WALTER Magazine - November 2016

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66 TRIANGLEITES Local matrix: Virtual reality grows here

WALTER PROFILE Oak City Veterans

by Heny Gargan photographs by Tim Lytvinenko

by Taylor Knopf and Liza Roberts photographs by Robert Willett

AT THE TABLE Turkey touchdowns: Confessions of a food-obsessed family

STORY OF A HOUSE Art and home



by Fanny Slater photographs by Casey Toth

by Liza Roberts photographs by Catherine Nguyen

ARTIST’S SPOTLIGHT Raleighites on Broadway

STYLE Serious follies: Architectural jewels across the Triangle




by Merrill Rose


by J. Michael Welton

On the cover: Veteran John Penix; photograph by Robert Willett


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Our Town

On Duty: Triangle Float Company Game Plan: N.C. State Air Force ROTC The Usual: Neighborhood meal-share Shop Local: Kannon’s Clothing by Jessie Ammons, Mimi Montgomery photographs by Christer Berg, Annie Cockrill, Jill Knight

110 Givers

Hoop Dreams: Carr McLamb and Henry Neese by Settle Monroe photographs by Robert Willett

by Liza Roberts photographs by Christer Berg




Triangle Now

by Billy Warden

Parties and fundraisers with Autumn Cobeland

Giving thanks

by Mimi Montgomery photograph by Keith Isaacs

What Thanksgiving means to me



A rock ‘n’ roll revival

130 Snapchat

by Adam W. Jones

Raleigh Now

118 Reflections

by Mimi Montgomery photographs by Keith Isaacs

THe write stuff


photographs by Keith Isaacs

120 The Whirl

108 Books

The Mosh

Tales from the Wild: An evening with T. Edward Nickens

A punchy gathering

by L. Howard Brooks Jr., Pamela D. Evans, and Leslie Logan


112 Walter event

60 Our Town Spotlight Dalek’s firey fractals


In Every Issue 14

Letter from the Editor




Your Feedback


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ne of the many benefits of being a journalist is the opportunity to meet all kinds of people and ask them all kinds of questions. For the editor of a city magazine with a deep focus on culture, it’s the chance to observe the multifaceted growth of a booming American city from an unusually broad perspective. Walter has always covered the cultural waterfront – the arts, business, food, philanthropy, the outdoors, education, sports, and more. But recently, the perspective our role affords has made it especially clear that this city is greater than ever. I say that even as some worry that our state’s image is suffering, or that we need more intelligent growth; that we lack sufficient funding for entrepreneurs and nonprofits; that we need better architecture and public art; that red tape’s creating roadblocks. They’re right; Raleigh’s not perfect. But if the health and vibrancy of our cultural landscape is any indication, Raleigh is better than ever, and it’s improving all the time. This month, we’ve got stories that will make you a believer. The brilliant minds building a virtual reality industry here are making history. The heroism and service of our local veterans are an inspiration. The heart center Rex Hospital is building is state-of-the art. We’ll introduce you to a beloved family business three generations strong; a passionate collector of North Carolina art; a fearless middle-aged rock-’n’-roller; college students who are serving their country. This past month has also afforded several firsthand encounters with the varied excellence of this place: On the heels of our successful WINnovation event celebrating women and entrepreneurism, the celebrated outdoors writer T. Edward Nickens sold out our latest book club event at downtown’s Cobblestone Hall, where a room full of outdoorsmen soaked up his tales from the wild. St. Augustine’s University kicked off a campaign for its 150th year with stronger enrollment growth and leadership than ever. The bluegrass festival was spectacular. Two of my children, Hale and Cecilia, and I were at the Red Hat Amphitheater shows when we ran into Mayor Nancy McFarlane and Walter contributor Billy Warden (that same fearless middle-aged rocker) and his wife Judge Lucy Inman. Everyone was as excited and proud as we were of our city that night. (Photo above.) Another item: The North Carolina Museum of Art’s newly expanded park opened to rave reviews. Recently, I joined an NCMA group on a short trip to Denver, and everywhere we went, the red carpet was rolled out by museum directors, gallerists, curators, collectors, and architects (including the folks at Civitas, who designed the NCMA park’s expansion). All were eager to hear more about Raleigh, which they admire already. When I think about being thankful this month, in addition to family, friends, and health, I’m grateful for a vibrant city that offers up such varied experiences; for opportunity; for the generous contributions by so many to the lives we all share.

Liza Roberts Editor & General Manager

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Editor & General Manager Creative Director JESMA REYNOLDS Assistant Editor JESSIE AMMONS Community Manager MIMI MONTGOMERY Design Intern MACKENZIE ROBINSON

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

NOVEMBER 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.

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ROBERT T. WILLETT / P H O T O G R A P H E R North Carolina native Robert T. Willett is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology. He has been a photojournalist with the News & Observer for more than 30 years. Willett did a series of portraits of local war veterans for this issue. “I felt honored to meet and spend time with those who have protected our freedom,” he says.


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HENRY GARGAN / W R I T E R Henry Gargan is a News & Observer reporter with a degree in multimedia journalism and global studies from UNC’s School of Media and Journalism. Gargan has also worked at Newsday in New York as a Dow Jones News Fund intern and at 5280 Magazine in Denver as an editorial intern. He still works as a freelance sportswriter in the area. “It’s standard practice when writing about something people are really passionate about to try to remain politely aloof and skeptical, just because drinking the Kool-Aid rarely results in useful writing,” he says of his article this month. “But actually trying virtual reality for the first time sort of obliterated that wall in a way I didn’t expect it to, which is, of course, exactly what everyone told me would happen.”


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Tim Lytvinenko is a fine photographer living and working in Raleigh creating large-scale prints and installations. “This story gave me a chance to experience the future,” he says of his work photographing the virtual reality story in this issue. “I was able to see the very beginnings of what VR can do and it’s only going to get better. The Triangle has some huge players in this space; I’m excited to see what they do!”

MERRILL ROSE / W R I T E R A North Carolina native and graduate of UNCChapel Hill, Rose is a communications strategy consultant in New York City where she is part of a large and diverse community of people with ties to N.C. She recently served as a Visiting PR Professional at the UNC School of Media and Journalism and is a longstanding member of its Board of Advisors. “As a theatre fan with a strong affection for N.C., it was a thrill to discover the homegrown talent behind some of my favorite Broadway shows,” she says. “And thanks to them, I now have a list of ‘must see’ shows for the coming season.”

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MOSH “Rest and be thankful.” –William Wadsworth MOON MEN

Don’t go to bed early November 14! The full moon that evening will be a Supermoon, an otherworldly sight that occurs when a full moon rises on the same day the Moon orbits closest to the Earth. This one is a particularly big deal – the Moon is coming closer to the Earth than it has since 1948, so this Supermoon will be especially breathtaking. Fun fact: Native Americans used to call November’s full moon the Beaver Moon, because it signaled it was time to set the beaver traps before the water froze.

MUM’S THE WORD Chrysanthemums are the birth flowers for November, and they make colorful additions to autumnal flower arrangements and tablescapes. The bright flowers are associated with cheerfulness and love, and ancient feng shui practices even dictate they bring happiness and laughter to homes. Here’s an opportunity to learn more about them: The Central Carolina Chrysanthemum Society holds its meetings the third Monday of each month from noon to 2 p.m. at J.C. Raulston Arboretum.

ruminations... Hosting a bonfire Nov. 5 for Guy Fawkes Day... Sampling the whiskey selection at Whiskey Kitchen...Catching the first games of N.C. State’s basketball season...Mixing cinnamon into your coffee grounds...A country breakfast at the State Farmers Market restaurant... post-Thanksgiving repentance at a FlyWheel class...Paying it forward on World Kindness Day Nov. 13... Donating gently used winter coats to Raleigh Rescue Mission...Hearing Football in a Forest: The Life and Times of Kenan Memorial Stadium author Lee Pace speak at Quail Ridge Books Nov. 3...Voting on Nov. 8 (thanks, Death & Taxes for the reminder) ...

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MOUTHING OFF Color the World is a Raleigh-based company that sells vegan/cruelty-free, handpoured, natural artisan lipsticks. And they don’t just look good, they do good, too: With each purchase of a lipstick, a portion of the proceeds are donated to a charity. Each lipstick color is exclusive to a different charity – from the Coral Reef Alliance to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital – so when you purchase a certain shade, $5 automatically goes to its corresponding nonprofit. Now there’s a reason to get all dolled up! 1809 Glenwood Ave.;


I <3 PIE Share the Pie is a Thanksgiving fundraiser: Local bakeries sell fresh-baked pies, and proceeds benefit StepUp Ministry and Alliance Medical Ministry. Last year’s event raised $12,000 for the nonprofits, and this year they plan to double last year’s total. 2015’s mostordered pie? Chocolate – but with this year’s addition of sweet potato pie to the available selections, it just may have a competitor. At left, a breakdown of the most popular pies ordered last year – before what might be a sweet potato revolution. To order, visit

CAROLINA COOKIN’ Can there ever really be too many cooks in the kitchen? Of course not, especially when two local icons and a great nonprofit recently released cookbooks: Purchase the Junior League of Durham and Orange Counties’ Taste of Tobacco Road: A Culinary Journey Along the Famous Nine Miles for a collection of Triangle-centric recipes. Kinston-based Vivian Howard also has a new book out; Deep Run Roots is part history, part recipes, and all Southern soul. Ashley Christensen’s Poole’s has reaped rave reviews, too. Tobacco Road:; Roots: vivianhoward. com/deep-run-roots; Poole’s:

Ehtan Hyman, The News & Observer (RUMINATIONS); courtesy Taste of Tobacco Road (SWEET TEA); Angie Mosier (COOKBOOK); pjsells (MOON); Ingram Publishing (MUMS); Thinkstock (PIE)




Run,Raleigh, E


lite runners will once again make it look easy to run 26.2 miles in a row at the City of Oaks Marathon Nov. 6. The event, which benefits Rex Healthcare Foundation, Girls on the Run of the Triangle, and the YMCA, takes runners on a full, scenic Raleigh tour, from urban streets to greenways. With a starting point at the N.C. State University Bell Tower, the course winds its way through downtown, Glenwood South, Meredith College, N.C. State, and the Capital Area Greenway. Especially ambi-


courtesy City of Oaks Marathon


NOVEMBER tious runners can use the race as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. If 26.2 miles is a couple dozen too many for you to take on, the race day also includes the UNC Rex Healthcare half marathon, the CPI Security Old Reliable 10K, the Delta Acorn 5K, a four-person marathon relay, a twoperson half-marathon relay, and a kids’ mile. No matter your role – marathon runner, relay runner, or spectator – all are invited to the LexisNexis City of Oaks post-race party at the Runners’ Village. Starting at 9 a.m. race day, the bands The Boulevard Ensemble and Liquid Pleasure will play, craft beer and food trucks will be available, and awards will be handed out. For out-of-towners, Hillsborough Street’s Aloft Raleigh hotel, situated near the start/finish line, is catering to the running crowd with a special package that includes parking, a pre-race breakfast, and post-race pasta bars, champagne, and massages. It’s almost enough to make running a marathon seem like a breeze – almost. –Mimi Montgomery Nov. 6; Marathon, half marathon, relays, 10K: 7 a.m.; 5K: 7:20 a.m.; kids’ mile: 7:30 a.m.; 2100 Hillsborough St.; to register, visit


Raleigh now

all month










The Raleigh Wine Shop’s weekly tastings are one way to warm up as the weather gets chilly. Every Saturday afternoon, the store partners with a local winemaker or purveyor to offer a lineup of samples. You’re likely to both deepen your knowledge and find something new, and it’s a fun indulgence to add to the weekend agenda. Don’t be surprised if a few cheese pairings appear, too. 1 - 4 p.m. every Saturday; free; 126 Glenwood Ave.;





Tryon & Kildaire Farm Road in Cary

Check a few people off of your holiday shopping list Nov. 4 and 5 when North Raleigh clothing shop StyleFinder hosts a festive open house with cookies and bottomless hot cider available as you shop. Opt for a personal stylist consultation, or check out the charm bar of accessories. 4 - 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday; free; 6801 Falls of Neuse Road;

courtesy Raleigh Wine Shop (WINE); StyleFinDer (COOKIES)




In 1984, The Raleigh School of Ballet was founded to provide performance training to young dancers. The Carolina Ballet evolved from its work, and today Raleigh Dance Theatre is the performance affiliate of the school. These dancers occasionally get to learn from and dance alongside Carolina Ballet members. See the Raleigh Dance Theatre’s winter performance on Nov. 5 and 6, a whimsical annual production called Storybook Tales. 3 p.m.; $15 in advance and $18 at the door; Fletcher Opera Theater, 2 E. South St.;

Erin Dadey (STORYBOOK); courtesy North Carolina Museum of Art (ART)

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The North Carolina Museum of Art museum park has finished its year-long expansion project. On Nov. 6, a free celebration brings food trucks and pop-up art workshops to the green expanse. Take an art walk or bike tour, listen to live music by Al Strong and Friends and other local bands, or just stroll around and behold the new community spaces and gardens. 1 p.m. dark; free; 2110 Blue Ridge Road;

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A troupe of independent creators helps organize the bi-annual Handmade Market, and this month’s installation, Nov. 11 and 12, comes just in time for holiday shopping. Peruse rustic-chic homemade wares, including accessories, jewelry, home decor, paper goods, and fine art. Most of the booths are staffed by the artists themselves, so you can learn about the process that went into your purchase. 6 - 9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday; $5 cash entry Friday evening and free Saturday; 201 E. Hargett St.;

The Raleigh Area Flute Association hosts events for longtime musicians and intrepid beginners alike. The nonprofit’s annual flute fair on Nov. 12 is a great place for every level to learn and meet up. The daylong event includes a morning class and an afternoon concert by celebrated flutist Mimi Stillman. In between, there are workshops, recitals by RAFA members and contest winners, and exhibits of instruments and accessories. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; $15; Highland United Methodist Church, 1901 Ridge Road;

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Kristen Randall (OPPOSITES); Vanessa Briceño (FLUTE)




William O. Smith Jr. (HIDDEN); N.C. Museum of History (HERITAGE)



You never know where you’ll find a bit of history. A torn piece of canvas wrapped in a grocery bag made its way to the City of Raleigh Museum experts, and they connected the artifact to a World War I soldier. This soldier almost lost his life on the eve of peace, but ultimately made it home. The remarkable story is the subject of a museum-produced YouTube video, and you can hear the director discuss the discovery process and the soldier’s journey on Nov. 13. 2 p.m.; free; 220 Fayetteville St.;


North Carolina is home to eight state-recognized American Indian tribes. They’ll all gather for the annual American Indian Heritage Celebration Nov. 19 at the N.C. Museum of History, a time to meet and watch musicians, dancers, artists, storytellers, and authors. Through interactive crafts, games, dance demonstrations, and food, you can learn all about our state’s vibrant Native American culture. 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.; free; 5 E. Edenton St.; events/AIHC-2016

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courtesy Paderewski Festival

Raleigh now




gnacy Jan Paderewski was a man of many roles – pianist and composer, politician and patriot, spokesman and humanitarian. This month, his life and accomplishments will be celebrated in Raleigh at the third annual Paderewski Festival Nov. 5 - 13. “Few musicians have been accorded such fame and honor,” says Mark Fountain, the festival’s president and treasurer. A renowned classical pianist and the Prime Minister of Poland, Paderewski was an avid supporter of Polish independence post-World War I. His music, charisma, and popularity

around the world sparked conversations about diplomacy, the expansion of the arts, and the intersection between the two. His ties extended to Raleigh as well. Paderewski performed in the Triangle on several occasions, including in Raleigh in 1917 and 1923 at the Raleigh Municipal Auditorium (no longer in existence), and at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in 1939. He performed in Durham, too, appearing at Duke University’s Page Auditorium in 1931. In addition, Raleighite Mary Lee McMillan was Paderewski’s wife’s secretary in New York during World War I. When the Paderews-

Nov. 5-13; locations and times vary; 30 | WALTER

NOVEMBER kis moved to Poland to organize war-time relief efforts, McMillan moved to Raleigh, where Paderewski sent her an inscribed piano. Today that piano, which Fountain purchased directly from the McMillan family, resides in his Raleigh home. In 2016, Paderewski returns to the area once more in spirit with the week-long festival honoring his music and his life. “We now enter the third year with four pianists, some young, some mature, all accomplished,” says Fountain. On Nov. 5, St. Mary’s School hosts prizewinning Ukrainian pianist Artem Yasynskyy. French concert pianist Jean Dubé will play at the N.C. Museum of History Nov. 6. The N.C. Museum of Art on Nov. 12 will feature Greek-Venezuelan pianist Alexia Mouza, who participated in the Chopin Competition in Warsaw last year; on Nov. 13, the museum will host Polish pianist Janusz Olejniczak, a renowned Chopin interpreter who also appears on the soundtrack of the Oscar-winning film The Pianist, showing at The Cary Theater Nov. 11. –Mimi Montgomery

Paderewski’s ties extended all the way to Raleigh. He performed at the Raleigh Municipal Auditorium (no longer in existence) in 1917 and 1923.

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Heart A

to heart

s Rex Hospital prepares for the annual Rex Gala Nov. 12 to benefit its new heart and vascular center, construction of that state-of-the-art center is well underway. “The design is based on research, best practices from other heart centers across the country, and input from Rex patients, physicians, clinicians, and caregivers,” says Dr. James Zidar, UNC Health Care’s heart and vascular service line physician in chief. The result prioritizes aesthetics and amenities as well as cutting-edge technology. On schedule to open next March, the eight-story glasssheathed building is already visibly distinct from the rest of the hospital. Inside, patient rooms include large windows and flat-screen TVs, as well as all of the latest necessary healthcare technology. The center’s outdoor courtyard features a waterfall, meditation room, and restaurant-like dining area (complete with


courtesy Rex Hospital

Raleigh now

A Reputation Building Showcase Homes

a demonstration kitchen). “Every aspect of the facility was designed with the comfort of patients and their families in mind,” says Zidar. “We’re treating more patients at Rex from across central and eastern North Carolina (than ever before).” He says Rex wanted to create a facility that could welcome patients into a hospitable environment after a long trek to receive treatment. The center is also meant to welcome a wider community beyond patients and their families. An education center on site will play a role in that. “Dedicated education space will make it easier for Rex physicians to continue training physicians from across the country and around the world,” says Rex’s heart and vascular physician in chief Dr. Ravish Sachar. “We hope to expand education programs available for both patients and the community.” Outside of medicine-specific seminars, classes on heart-healthy meals and cardio-friendly lifestyles will also be offered. –Jessie Ammons

Our legacy of building showcase homes is deep rooted. From 1991 to today, we’ve used these special homes to push our company’s possibilities and bring new ideas to our market. This year we look ahead to the Model Home and Sales Center at A valaire , which is slated to be our most efficient, smart, and green home to date. More on the community can be found at:

“The Frances Laurel” HBA Wake Dream Home Showcase 1991 - Saddleridge Estates

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Engraving Event Friday, December 9th Saturday, December 10th Enjoy complimentary hand engraving on your one-of-a-kind Simon Pearce selections. Monogram a hand-blown piece to create the perfect gift for anyone on your list!

The annual Rex Gala on Nov. 12 will benefit the new heart and vascular center. Tickets to the black tie event are $250 each and available at PRE-SALES AVAILABLE AND HIGHLY ENCOURAGED FOR THIS EVENT. NORTH HILLS • 4209 LASSITER MILL RD • RALEIGH, NC • (919) 785-0787 WWW.SHOPQUINTESSENTIALS.COM


STEM nomenal


CIENTISTS, SPEAKERS, AND ROLE MODELS WILL GATHER in Raleigh Nov. 9 to encourage young students with disabilities to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. All will be participants in the Museum of Natural Sciences’ STEM Career Showcase, an annual educational event for young students with disabilities. The event introduces students to role models who have thriving STEM careers while managing disabilities of their own. It’s an important dose of inspiration: People with disabilities are currently underrepresented in these fields, but the event’s organizers believe that every kind of mind can make meaningful contributions to STEM advancements. Young students with disabilities, they say, are able to promote new concepts and nontraditional modes of think-


ing, making them particularly effective in STEM professions. The event is open to students in grades 6-12 with any disability who perform at or near grade level. It’s an intimate event, where attendees can meet one another and digest important wisdom from museum staff and speakers. It’s the hope that all will leave inspired and ready to seize opportunities beyond the event itself. The museum is working with N.C. State College of Design students to make exhibits friendlier and accessible to those with disabilities, and is researching ways to incorporate technology throughout the museum to cater to all kinds of visitors. –Mimi Montgomery Nov. 9, 10 a.m. - 12 noon; free, pre-registration is required; 11 W. Jones St.;

courtesy N.C. Museum of Natural Science


courtesy Greater Raleigh Merchant Association (CHRISTMAS); courtesy North Carolina Symphony




’Tis the season to be jolly! Whether you wait till next month to put up your decorations or not, the annual WRAL Raleigh Christmas parade is Nov. 19. Winding its way through downtown, ours is the largest Christmas parade between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. Pick a spot to spectate – and hopefully catch candy from the floats – or tune in to the live TV broadcast. If you miss the whole shebang, it airs again on Christmas morning. 9:40 a.m. parade starts; free; parade begins at the corner of Hillsborough and Saint Mary’s streets and covers most of downtown;


On the day before Thanksgiving, the North Carolina Symphony’s winter-inspired set is designed to put you in a festive mood. The show is an hour long, just the right amount of time to offer a reprieve from holiday preparations, and includes music from The Polar Express, Frozen, and Babes in Toyland. The audience is encouraged to dress as their favorite character from Frozen or wear pajamas, and arrive early to meet snow princesses and Santa Claus in the lobby. 3 p.m.; $25; 2 E. South St.;

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The day after Thanksgiving ushers in holiday theatre season around town. Kick off your merry checklist with Broadway Series South’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical on Nov. 25. Though the tale is classic, this rendition is based on the 1960s animated television special, with characters like Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster and Hermey the Elf. The show continues through Christmas eve in Fletcher Opera Theater. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekend show times, plus additional evening times; $10 - $25; 2 E. South St.;

Bruce Bokish (TURKEY); Karen Almond (NOSE)

• • • • • •


Kate Medley (BLACK FRIDAY); courtesy Elizabeth Cox (POETIC)


For a change of pace, sign up for an Opt Outside gardening day on Black Friday. Raleigh-based Activate Good invites you to check out the volunteer shifts at Durham-based SEEDS, which is undergoing a garden redesign. You’ll create paths, mulch, weed, plant, organize garden tools, and paint signs for the nonprofit educational plot. 9 a.m. - 12 noon and 1 - 4 p.m.; free; 706 Gilbert St., Durham;



Poet Elizabeth Cox just released a novel, A Question of Mercy, which ponders ethics and human nature through the story of a main character with AIDS. Her lyrical tone has earned the support of local writers including Jill McCorkle, who penned the book’s introduction. Meet the author during an evening at Quail Ridge Nov. 30. 7 p.m.; free; 4209-100 Lassiter Mill Road;





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HE CURRENT ELECTION SEASON HAS BEEN ONE FOR THE BOOKS. Regardless of where you stand on the candidates, what happens on Nov. 8 will be historic. If elected, Donald Trump would become the oldest President to take office; Hillary Clinton would become the first woman President, as well as the first President with a former-President as a spouse. But you know all of that. Here are a few fun facts you might not know, tidbits that could come in handy should the conversation turn – horror! – to politics.




• Why do we vote on a Tuesday in November? Once upon a time, voters traveled to their polling places by horse, the story goes, and agricultural seasons structured the calendar. Tuesday allowed for worship on Sunday, a day’s travel to the county seat by Monday, and voting on Tuesday morning. You’d still be home in time for market day, which was traditionally Wednesday. Also, November’s a temperate, convenient time: It’s a month or two after most harvest seasons, but before the worst of winter weather. These days, activist groups like Why Tuesday are working to move election day to a weekend in order to increase voter turnout. • Democratic states these days are referred to as “blue” and Republican states are considered “red” for no particular reason. Sure, the “R” allitera-

tion is nice, but the reason behind the color-coding seems to stem from the media’s decision that the hues contrast well and look patriotic. The colors haven’t always denoted what they do today. In the 1980 Reagan-Carter election, blue tended to signify Republican;

red Democrat. CNN Politics says the 2000 Bush-Gore election was the first time all major news outlets uniformly used the Democrat-blue and Republican-red system, perhaps because it was one of the first elections shrouded in weeks of intense media coverage.

• North Carolina has only recently flexed its political muscle as a powerhouse swing state. Historically, our state’s agricultural economy was reflected in a solidly moderate political voice. Growth in high-tech and entrepreneurship-minded industries and the migration of newcomers – especially in cities like Raleigh – has resulted in an increasingly diversified population. The New York Times Magazine points to the 2008 election as the first time North Carolina stood out as a swing state, when our electoral college votes just barely went to Barack Obama. In 2012, they leaned to Mitt Romney by a hair. It’s been a see-saw ever since on the national and local levels. –Jessie Ammons


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Fans of the PBS series Antiques Roadshow have the chance to meet longtime appraiser Ken Farmer, shown above, on Nov. 4. Farmer will share stories from his years on the show, and his talk will be followed by a wine, cheese, and dessert reception. True enthusiasts can return the following day for an antique appraisal fair, where Farmer and his team will give a verbal assessment of as many as three of your items. 7 - 9 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday; $25 talk and $10 per item for Saturday appraisal; PageWalker Arts and History Center, 119 Ambassador Loop, Cary;

courtesy Three Bears Acres (FALL); Page-Walker Arts & History Center (ANTIQUES)

Have you heard of Three Bears Acres? The 50-acre Creedmoor property is a recreational farm full of tree houses, wooded areas, a pond stocked with paddle boats, and more. During the fall, there are hayrides, a hay fort, and nonstop s’moremaking at the fire pit. Now is the time to check it out; in particular, mark your calendar for Pumpkin Smashing day Nov. 5 and Bring Your Dog(s) day on Nov. 19 and 20. 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Wednesdays - Fridays, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturdays, 12 noon - 5 p.m. Sundays; $8 for adults, $15 kids, ages 2 and under are free; 711 Beaver Dam Road, Creedmoor;



5 SECRET SPOT Search for the Bobbit Hole during a guided hike at Eno River State Park Nov. 5. Although the secluded stream area is a relatively well-known destination that can be reached by a moderate 2.2-mile hike, the chance to join other hikers and a state park staff member makes the journey all the more interesting. Enjoy fresh air, fall foliage, and river views. 2 p.m.; free; Cole Mill Access Parking Lot, 6101 Cole Mill Road, Durham;

SHAWN ROCCO (STUDIO); courtesy Eno River State Park (SECRET)


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Let art be your guide around Orange County during the annual Orange County Artists Guild open studio tour during the first two weekends of the month. More than 80 artists throughout the area open their workspace to visitors who embark on a selfguided tour. Brochures and maps are available online to help you chart the course. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturdays and 12 noon - 5 p.m. Sundays; free; locations vary;

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Celebrate the bounty of fall harvests at Durham Central Park’s Meal from the Market on Nov. 6. The outdoor pavilion will transform into a twinkly setting for a dinner served family-style. The menu is a surprise but sure to be good: Chef Jacob Boehm of Snap Pea Underground is one of the hosts, and Durham Farmers’ Market members provide all of the produce and meats. Wine pairings and a folk-blues guitarist keep things lively; the recommended dress code is “adventurously casual.” 5:30 - 8 p.m.; $125; 501 Foster St., Durham;



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Last spring, Dean McCord wrote a culinary guide to Asheville in Walter that included two stops at Chef Katie Button-owned eateries: Nightbell and Cúrate. He reports that the only appropriate reaction was to “not just smile but to giggle – childishly, loudly – over how delicious and creative the food was.” Button just released her first cookbook, and she’ll stop at Fearrington Village in Pittsboro to discuss it Nov. 6. The garden terrace event includes a copy of the book, named Cúrate for her first restaurant, and also tastes of many recipes. 4 p.m.; $95; 100 Village Way, Pittsboro;

Courtney James (CANDLE); Evan Sung (COOKS)



Kittie Deemer (WAKE); courtesy Meta Toole(FAIRYTALE)



Wake Forest, the no-longer-small town north of Raleigh, is beefing up its town-wide activities. A perfect example is the first-ever Wake Forest Guild of Artists’ comprehensive exhibition. At the arts annex downtown, visitors can stroll through an array of watercolor paintings, sculpture, jewelry, glass work, encaustic pieces, woodworking, and mixed media works. Most of the artists will be there to meet and greet. 11 a.m. 5 p.m.; free; 405 S. Brooks St., Wake Forest;

Get lost in the wonderland of Bridge to Terabithia, the Neuse Little Theatre’s November production. The story follows two adolescent protagonists, a boy from rural Virginia and a girl from the city, who bond while creating their own fictional kingdom, a land called Terabithia. As the two grow older, they rely on the resilience they found in playing make-believe. The theatre’s rustic setting in a log cabin overlooking the Neuse River in Smithfield helps set the tone for this performance. 8 p.m. all four evenings and 3 p.m. Nov. 13 matinee; $15 in advance, $17 at door; 104 S. Front St., Smithfield;

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HEN THEY SET OUT TO OPEN A RESTAURANT IN downtown Cary, Samreen Nawaz and Syed Yousuf knew they needed to think outside the box. “Look how many Indian restaurants are out there,” Nawaz recalls saying. “A ton! We had to stand out.” Since August 2015, they’ve done that by delighting in, rather than balking at, special requests – gluten- or lactoseor nut-free, vegan, low sodium, you name it – and inviting diners to bring their own wine, sans corking fee. It’s the sort


of special treatment a diner might expect at an upscale eatery, but to get it at a casual spot with cafe lights strung above the outdoor patio is unexpected. This month, Nawaz and Yousuf’s Kababish Café gears up for another unique offering: their annual Indian Thanksgiving. “For us, food is the bridge between cultures,” Nawaz says. “Our customers feel like family,” she says, so last fall, as Thanksgiving approached, they felt they “must” offer a Thanksgiving buffet. The restaurant doesn’t normally serve

Christer Berg



NOVEMBER a buffet, but during lunch and early dinner hours on Thanksgiving they set out an array of side dishes, each with a tweak on traditional American favorites: sweet potato pie with warm Moroccan spices, creamed spinach with curry. The star of the show was served individually to each table: masala turkey and homemade naan. Masala is an Indian preparation that typically involves marinating meat in a mix of spices, tomatoes, and yogurt and cooking it in a clay tandoori oven. You rarely see turkey as the meat of choice. “It’s something different and something special.” Their menu on the other days of the year fits the same description. “We’re Pakistani,” Nawaz says, and

“For us, food is the bridge between cultures.”



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have lived in Cary for a decade and New York for 25 years before that. “There’s an American fusion in there, too. We like both worlds – America and Pakistan – so we have a little bit of everything.” She works front-ofhouse and her husband, Yousuf, is the chef, concocting Pakistani-Mediterranean-Indian influenced dishes from tandoori chicken to lamb burgers and veggie-and-hummus wraps. This month, when their legion of regulars celebrate Thanksgiving at the restaurant, Nawaz says they feel like they’re hosting family in their own home. “We do this out of passion. When we see our customers, all together, really enjoying and raving about the food, that’s what keeps us going. It’s a family event.” –Jessie Ammons

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Cary’s Waverly Place lights up for the season on Nov. 18. Local choirs, bands, school dance performances, and more lead up to a Christmas tree lighting on the promenade. Sweet holiday treats, warm beverages, and shopping specials help set the family-friendly and festive tone. 5:30 - 8 p.m.; free; 307 Colonades Way, Cary;

What began as a group of guys at Indiana University who liked to sing quickly became a local a capella sensation. That was in 1996; since then, the group called Straight No Chaser has graduated from the university scene to record albums and go on tour. Their a capella sounds have a decidedly modern flair, with renditions of pop songs by One Republic, Hozier, and The Weeknd. Everything is performed and recorded entirely without instruments – just harmony and human beat-boxing. See them at DPAC Nov. 20, when a few Christmas songs will make it on the set list. 7 p.m.; $49.50 and up; 123 Vivian St., Durham; dpacnc. com/events/detail/straight-no-chaser-3

Ray Black III(TREE); Populate Productions (VOICE)


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Fred Ernst (LANTERN); courtesy Town of Wendell employees (WENDELL)






One of the state’s largest holiday light shows takes place just down the road in Wendell. A visit to “Wendell Wonderland” includes the acclaimed Lake Myra Christmas light show, evenings with Santa in the historic Town Square, trolley rides throughout downtown, ice and wood carvings, and food trucks. The fun kicks off on Nov. 25, but lights continue until New Year’s Eve. 6 - 10 p.m. Sundays - Thursdays and 6 - 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; free; corner of Third and Cypress Streets, Wendell; townofwendell. com/discover/events

Booth Amphitheatre in Cary gets a sparkling makeover during the annual N.C. Chinese Lantern Festival. Dozens of displays, each made of thousands of LED lights, create vivid, festive Christmas and traditional Chinese scenes. A crowd favorite is always the Chinese Dragon, which appears to float in the middle of the amphitheatre’s Symphony Lake. New this year are rotating cultural performances and an area of artisan crafts for purchase. 6 - 10 p.m. Tuesdays - Sundays; $15, $10 kids ages 3 - 17, ages 2 and under free; 8003 Regency Parkway, Cary;

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oveable Linus van Pelt of The Peanuts is never without his security blanket – multi-purposed and well-worn, it’s a reminder of comfort, home, and warmth. Project Linus aims to provide those same feelings with its own blankets, which are handmade by volunteers and distributed to seriously ill, traumatized, or in-need children. The Missouri-based nonprofit has chapters in all 50 states; the Wake County chapter has donated over 36,000 blankets since its inception in 1996 alone. “The child who receives the blanket will know that someone in their community cares about them, cares enough to make them that blanket and give it to them, just to help them through a difficult time,” says Susie Holmes, chapter coordinator and founder. Volunteer-made blankets go to children at WakeMed Hospitals, Rex Hospital, Duke Hospital, InterAct, the Make

a Wish Foundation, and the Raleigh Rescue Mission, among others. Recently, the group branched out of the Triangle, sending blankets to victims of the West Virginia flooding. You can pitch in by donating materials or a financial contribution, or by making a blanket of your own (all blankets must be new, handmade, and clean). Local blanket-making groups include the Cary Blanketeers, who meet the second and fourth Wednesday of the month in Cary, and the Greystone Blanketeers, who meet the fourth Tuesday of each month. The chapter also has an annual Make a Blanket Day; it’ll be hosted Feb. 18, 2017 at Temple Beth Or. Each contribution is a small task when compared to its great impact – a child’s happiness. Linus would be proud. – Mimi Montgomery


Celebr ate the Magic of the Season Enjoy the sights and sounds of the holidays as we celebrate Christmas at North Hills with shopping, complimentary beverages, live music, holiday vendors, Santa, and the lighting of the most magnificent tree in Raleigh!

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19 4-8PM AT THE COMMONS Bounce House • Trackless Train Kids Craft Tent • Snow Slopes For a complete schedule of holiday events, go to





Here, some recent notable moves and additions: CROWN JEWEL Carole Marcotte’s Form and Function is the flagship store within the iconic modernist building at 1700 Glenwood Avenue at Five Points. Marcotte and her husband Richard, the building’s owners, hired Tonic Design (which had a hand in making the former Audio Buys building sustainable several years ago) to get the space retail-ready. After wrapping the exterior in a zinc skin and installing a custom shading system to regulate heat


Dixon also offers in-house lacquering that can transform furniture discards into statement pieces. With a boldly imaginative Shaun Richards mural on the exterior, the shop and its stylish mavens have elevated a once-quiet block near Glenwood South.

The Warehouse

FILL ’ER UP The Warehouse at 1924 reFinds cently relocated from Capital Boulevard to 1924 Wake BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL Forest Road. Part interior Vintage clothing and furdesign workshop and part niture commingle at newly retail, owners and designers opened Finds at 520 N. West Zandy Gammons and Liles St. Owner Evie Dixon’s flair Dunnigan have gathered a House of Landor for hunting down objects handful of boutique vendors from the whimsical to the for their Private Label Colimportant complements stunning onelection, making a one-stop destination of-a-kind vintage clothes sourced by for fabrics, upholstery, furniture, and House of Landor’s Mary Beth Paulson. painted flooring. The space also hosts several vintage furniture dealers. –J.R. Form and Function

For more information about these and other shops, visit

courtesy Carole Marcotte (Form and Function); Evie Dixon (FINDS); Mary Beth Paulson (House of Landor); Zandy Gammons (Warehouse)

With its colorful and informative printed and online maps, Design District Raleigh promotes shopping locally when buying for the home. In addition to its original guide that included retailers in the areas of Cameron Village, Five Points, Seaboard Station, Capital Boulevard, and Whitaker Mill Road, a new DDR Downtown map reflects an ever-growing number of shops downtown.

in 2011, architects Vinny Petrarca and Katherine Hogan added a 42-foot elevator tower flanked by a Matt McConnell sculpture for the Marcottes, making the building a modernist gem to behold. With a rooftop garden and Form and Function as its anchor on the second floor, the building also houses Progeny Children’s Shoppe and Interiors, Rider Hall Interiors, and For Your Convenience, an emporium of gifts, accessories, jewelry, local art, and more, on the lower level.

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From friends to family to functions, the holidays are a time for togetherness. But when was the last time just the two of you got away to get into the spirit of the season together? Whether you meander Main Street sipping cocoa, cozy up in a horse-drawn carriage, or spend it skating under the stars, come discover the place where every night is a great night for date night. Give hustle and bustle a few days off. Spend your romantic, winter weekend in Greenville, SC. Yeah, THAT Greenville. To learn more, call 800.717.0023.



“Just making people happy … (that’s) the true meaning of Christmas.”


ARK HARRIS, 52, HAS WORKED WITH FLOATS pretty much his whole life. When he was a child, his father worked part-time pulling floats for a local company, and when Harris got his driver’s license at 16, he joined in. When the float company they worked for no longer had room to store all its floats, the owner told Harris’s father that if he built a structure to house the floats, he could become a partner in the business. Eventually, his father bought the entire business, and Triangle Float Company has been in the family ever since. “Basically, I was born into it,” Harris says. “Whatever Dad did, that’s what the family did, and so that’s what we’ve always done.” It continues to be a family affair: Harris’s father is now retired, and Harris runs the Wilton-based business on weekends on top of a full-time job in an unrelated field. Harris’s wife, son, daughter, brother, sister-in-law, nephews, and nieces help, too, and they’ve all employed some of the same people for years. The company provides floats all across the Piedmont for beauty

–Mark Harris, Triangle Float Company owner pageants, dance groups, homecomings, Fourth of July parades, and more. It can be a lot of work. The group constructed all 45 of the company’s floats themselves, assembling the wagons with wooden frames and fiberglass covered in sheeting and colorful fringe. Materials constantly need to be updated and refreshed, especially during the busy seasons, when a town may want to rent three or four floats at a time. But it’s the Raleigh Christmas parade that holds a special place in Harris’s heart. The company normally supplies around 30 floats, making it their biggest one-day event. “It takes a lot of preparation,” he says, “and a lot of work on a lot of people’s part.” But continuing his father’s legacy is worth it. “Dad’s only request is ‘Keep it going,’” he says. “So that’s what we do – we keep it going.” –Mimi Montgomery See some of the Triangle Float Company floats at the WRAL Raleigh Christmas Parade Nov. 19; 9:40 a.m.; begins on the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s streets; photograph by ANNIE COCKRILL


Our Town


“Being in the military, it’s something special ... you’re serving something bigger than yourself.”

–Danny Liebman, N.C. State Air Force ROTC cadet


ollege students are busy. But college students in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, like N.C. State’s Tyrique Harris, Danny Liebman, and Jake Page (pictured from left) juggle more, and do it with purpose. These three Air Force cadets, like their peers in the Army and Navy ROTC programs, are preparing to become commissioned as military officers even as they shoulder a full course-load. Page, a senior aerospace engineering major, always wanted to fly, and knew the military was a good avenue to become a pilot. He says he can’t imagine doing anything else. “I’m totally sold on what the Air Force does and the whole mission,” he says. “I like the atmosphere, the people – everything about it, really.” Harris, a junior economics major, agrees. “When I got accepted to N.C. State, I wanted to do something else because I can’t just go to class ... something that I can sink my teeth into.” ROTC requires that kind of commitment. Students are up at 6 a.m. several times a week for physical training; they take ROTC academic classes and leadership labs that include field training and drills. They’re taught the skills they’ll need to succeed in the military, and everyone in the program has a position: Harris is a public affairs officer, sharing the Air Force’s mission via videos, social media, and a website. Liebman, a junior civil engineering major, is a Flight Commander mentoring 12 freshman Air Force cadets, with whose progess he monitors weekly. Page, the Wing Commander, serves as liaison between officers and the cadets, and spends time in strategic planning meetings. “Time’s critical,” he says. “It’s rough sometimes, but you just get better at managing your time. I would take any cadet out of the Wing and put him next to an average college student, and

I think they would way outperform them in the area of time management.” This month, the cadets are busy hosting a Veterans Day ceremony and run. Their 5K race takes place early in the morning on Nov. 11, and is followed by a ceremony honoring veterans. Prior to the race, Air Force cadets guard the N.C. State bell tower throughout the night in shifts. Standing at attention for an hour in the middle of the night provides some “good thinking time,” says Liebman, laughing; it’s also a testament to the commitment ROTC students are making here in Raleigh. –Mimi Montgomery Race: Nov. 11; 5:45 a.m.; N.C. State Memorial Bell Tower; ceremony to follow.

photograph by CHRISTER BERG


Our Town


Top from left: Smith Gaddy, Amanda Gaddy, Carnessa Ottelin, Trey Marchant, Ryan Sabino. Middle: Krista Padgett. Bottom from left: Emma Gaddy, 10, Caroline Gaddy, 7, Luca Sabino, 8, Katie Sabino, and Adeline Sabino, 5. (Missing is meal-share member Vered Seaton.)

“We definitely look after each other – for food and for life events.”


–Amanda Gaddy, member and co-founder of a neighborhood meal-share group

group of friends and neighbors in east Raleigh has been sharing meals four nights a week for a decade. “We’re a dinner club, but we don’t eat together,” says Krista Padgett. Her friend and neighbor Katie Sabino saw the idea in a magazine: A group of people cook for each other and share their meals, grab-and-go style. Padgett says there was skepticism at first. “We said, ‘OK, let’s try it for 30 days and then we’ll regroup.’ And now it’s been 10 years.” The group of eight – two couples and four singles – has lasted because of its informality, they say. They never did name the meal-share arrangement, for one. And the way it works is simple: Each couple is assigned to cook one weeknight; the singles share a night and cook every other week. Everyone else comes by and picks up their portion. Pick-ups are between 6:30 and 10 p.m., at each member’s convenience, including the cook. “If you aren’t around and don’t have time for people to pick up, it can just go in a cooler on the porch at 6:30,” says Amanda Gaddy, another founding member. “If you have to work late, no need to let us know as long as you’ll be here by 10” to pick up.

Since six of the eight were in the original crew, chit-chat is bound to happen. “Sometimes dinner isn’t quite ready yet, so you sit down and have a beer while everything finishes cooking,” says Gaddy. “But it’s like family: Nobody’s offended if you had a bad day and need to just grab your food and go.” Also like family is the depth of the relationships formed. Already, the group was one of friends; but checking in – even just via a prepared bite picked up from a cooler – four days a week for a decade adds up. “Food is the starting place for community,” says Padgett. “We’ve developed a group of people who take care of each other and look after each other.” When the meal-share began, Gaddy’s daughter was six months old. The collective offspring total is now up to four: ages 10, 8, 7, and 5. For each new child, the parents would take a few months off and the group rallied to provide extra meals. They’ve done the same for divorces and major medical operations. “It’s the power of a group,” Gaddy says, and adds that her kids don’t know any other way. “They’ve always had at least six other adults, other than their parents, who are keeping track of them and invested in them and on the list to pick them up from school.” –Jessie Ammons photograph by JILL KNIGHT


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“We’re third-generation now. There are many, many lessons that my grandfather instilled in his children that still stand today.”


–Boo Jefferson, co-owner of Kannon’s Clothing

From left: Mary Kathryn Phillips, Joe Ann Wright, George Knuckley, Boo Jefferson

ON’T LET ITS OWNERS’ SOUTHERN DRAWL FOOL YOU: Kannon’s Clothing is a tale of the immigrant American Dream. The store – based in Wendell with two separate men’s and women’s outposts in Cameron Village – was founded 100 years ago by Isaac George Kannon, a goat and sheep herder from Hammana, Lebanon. After watching a man order ham-and-eggs and pay in cash while recounting the progress and opportunity he’d seen on a recent trip to America, Kannon set out to go for himself. After a three-month barge trip, Kannon arrived at Ellis Island in October 1905, and immediately made his way to Raleigh, where his brother-in-law happened to live. Using a hand-drawn map of the area from his brother-in-law as a guide, he walked around the area peddling linens and other luxury sundries he’d pick up at the State Farmers Market and carry in a backpack. “He befriended people and would either sleep in their home or sleep in their barn for the night,” Jefferson says. Within a few years, he’d saved enough to buy a horse-and-buggy for his one-man luxury goods shop. By 1916, he decided that home was North Carolina and not Lebanon, and a friend helped him secure a store space in downtown Wendell. Those same friendships Kannon made while walking and sell-

ing goods became customers of his fine clothing store, Kannon’s Clothing. Soon, his wife Zahayia Kannon immigrated to help run the store and build a family. Growing up, “our life was centered around the store. We all lived together and we all worked together.” Treating customers like family came – and comes – naturally to the close-knit Kannon clan. “We treat our customers as if they’re coming into our home,” Jefferson says, because they’re not far from it. Today, Jefferson and her sister Joe Ann Wright buy for the newly opened women’s store in Cameron Village and also work at the Wendell flagship location; brother George Knuckley and sister Mary Kathryn Phillips manage the men’s store in Cameron Village. Jefferson’s parents both worked at Kannon’s. “It’s part of our DNA and that’s who we are.” Despite necessary adaptations to keep a retail business going, Kannon’s has lasted a century because of the family dynamic. “We are one of the oldest family-owned and operated businesses in the Southeast,” Jefferson says, and their inventory reflects it: “We can clothe three generations in a family in specialty clothing. A grandmother, a mother, and a granddaughter can be dressed from head to toe: the outfit, the jewelry, the shoes, and the purse.” –Jessie Ammons


photograph by CHRISTER BERG






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

Our Town








IT TOOK HIM FIVE DAYS TO TRANSFORM A VACANT NORTH HILLS storefront into a work of art that can be entered and experienced in three dimensions. “How do you get a square room not to look like a square room anymore?” asks Raleigh artist James Marshall, pondering his prismatic creation. The answer, partly: color, angle, expanse. The artist, also known as Dalek, is famous for his kaleidoscopic canvases, murals, and collaborations with Hurley and Nike. He sits in the middle of this latest work within its otherwise pedestrian retail space. Most recently, it was filled with Quail Ridge’s books; before that, with furniture. Now, it’s a fiery fractal you can inhabit; a psychedelic Aztec quilt; an embracing color matrix. NOVEMBER 2016 | 61


“There’s something powerful in scale,” Marshall says, spinning in his Nike shorts and flip-flops, taking it all in, top to bottom, side to side. “The bigger the fields of color, the more impact.” Unlikely juxtapositions and shapes take the viewer’s eye on unexpected journeys: “Angles pull you through the space and up to the ceiling.” Marshall’s own angle is pointed. He has an opinion he’s expressing with this latest work, and he wants it to be heard: Raleigh needs more public art, and lots of it, he says. Public art will bring people together, energize and activate the city, and give it personality, purpose, and pride. He points to Millennium Park in Chicago, which transformed from a vacant lot into a destination in no small part thanks to Anish Kapoor’s mesmerizing Cloud Gate sculpture, also known as “the Bean.” Something like that would be an incalculable asset to Raleigh, he says. “This is a great opportunity. It needs real investment.”

SEAT OF HIS PANTS Marshall – who start“So much of art is visceral,” Marshall says. ed out years ago as a grafPeople who walk by and see the North fiti artist and now shows Hills work “are not breaking it down, or his work in major galleries doing color theory on it. They don’t know and museums around the who I am. They either like it or they don’t.” world, and whose work was explored in depth in Walter’s June/July 2014 issue – counts himself among those anteing up. “Yes, I am going to get paid, and get exposure” for the North Hills work, he says, “but this is far more about getting art into a public space with high traffic and sparking conversations about the value of public art. I think it enriches people’s lives. Not art people. Everyday people. That’s the biggest power art has, is for everyday people – to bring energy to them, to bring life.” Gab Smith, the executive director of CAM Raleigh, says Marshall is an ideal messenger. “There’s no better artist than James to mobilize people to understand the value of public art,” says Smith.

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“His style is very accessible and beautiful at the same “public art pioneers” in Raleigh. time, and he has more credibility than anyone in the community through museums and street culture.” Immersed in it His longtime commercial projects and collaboraAt first, Marshall says, North Hills asked him to tions also make him comfortable discussing not only “paint that one wall.” He points to the large, winthe community impact of public art, but also its botdow-free back wall of the space. “But I said no, we tom line. “You’re not going to spend better money on have to do the whole thing. I wanted the whole space marketing,” he says. “You need to engage people.” activated, so when people come in here, they have the It didn’t take long for North Hills to put his transcomplete experience.” formed space to engaging That experience, he hopes, use. The site became the is immersive. He seeks out “When you stop and engage setting for WALK, its merthat kind of thing himself, everyday people, and you learn most recently when he agreed chants’ annual fashion show fundraiser. Several other from them, that’s the real impact. to paint a mural in Detroit groups have since booked because he wanted an excuse That’s exciting to me.” the space for events. “Peoto visit the city’s landmark ple are excited by it,” says Guardian Building with its Arrington Clark, a special ornate Art Deco interiors. He events and branding specialist at Kane Realty with a wanted to stand in the building and soak it all in. background in art. “It’s bright, it’s not difficult to read. Art Deco is a recent influence on Marshall’s work. It’s for all ages, all people.” She says North Hills plans He respects its elaborate design, something he says is to install a lot more art in its public spaces, and that lacking in modern life. “We don’t have any grandeur. Marshall is an ideal artist to kick it all off: “His misWe need grandeur. It’s uplifting. It shifts the dynamic.” sion is in line with ours: to provide the public with He’s also interested in the shapes of Masonic symbolmore art in free spaces, to offer the opportunity to be ism and Navajo textiles, and how they come to resemstopped in this busy world, to enjoy art.” ble and inform one another. This latest work of his, CAM’s Smith calls North Hills and Kane Realty Marshall says, reflects those influences, and also rep-


Robert Clinton


resents his effort to master something he cares about viscerally but is still working to decipher: color. “It’s always been this evolution of trying to figure out color. To me, so much of understanding color is understanding color’s effect on people.” To that end, he experimented here with what he considers a limited palette – 10 hues, as opposed to the 70-plus he’s used in other murals. “I’ve been on a kick with these colors,” he says, describing them as “melony” and “grapefruity.” A smaller range of colors presented new challenges, but also new discoveries: “You can push this or that to make this flatter here, or that denser there ... I tried to take that lightest pink, and drop some dark colors

A recent fashion show, WALK: The Runway Series, at North Hills featured Models for Charity in the space.

against it. I’m trying to learn about depth. Where the light pink meets the dark red, it really hurts my eyes.” But it’s the whole-room physicality of the space that has him most excited. “I’m trying to problemsolve for spaces,” he says, “not just put paint on the wall.” Where’s it all heading? Possibly toward sculpture, he hints. But he doesn’t want to be held to that. “This is unusual for me. This piece is a departure. It’s all an evolution. I’m always trying to figure out where to push it, where to take it next.” The Dalek Exhibit, located in the storefront next to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse at 4381 Lassiter at North Hills Ave., will be open to the public from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Nov. 12 and Dec. 10 and from 1 p.m. - 6 p.m. Nov. 3 and Dec. 1. James Marshall has another mural in Raleigh on the exterior wall of Bruegger’s Bagels in the Ridgewood Shopping Center at 3510 Wade Ave.

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photographs by TIM LYTVINENKO

VERYONE IN THE TRIANGLE’S BURGEONING VIRTUAL REALITY INDUSTRY seems to have a story that drives home the same point: No amount of artfully worded description can adequately convey what it’s like to enter virtual reality for the first time, they say, but once the headset’s on, there’s no going back. The region is full of these recent converts, many of whom have parlayed their revelations into start-up companies that produce virtual reality experiences – and yes, they are called “experiences” – within a thriving local industry. Virtual reality’s arrival in the region has been decades in the making, a long arc in a uniquely challenging industry. It’s a business that requires a complex, interdisciplinary process involving the coordinated talents of computer programmers, graphic designers, audio engineers, videographers, writers, and directors. Then there’s the challenge of marketing a product few people fully understand, if they know it exists at all. NOVEMBER 2016 | 67

Thanks to the Triangle’s three major research universities and large population of technology professionals, the region is one of few in the country with the volume and variety of talent readily available to make virtual reality work. The UNC-Chapel Hill computer science department developed some of the technology’s cornerstones, like head-tracking and latency experiments, in the 1990s. Many of the scientists who did the groundbreaking work were still in the area when VR began making inroads into the consumer market a few years ago, and local VR professionals today say the legacy of that pioneering work partially explains why so many industry players are setting up shop in the Triangle. Cary-based Epic Games, the maker of real-time rendering software crucial to the production of virtual reality experiences, also gets a good deal of credit for its beginnings. To gain a sense of where the industry is headed, it helps to talk with someone who knows better than most where it has come from. Before Mike Capps was president of Epic, he was an undergraduate in UNC’s computer science department. This was in the 1990s, when his professors were just beginning to fulfill the dreams sci-fi buffs had about what virtual reality could and should eventually become. So where did that first push go wrong? And what’s different now? “There was a giant consumer expectation bubble that came from the movies and TV that told you what VR was going to be like,” Capps says. “And the reality was nothing close to it. That led to a crash in the business.” The first consumer products were decent, Capps says, but there was no Matrix-like sense of total sensory replacement, 68 | WALTER


which is what consumers were Previous page: Jason Cooper and Jason primed for. And until relativeMcGuigan of Horizon Productions. Above: Horizon tests projects in the ly recently, Capps says he was works using a HTC Vive headset that afraid something similar would transforms a room into 3-D space. happen with the bubble that’s Opposite page: been building over the past few RTPVR’s Alex Grau and Nate Hoffmeier. years – that the promise of virtual reality would, perhaps inevitably, always outstrip what was available to the average hobbyist. “I was like, please don’t overpromise,” Capps says. But when he saw Facebook purchase vitual reality start-up Oculus in 2014, “I told the guys at Oculus: Please don’t screw this up.” He allowed himself to believe that they wouldn’t. Google’s recent release of its own mobile virtual reality technology with its Pixel phone and Daydream VR platform is just one of several steps forward in the consumer sector that appears to be proving Capps right. Capps says the virtual reality industry’s success here in particular is owed, at least in part, to something he’s uniquely positioned to have witnessed. “About five years ago, we lost some big gaming companies that had some unfortunate failures,” Capps says. “Even some successful companies lost some staff, so there’s a lot of talent here that knows how to create these compelling experiences. You have all these developers that never saw their home in making things like free-to-play mobile games, and VR is perfect for them.” Capps, for his part, is tight-lipped about what he’s up to these days, but he still lives in the area and keeps a careful eye on things. His role is often that of a mentor, bridging the gap between the old guard and the new so the leading edge of this most recent wave doesn’t have to reinvent what his professors labored

over so many years ago – ensuring this is the time everyone gets it right. The biggest remaining social obstacle to the success of the technology, Capps believes, is its demand that users isolate themselves. It is both fitting and ironic that he would worry about this, knowing that he and others like him have made virtual reality successful here by remaining anything but isolated, by sharing and teaching one another in ways that suggest the Triangle remains a place where any vision for the world can be made reality. Indeed, all of these local players have managed to prioritize the success of their medium above competition between themselves, weaving together a collaborative, interdisciplinary business ecosystem in the process. There are simply too many moving parts and too few experts for any one company to handle every project alone, local industry experts say. And the technology is also advancing too quickly for companies to eschew collaboration and risk missing out on a game-changing new piece of equipment, or fail to adapt to evolving standards. “If the medium doesn’t succeed, it doesn’t matter who gets a job,” says Jason McGuigan, creative director with Raleigh-based Horizon Productions. “We need the entirety of this to become a thing before we can realize our fullest potential. If we can all help each other out, the industry succeeds.”

Start-ups with complementary areas of expertise will often team up on larger projects. In addition to sharing technology and best practices among VR companies, the kind of networking RTPVR facilitates is doubly valuable for marketing to potential clients. Because one of the industry’s chief challenges is explaining what the technology can do and how it works, Hoffmeier says, word-of-mouth is critical. So are decidedly old-fashioned, in-person sales techniques. “People can’t advertise this stuff through a traditional 2-D screen,” Hoffmeier says. “We need people saying, ‘No, you need to try this. This isn’t a fad; this isn’t a gimmick.’”


Unlike many of its peers, Horizon Productions is about


If the area’s surplus of tech geeks and media professionals was the industry’s kindling and tinder, it was the spark of RTP Virtual Reality that set the whole thing ablaze. RTPVR began in 2014 as a meet-up among hobbyists and was accelerated by the 2015 arrival of Alex Grau, a virtual reality whiz who had worked on 360-degree video technology for a company called Total Cinema 360 in Manhattan. For a while, RTPVR was little more than a group of enthusiasts who met up every so often to geek out about the latest technology. But Grau’s experience and knowledge about the business side of things helped inspire a wide variety of companies and hobbyists to dive into the market. Eventually, a core group of VR professionals and their start-ups – about 11 of them, so far – emerged. Once that happened, RTPVR realized that its role as a clearinghouse for Triangle virtual reality start-ups was a business opportunity in itself. Beginning in January of this year, RTPVR transitioned from its role as a networking collective to an incorporated business. “Right now, we’re describing ourselves as a consulting group,” says Nate Hoffmeier, who works with Grau at RTPVR. “We’re functioning as an incubator, but also trying to give start-ups access to these businesses coming to us for help.” Say, for instance, a university wants to develop a VR tour of its campus. RTPVR leverages its connections and knowledge of the Triangle start-ups in the industry to help the university find the company that best suits its needs and budget. NOVEMBER 2016 | 69

three decades removed from “start-up” status. It has long been an industry leader among old-fashioned video production companies in the Triangle. But the company took a turn to the future about a yearand-a-half ago – “quite some time” in the VR world, according to creative director Jason McGuigan – when a few employees began playing around with a gadget called the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset born on Kickstarter but later bought by Facebook. Oculus is widely known as a pioneering force behind market-ready virtual reality. Because Horizon already employed people with the graphic design, audio, and videography expertise required to produce solid VR experiences, the company realized it only needed a few key additional hires to become a viable player in the industry. And unlike most start-ups trying to get a foot in the door, Horizon had the capital and client base to support that ambition. “Looking at the core technology, we recognized that a lot of its aspects we already do, we have in house,” McGuigan says. “Once you discover the power of the medium, it’s very difficult to say, ‘This isn’t going to be a big deal.’” Since then, Horizon has begun offering 360-degree video products to its clients alongside more traditional services. As Horizon’s multimedia director Jason Cooper notes, they’re often educators as much as salespeople in those cases. “We’ve made it a focus to be evangelists and do demos and take VR to our clients and the community,” Cooper says. “We‘ve actually introduced VR to maybe more people than anybody else, than someone like Epic (Games), in the Triangle.” 70 | WALTER


Above: Mike Cuales sets up gear Horizon’s success in the provided by Lenovo for a 360-degree field led to its becoming one of immersive experience at N.C. Museum a handful of VR-involved firms of Natural Sciences’ BugFest. Opposite: Jason Cooper and Jason McGuigan of chosen to participate in GoHorizon Productions pose with their Pro’s Odyssey project, which Google VR/GoPro Odyssey camera, one is both a product and a serof the only 360-degree VR cameras of its kind on the East Coast. vice. Companies like Horizon get to use a GoPro-designed 16-camera rig to capture stereoscopic 3-D video, the production of which has been, until now, an incredibly labor- and computing-intensive process. Odyssey, however, allows participants to send GoPro their raw footage, where it’s processed within a day or two and sent back perfectly stitched together and compiled into 3-D, 360-degree video. “Our focus right off the bat was on the non-gaming applications of this technology, but we’ve actually moved into that realm as well,” Cooper says. “We’re one of the few players in the area that has done projects for major corporate clients.” Among those clients are local LED producers Cree and hardware retailer Home Depot. Horizon has also recently produced 360-degree video packages for the UNC football team – Cooper’s a UNC grad – as well as the Carolina RailHawks.


Cynthia Jones’ Virtual Reality Therapy for Phobias clinic isn’t the only place on Duke’s campus using virtual reality; the technology you’ll find there, compared to what media and gaming production companies are working with, isn’t necessarily

cutting edge. But that’s not what’s important, says Jones, a counselor with the Duke Faculty Practice whose clinical work using virtual reality to treat phobias has expanded the technology’s reach into places even the most interdisciplinary development teams might never have considered. Virtual reality’s application as a phobia treatment makes a lot of sense once you learn a little about how phobia treatment has traditionally been approached. People like Jones often use what’s known as “immersion therapy” to help patients understand and control their psychosomatic responses to their phobic triggers – flying in an airplane, for instance. But traditionally, immersion therapy hasn’t actually been all that immersive. Patients with a fear of flying might have been asked to imagine themselves in an airplane. They would then evaluate their responses to that imagined input and practice controlling them. Even that can be surprisingly successful, Jones says, but the power of suggestion that comes with a 360-degree video experience – combined with physical cues like a rumbling seat – adds a new dimension to the treatment. “VR allows me to take that in-between step of what you imagine in your mind and kind of having a virtual world to play with before you go into the real world,” Jones says. Duke’s clinic started using the technology in the early 2000s as a result of the hospital’s partnership with Emory University, where it was pioneered. The modules Duke has adopted, each crafted to address a specific condition, are developed by a company called Virtually Better. Virtual reality’s clinical uses have also expanded to addiction treatment, post-traumatic stress, and motor skill rehabilitation in patients who have suffered traumatic brain injury. Jones says VR helps some patients overcome the stigma associated with certain phobias by making the process of overcoming them feel more like a discrete task. The modules she uses recommend between eight and 20 45-minute practice sessions, but Jones says most patients only need a handful. “They can think, ‘I’m going to go in and practice with this set of equipment instead of going in and feeling like a crazy person,’” she says. “People will use VR, particularly men, because they want to come in, get the job done, and get out of there.”

low-budget, boutique operation that Cuales and his business partner Arthur Earnest find time for when they’re not at their day jobs. Cuales 3-D-prints his 360-degree camera rigs himself and uses his background in education to his advantage. “With a small company, I can do the projects for a school, for example, or a nonprofit,” Cuales says. “Someone who can’t foot the bill for a Hollywood production.” That suits him just fine. Cuales says he’s not in virtual reality to become an industry tycoon. As an educator and researcher, his passion lies more in finding out what happens when artists and documentarians get their hands on the technology he’s grown to love. Cuales also understands better than many in his field the challenges virtual reality will face if it hopes to become more than a futuristic novelty. His job requires him to think about what will capture students’ attention, and unlike the bulk of technological innovation that’s come along in the last decade or so, virtual reality’s immersive premise demands that attention in an undivided form. That kind of focus is wonderful for learning, Cuales says, but it’s no mean feat to get students and consumers to commit to it.


As creative director of online education at N.C. State University, Mike Cuales has worked for the past 14 years to find and develop tools that transcend the limitations of remote learning. Once he discovered virtual reality, he knew it represented a total shift away from – and a vast improvement upon – everything that had come before it, including classroom learning itself. “From an educational standpoint, the ability to immerse somebody in an environment and put them in the scene holds immense promise for almost anything I’ve been working in for the last decade,” Cuales says. In 2015, Cuales began LEVR Studios. For now, it’s a NOVEMBER 2016 | 71

“It’s a big ask for our audience to sit down, put on this headset, and make sure you have enough space around you to move around and really check out to some degree,” Cuales says. “We’re not doing a tremendous job of preparing users for that.” As exciting as it is to don the headset for the first time, it’s also hard to completely let go and forget how goofy it must look to the outside world to be flailing about and remarking on things no one else can see. Cuales says he’s noticed that sense of vulnerability in demonstrations he’s been a part of, and he worries that could be an even more pernicious barrier. The solution to these problems, he thinks, is two-fold: Start people out with short experiences, and be conscious of the environment you create when introducing people to the technology. “That’s why I’m so passionate about its application in education,” Cuales says. “It’s a captive audience. If I say you need to take the next five minutes to step into this manufactured environment, that’s exciting because they’ve already made the commitment to be here.”


The founders of this Durham-based start-up are eager to discuss virtual reality’s big-picture future, but for now, they’re content to meet the market where it is. “What we’re not doing is games; I’ll start with that,” says Joshua Setzer, one of Lucid Dream’s co-founders. “Games are going to be a huge market in VR, and there’s going to be a lot of interesting possibilities, but we’re interested in VR mainly as a sales and marketing tool.” But even within that focused mandate, Lucid Dream has 72 | WALTER


chosen to grapple with vir- Above: Cynthia Jones uses VR to help treat phobias at Duke. Here she tual reality at the conceptual level, partly because of the demonstrates a simulation for public speaking. Opposite, top: LEVR Studios’ shared responsibility industry Mike Cuales believes in the immersive power of VR for remote educamembers feel to advance the tion. Opposite bottom: Lucid Dream technology, but also because co-founders Joshua Setzer and Mike a fundamental understanding McArdle say virtual reality has the ability to be the “greatest empathy of what makes virtual reality work promises to make their machine that man has ever known.” products more effective. “We’re hacking the conscious mind,” Setzer says. “We’re trying to hit the minimum threshold so that the human brain says ‘yes, this is reality.’” Mike McArdle, another Lucid Dream co-founder, is a former Apple Store employee who used to specialize in helping neophytes navigate Apple products. He has also dabbled in bringing the technology into the classroom through a separate initiative called the Virtual Reality Learning Experience. McArdle says virtual reality holds the promise of unprecedented accessibility in a way that takes away the abstraction of user interfaces, making tech-based tasks easier for even true tech novices by mimicking their real-life equivalents. “If you think about it, we’ve gotten used to abstractions with mouse and keyboard,” McArdle says. “(Virtual reality) is this crazy flat circle where we’re using the most insane, cutting-edge technology to make interaction with technology a lot more human, a lot more intuitive. VR could, ironically, bring a whole generation of people back into computing.” McArdle’s skills are complemented by Setzer’s. The Duke graduate used to work in architectural rendering designing

yachts, and he has a strong familiarity with 3-D modeling and the types of clients in the market for Lucid Dream’s work. So far, those include real estate developers, car and boat manufacturers, and product designers, all of which can benefit from the ability to give potential customers a tour of products that are either not present or don’t yet exist. In addition to possessing a near-complete virtual reality skill-set in a three-man team – RTPVR’s Alex Grau completes the trio – Lucid Dream’s co-founders are willing to discuss the cultural and philosophical implications of the medium, both the value and danger that awaits a society that places a premium on augmenting and replacing sensory input with something other than one’s immediate physical surroundings. “We have different mental constructs because of how we interact with different technologies due to the spread between the wealth of the world and the poorest of the poor,” McArdle warns. “This could accelerate that. It might be the great equalizer if enough of this technology gets around, but it might be the great divide where some people are able to start living in a virtual world.” Setzer chimes in with a more optimistic perspective. “It also has the potential to be the greatest empathy machine that man has ever known,” he says. “There are all these really interesting immersive journalism pieces that take an audience into another person’s world and life in pretty haunting ways. There are so many opportunities to build understanding.” The two agree that virtual reality, like the internet, is simply another media tool that expands access to both the real world and to refuges from it. What becomes of this tool will depend on how those who pioneer virtual reality define its place. “It’s business, but it’s much more than just business,” Setzer

says. “It’s society-changing technology. There are a lot of important conversations to be had.”

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




A punchy

Holidays have always been an interesting time in my family’s household. My father embraces the months of November and December with the goofy spirit of a thousand Clark Griswolds, my aunts call with fierce interrogations (Yes, I am still single; no, I do not want to take care of your cat), and my mother pushes herself to marathon-like exhaustion, cleaning and cooking enough food to feed the entire occupancy of a Carnival Cruise ship.


All this chaotic hubbub, of course, means my brother and I have to make ourselves conveniently scarce and seek solace in the basement. And by basement I mean the economy pack of seasonal beer my mother buys from Costco. Yes, my family is most definitely of the loud, eccentric variety, forever in situations that we find entertaining and that come across to others as evidences of certifiable insanity. There was the year my elderly grandmother showed up to Thanksgiving dinner with a foottall, grey-purple wig that crescendoed over her head. It was a fantastic display of aeronautical photographs by KEITH ISAACS


engineering. “Don’t let her get too close to the candles,” my brother said, helping to take her coat off. “She might go up like Baked Alaska.” My dad, pulling out our chairs, leaned over to me and whispered: “That wig makes Grams look exactly like Prince,” then proceeded to hum Purple Rain over his green beans the rest of the evening. Then there was the year my brother and I hosted a party the evening before Thanksgiving; we awoke the next day to find that a particularly festive guest had eaten all four of the pies my mother had prepared (she cried; we had to buy pies from Food Lion). Or the year my New Age yogi father made us participate in an “interactive blessing”: We each rubbed our palms together to create frictional “vibes,” then passed along said vibes to our confused guests with some awkward hand-holding. Or the year my mother put the turkey in the dishwasher instead of the oven – a minor detail, all in all. As the years have progressed, cousins have grown up and moved far away, and grandparents have gotten too old to travel. This means our Thanksgivings have recently been of the friends-giving variety, with close family friends in lieu of traditional relatives. This has cranked the psychotic dial up full-blast, as the only people crazier than those in our immediate gene pool are the ones with whom we voluntarily opt to spend our time. Now my mother and her kooky coterie hold court from dilapidated wicker chairs on our back porch, which she also conveniently uses as a second refrigerator in the cold winter months. Nestled between loaves of bread and covered quiches, they speak in decibels that put cracks in the house foundation and reverberate across county lines. My mother’s happy there

in her patchy, 10-dollar fur coat we like to call “The Cat,” which makes her look like a sick animal with mange, a lit Parliament in one hand and our geriatric Jack Russell in the other. I tell her they should hand out complimentary inhalers or gas masks at the door – there’s enough smoke out there to fill a 19th-century opium den. Yes, this is home, but lest you think I reside in a Tennessee Williams play, among the craziness and nicotine clouds is nestled a lot of friendship, togetherness, and love. Thomas Wolfe said you can never go home again, but I disagree: I’m never happier than when I’m surrounded by these characters of my life, and whenever I think of our rag-tag Thanksgiving gatherings, I am home. Which brings me to our drink recipe for this November: A festive punch meant to be enjoyed by a homeful of the characters you call your own. The communal cocktail that is punch is designed to bring people together in sharing and celebration, no matter the group dynamic or circumstances. I think it’s what Squanto and the gang would have wanted when showing those new Puritanical neighbors how to really party in Plymouth. Because at the end of each Thanksgiving day, it’s not really about what you eat or drink – be it punch, an entire Costco pack of seasonal beer, or apple cider; maize, Chinese takeout, or Tofurkey. It’s about realizing what’s most important: A house filled with togetherness, sharing, lots of love, and – above all – thanks.

SPANISH 26 From Jessie Eisenmann of Wine Authorities 4 ounces Mas Codina Cava Brut Reserva ¼ ounce Alley Twenty Six Tonic Syrup (made in Durham and available at Wine Authorities) ¼ ounce cranberry simple syrup* ¼ ounce lemon juice Rosemary sprig, for garnish Pour syrups and juice into flute or wine glass. Top with cava and garnish with a rosemary sprig. To make ahead, mix the tonic syrup, cranberry simple syrup, and lemon juice and refrigerate. When ready to serve, add ¾ ounce of the mixture to glass and top with cava and rosemary.

*CRANBERRY SIMPLE SYRUP 1 cup sugar 1 cup water 1 ½ cups fresh cranberries

Combine the sugar, water, and cranberries in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer while stirring to completely dissolve the sugar. Simmer until the cranberries have popped and remove from heat. Cool completely. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Seal tightly and store in the refrigerator.

NOVEMBER 2016 | 77

at the



TOUC H D OW N S Confessions of a food-obsessed family


Opposite: Fanny Slater with her mother Ra El Remez and father Jeff Slater. Above: Some favorite Thanksgiving sides.



photographs by CASEY TOTH

My family doesn’t care for sports. Let me rephrase. My immediate family doesn’t care for sports. My 89-year-old grandmother puts a dollar in a jar every time the Mets win, but somehow that competitive appreciation of athletic games completely surpassed my dad, mom, sister, and me. I honestly can’t recall one single instance when the four of us sat in the living room cheering on a game. We do have our version of the Super Bowl, though. It just happens to be filled with mixed greens and crumbled goat cheese.

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You see, growing up in a Jewish family meant two things. One, our lives revolved around food, and two, our lives revolved around food. And with the absence of a big Christmas dinner, Thanksgiving (one of the rare times the four of us are back under the same roof ) has always been a precious occasion. We once even postponed the holiday when my sister wasn’t able to fly back from her current home on Oahu. That year, while everyone else was enjoying turkey on actual Turkey Day, my mom, dad, and I were indulging in a traditional Jewish meal of Chinese takeout and cheesy romantic comedies. But typically, as Thanksgiving nears and other families gather around their plasmas for the playoffs, my family tears through the aisles of Whole Foods in search of obscure ingredients. Lucky for me, my dad – known for his firm punctuality – likes to kick the games off early. So the minute my eyes open on the celebratory morning of Thanksgiving, I’m greeted by savory aromas of fragrant herbs and starchy baking potatoes. It’s always been our way. Growing up, I hated homework; but each year on Thanksgiving, I couldn’t wait to get to my first assignment. My dad was always the Captain of the Kitchen, but once my spark for cooking was lit, I obtained the rank of First Meat. This meant that my input on how we seasoned the bird was considered, and I was also allowed to 80 | WALTER

melt the butter. My mom (our Official Taste Officer) had several important duties, such as softening the Saint-André cheese, composing a nourishing salad, and brushing our Persian cats to distract them from the poultry on the counter. My sister Sarah grew into her roles of Second Taster in Command and Certified Relaxer. In between wearing fuzzy socks, drinking wine, and taking baths, her job is to remove (eat) all of the crumbs and scraps from our prep. As my knife skills and culinary knowledge grew over the years, Thanksgiving planning became increasingly fascinating for my dad and me. We were able to put our creative

foodie heads together and see what magic we could manifest as a team. As November arrived, so did our conference calls on topics like “basil versus tarragon.” We exchanged emails with subjects such as “RE: Walnuts in the Stuffing?” While most people stick to a consistent, traditional lineup of Thanksgiving fare, my dad and I were – and are – constantly trying to figure out how to make every dish soar with new inspiration. Of course the menu always includes the usual suspects: turkey, wine, cranberries, potatoes, wine, stuffing. Did I say wine? But it’s the newly discovered ingredients, the locations we’re visiting, or the novel techniques we’ve recently acquired that light our imaginations on fire. There was the November we spent on Sarah’s turf in Hawaii when our feast went tropical, with macadamia nut stuffing and pineapple-glazed turkey. There was the year I learned how to properly caramelize aromatics, and so sweet, rich Vidalia onions were threaded through the potatoes. This year for our collaborative spread, we’ve decided to dedicate a side dish to each one of us – as we all work equally hard, in our own important ways, to create a beautiful meal. My dad and I got together for a dress rehearsal recently to iron out all of the kinks in this new repertoire. For my mom (who is gluten-sensitive but has a soft spot for chocolate chip cookies), we experimented with several

types of wheat-free stuffing. When we found one that hit the spot, we added chopped figs for sweetness and sage for a woody note. Then we bathed the mixture, which includes earthy roasted shiitakes and shallots, in creamy coconut milk. Packed into a roasted acorn squash, this stuffed stuffing is as exotic as Kailua Beach, my mom’s favorite destination on Sarah’s Oahu paradise. Sarah adores the three of us, but our twice-baked potatoes are definitely her fourth most important reason to return to our North Raleigh kitchen each fall. To pump up these flavor bombs, we loaded the spuds with fresh dill, sweet roasted garlic, and a crispy top hat of sharp, nutty Gruyere. And despite the hours of thought and preparation that go into the other (more complex) side dishes, my dad and I have always been suckers for our tart, orange-infused cranberry relish. But instead of sticking the berries in a bowl this year, we decided to wrap thin, delicate layers of buttery filo around triple crème Brie, pop it in the oven, and drape our tangy relish over top. The burst cranberries (which were infused with lavender as an ode to my cookbook, Orange, Lavender & Figs) proved to be an idyllic match for the gooey cheese oozing from its crispy shell. We received two very enthusiastic thumbs up from our Official Taste Officer. Seriously, with all of this food, who has time to watch football? » Recipes on next page NOVEMBER 2016 | 81

FILO BAKED BRIE WITH ORANGE-AND-LAVENDER CRANBERRY RELISH Serves 4 to 6 (with leftover cranberry relish) 1/2 cup sugar 1 cup water 1 12-ounce package fresh cranberries 1/2 navel orange, skin and flesh roughly chopped 2 teaspoons chopped fresh lavender (or 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender) 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Kosher salt 3 sheets frozen filo pastry (18x14 inch), thawed GLUTEN-FREE STUFFED ACORN SQUASH WITH FIGS, SHIITAKES, AND COCONUT

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted, for brushing

Serves 4

Lavender flowers, for garnish (may substitute mint leaves)

2 medium acorn squash (about 2 pounds), cut in half lengthwise with seeds scraped out 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 round good-quality Brie cheese, paper removed but rind left intact

Crackers, for serving

1 cup roughly chopped shiitake mushrooms

In a medium saucepot over high heat, add the sugar, water, cranberries, orange, lavender, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and cook (stirring occasionally) until the cranberries break down, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

4 cups gluten-free bread cubes

Unroll the filo dough and lay one sheet onto your work surface. Lightly brush the edges with some of the melted butter. Place another sheet of filo on top and brush the edges of that one with butter. Place the final sheet of filo over the first two sheets, brush the edges with butter, and place the brie in the center. Wrap the dough around the cheese (trimming off any excess dough if necessary), and flip the Brie over so it’s folded-side down. Brush the smooth top of the filo-wrapped Brie with butter, and place it on a lined baking sheet. Bake until lightly golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

2 tablespoons maple syrup Kosher salt and coarse black pepper 2 medium shallots, roughly chopped

1/4 cup chopped dried mission figs 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock, as needed Fresh chopped parsley (for garnish) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut a small slice off the rounded side of each acorn squash half so they sit upright. Evenly drizzle the center of each squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil and the maple syrup, and season generously with salt and pepper. Place the halves on a baking sheet and roast until tender but firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, toss the shallots and shiitakes with the remaining olive oil, and season with the sage and salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables onto a baking sheet and roast until the shallots are translucent, 15 to 20 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the roasted vegetables with the gluten-free bread cubes and figs. Pour in the melted butter, coconut milk, and then the stock (a few tablespoons at a time) until the stuffing is moist but not soggy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce the oven to 300 degrees F. Fill each squash cavity with the stuffing, and bake until topping begins to brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Garnish with the fresh parsley.


Allow the Brie to rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting into it. Just before serving, top it with the cranberry relish, lavender flowers (or mint), and serve with crackers.

TWICE-BAKED POTATOES WITH RICOTTA, ROASTED GARLIC, AND DILL Serves 4 to 6 4 large baking potatoes, washed 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil Kosher salt and coarse black pepper 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt 1/4 cup ricotta cheese 1/4 cup half and half 1 large egg, lightly beaten 1 small head roasted garlic, cloves squeezed out 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese 1 tablespoon paprika Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Rub the potatoes with olive oil and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Place the potatoes onto a baking sheet and bake until completely cooked through, about 1 hour. Reduce the oven’s heat to 350 degrees F. Remove the potatoes from the oven, and allow them to cool to room temperature. Using a sharp knife, cut each potato in half lengthwise. Scoop the potato’s flesh into a large mixing bowl, being careful not to tear the shell. Arrange the potato shells back onto the baking sheet. In the bowl with the potatoes, mash in the butter, Greek yogurt, ricotta, half and half, egg, roasted garlic cloves, and dill until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stuff each potato shell with the filling and top with a combination of Gruyere and parmesan. Dust each stuffed potato with paprika. Bake until the potatoes are warmed through and the cheese is crispy and lightly golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

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AT THIS TIME OF YEAR, AS FAMILIES gather to give thanks, time is allowed to slow down, and memories of people and seasons past can bring meaning to the present. Here, three locals share some of their favorite Thanksgiving memories. Saying grace by Leslie Logan, third generation member of the Logan’s Garden Shop family


he Logan Thanksgiving table was always full. Not just with food, but with people! Robert Logan Sr. and Helen Logan (Grandma and Paw Paw) had six children, all of whom grew up and had families of their own. When we came together, there was a pile of us.


The food was always amazing, everything from Grandma’s turkey-and-dressing and Aunt Rita’s sweet potato casserole to Aunt Debby’s delicious new funky recipes she would add to the table each year from some fancy magazine. The atmosphere was loud – mostly because of the cackling laughter, and random singing, and detailed recollections of family gatherings past. At times it turned into a roar. But you could be assured that once “grace” was said, the room would go quiet – except of course for the “yum”s and “ooooo”s as we stuffed our bellies. After the meal the boys would go throw the football, or maybe come back in later to watch football. And the cackling would resume. My favorite Thanksgiving memory

with the Logan family is the last one where we were all together. There were so many of us we could hardly fit in one room for the blessing. So, we decided to make a circle around the perimeter of the room. We held hands as antsy little ones squirmed and begged to eat, and we took a moment to just be silent. Instead of a traditional “saying of grace” before the meal, we went around that huge circle and everyone shared something they were truly thankful for – even the little ones. What a beautiful blessing it was on that Thanksgiving Day. There was so much gratefulness and so much fullness as we looked around the room at three generations of Logans. We mentioned the ones no longer with us, and how grateful we are for the years when they were there. Tears welled up; we were all moved by that moment of unified gratitude for overwhelming grace that has been poured out on this family. To actually say grace, to speak of the power of it and acknowledge its truth in the faces of the ones you love, is to experience its presence fully and realize that grace is a person that has been holding hands with you all along the way. We’ve all grown up and now have our own tables to decorate. Some cousins are far away, and the whole lot of us aren’t able to be in one place and time anymore most holidays. But there can be no question that the “grace” we spoke of that day has followed us year after year, from generation to generation. And the roots that have been established have held us strong toward the things that matter most. Because more than turkey dinners and yummy recipes, the love of a family and the chords of faith that bind us together are the things that truly fill our bellies and satisfy our souls. Carrying on the tradition by L. Howard Brooks Jr.


rowing up in the South means family is important, and family traditions are even more important. I was lucky enough to have two, great extended families.

Graphics Fairy


My mom’s family was from High Point, N.C., and we always celebrated Christmas in High Point. The Christmas celebration was always very nice and much more formal. My dad’s family was from Wilson, N.C., and we always celebrated Thanksgiving in Wilson. The Thanksgiving celebration was always more casual. My dad died when I was five years old; however, my mom made a point of keeping us connected with my dad’s family. It was important for her to maintain those relationships, but more important to introduce my brother and me to the very special Brooks family. My dad had 11 brothers and sisters. There were seven girls and five boys. They grew up in a small, two bedroom house on Gold Street in Wilson right next to Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College). As the story goes, they were the smartest kids in the school. They were all engaged: loved to spend time together and loved to debate anything from the best barbeque to the best sports team. Three of the four boys put themselves through Duke University and Duke University Law School, so their debating skills were sharp and their wits were quick. We always looked forward to our annual trip to Wilson. As far back as I can remember, my mom, my brother, and I would set out for Wilson around 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. It was never early enough. Some families gather for Christmas or Easter. Not the Brookses. It was always Thanksgiving. Rain or shine, it was always the most festive day of the year. Turkey, country ham, lima beans, mashed potatoes, dressing, asparagus casserole, and tipsy cake. There was food everywhere, and tables and chairs in every room. I remember feeling so at home and so thankful. I can smell the food; I can hear the laughing; I can feel the love. We always have 50 - 70 people celebrating family, celebrating Thanksgiving, happy to be together. I am 53 now. I have three kids and the Thanksgiving tradition continues: My Aunt Jack and Uncle Dick got too old to

host our Thanksgiving celebration, so nine years ago my wife and I took over the tradition. My wife is from Wilson, so it was not hard to convince her that hosting 70 people on a Thursday afternoon was normal. We have moved it to Raleigh, but the tradition continues. We have added oysters, and my daughter makes sausage balls, but everything else is the same. We are older and move slower, but we still laugh, love, and are thankful for our family. There is only one surviving sibling, but the cousins carry on the tradition. Over the years, the guest list has been extended to include neighbors and friends, which is the Brooks way: Everybody is welcome and included. After lunch we have the traditional family football game. Grown-ups versus kids. The grown-ups always win, but winning is not the point. Being together and celebrating family is Thanksgiving. I hope my kids will continue the tradition. The Switch by Pamela D. Evans


n the ’70s, my next-door neighbor Ellie Doyle was frantically preparing for the arrival of her younger sister and her four children. Everything had to be perfect, for the “perfect” younger sister was arriving at RDU airport late that afternoon. Dinner was to be ready when they walked in the door. Before Ellie left for the airport, she placed a 20-pound turkey, covered with a foil tent, in the oven. Her two young teenagers, Maura and Chipper, were instructed to baste that turkey every 15 minutes. What she did not know was that I had asked Maura and Chipper to let me know when their mother cooked a turkey. I did not tell them the reason for this request. This was, after all, a top-secret mission, and the element of surprise was imperative to its success! Ellie pulled out of the driveway heading to RDU, and I received the call to start the mission! Our local grocer, Bobby Mears, had no Cornish hens, but he dug through the new arrival of chickens and found the “perfect”

one-and-a-half-pound fryer. It looked like it had just hatched! I ran to Ellie’s with my little chicken and my roaster. I placed her turkey on my roaster and placed my chicken on her roaster, covered with her aluminum foil tent. “Operation Switch” was on! Back at home, I put Ellie’s 20-pound turkey in my oven and basted it every 15 minutes. After all, this had to be the “perfect” turkey. My first hint of what happened next was when my kitchen door was flung open by two frantic teenagers yelling “Mrs. Evans, we need Mom’s turkey NOW!” I grabbed it out of the oven and across the yard we ran. Ellie was standing in her kitchen and did not speak – or could not speak. I removed my shriveled-up fryer from her roaster, and replaced it with her 20-pound, perfectly basted turkey. We did have a laugh about it … later. Ellie told me she’d run in her house ahead of her guests to check the turkey. When she removed it from the oven and looked under the foil tent, she could not breathe. She thought she had had a stroke. It just did not compute! Maura and Chipper were yelling, “Mom, we kept basting the turkey and it kept shrinking!” The rest of the story: Four months later, on my birthday, I received a beautiful cake from the local bakery. There was no note included. When I called the bakery to inquire who had sent the lovely cake, they said they could not tell. I decided to cut myself a slice, but to my amazement the knife bounced back. It was not a cake, but a beautifully decorated block of foam rubber. Of course, I knew who sent it, but never told Ellie I had received the cake. Ellie never ’fessed up. We remained friends and had many laughs about the turkey – but never the cake. Ellie and Dr. Ray Doyle are no longer with us. I cherish the memories of being a young mother and living next door to the Doyles. Thanksgiving is a time for enjoying friends and family. Enjoy sharing the memories, and who knows, you might experience “The Switch”!

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courtesy Andrew Britt






The Broadway marquee for Bright Star, an original musical set in North Carolina that Andrew Britt helped direct.


If you can make it here, can you make it on Broadway? For many young people whose dreams of a life in theatre are shaped by their time in Raleigh, the answer is a resounding yes. They’re making it as actors, singers, dancers, designers, and directors. They credit their early successes to their access to the performing arts in Raleigh: music, dance, and drama in area schools, a network of theatres, and numerous community arts programs. Dedicated teachers and theatre professionals here recognized their talents, they say, nurtured their development, and introduced them to people who mattered. And they have another built-in advantage competing on Broadway, one that goes beyond professional training: “If you’re from the South, you know you can go far by saying what you need to say with a smile on your face,” says director Andrew Britt. NOVEMBER 2016 | 87

Although both had strong support from their families and felt well-prepared and confident in their prospects, they discovered that New York was filled with talMarried couple Laurel Harris ented people competing for the and Rob Marnell very roles they coveted. So the two secured agents, auditioned Lighting designer Craig Stelzenmuller agrees. “You need for roles, and auditioned some to be part New Yorker and part Southerner,” he says. “The more. And they found work they New Yorker comes in handy when you have to hustle for asRob Marnell (standing far enjoyed. signments, and the Southerner when you need to use a little right) in a production at But one day in 2010, after a Raleigh Little Theatre charm to get things done.” string of auditions that did not Meet a few of these multi-talented young theatre pros. pan out, Harris found herself ready to quit the theatre business. Just one week later, she got the LAUREL HARRIS AND ROB MARNELL call that led to her big break. She was hired as a member of the Theirs was a fairy-tale romance. Literally. Laurel Harris and ensemble and as an understudy for the role of Elphaba in the tourRob Marnell, now in their early ’30s, met in high school when they ing production of the Broadway show Wicked. And ultimately, she were both cast in a Raleigh Little Theatre production of Cinderella. was tapped to play the role herself. And though they performed in a singing quartet that opened the Her three-year journey with Wicked fulfilled a dream begun show (not as Cinderella and the Prince), the show ignited their back in 2003 on a family trip to New York – the same year the passions for theatre – and for each other. musical opened on Broadway. The show was sold out, but Harris’s Both studied drama at separate high schools in Raleigh – mother managed to snag the last remaining ticket for her. By inHarris at Enloe and Marnell at Milbrook – but shared a voice termission, Harris was in its spell. Frozen in her seat, waiting for teacher in Lisa Blair-Hawkins. She helped them develop their the curtain to rise again, she called her mother and said, “I am singing talents and introduced them to theatre professionals she going to be in this show one day.” brought down from New York to teach master classes. For his part, Meanwhile, Marnell spent ten years acting steadily in New Marnell also performed with an improv troupe made up of stu- York before landing his first Broadway role. The tall tenor whom a dents from area high schools. Rehearsing on Saturday mornings college professor once described as “a character actor inside a leadduring the school year, he learned early on that performing entails ing man’s body” is now performing as a “swing” actor in Beautiful: sacrifices. The Carole King Musical. As a swing, he’s covering three leading After high school, the couple went their separate ways for col- roles and two ensemble roles. lege and rekindled their relationship when they landed in New And Harris is joining him. For a limited period, the two are York after graduation. Soon, Marnell lured Harris back home for working together – for the first time since they appeared in Cina visit and surprised her by proposing marriage in the rose garden derella in Raleigh – with Harris filling in on Beautiful as a swing at Raleigh Little Theatre. actor covering three roles. As swings, they never know if they’ll 88 | WALTER

all photos this page courtesy Laurel Harris

Laurel Harris as Elphaba in the touring production of Wicked

Jon Goldman (Craig at work); Curtis Scott Brown (A Chorus Line)

Craig Stelzenmuller at work

be on stage in a particular performance, or what roles they’ll be playing. Meanwhile, they are running lines and hoping they’ll get the chance to perform together as singer-songwriter Carole King and her lyricist husband Gerry Goffin. For this show and any others on Broadway, they’re ready for the leading roles. For more on Beautiful:


rector to let him try his hand at the controls. While a student at Martin Middle School and Enloe High School, Stelzenmuller started working with North Carolina Theatre and its lighting director, David Neville. Though the work mostly involved typing lighting instructions as fast as he could, Stelzenmuller was enthralled. “I realized this could be a real job,” he says. He moved to New York after college, and continued to work on productions in Raleigh, including the all-county productions orchestrated by Elizabeth Grimes-Droessler, who was then directing arts programs for the Wake County Public School System. An early champion of his, she made it clear to Stelzenmuller that he needed to work in theatre for a living. It took about five years of doing what he calls “odd jobs” in lighting and sound before he met the theatre pros who would help him get to Broadway. First, Stelzenmuller got assignments supporting accomplished lighting directors. When he heard Tony Award-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz was looking for someone to assist her on a new Disney musical of The Little Mermaid, he let her know he was available, and he got the job. First, he had a six-month run in Denver to get the show ready. Stelzenmuller recalls it was no easy task: Singing and dancing fish were the least of the challenges. As he handled spotlights following the actors, he realized he had a great vantage point to observe the action both on- and off-stage. He

Stelzenmuller’s lighting for A Chorus Line

The show featured a little boy who did magic tricks with a girl his age as his lovely assistant. His mom handled the wardrobe, and his dad custom-made magic props in the same diminutive size as the show’s star, Craig Stelzenmuller. Before long, the family converted a trailer into a circus wagon with a front and back stage, a fog machine for special effects, and “Magic by Craig” emblazoned on the side. For six years, he performed across the Raleigh area at parties, schools, churches, and festivals. By the time he was 12, Stelzenmuller had a regular magic segment on UNC-TV. And then he was ready to move on. When Raleigh Little Theatre booked him to perform during the opening of the Gaddy-Goodwin Teaching Theatre, it was his first time on a real stage. The boy who specialized in illusions found himself fascinated by the stage lighting and the theatre’s computerized light board, and knew just what he wanted to do next. He convinced an associate technical di-

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courtesy Andrew Britt

“Haskell and Linda were very different kinds of directors, but they both made sure that everyone on stage looked like they knew what they were doing,” he recalls. “And Linda was especially good at making everyone feel like they were the most talented person in the room.” His next master class came working with William Ivey Long at The Lost Colony every summer during college. The experiAndrew Britt helped ence gave him the confidence to head to New York. direct The Present He admits he was “crazy lucky” to land his first job assisting a director just seven days after his parents dropped him off in the city with all the belongings he could fit in the trunk of their Volkswagen Beetle. His first gig on Broadway was as an assistant to director Sean Mathias of a play based on Truman Capote’s novel Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The show’s run was brief and turbulent. Yet between all the rewrites, cuts, and other changes, Britt learned how a director tries to figure out what needs to be done to make a show work. His relationship with Mathias led Britt to his next position on Broadway, again as Mathias’ assistant, on the revival of Waiting for Godot and No Man’s Land starring the legendary British actors Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen. Britt’s role included seeing the show twice a week and giving notes to the cast to make sure everything was going as the Andrew Britt with director intended. One day well into the run, he went backstage Sir Ian McKellen to find McKellen pacing the stage as he ran through lines he already knew inside and out. Britt realized then that actors performing live on stage feel their work is never done. That insight, had opinions about many things he saw, but knew enough as a he says, made it much easier for him to offer feedback to even the most seasoned pros. rookie to keep his focus and hold his tongue. Britt’s most recent engagement made him nostalgic for Many more Broadway engagements followed, including one Stelzenmuller considers a highlight: A Gentleman’s Guide to home. As associate director on Bright Star, an original musical Love and Murder. “It was the little show that could,” he says. “We set in North Carolina, Britt worked with director Walter Bobknew it was fantastic but didn’t think anyone would come to see bie and book, music, and lyric writers Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. Nominated for five Tony awards, the show nonetheless it.” When the show opened to strong reviews, though, the pro- did not find its audience on Broadway. Britt is optimistic it will ducers decided to give their all to get Tony Award voters to see have a life on tour and could come to North Carolina. If it does, it. Those efforts paid off when the show took home four Tonys, audiences will hear something this North Carolina native was including Best Musical. For Stelzenmuller, “It was like winning pleased to clarify for the production team: the proper way to pronounce “Zebulon.” the Super Bowl and the World Series at the same time.” It’s been years now since he left his own show behind, but Stelzenmuller is still creating magic. This time, it’s on Broadway. ARIANA DEBOSE She’s a singer, a dancer, and an actor. But none of these labels alone suits Ariana DeBose. She prefers to be considered a storyANDREW BRITT From the time he was ten, Andrew Britt performed as an teller. “I employ all those skills to tell stories,” she says. Growing up in Raleigh, she trained as a dancer at CC & Co. actor in his hometown of Smithfield, N.C. He loved the theatre, yet wasn’t entirely comfortable on the stage. Still, when he fin- Dance Complex, and became immersed in the arts at West Millished Smithfield-Selma High School early, he jumped at the op- brook Middle School and Wake Forest Rolesville High School, portunity to spend his last semester working at Raleigh Little where she was involved in the marching band, concert band, chorus, and after-school arts clubs. Theatre. When she auditioned for an all-county production of Aida Watching and working with Haskell Fitz-Simons and Linda O’Day Young, he realized there was something he enjoyed more as a sophomore in high school, her ambition was modest. She than acting. “I liked observing the whole thing and trying to hoped for a small part as a dancer. Produced by Wake County Public School System and Broadway Series South under the make it right,” he says. He found his comfort zone directing.


courtesy Ariana DeBose (Hamilton opening night); Katherine Reeves (Andrew Britt); Ariana DeBose (Curtis & Cort Photography); courtesy Laurel Harris); courtesy Laurel Harris; Jon Goldman (Craig Stelzenmuller).


ANDREW BRITT East Carolina University Director Associate Director On Broadway: The Present, Bright Star, Waiting for Godot, No Man’s Land, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

ARIANA DeBOSE Actress On Broadway: Hamilton, Pippin, Motown: The Musical, Bring It On: The Musical


LAUREL HARRIS University of Michigan Actress On Broadway: Evita, Wicked (national tour), Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Ariana DeBose at Hamilton’s opening night

guidance of WCPSS arts program director Elizabeth Grimes-Droessler, the show was DeBose’s big break. Broadway veteran Eric Sciotto, who was serving as the show’s director, cast her as the title character. “I knew then that I had more options than just moving to Los Angeles to be a backup dancer for another artist,” she says. She went on to be involved in the next two WCPSS productions, Les Miserables directed by Terrence Mann, and A Chorus Line directed by Charlotte d’Amboise. These experiences gave her first-hand exposure to the theatre business and enabled her to form relationships that she credits with shaping her career. It was d’Amboise who urged her to head to New York to make a go of it. Her family was taken aback, yet her mom reassured her she could always come home. For DeBose, who had her sights set on Broadway, that wasn’t an option. “I was going to make New York work, come hell or high water,” she says. She made her Broadway debut when she was just 21, originating a role in Bring It On: The Musical. That experience taught her just how hard it is to perform eight times a week. “It takes incredible stamina and discipline to deliver the same material every night and have it feel like it’s the first time.” She’s now a veteran of four Broadway shows and in rehearsal for her fifth, and feels privileged to be part of an incredible community of artists. Her most recent stint on Broadway is in the show that has transformed the way we think about musical theatre: the cultural phenomenon that is Hamilton. A member of the cast from its beginnings off-Broadway, DeBose plays the Bullet. “It is astonishing to see how this show has been able to reach people of all ages, races, religions, and creeds and had a profound effect on politics, education, and other arenas,” she says proudly. She had the guts to pursue her dream of working on Broadway and now finds herself in situations she could never have imagined. Consider just one experience she shared: “I sang at the White House alongside my fellow artists as the President and First Lady mouthed the words!”


ROB MARNELL Elon University Actor On Broadway: Beautiful: The Carol King Musical, Jersey Boys (Las Vegas)


CRAIG STELZENMULLER North Carolina School of the Arts Lighting Designer Associate Lighting Designer On Broadway: Cats, An Act of God, School of Rock, Gigi, It’s Only a Play, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Matilda, Everyday Rapture, The Little Mermaid

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WALTER profile



BADGE OF HONOR Iraqi war veteran Jim Freeze holds the Purple Heart he was awarded for service in the Iraqi war.

photographs by ROBERT WILLETT

On Nov. 11, our nation honors the service of all military veterans. North Carolina has the third-largest military population in the country, and is also home to nearly 800,000 veterans, so our state has a special role in recognizing those who have served our country. Raleigh in particular is home to many of these brave men and women. Walter is proud to honor the service of all our local veterans with these stories of a few.



Braima Moiwai and the djembe RICHARD PEYTON WOODSON III Army Air Force; WWII 1944 - 1946


ichard Peyton Woodson III, a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II, dropped life-saving food packages to starving civilians in German-occupied Holland and rescued French prisoners from a Nazi concentration camp, among other heroic wartime acts. But this recipient of France’s National Order of the Legion of Honor describes his service as “a very ordinary story.” “There were millions of servicemen in World War II who were doing extraordinary things,” Woodson says. The longtime Raleighite is no stranger to extraordinary things, in war or in peacetime. The former chairman of the British American Insurance Company was inducted into the Raleigh Hall of Fame in 2013 in recognition for his business and philanthropic contributions here. He “has generously devoted his time and resources to advance education and the arts throughout the Triangle and beyond,” the group said. “His contributions have made Raleigh the dynamic place that it is today.” Woodson, now in his 90s, set out to make a difference early. As an undergraduate at Princeton, he was an eager soldier, enrolling in the university’s ROTC program in order to join its esteemed field artillery unit. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, Woodson, then


19, volunteered for the Army WWII veteran Richard Peyton Air Corps “the very next Woodson III received France’s day.” He finished college as a National Order of the Legion of Honor. reservist, and proceeded to basic training in February 1943. Pilot training in Texas followed. Soon he was flying PT-19s, then the BT-1s, UC-78, and finally, in Florida, the heavy bomber B-17s he would fly in Europe. That post began in September 1944, when Woodson was sent to Snetterton Heath in Norfolk, England, where he flew with the 96th bomb group of what he calls “the mighty Eighth Air Force.” Woodson regularly woke in the dark of night to fly alongside fellow B-17s through thick cloud cover to assemble in combat formation before heading to Germany. As the war ended, the bomb group took on a brave humanitarian mission. On May 1, 1945, Woodson and his crew were among the first to drop food into the still-occupied western Netherlands, where civilians were starving. The crew had to fly at an extremely low altitude – below 1,000 feet – to drop the food, praying that German anti-aircraft artillery wouldn’t try to take them down in the process. The desperate need of the Dutch people steeled the crew’s resolve. “We could see their faces,” Woodson recalls. “People were standing on rooftops. They were leaning out of windows. They hung sheets out the windows of their apartment buildings, NOVEMBER 2016 | 93

spelling out ‘Thanks, Yanks.’” Operation Chowhound, as the effort was dubbed, continued for five days. Some planes were hit in the process. Woodson’s was not. More than a decade later, at a party in Raleigh in 1956, Woodson met a Dutch man who had been a 7-year-old hiding in the bushes to be “the first to get the food” during that drop. His family was starving, surviving only on tulip bulbs, and the food saved their lives. Eleven years later, when the two men realized how their fates had intertwined, the Dutch man enveloped Woodson in a massive hug. “That was pretty emotional, I must admit,” Woodson says today. “I had not given much thought to that food drop” before that chance meeting, he says. “It was just another mission. But to hear that, it has been extraordinary for me.” It wasn’t long after that he met John Pace, whose mother had also been saved by Woodson’s mission. Then an 8-year-old girl, Pace’s mother watched as the B-17s dropped food in her town of Ypenburg, where Woodson had flown. The food saved her life and the life of her mother. That same first week in May, Woodson and his crew saved still more lives. At the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria, thousands of prisoners were stranded without food and left to starve when SS officers in charge abandoned the camp. Among them were 3,000 French prisoners, whom Woodson and his fel94 | WALTER


low bombers rescued, 30 at WWII veteran John Irby received a time, and flew to Chartres, the Silver Star for gallantry in France. In honoring that res- combat. cue last June, Denis Barbet, the Consul General of France in Atlanta, presented Woodson with the National Order of the Legion of Honor, which was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 to recognize outstanding service to the French Republic, and is considered France’s highest honor for military and civil merits. “It is thanks to them, who fought against tyranny and for a free world, that we were able to celebrate the peace restored to a democratic Europe,” Barbet said. “Dear veterans, you are our heroes. By fulfilling your duty to your country, you helped ensure liberty and democracy for the French people, and we will never forget that.” –Liza Roberts

JOHN IRBY Army; WWII 1943 - 1946; Korean War 1950 - 1952


sk 93-year-old Raleighite John Irby what he remembers most about his time in World War II, where he served in General George Patton’s Third Army, and he will likely talk

about the Battle of the Bulge. The Battle, one of the last major German offensive actions in the war and the cause of massive casualties, was Irby’s first combat experience. When he arrived in Bastogne, Belgium, his first assignment was to collect corpses – civilians, Germans, Allies, everyone. “I had to go through four city blocks and pick up all the dead people. There were about 12,” Irby says. “What I remember more than anything was it was extremely cold and all the corpses were frozen. It was good I guess, because they were like blocks of ice.” “That was my introduction into combat,” he remembers. “That was pretty severe for me to be faced with that in the first few hours.” Irby didn’t come from a military family. His father, a dentist, served in World War I, but never went overseas. Irby says his father always regretted that he didn’t get to go. For his part, Irby was drafted into the war during his third year of college at Virginia Military Institute. “We didn’t expect that. We thought we would graduate,” he says. “They pulled us out a year ahead of time.” Irby was quickly assigned as the leader of an Army reconnaissance platoon of 33 men. That was his job from then on, he said. And though combat was challenging, the fight to stay warm was tougher, Irby remembers. “There is no question in my mind that 1944 to 1945 was the coldest winter in Europe in 40 years. We just tried to keep from freezing and find shelter in a building. We often slept on the ground in 1- to 10-degree temperatures. That was more difficult than the combat, just trying to survive the cold winter,” Irby says. He is most proud of the Silver Star he received for gallantry in combat for his actions when he found himself and his platoon in a tight spot, outnumbered and surrounded by Germans. They were traveling with an armored division into enemy territory. When a division is on the move, it is typically broken up into three combat commands of 4,500 troops, Irby explains. The first advances into enemy territory; and it is standard procedure, he says, for a reconnaissance platoon to stay the point and find out where enemy forces are. Irby’s platoon often did just that. On one occasion, Irby got ahead

of his combat command, and his platoon was separated by about a quarter-mile. That was just enough for German forces to close in on his platoon. “There were about 60 men or so, but we had superior fire power,” Irby said. “All our armored vehicles and jeeps had machine guns. We captured the whole force. There were about 60 of them and 33 of us.” After the war, Irby went back to college to finish his degree in civil engineering. He was in the Army reserves when the Korean War started, and he served 17 months stationed at various Army bases in the United States. Irby spent his career in design and construction, working in northern Virginia. His job moved him to Raleigh in 1960, and he has been here ever since. –Taylor Knopf

JOHN PENIX Army Air Force; WWII 1942 - 1946


ust a few days before Christmas 1942, John Penix was drafted into the Army Air Force to serve in World War II. The Wake County native reported to Fort Bragg and was sent to Utah for three months of basic training. “Everyone was being drafted. I wasn’t surprised,” Penix says. “I figured it would happen sooner or later.” After basic training, Penix was sent to advanced training for Army administration. By

DUTY WWII veteran John Penix served in Guam as a member of the Army.

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the time he got to Florida where an outfit was packing up to go overseas, he was told he wasn’t trained to go overseas with them. “That’s the best deal I ever got in the Army,” Penix says, grinning. “I stayed there until the war was over.” Penix says he had a relatively easy life in being in Army administration, which he was grateful for. “I had a typewriter instead of a rifle,” he says. “I never had a rifle except at the shooting range.” He sat behind a desk until he got to Guam, where he was put in charge of a squadron. That happened after the war ended in 1945, when Penix was sent to Greensboro, N.C., and was placed on a shipment to Guam. There, he was on a service unit responsible for maintaining the base, runways, and airplanes. As First Sergeant, Penix oversaw the troops in his unit and made sure they were doing what they were supposed to. “Only black troops did the hard, dirty work,” Penix says. “Any official order that came down would have an asterisk before your name. That way there was no mistake about who you were. That meant you were part of the ‘colored troops.’” He said the terms “black” and “African American” weren’t used until the 1960s. Penix doesn’t seem to hold a grudge over it. He simply says that is the way things were. “Everything was different then with segregation,” says Penix, 96 | WALTER


now 94 years old, as he sits Iraqi war veterans Jim and Grace in his living room wearing a Freeze photographed at Caroll’s “proud to be an American” Kitchen, a nonprofit restaurant that Jim has opened in downtown T-shirt. Raleigh. After the military, Penix finished school and found a career in the postal service. He raised his two children on his own in Dayton, Ohio. He says he only meant to drive through Ohio, but felt very welcomed by the community who ultimately helped him raise his children. He retired as postmaster of Yellow Springs, Ohio. In the 1980s, Penix moved back to Raleigh to be closer to family and friends. –Taylor Knopf

JIM AND GRACE FREEZE West Point 2001 - 2005; Army 2005 - 2011


im and Grace Freeze, both 33, were newlyweds when they were deployed to Iraq nine years ago and had to spend 16 months apart. It was a scenario they could not have predicted five years earlier as freshmen meeting through friends and Bible study, and just starting college life at West Point. The United States Military Academy had appealed to both

of them because of its stellar reputation, free tuition, and guaranteed job after graduation. “Also I think I wanted to serve my country just to give back,” Jim says. “I feel like I was the recipient of a lot of good that America offers.” But a month after they started at West Point, the unthinkable happened. The World Trade Center was attacked and the United States was going to war. The message to all West Point students was clear, Jim says: “When you graduate, you are going to war … now let’s get you trained up.” Both started as lieutenants, the lowest rank for an officer. Grace served as a military police officer and Jim as an armor officer. During their first deployment, they were sent to different areas of Iraq and their paths never crossed, though they corresponded once a week through email or phone. Their experiences in Iraq were very different. For her part, Grace trained Iraqi police, traveling in an ar-

prove the economy in these local villages, and it seemed to work. Violence went down considerably by the time we left.” He and his men also faced “harrowing situations.” In one instance, he was wounded and sent to a Baghdad hospital with second degree burns on his face. A few of his soldiers were injured and sent back to the U.S., and one was killed. Between deployments, for about 18 months, both Jim and Grace were stationed at different military bases. The second time, in 2010, the couple went back to Iraq together. That time, their experiences were completely different. The war in Iraq was “ramping down,” Grace recalls. “It was tremendously eye-opening for me to see the war from the ground level in 2007 - 2008 with a lot of violence,” Jim said. “Then to see it in 2010 on a broader scale, a lot had changed. There was tremendous progress and it looked worlds different.” As part of the military police, Grace assessed the capability

SERVICE Iraqi war veteran Grace Freeze holds the Bronze Star she was awarded for service in the Iraqi War.

mored vehicle between police stations to assess progress and make sure everyone had the proper resources. “We would teach them how to set up a holding cell, how to do a witness statement, conduct basic investigations,” Grace said. “The culture is different there. They don’t have the same technology or literacy.” Grace said she is often asked if the Iraqi officers had trouble respecting her as a women in leadership. “In my experience, they alway treated me probably even better. They understood that in American culture and our military, men and women could be in leadership,” she said. “So they were very accommodating, even though that was very different for the Iraqi men.” During Jim’s first deployment, he was responsible for securing towns and villages. He also communicated with local officials to find out what they needed most. Ultimately, they wanted jobs, Jim says. “They wanted the young people to get back to work so they wouldn’t engage in violence. The war threw their economy into chaos … They would say, ‘Help us get jobs again and that will help with our security.’” Jim focused on “what we could do to im-

and readiness of the Iraqi security forces as a whole to determine if the U.S. could leave. Jim, meantime, spent his second deployment as the right-hand man to a one-star general who spent a year meeting with governors and businessmen in the southern part of Iraq. Jim estimates he spent as many as 450 hours in a helicopter traveling 62,000 miles with the general over that year. “I saw a lot of potential that things could have changed for good,” he says. “But I also saw the potential that this could easily get thrown off kilter. Potential doesn’t guarantee success.” After six years actively serving in the Army, the Freezes moved on and started a family. They now have two boys, ages 2 and 4. Jim moved to Raleigh for a job with a recruiting firm that helps veterans find jobs, while Grace got her master’s degree from N.C. State. In September, Jim opened Carroll’s Kitchen, a nonprofit restaurant on Martin Street in downtown Raleigh that provides jobs for women from local homeless shelters. –Taylor Knopf

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of a house





“I’M A BIT OF AN ART ADDICT,” SAYS RALEIGHITE CAROLE ANDERS, “and enjoy using my home as a ‘gallery.’” Sharing her love of North Carolina painting, sculpture, glass, and ceramics – with friends, charitable organizations, and publications like WALTER – is meaningful for someone as involved in the art world as Anders. “Sometimes,” Anders says, “sharing … causes others to be more interested.” NOVEMBER 2016 | 99


Previous page: The abstract painting above the mantel is by Raleigh native Herb Jackson, who won the North Carolina Award in 1999. The smaller works on either side of the fireplace are by Kathy Triplett, from Weaverville, N.C. The English secretary, circa 1850, is from Acquisitions, Ltd., in Five Points. In the sunroom beyond, the English drop-leaf desk was purchased on a trip to England. This page, clockwise from top left: The painting to the left of the window is by Edith London; the one on the right is by Raleighite Robert Irwin. The dining room’s silk chinoiserie wallpaper is by Gracie. Anders took it down when she first moved in, stored it in the attic for 10 years, then hung it back up. The silver service is English; the bird sculptures are by Mark Chatterley.

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The large abstract painting, from the Lee Hansley gallery, is one of George Bireline’s last before he died in 2002. On the chest are a glass bowl by John Geci, a white vessel by Ani Kasten, and a whimsical giraffe by Chrissie Callejas. Sarah Blakeslee painted the watercolor on the top right in 1949; Will Henry Stevens painted the one below.

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A 2012 painting by Durham’s John Beerman from the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York hangs above a circa-1860 French settee from Boone’s Antiques in Wilson, covered in Lee Jofa fabric.

With a collection gathered over many years that includes works by esteemed artists like George Bireline, John Beerman, Will Henry Stevens, Sarah Blakeslee, Francis Speight, Maud Gatewood, Dorothy Gillespie, Jacob Cooley, Noyes Capehart Long, Wolf Kahn, Howard Thomas, Hobson Pittman, Margaret Cogswell, Ben Owen, Ani Kasten, Lucy Dierks, Pat Scull, Alex Gabriel Bernstein, Katherine and William Bernstein, Rick and Valerie Beck, John Geci, and others, the Anders’ collection is undoubtedly an inspiration. Carole, a longtime community leader with the Raleigh Arts Commission, Raleigh Fine Arts Society, and Junior League of Raleigh; and her husband Cloyce, former president of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, have the perfect house to showcase it all. When the couple first visited the 1920s Hayes Barton Mediterranean as guests in 1986, Carole was immediately taken with its elegance, welcoming center hall, and spacious rooms. “I love this house,” she told her hosts, “and if you ever decide to part with it, please let me know.” 102 | WALTER


In the center hall, a John Beerman painting, one of several in the home, hangs at the top left. Below it is a painting by Wolf Kahn. On the right, from the top: A 1997 Sarah Blakeslee still life and a landscape by Lawrence Mazzanovich, both purchased through Lee Hansley. Valerie and Rick Beck made the works of glass. Chairs from Highsmith Antiques flank an antique table found in New York by designer Stewart Woodard.

When her wish came true, Carole got busy making it their own. With the help of architect Meg McLaurin and interior designer Stewart Woodard, she oversaw three separate renovations to update the kitchen and bathrooms and add a family room, then filled it all with fine English antiques, one-of-a-kind objects, and beautiful fabrics in a bright, refined palette. Through it all, art played a central role. The kitchen was made more neutral in order to provide a backdrop for ceramics and paintings, and the placement of art took precedence in every room. Each work of art in the house is meaningful to Anders; every piece evokes a story about its meaning, the time and place she bought it, and what she loves about it most. She is knowledgeable about every artist, and in many cases, knows – or knew – them personally. “It’s fun to know your artists,” she says. She has purchased some works directly from studios; in others, she has worked with gallerists including Raleigh’s Lee Hansley, whom she credits with guiding her for years. “If you want to have an art collection,” she says, “you need a dealer.” As well as a world-class fountainhead of creativity. “North Carolina is stocked with talent,” Carole Anders says. “We live in a wonderful state.” NOVEMBER 2016 | 103


This page, top: The large painting above the living room sofa is Maud Gatewood’s Spring Thaw. A pastel by Will Henry Stevens hangs beside it on the right; Looking South, N.C. Capitol by James McElhinney is on the left. This page, bottom: Maud Gatewood’s Linville Falls with vessels by Ben Owen and figures called souls by Asheville artist Cassie Ryalls Butcher.

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This page, clockwise from top: A painting by Maud Gatewood hangs above one by Joe Cox, a design professor at N.C. State. The outdoor sculpture is by Bob Irwin. The 1920s Mediterranean house in Hayes Barton features a covered porch with wrought-iron details.

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Architectural jewels across the Triangle by J. MICHAEL WELTON

It happens every day at the 160-acre park on the campus of the North Carolina Museum of Art: Three minimalist structures deliver joy and wonder to hundreds of joggers, bikers, and meanderers visiting the site. They’re diversions in the landscape, placed to punctuate and celebrate the visual richness of the grounds. But they’re not only meant to be seen – they also provide a vantage point to better appreciate the beauty of their own surroundings. Two of these structures can be considered pure architectural follies – diminutive, decorative objects placed in the park without an obvious purpose. One is the Lowe’s Pavilion, designed by Tonic Design and Mike Cindric. Sure, it’s sometimes used as a classroom, and it does have a storage component – but mostly it’s a gathering spot designed to direct the

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Lowe’s Pavilion at the NCMA

eye out to an open, western landscape. Created with a $50,000 grant from Lowe’s Home Improvement, the pavilion covers a total of 800 square feet, with a perforated metal skin as transparent as a cicada’s wing. It was fabricated in a metal shop and assembled on-site in 2007; today, it’s a light-shifting setting for yoga exercises, wedding photography, and even the occasional nuptials. It’s a folly, yes – but a serious one, and well-loved. Down the hill, overlooking a pond that cleans and filters storm water before releasing it to a stream below, is a platform created out of steel, poured-in-place concrete, and South American ipe wood. It hovers over the water’s edge, creating a place for rest and contemplation – and for conversations about sustainability in the environment. It was created by students at N.C. State’s Design/Build summer program in 2013 – and ever since it’s been a gaze-shifter, conversation-starter, and a fixture that’s fully part of the pond. Back up the hill, tucked into the woods in an area called

courtesy J. Michael Welton


the Discovery Garden, lies the newest addition by N.C. State students – a small structure with a pair of purposes. It’s a storage shed for tools used by volunteers, its design clearly influenced by the mid-century modernism that’s part of Raleigh’s DNA. Built of steel and pine – charred and sealed in the Japanese shousugi-ban method – it was completed this past summer. It’s a playful and lighthearted space with an extended canopy that provides shelter from a storm. Because of its functional aspects, it can’t be considered a true folly, but it can be considered a Zen-like center of calm. The NCMA park is not the area’s only notable public landscape that features small decorative structures. At Duke University’s Sarah P. Duke Gardens Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden, architect Ellen Cassilly’s elliptical pavilion provides visual interest. It features a base of stone and concrete and a metal trellis that weaves its oval way to a Pantheon-like oculus at the center of its roof. In one imaginative gesture, Cassilly introduced trumpet and cross vines to the winding rebar; when it all climbs to the top, the oculus is trimmed to allow sunlight in. A new prairie garden, also at Duke, also features a striking folly by Cassilly. It’s a rectangular structure on a hillside, topped with a sloped roof. Thousands of seeds native to North Carolina’s prairies planted on the hillside have resulted in grasses that now rise three feet up to partially hide this ephemeral vision. On its sides, Cassilly designed woven, thin, debarked cedar trees between pine timbers, yielding what may be her finest and most fetching small building to date. “It’s an orientation device,” she says. “When it’s hot, you see this shady spot up the hill, and it calls you up.” Out in Wake Forest, tradition rules when it comes to architectural follies. At the Wake Forest Historical Museum, adjacent to the Calvin Jones House (circa 1820), rests the Old Well from the former site of Wake Forest College. At its center is a sculptural, Beaux-Arts marble fountain donated by the class of 1911, long before the college moved to Winston-Salem

in 1956. Its classical gazebo was designed by New York architect Frank E. Perkins in 1934. No longer a functioning well, it’s now the focal point of the Brewer-Harris Garden. After Southeastern Baptist Seminary donated the fountain and cover in 2001, it became a gathering spot for an ever-thinning group of Old Campus alumni who return each year. A few blocks away on the seminary campus, another non-functioning well is situated in a formal landscape where the Old Well once stood. It’s nestled between an allée of live oaks, with the Neo-Georgian Binkley Chapel at one terminus and Stealey Hall at the other. Its octagonal gazebo was designed in 2000 by architect Jimmy Edwards to match the eight sides of the chapel’s steeple – and the arches of its louvered windows. It’s an elegant little gem at the center of the red-brick campus, its copper roof slowly weathering to eventually match the cupola atop Stealey Hall, whose design it emulates. Its fountain continually recirculates water in memory of 14-year-old Dana Alexandra Jordan, who died of cancer in 2007. Perhaps the most ambitious collection of architectural follies, though, is found clustered in a 1930s Works Progress Administration-planted pecan grove on the 117-acre E. Carroll Joyner Park on the outskirts of Wake Forest. There, a number of agrarian sheds have been carefully preserved and protected, including a wooden mule barn, tobacco barn, and chicken coop. To round out the trio and create a classic rendition of a typical Eastern North Carolina rural landscape, the town rebuilt a two-story log cabin on site. None of the buildings are functional any longer, but they form a nostalgic backdrop for the community’s annual “Six Sundays in Spring” series of musical concerts. Architectural follies may draw their name from the French for “foolish,” but I was pleased to find each of these to be anything but. They are place-makers – little buildings mostly, designed to delight us socially and aesthetically. Sure, they’re decorative objects, but they also make us stop and think about where we are – and what our buildings want us to see.


Allan and Maria Action, TRS parents

Elementary Tours: Nov. 9, Nov. 15, Nov. 29, Dec. 13 Elementary Open House: Nov. 15, 7 p.m. Preschool tours: Nov. 15, Dec. 6, Dec. 9, Dec. 13, Dec. 16 1141 Raleigh School Drive | Raleigh, NC 27607 919-546-0788




courtesy Adam Jones


The temptation was just too great. Fallon Creek ran for a good quarter mile along our walk to and from Myrtle Underwood Elementary, and the gurgling water called to us daily. It turned a 15-minute walk home into an hour-long adventure: We’d find salamanders and crawdads, test the buoyancy of our text books, and arrive home wet and dirty, smiling wide.

“Out, out, out!” my mother would shout. “Out of my house with those filthy clothes.” She would give us a snack on the back porch, usually a Dixie Cup of Jell-O with cut fruit suspended in mid-tumble. “Eat your snack, then go play until dinner time.” My best friend Jamie and the other neighborhood boys and I would meet up at the Rabbit Field (the extra-large backyard of an elderly neighbor) to play football, or whatever sport was in season at the time. Or we’d go down to Fallon Park a few blocks away and get wet in the creek or play Army in the woods. We would arrive back home even dirtier than before to get ready for dinner. My family would sit around the dining table, eat a hearty home-cooked meal, and share our day’s adventures. My parents were good listeners, and we five children were good talkers. It was a real skill just to get a word in edgewise with such a large family. I can see now, looking back, that my childhood adventures sparked my creativity. Of course, it helped to have parents and siblings who allowed it to flourish, and an extended family full of storytellers. They all invited the young ones to tell a tale, sing a song, or act out a play at the family beach house in the sum-

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mertime, which was always a flurry of activity. All of the mothers would bring the young children down for the summer; fathers and older cousins visited on the weekends. We didn’t have a TV there until the late 1990s. We didn’t need one. But I never thought about creative writing until my seventh grade year at Ravenscroft when my English teacher, Ms. White, asked us to write a haiku poem. Mine was titled Lassiter Mill, and when it received a solid “A,” she submitted it to a national poetry contest, something I never would have had the confidence or initiative to do on my own. It won. Ms. White was more excited than I was, and the recognition gave me the boost I needed. Good teachers make a real impact on their students, and I’ve never forgotten it. Recently, I had lunch with Ms. White after she received word that my novel Fate Ball had been published. When she said she was “so proud” of me, it meant more than any five-star review; even after all these years she is still making an impact. By ninth grade, I was writing a feature for the school paper, acting in school plays, playing sports, and carving out my own

path through high school. The confidence I gained during those formative years led to my decision to take a gap year after high school (before they called it a gap year). My sojourn across fifteen countries in Europe and North Africa opened my eyes to the world around me. I learned there was more out there than my little world inside the Beltline, though I eventually returned to the place I loved most – the South – and graduated from Carolina with a degree in journalism. All of it has shaped my writing. I write what I know and what I feel. Look hard enough and a reader can find several Raleigh landmarks and references in Fate Ball, though places and names were changed, as they say, to protect the innocent. At the launch party for Fate Ball, I spoke of not thinking of myself as a writer. Somehow all the confidence I had as a person didn’t translate to confidence in my creative abilities. My friend John Lennox raised his hand during the Q&A. “How many books will it take before you realize you’re a writer?” he asked. “You’re right,” I told him, “I’m a writer.” John passed away a few months later, and I thank him daily for helping me believe in myself. I am who I am because of my family and friends. I am who I am because I am a Raleighite. I am who I am because I’m a North Carolinian and a Southerner. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Las siter Mill by Adam W. Jones (12 years old)

Rapids running strong, Bass and Bream jumping about,

Excerpt from Fate Ball by Adam W. Jones


he only wants to see you,” said Mrs. Dubose, dabbing a tear with a silk handkerchief. “I’m so grateful to you for coming.” She reached out and took his hand, then pulled him close and held on tight. “You’re a good man, Able Curran,” she whispered as she squeezed him tightly. Mr. Dubose walked over and touched his shoulder. It was the most affection Able had witnessed from him in ten years. “I don’t know who else would fly clear across the country for someone like Ava, but I sure am grateful,” he said in a gentlemanly Southern drawl. “We’ve done all we know to do, but it’s just never been enough.” He paused for a moment as reality set in. “What else can I do to save my baby girl?” he said, now getting choked up. “Tell me, Able, after four rehabs, private therapy, trying to buy her sobriety with condos and cars. What else can I do?” Mr. Dubose quickly turned and walked a few steps down the stark corridor. He slowly wiped his eyes with both hands and ran his fingers through his thick, graying hair. Mrs. Dubose went to console her husband. Their eyes locked on each other for a moment, then they reached out to one another and held each other for what seemed like forever. Virtual strangers for the last several years, the Duboses recaptured their love for one another in the midst of tragedy. Their struggle to save Ava’s life made their marriage troubles seem so petty. Once they came to that realization, their love for one another began to blossom again. They needed someone to lean on and, once again, they were there for each other. Able watched Ava’s parents, who had tried so hard to help their daughter, at a loss for what to do next. “She’ll be all right,” Able said, trying to give them a ray of hope. “I think this accident may be the wake-up call that she needs. Don’t worry, she’ll get through this, we’ll all get through this.”

Life ends with a hook.

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DREAMS Carr McLamb and Henry Neese

Above: Carr McLamb, left, and Henry Neese coach youth basketball at Halifax Community Center.

photographs by ROBERT WILLETT

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Around these parts, basketball is serious business. As November arrives, a charged wave of excitement runs through our state that lasts through March Madness. Tides shift as alliances are formed and enemy lines are drawn. Weeknights are spent glued to the television, and mornings are spent perusing the sports page to learn late game results. It is no secret that North Carolinians, particularly Raleighites, feel great pride for their hoops. But basketball pride is not limited to highly publicized teams or games. Walk into any of one of Raleigh’s public gymnasiums during the season and take a quick look at the boisterous fans, the demonstrative referees, and the enthusiastic players diving for loose balls: It is immediately clear that passion for the sport starts young.

GIVERS Each year the City of Raleigh, through its Parks, Recreation, At the same time, McLamb and Neese make no bones about and Cultural Resources department, registers hundreds of boys it – they want to win basketball games, and they are strategic in and girls eager to play on one of the league’s numerous basketball their efforts. They spend nights in the gym watching other teams teams. Each team is led by a pair of volunteer coaches. This seaplay to develop scouting reports. They have mastered the art of son, two of these coaches, Carr McLamb and Henry Neese, will the pre-season draft. And they can recite statistics and figures embark on their 10th year coaching boys’ basketball (ages 13-15) from every team they’ve coached. With two practices and a game for the league. each week, coaching is a major commitment for these two RaThe longtime friends met in 2001 when Neese played for Mcleigh lawyers. When asked how many hours a week they spend Lamb, then a student at N.C. State in his first year of coaching. on coaching, Neese laughs, “That depends. If you count all of the Years later, in 2007, they ran into each other at a N.C. State footconversations we have during the week about the team, it really ball game and agreed to return to the court, this time to coach adds up.” together. McLamb took the helm as the head coach, and Neese McLamb and Neese both point to George Deloache, their served as the assistant. It was the beginning of what has become a former coach at the Jaycee Center, as their coaching inspiraCity of Raleigh Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources coachtion. McLamb explains, “Most of what we do, we learned from ing establishment. George. We run the same sets he taught us as young players. He For McLamb and Neese, coaching middle school boys is was such an important figure for us during our youth. We hope to be the same for our players.” Deloache, about more than teaching basketball skills. a longtime City of Raleigh coach and a Both men well understand their positions “Once they’re a part of our legend in his own right, understands the as positive role models for their players. At deep impact that coaches can have on the first practice of the season, McLamb program, they’re a part of their players. “Middle-school-aged guys in and Neese explain their three guiding our family,” says Neese. particular are still trying to figure everyprinciples: One, have fun; two, improve thing out,” he says. “For example, where as an individual; three, improve as a team. does being competitive cross the line into They also work tirelessly to instill in their bad sportsmanship? So, they are looking for role models.” players a sense of accountability and responsibility, insisting that each player show up on time prepared for practices and games. So far, McLamb and Neese have won one city league chamIf a player has to miss a practice or game, he must call in advance pionship, been the regular season champions twice, and made to let them know. Coach McLamb is unwavering: “We want to four semifinal appearances. And this coaching duo has no plans hear from the players, not their parents, if they have to miss. They of hanging up its whistles anytime soon. “We’re not married. We all have cell phones. So they have no excuses. We expect for each don’t have kids. We have time to do it. And we love it. For the player to come to practice ready to give it all he’s got. Our team foreseeable future, we’ll be coaching.” depends on it.” While basketball is serious business, for McLamb and Neese, having fun is the main priority. McLamb says, “We’ve had teams that have won championships, and we’ve had teams that really struggled. But we have never had a team that didn’t have fun.” Kirkland Caison, now a student at UNC-Chapel Hill, knows this well. Caison played for McLamb and Neese for two years in middle school and still keeps in touch with them today. “The real impact they have had is off the court,” Caison says. “Whether it be college applications or job inquiries, I have come to them many times seeking advice. They are great older brother figures, able to share honestly about their life experiences and offer suggestions to different problems I have dealt with.”

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AWARD-WINNING OUTDOORS WRITER EDDIE NICKENS FILLED ’s latest book club gathering. On the the house at WALTER’s beautiful evening of Oct. 13, 160 Nickens fans gathered at 214 Martin Street in downtown’s historic City Market to hear the author’s tales from the wild.

The room at Cobblestone Hall was full of outdoors lovers, many of whom drove some distance to be there. After a meal that included oysters, bourbon, and braised elk, the group heard Nickens tell of his adventures near and far, from the Arctic Circle and Central America to his beloved South. In fact, it’s right here, Nickens said, that his favorite outdoor experiences can be had. North Carolina in November, he said: “There’s nothing like it.” Nickens shared stories of hunting, fishing, and kayaking with his son Jack, daughter Markie, and wife Julie Nickens, a senior account executive at The News & Observer.

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NOVEMBER 2016 | 113

His audience was rapt as he showed photographs taken from dozens of expeditions over nearly 30 years: fishing, hunting, wildlife conservation, hiking, flying, climbing, dogs. He made all of it real, and poked fun at his own good fortune to have a job that looks, well, so much like anybody else’s excellent vacation. Nickens writes about his adventures for magazines like Garden & Gun; National Geographic Adventure; Audubon, where he is a contributing editor; Our State, where he is a monthly columnist; and Field & Stream, where he is an editor at large and also writes a monthly column. Nickens also shares his love of the outdoors, conservation, and the cultural heritage of the South

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in his role as on-camera host of shows that air on the Outdoor Channel and online, including Total Outdoorsman Challenge, Total Outdoorsman 50 Skills, and The Gun Nuts. His books, The Total Outdoorsman Manual and Total Outdoorsman’s Skills & Tools, have sold more than 250,000 copies. By turns humorous and profound, Nickens’s love of the outdoors animated his entire presentation. From the unlikely bond he found with an Ozarks family who fish at a “troutpark” with bait made from Velveeta cheese and white bread – to the extraordinary lengths he’s gone to to help tag and preserve Alaska’s cliff-dwelling gyrfalcons – to the poignant first time he

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took his son deer hunting, Nickens struck a chord. The evening was made possible by the presenting sponsorship of Great Outdoor Provision Company, a longtime fan of Nickens’s; as well as the sponsorships of Peter Millar, which displayed some of its fall line; and Taggart Autosport, which brought along some muchadmired performance vehicles. 214 Martin Street provided a gourmet dinner; Trophy Brewing Co. and Raleigh Brewing Company tapped the beer; Wine Authorities poured the pairings; and TOPO Distillery mixed up plenty of bourbon, gin, and vodka cocktails. –LR

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Sam McDonald, Matt Thomas, Billy Warden, and Jeff Holshouser of The Floating Children.



NOT EVEN THE MAKERS OF VIAGRA HAVE PITCHED THE RESTORATIVE powers of their product as insistently as proponents of rock ’n’ roll.

From Bruce Springsteen to Joey Ramone to Pink, billions of decibels have gone into claiming for the music the mantle of all-purpose elixir, mender of broken hearts, guardian of the faithful’s most delirious dreams. Truth? Hokum? This summer, I got my chance to find out. On the evening of April 20, while playing catch-up with another blown tax deadline, an email arrived from the organizers of the Be Loud! Sophie Foundation. Would my old band reunite

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for the foundation’s annual August fundraising extravaganza at the Triangle’s venerated mecca of indie rock, The Cat’s Cradle? The tax sheets melted away along with the political argument in the kitchen. The email swept me back to the riotous late-’80s heyday of The Connells, The Pressure Boys, The Veldt, Three Hits, and my baby, The Floating Children. Of course, a reunion was out of the question. Completely impractical. What with family obligations and business responsibilities. Naturally, I replied: “Oh HELLZ YES.” Now, a quick word on how ill-advised this may have looked to an outsider. The Floating Children were not a stand-and-

Jonathan Drake


strum band. A writer of the era described us as “the New York Dolls run amok in Pee-Wee’s playhouse.” We were an anarchic, confetti-spewing mayhem machine. So as I lay in bed that night, troubling questions commingled with chronic back pain: “How could a middle-aged reunion NOT fall flat?” “If my wife leaves me in shame, which car will she take?” And, “how to make a reunion count for something beyond nostalgia?” The answer to the last question, counterintuitively, was to up the ante, heighten the risk. The next day’s proposition to the rest of The Floating Children included the reunion performance – plus, “how about we write new songs?” New tunes would mean stretching beyond old tricks. They would require creativity and commitment. They would be a more profound test: Did we still, somewhere inside, carry that spark of inspiration? The band didn’t balk. We went to work emailing lyrics and texting demos – me, Jeff Holshouser, Jody Maxwell, James Olin Oden, Steve Eisenstadt, and Larry Burlison in the Triangle; Sam McDonald and new guy Matt Thomas in Norfolk.

Craggy reserves of creativity

Sure, everyone had jobs and workaday duties. But everyone also had craggy reserves of creativity to uncork. Two new tunes came together fast – and with considerably more melodic hooks than 25 years ago. I couldn’t vouch for each band member’s bodily fitness, but creatively we were in fine form. Soon, the rehearsals revealed our physical and emotional conditions. Physically, the eight of us looked to be a collective 90 pounds or so overweight – not exactly Olympian, but certainly respectable by middle-aged standards. Emotionally, we were a ragged parade of humanity straight out of a Bob Seger double album. Divorce, money woes, exhaustingly complicated bachelorhood, kid concerns – they were all in the mix. But none of it slowed us down. When we played, energy and optimism gushed.

We recorded the new tunes in a daylong blizzard of missed notes, surging solos, profane pep talks, and tequila shots. Then came the show. Creating new music had limbered us up. We were rock ’n’ roll acrobats again. And when our original background singer and “dance diva,” Tracey Brown, entered the dressing room, confetti bucket in hand, we were beyond inspired. Backed by an overzealous fog machine operated by my first-pumping teenage son, The Floating Children ’16 put on what some longtime fans called our best show – period. And, by the grace of the rock gods, we picked up new fans. They included 17-year-old guest saxophone player Lee Sullivan, who noted approvingly, “Putting on weird clothes and playing freaky music. The Floating Children go hard.” Indeed, we did – and not just musically. There were ridiculous twirls and foolish shimmies and other moves that away from the adrenaline rush of the stage would land me in intensive care. I hugged each Floating Child at least 120 times that night. While every embrace was an expression of genuine affection, maybe I was also trying to get a firm hold of something more ethereal. The magic that generations of stars and nobodies had promised was real. I wasn’t 22 again; but nor was I the same harried businessman/dad I had been on the night the reunion offer arrived. As The Floating Children prepare to share those new tunes with the world via technologies that we couldn’t imagine a quarter century ago, I am – we are – back to square one. Hoping that a few folks out there get it and groove along. The gamble is electrifying. The secret, then, of rock ’n’ roll’s restorative power is simply, beautifully this: The risk is the reward. Billy Warden is the co-founder of the marketing agency, GBW Strategies, and an incorrigible song-and-dance man. The Floating Children’s new songs are available on Facebook, SoundCloud, and YouTube.

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SPARKCON 2016 SPARKcon 2016 took place Sept. 15-18 in downtown Raleigh. An interdisciplinary creativity, art, and design festival produced by the Visual Art Exchange, the four-day long event was filled with gatherings highlighting the best in Triangle creativity. Focuses such as artSPARK, danceSPARK, geekSPARK, tastySPARK, and more showcased everything from ingenuity and technology to fashion and film.

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SCENT OF THE PINE, YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL EXHIBIT OPENING The N.C. Museum of History Associates hosted an opening reception for exhibit Scent of the Pine, You Know How I Feel Sept. 9. The traveling exhibit highlights North Carolina scenes and features 73 paintings by N.C.-related artists. Scent of the Pine features art from the collection of Jonathan P. Alcott, and was originally organized by the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts and curated by K. Johnson Bowles at Longwood University in Farmville, Va.

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Visit our website for information on family education, becoming a foster or adoptive parent, and supporting North Carolina children and families. 1.800.632.1400 •

REYNOLDS COLISEUM GRAND RE-OPENING CEREMONY The N.C. State Athletic Hall of Fame inducted its 2016 class at the Reynolds Coliseum’s grand reopening ceremony Sept. 16 in front of 1,300 guests. The fourth and most recent class includes a national championship basketball team, a multisport athlete, a football player from State’s first ACC championship, a 17-time ACC champion coach, a renowned NCAA lacrosse player, and one of the highest scoring N.C. State female basketball players.

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The Women’s Giving Network of Wake County hosted a Sept. 21 panel discussion titled Mentoring Our Next Generation of Leaders to Achieve Their Dreams. The event was moderated by nonprofit leader and author Karen Zelden, and the panel included Pamela Dowdy of Wake County SmartStart, Nadia Shirin Moffet of The Queen’s Foundation, Juliellen Simpson-Vos of Girls on the Run Triangle, and Kathryn Wyatt of Kidznotes. Attendees included business, nonprofit, and community leaders, and a Q&A concluded the event.


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Dean J. Rich Leonard CAMPBELL LAW COMMUNITY CLINIC OPENING A group gathered Sept. 23 to cut the ribbon on Campbell Law’s new Community Law Clinic. The clinic is housed in the historic Horton-Beckham-Bretsch House (circa 1895) near Moore Square and City Market downtown, and is made possible by a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. It will provide backup legal services free of charge to area nonprofit agencies and disadvantaged clients covering issues such as housing, child support issues, or starting a new career.

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OLYMPIC PRIDE, AMERICAN PREJUDICE SCREENING Silverspot Cinema in Chapel Hill hosted the North Carolina premiere of the documentary Olympic Pride, American Prejudice Sept. 19. The event, sponsored by William Travis Jewelry, among others, debuted the award-winning film about 18 African-Americans at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Attendees from across the Triangle, as well as the film’s director and executive producer, attended for the screening, drinks, and socializing.

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Sarah Clement, Brent Kehrle, Deborah Riley Draper, William Travis Kukovich, Jake Wosinski, Najauna White

FORM AND FUNCTION OPENING PARTY On Sept. 24, Carole Marcotte celebrated the opening of the new location of Form & Function, a full-service interior design company and retail home decor store. The space features vintage pieces, American-made items, and upcycled finds. Guests at the opening explored Marcotte’s new space, located within the the Five Points intersection.

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N.C. STATE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION’S HOWL BACK WITH YOUR PACK EVENT The Howl Back with Your Pack event was hosted Oct. 5 by the N.C. State Alumni Association to celebrate the organization’s rebranding and to thank alumni for continuing to support N.C. State beyond graduation. Held at the Dorothy and Roy Park Alumni Center, the event featured beer from local breweries, including N.C. State’s own homebrew, a Howling Cow ice cream bar, food trucks, and plenty of newly branded swag to give away.

Randy Woodson, Perry Safran, Gary Upchurch, Benny Suggs

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The WALTER Scribo The answers to the following clues are in this issue. Happy reading! ACROSS 2. What feat is the City of Oaks hosting this month? 4. Mark Harris makes these. 6. Billy Warden reunited his band at this Chapel Hill locale. 8. Raleigh has a high number of these esteemed Americans. 10. Raleighite Ariana DeBose performed in this popular musical. DOWN 1. Two Raleighites are coaching middle schoolers in this sport. 3. This ROTC group at N.C. State just wants to fly. 5. Use our recipe to serve up this drink. 7. The founder of Kannon’s Clothing is from this Lebanese city. 9. J. Michael Welton writes about this Wake Forest folly.






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Snap CHAT You’re running the 5K race held during the marathon. How long have you been running? I began running regularly in 2009. Coincidentally, that’s also when my husband and I were training for a sprint triathlon and discovered how beautiful and extensive the greenways were becoming in Raleigh. I cover a lot more ground by bike than on foot. I am still striving for adequacy as a runner. What are some of your favorite running routes through Raleigh? I am partial to Crabtree Creek Greenway, but I adore the Loblolly Trail in Umstead State Park. Is there any better running surface than a bed of pine needles? Do you like to run with a friend and talk, or run alone? All of the above. My dog keeps me company on long runs and I have some amazing neighbors who are fabulous to run with.




his month, when runners cross the finish lines of the many races being held during the City of Oaks marathon event, they’ll be leaving with more than medals and views of Raleigh. Local artist Autumn Cobeland has partnered with the event to create Raleigh-centric prints that will be given to overall award-winners. (The prints will also be available to all runners as a souvenir for purchase.) You may recognize Cobeland’s art from her many pieces of work around town – Artspace, DECO, Raleigh City Museum, and the Wells Fargo Building have housed her pieces, and her murals of Raleigh and its greenways have graced the sides of buildings and buses. The marathon collaboration is a fitting one, as Cobeland is a runner and will be participating in the 5K event on race day. Below, we chat with the artist about running, Raleigh, music, and art. –Mimi Montgomery

How did you go about creating the art for the City of Oaks marathon? John Kane and I had many conversations regarding art as an award. This image of looking to our amazing Capitol building seems to be a good fit, as most of the runners in November will experience this view. I went out into the middle of Fayettville Street when it was closed off for an event, took photos, then completed several sketches. When we decided on the final idea, I got to work with my gouache paint. The final piece is on watercolor paper and has a hand-drawn logo for “City of Oaks.”

If you could run alongside one person (dead or alive), who would it be? Elizabeth Gardner - WRAL meteorologist and happy person extraordinaire. Top three songs on your running playlist: I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night by the Electric Prunes; Back It Up by Caro Emerald; This Tornado Loves You by Neko Case. Where’s the best place to buy running gear in the area? Runologie, shop local! What’s your best advice to aspiring runners? Don’t run too fast: Shin splints stink. It took me too long to figure that one out. What’s your best advice to aspiring painters? Keep it up and know that your voice matters, that your artistic voice is different from anyone else’s. If you love it, don’t stop creating what you find to be true to yourself. A lot of your work has been featured across Raleigh – your Greenway series, your Art-on-the-Move paintings on Raleigh buses, and murals on the side of Cafe Carolina and off of Peace and Glenwood Streets, to name a few. How does the intersection of making art with a geographical presence and living in Raleigh influence your work? I love camping and being in national parks, and there are these great posters that have been created to celebrate parks historically. I love Raleigh and figured I could use my

art to celebrate one of our awesome features. At this point, I have donated about $10,000 in support of our local greenways from sales of prints of my greenway pieces. Who is your favorite artist? So many to love: Georgia O’Keeffe usually tops my lists, but add Alphonse Mucha, Henri de ToulouseLautrec, John Singer Sargent. On a local level, I’m a fan of Leslie Pruneau drawings and paintings and Thomas Sayre sculptures. Which is your favorite Raleigh museum? I’m a very big fan of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences; and without a doubt, the gardens and greenways surrounding our N.C. Museum of Art. Walk us through your creative process when painting a new piece. First of all, I get out on the trails on my bike and take dozens of pictures. I like doing this in the wintertime, as the light comes through the trees in a magical way, casting shadows across the paths. I use a computer to simplify the images, and then I print out images on watercolor paper to create color studies and narrow down the look I am intending. Most of my enjoyment in this series comes from the color study element. I then sketch the image on 32-by-40-inch watercolor board with graphite and with a layering process, using watercolor, gouache, and conte crayon to complete the final painting. Do you have a favorite piece you’ve painted? If so, why this particular one? The image of the bridge at Kiwanis Park is indeed a favorite because it’s the location of the greenway nearest my house, so I often access the greenway from that point. I studied art in Japan, and to me this work is a hearty nod to many of the Japanese woodblock prints that I studied in school. Top three songs on your painting playlist: The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi; WSHA 88.9 Reggae and African music on Saturdays; anything by Caro Emerald. Where’s the best place to buy art in the area? Artspace!

photograph by KEITH ISAACS

130 | WALTER

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