019 (Prior to COVID-19 Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2019 to COVID-19 MILLION BILLION Education Services Education Services LOSS OF REVENUE AND JOBS (Commercial & Nonprofit Arts Organizations Combined)



BONUS: In 2019, exports generated a $33 billion arts trade SURPLUS. BONUS:COVID-19 In 2019, DEhas artsdevastated and culture creative was also larger than businesses the Agriculture industry. Nationally, COVID-19 has U.S. devastated creative economy businesses with a loss of In Delaware, economy with a loss BILLION BILLIONof all Construction Construction MILLION BILLION $464 $150 billion in revenue. In addition, 52% creative workers of $198 million in revenue. In addition, 62% of all creative workers in Education Services Education Services $3 $892.7 $269.9 LOSS OF REVENUE AND JOBS (Commercial & Nonprofit Arts Organizations Combined) became unemployed (2.7 AND millionJOBS people) as of July 2020. Delaware became unemployed (5,478 people) as of July 2020. LOSS OF REVENUE (Commercial & Nonprofit Arts Organizations Combined) BONUS: InCOVID-19 2019,$269.9 U.S.has exports generated a $33 economy billionServices arts trade SURPLUS. MILLIONwas BILLION In 2019, DE arts and culture also larger than the Agriculturewith industry. $464 Education Education Services Nationally, devastated creative with a loss of InBONUS: Delaware, COVID-19 devastated creative economy businesses Source: Brookings, Lost art: Measuring COVID-19’s devastating businesses impact on America’s Source: Brookings, Lost art: has Measuring COVID-19’s devastating impact on America’sa loss Nationally, COVID-19 has devastated creative economy In Delaware, has In devastated economy businesses with a loss creative economy, 2020. economy, 2020. $150 billion in revenue. In addition, 52% of all creativebusinesses workerswith a loss of ofcreative $198 millionCOVID-19 in revenue. addition,creative 62% of all creative workers in BONUS:$150 Inunemployed 2019, U.S. exports a $33 52% billion arts trade SURPLUS. billion inAND revenue. In addition, all creative workers of $198 million revenue. In addition, of all creative workers BONUS: In became 2019, DE in arts and culture was(5,478 also62% larger than asthe of Agriculture July 2020. became (2.7generated million people) as ofof July 2020. Delaware unemployed people) LOSS OFbecame REVENUE JOBS (Commercial & Nonprofit Arts Organizations Combined) unemployed (2.7 million people) as of July 2020. Delaware became unemployed (5,478 people) as of July 2020. Source: Brookings, Lost art: Measuring COVID-19’s devastating impact on America’s Source: Brookings, Lost art: Measuring COVID-19’s devastating impact on America’s Nationally, COVID-19 has devastated creative economy businesses with a loss of In Delaware, COVID-19 hasMeasuring devastated creativedevastating economy businesses with a loss Source: Brookings, Lost art: Measuring COVID-19’s devastating impact on America’s Source: Brookings, Lost art: COVID-19’s impact on America’s creative economy, 2020. creative economy, 2020. LOSS OF REVENUE AND JOBS (Commercial & Nonprofit Arts Organizations Combined) creativeineconomy, 2020. creative economy, 2020. $150 billion revenue. In addition, 52% of all creative workers of $198 million in revenue. In addition, 62% of all creative workers in LOST REVENUE LOST REVENUE OF UNEMPLOYMENT OF UNEMPLOYMENT Nationally, COVID-19 has devastated In Delaware,became COVID-19unemployed has devastated (5,478 creativepeople) economy became unemployed (2.7 millioncreative people)economy as of Julybusinesses 2020. with a loss of Delaware as businesses of July 2020.with a loss $150 billion in revenue.OF In addition, 52% of ARTS all creative workers ofSource: $198 million in revenue. In addition, 62% of all creative workers in Source: Brookings,IMPACT Lost art: Measuring COVID-19’s devastating impact on America’s Brookings, Lost art: Measuring COVID-19’s devastating impact on America’s ECONOMIC NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS & THEIR AUDIENCES became unemployed (2.7 million people) as of July 2020. Delaware became creative economy, 2020. creative economy, 2020. unemployed (5,478 people) as of July 2020. LOST REVENUE LOST REVENUE OF UNEMPLOYMENT OFOFUNEMPLOYMENT LOST REVENUE LOST REVENUE OF UNEMPLOYMENT UNEMPLOYMENT Nationally, the nonprofit arts industry alone generates $166.3 billion in In 2015, the Delaware and culture generated $149.9 million in Source: Brookings, Lost art: Measuring COVID-19’s devastating impact on America’s Source: Brookings, Lost art: arts Measuring COVID-19’s devastating impact on America’s creative economy, 2020. creative economy, 2020. economic activity annually that supports 4.6 million jobs and economic activity annually that supported 4,062 FTE jobs and generated ECONOMIC IMPACT OF NONPROFIT ARTS ORGANIZATIONS & THEIR AUDIENCES ECONOMIC IMPACT OF NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS & THEIR AUDIENCES generates $27.5 billion in federal, state, and local ARTS government revenue. $10.5 million in state and local government revenue. Nationally, the nonprofit arts industry alone generates $166.3 billion in In 2015, the Delaware artsarts and culture generated $149.9 million Delaware nonprofit arts groups generated $103.6 million in economic activity.inin Audiences Nationally, the nonprofit arts industry generates $166.3 billion in In 2015, theLOST Delaware and culture generated $149.9 million REVENUE LOST REVENUE OFalone UNEMPLOYMENT OF UNEMPLOYMENT Spending byactivity arts audiences generated $102.5 billion to localjobs businesses. ofeconomic 1,530,657 people added another $46.3 million for aFTE total $149.9 in economic annually that supports 4.6 million and and economic activity annually thatthat supported 4,062 and generated economic activity annually that supports 4.6 million jobs activity annually supported 4,062 FTEofjobs jobs andmillion generated economic activity in forstate 2015, and and this generated $10.5 million in local and state government generates $27.5 billion in federal, state, and local government revenue. $10.5 million local government revenue. generates $27.5 billion in federal, state, and local government revenue. $10.5 million in state and local government revenue. LOST ECONOMIC LOST IMPACT OF NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS & THEIRrevenues. AUDIENCES REVENUE OF ARTS UNEMPLOYMENT The arts andREVENUE culture sector ranks as one ofOF the UNEMPLOYMENT top ten employers of the state.

$150B & $150B $150B& $150B & $150B &


52% 52% 52% 52% 52%

Source: Americans for the Arts, Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, 2017.

$198M & $198M $198M && $198M & $198M &

62% 62% 62% 62% 62%

Delaware nonprofit arts arts groups generated $103.6 million Delaware nonprofit groups generated $103.6 millioninineconomic economicactivity. activity.Audiences Audiences

Source: Americans the Arts, Artsarts & Economic Prosperity 5,generated Delaware report, 2017. million in SpendingSpending by arts audiences $102.5 billionbillion localtobusinesses. by arts arts audiences generated local businesses. Nationally, the nonprofit industry alone $102.5 generates $166.3 billion in & THEIR In 2015, the for Delaware and culture ofAUDIENCES 1,530,657 people added another $46.3 million forfora$149.9 total ofof$149.9 of 1,530,657 people added another $46.3 million a total $149.9million millioninin ECONOMIC IMPACT OFgenerated NONPROFIT ARTStoORGANIZATIONS

economicactivity activity for 2015, andthat thissupported generated $10.5 million local and and state government economic activity annually that supports 4.6 million jobs and economic annually 4,062 FTE injobs generated revenues. The arts and culture sector ranks as the topten tenemployers employers the state. NONPROFIT revenues. The arts and culture sector ranks asgenerated oneone of of the top ofofthe state. DRIVER OF JUST ONE OF NONPROFIT Source: for the Arts, Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, 2017. DRIVER OF OUR NATIONAL, Source: Americans fornonprofit thebillion Arts, Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, 2017. Nationally, theAmericans arts industry alone generates $166.3 billion in In 2015, the Delaware arts and culture $149.9 million in generates $27.5 in federal, state, and local government revenue. $10.5 million in state and local government revenue. $166.3 $149.9 Source: Americans for the Arts, Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, Delaware report, 2017. OUR LOCAL ECONOMIES. economic annually that supports 4.6 million jobs and economic that supported 4,062 FTEin economic jobs andactivity. generated STATE & LOCAL ECONOMY. Delaware nonprofit arts groups generated $103.6 million Audiences ART IS Abyactivity ART ISactivity A peopleinannually BILLION MILLION Spending$27.5 arts billion audiences $102.5 to local businesses. generates ingenerated federal, state, andbillion local government revenue. $10.5 million state local$46.3 government revenue. of 1,530,657 addedand another million for a total of $149.9 million in NONPROFIT DRIVER OF JUST ONE OF NONPROFIT DRIVER OF OUR NATIONAL, NONPROFIT NONPROFIT economic activity forarts 2015, and this generated $10.5 millioninOF in local andactivity. state government DRIVER JUST ONE OF DRIVER OF OUR NATIONAL, $166.3 $149.9 Delaware groups generated $103.6 million economic Audiences $166.3 $149.9 PUBLIC INVESTMENT IN GRANTS TObillion NONPROFIT ARTS ORGANIZATIONS &nonprofit revenues. TheARTISTS arts and culture sector$46.3 ranks as one ofOUR the top tenofemployers of the state. Spending by arts audiences generated $102.5 to local businesses. LOCAL ECONOMIES. Source: Americans for the Arts, Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, 2017. STATE & LOCAL ECONOMY. of 1,530,657 people added another million for a total $149.9 million in OUR LOCAL ECONOMIES. ART ISforAtheforArts,2015, MILLION ART ISART A IS A BILLIONBILLION STATE & LOCAL ECONOMY. ART IS Aactivity MILLION economic and thisProsperity generated $10.5 million in local and state government Source: Americans Arts & Economic 5, Delaware report, 2017.

economic activity for 2015, and this generated $10.5 million in local and state government

Source: Americans for the Arts, Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, Delaware report, 2017.

is the federal government investing in the Delaware—how much does state government Q What about $149.9 Q So how much$166.3 OUR LOCAL ECONOMIES. Congress $167.5 million to the in FY 2021, which has InIS FY 20-21, the state allocated $3,866,700 the Delaware Division. The STATE &NEA LOCAL ECONOMY. Soallocated how much is the federal government investing in the NONPROFIT ART ISQhow Arelatively What about Delaware—how muchto does state government ART A BILLION MILLION NONPROFIT A A DRIVER OF JUST ONE OF So much is the federal government investing in the What about Delaware—how much does state government DRIVER OF OUR NATIONAL, Q Delaware Division also received $734,500 in federal NEA funds, which been level for the last several years. This amounts to just 51¢ $166.3 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)? $149.9 budget to the Delaware Division of the Arts each year? Q Q National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)? budget to the Delaware Division of the Arts each year? OUR LOCAL ECONOMIES. the re-granted to dozens of cultural organizations through the yet theBILLION nonprofit arts industry generates over $13 billion in STATE &to LOCAL ARTper ISINVESTMENT Acapita, ISDivision Congress allocated $167.5 million the NEA inECONOMY. FYARTS 2021,ORGANIZATIONS which has ARTstate. PUBLIC IN GRANTS TO NONPROFIT & ARTISTS InAAnother FY 20-21, theMILLION state allocated $3,866,700 to thedirect Delaware Division. 8 nonprofit arts organizations received grants from The federal tax revenue back to the U.S. Treasury. Imagine what nonprofit Congress allocated $167.5 million to the NEA in FY 2021, which has A A In FY 20-21, the statealso allocated the Delaware Division. Delaware Division received$3,866,700 $734,500 intofederal NEA funds, which The been relatively level for the last several years. This amounts to just 51¢ A the NEA totaling $300,000. A arts groups could generate with $1arts perindustry capita.This Delaware Division also received $734,500 in organizations federal NEA funds, been relatively level forthethe last several amounts to $13 justORGANIZATIONS 51¢ in theARTISTS Division re-granted to dozens of cultural throughwhich the permuch capita, nonprofit generates over billion PUBLICSo INVESTMENT IN GRANTS TOyears. NONPROFIT ARTS & how isyet the federal government investing in the What about Delaware—how much does state government the Division re-granted to dozens of cultural organizations through per capita, yet the nonprofit arts industry generates over $13 billion in state. Another 8 nonprofit arts organizations received direct grantsthe from federal tax revenue back to the U.S. Treasury. Imagine what nonprofit Q Q National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)? budget to the Delaware Division of the Arts each year? state.theAnother 8 nonprofit arts organizations received direct grants from NEA totaling $300,000. federal tax revenue back generate to the U.S. Treasury. Imagine what nonprofit arts groups could with $1 per capita. So much the federal in the What about much todoes state government theFYNEA totaling $300,000. $167.5 million the NEA ininvesting FY 2021, which has In 20-21, theDelaware—how state allocated $3,866,700 the Delaware Division. The artshow groupsallocated couldisgenerate with $1government pertocapita. Q Q National Endowment Arts (NEA)? the also Delaware Division inoffederal the Arts eachwhich year? A budget A Congress Delaware to Division received $734,500 NEA funds, been relatively level for thefor last the several years. This amounts to just 51¢ theFYDivision to dozens$3,866,700 of cultural organizations through the The $167.5 million to the NEA in FYover 2021, per capita,allocated yet the nonprofit arts industry generates $13which billionhas in 20-21,re-granted the state allocated to the Delaware Division. A InDelaware A Congress state. Another 8 nonprofit arts organizations grantswhich from Division also received $734,500 inreceived federal direct NEA funds, been level back for the several years. This amounts just 51¢ federalrelatively tax revenue to last the U.S. Treasury. Imagine whattononprofit revenues. The arts and culture sector ranks as one of the top ten employers of the state.

Source: Americans for the Arts, Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, 2017. PUBLIC INVESTMENT IN TO NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS &toARTISTS PUBLIC INVESTMENT IN GRANTS TO ARTSARTS ORGANIZATIONS & forARTISTS National Endowment for GRANTS theDRIVER ArtsNONPROFIT (NEA)? NONPROFIT budget the Division ofreport, the2017. Arts each year? Source: Americans the Arts, Arts &Delaware Economic Prosperity 5, Delaware DRIVER OF JUST ONE OF NONPROFIT OF OUR NATIONAL,



ARTS & CULTURE SECTOR'S PERCENTAGE OF U.S. ECONOMY (Artists, University Arts, Commercial & Nonprofit Arts Organizations Combined)

Source: Americans for the Arts Action Fund, 2021. Read: "Funding The Arts is Good for the Nation," The Hill, 2015.

Source: NEA and NASAA, 2021 Read: “#whyDEartsmatter: Arts & Economic Development," Guillermina Gonzalez, 2017.

Source: Americans for the Arts Action Fund, 2021. Read: "Funding Arts is Good for 2021. the Nation," The Hill, 2015. Source: Americans for theThe Arts Action Fund, Read: "Funding The Arts is Good for the Nation," The Hill, 2015.

Source: NEA and NASAA, 2021 Read: “#whyDEartsmatter: Source: NEA and NASAA, 2021 Arts & Economic Development," Guillermina Gonzalez, 2017. Read: “#whyDEartsmatter: Arts & Economic Development," Guillermina Gonzalez, 2017.

per thegenerate nonprofitwith arts$1 industry generates over $13 billion in arts capita, groupsyet could per capita. federal taxforrevenue the U.S. Americans the Arts back ActiontoFund, 2021. Treasury. Imagine what nonprofit 24 Source: AUGUST 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM | Read: "Funding The Arts is Good for thewith Nation," The capita. Hill, 2015. arts groups could generate $1 per Source: Americans for the Arts Action Fund, 2021. Read: "Funding The Arts is Good for the Nation," The Hill, 2015.

the Division NEA totaling $300,000. re-granted to dozens of cultural organizations through the state. Another 8 nonprofit arts organizations received direct grants from Source: NEA and NASAA, 2021 the NEA totaling $300,000. Read: “#whyDEartsmatter: Arts & Economic Development," Guillermina Gonzalez, 2017.

Source: NEA and NASAA, 2021 Read: “#whyDEartsmatter: Arts & Economic Development," Guillermina Gonzalez, 2017.


Post-Pandemic Resurgence

Exeuctive Director Molly Giordano (2nd from right) with members of the Delaware Art Museum's advisory committee (l-r): Arnold Hurtt, Rita Volkens, Dr. James Newton, Harmon Carey.

With a new executive director, the Delaware Art Museum is emphasizing diversity and First State talent while undergoing a major reinstallation


ppropriately for the director of an art museum, Molly Giordano grew up surrounded by art and the tools to create it. “Our whole house was full of art supplies,” she says of her childhood home in Morgantown, W. Va. “You’d open the silverware drawer and there might not be any forks, but there would be paint brushes in there.” That was thanks largely to her mother. Susan Keresztury was an artist and art history professor who also managed the programs at the community art center in Morgantown. Naturally, young Molly tried her hand at painting, but she and her brother gravitated to other art forms. She was interested in writing, and from an early age dreamed of getting her MFA (Master of Fine Arts). Nick, 18 months older, went into the theater. Meanwhile, her father, Jim, gave her a view into the nonprofit world through his career as a social worker specializing in cancer prevention and care among rural West Virginians. ►

By Bob Yearick Photos by Joe del Tufo



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POST-PANDEMIC RESURGENCE Giordano came to Delaware continued from previous page in 2004 to attend UD, where she majored in political science and journalism, thinking she might become a political reporter. After graduation, she skipped the reporting part and went right into politics in 2008 by becoming a key member of Jack Markell’s first of two successful campaigns for governor. Working on his communications team, she accompanied Markell in his journey up and down the state, including a “55 towns in 55 hours” marathon over the Fourth of July weekend. After the election, thinking she might want to follow in her dad’s footsteps, Giordano spent a year-and-a-half at West End Neighborhood House. Then, in 2010, having decided neither politics nor social work was her future, she became manager of Marketing and Public Relations for the Delaware Art Museum.


She then began a steady climb up the museum’s executive ladder (finding time along the way to achieve her childhood dream by earning a master’s degree in creative writing), and in February was named executive director after serving as interim director for 13 months. She succeeds Sam Sweet, whose fouryear tenure ended last year. Giordano steps into the job at a pivotal time in the history of the 109-year-old institution as it emerges from the impact of COVID-19, which necessitated a three-month shutdown. In addition to rebuilding visitation and in-person programming, the museum is in the midst of a major reinstallation of the main floor galleries, a project that will continue through the summer, with all eight reimagined galleries open by Saturday, Sept. 11. The project was shaped through input from focus groups that included more than 100 Delawareans. This marks the first comprehensive DelArt rehanging since 2005. Since then, the collections have grown to include significant pieces by women and Black artists that tell a more inclusive story of the visual arts. The reinstallation also emphasizes the role of local artists and collectors in the history of art.


Amelia Wiggins, assistant director of Learning and Engagement, says the focus groups, conducted in the winter of 2019, have been instrumental in determining the museum’s path forward. “We invited representatives from a range of Wilmington communities and asked them to bring someone who had never been to the museum,” she says. “So we heard from those who understood our work and were involved in our work for a long time, but also from some first-time users who were coming with fresh eyes. “We heard that Delawareans love local stories, and we heard quite a bit that some Delawareans didn’t feel they were represented in the galleries. So we worked hard to add stories that were previously untold. We tried to create a more relevant experience for them.” (For more on one of the exhibits, see sidebar on adjacent page.)

That has led to widening the scope of programs and content. “We have focused specifically on collecting work by women artists and artists of color, and filled major holes in the museum’s collection,” says Winslow. She says this is part of the museum’s role “as a leader in supporting systemic change in "Pool Room 11th & Walnut" by Wilmington's Edward Loper, Jr., another of the our communities, in works that will be on display in a special exhibit opening Oct. 23. Wilmington and Delaware, and expanding outward.” Contemporary Art Curator Margaret The emphasis on diversity extends to Winslow says the museum is “committed membership as well: The museum is in the to diversity, committed to equity, midst of a “100 Days of Summer” campaign committed to inclusion. And that means whose goal is to add 100 members to the incorporating all of those voices and list that now totals about 1,400. creating platforms for all of those voices to Meanwhile, the building and grounds on be heard.”



Wilmington’s Kentmere Parkways are a postpandemic beehive of activity. Much of it is taking place outside on the Terrace or in the sprawling and impressive Sculpture Garden. The popular Happy Hours, featuring live music, local brews, wine, cocktails, and food, are back on Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m. DelArt Drive-In movies on the lawn of the Sculpture Garden began in July and continue through August and the first two weeks of September. The Friday movies are free, and typical movie concessions are available. Patrons only need to bring a chair. There also are workshops and multi-week courses in painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, metalsmithing, ceramics, and writing, some of them virtual. Both children and adults — defined as age 15 and older — of any skill level are welcome. ►


his exhibit, scheduled to open Oct. 23 and run through Jan. 23, 2022, “is a really deep look at an important historical moment and one that needs to be more thoroughly documented, explored and celebrated,” says Contemporary Art Curator Margaret Winslow. The exhibit celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first major undertaking of Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc., a Delaware organization founded by Percy Ricks, a Wilmington artist and educator who died in 2008. The 1971 exhibition included more than 130 works of art — drawings, prints, photographs, paintings, and sculpture — by 66 African American artists. Numerous factors led to Ricks’ founding of Aesthetic Dynamics and the ambitious inaugural exhibition, most notably the trauma suffered from the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the subsequent ninemonth National Guard occupation of Wilmington, along with Ricks’ desire to emphasize the influence of African American artists in Wilmington. The exhibition is a collaboration between Aesthetic Dynamics and the Delaware Art Museum. “This aligns with the museum’s commitment to serving as an inclusive artistic hub in the city and working collaboratively with organizations throughout greater Wilmington, like Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc., to support creativity and access to the arts for all,” Winslow says. “Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks” will include most of the artists who participated in the 1971 show. Many are known locally — Humbert Howard, Simmie Knox, Edward Loper Sr., and Edward Loper Jr. Some are recognized nationally, including Romare Bearden, Sam Gilliam, Loïs Mailou Jones, Faith Ringgold, Alma Thomas, and Hale Woodruff. By rehanging the show as accurately as possible, the partnering organizations hope to examine the exhibition’s role in the Black Arts Movement as well as question why this seemingly successful event was largely neglected by historians in the decades that followed. The exhibit is free with admission to the museum. Top: Aesthetic Dynamics founder Percy Ricks. Bottom: "Waiting" by Ernest Crichlow.




POST-PANDEMIC RESURGENCE continued from previous page

"Streets of the Market, Zaria," by James A. Porter, will be among the works on display in Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks.







Next spring, as part of its mission to spotlight Delaware talent, the museum will present two distinguished artists exhibitions: e. jean lanyon, an artist and writer who served as the state’s Poet Laureate for 22 years, and Stan Smokler, a metal sculptor and teacher.

A MOMENT TO REFLECT While the pandemic caused the museum to close and suffer the ensuing loss of revenue, Giordano says it had at least one positive: “Closing gave us a good moment to pause and reflect. I think we’re going to be a better, healthier organization coming out of this than we were before.” Looking ahead, she sees two major missions for the institution. The first is to create ongoing, not limited, relationships with other institutions, such as DCAD (Delaware College of Art and Design) and the University of Delaware. The second is an innovative effort aimed at what she calls “the creative economy.” “Where are the jobs,” she asks, “and what are we doing to support people in our community in terms of things like creative workforce development?” Though it’s not a done deal yet, Giordano says the museum is pursuing funding for a project that will train and pay Wilmington residents to clean, conserve, and document the public works of art in Wilmington. “It’s all planned out and we are negotiating funding, so I don’t know exactly when it will start,” she says. “We are calling it the Sculpture Conservation/Workforce Training Program.” The native West Virginian gained a deep appreciation for the First State and its people during the arduous 2008 gubernatorial campaign, and she has even persuaded her parents and brother to move here. That appreciation was reflected in her comments after she was named director six months ago: “I’m honored to lead the Museum into its next chapter. I consider art to be a public service, and it has been my great pleasure to help deliver that service to Delawareans — especially this year, when creativity, inspiration, and human connection are so needed.”


In recent years, Keith Powell has been using his platform to tell his stories or stories that he knows. Photo by Stephanie Girard



Keith Powell’s Time to Shine The Delawarean is building his Hollywood legacy as an actor, writer, and director By JulieAnne Cross


iming often seems to make things work in actor/writer/director Keith Powell’s favor. Out & About last highlighted the St. Mark’s High School and Wilmington Drama League alum in October 2015. When he posted pictures on social media in April that documented his experience directing a Season Three episode of Apple TV+’s Dickinson, it seemed appropriate to feature him once again and discuss the likely 2022 return of Dickinson. So a July interview was scheduled. Little did anyone know that Powell would decide to release his latest short film, In White Places, to the general public — online — the weekend before the interview (The film actually debuted at the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo film festivals in March). Powell says he didn’t know if he was going to release the film to the public, much less when. “I sometimes just make things and don’t know if they’ll ever see the light of day,” he says. “July Fourth was coming up, and instead of writing a long post about the sins of America, I said, ‘Why don’t I just show this?’” In White Places opens on a Black man wearing a courier’s uniform, with Powell opening the door to sign for a package around 30 seconds in, but not before a White woman skitters away at the mere sight of the courier at the curb. It’s not the last awkward interaction the characters have with the White neighbors before the 10-minute film ends. ►



TIME TO SHINE Welcome to Pasadena continued from previous page Powell explains what inspired the film: “Within the first couple of months of moving into a new house in Pasadena [California], a neighbor to our right accused [my wife] Jill of breaking into her car.” The neighbor on the left soon followed with his own complaint. “I was shooting Connecting [the eight-episode NBC show that featured characters maintaining pandemicsafe social contact over a video call] and had my camera,” Powell says. “All of NBC was on this Zoom phone call when my neighbor called the cops on me because he thought I was casing the neighborhood.”

Keith Powell wearing injury-effects makeup while directing In White Places.

The topic of racial stereotyping is timely, but the origins of the film aren’t new. “I always wanted to create a TV show around my best friend Lew as a mailman,” says Powell. “I wrote a piece about delivering a package to a house and [the delivery] is going weirdly and wrong. I took that little piece out and expounded upon it to create In White Places.” Lew is Lew Indellini, front man for Wilmington funk/ rock band Special Delivery and former postal carrier, who met Powell in 1996 when he was cast in a Wilmington Drama League play that Powell wrote as a teen. Indellini says he isn’t surprised that this film has come to life. “I feel like now that he’s firmly on his path as a triple threat artist and storyteller, it hasn’t been so much the timing but more of the ‘about damn time’ that he’s getting to put more of his work in front of more and more eyes and ears.”

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The Creator A short film, Powell says, should have a lasting impact and spark a conversation. With In White Places, he wanted to create a short story to “ask the audience whose house they were fighting over in this neighborhood.” “In my mind, the house is America,” he says. Powell’s career has included plenty of roles that could easily be written off as lighthearted, but the Black experience is common to all of them, whether he’s performing a role or inventing one.

Of his career origins, he says, “I wrote a play when I was at St. Ann’s in middle school that was part of a school assignment. I didn’t want to be in it, I just wanted to direct it. I didn’t know what directing was, but I knew that I wanted to force people to do what I asked them to do.” By high school, he knew he wanted to be an actor and a director, and his private school education only emphasized that he “was the Black kid in White spaces. And being the ‘other,’ you would either embrace being the center of attention or run away. I embraced it and I wanted to tell stories that were about people like me. I didn’t feel like I was being heard because I was the minority.” Kathy Buterbaugh was production manager for the Wilmington Drama League, where Powell wrote, directed, and performed in several one-act plays as part of the Chrysalis Players. “His plays were always far from conventional,” she says, “filled with passion, wit and plenty to raise questions in an audience's collective mind.” Powell found his first measure of fame as an actor, playing Toofer Spurlock, the Harvard-educated writer whose failure to manifest a single Black stereotype was an ongoing punchline on 30 Rock, which ran from 2006 to 2013.

So much of the work that I do is convincing people outside of their stereotype and outside of what they project Black people to be. Since then, he’s had big roles on small shows, such as About a Boy, and small roles on big shows, like The Newsroom (with Delaware’s John Gallagher Jr.), Grace and Frankie, Lucifer, and a recurring (and, reportedly, continuing) role on This Is Us. On the big screen, he played a Tuskegee Airman in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian in 2009. Last year saw the release of Marvelous and the Black Hole at the Sundance Film Festival, with The Beta Test slated to follow this year. But more and more in recent years, Powell is telling his story, or stories that he knows. In 2015, he released a series of 12 shorts called Keith Broke His Leg. As the series was being shopped around to networks, it picked up a number of independent film awards along the way. While some of the episodes tackle topics any human might experience, such as interruptions to leisure activities, the Black experience makes many cameos. In the episode “Baller,” Powell’s agent convinces him to do a voiceover for a commercial using an extreme stereotype of a Black voice. ► AUGUST 2021



Powell says that the voice he used, “is an continued from previous page exaggeration of what I’ve had to do, but I have had to change voices. And it got to the point [in auditions] where I just started acting like that from the moment I walked into the reading room so that they didn’t have a preconceived notion in mind.” “So much of the work that I do is convincing people outside of their stereotype and outside of what they project Black people to be,” he says. “So much of my work is about being who I am and not who someone wants me to be. I’m never what they have in mind. So much of my work is about having to overcome or subvert or plow through that.” In the Nick of Time Powell may have a secret weapon when it comes to telling his story: his wife, visual artist and actress Jill Knox Powell. She co-starred with him in Keith Broke His Leg, and years later that show’s producer made an introduction that led to the pair being cast as a married couple in Connecting. The duo’s origins show that timing, once again, has been everything. Back in 2006, Powell was planning to fly to Los Angeles and crash on a friend’s couch when a New York agent suggested he audition for 30 Rock. He got the role, and remained in The Big Apple. Forward to 2009, when Keith turned up late for workshopping a play, causing newly-met castmate Jill Knox to call him a loser. A few weeks later, the two had a chance to turn things around during some idle time between rehearsals. “We talked the entire three-hour break. Been together ever since,” he says.

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Time for Growth By the time this article is published, the Powells are due to become third-time parents. Family is also an important theme of Powell’s work. The episode “Lullaby” from Keith Broke His Leg documents the start of his nuclear family’s journey. Says he: “I wanted to write about that first moment that you want to be a parent.” Powell continues to tell his family’s story, including loss "I want to create a legacy and I want to do it through film," says Powell. and subsequent joys, which include the 2018 stillbirth of son Greyson, followed by the 2019 birth of daughter Dolyn. “[There’s] a theme throughout all my work,” he says. “It’s about legacy and what we pass on to children and what we’ve inherited as children. This theme runs through all my work even before Greyson died, [and that’s] because Black people have been denied lineage.” Train Baby, a 2015 film Powell co-wrote and starred in, is, according to Powell, “a movie about a man who wants to deny his heritage, and who wants to create a new line for himself.” He adds, “Sophie’s Quinceañera is probably the most successful artistic endeavor that I’ve had. It was written on the night of my son’s funeral. It is about having that succession, what you pass down onto your children and what they take away from you.”

By successful, Powell means that Sophie’s Quinceañera played at larger film festivals than his other work, and artistically it was a wholly fulfilling work, getting him “out of a dark hole of depression.” Even In White Places, Powell says, is about trying to build something for the next generation. “That’s just a prevailing theme for my work. I didn’t even realize how much it occupied my brain, but legacy is important to me.” At the time of the interview, Powell was in Atlanta to direct an episode of a new Freeform show Single Drunk Female. He directed an episode of NBC comedy Superstore in 2018, and 2020 brought Dickinson, an anachronistic and comedic period take on the life of Emily, to his directing resume. About Dickinson, Powell says, “[It] was one of, if not the most, artistically fulfilling experiences of my life.” Meanwhile, his fantasy job opportunity could be just on the horizon. “I want to create my magnum opus, and I believe that will happen in television,” he says. “I want my Mad Men. I would love to direct a feature film that has a tremendous cultural impact. I want to create a legacy and I want to do it through film. If that means the medium is television . . . as long as it’s on film.” Neil Casey is another one of Powell’s many former Chrysalis Players colleagues who has achieved success in the

Keith Powell says the Black experience is a common theme in much of his work, whether it's a role he's playing or a project he's created, like In White Places.

entertainment industry. He was a Saturday Night Live writer, played the villain in Ghostbusters, and is currently a writer on Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman’s NBC series, Making It. Of Powell’s trajectory, Casey says, “His passion and excitement for everything that he does is really infectious and he brings his best to everything he does. He brings out the best in everyone else, too, which is part of why it’s so natural he’s becoming in demand as a director.”





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Newark native talks about 'Murder Durder' and other highs after six seasons of writing bits, skits and other funny stuff for Saturday Night Live Delaware native Sudi Green is on to her next chapter.


udi Green has been on a hot streak. And she admits it. “I’ve been lucky to be able to express myself,” Green says from her New York City apartment during a recent Zoom interview. For the past six years, the Delaware native has been fulfilling her dream of being a comedy writer living in New York City and writing for Saturday Night Live, the undisputed paragon of TV comedy. From the early days of Gilda Radner, Chevy Chase and John Belushi, to its current roster of comedians that includes stars like Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant and Kenan Thompson, SNL has successfully thrived and survived through multiple generations, regularly reinventing itself along the way. As SNL enters its 47th season, in some way it will have to reinvent itself again, as Green has left this summer to bravely explore new territories. She departs on a high mark, after a season that saw one of her most well-received skits, “Murder Durder,” generate laughs coast to coast even though, as a spoof on Mare of Easttown, the jokes were aimed specifically at the HBO hit series’ use of the Delco accent — a local dialect most Out & About readers know all too well (and may be very fluent in, admittedly). So what’s next for Green? “I’m kind of writing the next chapter as we speak,” the funny woman says of her career status, adding that she’d like to act more, which was an aspect she pursued before her many days at SNL. ► AUGUST 2021

By Jim Miller



5 QUESTIONS - SUDI GREEN “I want to do it all: I want to continued from previous page write; I want to work with people that I love from the show and that I know that I love working with; and I want to work with new people that I can learn from,” she adds, enthusiastically. “I’m really excited about the future.” Here, in her own words, is Green about how she approached her job at SNL, what the long hours were like, and who she recalls as an early influence in comedy.

O&A: You were a writer for Saturday Night Live since 2015. That’s a lot of time. When you were growing up in Newark, was it always a dream to do comedy writing like that? Green: Yeah, pretty much since I was young. I started out wanting to be an actress and then kind of switched more to the writing side. But yeah, it was always a dream to be at SNL. And then I feel like I’m one of the very few people who actually got their childhood dream job, which is really surreal. I have a very early television memory of watching Molly Shannon as “The Joyologist.” She used to do this character, The Joyologist — [Imitating Molly Shannon doing the character] “Yeah, I love it, I love it, I love it!” — and watching my father laugh hysterically at it. To me, SNL was always a show that felt like it was for kids, but adults liked it. All I saw were crazy characters, and I loved it. O&A: Molly Shannon did bring a great sense of exuberance to everything she did. When you look back on your career at SNL, what do you feel you brought to the table? Was there something you felt was your kind of expertise? Because there are lot of writers, right? Green: Yes, there are a lot of writers, and what’s cool about SNL is that everybody is really encouraged to bring their own voice. I think that’s what makes it a variety show — there’s not one singular SNL voice. It’s everybody’s different spices sort of in there. In terms of what I brought to the show, I feel like I grew up on SNL, and [my early days of] doing comedy were very influenced by SNL. I was always writing character comedy. I think that’s why I wrote a lot of Weekend Update characters. I wrote “Bailey Gismert,” the movie reviewer with Heidi Gardner and “Carrie Krum,” the little kid travel expert with Aidy Bryant. I think the character work that I was doing when I was coming up in comedy really helped me write with performers [at SNL]. And then also pop culture — just always wanting to do a parody of a TV show. My writing partner, Fran Gillespie, who I mostly wrote with at the show, she and I are big TV fans. [We’d] get really into like a British dating show, like Love Island, and then write a parody of it. I feel like we did something similar recently when we wrote “Murder Durder,” the Mare of Easttown parody. 38 AUGUST 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM |

O&A: That skit was such a big hit with fans. With you growing up in Delaware, obviously that was something you could really personally connect with. When you were writing that script, did your fellow writers think you were talking in another language? Green: I do the accent as a bit with my friends. I love the Delco accent. [Being from the] the area, I would just do it as a bit. We all are comedians — we do voices as a bit. So, then when Mare of Easttown came out, everybody was like, “Sudi, are you going to do something with this?” It was almost like I had to because I’m this girl who’s always saying “wudder.”

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O&A: One of the skits you and Fran wrote, “A Kanye Place,” a spoof on A Quiet Place, was hysterical. One of the behind-the-scenes videos on the SNL website showed all the work that went into this skit, and it was amazing how much you did in just two days. From the writing, to then building the set, and then the special effects. It seemed very fast-paced. Is it always like that?

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Green: It’s extremely fast-paced. And there are many different departments at SNL. As a writer, you might have this idea on Tuesday night. But what really makes it happen on Saturday night is that all these amazing departments — that are so good at what they do — work so quickly and throw so many resources behind what they do. It is always like that. [laughs] And that is why it’s a little bit crazy. When you work there, as long as I did, you have to be a little bit crazy to do it. But you get such a rush when pulling it off. Like, for example, on “Murder Durdur,” or we wrapped on Saturday — the shoot ended at 5am on Saturday. So, it wasn’t even Friday night; it was Saturday morning when it finished.

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O&A: Wow, that’s incredible! How satisfying is it when you’re watching the show, and you hear people laughing at the skits you wrote? It’s got to be different from other comedy writing for HBO or Hulu, where you’re writing, and you don’t really get to see the response.

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Green: It is so great when they laugh, because a lot of times, they really don’t. [laughs] Most of the time that stuff doesn’t Private Room Seats Up To 15 Available Upon Request end up on TV. At dress rehearsal, you have a pretty good sense when you walk away of like, “That went well or that didn’t.” The live performance aspect of it, getting to stand in the studio when your sketch is going on live television, and feeling that energy of the audience's reaction — or if it’s a live sketch, Private Room Seats Up To 15 not a pre-taped sketch, watching the performers perform and Private Room Seats Up Upon To 15 Request Available have fun with it — it makes it such a more tangible, real thing Available Upon Request that you’re working on. Rather than, in scripted television, which I also enjoy for different reasons, it’s such a long process until somebody actually gets to see it. By the time it actually airs on TV or streams, you might be moving on to something else, or thinking about the next season or something. But SNL is so immediate.

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A Delicious Legacy The Martuscelli family’s restaurants are Delaware-area icons


By Pam George

t was the summer of 1978, and Giuseppe and Anna Martuscelli were worried. The couple had relocated from Philadelphia to Glasgow, Del., to open a small Italian restaurant. After three months, their partners had pulled out, citing concerns about the area’s viability. On New Year’s Eve 1977, not a single customer had stepped through the door. The Martuscellis had scraped together $20,000 to make La Casa Pasta their own. Still, the lack of sales was dire. Then Otto Dekom came to dine. The taciturn News Journal critic ordered mussels fra diavolo. “I have never had them as good as any restaurant this side of the Pennsylvania Line, and rarely on the other,” he wrote. The antipasto was “generous,” the house-made lasagna was “exceptional,” and the zabaglione was “delicious.” In all, the food and service were “very good.” ► Anna and Giuseppe Martuscelli (center) with kids and grandkids during the Restaurant Group's 40th anniversary celebration. Photos courtesy of Martuscelli family AUGUST 2021


A DELICIOUS LEGACY More than 40 years later, La continued from previous page Casa Pasta is the flagship of the Martuscelli Restaurant Group. Holdings also include Klondike Kate’s Restaurant & Bar in Newark, and the Chesapeake Inn (turned 25 in July) and Shipwatch Inn Bed & Breakfast in Chesapeake City. Over four decades, the family and their businesses have infiltrated customers’ hearts and become interwoven in their life stories. But it hasn’t been a smooth journey.

An Immigrant’s Dream

Giuseppe Martuscelli grew up in Santa Maria di Castellabate, a seaside Italian town near Salerno. Giuseppe, the oldest of seven children, helped his mother cook the Mediterranean seafood his fisherman father brought home for dinner. After joining the Italian navy, Giuseppe became a ship’s cook. He picked up new ideas and recipes at the different ports of call, including the U.S. In 1967, he moved to Philadelphia, where he met wife-to-be Anna Montefusco at a dance in South Philly. The young Italian woman made coats and old buttons at a Woolworth’s store. The couple, who wed in 1973, have two sons, Gianmarco and Alessandro. Giuseppe worked in Philadelphia restaurants, including the Copper Penny, but had high ambitions. “My husband says he wanted to open a restaurant, but it was a lot of money at that time,” recalled Anna in a Delaware Restaurant Association video. When he learned about the Glasgow location, he jumped at the opportunity. It was a big step for Anna. “I didn’t know that Delaware was another state,” she confided in the footage. The family relocated to the Strawberry Run Apartments before finding a home in the Four Seasons community. Not only were the Martuscellis living in a new state, but they were running a fledgling business with limited English and schooling, son Gianmarco notes. And they were launching a restaurant in a part of Newark that was still considered rural. Because food suppliers didn’t service the area, Giuseppe trekked to Philadelphia three times a week to buy supplies. As he expanded the menu, he traveled to Italy to purchase items he couldn’t find in the U.S. The restaurant applied for a liquor license in March 1978, which sweetened its appeal. But it was The Morning News critic’s review that piqued interest. In fact, in December 1978, a La Casa Pasta newspaper ad included “Recommended by Otto Dekkom.” The misspelling of Dekom’s last name didn’t stop customers from coming.

Growing a Business

One loyal customer was Ed Richitelli, a championship amateur golfer and entrepreneur. “He was prominent in the Newark area back in the day,” Gianmarco says. “He used to bring in all the who’s who of Newark to eat dinner. He got us on the map and sponsored my dad for citizenship.” The Four Seasons Shopping Center included a doughnut shop, liquor store, hair salon and 7-11 when La Casta Pasta opened. As stores left, the Martuscellis gradually consumed the center. The liquor store, for instance, became the banquet room. 42 AUGUST 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM |

The family made the jump to Wilmington in 1988 when Outdoor orders overwhelmed the kitchen, which serviced both Giuseppe and his brother-in-law purchased Daniel’s, a French areas. One employee’s sole job was to unload the food from a dumbwaiter that dropped to the first restaurant in the Devon, and turned level and put it on trays for servers. it into Positano. After a few years, “It was crazy,” says Gianmarco. they sold it. Today, there are three kitchens in In 1995, the previous home of the facility, including one for the Dockside Yacht Club & Restaurant banquet facility, added in 2007. & Marina, which burned in a 1993 Although busy, things were fire, went up for auction. The going well until 2010. On the night Martscuellis were very familiar before Mother’s Day, an electrical with Chesapeake City, Md. Family malfunction in La Casa Pasta member Generoso “Joe” Montefusco sparked a fire resulting in $80,000 has owned The Tap Room since 1981. in damages. In part, Giuseppe and Anna Not only would the restaurant wanted to buy the property to lose Mother’s Day income, but it keep another crab house from Gianmarco and his grandfather Giovanni Martuscelli, 1989. was also closed for University of opening. Their $600,000 winning Delaware graduation dinners. The bid resulted in the Chesapeake Inn family quickly moved as many guests as possible — along with Restaurant & Marina, which opened in June 1996. “Come by Land or Sea,” an ad invited. “Waterfront Dining core employees — to Chesapeake Inn. The cost of renovations Upstairs & Casual Dining Downstairs on the Deck.” That first topped $500,000, but it gave the family the chance to brighten rooms with light paint and new fixtures. summer, the deck was the place to be, and that is still the case. Six years later, the hospitality group purchased Klondike Kate’s “We didn’t realize how many boaters come in, and they’re not dressed for upstairs,” recalls Gianmarco, who joined the family Restaurant & Bar, giving customers three different concepts in business full-time just in time for the new restaurant’s opening. the greater Newark area. ►

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A DELICIOUS LEGACY continued from previous page

Gianmarco now runs the day-to-day operations. He and Alessandro grew up in the restaurants. “I dreaded those summers when I had to do the market runs” [to Philadelphia], recalls Gianmarco, who also made salads, bussed tables and washed dishes. “You had to wake up at 4:30 in the morning. Then you had to drive back and prep.” It wasn’t always easy working for their father. The man of few words found his voice in the kitchen. In the days before computers, cooks used written tickets, and Giuseppe lost patience when food wasn’t ready. Handheld devices and touchscreen terminals have helped organize the chaos, Gianmarco says. “It’s mellower these days.” Alessandro, who went to Boston University, is now the lead attorney and vice president of a pharmaceutical company in the Boston area. “He actually is the foodie of the family,” his older brother says. “He loves to cook and is a great chef.” After graduating from Salesianum High School in 1992, Gianmarco went to St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia to study Gianmarco Martuscelli with his mother Anna. business management. In his senior year, he met wife-to-be Gilda Santoro, a food marketing major. (The couple later learned that Anna’s family had rented rooms from Gilda’s grandparents when they arrived in the U.S. The couple has three children: Annabella, who will attend the University of South Carolina; Ava, a Padua Academy student; and Joseph, who goes to Mt. Aviat Academy, a Roman Catholic school. Running a family business is not easy, especially in the hospitality industry. Gilda handles human resources and the back office while Gianmarco travels between restaurants. Anna and Giuseppe still have a say in decisions involving La Casa Pasta.

Part of the Community

In the early days, Giuseppe worked 80 to 90 hours a week. Keeping the marriage together required “patience, faith and sacrifice,” Anna maintains. Over the years, the family has provided the setting for lovebirds. Yours truly had her first date with her husbandto-be at La Casa Pasta. I’m not alone. “My husband and I also had our first date at La Casa Pasta in 2002,” wrote Lauren Ann Bacon on a Facebook post.

“We celebrate our 16th wedding at Canal Little League and the anniversary Friday. We visit Martuscelli Restaurant Group has Chesapeake Inn all the time. The sponsored teams and supported kids just love it.” the league,” Bacon noted. The In February 2020, Susan restaurant group founded the Taylor Matthias went on her first Brett “B.J.” Harris Scholarship date with her boyfriend. “We had Fund to honor the Chesapeake a great meal, two bottles of wine Inn server who died of a brain and an amazing server (Casey),” tumor in 2012. she wrote. “We were so full we In 2019, the Delaware couldn’t order dessert. However, Restaurant Association awarded Casey brought us some cinnamon the Lifetime Achievement Award ice cream to share and wrote to the Martuscelli family for their ‘Happy First Date’ on the plate. “commitment and dedication to It’s now our special place.” the local community and their In 2000, Greg Manners employees.” played in a band that performed The family is just fulfilling at the Chesapeake Inn four days its mission. Restaurants are the a week. An employee introduced cornerstone of most communities, Carol and Dick Vermeil are longtime regulars of La Casa Pasta. Manners to her sister. They’ve Gianmarco says. “It’s where people been married for 17 years. come to celebrate important events in their lives.” The family and their restaurants have contributed to the The success of the Martuscellis’ restaurants are cases in community in other ways. “Gianmarco has coached our boys point.













Jazzing up the Square 34th Clifford Brown Festival keeps a proud Wilmington tradition alive


Wilmington summer tradition resumes after a one-year haitus due to COVID-19 as the 34th Annual Clifford Brown Jazz Festival returns to Rodney Square Aug. 4-8. The event is the largest free jazz festival on the East Coast and is a tribute to Wilmington ‘s own Clifford Brown, who established himself as one of America’s greatest trumpet players despite being killed in a car accident at age 25. "After more than three decades, the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival stands as the crown jewel of Wilmington’s expanding music festival scene,” said Wilmington major Mike Purzycki. "While we very much regretted having to cancel the Rodney Square staged event last summer, our virtual event still showcased the amazing talents of our own local musicians, which made it an even more special event,” said City of Wilmington Cultural Affairs Director Tina Betz. “Still, there’s nothing quite like gathering together to experience live jazz in person, and we are ready to do it again this year.” Performances will kick off at 5:30pm on Wednesday through Friday, at noon on Saturday and 1pm on Sunday. The Clifford Brown Jazz Festival has become a rite of summer. Photo by Tim Hawk

Following is a list of performances in order of appearance: Wed., Aug. 4

Thur., Aug. 5

• Terell Stafford • Jazzmeia Horn • Kirk Whalum

• Malina Moye • Lakecia Benjamin • Eric Benet

Fri., Aug. 6 • Grover Washington, Jr. Legacy Band • Gerald Veasley • Dianne Reeves with John Beasley, Romero Lubambo, Reuben Rogers and Terreon Gully

Sat., Aug. 7 • Jennifer Hartswick and Nick Cassarino Duo • Chien Lu • Clifford Brown Festival Orchestra featuring Maya Belardo, Nadjah Nicole, Darnell Miller, Jackie Browne, Tony “Big Cat” Smith, Skip Bordley and Stacy Harcum along with the members of the orchestra. • Jane Bunnett and Maqueque • Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science with special guest Ms. Lisa Fischer • Kenny Barron Trio

Sun., Aug. 8 • Boysie Lowery Living Jazz Residency Graduates’ Concert • Raphael Xavier’s: The Musician & The Mover For more on the artists and the festival, visit AUGUST JUNE 2021 2021 || OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM XX 47


Your Brand. Our Business.









302 655 9926 Catalyst.DESIGN 48 AUGUST 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM



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The Tragedy of Unintended Consequences Family drama explores depths and limitations of good intent By Mark Fields


ill Baker, as portrayed by Matt Damon, is a familiar middleAmerican archetype: plainspoken, hard-working, devoted to faith and family. What some might call the salt of the earth. One can’t call him uncomplicated as we very gradually discover in the film that centers around his character, Stillwater. The viewer also learns as we follow Bill’s unfolding story that there are genuine limitations on the power of good intentions when a movie is grounded in real life rather than Hollywood fantasy. When Stillwater opens, Bill is a struggling but earnest, unemployed Oklahoma oil worker. A lonely man, he lives a daily routine of mindless labor, takeout food, and terse conversations. He is a man of few words and an unsettled past. But we soon learn that Bill has another aspect to his life. His young adult daughter Allison (Abigail Breslin) is in prison in Marseilles, France, serving a sentence for the murder of her girlfriend, a crime she maintains she didn’t commit. When the French legal system thwarts Allison’s chances of a reopened case, Bill undertakes an investigation on his own to clear his daughter in a city and country where he is a stranger, both to its language and to its culture. For a while, Stillwater plays out like an Okie rendition of Taken. But after his efforts stall, the focus, and even the tone, of the movie unexpectedly shift. Now we are watching the

unfolding of a sweet, modest domestic drama as Bill finds comfort and grounding in an accidental (and French) family. Captivated by a nine-year-old girl — perhaps a reminder to him of a younger Allison — and her actress mother Virginie (Camille Cottin), Bill seems to be making up for his earlier parental failures back in his hometown of Stillwater. However, as William Faulkner said, “the past is not dead, it’s not even past.” And Bill and Allison’s pasts come roaring back to wreak havoc on the present. What seemed at the outset to be a straightforward mystery thriller, albeit one with drawling Plains accents, evolves instead into a disquieting and complex study of well-meaning but flawed characters. It also demonstrates the profound, irrevocable damage that can be caused by persons with the very best of intentions. ►

Above: Matt Damon as Bill Baker in Tom McCarthy's drama Stillwater. AUGUST 2021



WATCH continued from previous page

Matt Damon (Bill) with Camille Cotton (Virginie) deliver layered performances in Stillwater.




With its surprising tonal shifts and slow reveals (and unfortunately slack middle section), Stillwater could have been fairly dismissible. But in the mostly confident hands of writerdirector Tom McCarthy, the movie transcends both its genre inspirations and its disparate narrative threads to have real and lasting resonance. McCarthy, who won an Oscar for co-writing the acclaimed Spotlight (which he also directed), has made his reputation by creating complex, people-focused dramas that explore topical issues through the lens of compelling characters. He seems to revel in stories and characters that thwart the expectations of filmgoers who want their dramas to conclude wrapped up with a pretty bow. His stories are messy, non-linear, and sometimes even frustrating, because we want the tidy resolution in our movies that often eludes us in real life. McCarthy declines to provide that simplistic outcome. The director is well served by the nuanced, layered performances of Matt Damon, Abigail Breslin, Camille Cottin, and the winsome Lilou Siauvaud as nine-year-old Maya. Damon, whose appealing persona has made him a versatile, bankable star in the Bourne movies and The Martian, does some of his most subtle and convincing work as Bill, evoking the character through quiet moments and small gestures. Cottin provides assured counterbalance to Damon. One final note, McCarthy makes another decision in telling this story that defies Hollywood convention: substantial parts of the film are in subtitled French. It’s another way that the screenwriter-director underscores the main character’s outsider status, by making us share in his cultural estrangement. Stillwater is a strange amalgamation of thriller and melodrama, and it is likely not to satisfy strict devotees of either genre. But I found the film thought-provoking and substantial with a payoff that comes not from a cathartic victory of the protagonist, but from his bittersweet journey of discovery.


The More The Merrier Mispillion River Brewing founder Eric Williams welcomes the state’s growth in craft beer producers

Mispillion River Brewing co-founder and president Eric Williams. Photo by Butch Comegys

By Matt Morrissette


hen Mispillion River Brewing opened its doors in Milford in the fall of 2013, it became just the sixth brewery founded in a state put on the craft beer map by the international success of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in neighboring Milton. Since then, the state’s craft beer scene has exploded with the number of breweries swelling to 25 and more on the way. This shifting landscape along with the challenges brought about by COVID-19 has kept MRB co-founder and president, Eric Williams, on his toes as of late, and as the clouds seemingly begin to part on the pandemic, he finds himself feeling grateful and excited for the future. “The pandemic has definitely made things go up and down,” Williams says. “There was fear at first coupled with anticipation of opening back up. I think we all expected to be opened back up sooner than [we were], but that has been the thing about this pandemic: flexibility is the key.” Another key to Mispillion’s continued success in the difficult conditions of the last year has been the loyalty of its established customer base and an unexpected surge in new patrons. “We have huge support from our local customers, and we’ve seen more and more new fans to the brewery over the last year,” Williams says. “Everything is constantly changing. We expect that now and in the future. Our team has done an amazing job of adjusting throughout all of this. I owe it all to our incredible team.” ► AUGUST 2021




85 Years!

THE MORE THE MERRIER continued from previous page

Not Today Satan (center) and Reach Around IPA (right) are Mispillion Brewing's top sellers. Photo by Butch Comegys

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Another crucial element in keeping a brewery vital is anticipating trends in craft-drinking preferences. Though IPAs are still the bread and butter of most craft breweries, there has been a shift in recent years towards sours and offerings with fewer calories and lower alcohol content. In response to this shift in tastes, MRB created their series of sour beers called the War Series and began canning its easydrinking Yard Bird American-Style Lager in December of 2020. “Yard Bird is the ‘Brewer's Choice’ here at the brewery,” Williams says. “Don't get me wrong; we love all of the beers we create, but Yard Bird is that refreshing light beer that seems to hold a place in our hearts. All of us in the industry are adjusting to new trends and styles. We love our lagers, IPAs, and stouts, but the War Series is a stand-out beer. Some do not like sours, but this is different. It’s a sour beer with the sweetness of the flavored electrolytes, and it’s on point. It also makes you feel good, but do not take our word for it... just try it!” Mispillion River Brewing also knows to lead with their classic beers that their reputation is built on, and that craft beer fandom is still filled with hopheads always looking for the next bitter IPA that packs a wallop. MBR’s two flagship IPAs can be found in bars all over Delaware and beyond. “Our best sellers are our Not Today Satan IPA and our Reach Around IPA,” Williams says. “They are two very different beers! Reach Around IPA is a low-bittered, easy-drinking IPA. It's great for the IPA lover or the beginner IPA drinker. It also goes great with blue crabs. “Not Today Satan IPA is a bigger beer with a little more bitterness, and the nice thing about this beer is that it’s perfectly balanced from hops to malt. Not Today Satan IPA is one of my personal favorites.” As the Delaware craft beer industry has rapidly expanded, some have speculated that a critical mass could be reached with not enough customers to support the ever-growing ranks of breweries. But rather than seeing the nearly two dozen other breweries as competition, Williams sees only positives in the Delaware craft beer explosion. “I love the growth that our industry has seen over the last few years,” he says. “When we came on the scene in 2013, we were one the first few breweries. Now Delaware boasts over 25 breweries. It’s amazing. This is great for tourism and industry in Delaware as a whole.” As the world at large shakes off the quarantine cobwebs and adjusts back to something resembling life before the pandemic, some small local businesses are scrambling for staff and struggling with the transition. In contrast, Eric Williams and Mispillion River Brewing seem to have things under control, and they are ready for whatever comes next. “We are all excited about the future,” Williams says.

DRINK Florida is the latest distribution point for Danny Robinson and his Hoop Tea adventure.

Finding The Sweet Spot Hoop Tea founder Danny Robinson turns beach experiment into a thriving business


anny Robinson’s life was neatly planned and laid out. He majored in political science at Iona College (N.Y.) in the early 1980s, and he was going to become a big-shot lawyer in the Big Apple. Then something unexpected happened — he discovered he hated the thought of being a lawyer. “All it took was to do an internship at a law firm to discourage me from ever becoming a lawyer,” Robinson says. “Actually, it also discouraged me from having any kind of 9-5 job. I saw guys in New York still spending hours on the subway every day in that rat race and quickly realized it wasn’t for me. “So, now I always tell people that I work 80 hours a week to avoid a 40hour work week.” Those long hours are spent doing something he loves in a place he loves — Robinson is the owner and operator of Backshore Brewing Co., in Ocean City, Md., and he helped create its signature alcoholic brews, Hoop Tea. Robinson first came to Ocean City during college and would head to the Maryland beach resort annually to work as a bartender. “And after doing that for four summers, I had no desire to go back to New York,” he says. Robinson “saved his pennies” from his bartending gigs, and in 2005 he opened a restaurant-bar on the boardwalk between 9th and 10th streets. He called it Hammerheads on the Beach. ►

By Kevin Noonan

JULY 2021



THE MORE THE MERRIER continued from previous page

Founder Danny Robinson says having a beach vibe has been a plus for Hoop Tea.

Robinson also wanted to get into the micro-brewing business, so he rented a small ice cream shop next door and converted it to Backshore Brewing, producing just four kegs of beer at a time. In 2015, he switched from beer to tea-based drinks and the rest is history — not to mention geography. Robinson, 49, has lived in Ocean City for the last 30 years and he and his long-time girlfriend can’t imagine living anywhere else. By the way: The unusual name of “Hoop Tea’’ was inspired by Robinson’s 1966 Volkswagen bus, which has become the company’s unofficial mascot. In urban slang, a “hooptie’’ is a beat-up old car, so Robinson thought it appropriate to name his new business endeavor Hoop Tea. For more information on Hoop Tea brands and where you can purchase its products, go to O&A: You started out brewing beer. How and why did you switch to alcoholic tea-based beverages? Robinson: To be honest, I quickly got bored with beer. And being on the beach and with an ocean-front location, I said maybe heavy craft beer is not what people are 100 percent looking for. They would have a beer or two, then go next door for a cocktail. So, I said, “We manufacture beer here, so let’s do something else that’s beer based.” O&A: You could have gone in a lot of different directions. Why tea? Robinson: Being in a southern location and just being in a summertime spot, I thought iced tea was the best idea to start with. And the sky’s the limit with tea, because there are so many variants of tea leaves and all sorts of fruits and flavors with tea, so there was room for a lot of experimentation there. O&A: Was it hard to get beer drinkers to switch to your teas? Robinson: Not at all. At first, we were just having fun with it in the brewery, and then when the consumers tried it, they just started flocking to the brewery asking for these tea concoctions we were brewing. 54 AUGUST 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM |

O&A: How did it expand from there? Robinson: After the first year, I said, “Let’s start distributing it to bars in the neighborhood,” and as soon as that happened it just exploded. Tourists were coming into town, and on any given weekend there was a halfmillion people sampling our teas at bars around town, and immediately we started getting calls from surrounding states like New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and D.C., and they were asking ‘Hey, what is this Hoop Tea? We have customers coming to our bar or coming to our store asking if they can buy it here.’ So, right off the bat I knew we had an opportunity here, because people were walking into liquor stores and there are thousands of brands to buy and they’re asking for this one they tasted in Ocean City. That’s when I said that we were onto something here.” O&A: Was there a concern that your production couldn’t match the demand? Robinson: Absolutely. And that’s when we decided to start scaling up our production, which clearly couldn’t be done four kegs at a time at our little brewery at the beach. So, we started contracting with other breweries and now we have three others, and one of the ones we contracted with is in Little Creek in Delaware. So, technically, a good percentage of our production in done in Delaware and we’re proud of that — it’s a good place to do business and it’s worked out for us.


Hagley Car Show: Dream Rides and Sports Cars Sunday, September 19, 2021 • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. • Rain or Shine Enjoy more than 500 antique and restored cars from the early 1900s to 1990s I N FO/ TI CK ET S AT W W W. HAG LE Y.O RG/C AR S H OW 200 HAG LEY CR E E K ROAD • WILM INGTON DE 19807

O&A: How do you come up with your different flavors? Robinson: Initially, we were flying by the seat of our pants. That’s why we’re in this business, because it’s fun to do things like that, it’s fun to experiment, and throwing paint at the canvas is the fun part. But, once you need to reproduce things and make it on a large scale, that’s when we get serious. So, it’s a little of both — we kind of haphazardly throw these things together, and then when it’s time to scale it up, that’s when we get scientific, because it’s important to have a consistent product that’s shelf stable. Basically, what we do is innovate dangerously, but execute carefully. ► AUGUST 2021


State Line Liquors Family owned & operated Since 1933 — 4 Generations!

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THE MORE THE MERRIER continued from previous page

O&A: What was your first big seller? Robinson: Believe it or not, the first tea we ever produced is still our No. 1 seller today – our Mango Tea with white tea leaves. I don’t know how we nailed it on our first try, but that is our No. 1 seller. We have a product — American Original — which is just southern-style sweet tea that’s quickly catching up, because a lot of bars are mixing it with flavored vodkas and that sort of thing, but our Mango is still our No. 1 seller. O&A: Was there a concern that your heavy beach theme would handicap you when it came to marketing your product away from the beach? Robinson: We used to think that was a limiting factor for us, but we quickly realized this is who we are, and people love us because of the authenticity of the brand. We literally live at the beach — we ride our bicycles to work and we’re looking out at the ocean while we’re making these recipes. Why try to hide that? There was a time when we thought it would be good to pretend that we’re something different than we are or bigger than we are, something bigger than a beach brand. But it’s not necessary — that’s why people love us. O&A: You’re already selling your product in Maryland, Delaware, New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. Now you’re expanding into Florida. Is there a danger that you’re stretching too far from your home base? Robinson: It’s a challenge when you extend your forces and your resources that far, but we didn’t do it haphazardly. The brand was really pulling itself into Florida. We just looked at the data of our inquiries on emails and social media and there was an inordinate amount of people inquiring about when we were going to come to Florida. And it made sense — No. 1, it’s an enormous state and, No. 2, it has nice weather yearround. We tend to do well at outdoor activity spots, so Florida is just a perfect fit for us. We’re starting in Key West and working our way north and, so far, Key West is working out incredibly well. We’re already looking into opening a small brew house there, as well.



Fill in the You know the drill: (1) Ask your friends to help “fill in the blanks” for the missing words needed below. (2) Once completed, read aloud and watch hilarity ensue. (3) Got a funny one? Take a photo and send it to us at Best one wins a $50 Gift Card to Pizza By Elizabeths (One entry per person; must be 21 or older to enter). Have fun!

MODERN ART? A recent art exhibit in town is causing quite the stir. According to the owner of The ( (




) Gallery, that’s just the point.

“Art is meant to be provocative;” says the new gallery’s owner, who simply goes by the name of (

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here every single day, Darling!”





ayor Purzycki helped open the 2021 season of the Downtown Wilmington Farmers Market at Rodney Square, which operates from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. every Wednesday — rain or shine — through October 27th. The Farmers Market is produced by Downtown Visions and is facilitated by the City of Wilmington.



he Mayor and members of his staff were invited by Ajit George and his team to visit Second Chances Farm on Bowers Street in Northeast Wilmington. This innovative program employs formerly incarcerated individuals and sets them on a new life course. Second Chances Farm grows high quality fruits and vegetables hydroponically.





fter nearly five years as your Mayor, I can say that, without doubt, one of the most satisfying parts of my job is getting out of the office and interacting with residents and visitors throughout our beautiful City. As summer kicks into full gear — and as more and more Delawareans get vaccinated against COVID-19 — taking common-sense precautions has allowed us to gather again and do the things we’ve always done together — eat, shop, enjoy a concert or a game, celebrate important milestones with friends and family, attend a religious service, go to a park, participate in civic engagement with our neighbors, and more. I look forward to seeing you when I am out and about in the coming weeks and months.



The Mayor addresses the crowd gathered at Rodney Square to help kick off the first Wilmington Library Juneteenth Festival, capped off by a performance from KRS-One.

Mayor Purzycki mingles with attendees of the It’s Time to G.O.A.T. (Get Out Around Town) Wilmington outdoor dining kickoff celebration on Market Street.



Mayor Mike stopped by pal Wendell Smallwood’s Third Annual Football Camp at the 76ers Fieldhouse to meet some of the kids.

Mayor Purzycki speaks to attendees of the June 25th Promotional and Awards Ceremony for the Wilmington Fire Department in Freedom Plaza on French Street.


Mayor Purzycki discusses gun violence with community members from the First Council District.




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!

AFTER CANCELLING THE 2020 SEASON, WE ARE THRILLED TO HAVE THE RIVERFRONT SUMMER CONCERT SERIES BACK AT TUBMAN-GARRETT PARK! AUGUST 5 • Gerry Timlin (Family Night with Irish Folk Music) AUGUST 12 • Calla Bere & the Attitude (Rock & Blues) • Interlude performance from Opera Delaware AUGUST 19 • Stacey LaChole & the BlacSoul Band (R&B, Pop, Soul, Gospel, Funk and Jazz)

AUGUST 26 • Best Kept Soul (R&B, Gospel, Jazz, Funk, Hip Hop and Rock) • Interlude performance from the Christina Cultural Arts Center


THIS SUMMER, WE ARE EXCITED TO BRING TWO NEW WATER ATTRACTIONS TO THE RIVERFRONT! Delaware Cruises and Events will offer tours of the Christina River throughout the summer. Paradise Tiki Tours provides a tropical atmosphere with an authentic palm thatched canopy, tiki lighting, music, and an island-inspired cocktail menu. Info and booking can be found at


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


for in-house indoor and outdoor dining

Banks Seafood Kitchen & Raw Bar Big Fish Grill

Riverfront Bakery

Ciro Food & Drink

River Rock Kitchen



Del Pez

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

Ubon Thai

Dine-in or carry out NOW OPEN



Welcome Back!

The DCM is reopen to the public!

Visit our website for Summer hours, pricing, and safety protocols! /Delawarechildrensmuseum



vip & ga tickets on sale now! Presented


the 11th annual

live music lyric drive blue cat blues

exclusive tastings craft beer craft spirits local wine

a celebration of our state's craft producers!

sat. august 28

th vip 4-5pm

ga 5-7:30pm

at the delaware agricultural museum & village, dover, dElaware

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