WALTER Magazine - September 2016

Page 1

SEPTEMBER 2016 $4.95








in peace

Braima Moiwai

Exclusively at








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STORY OF A HOUSE Back to school by Mimi Montgomery photographs by Keith Isaacs

STYLE Haydon & Company


by Liza Roberts photographs by Eric Waters


AT THE TABLE Old reliables

ARTIST’S SPOTLIGHT Aly Khalifa, shoe designer

by Fanny Slater photographs by Jill Knight


by Tina Haver Currin photographs by Travis Long

WALTER PROFILE Gather in peace

64 TRIANGLEITES Style bosses by Mimi Montgomery


60 On the cover: Braima Moiwai; photograph by Lissa Gotwals


by Thomasi McDonald photographs by Peter Hoffman


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Our Town On Duty: Emma Carter Game Plan: Quinan Dalton The Usual: Mah jongg Shop Local: The Flourish Market


114 Givers Victor Boone by Settle Monroe photograph by Juli Leonard

116 *Ů*(9.438

by Jessie Ammons, Mimi Montgomery photographs by Christer Berg

A love of reading, a love of learning

Essential ingredient

by Hannah Ueland illustrations by Jeannine Erasmus



by Kaitlyn Goalen photographs by Jillian Clark

119 The Whirl


130 3&5(-&9

Dram & Draught

Parties and fundraisers

with Eric Mitchko

by Mimi Montgomery photographs by Keith Isaacs

106 Sporting

In Every Issue

Phyllis Brookshire, equestrienne


Letter from the Editor

by Liza Roberts photographs by Nick Pironio




Your Feedback


The Mosh


Raleigh Now


Triangle Now

110 Gigs Susan Nutter, librarian by Hampton Williams Hofer photographs by Christer Berg



photograph by Jillian Clark


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Jill Knight



N ISSUE DEVOTED TO STYLE IS A LOT OF FUN TO PUT TOGETHER. As a subject, style is broad. It’s multifaceted. It’s more than clothes, hair, or houses. It’s about who people are, and how they express it: “a particular way something is done, created, or performed,” according to Merriam-Webster. It’s individuality expressed with flair. That’s why we have Braima Moiwai, a drum-maker from Sierra Leone, on our cover. A man so overflowing with joy in his work that his smile alone is a style of the most memorable and meaningful sort. It’s why we feature the inimitable Phyllis York Brookshire, a powerhouse real estate executive who has stayed true to her passion for riding and has world championship titles to show for it, and a style worth emulating: grace under pressure. Style is what transforms a 3-D printer into a shoe factory; a university library into a monument to contemporary design; a 1930s gas station into a hip bar. Style can turn an unset gemstone into a work of art or a shaggy frat house into a chic showplace. If you’re a style blogger, it can spark careers and inspire thousands. This issue shows that the people who are making things happen here all have a style of their own – a perspective, a knack, a strength, a gift. When they share that style, they inspire us all, and make this a better, more interesting place to live.

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Liza Roberts Editor & General Manager

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4209 Lassiter Mill Rd., Ste. 130 Raleigh, NC 27609 919-600-6200

10700 US Hwy. 15-501 Southern Pines, NC 28387 910-692-2700



Advertising Vice President GARY SMITH

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Advertising Director DENISE WALKER

Advertising Account Executive CRISTINA BAKER


Advertising Design and Production

MATT LONG DAVID BAUCOM, LAURA PITTMAN, CAROLYN VAUGHAN Circulation BILL MCBERKOWITZ, WENDY REEVES Administration CINDY HINKLE CHARLES MACHALICKY Published 10 times a year by The News & Observer Publishing Co. A McClatchy Company, 215 S. McDowell St., Raleigh NC 27601

SEPTEMBER 2016 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. © 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.






Peter Hoffman is a recently relocated Chicago native who holds a B.S. in advertising from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and an M.A. concentrating on documentary photography from Ohio University. His past clients include Bloomberg Businessweek, INC. Magazine, Nike, Urban Outfitters, and The New York Times, and he released his book Again and Again in 2014. In shooting this month’s profile, he says, “the challenge for me was not to dance during the shoots – the rhythm they created was palpable, and you would feel it in your heart before your mind could catch up!” Hoffman “loved the way that Braima infused his drumming with storytelling for the students,” he says. “It was great to hear about Khalid’s history working with the drumming community in Durham.”

FANNY SLATER / W R I T E R Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast with a passion for storytelling and licking the plate. She won Rachael Ray’s Great American Cookbook Competition and her cookbook Orange, Lavender & Figs is available online and anywhere books are sold. “Each Raleigh-based restaurant in this story has done more than run an ongoing successful business,” she says of her piece in this month’s issue, “they have created their own unique magic and sprinkled it over their customers’ hearts.”


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Jeannine Erasmus is a local illustrator whose pieces “are fueled by my curiosity for people: the things that make us laugh, the things that get us out of bed in the morning, the things that move us,” she says. “Hannah’s essay allowed me to be whimsical with my illustrations, to put myself in the shoes of all book-lovers who transport to different worlds with every story,” she says of her work in this month’s issue. “Reading certainly does have a certain magic, and I was thrilled to be part of her project.”

THOMASI MCDONALD / W R I T E R Thomasi McDonald is a staff writer with The News & Observer. He has been a student of the djembe and traditional West African music orchestration since 1984. “I have a 30-plus-year love affair with the djembe,” he says. “I wanted to write a story that would pay tribute to the instrument through the eyes of a craftsman, like Braima Moiwai, and honor the innovations and influence of my teacher, Khalid Saleem. Finally, and particularly during these times, I wanted to remind readers about the possibilities of love and music, understanding and dance, when we all gather together in peace!”

Around here, life is a work of art. From the roar of applause at the world-class Peace Center for the performing arts to “America’s 3rd Best Art Festival,” to a front-row seat at a private sunset serenade, every moment here is wowworthy. Whether you come to behold the world’s largest public collection of watercolors by Andrew Wyeth or head up the mountain to watch Mother Nature paint the sky, prepare to find yourself at the intersection of breathtaking and beautiful. Standing ovations optional in Greenville, SC. Yeah, THAT Greenville. To learn more, call 800.717.0023.


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@WALTERMAGAZINE “Love your magazine. Can’t wait to check out @babylonraleigh.” –bonvagrant (August, p. 70) “Thanks, @waltermagazine! We were honored to be a part of the issue.” –@southernsugarbakery (August, p. 78) “@WalterMagazine The article was wonderful! The photos were beautiful. Thank you!!” –@ButterfieldsC (August, p. 80) “@WalterMagazine wrote a great piece on #WilliamIveyLong, ‘one of our prominent native sons.’” –@RLT1936 (August, p. 94)

“Great story by Liza Roberts for @WalterMagazine about Raleigh’s own #WilliamIveyLong, former chairman of @TheWing!” –@CJPtoNC (August, p. 94) “He is a delightful person and true creative genius.” –Mary Miller (August, p. 94) “Excited to be a part of this celebration of women and entrepreneurship! @WalterMagazine @BankofAmerica @The_Umstead.” –@cindypinkceo (August, p. 102) “Such a great interview!” –@thescoutguidenc (August, p. 130)

We want to hear from you! @WalterMagazine

WALTER 215 S. McDowell Street, Raleigh, NC 27601 ' %' ! ! % !! !


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Friday, September 30th

Saturday, October 1st

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Ricky Skaggs

DelMcCoury Band Steep Canyon Rangers

Jerry Douglas presents

Greensky Bluegrass The Kruger Brothers

& Kentucky Thunder

Earls of Leicester Soggy Bottom Boys

featuring Dan Tyminski, Barry Bales, s,, Ron Block, Mike Compton, Stuart Duncan, uncan, ncan Pat Enright, Jerry Douglas

Marty Stuart

& His Fabulous Superlatives

Dailey & Vincent Peter Rowan Band Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands nds with special guest Alice Gerrard

with Symphony of the Mountains

Larry Sparks & The Lonesome Ramblers Joh John Cowan with Darin & Brooke Aldridge and Friends Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out Becky Buller Band




“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” - George Eliot SHARPEN THOSE PENCILS


School is starting, and everyone needs supplies. Crayons 2 Calculators is a Durham-based nonprofit that provides things like pencils, markers, calculators, binders, tissues, and more to local public schools. Supporters can either make a monetary donation or drop off clean, ready-to-use supplies that teachers will later “shop for” at the nonprofit. Homework assignment: Drop off a few packs of notebooks this fall, or organize a group drive to really make a contribution.

Cracking open a seasonal, autumn-inspired beer...Taking your white jeans for a spin one last time pre-Labor Day... Fostering a cuddly pet through Wake County SPCA...Walking past the sidewalk murals outside DECO Raleigh...Visiting THE WOODY TAILGATER the African-American Cultural Festival downtown on September 3-4...Learning how to use Instagram video...Packing a cold cooler for N.C. State football tailgates... The tofu noodle salad from Garland...A hat from Oakwood Outfitters...Day-tripping to the beach (finally crowd-free!)...Apple cider doughnuts...Catching the Glass Animals show at The Ritz Sept. 24...



Living Kitchen is finally open in downtown Raleigh! The restaurant offers plant-based, locally sourced food that is as delicious as it is healthy. You can stop in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but if you’re looking for a nutritious fix on-the-go, order one of their juice cleanses to pick up. There are plenty of options to choose from, so you can partake in as intense a cleanse as you please (and for as many days as you’d like), but they’re all fresh, healthful, and yummy (with a three-day shelf life!). Not your scene? Don’t worry – they serve beer and wine, too. 555 Fayetteville St.;

GIRL POWER LET’S RIDE Hit the Capitol Area Greenway to enjoy the last gasps of warmth before fall fully sets in: The Raleigh Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources program hosts a wrench and ride session Sept. 17, where you’ll learn bike maintenance basics and go on an explorative ride along the Greenway. Wind through Raleigh’s woods, creeks, and streams, and discover a new route through the city. Bring your own bike, or request to borrow one – either way, grab a helmet and get ready to ride. 9 a.m. - 12 noon; $17, pre-registration required;


JOLT OF JAVA On your next caffeine run, stop by the new 42 & Lawrence coffee shop in the bottom of SkyHouse for a latte – on draft. That’s right, you heard us: The new space sells cold-brew coffee out of taps, and even adds nitro to the brew for a frothy, fluffy treat. The new barista bar is owned by Larry Larson of Larry’s Beans coffee, so you know those beans will be the best. They offer seltzer drinks, kombucha, traditional coffee, and lucettegrace pastries, too. 134 E. Martin St.; 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sundays Wednesdays, 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. Thursdays - Saturdays;

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem is coming to Raleigh. Hear the legend speak at Meredith College September 24, where she’ll discuss her autobiography My Life on the Road, followed by a Q&A. The Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient is co-hosted by Quail Ridge Books and Meredith’s Friends of the Carlyle Campbell Library group. Receive admission for up to two guests with the purchase of My Life on the Road from QRB. September 24, 7 p.m.; Meredith College, 3800 Hillsborough St.;

The News & Observer archives (TAILGATE); Neil Krug (GLASS ANIMALS); Jill Knight (JAVA); Robert Willett (RIDE); Thinkstock (CRAYON); courtesy Living Kitchen (PLANT); Amazon (GIRL POWER)





Three months of music in three days


OPSCOTCH, THE ECLECTIC DOWNTOWN-WIDE Raleigh music festival, is back and better than ever. “We’ve programmed a really balanced, well-rounded, diverse lineup, which is what we’ve become known for,” says Greg Lowenhagen, director of the annual event, now in its seventh year. “Of course, we want to get better at it every year … This is one of the best – if not the best – total slates of artists.” He’s not just rattling off a marketing spiel: Lowenhagen first pitched the idea of a multiple-venue music festival in 2009 and made it happen in the fall of 2010. Since then, the festival has snowballed in both popularity and talent, becoming “one of the best and most eclectic music festivals in America,” according to Spin magazine. Its thousands of repeat attendees agree. The success is due in part to Lowenhagen’s ingeniously simple vision: to produce “incredible per-


formances in mostly really intimate spaces for music lovers.” Almost any genre or region you can think of is represented, which means there’s no fan or musician left behind. If you find yourself downtown during Hopscotch, you couldn’t be left behind if you tried: The festival takes over. (Even its name encourages attendees to bounce around from performance to performance.) The lineup is jam-packed, with at least four hours of music at 12 different venues for three straight nights, this year Sept. 8 - 10. “Hopscotch is like seeing three months of music in three days, and that’s kind of what it’s about.” Performance locations include CAM, Memorial Auditorium, Fletcher Opera Theater, Neptune’s, The Pour House, and King’s Barcade, among others. Historically, a main stage sets up at Raleigh City Plaza, and this year also features an even bigger spot. “We have our first headlining show at Red

Travis Long, The News & Observer


courtesy Hopscotch Design Festival

SEPTEMBER Hat Amphitheater, which is a venue we haven’t produced before,” Lowenhagen says. Jazz-rock player Gary Clark Jr. opens for neo-soul singer Erykah Badu there on Friday night. The next night features a local headliner, which is a big deal. Hopscotch’s signature is its North Carolina focus: Acts are always 30-to-40-percent local. But they usually take “a middle or opening slot” to bigger-name acts from across the nation. “This year, we’re lucky enough to have a local band that can carry the headline, and that’s Sylvan Esso.” The Durham-based indie duo plays at City Plaza Saturday night. “We love the fact that people who come to Raleigh from out of town get to see the local bands perform, and we love the fact that local fans get to see out-of-town bands that they don’t see that often. It’s a great combination for the fans, and it seems like local artists are behind it as well because they’ve continued to support us.” Also garnering support is the Hopscotch Design Fest, a series of talks and workshops by graphic designers, urban planners, makers, thinkers, and influencers. Design Fest began three years ago as a prelude to the music; this year, the two will merge. Design Fest fills the Thursday and Friday daytime schedule before the music cranks up at night. “It’s easier to come on Thursday and Friday than in the middle of the

week,” Lowenhagen says of overlapping the festivals. “We’ll have a couple of street parties to connect the two.” All in all, the seventh Hopscotch Music Fest doesn’t look to be losing any steam. Rolling Stone has called the weekend “extraordinarily cool,” and the admittedly biased Lowenhagen agrees that the festival “feels like it’s in a really good place.” Choose your own adventure by buying tickets to a few single headlining shows, a day pass, or the full 3-day wristband. Attend with an open mind, and likely walk away with a new favorite musician. “At the end of the day, the festival is about music. It’s about bands performing.” –Jessie Ammons



4 NATIVE AMERICAN MUSIC With a mandate to seek out and preserve innovative traditional music, the nonprofit Pinecone is bringing a Native American band from southeastern North Carolina to E. Carroll Joyner Park on Sept. 4 for a free concert. Dark Water Rising has created a unique sound that blends Southern rock, gospel, hip-hop beats, and Motown. You’ll just have to hear for yourself. 5 - 7 p.m.; free; 227 W. Martin St.;

courtesy Cirque Italia (DIVE); Tony Murnahan (NATIVE)

Have you ever heard of a water circus? You can see one Sept. 2 - 5 when Cirque Italia comes to Raleigh. The traveling production sets up a stage that holds 35,000 gallons of water, including a lid that lifts dozens of feet into the air to create a rainfall effect. Acts include Jet Ski acrobatics, suspended circus moves, and traditional highwire feats. In classic circus style, everything happens under a tent – but this circus is animal-free and relies instead on mermaids and inflatables. 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday; $10 - $50; 3424 Olympia Drive;



OPA! Feast on Greek culture at the annual Raleigh Greek Festival Sept. 9 - 11. Members of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church prepare a plethora of homemade dishes for the weekend, and there is also live music and traditional dancing. Stroll around and munch or join in the fun at the street-vendor-style layout in the Jim Graham Building at the fairgrounds. A portion of the festival’s proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity of Wake County. 5 - 10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sunday; $3, free for children 13 and under; 1025 Blue Ridge Road;

Kimberly P. Mitchell (OPA); Nathan Latil, N.C. State VetMed (DOG)

November 3 – 6 Raleigh Convention Center

10 DOG DAYS Bring your pooch out to the Dog Olympics on Sept. 10. All breeds and sizes can sign up to participate in competitions both athletic and silly: dog limbo, musical sit, and a howling contest, for example. The event at the N.C. State College of Veterinary Medicine raises money and awareness of dog homelessness, and to that end the Raleigh Kennel Club will operate a free microchip clinic during the fun and games. 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.; $3 for owner and non-competing dog, $5 for owner and competing dog, $1 for person without dog; 1060 William Moore Drive;

Come shop with us! Shop at SPREE! to find gifts for everyone on your list! Stylish jewelry. Fashionable apparel and accessories for men, women and children. Seasonal home decor. Tickets $10 in advance, $12 at the door and don’t miss our special events!

Purchase tickets online at



WEEKEND OF SERVICE Every year on Sept. 11, the local organization Activate Good presents an opportunity to build community. In honor of the tragedy’s 15th anniversary, this year the group plans volunteer projects all weekend long. You can sign up as an individual, with a few friends, or with a large group from a workplace, church, or other network. Projects culminate in a Sunday evening commemoration and service event at Red Hat Amphitheater. The weekend’s tasks include refurbishing school classrooms, packing food to be donated, and working in community gardens. Times and locations vary; free; activategood. org/911weekend2016

I LOVE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL Relive your glory days at a “Rock Hall Three For All” concert at Walnut Creek on Sept. 14. Heart, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, and Cheap Trick will each perform their own sets, and there will likely be a grand finale encore. It will be a throwback moving-and-grooving kind of show. 6:30 p.m.; $15 and up; 3801 Rock Quarry Road;



LeiLani-Ink Photography (SERVICE); Carla Jespersen (ROCK)




SPARKLY Raleigh’s art, music, film, fashion, and dance worlds come together at the annual SPARKcon Sept. 15 - 18. Nonprofit creativity incubator Visual Art Exchange organizes the diverse event, from artSPARK with shows and gallery receptions to litSPARK – featured readings and poetry slams – and comedySPARK with stand-up comedy. There are hula hoop “hoop jams” leading up to the weekend-long festival, and geekSPARK meetings keep the conversation going afterward. No matter your interest, this is likely to light an internal flicker. Times, prices, and venues vary, most venues are within downtown Raleigh;

! !

Dan Hacker (SPARK); Terra S. Schramm (OYSTER)


SHUCKING AND SHAGGING See the State Capitol in a new light on Sept. 16, when the State Capitol Foundation hosts its annual oyster roast fundraiser. There will be shells galore, and other Southern dishes like country ham biscuits and cheese grits. Tune up your moves with a few shagging demonstrations, or go straight for the dance floor accompanied by live beach music from The Embers. Proceeds from the night’s silent auction go toward education and restoration programs at the Capitol. 7 - 11 p.m.; $75; 1 E. Edenton St.;


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…Cooler than ever


HE WOLFPACK IS BACK. REYNOLDS COLISEUM reopens this month after a $35 million, 18-monthlong renovation. The home of N.C. State women’s basketball, wrestling, gymnastics, and volleyball now includes new hospitality and concessions areas, merchandise stands, restrooms, LED sport lighting, and seating reduced from 8,300 to 6,000 for a more intimate atmosphere. Fewer seats also mean freed-up space for a new N.C. State Athletics Walk of Fame and History, which will host exhibits celebrating Wolfpack sports and history. Even cooler? The coliseum will now have air conditioning for the first time in its 67-years. Named after William Neal Reynolds, one of the five founding brothers of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the coliseum was built on Central Campus in 1949. It has housed two NCAA champion basketball teams, countless tournaments, presidential addresses, concerts, and even a lecture by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Don’t worry: The renovation’s


updated aesthetic may be decidedly modern, but the storied character of the space is preserved, with plenty of Wolfpackcentered decor and spirit. Check it out yourself Sept. 16 at at the Reynolds Coliseum Grand Reopening Gala. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and tours of the new space, followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony and the Hall of Fame Class of 2016 inductions. Inductees include the 1974 national champion men’s basketball team, football player and swimmer Dick Christy, National Lacrosse Hall of Fame member Stan Cockerton, basketball player Linda Page, swimming and diving coach Don Easterling, and multi-sport athlete Dave Robertson. The Coaches’ Corner will be unveiled that evening, as well. It honors the accomplishments of N.C. State’s most admired coaches. It’s the perfect sporty event to kick off football season. Go Pack! –Mimi Montgomery September 16, 5:30 p.m., $75 adults, $30 ages 17 and under;

Nick Donaldson



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BUG-TASTIC Get up-close and personal with creepy-crawly creatures at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences’ annual BugFest. Whether you’re an interested budding expert or just curious, the museum’s entomologists and other scientists have an activity for you. The Sept. 17 event is chock-full of displays and exhibits and also activities and interactive experiments about bugs. This year’s theme creature is the ant, but no insect is left behind. Intrepid eaters can try arthropod-inspired – and actual insect-infused – dishes at Café Insecta. 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.; free; 11 W. Jones St.;

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Karen Swain/NCMNS (BUG); courtesy Ten Speed Press (KITCHEN)

20 KITCHEN STAPLE Ashley Christensen, the powerhouse chef behind Poole’s Downtown Diner, Beasley’s Chicken and Honey, Joule, Chuck’s, Fox Liquor Bar, and most recently Death & Taxes, has another feather to add to her culinary cap: cookbook author. Together with frequent WALTER contributor Kaitlyn Goalen, she’s combined a collection of recipes with insights from her journey in the hospitality industry. The book, named Poole’s after her first restaurant, is on sale Sept. 20. It includes innovative recipes like turnip green fritters with whipped tahini and, at long last, the secret to that beloved Poole’s macaroni au gratin. $35; available at most local bookstores; cookbook

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courtesy Chad Brown


S THE NORTH CAROLINA POTTERY CENTER revamps and expands its mission to promote the state’s long pottery tradition, it’s also gearing up for its annual gala and auction. “Going, Going, Gone to Pots!” on Sept. 24 at CAM Raleigh will benefit the Seagrove-based nonprofit and its work to preserve and celebrate pottery. It’s a uniquely important cause, and one that’s close to home. The Old North State is rich in the natural clays, folk heritage, and family ties that contribute to a strong pottery network. “If North America has a ‘pottery state’ it must be North Carolina,” says Pennsylvania potter Jack Troy in his book Wood-Fired Stoneware and Porcelain. “There is probably no other state with such a highly developed pottery-consciousness.” In fact, the center is the nation’s only statewide facility devoted solely to pottery. Its work includes the preservation of pieces by the earliest Native Americans and the promotion of the more than 1,000 potters working in the state today. The nonprofit also hosts rotating exhibits, artistsin-residence, lectures, summer camps, and after-school pottery workshops; it runs an internship program with East Carolina University ceramics students, and holds continuing education workshops through the ECU ceramics department, too. The grounds boast an award-winning main building by architect Frank Harmon, which houses permanent and rotating exhibits and a gift shop. There are also living quarters for artists-in-residence, lecturers, and guests; an educational building with wheels and electric kilns; and two outdoor, wood-fired kilns. It’s an impressive place, and it’s only getting better. In June, the Chipstone Foundation, a decorative arts organization focused on the preservation and promotion of American material culture, hosted a think-tank session at the center. Supporters including Chipstone director Jon Prown; Rob Hunter, editor of Chipstone’s Ceramics in America; Pottery Center executive director Lindsey Lambert; executive committee members; and members of the N.C. Arts Council met to evaluate how the center is adhering to its mission, and what it can do to improve its efforts. In addition to planning new building renovations and ex-

panded educational programs, the group decided to make the center’s exhibits more people-focused, tactile, and experiential. They’ve talked about creating an archeological digging space for children and offering short videos guests can view via iPads. Also in the pipeline: Expanding the center’s reach not only within the North Carolina pottery community, but throughout the world as a whole. Next June, it will host an international conference, Woodfire NC at STARworks, which will welcome wood-firers from across the globe. Upcoming center exhibitions include the shows The Busbee Legacy, about the Raleigh couple behind Jugtown Pottery, and Traditional Women Potters of North Carolina, both of which will be on display later this year. Raleighties can celebrate all of this work, learn more about it, and help to fund it at the center’s 17th annual gala downtown this month. It’ll be an evening filled with food, drink, music, and – of course – tons of pottery. Stick around for the silent and live auctions, and you could bring home a piece of your own, too. –Mimi Montgomery 6 - 9 p.m.; $125 each ($100 NPC members), or two tickets for $250 ($200 NPC members); CAM Raleigh, 409 W. Martin St.;


courtesy Curtis Brown (FAMILY); courtesy N.C. Symphony (PIANO)



MODERN FAMILY Raleigh Little Theatre’s latest production is an edgy one. Mothers and Sons debuts Sept. 23 and depicts a woman who pays an unexpected visit to the New York City apartment of her late son’s partner. The partner is now married to another man with a young son. It’s a dramatic tale about modern love and familial ties, fittingly presented in the intimate teaching theatre. 8 p.m. Thursdays - Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays; $24; 301 Pogue St.;

PIANO CONCERTO Amid music festivals galore this month, the N.C. Symphony performs Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Sept. 22 - 24. The show also includes the overture to Ruslan and Ludmila by Glinka and Circus Polka and Petrouchka, both by Stravinsky. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; $18-$76; 2 E. South St.;

Learning IsA Blast! From the earliest years, children learn that Ravenscroft is a place of warmth, of belonging, and of exciting new discoveries. We meet every child where they are and as they explore a new world of people and ideas, we take them by the hand and make sure their journey is one of wonder and joy. Discover why children love it here!

Join us! Call to schedule a visit: 919.848.6470 7409 Falls of Neuse Road Raleigh, NC 27615 919.847.0900




The grass is bluer here in the Triangle. The International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual World of Bluegrass festival returns to Raleigh for the fourth time Sept. 27 - Oct. 1. It’s the who’s-who event in the banjo-pickin’ world, with live concerts, conferences and workshops, plus the IBMA awards show. William Lewis is the executive director of PineCone and the producer of Wide Open Bluegrass, the festival’s music extravaganza that closes out the week in downtown Raleigh. Below, he shares some thoughts on how to best enjoy the music he loves.


INECONE WORKS YEAR-ROUND PLANNING WIDE OPEN Bluegrass with IBMA and our Raleigh partners at the Convention Center and Visitors Bureau. So, you can imagine our concern last fall when Hurricane Joaquin caused us to scrap those plans and start over – moving the entire festival indoors in a period of a few days. Although we are all very proud of the results, and now know that it can be done, we hope to never have to do it again. Bluegrass festivals are best enjoyed under blue skies. Wide Open Bluegrass holds a special place in the hearts and minds of many in our city. While the event’s attendance and economic impact are impressive, I’m always overwhelmed by the pervasive and profound sense of community pride. For an entire week, the world joins us in celebrating one of North Car-


olina’s homegrown traditions – bluegrass music. And our folks turn out in droves to support it. Not only are they taking time to enjoy the music, dance, art, and food, but they are also going out of their way to welcome visitors to our city and our state. Raleigh’s hospitality ranks very high for attendees, according to post-event surveys. After hosting one of the world’s largest indoor bluegrass hurricane parties last year, we are excited to return Wide Open Bluegrass to Fayetteville Street and to the Red Hat Amphitheater in 2016. The amphitheater will feature performances by a wide range of bluegrass all-stars, including Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, the Del McCoury Band, and Steep Canyon Rangers, among others. As always, we are planning lots of unique collaborations and special guests to preserve the event’s “must

Juli Leonard, The News & Observer


Chuck Liddy, The News & Observer

SEPTEMBER see” status. I’m particularly excited about the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band celebrating its 50th anniversary in Raleigh, and the rare performance by the Soggy Bottom Boys – famous for the soundtrack of the blockbuster film O Brother, Where Art Thou? And the perennial favorites the Kruger Brothers return to the festival, this time joined by a 14-piece orchestra to perform an original piece written by Jens Kruger. It is a win-win for those purchasing tickets to Red Hat Amphitheater, because they are guaranteed worldclass entertainment while also supporting a very important cause. A portion of proceeds from amphitheater ticket sales go to the IBMA-operated Bluegrass Trust Fund, a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to individuals in the bluegrass music community in times of emergency need. As for the free StreetFest portion of Wide Open, we are expanding the footprint of the event south of City Plaza toward the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. The wildly popular Dance Tent Stage will now be located there, along with the N.C. Whole Hog Barbecue Championship, a food truck rodeo, junior Appalachian musicians’ showcase, arts and food vendors, kids’ games, and other fun activities. This area

has lots of trees for shade and open space with grass for picnic blankets. Each year we try to tweak the event to make it a bit better than the last. We hope everyone will join us for what is sure to be another wide open bluegrass experience. –William Lewis

For a full schedule and to purchase tickets, visit

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HIS FALL, THERE’S NO NEED TO VENTURE INSIDE TO feed your need for culture. The North Carolina Museum of Art recently installed a new piece by Cuban artist Yoan Capote, a sculpture entitled Open Mind (Barricades), providing one more reason to explore its growing 164-acre Museum Park. The piece is the gift of an anonymous donor and represents the first installation supported by the NCMA’s Art in the Environment Fund, which facilitates loaned, temporary, and permanent pieces of public art in the Museum Park. Befitting its title, the fund’s first installation is a thoughtprovoking pick: Crafted to resemble a human brain, the Havana-based artist’s sculpture is made out of utilitarian metal barricades of the sort used in crowd-control situations. It’s an interesting comment on the societal and self-imposed limitations enacted by humankind. “When I saw the piece from above, it made me think of each barricade as all the rules, dogmas, and taboos that are


intended to control our behavior,” the artist says. But Open Mind (Barricades) illustrates the first words of its title, too. The metal barricades Capote uses in the piece are elevated, so visitors can participate in and walk through the sculpture as if in a labyrinth, reversing the barricades’ original purposes. Viewers are no longer kept out, but invited to meander and move freely through the piece. It’s a timely installation. “Capote is among one of the best-known contemporary Cuban artists still living and working in Cuba today,” says Linda Dougherty, NCMA chief curator and curator of contemporary art. “You can interpret Open Mind on so many different levels – Capote’s personal experience as an artist in Cuba, life for anyone who lives in a place where restriction and censorship are a given, and current events playing out across the front pages of our newspapers every day.” –Mimi Montgomery 2110 Blue Ridge Road; the Museum Park is free and open daily from dawn to dusk;

courtesy Shepherd Youth Ranch (RIDE); Matt Barnes (CHARITY)





ALONG FOR THE RIDE Shepherd Youth Ranch pairs rescued horses with youth suffering from abuse, trauma, neglect, grief, and autism to provide therapy and healing. They rely on volunteers for weekend sessions, and all you need is a love of horses and an open mind to qualify. The nonprofit will train you in advance of Sept. 24’s session, in which you might be a kid’s buddy for the day, encourage a parent, help direct parking and check-in, or walk and handle horses. 9 a.m. 12:30 p.m.; free; 152 Hicks Road;



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Get moving for a good cause at the Lunge Forward 5K on Sept. 25. While completing the race strengthens your own lungs, the event raises money for Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina. The nonprofit supports prevention research, lung cancer awareness, and education statewide. If you can’t make it out on race day, or prefer to watch from the sidelines, you can still support the cause by “lounging for lung cancer” and buying a $20 T-shirt. 2 p.m.; $30 in advance, $35 day-of; Midtown Park at North Hills, 4208 Six Forks Road;






’M A LITTLE OVERWHELMED BY ETSY,” SAYS MARIA CARROLL, WHO WORKS in administration at Duke University Hospital’s heart center and also has a penchant for locally made art and goods. She and her likeminded colleague-turned-friend, Maggie Meyer, are fans of weekend artists’ markets where they can meet and get to know local makers – an element that can get lost in a virtual worldwide marketplace behemoth like Etsy. “At pop-up shows and markets, we really connected with the stories behind these artists,” Meyer says, “and the mission behind their work.” But with busy schedules and full-time jobs, the two found it difficult to make their weekend market-going a regular activity. So they turned to Etsy’s online model as inspiration to launch a scaled-down local version, The Makers Mercantile. “It’s a one-stop shop where you know you’ll find really quality products made by local art-


photos both pages, courtesy Makers’ Mercantie


SEPTEMBER ists,” says Carroll. “We love going to pop-up markets and we love going to gallery openings. This is a collection inspired by that.” From greeting cards to pottery, necklaces made from Turkish kilims and others from handmade beads to naturally dyed clothing, lip balms to home textiles, “the shop runs the gamut,” says Carroll. “We consider it a collection, but we want to reflect the many different types of art out there in the Triangle.” Carroll and Meyer consider themselves purely the conduit. While the two operate from a home base in Durham and curate the market in their off time from Duke, “this isn’t about us,” says Meyer, who dabbles in calligraphy. “We feel honored to be able to connect with these makers. They have really amazing stories and such unique backgrounds.” To that end, Makers Mercantile has both a blog and a makers’ section full of stories and profiles, so that consumers connect with the artists, too. Since the online shop’s launch in June, Meyer says the response has been “overwhelmingly positive.” A founding

From left: Maria Carroll, Maggie Meyer

group of 14 makers quickly expanded to 18, and email requests to join their ranks come in weekly. Carroll and Meyer plan to cultivate the community for holiday market preparation, something that can be daunting for small-scale local operations. Look out for them at upcoming Pop-Up Raleigh markets, held at Trophy Maywood one Saturday afternoon a month, and The Patchwork Market held at Fullsteam Brewery in Durham on the first Saturday each month. In the meantime, the online shop is always open – after all, Carroll says, 24/7 accessibility is what prompted The Makers Mercantile to begin with. “We are here for consumers looking for local art. This is a way to spread further awareness, too. We can all share in our love for the creative community.” –Jessie Ammons Visit the shop at; market appearances and holiday shows will be posted on the blog at

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From its workshop in Saxapahaw, the Paperhand Puppet Intervention creates elaborate, larger-than-life figures: giant masks atop sticks; sprawling draped insects; massive animals. While the creations are amazing, they’re often simply made using crafts like papier-mâché and sewing. Every summer, the puppet theater troupe puts on a popular show at the Forest Theatre in Chapel Hill and at the N.C. Museum of Art’s outdoor amphitheater. This year’s production, The Beautiful Beast, embodies the creatures of both dreams and folktales. See it in Chapel Hill Sept. 2 - 5, or in Raleigh the following weekend, Sept. 9 - 11. Arrive in time for preshow festivities, which often include a preview puppet parade. 3 p.m. matinee Sept. 4, otherwise 7 p.m.; Preshow begins 40 minutes prior to show time; $15 and $8 youth in Chapel Hill, $17 and $8.50 youth in Raleigh; 123 S. Boundary St., Chapel Hill and 2110 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh;

HEAD FOR THE HILLS Alfred Moore was a military man, educational leader, and eventually a member of the U.S. Supreme Court in the 18th century, and he had a summer home in Hillsborough. Today, his one-time escape is a restored small-town gem, perfect for afternoon soirees and other community gatherings. Check out the bluegrass festival there on Sept. 10, where many of the acts will warm up for the IBMA fest in Raleigh later in the month. Bring a picnic and blankets, and there will also be food trucks, beer, wine, and other refreshments for sale. 2 - 7 p.m.; $15; 2201 Moorefields Road, Hillsborough;

Lee Capps (PAPERHAND); Jim McKelvey (HILLS)




PITCH A TENT Seeing your hometown professional soccer team play is fun, but how about camping on the field afterward? A tent is all you need to bring to the RailHawks campout night Sept. 10; a game ticket, dinner voucher, on-field parade, and coffee and Duck Donuts the next morning are all provided. It’s a good event for friends, a team, or family bonding. 7:30 p.m. game time; $25 campout ticket; 201 Soccer Park Dr., Cary; carolinarailhawks. com/2016campout

Rob Kinna (TENT); courtesy Museum of Life & Science (BEER)



Museum visits aren’t just for field trips, as evidenced by the beer-themed extravaganza on Sept. 15 at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham. At the Science of Beer, you’ll learn about the chemical processes intrinsic to brews, as well as lastminute and after-the-fact tricks brewers can do to alter flavor. Participate in hands-on experiments and workshops; and there will be plenty of tastings to bolster the facts. As you sip, you’re free to roam the dinosaur trail, butterfly house, and museum park. 6:30 - 10 p.m.; $40, must be 21 to attend; 433 W. Murray Ave., Durham;



GROWING UP After years of popularity, the Apex Jazz Music Festival has morphed. The gathering now includes other forms of music and a pub crawl on Sept. 17. Meant to be adult-friendly – although children are welcome – there’s a renewed emphasis on the beer and wine garden and music of every genre, jazz still included. Regardless of what you drink, musicians set up on sidewalks throughout downtown and also at a handful of venues, all within walking distance. 3 p.m. - 12 midnight; $10; North Salem Street, downtown Apex;


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Less daunting than a 5k run is a friendly 2-mile walk: The Walk to End Alzheimer’s takes place at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park Sept. 24. There is no registration fee, but all participants must raise $100 prior to walk day. Fundraiser proceeds go toward the Alzheimer’s Association, which works to provide care, support, and research efforts. 9 a.m. opening ceremony and 9:30 a.m. walk; free with fundraising minimum; 409 Blackwell St., Durham; act.alz. org

Brian Magee Photography (GROWING); Will Page Photography (ALZHEIMER’S)

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Kivas & Camera (FARM)

Eating local isn’t the only way to support our foodshed, says Chris Rumbley, founder of the downtown food hub Farmers’ Collective and of Farmstock, an event he created last year when he was president of Raleigh City Farm. “Farmstock is a chance for farmers to come into town, where most of their food is being sold now, and meet the people eating it and the chefs using it.” This year’s Sept. 24 celebration on the North Blount Street urban farm site features local bands, a buffet of locally sourced gumbo, and beer from nearby breweries. Farmers’ Collective provides downtown restaurants – including Poole’s, Provenance, Capital Club 16, and the Empire Eats restaurants – with produce grown by more than two dozen area farms, including Raleigh City Farm. All of those farmers are invited to the event. Over the fruits of their labor, growers meet Raleigh eaters, and proceeds benefit a “growth fund” to support sustainable new farm entrepreneurs. Rather than the more traditional farm dinner fundraiser, Farmstock is an informal gathering with a festive atmosphere – a chance to meet a few faces behind your farmers’ market produce and have a foot-stomping good time. –Jessie Ammons 7 p.m.; tickets only sold at the door for $20, which includes live music and gumbo; beer will be sold separately;


Elizabeth Galecke





UCKED INTO A WAREHOUSE JUST NORTH OF DURHAM Central Park, a massive, gleaming window-front copper still distinguishes Durham Distillery. It makes “modern gin,” says owner Melissa Katrincic. “When you think of gin, you might think of your grandparents’ gin, the stuff that tastes like licking a pine tree. This is not that.” Katrincic and her husband, Lee Katrincic, opened Durham Distillery a year ago, and already their two types of gin and three liquors have won a whopping 16 awards. “It’s been an amazing year,” Melissa Katrincic says. “It’s kind of nuts.” Both Katrincics have backgrounds in science – Lee Katrincic still works as a pharmaceutical chemist – but consider themselves creative sorts as well. So when Melissa Katrincic lost her pharmaceutical marketing job three years ago, the couple decided to take a gamble and make gin. They did a lot of research, took intensive workshops, and then developed their own technique that incorporates phar-


maceutical equipment. After they put their gin in the beautiful copper still, it then goes into a 20L Rotovap, a vaccum pump typically used for pharmaceutical development. The Katrincics use it to infuse flavor. Often, big-batch companies add extracts for flavor, but the Rotovap allows the infusion of precise, actual concentrates of honeysuckle and cucumber. “As far as we know, we’re the only (distillery) in the U.S. using this technique,” Melissa Katrincic says. The couple believes their ingenuity comes from a passion for both science and creativity, which is why to celebrate their anniversary they’re giving back to projects that promote both. “We really believe in both arts and math-and-science education,” Melissa Katrincic says. All month long, 50 percent of proceeds from distillery tours will benefit arts and STEM projects in Wake, Durham, and Orange county public schools via the public school-oriented crowdfunding site DonorsChoose. org. As of press time, projects weren’t yet finalized, but the contenders include a middle school science teacher hoping to

build an augmented reality sandbox to bring topography studies to life, and an elementary school teacher seeking handheld digital microscopes so her students can roam campus in search of micro-organisms. With two gins – a smooth, botanical Conniption American Dry and a spicy, savory Conniption Navy Strength – and three liquors made from Slingshot coffee concentrate and Videri 70-percent dark chocolate, touring the facility and stocking your home bar shouldn’t take much convincing. The distillery is open for public tours and tastings on Friday and Saturday evenings: The tasting bar’s dark herringbone wood and fabric barrel lights make a visit feel like a cozy evening in a friend’s living room. Which is by design. “This,” Melissa says, gesturing around the space, “is the art of gin.” –Jessie Ammons Quick-tours-and-tastings are available without reservation from 6 - 9 p.m. on Fridays and 2 - 5 p.m. on Saturdays for $7, and hour-long tours followed by a tasting are available at 5 and 6 p.m. on Saturdays and select Fridays by appointment for $10. Learn more and buy Durham Distillery gin at

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25 B CUBED The annual International Bluegrass Festival inspired FuquayVarina’s inaugural BBQ, Blues, and Brews celebration last year. It was such a hit that the town now plans to host it annually. This year’s September 24 celebration includes a BBQ cook-off judged by attendees and qualified judges, food trucks, local brews, and live traditional music. A portion of the celebration’s proceeds go toward the town’s downtown association. 1 - 6 p.m.; $20; Draft Line Brewing Co., 341 Broad St., Ste. 151, Fuquay-Varina;

HIDEAWAY PERFORMANCE You’ve likely heard of 21c, the boutique hotel in Durham with a contemporary art gallery and top-notch restaurant. Did you know there’s also a 150-seat ballroom space? It’s there that Duke Performances will present the Billy Hart Quartet on Sept. 25. Formed by its namesake, a jazz drummer who’s played with the likes of Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, the group’s four musicians have played and toured together for more than a decade. With a few generations between them, their sound is at once classic and fresh. 5 and 7:30 p.m.; $34, $15 for ages 30 and under; 111 N. Corcoran St., Durham;

Fuquay-Varina Downtown Association (BBQ); Duke Performances (HIDEAWAY)




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Peter Taylor Photo (FOOD FEST)

What began as an earnest celebration of local and sustainable foodways six years ago in Chapel Hill is today one of the most celebrated local food festivals in the country. Terra Vita returns this year Sept. 28 - Oct. 1 with swanky dinners galore, a Saturday grand tasting, and a day full of “sustainable classroom” sessions on topics ranging from lightened up classic Southern recipes to the ethics of seafood sourcing. It gathers a who’s-who of local chefs, farmers, and experts, complete with the official release dinner of Chef Vivian Howard’s new cookbook, Deep Run Roots. New this year is a partnership with the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation: Together, the two organizations present a day-and-a-half symposium, A Carolina Food Summit, with speakers like Scott Crawford and Toni Tipton-Martin.

Sept. 28 symposium, dinners Sept. 28 - Oct. 1, sustainable classroom Sept. 30, and grand tasting Oct. 1, times and locations vary; $60 and up;



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29 SHOP TO SUPPORT Have a girls’ night out at the Peachy Keen fashion show on Sept. 29. The Cary boutique’s annual fall fashion show has a purposeful element: All proceeds from the evening benefit Headbands of Hope – which donates a headband to a child with cancer for every one purchased – and Duke Children’s Hospital. Be sure to arrive in time for cocktail hour, when there will be live music and a braid bar. 7 p.m. cocktail hour, 7:45 p.m. fashion show; $20; 250 Grande Heights Drive, Cary;

FIGURE IT OUT In a whimsical take on figure studies, the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts’ early fall exhibition includes a selection of dynamic and lively works of art featuring people. Meet the locals behind the paintings and sculptures at the opening reception of Go Figure on Sept. 30, and visit the show until Oct. 23. 6 - 9 p.m. reception, gallery open 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Mondays - Thursdays, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 12 noon - 4 p.m. Sundays; free; 121 N. Churton St., Hillsborough;


COMMUNITY SNAPSHOTS Cary Photographic Artists are a group of 170 Triangle-area enthusiasts dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of photographic art in the area. They often host notable photographers to speak and exhibit throughout the year, and also encourage local amateurs. Don’t miss their annual open juried exhibition Sept. 30 through Nov. 18; and consider entering your own work until Sept. 27. Final entries are selected by Dr. Peter Nisbet, chief curator at the Ackland Museum in Chapel Hill, and Diana Bloomfield, a Raleigh native and professional photographer. The exhibit kicks off with a reception and remarks from the judges on Sept. 30. 6 p.m. reception, Mondays - Thursdays 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.; free; Cary Senior Center, 120 Maury O’Dell Place, Cary;

Emily Sexton (SHOP); Linda Carmel - Release, photo by Harold Carmel (FIGURE)); Gulls in Fog - Jordan Lake (by J.J. Raia) (SNAPSHOT)


D e s i g n i n g a n d B u i l d i n g t h e We l c o m e H o m e s i n c e 1 9 8 4

Every Woman Wants a Bailey Box Raleigh’s Cameron Village and Crabtree Valley Mall Rocky Mount | Greenville |



“People are my passion. I don’t try to help people be in style as much as try to help them find their own style.” –Emma Carter, hairstylist and owner of Beam Beauty Salon


MMA CARTER IS A PEOPLE PERSON FIRST, HAIR STYLIST second. The New Mexico native has coiffed celebrities like Heidi Klum, Martha Stewart, and Leonardo DiCaprio in locations as exotic as the Galápagos Islands and Costa Rica, but she’s happiest now in her own small Raleigh studio where she knows her clients well and can help them look and feel their best. “I’m so much about the connection,” she says. “A lot of people call me their ‘Hairapist.’” While she loves makeup and hairstyling, she places a bigger emphasis on inner beauty. “I don’t want to encourage anybody to feel like they have to do anything other than be themselves.” Carter’s career began as an assistant to the art director at Cosmopolitan in New York when she realized she was drawn to the hair and makeup aspect of the photo shoots. One of her friends at the time was the then-unknown makeup artist Bobbi Brown. Carter became her assistant to learn the tricks of the trade, and when Brown launched her cosmetics line, Carter joined the product development team, traveling around the country to Neiman Marcus stores to train Bobbi Brown artists. When Brown’s agent began representing Carter, her career “really took off.” She was in St. Bart’s doing the makeup for a 10-day photo shoot when the hairstylist didn’t show up. The

crew asked Carter to take over the models’ hair styling, and even though she didn’t have much experience, she was game. The results were great, and her hairstyling career took off, too. Soon she was working with famous stylists like Frederic Fekkai, John Sahag, and Edward Tricomi and taking classes at Warren Tricomi Salon. Her clients included several A-list celebrities, and she traveled the world for publications and brands including Marie Claire, Brides, Glamour, various international Vogues, Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue, and J. Crew. After a few years, Carter realized she had met all her personal goals and was burned out on New York. Her parents grew up in Raleigh, and her grandmother still lived there. She gave her a call and said, “I want to come for Thanksgiving, and I’m not going to leave.” Raleigh’s been her home ever since. At first, Carter owned a larger Raleigh salon, but now owns the small studio Beam Beauty and works as a stylist for local advertising shoots. She prefers the intimacy of a small setting versus the large customer volume of a salon. This message comes through in the name of her studio: “It speaks to: beam out from the inside, just beam yourself out in the world,” she says. “And that is your own brand of beauty, whatever you just kind of exude.” –Mimi Montgomery

715 N. Person St.; 52 | WALTER

photograph by CHRISTER BERG

WINnovation Women Inspiring Innovation presented by






President, Shaw University

Co-Founder, Sprout Pharmaceuticals Founder and CEO, The Pink Ceiling

Founder and CEO, MagnaReady

Founder and Creative Director, Furbish Studio

Founder and CEO, Envested

Celebrating women and entrepreneurship Friday, September 9, 2016 12:00 PM - 4:15 PM at the UMSTEAD HOTEL & SPA 100 Woodland Pond Dr. Cary, NC 27513

Tickets are $100 until September 1st and available at Tickets $125 after September 1st

OUR Town


“For the month of September, I will … be experimenting, making garments.” –Quinan Dalton, N.C. State College of Design senior and fashion designer


’VE BEEN DESIGNING THINGS SINCE BEFORE I CAN remember,” says Quinan Dalton. The N.C. State College of Design senior taught herself to sketch fashion designs and sew at 12. Today she sells her designs locally and online, and is working on collections for the school’s Art2Wear Show and Charleston Fashion Week. Dalton’s drawn to what she calls “childhood fantasy,” designing clothes that are “very dreamy and very nostalgic.” Movies, books, museums, and Pinterest prime her creative canvas. Shape and structure are important to her: Experimental knitwear, which she studied at Central Saint Martins in London, is a favorite medium for experimenting with silhouettes. “You can do such interesting things with it that you can’t do with woven fabrics,” she says. “It’s a more forgiving medium to work in when you’re experimenting.” An explorative approach has worked well for her. “Ninety percent of the time, the finished garment ends up being very different than what I started out thinking I was going to do,” she says. “You never really know what’s going to happen until you

try to make it.” For her first collection, Kingdom, Dalton conceptualized, sketched out, and sewed eight pieces – a crash course in designing an entire clothing line. “That was an experience, having to do all that,” she says. Last April, Dalton showed that work as part of N.C. State’s Art2Wear fashion show, in which design students are selected by a jury to showcase a clothing collection. It may have been a challenge, but Dalton has been making her own clothes since she was a student taking sewing apparel classes at Broughton high school. After two years at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, she came back to Raleigh, where her creativity has grown. This September, Dalton is gearing up for her last year of college. On top of classes, she’s readying her application to participate again in Art2Wear, as well as Charleston Fashion Week, a spring show that requires 12 looks in a collection. If her design work is any indication, she’ll handle it all with style. –Mimi Montgomery Find Dalton’s dresses locally at Gypsy Jule and view her work at; Gypsy Jule: 207 W. Davies St.; photograph by CHRISTER BERG


OUR Town


clockwise from top left: Missy Van Lokeren, Susan Slosman, Corie Herschelman, Kathleen Sweeny

“It’s amazing how well you get to know these people. We play every week, and that adds up over three-and-a-half years.” –Missy Van Lokeren, host of a weekly mah jongg group


y the middle of the week, Missy Van Lokeren and her friends need an outlet: Come noon each Wednesday, it’s gametime. “It’s strategy; it’s luck…” says Corie Herschelman, one of Van Lokeren’s friends and fellow players, before Van Lokeren finishes her sentence “…it’s a thinking game.” They’re talking about mah jongg, an ancient Chinese tile game similar to rummy. Van Lokeren, Herschelman, and friends Kathleen Sweeny and Susan Slosman play every week at Van Lokeren’s home in Five Points. They spend three hours chatting and scheming: Out of 144 total tiles, four players begin the game with 13 tiles each. Through a choreographed give-and-take, the goal is to draw and discard tiles until 14 tiles are organized into four groups that comprise a legal hand. “People sometimes say, ‘Don’t you play that when you’re 80?’” Herschelman says, “But it’s had a resurgence. I think a lot of the people that used to play bunko are now playing mah jongg.” Groups typically form casually and socially, mainly via word-of-mouth. This particular group, for example, began because Slosman, Sweeny, and Van Lokeren all had kids in the

same class at Ravenscroft School. Their children’s pick-up time determined the weekly time frame. “We play for two to three hours,” Sweeny says, “because that used to be when we’d pick up our kids.” Now that the crew has graduated, the three-hour slot has stayed “out of habit.” It’s also remained because of the friendships formed. With years of playing under their belt – all of the women play in multiple groups, and often play with their spouses and children, too – the Wednesday afternoon group has learned to multitask during play. That comaraderie is the unanimous favorite aspect. “Some groups are a little ruthless about rules,” Slosman says, “but not us.” She’s added a layer of meaning, too, by bringing a vintage mah jongg set that was her husband’s grandmother’s. Using those heirloom tiles, the group “plays for money” – never more than a dollar in quarters – kept in coin pouches given to the group by Slosman’s mother-in-law. They each look forward to their mah jongg session like many look forward to an afternoon cup of coffee, as a pick-meup. “It’s like a men’s poker night,” Sweeny says with a chuckle. “We have mah jongg day.” –Jessie Ammons photograph by CHRISTER BERG


OUR Town


“I want to show people that you can act with something that seems small, like your purchases.”–Emily Sexton, founder, The Flourish Market fashion truck


MILY SEXTON ISN’T IDEALISTIC; SHE’S PRACTICAL. “MY motto is: Everything is figure-out-able,” she says. It’s a motto that led her to a unique role in corporate America as an investment bank’s vice president of communications and change management. In that role she traveled extensively, and realized that “in the developing world, it always takes a village. In the U.S., I think we forget that. It takes a village to be successful. Everything is all about the village.” The villages she saw working around the world motivated her to spend her vacation time volunteering abroad. Then she had “kind of a quarter-life crisis” just before her 30th birthday in the summer of 2015. Sexton left her 9-to-5 and turned to a notion she’d seen on Pinterest: a fashion truck. But hers would be a fashion truck with a mission, she says, one inspired by her own far-flung village of friends. “On my trips, I’d been meeting these awesome artisans that make really cool things and I’d bring them home. My friends started placing orders with me – requesting a necklace or shoes. … I thought a fashion truck would be a good way to test if people would be interested in buying goods from all around the world.”

By last October, she was ready to roll with a truck she’d bought on Craigslist and converted, with the help of architect and interior designer friends, into a fully stocked mini-boutique. The Flourish Market now appears at events throughout Raleigh almost weekly, as well as at private parties hosted at the homes of “women who … can and want to rally a group of women around a cause.” Sexton is hopeful that a brick-and-mortar market will open by the end of the year, too. At Flourish, you’ll find spunky jewelry and clothing, as well as stationary, bags, and home accessories. Rather than the popular one-for-one business model, the fashion truck operates “just like any other boutique: We purchase everything up-front and hope that it sells.” The difference is that all of the products are made by artisans in vulnerable communities, both in America and across the world. Sexton hopes it helps women feel like they’re adding meaning to even their retail therapy. “I love the word ‘flourish,’ because it indicates something beautiful that can come out of hard situations. Every necklace I sell is another four hours of work for somebody that I’ve met and I’ve seen flourishing because of your purchase.” –Jessie Ammons


photograph by CHRISTER BERG

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BEHIND A DISCREET EXTERIOR, ON A QUIET STRETCH OF Oberlin Road, a trove of beautiful jewelry stands hidden in plain sight. Though the “Haydon & Company, Master Jewelers” sign is clear enough, this Colonial-style home to one of Raleigh’s most luxurious retail stores could be mistaken for the tasteful office of a boutique law firm. Instead, beyond the door, handmade jewelry glittering with diamonds, sapphires, and rubies shines in old-fashioned cases. Some are showstoppers, like a dazzling necklace fit for an Academy Award nominee; others are diminutive, like a tiny bejeweled bumblebee. What isn’t here is anything you’ve ever seen on a billboard, or made in mass quantity. That’s because a good deal of what owner Whit Haydon sells is made upstairs by master jeweler Rodney Keller, at a bench, by hand. “I


MASTERFUL Whit Haydon of Haydon & Company.

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hesitate to call us a store,” Haydon says. “We are jewelers in a very strict sense, as opposed to necessarily being a merchant. We take it seriously.” It would be hard not to take his $725,000 diamond and sapphire necklace seriously. Or the 72-carat diamond bracelet. Or the knuckle-spanning, $167,000 sapphire and diamond ring. But not everything at Haydon & Co. is priced to make your eyes water. “Some of my favorite things aren’t really crazy,” Haydon says, like a $200 pendant, or Keller’s elegant but subtle pave diamond pieces. “He’s truly gifted as an artist,” Haydon says. A lot of what Keller creates is made-to-order. “I am driven to create timeless pieces,” Keller says, things that “will last for several generations.” It is, he says, “a dying art form.” Haydon says his store values quality over size and disdains the distinction of “semi-precious” and “precious” stones, pointing out that a beautiful stone of high quality should be considered precious, even if it’s a tourmaline rather than a diamond; that a “precious” stone of low quality is actually of little value. “We want people to understand this, so that when they’re in a position to spend some of their hard-earned money on jewelry, they buy jewelry worth having.”


About 20 years ago, when Haydon first opened his store, the former industrial engineer says his goal was to bring fine jewelry to Raleigh – the kind of jewelry he says people then had to go to larger cities to find. He’d first caught the jewelry bug when his mother-in-law brought him a collection of fine cloisonné – vases, bowls, ginger jars, and the like – from Asia. He sold it all to Jolly’s Jewelers and decided he’d found himself an interesting new business. With his

INVESTMENT WORTHY Clockwise from top left: In the studio above the showroom, master jeweler Rodney Keller creates one-of-a-kind masterpieces. Haydon says, “He works at his own pace. I don’t care about how many he gets done in a day.” A dazzling 72-carat, eight-row diamond bracelet. Pave diamond work, carefully set by hand, is a specialty.

technical background, he was interested in how fine jewelry was constructed. Then he learned everything he needed to about gemstones, and decided he wanted to sell “not necessarily anything large, it just needs to be incredibly nice.” Word-of-mouth got him started and keeps him going today. When asked to recall some his most memorable clients, the biggest spenders aren’t the first who come to mind. Instead he tells the story of a construction worker who brought in an ancient, broken Patek Philippe watch he’d inherited from his father and needed to sell. Haydon was able to broker a quick sale, and “gave him a check for $330,000 for a broken watch” that the man was able to use to buy a piece of land and a front-end loader. “Being a part of that was a cool thing more than anything else,” he says. “It changed his life.”











home & garden September 23–25 NC State Fairgrounds / Free Parking

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ARTIST’S spotlight

SHOE-IN Aly Khalifa, owner and director of innovation at Lyf Shoes, at Designbox in Raleigh.



K H A L I FA Trailblazing shoe designer



LAST YEAR AT SPARKCON, DOWNTOWN RALEIGH’S ANNUAL FESTIVAL of innovation and creativity, Aly and Beth Khalifa, local designers and entrepreneurs, had to apply to participate. The couple had that in common with 30 other hopeful applicants, but none of those folks also had “SPARKcon co-founders” on their resumes. “We weren’t sure we would get in,” Khalifa says, with a hearty laugh. “SPARKcon is all open-source and run by the people who organize it, so I had no say whatsoever.” Which is how the couple designed it in 2006, when they began the festival to celebrate Raleigh’s fashion week. After the first five hectic, successful years of running it – inventing and designing all the while – the pair relinquished management to the Visual Art Exchange, but not before expanding SPARKcon far beyond fashion to encompass film and technology, food and music, art and commerce. These days, SEPTEMBER 2016 | 65


Finding himself on the Aly Khalifa, owner and director of the once-modest event transforms downtown Raleigh into a other side of the planning innovation, left, and Mingyn Lin, weekend-long hive of creative expression, with a pop-up baequation for the first time, product designer and developer, work zaar, runway show with a sprawling City Plaza catwalk, imat Designbox. Khalifa had to ask himself prov comedians, and chalk art that stretches for as far as the new quesions: What would Lyf’s models look like? How should eye can see. they represent themselves as a company? “It was the first time Meanwhile, the Khalifas are fully focused on launching we got to present the real package,” Lyf, their own 3-D printed, cushe says, “and it was great for us. It tom-made, eco-shoe company in the heart of downtown Raleigh. ‘In many ways, we talk about Lyf made us confront the brand.” was nearly a year ago. This Their status as festival founders like we talk about SPARKcon. If year,That as the 11th annual festival gears gave them no free ride into the event’s Wear What You Are fashion we put SPARKcon into a pair of up for its run from September 15 show. But the couple needn’t have shoes, what would that look like?’ through 18, Lyf is poised for larger-scale production. worried. Lyf was selected to become the first footwear company to debut in the Triangle’s largest annual fashion exhibition, which has Designbox beginnings emerged as a showcase for the area’s best up-and-coming jewIt all began at Designbox, the Khalifas’ creative incubator elry, clothing, and accessories. Alumni include Raleigh Denim that, until this year, was located in the Warehouse District. Workshop, Holly Aiken, and Lumina Clothing, putting Lyf in Since 2003, Designbox has supported local startups with a good company. collaborative workspace and small retail store. These days, 66 | WALTER

TECHNOLOGY, CREATIVITY Above: Materials and patterns for Lyf shoes. Right: A 3-D printer creates custom Lyf shoe components.

Designbox rests atop Cafe Helios, and it’s where the Khalifas refine their newest endeavor: a line of custom 3-D-printed shoes. “For more than a decade we’ve had a 3-D printer working for clients. It’s amazing what we paid for the first one, and what a pain it was compared to new technology, which has become a lot simpler,” Khalifa says. “For the shoes, we’re using a lot of 3-D printing to do sustainable footwear.” That original ZPrinter allowed the team to go from design to prototype in three days. The team at Lyf now has five printers, and hopes to add seven more in the coming year. They’ve taken to naming the printers to quickly diagnose their quirks and variations (“Beethoven” is a particularly loud printer; “Mad Jack” is “rock solid.”) For now, the printers stack on top of each other, and if all goes to plan, the entire operation will eventually be mobile, like a food truck for shoes. Customers will get fitted in a standard pair of kicks, and then add their own customized art or design to the cotton canvas or leather. The shoes will then be assembled and ready for pickup in an hour. It’s a unique approach – but nothing new for the innovative couple. “In many ways, we talk about Lyf like we talk about SPARKcon,” says Khalifa. “If we put SPARKcon into a pair of shoes, what would that look like? Sensitivity to the environment, trying to stimulate the local economy, celebrating creativity, being a good product with good craft, all those

principles are now in Lyf shoes.” One of the most intriguing prospects of Lyf is that sizes can be created and assembled without mass production, which means that someone with unusally sized feet, or feet of different sizes – one a size bigger than the other, for instance – could order a pair of Lyfs to fit them exactly. Khalifa estimates he has over 4,000 different size files available, and the number is growing.

Finding a new way The impetus to design footwear evolved naturally for Khalifa, who worked at Performance Bicycle after earning dual engineering and product design degrees from N.C. State University. When he began designing footwear for cycling, Khalifa became “the guy who always had to be on the factory floor.” He didn’t expect an unintended side effect from his visits: an immediate, splitting headache from the toxic chemicals used in shoe manufacturing. The traditional system is inherently broken, he says: SEPTEMBER 2016 | 67

A BETTER WAY Top: Operations manager Joey Fralin preps 3-D printers that make Lyf components. Bottom: Components of a Lyf shoe.


who return their shoes after “We’re moving our footwear they’ve been worn. That results production with a level of in a 15 percent return from its ignorance, from the U.S. to own supply chain, too, due to Mexico to Taiwan to China to their materials’ infinitely reVietnam to Burma. Each time, cyclable nature. Khalifa points after one generation, people out the system is called a circuhave a hard time recruiting lar economy, where products because the toxic chemicals are intentionally designed from the in shoe production can cause birth beginning with their entire lifecycle defects,” Khalifa says. “But that’s just ‘If you wouldn’t take it back, one part of it. There are also 50 mayou shouldn’t put it out there. in mind. “By taking the material back, terials in an average pair of shoes.” We’re designing so that when (manufacturers) don’t have to return That makes disassembling and recyall the way to petroleum or to the cotcling shoes nearly impossible, he says, you buy a pair of Lyf shoes, tonseed, so it’s a really good deal for because the cost of processing such a the world gets better.’ everyone,” Khalifa explains. “The trick complex product is so high. is, the designer has to attach value afKhalifa began to think about ter that first use. But, I think if you ways to do things differently. wouldn’t take it back, you shouldn’t put it out there. We’re deAt Lyf, each of the shoe’s components are made of a sinsigning so that when you buy a pair of Lyf shoes, the world gets gle-source material, and the shoes are intentionally designed to better.” come apart. Lyf also offers a 15 percent discount to customers

Triangleites What started as an outside hobby for many of these women has quickly become a second career. When they leave full- and part-time jobs at the end of the day, they head home to another one …



IN THE AGE OF THE SMARTPHONE, WHERE SOCIAL MEDIA AND VIRAL hits reign supreme, blogging has evolved from a solo, diary-like activity into a lucrative field that allows tech-savvy entrepreneurs to create their own online communities-slash-marketplaces, right from their own homes. Here in the Triangle, style bloggers in particular have a growing toehold. A primarily female-dominated pool, these locals are showcasing their own takes on the fashion, beauty, decor, health, and lifestyle worlds, and contributing to the innovative spirit of the Triangle. This is “a place that just naturally fosters creativity,” says Molly Stillman, Still Being Molly blogger and founder of the Triangle Fashion, Beauty, Food, and Lifestyle Bloggers group (TriFABB), a community of 160 bloggers begun in 2012. The many startups, small businesses, and entrepreneurs’ groups that pepper RTP and downtown Raleigh and Durham make for fertile ground, she says. The Triangle is also a place where female blogging entrepreneurs forge friendships and encourage each other. “It’s a really supportive community where a lot of people want to collaborate together, because when you win, I win,” says Meghan Grant of Holly Springs, the blogger behind I’m Fixin’ To and co-founder of the Raleigh Blog Society. “It’s good for both of us.” With reaches near and far, these women are redefining what it means to be an entrepreneur in the 21st century. Their work may come with a steep learning curve and many late nights, but bringing a dose of style to the Triangle is what they love – and increasingly, it’s a real business, too.

DIGITAL INFLUENCER Shelby Vanhoy of Pretty in the Pines.




courtesy Shelby Vanhoy

The Triangle’s fashion bloggers

SEPTEMBER 2016 | 71

Em Grey Photography, courtesy Meghan Grant

Not just a hobby

KEEPING IT REAL This page: Meghan Grant of I’m Fixin’ To tries to keep her posts real and fun. “I don’t take myself seriously.”


Many of these local bloggers started their sites as sideline hobbies or creative outlets. Working in corporate jobs, they wanted an open space to share their stylish ideas and their writing. “When I was growing up, I used to change outfits like, three times a day, and I always used to have to put on a party dress,” says Angela Keeley-White of Raleigh, who works full-time for a financial planning and investment company and started her style blog Head to Toe Chic in 2011. So she decided to turn that passion into a side gig, writing posts filled with outfit inspirations, style tips, and eye-catching photography. When Raleighite Shelby Vanhoy was rejected from dental school, she took a hard look at her passions and felt the need for more creativity in her life. “I was thinking, ‘Is this really what I want to do?’” she says. “I’ve always had an interest in photography, travel, style…” So in 2014, she bought a camera and starting her blog Pretty in the Pines, which led to her current job managing marketing for Bailey’s Fine Jewelry. Keeley-White and Vanhoy are not alone. What started as an outside hobby for many of these women has quickly become a second career. When they leave full- and part-time jobs at the end of the day, they head home to another one, where they create editorial calendars, schedule and write posts, organize photo shoots, edit photo batches, monitor site traffic, respond to readers, and negotiate brand campaigns and sponsored posts. “It comes across as so glamorous,” says Chapel Hill’s Lauren Steele of LC Steele. She’s talking about the stylish photography spreads and Instagram posts bloggers are known for. But for the Mississippi native who balances her blog with her job at a legal consulting business, it’s hard work, too. “You don’t see 90 percent of the time it took,” she says. “It is way more time-consuming than people give it credit for.” It’s her job, she says, to make it look easy. Vanhoy agrees: “It’s like a 12-hour day, every day.” But it pays off: The popularity of these blogs is a testament to the consumer demand for the women’s content. “So far, it’s really been worth it,” she says. “The people you meet, the community you grow, the opportunities you get – it correlates with how hard you’re working.”

courtesy Amy Loochton; Em Grey Photography, courtesy Angela Keeley-White

Brave new world For a successful style blogger, business opportunities can be vast. With the advent of content monetization platforms such as, bloggers can share their outfit details via Instagram, where followers who have “liked” their post will receive an email complete with links to purchase each pictured item. For each piece purchased from a email, the blogger receives a commission. Global companies have picked up on the wide reach of these digital influencers, as well. “As brands begin to trust the influence of bloggers and see the results, social media is becoming much more monetizable for the influencers,” says Jamie Meares, blogger behind the popular i suwannee and founder of Furbish Studio. “It’s created this Wild West effect on blogging – now you can actually make a business out of sharing the things that you love.” Triangle style bloggers are doing just that, negotiating paid contracts with brands to create sponsored product posts. These women have worked with national corporations such as Coca-Cola, J. Jill, Shopbop, Whole Foods, Anthropologie, Henri Bendel, Toyota, Target, Anne Taylor, and Rent the Runway, to name a few, as well as local companies like Cameron Village and The Fearrington House Inn. Using their social clout as an advertising platform makes sense: Each of these women have followers by the many-thousands. “People now understand the value of bringing eyeballs to the page,” says Steele. “I’ve watched social media become so much more integrated in everything. If you have 200,000 followers, you can look at a company and say, ‘Hey, I can basically fill a football stadium for you. How much is that worth?’” Apparently a lot. “It’s a legit career,” says Durham-based Amy Loochtan of Coffee Beans and Bobby Pins. “People are flabbergasted by that … Some people think blogging is just taking some pictures of your outfit, putting them online; but it is so much more than that.” Of course, with the meteoric rise of outlets like Instagram and Snapchat, content is moving more toward the social media side, and anyone with an iPhone can try to become

SO MUCH MORE Above left: Amy Loochtan of Coffee Beans and Bobby Pins says blogging is a “legit career.” Above right: Angela Keeley-White’s Head to Toe Chic was mentioned in InStyle magazine.

SEPTEMBER 2016 | 73

ONLINE PRESENCE Above: Lauren Steele of LC Steele balances her blog with her job at a legal consulting business. Opposite: Shelby Vanhoy of Pretty in the Pines says the 12-hour days are worth it. “The people you meet, the community you grow, the opportunities you get – it correlates with how hard you’re working.”


Bringing it home While these women may work with global companies and have followers across the world, they’re committed to using their brands to promote North Carolina, too. Keeping it local is just part of their spin on things: Many stage photo shoots at local spots like the Boylan Bridge, American Tobacco Campus, and the Leslie-Alford-Mims house; they showcase pieces from local boutiques and clothing lines; they partner with nearby restaurants and businesses; and they provide travel guides to N.C. destinations. Vanhoy recently partnered with the Outer Banks for a sponsored, weeklong trip along the coast, documenting her vacation on social media and her blog, and Grant started a blog travel series on eastern North Carolina, focusing on places to eat, shop, and visit while passing through. “People get stuck in the bubble of the Triangle,” she says. “It’s sad to see towns that were thriving when I was little become ghost towns.” It’s her way of using her online presence to benefit the local places she loves. Like her peers, Grant has come to realize that a significant online presence can be a powerful tool, both in terms of business opportunities and simply creating a brand that people love. “Life can be complicated and it can be so cluttered,” says Steele. “I just like to keep things as simple, classic, and elegant as I possibly can.” It’s a lot of work to make things look so good, but it’s worth it, says Loochtan. “You make time for what you love.”

Anna Goodson, courtesy Lauren Steele

a blogger. That can put pressure on longtime bloggers to keep content fresh and readership levels up. After all, that’s where the money is – brands want to work with sites that consistently post original material and reach the widest demographic possible. “Now you have to be out there on all social media channels and keep up with the latest trends,” says Keeley-White. There’s also a fine line between the virtual and actual worlds, especially when personal style is the focus of a business. After a while, life can seem like just a series of potential Instagram posts. “That’s one of the biggest things that bloggers struggle with – missing out on life because of social media,” says Loochtan. “It’s a hard balance to know when to unplug.” Along with separating the personal from private, local style bloggers say they work hard to strike the right chord between stylish escapism and relatability. Because most have longtime readers who feel a virtual kinship to them, they want to maintain those relationships with the relatable voice of an old girlfriend. So in addition to the glamour, local bloggers are also careful to include affordable fashion and DIY projects that appeal to the everyday woman. “I try to be real with my readers,” says Grant. “The style posts are really pretty and they do really well, (but) if you’re behind the scenes with me on a shoot, I don’t take myself seriously … For me, it is really fun.”

courtesy Shelby Vanhoy

FALL PICKS “Big sweaters and ponchos layered over a thin turtleneck, booties, and changing up accessories and shoes for fall colors.” –Shelby Vanhoy, Pretty in the Pines “(I’m) all about layering with blazers and military jackets. And of course, ankle boots. And fun scarves … a bunch of light layers.” –Angela Keeley-White, Head to Toe Chic

“A good bootie, black blazer, (and a) really great pair of jeans. If you feel good in it, you’re going to look good.” –Amy Loochtan, Coffee Beans and Bobby Pins

“(It’s) cowboy boots, riding boots, lots of dresses and skirts. I would not be caught dead in a T-shirt and jeans at a football game. That is where you step out and you show up.” –Meghan Grant, I’m Fixin’ To

“Leather jackets, over-the knee-boots, and blanket scarves … (they’re) an affordable and chic way to make a statement with an outfit, plus they are really warm.” -Lauren Steele, LC Steele


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2004 YONKERS RD., RALEIGH, NC 27604 (919) 754-9754 | GREENFRONT.COM


of a house





photographs by KEITH ISAACS

RALEIGH INTERIOR DESIGNER CAROLE HOLLOWELL HAS DESIGNED MANY houses over the years – some for large families, some small. But creating a home for a sisterhood of 60 presented a new kind of challenge. Her client, the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, had a tall order: To turn a well-worn onetime fraternity house at N.C. State into a fresh, comfortable showplace for its first-ever chapter at the university. KKG wanted to create a house its inaugural pledge class would be excited to move into come spring semester. With State’s new Greek Village still in the works, the hunt was on for something the Kappa women could start renting this school year. A previous fraternity house off Western Boulevard had an industrial kitchen, large dining and living rooms, and 30-odd double bedrooms. But unsurprisingly, given its previous life, the house was in need of a strong dose of TLC. It got new SEPTEMBER 2016 | 79

A POP OF COLOR Previous page left: Members of the N.C. State Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life mingle with Triangle-area Kappa alumni at the house’s grand opening party in July. Previous page right: The Kappa Kappa Gamma living room sets the tone for the rest of the house: Sophisticated yet young and stylish, it’s also suited for the wearand-tear of college students. Hollowell found furniture and design elements from a myriad of sources, both for budget practicality and to keep things fun. “There’s a whole realm of things,” she says, “from antiques to things I shipped in from Target ... I mixed old and new.” The wooden chairs on the back wall are antiques, as are the chest and gold wall-mounted candle sconces. The iris painting that hangs above was made and donated by a local Kappa alumna. The N.C.-manufactured sofa and chair are upholstered in blue velvet, a luxurious choice that simultaneously hides spills and scuffs. A marble-topped coffee table sits atop an antelope hide rug made of polypropylene, which Hollowell says is “good for high traffic” and can be cleaned easily (while still looking chic). Above: Hollowell stands in the Kappa living room. Right: The study room is outfitted for late-night cram sessions. Stencil chairs Hollowell found online in white plastic sit at a distressed pine table long enough to accommodate a big group. The flower artwork on the wall from Wisteria provides a pop of color to keep things fresh. Opposite, above: A hallway lounge off the women’s rooms is a fun mish-mash. Lamps from Target mix with Vanguard upholstery, cowhide stools, and graphic art. Opposite, below: An L-shaped sofa sits at the opposite end of the study room, perfect for a quick power nap. Mirrors, pop art, and a colorful Target lamp keep the room feeling open.


SEPTEMBER 2016 | 81

GREEK LIFE Above: Guests enjoy the the house’s July opening party. Right: The dining room is industrial and spacious while still stylish. Blue-lacquered bamboo chairs were found online complete with cushions, “for budget and a pop of color,” says Hollowell, while the tables are from a restaurant-grade table website. Hollowell had banquettes custom-made at Williams Upholstery in an ikat fabric in blues, greens, and white to complement. Of course, they’re also teflon-treated for the inevitable spills. Opposite: Colorful art and accessories keep the hallway lounge eclectic and homey.


floors, a fresh coat of paint, and what Hollowell calls “a good scrubdown.” Then it was time to design the interiors. “There was zero personality,” she says. The house needed to get some, and it needed to work hard, too. It had to be comfortable but supersized; resilient but pretty. And the budget was tight. Hollowell says she was up to the challenge, taking into consideration its high traffic needs while “making it feel a little more residential.” Hollowell had previous experience designing furniture showrooms that spanned up to 60,000 square feet, so she wasn’t daunted by the scale. After visiting other sororities at State and UNC-Chapel Hill for inspiration, she sent visual design boards and budget breakdowns to Kappa officials for approval, outlining her plan for a young, colorful house with a touch of sophistication. The result is stylish and of-the-moment, but also practical. Hollowell is the mother of 15- and 17-year-old daughters, so she knows how young women live and what they need in a home. In the living room, dark colors (like navy velvet) and leather wear well and hide stains; the printed dining room banquette seats and backboards are Teflon-treated for easy wipe-downs. Lounge areas are hang-out ready with comfy sofas, while long tables with lots of seating and whiteboards on the walls are designed for studying. Bright colors, accessories, and colorful art abound. “It was a lot of fun,” Hollowell says of putting the space together. “It was just so different than anything I’ve ever done.” It’s enough to make anyone nostalgic for the college days. “I’m going to invite myself back there,” she says with a laugh. Can we come, too?


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Live It’s your life. Make the best of it. Kick back and spend time with the people you love, doing the things you love, in a place that makes you happy. At Allen Tate, we believe there’s no greater happiness than a life well-lived. And there’s no place like home. For more information, call 1-866-743-1101 or visit

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IF IT AIN’T BROKE… EAT IT Raleigh restaurants that have stood the test of time TRIED AND TRUE by FANNY SLATER photographs by JILL KNIGHT


Above: Guests dine at Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern in the restored Dodd-Hinsdale House in downtown Raleigh. Opposite: A fresh cannoli at Nina’s Ristorante; Nina’s owners Chef Vito Parisi and Tara Stockdale.

When I was 7, I asked my dad how the vacuum cleaner worked. “Just like the light switches,” he said without looking up from a platter of mustard-painted salmon. “Magic.” My mom happily supported this theory. Her head was often in another galaxy, but she also knew I had no legitimate interest in our Hoover’s air pressure or what made the room get brighter. I was a child guided by imagination, and my parents knew I would always prefer a state of “awe” over “oh.” Eventually I discovered light bulbs and realized they may have been pulling my leg on a few of those juvenile queries. One type of magic they did take very seriously, however, was food.


Our home was centered around scratch-made, epicurean cooking. As a result, we didn’t usually dine out. But when we did, we remained within a loyal rotation, a short list of establishments that nourished our appetites and our hearts. We had an unspoken bond with each beloved eatery as if it was a good friend. If it was my parents’ anniversary, for instance, my sister and I loosened our belts for Margaux’s profiteroles. If my mom had an appointment on Glenwood, a to-go bag with Neo-China’s shrimp and walnuts would soon grace our countertop. If my dad had a sore throat, I’d be off to Boondini’s for its hearty chicken-and-vegetable soup. Enveloped in this familiar cuisine bubble for most of my young adulthood, I was completely unaware of how common it was for restaurants to turn over or to simply shut down. I assumed the establishments I loved would always be there for me. So far, so good. Now that I know how rare it is for a restaurant to last, I decided the bread burned,” she says, laughing. to try to figure how they pull it off. The authenticity of Nina’s food is one part of its secret. Its What do my favorites do to survive in such a cutthroat industry? old-fashioned warmth and traditional setting is another. Burnt orWhat’s the secret of their staying power? ange walls, brass chandeliers, sculptures, and a hillside mural set the With a fork in one hand and a pen in the other, I set out on a scene. mission to uncover the magic at work behind some of Raleigh’s lonOne recent evening I found myself there, afloat in a sea of herby, gest-lasting, most beloved restaurants. Turns out they share pride in unapologetically velvety Penne a la Vodka, with nothing to grab what they do, an enthusiastic commitment hold of but a slice of crusty bread dripping to service and good food, a love of tradiwith finely chopped tomatoes and sharp “Can you call my house tion, and a belief in consistentency. balsamic. I’m not the only one who’s exphone?I think there’s a hunk perienced an other-worldly meal in this Nina’s Ristorante of Parmesan stuck in my cell spot. Most folks leave most restaurants by Have you ever tasted a dish that defies paying the bill. Here, nearly every patron and I can’t hear a thing…” everything you thought you knew about exits with a hug and a kiss. food? The first time I savored a forkful of It has been that way from the beginthe elusive Eggplant Rollantini at Nina’s Ristorante, I slipped into ning. Nina’s had been open a mere seven months when Psarros sufan altered state of consciousness. I wondered: How in the world can fered an unthinkable tragedy: Her son and mother were killed in something be so rich, yet so light at the same time? a car accident that also gravely injured Psarros and her father. She I call Nina Psarros. “Can you call my house phone?” she asks. “I already had a community of generous, faithful customers who did think there’s a hunk of Parmesan stuck in my cell and I can’t hear a everything under the Tuscan sun to nurse Nina’s family back to good thing.” health and spirits. “It was never about the almighty dollar anyway,” The irreverant Psarros launched her first endeavor, Da Nina’s, Psarros says, “and Raleigh suddenly became home.” a wildly popular, four-star New York Italian eatery, in 1987. Lucky Several years later, Nina stepped down and handed it all over for those of us located a bit farther south, this firecracker and her to two members of her team: Chef Vito Parisi and Tara Stockdale. loving husband Chris transported their garlic-infused aspirations to After six years in Nina’s kitchen, Vito knew how to create the dishes Raleigh in 1999, when they opened Nina’s Ristorante on Lead Mine customers had come to expect. “I focus on new creations like homeRoad. The place was a hit from day one. made pastas for specials,” Parisi says. “But I keep the menu the same Psarros has no professional culinary training, but she says her for regulars.” love for fine food began long before she became a successful restauIn three simple words, he pinpoints his secret: “I’m very happy.” rateur. “My mother gave birth to me in a Sicilian kitchen and all of Stockdale says she knew what she was taking on when she stepped SEPTEMBER 2016 | 87

SERVICE FIRST Lunchtime in the main dining area at Side Street in historic Oakwood. Side Street owner Mary Lu Wooten, above right, says, “We don’t complicate things.”

memories of this café, it only takes one visit for it to stick. The simple menu – which showcases recipes from Wooten’s childhood, like outrageous pimento cheese – is full of playfully named lunch and dinner items. While the sides rule, Side Street’s homemade sandwiches and sweets are worth a detour. Want to know how the real regulars do it? Start with the bread pudding, and save your triple-decker clubhouse for dessert. “It’s about service,” Wooten says, “not the almighty dollar.” (I’m seeing a pattern here.) In addition to a friendly, welcoming staff, Side Street has Why not open another offered the same humble selections for deSide Street Café location? “Well, I wouldn’t be cades. “We don’t complicate things,” WooThe only thing more delightful than there when people come to ten says. She believes that the food should the chicken salad at Oakwood’s Side Street be recognizable, comforting, and elicit the Café is the owner herself. Mary Lu Wooten visit!” Wooten exclaims. same warm feeling you get when you come took over the former Corner Cupboard in back home. Wooten does make it a point to 1979, a time when Raleigh’s dining scene accommodate individuals with dietary needs, and thanks to guests’ consisted of a scant handful of choices. These days, historic Oakrequests over the years (and a nod to nutrition), a few healthful dishwood and its surrounding neighborhoods offer up fare of all kinds, es have made their way on to the menu. The fresh corn and bean but some things just don’t need fixing. salad, for instance, is so good it’s lick-the-plate worthy. Raise your hand if you went to Peace College (when it was still With such reliable, continued success, why not open another loPeace College) and counted on a Side Street sandwich to get you cation? “Well, I wouldn’t be there when people come to visit!” Woofrom class to class. And if I had a nickel for every time I scraped ten exclaims. So unless she figures out how to be two places at once, through the crevices of my car in search of loose change to pay for you’ll have to swing through Oakwood to appreciate Side Street’s that extra cup of Side Street ranch dressing – well, I’d probably have unique sparkle. 225 N. Bloodworth St. more ranch. Even if your college days weren’t studded with satisfying into the pilot position. “It was important for Nina to give the restaurant to people who would keep the spirit of her and Chris alive.” Nina’s vivacious energy is no longer present in the dining room, but as Stockdale points out, “She’s not here, but she’s here.” You can still find Psarros at Positalia Italian Eatery in Wilmington and Brier Creek, where she is executive chef. 8801 Lead Mine Road;


Second Empire Downtown Raleigh has seen a culinary boom in the past five years. From food trucks to brewpubs to local hot spots from James Beard award-winning chefs (lookin’ at you, A.C.), there’s no shortage of excellent places to eat. But Google the words “downCONSISTENT town Raleigh dining” and one restaurant shoots to Original owners Ted and Peggy Executive the top of the list. Second Empire, currently apReynolds, top left, can often be Chef Daniel Schurr seen enjoying an early dinner proaching its 20th anniversary, has held strong as together at the Second Empire says that operatone of Raleigh’s most treasured culinary destinations. Tavern bar. Second Empire Chef ing a kitchen of Daniel Schurr, top right, adds I speak as a lifer. From awkward teenage pre-prom finishing touches to a dinner Second Empire’s meals to elegant grown-up celebrations, I’ve done a plate during the dinner rush. magnitude – and Hard-boiled eggs have been lot of fine dining within these historic walls. offered at the tavern bar since keeping it running The restaurant, housed in a historic residence, ofTed Reynolds saw them in New like a well-oiled York years ago. fers three different dining options. The main, formal machine – is about dining room upstairs is tailor-made for fine dining and special occasions. The stylish downstairs tavern features lighter one thing: “Consistency,” he says, “is the seasonal fare like the seafood paella with spicy chorizo, herbaceous biggest driving force.” There’s that word again. Schurr emphasizes that his “eat with your eyes” technique is eflocal fish, and saffron-perfumed rice; it also “We’re the place where you fective and motivates guests to return again offers the main dining room menu. Second and again. Empire’s third option is glass-encased and come for special occasions,” Instead of relying on overly complex, romantic. “The atrium is our in-between,” Schurr says, “and I’ll take that fleeting trends (no pretentious foams or owner Kim Reynolds says. “It’s on the tavall day long.” gases here), Schurr’s style is classic. “My ern level, but thanks to white tablecloths, influence is French, but now as an artist I it’s not quite as casual.” When asked to break down the formula behind one of the city’s focus on what inspires me – like the seasons,” he says. “Sometimes I’ll best-loved and most time-honored establishments, Reynolds has one take a bike ride in nature and come back to the kitchen and create.” First-timers, Reynolds says, are often wooed by the history of the word: consistency. “When it comes to a place that people treat like home, it’s important to assure them that nothing will change. We house. But it’s the first-rate cuisine and competent staff that make were mindful to accomplish this through the recession, and made it them return and spread the word. “We’re the place where you come a point not to downsize portions or cut back on quality, service, and for special occasions,” Schurr says, “and I’ll take that all day long.” atmosphere.” Keeping this sturdy environment encouraged diners to 330 Hillsborough St.; create a special place in their hearts for Second Empire. Its harmonious rhythm never skips a beat. SEPTEMBER 2016 | 89



From left: Neomonde’s Chris Saleh, vice president of retail; Betty Saleh, research and development; Laura Saleh, catering director; and Charles Scott, Beryl Road general manager. Neomonde’s famous silky hummus. Aman McCargo bakes Lebanese three-cheese pie during the lunch rush.

expansive store selling specialty foods. “HavIf I could swim in Neomonde’s hummus, I would. From the ing authentic Lebafirst sesame pita-smeared scoop of this righteously creamy spread, nese ingredients and my family and I were hooked, and we’ve stocked it in our fridge for Neomonde Bakery products in our market section is a great conyears. In case I didn’t make myself clear just now: holy hummus. nection with our customers.” That’s not all this Middle Eastern restaurant, founded nearly 40 The Saleh family’s own kitchen provides a benchmark for the years ago by four Lebanese brothers, does well. Neomonde’s freshly quaility of the food they sell, they say. Their matriarch, Cecilia, they made fare draws lines at mealtimes from a community of diehards say, wouldn’t have had it any other way. Her who won’t go anywhere else for their tabouli, original recipes form the basis for much of pita, fattoush, or kabobs. Or kibbeh. Or bakla“It’s literally like we the kitchen creates. “It’s literally like we va. This is no quick-stop Shawarma shop. moved our home kitchen what moved our home kitchen to the restaurant,” “We are constantly challenging ourselves to the restaurant, and it’s says Chris Saleh, “and it’s been that way since to recreate ourselves,” says Sam Saleh, Neobeen that way since my my Grandma Cecilia and the brothers started monde’s president and one of the restaurant’s founding brothers. His family’s “fanatical” deGrandma Cecilia and the in 1977.” Please pass the hummus! 3817 Beryl sire to provide a one-of-a-kind experience is brothers started in 1977.” another secret behind its prolonged existence, Road; he says. The focus on being unique is particularly evident in its catering business. Laura Saleh, who runs the catering operation, says Neomonde’s untraditional event setup, with “intricate plating and buffet design,” makes Neomonde stand out. The Saleh brothers also believe in modernizing and fine-tuning the business. “Our new iPad ordering and table tracking systems make it faster and easier to get to guests,” says Chris Saleh, who runs the retail and marketing division, and is a nephew of one of the founding brothers. About the food. House favorites include the ever-so-silky, olive-topped hummus; tomato-flecked tabouli; and savory majadarah. Although neither my mom or I have ever been able to pronounce majadarah, that’s never stopped us from begging for “extra caramelized onions on the lentils, please.” Neomonde also harbors a resourceful mindset, so you can find imaginative dishes like kale stems in a luscious lemon-tahini dressing. Sam Saleh’s wife Betty says the team is also proud to offer an 90 | WALTER

AT THE table





MOST ENTHUSIASTIC COOKS I KNOW HAVE AN INGREDIENT THAT THEY love to experiment with, something that allows them an exit ramp off the highway of cooking routines. For me, that ingredient is chile peppers. During my childhood, our pepper supply didn’t go much further than ground cayenne in a canister and the occasional jalapeño. Then, around my freshman year of college, I purchased the cookbook of one of my favorite Los Angeles chefs at the time, Suzanne Goin. Nearly every single one of her recipes in Sunday Suppers at Lucques photographs by JILLIAN CLARK


TRI-PLY JALAPEÑO POPPERS Makes 30, with leftover pepper paste and pickled peppers For the pickled peppers: 2 cups hot chile peppers (such as jalapeños, chiles de arbol, or Thai bird chiles) 3 garlic cloves ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds ¼ teaspoon coriander seeds ½ teaspoon black peppercorns 1 cup cider vinegar ¼ cup sugar 2 tablespoons kosher salt For the pepper paste: 4 ounces dried peppers – a mix of smoky (like morita, ancho, or urfa biber) and fruity (like New Mexico or pasilla) 1 large bell pepper 2 tablespoons tomato paste 2 garlic cloves 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil For the poppers: One 8-ounce block cream cheese, at room temperature 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar ¼ cup minced scallions ¼ cup minced cilantro 1 tablespoon pepper paste (see above) 2 tablespoons minced pickled peppers, plus 1 tablespoon of the leftover pickling liquid (see above) ½ cup diced tomato 15 jalapeños Make the pickled peppers: Trim and discard the stems from the peppers and cut into rings. Loosely pack the pepper rings into a pint jar, along with the garlic, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, and peppercorns. In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, so that the sugar and salt dissolve. Pour the warm liquid over the peppers, cover, and let sit for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight) before using. The pickles will keep in the refrigerator for 4 weeks. Make the pepper spread: Place the dried peppers in a medium bowl, and cover with hot water. Let sit for 20 minutes, until they are softened. Drain, remove the stems, and transfer the peppers to a food processor. Preheat the broiler, and arrange the oven rack close to the broiler element. Place the red pepper on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil until the pepper’s skin is dark all over and the pepper is deflated, rotating with tongs throughout, about 15 minutes total. Transfer the pepper to a metal bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let steam for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the skin, seeds, and stem of the pepper, and place the flesh in a food processor with the rehydrated chiles. Add the tomato paste, garlic, salt, and oil, and process until smooth. The pepper paste will keep in a lidded container for 2 weeks. Make the poppers: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, scallions, cilantro, pepper paste, pickled peppers with their liquid, and tomato until well combined. Remove the stems from the jalapeños, and slice them in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and inner membranes, then fill each pepper half with some of the filling. Place the filled pepper halves on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 18-to-20 minutes, until the peppers are softened and the filling is golden-brown in spots. Let cool slightly, then serve warm.

called for chile de arbol, with the same reflexive comfort that most cooks call for salt and black pepper. At the time, I couldn’t find it in any of my nearby grocery stores, and the search for it became a minor obsession. Finally, I walked into a Latin grocery store and there it was, right in front of me, along a wall with approximately 20 other types of chiles, most of which I’d never heard of. I stocked up on the chiles de arbol, in both fresh and dried form, and then loaded my basket with as many other types that I could find. It was the entrance to a rabbit hole. A trip to the nearest Asian market provided another wall of chiles, all different. Soon my web history was filled with searches for chiles from every possible corner of the world: cascabels, piri piri, aji dulce, aji amarillo, four types of paprika, scotch bonnets, urfa biber. It’s a habit that I’ve continued, such that now I have an entire shelf of my pantry devoted to chiles. And the daunting task of figuring out how to use them. But there’s good news on that front. One of the reasons why every possible food culture seems to make room for chiles is because they are the kitchen version of a Swiss Army Knife: endlessly adaptable, easily preserved, and globally indispensable. Flavor-wise, the first, most obvious profile of chiles is heat. But beyond that, they can contribute a fruity, yet savory flavor; acid; sweetness; even smoke. What other vegetable has the potential for all that? Preservation-wise, they make a killer pickle, are easily dried for later use, ground into powder, and of course, made into hot sauce – arguably the world’s most beloved and ubiquitous condiment. And recipe-wise, there’s no end to what you can do with them. By focusing on chiles, my repertoire has opened up dramatically, with forays into Tex-Mex-style chile gravy for enchiladas, sharply spicy green papaya salads, Indian biryanis and vindaloos, chicken paprikash (invented by Hungary, embraced by the Midwest). Our region has all the right features for growing this late summer crop, and as a result, the farmers market booms with yellow, orange, red, and green chile peppers this time of year: Jalapeños and habaneros with far more crunch and heat than the supermarket version, plus a wellspring of lesser-known quantities, such as lunch box peppers, sweet cubanelles, pimenta de cheiros, sweet bananas, shishitos, cayennes, and more. If you’re not sure where to start, consider this recipe for stuffed pepper (left). What looks like a basic and familiar jalapeño popper has three layers of chiles: a harissa-style pepper paste, minced pickled peppers, and then the peppers that act as vessels for the filling. The two base recipes will serve you in endless additional capacities, so consider doubling up on the recipe.

SEPTEMBER 2016 | 93

AT THE table


Welcome to the neighborhood




“IT’S REALLY ALL IN THE NAME,” SAYS DRAM & DRAUGHT CO-OWNER Kevin Barrett, looking around the interior of his new bar, housed in a 1930s-era building that sat empty on Hillsborough Street for eight years. The previous gas station and automotive shop Barrett and his business partner Drew Schenck have turned into their new bar is a draw in itself, with exposed brick, a throwback Esso sign, old junkyard car benches as sofas, headlight-style ceiling lamps, whiskey barrel seating, and garage doors that roll up to an outdoor patio. But the real emphasis is on what they serve. For those wondering, a dram is a measurement of liquid usually associated with types of whiskeys, and a draught is a pour of beer. So, naturally, the bar boasts an im-


photographs by KEITH ISAACS

BARKEEP Kevin Barrett puts the finishing touches on the Flynn’s Folly.

pressive whiskey collection and a variety of beers on tap. “I love whiskey,” says Barrett, for its versatility in cocktails and for the variety of types available. “I’m always in the mood for (it) … dangerously so.” His bar, which opened in late July, prides itself on a large and eclectic mix of whiskeys and draft beer. But the partners aren’t wedded to just those two libations. “We’re going to have a little bit of everything,” says Barrett. “I’ve worked at other places that have focused on one thing to the point of excluding other things … we’re trying to accommodate everybody.” When conceptualizing the space, Barrett drew on previous experience in the hospitality management and bartending worlds. He has plenty. The Philadelphia native moved to Wilmington as a teenager, eventually opening a wine shop. When he made the move to Raleigh, he spent several years at Foundation as the manager and barman, working at other haunts like C. Grace Cocktail Bar and Fox Liquor Bar, too. “I think bartending is like a mental illness,” Barrett says, adding with a laugh, “you either have it or you don’t.” Clearly he has the touch, without the illness. “Those experiences, and all the experiences I’ve had at all the bars and

restaurants I’ve worked at before I moved to Raleigh, gelled into this,” he says. “I tried to take the best parts of every place I worked at and create a spot like this.” He’s careful not to call it a cocktail bar: He doesn’t want it to seem fancy or pretentious, and instead says he wants it to be “a good neighborhood bar that also has really great cocktails.” And he’s excited about the location: “Everybody in Raleigh has looked at this spot,” he says. Across the Char-Grill on Hillsborough, it’s walking distance from downtown, Glenwood Avenue, Boylan Heights, and the Cameron Village area. Barrett calls it a good “in-between” place, and says that he’s just happy he and Schenk get to make it their own. “It’s this key location that people walk by, they drive by … Everybody’s had an idea about what they could do in this spot, so everybody’s anxious to see what we’ve done.” He is too. “It’s everything. It’s exciting, it’s stressful, overwhelming, joyous … It’s everything. It’s a ton of work, and hopefully it’s rewarding.” After all that elbow grease, Barrett is ready to go. “I can’t wait to make a drink and sell it to somebody,” he says with a laugh. “It’s been a long road.” › Drink recipe on next page

SEPTEMBER 2016 | 95


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FLYNN’S FOLLY 1 ½ ounces jalapeño-infused Exotico Blanco tequila*

¾ ounce fresh lime juice ¾ ounce strawberry simple syrup*

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Mint sprig, for garnish

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Splash of soda water Add all ingredients except soda to a cocktail shaker and add ice. Shake and strain into a collins glass over ice and top with soda water. Add a sprig of mint for an aromatic garnish that adds a nice color contrast. Impress your friends with your literary and mixology prowess: Tell them you invented it, and call it a “Tequila Mockingbird.”

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*Exotico Blanco tequila infusion Cut the stem off 1 medium-sized jalapeño and discard. Slice the jalapeño and place in sealed container with 1 bottle of Exotico Blanco tequila for approximately 24 hours. To make infusion less spicy, leave jalapeño in for less time or exclude the seeds. One bottle, one jalapeño, one day.

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*Strawberry-infused simple syrup Mix 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water and heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove stems and slice in ½ cup of strawberries. Allow simple syrup to cool slightly, then add strawberries. Do not add strawberries to boiling or near-boiling water. Use a hand blender to puree strawberries for 1-2 minutes. If you don’t have a hand blender, use a potato masher, your trusty muddler, or whatever creative, safe tool you can find. Strain the whole concoction through a mesh sieve and use a whisk to gently push the solution through the sieve. Feeling epicurean? Add a few sprigs of mint to the syrup and let steep for 5 minutes before removing.

623 Hillsborough St.;

WALTER profile


PEACE Braima Moiwai and the djembe



photographs by PETER HOFFMAN


Sierra Leone, West Africa, Dodo village, 1965: It is a land of cascading rolling hills. To get there, travel eastward from the Atlantic Ocean, journey through virgin forests dotted with oil palm and cotton, shade cocoa, coffee, and upland rice fields; scaling a topography like a series of steps. By the time you reach the highest plateau in the village of Dodo, some 250 miles inland and two miles above sea level, you can spot the borders of Guinea and Liberia. It is up there, nestled in a rainforest, that a drummer stands among the mbelay and njile trees and begins to play. The drum in his hands is the djembe, pronounced “jem-bay.” It is goblet-shaped, rope-tuned, membrane-covered, and carved from a hardwood tree. The man is called a djembefola, one who plays the djembe.


Lissa Gotwals

Braima Moiwai, who has lived in Durham for the past 30 years, grew up in Dodo village and remembers this man, his music, and its significance. “Based on the patterns the drummer plays, the entire village would know if someone had died, or had been born, if there was a naming ceremony, a rite of passage, or if slave catchers were nearby,” he says. “Back during slavery, Dodo village was the place where people who lived in the other villages would come to hide.” The djembe, arguably the most iconic instrument on the African continent, dates its origins to the 12th century in Mali, West Africa. According to Mali’s Bambara people, the name djembe comes from the saying, “anke djé, anke bé,” which translates to “everyone gather in peace.” In the Bambara language, djé is the verb for “gather” and bé translates as “peace.” Moiwai’s fore-parents migrated from Mali to the forest region of Sierra Leone in 1557. He grew up listening to the call of the djembe. Now, decades later and 4,500 miles away, he builds them, he plays them, and he tells their stories.

Master storyteller, capable musician On a sunny, late June morning in West Durham, Moiwai, 55, is stirred awake, not by the call of the drum, but by a clock radio that rouses him to the sounds of WUNC. The voice of Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s then-presumptive nominee, is explaining why Britain’s exit from the European Union is a good thing, and that America needs to secure its borders. Moiwai sighs and starts his day. He will spend the morning repairing and completing three drums: a dark-wood djembe from Senegal that’s more than 30 years old, a small 100 | WALTER

brown-wood djembe he’s making for a kindergartner, and a kinkine, the smallest of the three drums that make up the djembe’s bass accompaniment in West African music orchestrations. Dressed in a blue striped mudcloth dashiki and colorful trousers he calls his “djembe pants,” Moiwai gets to work on his second-floor balcony, surrounded by drums from Ghana, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, and Sierra Leone. He has been building djembes for more than two decades, and rarely sells them. Instead he uses them as teaching tools. Sharing his culture by building drums, playing their music, and telling stories has enabled him to make a modest living in America, where he has raised two children who are now grown. For the past 30 years, he has put on a rough-hewn dashiki, matching pants, brogues, and a wide-brimmed, conical straw hat, stuffed his battered blue Volvo with djembe and djun djun drums, and driven across the southeastern United States to perform for audiences and students of all ages in classrooms, community centers, colleges, former slave plantations, hospitals, and informal settings. When he performs, he becomes the music; dancing and telling stories with a wide grin and eyes that light up, bringing to mind a modern-day Anancy – the famed trickster of West African lore. “Man, I grew up in a village, and when I came to America that village jumped out of me!” he says with a big grin. The stories Moiwai shares were first recited to him over 50 years ago as a little boy. He remembers

Sharing his culture by building drums, playing their music, and telling stories has enabled him to make a modest living in America. being enthralled by the knowledge and wisdom his grandmother shared with him while he came of age. “Grand Mam Ma say …” is Moiwai’s enduring overture to the tales he shares from this ancient, Confucian-like wellspring about any thoughtful matter, great or small. Her legacy lives on in stories and in food. “Grand Mam Ma say, Ba-le-ma bi-la-meh-hema!, which in the Mende language means, ‘Remember your food!’” The college-educated man delights in the wisdom of the beloved elder who guides him, even today. Turns out, a lot of the people in Moiwai’s homeland remembered that sage advice, even when they were in chains. During the transatlantic slave trade, many of them – the Gullah people in particular – were stolen away from their villages to South Carolina and Georgia because of their knowledge of rice cultivation. Some believe that rice and music are linked, that one may have begot the other. They point to the goblet-shaped mortar used throughout West Africa to clean grains – and the deep resonant sound it can create when struck with a pestle – as the djembe’s possible inspiration.

Sending a message Moiwai inspects a cylindrical-shaped kinkine drum that he has covered with skins, one goat, the other calf. Moiwai soaked the skins overnight to make them easier to work with before placing them over the drum shell openings and weaving them in place with rope. Hair remains on their surface. He talks about the instrument while he works.

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“The name of the drum depends on where you are,” he says. “There’s the Mali influence, the French influence, and the Mandé influence. Mbe is the Mandé word for drum. It has always brought people together. When you strike it, it sends a message. When you want people in one village to know something is happening, you just hit it. The way you strike it, the pattern that you play, can tell that someone just died. The way you hit it can tell that someone has been born, or that it is time to come together.” Moiwai uses four metal rings to hold the skins in place with a series of rope loops. Two rings are placed on either side of the drum. One is placed inside of the curled outer ring of the skin. The other ring is placed on top of the skin, “like a hat,” Moiwai says. Then he takes a long piece of rope and runs

When he performs, he becomes the music. it up and down on both sides of the drum. After the skins are woven onto the top of the drums, Moiwai ties them and puts them outside on his balcony for several days, depending on the weather, to dry. Then he’ll pull the ropes in earnest to tighten their skins, and let the drums settle outside. He’ll use a broken piece of glass to shave the skins’ hair, and tighten them once more. Then he will play it for a few days to help the skin settle in place. It’s important to have enough rope left over after the initial weaving, he says, so there’s enough left for tuning. “In any kind of traditional weaving – like hammocks – the rope goes through the loops twice because it’s going to allow the rope to move more freely in those loops,” he says as he works. “You go under two ropes, over one, under one, and then twist it and pull it. If you do that it gives you the shape of a diamond.” Before long, Moiwai has three horizontal rows of diamonds that circle the barrel of the drum. The diamonds tighten the skin until it’s pulled taut. “That’s the tuning,” Moiwai says. The finished drum produces a startling variety of sounds. To the uninitiated, it can sound as if more than one person is playing. “If you give life to the djembe, it becomes a living entity in the sense that it has magical powers, even for a child,” Moiwai says as he works on the kindergartner’s little drum. “I’m just one of the spirits who makes it a djembe. There’s the spirit of the tree, the spirit of the animal, and the spirit of the music. As the maker and how you pull the djembe, you bring that spirit.”

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hat was surprising was the sound that came from it,” says Durham’s Khalid Abdul N’Faly Saleem, an African music specialist who is considered one of the djembe’s premier ambassadors. He has served for more than 30 years on the music faculty of the American Dance Festival, and was a founding member and first musical director of the Chuck Davis African American Dance Ensemble.

Braima Moiwai studied with Saleem in the 1980s, but he credits Fahali Igbo, another musician who worked with Davis’s AADE, with teaching him the finer points of building djembe drums. Nevertheless, Saleem has done as much as anyone else to spread the music of the djembe far and wide. He first heard the instrument in the early 1960s at Madison Square Garden’s Felt Forum. “The type of sound that it produced, the range of the sound, the brightness, the excitement of it, especially with the orchestra” hooked him, he says. Saleem, 66, is a beloved figure in the African dance world. Gracious and modest, even while onstage performing, Saleem embodies the Malinke people of Mali who say that a skilled djembe drummer is one who “can make the djembe talk.” He has had a powerful influence on the development of the djembe and played throughout Asia, including Japan and Korea. In 1982, Saleem and dance titan Davis moved to Durham and got busy generating interest in the art form. The duo traveled throughout the Triangle, all over the state, and into other Southern states. And while Davis demonstrated the joy of dance, Saleem was like the Johnny Appleseed of the African djembe; a pioneer for the instrument’s acceptance in the South no less; a land where at one point in its history, a black man owning a drum was guilty of an offense punishable by death. Saleem also taught community classes at a local elementary school and at his former West Durham home. He helped to launch the careers of a great many djembefolas, storytellers, and dancers who were his students, and he made the Bull City one of the nation’s African drum capitals that continues to attract other world-class djembefolas from all over the world: Pline Mounzeo from Congo, Osei Appiagyei of Ghana, Teli Shabu from Liberia, and Cheikh Dieng from Senegal. Modibo Keita, Fa-


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hali Igbo, and Akunda Lumumba from Detroit have made Durham their home; so have Fred Strauther from east St. Louis, and Bradley Simmons from Brooklyn. Homegrown virtuosos like Atiba Rorie and Bashir Shakur make the community even richer. Saleem made significant changes to the djembe’s tuning system that have been universally adopted. Though he first heard the drum played professionally at Madison Square Garden, he had seen the drum before, usually at antique stores. The instruments were typically in bad shape. When the African musicians brought their instruments over, Saleem noticed that instead of using rings and ropes, the skins were sewn into place with strips of rawhide. Sometimes the drummers used pegs and wedges that were placed between the rawhide and drum surface to tighten the skin, but then had to use a hot plate or other heating source to keep the skin taut. “One day I decided that I wanted to devise a no-hole system and one that didn’t use the sewing method,” Saleem said. Apparently others were thinking the same thing. Another African American drum legend, “Chief Commander” Ebenezer Obey, is widely credited with developing the new system for building and tuning the djembe. “We must have been in a parallel universe, thinking the same thing,” Saleem said about the recently deceased Obey’s innovative effort. Saleem said it was in the 1970s when he first tried using bands of wood and rope to tighten the drum skin. Then he started thinking about the construction of conga drums and tried using coat hangers to make the rings of the drum before relying on galvanized steel. “Now people think it’s from Africa,” Saleem said with a wry smile, “There’s no ‘Mali roping system.’ They got it from us.”



Life at The Cypress of Raleigh, a Life Plan Community for active seniors, is all about choice. Enjoy dinner with friends in one of our four dining venues. Enjoy a long walk with your dog or a work out in the gym with your trainer. Take part in a fascinating lecture or curl up with a good book. The choice is always yours! Come and see for yourself the advantages of The Cypress Life.

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photographs by NICK PIRONIO

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EQUESTRIENNE a passion pursued by LIZA ROBERTS


WHEN PHYLLIS YORK BROOKSHIRE RIDES HER AMERICAN SADDLEBRED into the ring at the North Carolina State Championship Charity Horse Show this month, she’ll take him through the five gaits that make his breed unique. She’ll do it with the calm, practiced authority she is known for. Odds are, the Raleighite will outshine the competition. This multi-titled world champion equestrienne competes regularly on the national and world level, and has a habit of racking up wins.

“My goal every year is to compete for a world championship title,” she says. “I don’t expect that I’m going to win one every year, but I want to be competitive.” At her stable in Asheboro, exercising her newest horse, the powerful 17-hand Any Night, Brookshire takes him smoothly from a trot to a slow gait. Looking on are her husband Don Brookshire, a career horse trainer and breeder, and Matt Shiflet, who trains the couple’s horses. “When she rides,” Shiflet says, “she’s fearless, and she works so hard. She’s all in. Just like she is with her job.” It’s a big one. Brookshire is president of the regional real estate giant Allen Tate Realtors, overseeing all residential operations, including more than 1,400 realtors and 200 staff across four regions. Brookshire got the job after launching and building the company’s Raleigh area operations in 2007, just before the bottom fell out of the real estate market. “The job she did helping us navigate through the longest housing recession in history was second to none,” says Pat Riley, president and CEO of Allen Tate Companies. “The perfection she strives for in everything, coupled with that competitive nature … that drive, determination, and passion … is very special.” By all accounts, Brookshire comes by it naturally. When she was growing up on land that would become part of Ravenscroft

School in North Raleigh, her father, the influential Raleigh developer J. “Willie” York, thought a horse would be good for her. It was the early ’70s, there weren’t many sports available to girls, and the man who built Cameron Village believed caring for and riding a horse could teach his daughter what sports can: confidence, responsibility, and discipline. Phyllis, then 8, jumped at the chance. Every morning, she walked to the farm next door to take care of her horse, and every afternoon after school, she rode it. She begged her father to allow her to compete in a horse show. “He said: We’re not going to show, I just want you to have a horse to ride.” Brookshire persevered; she won the first class she entered, and soon, her life revolved around horses. After she spent three summers in a row riding in Ohio, her father acknowledged the significance of her chosen sport. “If this is all you’re going to do,” he said, “why don’t we just build a farm and I’ll do it with you. You can do it at home.” York didn’t know anything about horses, but that didn’t stop him from converting land he owned in Clayton to a horse farm, hiring a trainer, and launching a breeding operation with 20 horses. “He was a businessman,” she says today. “He could figure out most anything.”

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CHAMPIONS Left: Brookshire with Cosa Nostra, who won the 2015 World Champion of Champions Amateur Fine Harness competition and has several other titles. Opposite: Brookshire on Any Night at Matt Shiflet Stables in Asheboro; As a young rider in 1971 with her first horse, M.J.’s Maria, at Tara Farm in Raleigh.

Her father must have figured out early on that his daughter had the potential to build an impressive career in any field, including his own – she was a Morehead Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill, after all. But he may not have known at the outset that she would one day become a multi-titled world champion equestrienne. “It was not his plan that I was going to get quite as deep into it,” she says today, “but I did.”

A passion pursued Matt Shiflet Stables in Asheboro is a pretty hour-and-a-half’s drive down Route 64 from Raleigh. Home to a breed of handsome, muscular horses known for their five gaits (walk, trot, slow gait, rack, and canter), their high carriage, and their versatility, Shiflet’s operation is pristine. Fresh poplar sawdust lines the floors of its barns; raked sandy soil provides sure footing in its rings. Brookshire and her husband Don keep their horses here and consider Shiflet, whom they’ve known for years, a partner in their equestrian pursuits. A member of the board of directors of the American Saddlebred Horse Association, Shiflet has helped the Brookshires find, purchase, and train their horses for the last eight years.

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On this bright, blue-sky summer day, Brookshire and her husband have come to take Any Night through his paces. As Don Brookshire watches his wife ride assuredly past, he smiles. “She loves it for the right reasons,” he says. “Phyllis always liked it because she liked the horses.” But she’s successful, he says, because she takes it seriously. “She’s one of those people: When she’s going to show a horse, she prepares for it. It’s not just a fun thing for her.” During show season – a six-month span that typically ends in September or October – the two of them are out here once or twice a month to practice with Any Night, Cosa Nostra, or their 3-year-old, Texas Pete, and they’re on the road for a week at a time for horse shows, about six of them a year. The couple has recently bought land down the road from the stables with the plan of building a second home, getting them closer to their horses – and also closer to a good deal of Brookshire’s work, which includes regular travel to Greenville, S.C., and to 42 Allen Tate offices throughout the region. Brookshire credits the company for enabling her to pursue her passion for horses with the same commitment she brings to her work. “It’s an organization that’s very focused on enjoying your life,” she says, crediting CEO Pat Riley with encouraging all employees to find balance: “You’ve got 168 hours in a week,” she recalls him saying, “how are you going to spend it?” Employees are encouraged to think about their lives as wheels made up of different components: work, family, community, and passions, for instance. “If you get out of whack, your wheel’s not going to turn,” she says. “If you spend way too much time in the work zone, your family’s going to suffer. If you spend too much time in the family zone, work’s going to suffer. It’s all about how to make the wheel run smoothly, and it’s different for everyone.” Brookshire’s wheel hums when she’s riding. She says a rigorous approach is key: “I’m organized. I’m system-oriented. That helps me do multiple things. I hate the word multitasking, but being able to focus in when you need to, and being able to juggle multiple balls at one time” makes it possible, she says. So does genuine, heartfelt enthusiasm. “You have to love what you do,” she says. “I love riding. I love competing. I love real estate, and I love my company. I think your mindset is very important.”

work for the family business by taking on a few projects for York Properties. “One thing led to another,” she says, and “I fell in love with it.” She was chief operating officer for the company when she decided to leave. She had a “different philosophy of where to go and how to get there,” she recalls. “It was their company, and they needed someone who was going to follow their vision.” Not long after, Allen Tate came calling. Today Brookshire says she loves the role she’s in with the company. “My job is really to coach and mentor my team,” she says. “My satisfaction is: I’ve guided you, or held you accountable, and you’ve succeeded. When I see people succeed, that’s when I get excited.” Which is not so different from the pleasure she gets and the skill she brings to riding: “I love the animals,” she says. “I love connecting with them and figuring out how to get the best out of them. I like competing. I like to win. I like to know I gave it my best effort.” Shiflet whistles and claps his hands as Brookshire glides past on Any Night. The trainer wants the horse to be accustomed to the sounds of a crowd. The horse doesn’t flinch, and neither does its rider. “P.Y.,” as he calls her, is a natural, he says. “She’s got great balance with the horse,” he says, “and a great feel for it. She’s fearless.” Brookshire will tell you it’s simply who she is. “It’s what I’ve done my whole life,” she says. “It’s how I met my husband. It’s just been great.” Hers is clearly optimistic, practiced, and assured. As she sits straight-backed astride her horse, there’s no doubt who’s in charge. One of her advantages, she says, is that she doesn’t get nervous before a competition, which translates directly to the horse and makes communication with the animal fluid, and success mutual. Brookshire draws a parallel to her work life, where she relies on her ability to calmly, carefully coach an agent through a challenge. She credits her father for her ability to remain calm under pressure. “That’s probably the best lesson my Dad taught me: worry about the things you can control; don’t worry about the things you can’t. I adopted that very early on. Because this is a crap-shoot some days,” she gestures to the 1,100 pound animal she needs to coax into a precise performance, “and so are things at work.” Brookshire has long been adept at handling the unexpected. In 1998, she upended her life as a professional horse trainer with her husband in Kentucky to return home to help take care of her ailing mother. “We don’t have kids, so it made it easier for me to do that,” she says. When her mother passed away not long after she’d arrived, Brookshire decided to shift gears again, going to

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BOOK SMART Vice Provost and Director of Libraries Susan Nutter stands before the BookBot, a robotic sorting and delivery system, at N.C. State’s James B. Hunt Jr. Library.


SUS A N N U T T E R photographs by CHRISTER BERG

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It’s late on a Friday afternoon at N.C. State University’s James B. Hunt Jr. Library, which doesn’t look much like a library at all. Instead of red bricks and right angles, it’s all glass and metal facades, sweeping around to create a massive asymmetrical polygon. In the lobby, a staffer apologizes to a student who wants to show his mother what’s inside. This is finals week, which means N.C. State students only. No moms. A few local high schoolers, who have either come to study or to marvel, also peer longingly beyond the entrance, as if at the gates of an amusement park.

It’s no wonder they’re enraptured: Hunt features five floors of whimsical colors and eccentric furniture, everything the opposite of a traditional library – stairs you can lounge on, walls you can write on, desks you can move at the touch of a button. Featured in countless publications from Time to The Paris Review, Hunt has won one award after the next: for sustainability, innovation, architecture, and more. The woman behind it all is Susan Nutter, vice provost and director of libraries at N.C. State. Recently named the 2016 Association of College and Research Libraries’ Librarian of the Year, the highest honor in her field, Nutter is no stranger to accolades. Her 28 years of work at N.C. State have brought the university’s library system from what faculty members called “an embarrassment” to international distinction. Like the library she runs, this librarian defies stereotypes. On this day, in a lime green suit, she is coiffed and pristine, looking more like an invitee to tea with the Queen than like the mastermind behind a renowned library of cutting-edge technology. A ring on her right hand features a stone the exact shade as her suit. Her sparkling large-frame glasses are the same color. I ask if she coordinates like this every day and she laughs. “It’s just fun.” At first she won’t say how many pairs of glasses she has: “because if it’s in the article, my husband would divorce me,” she says before whispering the number off the record. It’s pretty high. Pre-glasses, Nutter was into jewelry. “I’m very good at eBay – I’m a great searcher, which I suppose is where I get all my librarian skills.” And librarian skills, she certainly has.

As she makes her way to her fifth-floor office, a student waves and says, “Hey, Susan.” Nutter shrugs at the informality. “Oh, I insist upon it. I do call them by their first names, after all.” The thing about Nutter – perhaps the root of her success – is that she is exceptionally connected to N.C. State’s students and faculty on a personal level. “Even as vice provost of a major university and director of one of the foremost research libraries in the country, Susan will still stop to ask me how I’m doing,” says senior Rubia Arfeen. “She’s inspiring, and is absolutely indispensable to N.C. State. Plus, the lady can rock an orange coat like no other.”

Librarian at 6 As a 6-year-old growing up in small-town Massachusetts in the ’50s, Nutter organized all of the books in her parents’ home into a lending library, complete with check-out cards. Her younger sister, a forced assistant, traversed the neighborhood on two wheels, pedaling books to and from the library’s patrons. Nowadays, Nutter’s book-pedaling assistant is called the BookBot. The robotic sorting and delivery system consists of four 50foot robots that can procure any of the two million bin-stored books at Hunt in under five minutes. Time, Nutter knows, is critical. Perhaps even more critical is space. Rows and rows of traditional book stacks would have left little room for public study and collaborative areas. “Public spaces are it now,” Nutter says, “Those are what you need.” The BookBot creates a space savings of nine-to-one, allowing the library’s capacity to reach an

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A SPACE OF THEIR OWN Nutter, who is on a first-name basis with the students, visits with four of them at the Hunt Library. She says young adults “own this library. We are just professionals who can make things happen.”

impressive 1,700 students. When Nutter and her colleagues traveled to look at BookBots (only two dozen others exist in the country), she found that the robots were all hidden in their libraries, tucked down in basements fetching books in the dark. Her idea for Hunt was to do something different: “I thought, let’s show it. Use glass. Let people see.” Thus, a large viewing area on Hunt’s ground floor reveals the BookBot in all its robotic glory, with its long yellow-painted arms reaching along the rows of metal book bins. It’s fascinating to watch. Nutter has had a long time to think about what makes a library work. After she graduated from Colby College in Maine and completed her graduate work at Simmons College in Boston, she went to work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries. MIT instilled in her a keen interest in science and engineering libraries. Boston, progressive and familiar, was home. But then she won a yearlong fellowship as an intern at UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries, and though she didn’t know it at the time, she would never leave North Carolina again. Nutter recalls her first trip south, when she came to find a place to live in Chapel Hill: “I was having coffee at Lenoir Hall, which I mispronounced, and everyone kept talking about this dean at the university: dean this, dean that. I had never heard of a dean who was so compelling, and when I asked his name, they said: ‘You don’t know Dean Smith?’ They were horrified.” It was early evidence that Nutter was never meant to be a Tar Heel.

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However, her husband-to-be (again, she didn’t know it at the time), librarian Joe Hewitt, then vice provost and director of libraries at UNC-Chapel Hill, was a Tar Heel through-andthrough. On her first trip to Chapel Hill, Nutter had also heard people talking about Hewitt. “They described this male librarian at UNC who always wore cowboy boots, and here I was from Massachusetts, wishing they would spare me. But then I met him. Joe came strolling over with this ambling sort of walk, and I thought oh, no.” When Nutter finished her intern year at UNC, she visited the libraries of all the major universities in the area. Everyone wanted to know which she would choose for a career: UNC or Duke. When she said “State,” people didn’t know what to think. Nutter did. She knew she could make a difference there, she knew the university’s students were remarkably talented, and that they needed a good library. “Susan has a vision of libraries as transformative places,” says Marian Fragola, director of programming for NCSU Libraries. “With a tremendous amount of personal charisma, she also has the ability to make people believe in that vision.” Nutter’s vision, now come to fruition, has proved her early skeptics wrong. Back in 1979 when they asked her why not UNC and why not Duke, Nutter told them: “You watch. In the next century, N.C. State students are going to be driving the economy.” No one believed her then. They do now.

Collaborative team Through the years, Nutter and Hewitt found more collaboration than rivalry as they maintained identical posts at N.C. State and UNC. Hewitt, who is more humanities-focused, and Nutter, who is adamantly science-focused, found their niches at their respective schools. Still, you’ll see a trace of Hewitt at Hunt, in an inviting glass-walled space called “Joe’s Room.” It’s filled with Sacco beanbag chairs, which lack a fixed form and allow maximum flexibility. Nutter picked them out, like most of the furniture in Hunt, because they caught her eye as being particularly unconstrained. And she pushed back against initial pressure to paint all of the walls of the library Wolfpack red, opting instead for a wild palette that aims to foster creativity with vivid hues and shapes. The furniture is fantastical, archetypal, and alluring, all because the students, Nutter learned, are fascinated with design. “Most of them come from backgrounds where they wouldn’t be exposed to environments like this,” Nutter says. Take for instance the Eames Lounge Chair by Herman Miller, which retails for $5,000 and presides in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection as a pinnacle of classic design. Hunt Library boasts a row of them beneath floor-to-ceiling windows revealing views of Lake Raleigh. “We went all out,” Nutter says, “and the students are enthralled.” In addition to Nutter’s most recent personal recognition, N.C. State Libraries have won the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, which recognizes not



“We went all out,” says librarian Susan Nutter of the James B. Hunt Jr. Library, “and the students are enthralled.” only the excellence of Hunt and D.H. Hill libraries, but also the way N.C. State’s library system serves the Raleigh community and acts as an incubator for Triangle businesses and entrepreneurs. Nutter says she realized early in her career at N.C. State that, unlike Chapel Hill, Raleigh is a big enough city with enough going on that people were not paying much attention to the university libraries. She wanted to find a way to break through, to make Raleighites realize what a jewel they had in the library, and in the school. Hunt has been a game-changer. The impact of the library doesn’t stop at N.C. State; it reflects on the city as a whole, attracting international attention of the best kind. Will Quick, an N.C. State alumnus and the current President of the Friends of the Library Board of Directors, believes Nutter deserves the bulk of the credit. “Susan Nutter is a master of her craft,” he says. “With a steady hand and a clear vision for what a 21st century research and academic library should be, she has put the N.C. State Libraries on a level with some of the most well known and recognized libraries in the world.” When Nutter is not at the library, you might find her dining out at Bloomsbury Bistro in Five Points, or at home with Hewitt watching PBS mysteries in a house furnished much more simply than Hunt Library. Because even though it’s vibrantly colored, Hunt is not a projection of Susan Nutter herself, but of the students and faculty she serves. She gets things done on what she calls “student time,” recognizing that undergrads aren’t at the university for very long. Nutter is adamant that a library cannot have an agenda of its own. “These are young adults who should be involved in creating a space that works for them,” she says. “They own this library. We are just professionals who can make things happen, but it’s not our library.” She points at the frosted glass wall of her office, on the other side of which scores of students are bowed over books and keyboards in the magnificent Skyline Reading Room: “It’s theirs.”









RALEIGH IS HOME TO SOME OF THE STATE’S MOST POWERFUL AND prominent lawyers. The names of large law firms spread across many of the city’s tallest buildings, while boutique firms and solo practitioners fill offices all over town. A lack of choice is not what prevents many of Raleigh’s low-income citizens from securing legal representation. They simply cannot afford it. But downtown, on Dawson Street, stands a small grey building that offers another option. It houses Legal Aid of North Carolina, a statewide nonprofit firm of nine lawyers and a handful of interns and administrative staff who work tirelessly to ensure that lack of resources do not prohibit a North Carolinian from defending himself or herself from civic legal challenges.

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photograph by JULI LEONARD

Attorney Victor Boone is its guidestar. He has dedicated his 41-year legal career to the work of Legal Aid, and has served as head of the Raleigh office for the past 23 years. In 2014, the Wake County Bar Association presented Boone with its prestigious Joseph Branch Professionalism Award, which is the highest honor granted by the local bar, presented to a Wake County lawyer with over 25 years of experience who exemplifies qualities of professionalism and legal excellence. “With his boardroom poise, keen intellect, legal skills, and courtly demeanor, Victor easily could have been a partner in a large law firm making five to 10 times his Legal Aid salary. Instead he has chosen to spend his entire career providing topflight legal representation in civil cases to the least among us – the poor, the outcast, the inarticulate, and the mentally ill,” says Steve Smith, a past recipient of this award, and a longtime admirer and friend of Boone. “I’ve never seen Victor discourteous to anyone, ever, not to bullying lawyers or ill-tempered judges or angry and frustrated clients. He treats them all with courtesy and civility. I admire him tremendously.” Growing up in the small town of Garysburg, N.C., at the height of the civil rights movement, Boone says the seeds of his future career were planted early. His father, an Amtrak car attendant and his mother, a homemaker, made sure that he and his four siblings understood the gravity of national civil rights tragedies occurring all across the country. One that Boone remembers most vividly is the 1964 Mississippi civil rights workers murders. That injustice helped steel him when, as a high school sophomore in 1966, Boone helped to integrate Northampton County High School. In 1968, just months before the start of his freshman year at UNC-Chapel Hill, his longtime hero, Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated. Boone says he knew then that he would dedicate his life to fighting injustice and advocating for the voiceless. His dream of becoming a civil rights lawyer took him to law school at North Carolina Central University, and then, after graduating in 1975, to the Raleigh office of Legal Aid of North Carolina. He has been there ever since. Boone smiles as he recalls the early days. “I immediately took to this kind of public service work. The more I worked, the more I enjoyed it. I found it incredibly rewarding to seek justice for our clients. And I still find it just as rewarding today.”

matters ranging from domestic violence and custody disputes to employment discrimination and wrongful termination, with a large percentage – about 30 percent of clients – in need of help with housing issues to avoid homelessness. Boone finds these cases particularly rewarding. “Shelter is everything for a family. It provides dignity and stability. Helping people stay off the streets is challenging but important work. We don’t win all of the cases. We’re not miracle workers. We accomplish what the law allows us to accomplish.” Working for a nonprofit comes with its challenges. LANC has to turn away hundreds of people in need of legal representation each year due to lack of funding. In 2015, the Raleigh office handled over 1,000 civil cases. Each of these cases was deemed a priority due to sexual or domestic abuse or complex legal issues. Funding from federal sources and others has dramatically decreased over the years, he says, while demand for services has only grown. About half of Legal Aid’s annual budget comes from federal funds; the rest comes from IOLTA (Interest On Lawyers Trust Accounts), the State of North Carolina, United Way, the N.C. Bar Association Foundation, and grants. The Raleigh office in particular is also supported by the City of Raleigh; the Wake County Bar Awards, a fundraising event put on by the Wake County Bar; and private donations. When the Raleigh office cannot take a case, that client is referred to a network of local lawyers in private practice who donate their time to offer pro-bono services. Boone is quick to recognize that he is one member of an incredibly generous and supportive community of Raleigh attorneys. “In Raleigh we are fortunate to have lawyers who understand that with the great privilege of practicing law comes a great responsibility to give back,” he says. “Equal access to our judicial system is of utmost importance. The extent to which one person is impacted by injustice impacts us all. I am one of many wonderful lawyers in the community who care deeply about this issue.” While Boone admits the needs he encounters daily are vast and sometimes overwhelming, he is resolute in his pursuit to remove economic barriers to justice. “I will never be desensitized to the horrendous things that are happening. If I can help people from being killed, prevent further violence, or help a family to stay off the streets, my conscience will not allow me to look the other way. We will never know how many lives have been saved by our help at Legal Aid.” The same passion for equality and justice that led him to integrate a high school and later to study and practice law continues to drive Boone today. “For as long as I am capable, I will be a public servant,” he says. “I want to continue helping people for the rest of my life. It is truly my purpose.”

“For as long as I am capable, I will be a public servant. I want to continue helping people for the rest of my life. It is truly my purpose.”

Fighting homelessness The Raleigh office of LANC is one of 20 across the state fighting for justice on behalf of low-income North Carolinians in need of legal representation for civil matters. The average household income for LANC clients is about $15,000 per year. LANC attorneys like Victor Boone represent clients on

SEPTEMBER 2016 | 115


A love of READING, a love of LEARNING



MY EARLIEST ADVENTURES WERE SOLVING CRIMES WITH NANCY DREW AND living on a train with the boxcar children. I have rowed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics with the University of Washington’s men’s rowing team. I have led with Meg, rebelled with Jo, wept for Beth, and travelled with Amy. Fortunately, I won the 174th Hunger Games with Peeta by my side. Reading has been my favorite pastime since before I can remember. My parents would read to me Goodnight Moon, The Giving Tree, and Dr. Seuss. Throughout elementary school, the library and I were as thick as thieves. From the Fairy series to Percy Jackson to Molly Moon, I learned things that the average child may not know. Do you know that fairies come in all different colors? Do you know how to put someone in a trance? What about how to discover a robber with just your notepad and blue convertible?

116 | WALTER

illustrations by JEANNINE ERASMUS

One of my most memorable reading stories is from my second grade summer. My parents promised to buy me a special, old doll if I read 60 books. Of course, I read all 60 books that summer; but by the time I finished, the doll was sold out! I think my parents just wanted me to stop talking. As I matured, my taste in reading did as well. Middle school brought my crazy fantasy phase, with books such as Inkheart and Gathering Blue. At the start of my freshman year of high school, I went through the classics phase, reading novels such as Jane Eyre, Little Women, and Pride and Prejudice. I spent hours curled up on a chair finishing books with 700-plus pages. Having a grandmother who taught AP English for 30 years at an all-girls’ school, I was always encouraged to fully appreciate the treasured classics. Every Christmas and birthday brought a stack of books shipped from Philadelphia! Now that I’m a senior in high school, science fiction and historical nonfiction entertain me. Science fiction, like the Winter or Legend series, keep me up late at night. Some of my all-time favorite historical nonfiction books are The Boys in the Boat, Seabiscuit, and Unbroken. Each time I finish a book, the same motivation prompts me to pick up another: escape, adventure, meditation. Instead of reading for pleasure, I read because I feel as though I actually become the protagonist. I feel, speak, and breathe the character’s role in that book. It allows me to “try on” different and new identities. I was that fairy in the Fairy series; I was Percy soaring over the sea; I was Louis Zamperini in the Japanese prisoner of war camps during World War II. My mom can attest to coming into my room on many occasions to see me crying, laughing, or smiling at my book. When I read, I disappear from reality and join the storyline as the main character. Time flies by for an hour when it feels like five minutes. This is the feeling I want to convey to someone when I explain my passion for reading. I want that friend to experience the same emotional

satisfaction as I do. Since I became an avid reader, reading has become an integral part of my nighttime routine. As it does for many people, reading helps me relax and fall asleep, calms my nerves and relieves my stress. In a British study, participants who read for a few minutes had 68 percent less stress than those who did not. Think about each night before you go to sleep. Do you go on your phone? I’m going to assume yes. Becoming lost in a book and leaving the pressures of school or work behind could become your nightly routine. As a student, I understand that for many people, the last thing they want to do before sleep is to read even more; yet, I think we can all agree that we are much more cheerful in the morning after a good night’s sleep. A more optimistic outlook and happier presence can only make you a better student and friend. Besides the calming benefits, books teach you things about which you will not be tested. There is no pressure with reading. Dr. Seuss wrote, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” More knowledge can only be a benefit. If you can set yourself apart at a job interview when your prospective boss asks you what novel you’ve read recently,

how great would it be to delve into a conversation regarding the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915? Or speak about a racehorse named Seabiscuit who captured the hearts of so many in America during the Great Depression? To me, the most important benefit of reading is that it can affect your attitude and life relationships. It can help you become a more compassionate person. One of my friends, who is trying to read more, asked me for a book that would engage her instantly. I had recently finished a book about the evolution of a friendship between two girls with wildly different personalities, so I recommended it. She ended up loving it! There are endless possibilities of genres serving all interests. I recently became co-president of the Quail Ridge Teen Advisory Board, where we read soon-to-be published books and review them for the store. If you want some interesting reads, check out our blog and see what we’ve been reading ( Begin reading and see what, for me, has been the most rewarding part of my childhood. Engage with the world around you and broaden your imagination. Who knows, you may end up in some far-away place like Neverland! Hannah Ueland is a senior at Saint Mary’s School in Raleigh.

SEPTEMBER 2016 | 117


An evening with



TALES from the WILD

Enjoy an evening of oysters, drinks from Trophy Brewing and TOPO Distillery, plated game, and tales from the wild. T. Edward Nickens specializes in the outdoors, conservation reporting, and the cultural heritage of the South. Author of the bestselling Total Outdoorsman Manual and editor-at-large for Field & Stream, Nickens’ work has appeared in leading national magazines such as Audubon, Garden & Gun, Smithsonian, and more. S P O N S O R E D BY




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Brad Wilson, Doris Kearns Goodwin

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN LECTURE On May 19, the North Carolina Museum of History Foundation and The News & Observer hosted Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin at the Fletcher Opera Theater in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Goodwin spoke to a sold-out audience of 600 guests, sharing lessons of leadership learned from the White House.

Linda Quarles, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Orage Quarles III

ICELANDIC TRAVELS: NORTH CAROLINA MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCES AND FRIENDS Twenty-one N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences members took an 11-day nature trip through Iceland June 16 27. Led by Iceland meteorological office geologist and glaciologist Oddur Sigurðsson, geologist and museum director Emlyn Koster, and assistant Cassandra Williams, the group started in Reykjavik and traveled throughout the country, exploring geothermal pools, the Mid-Atlantic volcanic ridge, and ords.

Tom West, Julie Daniels, Frank Daniels Jr., Doris Kearns Goodwin, Julia Daniels, Reed Taws, John Taws

courtesy N.C. Museum of History

Rachael Pusateri, Anna Cate

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Maryse Koster, Emlyn Koster, Cassandra Williams, Oddur Sigurðsson, and Museum of Sciences members Courtesy of N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences

Ken Howard

SEPTEMBER 2016 | 119

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WHISKEY’D AWAY Forty guests gathered at Bridge Club May 14 for a bourbon tasting with Julian and Preston Van Winkle of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery. The group was also joined by Sean Brock, chef of Charleston restaurant Husk, and wine and liquor aficionado Richard Betts. All proceeds from the event benefited the Frankie Lemmon School and Developmental Center.

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Anna Alston, Gena Wright TRIANGLE RACE FOR THE CURE Susan G. Komen North Carolina Triangle to the Coast held its 20th Anniversary Triangle Race for the Cure with Duke Cancer Institute June 11 at the Frontier in Research Triangle Park. It featured 5K options for runners and walkers, a survivor celebration, live music, and a Belk Tailgate Zone with 12 local food trucks and three local breweries. More than 6,000 people, including over 600 breast cancer survivors, attended the event, which raised almost $800,000 to fund breast cancer research, breast health services, education, and outreach.

Chris Cox


Anna LaGrassa, Seneca Yarmus, Diane Kerkhoff, Tegan Yarmus, Asher Yarmus


DISCOVER The triangle’s top spot for your favorite brands, entertainment and more.

Dugan Harris, Charlie Blunt

Laura Bradford Photography

Sarah Cranfill

COLORS!2 ART SALE BENEFITING CLARK’S PROMISE Linda and Rob Grew hosted an art sale May 21 at their home to benefit Clark’s Promise. The volunteer organization funds engagement specialists who help the Raleigh homeless. Three hundred guests attended the event, which featured over 50 artists’ works for sale, live music, and a raffle prize of a dinner for 16 at the Angus Barn Wine Cellar.

Rachael Pusateri, Anna Cate Michael Franken

Linda Grew

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Lorna McNeill Ricotta, Arlie Honeycutt, Betty Cantrell, McKenzie Faggart, Jessica Jacobs Marquardt, Dana Stephenson Dixon

PUTTING ON THE RITZ WITH MISS AMERICA Guests gathered at City Club Raleigh to help raise money for the NC Educational Scholarship Fund July 16. Putting on the Ritz is a black tie event that featured a dinner show with performances by Miss America Betty Cantrell and stars of the Miss North Carolina Pageant, including Miss North Carolina 2000 Lorna McNeill Ricotta, Miss North Carolina 2012 Arlie Honeycutt, Miss North Carolina 1998 Dana Stephenson Dixon, Miss North Carolina first runner-up Michelle Braxton, and benefactor of the N.C. Educational Scholarship Fund and business woman Marlo Francis.

Linda Grew

Arlie Honeycutt

Carla Laird

Betty Cantrell, McNeil Chestnut

Jennifer Robertson

Virginia Bullock Crisp

Betty Reynolds, Matthew Addison

Todd Hawthorne, Kristen Hawthorne

SYNERGY NORTH RALEIGH’S ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION The North Raleigh location of Synergy Spa, Aesthetics & Wellness celebrated its one year anniversary March 24 with a Black + White party. Three hundred guests attended the celebration, which included cocktails, champagne, mini spa sessions, a DJ, and raffles. Ashley Hathaway, Anna Churchill, Adam Schiffer


DJF Builders, Sheri Hagerty Group, Allen Tate Realtors, and The Boys and Girls Club of Wake County representatives

Julian Williamson

DESIGN SHOWCASE HOME GROUND BREAKING CEREMONY Sheri Hagerty Group, Allen Tate Realtors, and DJF Builders, Inc., celebrated the groundbreaking of a design showcase home benefiting The Boys and Girls Club of Wake County May 6. The home will be on tour the entire month of November upon completion.

Martha Heath

Mary Ellen Santos, Phyllis Brookshire, Sheri Hagerty, Allison Summey, Serina Harris

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DOWNTOWN CARY FOOD & FLEA VENDOR PARTY Organizers Leslie Roth Huffman and Jessica McCarthy hosted a get-together August 2 at Bond Brothers Beer Company in Cary for the artisans and artists who participate in the Second Sunday Downtown Cary Food & Flea. These 30-something creative vendors gather each month in Ashworth Village and on the lawn of the historic Ivey-Ellington House to sell their wares, which range from jewelry to honey.

Robert McMillan Members of the McMillan family

Anya Gordon

Duncan McMillan, Arthur Gordon

THE GLENWOOD: RIBBON CUTTING FOR NEW MCMILLAN GARDEN AMPHITHEATER April 17, The Woman’s Club celebrated the ribbon cutting for the rebuilt Mary McMillan Garden Amphitheater. The space is named after Mary Lee McMillan, a prominent member of the Raleigh area from the ’20s - ’80s. The Woman’s Club building, “The Glenwood,” is managed by Irregardless Cafe & Catering, which plans to use the revamped amphitheater as a site for events and weddings.

THE LOCAL SQUIRELL GRAND OPENING One hundred and fifty guests attended the opening party at Cameron Village boutique The Local Squirrel June 9. The store sells unique gifts, many by local purveyors, including jewelry, home goods, and accessories.

Anna Cate, Nicholas Askew

The Local Squirrel

Joe Ann Wright, Rachael Pusateri

Joe Dunn, Tom Allen

Brad Wilson, Vivian Howard A CHEF’S FEAST OF SUMMERTIME MEMORIES Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, Kamado Grille, and Kroger hosted A Chef’s Feast of Summertime Memories June 6 at Kamado Grille for 225 guests. The culinary event raised funds for children who do not receive essential school meals during the summer months. With the help of special guests Chef Walter Royal of The Angus Barn, Chef Vivian Howard of Chef & the Farmer, and Chef Eric Gephart of Kamado Grille, the event raised enough funds to provide 560,000 meals to children.

Walter Royal’s smoked heirloom tomatoes

Christopher Polydoroff Photography and Bailey’s Fine Jewelry

Eric Gephart, Vivian Howard, Walter Royal

Kamado Grille Bar


The WALTER Scribo The answers to the following clues are in this issue. Happy reading! ACROSS 3. A group of Raleighites plays this once a week. 5. The name of Emma Carter’s salon. 7. Add this spicy veggie to your summer dinners. 8. On which street is Dram & Draught? 9. This profession is blazing new online trails. DOWN 1. Sisters are moving into this house at N.C. State. 2. Find this African drum in Durham. 4. This gym gets a facelift. 6. Aly Khalifa founded this event. 10. Victor Boone practices this.

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IX YEARS AGO, ERIC MITCHKO MOVED TO RALEIGH to lead the newly formed North Carolina Opera, the result of a merger of the Opera Company of North Carolina and Capital Opera Raleigh. Today, N.C. Opera is preparing to launch its most ambitious season yet. Under the general directorship of Mitchko and the artistic and musical directorship of conductor Timothy Myers, this season’s eclectic series of performances will include traditional operas like Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, as well as more avant-garde performances like Hercules vs. Vampires, and an evening with vocalist Candice Hoyes, who will sing the songs of Duke Ellington. “We wanted to showcase the breadth and variety of what we can do with opera and musical theater,” Mitchko says. “We like to entertain people with really good music, and if it doesn’t fit into what people think of as opera, that’s OK.”

Wagner certainly fits the opera bill. Mitchko is particularly proud his company will kick off its season with the composer’s Das Rheingold, the first installment of his epic Ring Cycle, and an opera that has never been performed in North Carolina. It’s an ambitious undertaking. “People have generally thought opera companies our size are not big enough to do Wagner,” Mitchko says, in part because the music requires a full orchestra. “We’re trying to show the rest of the country: You can do it.” Mitchko and Myers’s solution is to put the 80-player NCO orchestra on the Meymandi Concert Hall stage together with a fully costumed cast and minimal staging. “This music is really powerful,” Mitchko says, “it’s a musical language that really clicks with a lot of people.” –L.R. Tell us more about why the Triangle should be excited about Wagner’s Das Rheingold. It’s an incredible piece of music theater. It’s epic, and really human and personal at the same time. There’s an unbelievably rich palette of orchestra colors, and those voices! Plus this opera has never been done in this part of the country, so people who come see it will be a part of history. A Triangle Wagner Society has just been formed. Is interest in Wagner here on the rise? There are people here who have always loved Wagner, and now we are beginning to do his work regularly. We had our first Wagner program – Act I of Die Walküre – four seasons ago, and two years ago did Act II of

Tristan and Isolde. So now there’s a real opportunity for their interest to be satisfied locally. Describe Wagner in three words. Passionate, beautiful, dangerous – like a James Bond heroine. Why is Raleigh a good place for an opera company? This is a great community with a lot of varied interests. It’s not just that the public here is highly educated, it’s that they like different things. People who don’t know a lot about opera can be intimidated by it. What do you tell them? Oh, it’s entertainment, just have fun! We have English translations for everything, so all the people and the amazing situations they’re in are right there before you. What is your favorite opera of all time? Whichever one we’re doing right now; otherwise, Tristan and Isolde. Favorite opera singer? Leonie Rysanek. Favorite aria? O patria mia from Aida. It’s a moment of great emotion and tension that’s incredibly difficult and needs to convey repose at the same time. If the singer can pull it off, it’s magic. What opera cliche would you like to blow up once and for all? That it’s something only for people of a certain income, class, and reserved disposition. Our experience is that opera is fun, unpredictable, and sexy, that’s how I’d like people to see it. When did you first fall in love with opera?? In high school, around ninth grade. I actually got into Wagner first, which shows that you never know what is going to strike someone – it’s all very individual. When did you most recently fall in love with opera again? Most recently? Just now, preparing for Rheingold, listening to the music again and thinking about it. The way all the pieces fit together is really incredible. To hear our extended interview with Eric Mitchko, listen to our podcast, Walter Now, at waltermagazine. com/category/podcast/.

photograph by JILLIAN CLARK

130 | WALTER

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