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FROM THE EDITOR
CATHY MARTIN EDITOR
PHOTOGRAPH BY TIM SAYER
wenty-something years ago, I spent a year in Burlington, Vt., while my husband was in school there. The January night we moved in, it was minus-20 degrees with a wind chill of minus-40. This North Carolina native had never experienced a winter like that. We lived in a drafty, early 20th-century home that had been converted to a duplex and was heated by a single propane unit in the downstairs living room. Moving in took forever: We’d bring in a box or two, spend five or ten minutes thawing by the heater, then go back out for another load. Winter in Vermont is no joke. On days when the thermostat barely (or never) hit zero, the warm air in our two-story apartment rose straight to the second floor, making the downstairs kitchen and living areas unbearably cold. I didn’t know a soul there. I couldn’t find a job right away, the days were short — and I was miserable. So, I baked. At a local bookshop, I had picked up Bread for All Seasons by Beth Hensperger, mainly because I was taken in by the beautiful photos. (This, of course, was long before the demonization of carbs.) The chapter appropriately titled “Winter Darkness” had recipes for white fog bread with quinoa and honey, oatmeal graham bread, and golden raisin kugelhopf, a Hungarian bread. But I baked breads intended for all year-round. I baked focaccia, tomato-basil bread, brioche and challah. My favorite was ciambella, an Italian braided ring cake with an almond crust. As I’ve mentioned in this column before, I’m not much of a cook. But I found baking easier because it seemed more like a science — plus the house stayed a lot warmer as long as the oven was on. Mostly though, I think before that winter, I’d just never had the patience for it. Eventually, the days got longer, the snow melted, and I was able to tolerate being outside for periods longer than a quick dash to the mailbox. And I discovered that Vermont was one of the most beautiful places I’d been. Burlington sits on Lake Champlain, with a wonderful waterfront park and greenway, views of the Adirondacks, and probably the cleanest air I’ve ever breathed. Being a college town, it has an eclectic mix of shops and cafes, and it’s small enough that, once summer arrived, I could bike almost everywhere. Still, when summer came to an end, the idea of spending another frozen winter there held little appeal, and I was more than ready to head back south. I don’t bake much anymore, but I still feel a familiar gloom during the winter months. My happiness is contingent on lots of sunshine and vitamin D, and we don’t get much of that in January and February. On page 43, my talented colleague Jim Dodson beautifully writes about slowing down and appreciating the simple things in life — and how difficult that can be in our busy lives. So this winter, instead of making another New Year’s resolution that I’ll never keep, maybe I’ll just spend an afternoon making a simple loaf of bread. Or taking slow, deliberate walks around town instead of my usual hurried ones — a sort of pause and reset before 2020 takes off running. SP
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DEPARTMENTS 23 | Blvd. New fitness, beauty and wellness trends; Knight Foundation’s Charles Thomas makes a living by giving away money; five essential dates for the month ahead.
43 | Simple life Making the hours count.
47 | Bookshelf January’s notable new releases.
51 | The write idea A retired pastor extols the virtues of handwritten letters.
85 | Swirl The Queen City’s best parties, fundraisers and festivals.
SNAPSHOT 96 | Sweet relief Stephanie Rickenbaker’s burgeoning side hustle making and selling elderberry syrup.
60 78 ABOUT THE COVER Skijoring is a popular winter activity at the Resort at Paws Up in Greenough, Mont.
additions signature homes renovations
Charlotte and Boone
making it home since 1950
G E N E R A L C O N T R AC TO R
62 FEATURES 54 | 2020 Arts calendar by Page Leggett
The theatrical, musical, dance and comedic performances to see in the first half of 2020.
60 | Urban storyteller by Grace Cote
Susan Grossmanâ€™s abstract city landscapes will be on view at Jerald Melberg Gallery.
62 | Fashion on the farm by Whitley Adkins Hamlin
Inspired by the landscape of a rural homestead, these cold-weather looks will take you through the winter with style.
68 | New beginnings by Vanessa Infanzon
In 2020, Allison Andrews has a plan to visit 50 places sheâ€™s never been.
72 | Ranch reimagined by Blake Miller
A Charlotte couple builds their dream home on a piece of land with personal history.
78 | Winter wonderland by Caroline Portillo
The Resort at Paws Up in Montana is the perfect place to enjoy dog-sledding, skijoring and horse-drawn sleigh rides in the snow.
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Ben Kinney Publisher firstname.lastname@example.org Cathy Martin Editor email@example.com Whitley Adkins Hamlin Style Editor Andie Rose Art Director
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Lauren M. Coffey Graphic Designer Alyssa Rocherolle Graphic Designer Contributing Writers Michelle Boudin, Sally Brewster, Grace Cote, Ken Garfield, Vanessa Infanzon, Page Leggett, Blake Miller, Caroline Portillo
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No Appointments Weekends No Insurance Needed No Appointments| Open | OpenEvenings Evenings & & Weekends | No| Insurance Needed
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FOR ANY OTHER SERVICE, EXAMINATION OR TREATMENT WHICH IS PERFORMED AS A RESULT OF AND WITHIN 72 HOURS OF RESPONDING TO THE
SOUTHPARK ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE FREE, DISCOUNTED OR REDUCED FEE SERVICES, EXAMINATION OR TREATMENT. (FLA. STAT. 456.02). Subject to additional state statutes and regulations. See clinic for chiropractor(s)’ name and license info. Clinics managed and/or owned by franchisee or Prof. Corps. Restrictions may apply to Medicare eligible patients. Individual results may vary. © 2019 The Joint Corp. All Rights Reserved.
Owners Jack Andrews, Frank Daniels Jr., Frank Daniels III, Lee Dirks, David Woronoff Published by Old North State Magazines LLC. ©Copyright 2019. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Volume 23, Issue 1
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
3 OFFICE LOCATIONS SouthPark WAVERLY LAKE NORMAN
Peggy Peterson Team NATALIE AMALONG 704-278-2823
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HEATHER BONNER 704-756-1394
COOK | PIZZO TEAM 704-236-1135
JENNIFER COOTS 704-777-1745
MELANIE COYNE 704-763-8003
BRIDGET GRAVES 704-560-2311
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CHRISTY HOWEY 704-996-0484
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BETH LIVINGSTON 704-778-6831
SUSAN MAY 704-650-7432
LIZ M C INTOSH 704-488-6224
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blvd. People. Places. Things.
ART THAT POPS Glass artist Jacob Pfeifer is one of 20 local artists whose work will appear on billboards and digital displays around town as part of ArtPop Street Gallery’s 2020 program. The nonprofit group displays the artists’ works on donated advertising spaces, including 39 digital displays at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. This year’s class was selected from 139 artist submissions from Mecklenburg and surrounding counties. Wendy Hickey founded ArtPop in Charlotte in 2014 — the program has since expanded to 13 additional cities. “We create with $150,000 in funding $3 million in advertising space for 20 artists,” Hickey says. In addition to the donated displays, the artists are invited to participate in a two-day professional development course. Other artists chosen for this year’s program are: Debra AaseFarnum, Emily T. Andress, Luis Ardila, MyLoan Dinh, Ashley Graham, Holt Harris, Josh Henderson, Michele Hoffman, Blaine Hurdle, Holly Keogh, Andrew Knotts, Jamie Lucido, Nick McOwen, Issac Payne, Brenda Pokorny, Nancy Jo Sauser, Kristen van Diggelen Sloan, Laurie Smithwick and Ian Wegener. Learn more at artpopstreetgallery.com.
southparkmagazine.com | 23
Fitness goals BY MICHELLE BOUDIN
f getting in shape is your goal for 2020 — and you need some fresh ideas to make your New Year’s resolution happen — you’re in luck. Charlotte’s fitness scene has some new additions that just might offer the boost you need to change your exercise routine — and your life.
Barry’s Bootcamp Charlotte is a high-intensity workout that combines running on a treadmill with strength training to help you burn up to a thousand calories in 50 minutes, all in a club-like atmosphere. The classes take place in Barry’s signature Red Room, a blacked-out space lit with a red glow designed to make everyone look and feel their best. Founded in the late ’90s by Los Angeles-based celebrity trainer Barry Jay, Barry’s opened its 5,800-square-foot South End location in November, offering five to seven classes a day. Post-workout, grab a customized shake or smoothie at the in-house Fuel Bar. 2140 South Blvd., Suite 2
It’s a new take on an old favorite at SculptHouse, formerly HSM Core. For more than a decade, Charlotte women have been fiercely loyal to the Hilliard Studio Method and the dynamic mother-daughter duo behind the core-centric, Pilates-based workout. The Myers Park studio owned by Liz Hilliard and Clary Hilliard Gray remains the same, but the Kings Drive location is now officially SculptHouse, an Atlanta-based fitness concept created and owned by Charlotte native Katherine Mason that combines Pilates and cardio. Expect a 24
second, larger SculptHouse location in Charlotte soon. 601 S. Kings Dr., Suite GG F45 Training opens its SouthPark location this month.
The Australia-based chain aims to offer the feel of personal training in a group class environment. F45 debuted in Charlotte last year in midtown and Plaza Midwood, with more
locations expected soon. The F stands for functional and 45 is the length of the class. The mix of circuit and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) style workouts are designed around everyday movements, and no workout is ever the same. 4701 Park Rd. Suite E Inner Peaks shuttered its original Crown Point location after 21 years, with plans to open a new indoor climbing gym in Matthews by the end of 2019. The new space (behind Target) offers a larger bouldering area, a specialized strength-training zone with a MoonBoard and campus boards, a fitness area, and a yoga room. Inner Peaks also has a location in South End. 10715 Independence Pointe Pkwy., Matthews
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Skin deep IT’S A NEW YEAR, AND A GREAT TIME TO THINK ABOUT CHANGES TO YOUR WELLNESS AND BEAUTY REGIMEN. WE SPOKE WITH SEVERAL LOCAL PROFESSIONALS WHOSE WORK IS CENTERED AROUND HELPING OTHERS LOOK AND FEEL THEIR BEST — YOU JUST MIGHT FIND INSPIRATION TO KICKSTART A NEW ROUTINE. BY CATHY MARTIN
Lather up Rodger Azadganian knows a thing or two about the salon industry. Before moving to North Carolina a decade ago, he owned a thriving business in Seattle with salons, an academy and a line of hair care products that were sold in 600 West Coast salons. Azadganian sold that business in 2008 and moved to the beach with his wife, Amy. But after a year or two, Azadganian realized he wasn’t quite ready to give up working altogether. “It’s not about the money, it’s about the fulfillment,” he says. So in 2010, the couple moved to Charlotte — Amy’s hometown — and opened 8 The Salon at the Village at SouthPark. In August, Azadganian soft-launched Äz Haircare, a line of shampoos, conditioners, and other styling and finishing products he describes as “craft luxury.” Azadganian’s goal was to create high-end products that are sulfate-, paraben- and sodium chloride-free. But many similar products currently on the market don’t lather well, leaving consumers feeling like their hair isn’t clean. With Äz, he dedicated six months exclusively to working on get 26
ting the lather just right. “This time, we had more resources at our disposal,” Azadganian says. “We really went out of our way to hire the best of the best,” from the chemistry to the packaging design. In November, he tapped former L’Oréal executive Rocky Rumpel as president of Äz Haircare. For now, Äz products are available at 8 The Salon and online at azhaircare. com. But Azadganian has his sights set on a much wider distribution. He’s in talks with a large North American distributor, and ultimately, he’d love to take the brand global. Launching a new line while living in Charlotte has been slightly more challenging than it was in Seattle, Azadganian says. But the Queen City’s reputation is changing, and it’s a more culturally rich city that it was years ago, he says. “This Charlotte genuinely feels like what Seattle felt like back in 1998-2002, when you could feel the energy and the buzz in the air.” Äz Haircare products are available at 8 The Salon at 4310 Sharon Road and at azhaircare.com.
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|blvd. Changing face Let’s face it, Charlotteans are mildly obsessed with looking their best — from fitness to skin care to style. The good news for women (and men) who might be considering a cosmetic procedure: Recent technological advances have made the processes smoother and outcomes more predictable. In addition, the number of effective nonsurgical, or minimally invasive, procedures has grown. Stephan Finical joined Charlotte Plastic Surgery in 2001 after four years at the Mayo Clinic when he and his wife, Maryallys, decided Charlotte was a more family-friendly place to raise their two children. It helped that the city’s oldest plastic surgery practice — the second-oldest in the U.S. — had an established national reputation, Finical says. “Because we’ve got long tails, we don’t just jump on the latest fad,” he says. “We want things that work. We want to offer our patients the newest and the cutting-edge, but only if it’s efficacious and worth their while.” We spoke with Finical about the latest trends in cosmetic surgery, and what to consider if you’re thinking about having a procedure done for the first time. Comments were edited for brevity and clarity.
Stephan Finical of Charlotte Plastic Surgery
If someone is new to cosmetic surgery, what should he or she look for in a provider?
First and foremost, education and training and board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. For plastic surgery, there’s a written examination and an oral examination. It really is rigorous. How has the practice changed over the last decade?
I looked at our numbers from 10 years ago, and 80% of our overall revenue came from surgery and 20% was everything else — injectables, all of our skin care lines, lasers, those kind of things. ... This year it’s 65/35. It's expanding our base of patients. We still do as much surgery as we ever did — actually, it’s increased. What are some popular products and procedures?
The Profound has become really popular. It is a microneedling ... that causes us to produce more collagen, so it thickens and tightens the skin. It actually has been shown to increase elastin, which is really the key. Elastin is what makes the skin stretchy. A little over 10 years ago, some science came out that showed that topicals — skin creams and things like that — actually had some science behind them and showed improvement. Those things have really broadened our base. We’ve separated out our skin center. We have nurses 28
that only do injectables — Botox and fillers. In the last five years, the better and longer-lasting cheek fillers have come out. When we first got collagen, it only lasted three months. Today, the more modern lip injections last for a year. We’ve got some cheek injections that last two years. How does the Vectra imaging system work?
The Vectra is great for breast augmentation because it allows people to presize. It takes a 3-D image of a person, and through computer software you can put different implants into a person. It makes [the process] a little more analytical. Are there ever situations when you refuse to perform a procedure on a patient?
Yes, there are a couple of reasons: Either [we] don’t have the skill set to take care of what they are interested in, or it’s because people have an unrealistic expectation of what they’re going to get out of it. If somebody comes in and says, “I want to have this procedure done because I want to get a promotion,” that’s the wrong motivator.
3 OFFICE LOCATIONS SouthPark WAVERLY LAKE NORMAN
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VALERIE MITCHENER 704-577-8200
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|blvd. Calming cannabis CBD products are everywhere, but determining which ones are safe and effective can be a challenge. Joslyn Brown, a licensed pharmacist and a health care administrator, started exploring CBD to relieve her symptoms of Crohn’s disease. “I went to a couple of random places. I felt really uncomfortable, and they couldn’t answer any of my questions. So I started doing some research.” That’s when she and her husband, Colby, decided to open Blue Flowers, a CBD boutique in the Terraces at SouthPark featuring beauty, wellness, pet-care and other products hand-picked by Brown. The hemp-derived products are touted for their calming, stress-relieving properties, though clinical studies are still being conducted. U.S. hemp production has soared since the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the definition of marijuana. But research takes time, and as of late 2019, the FDA had only approved one CBD product, a prescription epilepsy drug. So before bringing a product into the store, Brown goes directly to the manufacturers and asks three specific questions: Where is the plant grown, what are their methods for extracting the CBD and how are the products tested? Based on those factors, she determines which companies she wants to represent. • Skin care is a growing segment of CBD — even established brands such as Kiehl’s are jumping on the hemp
train. “It’s just got that anti-inflammatory, antioxidant effect, so it helps clear out the old and bring the new to the front,” Brown says. The cleansers, toners and serums her store carries are free of chemical additives;
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|blvd. many products are blended with familiar herbal extracts such as chamomile and lavender. Lines carried by Blue Flowers include Beboe and Saint Jane, which was founded by Casey Georgeson, a Stanford MBA who worked in brand development for Marc Jacobs and Elizabeth and James Nirvana, among others. • Recovery is another popular category of CBD products, including salves and bath salts. “These products are great to soothe sore muscles and joints. CBD has anti-inflammatory benefits that may help reduce swelling,” Brown says. “CBD can be used topically, and it will absorb into the tissue and muscle, but not into the bloodstream.” • “For general wellness, CBD may be good to help restore the body back to homeostasis or balance,” Brown says. The Stay Sharp capsules sold at Blue Flowers also include ginkgo, which is known to improve brain health. “Quality sleep plays into wellness,” Brown says. She recommends tinctures from Yuyo Botanics as a sleep aid. Despite the surge in hemp production, Brown finds that there is still a certain stigma attached to CBD products, which don’t contain the large amounts of THC — the compound that gets you high — found in its marijuana cousin. To ease
concerns, Blue Flowers has introduced private parties in the store or in homes to educate and introduce the products to consumers. She also hosts “Fridays with the Pharmacist” where customers can test the products and ask questions. “We’re trying to raise expectations [about CBD] and say, look, this is how it could be done.” SP
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My favorite things . . .
If you frequent Laurel Market in Eastover, chances are you’ve met Magdalena “Maggie” Vazquez or Gerardo “Jerry” Peralta. Maggie and Jerry have worked behind the register at the neighborhood market for 14 years and 10 years, respectively. “The people are super friendly and super respectful,” says Maggie, a native of Veracruz, Mexico, who lives in west Charlotte. “They are genuinely good people. It is the overall feel of the neighborhood — working at Laurel Market has been great,” she says. “The owners, Susan and Ron [Hardman], are amazing. They treat us like family,” adds Jerry, who lives in north Charlotte but is originally from Acapulco, Mexico. Jerry also runs an event planning business for birthday parties, quinceañeras and other events. Maggie and Jerry agree that one of the best things about working at Laurel Market has been getting to know the repeat customers. “All the regulars come here, and I know what they are going to get,” Jerry says. “Like Emma, she comes here only for her French roast coffee. We usually see her every Saturday. Michael, he does graphic design and comes here all the time. He actually made our new menus.” One of those regulars is Eastover resident Anne Bridgeman. “My twins are 9 now, and Jerry and Maggie have known me since I was pregnant,” Bridgeman says. “I walked up here every day when they were born, literally. They are like family, honestly.” Comments were edited for length and clarity.
Jerry: One of my favorite things to do Charlotte each year with my friends is go to the Carolina Renaissance Festival. It’s like you are in another world. Everything … the buildings, the food, the culture … everything is so different.
Maggie: Now I’m studying more English. I’ve been taking classes at Central Piedmont Community College for two years and I really like it there. All of the teachers are really good; they help you. They give you advice. It has helped me to be more successful. I go to school right after work, MondayThursday, three hours each day.
Maggie: My daughter, Odalis, is 16 years old. She never stops. We are always on the go! We go to the park on the weekends, especially Freedom Park. It is such a beautiful park in Charlotte — the lake, dogs running, the trails.
Maggie: Azteca on Woodlawn and Don Pedro are our favorite spots for Mexican food in Charlotte. Jerry: I have several favorites. There is a Cajun restaurant in the University area called Crab Du Jour that is amazing. You can order your own seafood combo that is really good. SP compiled by Whitley Adkins Hamlin Know of a Charlotte tastemaker or person of interest we should feature here? Email email@example.com.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY RICHARD ISRAEL
Jerry: I love to go to the mountains from Charlotte. I enjoy a weekend trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn., which takes about three hours. I enjoy riding the lift chairs, and you can see the beautiful views. In the summer, I like to take a weekend trip to Charleston.
Scheduling tours for fall 2020 www.bischarlotte.org
THE KNIGHT FOUNDATION’S CHARLES THOMAS EARNS A LIVING BY GIVING AWAY MONEY. HIS GROUP’S LATEST BENEFICIARY IS THE CHARLOTTE MECKLENBURG LIBRARY.
The Knight Foundation has pledged $10 million toward a $135 million initiative that includes a sleek new downtown library. It’s the foundation’s largest commitment to Charlotte to date. Mecklenburg County has pledged $65 million toward the project, which includes the new 115,000-square-foot building, a support services center, new systemwide technology and programming, and an endowment for future needs. The new library will replace the existing branch at 310 North Tryon St. and is slated to open in 2024.
harles Thomas may have one of the best jobs in Charlotte. As the city’s program director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, he gives away money for projects that help the community. In November, the Miami-based Knight Foundation pledged $10 million to Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s The CommonSpark, a $135 million campaign to build a new main library downtown. In all, the foundation has committed more than $58 million to Charlotte since 2008. For Thomas, 46, this project is forward-thinking and creates public spaces that provide access to information for everyone. “And making sure that this is a generational investment,” he says. “Making sure that the future is really designed for residents as they are now, in the 21st century.” Thomas moved to Charlotte when he was 6 years old and attended Randolph Middle School and East Mecklenburg High School. At Duke University, he earned a degree in economics. Before joining the Knight Foundation 36
in 2016, he gained experience at various corporate and nonprofit entities. He worked at Accenture and The Light Factory, owned a photography business and founded Queen City Forward, a local startup hub that operated from 2012-2018. Thomas remembers doing homework as a kid at the Independence Regional branch. It’s where he felt “safe and smart,” Thomas says. Now he serves on the board of trustees for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. Comments were edited for brevity and clarity. What’s it like to work in a position where you award money for projects? It’s awesome. It’s hard — there’s pressure to it, but it fulfilled what I was looking to do, which was to have a greater impact. I’m investing in multiple nonprofits and trying to have an impact on neighborhoods. Why does Charlotte get so much attention from the Knight Foundation? Charlotte is supported by Knight
LIBRARY IMAGES FROM: LMNB, ARCHITECT: SNØHETTA, ARCHITECT OF RECORD: CLARK NEXSEN
BY VANESSA INFANZON
Foundation because of Knight’s history in Charlotte. In 1954, the Knight brothers, John S. and James L. Knight, who owned newspapers, purchased The Charlotte Observer. When the brothers passed away, their assets became the Knight Foundation. Wherever Knight newspapers were located at the time of the foundation’s beginnings is where we invest. We invest in 26 cities, and Charlotte is one. We are a part of a unique group where we’re called resident cities because we have a program director. How does the recent $10 million gift support Knight Foundation’s core beliefs? Knight’s mission is to foster more informed and engaged communities. Libraries are places where people can go to become informed and engaged in their city. It’s a very democratic place. Everybody’s welcome, and it’s a very trusted space. We think these [spaces] are critical for helping people to feel connected and attached. We feel it’s the best way to help people build more inclusive and equitable communities. If you don’t have those free open public spaces, then you’re making engagement and information a luxury and something that people, if they have enough money, can have. And those that don’t, can’t. What will this gift help the library achieve? Our investment in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is to support not only the building of the new main library, but to ensure that [it] is infused and embedded with technology. And to ensure that it has an impact on the uptown branch, but that it reverberates out through all the branches. When you walk into the library, it’s going to be very different. It’s very much about creating experiences, welcoming people in and then engaging people in the ways that people are engaged today with their mobile devices. The staff not only will be librarians, but they will be librarians that understand technology and the new era that we’re in — it’s not about being behind a desk, but it’s about moving around. Who can apply for a grant with the Knight Foundation? Anyone can apply to Knight Foundation for a grant: an individual, an institution, for-profit, nonprofit. The best way to start that process is to have a conversation with a Knight Foundation representative such as myself or [one of] my colleagues in the journalism or arts department in Miami. SP
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southparkmagazine.com | 37
Just like home
DRAPER PLACE CATERS TO APARTMENT DWELLERS WHO VALUE PRIVACY AND HIGH-END DESIGN. BY CATHY MARTIN
ith the opening of Draper Place last summer, developer SunCap Property Group took a gamble that prospective tenants would be willing to pay more for units with larger footprints and upscale finishes. That’s not to say that Draper Place, a 47-unit apartment building on Randolph Road between Eastover and Elizabeth, doesn’t have amenities to boot. There’s covered underground parking, a pet spa, a large outdoor terrace with a fireplace and a Big Green Egg grill, a dog park, and a larger pocket park for use by residents. But the focus here is on the expansive layouts — the average unit is 1,915 square feet, about double the industry average — and high-end details that make the apartments at Draper Place feel more like home, particularly for tenants who are in-between houses or are new to Charlotte. “We believe our resident wants to entertain in their home,” says Executive Vice President Fred Bolt, who leads SunCap’s mixed-use and multifamily development. Draper Place is just the second multifamily project completed by SunCap, which focuses predominantly on industrial projects. “And we thought, if our residents are going to entertain in their homes, let’s be serious about the quality of the stuff we put in it,” Bolt says. At Draper Place, that starts at the front door. Unlike most market-rate apartment units, which enter directly into the kitchen or dining area, each Draper Place apartment opens into a spacious foyer with a drop zone for belongings and a large art nook. In each unit, the kitchen is equipped with oversized quartz countertops, a six-burner gas stove, built-in Kitchen-Aid appliances, a dual-zone wine cooler and a dry bar. Ten-foot sliding-glass doors separate the living area from the patio, 3 8
which is recessed for privacy and upfitted with a gas fireplace. Master suites offer large walk-in closets, oversized showers and private water closets. “All of this is tailored to, how do we make this resident feel like they’ve walked into their home?” Bolt says. “When they have guests or family over, they’re able to entertain.” Service is another emphasis at Draper Place. “Our approach is kind of like the Ritz-Carlton approach. What we said to our staff here is we’ll do anything for the resident if it’s not immoral, illicit or illegal,” laughs Bolt. An on-site lifestyle coordinator handles requests from lining up caterers to scheduling rides to the airport or the car-repair shop. If residents do want to socialize with their fellow tenants, Draper Place hosts weekend brunches, wine-down Wednesdays and other gatherings in a communal club room. A private conference room allows tenants to host investment clubs and other groups. Another unique perk: During construction, SunCap purchased and renovated a 1,600-square-foot bungalow across the street from Draper Place to use as a leasing center. Now, residents can reserve the cottage for overnight guests. Adjacent to Draper Place are eight Simonini-built townhomes priced in the $1.1 million to $1.2 million range. Homeowners can enjoy all the perks of Draper Place. With low apartment vacancy rates and a strong demand for high-end rentals in Charlotte, SunCap is targeting Dilworth for a similar project that will include 50 apartment homes and six townhomes for rent. Construction is expected to begin in late summer. Apartments at Draper Place lease from $3,549 for a two-bedroom, 2.5 bath unit to $5,079 for a three-bedroom unit with a private patio. livedraperplace.com
southparkmagazine.com | 38
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TWELFTH NIGHT PARTY AT CHARLOTTE MUSEUM OF HISTORY
THIS MONTH’S FIVE ESSENTIAL DATES
Close out the holidays at the Charlotte Museum of History’s annual Twelfth Night Party, with bonfires, live music, games and more. The event is free with a cash bar. New this year: purchase a VIP ticket for $25 and enjoy a guided tour of the 1774 Alexander Rock House and a whiskey flight in the rock house cellar, usually off limits to visitors. charlottemuseum.org
The U.S. National Whitewater Center kicks off its 2020
The semiannual Queen’s
Oprah Winfrey brings her highly anticipated 2020 Vision:
After more than three decades, Atlanta folk-rock duo The Indigo Girls are still writing and producing music, with a new album due out in 2020. Meanwhile, catch their show at McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square. This one will be a sellout, check for tickets from third-party vendors. blumenthalarts.org
River’s Edge Craft Dinner series with
a four-course meal paired with beers from Southern Tier Brewing Company. The series continues on select evenings from Jan.-March. Each dinner features a local or Carolinas-based brewery. Tickets are $60 per person. usnwc.org
Feast: Charlotte Restaurant Week
is back — enjoy three-course, prix fixe dinners at more than 130 restaurants in 10 counties in the Charlotte region for only $30 or $35 per person. charlotterestaurantweek.com
Your Life in Focus
event to Charlotte, one of just nine U.S. cities on the tour. This daylong “party” is aimed at inspiring attendees to develop an action plan for the year ahead. Joining Oprah at Spectrum Center is special guest Amy Schumer. Tickets start at $85. livenation. com
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For the time being TO COUNT THE HOURS ... OR MAKE THEM COUNT
BY JIM DODSON
y office over the garage, which I fondly call the “Tree House,“ is a place where time stands still, in a manner of speaking, something of a museum for dusty artifacts and funky souvenirs that followed me home from six decades of traveling journalism. Among them is a collection of wristwatches that accompanied me most of the way. They’re part of what I call Uncle Jimmy Bob’s Museum of Genuine & Truly Unremarkable Stuff. Most unremarkably (if you know me), many of the watches are broken or simply worn out from the misfortune of being attached to my person. Suffice it to say, I have a history of being tough on timepieces, having cracked more watch crystals than I can count, and either lost or damaged half a dozen of these loyal beauties by various means. I suspect that a good shrink could have a field day with the fact that all these defunct watches are the same model and brand — the famous Timex Expedition, an outdoors icon known for its durability and rustic beauty. You can blame black-and-white television for this unholy devotion. See, when I was a little kid and the TV world was not yet in living color — I was a highly impressionable son of a successful advertising executive, it should be noted — my favorite commercial was a spot for Timex watches in which suave company pitchman John Cameron Swayze subjected the watches to a series of live “torture tests” in order to prove that the durable timepiece could “take a licking and keep on ticking.” To this day I remember watching slugger Mickey Mantle wearing his Timex during batting practice. Other favorites included watches freed from solid blocks of ice by a wielded hammer, dropped to the bottom of fish tanks for hours or put through the washing machine cycle — even attached to the bow of a roaring speedboat! I received my first Timex watch for Christmas in 1966 and wore it faithfully everywhere — to bed, to baseball practice, even to Scout Camp where I took it off to do the mile swim and never saw it again, the start of a tradition.
The next one I owned was an Expedition model purchased for about 25 bucks with lawn-mowing money. I wore that sucker all the way through high school, occasionally losing and finding it in unexpected places while putting it through the kind of personal abuse that would have made me a natural for Timex TV spots. For high-school graduation, my folks gave me an elegant Seiko watch, a sleek Japanese quartz model that never needed winding and kept perfect time but never felt right on my wrist. I have no idea what happened to that lovely timepiece. Or, at least I ain’t telling. By the end of college, I was safely back to Timex Expeditions, the cheap and durable watch that would accompany me — one lost or broken model at a time — across the next four decades. I mention this because a month or so ago, during a particularly busy stretch, I misplaced my longest-running Expedition and, feeling it might be the end of time or at least civilization as we know it, impetuously ordered a replacement model on the internet with guaranteed 24-hour delivery ... only to discover, the very day the new watch arrived, that the missing watch was under my car seat all along, keeping perfect time. God only knows how it got there. But the message wasn’t lost on me. Why do I need anything delivered within 24 hours? Instead, perhaps it’s time to slow down and pay attention to what is already happening here and now, to pause and take notice of the simple things that give my life its greatest purpose and meaning. The start of a new year is a time when many of us pause to take stock of how far we’ve come this year and may be headed in the year to come. After a certain age, the question of how to make use of whatever time we have left to do the things we still hope — or need — to do is also on our minds. Yet in modern America, “where time is money,” most of us live by the silent tyranny of the ticking clock, obsessed with achieving deadlines and keeping schedules. With no time to waste, we put everything on the clock or at least mark it down in the Day-Timer, making helpful “To-Do” lists and dinner reservations, planning holidays a year in advance, booking flights to warmer seas, appointments with the decorator or therapist, southparkmagazine.com | 43
I CAME FOR THE TRAINING. I STAYED FOR THE RESULTS.
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paying the mortgage on time, picking up the kids at 3 —all of it shaped by, and subject to, the hopeless idea of saving time. Someone, my late Grandmother Taylor liked to say, is always waiting beneath the clock for a child to be born, a life to pass on, a decision to be made or a verdict to be rendered. A proper Southern Baptist lady who knew the Scriptures cold but enjoyed her evening toddy, she often told me, “Child, for the time being, you’re on God’s time. This is heaven.” From the mystical East, my Buddhist friends perceive time as an endless cycle of beginnings and ending, life and death and rebirth, time that is fluid and forever moving toward some greater articulation of what it means to be human. Native American spirituality embraces a similar idea of the sacred hoop of life, a cycle of rebirth that prompted Chief Seattle to remark that we humans struggle with life not because we’re human beings trying to be spiritual, but the other way around. A version of this quote is also attributed to French Jesuit priest and philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, proving great souls think alike, even in different languages. How ironic, in any case, that a booming West Coast city that is home to time-saving megaliths of commerce like Amazon, Starbucks, Costco and Microsoft is named for a man who lovingly presaged, decades ahead of his time, that we humans essentially belong to the Earth and not the other way around. And that, in time, when the last tree falls and the final river is poisoned, we will finally learn that we cannot eat money or replace whatever is forever lost in time. Fearing his own time brief on this planet, Transcendentalist Henry Thoreau went to live by Walden Pond “because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” I hold a similar desire close to my own aging heart, though in the short term I sure would like to finish a trio of half-written novels I’ve been cobbling on for years, write a few more books about subjects that greatly interest me, and maybe — if there’s any time leftover — build a cabin in the Blue Ridge like the one my late papa and I always talked about “someday” building together. For the record, just for fun, I’d also like to learn to speak Italian, play the piano and spend a full summer exploring the fjords and forests of Scandinavia with my wife. So much to do. So little time to do it. That seems to be our fate. At least mine. On golden autumn afternoons and quiet winter days, however, I swear I can almost hear Chief Seattle, Father De Chardin and Grandma Taylor whispering to me that we are all living on God’s Time, wise to wake up and slow down and live fully in the now as we journey into a brave new decade, hopefully appreciating the many gifts of time and its precious brevity. For the time being, I now have two fine Expedition watches that can take a licking and keep on ticking. Though how long I can do the same, goodness me, only time will tell. SP Contact Editor Jim Dodson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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January books NOTABLE NEW RELEASES
COMPILED BY SALLY BREWSTER
American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins Lydia Pérez lives in Acapulco, where she runs a bookstore, and her life with her son and journalist husband is fairly comfortable. One day, a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy, two of them her favorites. Javier is charming and well-read, but unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. Lydia’s husband publishes a tell-all profile of Javier, and none of their lives will ever be the same. After her extended family is executed, Lydia and her 8-year-old son Luca are forced to run from the city. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia — trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people heading north, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed — see why John Grisham, Stephen King, Ann Patchett and many others are declaring American Dirt the book of the year.
Long Bright River, by Liz Moore In a Philadelphia neighborhood rocked by the opioid crisis, two once-inseparable sisters find themselves at odds. Kacey lives on the streets in the vise of addiction. Mickey walks those same blocks on her police beat. They don’t speak anymore, but Mickey never stops worrying about her sibling. Then Kacey disappears, and at the same time a mysterious string of murders occurs. Mickey becomes dangerously obsessed with finding the culprit — and her sister — before it’s too late. Alternating its present-day mystery with the story of the sisters’ childhood and adolescence, Long Bright River is at once heart-pounding and heart-wrenching: a gripping suspense novel that is also a moving story of sisters, addiction and the formidable ties that persist between place, family and fate. Perfect for fans of Michael Connolly or Dennis Lehane. Lady Clementine, by Marie Benedict Marie Benedict always dreamed of unearthing and writing hidden historical histories of women when she was working as a corporate lawyer. Her fourth book is a compulsive, thrilling novel that focuses on one of the people who had the most southparkmagazine.com | 47
|bookshelf influence during World War I and World War II: Clementine Churchill. In 1909, Clementine steps off a train with her new husband, Winston, and an angry woman emerges from the crowd, attacking and shoving him in the direction of an oncoming train. Just before he stumbles, Clementine grabs him by his suit jacket. This will not be the last time Clementine Churchill will save her husband. Lady Clementine is the ferocious story of the ambitious woman beside Winston Churchill, the story of a partner who did not flinch through the sweeping darkness of war and who would not surrender either to expectations or to enemies. Agency, by William Gibson
taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career as an artist is put on hold — until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment is to restore an old post-office mural in the sleepy southern town of Edenton. Although she knows nothing about art restoration, she is desperate to leave the prison, so she accepts the offer. What is found under the layers of grime is a painting that was part of the WPA in the 1930s, unearthing a story of madness, violence and a conspiracy of secrets.
William Gibson has been looking to the future for decades, writing about the internet before there was one in his debut novel Neuromancer. His new book is about Verity, an app whisperer, who is hired to test a new AI called Eunice and who quickly realizes that she is working with the very latest in artificial intelligence. Eunice is a self-learning agent; a cross-platform, individual user-based, autonomous avatar; sentient and self-aware. Eunice has different plans for Verity, and the two go off the grid in a page-turning adventure.
High Five, by Joe Ide
Big Lies in A Small Town, by Diane Chamberlain
Sally Brewster is the proprietor of Park Road Books, located at 4139 Park Road. parkroadbooks.com
When Morgan Christopher’s life was derailed after
In Joe Ide’s stellar fourth IQ novel, genius detective Isaiah Quintabe, who usually helps those in need in his impoverished East Long Beach, Calif., neighborhood, takes on a paying client. Angus Byrne, a vicious white supremacist who’s also a major arms dealer, wants Isaiah to investigate the shooting murder of an employee, Tyler Barnes. A wonderful, page-turning series inspired by Joe Ide’s love of Sherlock Holmes is a welcome addition to the genre. SP
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The write idea RETIRED PASTOR NEAL JONES EXTOLS THE VIRTUES OF HANDWRITTEN LETTERS. BY KEN GARFIELD
orty-nine years ago, Neal Jones heard a whisper from God: It’s fine to pray for people, the Lord told him. But while you’re at it, why don’t you drop them a note as well? Nearly a half-century and thousands of handwritten notes later, Neal is still at it. With paper and pen, the retired pastor reaches out to family, friends, neighbors — even people he barely knows. Lost a loved one? Just home from the hospital? Moved in next door? Most any chapter in a person’s life will stir Neal to share best wishes in longhand. Forget texts and emails. “Mechanical stuff,” Neal calls it. He’s out to warm the world one stamp at a time. What about you? Ready to pick up a BIC pen and do the same? Neal and his wife, Betty, are both 93 years old. They moved to The Cypress of Charlotte from Falls Church, Va., to be closer to their daughter, Caroline, and her family, husband Kevin and granddaughters Anabel and Leighton. Neal served as a pastor for most of his life. His final stop before retiring was Columbia Baptist Church in Falls Church. It was there at the bustling suburban Washington church that Neal began to see the Sunday morning masses as more of a mob than a community. How can you love people you hardly know? With the Lord nudging him, he began writing notes. The “habit,” as he calls it, has become central to his theology: To develop a strong vertical relationship with Christ, you must build a strong horizontal relationships with people here on God’s good earth. Being a glass-is-half-full kind of guy, Neal sees his penmanship — or lack of it (“hieroglyphics,” he calls it) — as a plus. “The way they have to work at reading it makes it more personal.” Back in his heyday, Neal wrote 40 or so notes a day, that estimate coming from his son-in-law, Kevin. Today, Neal isn’t sure how many he writes, but it’s a lot. He’s been recruited to send out notes on behalf of Leighton Ford Ministries, gratis, of course. As I shared in the November issue of SouthPark magazine, Leighton recently formed a ministry partnership with his
son, Kevin. Yes, the Kevin who is Neal’s son-in-law. Neal’s notes cover a lot of ground. He’s written to neighbors at The Cypress, the sprawling retirement community in the SouthPark area. “We are privileged to live here together,” he wrote. “I want to thank you for your prayers. I’m praying for you, too.” He wrote to a neighbor whose husband died unexpectedly from a heart attack. He enclosed a leaf in the envelope to symbolize the enduring beauty of God. On a recent morning when I visited Neal, he shared a note he had written to a woman involved in prison ministry. “This comes with a keep going full speed word. I pray for you today…Sic ’em.” Neal and I are both mature (i.e. old), but we’re not naïve. We realize that many 20- and 30-somethings who prefer reading the news on their iPhones might snicker, as if to say: “Haven’t handwritten notes gone the way of flip phones and newspapers? Well, guess what, whippersnappers? One survey found that 87% of millennials (ages 23 to 38) value handwritten notes more than other means of communications. And 81% of people of all ages believe a handwritten note holds more meaning than a high-tech alternative. Alas, we’re all pretty much out of luck: Another survey found that the average American home receives a letter once every seven weeks. With Neal as our inspiration, let’s resolve in this new year to change that. Know a family member, friend or colleague who’s going through a rough patch? Anyone out there need a word of congratulations, sympathy or support? Do you feel moved to reconnect or reconcile with someone who’s meant the world to you? Have at it. SP Ken Garfield is a freelance writer whose columns and stories appear regularly in SouthPark magazine. Reach him at email@example.com. Better yet, drop him a note at 4317 Park Road, Charlotte, N.C. 28209. southparkmagazine.com | 51
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Billy, Billie and Bond THE THEATRICAL, MUSICAL, DANCE AND COMEDIC PERFORMANCES TO SEE IN THE FIRST HALF OF 2020. BY PAGE LEGGETT
J A N U A RY Celebrating 10 Years: A Jazz at the Bechtler Birthday Bash Jan. 3 In honor of the Bechtler’s 10th anniversary, the Jazz at the Bechtler music series will change its venue from the museum lobby to the Knight Theater for a once-in-a-decade concert. House band Ziad Jazz Quartet will be joined by Grammy Award nominees Nnenna Freelon and Russell Malone, as well as recording artist Nicolas Bearde. Knight Theater, 130 S. Tryon St. Tickets are $50. bechtler.org or carolinatix.org
Come From Away Blumenthal Performing Arts Center’s Broadway Lights Series
Nnenna Freelon 54
Jan. 7 – 12 Come From Away is based on the true story of 7,000 passengers stranded in Gander, a small town in Newfoundland, on 9/11 after U.S. airspace was closed. The town’s residents opened their homes and hearts to the weary and shell-shocked travelers, forming unlikely bonds. The musical, a tribute to love overcoming hate, was nominated for seven Tony Awards. Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Tickets start at $25. carolinatix.org
OVO Cirque Du Soleil Jan. 8 – 12 The famous human circus celebrates the often-overlooked insect world. Amazing acrobats fly, leap, crawl, bounce, juggle (with their feet!), cross a high wire, swing on trapezes and perform other astonishing acts as they mimic spiders, crickets, ants and butterflies. Bojangles’ Coliseum, 2700 E. Independence Blvd. Tickets start at $44. boplex.com or ticketmaster.com
Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte Jan. 16 – Feb. 8 In a run-down bar in Philadelphia in 1959, Billie Holiday is giving one of her last performances. A riveting portrait of the legend and her music months before her death, the musical includes the chilling and heartbreaking “Strange Fruit.” Hadley Theater at Queens University, 2132 Radcliffe Ave. Tickets are $30-$44 on weekdays and $35-$50 on weekends. atcharlotte.org
Innovative Works: Beyond the Mint Charlotte Ballet Jan. 24 – Feb. 15 Art imitates … art! Three choreographers created works inspired by The Mint Museum’s exhibition “Immersed in Light: Studio Drift at the Mint.” Charlotte Ballet Center for Dance, 701 N. Tryon St. Tickets start at $27; children’s tickets to Saturday matinee are $15. charlotteballet.org
The New Colossus presented by Blumenthal Performing Arts Center Jan. 28 – Feb. 2 Members of the Actors’ Gang theater company ensemble wrote their own ancestors’ stories. Twelve refugees from 12 different time periods — all fleeing violence and oppression — share their tales. All are woven into one cohesive narrative about leaving home in search of a better life. The characters are all drawn to one thing — Lady Liberty’s beacon above Ellis Island. Academy Award-winner Tim Robbins directs a play that opens its national tour in Charlotte. Knight Theater. Tickets start at $20. carolinatix.org
Cirque Du Soleil OVO
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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
F E B RU A RY An Evening with Sutton Foster Feb. 20 Foster is a two-time Tony Award-winning actress, singer and dancer. She played the title role in the off-Broadway revival of Sweet Charity (2016). On Broadway, she played the title role in Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002) and Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes (2011). You might have seen her on TV Land’s Younger or the ABC Family (now Freeform) dramedy Bunheads. Her performance is a good opportunity to check out Charlotte’s newest performing arts venue. Sandra Levine Theatre at Queens University, 2319 Wellesley Ave. Tickets are $25-$75. carolinatix.org
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Celebrating 60 Years! Feb. 25-26 The iconic company has performed for more than 23 million people in 48 states and 71 countries, celebrating the African-American cultural experience and the American modern dance tradition. The late Alvin Ailey often created dances based on his childhood memories of Texas and used the blues, spirituals and gospel as inspiration. His most popular work, “Revelations,” is a joy to watch. Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, 130 N. Tryon St. Tickets start at $24.50. carolinatix.org
Lucy Kaplanksy Feb. 29 New York-based folk singer Lucy Kaplansky’s music is accessible — and deeply personal. She’s written about her husband of 30-plus years (“Ten Year Night”); their daughter, Molly (“Manhattan Moon”); and the death of the neighbor she often passed on the sidewalk, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Keeping Time”). She’s a master storyteller with an amazing rapport with her audience. If you aren’t able to score tickets to see Diana Ross — the legendary songstress performs at Belk Theater on the same night — this is a terrific show (with fewer costume changes) going on in the Blumenthal basement. Stage Door Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, 100 E. Trade St. Tickets are $20-$22. carolinatix.org
M A RC H 007: The Best of James Bond, Charlotte Pops/Charlotte Symphony Orchestra March 27-28 The world’s most sophisticated spy has been in more than two dozen films spanning five decades. Each one has its own theme song, and many have been hits. A few are considered among the greatest movie music of our time. The CSO presents singer Chloe Lowery covering the best of Bond, from the instantly recognizable theme songs to the sultry “Nobody Does it Better.” Knight Theater, 130 S. Tryon St. Tickets start at $19. carolinatix.org
APRIL CataLysT 2020: An Evening with Danny Glover April 16 Danny Glover — an actor, activist, director and humanitarian — champions education, equality and social justice while showing us how the arts can help transform communities. The star of the Lethal Weapon series, Witness, Beloved and many more films always has something on his mind — and a way with words. This is a “come-as-you-are” reception and fundraiser. Levine Museum of the New South, 200 E. Seventh St. Tickets (on sale Feb. 1) are $150 for members; $175 for nonmembers. museumofthenewsouth.org
Sense & Sensibility Central Piedmont Theatre April 17 - 26 Sisters Elinor and Marianne are taken with two very different suitors in this adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic. Sensible, reserved Elinor is charmed by the quiet Edward, while passionate Marianne is wooed by the dashing Willoughby, who has a scandalous past. But Edward has a scandalous present … a secret fiancée. Halton Theater, 1206 Elizabeth Ave. Tickets start at $10. tix.cpcc.edu
Afflicted: Daughters of Salem Children’s Theatre April 17 - 26 Secrets, gossip, accusations and public hysteria. We could be referring to the current political climate, but this play focuses on
the infamous Salem witch trials of the 1690s. In the play — intended for kids 12 and up — five girls in Salem Village become members of a secret society. But peer pressure and politics interfere. This powerful retelling of what led to the Salem witch trials is more relevant than ever. Wells Fargo Playhouse at Children’s Theatre, 300 E. 7th St. Tickets are $10-$12, ctcharlotte.org
Billy Joel in Concert April 18 The Piano Man has won five Grammys, a Kennedy Center Honor and the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. His vast catalog ranges from the upbeat pop of “Uptown Girl” to the ballad “You’re My Home” to the Vietnam lament “Goodnight Saigon.” The concert may be in uptown Charlotte, but the audience will be in a “New York State of Mind.” Bank of America Stadium. Tickets start at $49.50. ticketmaster.com
Douglas Tappin’s I Dream Opera Carolina April 19, 23 and 25 I Dream is a celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. With a story set over the last 36 hours of his life, Opera Carolina’s updated version of the 2018 hit is a powerful closing to the 71st season. As the character Martin makes his way to Memphis after giving the most stirring speech of his life, he ponders his triumphs and failures, the progress he’s made and the struggle ahead. Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon St. Tickets start at $22. operacarolina.org
Opera Carolina’s I Dream
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Dreamgirls Theatre Charlotte May 22 – June 7 Dreamgirls chronicles one Motown girl group’s rise from obscurity to superstardom. Loosely based on the rivalries within the members of Diana Ross & The Supremes, this hit Broadway musical looks at a time in American musical history when R&B blended with pop to create an entirely new American sound. This is the show that produced the incomparable “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.” Parents: Consider this PG-13. Theatre Charlotte, 501 Queens Rd. Tickets are $28. theatrecharlotte.org
Dada Woof Papa Hot
M AY The Second City: She the People hosted by Blumenthal Performing Arts May 6 – 9 Created and performed by the women of Chicago’s famed Second City troupe, this R-rated sketch comedy show cracks jokes about the income gap and looks at women’s rights in an era in which they seem to be in question. You have to laugh to keep from crying. McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square, 345 N. College St. Tickets are $22-$42. carolinatix.org
Mamma Mia! May 7-10 and 15-17 You know the improbable story. A feel-good tale of a daughter’s quest to find her birth father unfolds on a sunny Greek island. On the eve of her wedding, the heroine brings three men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago. It’s all just a vehicle for two hours of ABBA tunes, and what could be more fun than that? Old Courthouse Theatre, 49 Spring St. NW, Concord. Tickets are $16.09$21.45. octconcord.com
Three Bone Theatre May 28 – 20, June 4 - 6 It’s a fall night in New York City, and two couples who recently met are out to dinner. Alan and Rob and Scott and Jason find common ground as gay couples raising children in the city and arrange a play date for their kids. As the friendship grows, the couples’ conversations deepen from school to marriage trouble. Dada Woof Papa Hot explores the urban parenting experience, particularly at this cultural #lovewins moment. Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square, 345 N. College St. Tickets are $22-$28. threebonetheatre.com
JUNE What the Constitution Means to Me Blumenthal Performing Arts Center’s Broadway Lights Series June 23 – July 5 Broadway’s Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tony-nominated Best Play comes to Charlotte for a limited engagement. Starting at 15, playwright Heidi Schreck earned her college tuition by winning Constitutional debate competitions across the country. In this hilarious play, she resurrects her teenage self and traces the relationships among four generations of women and the document — still being lauded, pondered and hotly debated — that lays out their rights. Knight Theater. Tickets start at $25. carolinatix.org
EXPOSE YOURSELF TO ART We asked a few gallery owners and managers: Which exhibitions are you most excited about in early 2020? SOCO Gallery I Scott Avett I Jan. 22 - Mar. 7 Best known for his music, the older Avett Brother is also an accomplished visual artist. This will be his first solo art gallery exhibition of his paintings and works on paper. It comes on the heels of his first museum exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. soco-gallery.com Sozo Gallery I DREAMERS & DOERS I Feb. 5 March 4 This exhibition will feature the work of Percy King, a selftaught wood portrait artist, and Nico Amortegui, a Charlottebased artist who was born in Colombia and is known for his large-scale paintings and murals (pictured above). In addition, Communities In Schools will install a collage portrait by
nationally known pop artist Jason Mecier featuring one of its former students. A portion of sales from the show will benefit CIS. sozogallery.net Jerald Melberg Gallery I Susan Grossman I Jan. 25 - March 7 “The very nature of her work is exciting,” says Gaybe Johnson, the gallery’s registar. “Susan is a native New Yorker and seems to intuitively capture the essence, the movement and energy of urban life with her charcoal and pastel drawings. The stories they tell, both clear and implied, draw you in and invite you to make the story your own.” (Read more about the Grossman exhibition on Page 60.) jeraldmelberg.com Shain Fine Art I The Parks: Two-Person Show I Feb. 28Mar. 13 This annual show features Charlotte husband-and-wife artists Laura and Trip Park. “It is always one of our most popular and colorful shows!” says Sybil Godwin, gallery owner. shaingallery.com SP
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SUSAN GROSSMAN’S ABSTRACT CITY LANDSCAPES WILL BE ON VIEW AT JERALD MELBERG GALLERY.
BY GRACE COTE
here is a space that is neither blurred nor sharp, moving nor still, grayscale nor technicolor. It touches the extremes but lands somewhere between them. This is where Susan Grossman’s drawings live. The Brooklyn, N.Y.-based artist most often draws her environs: the urban streets of New York and its boroughs. Her work has a cinematic quality, like film stills, in which movement is suspended but not complete. “She can draw like a dream,” Charlotte gallery owner Jerald Melberg is fond of saying. Melberg has been Grossman’s art dealer for the last 10 years. He recalls his first 60
meeting with Grossman at Art Miami. “It was the day after the show opened, and I was walking around the aisles. I stepped into a booth and I went, ‘Wow.’ Literally, like that. [Her works] stopped me in my tracks,” Melberg says. “We met and chatted, and before the weekend was out, I was representing her.” His Cotswold gallery will open its sixth Susan Grossman solo exhibition on Jan. 25. The last one was in 2017 and featured work based on scenes from Charlotte. Since teaming with Melberg, Grossman’s work has been mostly grayscale, but recently she has made significantly bolder color choices.
product of this drive to capture these moments. “I like the all-overness of looking at my work ... taking it all in from corner to corner to center, in the way one looks at a more abstract, conceptual work.” When looking at a work of art, “if I find if a face is described on it, I tend to go right there,” Grossman says. That’s why her subjects are anonymous. Grossman has carved a unique place for herself that doesn’t easily fit into any preconceived ideas of what a landscape artist should be. Perhaps, because of this, it’s inevitable that viewers will often be, as Melberg was, stopped in their tracks. SP Afar “This all happened as a real choice,” Grossman says. “It was incredibly challenging and exciting to take it and let it unfold.” Two 2019 drawings, Afar and Gleaming, show the product of her experimentation. To begin a drawing, Grossman starts with a walk through the city, where she photographs scenes on the street. She captures images of everything from lively children to parked cars. Then, she returns to her studio to sift through the printed images, pulling parts from each to create her compositions. No scene that she portrays ever actually existed in its entirety. As the process begins, she keeps these photographs nearby for reference. “I love using my hand, which has all the quirks to it, and being very physical with the work, and the only way I can do that is to pin the photographs to the paper,” says Grossman, who has a bachelor’s degree from Bennington College in Vermont and an MFA from Brooklyn College. The pinholes left behind are a signature in her work. They’re also a reminder that the drawings are not too precious, which is the entire reason she prefers working with paper and charcoal. “You can keep redoing, you can wipe off, you can throw away,” she says. But why would an artist ever let go of any of their creations? It has to do with capturing the right essence of his or her subject. There is a feeling Grossman wishes to convey in her work, not just a scene. It is about conjuring that calm moment after a deluge, the action of the city after dusk, the specific gait of a child trailing behind their mother. The anonymity of the figures populating her work is a
Want to go? Susan Grossman’s exhibition of new charcoal and pastel drawings will be on view at Jerald Melberg Gallery from Jan. 25 - March 7. 625 S. Sharon Amity Rd., jeraldmelberg.com
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Zimmermann long-sleeve ruffle long dress, Capitol, $1,600; Helene Berman plaid wool blend college coat, Nordstrom, $395; Sam Edelman Hai knee-high boot, Nordstrom, $239.95; vintage brooch and earrings, stylistâ€™s own. 62
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Free People fringe studded jacket, Free People, $650; vintage Oscar de la Renta dress, stylistâ€™s own 64
Free People Mercer hooded kimono, Free People Atherton Mill, $88; Baum und Pferdgarten Nyo plaid flannel pants, Poole Shop, $329; Isabel Marant wide double-buckle belt, Capitol, $990; J.Crew leather knee boots
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Free People Wear It Out midi dress, Free People Atherton Mill, $198; Proenza Schouler longsleeve jersey printed turtleneck, Capitol, $275; Chloe small Tess croc-embossed calfskin shoulder bag, Nordstrom, $2,090; Sam Edelman Winona croc-embossed leather western booties, ShopBop.com, $180; Kristin Hayes Jewelry vintage gold cross, KristinHayesJewelry. com, $50; Punch Vintage Style metallic hand-dyed leather wrap bracelet, PunchVintageStyle.com, $46 SP
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New beginnings IN 2020, ALLISON ANDREWS PLANS TO VISIT 50 PLACES SHE’S NEVER BEEN. IT’S ALL PART OF A PLAN SPUN FROM UNEXPECTED LIFE CHANGES — AND A DETERMINATION TO ADAPT. BY VANESSA INFANZON
hree years ago, Allison Andrews questioned the direction of her life after her 23-year marriage ended. It didn’t help that it coincided with her decision to leave a longtime job as a local television producer. “I felt like everything was coming at me at once,” Andrews, 49, says. “I needed to decide what it all meant.” During the turmoil, Andrews woke one night with a revelation: She hadn’t considered what she wanted for more than two decades. Long ago, Andrews chose to focus on her family rather than follow a childhood dream of becoming a reporter. Now, she needed to find out what was important to her. These realizations led to Andrews creating Milemarker50, a project to anchor herself to a better future. It’s about Andrews turning 50 on February 8, but it’s also about figuring out her next steps as a single working mother. “We all have stuff that happens to us, in us, around us,” she explains, “and there are people who roll with it better than others. There are others who dig their feet in and don’t want to change. For me, it’s making the decision to adapt to my new circumstances.” Andrews was born in Charleston, S.C., but grew up in Indiana, the oldest of six siblings. She lives in Mooresville with her daughter Sidney, 15. Andrews is CEO of Andrews Creative, providing content for corporations, producing for local television — she worked at WCNC for 17 years before going out on her own — and speaking at conferences about women entrepreneurs. Her freelance writing has been published in The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping and
the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her first children’s book, Adventures of Sid and Eli, will be released in the spring. Over the next year, Andrews has decided to visit 50 national and international places she’s never been. She has set a few guidelines for the project. For example, a stay must be at least eight hours and include exploring and talking to the people who live there — layovers in an airport don’t count. But Milemarker50 is more than just a travel adventure for Andrews — in planning this project, she began to realize that she can do things she’s never done. “Milemarker is about what do you do with those moments that change you,” she says. “It’s more than trips for me.” Significant changes happen to everyone. Many of these milestones are associated with the end of a relationship, a health diagnosis, job loss or loss through death, says Patricia Fisher, a licensed clinical social worker in Charlotte. When something unexpected happens, people feel threatened or frightened, Fisher says. They operate with the effects of stress where options seem limited. The brain kicks into survival mode, and then it’s difficult to embrace the change or recognize how there can be growth from the experience, Fisher says. She recommends people find a balance between reflecting on a substantial shift and finding a healthy distraction to move forward from the pain. “Our minds prefer to stay in a certain rhythm,” Fisher says, “and I think that whenever we can step into new situations and projects, it can serve as a ‘waking up’ to a broader vision of who we are.”
PLANNING AHEAD Worrying about how to fund this project has been Andrews’ biggest concern. It’s taken two years of intentional saving to fund Milemarker50, and even still, she worries she might not have enough. She’s cut back on eating dinners out, taken on extra work and canceled services such as lawn care and house cleaning. She saved most of her tax refunds and hasn’t taken any vacations for two years. A couple of recent real-estate investments helped boost her savings. Sidney Andrews — who describes herself as her mom’s sidekick — is helping Andrews in her own way. “I have supported her by helping her save money, and I even got a job so I can buy things I don’t need, but I want.” She’s also been helping by showing her mom new ways to promote her travels on Instagram. Committing to Milemarker50 forced Andrews to buy life insurance for the first time and complete a will and power of attorney forms. It’s also meant investing in her health. “I didn’t want to start all this travel and not be physically ready,” Andrews says. “So, I’ve made every appointment I’ve skipped in the last few years — mammogram, annual exam, eye exam — and I’ve started boxing at RockBox with my daughter to train for the more strenuous trips.”
CHARTING NEW TERRITORY As of early December, Andrews had mapped out more than 30 locations for Milemarker50. Hilton Head and Tybee Island are on the list. For one trip, Andrews will hike to the site of an old plane crash off the Blue Ridge Parkway. She’s heading to Spain, Italy, Greece, France and Iceland. Sidney will accompany her mom on a few of next year’s trips, including one to Paris to celebrate her 16th birthday. Parts of the schedule are fluid, and some itineraries will be based around her book release date and seasonal pricing and activities. Andrews and her daughter want to include a mission or service-oriented trip. She’s also applied for a permit to hike the Wave in Arizona with a longtime friend. It’s a 5.2mile hike to a red sandstone formation near the Utah/Arizona border in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. She’s also using this project to face — and hopefully overcome — a few fears. “I’m taking a solo trip, which totally terrifies me,” Andrews says. “I’m not sure how that will go, but people tell me their solo trips were their favorite trips ever.” She’ll spend her birthday with her four sisters and mom in Key West. Andrews’ sister, Rene Monnot, understands how
this journey is about becoming stronger. “I think Allison has always paired physical doing with where she is emotionally, spiritually and mentally,” Monnot says. “Over the course of the last several years, she’s been going through changes and deciding who she wants to be and how she wants her life to look outside those changes. This is her way of getting back to her ability to dream, her way to facing fear and doing things on her own.” Giving up control is another test in Andrews’ journey. For at least one trip, she’s enlisting the help of Pack Up & Go, a Pittsburgh-based online travel company that plans three-day excursions based on travel type (by air or car), budget and interests. Andrews won’t find out where she’s going until the day of the trip. The company arranges transportation, accommodations and a suggested itinerary. Andrews starts Milemarker50 this month with a mother-daughter trip — and an open mind and heart. She’s challenging herself to talk to strangers during her travels. She wants to ask people about their mile markers, and how they’ve handled change in their life. She wants to connect and spend time with the people she loves and let the experience take her where it may. “This project is keeping me grounded and helping me dream on my own again,” she says. “It’s giving me purpose and control. It’s reminding me what I’m capable of.” SP
TRAVEL HACKS Once Andrews started sharing her plans for Milemarker50, others began sharing ideas for saving time and money when traveling. Here are a few tips she’s using this year to make her adventure easier and cost effective: • Sign-up for Scott’s Cheap Flights (scottscheapflights. com) for free access to deals on international flights. Or, pay $49 a year for premium features such as mistake fares and rare deals. • Leverage credit card points for airline miles. Use your everyday purchases to gain points that could be used for travel. • Join hotel programs for perks and free rooms. Get special attention when you remain loyal to a brand. Find out which hotel works best for you and rack up points whenever you stay there. • Follow the free booze. Hotels such as Kimpton, Embassy Suites and Drury Inn offer free happy hour drinks. Some also offer free food. • Get TSA Precheck before traveling. It costs $85 and is good for five years. It allows you to go through a separate (and typically shorter) security line, with no need to remove shoes or jacket or take out your laptop or toiletries from carry-on bags. southparkmagazine.com | 69
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Ranch reimagined A CHARLOTTE COUPLE BUILDS THEIR DREAM HOME ON A PIECE OF LAND WITH A PERSONAL HISTORY.
BY BLAKE MILLER
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JAMIE CARNEY | OASIS PHOTOGRAPHY
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ames Pollack didn’t plan to move back to his childhood neighborhood. “Imagine putting yourself back into your awkward middle-school shoes,” he laughs. “I didn’t really want to relive that again.” But he and his wife, Alyssa, had been searching for the perfect lot to build their new home, to no avail. So when a vacant piece of land popped up in his old south Charlotte neighborhood, the couple knew they had to see it. “It was perfectly flat,” Alyssa says, “and we just knew that it would work for us.” It wasn’t until the Pollacks were in due diligence to purchase the lot, though, that James discovered the land was actually where his childhood friend’s grandfather had lived decades ago. Back then, the property had one house surrounded by 20 acres, but James remembers it vividly — so much so that while searching for a lot years later as an adult, he would occasionally mention it to his wife. “We’d be looking on Zillow, and he’d start talking about this grand estate that had a pond and lots of land,” Alyssa says. “But we never knew where it was, because the house was torn down and the land had been sold and developed into individual residences years ago.” The serendipitous connection solidified that this was where they needed to be. Having never built a home from the ground up, the couple knew they needed help. “I know what I like when I see it, but I can’t pull it 74
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all together,” Alyssa says. So they enlisted architect Josh Allison and designer Jacy Kelly to help them design the modern ranch they both envisioned. “I’ve always been drawn to super-simple, clean lines,” Alyssa says. “Our idea of decorating is really letting the home be the focus.” The couple had hired Allison to draw up plans to renovate their previous home, though they never followed through with that project. But because they loved the plans so much, they asked Allison to apply the same principles of modern architecture and details to their new home. That plan included a large living space that flowed seamlessly from kitchen to dining to family room, as well as into the outdoor living space featuring a screened-in porch off the back of the home. “I really wanted every room to be lived in,” Alyssa says. “I didn’t want any unused space: No huge playroom. No luxurious foyer or dining room.” It was then Kelly’s job to transform the space into a warm, comfortable and functional home for the family of five. “The house is so modern that I was fearful that it would feel so cold,” Alyssa says. “There’s that feminine touch I knew I wanted, which is why I knew Jacy had to be a part of this design process.” Having worked with Kelly on a master bath renovation in their previous home, the couple was familiar with the designer’s work. “We appreciated that Josh and Jacy worked so well together, too,” says Alyssa of the collaboration. 76
“It was a great project because I already knew what Alyssa and James wanted,” Kelly says. “They wanted functionality, but they also wanted it to be clean, minimal and sophisticated.” Much of the interior design began with the lighting, a variety of modern fixtures that Kelly pulled together from the start. “I really used Josh’s architectural details to help guide me on the interiors.” That meant looking at things such as the birch wood wall that separates the entry from the living space as well as the black iron detailing. “All of the furnishings were kept super neutral, clean and modern but comfortable for little kids and adults,” Kelly says. “To play up those architectural details Josh added, I also knew I wanted a mix of metals — brass, black iron, some silver — so it’s all mixed in throughout the home.” Kelly sourced lighting packages from Currey & Company, Arteriors, Gabby and Regina Andrew to pull together the design of the home. In fact, the Regina Andrew pendants in the kitchen as well as the adjacent Currey & Company chandelier in the dining area were the inspiration for many of the furnishings. “We loved the way [the dining chandelier] looked from every angle of the house,” Kelly says. Ultimately, the Pollacks are beyond thrilled with their new home. “I got over those middle-school feelings,” laughs James. And the couple is thankful he did, because their home is exactly what they had been searching for. SP
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THE RESORT AT PAWS UP IN GREENOUGH, MONTANA, MIGHT BE BEST-KNOWN FOR SUMMERTIME “GLAMPING.” BUT IT’S ALSO THE PERFECT PLACE TO ENJOY DOG-SLEDDING, SKIJORING AND HORSE-DRAWN SLEIGH RIDES IN THE SNOW. BY CAROLINE PORTILLO
isiting a snow-laden Montana in the middle of the winter wasn’t on this summer-loving Southern girl’s bucket list. But an offer to go on a press trip at the legendary Resort at Paws Up, a luxury wilderness retreat beloved by celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwenyth Paltrow and the Rolling Stones? Hey, I’ll bundle up for that. So I dug out my gloves. I bought a pair of sherpa-lined winter boots. And I asked my sister if I could borrow her long, puffy down coat for the weekend. After all, if you’re visiting a place that gets 40 inches of snow a year, you’d better pack more than a Charlotte-chic wool coat without a hood that ends at your waist. On the flight to Missoula, Mont., the cityscapes gave way to snowy landscapes. At the small airport, I was greeted by a driver at baggage claim; the resort offers complimentary round-trip transportation for the 35-mile ride to Greenough. My driver, a lifelong local with a penchant for hanging out at the area’s mountaintop lakes, proved to be the perfect escort: one who knew when to weave the story of the land into conversation and when to let you soak in its majesty in silence.
And majestic it was. The Resort at Paws Up stretches across 37,000 acres of wilderness at the foothills of the Garnet Mountains in Blackfoot Valley. That’s about 60 square miles, or nearly three times the size of Manhattan. And in the middle of winter, its hills, dappled with Ponderosa and Aspen pines, undulate across a blanket of white as far as the eye can see. In the background are snow-capped peaks, and in the foreground is everything from a herd of grazing buffalo to families of elk. Meandering through the property is 10 miles of the Blackfoot River, famous for its fly-fishing and for being a stopping point on Lewis and Clark’s legendary expedition more than 200 years ago. More recently, the Blackfoot was featured as the setting in A River Runs Through It, the 1976 novella by Norman MacLean that was later turned into a hit movie starring Brad Pitt.
STAY After opening in 2005, Paws Up developed a reputation as one of the nation’s premier destinations for “glamping,” or outdoor living with five-star amenities (think: camping butlers, heated and air-conditioned tents, chic rustic furnishings, and en suite bathrooms with rain showers and heated floors). southparkmagazine.com | 79
But if you’re headed to Paws Up outside of the May-to-October glamping window, you’ll need to stay indoors, officially. The resort offers a number of accommodations for parties of all sizes, from 1,100-square-foot two-bedroom Meadow Homes to 3,250-square-foot Wilderness Estates that sleep up to eight. My favorite feature: Every home is equipped with heated granite-tile floors and showers, so the winter chill stays far away from your home-spa experience.
PLAY When you check in at the visitor center, you’ll be given the keys to a green Kia Soul that’s yours for the duration of your trip — an absolute necessity for activities, considering the size of the property. If driving in snow makes you nervous, though, trust me: The roads are well-maintained, and if this Southerner who’s never driven in more than a couple of inches could handle it, you probably can. If you’re still not comfortable, you can always call for a ride or use the Paws Up app and a staffer will pick you up. A renowned chef once called Paws Up “the Disneyland of nature.” And that pretty much sums it up. There are nearly two dozen activities available to winter visitors, from trail rides (the resort boasts the largest equestrian center west of the Mississippi River) to horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice skating to downhill skiing. But there are a few bucket-list experiences you must try. First up: dog-sledding. With a name like the Resort at Paws Up — named by owners Dave and Nadine Lipson after a dog’s jovial “paws up” greeting — it’s no surprise that one of the resort’s signature winter activities involves man’s best friend. Iditarod champion Alaskan huskies pull you along as a professional musher steers the sled at the foot of the beautiful Garnet Mountains. Pro tip: Bundle up. Check out a balaclava (better known as a ski mask) from the activities center to protect your face, and don’t be afraid to layer up on gloves and coats. The dogs often run around 30 miles per hour, and in the brisk Montana morning air, you’re going to want every bit of coverage you can get. Not into canine power? Try a private snowmobiling adventure. After a trial run in an open field so you can get the feel for the 500cc Polaris snowmobile, you and a guide will traverse snowpacked hills and trails. The sights here are spectacular, with 360-degree views of mountain ranges and a thick Ponderosa forest. Paws Up supplies the helmet, goggles, protective coveralls and a set of hand-warmers and foot-warmers. For the avid skier, the must-try activity at Paws Up is skijoring, a classic Scandinavian sport. It’s 80
similar to water-skiing, but instead of hanging onto a line attached to a boat, you’re tethered to the saddle of a horse that’s about to break into a gallop. It’s the perfect way to earn some bragging rights.
at Tank, a full-service bar serving up craft cocktails and cozy warm beverages. My favorite indoor pastime: grabbing a spot on the leather sofas by the crackling fire, a spiked huckleberry hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream in hand. SP
EAT On press trips, there are usually a couple of nights where you’re expected to dress up for dinner, so I packed a pair of heels. But I was relieved to discover that at the Resort at Paws Up, there’s no such pretense: Why would you dress as if you didn’t walk across a sidewalk of snow to get there? Whether you’re getting a bison French dip sandwich with fries at Trough (the resort’s casual dining spot for breakfast and lunch) or enjoying a Rocky Mountain trout sauteed with fresh herbs at Pomp (the fine-dining option for dinner), trudge in with your winter boots and down puffer. Everyone else will, too. The two restaurants are housed within the same building, and both boast expansive mountain views. Pomp is named for one of the youngest members of the Lewis and Clark expedition and the infant son of the legendary Native American Sacagawea: Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, affectionately nicknamed “Pomp” or “Pompey” by William Clark. Each dish is packed with local ingredients, from the freshest Montana meat and produce to herbs and berries picked from the surrounding mountains. In one of the most memorable culinary experiences I’ve ever had, we got to put on snowshoes and help Executive Chef Sunny Jin forage juniper berries and sagebrush from the foot of the Blackfoot River. No Paws Up evening would be complete without a drink
GETTING THERE The closest direct flight to Missoula, Mont., is from Atlanta, but a number of connecting flights with one stop are available out of Charlotte. Upon arriving at Missoula, the resort offers complimentary round-trip ground transportation to Greenough.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR The Resort at Paws Up is known for having a full slate of high-profile events for guests. (My weekend included some of Nashville’s finest songwriters.) For a romantic getaway, book your stay during the Winterfest Food & Wine Weekend Feb. 14-17, a three-day weekend featuring some of the country’s hottest independent winemakers and visionary chefs. Enjoy hands-on cooking classes and demonstrations; wine, beer and spirits tastings; live entertainment; curling matches; and, of course, gourmet, winter-themed feasts and wine pairings. Rates start at $2,320 per night for 4 people (includes accommodations, airport transfers, a $400 activity credit per person, all daily meals, culinary classes, tastings and more.) pawsup.com southparkmagazine.com | 81
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prah Winfrey headlined one of the most buzzed-about fundraisers of the year: the 17th annual Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon, held Sept. 28 at the Westin Charlotte. The event raised a record $2.3 million for the United Negro College Fund, with Winfrey matching the live fundraising total and pledging $1.15 million. Pictured above is Winfrey with this yearâ€™s event honorees, from left: Joan Zimmerman, Tiffany Eubanks-Saunders, Winfrey, Tish Guerin and Madelyn Caple.
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A monthly guide to Charlotte’s parties and galas
Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon benefiting UNCF Sept. 28, Westin Charlotte
Tina Bonner-Henry, Oprah Winfrey, Tiffany Jones and Sonja Nichols
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More than 1,000 guests turned out for one of the hottest tickets of the year. Oprah Winfrey headlined the event, which raised a record $2.3 million to support historically black colleges and universities and their students. Now in its 17th year, the luncheon honors women who have a positive impact on the local community. The event was organized by UNCF’s local development director Tiffany Jones and event co-chairs Tina Bonner-Henry and Sonja Nichols. “Words cannot express our gratitude to Ms. Winfrey,” Jones said. “With her generous gift, we can secure better futures for Charlotte’s brightest students, and that raises the bar for us all.”
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A monthly guide to Charlotteâ€™s parties and galas
Inspire the Fire Fall Ball Ritz-Carlton Charlotte Urban Garden Sept. 27 The 2nd annual Inspire the Fire gala took patrons back to the 1990s, from the clothes to the food to the music. The event, presented by cbdMD, raised more than $100,000. The nonprofit provides students ages 10-19 coaching in voice, dance, spoken word and the visual arts, as well as life skills. Shaq Thompson
The event was designed by Elisabeth Rose.
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A monthly guide to Charlotte’s parties and galas
Storybook Ball benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte Sept. 28, Hilton Center City This year’s Alice in Wonderland-themed gala raised more than $75,000, enough to provide 528 nights of lodging for families of children receiving critical treatment at local hospitals. The event honored the Murray family, who called RMH of Charlotte their home-away-from-home for more than 150 nights while their son, Ethan, was receiving treatment in a local medical facility.
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A monthly guide to Charlotteâ€™s parties and galas
Lowcountry benefiting Communities In Schools Charlotte-Mecklenburg Oct. 5, The Fillmore Charlotte Guests enjoyed seafood and other Southern fare provided by Reidâ€™s Fine Foods, local beer and live music at the annual Lowcountry fundraiser, which also included a silent auction. The crowd enjoyed musical performances by Brit Drozda, David Arrington and the Thompson Brothers Band. CIS provides resources and support for students in high-poverty schools.
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W.I.S.H. Society Luncheon Nov. 5, The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte Make-A-Wish of Central and Western North Carolina welcomed guests to their annual Women Inspiring Strength and Hope (W.I.S.H.) Society luncheon, which honored women for their philanthropic roles. Paula Severt was named the W.I.S.H. Society Woman of the Year after raising more than $36,000. The organization raises funds to grant wishes to local children with critical illnesses.
Ali Nixon and Todd Miller
Chris and Lauren Littman, Jennifer Pope and Gillian Regan
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Jennifer Pope, Terri Zandhuis and Amy Brindley-Takacs
Morgan Ferguson and Travis Watkins
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Margarita Lambos, Agathe Kaltsounis, Maria Kaltsounis, Alexa Kaltsounis and Christine Bisbikis
Shannon and Tommy Page, Guy Presence, Elaine Page, Lisa Bottle and Tom Page southparkmagazine.com | 95
BY VANESSA INFANZON
ine years ago, Sweet’s Syrup owner Stephanie Rickenbaker didn’t know anything about clean living, or how to run a small business. A cancer diagnosis changed everything. Two weeks after Stephanie married Ed Rickenbaker in 2011, he was diagnosed with leukemia. A local health coach recommended the couple take a closer look at the connection between diet and disease. “That was my big eye-opener to the foods we ate and the products we bought,” Stephanie says. “I became a label reader. I became aware of the toxins we were exposed to.” Stephanie adjusted the couple’s lifestyle: She switched from purchasing conventional products to natural, nontoxic options. She started making elderberry syrup — a mixture combining raw honey, elderberries and spices. Various studies have shown the berries can boost the immune system, treat inflammation and optimize digestion, though the products are not FDA-approved. Ed and Stephanie began taking a tablespoon daily. Their daughter Olivia’s nickname, Sweet, became the inspiration for the name of Stephanie’s company, which has sold more than 60,000 bottles since 2016. Ed’s leukemia has been undetectable for more than five years. Comments were edited for brevity and clarity. How did you start Sweet’s Syrup? I joined a mom’s Facebook group. Moms started selling things they made, and I’m a stay-at-home mom with a business background. I have an MBA and a sales and marketing background. I always wanted a little side hustle. I thought, “I’ll see if anyone wants a bottle of this elderberry syrup.” I sold 150 bottles. That turned into this crazy business. 96
What ingredients do you use in Sweet’s Syrup? It’s important to me to know where everything comes from. We use organic elderberries sourced from Austria; organic ginger sourced from Windcrest Farm in Monroe; Ceylon cinnamon from Sri Lanka; cloves; and [Charlotte-based] Herb’s Honey. What’s the best way to consume Sweet’s Syrup? It’s really good on plain, unsweetened yogurt. It’s a sweetener and gives it a great flavor. [You can] add it to a smoothie. We make lemonade elderberry popsicles for our kids. But we take it straight up: one tablespoon for adults and one teaspoon for children [over 1 year] every day. How do you keep up with the orders? I have an incredible team working with me doing operations, marketing and deliveries. I have two chefs that make it for me in their commercial kitchen. I have two people who do all the shipping and fulfillment. For a while, I was doing it all by myself. Within the first three months, I had to hire someone to make it for me because I couldn’t keep up. What challenges have you faced with the business growing so quickly? Every year there is a big elderberry shortage. There’s always this hustle to find elderberries. Starting last year, I bought a huge amount so I wouldn’t run out. They’re dried when we get them from Austria. All this is new to me — figuring out what works, what doesn’t work. As a business owner, there’s always something to do. Turning it off is hard for me. I’m trying to be better about devoting specific time to my work and then shutting it off. SP Sweet’s Syrup is available in more than 100 retailers in the Carolinas, including Berrybrook Farms, Common Market and Thrive Carolina in Charlotte, or online at sweetssyrup.com.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBERT SUPNIG
A CANCER DIAGNOSIS LEADS TO A BURGEONING SIDE HUSTLE FOR SWEET’S SYRUP OWNER STEPHANIE RICKENBAKER.
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