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E X C L U S I V E LY AT


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C H A R LO T T E C H A R L E S TO N World Class Living


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FROM THE EDITOR

CATHY MARTIN EDITOR

editor@southparkmagazine.com

Note: It should be mentioned that SouthPark mall is an important distribution partner of SouthPark magazine; however, the magazine is editorially independent, and opinions in these pages are our own. SP

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PHOTOGRAPH BY TIM SAYER

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wice a year, when I was growing up in eastern North Carolina, my family would make the hourlong drive to Raleigh to go shopping. Every August (back-to-school) and December (Christmas) we’d head to the former North Hills Mall and Crabtree Valley Mall — a retail paradise compared to the slim pickings back home. Sure, my mom did some shopping in our hometown throughout the year, but a lot of our clothes were purchased on those two occasions. As I got older, most shopping trips to North Hills included a visit to Arthur’s Restaurant in the Ivey’s department store, where the hot grinders and other sandwiches were a nice alternative to the standard food-court fare — plus it was a more relaxing spot to take a break from shopping. When I eventually moved to Charlotte, I was thrilled to find an Arthur’s inside the Belk at SouthPark mall. Arthur’s Restaurant & Wine Shop originated in Charlotte’s Ivey’s stores — the SouthPark location moved to Belk after the local department-store chain was sold to Dillard’s in 1990. SouthPark mall opened its doors 50 years ago this month (Page 68), and Arthur’s opened four years later in 1974. That the business is still around after all these years is remarkable: It’s practically hidden on the basement level of Belk, tucked among the housewares — if you didn’t know it was there, you’d probably never find it. Its simple menu of burgers, sandwiches and salads hasn’t changed that much over the years. And while it was one of the first (if not the first) wine shops in Charlotte, grocery stores — even big-box stores like Costco and Target — have expanded their bottle selections considerably, increasing competition. I’m glad the Balsey brothers who run Arthur’s are still in business — not too many retailers can claim such longevity — but it’s nice when an old haunt from your past is there to introduce to your kids. While malls across America struggle as customers shift to point-andclick shopping, it seems SouthPark has never stopped growing. The inaugural issue of this magazine in 1999 dedicated much space to concerns over a proposed mall expansion at the time and how it might impact area traffic. Meanwhile across town, Eastland Mall, which opened five years after SouthPark in 1975, was facing an exodus of retailers amid increased crime, before eventually shutting its doors in 2010. Concerns over congestion still exist, and smart planning is essential. The latest plans for the SouthPark area include a 3-mile urban trail — a bicycle and pedestrian loop that will connect the Morrison library branch, Specialty Shops, Piedmont Row and other locations. City planners have a great opportunity to improve an already vibrant retail, commercial and residential district. I can’t wait to see what the next 50 years brings.


“ Helping businesses to develop and fuel our thriving economy is exciting every day. Even better? Those businesses are my neighbors and friends.”

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February

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DEPARTMENTS 21 | Blvd. Charlotte's newest sweet shop; Patrick Dougherty brings his stickwork sculptures to Davidson; getting artsy in Asheville.

51 | Simple life The winter gardener.

55 | Bookshelf February's notable new releases.

57 | Omnivorous Reader Doing justice to a pair of new legal thrillers.

61 | Drinking with Writers The Steep Canyon Rangers celebrate the music of the Old North State.

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65 | Art Sense Why do some works of art cost more than others? A gallery owner explains.

104 | Swirl The Queen City’s best parties, fundraisers and festivals.

SNAPSHOT 112 | Image Reflected Alvin C. Jacobs’ photographs document social-justice events and issues, including urban renewal.

ABOUT THE COVER Bar Marcel's harissa-glazed pork belly with coconut carrot puree, couscous and snap-pea salad. Photo by Justin Driscoll.

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signature homes renovations additions

Charlotte and Boone

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making it home since 1950

G E N E R A L C O N T R AC TO R


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FEATURES 68 | Staying power by Michelle Boudin

82 | Sow and grow by Ben Jarrell

As it celebrates its 50th anniversary, SouthPark mall thrives as the backbone of one of Charlotte’s most vital commercial districts.

Inspired by an acclaimed New York chef, Freshlist works with regional farmers to bring new produce to Charlotte plates.

74 | Cast & capture by Jim Moriarty

86 | Dynamic duos

From Neil Armstrong to Rosa Parks to Mother Teresa, Charlotte artist Chas Fagan depicts heroes and public figures near and far.

78 | Sweet spirit by Ken Garfield

Chaplains and other caregivers keep the faith at south Charlotte retirement communities.

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Perfect pairings from Charlotte chefs and mixologists

94 | In search of peace by Virginia Brown

Finding calm at The Art of Living’s newly expanded ayurveda spa in Boone.


1230 West Morehead St., Suite 308 Charlotte, NC 28208 704-523-6987 southparkmagazine.com _______________ Ben Kinney Publisher publisher@southparkmagazine.com Cathy Martin Editor editor@southparkmagazine.com Andie Rose Art Director Lauren M. Coffey Graphic Designer Alyssa Rocherolle Graphic Designer

A TrAdiTion of Knowledge And TrusT

Whitley Adkins Hamlin Style Editor

GAY DILLASHAW 704-564-9393 6700 Fairview Road, Charlotte, NC 28210

gay.dillashaw@allentate.com

Diverse by Design • Focus on the Whole Child Rigorous & Innovative Learning Charlotte Lab School, a North Carolina tuition-free public charter school, opened in 2015 in uptown Charlotte. Now serving 650 students grades K-8,

Charlotte Lab will expand to 9th grade in 2020-21 school year.

Contributing Writers Michelle Boudin, Sally Brewster Virginia Brown, Wiley Cash Ken Garfield, Vanessa Infanzon Catherine Ruth Kelly, Ben Jarrell D.G. Martin, Jerald Melberg Jim Moriarity, Michael J. Solender Contributing Photographers Daniel Coston, Justin Driscoll Kelsie Droppa, Michael Hrizuk Zan Maddox _______________ ADVERTISING Jane Rodewald Account Executive 704-621-9198 jane@southparkmagazine.com Scott Leonard Audience Development Specialist/ Account Executive 704-996-6426 scott@southparkmagazine.com Brad Beard Graphic Designer _______________ Letters to the editorial staff: editor@southparkmagazine.com Instagram: southparkmagazine Facebook: facebook.com/southparkmagazine Twitter: twitter.com/SouthParkMag

Now accepting 2020-21 applications for K-9 though February 20 with the lottery on February 25. Please visit our website for Open House dates.

charlottelabschool.org LOWER SCHOOL CAMPUS 301 East 9th Street, Clt, NC 28202 704-464-3830

MIDDLE SCHOOL CAMPUS 600 Seigle Ave, Clt, NC 28204 704-235-3060

Owners Jack Andrews, Frank Daniels Jr., Frank Daniels III, Lee Dirks, David Woronoff Published by Old North State Magazines LLC. ŠCopyright 2020. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Volume 23, Issue 2

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Smile and the World Smiles Back

Actual Patients: 2019 Miss NC USA, Laura Little and sister, Professional Model, Courtney Little

These smiles were highly personalized and enhanced by Dr. Patrick Broome. Where ever these two go, people notice AND they smile right back. Charlotte Center for Cosmetic Dentistry Smiles are life-changing! Get started on your amazing smile with a private consultation. Call 704-364-4711 or visit destinationsmile.com


H OW Y O U WA N T TO L I V E ...AND WHERE

Charlotte’s SouthPark area is at once posh and polished, urban and inviting. Into this unparalleled setting, we introduce The Barclay at SouthPark. As a resident, you’ll appreciate a finely appointed private apartment in a community of easy elegance. You’ll dine on chef-prepared meals, luxuriate in resort-like amenities, and thrive through individualized programs that emphasize whole-person wellness.

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© 2019 Barclay at South Park


blvd. People. Places. Things.

CANDY CRUSH When picking up a little something special for your someone special (or for yourself), chocolate never goes out of style. Twenty Degrees Chocolates, the local sweet shop that started inside Petit Philippe on Selwyn Ave., has opened a new store in The Design Center at South End. It's a labor of love — owner Casey Hickey turned a hobby making cakes for friends into a thriving business, now with two locations. Turn the page to learn more.

southparkmagazine.com | 21


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Sweet spot TWENTY DEGREES CHOCOLATES BRINGS BONBONS, CARAMELS AND A TOUCH OF WHIMSY TO ITS NEW SOUTH END SHOP. BY MICHELLE BOUDIN

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PHOTOGRAPHS BY JUSTIN DRISCOLL

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harlotte chocolatier Casey Hickey says she found her true calling thanks to a bible — a cake bible. “It was the book I used to start exploring baking more seriously,” Hickey says, referring to the 1988 classic cookbook by Rose Levy Beranbaum. “And then my best friend got married, and I did her wedding cake and it kind of just took off from there.” At the time, the Greensboro native was working in fundraising for a medical group in San Francisco, and baking was just a fun hobby. The owner of the new Twenty Degrees Chocolates shop in South End never imagined the hobby would lead to not one but two retail shops in Charlotte. “The cakes were my wedding gifts to several girlfriends, and then guests started hiring me to do it,” says the Myers Park mother of two. “I started to reconsider what I was doing with my life. I read cookbooks like novels, and although I liked my fundraising job it began to not feel like a calling ... pastry was calling me more and more.” It called her all the way to Paris. In 2003, she cashed in


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“Chocolate is a mix of science and luck. It’s temperamental — which is challenging but so much fun when you nail it.”

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part of her IRA to help pay for seven months of intensive pastry training at Le Cordon Bleu. One of her instructors happened to be one of the world’s experts in chocolate, and that started what she admits has become an obsession with both the flavor and aesthetics of the sweet treat. “I fell in love with it. I had not thought of chocolate as anything other than an ingredient before, so to discover it as a medium was eye-opening. The complexity and versatility of all the flavor profiles and what you can do with it structurally it just hit me, like wow. Chocolate is a mix of science and luck. It’s temperamental — which is challenging but so much fun when you nail it.” Hickey and her husband, Mark Meissner, opened Petit Philippe, a wine and chocolate tasting shop in Myers Park, in 2010, the year they moved east from California. In December, Hickey opened Twenty Degrees Chocolates, an upscale and adorable retail chocolate shop in The Design Center at South End. Named for the latitude where the cocoa tree grows, the bold and whimsical shop is bathed in red and crystals — it’s modeled after the Wes Anderson movie The Grand Budapest Hotel. “It’s a Parisian-inspired jewel box of a boutique that is all about chocolates and confections,” Hickey explains. “It should feel special when you’re in here. We recognize it’s a bit of an indulgence pricewise and want to make sure you get what you’re paying for, both in the shop and in the chocolates. It’s important to us to use top ingredients and well-trained chocolatiers.” Twenty Degrees features more than 35 flavors

of bonbons and caramels, but it’s perhaps best known for its fleur de sel caramels. Fans were so obsessed with the ooey gooey deliciousness, Hickey decided to bottle the popular flavor and sell the sauce in a jar. While they take chocolate-making seriously, she says they have a lot of fun with naming the sweet treats. “We get inspiration from movies and music all the time.” There’s a Seinfeld reference in a chocolate named “Serenity Now,” and a nod to The Big Lebowski with the one called “The Dude.” Hickey says chocolate is having a moment right now, and she’s loving every second of it. “We just have a ball. It’s a great medium to work in, and it’s great tasting when it’s finished. It’s just so much fun.” SP For Valentine’s Day Twenty Degrees will offer an edible heart box that can be filled with heart-shaped bon bons. Hickey suggests “The Capulet” — a rosewater and honey flavored homage to Romeo and Juliet or “Sweet Passion” — a passion fruit milk chocolate ganache.


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Strictly sticks CHAPEL HILL-BASED PATRICK DOUGHERTY BRINGS HIS TEMPORARY RUSTIC SCULPTURES TO DAVIDSON COLLEGE. BY VANESSA INFANZON

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ith names like Fancy Free, Whiplash and Wingding, Patrick Dougherty’s works of art evoke thoughts of whimsy and escape. It’s not hard to imagine a hobbit or fairy slipping through a door or window of one of the sculptor’s largerthan-life pieces. He creates these outdoor sculptures around the globe using only sticks. On February 2, Chapel Hill-based Dougherty begins his next project at Davidson College. It will take three weeks to build, and the artist will enlist the help of several student and community volunteers. The temporary sculpture is part of Davidson’s campus sculpture program, which features outdoor works by internationally acclaimed artists including Auguste Rodin and Polish sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz. “[Dougherty is] a well-known international artist, but also he’s in our own backyard,” says Davidson art professor Cort Savage. “It is a real opportunity to work with someone who is a homegrown artist.” Students in the college’s sculpture classes will share an immersive experience from collection to creation, according to Savage. The work started in January, as students gathered raw materials from the 26

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PHOTOGRAPHS BY CRAIG NEIL MCCAUSLAND, MICHAEL MAUNEY

Patrick Dougherty completed Magnificent Seven at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in November.


TOP - BOTTOM: CALL OF THE WILD (2002) MUSEUM OF GLASS, TACOMA, WA. PHOTO: DUNCAN PRICE; DO UBLE OR NOTHING (2011) WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, ST LOUIS, MO. PHOTO: CHANDLER CURLEE; FAR FLUNG (2018) TAFT MUSEUM OF ART, CINCINNATI, OH PHOTO: ROBERT A. FLISCH

WANT TO GO? Installation dates for Patrick Dougherty’s Stickwork project at Davidson College are February 2-21. The artist’s

work site, on the Northwest corner lawn of the E.H. Little Library, is open to the public. A reception will be held on Friday, Feb. 21. davidsoncollegeartgalleries.org, stickwork.net

campus, equal to a tractor-trailer load of long straight maple and laurel saplings, ideally 2 inches in diameter. “Nothing compares to students working side-by-side with the artist to create the artwork,” Savage says. “It’s a completely different kind of investigation into artmaking and making sculpture outdoors in a public context. I think it’s going to be transformative for the students.” Dougherty creates 10 pieces a year, and he has installed 307 sculptures to date. His son, Sam Dougherty, joined him three years ago. They spend three weeks at each location, with one week off in between. In November, they completed Magnificent Seven at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont. That work will be on view through 2020. Once on-site, Dougherty considers the needs of the sponsor and evaluates the materials and the capabilities of the volunteers before setting a program. The saplings are intertwined — like making a basket, Dougherty says. He sometimes uses ropes to create a shape, but he removes them by the end of the installation. The work site is safe and open to the community, and Dougherty welcomes questions. “I develop an idea at the very beginning of the process,” Dougherty says. “We lay the footprint of that piece out on the ground, drill a bunch of holes if it’s going to stand on its own, set our scaffolding around it, and pull the shapes we like.” Dougherty, 74, grew up in Southern Pines and has a degree in English from UNC Chapel Hill, where he took sculpture and art history classes. He went on to earn a master’s in hospital and health administration from the University of Iowa, but in his early 30s, he decided to become a sculptor. When he first started, he liked the idea of using simple materials that were free and easily obtained. He’s continued his work in this style, gathering saplings from around lakes, rivers and railroad tracks and under power lines. If he can’t get everything he needs from a site, he purchases materials from a farm. He remembers his largest pieces, 50 feet tall: Roundabout in Dublin, Ireland, in 1997, and Abracadabra in Swarthmore, Penn., in 2000. Sometimes a site’s risk-management guidelines dictate the height of a project, restricting ideas. Dougherty’s sculptures might stay in good shape for as long as 18 months to two years. Some sponsors opt to take them down, while others let them decompose in place. The project at Davidson College was made possible by Steve Sands, a 1968 Davidson College graduate, and his wife, Marcy. Bringing Dougherty is a chance to introduce ephemeral work to the campus’ robust sculpture program, says Lia Newman, director and curator at Davidson. “The outcome of Patrick’s projects is spectacular visually,” Savage says. “They involve rudimentary hand skills and simple processes, and sometimes students come to believe they have to have a radical and sophisticated skill set to create a meaningful work of art. I think Patrick really puts all of those preconceptions to rest.” SP southparkmagazine.com | 27


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Shoes on wheels TWO FASHION-LOVING FRIENDS LAUNCH A MOBILE FOOTWEAR BOUTIQUE.

F

BY CATHERINE RUTH KELLY

ood truck, flower truck, juice truck ... shoe truck? That’s right, ladies. Charlotte now has a mobile women’s shoe store. Elston is the brainchild of former boutique owner Laryn Adams and her friend, Stephanie Reynolds. The name is a combination of Adams’ bygone SouthPark area boutique, chezElle, and Reynolds’ maiden name, Stanton. The truck is the fusion of their love of style and, in their opinion, a shortage of shoe shopping options in Charlotte. “We felt there was a need for forward-thinking lines of high-quality shoes with a moderate price point,” Reynolds says. “We wanted to offer something fresh and different with an emphasis on individuality.” Coclico, United Nude, Veja and Zadig & Voltaire are a few of the brands Elston carries. Adams and Reynolds had been wanting to start an unconventional retail business for some time. They are both married with children, so maintaining a work/life balance was key. One day over lunch, they put the shoe-truck plan in gear. “We wanted the flexibility of a mobile boutique, so our first 28

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|blvd. priority was finding the truck and the perfect firm to upfit it,” Adams explains. “Once that was secured in Colorado, we went to task on buying inventory.” While Adams has nearly 15 years of retail buying experience, the shoe market was new to both her and Reynolds. “We muddled through markets in several cities,” Adams says, “but we had the most luck in New York.” Stocked with shoes and a variety of accessories and jewelry, Elston set up a temporary shop in Park Road Shopping Center last spring while they eagerly awaited the arrival of their truck. It finally rolled into town in August, and Elston has been making appearances throughout Charlotte ever since. “We’ve had a great response from businesses inviting us to pop up in their parking lots,” Reynolds says, “and charities have asked us to make appearances at their fundraisers, which has been a great way for us to give back and support the community.”

Adams and Reynolds have been pleased with the response to Elston so far and are buckled up and ready for the shoetruck ride. “Our focus is finding cool and different things to help our customers express their style,” Reynolds explains, “and we always manage to have fun along the way.” If the shoe fits, keep on truckin’. SP

S u s a n G r os s man U r ba n St ori es Jan 25 - March 7, 2020

Grossman pulls together all the elements of the city and refines them into poetic evocations of its vitality and promise, summoning from its light and from its shadows. -John O’Hern

CAPTURE 2020 Charcoal and Pastel on Paper Mounted on Board 45 x 55 inches

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‘City within a city’ BY VANESSA INFANZON

L

earning about our city’s history doesn’t have to be boring. Visitors to Levine Museum of the New South can uncover Charlotte’s past and current issues through interactive discussions with authors, augmented reality apps, artifacts and photographs. The museum’s latest exhibition, Brooklyn: Once a City Within a City, highlights one of the largest black communities in Charlotte and in the Carolinas, according to staff historian Willie Griffin. “It explores the rise and demise of the Brooklyn neighborhood,” Griffin says. “It shows how the neighborhood was once a thriving and vibrant black community.” The exhibit traces the origin of this neighborhood, in what is now downtown’s Second Ward, from the 1800s through its destruction in the 1960s. Aerial photographs from 1958 3 2

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show churches, houses and schools. By the late ’60s, the community was razed, and nearly 1,500 buildings were demolished. “In the 1973 photo, you can clearly see how that same chunk of the neighborhood was wiped out and replaced with sterile business buildings, the courthouse, a shopping mall and government center,” says Eric Scott, director of exhibits and programs. Now, developer BK Partners plans to create a nearly $700 million mixed-use project on the site, with retail space, offices, apartments, hotels and a park. Guests can listen to interviews with nine former Brooklyn residents through the augmented reality component of the exhibit. An AR map shows how demographics shifted in Brooklyn from 1911 to the 1960s; another map shows how Charlotte has changed from the 1960s to the present. SP

WANT TO GO?

Brooklyn: Once a City within a City is the

latest addition to the Levine Museum’s #HomeCLT: People. Places. Promises exhibition highlighting various Charlotte’s neighborhoods. Museum admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors 62 and up, and $6 for children 6-18. 200 E. 7th St., museumofthenewsouth. org southparkmagazine.com | 32

PHOTOGRAPHS PROVIDED BY LEVINE MUSEUM OF THE NEW SOUTH

LEVINE MUSEUM OF THE NEW SOUTH’S LATEST EXHIBITION EXPLORES BROOKLYN, ONCE A THRIVING BLACK COMMUNITY IN DOWNTOWN CHARLOTTE.


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|blvd.

My favorite things . . .

Pam Stowe describes herself as “a small-town, eastern

PHOTOGRAPH BY RICHARD ISRAEL

North Carolina girl who loves being in this exciting, fast-growing city. "It’s wonderful that Charlotte has retained its quintessentially Southern roots — manners still matter here, most of the time, and a smile at a stranger is happily returned,” says the Lumberton native. Stowe’s community involvement includes support for Stand for Animals, a nonprofit that provides lowcost spay/neuter services and veterinary care for pet owners at all income levels. Stand for Animals’ signature fundraiser, So You Think You Can Bark, takes place Feb. 21 at Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts. Catch Stowe and her dog, Brixxie, in a performance with local singer/songwriter Brit Drozda while raising money for a good cause. Comments were edited for brevity and clarity.

ART SCENE

Nothing makes me happier than being in an art gallery. My favorites are SOCO Gallery, Sozo Gallery, Anne Neilson Fine Art and the studios in my beloved McColl Center for Art + Innovation. I’m on the board of Theatre Charlotte and cannot

say enough about the quality of their productions. TC is somewhat of a hidden gem on Queens Road. Everyone who loves live theatre should go to one of their shows.

and I love to venture out to Windsor Square [in Matthews] to Ben Thanh for the best Vietnamese I’ve ever had.

FOOD & DRINK

GETAWAYS

My husband and I love dining out, and Barrington’s and Bar Marcel are our go-tos. I love nothing more than sneaking into Ginbu 401 on Providence Road for solo dining when I need to think or write — the shrimp lettuce wraps are the best, and the staff is so warm. When I crave a hot dog and a cherry coke, it’s Park Road Soda Shoppe every time. Poppy’s Deli has delish chicken soup with matzo balls for when a friend (or myself) needs comfort, 34

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I don’t get away as much as I’d like, but New York City is always high on my list. My two sons live there. For total relaxation, we go to our funky ’60s era family house at Myrtle Beach. It looks kinda like Hugh Hefner designed a beach house. We have total privacy there, which is a treasure.

KEEPING THE FAITH

It would be impossible to talk about my favorite things without mentioning Sunday mornings at Myers Park Methodist Church, hearing Rev. James Howell’s smart, funny, incredibly insightful messages. I always feel like he is speaking directly to me. Led by Director of Music James R. Jones, the choir and organ send chills down my spine with the beauty of the soaring music.


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SHOPPING SPREES

My mother and grandmother were “dressers,” so I caught the bug early in life. Most of my best clothes are from Capitol and Poole Shop. Owner Laura Vinroot Poole is a dear friend and the most innovative, inspirational woman I know. Besides the clothes, I particularly love my Ann Howell Bullard handbags. Other treasures from Capitol are my Of Rare Origin earrings. My daughter, Palmer, got her first pair for Christmas this year. My mother taught me to mix high-end clothes with “finds” for an interesting eclectic look. I love checking out Boris + Natasha in Plaza Midwood and Jade Sky in NoDa for delightful surprises. Vintage clothing also plays a big part in my wardrobe. I’m fortunate to have some of my mother’s things, plus I love shopping the online vintage shops Golyester, Seeline Vintage, Quinby Vintage and House of Landor. The

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very best place in Charlotte for accessories you will not see elsewhere is CLTCH on Central Avenue. I can always find fun gifts there, too, even for guys.

LOOKING AHEAD

My hopes and dreams for the 2020s are to continue to engage and support younger women, particularly artists. The relationships I have forged with young women in Charlotte have brightened my life and brought fun and excitement that I would have missed. I don’t know who said it, but “be the person you needed when you were younger.” Also, I'd like to travel more, paint more, continue training my dogs and spend more time with those I love, both family and friends. Here’s to a shiny new decade! SP

compiled by Whitley Adkins Hamlin Know of a Charlotte tastemaker or person of interest we should feature here? Email whitley@thequeencitystyle.com.


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Oy to the world CHARLOTTE JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL ENTERS ITS 16TH SEASON WITH A LINEUP THAT APPEALS TO ALL FAITHS AND BACKGROUNDS.

F

BY MICHAEL J. SOLENDER

or Jeff Turk, Charlotte Jewish Film Festival’s longtime film selection committee chair, one distinctive measure of the festival’s long-term success is the number of phone calls he gets each fall inquiring about screening dates. “The calls start in early September as festival fans are planning their winter vacations,” says Turk, the Levine Jewish Community Center’s immediate past president. “There are many couples and families that plan their travel schedule around the film festival dates, and they want to be certain to make it to each and every film.” CJFF enters its 16th season as Charlotte’s longest continuously running film festival. Spawned from a two-film, one-night screening at the Light Factory in 2005 hosted by a local Hadassah (an international Jewish women’s organization) chapter, CJFF today boasts more than two dozen films and events occurring during the three-week core festival in February as well as screenings in the summer and fall. Festivalwide attendance last year approached 5,000. CJFF’s long-running success might seem counter to the fact that the Charlotte region is home to a relatively small Jewish population, estimated around 15,000, according to Jewish Heritage North Carolina. Festival director Susan Cherin Gundersheim doesn’t see it that way. “The mission of the festival is to illuminate the 38

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Jewish experience through film,” she says. “Our films explore what it is to be human, albeit through a Jewish lens, yet there is a universality to these films that resonate with audiences of all faiths and backgrounds.” The festival routinely looks for community partners to diversify appeal and expand audience base, Gundersheim says. In recent years, CJFF has teamed with organizations such as the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture; Charlotte’s LGBTQ community including Reel Out Charlotte and the Charlotte Gay Men’s Chorus; the local interfaith community through Mecklenburg Ministries; and with mental-health and social-services agencies such as Jewish Family Services. Post-film discussions with filmmakers, actors and directors lend access to the creative process, themes and topical messages. In 2018, filmmaker Rene Balcer, perhaps bestknown as a writer and producer for various installments of the Law & Order TV crime series, appeared to screen his film Above the Drowning Sea. The powerful story of Jews escaping Nazi Germany who found refuge in an unlikely Shanghai, China, led to lively conversation around current global immigrant crisis. “What sets festivals apart for audiences,” says Charlotte film buff Jeff Jackson, “is creating an environment where people are


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|blvd. not only excited to be there amongst other film fans, but also establishing an atmosphere where people are more willing to take chances on films they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity or inclination to see.” Jackson founded the NoDa Film Festival that ran from 2006 to 2012, served as film curator for the “New Frequencies” series at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation, and currently curates film programming for the Avant Goodyear event series at Goodyear Arts gallery in Camp North End. “A big part of CJFF’s success has been building audience relationships with their consistently good programming,” Jackson says. Among the notable guests CJFF has brought to Charlotte are actor/director Peter Riegert (Animal House, Crossing Delancey), stage and film actor Sasson Gabai (The Band’s Visit), producer/ writer Mike Reiss (The Simpsons), Major League Baseball star Josh Zeid (Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel) and director Roberta Grossman (Hava Nagila). Jackson points out one of the not-so-small ironies for film enthusiasts in Charlotte: As the city grows in population, screenings of independently made, small-budget and foreign films is shrinking. “Charlotte has very few “art house” screens, and it’s only through festivals like CJFF where enthusiasts have the chance to screen films not made by large studios,” he says.

Show stoppers

The CJFF selection committee screened more than 80 films before selecting the final 16 that will be shown during the festival, says committee chair Jeff Turk. This year’s lineup features political thrillers, documentaries, comedies and heartfelt dramas. Here are a few highlights. YidLive!, Feb. 1 (opening night): Montrealborn comedians Eli Batalion and Jamie Elman bring the Yiddish they learned in high school to new artistic heights through their popular web series, YidLife Crisis. The duo recently completed the show’s third season featuring a pair of quirky Montreal foodies exploring their common Jewish heritage, culture and religion as it collides with an increasingly secular world. This multimedia comedy show (think Seinfeld on steroids, with Canadian accents) combines the best clips from the web series with standup and audience participation. “Inclusivity is 40

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one of YidLife’s pillars,” Elman says. “We use comedy and humor in our live show and love sharing the universality of the Jewish culture with audiences.” Balalion and Elman also are scheduled to host their feature-length documentary, Chewdaism: A Taste of Jewish Montreal on Feb. 2. The pair take their schtick onto their home Canadian turf and discover their own mixed-up heritage in the story of Jewish Montreal, as told through an entire day’s worth of eating around the city. “Food is such an essential part of Jewish culture,” Batalian says, “And Montreal has such an extensive food scene, that by extension, it has become a third character in our show.” Incitement , Feb. 5: This tense political thriller won Israel’s prestigious Ophir Award for Best Picture in 2019 and was Israel’s entrant into this year’s Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film. The drama follows the assassination of former Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, and is told from the point of view of the killer. The film has been both hailed and assailed in Israel and has stoked controversy for its exploration of the assassin’s frustrations that led him to murder Rabin. Aulcie, Feb. 23: Aulcie is a documentary of the life and career of Aulcie Perry, a heralded small college basketball star who just missed making the New York Knicks. Perry, whose parents grew up in North Carolina, took his talent overseas and became a basketball legend in Israel, where he converted to Judaism. He led Maccabi Tel Aviv to an upset win in the 1976 European Championship. Perry’s inspiring story is not without heartache, as the film chronicles his search for a daughter he never knew, his battle with addiction, incarceration, and ultimately redemption and renewal. Nancy Spielberg — Steven Spielberg’s sister — is the film’s executive producer. SP

WANT TO GO? When: Feb. 1 – 23 Where: Various venues throughout Charlotte, including Shalom Park and Regal Ballantyne Village. Admission: An all-festival pass is $160, single tickets are $11-$25. For the full schedule and more information, go to charlottejewishfilm.com.


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Elevated art AFTER A STUNNING $24 MILLION EXPANSION, ASHEVILLE ART MUSEUM PROVIDES ANOTHER COMPELLING REASON TO VISIT THE WESTERN N.C. CITY. BY CATHY MARTIN

M

aya Lin is an internationally acclaimed architect and sculptor, perhaps best known for designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., when she was a senior at Yale University. Now based in New York, Lin was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2009 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016. Alex Bernstein is a glass artist born in Spruce Pine and raised in Yancey County, who went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts from the Rochester Institute of Technology in upstate New York. His work has appeared in solo shows and collections from Seattle to Palm Springs to the Glasmuseum Frauenau in Germany, but he now calls Asheville home. At the newly expanded Asheville Art Museum, Lin’s “Pin River,” a steel-pin rendering of the French Broad River, and Bernstein’s “Ice Meadow” crystal-and-steel sculpture inspired

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by a frozen lake fed by the Cuyahoga River, appear side-byside, reflecting the museum’s efforts to highlight the work of both national art heavyweights and regional talent. The 54,000-square-foot museum held its grand reopening in November, following a $24 million renovation that took three years and more than doubled the museum's footprint. The renovation preserved the original 1926 Pack Library building and added contemporary space, including a bright, glass-walled atrium and a larger gallery for the museum’s permanent collection, Intersections in American Art. The collection, focused on works of art by regional and national artists from 1860 to today, has grown by nearly a third over the last three years. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you spot the three-story glass façade and the enormous blue cut- and chiseled glass orb on the plaza in front of the museum entrance on Pack Square.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF ASHEVILLE ART MUSEUM-REFLECTIONS ON UNITY BY HENRY RICHARDSON

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A MUSEUM VISITOR VIEWS A WORK BY QUILT ARTIST LUKE HAYNES.

MARK PEISER, CHERRY BLOSSOMS, 1980, BLOWN AND TORCH-WORKED GLASS, 5 X 3 1/8 X 3 1/8 INCHES

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New York-based sculptor Henry Richardson’s “Reflections on Unity” weighs about 4,500 pounds and sits atop an 8-ton boulder from a local quarry. “The concept is unification of the community and inclusion for people coming to the museum,” Richardson said at the November opening. “It becomes a beacon essentially, to pull people in from the community and through the doors into the museum.” A major inspiration for the museum’s permanent collection is Black Mountain College. The progressive liberal-arts college operated from 1933 to 1957 in the Swannanoa Valley. Despite its brief existence, Black Mountain College had an outsized impact, with some of the most significant artists of the 20th century having taught or studied there. “It instantly makes a network of connections for us,” said assistant curator Whitney Richardson. The collection includes several works by artists associated with Black Mountain College, which was located about 15 miles east of Asheville. In the gallery, you might find works of fine art displayed alongside decorative arts or crafts from the same time period. For example, a 1960 abstract painting by Massachusetts-based Jo Sandman is paired with a trio of ceramic platters from the same era. Also on view is a studio glass collection that includes works


|blvd. by three western N.C. artists and a photography exhibit featuring recent gifts to the museum. A new rooftop terrace and café offers mountain views and a locally sourced menu of small plates, sandwiches and salads, while an interactive play space caters to the museum’s youngest patrons. While Asheville has become a tourist hot spot centered around its local beer and culinary scene, the new museum serves as a reminder of the area’s rich arts heritage. “This area, with the Black Mountain College, was built on

the arts, so I think [this museum] is putting the focus back a little bit more on the art,” Bernstein, the glass sculptor, said at the museum opening. “It’s fitting, and the museum has been incredibly inclusive to all the local artists and incredibly friendly,” Bernstein said. “Honestly, that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes museums don’t want to have anything to do with the local community — they just want ‘fancy’ people. This museum has been the opposite. … It really feels like a community effort.” SP

WESLEY CLARK, MY BIG BLACK AMERICA, 2015, STAIN, SPRAY PAINT, LATEX, AND SALVAGED WOOD, 192 X 120 X 14 INCHES

KATE CLAYTON "GRANNY" DONALDSON, FIGURAL BLANKET OR WALL HANGING, 1936, CROCHETED AND APPLIQUÉD COTTON AND VEGETABLE-DYED WOOL, 31 7/8 X 35 1/2 INCHES

WANT TO GO?

Asheville Art Museum is located at 2 South Pack Square in downtown Asheville. The museum is open daily (except Tuesdays) from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. and until 9 p.m. on Thursdays. The museum’s opening exhibit, Appalachia Now!, concludes on Feb. 3. The exhibition features the work of 50 artists presently working in Southern Appalachia. A Telling Instinct: John James Audubon & Contemporary Art opens on Feb. 21, combining the works of the famous American illustrator with works by 21st-century artists inspired by the animal world. ashevilleart.org ANNE LEMANSKI, DEREGULATOR, 2011, COPPER ROD, NOVELTY MONEY, FABRIC, AND ARTIFICIAL SINEW ON COPPER WIRE, 25 × 20 × 42 INCHES

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Enjoys sips from dozens of local breweries and cideries, along with kombucha, coffee and bites at the ninth annual Queen City

Famed tenor Andrea Bocelli kicks off his

Help scientists study feathered friends in the

Legendary crooner and 19-time Grammy Award winner Tony Bennett returns to Charlotte, playing Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Tickets start at $58. blumenthalarts.org

The theme of this year’s Southern

Brewers Festival.

Choose from two 3.5hour tasting sessions starting at noon or 5 p.m., capped with a “Best of Show” presentation. Proceeds benefit ACEing Autism, a nonprofit that serves children with autism through specially designed tennis clinics. At Liberty Hall at The Park Expo and Conference Center; tickets are $50. qcbrewfest.com 48

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four-city “Valentine’s Day” tour in Charlotte, performing at Spectrum Center. Tickets start at $82.50. ticketmaster.com

Great Backyard Bird Count. Wing Haven

will offer guided walks and “Breakfast in the Garden” with light refreshments, coffee and hot chocolate. The event is free; register at winghavengardens.org. 260 Ridgewood Ave. winghavengardens.org

Spring Home & Garden Show is

“Vintage South,” with appearances by home and garden experts including Kevin O’Connor, the longtime host of This Old House and Ask This Old House. Tickets are $10 when purchased online; $12 at the door. The Park Expo and Conference Center. charlottespringhomeandgardenshow.com


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|simple life

The winter gardener THERE’S PLENTY OF LIFE STIRRING BENEATH THE SEASON’S SNOWS. BY JIM DODSON

A

s you read this, the first winter of the new decade is drawing to a close. Like a certain fabled snowman who danced with the village children until he began to melt away, I rather hate to see it go. Winter, you see, is my favorite gardening season. Perhaps this is because I am a son of winter, reportedly born during the height of a February snowstorm on Groundhog Day way back in 1953. Or maybe my wintry affection stems from two decades of living on a forested hill in Maine, where the snow piled up before Christmas and I learned most of what I know about resourceful living and “making do” — as they say in the North Country — including the art of keeping the home fires burning and loved ones warm. The light of winter is another of the season’s charms. Clear winter stars over our hilltop provided a dazzling show of celestial beauty, and the feel of the winter sun on your face on a cold, clear afternoon is like a benediction in Nature’s chapel.

Whenever I’m having difficulty falling asleep, I remember cold, clear nights when I donned my red wool Elmer Fudd coat and toted a 50-pound bag of sorghum pellets to the spot at the forest’s edge. There, a family of whitetail deer waited patiently for their supper in the arctic moonlight during the hardest nights of year — a memory of fellowship with mythic creatures that never fails to ease me into sleep on my own winter nights. It’s possible that my fondness for what poet Christina Rossetti called the “bleak midwinter” is simply written in the stars. Both my parents were Aquarians with midwinter birthdays just days before my own in early February. Ditto my firstborn child, a beautiful baby girl who appeared during a January blizzard that left the world quilted in white as the golden morning sun spread over Casco Bay, moments after young Maggie’s debut. When we carried her home to Bailey Island, our unplowed lane lay so deep in snow we were forced to park at the village post office and slide down a steep hill to our back door just steps from the cobalt blue sea. The memory of my newly southparkmagazine.com | 51


|simple life arrived Southern mother giddily whooping as she tobogganed down the hill on her bottom still makes me smile. Maggie made the trip all bundled into my arms — and claims to remember the journey to this day. Winter’s other gifts included our annual winter solstice party where friends and neighbors came out of the frigid night to sing and dance for their supper and — because I married into a clan of real Glaswegian Scots — a Hogmanay celebration on New Year’s Eve that included dancing to fiddle reels and toasting with good Islay-made Scotch with Big Ben dialed up on the shortwave radio at 7 p.m. — and sing in bed by nine. The drunks in Times Square could never compete with that. To some extent or another, of course, every one of these seasonable pleasures can be found in North Carolina winter as well, including cold nights, clear stars, holiday lights, good Scotch, fiddle reels and — despite global warming — the occasional surprise snowfall that stops a madding world in its tracks. But winter here has one significant advantage over life on a snowy hilltop in Maine. In the North Country, once the deep cold and snows arrived, I could only tend the fire, browse seed catalogs and picture the ambitious things I planned to do in my garden once the frozen ground thawed and was fully in view again — generally around Easter time, if we were lucky.

Just in time for

Valentine s Day

Thanks to kinder and gentler Southern winters, however, I am able to get to work planning and digging even before Hogmanay arrives. With nature at parade rest and stripped to bare essentials, I not only can see the architecture of my garden, but also take stock of last summer’s botanical successes and bonehead miscues. This year, for example, with the new decade just hours away, I spent five blessedly solitary hours getting gloriously dirty in my winter garden on New Year’s Eve. To briefly review my loves’ labors, I dug up and transplanted seven rose bushes and nine ornamental grasses; moved a mophead hydrangea to a shadier spot and six Russian sages to a sunnier one. I also planted a splendid Leland cypress, raked up the last of the autumn leaves and spread a dozen wheelbarrows worth of new hardwood mulch. By the time I was finished — and the work finished me — the mistress of the estate required me to strip bare at the side door before entering her gleaming New Year’s kitchen, though she’ll flatly tell you that she never sees me happier than after a few well-spent hours digging in my winter garden, headed for a good soak in the tub or a hot shower. Dig in the soil, goes the old gardener’s ditty — delve in the soul. Even William Shakespeare seemed to find this time of year irresistible for contemplation of life’s passing seasons:

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|simple life That time of year thou mayst in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. In me thou see’st the twilight of such day As after sunset fadeth in the west; Which by and by black night doth take away, Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest. In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire, That on the ashes of his youth doth lie, As the death-bed, whereon it must expire, Consumed with that which it was nourish’d by. This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong, To love that well, which thou must leave ere long. His theme, of course, is the brevity of life. As February dawns, such wintry thoughts come naturally to my mind as well, for I reach my mid-60s this year and am both amused and astonished how quickly the notion of “old age” has arrived. Save for a pair of dodgy knees that make gardening’s up and down a bit more challenging, I honestly don’t feel a day over 40 — yet I know I’m in the midwinter of my allotted visitation time, with scarce time to waste for being present in my own days, whatever the season. “Tho’ I am an old man,” as Founding Father Thomas

Givyeour guyear w r e d n u y x se for a change.

Jefferson wrote to his friend Thomas Willson Peale in August of 1811, “I am but a young gardener.” Two and one-half decades ago, when I really was in my 40s, I spent the entire month of February by my own founding father’s bedside, serving as his caretaker as he slipped the bonds of Earth. What a fine and joyful life he’d led — my nickname for him was “Opti the Mystic” — and what a privilege it was to simply sit by his bed talking about this and that, weather and wives, golf and grandchildren, nothing left unsaid, saying thank-you as his life gently ebbed away. The end came a few days into March, after a night of sleet gave way to a stunning spring morning full of sunshine and birdsong. My oldest friend Patrick turned up, seemingly unbidden, suggesting we go play the old goat farm golf course where we learned to play as kids. I have no memory of how we scored or even what we talked about, though it was the perfect thing to do. Opti would surely have approved. That afternoon, I dug up some of my mom’s peonies to take home to my snowbound perennial beds in Maine. I planted them as the spring thaw finally arrived — sometime around Easter. SP Contact Editor Jim Dodson at jim@thepilot.com.

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|bookshelf

February books NOTABLE NEW RELEASES COMPILED BY SALLY BREWSTER

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz, by Eric Larson Adolf Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium on Winston Churchill’s first day as prime minister. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen to the Nazis, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. Hitler then began to wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to hold his country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally — and willing to fight to the end. This is the story of how Churchill taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it’s also an intimate domestic drama set against the backdrop of Churchill’s prime-ministerial country home; his wartime retreat where he and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest; and of course, 10 Downing Street in London. The Splendid and the Vile takes readers out of today's political dysfunction and back to a time of true leadership, when, in the face of unrelenting horror, Churchill's eloquence, courage and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together. Franklin and Washington: The Founding Partnership, by Edward J. Larson Although separated in age by nearly a generation, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin each contributed mightily to the success of the war against the British monarchy, and each profoundly shaped the new nation at its 1787 Constitutional Convention. While from different colonies — Franklin from a free state and Washington himself a slave owner — their experiences in the French and Indian War made them realize the importance of intercolonial cooperation. Franklin’s diplomatic efforts carried him often to London and Paris, while Washington stayed home to manage his own affairs and to engage in the Virginia House of Burgesses and then lead the Colonial Army to victory. But both recognized the need for a strong central government to protect hard-won freedoms, and both commanded unwavering respect from fractious Constitutional Convention delegates.

A Good Neighborhood, by Therese Anne Fowler What does it mean to be a good neighbor? What happens when you try to do the right thing but everything goes wrong? In a tight-knit North Carolina neighborhood, professor of forestry and ecology Valerie Alston-Holt is raising her bright and talented biracial son, Xavier, who’s headed to college in the fall. After years of single parenting, Valerie, a widow, faces the prospect of an empty nest. All is well until her neighbors tear down the house and trees next door to build a showplace. With little in common except a property line, these two very different families quickly find themselves at odds over an historic oak tree in Valerie’s yard, and the romance unfolding between their two teenagers. A page-turning story for fans of suspenseful domestic dramas. Smacked: A Story of White-Collar Ambition, Addiction, and Tragedy, by Eilene Zimmerman Eilene Zimmerman noticed that her ex-husband looked thin, seemed distracted and was frequently absent from activities with their children. She and their friends thought he looked sick and needed to see a doctor. He told her he had been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, but this was just a cover-up for what was really going on with his life. In many ways, Peter seemed to have it all: a beautiful house by the beach, expensive cars and other luxuries that come with an affluent life. Eilene assumed his odd behavior was due to stress and overwork. When Eilene and her children were unable to reach Peter for several days, she went to his house to see if he was OK. He was not. He was dead from a common bacterial infection common to intravenous drug users. So begins Smacked, a brilliant and moving memoir of Eilene's shocking discovery, one that sets her on a journey to find out how a man she knew for nearly 30 years became a drug addict, hiding it so well that neither she nor anyone else in his life suspected what was happening. SP Sally Brewster is the proprietor of Park Road Books, located at 4139 Park Road. parkroadbooks.com southparkmagazine.com | 55


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|omnivorous reader

Crime and punishment DOING JUSTICE TO A PAIR OF NEW LEGAL THRILLERS BY D.G. MARTIN

T

wo popular authors of legal thrillers have close connections to North Carolina. We would like to claim them for our state, but both live in Virginia. John Grisham’s latest book, The Guardians, has spent recent weeks on or near the top of The New York Times best-seller list. Although he lives near Charlottesville, Va., he regularly visits his daughter’s family in Raleigh and enjoys his second home in Chapel Hill, where his wife, Renee, is active in support of the UNC Press and the performing arts efforts. Martin Clark, author of his fifth novel, The Substitution Order, though not as well known as Grisham, has legions of fans. He has been called “the thinking man’s John Grisham.” Clark lives on a farm near Stuart, Va., just a few miles above the North Carolina line and not far from the WinstonSalem hospital where he was born. Both new books feature hardworking, smart lawyers confronting sophisticated corruption schemes in the justice system. Grisham’s story features innocent people who have been convicted and sentenced to lengthy years of confinement. Coincidently, newspapers and movie theaters have been full of real-life stories of long-serving prisoners who have been found to be innocent. “After 36 Years in Prison, 3 Men Cleared in Killing,” a headline in The New York Times proclaimed recently. Stories like it have become more and more common as efforts to establish the innocence of people convicted of murder expand throughout the country, including North Carolina. Last year Charles Ray Finch, 81, was freed after being wrongfully convicted 43 years ago of a murder in Wilson County. His release came after a 17-year effort by students in the Duke Law Innocence Project. Why does it take such a long time to undo a wrongful conviction? Grisham gives an answer in The Guardians. His hero is Cullen Post, a lawyer and Episcopal priest who works for Guardian Ministries in Savannah, Ga. Post lives in a small apartment above the ministries’ office, but spends most of his time on the road, visiting prisoners all over the Southeast. Post interviews prospective clients in their prison cells.

Most of the time he concludes they are guilty. But for those who have persuaded him of their innocence, he gives his all. He even sits with them as they await execution, sharing their last meal. With others, he tries to unearth facts and connections that might bolster their innocence claims. Back at the office, he helps draft legal documents to persuade courts to open the door for a review of their clients’ convictions. Even after all this hard work, the Guardian Ministries has only gained the release of eight innocent prisoners. Grisham paints the portraits of several imprisoned clients who are almost certainly innocent but focuses on an AfricanAmerican former truck driver, Quincy Miller. Twenty-two years earlier, Miller had been convicted of murdering Keith Russo, a small town white lawyer who had done a lousy job representing Miller in an acrimonious divorce. The evidence against Miller was thin and contrived, but the local sheriff was determined to pin the murder on him. Why was the sheriff so motivated? Post’s probing is, at first, inconclusive. Then, as he learns that drug dealing might be involved and that the murdered Keith Russo was involved in the illicit trade, things get scary. Post meets Miller’s original defense lawyer and learns that a drug cartel had subjected him to torture and terror so frightening that he would not speak of Miller’s case in public. When Miller is attacked and almost killed by prisoners on the drug cartel’s payroll and strange men begin to follow Post, Grisham injects his patented skillful storytelling to weave a disturbing tale. While Post makes it clear that his job is to prove that his clients, in this case Miller, are innocent, and not necessarily to find the actual murderers, after all Grisham reveals about the horror of the drug cartels and the local officials involved in Keith Russo’s murder, it disappointed this reader not to have the real trigger man and his handlers brought to justice. Maybe Grisham is just leaving the door open for a sequel. If so, I will be in line to buy the first copy. Meanwhile, there is time to enjoy Clark’s The Substitution Order, which has gained widespread praise. New York Times reviewer Alafair Burke wrote, “In a good legal thriller, the law southparkmagazine.com | 57


|omnivorous reader itself propels the narrative as intensely as any single character. By that definition, Martin Clark’s The Substitution Order is not merely a good legal thriller; it’s a great one.” It opens with its main character and narrator speaking, “For years, I was an excellent lawyer, as honest and effective as you could ever want, and I’m a decent enough person, and despite my mistakes, which — I concede — were hellacious, I deserve better than this misery.” These words introduce us to the plight of Kevin Moore. When a lawyer’s life collapses, it can fall hard, and the devastation can be horrendous. But hard times can make for a good story, and Moore’s sad situation becomes the basis for Clark’s enticing book. Moore was an admired and successful lawyer in Roanoke, Va. He was deeply devoted to his wife, but then briefly fell into a short fling of infidelity, drug use and association with drug dealers. The results: disbarment and probation. His wife gives up and leaves him. Hoping to regain respectability and return to a good life, Moore takes a job working in a cheap deli. His circumstances make him the target of sophisticated crooks. A stranger who calls himself Caleb visits the deli and proposes that Moore cooperate in a multimillion-dollar scam to con his malpractice insurer out of millions of dollars. As a part of the scam, Moore would admit that he

failed to follow up on a client’s option to purchase a parcel of mountain land for a little less than a million dollars. She lost the property, which later sold for $6 million. If Moore plays along, his lawyers’ malpractice insurer will pay $5 million to his former client, who is part of the scam. When Moore turns Caleb and his colleagues down, they use a corrupt law-enforcement official to get a fake positive drug test and plant drugs and a pistol in his car. The resulting probation violation and new charges could put him in jail for a long time. His Job-like experience continues when he suffers a stroke just as his soon-to-be ex-wife takes him off her health insurance coverage. His slow turnaround begins when he calls Dan Duggan, his Davidson College classmate and law-school roommate at the University of Virginia, for help. Duggan guides him through the health insurance morass and then, at the end of the book, plays a key role in Moore’s counter-scam to punish Caleb’s colleagues and deny them the fruits of their evil deeds. Martin Clark, the author of this compelling story, recently retired as a Virginia circuit court judge, giving him, we can hope, time to write more “thinking man’s” thrillers. SP D.G. Martin hosts North Carolina Bookwatch Sunday at 11 a.m. and Tuesday at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. The program also airs on the North Carolina Channel Tuesday at 8 p.m.

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|drinking with writers

Songs of home

THE STEEP CANYON RANGERS CELEBRATE THE MUSIC OF THE OLD NORTH STATE. BY WILEY CASH • PHOTOGRAPH BY MALLORY CASH

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hat do you do after spending several weeks playing sold-out shows across Australia, some of them with Steve Martin and Martin Short? If you are the Steep Canyon Rangers, you come back to North Carolina and play a lunchtime show inside a strip-mall record store in Raleigh. If you are the Steep Canyon Rangers, you even carry your own equipment through the front door and snake your way through the crowd on the way to the stage. There were no crowds when I arrived nearly an hour or so before the noon show on a chilly Wednesday in early December. The Steep Canyon Rangers had just released their latest album, North Carolina Songbook, which they had recorded live at Merlefest in April. The album is a celebration of North Carolina music, featuring the band’s renditions of the work of some of North Carolina’s most foundational voices, including Thelonious Monk, Doc Watson, Elizabeth Cotton and James Taylor. The album was released on the Friday after Thanksgiving, a day that many music lovers have come to revere as national Record Store Day Black Friday. In support of the album, the Rangers had decided to play record stores, starting with Schoolkids Records in Raleigh. If you want to feel uncool, I invite you to visit an independent record store that sits a stone’s throw from a university campus.

“VIPs only down front,” says the record-store manager from behind the bar. I call it a bar, because while it is a counter where you can pay for records and merchandise, it is also a bar in that beer is served from behind it. “I’m friends with the band,” I say. He knits his brows as if he has heard this hundreds of times over the years from lame dads like me. But it is the truth. I went to college with mandolin player Mike Guggino, and I have written about the band and gotten to know them over the years. I decide to try another tack. “I’m with the media,” I say, which is also true. After all, you are right now reading the media story I wrote, but this was not enough for the manager. “You have to purchase an album to be a VIP,” he says. “That’s it?” I ask. “I was going to do that anyway.” “Great,” he says, not smiling. “You can be a VIP.” As the clock crawls closer to noon, the store begins to fill to capacity with a mixed crowd that ranges from college students to retirees. Someone has ordered pizza. Beers are being passed from the bar back through the crowd. “Do a lot of bands play here?” a middle-aged woman asks the manager. “A couple times a month,” he says. He looks around. “But nothing like this.” I hear someone say my name, and I turn to find southparkmagazine.com | 61


|drinking with writers Graham Sharp, one of the band’s vocalists, carrying his guitar case and pushing through the crowd. I say hello to him and pray that the record-store manager has seen us greet one another by name. The rest of the band streams in behind Sharp, each of them carrying an assortment of instruments. The band takes the small stage, nearly filling it. The room is warm and pleasant; everyone clearly happy to be out of the office or skipping class in favor of live music from one of North Carolina’s most famous bands. “Hey, y’all,” Sharp says to the audience. “These are songs we recorded at Merlefest.” The crowd cheers at the mention of the iconic festival. “But we haven’t played them since April.” “We relearned them on the way here,” says lead vocalist Woody Platt to the audience’s laughter. And then the band is off into a rollicking version of Charlie Poole’s “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down,” Platt’s rich baritone playing a wonderful historical opposite to Poole’s higher pitch. The event soon takes on the feel of a college keg party, a feel that is intimately familiar to the Steep Canyon Rangers. The band was co-founded by Sharp and Platt at UNC Chapel Hill in the late ’90s, when both were undergraduates. They released their first album in 2001, and they have released 13 albums since then, a few in collaboration with Steve Martin. “This new album is a homecoming for us,” Platt later tells the

audience. “We released our first record with Yep Roc Records, and that’s who’s just released North Carolina Songbook.” And what a homecoming. The album is not only a celebration of famous North Carolina musicians and their music; it is also a testament to the Steep Canyon Rangers’ ability to blend and bend genres and styles while making a cover song seem like their own. The band moves through gorgeous covers of Thelonious Monk’s “Blue Monk,” Tommy Jarrell’s “The Drunken Hiccups,” Ola Belle Reed’s “I’ve Endured,” Elizabeth Cotten’s “Shake Sugaree,” closing out the set with the state’s beloved James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James,” sung by bassist Barrett Smith, a longtime friend of the band who is the newest addition. At the close of the show, Platt sets down his guitar and tells the audience that the band will hang around for a little “shake and howdy,” but they have to get over to Chapel Hill for a mic check. They are singing the national anthem at the Dean Dome before tonight’s Tar Heels game against Ohio State. A homecoming indeed, but while so much has changed for the Steep Canyon Rangers, shows like the one at the record store prove that so little about them has. SP Wiley Cash lives in Wilmington with his wife and their two daughters. His latest novel, The Last Ballad, is available wherever books are sold.

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|art sense

The economics of fine art WHY DO SOME WORKS OF ART COST MORE THAN OTHERS? A GALLERY OWNER EXPLAINS. BY JERALD MELBERG

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s an art dealer, I am often asked why a work of art costs what it does. It is important to remember that fine art never starts out as just another thing to buy and sell. Its creation is one of the most personal and individual forms of expression known to humankind. But the moment a work of art is completed and leaves the artist’s studio, it becomes subject to many of the same laws of buy and sell — and supply and demand — as do other goods. There are many factors that determine how a work of art is priced. One can start with easily quantifiable elements such as uniqueness, medium and size. A unique sculpture will cost more than one reproduced multiple times. A painting on canvas is usually more expensive than a drawing on paper, and larger works have a tendency to cost more than smaller ones. However, there are less tangible factors that affect the price of a work of art as well. Is the artist emerging, midcareer or well-established? Has the artist exhibited in or been collected by museums? Is this artist’s work in demand, and if so, how much is on the market? Perhaps more academic, where does

the artist fit in art history? All that said, there are in fact no rules. Sellers can set whatever price they want, for whatever reason they want, on whatever art they have for sale. Similarly, anyone can claim to be an artist, and anyone can create anything and call it art. What does all this mean? It means that you have to be aware of the unique aspects of the market when you consider the price of a work of art. It also means working with a reputable dealer is critical. (More on that next time…) Explaining the price difference between one painting and another may not be as easy as explaining the price difference between a Rolls Royce and a Hyundai, but the difference can be explained and understood by anyone. So, ask questions. You may or may not agree with some of the more subjective answers, but you will have gained some valuable information and understanding on which to base your decision. SP Jerald Melberg is the owner of Jerald Melberg Gallery at 625 South Sharon Amity Rd. southparkmagazine.com | 65


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Staying power

AS IT CELEBRATES ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY, SOUTHPARK MALL THRIVES AS THE BACKBONE OF ONE OF CHARLOTTE’S MOST VITAL COMMERCIAL DISTRICTS. BY MICHELLE BOUDIN PHOTOGRAPHS BY MICHAEL HRIZUK | HISTORIC PHOTOS PROVIDED BY SOUTHPARK MALL

E

d Finman was just 10 years old when he and a friend walked almost 4 miles from their Freedom Park neighborhood to what was then the Morrocroft family farm. They set out on the hour-and-a-half walk with one goal in mind: to see the prize bulls they’d always heard made their home on the south Charlotte property. “It was way out in the boonies. When we got there, we snuck onto the property and the bulls ended up chasing us,” Finman says, laughing. “We had to climb a tree to get away from them, and those bulls stood under us for two hours.” That was 1954, when the area that is now SouthPark was farmland as far as the eye could see. Now 75, Finman says as a kid he could never have imagined what SouthPark would become. “Oh my gosh no. Everything was in uptown back then. How

would I possibly envision what that area of Charlotte would come to be?” What it’s come to be is a thriving business, shopping and residential district centered around SouthPark Mall — 1.8 million square feet of retail space that is home to 175 stores, sees 12 million visitors a year, and is widely regarded as the most upscale enclosed mall between Atlanta and Washington, D.C. “It was such a nice mall, so elegant,” says Joan Scharf, who moved from Alaska to the SouthPark area with her husband and four daughters in 1985. “I remember going to one of the kids’ ball games and telling one of the other moms that I didn’t realize I was going to have to dress up to go to the mall,” she recalls, a common refrain among Charlotte newcomers. That luxury aspect might be a reason SouthPark has southparkmagazine.com | 69


SouthPark Mall sees more than 12 million visitors a year. Home to 175 stores, it is considered a premier shopping destination in the Carolinas. The original fountain, top, has been reimagined since the mall opened in 1970

thrived while other shopping centers have struggled along with the rise of e-commerce. Despite malls across the country facing regular dates with bulldozers, SouthPark — which celebrates its 50th anniversary this month — continues to regularly attract top-tier stores, with few vacancies. The last two years have seen the addition of Arhaus, Trina Turk, Peloton, Tommy John and Jack Rogers, with major renovations at Lululemon, Sephora, L’Occitane, Sunglass Hut and Pottery Barn.

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he mall officially opened to shoppers on Feb. 12, 1970, but the Belk and Ivey families started planning it back in 1962. The families owned two of the three original department stores at SouthPark (Sears was the third), which was built on land previously owned by the Harris family. Before the mall opened its doors, it had already become a catalyst for office and residential growth in the area, news reports at the time showed. “The design of the center was inspired by the architecture of 70

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NorthPark mall in Dallas, which is how the center received its name,” explains Holly Roberson, SouthPark’s director of marketing and business development. “It was named ‘SouthPark’ because it was located south of uptown.” As the plans were being drawn up, people living in the surrounding neighborhood had an average household income of just under $12,000. Over the years, the mall has added on, and on and on. The first real expansion came in 1988 when the fourth wing — now home to Macy’s (previously Thalhimers, then Hecht’s) — was added. It would be another 16 years before the next big addition, but it was a significant one. In 2004 — two years after Simon Property Group purchased SouthPark from Dutch real-estate company Rodamco — Nordstrom opened in the new ‘luxury’ wing. The 250,000-square-foot addition included popular brands like Apple, Kate Spade New York, Louis Vuitton and Burberry. Two years later, Dallas retailer Neiman Marcus opened its first (and still its only) store in the Carolinas. “My friends and I used to drive to Atlanta to shop because


we didn’t feel like Charlotte had what we wanted. But that changed in the early 2000s,” Nancy Garofalo says. Garofalo lives less than a mile from SouthPark and admits there are some weeks now when she visits the mall several times. “The mall is a destination for a lot of people from all over the place,” says Delores Scott, who has worked at SouthPark since 1996. An assistant manager at Fink’s Jewelers, she’s had a front-row seat to many of the major changes in recent years that she says have only helped to bring more guests. Scott says the mall’s appeal also lies in the fact that shoppers can come “and everything is under one roof.” Steve Balsley is at the mall every single day, and has been for decades. He’s one of the three brothers who run Arthur’s, the beloved wine shop and café on the lower level of Belk. Arthur’s Restaurant & Cafe is one of a handful of stores that have been at the mall since the early 1970s, along with Belk and SouthPark Optical. Known for its menu of simple-buttasty sandwiches and salads — and as one of the first wine shops in Charlotte — longtime Charlotteans consider Arthur’s an institution. Steve runs the restaurant, while Robert oversees the wine department; John is the controller. At first, Arthur’s was located in the Ivey’s department store, but the shop moved to Belk after Little Rock, Ark.-based Dillard’s bought the 23-store Ivey’s chain in 1990. “I think people love it because it’s family-run, and we’ve been here forever,” Balsley says. “We know a lot of our customers by name. We’re starting to see third generations of families come in here, where the kids are bringing their kids in.” While the brothers say they have no plans to retire (yet), they are grooming John’s son, Robert, to take over. “We’ll stay as long as Belk will have us,” Balsley says. SouthPark Optical owner Tom Renfrow has lots of memories from his years at SouthPark. Renfrow remembers the citywide ice storm in 2002 that had people camping out in the mall for days: Locals who had lost power at home would show up when the mall opened and stay until closing time. He also remembers the mall’s disastrous attempt to reimagine the center-court Santa display: In 2015, mall management briefly swapped the giant Christmas tree for a futuristic glacier, which was promptly removed after backlash from shoppers who preferred the traditional holiday decor. The controversy was picked up by national news outlets. Then there was the time two bank robbers were arrested at the mall. “There used to be two banks where the Cheesecake Factory now is, and these two guys robbed one of the banks and ran into what was Woolworths,” Renfrow recalls. “They sat at the lunch counter after changing clothes in the bathroom and tried to pass themselves off as diners, but when the police came in they were the only people in the restaurant staring at their food instead of the officers — and that gave them away.” Renfrow’s store is now in its fourth location in the mall, so he knows the layout pretty well. The center of the mall has seen the most change, he says. “They used to have TV sets in the middle of the mall.

southparkmagazine.com | 71


Steve Balsey, top left, runs the cafe side of Arthur’s Restaurant & Wine Shop, which opened in Ivey’s department store in 1974 and is now located on the first floor of Belk. Brothers Robert and John Balsey, bottom right, oversee the wine shop and the finances. Customers can buy a glass of wine and sip while they shop.

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You’d go up there on a Saturday afternoon and see all the men watching TV while their wives were shopping.” But the funniest thing to happen in center court involved a prankster who worked at one of the mall stores. “There was an employee at the old pet store, and he would take soap, wrap it in toilet paper and toss it in the fountain. There would be bubbles everywhere. This was the ’80s – before there were [security] cameras — so he got away with it a few times before they figured out who it was.”

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hese days, Renfrow says things are calmer inside the mall but congestion outside is a growing concern. With continued development in the area, traffic can sometimes be hard to handle — and despite 7,500 spots, parking can sometimes be hard to find. In addition to the mall expansions, in 2007 owner Simon developed the Village at SouthPark at the edge of the parking lot on the Sharon Road side, adding 150 apartments and 80,000 square feet of retail anchored by Crate & Barrel. More residential units are under construction on the opposite side of the mall along Barclay Downs Road, just across the parking lot from Dick’s Sporting Goods and Neiman Marcus. Traffic concerns around the mall are nothing new. Back

in the ’90s, a contentious rezoning request sparked tensions between the mall and a group of nearby residents. Scharf — the Alaska transplant — was part of a group recruited to lobby against expanding the mall. “We were told all the traffic studies showed there would be a big increase in traffic and the roads couldn’t support it. We were concerned about that. It turned out to be true.” Though traffic has only gotten worse with each expansion, people in the neighborhood around the mall have just grown accustomed to it, Scharf says. Residents have also benefited from increased property values. And SouthPark’s local management team is working with a neighborhood group and the city on potential enhancements to Symphony Park, which was added in 2002, and a cultural loop project, Roberson says. The 3-mile bicycle and pedestrian path will connect key SouthPark area destinations. Scott, the Fink’s employee, says the increased traffic is a small price to pay for such a lucrative shopping mecca. “The area just keeps growing and growing. You think there’s no more space, and then up comes more construction,” Scott says. “It just means more people are in walking distance. [Even] in the days of online shopping, people still want to come in and touch and feel what they’re purchasing — and that’s a really good thing for the mall.” SP

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FROM NEIL ARMSTRONG TO ROSA PARKS TO MOTHER TERESA, CHARLOTTE ARTIST CHAS FAGAN DEPICTS HEROES AND PUBLIC FIGURES NEAR AND FAR. BY JIM MORIARTY

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PHOTOGRAPH BY ZAN MADDOX

Cast & capture


PHOTOGRAPHS TOP - BOTTOM BY CHARLES JOHNSON, JEFF GROVES, PROVIDED BY U.S. EMBASSY

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has Fagan, sculptor and painter, sits on a stool in the middle of his studio, a bonus room upstairs in a comfortable house in a comfortable part of town where the Charlotte skyline peeks through a wintry canopy of trees. As flamboyant as a button-down shirt, his voice is soft, peaceful — more Mr. Rogers than Salvador Dali — and too serene, one might suppose, to have cast some of the world’s most powerful leaders in bronze. Ronald Reagan. Lyndon B. Johnson. George H.W. Bush and his son — 41 and 43, in the presidential parlance. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary and White House Chief of Staff James Baker. Fagan’s series of 9-by-12-inch portraits of all the U.S. presidents created for C-SPAN is on perpetual tour, with stops including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill. Fagan painted the portrait of Mother Teresa that hung as the backdrop for her canonization, and the portrait of Barbara Bush that hangs in the White House. His busts of Mother Teresa and Rosa Parks decorate the Human Rights Porch in the Washington National Cathedral. He’s in the process of adding Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel. His work welcomes visitors to the Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio, sits in the U.S. Capitol rotunda, and stands on the terrace of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin. Last year, Fagan crashed a sculpture of Reagan in time to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The statue was unveiled by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Nov. 8. Commissioned virtually at the last minute by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute, the 7-foot bronze found a home behind the embassy when the Germans, to the chagrin of some conservative U.S. pundits, were

Spirit of Mecklenburg Ronald Reagan, U.S. Embassy Berlin

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disinclined to put it in any of the city’s public squares. “Germany owes its freedom and prosperity to America and specifically to Ronald Reagan. The least they could do is say thank you, and put up a simple statue,” wrote Marc A. Thiessen in The Washington Post. But art isn’t politics. “It’s a historic setting,” says Fagan of the embassy terrace. “The perspective from the site is high up and next to the Brandenburg Gate. You can see the famous sculpture of the chariot and the four horses, the Quadriga, right there, as if you can touch it. It’s amazing.” The Reagan Library supplied Fagan with a facsimile set of the note cards the president used in his celebrated June 1987 speech, and they would serve a dual purpose in the sculpture. “The figure of the president is walking toward you with a kind of purpose, as if he’s just given his speech, and he’s carrying a stack of his speech cards,” Fagan says. “The very top card has the famous words ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.’ The cool part is, the back of the stack of cards is fanned out a little bit so there’s a hollow, and in that hollow space I slipped in a slice of the Berlin wall. What I love is that element of discovery.” f some Americans harbored grander hopes for the location of Reagan’s sculpture in Berlin, it couldn’t have been a more appropriate setting for the artist. The son of a diplomat, the Pennsylvania native spent part of his childhood in Brussels and graduated from Yale University in 1988

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with a degree focusing on Soviet studies. While he honed his artistic skills as a college student drawing political cartoons for the New Haven Register, after graduation he spent a summer at Leningrad State University (now Saint Petersburg State University) still intent on an academic career. “When it was over, I was done,” says Fagan, who had come to the realization that he was more in the Garry Trudeau tradition (another Yale cartoonist best known as the creator of the Doonesbury comic strip) than on the Soviet studies track. His first big break came as a result of a portrait of Reagan he tossed off for The Weekly Standard. “Typical magazine stuff,” he says. “You did it overnight. I forgot about it.” But Ed Meese, Reagan’s Attorney General, didn’t. Meese led a group that commissioned another portrait of the 40th president, and the link was made. Fagan followed that with paintings of Barbara Bush for The Union League Club in New York and then the White House. While he was in Maine doing Mrs. Bush’s portrait, he was simultaneously competing for a commission to sculpt her husband. The National Cathedral had recommended him after the Houston group commissioning the piece was informed that Frederick Hart (the artist who sculpted The Three Soldiers at the Vietnam Memorial) had passed away. Fagan succeeded in getting George Sr. to stand still for a quick set of 360-degree snapshots in the driveway of the Bushes’ Kennebunkport home. “It was totally fortuitous,” says Fagan, who was ultimately awarded the commission for the statue. “It turned out that the president did not want to participate at all in the creation

Bush 43 and Bush 41, Bush Library at Southern Methodist University

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Neil Armstrong, Armstrong Air & Space Museum of his own monument. It was kind of against his character. I didn’t have close-up pictures. I just had the snapshots.” Apparently it was good enough, since he’s done the father and son together, too. When George W. was sitting for that piece at home in Texas, the Bushes asked Fagan if he’d like to stay for dinner. “He took me upstairs before dinner,” Fagan says. “There was an extra room — a bonus room, and the bonus room was his studio. I had no idea. The fact that he was painting or even interested was not known at all. He had three easels going, in typical fashion. They were actually pretty good, and he was just learning. They were gifts for people. All kinds of stuff. One was a pet portrait. It was a cat, and the cat was on a pillow but he couldn’t get the pillow to look like it was sunken because the cat was on it, so he was asking about shadows and things. We had a good time. We just played.” agan and his wife, Katie, landed in Charlotte in 2002 after Katie’s father retired here. Proximity to Carolina Bronze Sculpture, a foundry in Seagrove about an hour and a half northwest of the Queen City, was another draw. Locally, Fagan’s work is on display at the corner of 4th Street and Kings Drive. The Spirit of Mecklenburg captures Captain James Jack, who in 1775 traveled on horseback from Charlotte to Philadelphia carrying the ill-fated Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. Later this year, Fagan will unveil his sculpture of Lyndon B. Johnson, the most recent addition to his pieces in Sesquicentennial Park on the banks of Buffalo Bayou in Houston, where it will join both the Bush and Baker sculptures. Another project taking up Fagan’s time is a monument to the passengers on Flight 93, the United Airlines plane that crashed in a field in Somerset County, Penn., on 9/11 when the passengers attempted to wrest control away from hijackers associated with al-Qaeda. Though Fagan isn’t at liberty to reveal the composition or who commissioned it, artistically it plays into one of his

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common themes — the moment before. “The goal for me was to show the human emotion of those heroes, not focusing on the individuals but trying to show the total group,” Fagan says. “They voted to do this. Everyone was in on it. So, it’s an effort to show the emotion of the decision, the moments before ‘Let’s roll.’” Imagine Rodin’s Burghers of Calais as an exemplar. “If I’m asked to depict action, I always like the moment before. As the historian, you know the story. You know what’s going to happen; you’re kind of in their shoes, too.” Fagan looks for that moment in his portraits as well. “A portrait is a chance to meet someone. As the viewer walks up to this person on the wall, you get to engage with them,” he says. “The moment I want to capture is when they’re just about to say that funny thing. The eyes sparkle, little turn of the lip, something. Whatever it is. It’s like a pre-launch moment.” In Ohio, the entrance to the Armstrong Air & Space Museum is designed like a runway. You’re greeted by Fagan’s sculpture of Neil Armstrong as a 15-year-old boy, the kid who threw model planes out of his home’s second-floor window. “I got to go to that window,” Fagan says. At the entrance to the building, a second sculpture of Armstrong shows him just before he gets on the lunar landing test vehicle. “He’s standing all ready, his shoulders back, he’s putting on these big, rubber gloves. He’s ready to go,” Fagan says. oan of Arc is pushed off to the side in Fagan’s studio, as is King Simeon of Bulgaria. He’s worked from the life masks of James Madison and Abraham Lincoln. His bust of Lincoln graces the reading room of Manhattan’s Union League Club, and he’s lectured a gathering of historians about that very famous face while standing in the studio of Daniel Chester French, the man who created the sculpture of the 16th president in the Lincoln Memorial. All in all, it’s a pretty good gig for a quiet cartoonist who talks softly and carries a big talent. SP

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Sweet spirit

CHAPLAINS AND OTHER CAREGIVERS KEEP THE FAITH AT SOUTH CHARLOTTE RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES.

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BY KEN GARFIELD

PHOTOGRAPHS BY KELSIE DROPPA | LONGLEY PHOTOGRAPHY

t might be leading Bible study, or helping a resident Skype into her home church’s Sunday morning service — or comforting a family in the moments after a loved one’s death. For chaplains and other staff members who tend to the spiritual life of those who call senior-living communities home, no two days are alike. In the broader sense, every day offers the same sacred opportunity: extending God’s love to all God’s children, especially those whose journey is nearer the end than the beginning. According to 2015-16 figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.3 million residents live in 15,600 nursing homes in the United States. That figure does not include those living in residential-care and assisted-living facilities and other senior-living communities. Most of these communities focus more on the amenities than the spiritual offerings. Many senior-living establishments, after all, are owned and operated by for-profit corporations. But in Charlotte, where faith remains a powerful part of the ethos, caring for the aging often means caring for both body and soul. South Charlotte is graced by the presence of some of the city’s most-respected senior-living communities. SouthPark magazine profiles three such places and those responsible for keeping the faith. In its own way, each community harkens back to the words of that familiar hymn, “There’s a sweet, sweet spirit in this place.”

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‘There’s a sense of community here’

Carol Anne Lawler

Christ Episcopal and Myers Park Baptist churches came together to open Southminster in 1987 as an ecumenical, nonprofit retirement community. Located on Park Road across from South Mecklenburg High School, it is home to 325 residents and 400 staffers.

When Rev. Carol Anne Lawler arrived at Southminster in June to succeed longtime chaplain Gary Hudson, her job title changed and her role expanded. Now the Minister of Spiritual Wellness, her focus is on ministering to the whole person. Facilitating mindfulness and spiritual-practices groups, overseeing the Tuesday afternoon chapel service, and offering one-on-one comfort to residents and staff are still priorities. On the way to the interview for this story, a member of the Southminster Neighborhood Singers ensemble stopped Lawler to tell her a foot pedal on the organ was sticking. Lawler promised to take care of it. Beyond all that lies another charge: infusing each person’s life with a sense of meaning and purpose. That translates into a comparative religion series in which she led separate “field trips” to a synagogue and a mosque; quickly organizing a “Service of Hope and Remembrance” after a recent spate of mass shootings; hosting a “Grief at the Holidays” workshop to help those for whom the lights of the season don’t shine as brightly; or leading a class on Life’s Journeys According To Mister Rogers, a collection of quotes and anecdotes by the popular children’s TV host. Lawler came to the job with powerful credentials. Ordained in the United Church of Christ, she was a pulpit pastor in Charlotte before finding her calling in other challenges. For 11 years, she served as a chaplain with Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region. Neither death nor the frailties of age intimidate her. Rather, she is drawn to the challenge of affirming the dignity “IN OUR CULTURE, YOU of the elderly, and working to make sure society does, too. TEND TO BE DIMINISHED IN Aging, she says, is not for the faint of heart. It can rob THE EYES OF SOCIETY AS us of our mobility, memory, hearing and driving privileges. YOU AGE. OLDER PEOPLE Loneliness can set in, especially when the sun goes down. We SENSE THEY ARE NOT AS may have to learn to live without a loved one who meant the VALUED AS THEY ONCE world to us. “In our culture,” Lawler says, “you tend to be diminished in WERE, AND THAT CAN BE A the eyes of society as you age. Older people sense they are not as STRUGGLE FOR THEM,” REV. valued as they once were, and that can be a struggle for them.” CAROL ANNE LAWLER SAYS. She reminds residents to heed the advice of the sages, “The man is wise who doesn’t wish to be younger.” She encourages them to tell their stories, and savor this part of life’s journey. “Maybe if we embrace older age, we can embrace all parts of our lives,” Lawler says. “One of my favorite quotes is from author Madeleine L’Engle. ‘The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.’” “There’s a sense of community here, real community,” she says. “You appreciate the fact that people look out for one another. You appreciate that their children are at ease because their parents are being taken care of. “This is really the best job I’ve ever had. The residents are so affirming and loving and kind and gracious. What’s not to like?”

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Teresa Wohlbruck and Luci Heeseman

Taking care of each other At The Cypress, they talk about the eight dimensions of wellness adding up to a full life: physical, emotional, social, environmental, vocational, intellectual and health services are seven. The eighth is spiritual, and at this community built on an old golf course, that slice of life is entrusted to both residents and staffers. Community Life Services twosome Teresa Wohlbruck and Luci Heeseman help facilitate the many goings-on. But it’s the community that drives this train, or as Wohlbruck explains, “A lot of it is listening to our members and their needs.” Among the many examples of that principle: Resident Bob Ivey, a retired minister of music, leads the “Round the Table Sing” each Christmas, a beloved Cypress tradition. Rev. Neal Jones, a resident “THIS COMMUNITY and retired Baptist preacher, helped start “The Gathering,” a Tuesday IS KNOWN FOR ITS evening service in the community hall. About 20 ladies gather each LOVING, SUPPORTIVE Thursday morning for a women’s Bible study. No one person is responsible for getting it going, says regular attendee Barbara Cash. Like so much ENVIRONMENT,” LUCI at The Cypress, she says, “It just kind of fell into place.” A men’s Bible HEESEMAN SAYS. study meets weekly to study the wisdom of evangelist/author Charles “THEY LOOK OUT FOR Stanley. Cypress residents (and buddies) Blair Bryan, Jim Evans, Bill EACH OTHER. IT’S Shipley and Jones are to thank for that offering, though Shipley confessA COMMUNITY OF es, “The ladies’ group is bigger than ours.” NEIGHBORS TAKING Local pastors often come to share communion, lunch, tea and always conversation with members of their congregations who live at The CARE OF EACH OTHER.” Cypress. With a growing Jewish population, Rabbi Judy Schindler came to share as the menorah was lit at Hanukkah. As at many retirement communities, come Sunday morning some of the larger churches send their vans to pick up folks for worship. Always, residents’ pastors are a powerful presence when needed, as are Hospice chaplains. In retirement communities as in all of life, spirituality begins with building relationships and making connections. “This community is known for its loving, supportive environment,” Heeseman says. “They look out for each other. It’s a community of neighbors taking care of each other.” 80

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The Cypress of Charlotte opened

in 1999 at the site of the nine-hole Sharon public golf course at the corner of Park Road and Park South Drive. It has no religious affiliation. It is home to 475 residents and 400 staffers.


‘This is a sacred community’ Rev. Caroline East came home and found her calling as chaplain at Sharon Towers: Helping seniors navigate life’s journey, wherever the road leads. “It’s the opportunity to be there with people through all of life’s major experiences,” she says. “That’s what I do. This is a sacred community.” East arrived at Sharon Towers in August 2018, previously serving as pastor of Pinetops Presbyterian Church in eastern North Carolina. Having grown up in Charlotte as a member of Covenant Presbyterian Church, she brought to the job a familiarity with the community (she attended Selwyn Elementary, Alexander Graham Middle School and Myers Park High). She also brought a passion to help her new flock appreciate their worth. She leads chapel and Bible study, offers guided meditation and teaches a class called “Faith, Spirituality and Aging.” She supports folks in their faith expression, no matter their “EVERYBODY NEEDS TO faith. For those caring for a loved one with dementia, she leads an “Up for Air” support group. On the day we spoke, she was explorKNOW HOW VALUABLE ing ways to offer dementia-friendly programs, sharing an Advent THEY ARE. EVERYBODY wreath whose safety-first “candles” feature artificial light. DESERVES LOVE AND Some vital moments come unexpectedly. It could be an imRESPECT AND SOMEONE promptu conversation about a matter weighing heavy on someWHO’S THERE FOR THEM,” one’s heart. Or filling someone’s final moments with peace. REV. CAROLINE EAST SAYS. East’s office is across the hall from Roger and Sherrill Suiter’s apartment. They began as neighbors, then became friends. As Parkinson’s disease took its toll on Roger, she’d visit him regularly. A gregarious sort, Roger loved the company. Near the end, East talked with him about his Christian faith. “He was OK because he knew his family was OK, and that he was loved,” she says. The morning Roger died at age 80, East shared a cup of coffee with Sherrill, to prepare her for what was to come. “She was right here, right here at my door,” Suiter says. “She centered me. She’ll never know what she meant to us. Her presence was a blessing during the most difficult part of Roger’s and my life.” At the heart of every task, East says, is reminding residents that they matter, even (especially!) at an older age. “Everybody needs to know how valuable they are. Everybody deserves love and respect and someone who’s there for them. That’s at the core of theology. I’m here to allow for them to flourish at this stage of life.” At Sharon Towers and anywhere, East says, all you need is love and resilience. “Throughout our lives, we have to learn to extend grace to one another. This is a great place to practice that.” SP Caroline East

Sharon Towers on

Sharon Road opened in 1969, founded by leaders of Covenant Presbyterian and other Presbyterian churches. The ecumenical, nonprofit community is home to 350 residents and 300 staffers.

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Vince Giancarlo of Zeppelin 82

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Sow and grow

INSPIRED BY AN ACCLAIMED NEW YORK CHEF, FRESHLIST WORKS WITH REGIONAL FARMERS TO BRING NEW PRODUCE TO CHARLOTTE PLATES. BY BEN JARRELL | PHOTOS BY MICHAEL HRIZUK

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n late September, Vince Giancarlo received the phone call for which he had been waiting nearly a year. The Honeynuts had arrived. For this special ingredient, Giancarlo, executive chef and a partner at Zeppelin in South End, was first on the call list of Jesse Leadbetter, owner of Freshlist, a produce-delivery service for professional kitchens in the Charlotte area. But like many other culinary innovations, this one took time. In 2013, the world’s top professional chefs, from Ferran Adrià — the retired chef of the famed El Bulli in Spain — to South Carolina’s Sean Brock, gathered to bridge the gap between culinary professionals and researchers from land-grant universities — simply put, between cooks and the farmers that supply them. The event was titled, “Seeds: The Future of Flavor.” Chef and event host Dan Barber illustrated the problem with a question: Why aren’t farmers growing for flavor? The short answer was that they had never been asked to do so. Barber is chef-owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, part-research farm, part-avant garde restaurant where guests dine in isolated elegance in the Hudson Valley area of upstate New York at $300 a pop. To Barber, it was frustratingly simple: Select seeds for flavor, not production value. Commodify delicious. After that 2013 meeting, Barber teamed with Cornell University plant breeder Michael Mazourek to develop a variety of squash they called the “honeynut.” It was smaller, sweeter — and didn’t need the typical adjuncts of maple syrup or honey, according to Barber. Five years later, the duo joined with organic seed grower Matthew

Goldfarb to launch Row 7 Seed Company, backed by former Whole Foods coCEO Walter Robb, among others. The mission of Row 7 is to develop tastier organic vegetables without genetic engineering. Leadbetter’s Freshlist team is now working with Bluebird Farm in Morganton, about 75 miles northwest of Charlotte, to grow the flavorful squash for a handful of lucky clients. While Honeynut production has soared in the Northeast, the squash isn’t yet widely available in Southern states.

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eadbetter started Freshlist in 2013 to connect professional chefs with local farmers. The company has seen explosive growth over the last couple of years, surging from 25 clients at the beginning of 2018 to more than 250 today. Eventually, Leadbetter and his team want to expand to include more direct-to-consumer business, which so far has only been offered in a few neighborhoods. The team at Freshlist is well-grown. Head of culinary operations Matt Martin, previously chef at vegan restaurant Fern, is a valuable resource as cooks explore unfamiliar vegetables. Gigi Lytton, who oversees operations and food safety, finds ways to develop protocols. The color-coded inventory system she developed for Freshlist increases traceability and efficiency. Farm coordinator Erin Bradley, Leadbetter’s first hire, is a former high-school teacher with a background in agribusiness, having worked with farmers markets and roadside stands in high school and as an undergraduate at Appalachian State University. According to Leadbetter, his company is entering a new phase as he constantly seeks to improve the financial viability of small farming in our area. As a part of this next step, Freshlist hopes to incrementally expand his work with “celebrity” seed southparkmagazine.com | 83


Phyllis Walsh is experimenting with a new kind of snow pea — Row 7’s Beauregarde variety — at her Monroe farm. companies like Barber’s Row 7 to bring new varieties of produce to local kitchens by way of Charlotte-area farms. In addition to Zeppelin’s Giancarlo, Paul Verica at The Stanley, Rob Clement at the Porter’s House, and Ashley Bivens-Boyd of 300 East are among Charlotte chefs who have taken advantage of Freshlist’s Row 7 seed project. Giancarlo’s style — straightforward but academic, approachable but inventive — is informed by the time he spent at two-Michelin-star Melisse and Charcoal Venice in southern California before returning to Charlotte to open Zeppelin in 2017. He talks about the “illustrious grazing” at the Santa Monica Farmers Market — one of the country’s largest, and where he first saw Dan Barber’s new squash. “I got out there in October 2016 and was working in both kitchens. One of the first really fun ingredients I remember them bringing in was Honeynut squash,” Giancarlo says. “We found out very quickly it was a Dan Barber hybrid and that he had developed a way to raise the sugar content by keeping it smaller. It made so much sense.” Giancarlo points to the almost universal rule of thumb in kitchens: smaller is sweeter. “The smaller, the more condensed the flavor. You see that in Prince Edward Island mussels, clams. We use Point Judith calamari and they’re these small squid but they have this amazing flavor and sweetness to them.” About a year ago, Giancarlo approached Leadbetter with a question: Can he get Dan Barber’s honeynut squash? At the California restaurants where Giancarlo had previously worked, the squash, when available, was the star of the plate. He took the same approach at Zeppelin. In early fall, Giancarlo prepared the Honeynut squash on a Big Green Egg grill, plating it with a bruised, raw collard-greens slaw, hot wildflower honey, smoked cheese, and toasted oat crumbs. Giancarlo was confident in the squash’s ability to stand as the main ingredient on the plate, rather than as simply the complement to a protein. 84

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he Honeynut was a huge success, according to Freshlist’s Bradley. However, because Row 7 seeds were originally developed for upstate New York, growing them in the Piedmont can be trial-and-error. “Always down to experiment,” is how Bradley describes Phyllis Walsh, another farmer working closely with the Freshlist team. Walsh’s property, Dabhar Farm off U.S. Highway 74 in Monroe, grows everything from hot-house tomatoes and celery to kale and strawberries. But through a partnership with Freshlist and a bag of seed from Row 7, she’s now experimenting with a new variety of snow pea. Bred to thrive in cold weather, the Beauregarde snow pea is a sweeter version that maintains its rich purple-blue color after cooking. When asked about the demand for her specialty produce like the Beauregarde peas, Phyllis is quick to point out the direction. “Oh, it’s gone up.” Back at Cornell, Row 7’s Mazourek developed the habanada pepper to express all the flavors of a habanero without the accompanying heat. A handful of Charlotte chefs featured them last summer, including Chris Coleman, who bought some to use in the house hot sauce at his new Goodyear House restaurant in NoDa. A third round of habanada seeds will go in the ground in February. Expect to see the peppers on more Charlotte menus this summer. Freshlist is hoping to expand this model, acting as a liaison between chef and farmer, Leadbetter says. He is hoping to use these three vegetables — the Honeynut, the Beauregarde snow pea and the habanada pepper — as a prototype for bringing in additional specialty ingredients for local farms to grow. All it takes to get farmers on board is an assurance that chefs will buy the products. So far, it’s been a successful test. “We sold through everything at Bluebird [Farm in Morganton] in one week,” says Leadbetter of last fall’s Honeynut squash harvest. But, most importantly for Leadbetter: “The farmer grows it. And they get a check.” SP


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Better together PERFECT PAIRINGS FROM CHARLOTTE CHEFS AND MIXOLOGISTS PHOTOGRAPHS BY JUSTIN DRISCOLL

From bourbon to beer to sustainably sourced wine, Charlotte’s culinary professionals are creating far more complex food and drink combinations than the basic wine and cheese. We asked seven local chefs, mixologists and restaurateurs — culinary matchmakers, of sorts — to suggest a favorite fusion of flavors from their menus. The picks range from a casual date-night dinner to a more elevated dining experience.

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Flour Shop Spinach balanzoni with wild boar sausage in a

rich-yet-delicate cream sauce, paired with Nieto Senetiner 2017 Don Nicanor Malbec

“This malbec showcases dark fruit, such as plum, with hints of clove and leather that pair perfectly with game, such as wild boar. Aged in French oak for 12 months, a warm toast is present in the finish. Deeply complex but well-balanced acidity highlights the cream without overpowering the pasta dish.” — Beverage Manager Rebecca Feldman

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Bar Marcel Harissa-glazed pork belly with coconut-carrot

puree, couscous and snap pea salad, paired with the Joffer Bird cocktail, a mix of sumac-infused Plantation rum, pineapple juice, Campari and lime

“This is the perfect pairing because the sweetness of the infused rum and pineapple juice is going to play well to the spicy glaze, while the acidity in the cocktail will help cut through all the fatty richness of the belly.” — Executive Chef Josh Oakley

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Dilworth Tasting Room Seared filet mignon over a sweet

potato hash with truffled cabernet sauvignon reduction and roasted garlic and herb butter, paired with Trapan “Terra Mare” red wine.

“Dilworth Tasting Room’s background is based on Croatian influences, and trying to find many Croatian gems in North Carolina proves to be a challenge at times. One of the most consistent Croatian wines available is Trapan “Terra Mare” from Pula, made with 100% Teran grapes. When I enjoy a glass, it takes me back to lounging in the sun on the Adriatic coast enjoying charcuterie, Croatian olives and other locally created dishes.” — Owner Jaffer Kovic

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Peppervine Kampachi Tartare with truffle dashi,

seaweed and yuzu complemented by a glass of Steininger Grüner Veltliner, from the Kamptal region of Austria

“The rich body of the wine matches the umami flavors in the dish coming from the truffle and bonito flake without overpowering them. The Grüner Veltliner also provides a brisk acidity to cut through the lush texture of the kampachi itself. A fruity and mineral profile balances the salty tang from the miso and tamari, and the intense kumquat citrus notes match the concentration of the yuzu gelee.” — Executive Chef Bill Greene

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Good Food on Montford Steamed bun with five-spice-rubbed pork belly, hoisin and pickled vegetables teamed with the Shipwrecked cocktail, made with

Kraken rum, Tuaca, fresh lime, five-spice mandarin syrup and ginger beer

“Both the Shipwrecked cocktail and steamed bun include carrot and five spice, automatically complementing each other and creating a slight hint of sweetness. The bite of the alcohol cuts through the richness of the pork making it a perfect meal pairing.” — Chef Bruce Moffett

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Paco’s Tacos & Tequila “Criminal Combo” wood-grilled fajitas with the Filo Cortando —

a mixture of Larceny bourbon, Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, muddled orange and blackberry agave.

“Mezcal mirrors the flavor of the smokiness of the fajitas, and the sweet pucker from the orange and blackberry cuts through the deep seared flavors of the meat and vegetables. Not to mention, one of the main ingredients in the Filo Cortando — Larceny bourbon — is named for literal theft, making them the perfect partners in crime.” — General Manager Sam Fugate

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Legion Brewing SouthPark Pimento Cheese and Potato Pierogies with local pork

carnitas, pickled red onion and sour cream, paired with Slainte, an Irish dry stout with coffee notes and a touch of cocoa

“The caramelization on the outside of the pierogies as well as the crisp sweetness of the pork carnitas pairs perfectly with the deeper flavors of Slainte.” — Chef Gene Briggs

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|travel

In search of

Peace

FINDING CALM AT THE ART OF LIVING’S NEWLY EXPANDED AYURVEDA SPA IN BOONE. BY VIRGINIA BROWN

Early in the morning, Day 2: On my way up to breakfast, a sign summons me off the main path: Nature Trail. Less than a minute in, I hear a rustle in the dead leaves. I turn to my left. A docile doe is no more than 10 feet away. She’s deeply camouflaged by the brown colors of fall in the mountains. She’s stunning, and still as a statue. Neither of us moves. I desperately want to be friends with her, but she is suspicious, timid. It’s early November in Boone, and the crisp air is a relief from the heat back home in Charlotte, where summer has long overstayed its welcome. At this elevation, most of the leaves have fallen. The sky is North Carolina’s signature blue.

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he Art of Living Wellness Retreat is an expansive complex that towers high over Boone, about two-and-ahalf hours northwest of Charlotte. Founded by spiritual teacher Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the center offers wellness retreats, courses and programs taught by its own staff and also hosts spiritual leaders from around the world. Whatever you’re in search of — yoga, ayurveda spa treatments, nature walks, silence, holistic wellness — whatever language you want to use, you’ll likely find an opportunity to explore it at the Art of Living. During my short visit, I spend most of my time in two key areas: the dining room and the spa, though the retreat covers 380 acres and consists of many buildings, residences, a meditative labyrinth, a clay-making center and stunning views. After I check in, I drive down a steep, winding road to the new shankara ayurveda spa for meditation class. Ayurveda is an ancient medical system that emphasizes disease prevention 94

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through lifestyle practices. This new yoga studio just opened in November as part of an expansion that included 20 hotel suites, an exercise pool and float tank, and a demo kitchen where guests can learn ayurvedic cooking techniques. I’m late, so it’s not exactly the best start. About 25 guests line the walls, though few are in the center of the room, where I unfold my mat. Fortunately, class hasn’t started. Kunwar Gadhok (who doubles as the retreat’s marketing director) sits at the front of the room, knees crossed, and asks us each to announce why we are here and what we hope to get out of the class — and our favorite ice cream flavor. One young woman from New York is here to learn more about meditation. Rocky Road. A woman from Toronto, to center herself. Pistachio. Another, to slow down and reclaim her life. Vanilla. I’m here, as a journalist, to learn more about the center and meditation. I am here in search of peace. Coffee, hands down. In his soothing baritone, Gadhok tells us that he began meditating with his dad when he was 9 years old, before he even knew what it was. He loved the inner peace he felt after meditations, and in 2018, after a stint in corporate America, he devoted his life to sharing it with others. He guides us through intentional breath, at first a test of patience. A pesky crow whines outside our window, distracting me, but overall I feel lighter and calm when we’re done. At lunch, I meet Kim Rossi, the spa director, and Lokesh. Lokesh is a small, rotund man with a smile permanently planted on his face. He wears a flowing, white linen suit. Immediately, I like him. His smile makes me smile. Known formally as Dr. Lokesh Raturi, he is an expert

in nadi pariksha, or pulse diagnosis. Born in the Western Himalayas into a family tradition of herbal healing, Lokesh directed his own clinic before turning to education, training ayurvedic doctors in the science of pulse diagnosis. I’m skeptical, but intrigued to learn that ayurvedic doctors, or vaidyas, are known for their ability to test the body’s imbalances through a noninvasive checking of the pulse. First, we need to identify my dosha. In ayurvedic practice, these biological energies govern us internally and provide us with a kind of best-life blueprint. The doshas — Vata, Pitta and Kapha — comprise the five elements. Since I’m “athletic, long and thin, and tend to burn out easily” (from overdoing it), among other descriptors, I’m a Pitta. Pitta-positive, I sit at the table, left arm up, Lokesh also at my left side. “Close your eyes,” he says. As my eyelids shut out my insecurity, he presses two fingers (maybe three?) firmly onto my wrist. Within seconds, he tells me that I’m overall healthy, but I have an imbalance at the backs of my legs. I’m sitting in a dining hall in yoga pants with a stranger who can’t see my legs. But he’s right. Much of my life, I’ve been a runner, but this year, a pull in the back side of my right leg has precluded me from running much at all. Rossi has days’ worth of advice to share, dozens of dos and don’ts for the Pitta. I’m most in balance from summer into early fall, and I should drink chai tea instead of coffee — it’s less acidic. Later, she develops a customized diet for me to consider. (The Art of Living is one of a handful of centers in the U.S. where guests can come to experience Panchakarma detox retreats that consist of next-level fasting and cleansing.)

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ake no mistake — the Art of Living is more of a spiritual retreat than your typical resort spa. That night, my room is a comforting contrast to the brisk Blue Ridge air. Rustic, with simple amenities, there are no airs of luxury, just a gentle nudge to return to what matters most. When I wake the next morning, the sunlight hugs the trees

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and makes me smile. In the distance, fall’s final leaves hang on. I’m grateful. Near the spa, in the new kitchen, Swapna Venkat hosts a cooking class and shows us how to make kichadi, a traditional Indian rice dish touted for its cleansing, anti-inflammatory powers. Her smile is more permanent, and, if possible, more genuine than Lokesh’s. My knee-jerk reaction is to hug her. Venkat recently moved to the U.S. from India. With the class huddled around her stove, she shares recipes in a hushed tone, like she’s telling a secret. “My mother shared [these recipes] with me, and I am so happy to share with you,” she says. She’s full of health tips, too. Cinnamon is good for circulation. Fennel aids in digestion. She’s giddy about ghee, or clarified butter, a staple in the ayurvedic practice. A framed poster hangs on the wall, a color-coded reminder of what to increase and reduce in your diet based on each of the three doshas. Later, at the spa, I wait in a modern, sunsoaked room. A short, no-nonsense woman with dark features and a demeanor that implies, “I’ll get you straightened right up,” calls out my name. Alice moved from Boston to Boone for this job. She explains that Abhyanga, the type of massage I’m signed up for, is a form of ayurvedic treatment that involves massaging the body with warm, herb-infused oils. I lie on the table, and she drizzles my back with heated sesame oil. (“Good for digestion and blood flow and balancing the doshas,” Alice says.) With fast, firm sweeps, she moves her hands up and down my arms and legs, with quick motions on my abdomen. The whole experience lasts an hour and leaves me feeling, in a

word, warm. I rise to the peace of the mountains in the distance, and walk to the steam room, which should help the oil penetrate my skin and help me cleanse.

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oncentrated wellness is all well and good, but as the weekend winds down, I’m ready to go home to reconnect with my new husband and my cat. I can’t say what I expected out of the trip — insight, rest, tension relief. But more resonating, while straying along a mountain path one cold morning, I encountered a new friend, and, for a moment, found peace. SP


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A monthly guide to Charlotte’s parties and galas

Bella Notte benefiting Opera Carolina Nov. 2, Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center With roaming pipers and ghost kings, Belk Theater was transformed with scenes from Opera Carolina’s fall production of Macbeth. Co-chairs Jonathan and Natalie Stewart and Julie Haack and David Murray welcomed guests to the 15th annual Bella Notte season-opening gala.

Liz Hilliard and Laura Vinroot Poole

Preeti and Vinay Deshmukh

Jonathan and Natalie Stewart, Julie Haack and David Murray

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Arlene Ferebee

Brooks and Charlotte Lucas

Vicki and Tom Gabbard and Beth Hansen

Kelley Anderson and Ann Caulkins

PHOTOGRAPHS BY DANIEL COSTON

David Murray, Julie Haack and the ghost kings and witches of Macbeth


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A monthly guide to Charlotte’s parties and galas

JDRF Hope Gala Oct. 26, Westin Charlotte This year’s Hope Gala raised $1.6 million to support efforts to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes. Kate and Mark Stewart chaired the black-tie event, which included dinner, silent and live auctions, and an afterparty featuring Yacht Rock Schooner.

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A monthly guide to Charlotte’s parties and galas

Pink Boots Ball benefiting the Pink House of Charlotte Oct. 12, Ritz-Carlton Charlotte

Meredith Strosser, Carrie Williams, Kelly Kashmer and Kim Hedrick

Molly Grantham and Pam Phipps

Roberta Leppart and Chris Ebel

Milli Mann, Janet Ligon and Kathy Gorman

Awash in a sea of pink, the 10th annual Pink Boots Ball celebrated survivors while raising funds for Carolina Breast Friends. The nonprofit supports the needs of newly diagnosed cancer patients and others who are affected by breast cancer.

Natasha Henderson, Aundrea and Stephen Wilson, and Irina Toshkova

Fielding Huseth and Rosemary Morgan

Cead Mile Failte International House Gala Oct. 5, Le Meridien Charlotte

Goren Held, Jelena Giric-Held, Johnelle Causwell, Liz and Evan Zipperer Moe and Dima Gaher and Edwin Gil

Carmen Hilton, Lakana Bikhazi and Solange Werner

Teresa Singer, Mark and Brenda Lohson

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Christina Melissaris and Keyla Sandoval

Julie Haack, David Murray, George and Peg Povinelli

PHOTOGRAPHS BY DANIEL COSTON

This year’s gala supporting the International House of Charlotte celebrated Ireland, complete with bagpipers, Irish-inspired cuisine and cocktails, and scenes of the Irish countryside. For more than 30 years, the nonprofit organization has served the needs of the Charlotte region’s multilingual and multicultural residents.


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A monthly guide to Charlotte’s parties and galas

Verse & Vino benefiting Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Nov. 7, Crown Ballroom at NASCAR Hall Of Fame This year’s Verse & Vino gala also served as the kick-off event for a new main library branch that will open in 2024. Authors Karen Abbott, Ross Gay, Alice Hoffman and Kevin Wilson joined emcee Sheri Lynch to make this year’s celebration of books and reading Verse & Vino’s biggest night to date, netting $325,000 for the Charlotte Meckenburg Library.

Ross Gay, Alice Hoffman, Kevin Wilson and Karen Abbott

Melanie Baron and Michelle Boudin

Charles Bowman and Rob Harrington

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Sheri Lynch and Alice Hoffman

Amanda Beacham and Erika Duncan

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SNAPSHOT

Image reflected

ALVIN C. JACOBS’ PHOTOGRAPHS DOCUMENT SOCIAL-JUSTICE EVENTS AND ISSUES, INCLUDING URBAN RENEWAL.

n 2009, Alvin C. Jacobs Jr. taught himself how to use a Nikon D5000, his first commercial camera. “My life started 10 years ago,” Jacobs, 45, says. “This became what I wanted to do. Art has changed everything about the way I see life.” Jacobs started documenting social-justice events to be a voice for those who are marginalized and disenfranchised, he says. He has photographed events around the country such as Day Without Immigrants, Fight for $15, Women’s March and House Bill 2 protests. Since moving to Charlotte in 2012, he’s also covered the Carolina Panthers and Jay-Z’s 4:44 Tour. Welcome to Brookhill, a collection of his photos, opened at Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture in September 2018. The exhibition includes 25 black and white photographs focusing on the residents of Brookhill Village, an affordable-housing community developed in the 1950s near South End. Last month, a joint venture affiliated with South Tryon Community United Methodist Church acquired the land lease at Brookhill Village. The new owners plan to replace the aging homes with a 324-unit multifamily community, with about half of the new units earmarked for affordable housing. Comments were lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

Why did you want to capture the Brookhill neighborhood? lt has many important cultural elements — a naturally occurring affordable housing community established in 1951 that reminded me of where I lived as a small child in Illinois. It felt like home. I spent a few weeks in the neighborhoods before capturing images spending time with the families; we were able to develop a powerful project built upon beautiful relationships. How do Charlotteans play a role in displacement? Many of us play a role in displacement by our silence. Desmond Tutu said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have 112

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chosen the side of the oppressor.” If you’re saying, I have nothing to do with this at all — I don’t live in this area; I don’t live in this neighborhood — you have chosen a side, and you’ve become complicit by default. ... It’s not just prospective homeowners looking for the next “up-and-coming” neighborhood to invest in. Taxes are raised in the area with the construction of more expensive homes . . . Long-term residents and small business owners are priced out. In a recent tweet, you said, “Often at the end of the day, it is the artist tasked to put the broken pieces of the world back together.” How are you doing this for Charlotte? A piece of art can absolutely be subjective, but it can also create dialogue. We can talk about some of these things that are uncomfortable. You don’t have to change how you feel about it, but now you have a different narrative. You can use that to form your own critical analysis. That’s what art can do. What do you think about the new plan for Brookhill? South Tryon Community Mission was working closely with the residents of Brookhill Village when Welcome To Brookhill opened at the Gantt museum, but I’m certain the relationship has been cultivated for years. Pastor Ray McKinnon is a great leader and really has a heart for the community. I’m really looking forward to the next steps. SP Welcome to Brookhill will be on view at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture through April 12. In “Cycles of Displacement,” part of the Gantt Center’s Talk About It Tuesday series,  Alvin C. Jacobs Jr. and Anthony Patterson, a Durham artist and community historian, will discuss how they use art, storytelling and photography to explore urban renewal and gentrification. The free event will be held Feb. 11 from 6:30-8:30. ganttcenter.org

PHOTOGRAPH BY SLAY XVI

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