WALTER Magazine - March 2015

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AT THE TABLE Family-run joints

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March 2015



For Alex: A climb to honor a lost son by J. Andrew Curliss photographs by Patrick Davison

Local roots, local eats by Dean McCord photographs by Nick Pironio




Behind the scenes of Broughton's Queen of Hearts photographs by Missy McLamb







Making music by Corbie Hill photographs by Lissa Gotwals

A collector's haven by P. Gaye Tapp photographs by Catherine Nguyen


A decade of Vermillion by Liza Roberts photographs by Eve Kakassy Hobgood and Missy McLamb



Labor of light by Andrew Kenney photographs by Missy McLamb


On the cover: Raleighites Chuck Stuber and daughter Andie ascend Mount Fuji in September 2014; photograph by Patrick Davison




oyster perpetual and submariner are trademarks.


46 46 Our Town

Shop Local Quercus The Usual Cartoonists Game Plan Sumit Vohra Off Duty Sally Edwards by Jessie Ammons and Liza Roberts photographs by Travis Long

84 Essential ingredient

Shad roe: rare and briny by Kaitlyn Goalen photographs by Jillian Clark

86 Drink

Stout and proud by Anna Long

111 Verse


Astronomy Lesson by Alan Shapiro

112 Givers

Ron Doggett: Sharing success by Todd Cohen photographs by Robert Willett

116 The Whirl

Parties and fundraisers

130 Seen in Raleigh

Downtown skyline photographs by Juli Leonard

In Every Issue 14

Letter from the Editor




Your Feedback


Raleigh Now


Triangle Now

106 Reflections

Coming Home by Mack Paul

102 Just one plant

Fairy wings and horny goats by Tony Avent illustration by Ippy Patterson

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veryone knows that we live in a city on the rise. Raleigh continues to top itself with every new ranking (the latest is a jaw-dropper: we live in the 41st fastest growing economy in the world, according to the Brookings Institution). So the future looks bright. It feels bright, too. You can’t walk down the street without bumping into young people with energy, courage, and ideas. Many work for tech firms, or they’re artists or chefs, entrepreneurs or lawyers, bankers or students. They say they love Raleigh. They live like they love Raleigh. But, with a few notable exceptions, they’re also remarkably untethered to this place. Odds are, some of them tell me, that the right call from Silicon Valley to a top young worker at a place like Citrix or Red Hat can put Raleigh in her rear-view mirror without a second glance. Same thing for our young people in finance, law, real estate, and any number of other industries. They’re leaders in their companies, but do they have room to grow within them? And are they leaders in our city? Do they have room to become them? These bright young people with great prospects fill our restaurants, parks, bars, and gyms. They make the city buzz. But are they truly invested? In many cases, the answer is yes. The filmmakers in Andy Kenney’s story (p. 100) are committed to Raleigh. Fashion retailer Ashley Harris (p. 88) is committed to Raleigh. The members of the younger generation in the family-owned restaurants in Dean McCord’s story (p. 76) are, too. And that’s just in this issue. It’s also true that in many ways, it’s an unfair question to ask. While they’re still young enough – in spirit, anyway – for the responsibilities of children and mortgages and community leadership to remain hazy dots on their personal horizons, why should they pledge loyalty to any one place? Some will, some won’t. But as a city on the threshold of greater things, it’s an interesting question to ask, one that points to a responsibility we all share. To give our talented young people reasons to stay. To cultivate our next generation of civic leaders. Not just politicians, but bedrock-builders. The people in their 20s and 30s today who will go on to lead our nonprofit boards, champion our schools, and keep our civic momentum fired up. The generation that will take us from city on the rise to city of the future. Are we doing enough, as a city, to mentor these young people, and encourage them to believe that Raleigh is their place? Because their city needs them. Please share your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.

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MARCH 2015 Walter is distributed without charge to select Wake County households and available by paid subscriptions at $24.99 a year in the United States, as well as for purchase at Quail Ridge Books and other retail locations. For customer service inquiries, please email us at or call 919-836-5661. Address all correspondence to Walter Magazine, 215 S. McDowell St., Raleigh NC 27601. Walter does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Please contact editor and general manager Liza Roberts at for freelance guidelines. Copyright The News & Observer. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of the copyright owner.


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J. ANDREW CURLISS, above left, has been a reporter and editor at The News & Observer since 1997. His reporting has been recognized with more than 30 national or statewide journalism awards. He was also a Japan 2014 Fellow at the international Center for Journalists, which provided funding for reporting in Japan. This month, he shares the story of a family’s trek up Mount Fuji, Japan’s tallest mountain.

MISSY McLAMB, who photographed our Style feature and the Queen of Hearts dance, is a photographer based in brooklyn, n.Y. she specializes in capturing the private lives of public people. Missy’s clients have included stephen King, Mia Farrow, and Jamie Dimon. in 2012, she published a book of her photographs from the life of nAsCAr driver Jimmie Johnson. Her work has been published in The New York Times, cBS Sunday morning, People magazine, and The Washington Post.

PATRICK DAVISON, above right, the photographer of this issue’s story on Mt. Fuji, is a photojournalist and professor of visual communication at the university of north Carolina, currently on leave as a Fulbright scholar to Japan. over the course of Davison’s 25-year career, his work has been recognized with more than 100 awards, including the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 with the rocky mountain News photo staff. He and his wife, Emiko, have three daughters.

CORBIE HILL is a freelance writer who contributes regularly to The News & Observer and INDY Week. He wrote this issue’s raleighites feature on the city’s instrument makers and restorers. Corbie lives on three wooded acres in Pittsboro with his wife and two young daughters. You can follow his exploits on twitter at @afraidofthebear.

P. GAYE TAPP, who often writes our Story of a house piece, has been an interior designer for 30 years and has an abiding passion for the original in design, fashion and history. she has been exploring these topics on her blog, Little Augury, since 2008. A born and bred north Carolinian, Gaye considers herself a true southerner and from that point of view, she bases her design aesthetic, eccentricities and all. she is writing her first book about women and their interiors to be published by rizzoli in 2016.




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AUTHOR with a

AUL LEONARD HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN litanies, and short stories. intentional observer. “When I have This is his third book; he’s experiences and they move me, I also written a book that write about it,” he says. “I don’t necesprovided an inside look at sarily journal every day, but when I see Habitat for Humanity, and something that means something to me, a memoir. I try to capture it.” When the Spirit Moves He’s been privy to quite a few of isn’t the sort of title you these moments, first as a Presbyterian pick up and read cover to cover, though. minister in Charlotte who founded a “One reader told me she kept it on her non-traditional church focused on combedside table and picked it up each night munity action and service, and then as to read something at random,” Leonard president of a real estate company, where says. “That’s the kind of book this is.” his focus was using federal housing Leonard’s upcoming author apprograms to build low- and moderatepearance at Quail Ridge Books is also income housing. He ultimately served as atypical. Instead of the standard meetan interim CEO of Habitat for Humanand-greet event, the Davidson resident ity and remains a member of the U.S. will first spend a few days here leading Council for Habitat for Humanity Interworkshops with four local nonprofits national. Over the past 40 years, Leonand counseling them on working toard’s captured moments have amounted gether. to inspiration worth sharing. “There is a lot of pride and ownHis new book, When the Spirit Moves, ership in getting a nonprofit started,” is a collection of personal stories from Leonard says, “but there comes a point in his life and his faith. “Some of these time when that needs to be laid aside to were written as a Mother’s Day card to look at other people and other nonprofmy wife,” he says of the poems, essays, its doing similar things, to think of how


you can all work more efficiently and effectively.” Leonard has seen how easy it is for local nonprofits to be distracted by competing with one another for limited resources. “It just takes a little bit of a different perspective,” he says, “and then we can look at how we can cooperate.” Don’t miss Leonard’s appearance at Quail Ridge Books, when folks from Habitat for Humanity of Wake County, StepUp Ministry Raleigh, StepUp Ministry North Carolina, and Wheels4Hope will also be on hand to speak about their workshop, from which those in the nonprofit community – or in any line of work – might glean a few pointers. When the Spirit Moves is about “using faith, trust, love, and commitment to lead more meaningful lives,” Leonard says. “That can apply to everything and everybody.” – Jessie Ammons Paul Leonard will be at Quail Ridge Books & Music, 3522 Wade Ave., at 7 p.m. on March 31.

courtesy Lorimer Press



1-6 courtesy NCMA (PORSCHE); courtesy of Marty Baird and Malu Fatorelli (RIO)


It’s not every day you get the chance to win a Porsche. Support the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation by buying a $100 raffle ticket to win a 2015 custom-designed Porsche Boxster S. Only 3,000 tickets went on sale at the beginning of the year. The raffle will take place March 6 (you don’t have to be present to win). The car features a red exterior, black roadster top, black leather interior, 20-inch Carrera S wheels, and seat ventilation. All raffle proceeds benefit future museum exhibitions and programming.



While working as artists-in-residence at an enclave in California, Raleigh-based Marty Baird met Malu Fatorelli from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and developed a friendship. Despite returning home to separate continents, the kindred spirits have kept in touch over the past decade and a half. Their correspondence inspired an exhibition in Artspace’s Gallery One entitled Raleigh/Rio: An Artistic Conversation. Free; 201 E. Davie St.;

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Keep it all in perspective by attending one of The Woman’s Club of Raleigh’s weekly lectures on international topics. The Club teamed with the Triangle Institute for Security Studies at Duke to present a series of speakers to fulfill themes suggested by the Foreign Policy Association. March mornings will cover Syria’s refugee crisis, Indian and Russian current events, and U.S. policy in Africa. Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.; Free, but reservations strongly suggested; 3300 Woman’s Club Drive;



Get in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit with an acoustic Irish folk concert at the North Carolina Museum of History. Barleycorn & Rye will perform traditional Celtic jigs, reels, and ballads meant for dancing and singing along. 3 p.m.; Free; 5 E. Edenton St.;



For the young and young-at-heart: Raleigh Little Theatre’s production of the beloved story about a stuffed animal who wants to be real and the little boy who loves him. Show times vary; $14 or $10 for ages 12 and under; 301 Pogue St.;


Sip, munch, and mingle for a good cause at the 29th Annual A Toast to the Triangle. The affair showcases gourmet samples from local chefs, brewers, wine purveyors, and food artisans. Proceeds benefit the Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental Disabilities. 6 p.m.; $75 per ticket, $67.50 for two tickets, or $62.50 for four or more; 1101 Gorman St.;

courtesy of The Woman’s Club of Raleigh (WIDER WORLD); Courtesy of Boston Children’s Theatre (VELVETEEN); Michele Fazio (IRISH HAMS); Steve Rubin (TOAST)



Be well addressed ...


CAM Raleigh welcomes poets to read their work, as well as respond to a work of art of their choosing from the contemporary art museum’s current exhibition. What results can be a fascinating dialogue between artist, poet, and audience. 8 p.m.; Free; 409 W. Martin St.; soandsomag. org

2419 Anderson Drive


1912 Stone Street


Courtesy of CAM (POETRY); Denis Poroy (COMICCON)



If you love Wizard Entertainment’s comics and spinoff products – they do have a cult following – don’t miss the three-day fan convention. This year’s guests include The Vampire Diaries’ Ian Somerhalder, Sonequa Martin-Green from The Walking Dead, and X-Men artist/creator/sketcher Michael Golden. Times vary by day; Day passes start at $45, $75 for weekend pass, children 10 and under get in free with a paid adult; 500 S. Salisbury St.;

920 Williamson Drive


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n most days, Darrell Markijohn practices law in Canton, Ohio. He goes home at night to his wife Hillary and their four children, and spends his leisure time training horses on their historic farm. But on March 21 and 22, Markijohn will be ducking cannonfire as he assumes his role as overall commander of Federal Troops in the 150th anniversary reenactment of the Battle of Bentonville. “For me, the experience is quite a challenge,” Markijohn says. “It’s exhilarating as far as the actual on-field experience – to be out there commanding troops in a living re-creation of a military battle – but there are no casualties, no horrors of war, thank God.”


As the executive commander of the United States Volunteers, he has been a living historian for 20 years. Markijohn served as overall commander of Federal Troops at the 150th anniversary Bull Run, Antietam, and Chancellorsville events, among others. Even still, preparing for the Battle of Bentonville required a year of studying and logistical

planning. “We follow the military manuals on how we organize ourselves,” he says. “We are not only reenacting a battle, we are reenacting the whole military life of a nineteenth century soldier. It’s quite an endeavor.” The battle, fought over a period of three days in March 1865, represented the last time the Confederate Army was able to mount a full-scale, tactical offensive during the Civil War. It was also the South’s only significant attempt to defeat Gen. Sherman’s vast Union army as it marched through the Carolinas that spring, and the largest land battle ever fought in our

Michael McCloone

DUCKING cannonfire

Carl Staub

state. Nearly 60,000 Union troops outnumbered Gen. Joseph Johnston’s weary 16,000 infantry and 4,000 cavalry as they battled on March 19, 20, and 21. On the 22nd, Johnston’s troops were forced to retreat, clearing the way for Sherman to occupy Goldsboro. It was just one month later, on April 26, 1865, when Johnston laid down Confederate arms on Sherman’s terms at Bennett Place, a farmhouse near Durham situated between Confederate and Union headquarters. It was the largest troop surrender of the American Civil War. Now, 150 years later, the state’s rich Civil War history is still fresh on the minds of seasoned history buffs. Some 5,000 of them – playing the parts of the Confederate and Union soldiers – hope to spark interest among a younger generation with the two-day Battle of Benton-

Darrell Markijohn

“We are not only reenacting a battle, we are reenacting the whole military life of a nineteenth century soldier. It’s quite an endeavor.”

ville event. “Every generation has its own view of the past,” says Ernest Dollar, director of the City of Raleigh Museum. Dolllar will play the part of a Confederate soldier at Bentonville. “The reenactment helps people in North Carolina to remember this incredibly traumatic experience and understand how it reverberated in the state.” The two-day Bentonville event on March 21 and 22 is the largest Civil War reenactment in North Carolina. It will also include military and civilian themed lectures and displays, house tours, Civil War merchant shops, and other special events to commemorate the 150th anniversary. – Anna Long Only the battles require tickets, which are available for $12 for adults and $6 for children aged 9 to 12. For tickets and information, visit or call 919-594-0789.



One of Raleigh’s biggest parades takes over downtown on March 14. Don your green and applaud local school bands, bagpipe players, Irish dancers, and more. There will be plenty of food and entertainment along the parade route, too. 10 a.m.; Free; Parade starts at the intersection of Lane and Salisbury Streets;

15 THE GODDESS IN EVERY WOMAN In honor of International Women’s Day, a chamber music performance at the North Carolina Museum of Art will pair compositions by women with pieces in the museum’s permanent collection. Prepare to explore how female power and divinity have been portrayed throughout generations and through different mediums. Prior to the performance, don’t miss the chance to participate in a docent-led tour that will link even more works of art to the concert. 3 p.m.; $14, $12 for seniors and members, $10 for children ages 7 – 18, free for children ages 6 and under; 2110 Blue Ridge Road;




Let the March Madness begin. The college basketball season essentially cluminates in Selection Sunday, when NCAA tournament teams are announced. Head to your favorite gamewatching spot to tune in, and then start making your picks for this year’s champion. Among our favorite places to watch? Backyard Bistro near the PNC Arena; Tobacco Road Sports Cafe in the Glenwood South district; The Players’ Retreat on Oberlin Road; Woody’s at City Market; Yard House in North Hills; and Buffalo Brothers on Lake Boone Trail.


Find a partner and embark on a scavenger hunt through downtown to benefit local nonprofit HopeLine. Teams will begin and end at Zinda restaurant, with 10 stops in between. Or you can just have your friends meet you at the afterparty. Think of it as a bar crawl with purpose. 6 – 10 p.m.; $30 per team; 301-120 Fayetteville St.;

T. Payne (PARADE); courtesy NCMA (GODDESS); Ethan Hyman (SELECTION); courtesy Hunt for Hope (HUNT)

Raleigh now / MARCH

Beer. Bacon. Need we say more? Come hungry to pig out on two tons of gourmet bacon – at least 10 different kinds – and other complimentary bites from local restaurants. Wash down your pork with craft brews. When you need a moment of digestion, there will be live music and side exhibits like Butchering 101. Noon – 6 p.m.; $39 in advance; 8003 Regency Parkway, Cary;

Courtesy Beer & Bacon (BEER); Thinkstock (MARATHON)



If running a marathon has always been on your bucket list, it’s time to divide and conquer. Cary’s Rockin’ Marathon Relay allows teams of 2, 3, or 4 to split up the 26.2-mile race. Upon completion, you get to keep the team baton. If friends aren’t quite enough, music along the route will keep you motivated. 9 a.m.; $55; WakeMed Soccer Park, 201 Soccer Park Drive, Cary;

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Tony Tata A

Writing thrillers by moonlight

fter his workday, in a study filled with memorarablia from a 28-year career in the U.S. Army, N.C. Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata writes thriller

novels. He writes about special forces officers, combat missions, terrorist threats, CIA operations, justice, and family dynamics. As a recipient of the Army’s Combat Action Badge and Bronze Star, Tata, a West Point graduate and married father of two, doesn’t need to look far for inspiration. Decades of memories from his years as commander of combat units in the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions and the 10th Mountain Division, and from combat missions in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia, Panama, and the Philippines give his novels an unusual level of detail and ring of truth.

His latest novel, Foreign and Domestic, was released at the end of last month. Writing under the name A.J. Tata, he is best known for his Threat Series, including Rogue Threat, Hidden Threat, and Sudden Threat. An e-book prequel to the series, Mortal Threat, came out in January. So if his day job currently revolves around roads, bridges, ports, town hall meetings, and politics, Tata’s moonlighting efforts reside somewhere else altogether. With the galleys of Foreign and Domestic in a neat pile on the desk, Tata is happy to visit that place. To explain how he got the idea for his latest novel while visiting his in-laws, who own a restaurant on the small Puerto Rican island of Vieques. How he heard there was a bomb-clearing effort underway on the island, remembered there was a bombing range in Dare County, and “that sparked it.” photographs by ROBERT WILLETT


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He’s eager to explain how he spent weeks on Dare County’s Roanoke Island, where his hero begins his quest, to get a textured feel for the place. “The research, for me, is one of my favorite parts of this,” he says. “Research will take you to places you didn’t expect.” With this latest book, it led him to create a thriller that veers away from the purely plot-driven, military genre. It led him to create a multi-dimensional protagonist, Jake Mahegan. A complicated man, he’s a dishonored former Delta Force member with a personal vendetta. When an opportunity to foil a legitimate terrorist plot dovetails with a chance to vanquish his own demons, Mahegan seizes it. “My hero is a reluctant hero,” Tata says, a man suffering from post-traumatic stress and “dark reflections.” He’s imperfect, but essentially moral. “He has a code that he lives by,” Tata says, “a set of principles.” The book is “absolutely fantastic,” says Brad Thor, author of New York Times #1 bestseller Act of War. Richard North Patterson, who wrote In the Name of Honor, also a New York Times bestseller, says Tata “writes with a gripping and gritty authority rooted in his matchless real-life experience.” That’s all close at hand when Tata sits down to write. From his desk, he can see the knife he earned in Army Ranger school, a Maori weapon given to him by soldiers in New Zealand, a mace from a battalion in the Ukraine, and a piece of shrapnel from an exploded cache of rockets in Afghanistan. There’s a rack of challenge coins from unit commanders of military divisions he’s encountered around the world, and a cigar humidor from his troops. It all helps get him in the mindset he needs to write 1,000 words a night and 5,000 words on a weekend. At that pace, “in 90 days, I have a rough draft.” His military background can’t hurt. “It requires the rigor of sticking to a schedule and driving toward a goal.” It also requires him to live for a while in his imagination. He had more time for that in 2012, when he had a few months off between his job as Superintendent of the Wake County Public School System and his post in the McCrory administration. That time let him finish the book, he says, and allowed him to enjoy something he has done all his life. He credits the writing process with helping him handle the stress of combat and its effects on the psyche. “I kind of escape into my own world,” he says. “As I’m writing, the characters tell me what they’re going to do. It’s a little bit like acting. Mahegan is a character. The plot is the stage on which he acts.” –L.R. Tony Tata will read from Foreign and Domestic at 3 p.m. March 8 at Quail Ridge Books & Music, 3522 Wade Ave.; at 12:00 p.m. March 9 at the John Locke Foundation, 200 West Morgan St.; and at 5:30 p.m. March 10 at the North Carolina Museum of History, 5 East Edenton St.

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ART in Bloom B

efore April showers or May flowers, there is Art in Bloom. The North Carolina Museum of Art’s four-day festival of art and flowers will celebrate both with demonstrations, hands-on classes, and lectures from artists, floral designers, and other experts. The festival will also host an exhibition of botanical creations inspired by works in the museum’s permanent collection.“Some of the floral artists are taking a piece (of art) and creating a literal translation, recreating what they see in flowers,” explains the NCMA’s Laura Finan. “But some take a specific color, or a detail from the time period, or one element of the artwork that they can then expand on.” Floral designers say they’re excited to see their work given the respect they believe it deserves. “For those of us in floral design, we want people to know that there’s more to it than just a vase arrangement,” says Jody McLeod, owner of Annie V’s Florist in Clayton (he is also the town’s mayor). “It’s an art form. To be able to go and demonstrate that, and to have the public be able to come and share it, is awesome.” McLeod is co-presenting a Sunday morning demonstration with a fellow American Institute of Floral Design (AIFD) member. Other festival events include a how-to demonstration with Shane Connolly, the florist for the British royal family (he holds a warrant to the Prince of Wales and was the mastermind behind the flowers at the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William), as well as practical tips from Raleigh’s own Steve Taras of Watered Garden Florist. The festival will also include events designed to appeal to a broader audience, including a wine tasting and a kid-friendly origami workshop. Here’s the full lineup:

Thursday, March 19 Workshop Ikebana Influence in Design with Hitomi Gilliam, 11 a.m., $55 Master Class Hitomi Gilliam, 1:30 p.m., $200

Hitomi Gilliam Master Class Shane Connolly, Royal Florist, 1:30 p.m., $200 Workshop Edible Flowers, Food in Bloom with Jennifer Hicks, 3 p.m., $25 Wine Tasting, Floral Notes in Wine, 5:30 p.m., $15 Workshop A Year in Flowers with Shane Connolly, 6 p.m., $55 Third Friday Special Docent-Led Happy Hour & Tour, 5:30 p.m., $15 Saturday, March 21 Family Activity Scavenger Hunt, all day, $15 Family Activity Origami and Paper Flower Art, 10 a.m. – 12noon & 1 – 3 p.m., $15 Family Activity A Walk in the Park, 10:30 a.m., $15 Workshop Designs for the Table with Carol Dowd and Nelson Simpson, 11 a.m., $25 Lunch & Learn Shane Connolly with lunch from Iris, 11 a.m., $250 Workshop Spring Emerging with AIFD professionals (including Joyce McLeod), 11 a.m., $25 Family Activity Stories in the Garden, 11:30 a.m., $15 Family Activity A World of Many Ecosystems, 1 p.m., $15 Lecture The Gardens of North Carolina, 3 p.m., $25 Sunday, March 22 Family Activity Scavenger Hunt, all day, $15 Family Activity Origami and Paper Flower Art, 10 a.m. – 12noon & 1 – 3 p.m., $15 Family Activity A Walk in the Park, 10:30 a.m., $15 Family Activity Stories in the Garden, 11:30 a.m., $15 Family Activity A World of Many Ecosystems, 1 p.m., $15 Lecture Flowers in Art through the Ages, 3 p.m., $25

Opening Reception, 6:30 p.m., $65 Friday, March 20 Workshop Embracing Spring Blooms with AIFD professionals, 11 a.m., $25

There will also be docent-led tours throughout the event. NCMA Members receive discounted ticket prices; for more information and to purchase tickets, visit

courtesy NCMA

Workshop Bringing The Garden Home with Steve Taras, 3 p.m., $25

Celebrating Our Community

Now Accepting 2015 Nominations for induction into the Raleigh Hall of Fame

Do you know an individual or non-profit organization that has made a significant and noteworthy contribution to the City of Raleigh? If so, help them receive the recognition they deserve! Visit or call 919.909.2753 for more information and nomination forms.

All nominations due by March 16, 2015 2015 class of inductees will be recognized at the 11th annual induction ceremony on Monday, October 5, 2015 at the Raleigh Convention Center

Raleigh now




eight years,” Barham wrote for the band’s PledgeMusic project, “we would be nothing more than a local bar band. It’s because of you that every year has gotten better and better.” AA offered music for pledges, and it worked. Wolves in hand, the band announced a January record release show at downtown’s Lincoln Theatre. It’s a big place, but advance tickets sold out in days. When another show was added, those tickets sailed out too – to people from everywhere. “I started a list,” Barham recalls, “and kept adding places as they showed up.” At the end of the day, they included 31 states and three foreign countries: Holland, Australia, and Canada. Barham and the band had big plans for all these people. The release shows would celebrate not only Wolves, but the people and the place that shaped the band. “This is my town, my roots,” Barham says. “It was time to share it.” So the band posted “American Aquarium’s Guide to Raleigh” – a map of the band’s favorite bars and restaurants – on social media (shown opposite). Response to it was “phenomenal,” says Chris Powers, an owner of the Busy Bee and Trophy Brewing Company. People came in for AA-inspired beers and pizza, but also to be part of the fun. “They didn’t mind waiting while we tried our best to keep up with all the orders for BJ’s favorite burger.” Powers says it was equally rewarding to see his friends’ success. “They’re the hardest-working band in the country,” Powers says, “but they’re humble. They appreciate where they’re coming from, as well as the ride they’re on.” For the true-believer fans who bought tickets for both nights, Barham played a secret, solo acoustic set at Slim’s bar



oots-rock band American Aquarium loves its Raleigh hometown, but the band is forever leaving it behind, bound by rock ‘n’ roll’s O. Henry-like decree that the comforts of hearth and home are available only to those who trade them away for life on the road. But for one epic weekend in January, all roads led to Raleigh instead of away: American Aquarium stayed right here, and the band’s fans – from all over the country – came to them. Those familiar with AA’s brand of whiskey-soaked, harddriving Americana know that the band’s 2012’s breakout Burn. Flicker.Die., the record it released before Wolves, was supposed to be its swan song. Instead, the album took the band to a reinvigorated, higher level. In 2014, armed with new songs, new perspective, and an exponentially growing fan base, AA set out to create Wolves. To get it made, frontman BJ Barham and the band turned to fans for financial backing. “Without your support over the last


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1,600 people + 31 states + 3 countries + 1 city +1 record = 1 Raleigh weekend

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Locally Made Shutters & Blinds – the band’s ground zero – that Saturday afternoon. And the shows themselves were epic: AA played more than 30 songs each night to a packed audience, including N.C. State basketball legend Julius Hodge. The title track of Wolves owes its chorus to Hodge, who famously said in a 2004 interview: “When we hungry, we eat!” Would they do it all again? Barham’s already thinking on it. He wanted to have N.C. State’s guitar-playing football coach Dave Doeren sit in for a song, but the shows fell on busy football days, so he’d like another try. And, he and chef Ashley Christensen brainstormed a few ideas when she stepped away from her next-door venues to catch the show at Slim’s. “It would be so cool to do music with, say, a three course dinner.” Barham nods to himself; he can already see it. “What do you think – sounds good?” – Tracy Davis

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AUDUBON’S FRIEND TO BIRDS Lights Out volunteer coordinator Elaine McManus


n the early morning hours of spring, pairs of walkers take to the streets of downtown Raleigh. They meet at the Wells Fargo building at 6:30 a.m. sharp, rain or shine, to gather supplies – paper bags, latex gloves, and slips of paper to record their findings – before embarking on their 45-minute route. “You have to get there early, before predators or other birds or people,” says Audubon North Carolina Executive Director Heather Hahn. She’s explaining the bird conservation organization’s Lights Out program, which works to help birds that are hurt during migration when they fly into tall urban structures at night, and to record any birds that are killed. Volunteers rely on the first light of day to survey their route. When they find a dead bird, they carefully document the species and location before placing the bird in a sealed bag. Eventually – at the end of migration season – these birds will be donated to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, home to one of the Southeast’s largest bird photographs by JILLIAN CLARK


Lights Out

collections. These volunteers aren’t experts or scientists, but passionate nature lovers. “I’m, like, the queen of not a morning person,” says the program’s volunteer coordinator, Elaine McManus. “But birds migrate at least 500 miles. Some will migrate thousands of miles. It’s a perilous journey to begin with; many die just because it’s tiring and they fly over water and they run out of food. If it’s perilous to begin with, anything we can do to help them make it to their destination makes me feel better.” Raleigh is one of three cities in the state with a Lights Out program. Charlotte and Winston-Salem are others. “Buildings are a big threat” to migrating birds, Hahn says. “It’s estimated that they kill between 365 and 988 million birds a year in the U.S. We’re just trying to minimize that.” Volunteers also reach out to downtown property managers and ask them to turn out building lights from 11 p.m. to dawn during peak migration season (hence the program’s

name). In North Carolina, spring migration lasts from mid-March to the end of May, and fall migration from mid-September through the end of November. “It’s amazing how many birds migrate through,” Hahn says, “even ones that aren’t that common to see on the ground.” To put that notion to the test, Audubon N.C. put a microphone on top of a building in downtown Winston-Salem last year. In one night alone, it picked up the sounds of more than 200 bird species flying over. McManus says one of the bittersweet parts of walking the Lights Out morning route is that volunteers sometimes find “species that birders

would have trouble finding” during normal daytime expeditions. “So it’s like, ‘Aw man, I’d probably never see that the rest of my life, and here it is, dead.’ ” Not all found birds are dead, though. Stunned birds still have a heartbeat, and they’re gently wiggled into a paper bag with air holes. Usually by the end of the day, the bird is recovered and can be released back to the wild. “We actually take birds to rehab facilities, too,” Hahn says. This spring will be the third season of Lights Out Raleigh. A core group of about two dozen volunteers make it happen. Some are retired downtown dwellers looking to add purpose to their morning exercise. Others, like McManus, are searching for community. McManus plugged into Audubon N.C. when she first moved here almost two years ago. She has became friends with her Lights Out partner, and the two often try out new coffee shops after their weekly walk. “There’s one couple that always goes to Raleigh Times” afterward, she says. “They eat breakfast there every single week.” Regardless of motivation, these volunteers say the program creates a simple way to make a tangible impact. “That’s what’s so exciting and easy and wonderful about it,” Hahn says. “I care a lot about the environment and our world and conservation, and birds are everywhere. There’s always something you can do and everyone can do something. It’s something hopeful to do about everything that’s going on in our world.” – Jessie Ammons PRESERVATION Brian O’Shea, collections manager for ornithology at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, shows some of the specimens.

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Raleigh now / MARCH



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After decades of oncology patient advocacy, Cary resident Peggy Gibson Carroll’s own father was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. During his treatment, he wrote down his bucket list – a collection of mostly small goals entwined with the people and places he most loved in his life. Focusing on checking items off the list brought the entire family together during his battle with the disease. After he passed, Peggy sought to realize the dreams of other cancer patients who may not have the resources necessary to check items off of their bucket lists. Last year, the Fill Your Bucket Foundation officially came into being, with a mission of granting the wishes of adult cancer patients. In less than a year, they’ve already sent a woman and her family on a Disney Cruise. Convene for an evening of food, drink, dancing, and a silent auction, with all proceeds to go toward supporting the new organization’s first full year of operation. 5 – 9 p.m.; $75; 5020 Weston Parkway, Cary;

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Courtesy of Water for Good (TOUR DE BREW); T&T Photography (BUCKET BASH)

Tues - Fri 10am - 6pm • Sat 10am - 5pm • Closed Sun & Mon

Add a charitable spin to a tour of local breweries. Tour de Brew participants meet at Crank Arm to embark on 6-, 8-, or 12-mile guided bike routes with stops at local breweries for a mid-ride drink. All proceeds go to Water for Good, an organization focused on building wells to provide clean drinking water to Central African villages. This year, an “I Don’t Want To Ride” 1.4-mile running route is available, too. Or, you can always just join in for the afterparty at Natty Greene’s. 10 a.m.; $20; 319 W. Davie St.;

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Frances Mayes at the UMSTEAD HOTEL & SPA A luxurious Sunday afternoon you won’t forget…enjoy lunch, wine & conversation with one of the country’s most celebrated authors.

Sunday, April 26, 2015 12:00 p.m. Cuisine inspired by the writing of Frances Mayes 3 course luncheon with wine from Frances Mayes’ vineyards $75 per person Frances Mayes will discuss her latest book, Under Magnolia, an ode to the South, as well as her beloved bestsellers Under the Tuscan Sun, Bella Tuscany, Every Day in Tuscany, and her novel, Swan.

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hen I arrived in Chapel Hill in August of 1981, I had no idea of how my life was about to change. This 17-year old Pennsylvanian had never flown on a plane, or been farther west than Ohio. I was about to become a manager for the UNC basketball team, and I was about to meet my coach, Dean Smith. My first two years were with the JV squad. We would kneel behind the bench during varsity games, handing out water and wiping sweat off the coaches’ seats.


During one nationally-televised game early in my freshman year, I saw the camera fixed on me, and from behind the bench, I waved and mouthed, “Hi, Mom.” The next day I learned Coach Smith wanted to see me. I was shaking with excitement, as I had actually never spoken to the man. I fantasized that he was going to move me to varsity, but I instead learned my first of many lessons from Coach. “Dean,” he said with a sheepish smirk, “I just wanted to know how your mother is doing.” He had watched

the film of the game and had noticed an attention-starved manager behind the bench. “I just want you to know that we don’t do that here. The focus is always on the team, not the individual.” Despite this early dressing-down, I managed to be promoted to varsity manager my junior year. And as I worked with Coach Smith every day, I began to understand that he didn’t just teach basketball. He taught us about life. Coach Smith recognized that some players came from families who, for one reason or

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another, might not have been aware of the most basic dining etiquette. He wanted to be sure that none of us would ever be embarrassed in formal dining situations, and to accomplish this he took the team to the Fearrington House, where owner Jenny Fitch walked us through a multi-course meal that served as an intensive etiquette seminar on proper fork usage, finger bowls, artichoke and lobster eating, and when it’s fine to eat with one’s hands. Coach Smith was preparing us for a world after basketball, where we would be as comfortable in a Michelin three-star restaurant as we would in a Denny’s. But Coach Smith would never take us to Denny’s. We would eat at the finest restaurants and stay at the best hotels. When we played in New York City (my first-ever visit to the Big Apple), I roomed with three-time All America Sam Perkins. In the Essex House. On Central Park South. In a multiroom suite. It’s been over 31 years since that road trip, and I

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As I worked with Coach Smith every day, I began to understand that he didn’t just teach basketball. He taught us about life.

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haven’t stayed in a nicer place since. Yes, we were pampered, but Coach did this to show us what opportunities could lie ahead, if we worked hard. He also looked at every road trip as a teaching opportunity; he wanted us to understand the culture and history of places we visited. When we went to Greece, he had us take a seminar on ancient Greek history, and our professor accompanied the team, pointing out facts about the ruins in Athens, the architecture on the islands, or the civil unrest in the northern part of the country. Coach even let us drink ouzo and experience the nightlife, because that helped us understand the culture. He had but one rule: Don’t embarrass yourself, your family, or the university. A trip to Japan included a traditional shabu-shabu dinner, a journey on the bullet train, and a visit of the Imperial Palace gardens. Hawaii brought a full-blown luau, snorkeling, and discussions of Pearl Harbor. We ate Cajun food in Louisiana, hit Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, and toured American Revolution sights in Boston. And probably at the direction of Coach, our bus traveled through some highly impoverished areas of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Life is difficult and complex, and Coach wanted us to know that, too. And now, 30 years later, I’ve come to understand that I am the man I am today because of Dean E. Smith. We may have lost our coach and mentor, but the loss is tempered in knowing that he left a large part of himself in every player, manager, secretary, and statistician he touched. Including one small town boy from Pennsylvania. Thank you, Coach. – Dean McCord

Release Show for Bombadil’s New Album “Hold On” Saturday, March 21 Doors open 8:00 pm • Show starts 8:30 pm Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro


Triangle now / MARCH

all month

March 19–22, 2015 Festival of Art and Flowers North Carolina Museum of Art


The Nasher Museum at Duke has curated an assortment of noteworthy pieces by artists who live and work in the area, including No Place Like, a 2011 work by Stacy Lynn Waddell (above). The show, Area 919, includes works from nationally established artists and local novices alike. Walter illustrator Ippy Patterson says it’s well worth the trip. $5; 2001 Campus Dr., Durham;


FEATURING Master classes Demonstrations Speakers

Shane Connolly, Floral designer for the Royal Family Hitomi Gilliam, Internationally renowned floral artist Bryce Lane, from UNC-TV’s In the Garden with Bryce Lane Steve Taras, Owner of Watered Garden Florist Joseph Covington, NCMA lecturer

March is “exotic meat month” at Durham’s Bull City Burger & Brewery. All month long, check the downtown spot’s Facebook and Twitter to see what will be served up – past offerings include squirrel, rabbit, ostrich, and even turtle! These aren’t just bacon cheeseburgers; each unusual concoction is inspired by another cultures’ traditional use of meat, so expect unexpected flavors. Save six exotic burger receipts to earn a signature t-shirt with the tagline “I never met a meat I wouldn’t eat.” 107 E. Parrish St., Durham;


Visit for schedule, details, and tickets.

2110 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh (919) 715-5923

Pictured is the infamous Bug Burger: edible crickets, scorpions, and larva on top of red chili-dusted gruyere cheese and a 100% pasture-raised N.C. beef patty. While eating beef burgers is normal in the U.S., approximately 66% of the planet relies on bugs as their main protein source.

Courtesy of the artist. © Stacy Lynn Waddell. Photo by Christopher Ciccone (ART); courtesy of Bull City Burger and Brewery (BURGERS)

Presenting 45 floral masterpieces inspired by the NCMA’s permanent collection and created by world-class floral designers


For years, Hillsborough has hosted old-time string band jam sessions. A few years ago, the Hillsborough venue closed, putting an end to the jam sessions. Now, Carrboro’s ArtsCenter has reinstated the tradition and welcomes spectators. These sessions are not to be mistaken with pick-up bluegrass gatherings (those happen on Monday nights); prepare to listen to experienced musicians. 7 p.m.; Free; 300-G E. Main St., Carrboro;

Courtesy of The ArtsCenter (JAM); Noah Rosenblatt-Farrell (BULL CITY)


All three floors of the Durham Performing Arts Center will be filled with local chefs, brewers, and other food artisans for the 3rd Annual Bull City Food & Beer Experience. The original brainchild of DPAC, Sam’s Quik Shop, and Tyler’s Restaurant & Taproom offers bites from more than 30 Durham eateries and sips from almost 50 breweries, all to the tune of bluegrass-inspired live music. True foodies should ask about VIP tickets, which include a private tasting lounge and access to specialty spirits and rare wines. 4 – 8 p.m.; $75; 123 Vivian St., Durham;

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Inspired by cancer patients and survivors, downtown Chapel Hill’s FRANK Art Gallery has invited community artists to explore the theme of a heroic journey. The resulting exhibit, Wrap Your Head Around It, features scarves artistically interpreted, with original poetry woven in. Don’t miss the opening reception, when you can meet both the artists and some of the folks who inspired them. 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.; Free; 109 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill;



He’s been compared to the likes of Sufjan Stevens for song arrangements that marry classical composition and melodies with pop appeal. Funky venue Motorco will host Kentuckyborn cellist Ben Sollee to its stage, but prepare to see a performance that’s more indie folk than traditional string. 8 p.m.; $22; 723 Rigsbee Ave., Durham;

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Triangle now / MARCH




Douglas Lally (MEASURE); courtesy of Carbon Leaf (CARBON LEAF)

It’s been a decade since its album Indian Summer put the band on the indie rock radar, and now Carbon Leaf has gone completely independent to record two albums in the past year and a half. Last year, in honor of Indian Summer’s 10-year anniversary, the band took a walk down memory lane to completely re-record the tracks. One stop on their anniversary tour is the legendary Cat’s Cradle. 8 p.m.; $15; 300 E. Main St., Carrboro;


Shakespeare’s play about desires and values gets a modern twist from Bare Theatre. To highlight its central themes, the troupe transfers Shakespeare’s plot to a setting in Paris in the 1920s. It’s performed in The Varsity Theatre, a historic film venue in downtown Chapel Hill. Times vary; $18; 123 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill; baretheatre. org

KEEP CALM AND Over 40 million Americans have some level of anxiety when it comes to going to the dentist. For some of them, the fear factor is so great that it forces them to neglect their dental needs. The doctors at Renaissance Dental Center make every effort to ensure that you have a comfortable and relaxing visit to our office. Our goal is to give you compassionate care, regardless of how long it has been since you have seen a dentist. With our sedation dentistry options, we have the ability and expertise to offer you anxiety-free visits. Call us today to learn more about how you can sleep your way towards a brand new smile! We invite you to enjoy dentistry as it should be. Call today! 919-786-6766

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“When you walk in, you smell whatever I’m burning with the torch. You see what’s going on and hear it and smell it; it’s a full experience. It’s a space to see objects created. What is it? My studio, my workspace. But it’s open to the public.”


– Lauren Ramirez, owner, Quercus Studio

oldsmith Lauren Ramirez first took a summer jewelry-making workshop as a high schooler in New England. She was hooked. “I just liked adornment,” she says. “I used to collect antique jewelry and take things from my mother’s collection and pile on weird earrings and costume jewelry and real jewelry.” Ramirez went on to the North Bennet Street School in Boston and the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco. Two years ago, she moved to Raleigh, and now sells her wares from a downtown spot called Quercus, which is Latin for “oak tree.” She’s gradually expanded to sell jewelry by a handful of fellow artists. “Everybody that I have in here, their craftsmanship is top-notch. That’s what’s important.” Quercus: 201 S. Salisbury St. and photograph by TRAVIS LONG


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OUR Town



WORKING LUNCH Rich Powell (foreground) draws a quick sketch of former Mad magazine editor Nick Meglin (right). Fellow cartoonists Jack Pittman (left) and Dwane Powell (center) wait for the results during a regular lunch gathering at Vic's Ristorante Italiano in City Market.

“Hi there! Who needs eyeballs, bleeding or otherwise?” Sculptor Joel Haas hollers and throws a bag of plastic painted eyeballs at the table of cartoonists.


E USUALLY TALK ABOUT DWANE’S BAD TABLE MANNERS,” SAYS NICK MEGLIN, RINGLEADER OF A group of cartoonists who have been meeting for lunch once a month for the last decade or so at Vic’s Ristorante Italiano in City Market. Meglin is the former editor of Mad magazine; Dwane Powell is an editorial cartoonist for The News & Observer. Their compadres comprise a Who’s-Who of the local cartoon scene: illustrator Jack Pittman and his illustrator son Jay; comic illustrator David Trustman and his colleague Sarah Moseley; producer Curry Leslie; stand-up comic and former Emmy-winning TV writer John Boni; and cartoonists Rich Powell, Carol McMillian Lewis, and Martha Gradisher. The group, which shares war stories, works in progress, and a relentless sense of humor, first met at “cell block 46,” Meglin says, and though they don’t eat the same thing every month, “we usually wear the same clothes.” Vic’s Ristorante Italiano: City Market, 331 Blake St. 919-829-7090. photograph by TRAVIS LONG


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160 MacGregor Pines Dr. Suite 205 Apex, NC 27511 T (919) 758-8677 F (919) 851-4018


358 Northeast Blvd. Clinton, NC 28328 T (910) 592-7129 F (910) 592-0260


700 Tilghman Drive Suite 702 Dunn, NC 28334 T (910) 892-1068 F (910) 892-4527


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Our Town



“On March 7 there’s a kilt run in downtown Raleigh. I’ll be buying a Lonerider kilt and running in it. The largest training plan is to secure the kilt; I probably won’t run for very long. It’s going to be a blast.” – Sumit Vohra, CEO & Chief Drinking Officer, Lonerider Brewing Company


fter leaving Delhi, India, at the age of 16 to get undergraduate and master’s degrees in computer science, a job with Citrix brought Vohra, now 36, to Brier Creek more than a decade ago. He decided to get his MBA from UNC-Chapel Hill so that he could start a tech company – but the business plan he just couldn’t shake was making craft beer. In 2009, he opened one of Raleigh’s first craft breweries, Lonerider Brewing Company. “It’s the only thing I know that gets people to come together and actually have honest conversations.” JoinVohra at the St. Paddy’s Run Green 8K, which also has a 200-meter kilt dash option. $35; Moore Square; photograph by TRAVIS LONG



bigthings from our


Award-winning craft brews. Up-and-coming microbreweries. And a spirits distillery, too. Here, old school craftsmanship and new school ingenuity converge to put our area on the map. Why not make a weekend of brewery tours and tastings? Visit our website to book your stay today.





Our Town



“When I’m on a trail, I unplug completely. It sets my mind free. My imagination goes wild. And that’s what I try to create at Marbles, too: A place for kids’ imaginations to run wild.”


– Sally Edwards, president, Marbles Kids Museum

s a student at UNC-Chapel Hill, Sally Edwards discovered competitive cycling, often taking long weekend rides from campus to her parents’ North Raleigh home. She met her husband of almost three decades at a bike race, and he got her into cyclocross, which she describes as “steeplechase on bikes.” Her 2015 race docket includes a few endurance cycling events, but her real goal is the fall cyclocross season. Each weekend holds one or two races across the state which culminate in the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships in Asheville. “It’s a big deal to have the championships in North Carolina,” says Edwards, 50. “I can’t wait. I ride my bike more seriously than just a recreational rider, but it’s not my life. It is my active pursuit.” Edwards is never far from a Raleigh bike trail. One of her favorites is at Lake Crabtree. photograph by TRAVIS LONG




Triangle Town Center

WALTER profile

for ALEX


Kenji Yasukawa

A family’s climb to honor a lost son


Chuck Stuber is standing halfway up Mount Fuji at a place where climbers begin their slogging treks to the summit of Japan’s tallest mountain. There is a pay toilet here and a small shop, where a woman offers soup for strength. A family is hunting mushrooms in the damp woods nearby. The peak of the mountain, a national symbol of Japan, is somewhere up in the sky, hidden by clouds. Chuck looks at his daughter, Andie. She has just tightened her backpack, fixed her hiking poles, and added layers against a 40-degree chill. Her breath puffs into the air. It is September, 2014. The Stubers have traveled from Raleigh — 14 hours on planes, two hours on trains, and an hour on an empty mountain bus — to reach this spot. It is the main launch point on what is called the Subashiri Trail, the hardest of four paths that wind to Fuji’s summit. “I want to say three things,” Chuck tells his daughter.



Chuck Stuber and his daughter Andie Stuber ascend Mt. Fuji’s Subashiri Trail. Their September 2014 climb was a tribute to Alex, the son and brother they lost in a 2013 car accident.


As Chuck Stuber and Andie Stuber climbed Mt. Fuji, Alex Stuber’s tenacious spirit kept them going.

“Polēpolē,” he says. She nods. It is a Swahili word that means “go slowly.” They learned it on another trip, to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, two years ago. “Strong like Simba,” he says. They both know it means to stay upbeat and sturdy, like the star of Disney’s popular animated film, The Lion King. Then, Chuck’s voice wavers. “And,” he says, “embrace the suck.” Andie smiles. “That’s what Alex would say,” she says. “That’s Alex.” Alex, who died a little more than a year earlier, is why they are here. Chuck’s son and Andie’s brother, Alex loved adventures like these, traveling with family to climb or ski or dive. He was a backpacker, an off-roader, and a mountain biker. When the going got tough, Alex would encourage resilience and tenacity. Keep on pushing. Don’t give in. He often boiled it down to three words: Embrace the suck. Alex’s death had nothing to do with risk. He was driving with a friend after work. His car veered off the road and rolled over. The authorities said the reason for the crash was unknown. He was 25. Alex had graduated from N.C. State in 2010 with a perfect grade point average. Two years later, he had earned a master’s de56 | WALTER

gree at State in aerospace engineering. He moved to California, where he was working on the future of aviation at a NASA research center. His death left Chuck, his wife Janet, and Andie in shock, and numb. There were days in the weeks and months after the accident when Chuck would say he was just trying to put one foot in front of the other. “It would have been very easy to crawl into a hole and just sort of go away,” Chuck says. “We had to decide not to.” Before Alex died, Chuck, Andie, and Alex had been discussing a big trip to South America and Antarctica, the only continents the Stubers had not yet visited. A wide world Indeed, the Stuber family travels. Chuck’s parents, longtime Raleigh residents Charlie (an expert on plant breeding at N.C. State and with the USDA) and Marilyn (the retired chairwoman of Meredith College’s home economics department), had always made it a priority to see faraway places. They traveled with Chuck, Janet, Alex, and Andie to postcard-perfect spots, touring Australia and Africa, traveling in Europe, and seeing most of the United States. Chuck says the zest for adventure and travel springs from how they have tried to approach life — to make the effort to see new things and experience the world. It helped that Alex and Andie

developed a love of the outdoors, for climbing mountains and scuba diving and skiing and, as Andie says, “enjoying the journey.” Andie, 23, studied in Italy while she was earning her degree from Meredith, also with a perfect grade point average. She now works at an interior design firm in Raleigh as a project designer. Chuck, 54, was a longtime FBI agent in Raleigh, focusing on political corruption cases and sensitive hostage negotiations. He retired this year and now works for the state as an elections investigator. His wife teaches preschool at a Raleigh church. “We have been blessed to do a whole lot of things in life,” Chuck says. “I would feel a lot worse about Alex’s accident if we hadn’t approached our life this way, of trying to give as many experiences as possible. I can’t think of any regrets about any of that. We found ways to make things happen.” As Christmas 2013 approached, just a few months after Alex’s death, the Stubers decided they didn’t want to be home in Raleigh without him. Talk of traveling somewhere, anywhere, turned into a plan. The whole family visited Argentina and watched whales and penguins in Antarctica. Then, Chuck and Andie began talking about completing something else unfinished — reaching the summit of Mount Fuji. Seven years earlier, Chuck, Andie, Alex, and a relative had tried to climb Fuji while visiting family in Japan. They didn’t prepare much ahead of time, and they paid for it. As they reached 11,000 feet, the weather turned, and torrents of cold rain fell. Altitude sickness weakened Andie. “I don’t want to overdramatize it,” Chuck says, “but it was a situation with the rain and cold and the wind was really blowing and…” His voice trails off. Finally, he says: “Let me just say, we really had to find a way to get down. You read about people dying up there. I wondered how we would get down.” Even Alex agreed. They had to turn back. Andie sums it up in a word: “Awful.” But last year, Chuck and Andie began to think of finishing that climb. “It’s kind of a crazy thing to do, go halfway around the world for a weekend to climb a mountain,” Chuck said. “It was unfinished business in a way. And we wanted to do this, to try to get back and get to the top, and in doing that we would feel like we were honoring what we had started with Alex.” Matching their busy work schedules to travel halfway around the globe wasn’t easy. Eventually, a weekend in late September worked, but it came with a different set of complications.

photographed mountains, too, with a version of its wintry snowcapped cone on display or for sale most everywhere in Japan. Even in Raleigh, you see Fuji: it’s the logo on Infinity cars and SUVs. The preferred way to climb Fuji is to begin in the afternoon, stop for the night at one of several mountain “huts” that dot the side of the mountain, and hike to the summit the next morning. The huts are mostly reinforced steel shacks without running water, perched on cliffs. Hut workers serve simple food to climbers who need a spot to sleep and acclimate to the altitude. In the early morning, it’s back to climbing. Many Japanese aim to see sunrise from the summit before clouds pile up and obscure the view. With good weather, climbers can start early, skip the huts, and make it up and down Fuji in one long day of hiking. Almost all go in July and August, when weather is best. At the busiest times, the climbers queue in lines, like ants on a hill. The climbing season generally winds down by Sept. 1 for safety reasons. Fuji rises near the north Pacific Ocean to a peak at 12,388 feet,

12,388 feet Mount Fuji, an active volcano (its last eruption was in 1707), is one of the most climbed peaks in the world. Tens of thousands reach the summit each year. It is one of the most painted and MARCH 2015 | 57


This photograph was taken outside the Taiyoukan Hut, where Chuck Stuber, Andie Stuber, writer Andrew J. Curliss, and photographer Patrick Davison stayed the night on Mt. Fuji. Photographer Davison told Walter how he captured it: “It was taken around 2:00 a.m. on a clear night. It is a series of approximately thirty 30-second exposures that are combined to capture the natural rotation of the earth in relation to the stars. The rocks on the left have some light ‘painted’ on them from my headlamp.”

standing alone instead of in a range of other peaks. As a result, it’s known as a “weather catcher” and will see snow, sleet and rain any time of the year. But winter is a bear. Authorities advise visitors to avoid Fuji after about mid-September. By late September, the Stubers knew, only one mountain hut above 9,000 feet would be open for an overnight stay. It would close for the winter on Sept. 21 and open again when it was dug out of snow the following June. The Stubers reserved two spots in the hut for Sept. 20. They also filed required paperwork with local authorities, who warned there would be no rescue if there was trouble. They had to submit their blood types. Five days before their climb, the forecast was ominous: heavy rain turning to “moderate” snow at the summit, before a predicted blizzard of 11 inches with 40 mph winds. It looked like Chuck and Andie Stuber would be tourists in Tokyo instead of climbers on Fuji. As the climbing day approached, though, the forecast 58 | WALTER

shifted to show only the possibility of rain. Setting out The Stubers begin ascending about 2 p.m. under a slate gray sky. Mount Fuji’s Subashiri Trail starts in woods on the east side of the mountain; the Stubers climb for more than an hour before the trees fade away and a rocky, volcanic landscape takes hold. Because it’s an off-season climb, they have the mountain virtually to themselves. Occasionally, a downhill climber passes, almost always offering a cheerful “konnichiwa.” Good day! Few are visible ahead. As they push upward and daylight begins to fade, the sun emerges and the sky turns shades of red and pink. In the distance, peaks of a mountain range, colored in shades of blue, stand behind a placid lake. The Stubers hike a bit and stop, snapping photos and taking in long views they never thought they’d see. Between them, Chuck and Andie carry six cameras.


Chuck Stuber and Andie Stuber at the Taiyoukan Hut, elevation 9,711 feet, the seventh station on the Subashiri trail on Mt. Fuji.

Chuck wears his son’s hat, jacket, and hiking boots. And they talk often of Alex, recounting other trips and hikes and adventures – including a failed attempt in 2012 to summit Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the continental United States. Ice and snow turned them back. Guidebooks for climbing Fuji suggest it is roughly three hours from the trailhead to the hut where they plan to stay. They soak in the views. It takes the Stubers five hours, not three, to reach the hut. They arrive in darkness to a cold

dinner. They’re all smiles. At the hut, about 30 people – almost all of them Japanese – are settling in to sleep in a large spare room with assigned spots on wooden platforms. Kerosene heats the dim space. About 1 a.m., Andie sits up. A pattering sound suggests rain has started to fall. That would almost certainly mean snow or ice at higher elevations. She goes outside, where the temperature is just above freezing, and looks up. The sky is brilliant, with the Milky Way visible in an arch from one horizon to the other. Shooting stars occasionally streak above. The noise, it turns out, is from the wind turbines behind the hut that are used to generate electricity. Andie wakes up Chuck.

“Hey. You won’t believe it. The stars are all out. It’s beautiful. Come.” While the other climbers sleep in the hut, the Stubers sit on a ledge about 10,000 feet above the sea, looking up into the heavens. At 5:35 a.m., after fish, rice, and soup for breakfast, they’re back on the ledge, watching the sunrise spread orange rays across the mountain. With clear weather, gazing out from high on the mountain leaves them mostly in awe. For weeks, the question had been whether the Stubers would be able to pull off this climb at all. With a narrow timeframe, would the flights and logistics work out? Would they avoid the ef-


Chuck Stuber and Andie Stuber take in the early morning views.

MARCH 2015 | 59

fects of altitude? Most of all, would the weather hold up? They took the chance. Now, they’re enjoying its reward. This is why people come to Fuji. But the climb isn’t done. The terrain from the hut to the summit can only be described as achingly steep. Ropes and ladders aren’t needed. There are no crevices to traverse or boulders to scramble over. It’s a trail. A long, steep trail. Imagine climbing a stairwell covered in sand and rock for five hours. That’s what it’s like to summit Fuji. Chuck and Andie labor to the top. Andie would later say there were moments when she wasn’t sure she would make it. But one foot went in front of the other. By midmorning, the Stubers are passing through a torii, a traditional Japanese gate, that marks the final push to the summit. Andie raises her arms and cheers. Chuck pumps his into the air and lets out a deep roar of celebration. “There was no way we were going to give up, even if it meant crawling on our hands and knees,” Chuck says. “There were times during some of the hardest parts of the climb when I could hear Alex’s voice in my head, telling me, ‘You got this, Dad. You can do this. Keep on going.’” Honoring Alex At the summit, a few climbers explore the rim, posing for pho60 | WALTER


Andie Stuber and Chuck Stuber scatter Alex’s ashes at the summit.

tos. One man says this is the 17th time he has made it to the top. Waving his hand across the deep blue sky, the man says these are by far the best conditions and views he’s ever seen. He’d been at this spot one month before, in late August, as an inch of snow covered the ground and an inch of miserable sleet fell. The Stubers explore the crater, then climb up a hill of black rocks that offer an expansive view. They are above the clouds. Andie reaches into her pack and opens a small container. It holds a portion of Alex’s ashes. Chuck and Andie decide to spread them there.

Andie sprinkles first as Chuck looks upward. “Alex, we love you,” Chuck says. “Thank you for getting us to the top, thank you for helping us. We love you.” Then, Chuck sweeps his son’s ashes into the air. “God, what a view,” he says. “I think he’d like that.” Chuck said he and Andie felt that Alex was with them all the way. “We felt it was a great way to honor Alex by spreading some of his ashes at the summit,” he says. “It was an awesome feeling to be able to complete the journey and finally get Alex to the top.” But now, it is time to go. Building clouds signal rain, or worse. The hike to the bottom is quicker. They say little in nearly four hours to the trailhead through what has become thick fog. Soon, they’re in Tokyo, and on a 14-hour plane journey home to Raleigh. And then, a week after the Stubers stood on the summit of Mount Fuji, they’re in the air again. They’re off to Utah, backpacking and canyoneering on a long-planned seven-day trip. They are off to experience more of the world.


Andie Stuber, Chuck Stuber and Alex Stuber at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Uhurua Peak, Tanzania, on December 28, 2012.

MARCH 2015 | 61




Raleigh’s instrument restorers keep the town in tune





A Critcher Guitar, handcrafted by Howard Critcher and a Rhino guitar, handcrafted by Eugene Reinert. Together, Chritcher and Reinert own Guru Guitars.


Violins are made to be repaired. Their tops aren’t flush to their sides, like a guitar’s. Instead, those tops are designed to be removed, so violins can be tended to over multi-hundred-year lifespans.

For violinists in smaller cities, the regular repair and restoration that keeps their instruments playing requires travel to a metropolitan hub – Charlotte, say, or Atlanta. That’s where the restorers and builders who keep their weather-sensitive instruments playable can usually be found. Raleigh’s violinists have no such hurdle. “Normally you have to ship it somewhere or you make a special trip,” says Karen Galvin, violinist with the North Carolina Symphony and co-founder of New Music Raleigh. “But the ability to actually take your fiddle to the shop ... luxury is the word.” Galvin says she can realize that her violin needs work in the morning, and have it fixed by lunchtime. That’s because Raleigh is home to not one but two violin shops – a true rarity in a city of our size. Then again, our capital city, Galvin points out, is not a small one, culturally speaking. Indeed, Galvin and her fellow fiddlers have choices: There’s John Montgomery of Montgomery Violins, Jerry Pasewicz of Triangle Strings, and their workshops full of capable luthiers and restorers.

MARCH 2015 | 63

IN HARMONY Eugene Reinert and Howard Critcher, who coown Guru Guitars. In addition to their individual creations, the two also sell a variety of other locally made instruments, amps, and effects.

Players of other instruments also have an outsized variety of specialized repairers here. Guru Guitars on Hillsborough Street is a nexus of locally built guitars, amps, and effects pedals – including those handmade by Richard Flickinger of Flickinger Tone Boxes. Yontz Sucre of Mad Science Works fixes amplifiers, and Marsh Woodwinds and Flying Squirrel Music both repair woodwind instruments. These craftspeople are essential to a healthy, varied music scene. Sally Mullikin of Triangle Strings says she recognizes her customers (and their instruments) when she goes to the symphony, while Flickinger is excited when his pedals help local rockers find their tone – and better express themselves. Regardless of instrument or genre, each of these craftspeople works on one part of a larger musical ecosystem. And when every element in the system aligns, a player can find his or her best sound. Montgomery breaks down his system with clear-headed practicality: for a violin, that system includes the instrument, the bow, the room, and the player. “You 64 | WALTER

might say the most singular thing is the human, but that’s the most varying piece of the whole part – not only day to day, but as people age and grow,” Montgomery says. “You want to think of it as a system, rather than isolate the instrument.” Yet these instrument-makers can be viewed as part of the ecosystem, too, and their work often reflects their personality and creativity as strongly as an instrument reflects its player's. Eugene Reinert of Guru Guitars, for instance, winds pickups – the parts of an electric guitar that "pick up" the strings' vibration so they can be amplified – on his mother’s old Singer sewing machine. By the nature of his process, no two of his pickups are alike. “Because I’m doing it by hand and because I don’t have a computer that’s testing every nuance, each one is going to have its own character,” he says, sitting in his store’s lesson room between students. It’s about the size of a walk-in closet, but, like Raleigh, it’s big enough. “I don’t say mine are better than anyone else’s,” Reinert says. “I say that mine are unique.”

MONTGOMERY VIOLINS To meet John Montgomery, 61, you may not guess he’s responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the Library of Congress’s priceless collection of historic violins. He’s capable, sure, and he’s a respected violin luthier with three-plus decades’ experience in Raleigh alone, but he's a disarming fellow – confident in his expertise, but not interested in making a big deal of it. Besides that, he's not even completely sure why, of all the luthiers of his caliber, they picked him. “They did try me out. They had me work on something and they liked what they saw,” Montgomery says, sitting in his airy, well-lit workshop while an NPR talk show prattles quietly in the background. “I must have had good references, and I’m thinking I had a background check as well, like all government workers.” He has a sly smile on his face, like an ex-hippie having an ironic last laugh. As with many folks of his generation, conventional career paths never held any appeal to Montgomery. His search for alternatives led him to the Violin Making

Richard Flickinger with his Angry Sparrow distortion pedal.

John Montgomery in his violin workshop, Montgomery Violins.

School of America in Salt Lake City, which he graduated from in 1980. His like-minded classmates ended up all over the U.S., while Montgomery came to Raleigh in 1982. Today, they all continue the American tradition of violin making – one based on, and strengthened by, cooperation and communication. “Our colleagues in Europe don’t find the conversation to be free-flowing, and here we do,” he says, working on a violin as he talks. “They always talk about, ‘What is the secret of Stradivarius?’ and we all laugh. There's no secrets.” Instead, Montgomery says he and his colleagues tell each other everything they know, which leads to better-made instruments, he says, and a stronger American tradition. Montgomery’s even part of a group that has together written a book on the history of violin making in America from the 18th century through 1950. Due out sometime this year, the title, appropriately enough, is The American Violin.

North Carolina Symphony violinist and assistant concertmaster Rebekah Binford’s primary violin may be a Sanctus Seraphin, an Italian instrument older than the United States, but she has an American instrument too – a bench copy made by Montgomery. It was his idea, she says, to effectively clone hers. He studied her original closely and reproduced it, bruises and all. They have distinct personalities and slightly different finishes, but are identical to the untrained eye. “You know how artists will copy a famous painter’s painting in order to learn?” Binford says. “John has done very much the same thing.” Her own violin is famous for its deep, practically holographic varnish. So he made a copy as exactly as he could, and then he made two more without the age marks – his own versions. “He’s learning about and improving his knowledge of how to stain and varnish the instrument,” Binford says. True to the American tradition, anything he

learns he passes on to his peers. “We taught each other while we were in the school,” Montgomery says. “And we’ve continued teaching each other since we’ve been out.” GURU GUITARS When the afternoon sun comes in the front windows of Guru Guitars, it shines on modification-ready Squier six-strings and more traditional Fenders, Carr amps with Art Deco grilles and hand-painted Flickinger distortion pedals. The Squiers are made in Asia and the Fenders originate in Mexico and California. But the Carr factory is in Pittsboro, and the Flickinger boxes come from just a few miles away. And tucked between the Fenders and the Squiers, the Gibsons and the Ibanezes, are even funkier models – guitars with an even closer point of origin. There’s a short-scale, solid-body electric guitar with hand-wound pickups made right here, and another with a thin, hollow body and an aged, natural look, but futuristic F-holes. And, in a case in the back, there’s a fascinating locally made jazz guitar with frets – the metal strips along the neck where the player's fingers go – that fan away from each other rathMARCH 2015 | 65

they're still sold in the shop. It’s business, but it’s not competition: Critcher jokes that the store supports his and Reinert's building habit. Even with the multi-thousand dollar price tag of a custom guitar, the creator doesn’t make a lot of money. “It's RENOWNED REPAIRS With patience and attention to detail, Jerry Pasewicz and his a slow process,” Critcher says, team restore violins from around the world at Triangle Strings. particularly when they’re running the store full-time. er than run parallel; they look more like Customers come and go – the spokes on a bicycle wheel than the some to browse, and others with old or rungs on a ladder, yet the instrument is damaged instruments to sell or have reintuitively playable and, frankly, a delight paired. There's a steady influx of students, to plug in. too, many of whom walk from within a “We love our small little shop,” says four-block radius to learn from Reinert. Howard Critcher, 43, who built the hol“I’ve always done multiple things,” low body model and co-owns the place he says. “I’ve never just been solely a guiwith Eugene Reinert, 36, builder of the tar builder or solely a teacher or repairshort-scale guitar. These two make a va- man.” Or retailer. The juggling act he and riety of instruments, from acoustics to Critcher pull off has kept the store open electrics to even the occasional ukulele. since 2008, even as other businesses foldThey also run Guru Guitars, which stocks ed during the recession. Today, they have interesting factory models, sure, but also two additional employees, but this hasn’t a respectable variety of locally made in- meant more time to build. struments, amps, and effects. No, when these luthiers do find time “Instead of being in competition for their craft, it’s when they should be with each other, it makes a lot of sense off the clock. And the interesting and to support each other,” says Critcher of unusual instruments they produce reflect his fellow local instrument makers. “Our Critcher and Reinert’s un-dulled passion store is kind of a venue to show off some as builders, not necessarily as businesslocal artisans and allow them to get their people. items out to the world.” He means it lit“We do it because we like it,” says erally: In 2010, Guru was the first place Reinert. “It's like an artist – you don’t to stock Flickinger Tone Boxes; today, paint for money.” they’re in boutique instrument stores internationally. And while Guru employee TRIANGLE STRINGS Clay Conner's fanned fretted guitars are In an older office building a few huntechnically a separate entity from Guru, dred yards from the mid-morning hum of 66 | WALTER

Beltline traffic, Jerry Pasewicz, 50, sits at his workbench. Outside the window are other, similar buildings and a parking lot in need of maintenance, but his attention is on his work. Pasewicz is a violin restorer, trained in New York City by the late master René Morel, and he restores and repairs ancient and valuable violins from around the world with confidence and pragmatism. “One of the things that’s always asked of me is, do you get nervous when you're working on a nice old Strad or a Guarneri?” Pasewicz says without looking up. “And my favorite response is, ‘No, I just picture them in their underwear.’” He speaks with a level detachment that can make it easy to miss the dry humor. “There are no accidents,” he says. It’s a perfect Bill Murray deadpan. In 1998, Pasewicz and violinist wife Dana Friedli left New York for somewhere warmer – not his snowy native Pittsburgh, nor her Texas. They came to Raleigh, where Friedli could have a playing career, and Pasewicz rented a small office for his restorations business. In the years since, it’s grown: Today, Pasewicz heads a six-luthier workshop, himself included. The violins and bows they bring back to life come from around the world, while some of these restorers have crossed the country just to work for him. “For a solid year, I called him every couple of months, trying to get a job with him,” says Ryan Hayes. “This is one of the top places in the country to work that is willing to train people from the ground up.” Hayes, a native of Houston’s suburbs, had been living in South Orange Coun-

ty, California until Pasewicz hired him in late 2013. Chapel Hill native Sally Mullikin, at a nearby workbench, says she was looking for a job in Boston when someone said, “‘You’re in North Carolina. You should work for Jerry.’” While many violin luthiers go to the Violin Making School of America in Salt Lake City, Mullikin went to the Newark School of Violin Making in England – “the original Newark,” she says with a half-laugh and a grin. Pasewicz brought her home. “What attracted me is that Jerry sits at the bench and works and I knew I'd be able to learn a lot,” Mullikin says. Not all violin shop owners are luthiers, and restoration and repair require a different skill set than violin building. “The people that are working here literally put things back together after they’ve been run over by cars,” Pasewicz says. Violins in that kind of shape come from all over the world. It’s tricky work to put them back together, Pasewicz says, and often requires making matters worse in the process of making them bet-


Flickinger Tone Boxes are sold around the world.

ter. These are techniques that are passed down from master to master – in Europe, in New York City, and, yes, in Raleigh. FLICKINGER TONE BOXES One week in 2010, Brandy Flickinger noticed her husband, Richard, was staying up later than usual. He was focused on

something, but she wasn’t sure what, and the dining room of their row house just down the hill from N.C. State was slowly but surely turning into a workshop. “He's kind of like a mad scientist,” Brandy says. “He never really actually told me he was thinking about building pedals.” At the end of the week, though, Richard, 40, presented her with his first homemade effects pedal. Days later, he’d drawn up its schematics. The Angry Sparrow, as he named it, has since become the flagship pedal for Flickinger Tone Boxes, which are sold in boutique instrument shops internationally. It and his other pedals are still handmade – and hand-painted – in the corner of the Flickingers’ dining room. It’s been a labor of love for the couple who also forms a rock duo called the Revolutionary Sweethearts. The pedal Richard presented to his wife back in 2010 was designed to thicken his guitar tone so the two of them could play together as guitarist husband and drummer wife, with no other musicians necessary. “I had the idea to do the sparrow design on it because my wife has a sparrow › continued on p.128

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HAVEN Sterling Boyd’s home reflects a lifetime in the arts by P. GAYE TAPP photographs by CATHERINE NGUYEN

MARCH 2015 | 71


n afternoon spent in Sterling Boyd’s company is a return to days of great elegance. The erudite octogenarian is ever gracious, schooled in the day when a gentleman took a lady’s wrap and stood when she entered a room. Boyd defies his years with élan. Classical music provides the backdrop for his apartment, which is filled with paintings, etchings, textiles, and Boyd’s witty repartee. An academic, an aesthete, and a consummate collector, Boyd has a crystal-clear recollection of every piece of art he owns: its artist, subject, and acquisition. He is an acknowledged Francophile, but his eclectic collection embraces many worlds and cultures. Boyd has Italian drawings from the 16th and 19th centuries, Rodman Wanamaker photogra-

to Sewanee, The University of the South; to Oberlin College; and for several years to Belgium, where he was lured into the world of art history. He acquired his first painting on a trip to New York in 1958. Today that maritime Mediterranean scene, purchased at a gallery on 3rd Avenue, hangs alongside a modernist piece by American abstract painter Jules Olitski and a massive 19th century Chinese calligraphy scroll that extols the virtues of health and happiness. His collection grew during a 10-year stint at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, where he worked as an assistant to the associate director, and during the years he spent earning a doctorate in American architecture at Princeton. He took advantage of the university’s close proximity to New York to collect portraits, architectural drawings, etchings, and whatever else caught his eye from the city’s galleries. From Princeton, he moved on to a teaching post at Washington and Lee and ultimately to Wake Forest as head of the university’s art department. Through it all, Boyd’s art collection grew – as did the stories and enduring friendships made with fellow collectors, artists, and dealers. Boyd finally found his way to Raleigh in the ’70s as an assistant to Moussa Domit, the director of the North Carolina Museum of Art, at its original Morgan Street location. And then, after years in the worlds of art and academia, Boyd shifted his talents to interior design and decoration. He worked

“Thanks to art, instead of seeing one world only, our own, we see that world multiply itself and we have at our disposal as many worlds as there are original artists…” - Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past vure prints of Native Americans from the early 1900s, and British portraiture. The Empress Josephine is one of his most admired aesthetes, and his French antiques, objets de vertu, and art from the reign of Louis XVI to Napoleon unite his vast collection. He has works on paper collected in Paris and London, and magnificent masks collected on his many trips to Mexico City and Cuernavaca. For Boyd, every object – every work of art – is a particular favorite, evoking a memory, time, and place in his life. Though his apartment is just over 900 square feet, living on the grand scale is a way of life for Boyd. His North Raleigh apartment is reminiscent of a flat in Paris, which says something about its inhabitant and the absolute joie de vivre he radiates. Travelling the world Originally from Little Rock, Ark., Boyd’s education took him 72 | WALTER

for Stewart Walston in Wilson and ultimately established his own independent design business in Raleigh. Today, Boyd is retired, but still consults with clients on art acquisitions and décor. His conversation drifts from classical music, to the arts, to politics, or to an upcoming auction. Indeed, some of Boyd’s most prized pieces are his discoveries from auctions and dealers – the ones that came without a firm provenance. In the rarest of cases, if he’s stumped about the background of a particular piece, Boyd always has a friend – an expert in the field – to consult. His boundless energy has him continuing in his ninth decade to collect, peruse auction catalogs, and drop in on Raleigh art dealer Otho Cozart to view his latest findings. Because a collection like Boyd’s defies completion.

A LIFETIME OF COLLECTING Clockwise from top: Works of art from the 16th–20th centuries fill the walls. A circa-1900 panelled mirror hangs over a modern fireplace. A Mexican mask hangs over a Louis XVstyle sofa. Pillows on the sofa are made from Lacandon textiles, woven by Mayan descendants. Boyd bought the French maritime scene in 1958. It was the first painting he acquired. A woman’s carved shell cameo tiara, circa 1825, and a miniature portrait of Pauline Bonaparte, Princess Borghese, are elegantly framed in small shadow boxes, and displayed with other Napoleonic objects.

MARCH 2015 | 73

GRANDEUR ON A SMALL SCALE Above: The apartment’s living room is formal yet comfortable. Graciously proportioned French chairs are covered in both a handsome stripe and a Scalamandre leopard print. A Chinese rug, circa 1950, adds a bold note to the room. On the far wall, Mexican masks flank a large Chinese ancestral portrait. The French birdcage, circa 1900, is home to Boyd’s pet, Tweetie Bird. Left: Modern ink drawings by Anne Hill line the walls of the apartment’s entry. A French Restoration clock and a miniature portrait of Pauline Bonaparte, Princess Borghese, are arranged near a small 19th century drawing. Opposite, top left: A Karges desk in the living room holds an 18th century Christ figure that now forms the base for a lamp. Opposite, top right: Another French desk in the master bedroom is from the Restoration period; the antique clock is French Empire. Opposite, below: In the master bedroom, three 1850s needlework panels hang over an antique European needlework firebox from Dr. Boyd’s family home. A painting of the 19th century American painter Thomas Eakins sits on the floor nearby.


MARCH 2015 | 75

at the



ALL IN THE FAMILY Clockwise from top left: Xiu Liu, Peggy Jin, and Jane Liu at their family-owned Finch's restaurant; Michael House, Jean Carbone, and Maria House at Casa Carbone; Mahlon Aycock, Harris Wilder, Ryon Wilder, and Ryon Wilder Jr. at one of their 9 Char-Grill restaurants; John Dombalis, Floye Dombalis, and Paul Dombalis at their Mecca Restaurant.




photographs by NICK PIRONIO

We live in a society that places a high value on rolling up your sleeves to start a business, getting family members to join in, and making a buck. We tell romantic tales of the family-owned farm or hardware store, and often lament the industrial agriculture and big-box retailers that have taken their place. But there are still pockets of the old ways. Places still owned and operated by generations of the same families, places that have survived, and even thrived, for decades, enmeshed in a community’s fabric. You only need to look down the street to see some of the best examples in our local restaurants.

MARCH 2015 | 77

RESTAURANT LEGACY Floye Dombalis keeps the Mecca running smoothly.

We tend to overlook these places, even though we know they help define us a community. Too often, we fixate on what’s new and different. Want Korean dumplings? A gourmet hot dog? Laotian food? Or how about a highend French pastry shop? And that’s just in the last couple of years – and just inside the Beltline. But it’s the mom-and-pop places, family-run establishments that have been around for decades, that remind us of how far we’ve come, and who we really are. Places like Mecca Restaurant. Finch’s. Casa Carbone. Char-Grill. Restaurants from a simpler time, when folks just wanted a basic meal at a fair price. Burgers. Lasagna. Fried pork chops with turnip greens. Or some hot biscuits straight out of the oven. Some of the current owners of these restaurants practically had their future vocations pre-ordained: They were born into the business. In the blood Paul Dombalis’s grandparents, Nick and Helen, started the Mecca Luncheonette in 1930, and moved it to its current location five years later. Paul’s parents, John and Floye, took it over in 1952, and ran the business for nearly four decades. “I started out working the dumbwaiter when I was 11 or 12,” Paul Dombalis says. “While I was in high school at Enloe, I thought I was going into the heating business, but then I realized that I really didn’t know what else to do 78 | WALTER

other than work at the Mecca.” So while Paul’s brother and sister went on to become lawyers, Paul stayed at the restaurant, working long hours before gradually taking over for his father in 1990.

Maria House never had plans of being a restaurateur while growing up, even though her parents, John and Jean Carbone, owned the popular Raleigh Italian eatery Villa Capri. House managed to avoid working at the Wade Avenue restaurant until until she was 17, when she needed some money. She waited tables and acted as hostess and started a relationship with one of the busboys, Michael House, who would later become her husband. Michael also grew up in a restaurant family, but like his bride, he also had plans outside of food. The young couple moved to Charlotte so Maria could go to graduate school while Michael pursued a teaching career. But before they could really establish any roots, the tragic death of Maria’s sister brought the young couple back to Raleigh to support to her parents. After taking on more prominent roles at Villa Capri, the Houses’ attitudes began to change. They started to consider opening a restaurant of their own. Maria’s father, John, had a different idea: he proposed selling Villa Capri so that the four of them, the Houses and the Carbones, could go into business

together to open a new, larger restaurant. They could name it after both couples (“Casa” is the Italian word for house). And so in 1984, in the then-hinterlands of Glenwood Avenue northwest of Crabtree Valley Mall, Casa Carbone was born.

No two families are alike, and when it comes to the owners of Char-Grill, Ryon Wilder and Mahlon Aycock are brothers, but they are not related by blood. Instead, they’re brothers from the same fraternity at Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College), in Wilson, N.C. Wilder, a Raleigh native, grew up in the restaurant business. His father, a police officer, owned two of them: The Gateway on Hillsborough Street, and later, the Hickory House in Garner. Wilder started working for his father when he was 12, washing dishes. Unlike Wilder, Aycock was a country boy with no restaurant experience. He grew up on a tobacco farm in Greene County and never imagined running a burger joint. But Wilder, who found himself after college in the early ’70s working as an investigator for the state government, was learning he didn’t want to work for other people. After hitting it off with Aycock at a fraternity convention, the two hatched a plan to go into business together. In 1973, the pair took over the ailing The Char-Grill restaurant from the family who had founded it thirteen years earlier. “The Char-Grill wasn’t doing very well at that time, and it was on the brink of closing. We realized right away that the key to success, particularly in a burger restau-

INDELIBLE MECCA Clockwise from top left: The Mecca hasn't changed in decades. A lunch of fried chicken, crowder peas, and mac and cheese, with a biscuit on the side.

rant, was to keep our labor costs low,” Wilder says, “so we each worked about 100 hours a week.” It paid off. There are now nine Char-Grills scattered across North Carolina, with a tenth opening soon.

Peggy Jin also took over an established restaurant, Finch’s, but her story might be the most remarkable of all, as a shining example of the pursuit of the American dream. “I moved from Shanghai to New York City in my early 20s, not speaking any English. The only place I could get a job was at a Wendy’s, and that’s where I started to learn how to cook American food.” Jin and her husband, William Liu, thought they had to leave the city after they had a daughter. “I would see people having their bags stolen, right in MARCH 2015 | 79

front of me, and it made me afraid. I didn’t want to raise my daughter in such a dangerous city.” So the young family moved to Raleigh, with no real plans, and discovered that Finch’s, an old “meat and three” Southern restaurant, was for sale. They bought it in 1991, keeping the staff to maintain continuity. But really, the reason they chose this restaurant was the food itself. “This is easy food to make, much easier than the food from China.” So easy, in fact, that a year later, Peggy’s mother, Xiu Liu (generally just called “Mama”), joined them in the restaurant, and quickly became the primary cook. Today, at the tender age of 78, she’s still at it, manning the stoves at 5 a.m., seven days a week. Creating a legacy The future of all of these restaurants depends on their family members. From the time Peggy Jin’s daughter Jane was an infant, she was part of the restaurant. “I grew up in this restaurant, literally, running around in diapers and with my play pen in the dining room,” says Jane Liu, today a student at Meredith College. “But I hated it growing up. It took too much time, and I didn’t really understand what was going on. Now, however, I love it. I realize that I had a second family at the restaurant.” Liu remembers talking comfortably to customers as a child, joking with them, telling them their cigarette smoke stank. She even had a nickname among the regulars, “Nunu,” which means “little girl” in Jin’s native language. 80 | WALTER

BUON GUSTO Casa Carbone, owned by Raleigh's House and Carbone families, serves up crowd-pleasing, hearty Italian fare.

Today, Liu is studying business administration so she can help out her mother and possibly take over the restaurant at some point. She also is a waiter and hostess at Finch’s and the family’s newly-opened Creedmoor outpost. Peggy Jin’s entrepreneurial spirit inspires her daughter. “My mother takes so much pride in what she does, and I see that now. I didn’t see it when I was younger. But now, I want to be just as good as she is.”

At Char-Grill, Ryon Wilder’s two sons are active in the business. 27-year-old Ryon Jr., known as “RW,” manages the Edwards Mill store and 22-year old Harris the Strickland Road location. They both started in the business in middle school, bagging hot fries, cleaning, and washing dishes. Each of the boys went to N.C. State, thinking they could start a life outside the hospitality world, but the college life didn’t take for either of them. “Working in a restaurant is the only thing I know how to do,” RW says. “I need to be active, on my feet.” And ready to make a (sometimes) good-hearted dig at his younger brother. “I tend to get under Harris’s skin, kind of like picking at a scab,” admits RW, who was Harris’s boss for several years. That sometimes means the brothers don’t talk for a couple of days. More often, their sibling rival-

FINCH’S FAMOUSLY SIMPLE YET DELICIOUS CHICKEN SALAD 1 pound cooked and chopped chicken breast 1 tablespoon black pepper 1 teaspoon salt 1 small stalk chopped celery 4 tablespoons sweet pickle relish 3 tablespoons mayonnaise diced onion: optional Mix well, refrigerate, and serve.

• THE MECCA’S SPAGHETTI SAUCE 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 ½ pounds ground beef 2 stalks celery, chopped 2 16-ounce cans crushed tomatoes 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce 1 6-ounce can tomato paste ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1 ½ teaspoons dried) salt and pepper to taste Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and beef and cook, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon or spatula, until all the beef is browned. Add the celery, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Mix thoroughly. Stir in the parsley, basil, and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 1 hour. Remove the cover and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally and adding water as necessary, for at least 1 ½ hours more.

• CHAR-GRILL’S SIMPLE TIPS FOR MAKING A BURGER AT HOME “Buy some fresh ground 80/20 beef, make yourself a patty in whatever size you like, and cook on a hot charcoal grill. Toast a fresh roll and top with your favorite condiments!"

FINCH'S Xiu Liu, above, is Finch's primary cook. The restaurant is a go-to spot for generations of Raleighites.

STANDING ROOM ONLY Clockwise from top: Customers wait for orders at CharGrill; a box of pencils stands ready for customers' order chits; a char-grilled burger is ready for eating.


ry leads to healthy competition, as each vies to beat the other’s sales numbers. “RW was actually a really good boss,” Harris says, “but now, even though he’s older than me, he’s so much more immature.” RW doesn’t deny it.

John Dombalis, Paul’s son, has a lot of memories of growing up in the Mecca. He started working in the restaurant when he was 9. Like his father, he ran the dumbwaiter that shuffled food and dishes between the floors for 10 cents per customer. “I loved working with my grandfather. I learned how he ran the business.” Both John and his father mention how frugal the elder John was. “He told me that I was making the portions too large on the plate,” Paul said. Young John chimes in: “He told me that I was putting too much ice in the cups!” Young John graduated from Wake Forest University and has a comfortable job with the State Employees’ Credit Union, but he still works 10 hours a week at the restaurant, doing paperwork, administrative tasks, and making biscuits. “Dad usually makes the biscuits, but I’m better at it,” John says. John’s not ready to quit his desk job, and his father isn’t about to hand over the reins, but he understands that his future might be as a restaurateur. “I have a lot of pride in the Mecca. I would be proud to take over.”

The future of Casa Carbone is also tied to family members.

All three of Maria and Michael House’s children have worked in the restaurant, and 26-year-old Patrick is still there. He helps with the bread baking, like his father and grandfather before him. Michael’s brother, Jim, makes all the pizzas, and Michael and Jim’s nephew, Matthew, is currently in culinary school, with plans to join the family business. “It’s really difficult to run a restaurant with a family,” Maria House admits, but she also acknowledges it’s hard to get the business out of her blood. “I look forward to coming in and seeing the same customers, seeing families grow from generation to generation. And who doesn’t like going to work and being told you’re doing a great job?” Family won’t be enough to keep Finch’s alive — at least not in its current location. Instead, it’s in the hands of the North Carolina Department of Transportation, which has determined that the Capital Boulevard bridge traversing Peace Street, adjacent to Finch’s, must be replaced, requiring Finch’s to be razed. “We don’t know when the project will happen,” Peggy Jin says, “And we don’t know if we will move to another Raleigh location, but we want to.” The likely end of the original Finch’s puts Jane Liu in a somber mood. Her father passed away in 2009, and her memories of him are naturally tied to the restaurant. “A big part of my relationship with my father is in that building. A lot of people, not just me, have grown up there. I will miss it.” As will many Raleighites. But if Peggy Jin opens up a new place in Raleigh, we’ll remember it’s the people, and in many instances, the family, that makes an iconic restaurant. Not the building.

“At Bida Manda, the smiles are contagious.” greg cox News & Observer

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Essential ingredient

by Kaitlyn Goalen

Rare and briny



Ramps, truffles, Pappy van Winkle. Ingredients in short supply, whether by season, production, or fetish, are a double-edged sword. Exclusivity breeds interest – generally a good thing – but it can also engender a market of elitism and inflation. As someone deeply interested in food, I’ve always been fascinated by these blips where ingredients and pop culture intersect. Last October, Oxford American documented a story about an ingredient with a cultish presence right here in North Carolina. The poetic article described a long-enduring East Arcadia tradition called Blue Monday, wherein the community gathers the day after Easter to partake of a humble fish fry. The fish in question: shad. A relative of the herring, the shad is a rather unexciting, even unappealing fish to cook with. Its pungent, oily flesh can be a turn-off for some, but the toughest sell is its bones. Shad has them in spades, to the point that Native Americans referred to these fish as inside-out porcupines. Eating shad essentially guarantees that you’ll be picking your teeth with its skeleton.

photographs by JILLIAN CLARK


SHAD ROE WITH GRITS AND TOMATO-BACON SAUCE Serves 4 as an appetizer Shad roe comes in the form of two lobes connected by a thin membrane, inside of which are thousands upon thousands of eggs. For this recipe, seek out two sacs (4 lobes) that have no tears or holes in them. 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved 4 garlic cloves, divided 2 sprigs fresh thyme 2 tablespoons honey 2 tablespoons olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper 5 strips smoky bacon (such as Benton’s) 3 scallions, thinly sliced ½ cup sherry 2 cups stone-ground artisan grits, soaked overnight in 8 cups water 2 bay leaves 1 tablespoon butter 2 medium shad roe sacs (4 lobes), membranes intact 1 cup Wondra or rice flour Canola oil, for frying 3 lemons, divided Make the sauce: Preheat the oven to 350°. In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, 3 of the garlic cloves, thyme, honey, and olive oil. Toss to coat the tomatoes and transfer the mixture to a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and pepper, then transfer to the oven and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes have shrunken slightly and released some of their juices. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the bacon and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until the fat has rendered and the bacon is golden-brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Mince the remaining garlic clove, and add it and the scallions to the bacon. Cook, stirring until the scallions have wilted, about 7 minutes. Add the sherry and the roasted tomatoes and any juices from the pan. Bring to simmer and cook for five minutes. Set aside and keep warm. Make the grits: In a large pot over medium heat, add the grits and the soaking water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When the mixture begins to boil, remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Return the pot to medium heat, add the bay leaves, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grits are cooked through, between 30 and 45 minutes, adding water by the ¼ cup if the grits begin sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the butter, season with salt, and keep warm. Prepare the shad: Carefully dry the lobes with paper towels, taking care not to rip the sacs. Place the flour in a shallow dish, and coat each lobe. To a skillet add 1 inch of canola oil and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot, carefully add one of the sacs to the oil. Be warned: the sacs will sputter, so use a splatter screen if you have one, and be very careful. Fry the sac until it is golden brown, about 6 minutes, then turn over and fry on the other side, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and salt generously. Repeat with the other sac. To serve: Spoon a bed of grits onto a large platter. Arrange the two roe sacs on top of the grits and top with a generous amount of the tomato-bacon sauce. Slice the lemons into wedges and arrange around the grits. Serve immediately.

So I was fascinated. What about shad has compelled so many? I hit the books, looking for recipes and researching traditional preparations until I found what any Carolina fisherman could have told me: It’s all about the roe. Each spring, shad flood from the Atlantic into coastal streams to spawn. The roe of pregnant females has long been considered a special springtime delicacy, only available from late February to April, depending on the year. Fishermen mix the roe with eggs for breakfast on the water; Edna Lewis, dame of Southern cooking, includes a recipe for a shad roe breakfast in her classic cookbook, The Taste of Country Cooking. Sean Brock, the tattooed chef and Southern food historian, pan-fries shad roe and serves it with rice grits, riffing on a common application in lowcountry kitchens. Many suggest simply poaching the roe in a bit of butter and serving it with a liberal squeeze of lemon, or wrapping it in bacon and cooking it whole. Armed with this information, I was eager to try the stuff, so I put in a call to Lin Peterson at Locals Seafood, asking him to inform me when the shad began to run. By early February, Lin sounded the alarm, and I found myself in possession of two oxblood-colored roe sacs. Though they resembled a pair of lungs, I put a lid on my doubt, trying to remember how I felt the first time I saw a truffle or an oyster up close. Good food isn’t always pretty. Here’s the thing about cooking with rare ingredients: It reminds us to pay attention to our food in a way that buying a plastic-wrapped chicken breast from a supermarket fails to do. Hunters and farmers live with this feeling; when you watch something grow from a seed to a tomato, over the course of months, you’re going to appreciate the BLT you make with it that much more. So even before I tasted the shad roe, I was appreciative of the process it had forced. The cooking and eating of the roe had become an event. I was excited and careful as I gingerly laid the lobe into the pan with some butter. I was anxious as it cooked, feeling the risk of screwing it up and wasting this precious fleeting product with my miscalculations. I was elated as I drew it from the pan and took a fork to it. Briny, earthy, and rich, the roe was delicious. It was both a satisfying meal and a mental triumph; the end of journey that brought me one food tradition closer to knowing this place I call home.

MARCH 2015 | 85



by Anna Long


Local options aplenty this

Commemorative glasses from last year's celebration at the Flying Saucer


courtesy Flying Saucer

St. Patrick's Day

ime to get your green on: St. Patrick’s Day is here. The annual celebration that began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international excuse for overindulgence. Celebrations across the globe on March 17 will feature parades, dancing, food, and of course, drinks aplenty. But despite what you might assume, the Irish typically drink in a far more civilized manner, says Raleigh’s Dara Ó’Hannaidh, an expat from Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland. “Irish drinking is quite different to American drinking in terms of etiquette and type of drinking,” he says. “For example, not buying a round in Ireland when it’s your round is about the worst thing you could ever do in Irish culture, and drinking is much longer but slower-paced than in America. We don’t have nearly the amount of selection in Ireland that you have here though.” Ó’Hannaidh is a Gaelic footballer who represented North


America in the All-Ireland kick fada competition against 30 other kickers from around the world in September. He is also an avid homebrewer. He makes his own beer in part because he believes that beer tastes best in the place where it’s brewed. Even Guinness, the famous dry Irish stout and one of the world’s most successful beers, simply doesn’t taste the same outside of Ireland, he says. “Truth is that a good Pilsner only tastes its best in (the Czech Republic city of ) Plzeň, too – beer just doesn’t travel well in general,” he said. “Some American brewers, the ones who take pride in their product, will not ship beer more than six to eight hours away. Also, the hard water in Dublin brew water balances perfectly with the acidic dark malts of a dry stout like Guinness.” Luckily, there are many local breweries that have their own versions of stouts to serve up on St. Patrick’s Day. For a fresher, local take on a traditional Irish beer, try one of these: CRANK ARM BREWING Low Gear Irish Dry Stout

Crank Arm Brewing will be releasing Low Gear, their own nitrogen-tapped Irish Dry Stout, at the beginning of March. “It’s very dry, creamy and low in alcohol,” assistant brewer Adam Eckhardt said. “True to traditional style, putting it on nitrogen gas gives it a cascading effect when poured and a nice creamy head.” Hours vary; 319 W. Davie St.;


Though not an Irish-style stout, Boylan Bridge has a flavorful American-style

Southbound Stout of its own. You can enjoy the Raleigh skyline as you sip on the robust but easy-drinking beer that finishes with notes of coffee and chocolate. “Some folks seem to think that stout drinking should be an ordeal – you’re not supposed to like it and you’re supposed to choke it down – and we don’t follow that,” owner Andrew Leager said. “We would just as soon have our beer be normal beer. That’s the way our stout is. It has a slightly stronger flavor than some of our lighter color beers like the summer ale, but it’s a drink with manners.” 12 - 10 p.m.; 201 S. Boylan Ave.;

NATTY GREENE’S PUB & BREWING General Stout Natty Greene’s has its “straightforward, no-nonsense Irish-style dry stout” on tap now. Roasted malt flavors rise out of a creamy texture to create a tasty brew that’s not too sweet and not too bitter. The aromas tend toward coffee rather than chocolate. Hours vary; 505 W. Jones St.;

RALEIGH BREWING COMPANY Miller’s Toll Imperial Oatmeal Stout

In the days when local mills produced all of the flour for a given town, they often charged a fee to turn grain into flour. This beer is a nod to Yates Pond Mill, the last – and longest standing – operational mill in Raleigh. Hours vary; 3709 Neil St.;


Downtown’s Flying Saucer has a seemingly endless beer selection, including a wide variety of stouts. For a beer that hasn’t traveled far, try one of their rotating stouts on tap from Lonerider or Big Boss. To get in the spirit on St. Patrick’s Day, bagpipes will be playing outside every hour, on the hour. Hours vary; 328 W. Morgan St.;


If beer is not your drink of choice, there are many other options to try on St. Patrick’s Day. Though Ó’Hannaidh points out that drink selection in an Irish pub is generally very basic – a few beers on tap, cider, a few mixed drinks – there are a handful of cocktails worthy of new traditions. Irish coffee’s story is relatively recent. Fable has it that the drink was born in the early ’40s at Foynes, an airbase near Limerick on the western coast of Ireland. Due to poor weather,

the airport became a spot of frequent layovers that turned into overnight stays for many travelers, including American politicians and celebrities. A young Irish chef, Joe Sheridan, decided to prepare a special drink to warm up these weary passengers one blustery night in 1942. He brewed dark coffee, added Irish whiskey, brown sugar and freshly whipped cream – an unexpected delight to the tired travelers. The coffee was so successful that Sheridan made it a regular part of the menu in Foynes. It may have remained at Foynes if travel writer Stanton Delaplane had not brought the recipe back to Jack Koeppler, a bartender at San Francisco’s Buena Vista Cafe. For a local option that holds true to the original recipe, Raleigh’s dessert, coffee, and cocktail lounge Bittersweet is worth a visit.


Bittersweet’s best-selling drink all year long (they sell it iced as well) 1½ ounces Jameson Irish Whiskey ½ ounce simple syrup Counter Culture coffee Fresh whipped Maple View Farms cream Freshly grated nutmeg Combine whiskey and simple syrup in a coffee mug. Stir in coffee, leaving room for whipped cream. Top with nutmeg.

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“This drink really personifies everything that we are here – coffee, dessert, and cocktails,” owner and baker Kim Hammer said. “A huge part of what makes that drink so good is the Counter Culture Coffee. The sheer fact that it’s from Durham means it’s usually roasted less than 24 hours before we serve it. And then Maple View Farms cream is amazing. It makes everything it’s in better. It’s the freshness quality – you’re not going to get the same thing using Folgers coffee and a spray can of whipped cream.” After you’ve had your fill, the happening nightlife spots on St. Patrick’s Day will likely be Raleigh’s Irish pubs like the Hibernian and Tír na nÓg, where many drink options are sure to warm up your night.

2220 Hwy 70 SE (I-40, exit 126) Hickory, North Carolina, Mon-Sat, 9am-6pm



Ashley Harris’s Vermillion




Ten years ago, Ashley Harris was an optimistic 27-year-old entrepreneur with a bank loan and a big idea: to sell high-end designer fashion in Raleigh. Today, she’s a successful and seasoned retailer whose Vermillion boutique has earned real and lasting influence. Not just among her loyal Raleigh clients, but among the top American designers she carries. “She’s the voice in a designer’s ear that pioneers future styles,” says loyal longtime client Sarah Poole, “the bridge tender between the designer whose work she sells and the woman who wears it.” Harris can fill that role – getting a designer to tweak a dress to better appeal to her clients in


photographs these two pages by EVE KAKASSY HOBGOOD

TO HONOR A DECADE Opposite: Ashley Harris with three of the 13 exclusive designs created by top designers to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Vermillion, her North Hills designer boutique. “She has extraordinary instincts,” says longtime Raleigh client Sarah Poole. “She really gets to know her customers and knows their needs.” Clockwise this page: From the exclusive 10th anniversary Vermillion collection: Bajra’s scarf with a Nili Lotan tunic; Barbara Tfank’s cocktail dress; Figue’s straw bag; Lizzie Fortunato’s coral necklace with a Wes Gordon color block tank dress; Raleigh Denim Workshop’s shirt dress with Gabrielle Bratton’s 14k lace ring.

MARCH 2015 | 89

MAKING THE ROUNDS Above: Harris meets with designer Lela Rose in Rose’s New York showroom. Rose has close ties to several of Vermillion’s clients and says she appreciates the care women in the South take with their appearance: “There’s more of a desire to be dressed and to look good, and it’s something I have always loved about Southern women. You treat every day like it’s kind of an occasion. And you end up feeling so much better about yourself.” Left: At Veronica Beard’s New York showroom, Harris snaps photos as she considers designs for her Vermillion boutique.

photographs these two pages by MISSY McLAMB


» Style

IN THE CITY Above: Harris and Nili Lotan in Nili Lotan’s New York showroom. Lotan designed a tunic for Vermillion’s 10th anniversary (shown pg. 89 with a Bajra scarf). The designer says it “can be worn over a bathing suit on the beach, or with trousers in the evening.” Lotan says she enjoys working with Harris because she “clearly knows what her customers want, which is a trait I’ve always respected and strive for myself.” Lotan also says Raleigh women have a sense of style she appreciates: “There is a sense of relaxed sophistication that feels almost effortless, and I admire that.” Right: Harris talks with Caitlin Costello at the Lela Rose showroom.

MARCH 2015 | 91

LIVING COLOR Above: “How much fun it is to be able to design something in a vermillion color,” says Lela Rose, who created the red top (above) to commemorate Vermillion’s 10th anniversary. Rose says she particularly enjoys the opportunity to design for a Southern client. “The Southern woman is someone I understand very well,” Rose says, “I love that woman. She’s never thought black is the new black. She’s always willing to try colors and try something new.” Above right: A dress designed by Veronica Beard to commemorate Vermillion’s first 10 years.

general, or to create a custom garment for an individual client – because she has such strong relationships with the designers themselves. “Ashley is one of the people I’m closest to, out of all of our retailers,” says New York designer Lela Rose, whose ladylike, stylish dresses are a favorite of First Lady Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton. “I think the thing that really makes the biggest difference is that she knows and adores her clients.” Rose says she, too, adores Harris’s clients, after getting to know them on several trips to Vermillion for trunk shows. As a result, the designer has created special dresses for big life events for several Raleighites – from debutante balls to weddings and christenings. “We have grown along with some of these customers,” Rose says. When it came time to celebrate Vermillion’s 10th anniversary, Harris asked Rose and twelve other top designers to create exclusive, commemorative items for the occasion. Many took the opportunity to celebrate the color behind the boutique’s name as well. Rose made a red ruffled top; Wes Gordon, Veronica Beard, Megan Park, Raleigh Denim, Nili Lotan, and Barbara Tfank all created dresses of varied styles and orangey-red hues; Irene Neuwirth, Gabe Bratton, Lizzie Fortunato, and The Woods Fine Jewelry made jewelry incorporating rosy gold, coral, and carnelian; a fuchsia and orange scarf came in from Bajra, and Figue delivered a straw bag with red pom-poms. Several of these designers will be in town this month for Harris’s 10th anniversary party; some, including The Woods’s Shawn Hecox and Lela Rose, say they’ve come to love the city of photographs these two pages by EVE KAKASSY HOBGOOD


Shopping With A Southern Charm

Everything MULTI MEDIA To create a commemorative wrap bracelet (above) for Vermillion’s 10th anniversary, “we talked a lot about what (Harris’s) customers might like,” says Shawn Hecox, one of two sisters behind the The Woods Fine Jewelry, based in Aspen, Colo. “Because The Woods’ wrap bracelets are popular with Vermillion’s clients, the sisters decided to make a wrap bracelet that is “one of a kind.” That meant adding vermillion-colored coral spikes (10 in all, or one for each year the boutique has been in business), a diamond star, and a Tahitian pearl. “What kind of surprised us was how daring the Southern women will be,” says Hecox. Vermillion’s clients “are willing to buy our most wild pieces,” she says. “It’s always super inspiring to be there. Nobody is afraid. They’re always mixing and matching things I wouldn’t expect. I would think people (in Raleigh) might want a little dainty cross, and it’s the opposite.” Shown here with Irene Neuwirth’s carnelian and gold solitary ring, Gabrielle Bratton’s 14k lace ring, and a Megan Park dress.

Raleigh itself through their special relationship with Harris. “Ashley is just such a wonderful, truly genuine person, and in the fashion industry, that is rare,” says Hecox. “And she’s fashion. The way she puts herself together, and the store together, and the lines she gravitates toward – she’s all fashion. It’s no joke. She’s not doing this halfway.” If halfway were her style, Harris says she wouldn’t have survived the recession. For a luxury business especially, “it was very scary.” But the difficulty, she says, made her a better businessperson. “It just made me work harder. It made me think more innovatively.” That included adding events like fashion shows and trunk shows “to bring people in the door.” She negotiated payment plans with design-

ers; cut her orders; became more careful when it came to buying. Today, all of that is behind her. Harris owns her business outright, she’s the mother of twin girls, and she’s proud to enter the store’s next decade with a solid foundation. “I’m very happy with where we are today,” Harris says. “I want to continue to cultivate relationships with my clients who are now friends. In the future, growing or expanding would be wonderful, but I’m happy with the balance of life at the moment.”

Beautiful Handmade Florals Home Decor Jewelry • Scarves Flags • Garden Gourmet Food Kitchen Accessories Repurposed Furniture Always Complimentary Gift Wrap 1148 N. Main Street Fuquay-Varina


ThRough The lens

Queen for a day


t needham B. Broughton high school, there’s homecoming and there’s prom, but the event of the year is the Queen of hearts. The annual affair combines the elegance of prom with homecoming’s school spirit, then adds an element of community spirit. It began as a fundraiser to support the school newspaper in 1941. Journalism classes sponsored an election for the “Queen of hearts” from a ballot of senior girls who passed all of their classes. each vote cost one cent. a decade later, the price increased to a dime per vote, and the funds went toward world war II troops overseas. By then, the Queen of hearts was announced at a formal school dance. In 1950, Queen of hearts became the

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Broughton senior class project, which it is today. Festivities surrounding the Queen of hearts election have varied over the years. according to the Class of 1955’s official website, the 1967 senior class had The embers play at their saturday night dance. Clay aiken served as a mascot on the Queen’s court as a child. Today, the court of four freshmen, six sophomores, eight juniors, and 12 seniors – chosen by their peers to represent the school – spend more than a month shopping for their floorlength dresses, and seniors spend four weekends decorating. This year’s queen was abigail Bügger. Proceeds from this year’s alice in wonderland-themed fête supported stop hunger now.

photographs by Missy McLamb

Crowning glory clockwise from opposite left: Queen of Hearts Abigail Bügger is crowned; “Evil Queen” Leah Greene; decorations for the Alice in Wonderland-themed fête.

March 2015 | 95

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Big day Clockwise from opposite top: Jeremiah Ige and fellow escorts await their cue; Lily Revels and Lily Highsmith sneak a peek; Student body president Emma Wilson dances with Yousif Mohamed; a court member’s gloved hand reaches for her escort’s; member of the court Belle Derbyshire and Tyler Palmer process toward the stage; escorts have a birds’ eye view.

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Group effort Top: Queen of Hearts Abigail Bügger and Philp Cave stand at center. To their left sit Michael Burton, Ashley Villanova, Daisy King, and Hunter Schafer. To their right, Diona Payne, Elijah White, Emma Wilson, Yousif Mohamed, Lily Revels, and Lawson Strickland. Bottom: Deja Wilkins, Zabar Zalal as the caterpillar, Jax Tyson as the Cheshire cat, Elin Waring as Alice, Abby Truett as White Rabbit, and Lilly Augspurger as the Mad Hatter entertain the crowd.

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Two by Two Top right: Teacher Richard Matkins and daughter Tess take it all in. Bottom right: Trumpeter Jonatan Zaga and fellow musicians set the tone.

balenciaga megan park chloe proenza schouler derek lam rag & bone irene neuwirth the row isabel marant ulla johnson lela rose

wes gordon



Labor of



by ANDREW KENNEY photographs by MISSY McLAMB

atrick Shanahan lives in the wrong city. He’s a movie maker. He shoots on film because he needs its grain and grit. He bought a ’57 Chevy Bel Air, matte black because it was the car his script needed, and drove nine people across the country to make Empirica. Because you can’t fake a road trip.

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But Raleigh really isn’t supposed to be the place to make movies. This is a city that hasn’t had a star turn since Mitch’s Tavern appeared in Bull Durham in 1988. “If you said to anyone in the film industry, ‘I live in North Carolina and I make films,’ they’d go, ‘Oh, Wilmington?’ ” Shanahan says, referring to the Hollywood outpost on the coast. Yet a new cinema scene has flickered to life in the capital city, powered by talent and money from unexpected sources. Two local films – Shanahan’s Empirica and Drawbridge Media’s Harbinger – have been released in the last year to plaudits and honors. Their makers scrapped their way through ambitious plans and low budgets, setting the script for the city’s youngest form of art. “People want something to go to, they want something to see,” Shanahan says. “That’s why we started to create local cinema.”


LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! Robbie Opperman, Frank Daniels IV, Taylor Homes, Beau Vorous, Patrick Shanahan, and Paul Hesselblad of Empirica

“We’re working jobs that aren’t that exciting, so we can one day do the things we think are exciting,” says Andrew Martin, director of Harbinger, a dream-like film that runs 23 minutes. He has made a living putting together the kind of high-fidelity corporate video that’s in heavy demand at places like Duke University and Research Triangle Park. It wasn’t exactly the cinema career Martin imagined during long shifts at The Movie Bar video store – yet those commercial jobs are the foundation of local cinema circles. “It was always professional filmmaking that got me into it. But as a 21-year-old coming out of school, there weren’t a lot of those jobs available,” Martin says. “So making corporate, commercial videos was the best option.” His years of commercial work provided not just the experience to make Harbinger but also a crucial connection: His

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REACHING FOR THE SKY Paul Frateschi, Andrew Martin, and Kieran Moreira of Harbinger on location.

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one-time employer, Drawbridge Media, backed and helped to bankroll the project. The firm’s owner, Kevin Wild, freed up money and equipment – including top-line RED cameras, editing stations and storage for terabytes of footage – and set Martin loose, along with Drawbridge employees Kieran Moreira and Paul Frateschi. Their only mandate: Be creative. The trio started with about 40 scripts from authors across the country. They didn’t use one. Instead, Moreira had the kernel of an idea. He saw a boy trying to reach the sky. Over the next few months, that boy became a loner with a wooden mask, running through the woods of a boyhood dream. Then the boy had a mother, and an elaborate treehouse that reached, in the creators’ minds, toward a starry sky. Soon, their script seemed to call for a whole world. “When you’re writing something you’re going to make, you’re trying not to put this negative spin on your writing,” Martin says. “It’s tempting to say, “‘This is going to be really hard, don’t write it.’” The filmmakers first found Cristian Dunston, a middle schooler from Haw River, to play the boy, Harold. His mother-on-film would be Dana Joyner, an actor and professor at Duke University. To record the pair, the directors would need engineers to work microphones, camera people to train lenses, and editors to stitch the film together. “You need somebody of almost every discipline involved, and if they’re good at it, you pay a good wage for it,” Martin says. The directors decided to ask the internet for the bulk of the film’s budget. They posted an online fundraiser packed with nicely produced videos, hoping for $15,000. It kind of worked. They raised $3,000 – not bad, but not enough to pay wages. With funds running low, they instead asked their colleagues to volunteer. “Are you available on Saturday for 12 hours?” they’d ask. Often enough,

the answer was “Yes.” And so, on borrowed free time, they patched together the people and places to make their script reality. They found the tree for their treehouse in an Apex backyard, and local developer Greg Paul sent his carpenters to build the thing. For the night sky, they found starry photos from the Raleigh Astronomy Club, and decided to paint them, digitally, into the final footage. “That’s part of the magic of this process – it all seems to work itself out,” Moreira says. When they needed views of the horizon, Wake County let them climb an emergency-services training tower near the Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant. When they needed a burning house, the rural Mebane Fire Department let them tag along for a controlled training fire. For a soundtrack, the Raleigh band Goodbye, Titan lent soaring electric guitars. They did all this because they wanted “something big, and something that looks ambitious and looks hard to do,” Martin says. Their finished product seems large indeed. It looks at home in theaters, every square inch filled with the details the camera caught, or the subtle digital embellishments. During a screening at The Cary Theatre this fall, the film won a long round of applause when the lights came up. And when it came time for questions and answers, Harbinger’s makers knew they’d done their job right: The audience wanted to know how they’d made a dream so convincing.


Patrick Shanahan, the director of Empirica, is a painter, but he started his work in film during college seven years ago. It was an improvised art at first – “You. Here’s a boom pole.” – but now his productions’ budgets have been edging toward $50,000. That’s not amateur money, and there aren’t many film philanthropists in this town. Or there weren’t, at least, 3111 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh, NC 27612

(919) 781-7108

courtesy Patrick Shanahan


Stills from Empirica, above, and Harbinger, below.

he’d have to make some compromises. “I couldn’t take 60 people across the country.” A careful viewer can see Raleigh in the finished film – in the form of cameos from landmarks like Mecca Restaurant – but the film’s heart lies in its cross-country journey. The film’s core crew of nine took that journey. They set out on a summer morning in 2013, stopping first at Peace Camera, where they loaded final supplies into their gear trailer. The trailer promptly dug into the bed of the truck, which set the tone for a mishap-prone journey. “We were stressed to the max,” Shanahan recalls, “and I’m in charge of all three cars, all nine people, and somehow I have to direct, keep up morale, keep everybody fed.” But something gorgeous emerged as the days passed, Shanahan says. As they shot through reel after reel of 16mm film, the actors played out many scenes in just one take as a verdant landscape rolled past. “You see a lot of backwoods Louisana, old ’50s cars in the

courtesy Kieran Moirera

until Shanahan made some new friends. “Strangely enough, our funding comes from tobacco farmers,” he says. “A lot of them are conservative, Southern guys, and they have money, and they like the arts.” Shanahan made his prospective partners a creative deal. He would make a documentary about tobacco if the agriculturalists would also pay for Empirica, a neo-Americana piece that he co-wrote with John Luke Lewis. It’s his second feature-length film. Buchanan’s script put two troubled brothers on a road trip across the country. The artist first drove the route himself, from Los Angeles to Raleigh. “I mapped everything out, from Monument Valley down to Albuquerque, this crazy zig-zag route,” says Shanahan, a graduate of Cardinal Gibbons High School, N.C. State University, and the N.Y. Film Academy. Back at home, the director assembled a huge crew. He got Taylor Homes and Lewis to play the main characters. Shanahan knew he wanted to take his group on the road to film, but

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middle of Amarillo.” The trip was ten days in all – a long haul, imprinted forever on film.


The finished projects, Harbinger and Empirica, are very different pieces. Harbinger lasts 23 minutes to Empirica’s hourplus. Harbinger has a beautifully surreal look, complemented in parts by digital imagery, while Empirica is defined by the rich, classic tones of physical film, soundtracked by Iggy Cosky, Stuart McLamb, and David McConnell. The place the two films meet is their shared community. “I think that we are establishing our roots,” Shanahan says. “It is a long process.” This city won’t likely compete with Wilmington for the big studios’ attention. North Carolina may lose Hollywood altogether, given the elimination of filmmaking incentives. But Raleigh has the cameras and the people – and with enough of both, something’s bound to happen. “There is a lot of talent in the filmmaking community in this area, and it’s just a matter of time until something local breaks to the national level and draws even more attention to the area,” writes Kevin Wild, owner of Drawbridge Media, in an email. The filmmaking scene is powered by “these stories that people have in their minds,” Moreira says. “It all comes down to storytelling, and inspiring people to want to bring those stories to fruition.” Martin has started a new firm, Art in M, to provide personnel and support for films and commercial video projects. One day, he hopes that movies will be his main business. “Raleigh’s the goal for me. To turn this into a real, fulltime production community,” he says. Shanahan, too, believes that Raleigh is fertile ground for indie film. “I don’t think I could do this anywhere in the country. We have people that have money that want to give to the arts, and want to give back to the community.” At the same time, it’s still a community in its formative stages. There are occasional events and screenings, but it’s not always obvious where a new filmmaker or viewer should begin. “The film community is kind of a closed-off group of people,” says Josh Hardt, co-organizer of the Triangle Film Community meet-up group. “Every other arts community, there’s pretty good networking going.” That’s changing, though, with each new film. Every day on set is a new combination of cast and crew, and each of those meetings could seed some future project. The community also is increasingly receptive to newcomers; Triangle Film Community, for example, may soon offer educational workshops on lighting, audio, and other technical skills. “The thing about film, especially,” Shanahan says. “It brings a lot of people together.”

Harbinger will be screened March 7, 12:00 noon at The Colony, 5438 Six Forks Rd. There will be an introduction and question-and-answer session with the filmmakers, and a second screening of a short film. Empirica will be screened March 24, 7:30 p.m., at The Rialto, 1620 Glenwood Ave.

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by Mack Paul



You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood ... back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.”


-Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again

My family left Raleigh in the late 1960s. We pulled up stakes and moved to the Washington D.C. area. At the time, Raleigh was a small town where your family’s roots in the community still mattered, and membership at the Carolina Country Club mattered a lot. My parents had migrated to Raleigh from Eastern North Carolina. Although my father quickly established himself in political circles, he

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All images courtesy Mack Paul

never dreamed my hometown would become my home.

remained acutely aware of his status as an outsider. D.C., on the other hand, brimmed with post-war exuberance and opportunity. We moved into an apartment complex in Alexandria. Our neighbors came from other places. Many had spouses they met while working overseas. They shared a similar excitement about new possibilities and a sense of relief from the life they left behind. The years of my youth passed in a blur. We moved to Fairfax County as racial strife engulfed Alexandria. The optimism of the ’60s waned, beaten down by antiwar protests and race riots, followed by the mellowness of the ’70s. The suburbs exploded in growth as the District bled – figuratively and literally. Unfortunately, that growth did not translate into a more engaging world. Civic leaders hailed the arrival of Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom as major cultural coups. Tyson’s I – a mega-mall – quickly grew outdated, superseded by a glitzier Tyson’s II. The blandness of the suburbs caused me to question the home we had adopted



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Thrill to songs from The Phantom of the Opera, Oliver!, Sunset Boulevard, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, plus much more!



PlayMakers Repertory Company UNC-Chapel Hill’s Carolina Choir

The author with his mother at home in North Hills in the 1960s

during my childhood. Searching for an escape, I talked my parents into letting me visit an all-male boarding school in Alexandria. During my interview with the head of admissions, I grew anxious as he extolled the virtues of the institution and its deep traditions. Could I possibly measure up? He looked down at my application and paused. He said with approval that a number of students shared my hometown of Raleigh. In fact, more students came from North Carolina than any other state. This fact appealed to me as a way to reconnect with my past.

Home and away

Several months later, I found myself moving into a different world defined by quirky Southern names, a strict honor code, and beach music. Despite a desire to immerse myself in this new world, I found the transition jarring. Fortunately, I felt a particular kinship with the Raleigh contingent, and that


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FAMILY AFFAIR First row: Bill Rideout (my wife’s father), Betsy Paul (my mother), Julie (my wife), Mickey Gault (my wife’s aunt), Joy GaultWinton (daughter of my wife’s cousin), Emma Paul (my daughter) Second row: Allen Paul (my father), Tom Winton (husband of my wife’s cousin), me, Jock Gault (my wife’s uncle), Robin Gault-Winton (my wife’s cousin), Lee Paul (my daughter), Phyllis Rideout (my wife’s mother), and Zoe Gault-Winton (daughter of my wife’s cousin)

bond helped me to assimilate. As a group, they exhibited an unusual comfort in their own skin. Most planned to attend UNC and return to Raleigh. This struck me as odd. I found their desire to return home frustrating. How could you forego New York, London, and Paris for Raleigh? The world awaited us. At the time, I wrote them off as hopelessly myopic. I was one of three students who ventured north of the Mason Dixon Line for college and had my sights on New York City. I did finally make it to the Big Apple to attend law school, after stints in New England and on the West Coast. Despite an epidemic of AIDS, crack, and murder in the late ’80s, New York still held an allure for me. The city’s scale and intensity of spirit managed to sustain it through this dark period. Nevertheless, to live in New York is to become a New Yorker. Its imprint on identity can be overpowering, making it difficult to find your place in a larger community. I thought long and hard about my career and what city might afford the greatest opportunities. Law school herded us toward major firms in four or five cities. My wife pushed for San Francisco. I was inclined to return to Los Angeles. Nevertheless, I felt a sense of dread as I imagined life on a superamped treadmill. During my last year of law school, a radical idea popped into my head while reading a case about Duke Power. What about Raleigh? By the early ’90s, it had gained national attention on many lists of “Best Places.” Even from New York, I was aware of the press and notoriety. However, it wasn’t “Raleigh.” To the world, Raleigh was now “the Triangle” or “Raleigh-Durham,” as boosters liked to say at the time. Raleigh’s self-deprecating strategy to go regional came at

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an opportune time. As a generation of “knowledge workers” began to make locational decisions based on the constellation of universities, high-tech jobs, and quality of life, the Triangle found itself on the list with mid-tier cities like Austin, Minneapolis, Portland, and Nashville. Suddenly, Raleigh was on the fast track as one of the nation’s hot spots. I began visiting the area, reconnecting with old friends and relatives. After a few visits, my wife and I decided to take a leap of faith in 1991. We settled in Boylan Heights, which, at the time, was on the urban frontier. Despite the national hype, I quickly learned that the Triangle of the early ’90s – dubbed “Nerdistan” by one author – primarily excelled as a place for those who worked in the Park and lived in Cary or North Raleigh. The areas that made Raleigh unique languished.

A good life

We had our moments of doubt. At times I wondered whether Raleigh would follow the same path I experienced growing up in Northern Virginia. But as our children arrived, we began to appreciate the benefits of the area. Unlike other cities where schools drew families to the suburbs, Wake County offered us a base, magnet, and charter school with stellar academics in the downtown area. Our daughters never faced the displacement caused by social unrest. Although many of their friends commuted from Cary, they developed friendships that carried through elementary to middle to high school. Their various activities took them to gyms, pools, and soccer fields throughout the area, exposing them to a wider, diverse community. As they grew up, reinvestment in Raleigh’s core went from

»Reflections a trickle to a roar. Downtown now exudes an authentic cast of new and old. Gleaming office towers on Fayetteville Street give way to crusty shop fronts on Wilmington Street. Our daughters can navigate this world without a mental map that says certain areas must be avoided. Since our arrival, we have watched residents pour into the region. In many ways, they exhibit an excitement similar to that I encountered in Alexandria years ago. However, Raleigh transplants arrive for very different reasons. Instead of escaping a home of “old forms and systems of things,” they seek relief from decaying industries, stratospheric housing prices, long commutes, and urban sprawl. No longer is the exodus from rural areas to the big city. A new demographic pattern has emerged: from big cities to civilized ones. In 1893, Frederick Jackson Turner gave a lecture that became known as the “Turner Thesis.” He argued that the American frontier had come to an end. The 1890 census supported the notion there were no new territories to settle. America’s identity forged by the expansion west and the individuality, independence, and self-sufficiency required by the frontier would be forever altered.

Another frontier has closed. As the 21 century unfolds, the vast majority of Americans live in metropolitan areas. As we enter the Age of the City, we leave behind the notion of “home” understood by Thomas Wolfe and eons of generations who came before him. No longer will upstarts escape the old forms of the country to make their way in the city. More likely, they will migrate from one metropolitan area to another or simply stay put. Several years ago, my parents returned to Raleigh. My inlaws recently moved here from Los Angeles. Siblings may not be far behind. In two generations, my family’s relationship to Raleigh embodies the new demographic shift. We escaped the confines of a bygone era only to return to a place where “new forms” exist in a vibrant downtown: greenways, quality schools, and, most importantly, economic opportunity. Through continued foresight, it can remain home for many generations to come.

Mack Paul is a partner at Morningstar Law Group. He served as chairman of the Wake County Democratic Party from 2010-2011.

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Just one plant

by Tony Avent

Wings of a fairy, horns of a



EPIMEDIUMS, OR FAIRY WINGS, ARE PERENNIAL MEMBERS OF THE barberry family, which have been popular since at least the mid1700s. This woodland shade perennial flowers in early spring, and can trace its popularity to an increasing availability in ornamental nurseries, as well as a boom in “medicinal” use of the plant outside its native China. That’s where epimedium is known by the medicinal common name: “horny goat weed”. Many years ago, an observant farmer noticed his goats becoming exceptionally amorous when grazing in a particular section of pasture. Today, epimediums’ ability to illustration by IPPY PATTERSON

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boost blood flow in certain male extremities has prompted ground epimedium leaves to be sold under a number of trade names for that particular purpose. This, of course, opens many new opportunities for engaging with your significant other in the woodland. Many of the early epimedium garden selections were made in Japan, where space restrictions meant that small plants with small flowers were favored. These interesting – but less showy – specimens became established in the specialty collector market, but they didn’t appeal to the petunia and pansy-loving masses. It was only when larger-flowered species and hybrids began to become available that epimediums began to take off with mainstream gardeners.

Groundcovers and specimens

Epimediums come in spreaders and clumpers. The spreaders make superb ground covers, while the clumping selections are better used as featured speci> continued on p. 127

Verse - Astronomy Lesson

by Alan R. Shapiro

The two boys lean out on the railing of the front porch, looking up. Behind them they can hear their mother in one room watching “Name That Tune,” their father in another watching a Walter Cronkite Special, the TVs turned up high and higher till they each can’t hear the other’s show. The older boy is saying that no matter how many stars you counted there were always more stars beyond them and beyond the stars black space going on forever in all directions, so that even if you flew up millions and millions of years you’d be no closer to the end of it than they were now here on the porch on Tuesday night in the middle of summer. The younger boy can think somehow only of his mother’s closet, how he likes to crawl in back behind the heavy drapery of shirts, nightgowns and dresses, into the sheer black where no matter how close he holds his hand up to his face there’s no hand ever, no face to hold it to. A woman from another street is calling to her stray cat or dog, clapping and whistling it in, and farther away deep in the city sirens now and again veer in and out of hearing. The boys edge closer, shoulder to shoulder now, sad Ptolemies, the older looking up, the younger as he thinks back straight ahead into the black leaves of the maple where the street lights flicker like another watery skein of stars. “Name That Tune” and Walter Cronkite struggle like rough water to rise above each other. And the woman now comes walking in a nightgown down the middle of the street, clapping and whistling, while the older boy goes on about what light years are, and solar winds, black holes, and how the sun is cooling and what will happen to them all when it is cold. Alan Shapiro, Astronomy Lesson from Happy Hour (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1987). Copyright © 1987 by Alan Shapiro. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

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RON DOGGETT Sharing success

In 1970, 35-year-old Ron Doggett was dealt a tough blow. He was the controller for Philadelphia-based Slim Jim, and over his objections, Slim Jim’s CEO had decided to value warehouse inventory as revenue. When Doggett raised his concerns to then-parent company General Mills, he says he was reprimanded for allowing the CEO to make that decision and then passed over for multiple promotions because he was “not management material.” Instead of firing him, he says, General Mills offered him a lower-paying job in Raleigh as assistant controller for subsidiary Goodmark Foods. Doggett accepted the offer.

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photographs by ROBERT WILLETT

by Todd Cohen

“I was determined to succeed with this company,” says Doggett, now 80. “I thought a lot of General Mills. I was really fond of them and respected them. They did a lot for me. I learned a lot from them and was anxious to succeed with the company.” The move to Raleigh paid off: In 1982, as its controller, Doggett led a $31.5 million leveraged buyout of Goodmark. In 1998, as its president, CEO, and chairman, he sold the company to ConAgra Foods for $240 million. He reflects on his career path and more in Doggett Determination, the just-published memoir of his life. Despite growing up on a dairy farm in rural Austin, Minn., Doggett knew from an early age that he did not want to be a farmer. “I wanted to be someone who had an education and who didn’t have to struggle in life,” he says. So he joined the Army as a way to pay for college. After 21 months of military service, he enrolled in a junior college and then transferred to Minnesota State University, where he majored in business. Doggett’s success has never been his alone. Throughout his professional life, he has remained dedicated to causes he cares about, including the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, Habitat for Humanity of Wake County, Catholic Parish Outreach, WakeMed, and Hospice of Wake County (now Transitions LifeCare). At Goodmark Foods, he personally gave $1,000 a year for 10 years, matched with $1,000 from the company, to support college tuition for employees’ children. Last fall, he received the A.E. Finley Distinguished Service Award from the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. Doggett has Parkinson’s Disease. His wife of more than five decades, Jeanette, has Alzheimer’s Disease and lives at an assisted-living facility in Raleigh. Their four children and 11 grandchildren all also live in Raleigh. You and your wife both have serious illnesses. How do you cope? What keeps you going? My wife now gets day-long care. She still knows me but is not capable of eating by herself, dressing herself, or speaking. She’s slowly disappearing. It is difficult. I am a survivor. I believe God has a plan for me and I just need to act like a good Christian and keep my interests and my efforts in helping others who are worse off. I like to see others make it. I’ve often said that in America, if you’re willing to work hard enough and you try your best, you’re going to succeed. Nothing’s impossible in this country if you’re willing to make the sacrifices and devote the time to it.

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Your parents, Emil Day Doggett and Inez Baldus, were dairy farmers during the Great Depression. What did you learn from them? How to be fair and honest and charitable. I learned that life is a series of experiences, and it’s hard work, and that parenting is hard work. I also learned that if you want to accomplish something and you try hard enough, you can succeed. You can make it. We made it through some pretty tough times.

What is your earliest memory of philanthropy? In church, we put pennies in envelopes as little kids for the poor. I remember my mother saying we had to share what we had with others who had less.

You served on the major gifts committee for a $6 million capital campaign at Hospice of Wake County, chaired a capital campaign for WakeMed that raised $20 million under your leadership, and was eventually a $50 campaign, and you support a range of other charities. What prompts you to get involved? I feel good about helping others who need help, and have found a way to get joy out of money I’ve made in life by seeing someone else enjoying life and making a go of it.

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Who are your heroes? Henry Ford and Winston Churchill. They were great leaders. They were determined to achieve goals they set for their country and for themselves. They were willing to make the sacrifices to succeed in life.

Who do you admire in Raleigh? Temple Sloan (founder of General Parts International, the Raleigh-based parent of Carquest Auto Parts, which was sold to Advance Auto Parts in 2013 for $2 billion). He’s a very successful businessman and a good contributor to our society. He believes in giving back.

What motivates you each day to do something to give back? It’s become part of my DNA. It’s so much fun. It’s a great feeling to know you help someone. When we lived on the farm, I was maybe 6 years old, and a neighbor about a mile from us had five children. The father was an alcoholic. They had no money. My mother said, ‘We’re going to visit and take them some food and clothing,’ including dresses for their girls my mother made from chicken feed sacks. I can still remember tears in the eyes of those people. We gave the simple things we had.

»Givers What inspires you? It inspires me to get up every morning and know that I’ve got a challenge in life. I’m inspired by the activities of our community, by the growth of businesses here, by activities of the universities, and by leaders of businesses that get involved. By their example, they inspire me to get out and do good things for the community.

What does philanthropy mean to you? Developing answers to needs of people in the community.

What do you do for fun? I work in the garden. I have a place at the beach, at Emerald Isle. I have 11 grandchildren I love and I get to spend time with them.

What are you reading? Several books. Joy at Work, by Dennis Bakke. It’s about how to approach a job and how to have fun on the job. A book about Ben Franklin. And I’m reading my own book, Doggett Determination. I like to pick it up and refresh myself. I thought my life would be of interest to my kids based on mistakes I made, on commitments I made, and success I had. Business is an important part of my life. I was going from farm boy to a $200 million business, and having a lot of fun and learning a lot as I went. And it was fun to recap that.

What is something people don’t know about you? I’m a good gardener. I refinish antique furniture. I rode a bull at a rodeo sponsored by Slim Jim. I was a Golden Gloves boxer in Austin, Minn., and in the Army, but I resigned before sustaining a serious injury. I still have scars. It’s the worst sport. Your goal is to injure and knock out your opponents.

What is your philosophy of life? With the right attitude, a willingness to make sacrifices, and true passion, you can achieve almost anything in life.

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continued from p. 110

men plants. Because of the huge need for quickly-propogating woodland groundcovers, the spreading fairy wings quickly became widely available. If you’re ready to try your first epimedium, consider Epimedium x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’, which is now fairly easy to find. Despite being 165 years old, Epimedium ‘Sulphureum’ is still one of the best of the fairy wing hybrids, even among a plethora of new hybrids. The only caveat is that much of the stock imported from Europe is horribly virused, so be sure to inquire of your retailer. No one knows exactly where this showy hybrid originated, but we know it was a human-created hybrid since one parent, Epimedium pinnatum ssp. colchicum hails from Northern Iran and the second parent, Epimedium grandiflorum, is native to Japan and Korea. Epimedium 'Sulphureum' will quickly form a dense mass of foliage even in fairly dry shade. It’s a superb choice where you need a small, impenetrable woodland groundcover that’s also deer-resistant. The foliage of Epimedium ‘Sulphureum’ is semievergreen, meaning it lasts well into the winter before becom-

Many of the early epimedium garden selections were made in Japan, where space restrictions meant that small plants with small flowers were favored. ing tattered to the point that it looks better mowed or sheared to the ground. We like to have it cut by late February to clear the way for the new flowers. In early spring, often by mid-March, the bright red, 8-inchtall flower stalks emerge, topped with light yellow flowers with a darker yellow cup. Within a few more days, green foliage with dramatic red mottling also emerges, creating a nice foil for pale yellow flowers. Flowering time for epimediums depends on the weather. It usually lasts at least a month, but early hot spells are the enemy of good flower duration. Epimediums are quite easy to grow in the garden, thriving in slightly moist, organic soils. While many epimediums are found growing near water, especially waterfalls, they are surprisingly drought-tolerant. Dividing epimediums is easy for the spreading types, but a bit more challenging for the tight clumpers. Separating the plants from late spring to mid-summer has yielded the best results, but year-round dividing is possible for experienced gardeners. If you take a fancy to epimediums, you’ll be excited to know that if you’re willing to search for them, there are over 100 different fairy wings commercially available, and virtually all thrive in our region.

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tattoo,” Richard says, sitting at his kitchen table on a sunny day, pedals in various states of completion on a rack behind him. “It’s almost the same image.” The eye of the pedal’s sparrow is an LED: when the pedal’s on, the sparrow’s angry – and the guitar signal darkens to a low, distorted roar. “I was really proud of him. I thought it was very creative,” Brandy says. “It was a cool concept to me, and I was really flattered for him to use that.” For Richard, the Angry Sparrow was the end of a frustrating search for a pedal that fit his needs. As a baritone guitarist, he wanted a pedal that responded well to his instrument’s nuances. Tonally, baritones fall between basses and guitars – and distortion pedals are typically designed with one or the other in mind. He was getting the worst of both worlds, though. After going through easily two dozen pedals, he took matters into his own hands. “It’s not that difficult of a problem to solve,” he says. "There’s just not a product available.” Though he has a music degree and teaches piano, Richard is a natural tinkerer. As a child he loved his Radio Shack circuit board, and he wistfully says he’d have been quite happy as a handyman; when something breaks around the house, he’s thrilled to fix it. Once he realized his pedal quandary was simply an engineering challenge, he got to work, and his search was over. That was five years ago, but sometimes still he’s up late at night, building pedals when the orders stack up. He wouldn’t have it any other way. The Angry Sparrow is the only pedal Richard uses. “To this day, that is probably his biggest selling pedal,” says Brandy. “And it was cool that he was able to come up with something unique like that based on something we shared.”


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