September 2013 Salt

Page 1

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as soon as you arrive, you depart.

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321 Drive 321 Shackleford Shackleford Drive

1818 Lane 1818Gleneagles Gleneagles Lane

Landfall. This bedroom,22bath bath Porters Pointe. Pointe. This CharlestonLandfall. This 33 bedroom, Porters This Charleston-style Turnberry patio/villa home offers style residence features double porches, patio/villa home offers easyeasy one residence features double porches, metal roof, Turnberry oneliving flooron living on Landfall’s Dye metal roof, hardy with a first Landfall’s Pete DyePete course hardy siding with a siding first floor master andfloor 2 car floor course (par 5 #12). $375,000 master and 2 car garage. $329,500 (par 5 #12). $375,000 garage. $329,500

2028 2028Graywalsh Graywalsh Drive Drive

1311 Heron 1311 HeronRun RunDrive Drive

MuirifieldPlace PlaceininLandfall. Landfall. Muirifield

hidden is Heron Run. ThisThis hidden gemgem is located located on a quiet cul-de-sac with a pool on a quiet cul-de-sac with a pool and guest and guest house which has a separate house which full has bath a separate kitchen, full kitchen, and sleeping loft.bath and $529,000 sleeping loft. $529,000

2124 Forest Lagoon Place

Heron Run.

This brick residence by Cowper Lee Cowper This brick residence by Lee features features nearly 3300 square feet with nearly 3300 square feet with first floor master, first floor master, large living & dining large livingplus & dining areas,and plusroom sunroom and areas, sunroom over room over garage. $469,000 garage. $469,000

1728 Signature Place

2012 Seawind Lane

1128 Arboretum Drive

ColonyClub in Landfall. All brick townhouse condominium that has been Allbaths, brick completely updated with new kitchen, townhouse condominium has been flooring, paint, carpet, addedthat moldings, cast completely updated kitchen, stone fireplace & blue with slate new terrace. $549,000


Landfall. Located in the heart of Landfall. This low country design Landfall, this low country residence features features an open floor plan with 1st floor Located inofthe heart of This low country design great outdoor living with lots covered master with study and upgrades – new roof, Landfall, lowcomfortable country residence featurespaintfeatures an open floor plan with 1st floor porches andthis a very floor plan. and carpet. $649,000 great outdoor living with lots of covered master with study and upgrades – new $649,000

107 Topsail Watch

6424 Shinn Creek Lane

1728 Signature Place

ColonyClub in Landfall.

baths, flooring, paint, carpet, added moldings, cast stone fireplace & blue slate terrace. $549,000

107 Topsail Watch

2012 Seawind Lane

1128 Arboretum Drive

Under a spectacular canopy of hardwood trees, this brick hilltop residence is Under a spectacular located on a quiet cul-de-sac. Updates include canopy of hardwood trees, brick new roof, granite countertop in this all 3 bathhilltop residence is located on a quiet rooms and kitchen. $619,000


cul-de-sac. Updates include new roof, granite countertop in all 3 bathrooms and kitchen. $639,950

Topsail Watch.

6424 Shinn Creek Lane



porches and a very comfortable floor plan. $649,000

roof, paint and carpet. $649,000

1421 Landfall Drive

1421 Landfall Drive

380 Whitebridge Road


This 3.35 acre property Landfall. Enjoy breathtaking views of in the acclaimed equestrian community the Intracoastal Waterway from the deck of include 4800 square feet and great outdoor which is the perfect balance breathtaking views This 3.35 acre property this contemporary Enjoy living – fireplace, courtyard gardens, fountains between and elegance. $1,150,000 of thecomfort Intracoastal Waterway from the in the acclaimed equestrian community & arbors. $749,000 deck of this contemporary which is the include 4800 square feet and great

This Charleston low country features an open floor plan with elegant 1st floor master andCharleston 3 bedroomslow & This family room upstairs.anCommunity ramp, country features open floorboat plan day dock & pool!1st $695,000 with elegant floor master and 3

Shinn Creek.

bedrooms & family room upstairs. Waterway with a wide panoramic view and a private pier and 1.07 acres property. Community boat ramp, day dock & pool! $695,000 $649,000


380 Whitebridge Road

Topsail Watch. Just south of Surf City, Shinn Creek.

this waterfront home overlooks Topsail Sound and the Intracoastal Waterway with a wide Just south of Surf panoramic view and a private pier and 1.07 City, this waterfront home overlooks acres property. Topsail Sound$649,000 and the Intracoastal

2124 Forest Lagoon Place




outdoor living – fireplace, courtyard gardens, fountains & arbors. $749,000

perfect balance between comfort and elegance. $1,150,000

Vance Young BROKER/REALTOR® Office: 910.509.1965

Every Retirement Starts With a Blank Canvas...

M A G A Z I N E Volume 1, No. 4 221 N. Front Street, Suite 201 Wilmington, NC 28401 910.833.7159

Jim Dodson, Editor

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Rob Penn, CFP® Jason Wheeler, CFP® Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, member FINRA/SIPC, a registered investment adviser.

Andie Stuart Rose, Creative Director Ashley Wahl, Senior Editor 910.833.7159 • Kira Schoenfelder, Graphic Designer Lauren Shumaker, Graphic Designer Sara King, Proofreader Mary Novitsky, Proofreader Contributors Cindy Adams, Lavonne Adams, Harry Blair, Susan Campbell, Fred Chappell, Frank Daniels III, David Domenic, Clyde Edgerton, Jason Frye, Nan Graham, Virginia Holman, Ann Ipock, Robyn James, Jamie Lynn Miller, Gwenyfar Rohler, Dana Sachs, Noah Salt, David Sloan, Stephen E. Smith, Astrid Stellanova, Bill Thompson Contributing Photographers Jim Bridges, Ariel Keener, Ned Leary, Rick Ricozzi, Bill Ritenour, Mark Steelman, James Stefiuk


David Woronoff, Publisher Advertising Sales Diane Keenan, Sales & Circulation Director (o) 910.833.7158 • (c) 910.833.4098 Alex Hoggard 910.616.6717 • Tessa Young 518.207.5571 • Advertising Graphic Design 910.693.2469 • ©Copyright 2013. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Salt Magazine is published by The Pilot LLC


Salt • September 2013

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

September 2013 Features


37 September Poetry by Lavonne Adams

46 51

Spontaneity Captured

By Jason Frye Film photographer Jim Bridges’ famous unplugged subjects

The Spider and the Meatball By David Domenic A sporting fable from Empie Park


New fiction by Fred Chappell

54 TheBePlace She’s Supposed To By Ashley Wahl A daughter of the Cape Fear makes the perfect landfall

Garden of 62 The Secret Forest Hills


By Jamie Lynn Miller How Marie Eason’s heart was won by an overgrown garden

September Almanac


7 Homeplace By Jim Dodson 10 SaltWorks The best of Wilmington of Salt 12 Pinch By Cindy Adams


Front Street Spy




Accidental Southerner


Salty Words


She Talks Funny

By Ashley Wahl

By Gwenyfar Rohler By Nan Graham

By Gwenyfar Rohler

Reader 20 Omnivorous By Stephen E. Smith

with a Friend 26 Lunch By Dana Sachs Wisdom 29 Vine By Robyn James

From the Porch 31 Notes By Bill Thompson

33 Birdwatch By Susan Campbell

34 Excursions By Virginia Holman

68 Calendar August happenings City People 73 Port Out and about Astrologer 79 Accidental By Astrid Stellanova Mindfield 80 Papadaddy’s By Clyde Edgerton

By Ann Ipock

25 Spirits By Frank Daniels III

By Noah Salt Summer officially departs, bring on the homemade cider

Cover Photograph by Jim Bridges Photograph this page by Ned Leary 4

Salt • September 2013

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

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Bobby Brandon Selling Wrightsville Beach since 1993 523 Causeway Drive Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480

152 Driftwood Court, $448,500 Remodeled townhome with 35 ft. boatslip

202 Lee’s Cut Townhome, $564,000 Remodeled townhome with 30 ft. boatslip



23 Palmetto Drive, $1,550,000



The Way Summer Should End

By Jim Dodson

My late Southern Baptist grandmother

used to say it was a sin against God and the makers of Timex watch to wish away time and rail against the weather. Last summer — the hottest on record, according the U.S. Weather Service — Miss Beatrice would have been praying for my mortal hyde because I whined constantly about the heat and humidity and told anyone who’d listen [i.e. nobody] that Labor Day couldn’t get here quick enough to suit me.

The arrival of September heralds not only the eventual coming of cooler afternoons and evenings by month’s end, but also the revival of life and return to a normal family routine that always seems, to me at least, unnaturally disrupted by three months of heat and social idleness, an out-dated cultural relic from America’s agrarian past. If I were a kid today, I’d beg my parents to enroll me in a year-round school. When I was a kid, on the other hand, summers seemed such tediously long affairs. On endless summer mornings, I read books or played with my toy armies and painted Roman soldiers in the cool dirt beneath my parents’ house. In the broiling afternoons, I either went to baseball practice or rode my bike to the swimming pool, where I swam on the swim team, though I really couldn’t have cared less. I played shortstop and outfield on two different teams and truly loved baseball, but it was September that I was secretly pining for, the resumption of school, the renewal of life, the fevered pennant run. Even after I grew interested in golf, playing in summer was really no fun. Life in summer felt oddly suspended, empty as the lonesome sound of the cicadas. Luckily our family vacation frequently fell at the end of August, often ending

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

over the Labor Day weekend itself. My favorite times were when we finished the summer at the Hanover Seaside Club in Wrightsville Beach, a rambling threestory shingled affair near the Lumina pier and pavilion where members reserved very basic rooms for a week or two and their kids pretty much roamed free and wild for the duration. Every evening after supper in the common dining room, the grown-ups played cards or drank cocktails and watched the rollers from rocking chairs scattered along on the broad porch of the club. One Labor Day stands out above the rest. I was 13 and had my first vacation crush on a girl named Candice from Ohio. She was 14, a cheerleader, several inches taller than me. Her daddy was a foot doctor. She and I went to the roller skating rink at Lumina with several other teenagers the night after she arrived with her family for the final week of the summer. By week’s end we’d graduated at dizzying velocity to holding hands on the pier, and Candy, as she called herself, promised to show me the way French people preferred to kiss. This was more exciting than the three-pound flounder I gigged in the shallows of an island near the mouth of the Cape Fear River that week. Back at the Seaside Club there was a man who played the piano every night after supper, loud, gin-fueled Hoagy Carmichael numbers, a dandy who wore a madras jacket every evening during cocktails, somebody’s Yankee uncle who claimed he’d been on Broadway. He informed a pack of us barefoot teens that a major hurricane was steaming toward the Carolina coast and just might tear apart the island. I asked my dad if this was true, and he more or less confirmed it, though assured me the adults were keeping an eye on the storm’s progress and said not to worry. Next thing I heard, people were talking about throwing a “hurricane party.” On Labor Day itself there was big cookout. All day the surf was gray, churning and violent. Some people along the beach were boarding up windows, closing up their beach homes early. After the cookout, the Seaside staff was even allowed to go home. Yellow flags flew from the lifeguard poles warning swimmers to stay out of the water due to the undertow. I remember the beach patrol telling us swimming was out of the question. We kids hung out at an eerily empty pavilion plugging quarters in the juke box all day — Candy liked a September 2013 •



“We don’t allow underage drinking at our house. Do you?”

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According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, teens who drink primarily get their alcohol from adults they know, such as parents, guardians or other family members. Of course, as parents, it’s important to establish rules for our children. But it’s just as important to make sure the adults in our kids’ lives understand and respect our position on underage drinking. Make sure they know where you stand. To learn more, join us on Facebook and download our free Parent Guide. © 2012 Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, MO


Salt • September 2013

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

homeplace song called “Poison Ivy” by the Coasters — and then, as darkness gathered, went down to watch a fisherman reel in a large sand shark from the surf. We watched him hang up the shark from the pier and were holding hands when her little brother jogged up and announced Candy had to go. Her family was going home early. I was crushed, but she gave me a quick peck on the cheek and said goodbye, promising to leave her address at the Seaside Club’s main desk. She called out, “Write me!” over her shoulder and I yelled back, “I will,” and that was the end of that. Back at the Seaside Club, the man in the madras jacket was plunking out show tunes and the highballs were flowing at yellow flag level. I found my parents and another couple sitting together out on the porch in rockers, wearing sweaters and watching the riotous surf. “What happened to Candy?” asked my mom. “Her family just left,” I explained glumly, showing her the scribbled address Candy had left at the front desk. “Maybe you can write each other,” she attempted to cheer me, inviting me to sit beside her in an empty rocker. My first summer romance wasn’t the only thing that fizzled out before it even got started that long holiday weekend. Hurricane Faith crossed the entire Atlantic from the Azores but suddenly veered north and barely grazed the Carolina coast. An hour before we headed home to Greensboro the next afternoon, I walked down to Newell’s Drugstore and bought a postcard to write to Candy. I don’t remember if I ever sent it or not. That would be the last summer we stayed at the Hanover Seaside Club. Lumina Pavilion was soon torn down, though the pier remains to this day. During the twenty years we lived on the coast of Maine, I never failed to have a nice sense of meteorological déjà vu that was probably the result of those summer endings at the Seaside Club, a heightened sense of relief and expectation that came — even in a far northern place — with the official end of vacation and

the resumption of life, new school assignments and my daughter’s afternoon field hockey practice. In Maine, Labor Day marks the last hurrah for the summer tourists and most will vanish by midday on Monday, turning the southbound lane of I-95 into a 20-mile parking lot by dusk. For many years, when our kids were still small, we began a ritual of going out to eat at our favorite seaside restaurant which only days before had been impossible to get into for the crowds, not to mention the ridiculous prices. Within hours of the crowd’s departure, the price of a classic Maine shore dinner would drop by a third, and the air would develop an unmistakable coolness, and the light would turn especially beautiful in the cove where we went to dine by the sea — always taking along sweaters and jackets. I used to tell my little ones about going to the Seaside Club in North Carolina when I was a kid and how I once met a pretty girl from Ohio named Candy and saw a man catch a shark and nearly got to be in the midst of a major hurricane as it came ashore. “Did that really happen, Daddy — or are you just making that up?” my wise daughter Maggie was prone to ask after she’d heard the tale a few times. “Every word, I swear, is almost true. Candy was my first summer romance. The moral of the story, Mugs, is this: Summer always ends but something exciting comes in September.” “Did you ever write Candy?” “I did. But she never wrote back.” “That’s sad.” “No,” I would always say, pulling her up onto my lap to watch a beautiful September evening over the ocean. “That’s just the way summer should end.” b Contact editor Jim Dodson at


As a native son of the area, Broker/Realtor, Lee Crouch has been exploring the unique surroundings of Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach and the Intracoastal Waterway since childhood. For 25 years, he has put that local knowledge into listing, marketing and selling beach and waterfront properties. Lee has built his reputation on a lifetime of experience and years of customer satisfaction.

Corbett House at Airlie Gardens

110 Skystasail Drive

2528 Canterbury Road


Walter Sprunt home - Shandy Point circa 1920

Oleander Estates


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LEE CROUCH Lee Crouch as a young boy preparing for a sailboat race. Wrightsville Beach, circa 1968.

523 Causeway Drive, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina 28480

Waterfront Specialist

800.533.1840 or 910.512.4533 The Art & Soul of Wilmington

September 2013 •





Get ready for it. The annual Cape Fear Literacy Council Spelling Bee will be held on Thursday, September 19, at 7 p.m. The Bee, as patrons know it, is a carnival of f-u-n. Teams of three work together to spell words that become increasingly difficult each round. Grand prize — in addition to bragging rights — is the traveling Championship Trophy. Expect wild costumes, fun prizes and general zaniness. Free admission; light refreshments provided. Contact the Cape Fear Literacy Council to reserve a spot for your Bee Team or learn about sponsorship opportunities. Pine Valley United Methodist Church, 3788 Shipyard Boulevard, Wilmington. Info: (910) 251-0911 or

Brits at the Beach

The British Motor Club of the Cape Fear’s annual car show is scheduled to be held on Saturday, September 14. Expect an array of classic British sports cars: Jaguars, Bentleys, RollsRoyces. Registration begins at 9 a.m. All makes, marques and years welcome. Free for spectators. Wrightsville Beach Park, 321 Causeway Drive, Wrightsville Beach. Info: (910) 256-1289 or 10

Salt • September 2013

A Fairy Tale Reborn

Glass slippers are so back. Just ask Thalian Association Children’s Theater (TACT). In 1957, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (starring Julie Andrews) was the most widely viewed program in the history of the medium. On September 13–15 and 20–22, 7 p.m. (Sundays at 3 p.m.), TACT presents a stage adaptation based on the 1997 television revival starring Brandy as Cinderella and Whitney Houston as her Fairy Godmother. Tickets: $12. Hannah Block Historic USO/ Community Arts Center, 120 South Second Street, Wilmington. Tickets and Info: (910) 251-1788 or

What’s WHAT

Lunch plans? How about a picnic with Salt editor and New York Times bestselling author Jim Dodson? Wilmington Health Access for Teens (WHAT) will host its seventh annual Picnic with Purpose luncheon on Thursday, September 12, from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. to benefit WHAT, a community based nonprofit organization that offers comprehensive primary medical care, mental health, nutrition and prevention services to teens and young adults in the lower Cape Fear Region. Dodson will be the keynote speaker. Blockade Runner Beach Resort Ballroom, Wrightsville Beach. Sponsorship opportunities: (910) 202-4605. Info:

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

The Right to Read

At Old Books on Front Street, where you can find bottle openers for the literate drinker and the Port City’s first known Vend-a-Quote, September brings even more fun. From September 22–28, celebrate Banned Books Week with a series of events inspired by controversial books such as D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover (September 27, 7:30 p.m.) and defenders of our First Amendment (see website for schedule). On Saturday, September 28, from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Old Books will join the international 100 Thousand Poets for Change movement by inviting poets and songwriters to perform their work, talk about their writing process or create a connection with other artists. To sign up for a 15-minute slot onstage, email Old Books on Front Street, 249 North Front Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 762-6657 or

Don’t Forget to Write

Pssst! The deadline for the 2014 Salt Magazine Memoir Contest is upon us. Send a brief chapter of your life — 1,000 words or less — to by October 1, 2013; for a chance to see your story in the pages of a future issue of Salt. Subject line: “Salt Memoir Contest.” Include your name, telephone number and mailing address in the body of the email. Original, unpublished manuscripts only. One submission per entrant, please.

Strike a Chord

On Saturday, September 28, 6:30 p.m., Chords for a Cause presents alternative rock band Sister Hazel and the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra for a don’t-miss-it-concert benefiting Feed the Children and local pediatric burn victims. Sister Hazel, named after Gainesville nun Sister Hazel Williams, are best known for their platinum album Somewhere More Familiar (1997), but reached their highest-ever spot on the Billboard Album Charts with Release in 2009. Wilmington Symphony Orchestra is sure to dazzle. Tickets: $40; $20/children and students. Kenan Auditorium, 601 South College Road, Wilmington. Info:

Legend Has It Secret Edens

Parting is such sweet sorrow. Savor the last weekend of summer with a Secret Garden Tour presented by the Historical Society of the Lower Cape Fear. September 20–21, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., explore ten hidden gardens, all located in the Downtown Wilmington Historic Districts. Proceeds benefit the 1852 Latimer House Museum and Gardens. Wear comfy shoes and, please, stop and smell the late summer roses. Tickets: $15. Latimer House Museum, 126 South Third Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 762-0492 or

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

Six-time Grand Slam winner Lindsay Davenport, headliner of this year’s Landfall Legends of Tennis, recently tweeted a link to a Huffington Post article called “16 Things You Should Never Say To A Tall Woman,” suggesting, perhaps, that she’s heard it all before. One thing you should say to Davenport, six-foot-two, is that you look forward to seeing her September 13–15 for three days of tennis exhibitions to benefit Miracle League of Wilmington, Make-AWish Eastern North Carolina and the UNCW Seahawk Club. Joining Davenport on the court: Rennae Stubbs, Jimmy Arias, Luke Jensen, Bret Garnett and Will Bull. Legends will compete in singles, doubles and mixed doubles; Country Club of Landfall Ace Juniors, local tennis pros and UNCW tennis players will join them during special exhibitions. Courtside tables for four are $550 and grant access to all three days of tennis plus admission to a Grand Slam party where you can meet the legends. General admission: $20/day. Country Club of Landfall’s Sports Center. Info: (910) 256-7625 or September 2013 •



p i nch



By Cindy Adams

On the final approach to Southport on

Southport Supply Road Southeast sits Worms and Coffee. As advertised, they do indeed sell bait and java. But mostly, they sell the sizzle as conceptualized by Mike and Carole Richards, owners of the former Midway Grocery since 1993.

This, says corporate exile Richards, is the anti-Starbucks. “I cringe when people call it a convenience store. It’s in a low tech country store wrapper. I purposely left all the stuff out — like Frappuccino and drink machines. Don’t know if I’m lazy, or don’t want to deal with it.” Richards likes the store’s wooden floors. A Bunn coffee maker is on a slow boil on the counter. Styrofoam containers hold stacks of plain old earth worms. “I do not run it like a normal business, per se.” A Cabbage Patch doll head, for instance, is scrunched into a pig’s knuckle jar between jars of pickled eggs and sausages. “We have bottles glued to the shelves. Quarters glued to the floor. We have fun with our customers.” Car air fresheners hang in the unisex restroom. The key hangs on an L-bar. It probably helps that Richards had no retail experience. He was previously in research and development in the Research Triangle. Selling worms is more fun, he decided. But buying the country store and gas station, says Richards, was a leap of faith. “A major leap of faith.” The neon sign came soon after. “Two weeks after the purchase, we had a sign that you changed weekly, like the churches have. I didn’t want to do that every week. We brainstormed to come up with something permanent. So, it has been Worms and Coffee, twenty years since.” Richards says the store attracts all types, all classes. Its nearest competitor is nearly ten miles one way, and six the other. His top seller? Worms? Nope. Coffee? Nope. (Richards says Red Bull is the new coffee.) Worm and Coffee’s private label “Frog Jam”? Nope. It’s a toss-up between beer, sodas, candies and snacks. So how are W&C sales? “Great. Between the coffee mugs, cozies, and T‑­shirts, it does real well.” In short, the concept of worms and coffee is a hot commodity. Best-selling food? “Pickled pigs’ feet,” Richards chuckles. “Not true, but that would be a good story.” The mind wanders: “A pig foot with that coffee, Ma’am?” No, thanks. I think I’d rather eat worms. b Worms and Coffee is located at 3296 Southport Supply Road SE in Bolivia, North Carolina. Open daily. Cindy Adams is a writer and blogger whose home away from home is Southport. 12

Salt • September 2013

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

f r o n t

s t r e e t

s p y

Castle Treasures

Along the Port City’s most eclectic street: chivalry, classic vinyl and a swell pair of Marilyn Monroe salt and pepper shakers

Michael Moore, at Michael Moore Antiques; Snowball the cat, at Charles Adams Antiques; and Alex Clifton, watch repairer, at Maggy’s Antiques By Ashley Wahl

Chivalry lives on Castle Street. Ask the knighterrant. Or Butterbean. Or the little girl named Maggy. They live here too. And in this two-block pocket of shops and eateries between Fifth Avenue and Seventh Street, everybody knows everybody’s name.

Photographs by Mark SteelMAn


Inside the storefront window of the antique shop with the name that best sums up the nature of this bohemian street — The Eclectic, Etc. — a knight in shining armor stands guard. Perhaps he wandered here through time and space in pursuit of courtly love. When he saw the pretty hipster girls ogling silk scarves, vintage brooches and old Samsonite luggage sets, his quest was over. Never mind that Princess is just seven blocks away. At The Eclectic, shop owner Randy Larson sells big name mid-century modern furniture — and just about everything else — seven days a week. Antique treasures include ornate wooden folding screens, rain lamps, Oriental fans, a set of ceramic Marilyn Monroe salt and pepper shakers, and a 1905 record player with a working needle and crank. Larson puts on an old record that might have come with it: Schneider, Does Your Mutter Know You’re Out? by Peter La Mar. Snap. Crackle. Pop. “That was high quality back then,” says Larson.


Across the street at Gravity Records, audio aficionado Matt Keen will tell you exactly why he chooses vinyl. “It’s living and breathing,” he says. Keen calls to mind Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. Cool. Laid-back. Redheaded. And he’s been making music since he was 3 years old. “I grew up with records,” says Keen, who moved over a thousand of them from the store’s former midtown location this past January. “I appreciate the quality of the sound.” Browse the racks and find Fiona Apple, Daft Punk and James Taylor. Not The Art & Soul of Wilmington

Sweet Baby James. This Taylor’s from the U.K. house band Swayzak.


Inside the white church on the corner of Castle and Price’s Alley, a symphony of old clocks chime in synch and a Shih Tzu who goes by Butterbean sits pretty on a chaise longue, comforted by the gentle hum of oscillating fans. Here at Maggy’s Antiques, Betty Biaggi sells folk art, primitive furniture, and whimsical this-and-thats. A bottom-heavy German puppet smirks from his seat on a wooden shelf. Above his head, a sign: What if the Hokey Pokey is what it’s all about? “I grew up with five sisters and loads of cousins,” says Biaggi, who often struggled to stand out among the crowd. “One day I met a little girl named Maggy that nobody else could see. She encouraged me when I needed support.” Like the decision to open this shop. Can’t find what you’re looking for here? “I send people over to Michael Moore Antiques.”


Drawn by the wide streets and vacant buildings, Michael Moore started a trend when he came to Castle Street in 2004. “I wanted a district,” he says. Although Castle Street isn’t the retail hub that it was in the 1940s — This is where people came to buy mink coats and diamonds, says Moore — there’s no denying it’s on the cusp of being rescued by a band of modern-day chevaliers on a quest to transform this street into the arts and antique district of Wilmington. Moore, who specializes in light fixtures and lamp parts, considers his shop to be a piece of something much larger. Wander up and down the block, he says. Lady Sibyl Lavengood sells elegant glassware at Castle Corner. Find craft beer at Wilmington Wine or buffalo pig ears at Rx Restaurant and Bar. Anvil and Ink hosts walking works of art. “Jester’s Café serves the best quiche in town,” says Moore. Go on Tuesday and you might catch Betty Biaggi with a to-go pint of white bean chicken chili. And if you see owners Jamie Thomasson or Steven Fox, ask them about the new multi-vendor shop they plan to open this fall in the old antique mall across the street. Says Moore, “From the barber shop to the corner store to the high-end restaurants . . . This is what a neighborhood should be.” b Front Street may be home base, but senior editor Ashley Wahl is prone to wander. September 2013 •



s t a g e l i f e

The Pineapple Shaped Sketch Doctor

Photo Illustration by Mark Steelman

Alex Marden takes his wacky superhero act to the radio

By Gwenyfar Rohler

About a month ago I met a lady with a

face I knew, but I couldn’t place her. Where had I seen that familiar smile and those twinkling eyes? No clue. I started fishing. “What brings you to town?” I asked. “Oh, we’re visiting our son,” said the nice lady and her husband. “And what does he do?” “Well, he’s trying to be in the movie business.” I nodded, thinking about how many people I’ve met who have been drawn here by just that dream. “What department is he in?” I probed. “Well, he worked on Iron Man . . . but what he really wants to do is write.” Then it clicked. I knew where I’d seen that face before: onstage in “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.” “You aren’t Alex Marden’s parents, are you?” I asked. “Yes, how did you know?” asked Alex’s mom. “Because he looks just like you,” Papa Marden said, pointing at her.


Salt • September 2013

Alex didn’t just inherit her sparkling eyes and that irresistible smile that melts barriers; he also claims he got his writing talent from her. Script writing has a sort of schizophrenic side to it: One part is entirely solitary and the other is completely collaborative. Ask Alex. He held various day jobs, shutting himself away in his room in the evenings where he wrote, alone, comforted by the soft glow of his computer screen, until the wee hours of the morning. After that, he became the head writer for PineappleShaped Lamps (PSL), Wilmington’s highly successful, and highly collaborative sketch comedy troupe. Like many of the members of PSL, Marden sort of fell into the troupe. In his case, that fall was the first gig he had with the group: the stage adaptation of Joss Whedon’s “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” in which he portrayed Moist, the evil sidekick to Dr. Horrible. The film and creative writing double major had the PSL bug and Thursday Night Live, PSL’s then weekly sketch show at the Browncoat Pub & Theatre, called out to him. He loved everything about it: the opportunity to produce his work, to collaborate with a talented and supportive group of people, and to experiment with different forms of comedy. “There’s a real learning curve to sketch comedy — the scripts are so short they have to be so focused,” he says. “There is a risk of exhausting the audience so you have to have a different style for each sketch. Some were focused on absurdist, some were vaudeville.” Marden re-enacts a short history of The Art & Soul of Wilmington

s t a g e l i f e stage comedy in less than five minutes, leaving me stunned and slightly winded from just watching him. “After ‘Dr. Horrible’ a lot of members of PSL were still in college; people scattered over the summer and we were still trying to do writers’ meeting and notes. People were getting frustrated, and then I wrote a two-page manifesto of what a head writer job for PSL would be and sent it to Wes [Brown].” Brown, the artistic director for PSL, immediately made Marden the head writer — a classic case of be careful what you wish for. “My job at PSL wasn’t to put my stamp on PSL but to make sure that the members had the chance to do the work they wanted to do,” Marden says. “The majority of what I did for PSL was edit other people’s sketches and provide notes, then try to enhance structure and characterization.” After a moment of reflection, Marden points out that, at a certain point, you realize you are so busy helping others grow that you don’t make time for your own work to improve anymore. Marden stepped down as head writer for PSL this past spring. “I felt that after two years people needed to hear notes from someone else to grow as writers,” he says. Zach Pappas, Dr. Horrible himself, assumed the PSL head writer duties. What’s keeping Marden busy now? PSL has launched a new radio drama on UNCW’s Hawkstream Radio titled “Pineapple-Shaped Lamps 30 Minute Comedy Hour.” Like the PSL stage show, they were looking for a serial sketch to end each show with. “I pitched a 1940s superhero. I slapped the most absurd thing I could think of in front of ‘man’, and it was ‘milk’,” Marden says. Inspired by The Green Hornet and Super Man radio shows, Marden’s superhero is the neighborhood milkman who battles Nazis on the home front using the powers of calcium, refrigeration and good health. It is completely ridiculous. It is also a fabulous parody of the form that could only come from really learning and honoring the genre. “Everyone complains that everything in the movie theaters today is a re-boot or a remake,” Marden says. “Trying to re-interpret the stories that you grew up with in a way that is relevant to now is something that people are always going to want to do. It’s the telling of the story that makes it memorable rather than the story itself, sometimes. Romeo and Juliet was not Shakespeare’s story. He stole it from somewhere.” b

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Gwenyfar Rohler fell in love with theater at Thalian Hall on her sixth birthday. She spends her days managing her family’s bookstore on Front Street. The Art & Soul of Wilmington

September 2013 •



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A c c i d e n t a l

S o u t h e r n e r

Edgar Allan Poe

Born in Boston but Southern to the core in ways that count

By Nan Graham

One of the great

truths about the South can be found in Truman Capote’s famous quote: “All Southerners go home sooner or later . . . even if it’s in a box.” It has been frequently noted that Southerners who write must at some time leave the South to become enamored with the peculiar unique place the South is. They frequently return to stay.

So too, I believe, it is true that once in the South, Northerners — or those from someplace else as I call them to avoid the Y word — become “Accidental Southerners.” Once here, even temporarily, they are profoundly and sometimes unconsciously affected by the haunting strangeness of our part of the world. One of my favorites is Edgar Allan Poe. Though born in Boston in 1809, he traveled the Southern theater circuit with his actress mother, Elizabeth, down the Eastern Seaboard from Norfolk to Charleston. She may have even played here in Wilmington; I like to think so. The young Mrs. Poe performing here with toddler Edgar and his siblings in tow backstage at Innes Academy, the theater setting replaced in the 1850s by our jewel box of a theater, Thalian Hall. Edgar Allan Poe’s contribution to American literature cannot be discounted as a mere writer of horror stories. His is the first authentic American voice among the young country’s writers whose work were an imitation of Europe’s literature. Poe’s innovative accomplishments:

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

• He wrote the first detective story, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” and so invented the genre we love today. • Poe was the very first American literary critic who assembled standards for poetry and prose. • He was an early developer of the short story form. And why his claim (and mine) that he is a Southerner despite his Boston birth? Mother Elizabeth Poe had the good sense to die in Richmond and thus sealed Poe’s fate to be brought up a Southerner. He was reared by a foster family, the Allans, in Richmond, Virginia, and always considered himself a Virginian. Women have been long idealized in the South, and few writers have been more obsessed with women than Edgar Allan Poe, like any good Southern man. According to Poe, the death and loss of a beautiful woman was the most elevated of all subjects for poetry and literature. In life the loss of his young mother, foster mother and wife became a pervasive focus of his writing. We see this theme over and over in his works: “Annabel Lee,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “Berenice,” “The Raven.” The writer’s preoccupation with lyricism of words and language usage is a predominant feature in Southern writing. Much has been written on Poe’s sense of place, famous in Southern literature. His setting for “The Fall of the House of Usher” is the phantasmagorical swamp, low-country South at its creepiest. And Poe knew the Carolina lowcountry. His “The Gold-Bug” is set on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, where he was stationed as a soldier, an island which today sports names like Raven Drive and Goldbug Avenue, a nod to our Accidental Southerner. My last reason Edgar Allan Poe is really a Southerner? He married his first cousin when she was barely 14 . . . I won’t even touch that one! b Nan Graham is a true Southerner and the literary maven of the Cape Fear. September 2013 •



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Reading Out Loud

A good book can soothe a life, and sometimes save it

By Gwenyfar Rohler

It is late September, 2010, and, in a

Dickensian sort of way, the best year and the worst year of my life. My father is in the hospital at the beginning of what becomes a two-and-a-half month odyssey. He slips in and out of consciousness, and I read to him every day. We are a family of readers, and though we don’t always know how to talk to each other, we know how to read aloud. I read him the daily newspaper, and on the weekends, The New York Times. He complains that Frank Rich is on vacation when we need him most.

I read to my mother while she was on life support in ICU. I knew she wouldn’t wake up, that we were marking time until the machines got turned off. But I read to her every day until my voice was hoarse. Her favorite book in the world was M.M. Kaye’s The Far Pavilions. For years she had a beaten-up hardback copy that had fallen apart. She would take a section of text out of the binding and carry it around in her purse to read whenever she had the chance. When that section was finished, she returned it and took off with the next one. I believe she continued to read the book in order but she knew it by heart and could pick it up from anywhere. One year for Christmas my father gave her a first edition with the dust jacket intact. He found it at the junky old bookstore downtown that they would purchase together years later. The Art & Soul of Wilmington

So as my mother lay unconscious, I read her favorite book over and over to her. I had read it years earlier, but had forgotten that it was, at heart, a trashy romance. Nurses never checked on vital signs when I was reading a five-paragraph description of the setting. They walked in during sentences that began with someone’s heaving bosom. A year-and-a-half later I am back in the same hospital where my mother died, but this time I am fighting to bring my father home. I read him his favorite book — George Eliot’s Middlemarch. My parents were both English majors in college and used many of the same books when they took classes successive semesters. The margins are jammed with their notes, almost a conversation with each other. My mother’s careful underlining and neat, small handwriting mark passages with “structure,” “theme” and “subplot 1.” Next to her notes is my father’s wavy, ethereal penmanship noting “indirect characterization” and “symbolism.” The notes themselves speak volumes about the two personalities that read these books together. End-of-chapter pages have lengthy notes in the available space in both their hands. I begin to read these notes aloud to Daddy along with the story, noting which marks are his and which are Mommy’s. Then I realize she is here with us. She has come into the room and we are talking around the dinner table again about a book I am reading for school, a book they both read for school. My father is transported from his grief and loneliness, away from this bleak hospital room, to the happiest time of his life. He is young, in college, with the whole world opening up to him, falling deeply in love with a magical woman who likes to argue about books with him. The story, the writing, is secondary to the power of the words on the pages of the books that have been sitting on our shelves for forty years, looking so innocent. b September 2013 •



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David Being Sedaris

More amusing monologues from the pen of a caustic modern master

By Stephen E. Smith

Apparently, I do

what almost everyone else does: When David Sedaris publishes a book, I begin reading it as soon as I can lay my hands on a copy. I’m always up for an occasional belly laugh, and given the backbiting and bickering that monopolizes our national discourse, it’s good we have a popular satirist to remind us that we’re capable of laughing at ourselves and each other.

It’s been five years since the publication of Sedaris’ last book of essays, When You Are Engulfed in Flames (I don’t count Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, a collection of modern fables), and the news regarding Let’s

Explore Diabetes with Owls is generally good. Sedaris’ scornful, self-effacing insights into the contemporary quirks of the human condition are as edgy and clever as ever, and he remains a master of verbal irony and the comic image, a commingling of P.G. Wodehouse’s syntactical wit and the situational slapstick of Jean Shepherd. In “Obama!!!!!” Sedaris satirizes the BBC’s response to the election of America’s first black president: “Barack Obama, who is black, is arriving now with his black wife and two black children, a group that will form America’s first black First Family, which is to say, the first group of blacks elected to the White House, which is white and not black like them.” And 20

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as always, he’s able to focus on the commonality of experience. In “Now Hiring Friendly People” he directs his wrath at those chatty slowpokes who queue up in front of us when we’re in a hurry: “I wanted to shout: DO YOU NOT NOTICE THAT THERE’S SOMEONE IN LINE BEHIND YOU? SOMEONE WHO’S BEEN STANDING HERE ROCKING BACK AND FORTH ON HIS GODDAMNED HEELS FOR THE LAST TEN MINUTES WHILE YOU AND THAT BRONTOSAURUS RUN YOUR STUPID MOUTH ABOUT NOTHING?” As in many of his earlier works, Sedaris’ father is much in evidence, slinking around in his boxers and commenting in the unflattering and insistent way fathers do, and his plainspoken mother lives on in her scoldings — “‘That’s right,’ she said. ‘I want you to marry someone exactly like me, with a big beige purse and lots of veins in her legs. In fact, why don’t I just divorce your father so the two of us can run off together?’” In a departure from his usual apolitical approach, Sedaris compares European and American health-care systems and chimes in on various political annoyances such as same-sex marriage and overzealous conservatives. And there are a good many essays that hearken back to his Raleigh childhood: “The better country club operated on the principle that Raleigh mattered, that its old families were fine ones, and that they needed a place where they could enjoy one another’s company without being pawed at. Had we not found this laughable, our country club might have felt desperate. Instead, its attitude was Look at how much money you saved by not being good enough!” He takes on race and sexual orientation, the drudgeries of air travel and book tours, taxidermy, and even attempts a scatological essay, “#2 to The Art & Soul of Wilmington

O m n i v o r o u s r e a d e r Go,” on bathroom habits in China. In his author’s note, Sedaris acknowledges the inclusion of “Forensics,” a form that’s a cross between “speech and debate” that students edit down to a predetermined length and recite aloud in a competitive forum. These are exercises in which Sedaris assumes the persona of fictional characters he wishes to take to task for their extremist beliefs. In “If I Ruled the World” a religious zealot, one Miss Cassie Hasselback, attacks those secular components of the culture that have strayed from what she perceives as Christian precepts: “I’ll crucify the Democrats, the Communists, and a good 97 percent of the college students. Don’t laugh, Tim Cobblestone, because you’re next! Think you can let your cat foul my flower beds and get away with it? Well, think again!” “Just a Quick E-mail” is a sarcastic thank you note sent to the ex-wife of the writer’s husband: “I myself would use it [the term ‘bitch’] to describe someone whose idea of an appropriate wedding present is a gift certificate for two pizzas! Offering it to your ex-husband, I can understand, but to your own sister? That’s just tacky.” The humor in these stories is derived from the discrepancy between what the character says and what we know Sedaris means, thus the underlying motivation is negative and will likely leave the reader with a feeling of being manipulated. Granted, the monologues are amusing, but only to those readers who disagree with the characters’ points of view. So what’s new in Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls? Not much. Over the twenty or so years I’ve been reading Sedaris, I’ve come to expect a modicum of artistic and intellectual growth which has failed to materialize. Certainly, he’s as funny as ever — it would be difficult to be much funnier and still maintain an acceptable level of readability — but he fails to bring a fresh perspective to his subjects. Since most of his humor is an attempt to conceal anguish, I find myself yearning for a greater degree of revelation. Instead, there’s a nagging sense that I’ve laughed at this before. Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls has its share of hilarious moments, but hardcore Sedaris enthusiasts — the effete corps of impudent snobs who listen to NPR while tooling around in their BMWs — will probably find the collection mildly disappointing. I was left longing for the energy and insights I discovered in his earlier books, especially Barrel Fever and Naked, wherein Sedaris lifts the commonplace into the realm of poetry. b Stephen E. Smith’s most recent book of poems is A Short Report on the Fire at Woolworths. He can be reached at The Art & Soul of Wilmington

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Packing Light is for the Birds Overpackers Anonymous

By Ann Ipock

Packing light is an oxymoron if I’ve ever

heard one. Seriously. When I hear women say they can get by with one LBD (little black dress), three or four mix-and-match outfits and two pairs of shoes on a tenday trip, I secretly think they’re lying.

My BFF just bought four articles of clothing from a certain high-end travel collection for her upcoming cruise out of Barcelona. She gloated at the marvelous finds — black pants, black sleeveless top, black top with sleeves, and a black jacket. “I’ll accessorize to change the look,” she said, matter-offactly. Please. The gal must have twenty pounds of chunky jewelry: necklaces long enough to skip rope with, gaudy rings for every finger and toe, and bangle bracelets that jangle my nerves. Trust me, her suitcase will be anything but light. The only way I will ever travel light is with a parachute strapped to my back, jumping out of a plane — and that, sweetheart, is never-ever gonna happen. Let George H.W. Bush have all the fun. If I make it to age 85, I can think of a million ways I’d rather celebrate, none of which involve packing light. We just got back from a week’s vacation to Destin, Florida. In hindsight, it’s embarrassing to admit that I packed twenty-one outfits (all neatly ironed, thank you very much). How many did I wear? Seven. How many did I bring back home? You do the math. OK, I’ll admit it: I have a problem. I’m wondering, with all the self-help groups out there, why they haven’t formed one called Overpackers Anonymous. I can see it now. I drive to the OA meeting site, an old brick school building. I walk inside to find my seat in the dimly lit room among a hodgepodge of chairs. I nervously wait my turn. I hear tales of someone who can’t leave the house without an extra pair of shoes — “But what if my feet start hurting?” Everyone nods, sympathetically. She continues, “And an extra purse. What if this one doesn’t match the other shoes?” There’s an audible sigh. And finally, “I bring extra jewelry because I never get it right. Do gold and silver match? Is that a trend now?” She bows her head, exasperated,

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and slowly slinks back to her chair. The small group offers a soft applause. Who am I kidding? That someone would be me, folks. I’m pathetic. I’ve psychoanalyzed myself, as you can see, and come up with a few possible explanations of my overzealous packing: a) I’m paranoid. Sure, I thought I heard “house concert,” but what if the hostess actually said “pool party”? b) I’m indecisive. The navy nautical capris or the Madras Bermuda shorts? Be safe and just bring both. c) What if the air-conditioner is broken? Sweating at the beach is bad enough, but sweating inside an expensive timeshare? Don’t think for a minute I’ll wear that same damp, smelly outfit twice. Or maybe I overpack because, secretly, I’m hoping we’ll get to stay on vacation forever. White sandy beaches, clear turquoise water, Reggae music, shop-’til-you-drop and shag-’til-you-drag. Hey, a girl can dream. My addiction is so bad that once, when my husband, Russell, and I drove south for a cruise, I honestly thought I needed even more stuff. So I shopped in St. Augustine before we reached the port. Soon after, I screamed, “I can’t do it! I can’t! I’m sorry, but — !” “What in the world is the matter?” Russell asked, swerving the car. “I simply can’t stuff anything else into my suitcase. As it is, I’m afraid it’s going to rip when I unzip the bulging baggage.” An hour later, I watched as he hauled a brand-new twenty-pound suitcase through a hot, crowded parking lot at Walmart to the car, fuming all the way. Don’t even get me started on packing shoes. I’ve never met a shoe I didn’t love. Wait, I take that back. Spiked heels are no longer de rigueur for me, pinched toes and all. And four-inch wedge heels give me vertigo. Closed toes aren’t much better. Ever had a corn spring up on your pinky toe? It ain’t cute. My go-to footwear these days are sandals and flip-flops. So on that recent vacation to Destin, guess what I bought? Sandals and flip-flops! Maybe a dozen. But who’s counting? Yep, carried them home in the Gap, Ann Taylor and J Crew bags that the stores gave me. I swear they weigh less than chunky jewelry. b Ann Ipock is an award-winning Southern author, humorist and speaker whose books include the Life is Short series. She may be reached at September 2013 •



s p i r i t s

Perfectly Papa

Nothing beats the heat like the cool, perfect daiquiri and, of course, excellent white rum. Finding good white rum may be the hardest part. I find Bacardi’s aftertaste unpleasant, but I have found an excellent white rum from a Tennessee distiller, Prichard’s, that gets close to the flavor of a Cuban rum (which you can get in Canada), very good! Unfortunately, you’ll have to sample several to find your favorite. Darn. Hemingway spent a lot of time at El Floridita in Constantino’s bar, and the barman made up a variation of his classic daiquiri for him, the Papa Doble, or “Papa’s Double.” Lore goes that Hemingway did not like sugar in his drinks and Constantino obliged with a tailored version, substituting maraschino liqueur for sugar and adding fresh grapefruit juice (the bar notes I’ve read are that the Cuban grapefruit he used is fairly sweet, so adding a touch of sugar shouldn’t violate Papa’s memory). It is interesting how new and refreshing this old, timeless cocktail is. Enjoy.

By Frank Daniels III

I love the new — new

golf clubs, new shotguns, new iPhones, new Macs, new tools, new cars, new restaurants, new books. It’s not that I dislike the old, or do not appreciate the timeless, but I suffer little angst about change and certainly do not pine for the past. I also have come to enjoy the way new things, new ideas, new experiences enable me to see old things in new ways, so that old can become new again as my perception and experience open new patterns.

Summer is a great time for revisiting some of the old, and seeing it with new eyes and hands and taste buds. Like most folks, I was desultory about the required reading of classics, but in recent summers, I have put some classics on my reading stand (or more recently in my e-reader.) My recent jag has been picking up Hemingway again. Very humbling. It is a reasonable goal to have a drink in every bar Papa Hemingway frequented (I hope I live a long time), as he drank in some great places. He had a hand in popularizing some of the classic cocktails, and invented a few as well, including my favorite, Death in the Gulfstream, as a hangover cure for marlin fishing after a rough night. And from his time in Cuba, we can resurrect one of the great, mistreated cocktails, the daiquiri. Simple, excellent, perfect for the heat. David Embury, author of the definitive book on cocktails, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (a splendid bar fly’s read published first in 1948), says, “The original and correct recipe for the daiquiri is stated in terms of a single cocktail as ½ teaspoonful of sugar, juice of half a lime, and one jigger of white rum. This is a cocktail that is difficult to improve upon. It is dry, yet smooth. The reaction time is short. The lime and rum blend perfectly. The daiquiri, like the old fashioned, deserves an even greater popularity than it now enjoys . . .” You don’t see many daiquiris made that way today; frozen, fruity sugar bombs have replaced the simple formula perfected by arguably the finest bartender of the 20th century, Constantino Ribalaigua Vert, master barman at El Floridita in Havana. As always in these classic cocktails, the ingredients are essential. Fresh squeezed lime juice, squeezed by hand or with a simple-squeeze juicer, fine sugar

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Original Daiquiri

Constantino Ribalaigua Vert’s recipe from El Floridita in Havana. 1 1/2 ozs White rum 1 oz Simple syrup 3/4 oz Fresh lime juice Mix the three ingredients in a chilled cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Papa Doble (Hemingway daiquiri) 1 1/2 oz 1/4 oz 1/2 oz 3/4 oz 3/4 oz

White rum Maraschino liqueur Fresh grapefruit juice Fresh lime juice Simple syrup or ½1/2 teaspoon fine sugar

Mix all the ingredients in a chilled cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. b Frank Daniels III is an editor and writer living in Nashville, Tennessee who frequently visits Wilmington. His cocktail book is Frank’s Little Black Bar Book, Wakestone Press. Contact him at September 2013 •



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The Right Bite

By Dana Sachs

If you’re a traveler and you love to eat, then

you probably also like to think about the connections between a nation’s cuisine and its culture. Dr. Chris Ward and I made a lot of those connections when we met for lunch at Tandoori Bites.

Chris, a Wilmington endodontist, traveled to Vietnam three times between 2007 and 2009 to do volunteer surgeries for the charitable organization Operation Smile. In Hanoi, he noticed that the most popular traditional restaurants only serve one dish (yes, one dish: Imagine McDonald’s only selling hamburgers). Some specialized in the steaming bowls of pho that Vietnamese love to slurp down on their way to work in the morning. “And then,” Chris remembered, “there was that place where you get bun bo.” “You know the bun bo shops?” I sputtered. I couldn’t believe it. I’m lucky enough to have lived in Hanoi for several years and bun bo, a bed of salad greens topped by noodles and warm sautéed beef, was a dish that, years ago at least, you could really only find at a pair of interchangeable next-door-neighbor dives in the city’s Old Quarter. The food was great, but I wouldn’t call the spot a destination. “You know the place where the ladies wash dishes on the floor next to the bathroom?” Chris asked. “And there’s trash scattered all around your feet?” He grinned. “That’s the one.” Chris loved the fact that these establishments specialized in a single recipe, and “those families have been serving that dish for three generations.” An American restaurant menu can run to a dozen pages. The fact that a Vietnamese 26

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family could strive, over decades, to perfect one item reveals a lot about Vietnam’s culinary attitudes, business climate, familial relationships and entrepreneurial traditions that, for Chris and me, led to words like “coolest thing” and “amazing,” and, for an anthropologist, could offer enough research possibilities to fill a dissertation. One of the great things about food tourism is that you can pick up so much during a meal, even if you’re actually in the country for a completely different reason. The mission of Operation Smile began as a way of offering plastic surgery to children with cleft lips and palate defects in developing countries. More recently, its work has expanded into dentistry, providing care for children, education for local dentists, and preventive care. During each week that Chris spent in Vietnam, his team, comprised mostly of oral surgeons, endodontists and pedodontists, performed thousands of surgeries. “I’d have thirty people watching every time I did a root canal,” he told me. Vietnamese dentists, he explained, were desperate to learn the new surgical techniques that the foreign dentists had already adopted. “They were crazy interested in it,” he told me. “They just really wanted to be better.” For people in developing countries, “root canals are a luxury item,” he explained. In most cases, a tooth that could be saved with a root canal will instead be pulled. By providing advanced care to so many people who would not normally have access to it, and teaching local dentists new methods and efficiencies, the volunteer teams are able both to help individual patients and expand the ability of local medical communities to reach greater numbers of needy people themselves. Chris found the experience “unbelievably touching.” When the medical team opened their clinics every morning, they would find a line of patients who had been waiting out on the sidewalk since before dawn. I found Chris’ stories particularly poignant because I used to live near the The Art & Soul of Wilmington

Photographs by James stefiuk

A globe-trotting dentist with Operation Smile and former resident of Hanoi find happiness over chicken tikka masala

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main dental hospital where his team was based. When he described the crowds of waiting patients, I pictured them sitting beneath the enormous shade trees that line the streets of Hanoi’s French Quarter. I could even remember when a Vietnamese friend suffered through a botched dental surgery years ago and the days and weeks of pain it caused. Finally, I thought, Vietnamese people are gaining some access to the quality medical care that Americans have come to take for granted. As food began to appear at our table, our attention shifted from Vietnam to India. The waitress arrived bearing bowls of mulligatawny, a richly spiced Indian chicken soup laced with lentils and other vegetables. “I eat this every time I come here,” said Chris, who is a regular at Tandoori Bites. “I always loved my grandma’s chicken soup, but it was not mulligatawny. This is just so much more flavorful.” Chris’ travels have taken him to Africa, Europe, and Central and South America as well as Vietnam, but he has never visited India and only became interested in the country, and its cuisine, fairly recently. “It was never on my list of places to go,” he admitted, “but then I read an article that said that chicken tikka masala, from India, is now the national dish of England.” He found it fascinating that the British, who are known for bland dishes like shepherd’s pie, would become so wild for the highly flavorful foods of South Asia. A moment later, a dish of chicken tikka masala appeared in front of us, along with plates of lamb biryani, shrimp korma, chicken saag and a platter of grilled meats from the tandoori oven. And — I agree with Chris here — if chicken tikka masala and shepherd’s pie were competing against each other in some kind of Master Chef competition, chicken The Art & Soul of Wilmington

tikka masala would easily win. “The chicken just has so many more flavors in one dish,” said Chris, while shepherd’s pie “is just mashed potatoes and ground beef.” Tandoori Bites’ owner, T.J. Singh, comes from Punjab, in Northern India, and he was careful to explain that the food we were eating was not just Indian, but Northern Indian. The Northern style of cooking, he told us, developed from the rich culinary traditions of Indian royalty, which relied on rarer and more expensive ingredients than the cuisine one would find in other parts of the country. The lamb biryani, for example, is a highly seasoned rice dish made with, among other things, ginger, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, cardamon seeds and raisins. The smooth texture of the sauce in the shrimp korma comes from a blend of cashews, raisins and almonds. Dishes with the word “malai” in them are made with sour cream. “These are not poor people’s dishes,” T.J. told us, adding that it takes particular training and skill to make them. “If you want Northern Indian food, then you need to hire a chef from the Punjab.” As we ate, Chris mused again about the ways that a nation’s cuisine teaches us about its values and traditions. “If they can put that much effort into a dish to make it that exceptional, then the Indians are obviously proud. There’s something special about that culture.” He reached for the basket of steaming garlic nan, a puffy bread made in the restaurant’s tandoori oven. As he lifted a piece to his mouth, he told me, “Garlic nan might be my favorite thing on Earth.” b Dana Sachs’ latest novel, The Secret of the Nightingale Palace, is available at bookstores throughout Wilmington.

connecting the campus & community through the arts

office of cultural arts unc wilmington

PIANO MASTERWORKS Norman Bemelmans & Elizabeth Loparits


RAY CHEN, violin UNCW Artist in Residence


“Ray Chen can do pretty much anything he wants on the violin.” The Washington Post “Colors dance, moods swing, and Chen’s artistry blazes.” The Times

Tickets & Info 910.962.3500 UNCW is an EEO/AA Institution. Accommodations for disabilities may be requested by contacting the box office at least 3 days prior to the event.

September 2013 •



v i n e

w i s d o m

The Bonarda Boom The surprising Argentinian wine comes of age

By Robyn James

I try not to write about obscure or dif-

ficult-to-find grapes because, well, they are probably obscure for a reason and difficult to find because few are looking for them.

If the wine industry sees a grape gaining in popularity (moscato, for example), they jump on the bandwagon and you will find it everywhere, made by everybody. But sometimes there is a quiet swell like a tap on the shoulder, and you see this new grape popping up on your radar screen a lot. Meet bonarda. An Argentinian grape grower would probably slap me for calling bonarda an obscure grape because it is currently planted in Argentina second only to malbec, the flashy favorite. However widely planted, bonarda was primarily used as a blending grape to add flavor and color to cheaper table wines sold in bulk. The name was rarely, if ever, mentioned on the label. Now it is being taken seriously on its own merits. It’s not the easiest grape to grow; it has a rather thin, delicate skin; and it needs a lot of hangtime on the vine to ripen fully. But yields are high and it performs beautifully during fermentation in the winery, performing well blending with other grapes. One winemaker describes it as “intense cola nut, vanilla bean, cassis and a vague suggestion of wild, brambly foxiness. The aroma is blueberries — it hits you in the face. It’s beautiful, pure ink.” When I first went to work as an on-premise rep for a large wine distributor in Greensboro, I was delighted to find several magnums of Inglenook Estate charbono from the ’60s and ’70s, packaged in beautiful, individual wooden cases. I bought all they had and laid them down to age further. I started reading about charbono and Inglenook’s charbono society, only to find out it is the same grape as Argentinian bonarda. The original Inglenook Winery produced charbono (bonarda) each vintage from 1882 until the winery was sold to Francis Ford Coppola in 1998. Why California gave it a different name isn’t really clear, but it probably comes from the corbeau grape in Savoie, France, also said to be the same as bonarda. Bonarda is a bargain, and rarely will you find one over $20. Here are a few of my favorites:

Durigutti Bonarda, Argentina, 2010, approx. $15

“The purple-colored 2010 bonarda offers up an enticing nose of plum and mulberry leading to a supple, friendly, easy-going wine with a good core of spicy, savory fruit. In the glass it reveals excellent volume, balance and length. Drink this very good value over the next 2–3 years.” Rated 86 Points, Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate.

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

Tikal Patriota, Argentina, 2011, approx. $20

“The 2011 Tikal Patriota is a blend of 60 percent malbec and 40 percent bonarda from Vista Flores and La Vendimia from 14-year-old vines. It is raised in French and American oak for 12 months (30 percent new). It has a confident, out-going bouquet of raspberries and wild strawberry complemented by hints of marmalade and quince. The palate is medium-bodied with luscious black fruit infused with minerals and a touch of graphite. It is supremely harmonious and seductive with filigree tannins on the refined finish. Wonderful. Drink now–2017.” Rated 92 Points, Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate.

Tilia Bonarda, Argentina, 2011, approx. $11

“The 2011 Tilia bonarda sees light oak aging for six to nine months. It has a pure, floral bouquet with dark cherries and cassis aromas that are welldefined and pure. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins and very good weight. There is an underlying minerality here, a sense of symmetry that is very satisfying. Light on its feet and pretty on the saline-tinged finish, this is a superb bonarda. Drink now–2016. Rated 91 Points, Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate. I must say, of all the ranges that I tasted in Argentina, none could match the quality to price ratio of Tilia, which all retail for an astoundingly low price. As such, I cannot recommend them highly enough. b

Master sommelier Robyn James has been in the retail and wholesale wine business for over 25 years. September 2013 •



n o t e s

f r o m

t h e

p o r c h

Voices in Stone The cemetery was neat and clean, the result of the annual spring cleaning by descendants of those buried there. There are many such cemeteries in rural areas, respectful repositories for those with no church cemetery available and no funeral home to provide such a place at the time. The annual spring cleaning is a chance for kin to come together, to tell old stories, to show respect for the past.

By Bill Thompson

On a hot summer

afternoon I took my grandson, Drew, to visit a graveyard on the edge of Bogue Swamp. It’s a family cemetery that dates back to the eighteenth century. According to family history, soldier-ancestors who served in every American conflict from the Revolution through World War II are buried there.

We walked down the dusty road, its two dry ruts dividing the weeds, with the still heat shimmering over the soybean field on one side and through the stand of planted pine trees on the other. We were a contrasting pair. Not only am I a good two feet taller than my 9-year-old scion, but our attire amplified our generational differences: flip-flops and work boots, shorts and khaki pants, T-shirt and long-sleeved denim buttondown with the sleeves rolled up. As the exertion of the walk and the heat of the sun began to take its toll, I realized that my grandson was more appropriately dressed for the trek than I was. The underestimated wisdom of youth? “How far is it, Granddaddy?” “Not far. Just a little farther.” “What are those things flying around with the big wings?” “Dragonflies. We call ’em mosquito hawks. They eat mosquitoes.” “They sure came to the right place to find a meal.” We had sprayed each other down with insect repellent but that didn’t keep the mosquitoes from buzzing around us. We could see them swarming just above the weeds in the road. “Watch out for snakes,” I warned. “All this rain’ll make ’em look for high ground.” “The mosquitoes will probably scare them off.” The road began a slight decline that led us across a small culvert. Water flowed rapidly through the pipe and on down the swamp. “This is called a branch,” I said to my grandson. “It’s a low place that separates two little higher places.” “Doesn’t look very high to me.” Everything is relative, I thought. The cemetery was just past the branch. At the entrance was a granite marker: Elbow Pierce Cemetery Circa 1700. A concrete angel stood watch just behind the marker. A stone bench provided temporary repose next to the more permanent resting places. An American flag hung limp in the soggy heat on a metal pole. Behind the angel, spread out beneath the old trees, were the grave markers: some upright slabs of very old marble, a few newer granite headstones, and several wooden markers with only numbers on them; the names had been recorded in a long lost book. The Art & Soul of Wilmington

Among the deceased: Infant son, Born November, 1900, Died December, 1901 Thomas Pierce Co. K 3 NC Army CSA, May 2 1824 – Feb 21 1903 M. Jay Pierce Co. K 2 Rgt NC Volunteers SpAmWar, 1873–1898 Infant son and daughter of Alva and Margaret Pierce Toward the back of the cemetery was a brick tomb raised about eighteen inches off the ground. A bronze plaque read: Stephen Smith 1746–1784 Wife Joanna Council 1753–1833 Revolutionary War Soldier Placed by the descendants D.A.R. A faded American flag had been placed in the holes of some bricks atop the tomb. Time and weather had almost obliterated the stars and stripes, and the stillness of the swamp gave it a dreary appearance. “I believe Stephen Smith needs a new flag, Granddaddy. You got one back at your house.” “That one is way too big. We’ll have to go somewhere and find one.” “They probably got one at Walmart or Target. You can get just about anything there.” Even under the shade of the trees, the summer heat seeped through the leaves and the mosquitoes rose from the grass to greet us with every step we took. It occurred to me that many of the soldiers buried there had endured greater heat and more pestilence than we were suffering as had many of the others, men and women, who had struggled to build their farms and homes here in the flat, wet land of southeastern North Carolina. And what was their legacy over three hundred years, these voices in stone? They had created a lot or a little; some gained fame and some kept anonymity; some had money; some were poor. All were dead and all were kin. Whatever their legacy, it belonged to an old man and a boy standing in the middle of the swamp cemetery on a hot July afternoon. b Bill Thompson is a speaker and author who lives just down the road, in nearby Hallsboro. September 2013 •



The Premier Visual Arts Organization of the Cape Fear Coast

Non - Profit

Annual Juried Spring Show and Sale Workshops Led by Award-Winning Instructors Gallery and Exhibit Opportunities Field Trips Monthly Member Meetings and Socials Member Discounts Paint-Outs Lectures and Demonstrations

Kirah Van Sickle

Elaine Cooper

Dorian Hill

Members Meeting September 12 with speaker Fritzi Huber

membership is open to artists & art lovers alike

Join Today & Support Local Art

Children's Museum of Wilmington

YachtVenture Saturday, October 19, 2013 6:00 to 10:00 pm. MarineMax Wrightsville Beach

pe Lot Music by L Sha

Stroll the dock . . . explore . . . wine and dine . . . imagine


Salt • September 2013



Join us for lunch with

Jim Dodson

Best Selling New York Times Author & Editor of Salt Magazine

September 12, 2013 11:30am-1:00pm The Blockade Runner Resort Wrightsville Beach, NC A limited number of seats are available! 910.202.4605 or email This FUN event includes fabulous guest speakers, lunch at the magnificent Blockade Runner, spectacular raffle prizes, and an opportunity to support and learn more about Wilmington Health Access for Teens.

Ashley Wellness CenterLaney Wellness CenterNew Hanover Wellness Center

4005 Oleander Drive, Wilmington NC 28403 (910) 790-9949 |

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

b i r d w a t c h

The American Goldfinch As summer ends, their families begin

By Susan Campbell

At last, as our coastal summer fades, family life

for one of our most brightly colored feeder birds, the American goldfinch, starts anew.

Males have been singing their melodious love songs since springtime. Their plumage — brilliant yellow with black and white markings and a shiny black top knot — caught the eye of potential mates months ago. But up until very recently, these handsome little granivores have just been loafing around, waiting for the right time to get down to business. Of all our native birds, the American goldfinch is the latest breeder, producing one, sometimes two sets of young from mid-August until late September. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that they wait until the end of summer, when the pods of native thistle burst open to expose an abundance of energy-rich seeds and feathery down. Goldfinches feed exclusively on small seeds, and thistledown is available as nesting material. What better time to start a family? Bright yellow male goldfinches are easy to identify, but the females are muted yellow, no doubt as better camouflage while incubating in dense shrubby cover. The female goldfinch takes care of early nesting duties but may abandon the young to the care of the males a week or so after hatching, especially if the eggs were laid early in the season. She will then search out

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

a new mate and hurriedly begin a second brood before the shorter days of early autumn arrive. Goldfinches have a very large range nationwide and can be found across our state year-round. They are highly nomadic during the cooler months and tend to flock together in search of food. By January, they can become very numerous at bird feeders. In some years, when the native seed sources are depleted, hundreds may be found searching for the next best thing: sunflower hearts or nyjer thistle seed. Goldfinches are the main species attracted to thistle seed. They can shuck hundreds of these tiny, black, oily seeds in no time. Thistle that is sold in stores is not native to the United States. It is grown in Africa and the Middle East. Despite what some may think, uneaten seed will not germinate here in the Southeast. But it will turn rancid more quickly than other seed so should be stored in a cool, dry environment. It is important to note that the winter plumage of the goldfinch is very drab. Males and females alike are dull brown from October through April and, as a result, often cause confusion for backyard bird enthusiasts. But if there is any doubt, their frequent “potato chip” call will give them away. So keep an ear and an eye out. Goldfinches in their breeding finery are all around. But this beloved quick-change artist won’t be all that noticeable for very long! b Susan would love to receive your wildlife sightings and photos. She can be contacted by email at, or by calling (910) 949-3207.

September 2013 •



e x c u r s i o n s

Nightfall in Paradise

When the heat of the day vanishes and a full moon rises, life abounds from backyard to island beach By Virginia Holman

Late summer seems to bring

photographs by Virginia Holman

everyone in our house to a simmer. Though we live not far from the shoreline, the breeze that cooled us in early summer has waned, and there’s little natural reprieve from the swelter short of a dip in the ocean. By midmorning, the pale sun looms high in the sky, erasing all but the shadows’ nub. The heat builds, stoked by the local gravel and tar roads, blank concrete driveways, and asphalt shingles. Our front porch, a usually pleasant breezeway, transforms into a radiant hearth. Our elderly dog pants near the good air conditioner vent. She must be bribed to take the leash period. Once outside, she trots along the grassy edge of the neighbors’ yards to avoid singeing her paws on the street.


Salt • September 2013

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

e x c u r s i o n s

By afternoon, opening the door to the world outside is as welcome as sliding the bolt from its socket to open the gates of hell. Leaving the office for lunch feels something like this. First, there’s that blast, a shockwave brought by the collision of manufactured cool and cindered air. Then, a kind of temporary blindness sets in, akin to a migraine’s aura — the landscape appears stripped of color, yet it trembles. Then, there’s the desert journey across the parking lot, which, depending on the distance and your age, might reasonably qualify as a minor epic. Finally, there’s that frantic dance as one hand rolls down the windows to release the trapped heat from your vehicle while your other hand cranks the air conditioning (if you’re lucky enough to have it) before your brain is cooked. The steering wheel, cruelly, is the last thing to cool. (I’ve considered, in order to avoid first degree burns, donning white gloves to drive, but I fear some consequence reserved for true eccentricity should I become the white-gloved lady piloting her truck.) Faced with this scenario, it seems wise to eat lunch at my desk. I make a note, as I do each summer, to purchase a sunshade for the dash. Summer evenings, the man and I refuse to turn on the stove. Suppers are simple, cobbled together. A sun-warmed tomato plucked from the vine, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, cantaloupe, and dry cured ham. Cold red wine. Yes, with ice. Even sunset, with its golden light, finds us grumbling that it’s too hot to sit outside, and too early to enjoy our evening stroll, but once the sun sets, the world opens, and comes alive. Not long after the sun slips beneath the horizon, the hard edge of heat ceases to glint, and it’s then that the world outside becomes nothing short of a wonderland. Still, too many of us retreat to the cave and the cool flicker of the television that we miss the softest hours. I grew up in the un-air-conditioned South, and though I am grateful to turn on my air conditioner in the summer, I keep the house far too warm for most of my family. I suppose I have never fully adjusted to the bone-chilling cold pumped into every office building and grocery store, no matter how empty of human life. The endless whirr and scratch of air conditioners can blot out the gentler music of a summer’s day: cicadas, the thrum of hummingbird wings, a murmured confidence. I risk sounding my age, but I believe for all we gained with air conditioning, which my husband likes to say, “is the thing that makes the South livable,” we also surrendered something precious with our climate control: the routine pleasures of a summer’s night. Here at the coast, a summer’s nighttime excursion holds many fine pleasures. A walk through our suburban Carolina Beach neighborhood often begins at the weedy empty lot near our home. There, each evening after sunset, the evening primrose unfurl. They thrive in poor soil, and if The Art & Soul of Wilmington

you look early in the day, you may see these yellow blooms in the scrub. They look like large delicate buttercups. By noon, they’ll be spent. Return at sunset for the show. You’ll notice the twisted bud shift, as if tentative, then, in a sudden rush, the flower springs open, a yellow blaze. Later, dusty moths will arrive to pollinate. The bats, too, are active in the air above us, hurling and chittering through the sky. My elderly neighbor keeps an angel’s trumpet tree on his porch, away from passersby who might be tempted to pick the large pendulous flowers. It’s a member of the nightshade family, and this particular plant is highly toxic. At night, the blooms emit a heavy apricot scent, and are pollinated by the local moths and bats. The later we head out, the more we see. After a long walk one evening, my husband and I turn the corner to see a mob of six deer in front of our house. We stood still as the deer wandered through the neighbors’ yards, then, they lunged, synchronized, toward the woods, their hooves clattering on the street. Barred owl will call through the pines, easily identified by their call: Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you? We once saw an owl swoop down and pluck a screeching mouse from beneath a streetlamp. If you walk the same route long enough, you’ll see others who do the same, like the red fox that runs the same circuit through the neighborhood around midnight. Occasionally, I’ll get a call from my friend Nancy, who runs the turtle project on the island. One night she calls me at twilight: a mother loggerhead has made her crawl up the beach. We arrive just as she’s settled in her nest to deposit her eggs. A small quiet group has gathered round, at a respectable and safe distance. A policeman from the town is there, along with the “nest parents,” trained volunteers who patrol and monitor the turtle nesting activity along the coast. They remind everyone that flash photography disorients the turtles and is not allowed. I set my camera for twilight. She’s a big mama; her carapace is nearly three feet across and four feet long. And she looks ancient. Large barnacles are affixed to the shell, and smaller ones cover her leathered neck and flippers like a thick powder. When she’s done depositing her eggs, she is all business. She quickly covers her eggs and heads back down the beach. Nancy and two volunteers quickly approach the turtle since it’s wearing a tag to note the number. This particular turtle was tagged in Florida, at the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research. She’s come a long way. Then, she launches into the surf and swims beneath the waves. Perhaps our favorite place to wander after nightfall is Masonboro Island. There are few local pleasures as lovely as an evening boat trip to the island. September 2013 •



e x c u r s i o n s We like to go by kayak, and attach small bright ACR lights to the bow and stern of our boats. In addition, we wear headlamps, which, when the water’s calm, can illuminate the life below. If it’s shallow enough, you’ll see fish, diamondback terrapin, horseshoe crab, and moon snail. One favorite trip of ours is to visit the island on the full moon. We’ll launch from Trail’s End Park on the flood tide, just a bit before sunset, then cross the Intracoastal Waterway and paddle through the marsh. The birds are often out at this time, and red-winged blackbird, blue heron and great egret are a common sight. Occasionally, we’ll spy tricolor and green heron. We’ll take a picnic and, if we’ve paid attention to the times of the sunset and the moonrise, we can watch the sun sink in a pink haze over Wilmington and then turn to watch the moon rises from the ocean and slowly ascend through the clouds. Often, there’s not another person in sight. However, sometimes visitors see the turtles that nest or hatch on the island. Most of the nesting turtles are loggerheads, but hawksbill, Kemp’s Ridley, and leatherback have also been known to visit. The island is also rife with red fox and raccoon, and they prey on the nesting shorebirds. There’s also the chance, if conditions are right, of seeing phosphorescent plankton in the water behind the island. The passage of a boat or a paddle in the water will cause the water to emit a cool blue-green shimmer. The return trip is lovely. The air has cooled, but the water is black and glassy, and waves of warmth radiate upward. The moon shines a path on the water, through the spartina. I find my hearing sharpens. Mullet, unseen, startle me, as they leap from the water. Blue heron bark their strange grok from the marsh. Then, in the distance, the lights of Wilmington shine again. I see the dock, and we wait for several boats to make their way up the Intracoastal Waterway before we make our crossing back to shore. Soon, the nip of fall will arrive. The days will be clearer and more habitable,

and the whine of the air-conditioners will cease. I’ll welcome them, but I’ll miss the velvet water and sky and the quiet splendors of our summer nights. b Virginia Holman teaches creative writing at UNC Wilmington, and kayaks the ocean, rivers and flatwater year-round.

Want to visit Masonboro at night? Kayak Outfitters: Watersmith Kayaking: Kayak Carolina: Mahanaim Adventures: By Boat Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours: Masonboro Water Taxi: Interested in volunteering to help the turtles? North Carolina Coastal Reserve: Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Project

Your community bookstore. Carefully selected popular and uncommon titles for readers of all ages. Cards, gifts, and more.

4418 Park Ave. Wilmington, NC 28403 (910) 452-1107

Resources for a fruitful life. 36

Salt • September 2013

The Art & Soul of Wilmington


The sea oats are tattered from one storm too many, the beach towels faded and frayed. I shake loose the last dollop of sun block from its tube, look toward a nearby bench where a man rests, his head bowed in reflection or prayer. Each insistent minute ticks against my sun-flushed skin. This is the last day of full summer heat. In a few hours, the sun will embrace its final incarnation, burn tangerine against the horizon. And we’ll move as if choreographed, return to our houses to unpack sweaters from dresser drawers or somnolent corners of closets; fill our homes with the scent of anything baking, cinnamon and ginger like a drug. Later still, before the cold front blusters down the seaboard, breathing its crystals into the crux of night, we’ll unfold blankets as if their capable weight could afix us to that moment. Within weeks, it will seem as if summer was a hardy meal we watched someone else eat. But for now, an occasional gust of wind twirls a miniature dervish of sand, and what pulses above is still the blue of kindness. — Lavonne Adams

Photograph by Ned Leary The Art & Soul of Wilmington

September 2013 •





Salt • September 2013

The Art & Soul of Wilmington


By Jason Frye


wing to Wilmington’s stature as a major American film-making capital, famous faces are a fairly common sight around the Port City. As indeed they are — and have been for more than three decades — through the intimate camera lens of James “Jim” Bridges, one of Wilmington’s most celebrated still photographers. Bridges started as a sound transfer engineer and then became a dailies projectionist for Dino de Laurentiis Studios in the mid-1980s and snapped his first one set photograph of iconic character actor Dennis Hopper during the filming of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet in 1985. To say the least, the photograph was a life changer for Jim Bridges, Bridges, opening a new avenue for extraorself portrait, 2013 dinary talents. When Salt magazine contacted Bridges to ask if we might politely probe behind his camera a bit to learn about his life and work, and to publish a series of his most notable celebrity photographs currently available in limited signed print editions designed to raise funds for the acclaimed Full Belly Project, he quickly agreed but carefully noted: “I would really only do this because of my friend Jock Brandis.” Brandis, of course, is the force behind the Full Belly Project, the pioneering nonprofit organization that designs and distributes vital income-generating agricultural devices to the poorest developing nations. “It’s the very least I can do,” Bridges added. We couldn’t agree more. The extraordinary images speak intimately for themselves. And so does the man behind them.

The First Time I Shot a Man

Dennis Hopper on the Dennis Hopper on the set of , set of Blue Velvet, Wilmington, 1985 Wilmington, 1985

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

“I shot him up close, from about seven feet away,” says Bridges of Dennis Hopper. “He didn’t even know it.” When Bridges started working for Dino de Laurentiis, he carried a still camera with him every day; as a photographer by training (he holds a master’s from Appalachian State University in audio video specialties) and inclination, how could he do anything but? “I knew I wanted to shoot some of the actors and actresses I worked with, but I was nervous about it for a while,” he admits. “One day, David Lynch and Kyle MacLachlan were in the office where I was transferring sound and they were admiring some of my photos I had hanging around, so I asked David if I could come out to the set and shoot. He said yes, so, a couple of days later, I went.” Bridges was a longtime fan of Dennis Hopper and knew immediately that Hopper would be the perfect first subject. “I just had to find the right time to get in there. I watched them shoot a bit, reset, shoot some more, then they had kind of a long break, so I made my move.”

September 2013 •



Gene Hackman, Figure Eight Island, 1989

Are You Ready?

I Love the Shape of Things

Hopper stands against a farm truck, cigarette in his mouth, puff of smoke frozen in front of his face. He’s putting his cigarettes away. It’s a bright day, so he’s squinting, throwing a shadow against the rounded fender of the truck. He’s wearing a leather blazer, a checked shirt, black pants; his hair’s slicked back. He is Frank Booth. “I walked up to Dennis, gave my introduction, and he said he’d be happy to go take a few shots. We crossed the street by this truck. I knew my camera was in perfect focus about seven feet away, so I hung back. He reached into his pocket for a pack of smokes. He lit one, I snapped the shot and walked away.” That was it, 1/300th of a second and it was all over. “I hear, ‘Hey, are you ready?’ behind me. I don’t even think I turned around, I just said, ‘Yeah, all done,’ and we walked back across the street to the set.” Just one shot. One perfect frame that captured the nonchalance of Dennis Hopper juxtaposed with the hardness, the madness of his character, Frank Booth. Call it fate. Or deus ex machina. Or learning to be bold. Call it what you will, the 1/300th of a second in time that Jim Bridges captured on the set of Blue Velvet is the ultimate study in the balance point between spontaneity and stillness.

Bridges’ Wilmington home is a busy place. The rooms are crowded with mid-century furniture, the walls festooned with his photos and artwork that inspires him. When you sit down to talk, you’re physically close together, intimate. He has a way of pulling you in and drawing out your true personality that makes you quickly feel like confidants. It’s this human skill that’s helped him photograph a number of famous actors, actresses and directors, pulling a note or even a chord of their personality from behind the defenses they’ve clad themselves in out of necessity. One of Bridges’ favorite pieces is an end table that looks like it’s made from a single piece of birch. The cabinet frame has mitered corners, and it looks like the grain runs around the outside of the box in one continuous ribbon; the drawer face looks like it comes from the same piece of stock. It stands on four legs splayed out beneath it. From the color to the hard angles of the mitered corners to the soft curves of the rounded frame, it’s a study in hard and soft, of balance and shape. “I love the shape of things like this, the interplay of the lines, the simplicity and balance in its composition,” Bridges says. His admiration for this table translates powerfully to his photography. The angles are perfect. The lines crisp and well-defined. The shapes and colors and interplay of light and darkness in balance. In many ways his photography echoes what he loves in his precious mid-century furniture: there’s a precision in it, but the sense of spontaneity isn’t lost, it’s magnified.


Salt • September 2013

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

Samuel L. Jackson, Charlottesville, Virginia, 1996

He Stood Like a Ballet Dancer

Anne Heche, Winnabow, North Carolina, 1996 The Art & Soul of Wilmington

Christopher Lloyd stands on one foot, opposite leg out behind him, one arm out to the side, the other in front of him, index finger pointed up, an egg balanced on its tip. Around his feet lie a dozen broken eggs, their yolks a bright bloom on the wood. He’s wearing rosecolored glasses and a half-grin that belies concentration and joy. “Look at the way he’s standing,” Bridges says. In the photograph, Lloyd’s bent forward ever so much, one foot planted firmly on the boardwalk, the other stretched behind him, toes pointed. “A friend who’s a ballerina said his pose is classic, and she wanted to know if he’d had any dance training. I’m not sure if he had any or not. Either way, it’s a beautiful pose.” The shot of Lloyd is one of Bridges’ favorites, partly because of the composition, partly because of the magic of the balanced egg, largely because the photo represents a passion and personal project he’s had going for decades: to shoot every cast member of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Bridges’ real first job in the movie industry was as a ticket taker and projectionist at a movie theater in Jacksonville. “I got to see all of the great movies from ’74 to ’78, and there were a lot of great movies made then. I’ve seen One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest 120 times, maybe more. So, yeah, it was exciting and fun to get to work with [Christopher Lloyd], he was game for anything, and I think it shows in the portrait.”

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Diane Ladd at the Bellamy Mansion, Wilmington, 1990

Until You Ask One shot of Hopper was all it took to give Bridges the confidence to walk up to the on-screen talent and say, “I’m Jim, the dailies guy, mind if I take a picture?” They were happy to oblige. “You just don’t know what you’ll get until you ask,” Bridges says. In the late 1980s, Bridges’ photographic prowess landed him his first job as a unit photographer. Unit photographers are a part of the production, shooting stills of the action as well as the work behind the scenes. While he excelled at this, his work as a specials photographer — any off-set shots of talent taken during the shoot but out of character — preceded him. Since then, he’s worked on close to ninety films and shot hundreds of Oscar-winning actors, actresses and directors. Every one of those specials shoots has started the same way, with the question he’s been asking in some form or another for decades.


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Jason Robards, Shell Island, 1988

Shirley MacLaine at the Governor’s Mansion, Raleigh, North Carolina, 1999

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

It Was Raining When I Arrived Gene Hackman sits with his legs crossed, hands folded in his lap. His head is turned and he’s looking right at the camera. His pants are the same color as the sand, the storm clouds overhead, a tranquil sea behind him. He sits in a wrought iron and wood chair that looks more appropriate in Thalian Hall than on the beach. He looks neither stern nor lax, but somewhere in between, contemplative maybe. “I have a lot of respect for him. He’s one of two people I can’t call by their first name. He’s Mr. Hackman. He’d earned that respect from his work on-screen before I’d even met him, but once I worked with him and saw what a professional he is, the name stuck.” It was raining when Bridges arrived at Mr. Hackman’s beach house. They’d been trying to coordinate their schedules for a few weeks and it just wouldn’t come together. The one day that worked, it was raining. Bridges rang the doorbell on Mr. Hackman’s rental and after a moment, he appeared on a balcony above. It was pouring. “Yeah?” Mr. Hackman said over the wind. “It’s me, Jim, we were going to shoot a little today, but . . .” Bridges gestured to the rain. “So it’s raining. I don’t give a shit. Do you give a shit?” Mr. Hackman said back. “No, Sir,” Bridges replied. The pair headed to the beach, Mr. Hackman rolling up his pants, Bridges lugging a heavy chair, trying to keep his camera and equipment dry. They set up on the beach and shot for nearly an hour. When they were about to head back to the house, the weather broke, the storm abated. Mr. Hackman took a seat in the magnificent chair that may or may not have come from Thalian Hall (he won’t say either way), and delivered the quintessential Mr. Hackman.

John Waters at home, Baltimore, Maryland, 2009

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

September 2013 •



Nicolas Cage, Southport, 1993

The Bird, Cage Nicolas Cage stands on a boardwalk, looking wooden, aloof, bothered. He’s got one hand in his pocket, his hair’s flying away like he just woke up, the other hand rests on his hip. He couldn’t give a shit. The darkened marsh stretches away behind him. If you look close, you’ll find the hand on his hip subtly flipping the bird. He was in Wilmington shooting Amos & Andrew in the early 1990s when he let his petulance show, and it wasn’t until much later that Bridges noticed the flagrant finger. “We worked together about ten years later on National Treasure in New York City,” he says. “I showed him a print of the photo and asked him, ‘Hey, why’d you give me the finger?’” “He looked at the photo, then at me, and said, ‘I hate still photographers.’ So I fired back, ‘Well I hate actors.’ Cage laughed and we went about our business. He posed, I shot. We all went home happy.” But in those shots too, Cage has a subtle finger extended.

The Best Kind of Person “The government should pay one hundred people to just follow folks like Jock Brandis around and listen to the ideas he throws away. They’re better than half the ideas other people decide to keep,” Bridges says. “I’m serious, the guy’s a genius like none other I’ve met.” Bridges met Brandis in 1985, long before Brandis founded the Full Belly Project and became a renowned inventor/philanthropist. Brandis was a gaffer then, and they met on set and soon began to run into one another as their social circles intersected. They struck up a friendship that’s lasted nearly three decades. During those three decades, Brandis has invented dozens of devices to help developing, drought-stricken, and underserved communities at home and abroad. Best known for his universal nut-shelling machine that’s used in communities across Africa to increase their ability to process peanuts quickly and efficiently, he’s also invented a number of other devices to increase crop yield, reduce labor, and deliver much needed water to crops. None of it’s been done 44

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Paul Newman on the set of , 1993 with the thought of personal or financial profit, but only the profit of the heart. “You know what I dig about Jock? That he digs helping people. He’s gotten a lot of press because of the Full Belly Project and those crazy-simple inventions of his, but he’s not into it for the publicity or notoriety; he’s into it to help people. How crazy is that?” Brandis is a philanthropist in the truest sense, a man Bridges describes as “a loving, caring, gentle person” who “puts his resources and mind to use helping people.” “He surrounds himself with great people, so if you’re near him, you know you must be doing something right. That’s why I’m happy to give him and Full Belly any help I can.”

Support Full Belly: Set of four photos (donors’ choice), each signed by Bridges, are available for a $250 donation. All proceeds benefit the Full Belly Project. Contact Daniel Ling at (910) 452-0975 or for more information. And act fast, says Bridges. Only a limited number of Dennis Hopper prints will be available. b Jason Frye is a travel writer and author of two forthcoming travel guides. He’s a barbecue judge, outdoor enthusiast, poet, and lover of all things North Carolina. The Art & Soul of Wilmington

Full Belly Project founder, Jock Brandis, with the peanut sheller prototype, Wilmington, 2013. Photograph by Rachel Elizabeth Brandis

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

September 2013 •



Joe DeMarcino, David Domenic, Mike DeMonte


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The Art & Soul of Wilmington

The Spider and the Meatball


A Saturday morning fable from Empie Park By David Domenic • Photographs by Mark Steelman

t’s another warm Saturday morning at Empie Park and the bocce aficionados are gathered for their weekly games. Two gentlemen are finishing up their match on center court while the others are taking a break before choosing up sides for their next game. Some are tossing practice balls on other courts while some are milling about, talking and laughing together. All are covertly watching the two men play. One competitor felt a drop of sweat form at the band of his straw hat and roll down his forehead. It wasn’t from the heat, but from his tension of making this last shot perfect. Money was not a factor; Saturday morning games are never played for cash. Bocce at Empie Park is played purely for the love of the game, a game played in the comfort of good friends. But, of course, pride and honor are at stake. And no amount of cash can buy the joy of winning. Our man cleared his mind of those thoughts as he stepped up to the foot-foul line. He shifted his bocce ball from hand to hand in order to let his seven-plus-decade-old body feel the weight of the ball and give his brain time to calculate the best way to toss it. The game was dead-even at eleven points each. One point would win it. His opponent was shooting red and had thrown all four of his bocce balls. He had thrown three of his green balls and was now holding the meatball. A meatball, of course, is the name given to the last ball thrown in each frame. The spread around the pallino was incredible. Four red balls and three green ones lay within a foot of it. Only the closest one would count and win the game. Right now a red bocce ball was one quarter-inch from the target pallino and would give the game to red if he couldn’t get the green meatball closer. He took a deep breath and tried to focus on the shot. It wasn’t easy. Mike was just getting to the punchline of a joke and he knew laughter would erupt from Steve, Italo and Carl momentarily. Marco and Dave were talking to a young couple about bocce and letting their 6-year-old daughter feel the weight and texture of a “real” bocce ball. The little girl smiled and giggled. Joe was quietly coaching Bob and John on the intricacies of a bank-shot. Maria, Jiacomo, Kenn, Carmine and Camilla were chatting amongst themselves; and Louise, Jennifer and Roseann were quietly enjoying the beautiful morning. All had one eye on the action at center court. Our man knew that he could not aim directly at the pallino; too many bocce balls were blocking it from the front. His only hope would be an angle shot from the side wall. The sounds of his friends, birds, children and other park noise seemed

Louise Sacco John Lienweaver

Michael Serebrennikov, Jaicamo Apice, Italo Sacco


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The Art & Soul of Wilmington

to fade out as he concentrated on the correct angle and speed of his throw. After another deep breath, he tossed the meatball. The instant the green bocce ball left his hand, he knew it would miss his target. The ball ricocheted two inches short of where he wanted it to hit on the side wall and began a slow roll toward the pallino. Although the distance would be good, the angle was off. Suddenly, the bocce ball veered ever so slightly from its path, as if correcting itself, and headed directly for the target. It struck the red ball with enough force to knock it two inches away. The green ball came to rest alongside the pallino. He won the game with his meatball! Sounds of pure amazement from the spectators along with good-natured curses from his opponent filled the air. The beaten man shouted: “Intervento

divino, maledetto!� But the victor just smiled and nodded as he walked to the spot where his meatball had taken that sudden turn to give him the win. Seen only by him was the body of a stunned garden spider. The victorious player stood with his foot alongside the creature as she stretched out her eight flailing legs and struggled to pull herself up onto his shoe. Gingerly he took a few steps off the court and stood still as the spider crawled off his foot and disappeared into the grass and pine needles. Then, he turned to his friends, doffed his hat and bowed deeply to their applause. b David Domenic retired with his family to Wilmington ten years ago. His passion is Bocce. He has a mortal fear of spiders.

Dave McKinnis, Marco Zaza, Judi McKinnis, Marie Zaza

Regular Bocce players at Empie Park The Art & Soul of Wilmington

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The Art & Soul of Wilmington

Scallion Fiction by Fred Chappell • Illustration by Harry Blair


have been reading a magazine,” Mary Ellen said. “Huh-oh,” her father said. “That’s interesting,” said her mother. “What was it about?” “Food. The article said we are not eating a proper diet. Too many hamburgers. Not enough lettuce and broccoli and all kinds of greens.” “Your father likes hamburgers.” “My name is Eric Ackerman, not Benjamin Bunny,” he said. “I need to keep up my strength to carry books. You’d be surprised how heavy a box of books can be and we sell a lot of them at Barnes & Noble.” “The article said that spinach makes us strong,” Mary Ellen said. “You must have been reading Popeye Magazine,” her father said. He flexed his biceps to illustrate, but he was wearing a dingy T-shirt and the overhead light of the dinky, small kitchen did not flatter his physique. “It was called Smart Health. Don’t you want to be healthy?” “Yes — as long as I can do smart health on hamburgers.” “We could have spinach burgers. I’ll look for a recipe.” “Oh Lord. Is this another of your missions? A dietary missionary project? Are we going to suffer long debates and wind up eating horrible-tasting food?” “I wouldn’t know how to cook spinach burgers,” her mother said. “Do you fry them like the regular ones or broil or sauté?” “I don’t know yet,” Mary Ellen said. “I will have to read some more.” “How is your schoolwork? Will you make all A’s again?” she asked. “I don’t like Language Skills. Language Skills is dumb. ‘As white as snow.’ By the end of the day, snow is dirty and sloppy. It should be, ‘As white as the white of a boiled egg.’” “It should be Language Skills are dumb,” Mr. Ackerman said. “That would be the correct grammar.” “Grammar are dumb too,” Mary Ellen said. “And I expect kale would be better. A nice, thick, juicy kale burger. It makes my mouth water just to think about it.” “It makes my eyes water,” he said. “If I have to eat kale burgers, I will weep like . . . like a . . . what would they say in your Language Skills class that I would weep like?” “They don’t say weep. You would cry. Like a baby. That’s what Language Skills makes you say. Anyhow, you would like burgers made of good kale and not the supermarket kind. We could grow our own.” “What Language Skills make you say. Grammar is important.” “Not to me. I made all A’s, you know.” “Yes, I know,” her father said. “Your mother and I are very proud.” But his tone sounded dismal, like that of a meek youngster sentenced to Sunday school for a decade without parole.


ary Ellen had a propensity to attach to personal ambitions without being able to formulate clear reasons, even to herself. She was sketching an unclear scheme to become a vegetarian, although she was not passionate to eat veggies, especially carrots, which in her eyes were of a color a little vulgar, too much like school buses. And carrot-orange did not fit well with her red hair. When she pictured herself with a carrot protruding from her mouth, she looked like one of those dreadful plastic jack-o’-lanterns that got remaindered after Halloween. The Art & Soul of Wilmington

Eggplant was enrobed in a lovely, dark, smooth purple, but when you peeled it, the flesh was the same color as apples, onions, and light bread. Disappointing. Other vegetables had important drawbacks too. She probably had thought of becoming a vegetarian because she liked the sound of the word. Anybody could be a writer or a shortstop or a preacher, but it required five nimble syllables to enunciate the title, Vegetarian. You gained importance when you yoked yourself to the term. If she had ever heard the word utilitarian, she might have kissed vegetables goodbye. “I used to be a vegetarian,” she would tell her utilitarian buddies, “but I grew out of that.” For a 14-year-old, Mary Ellen was worldly-wise. When she got a little older, she would have a horse. That particular happiness was written in the stars, she told her schoolmates. Now that she was a vegetarian, she would name the horse Scallion and not Lost Vegas. He would be a vegetarian too. But where was she going to situate her kale garden? The grounds of the housing project called Diaper Hill by nonresidents were covered with scraggy grass that revealed patches of red clay like scabs on knees and elbows. Even if she tried to dig in that earth as hard as terra cotta, it would never yield produce. And if it did, people would steal it or yank it up for sport. Her friend Merla claimed an uncle who owned a farm. He might let her have a little spot to plant, but she would have no way to travel to it. Too bad. Merla’s Uncle Haskin could teach her how to farm her plot of kale. Mary Ellen wasn’t certain how to begin the task. She would need implements. A hoe and a watering can and bib overalls and a straw hat to shade her eyes and a red bandanna to pull from her back pocket and wipe her forehead. And fertilizer. Plants must be fed, she knew. When she acquired her stallion Scallion she would have lots of fertilizer, but that would be years from now. She had been saving up five-dollar bills in a big envelope marked Lost Vegas, but she had amassed only thirty dollars. “A thousand years,” she said. “It will take ten thousand years.” Yet even when she was discouraged, she never gave up. Every problem has a solution. The trouble now was that there was a bunch of problems tangled together in a tight knot. Money was the most difficult of the lot, so she started working on that aspect and developed a plan.


er mother owned three cookbooks that she kept stacked on the Formica counter beside the sink drain board. They were a shabby trio with spavined spines, pages soiled with sauces and wrinkled with water stains, pages missing. One was a Rombauer Joy of Cooking purchased at a yard sale. Certain pages of desserts had been ripped out. A collection of health-food recipes called Mother Earth Loves You sported covers painted over with Day-Glo pink and green. “A hippy heap of horse manure,” her father described it, not saying manure. The third volume was titled Fine Wine Cuisine. It looked like it had never been opened. Mary Ellen paged through the first two books inattentively, having decided beforehand to concentrate on the recipes that were to accompany beatific bordeaux and marvelous margaux. She was determined that her cooking had to be different from her mother’s. Her mother could never conceive of inventing the kale burger, of keeping secret the ingredients that would make it so wonderfully September 2013 •



savory, and then selling the recipe to restaurant owners for barrels of money. Mary Ellen only needed one sale to start with and soon afterward word would get around. “Kale burger sweeps the nation”— the newspaper headline read, as it emerged in her mind. She envisioned the accompanying sidebar in which a famous movie star revealed her favorite version of the kale burger. As she read the cookbooks, she made a list of the elements she must procure. Kale, of course, was paramount. And bread. She decided it ought to be some sort of cornbread hamburger bun — for the rustic touch. A number of families in the project ate black-eyed peas and collards. She could boil up some peas or get them in a can and mash them up and mix them with her kale and make a patty. Kale was green, as were collards, so she figured they would taste pretty much the same. On hamburgers we smear mustard and squirt ketchup, but these did not seem to go with kale. The colors were wrong and she couldn’t taste the combinations in her mind. There were no recipes for kale in Fine Wine Cuisine, but she found a spinach salad that called for vinaigrette classique. She did not know what a vinaigrette was. For that matter, she did not know what cuisine meant. But she was content to go forward on the strength of faith alone. The ingredients for the vinaigrette dressing were two different vinegars, “fine sea salt to taste,” and a cup of expensive olive oil. “Extra virgin” must mean costly. She would make do with cider vinegar, Mazola corn oil, and Morton’s iodized salt. I have to start somewhere, she thought. Nobody will be able to tell the difference. All the main dishes in the book were cooked with wines: medoc, beaujolais, cabernet franc, and other unpronounceables. There was no wine in the apartment. Her father often kept a few cans of what he called PBR in the cramped refrigerator. Wine and beer must be about the same, Mary Ellen deduced, because people drank both to get drunk. She would use PBR, if she could figure out how to snitch one. Now she was ready to prepare to begin to get ready.


ary Ellen was deeply sorrowed to remove a five-dollar bill from the envelope marked Lost Vegas. Five dollars represented the savings of a whole week. But if she didn’t obtain ingredients, she could not experiment with them and her famous secret recipe would never come into existence. In the little grocery store across the broad street from Drummond Heights — as a sign bewildered with graffiti named her neighborhood — she found no kale. She knew the storekeeper, a thin, gloomy, unhurried man everyone but Mary Ellen called Jacklight. She called him Mr. Ponder because he took so long to think when you asked him a question. The store was small, dimly lit, and the shelves were sparsely stocked. When you asked for condensed milk or orange juice, he ambled to the correct space and handed it to you only after you had paid for it. Even then he seemed reluctant to let it go. “Kale?” he said. His voice was light and whispery. “The Joyful Sunrise Grocery Emporium cannot afford to stock fresh greens. They do not last long on the shelf and nobody likes fresh greens. They like meat. They like hamburger meat.” “I am a vegetarian,” Mary Ellen said. Mr. Ponder blinked and began to examine Mary Ellen as if he thought her flying saucer had carelessly departed without her. “No kale,” he said. “No greens fresh.” “What else have you got that I might be able to use?” A ponderous silence ensued. “Well, maybe,” he said at last. “Come over here.” She followed him into the third of the four aisles and he knelt and retrieved a can from a bottom shelf. As he stood, he brushed dust from the top of the can with the elbow of his sweatshirt. “Spinach,” he said. “Is it like kale?” “Not much.” The front door opened and a man with pointed tufts of hair on his head called out. “Hey, Jacklight, did my special order come in?” Mr. Ponder regarded him with mild interest. “No.” 52

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“I’ll try again later.” The tufty man left. “What is his special order?” Mary Ellen asked. “He thinks I sell dope,” Mr. Ponder said. “Everybody thinks so.” “Well . . .” It took a while before he said, “Grass.” “You sell marijuana?” “If you took this can of spinach and drained it real good and found you a patch of fresh green grass in somebody’s yard and cut you some and chopped it up real fine and mixed it with the spinach, it might taste something like kale. A little bit.” “Are you sure it would work?” His eyes upon her upturned face were pensive. “I am sure of nothing. This world is no place to be sure about anything.” His sad tone saddened Mary Ellen. “Can you keep a secret?” she asked. “Most of the time. Have you committed a criminal act?” “I am trying to invent a kale burger,” she said. “I want to keep the recipe a secret so I can sell it to make money to buy Scallion.” “Scallions don’t cost a whole lot. I can get you some for free.” “Scallion is the name of the horse. When I get him.” An age passed. “If you’re going to try to shape a hamburger patty, you’ll need something besides greens or it won’t hold together.” “I thought about black-eyed peas. All mushed up. Salt and pepper. On a cornbread bun.” “You better stick to regular buns. I can tell you never made cornbread.” “How?” “The way you talk, words you say. But I have lots of cans of black-eyed peas. That is a mover. Most of the brands have hog fat in them. You don’t want that.” “What words?” “Vegetarian. People that make cornbread don’t say vegetarian. But you could use corn meal to kind of help paste it together.” “How much do black-eyed peas cost?” “If you’ll take that can of spinach off my hands, I’ll give you a deal on a can of peas.” “How long has the spinach been here?” “Since before you were born.” “Are you sure it’s still good?” She regretted her question immediately. The universe took another leisurely turn before he said, “I am sure of nothing.” “Thank you very much.” She paid, ruefully, and left.


ext morning, after her father had gone to his work at Barnes & Noble, the labor he described as “toting Pattersons,” Mary Ellen shooed her mother out of the kitchen, announcing that she was on the verge of a cookery breakthrough. She couldn’t allow anyone looking over her shoulder, she explained, because that would make her nervous and might cause a misstep. “All right,” her mother said. “Genius at work. I won’t get in your way.” So Mary Ellen went to the closet of her tiny bedroom, took up the cardboard box of ingredients, and lugged it to the kitchen. Before she opened it, she crossed to the vertical row of shelves that served as a pantry and took down an apron hanging there from a hook. It was the “Kiss the ook” garment that she hated with a passion so deadly that, given rein and means, it might wipe out the population of a medium-sized middle European nation. She tied it on with a pitiful sigh and laid out her elements on the counter. A plastic bag of ordinary hamburger buns $1.37. An ancient can of boiled spinach $1.50. A newish can of black-eyed peas $0.50. Six ounces of cornmeal in a business-letter envelope $0.10. A double handful of fairly green grass $0.00. Total outlay: $3.47. It sorrowed her so much to break the five-dollar bill that was supposed to help purchase Scallion that she placed the remaining $1.53 into her underwear drawer instead of the equestrienne envelope. The Art & Soul of Wilmington

These expenses were curious. Mr. Ponder had first charged her $1.50 for the peas. When she objected, he lowered the price to fifty cents and raised the price of the spinach by a dollar. When she declared that this sort of pricing made no sense, he agreed and with a sad, unhurried smile, refused to change his prices. So she stopped dickering. Mr. Ponder was not dickerable. The grass entailed no expense except for the dulling of the pinking shears from her mother’s sewing kit. She had cleaned the scissors and restored them in place and now she washed the grass blades thoroughly in cold water. She had found a patch of grass behind a maintenance shed on the grounds of the project and she was certain that dogs and drunken boys had peed on it. After she washed the grass she washed it again and pressed it mostly dry. When she opened the can of spinach she did not like the smell, so she drained the clump and washed it too. She chopped the grass as finely as she could with the dull butcher knife and mixed in the spinach. She poured the envelope of cornmeal in and looked for beer. Her dad must have used up the PBR, but the label of a bottle tweaked her attention. Red Wine Vinegar. This must be a kind of wine, she thought, pouring a strong half cup into the yellow mixing bowl with the greenery and cornmeal. Now what? Salt and pepper and something called meat tenderizer and corn oil, all stirred together to compose a greenish-blacking murky mush that closely resembled the flop from a distressed bovine. She dared herself to taste it and failed. “It will look better when it is cooked,” she said. In a pan on a front eye of the small electric stove she melted butter, not measuring. Then she scooped up a handful of the mush and tried to make a patty, but it was too wet. She held the lump over the sink and squeezed. Then it was too thin so she put a cup of flour on a plate and smoothed out the lump and floured it liberally. Finally she had something shaped like a patty. Wiping her hands on the pink apron, she stepped back from the plate to judge her handiwork and found it passable. She plopped it into the bubbling butter. It didn’t sizzle the way she had imagined that a regulation kale burger would; it made a sort of guttural moan and oozed juices. In three minutes it stopped oozing and she flipped it over. The upper side was black. As black as ink? “There is red ink and purple ink and green and blue,” she said aloud. “It should be, ‘As black as the space behind your eyeballs.’” Black enough to look unappetizing. But she soldiered on and let the patty tremble in the butter which had now turned a surprising purple-green color, something like the shade of a shoe polish rejected by the manufacturer. She opened the package of buns and smeared one with mustard. “Why don’t we have any ketchup?” she complained. When she lifted the patty from the pan it dripped liquid, so she laid it on the financial section of the newspaper which lay on the dinette table where her father had left it. In a few moments the paper was sopping, but the patty had dried enough to transfer to the bun. Before she did so, she cut off a little sliver at the edge and chewed and at last managed to swallow. She did not like the taste one little bit. “How can vegetarians eat this stuff?” she said. Then she turned it over again and laid it on the bread. “We have to make a start somewhere. This is the experimental model.” She would try it out on her father at supper.


e sat waiting at the table when she entered the kitchen. “My oh my,” he said. “You’re all dressed up. What’s the occasion?” Mary Ellen had exchanged her tan cotton shorts and soiled white shirt and flip-flops for clean blue jeans, a pleated blouse, and red-and-white sneakers. She had wanted to wear a flowery apron, but there was none and nothing in this whole starry galaxy would induce her to don the pink “ook” apron again. “I am introducing a new kooey-sign,” she said. “So I dressed up for it.” “Kooey-sign?” “I think Mary Ellen means cuisine,” her mother said. She too had freshened her outfit. “I saw the book open on the counter, Fine Wine Cuisine.” “This is something to look forward to,” her father said. “What is it?” The Art & Soul of Wilmington

She brought the large red soup pot from the counter to the table, removed the lid, and took out a small plate holding her creation, and set it before him. “Ta-da!” her mother caroled. He leaned toward it, then leaned back from it. “What do we have here?” “It’s a new kind of burger,” Mary Ellen said. “What’s in it?” “I don’t want to say. I want to keep it a secret till I sell it to restaurants and burger palaces. If you like it, they will pay me money to know the recipe.” “Is it some kind of dreadful-tasting health burger?” “I don’t think so.” He took away the top of the bun and peered at the patty. “It’s got writing on it,” he said. Mary Ellen edged to the table and examined it. The patty was a purple-gray color that set off the bold, black news headline on top. “I thought it would be cute to have writing on it,” she said, thinking quickly. “What is cute about ‘U. S. Stock Yields Drop 2%’?” “You like to read the news when you eat. This way you can —” “Never mind,” he said. He clapped the bun-top over it. He sat up straight in his chair, closed his eyes, and took a long, deep breath. Then he opened his eyes and declared with the calm determination of Joan of Arc before her judges, “I am going to try it now.” “Would you like it warmed up?” his wife asked. “It has been sitting around


e silenced her with a curt shake of his head, snatched up the sandwich, and bit into it. As he chewed his eyes widened and then grew wider. He chewed faster and swallowed and took another, larger bite. Then he laid the uneaten half on the little white plate and said, “This is great stuff. This is one of the best hamburgers I ever ate. Ever.” Mary Ellen was able to stop herself just in time from shouting out in irritation: “It is a kale burger! For vegetarians! Not a hamburger!” So she said nothing and only watched as he devoured the remainder. “Are there any more?” he said. His tone was almost plaintive. “No,” she said. “It was an experimental model. But I can make more, if there is popular demand.” “Well, I’ll demand. Do I count?” “Oh yes. Would you like to invest in the recipe? If it catches on, we will make a lot of money and buy Scallion.” “What is Scallion?” “A horse not named Lost Vegas.” “Invest money, you mean?” “Yes.” “How much?” She blurted an enormous figure. “Forty dollars.” “Whoa. That’s serious money. I’d need to think about that.” “You say it is a real good burger.” “I don’t want to pay forty dollars for one hamburger.” “I’d tell you the secret recipe.” “Well . . . maybe. I’ll have to think about it.” “Don’t wait too long,” she said. “Maybe some other people would want it.” “It’s a good hamburger.” It is not a hamburger, Mary Ellen thought. It is vegetarian. Then it occurred to her that any circular object plunked onto bread was hamburger, as far as her father was concerned. For him, hamburger was the same word as food. If she had served him a Dolly Parton CD on a bun with mustard, he would have declared it a good hamburger. Maybe there were lots of people like her father. If there were, she was going to be rich, rich, rich. Scallion would be a pampered animal. She would house him in a golden stable and feed him kale burgers day in and day out. b Retired UNCG creative-writing professor and former North Carolina Poet Laureate Fred Chappell first wrote about the headstrong and rebellious Mary Ellen and her quest for a horse in the July 2013 issue of Salt. September 2013 •



s t o r y

o f


h o u s e

The Place She’s Supposed to Be When the storms of life washed a daughter of the Cape Fear home for keeps, she found — and made — the perfect landfall By Ashley Wahl • Photographs by Rick Ricozzi


n the flagstone patio, beneath the dark, silky surface of a rectilinear koi pond, a swirl of metallic gold, orange and silver dances among a willowy tangle of papyrus roots. “The herons are bad about eating them,” says Katherine McKenzie, enchanted by a carnival of nearly two dozen ornamental carp: Whitey Bulger, Monarch, Ursula, Lily Black . . . “If I don’t have names for them, I don’t know who’s gone missing.” At the height of her corporate career, Katherine was Group Executive Vice President and Chief HR Officer for RBS Citizens Financial Group in Providence, Rhode Island. She recalls being able to see the Woonasquatucket River from her office window. She has always felt at home by the water. Having grown up on Myrtle Grove Sound in Wilmington, some of her earliest memories are the fishing trips she took with her daddy. At bedtime, her sea captain grandpa would spin wild tales inspired by the Graveyard of the Atlantic. 54

Salt • September 2013

And for her twelfth birthday, a first cousin built her a shiny red sailboat. So long as Katherine’s boat was tethered to the dock, her mother, who managed the Hanover Seaside Club during the summer, would let her sail back and forth across the inlet. If it hadn’t been for this house, Katherine might have stayed in Rhode Island. She was happy enough there. But despite life’s surprises — and perhaps, to some degree, because of them — the soft reflection in the glassy water shows a woman who, in her mid-60s, echoes the serenity of her surrounding landscape. The house, too, is a mirror. At Landfall, on the corner of Arboretum and Ocean Point Drive, Emperor Qin and a kneeling archer grace the entrance of the 5,000-square-foot Tuscan retreat that Katherine McKenzie can finally call home. Of course she’s known this house for years. When Pete McKenzie lived here, the walls in the living room were periwinkle blue, and electric ceiling lifts were installed in the master suite and pool room. “Pete was a quadriplegic,” explains Katherine, describing her cousin as the larger-than-life sportsman who liked bright colors and chased big fish. The Art & Soul of Wilmington

When McKenzie’s backyard Eden was featured on the Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Garden Tour in 2012, “they said it was like a series of small rooms,” she says. Wander through and find whimsical garden art, lush beds of flowers, and a rectilinear stone-lined koi pond.

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

September 2013 •



Sag Harbor gray walls and cream-colored couches let accent pieces pop. Above the mantle: a colorful scene from Providence, Rhode Island. French doors along the back wall lead to the screened porch.


Salt • September 2013

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

September 2013 •



Katherine remembers Christmas dinners here. Baked hams, butter beans, her mother’s buttermilk biscuits. They gathered round the table in a tangerine-colored dining room. “This house was the essence of who Pete was,” says Katherine. What she loved about it, besides that it recalled tradition, was the natural light in every room. In 2001, Pete sold the house to Katherine. Although she came home for Christmas — they continued to have dinner here until Pete died in 2003 — the house sat mostly vacant for the better part of a decade. Housekeepers and lawn crews did regular maintenance. “You can imagine the expense,” says Katherine, who, at the time, was living in Providence with her husband, Jack. “We were going to retire here.” Katherine and Jack met in 1983 in the serendipitous sort of way you might expect from a Hollywood script. She was working for Wachovia National Bank in Winston-Salem. He was a headhunter from Washington, D.C. On the morning Jack was scheduled to meet with Katherine’s superior, she received the following message from her boss: I’m sick. You’re going to have to take this meeting. “The man who was supposed to meet with my boss was the man who would become my husband,” says Katherine. They met in spring and were married by fall. And in 2005, after twenty-two years of marriage, the relationship ended as unexpectedly as it had begun. “I tried to sell this house after the divorce,” says Katherine, but the market was bleak. So in 2009, she chose to proceed with original plans. She was going to retire here, but she would renovate first. 58

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No echo here. In the pool room turned entertainment area/office, dropped coffered ceilings and an oriental rug prove effective sound dampers. Above the fireplace, motorized artwork hides the flat screen TV.

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

Katherine’s vision extended beyond the kitchen. In addition to new countertops and delicate pendant lights, the kitchen wall came down and a former garage workshop evolved into a swanky lounge area where a built-in wine rack and display case add interest to a load-bearing partition/wall.

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

September 2013 •



Among Katherine’s favorite things: The walking stick that belonged to Captain W.N. Marine (aka Granddaddy) and a pump organ turned curio case made by Katherine’s father. In the guest room with the bay window and the tumbled marble bathroom: a four post bed that has been in Katherine’s family since 1820.


Salt • September 2013

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

Silk curtains complement soft blue walls in the master suite. “I decided I’d better put together a team,” says Katherine, whose Providence home, a 1927 center-hall Colonial, had been something of a reclamation project. She found a handyman, Rodney Hollis; a garden designer, Tracey McCullen; and a gardener named Carolyn Thomas. Interior designer Mary Beth McKeever, a distant cousin, would become a dear friend. Although Katherine came home when she could, metamorphosis occurred while she was elsewhere. “I wanted to walk through the front door and feel like I’d arrived at a resort,” says Katherine. Mission accomplished. Throughout the house, silk draperies pop against a backdrop of taupe-colored walls, and gray tiles wear Oriental rugs. The bronze sculpture in the foyer sets the tone: On the center of a round mahogany accent table, giant sea turtle and child swim, bright-eyed, into the unknown. In the living room, 20-foot ceilings tease the grand piano. “That belonged to my ex-husband,” says Katherine. Too bad he took the old records. Music is piped into the main rooms. Among the major renovations: kitchen expansion and converted pool room. Beyond Saint Cecilia granite countertops, a swanky lounge with full couch and a pair of bright red club chairs invariably draw guests to the kitchen. Who knew knocking out the long wall between the kitchen and what used to be Pete’s workshop would inspire this? Lighted wine rack and showcase were built into the short, load-bearing wall. On display: Pete’s model ship. Katherine credits Mary Beth McKeever for making her Rhode Island furniture — mostly Georgian — work in an Italianate home. She also conceptualized the new, no-pool pool room. The Art & Soul of Wilmington

“The pool was great,” says Katherine, but she wouldn’t use it every day. Instead, an entertainment room/office with bamboo flooring and a dropped coffered ceiling offers space for work and play. With the click of a button, the abstract painting above the linear, river rock fireplace reveals itself as a motorized canvas. Click again and the TV disappears. Past the dark cherry writing desk, custom-made cabinets separate office space from a tiny indoor gym. Pendant lights in the kitchen, chandeliers in the bedrooms, sconces in the master bath, but what brightens each room are the views to the koi pond (from bay window in guest bedroom No. 1 and guest wing hallway) and the formal backyard garden. And then there’s her art. From China: terra-cotta warriors, the Li River made of carved jade, and, in the powder room, a hand-embroidered portrait of a Miao woman on silk. African candlesticks flank the art above the granite mantel (living room), hand-carved wall art in the kitchen sparks memories from Trinidad de Cuba, and a marionette from Prague lives in the old pool room. In the red-and-black bathroom designed around a Chinese vessel sink: whimsical souvenirs from Africa, Mexico, Scotland and Turkey. Her most prized possessions, like her father’s reading chair, her greatgrandmother’s copper tea kettle, or the walking cane her fisherman grandaddy made — he used a shark vertebrate and, for the handle, a tooth from a whale that washed up on Wrightsville Beach in 1914 — are less obvious. What is clear, though, is that Katherine’s things tell her life narrative. And when she recalls the places she has seen or the people she has loved, she knows she’s at home. “This is where I’m supposed to be.” b September 2013 •



The Secret Garden of Forest Hills How a wild and free garden won Marie Eason’s heart By Jamie Lynn Miller • Photographs by Mark Steelman


t’s a soggy summer afternoon and one of Wilmington’s torrential, short-lived rainstorms is beating down on Marie Eason’s Forest Hills garden. The deluge ricochets off umbrella bones while thunder crackles louder and closer. For the tallest fauna in the yard, the two-legged kind, it is almost time to seek shelter. As for the flora, today is just another glorious day of abundance. “I like that everything is green, and natural,” says Eason, scanning a verdant panorama of holly ferns, variegated pittosporum, cherry laurels and a tree canopy from her back porch. Somewhere among the layers of plant-life, a family of barred owls sleeps. Save for the fountains, planters and old-world garden art, there isn’t a man-made structure in sight. Of course, she never minded the forts and tree houses that used to punctuate the grounds. Her children basically grew up out here. She recalls the first day she saw the house and the wild, overgrown expanse that would become an adventure playground for the kids and, eventually, her own personal haven. It was 1990. Eason’s former husband had just landed a job with a local medical practice, and the children, ages 9 and 4, had mixed feelings about leaving their home in Wilson, North Carolina. “After a very long day of looking at houses, the agent had an appointment


Salt • September 2013

to show us one more,” says Eason, who visibly cringed when she saw the 1941 Georgian Revival on Forest Hills Drive. “I didn’t even want to get out of the car. “I was just tired of old houses,” explains Eason, who had already been through four separate renovation projects during her marriage. But good manners got the better of her, so she got out of the car to tour the property. And then she saw the backyard garden. “It was totally overgrown — some of it was actually impassable,” she recalls. “But I thought, I have found a great treasure.” Eason has spent the last 23 years creating this secret garden: a lush, meandering wonderland filled with ponds, critters and a steady stream of surprises. With no formal training in garden design, she’s relied on good gardening genes and a penchant for finding solutions to bring her visions to life. “If I had a question, or an idea, I’d just get a book and figure it out,” she says. “I know it looks like a tremendous amount of work, but I’ve gotten it to the point where I can do as little or as much as I want and it still looks good. But you gotta have the passion for it. You’ve got to have the fire in your belly. Otherwise, it’s just a lawn.” Eason’s passion and can-do attitude came from her father, an automechanic whose hands-on work ethic didn’t end with cars. “We grew up in an inner-city area of Birmingham, Alabama, but we had a small yard, and Daddy was always planting and trying to make it spectacular.” If a friend or visitor complimented The Art & Soul of Wilmington

Marie Eason, in blue, enjoying her Forest Hills garden in the company of good friends. The Art & Soul of Wilmington

September 2013 •




Salt • September 2013

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

one of the plants, her father would send them home with one. “Daddy was a do-it-yourselfer: from watering, to planting, to maintenance, he believed in trial and error.” Eason shares the same view. “It never occurred to me to hire a landscaper. I don’t mind getting grubby and doing the work. There’s nothing better after a day of digging around in the yard than to come in, take a bath, and have a big glass of wine.” From her mother, Eason inherited an appreciation for Italian garden art. “My mother is full Sicilian, and in Italy, they don’t have the amount of land that we have. They use statues and water features, and pots, to carve out their niches.” She points to a decorative Bacchus head spouting water, not wine. Meander and find playful cherubs hiding throughout the garden. “I have color in about thirty pots,” she continues, shaking off her umbrella. “If I want color, I put it in a pot. First of all, it’s less expensive. Second of all, if you put in a bed, you need to irrigate it, and fertilize it. Put it in a pot, and just water it! When my mother saw the garden, all the statues, and pots, she said, ‘Yes! You’re using your Italian heritage.’” Eason has created six different-themed “rooms” throughout the garden to toast various moods and memories. Bacchus may reign in the Italian room, but the Deep South is never far away. She points to a casual bevy of sofas with well-worn cushions, where imaginary couch potatoes watch college football — Yea, Alabama! “This is the comfy, cozy spot. I call it my Alabama Redneck room,” she declares with a laugh. She wanders over to a brick-laid fireplace and a small patio — just enough room for good friends to gather around. “Now this is the Fireplace room. Oh, how my girlfriends and I have pondered love lost . . . we’ve solved the problems of the world in the Fireplace Room.” Nearby in a secluded, ivy-laced clearing, several stone benches are positioned for a different kind of heart-felt conversation. “Where we used to live, we had a bench in the garden,” says Eason, gesturing to one of the tiny seats. “When my daughter was 2, she took my hand and said, ‘Mama, let’s go outside and sit on the talking bench.’ So we did, and then she said, ‘OK, what do you want to talk about?’” Eason chuckles at the memory. “When we moved here, I brought the bench with me . . . Those were special times with her.” Raising this garden to grow wild and free meant knowing what type of plants work for the Southern climate and for Eason’s own personal aesthetic. While she’s a three-peat stop on the Azalea Garden Tour, Eason’s most interested in what surrounds her azaleas bed. “Azaleas The Art & Soul of Wilmington

September 2013 •



are pretty when they’re blooming, but they’re really just bushes, you know? You need to have something else in front, to enhance them.” Hence the ferns. “When my son was little, we took his red wagon and went into the woods and dug up some ferns, and then we re-planted them. I love the texture, and when they emerge in the spring with these little fiddle-heads, they unfurl themselves. It’s exciting to see them come up! “And I love my hydrangeas,” she adds. “You can’t have too many hydrangeas — and I don’t have as many as I’d like.” 66

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As evening draws near, the storm subsides. Somewhere across this secret landscape, the family of owls readies itself for a nocturnal tour, and the endless green grounds, now drenched with rain, seem more alive than ever. Like a fastforward through time-lapse photography, one can almost see the garden grow. “Really, every garden is personal,” says Eason. “You have to make it your own.” She looks out across the expanse, waving her arm into the mist. “And this one is mine.” b Jamie Lynn Miller is a writer, rock climber and radio host from Aspen, Colorado. While pursuing her MFA in creative writing at UNCW, she’s trading ski wax for surf wax. The Art & Soul of Wilmington

By Noah Salt

Please Don’t Disturb

Summer officially departs the scene on September 22, the autumnal equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere, when day and night are essentially equal in length. From this point forward the daylight will wane, announcing the harvest season and a measure of rest for the farmer and backyard gardener. September is a month of sweet valediction, according to the late novelist John Updike (whom Almanac Gardener actually played golf with one September day long ago), a moment when “the breeze tastes of apple peels” and the “air is full of smells to feel-ripe fruit, old footballs, burning brush, new books, erasers, chalk and such.” Ancient Celts thought of September as Mea’n Fo’mhair, the ideal time to honor The Green Man in us all and the lords of the forest trees with libations for the long sleep of coming winter. This was the time the tribe gathered for public celebrations involving much dancing and feasting on the last of summer’s harvested crops, drinking of cider and homemade wines, meats seasoned with gathered herbs. It’s the perfect time for making bread and hearty stews, a renowned local cook informs us, because humans naturally turn toward home with the shortening of days — a benediction to the growing season enacted through reunions and quiet hours with loved ones, closing up the summer place, the children buzzing like sparrows on the cooling lawn one last time. Out in the garden there is still much happening, rest assured, though somewhat out of sight — new potatoes and turnips and late carrots to be dug, plumping pumpkins to be sized up for future Jack-o’-lanterns, the last of the Russian sage and black-eyed Susans in glorious fading bloom, bright-hued asters and chrysanthemums bossily claiming the stage, even a showy bit of wild phlox (gathered from a Blue Ridge Parkway ditch) hanging on. For obvious reasons we often find ourselves drowsing in the garden on late September afternoons, reviewing summer’s adventures behind our eyelids, with a good book steepled on the chest, contemplating tasks that yet require our attention. Please don’t disturb. We’re truly hard at work here.

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

A Writer in the Garden “But now in September the garden has cooled, and with it my possessiveness, the sun warming my back instead of beating on my head. The harvest has dwindled, and I have grown apart from the intense midsummer relationship that brought it on.” — Award-winning nature writer Robert Finch

By all these lovely tokens, September days are here; With summer’s best of weather, And autumn’s best of cheer. — Helen Hunt Jackson

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c a l e n d a r

Arts Calendar

September 2013

Piano Masterworks 9/



Free Day at Airlie

9 a.m.–5 p.m. Free admission on the first Sunday of each month. Airlie Gardens, 300 Airlie Road, Wilmington. Info: (910) 798-7700 or

9/1 Free Day at Cape Fear Museum

1–5 p.m. Free admission on the first Sunday of each month. Cape Fear Museum, 814 Market Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 798-4362 or

Ping-Pong Throw Down 9/



Live Theater

3 p.m. Opera House Theatre Company presents Little Shop of Horrors. This classic musical comedy is a spoof of 1950s science fiction films and tells the story of Seymour, a hapless man trying to escape this boring life working in a flower store. Admission: $27. Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 632-2285 or


Farmers Market

4–8 p.m. Manny Lloyd (soul, funk and dance). Free admission. Bluewater Grill, 4 Marina Street, Wrightsville Beach. Info: (910) 256-8500 or

8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Vendors offer fresh and local produce, flowers, crafts, bread and other baked items, herbs, meat and seafood, dairy products and more on the final day of the market season. Wrightsville Beach Farmers’Market, 321 Causeway Drive, Wrightsville Beach. Info: (910) 256-7925.




Summer Music Series

Boogie in the Park

4 p.m. Final concert of the season features Seneca Guns (rock and dance music). Free admission. Ocean Front Park, 105 Atlantic Avenue, Kure Beach. Info: (910) 458-8216 or


Salt • September 2013

Green Book Club

6:30 p.m. When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams. Old Books on Front Street, 249 North Front Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 762-6657 or

Matisyahu in Concert 9/



Pooch Plunge


ARTblast Festival

4–8 p.m. (Tuesday – Friday); 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Saturday); 1–5 p.m. (Sunday). No humans allowed in the swimming pool during this dogs-only event. Tickets: $5. Legion Pool, 2131 Carolina Beach Road, Wilmington. Info: (910) 343-3682. A celebration of all artistic mediums including dance, theater, art and music. Various locations throughout downtown Wilmington. Info: (216) 374-8884 or


Shop Hop

5–9 p.m. Nine boutiques offer fashionforward ladies exclusive deals and first dibs on new styles every first Thursday. Participating boutiques: Edge of Urge, Island Passage, Aqua Fedora, The Wonder Shop, amuse, Lure, Return Passage, Glam, and Momentum Surf & Skate Shop. Downtown Wilmington. Info: www.wilmingtondowntown. com/events.

Big Boi in Concert 9/



Jazz @ CAM


Youth Orchestra Auditions


Piano Masterworks Concert

6:30–8 p.m. Grenoldo Frazier celebrates Duke Ellington and Count Basie. Tickets: $10; $8/members. Weyerhaeuser Reception Hall, Cameron Art Museum, 3201 South 17th Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 395-5999 or Wilmington Symphony Youth Orchestra (grades 9–12) and Junior Strings (grades 6–8) auditions. UNCW Cultural Arts Building, 601 South College Road, Wilmington. Info: (910) 791-9262 or www. 8 p.m. Resident pianist Norman Bemelmans and Elizabeth Loparits perform an evening of piano masterworks. Program features “Moonlight Sonata” (Beethoven), and “Wanderer-Fantasie” by Schubert. Selections for two pianos include Debussy’s “Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun” and Gershwin’s “An American in Paris.” Tickets: $15–$18. The Art & Soul of Wilmington

c a l e n d a r

Kenan Auditorium, 601 South College Road, Wilmington. Info: (910) 962-3500 or


Birding Tour

9–10 a.m. Join the Audubon North Carolina naturalists on a free guided tour of this fascinating sanctuary where you can get close-up looks at nesting birds and chicks. Every Friday morning through September 13. Wrightsville Beach Public Access 43, North Lumina Avenue. Info: (910) 686-7527.


Ping-Pong Throwdown

6:30 p.m. Wilmington Table Tennis Club presents the second annual Port City Ping-Pong Throwdown. Play for fun or play for keeps. Cash prizes for top finishers. Cash bar and food trucks available. Warm-up and registration begin at 4:30 p.m. Registration: $10. Admission: $5. Brooklyn Arts Center, 516 North Fourth Street. Info:


Airlie Summer Concert

6 p.m. Stardust (jazz/pop) performs on the Oak Lawn at Airlie Gardens. Picnics, chairs and coolers welcome. Tickets: $8/adults; $2/children. General admission parking is offsite. Free parking and shuttles are provided from the Old Cinema 6 property at 5335 Oleander Drive, Wilmington. Info: (910) 798-7700 or


A Ticket to Taste

6:30 p.m. A three-course meal inspired by the flavors of Myanmar (Burma), Iraq and Colombia, prepared by Brian Mayberry of Dixie Grill. Musical entertainment provided by the Wilmington Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Karen Choir. Proceeds benefit Interfaith Refugee Ministry. Tickets: $25. St. James Parish, 25 South Third Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 264-7244 or


Fall Plant Sale

9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Hobby Greenhouse Fall Plant Sale features plants grown by Hobby Greenhouse Club members. A portion of the profits go to scholarships for local community college horticulture students. Forest Hills Hobby Greenhouse, 2318 Metts Avenue, Wilmington. Info: (910) 319-7588 or


Live Theater

8 p.m.; 3 p.m. (Sunday) Opera House Theatre Company presents Little Shop of Horrors. This classic musical comedy is a spoof of 1950s science fiction films and tells the story of Seymour, a hapless man trying to escape this boring life The Art & Soul of Wilmington

working in a flower store. Admission: $27. Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 632-2285 or


Intercultural Festival

10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Brunswick County Intercultural Festival includes an international pavilion; an international food tasting tent (admission fee applies); an entertainment stage featuring performers dressed in authentic traditional costumes including Mexican and Irish dancers, Japanese drummers, Chinese sword dancers, and West African musicians. Free admission. Odell Williamson Auditorium, Brunswick Community College, 50 College Road Northwest, Supply. Info: (910) 842-6566 or


Meet the Author

3:30 p.m. Peter Makuck will read from his newest collection of short stories, Allegiance and Betrayal: Stories. Old Books on Front Street, 249 North Front Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 762-6657 or


Summer Music Series


Concert at Greenfield Lake

4–8 p.m. The M-80s (’80s music). Free admission. Bluewater Grill, 4 Marina Street, Wrightsville Beach. Info: (910) 256-8500 or 5:30 p.m. Blackberry Smoke (Atlantabased Southern rockers). Tickets: $20. Greenfield Lake Amphitheater, 1941 Amphitheater Drive, Wilmington. Info: (910) 332-0983 or

9/9 TACT Academy Fall Semester

Thalian Association Children’s Theater (TACT) offers affordable classes for budding actors ages 1–18. Classes through NOv. 21. Classes offered include Vocal Ensemble, Musical Comedy and Characters, Acting for Film, Stage Craft, Play Writing, and Stage Combat. Locations: Hannah Block Historic USO/ Community Arts Center and the New Hanover Library Executive Development Center. Info: (910) 251-1788 or www.


Picnic with a Purpose

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Luncheon fundraising event to benefit Wilmington Health Access for Teens (WHAT), a community-based non-profit organization that provides primary care, mental health and health education services to teens and young adults in the lower Cape Fear Region. Blockade Runner Beach Resort Ballroom, Wrightsville

Beach. Info: (910) 202-4605 or www.


Jazz at the Mansion

6:30 p.m. Bring blankets or chairs and relax on the lawn with live music by El Jaye Johnson and The Port City All-Stars. Beer and wine available for purchase. Tickets: $12/general admission; $10/members; $5/ students. Bellamy Mansion, 503 Market Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 251-3700 or


Race for Preservation

6:30 p.m. 5K running race and 1-mile walk to benefit the Historic Wilmington Foundation. Admission: $27–$35. Course begins at Coastline Conference and Event Center and winds through historic downtown and Riverwalk. Coastline Events Center, 503 Nutt Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 762-2511 or


Birding Tour

9–10 a.m. Join the Audubon North Carolina naturalists on a free guided tour of this fascinating sanctuary where you can get close-up looks at nesting birds and chicks. Wrightsville Beach Public Access 43, North Lumina Avenue. Info: (910) 686-7527.

9/13–14 Cello Festival Performances

7:30 p.m. Friday recital features the UNCW Cello Studio and friends (Admission: $5); Cello Ensemble concert on Saturday (free and open to the public). UNCW Cultural Arts Building, 601 South College Road. Info: (910) 962-2901.

9/13–15 Landfall Legends of Tennis

Three days of tennis exhibitions to benefit three local charities: Miracle League of Wilmington, Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina and the UNCW Seahawk Club. Six-time Grand Slam Winner and former world ranked number one player Lindsay Davenport is the headliner. Legends include Rennae Stubbs, Jimmy Arias, Luke Jensen, Bret Garnett, Will Bull and Charlie Owens. Landfall Sport Center. Info: (910) 256-7625 or


Children’s Theater

7 p.m.; 3 p.m. (Sunday) Thalian Association Children’s Theater presents Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Tickets: $12. Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center, 120 South Second Street, Wilmington. Tickets & Info: (910) 251-1788 or www.


8 a.m.

5K Fun Walk

Cape Fear Classic Football kicks

off with the inaugural Cape Fear Classic 5K Fun Walk, which begins at Legion Stadium and proceeds to Greenfield Lake. Event held in collaboration with the Cape Fear chapter of the American Heart Association. Admission: $15. Legion Stadium, 2221 Carolina Beach Road, Wilmington. Info: (910) 352-6074.


Car Show


Book Talk


[Mini] DocuTime


Battle For Fallen Soldier


Corvette Show


Summer Music Series


Chamber Soul Concert

9 a.m. – 3 p.m. British Motor Club of the Cape Fear presents the annual “Brits at the Beach” car show. All makes, models and years welcome. Wrightsville Beach Park, 321 Causeway Drive, Wrightsville Beach. Info: 2:30 p.m. Author Jerrold Peeler will discuss and sign copies of his latest books, Thicketty and Trinity. Free program; refreshments provided. Northeast Library, 1241 Military Cutoff Road, Wilmington. Info: (910) 798-6323. 4–6:30 p.m. A celebration of pioneer 20th century filmmakers presented by WHQR and the UNCW Department of Film Studies. Tickets: $12; $10/seniors; free for students. UNCW’s King Hall Auditorium, 601 South College Road, Wilmington. Info: filmstudies/events. 6 p.m. Professional and amateur MMA fights to benefit the family of Wilmington native Sgt. Thomas Jefferson “TJ” Butler IV. Wilmington Convention Center, 515 Nutt Street, Wilmington. Info: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sixth annual event features more than one hundred cool cars on display, silent auction and raffle, awards for top Corvettes, door prizes, food, DJ music and more. Free admission; bring canned items to donate. Proceeds benefit the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina’s Drive to End Hunger. Jeff Gordon Chevrolet, 228 South College Road, Wilmington. Info: (910) 508-4347. 4–8 p.m. Central Park (classic and modern rock). Free admission. Bluewater Grill, 4 Marina Street, Wrightsville Beach. Info: (910) 256-8500 or www. 7 p.m. Singer/songwriter and cellist Shana Tucker’s self-described chamber soul style of music is a steamy blend of acoustic pop and soulful, jazz-influenced contempoSeptember 2013 •



c a l e n d a r

rary folk. Admission: $14–$28. Thalian Hall Main Stage, 310 Chestnut Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 632-2285 or

$23–$25. Cape Fear Playhouse, 613 Castle Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 367-5237 or

Tyler, 1826 Sir Tyler Drive, Wilmington. Info: (910) 233-0994 or

Wilmington. Info: (910) 538-2939 or



8 p.m. (Doors open at 7 p.m.) Progressive Music Group and HUKA Entertainment present reggae/alternative rock musician Matisyahu with pop rock band Magic. Tickets: $25–$30 (advance); $30–$35 (day of show). Brooklyn Arts Center, 516 North Fourth Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 538-2939 or

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. An annual world-wide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks to call attention to the need for more urban open space, generate debate around how public space is created and allocated, and improve the quality of urban human habitat. Parking spaces Downtown on Front and Market Streets. Info:


8 p.m.; 3 p.m. (Sunday) How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, a Tony Award-winning American classic. Admission: $15. Thalian Hall Main Stage, 310 Chestnut Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 632-2285 or



Matisyahu in Concert

Taste of the Town

6 p.m. An evening of culinary indulgence. Travel downtown on foot or by trolleys to enjoy appetizer portions of each restaurants’s best dishes. Tickets: $40. Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 632-2285 or


Wilmington Uncovered

6:30 p.m. Local historian and author Beverly Tetterton presents an entirely new view of the historic Port City. Free admission. Bellamy Mansion Museum, 503 Market Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 251-3700 or


Spelling Bee for Literacy

7 p.m. Teams of three work together to spell words that become increasingly difficult each round. Expect wild costumes, fun prizes and general zaniness. Free admission; light refreshments provided. Contact the Cape Fear Literacy Council to reserve a spot for your Bee Team or to learn about sponsorship opportunities. Piney Valley United Methodist Church, 3788 Shipyard Boulevard, Wilmington. Info: (910) 251-0911 or


Mary Wilson in Concert

7 p.m. During the 1960s, vocal superstar Mary Wilson helped The Supremes earn an unmatched string of No. 1 hits by a female group. See this living legend onstage alongside UNCW musicians. Tickets: $5–$30. Kenan Auditorium, 601 South College Road, Wilmington. Info: (910) 962-3500 or


Ray Chen in Concert

8 p.m. UNCW Artist in Residence Ray Chen, is one of the most compelling young violinists of our time. Beckwith Recital Hall, Cultural Arts Building, 601 South College Road, Wilmington. Tickets: $10– $25. Info: (910) 962-3500 or www.uncw. edu/arts.


Live Theater

8 p.m.; 3 p.m. (Sunday) Big Dawg Productions presents Tartuffe. Admission:


Salt • September 2013

Park(ing) Day

Airlie Summer Concert

6 p.m. The Imitations (beach music/ Motown/covers) perform on the Oak Lawn at Airlie Gardens. Picnics, chairs and coolers welcome. Tickets: $8/adults; $2/children. General admission parking is offsite. Free parking and shuttles are provided from the Old Cinema 6 property at 5335 Oleander Drive, Wilmington. Info: (910) 798-7700 or


Secret Garden Tour

Masterworks Concert

8 p.m. Wilmington Symphony Orchestra presents “Sleeping Beauty;” Nancy King, soprano. Concert includes “Le Corsaire Overture” (Berlioz), “Four Last Songs” (Strauss), and “Sleeping Beauty” (Tchaikovsky). Tickets: $25 – $27; $6/youth. Kenan Auditorium, 601 South College Road, Wilmington. Info: (910) 9623500 or


Dance Showcase

2 p.m. The Dance Cooperative provides monthly informal showings to afford working artists a place to present works in progress to be reviewed and critiqued in a nurturing environment. Open to working choreographers, dancers and the general public. Donations appreciated. Weyerhaeuser Reception Hall, Cameron Art Museum, 3201 South 17th Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 395-5999 or

10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tour ten charming gardens and homes located in Wilmington’s Historic District. Comfy walking shoes recommended. Proceeds benefit the 1852 Latimer House Museum and Gardens. Tickets: $15. Latimer House Museum, 126 South Third Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 762-0492 or


Banned Books Week



Spiritual Book Club

6 p.m. Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics. Old Books on Front Street, 249 North Front Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 762-6657 or


Book Talk


National Theatre Live

Children’s Theater

7 p.m.; 3 p.m. (Sunday) Thalian Association Children’s Theater presents Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Tickets: $12. Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center, 120 South Second Street. Info: (910) 251-1788 or


Civil War Tour

10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Bob Cooke, noted Civil War historian and author, will lead visitors through the Oakdale Cemetery and share stories of the gallant men, Confederate and Union, buried there. Admission: $10; free for members. Oakdale Cemetery, 520 North 15th Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 762-5682 or


CARE Project Gala

6 p.m. Third Annual CARE Project Gala features culinary creations donated by nearly two dozen local eateries, cash bar, beer supplied by Good Vibes Brewing, wine by Country Vintner, plus live music with Bibis Ellison. Proceeds provide counseling opportunities for families with children who are deaf and hard of hearing. Tickets: $50. The Terraces at Sir

Celebrate controversial books and defenders of the First Amendment throughout. See website for complete schedule of events. Old Books on Front Street, 249 North Front Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 762-6657 or

6:30 p.m. Local author Sheila Boneham will discuss and read from her second mystery novel, The Money Bird. Free admission. Northeast Regional Library, 1241 Military Cutoff Road, Wilmington. Info: 2 p.m. A simulcast from London of Shakespeare’s Othello, a major new production about the noxious power of jealousy. Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, 620 South College Road, Wilmington. Info: (910) 962-3195 or


Big Boi in Concert

9 p.m. (Doors open at 8 p.m.) Coast 97.3FM and Progressive Music Group present Big Boi, best known as a member of the hip-hop duo Outkast. Tickets: $30–$35/advance; $45/day of show; $75/ VIP Meet & Greet Package. Brooklyn Arts Center, 516 North Fourth Street,


Live Theater


Live Theater

8 p.m.; 3 p.m. (Sunday) Big Dawg Productions presents Tartuffe. Admission: $23–$25. Cape Fear Playhouse, 613 Castle Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 367-5237 or


Panic Attack Opens

6 p.m. The popular haunted attraction, filled with in-your-face actors, Hollywood special effects, and massive animatronics, opens for the Halloween season. Admission: $20; $30/fast pass. Location: 1290 South 15th Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 262-5281 or

9/27 Fourth Friday Gallery Night

6 – 9 p.m. Join 15 local galleries and studios in an after-hour celebration of art and culture on the fourth Friday of each month. Downtown Wilmington. Info:


Jazz with Strings

7:30 p.m. An Evening of Jazz with Strings takes a page from the popular Charlie Parker with Strings concerts and includes standards such as “ S u m m e r t i m e ,” “What Is This Thing Called Love?,” “Repetition,” and “Laura.” Proceeds benefit UNCW scholarships in music. Admission: $5–$20. UNCW Beckwith Recital Hall, 601 South College Road, Wilmington. Info: (910) 962-3500.

9/27–28 Burgwin-Wright Paint-Out

The Burgwin-Wright House in downtown Wilmington hosts more than two dozen plein-air painters in the gardens. Attendees will be able to cast a vote for the People’s Choice Award. Open all day Friday and Saturday as well as during the Fourth Friday Gallery Night. Reception and art show held Saturday from 6–9 p.m. Burgwin-Wright House Museum, 224 Market Street, The Art & Soul of Wilmington

c a l e n d a r

Wilmington. Info: (910) 762-0570 or


Battleship Alive

8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Interact with World War II living history interpreters as they reenact daily duties and drills. Admission: $6–$12. Battleship North Carolina, 1 Battleship Road, Wilmington. Info: (910) 251-5797 or


Chords for a Cause

6:30 p.m. Sister Hazel performs with the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra to benefit Feed the Children and help local pediatric burn victims. Tickets: $40; $20 (children and students). Kenan Auditorium, 601 South College Road, Wilmington. Info:


100k Poets for Change

10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Poets and songwriters perform their work, talk about their writing process or create connection with other artists. Each performer has fifteen minutes onstage. Old Books on Front Street, 249 North Front Street, Wilmington. Sign up:

OldBook sonFrontSt.@g ma Info: (910) 762-6657 or

9/28 Celebrate Anghus Houveras

2:30 p.m. Filmmaker, playwright, novelist and critic Anghus Houveras is releasing the full text of his serialized novella, “My Career Suicide Note.” Old Books on Front Street, 249 North Front Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 762-6657 or


Fall Book Sale

Hardbacks and paperbacks in all genres are heavily discounted. Proceeds benefit Friends of New Hanover Public Library. Northeast Regional Library, 1241 Military Cutoff Road, Wilmingon. Info: (910) 7986319 or


Sacred Harp Singing

2–4 p.m. Using a modern reprint of an 1844 songbook, Wilmington Sacred Harp Singers present a dynamic form of a cappella social singing that dates back to Colonial America. Beginners welcome. Donations appreciated. Weyerhaeuser Reception Hall, Cameron Art Museum, 3201 South 17th Street, Wilmington. Info:;


Women in Politics

Donna Brazile, adjunct professor at Georgetown University, author, syndicated columnist and political commentator, brings her original perspective to American politics, race relations, women in politics and diversity. Admission: $10. UNCW Burney Center, 601 South College Road, Wilmington. Info: (910) 962-3285 or


Improv Comedy

8 p.m. LitProv: Long Form Improv at Old Books on Front Street, 249 North Front Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 762-6657 or


T’ai Chi at CAM

12–1 p.m. Qigong (Practicing the Breath of Life) with Martha Gregory. Open to beginner and experienced participants. Members: $5. Non-members: $8. Cameron Art Museum, 3201 South 17th Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 395-5999 or


Yoga at CAM

12–1 p.m. Join in a soothing retreat sure to charge you up while you relax in a beautiful, comfortable setting. These sessions are ongoing and are open to beginner and experienced participants. Members: $5. Non-members: $8. Cameron Art Museum, 3201 South 17th Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 395-5999 or


T’ai Chi at CAM

5:30–6:30 p.m. Qigong (Practicing the Breath of Life) with Martha Gregory. Open to beginner and experienced participants. Members: $5. Non-members: $8. Cameron Art Museum, 3201 South 17th Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 395-5999 or

Thursday CAM Public Tours

7:30 p.m. Explore the newest exhibits at Cameron Art Museum, 3201 South 17th Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 395-5999 or

Friday Yoga at CAM

5:30–6:30 p.m. Join in a soothing retreat sure to charge you up while you relax in a beautiful, comfortable setting. These sessions are ongo-

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

ing and are open to beginner and experienced participants. Members: $5. Nonmembers: $8. Cameron Art Museum, 3201 South 17th Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 395-5999 or


Murder on the Set

6:30 p.m. An interactive murder mystery dinner show written by Hank Toler. Tickets: $42; $30/children under age 12. TheatreNOW, 19 South Tenth Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 399-3669 or


Riverfront Farmers Market


Yoga at CAM


Historic Wilmington Walking Tour

8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Curbside market featuring local farmers, producers, artists and crafters. Riverfront Park, Historic Downtown Wilmington. Info: 10–11 a.m. Join in a soothing retreat sure to charge you up while you relax in a beautiful, comfortable setting. These sessions are ongoing and are open to beginner and experienced participants. Members: $5. Non-members: $8. Cameron Art Museum, 3201 South 17th Street, Wilmington. Info: (910) 395-5999 or

10 a.m. Historic Wilmington Foundation offers two ongoing tours through October 12. The Streetcar Suburbs Tour will focus on Wilmington’s first two suburbs, Carolina Place and Carolina Heights, and the development of these historic neighborhoods. The Forest Hills Tour will showcase the architectural and cultural history of the neighborhood. The Streetcar Suburbs Tour will meet at the Coastal Shopping Center at 17th Street and Market Street and the Forest Hills Tour will meet at the Forest Hills Elementary School at 602 Colonial Drive. See website for a list of selected Wednesday tours. Admission: $10. Info: (910) 762-2511 or b To add a calendar event, please contact Ashley at Events must be submitted the first of the month, the month prior to the event.

September 2013 •



opy of

our c k up y


se fine at the points: tion distribu 9 Restaurant Achieve Medical Weight Loss All American Mattress and Furniture aMuse Artisanal Finery Antiques of Old Wilmington Armstrong’s Amish Furniture Artisan Design Company Arts Council Atlantic Spas & Billiards Best Western Blockade Runner Bloke Apparel Brunswick Forest Sales Center Bryant Real Estate Cameron Art Museum Cape Fear Academy Cape Fear Hospital Cape Fear Museum Carolina Farmin Causeway Cafe Chamber Chops Deli Compass Pointe

Bring It Downtown

Cool Sweats Nest Fine Gifts & Interiors Cousins Deli NHRMC Auxillary Room Crabby Chic NHRMC Old Cape Fear Crescent Moon Occasions Doggie By Nature Olympia Greek Restaurant En Vie OmniStar Financial Eye Care Center Palm Garden Envision Mortgage Corp Paradigm Hair Salon Fabric Solutions Polka Dot Ferguson Bath Kitchen and Lighting Pomegranate Books Figure Eight Yacht Club Port City Java Cafes First Bank Branches Premier Properties First South Bank Residence Inn Wilmington Landfall Fisherman’s Wife Salt Office Flying Pi Salt Works Fortunate Glass Shell Island Gallery of Oriental Rugs Station One Gentlemen’s Corner Stevens Hardware Glo Med Spa Summit Plastic Surgery & Dermatology Hampton Inn Sweet and Savory Hilton Garden Inn Thalian Association Hilton Riverside Thalian Hall Center for Performing Arts Holiday Inn The Children’s Museum Homewood Suites The Fisherman’s Wife Howard RV Cent The Ivy Cottage Intracoastal Realty The Shop at Seagate Java Dog Two Sisters Bookery Jesters Café The Transplanted Garden Julia’s Wilmington’s Premier Florist The Village Market Keenan Auditorium Thrill of the Hunt Landfall Realty UNCW offsite office Laney Real Estate Village Market Literacy Council Wilmington Visitor’s Buraeu Little Dipper Waterford Sales Center Lou’s FlowerWorld Wlls Fargo Magnolia Greens Wine and Design Manifest Wrightsville Beach Museum Monkees Wrightsville Beach Visitors Center Moravian Church Muirfield Townes at Echo Farm


Occasions. . . Just Write 313 N. Front St.


Cotton Exchange

Greeting Cards,

Wilmington, NC 28401

Wedding Invitations,

(p) 910.343.9033

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Wilmington’s favorite Fondue restaurant & bar

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and open for seasonal hours 7 days a week through Labor Day check out our weekly specials online @


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(910) 251-0433

Salt • September 2013

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

John Jackson, Lauren & Hannah with Leo, Jason, Amy & Mia Margolies

Port City People

Philip Brice and Pearl McQueen

Airlie Gardens Summer Concert Series Friday, August 2, 2013 Photographs by Ariel Keener

Bruce and Cindy Shell, Tony Delima, April Shell, James, Kim & Thomas Culp

Adam & Casey Keen with Claire & Amelia Taft Don Jones, Donna & Stephanie Vricella and Dianne Jones

Kate & Rachel Bennett with Jamie & Andrew Zeman

Frank Potter, Pam & Kenny Howell, Linwood Gainey, Sharon McKeown, Brandon McKeown and Thurston Pope

Andy & JoEtta Cobb

Sam Louis Taylor, Peter Miars, Fred Friedman, Cameron & Leigh Atkins, Rebecca Vizzi, Celia Foushe and Jeffrey Boyd

Vickie Ryan-Barr and Amy Formanek

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

Anneliza Hannan, Dana Fisher, Khalilah Olokunola, Ashley Miller

September 2013 •



Port City People

Kent Knorr

Pipeline to a Cure Benefit for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at the Country Club of Landfall Saturday, July 13, 2013 Photographs by Beachy Keen Photography McGowanFamily

John Elvis, Tony Silvagni Amanda Carr. Susan Wasserman, Holly Shaw, Lee Ann Wright

Pam Fortenberry-Slate, Katie Vendetti

Sheila Brothers, Beth Rivenbark Chris & Christine Eason

Tommy Danger & Jason Fosdick

Auction Host Ben Farrell

Todd & Jennifer McLeod

Jill & Michael Davenport


Salt • September 2013

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

Port City People Stop Hunger Now Benefit Tuesday, July 30, 2013 Photographs by Bill Ritenour

M.J. Giammaria, Monique Brentlinger, Julie King, Joan Rosko Miller

Jenny Collison. Bob Spaziano, Judy Spaziano, Barbara Bucci Michelle Jarmon, Cecelia Peers

Ed Ablard

Tom Brunton, RoysterHedgepeth, Kathryn Hedgepeth, Andrea Carson, David Smith, Mike Bliss Paul Hosier

Alix Dorr, Penny Pridmore, Kathryn Hedgepeth

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

Bill Anlyan, Rev. Dena Bearl, Mike Bliss

September 2013 •



Port City People

Jenifer Queen, Rui Kurosu

ACME Art Gallery Exhibit Friday, July 26, 2013 Photographs by Bill Ritenour Jennifer Allen, Kimi Brock, Jaime Rabon

Anna Scott, Debbie Seltzer Casey Scharling, Jeremy Millard

Treasure Beach, Michelle Turner

Joseph Shepperd, Alicia Alexander, Chris Halkides

Grey Pascal Michele Wuensch, Jennifer Holmes, Ashlyn Shore, Craig Thieman


Salt • September 2013

Abby Kriegsman, Amanda Rhodes, Maria Buchanan, Emily Gerstner

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

Al, Khalila, Kairos & Adam Olokunola

Port City People

Eliza Granger, Anna Ostrowski

Meet the Artist at Tickled Pink Saturday, July 27, 2013 Photographs by Ariel Keener Shanda West, Sydney West, Michelle Conely

Gail Killman, Shannon Stuart

Diane Torgersen

Barbara & Jim Tuzzeo Michelle Conely

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

Tanya Ferman-Jones

September 2013 •



Port City People

Joan Parisi, Anne Mackenzie. Sam Parisi, Bob Hill

18th Annual Blues Festival Saturday & Sunday, July 28–29, 2013 Photographs by Bill Ritenour Fern Bugg, Dr. Ron Dye, Angie Sealey

Michael Thomason, Lisa Kereyick

Michele Hardee, Diane Maher

Lisa King, Terry Collins

Terry & Windy Nash William Barley, Steve Kaythree, Linsey McGrath

Willene Lanier, Denis Robichaux

James Armstrong


Salt • September 2013

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

T h e

A c c i d e n ta l

A s t r o l o g e r

It’s a Reality TV World Out There

September I know my bumper sticker says to honk if you like my new pink Mary Kay Caddy. But y’all have about shot my nerves to pieces! With all them car horns going off everywhere, I went back on my meds. I know, I know, I don’t drink anymore . . . but seems like I don’t drink any less, either. Just a wave and a howdy will do me just fine.

Virgo (August 24 — September 23) Birthday boys and girls, hold your horses and tighten the saddle. You got a lotta yippee going on this month and you’re just a raring to go. Sit low in the saddle and enjoy the ride, Pardner. This month, it’s all about settling down and finding you that special someone. The Autumn Equinox will bring you some true happiness if you use some gumption. If that special someone is out of your league, that don’t mean they bowl somewhere else, Honey. Libra (September 24 — October 23) You may think you are the United Nations of the universe, but sometimes you gotta step down. Great Grandpa Hornblower, bless his heart, used to say never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience. If you keep your peace early this month when things get dicey around the 8th, things will play out nicer later on. Throw some peanuts in your R.C. and let thangs go. Slip back into analytical mode on the 18th and then you can hold your ground. Scorpio (October 23 — November 21) I know it’s a Reality TV world these days, and we got gypsies, tramps and thieves hanging their business out there on the Bravo clothesline. But here’s what your Mama shoulda told you: There are more important things to have than the last word — like having a real friend. Before giving someone else a piece of your mind, remember to keep a little something for yourself. Get a grip on real reality, ’cause things get intense the first of this month. Sagittarius (November 23 — December 21) What has this long, hot summer done to you, Honey Chile? Got you all riled up, that’s what. Around the 9th, you’re going to be jumpier than a metal roofer in a heat wave, and you got more hot weather ahead. If you don’t pay attention to Ole Astrid, you will spend most of the dog days with trouble to start, rumors to spread and people to argue with! Get a new hairdo. Clean out your closet. Take care of business, hear me? The end of the month brings a nice surprise from a special friend, who knows what you like and juuuuust how you like it. Capricorn (December 22 — January 20) What you don’t want to be this month is an inspiration, as in, you may think I’m a fool but you’re my inspiration. Just because you can drive with two fingers don’t mean you ought to. This would be a good time to go to The Scoop and stuff your face with two dogs and a cone of ice cream. Anything just to keep your mouth and your wallet shut. Around the Equinox on the 22nd you will be happy you gave that special someone a second chance. Just stop writing to prisoners, even if you think you have discovered your spiritual soul mate. Aquarius (January 21 — February 19) When the chips are down, I always say, find you some onion dip. I’m thinking you got options you ain’t even considered. The stars tell me you got a situation coming up around the 14th that may mean both romance and career opportunities heating up. But reword that memo and blunt The Art & Soul of Wilmington

that tongue, my little Truth Teller. You got a point, it’s true, but if you wear a hat maybe nobody will notice, darling child. Pisces (February 20 — March 20) Anything worth doing is worth overdoing, right? Wrong. Except . . . mid-month. Good lord a’mercy, you got a royal flush by the 14th. Miss Astrid here don’t think you can miss. Throw a party. Buy a lottery ticket. Go to Vegas. Light some candles and thank your lucky stars you were born, because the way things are looking you got a lot to be thankful for this month. (And more than a spoonful of loving coming your way, Sugar!) Aries (March 21 — April 20) The first of this month is going to be so tense you gonna need you some of them big old hot flash pearls you fill up with ice water. Chill, Honey. The audience ain’t laughing no matter how hard you dance, so just bow out and wait for the last half of the act. In the meantime, nail that salsa down. Things smooth out and you’ll get the applause you been working for by the final curtain. Then, Rambo, twirl and take a bow.

Taurus (April 21 — May 21) Change is inevitable except from the drink machine. My Magic Eight Ball tells me you got changes coming as you go charging into this month like a raging bull. Buy a Groupon for anger management classes. By the 12th, all that conflict and suspicion rolls off your back and you are looking at a harmonizing trine. After that, the Eight Ball says the “outlook is good.” Stardust and romance thereafter, and things will be Moon Pie fine by the 14th. Gemini (May 22 — June 21) Jumping to conclusions is about the only exercise you get until 11th. Just cause the animals are lining up two by two, it don’t mean you want to invest in an ark, Noah, so work on being less suspicious and relax. You may think you are Mr. Right or Miss Perfect, but nobody likes perfection or Mr. Right All the Time. If you can just be honest with your pals, the latter part of the month is a dreamy time. Take a friend to lunch and things will be all duckies and daisies. Cancer (June 22 — July 23) You may be feeling like someone licked the red off your candy. My cousin’s a Cancer, and it’s a tough month. The only vehicle in his yard that is still mobile is his home. You are going to need a little old boost early in the month, and not the kind you get from a Red Bull, Darlin’. By mid-month you have a lot more energy but Lord a’mercy you might want to stop with the overreactions . . . so dial back. Most of your suspicions are plain ole wrong. Except . . . for just one teensy, tee-ninsey little one. Leo (July 23 — August 23) Red alert! Don’t bust on through when you see the danger sign sitting right in front of you. Ease up on the gas pedal, why don’t you? And get some of that baggage outta the trunk. You may be the Patron Saint of Lost Causes, but you gotta let go of this one, and you know what I’m talking about. Later in the month you can go all out, and let the top down on the convertible. Life’s gonna taste so good it would make a bulldog bust his chain! For years, Astrid Stellanova owned and operated Curl Up and Dye Beauty Salon in the boondocks of North Carolina until arthritic fingers and her popular astrological readings provoked a new career path. September 2013 •



P apa d a d d y ’ s

M i n d f i e l d

Vacation Relief It was just a little sore throat that turned into appendicitis

By Clyde Edgerton

These days, researchers grow tiny

livers from stem cells and I get twenty dollar bills from a half-refrigerator-sized machine in seconds. So I figured, when — on vacation — I awoke at 3 a.m. the other night with a sore throat so bad I couldn’t go back to sleep that I’d be able to come up with ibuprofen from the hotel service desk or from a dispenser machine within a few minutes. After a couple of pills I’d be back asleep within a half hour. I’d forgotten to bring any meds and my throat was really hurting. The desk agent, after she answered the little bell on the counter, said she was sorry but she didn’t have any pain relievers.

I asked, “Is one of those dispenser machines around?” “No. I’m sorry. You’ll have to go to Walmart. They’re open all night. It’s only ten minutes away.” She handed me a piece of paper with written directions to several local businesses, including Walmart. “Oh. Thank you.” Walmart: Turn left out of parking lot onto highway 54. Third stoplight, turn right onto Miami Blvd. Go about a mile. No problem. I got up the nerve to swallow. I couldn’t possibly miss seeing a Walmart. I turned left out of the parking lot, turned right at that third stoplight. When it seemed like I’d driven about four miles I turned around, drove back to the intersection where I’d turned right, set the mileage tracker and drove a mile. No Walmart sign anywhere that I could see. To my left was a gigantic mall. Was the Walmart behind the unlit, dark mall? I turned onto a street (placing the mall both to my left and right), drove past the first row of stores and took a left — mall stores still all around me. It’s about 3:30 a.m. Where the hell . . . ? There — a little man at a dumpster. I drive to him, stop. “Can you tell me where Walmart is?”
 He looks at me, surprised-like. “It’s right here.” He pointed to the building we’re behind. “The entrance is around front.” A sense of relief. My throat was now hurting down to my belt-buckle. Around front I looked up for a Walmart sign. There it was in the dark, unlit. That seemed odd. I parked my car, walked in. No greeter, but on past the entryway I see what you see in your mind if you’ve been in Walmart: a kind of wide-aisled, well-lighted colosseum full of merchandise you’ve been trained — while encased in the fog of American selling — to know and/or buy and/or dismiss.


Salt • September 2013

In the pharmacy area, I read little blue signs hanging from thin, curved, rods. I look for “pain relief.” No such sign hangs along any row, though I do see “Personal Care,” “Vision Center” and “Oral Care.” I complete a second comprehensive survey. Ah-ha, the same little man I saw out back. He’s stocking shelves among the pharmacy rows. I approach him and ask, “Do you know where pain relief might be?” He looks at me as if he’s getting to know me, and says, “Right behind you.” I turn and there are all the pain relievers you’ve been trained to know in our fog, et cetera. I see myself through the little man’s eyes. I feel defensive. “Wonder why there’s no ‘pain relief’ sign here?” I ask. He’s back to stocking his shelf. “I don’t know,” he says over his shoulder. He’s probably thinking, This guy will be at my house when I get home. I see a bottle of generic ibuprofen for something like seven dollars, while the non-generic is something like twelve dollars. I grab it and head for checkout — surely near the door I came in. I find two side-by-side checkout counters. I look around. I see no person anywhere. Just bright lights in the ceiling among sounds of silence. I see above the closest check-out counter the number 27. The other is numbered 26. Oh. Oh, my lord — a long, long, row of numbered checkout counters, with the number 3 lit up, about a mile away. I walk toward it and arrive at around 4 a.m. A nice person awaits. I buy the ibuprofen. I’m tired, sleepy, and my throat feels like appendicitis, almost. I say to the nice person, “I wonder why the big Walmart sign out front is turned off.” I need someone to talk to. “They just turn it on in the daytime,” she says. “Oh.” She is placing my medicine in a plastic bag. “I don’t need a bag,” I say. “And can you tell me where I can find a water fountain?” Sometimes, when I remember the little country store that my daddy and uncle ran from the late ’40s to the early ’60s, I’m glad I was born in 1944 and not 1994. “I don’t know why they turn it off at night,” she says. But my daddy’s store was closed at 4 a.m. I’m still glad I was born when I was. b Clyde Edgerton is the author of ten novels, a memoir, and a new work, Papadaddy’s Book for New Fathers. He teaches in the creative writing department at UNCW. Illustration by Harry Blair.

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