WALTER Magazine - June 2017

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JUNE 2017


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





VOL 5, ISSUE 9 JUNE 2017

103 80 WALTER PROFILE Phil Freelon, master builder by J. Michael Welton photographs by Lissa Gotwals 62 AT THE TABLE Garland’s creative combinations by Jessie Ammons photographs by Juli Leonard 70


AT THE TABLE St. Roch debuts by Dean McCord photographs by Keith Isaacs 80

GIVERS Wrenn House makeover by Liza Roberts photographs by Missy McLamb 92

STORY OF A HOUSE No place like “om” by Jesma Reynolds photographs by Catherine Nguyen 86

GIGS N.C. Theatre’s new CEO: Elizabeth Doran by Jessie Ammons photographs by Elizabeth Galecke 100 On the cover: architect Phil Freelon Photograph by Lissa Gotwals


STYLE Tying the knot: a wedding with worldly flair by Liza Roberts photographs by Graham Terhune 103

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54 98

Unoaked A Carolina summer by Mimi Montgomery


WALTER events with P. Gaye Tapp and Belle Boggs by Liza Roberts photographs by Catherine Nguyen and Missy McLamb


130 50


Reflections North Hills time capsule by Peyton Reed Spotted Lake Boone Trail chicken by Allison Atkinson photographs by Brantley Atkinson

Our Town The Usual: Raleigh Garden Club On Duty: Glenwood South Tailors and Alterations Game Plan: Deac and Ashlyn McCaskill Shop Local: A Signature Welcome by Jessie Ammons photographs by Travis Long


Our Town Spotlight New Life Camp by Jessie Ammons


Drink Level 7 rooftop bar by Jessie Ammons photographs by Keith Isaacs



The Whirl Parties and fundraisers


End note Prayer flag signing

In Every Issue 14

Letter from the Editor




Your Feedback


The Mosh


Raleigh Now


Triangle Now

60 116

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Nobody knows what Raleigh developer John Kane will find June 8 when he unearths the time capsule that was buried at his North Hills shopping center 50 years ago to the day. A good guess: newspapers; books; maybe a magazine or two. We do know that this issue of WALTER will be among the many items Kane buries in a new time capsule to be unearthed on June 8, 2067 (pg. 114). It’s fascinating to think about what this city and region will have become by then. Our brand-new Dix Park – getting ready for its first-ever outdoor music series this summer (pg. 32) – will be commemorating 51 years as Raleigh’s central park. By then, generations of Raleighites will have grown up enjoying its vast green expanse. It’s certain their world will also include architect Phil Freelon’s significant contributions to civic and cultural life (pg. 62), which are clearly destined to stand the test of time. But what kind of food will Raleighites clamor for in 2067? Will it be the kind of flavorful cultural mash-ups created by Cheetie Kumar (pg. 70) and Sunny Gerhart (pg. 80)? Will people still find it intriguing, as we now do, to be able to enjoy a drink on a rooftop bar with expansive views of downtown Raleigh (pg. 78), or will this be such a metropolis by then that they won’t even notice? Will they still go outside in summer to hear the North Carolina Symphony play (pg. 32)? Will close-in havens like North Raleigh’s New Life Camp (pg. 58) survive the region’s growth? Will book authors still draw crowds to hear them read and talk and sign their hardbacks (pgs. 108; 112)? There’s no way to know the answers to these questions. It’s safe to say that many of us here now won’t be here then to see for ourselves. And it’s humbling to think about what the people who dig up the time capsule on June 8, 2067 will make of the artifacts they find. Will the stories we tell now seem quaint and old-fashioned? Or will folks in 50 years read them and see the seeds, the saplings, and the bedrock of the bountiful, diverse, and creative place they’re proud to call home?

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LIZA ROBERTS Editor & General Manager Creative Director JESMA REYNOLDS Assistant Editor JESSIE AMMONS


Community Manager KATHERINE POOLE



Managing Director, Magazines and Events DENISE WALKER

Advertising Account Executive CRISTINA BAKER A GLASS OF ROSÉ

Event and Account Coordinator KAIT GORMAN


Administration CINDY HINKLE


Published 10 times a year by The News & Observer Publishing Co. A McClatchy Company, 215 S. McDowell St., Raleigh NC 27601

JUNE 2017 Walter is available by paid subscriptions for $10 a year in the United States, as well as at select rack and retail locations throughout the Triangle. For customer service inquiries, please email us at or call 919-836-5661. Address all correspondence to Walter Magazine, 215 S. McDowell St., Raleigh NC 27601. Walter does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Please contact editor and general manager Liza Roberts at for freelance guidelines. © The News & Observer. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of the copyright owner.


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PEYTON REED / W R I T E R The director of Bring It On, Down With Love, The Break-Up, Yes Man, Ant-Man, and the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp was born and raised in Raleigh and currently lives in L.A. with his wife and two sons. In this issue’s Reflections, he recalls childhood memories of the Cardinal Theatre and its time capsule. “Since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to know what was inside the old Cardinal Theatre time capsule at North Hills. It will finally be opened on June 8, and it got me reminiscing about the Cardinal Theatre itself and its place in my life, both then and now.”

The staff photojournalist at The News & Observer enjoys covering the intersection of food and culture, where she has seen the inner workings of many busy kitchens. In this issue’s At the Table, she shot Garland chef Cheetie Kumar and her husband Paul Siler just “before the crowds descended upon the restaurant on a Saturday evening. I squeezed myself amid kitchen shelves and laid claim to a window table as the staff at Garland buzzed around me on graduation weekend. Despite everyone being so busy, they were incredibly gracious and accommodating.”


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The editorial and commercial photographer lives in Durham. She loves the varied work that her career provides, including photographing architect Phil Freelon in this issue’s WALTER profile. “It was an honor to meet and photograph Phil Freelon. I am in awe of his ability to create projects that can intertwine artistic sensibility and cultural significance so beautifully. I am now even more intent on visiting the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. His own interest in photography allowed us a nice connection, and I enjoyed talking with him about his family, especially his son, who is running for mayor in Durham.”

After many years of driving past the Lake Boone Trail chicken, the writer finally decided she had to know the person whose wit and whimsy had brightened her day for so many years. She did so for this issue’s Spotted. “Getting to know Nancy Hight and her chicken was as much fun as I had imagined! I regret that I didn’t knock on her door years ago.” The story includes photos by her son, Brantley, who works as a professional photographer at N.C. State. He was eager to capture the chicken because “who doesn’t love a good costume?” He wound up with almost as many photos of Nancy’s German shepard, who wore a string of pearls to the shoot.



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@WALTERMAGAZINE I LOVE this color. Just got my copy in the mail today & might have to frame this one! –Andrea Hodgin Osborne, @andreahodginosborne (May cover) Absolutely beautiful! –Teresa Rouse McLean, @teresarousemclean (May cover) We really need to make it out for this. –Metal Fred Designs, @metalfreddesigns (May, pg. 30) I loved these photographs and your writing about them. What a pleasure to have seen your relationship with your daughter expressed in each print over all the years. Happy Mother’s Day! –Dana Lindquist, @dwquist (May, pg. 104) Beautiful interior design work by Fleur. –Olivia Pettifer, @oliviapettifer (May, pg. 70) My alma mater @SaintMarysNC is turning 175 years old, and @WalterMagazine captures the story perfectly in its May edition! #sms175 –Mary Virginia Swain, @mvs57 (May, pg. 96) Loved meeting the fascinating Belle Boggs at her book signing today, hosted by @WalterMagazine –Betty Eatman Nelson, @EatsmansInspired (WALTER’S Book Club, May 7)

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“I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June.” – L.M. Montgomery


Frosé, or frozen rosé wine, has already had its moment of foodie fame. Here’s a WALTER riff on the trend: garnish glasses of sparkling rosé champagne with homemade popsicles. You can try the easy combination of pureed watermelon and shredded coconut, frozen until solid. Voila, cocktail hour made cool and easy.


TWIN CITY If your birthday falls between May 21 and June 20, you’re a Gemini. Said to be curious, adaptable, and enthusiastic, these air signs are known to be sociable and communicative. You can celebrate your inner Twin sign locally with the following: Your curious, open mind likely appreciates a good book, and all the better if you get to discuss it with the author. Ann Kidd Taylor, author of The Shark Club, will be at Quail Ridge Books June 28. She’ll discuss her novel and also be in dialogue with her mother, Sue Monk Kidd, who wrote The Secret Life of Bees. Sue won’t be there in person, but the motherdaughter discussion is sure to satisfy. 7 p.m.; Uncork some of that natural enthusiasm with the “I’ve always wanted to try that!” Raleigh Meetup group. This month, the adventurous cadre will go skydiving June 3, gun-range shooting June 11, and tubing down the Dan River June 24, among many other bucket liststyle adventures. Celebrate the air in your air sign with a birthday flight in a hot air balloon. Raleigh’s Above and Beyond Hot Air Balloon Company is one local outfit that can hook you up. 855533-4036


You can learn about wetlands at a Mud Festival June 3. The free celebration at Walnut Creek Wetland Center will teach kids about the wetland ecosystem through playful activities: painting with soil, making mudpies, learning about rain gardens, walking through the creek, and hunting for friendly critters. Dress to get messy and wear your rain boots for this one. If you don’t have any, the Center will lend you some. 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.;

PESTO, PLEASE Summer isn’t exactly peak planting season, but you likely know somebody whose herb garden is overflowing with basil. Cue pesto! The bright, savory, zesty condiment is perfect for simple summer pastas, as a dip for crudite, and to garnish caprese salads. Spice up your pesto rotation by using any herbs and greens you have on hand, from beet tops to kale and braising greens. Here are the basic ratios, made for mixing and matching a nice little jar of sauce: 2 cups herbs or greens (traditionally basil, but try beet greens and parsley) up to 1/2 cup hard grating cheese (traditionally Parmesan, but try aged Gruyere) 1/2 cup oil (traditionally olive, but try walnut) 1/4 cup (or more, if you like) nuts (traditionally pine, but try pistachios)

Why not... Put on your blue suede shoes (Elvis appears twice in this issue)...share a chocolate-chip-cookie ice cream sandwich from Sola Coffee...attend the free, no RSVP-required monthly bookclub June 12 at Vita Vite...catch the caboose at Dos Taquitos on Glenwood South, where queso and guacamole arrive on an electric train...check out Aldi’s wine selection...indulge your senses at the annual lavender harvest celebration June 10 and 11 at Sunshine Lavender Farm near Hillsborough...treat yourself to the delectable coconut rice pudding at Vidrio...get your hands dirty, city-style, at Logan’s One Stop Garden Shop’s class on urban gardening June 10 at 11 a.m…

DRAW IT Yes you can. Suzanne McDonald believes everyone can learn to draw. Her workshop, Drawing for Absolute Beginners, will teach you the basics in just a few hours on a Saturday at Sertoma Arts Center. June 24; 10 a.m.1 p.m.;

Thinkstock (BETTER LATE, TWIN CITY, DIRTY, PESTO, SHOES, DRAW); courtesy N.C. Museum of Art (SKETCH)

SKETCH PAD The N.C. Museum of Art’s expanded African art gallery opens at the end of this month. To celebrate, the museum has invited Washington D.C.-based artist Victor Ekpuk to create a massive, site-specific wall drawing in the gallery June 5 - 9. If you can’t get there for the installation, the entire process will be streamed online, and the 30-by-18-foot work will be on view for a year. africangallery




Raleighites’ recommendations


ummertime might conjure beach or lake time (see pg. 98) or family vacations, but there are diversions aplenty closer to home. “I think the city in general (can be) underrated,” says Eric Gaard, exhibitions director at CAM Raleigh. “I love the coast and the mountains of North Carolina, but there is still so much to do in town all summer long. Don’t run away!” Here, Gaard and leaders from all pockets of the community share what they love about summer in Raleigh.


Juli Leonard



to spend a summer evening in the Rose Garden. We love to take a leisurely float down the Neuse River. From the tailrace of the Falls Lake Dam, the Neuse River flows east and south to the Atlantic Ocean. Along those first 17 miles through Raleigh, the city has installed 5 boat launches, divvying

KATIE WYATT executive director, Kidznotes, music education nonprofit “I look forward to sitting outside in the many cafes, wine shops, restaurants, and bars that are dog-friendly in Raleigh. As Oakwoodians, our favorite spots are Brewerks, Yellow Dog Bakery, and Pelagic. We’ve committed to hiking the Appalachian Trail with (our Peak Lab rescue dog) Bear, and so every Sunday you can find us hiking in William B. Umstead State Park and Jordan Lake.”

BETSY GRAVES dance director, Broughton high school, Wake County Public School System 201718 Teacher of the Year “I spend the majority of my summers traveling to cities to study dance and in New York dancing. When I am in town, I love yoga in downtown and catching up with friends at Vita Vite. I asked my (Broughton high school) students what they look forward to, and they said: concerts at Red Hat Amphitheater and Walnut Creek Amphitheatre, trying out new and older diners, lounging by the pool (see pg. 40), and dancing.”

up the relatively peaceful Neuse into easily paddle-able stretches. A favorite is the 10-or-so miles from the Falls Dam Access downstream to Buffaloe Road.”

ERIC GAARD exhibitions director, CAM Raleigh, contemporary art museum “I love First Fridays downtown during the summer. The art is always great; and people are much more chill and like to take it easy while they’re out and about. There’s no rush!” –J.A.

BRETT HILLMAN owner, FRESH Local Ice Cream shop “My favorite thing to do is watch movies in the outdoor theater at the NCMA Museum Park with a glass of wine. Every Sunday afternoon, my wife and I bike the Crabtree Creek greenway trails behind Crabtree Valley Mall. We stop halfway around for a picnic.”

CHUCK MILLSAPS president, Great Outdoor Provision Co., outdoor retailer “The Theatre in the Park productions are a lovely way

JUNE 2017 | 25


all month


Classic Pops


FRI/SAT, OCT 13-14 | 8PM

Christmas with the Callaway Sisters

SUPER MARKET If you want to make your next trip to the grocery a destination, Raleigh Provisions is a new market downtown that specializes in food and beverages from N.C. Bread, milk, meat, pantry items, beer and wine. All the essentials. 107 E. Davie St.

Saturday Sponsor: Galloway Ridge at Fearrington

Tony-nominated Broadway stars and sisters Liz Callaway and Ann Hampton Callaway shine in holiday favorites including “Joy to the World,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and many more.

The Music of The Rolling Stones

FRI/SAT, JAN 19-20 | 8PM

Symphonic arrangements with a full rock band will deliver the Stones’ greatest hits including “Satisfaction,” “Paint It, Black,” “Ruby Tuesday,” and many more.

My Fair Lady in Concert FRI, FEB 16 | 8PM SAT, FEB 17 | 3PM & 8PM

Join us for a romantic transformation performed in a concert setting, with Broadway singers in period costume and a lush symphonic score.

ONE-MAN SHOW A provocative new collection of abstract art on canvas, Divine Disturbance, was inspired by a harrowing true-life incident experienced by the artist. Cuban-born Anthony Garcia-Copian’s one man exhibit at the A.J. Fletcher Foundation runs through July 6. A portion of sales will go to the NC Justice Center. Running June - July, Monday - Friday 6 - 9 p.m; 909 Glenwood Ave.;

A Celtic Celebration FRI, MAR 16 | 8PM SAT, MAR 17 | 3PM & 8PM

Singers and Irish step dancers traverse a wide range of Irish and Celtic repertoire with elegance and dramatic flair.


The Kruger Brothers

FRI/SAT, MAY 11-12 | 8PM

The Kruger Brothers share the stage with their home-state Symphony to explore a fusion of folk, jazz, and classical music.

Subscribe and save! 919.733.2750

COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES Are we so different? Explore what ethnicity means to you at RACE, the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences’ compelling, interactive exhibit running now through Oct. 22. Examine the history of human variation through the lens of science, history, and personal experience for an illuminating view on race (and, yes, racism) in the United States. Running now - Oct. 22; Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m, Sunday 12 noon - 5 p.m; Admission is free, but tickets are required; 11 W. Jones St.;

PARANORMAL PUB CRAWL Scare up even more fun the next time you meet up for drinks with friends. Tobacco Road Tours dares you to go on a Raleigh Pub Crawl and Haunted Adventure. Hip bars, spooky sites, and a spine-tingling night to remember. Tours run every Friday and Saturday night. DO THE TIME WARP You can gussy up in your best glad rags and hoof it back to the Roaring Twenties for a great cause June 3. The Friends of City of Raleigh (COR) Museum invite you to Time Warp 2017, a swell evening of food, drink, dancing, and an auction. It’s the bee’s knees. cityofraleighmuseum. org/time-warp-2017

courtesy of the artist (ART); Terry Gydesen (RACE)

FRI, DEC 15 | 8PM SAT, DEC 16 | 3PM & 8PM



courtesy North Hills (SUMMERTIME); Carolyn Scott Photography (FARM)

Celebrating its tenth season, the Midtown Beach Music Series at North Hills is in full swing, or shag, depending on your signature dance move. Celebrating music that’s popular from Murphy to Manteo, the event welcomes over 125,000 visitors during its 18week season. June’s lineup will please all Carolina Girls (and boys). June 1 - The Catalinas; June 8 – Steve Owens and Summertime; June 15 - Chairman of the Board; June 29 - Blackwater Rhythm and Blues. Running now - Aug. 17, Thursdays 6 - 9 p.m.; free; 4160 Main St.;

FARM TO PLAZA Take a hump-day break from the office grind to stroll the Raleigh Downtown Farmers Market at City Plaza. With a mouth-watering selection of locally grown produce and artisan foods, visitors can sample wares or pick up dinner from N.C. farmers, ranchers, fishermen, nurserymen, bakers, cheese makers, and other special purveyors. BLT lovers take note: June 28’s theme is Tomatolicious. Running now - Oct. 11, Wednesdays 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.; free; City Plaza on Fayetteville Street;

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courtesy The Well Fed Community Garden



SWEETER THE JUICE Blackberry Festival


ou can celebrate summer this month at Well Fed Community Garden’s first-ever blackberry festival June 24. The one-and-a-half-acre plot in west Raleigh, managed by Irregardless Cafe, has been growing organic seasonal produce and herbs for five years. Much of the bounty is used at the downtown eatery, and a portion of it is donated to volunteers and neighbors. The restaurant says outreach is an important part of its garden’s mission, too. Well Fed reguarly holds public tours, workdays, and workshops.

Summer on the farm, though, warrants a fête. There will be live music and activities for every age, including games, arts-and-crafts, and planting and cultivating sessions. The festival will also include cooking demos and miniseminars about topics like healthy soil maintenance; pollinator gardens; and beekeeping. Irregardless will also put on a spread: Its garden pizza oven will be put to use, and salads and blackberry cobbler will round out the menu. If you’re lucky, there may even be a few berries left on the bushes to pick and bring home as a tasty souvenir. –J.A.

4 - 8 p.m.; $20 adults and $7.50 children;


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A CENTURY OF SERVICE Raleigh’s Red Cross chapter celebrates its centennial


n the spring of 1917, as World War I raged overseas, a group of 28 Raleigh women sought to make a difference at home. They founded the Raleigh chapter of the American Red Cross and adopted the bold mission of supporting military members and their families regardless of nationality. This month, what’s now known as the Triangle Chapter will commemorate its 100th anniversary with a centennial celebration at the N.C. Museum of History June 24. The spirit of fearless female leadership behind the local chapter’s founding continues today, says current chair Heather Denny. “From the beginning, women like Clara Barton laid the groundwork for


the organization. In Raleigh, we had strong women that created our chapter,” she says, including the first female physician in North Carolina, Jane McKimmon. Denny points out that the chapter’s tenacity is thanks to strong leadership from men as well. Still, “we have great female leaders … who understand what it means to affect change, and are willing to do the work to make it happen.” That work is evident during crises that happen daily in our community. “We all think of the Red Cross when there are large disasters – and yes, we are there. But we are also there for the disasters that a single family (may) face each day, should it be a house or apartment fire, or needing to get in contact with a family member in the military … In a moment of crisis, even the most prepared needs someone to help him or her find their way.” The June 24 event will honor the Red Cross’s original military connection. Attendees, which will include members of the U.S. Congress and N.C. legislature, will watch war-time reenactments, tour an exhibition of art by wounded marines, and listen to a performance by the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Band. The evening will be co-presented by the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources as part of the state’s commemoration of World War I. The museum will cut the ribbon on an adjoining exhibit as well. Denny says the celebration marks an important opportunity to commemorate the nonprofit’s decades of work. “I feel that the Red Cross is that quiet organization that serves our community, and we all assume it will always be there. (It’s easy to forget) all that it takes to keep it viable.” –J.A.

top photo: Ollie Atkins/American Red Cross; bottom photo: courtesy of the City of Raleigh Museum.


JUNE C at e r i n g W or k s

Global Culinary Adventures Half the experience of traveling around the world can be summed up in a word: FOOD.

We call it a FOODCATION!

4 FAIR PLAY Get ye to the Family Renaissance Fair at the North Carolina Museum of Art’s Museum Park for an afternoon of making merry June 4. Amusements for all ages include music, games, craft demonstrations, and art. Milords and miladies shalt mingle with knights, jesters, fairies, and acrobats. And there’s a special enticement to see the actual art of the period in the museum’s ongoing Glory of Venice exhibit: Fair visitors can receive a free youth ticket to the exhibit for their poppet with a paid adult ticket. Huzzah! 12 noon - 5 p.m; free; 2110 Blue Ridge Road;

Bon Appetit from the corners of the globe – Buon appetito!, Kuidore, Kalí óreksi! A cultural oasis of flavors are awaiting for you at the 2017 Culinary Adventures series by Catering Works, the Triangle’s top caterer. Enjoy full course dinners with optional wine and cocktail pairings at our distinctive new venue The Laurelbrook.

Make your next flight a truly memorable experience. Fly Causey Aviation. For over 50 years, they’ve been serving the Triangle’s most discriminating travelers and are now serving Catering Works’ cuisine on all their private jets.

N&O file photo (FAIR); courtesy of the band (ON BOARD)

Sound delicious? Join us! Aesop’s Table

June 1

Orient Express Mangia Bene A Night in Paris

Aug 3 Sept 7 Nov 2

4 GET ON BOARD Hey Soul Sister: San Francisco-based roots-rock band Train pulls into the Walnut Creek station for a stopover on its Play That Song tour June 4. Also on board are singer/songwriter Natasha Bedingfield and the crowd pleasing jam band, O.A.R. As the tour name implies, Train will be rocking out old favorites as well as cuts from its new album. Right on track. 7 p.m.; $28 - $215; 3801 Rock Quarry Road;

RESERVATIONS: Your passport to the next Culinary Adventure is waiting: 919.828.5932 or

2319 Laurelbrook St. Raleigh, NC 27604



STARRY NIGHTS Catch a star at one of the area’s fabulous outdoor music venues. The lineup for the music series at the theater in the NCMA’s Museum Park is stellar. Indie darlings Tegan and Sara perform June 9 and alt-Country crooner Jason Isbell headlines a show June 18. calendar


’ve always loved the idea of grass under my feet when I listen to music. It’s something that goes along with a really cool vibe, created by trees and grass and shade. … What’s exciting about this (series) to me, though, is that for many years, the (Dix Park) property was a plantation. For another hundred or so years, it became the mental hospital. I think what we’re looking at now is a hundred-some years of it becoming a park. This is the first music series in this park. The people who go to this and play this are really going to be a part of the next hundred years of exciting things that will happen in this space.” –Dave Rose Y’all at Dix Park will bring local bands, local food trucks, and local beer to Dix Park three times throughout the summer, beginning this month: June 24, July 22, and August 26, 4 - 10 p.m. Think of it as “a family friendly field day,” says organizer Dave Rose, owner of Deep South Entertainment. “Potato sack races, that sort of thing. Picnics welcome. Blankets welcome.” –J.A.

learn more at


Koka Booth Amphitheatre offers music for all ears. As the N.C. Symphony’s summer home, A Night of Beethoven will be unlike any other on June 24. Then the symphony gets down-home with bluegrass legends The Steep Canyon Rangers on June 30. John Mellencamp’s Sad Clowns & Hillbillies Tour rolls in on June 28 with special guest Emmylou Harris. boothamphitheatre. com/events

courtesy Deep South Entertainment


The Red Hat Amphitheater hosts rockers Third Eye Blind with the Silversun Pickups on June 17. Fleetwood Mac legends Lindsay Buckingham and Christine McVie debut songs from their new album June 24. redhatamphitheater. com


Catering Works’ On-Site Corporate + Social Venue “The Laurelbrook is such an inviting and original space for events. It can


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The Raleigh Boychoir makes a joyful noise to close out an outstanding season of performances with its spring concert June 4. The choir will be joined by the Oak Grove Elementary School Chorus with Jeremy Tucker as artistic director and Megan Yohman as accompanist. The Sunday afternoon concert features some of the most accomplished young voices in the Triangle. 3 p.m; $5; 1520 Canterbury Road;

Plus, the location is easily accessible from anywhere.” - Anna Churchill Owner and Founder, Synergy Spa & Aesthetics

courtesy Raleigh Boychoir (BOY); Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images (PARTY)

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7 LIKE IT’S 1999 Commemorate the birthday of the Purple One with a celebration of his life and music. Martin Herman conducts The Music of Prince by the North Carolina Symphony June 7. Guest artist saxophonist Marcus Anderson, who toured with Prince and the New Power Generation, and singer/guitarist Marshall Charloff take center stage for a genre-bending tribute to the artist who left an indelible mark on our culture. Let’s Go Crazy. 7:30 p.m; $45 - $65 (Tickets may also be purchased at the door one hour prior to the concert); 2 E. South St.; the-music-of-prince-7874

private me eting and event space presented by Catering Works. At our family of companies, we help make your corporate and social celebrations personal and delicious. With 25 years experience, we promise you the freshest, local ingredients, hand crafted co oking, sprinkled with our unique elegance, exceptional service and a whole lot of love. 919.828.5932 2319 Laurelbrook St Raleigh, NC 27604


15 Ready for your close-up with nature? Take the Photography Walk at JC Raulston Arboretum. Local photographer Susan Bailey will lead a group into the field for an in-depth study in composition. What to bring: camera with macro, normal or zoom lens (DSLR preferred but a smartphone is okay), a tripod, and an eye for the beauty of our natural world. 10 - 11 a.m.; $10 for Arboretum members, $15 for non-members, advance registration required; 4415 Beryl Road; jcra.ncsu. edu/events/calendar

17 SUP Y’ALL? Take a firm stand on the water sport craze you’ve been dying to try. Learn to stand-up paddleboard (SUP) with the adventure experts from outdoor retailer REI June 17. The course is held on protected water at Falls Lake and is for beginners with no experience and a moderate level of fitness. Learn the basics including proper stance, essential paddle strokes, and turning techniques. Participants will become familiar with SUP equipment, appropriate clothing, and safety. 11 a.m. - 1 p.m; $60 for REI members, $70 for non-members (minimum age: 13); Falls Lake, Beaverdam Recreation Area, 14600 Creedmoor Road, Wake Forest;


19 MOVIE MONDAY Bring a little movie magic to your Mondays once a month starting June 19, when the iconic Rialto theatre reprises its popular repertory series: Monday at the Movies. Check out these cult classics on the big screen in all their blood, guts, and spangled glory! June 19: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. July 19th: Jaws. 7:30 p.m.; $5; 1620 Glenwood Ave.;


SUN SALUTATIONS Observe the longest day of the year with summer solstice yoga at Dorthea Dix Park June 21. Practitioner Carrington Jackson will lead an early morning session of gentle yoga as the sun rises over downtown. Honor the first day of summer as you breathe, stretch, and soak in the beauty around you. Suitable for all ages and abilities. What to bring: a yoga mat or towel, a water bottle, and a willingness to walk up hills and on uneven surfaces. Om up for it. Park Flowers Field, 2105 Umstead Drive;

Susan Bailey (PICTURE); Chris Seward/The News & Observer (SUP); Juli Leonard/The News & Observer (MONDAY); Mark Hunt (SUN)


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urham will be moving and shaking this month when the American Dance Festival returns June 3 - July 29. The festival’s 84th season marks its 40th anniversary in Durham, and to celebrate, the season will last a week longer than usual, including 71 performances by 30 companies and choreographers in 11 different venues, as well as educational programs for budding dancers and workshops for local professionals. Founded in New London, Connecticut, the festival moved to Durham four decades ago in part because of the area’s enthusiasm for the performing arts, says executive director Jodee


Nimerichter. Since then, the creative culture has only continued to grow, and today the festival – known nationally as a premiere showcase of modern dance – features a number of regional companies and choreographers. Triangleites can get a sneak peek at the festival during preseason performances in Raleigh and Cary. Monica Bill Barnes and Company presents Museum Workout at NCMA June 3 - 5: The unique experiential piece is one-part choreographed physical workout and one-part guided museum tour. Then, Hillel Kogan presents We Love Arabs, a lighthearted story about a Jewish choreographer and Arab dancer, at The Cary Theater June 13 - 14.

dendy/dance projects

American Dance Festival is back

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Backyard Oasis CLASS PASS ADF hosts master classes, workshops, and children’s camps. Here are two opportunities geared toward grown-up beginners: COMMUNITY MOVEMENT WORKSHOP SERIES This four-week series meets Sunday afternoons and explores the movement basics of dance. June 4, 11, 25, July 2; 1 - 2:30 p.m.; $40 or $15 to drop-in on a single class SHADOW PLAY Internationally renowned high-energy dance company Pilobolus will lead you through their collaborative choreographic process and shadow-making techniques. June 10 and 11; 1 - 4 p.m.; free

The opening night performance on June 15 at Durham Performing Arts Center represents North Carolina far and wide with performances by African American Dance Ensemble from Durham, Carolina Ballet from Raleigh, Charlotte Ballet from Charlotte, tap dancers Elizabeth Burke and Luke Hickey from Chapel Hill, and JOYEMOVEMENT from Greensboro. Between performances, more than 400 children will study with ADF’s full-time faculty during a six-and-a-half week summer program. The lineup also includes day-long workshops for serious local dancers and free classes for the public (see box above). There’s a lot going on – and no excuse to skip a beat. –J.A.

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THE NIGHT KITCHEN Durham’s favorite neighborhood beer hall now offers a bite to go with your beer. Fullsteam Brewery has opened a kitchen and hired award-winning chef Kyle McKnight to serve up good eats, like savory hand pies and Working Man’s Crunch (cola glazed caramel popcorn, peanuts, and chocolate) to complement the seasonal brews on tap.


BALLGAME Baseball with the Bulls


ne more reason to celebrate summer: The Durham Bulls are in full swing. If you haven’t been out to the minor league team’s ballpark, you’re missing out – it’s got major league amenities. This month, you can catch home games vs. the Rochester Red Wings June 1; the Pawtucket Red Sox June 2 - 4; the Norfolk Tides June 8 - 11 and 19 - 22; and the Charlotte Knights June 23 - 25. The muchanticipated face-off with the Pawtucket Red Sox June 2 - 4 is a particular crowd favorite because, no matter the outcome, there are guaranteed fireworks


on the field – and in the air. At any game, re-fueling options are vital – after all, baseball takes a while. Alongside classic hot dogs and Italian ice, the Durham Bulls Athletic Park has its own brewery. The park’s Bull Durham Beer Co. serves a kolsch and wheat beer that’s on tap all season long, plus other rotating brews. Batter up! –Katherine Poole The Durham Bulls season continues through August; for the full schedule and ticket information, visit

WALK THE LINE Where is the line between Nash and Chatham County? Rocky Mount Mills. Catch Bluegrass phenoms Chatham County Line there June 16. Bring a lawn chair or blanket, then pick up a picnic and drinks at one of the fine eateries, breweries, and bottle shop on site. Concerts are free. rockymountmills. com/calendar-event COME ON IN Experience the finest southern hospitality while exploring the 57th annual Old Homes and Garden Tour in historic Beaufort June 23 and 24. beauforthistoricsite. org/

Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer



all month — at —

Relaxin the Park thissummerasthe sun setsto the soundsoflocalartists— with a Farewell-to-SummerConcertinAugust!


illustrations by Laura Frankstone

The former milltown of Saxapahaw comes alive on Saturdays throughout the summer. Along the banks of the Haw River – mostly shallow enough to splash and swim in – is the renovated cotton mill, today transformed into a music venue, gastropub, and brewery. Local growers and makers sell their wares at a weekly outdoor farmers’ market, and as the sun sets, the familyfriendly live music gets going. Everything wraps up by 8 p.m., so you’ll be home at a reasonable hour. If you want to see a local band, Raleigh-based Tonk plays June 24. Runs through August, Farmers’ market 5 - 8 p.m., music 6 - 8 p.m.; free; 1711 SaxapahawBethlehem Church Road, Saxapahaw;

Wednesdays l June & July l 6:00 - 9:00PM June 7 - Jim Quick & Coastline June 14 - North Tower June 21 - Band of Oz June 28 - Peak City Sound July 5 - Swivel Hip July 12 - Too Much Sylvia July 19 - Spare Change July 26 - The Band Punch August 30 - The Embers

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TAKE A DIP Whether you’re in search of water aerobics (aquabata, anyone?), a lazy river for a family float, or just a place to refresh and splash around, there are a plethora of options at Raleigh’s local pools. Here’s a brief list of pools open to the public, organized by swimsuit-clad mission.


Tim Lytvinenko

Local pools

THE SEASONALS These city-owned pools offer a relief from the heat, plain and simple. At Chavis Pool, there’s a water slide, too. For Raleigh residents, admission is $2 for ages 1-12, $4 for ages 13-54, and $3 for ages 55-plus (each fee is a few dollars higher for non-residents). Biltmore Pool: 701 Crown Crossing Lane; Chavis Pool: 720 Chavis Way; Lake Johnson Pool: 5623 Jaguar Park Drive; Longview Pool: 321 Bertie Drive; Millbrook Exchange Pool: 1905 Spring Forest Road; Ridge Road Pool: 1709 Ridge Road WATER WORKS Laps can be swum anywhere, but an organized class or program will make it a regular event. There’s a regular group exercise schedule at Optimist Pool and Pullen Aquatic Center. For a more thorough fitness calendar and one-on-one options, you can join the Rex Wellness Center of Raleigh for $52 per month. Optimist Pool: 5902 Whittier Drive; Pullen Aquatic Center: 410 Ashe Ave.; Rex Wellness Center of Raleigh: 4200 Lake Boone Trail FATHOMS OF FUN Raleigh’s own water park can be found at Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center, where options include a three-story waterslide, lazy river, water vortex, zero-depth toddler play area, and water basketball and volleyball. Admission is slightly more than other city pools but still affordable: $3 for residents ages 1-12, $7 for ages 13-54, and $5 for ages 55-plus (each fee is a few dollars higher for non-residents). 5908 Buffaloe Road –J.A. You can find more information about all city pools at and about Rex Wellness Center of Raleigh at

JUNE 2017 | 41





ON FILMMAKING Raleigh’s Burke Koonce savors success of first film


hen the documentary Betting on Zero hits Netflix next month, Raleigh’s Burke Koonce, an executive producer of the film, will be celebrating. With its 100-million-plus subscribers, Netflix is “the brass ring for independent filmmaking,” says Koonce, who also owns Helicon Research, an equity research firm that serves hedge funds and other institutional clients. Koonce and his Betting on Zero partners are hoping that the streaming service will bring their film – which follows hedge fund mogul Bill Ackman as he aims to prove his allegation that the nutrition company Herbalife is a massive pyramid scheme, shorts the company’s stock for $1 billion, feuds with Wall Street titan Carl Icahn, and pressures the federal government to investigate – to an even broader audience. The film, directed by Ted Braun, has already reaped major buzz, becoming the No. 1 documentary on iTunes for three weeks running, and hitting No. 1 on iTunes for independent films. Herbalife has fought back with a public relations offensive, calling the film “a misleading infomercial.” But the documentary has had positive reviews from The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, among many others. The film is “filled with colorful characters easily rivaling those in The Big Short or Showtime’s Billions,” said The Hollywood Reporter. When he screened the film for a Raleigh audience at The Rialto Theatre in Five Points April 25, Koonce said the film represented more than four years of work. Together with his longtime friend and workmate, John Fichthorn (co-founder of Dialectic Capital Management), Koonce began laying the groundwork for a film production company, Biltmore Films, in 2012. Inspired by the idea that stories about the companies the two research “can be fascinating and compelling,” the partners brought Wall Street knowledge, research savvy, a nose for a story, and capital to the effort, but they had no experience in filmmaking. They found producers and directors who did, and learned as they went. “It’s been a pretty amazing journey,” Koonce says, comparing the last several years to earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in film school. Bolstered by Betting on Zero’s success, Koonce and Fichthorn hope Biltmore Films will continue to “bring business and financial stories to life.” They have several dozen they’re exploring, including one about the complicity of business in the nationwide opioid epidemic. “We’ve got momentum,” Koonce says. “Next time, I would love to take more creative responsibility. Going forward, hopefully we won’t be in a position to let everyone else have all the fun.” –L.R.


courtesy Populate Productions (WEDNESDAY); AP Photo/Alex Brandon (ROY)

all month

7 WEDNESDAY WIND-DOWN The Wind Down Wednesday summer concert series is back for its sixth season at Waverly Place in Cary. Thrill and chill with your family and friends to the tunes of Jim Quick June 7; North Tower June 14; Band of Oz June 21, and Peak City Sound June 28. Food and beverage stations will be available on the promenade, so just bring a lawn chair and your dancing shoes. Every Wednesday in June and July, 6 - 9 p.m.; free; lower level Promenade Park, 2001 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary;

NO NEED TO BE COY, ROY Singer/songwriter Paul Simon is a bonafide American icon. With a career that spans five decades, his award-winning music has provided the soundtrack of many of our lives. And he’s still crazy enough after all these years to perform live in concert. The Koka Booth Amphitheatre provides a perfect setting for his music and musings June 7. What you can bring: lawn chairs, rain coats or ponchos, and one factory sealed bottle of water. Concessions and beverages may be purchased from a variety of vendors on site. 8 p.m.; $50 - $150; 8003 Regency Parkway, Cary; boothamphitheatre. com/event/paulsimon


Rebekah Ball/Oak + Co.



T-shirts, sculptural metal jewelry, candles, and more of what they call “thoughtful goods for home and elsewhere.” The shop opened last month and has so far had a steady stream of conscious, trendy customers, many of whom recognize the brand from its Instagram account. “For the past couple of years, we have grown our American-made brand, Clyde Oak, online,” Rebekah Ball says. Through that brand – which makes modern-Americana gear, from chambray bandanas to Blue Ridge-inspired scented beard oils – the couple “fell in love” with Raleigh’s local community of handcraftsmen, Ball says. Oak + Co. is a brick-and-mortar showcase for their favorites. “Oak and Company basically means us and friends. We have expanded on our love of working with local makers and brought in other ethical and worldly brands to create a unique space.” –J.A.

Modern Americana in east Raleigh


new kid on the block just east of downtown is Oak + Co., the housewares boutique on North Bloodworth Street. Tucked into a purple house on the outskirts of the Historic Oakwood district, the shop joins an up-and-coming corner that takes on a surprising hustle-bustle many sunny afternoons, thanks to Side Street, an adjacent neighborhood cafe, and Breathing Mountain Yoga, a yoga therapy studio. At Oak + Co., husband-and-wife duo Hillman and Rebekah Ball sell handmade leather goods, American-made

Tuesday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.;


Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer (ONE); N&O file photo (CANOE)



THE ONE LESS TRAVELED Sometimes a meditative walk is just what the doctor ordered. In a place as beautiful as Duke Gardens, it’s good medicine, indeed. Shinrin Yoku is the Japanese practice of visiting a natural area in a mindful way that inspires calm and rejuvenation. Certified forest therapy guide Dana Galinsky-Malaguti will facilitate a guided walk June 8 that’s designed to promote well-being through sensory immersion in nature. The twilight walk will conclude with refreshments and a discussion. 5:30 - 8:30 p.m; $55 for garden members, $68 for non-members; Sarah P. Duke Garden, 420 Anderson St., Durham;

15 TIP A CANOE AND KAYAK TOO The Triangle is awash in lakes, rivers, and creeks. If you’ve ever had the urge to dip a paddle into the stream but need a little instruction, check out the canoe and kayak demonstration at Lake Crabtree June 15. The pros at outdoor retailer Great Outdoor Provisions are offering a free and informal event to introduce folks to boating in a lowpressure environment. 4 - 7 p.m; free; Lake Crabtree County Park, 1400 Aviation Parkway, Morrisville;

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Orange County Speedway


s the sun sets, the engines rev at the Orange County Speedway in Rougemont. The 3/8-mile track first opened in the 1960s as a dirt oval; it was paved in the ’80s, closed by the early 2000s, and has been back in action since 2006. There are two chances to find a seat in the grandstand

this month. June 10 is kids ride along night. Late model, limited model, pure stock, and super mini trucks will take to the track. June


24 is a Cars Late Model Stock tour series race, showcasing late model and super late model vehicles. (Meet a local racer who will participate in the June 24 race on pg. 54.) It might be worth marking your calendar for July 8, too, when it will be kids’ bike race night. Whenever you go, you can bring in 12-inch-by-12-inch coolers, but no more than a six-pack of drinks in cans. –J.A. Stands open at 5 p.m. and races start at 7 p.m.; $10 adults, $1 ages 10 and under; 9740 N.C. Hwy 57, Rougemont;

AP Photo/The Commercial Appeal, Mike Brown (ACOUSTICS); courtesy La La Land official movie (WEEKEND)






Add a little ambience to your evening out with Acoustic Nights in The District at Park West Village in Morrisville June 17. Live local musicians will play in front of Stone Theatre – a nice start or end to your dinner date evening. It’s free and as refreshing as a summer breeze. Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 21, 6 - 9 p.m; free; The District at Park West Village, 3400 Market Center Drive, Morrisville;

Want to plan a day-trip to Chapel Hill? You can use the public library’s screening of Oscar finalist La La Land June 17 as your excuse. Head over earlier for lunch before the show, or stroll on the nearby greenways pre-show and make reservations for dinner and cocktails after. 2:30 - 5 p.m.; free; 100 Library Drive, Chapel Hill;

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23 ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING It’s now or never! Direct from the Las Vegas show Legends in Concert, it’s the King (of Elvis tribute artists), Travis Powell. Relive Elvis’s rhinestone-spangled glory days at the Garner Performing Arts Center June 23 for an entertaining evening of hits, history, and a few special guests, including local favorite Diane Bailey as Patsy Cline. You can’t help falling in love. 7 - 9 p.m; $35 - $50; Garner Performing Arts Center, 742 W. Garner Road, Garner; events/1180716032005799/

30 “B” THERE Bands, Bites and Boats at Bond Park in Cary invites you to enjoy a family-friendly evening June 30 – float along Bond Lake to the classic rock sounds of Garland Mason, and top it off with delicious fare from Baozi Food Truck and Captain Cookie and the Milkman. Be there or be square. 5 - 8 p.m; free; Bond Park Boathouse, 801 Highhouse Road, Cary; recreation-enjoyment/events/special-events/bands-bites-andboats-at-bond-park

courtesy Travis Powel (ELVIS); N&O File photo (B)


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Members and guests of the Raleigh Garden Club gather for a National Arbor Day dedication of two trees at Cameron Park in Raleigh in honor of former club members Rita Ann Quinn Roberson and Rosalyn Adcok Dupree.

“We are an organization of doers.” –Joyce Moses, president, Raleigh Garden Club


aleigh Garden Club members take their mission seriously. You can find them planting wildflowers along roads and public greenways, volunteering at the JC Raulston Arboretum, providing trees for City of Raleigh parks in honor of members who have passed away at the annual Arbor Day memorial ceremony (pictured above), decorating the L.L. Polk House during the holidays, or teaching young girls to plant vegetables and eat well. “We are all over the place,” says president Joyce Moses. Since 1925, the club, which is open to interested gardeners, has been sowing seeds literally and figuratively. “We have activities and committees for all levels of gardening. We really make sure that everyone feels welcome, and there’s a camaraderie with all of our members,” Moses says. She joined a few years ago as an amateur gardener – she’d always been interested, she says, but with a corporate career and kids, never had the time. Now she’s halfway through a two-year term as

president, overseeing the club’s many moving parts. The club motto under her term? “ ‘Celebrating gardening pleasures and treasures.’ We talk about what we love about gardening, and then as a result, the treasures we receive from the hard work put into our gardening efforts.” During monthly lunch meetings – June is when they hold an annual potluck gathering – members plan how they’ll share their treasures with the greater community. Philanthropic efforts include a garden therapy program that has members gardening alongside inmates at prisons, at rehab facilities alongside residents, and at job training and life skills program centers. Raleigh Garden Club also teaches its own membership. “We have master gardeners in our group. They’re fun to learn from. … We have a plant sale every year, and garden tours.” Moses says it’s the best of all worlds, a community pursuing a hobby and civic engagement alike. “We are philanthropic and educational. It’s an encouraging group.” –J.A. photograph by TRAVIS LONG



















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OUR Town



“If you want style, if you want knowledge about how to wear your clothing, if you want free personal styling about the rest of the stuff in your closet, we can help you out.” –Brian Burnett, founder and owner, Glenwood South Tailors and Alterations

rian Burnett knows how to mix old and new: It’s how he first became interested in tailoring clothes, and it’s how he’s making his custom alterations business in Glenwood South relevant for busy customers. “We’re living in a time-pressed world,” Burnett says. “Just this morning I watched a guy holding an iced coffee in his left hand and his kid in the carrier in his right hand, on the phone. If he rips his trousers in the next 8 hours and he needs somebody to come pick those up, who’s he going to call?” The answer, Burnett hopes, is Glenwood South Tailors and Alterations. Customers can call or text Burnett and his team of seven seamstresses to have their clothes picked up, repaired or altered, and delivered back. Customers can also come in for a fitting and have their altered clothes delivered to their home or office. Or, Burnett is proud to say, they can text photos of clothes in their closet for style advice “to see if it’s worth bringing in for tailoring.” The market “is still sort of flabbergasted,” Burnett says. “But people have been having pizza delivered for years. People here are now having $9 juices delivered. I mean, if you trust somebody with your pizza, why not trust them with your trousers?” Burnett grew up in Raleigh, where he learned to love to sew as a child, altering vintage clothes he found with his grandmother at Goodwill. As a student at UNC-Chapel Hill, he worked as a stylist at Nordstrom, where he developed “an understanding of size and fit.” Postgrad, Burnett traveled abroad and fell in love with the “relationship-based” tailor shops on European street corners. He returned home to a career in digital marketing. Today, he’s combining all of it at Glenwood South Tailors, which he opened two years ago. “We don’t do a lot of really exotic stuff … but I know the details of quality fit, and fit based on lifestyle. What’s your profession, how will you wear this? It has to fit you.” –J.A.

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photograph by TRAVIS LONG


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Father and daughter Deac and Ashlyn McCaskill

“My dad and my papa built the car, so (my mom) knows I’m safe.” –Ashlyn McCaskill, 15-year-old UCAR short-track racer


ar racing is in the McCaskill blood. “It’s something that you’re born into as a little kid,” says Deac McCaskill, who first drove a race car when he was about 12. “I’ve been going ever since.” Among the now-39year-old’s favorite aspects of round track racing (“this is Saturday night racing at your local short track … a hobby”) is the camaraderie, McCaskill says. “You’re competitors on the track but when anything bad happens, it’s a huge family that supports you.” For McCaskill, the family environment is literal: Last year, his 15-year-old daughter, Ashlyn McCaskill, started racing UCARs, which are slower and more affordable models. “I run up to 150 mph, and she runs 100 mph.” To the average non-racing driver, that might sound fast, but “it’s really safe,” McCaskill insists. He knows because he works on cars by day, alongside his dad Boyce McCaskill at Boyce’s self-named auto service shop in northeast Raleigh. “I enjoy working on (the cars) as much as I do driving them.” Like her father (and her cousin, Bradley McCaskill), Ashlyn

McCaskill says she “pretty much grew up at the racetrack” and has loved it since she first hopped in a car at age 13. She’s apparently a natural, having won two races within the first few months of her driving career. “I don’t want to brag on my kid,” Deac McCaskill says, “but she’s picked it up really fast.” After her first accident earlier this year, the Garner high school sophomore had a concussion that required her to take a few months off of racing. Already, her racetrack peers are mostly men in their 20s and 30s, not the teenaged best girlfriends she spends most of her time with. Neither fact has her wanting to hang up her helmet anytime soon. “I’m not scared, I (was) ready to get back to it. I love it.” “She wants to race every weekend,” Deac McCaskill says. “Some weekends I want to relax and stay home. Ashlyn gets mad because she wants to go racing. But, hey, I guess I’d rather my 15-year-old daughter want to be at the racetrack than somewhere else.” –J.A. Deac McCaskill races with the CARS Racing Tour, which will be at the Orange County Speedway in Rougemont June 24.

photograph by TRAVIS LONG


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OUR Town


from left, Lindsay Bissell and Emily Slater

“A welcome basket, no matter how simple, is a really thoughtful start.” –Emily Slater, co-founder, A Signature Welcome


Lauren Jonas Photography


lanning a wedding is no small feat these days. After her own 2013 nuptials, Raleigh resident Emily Slater remembers feeling bogged down by one of the many details she had to tackle beyond the ceremony and reception: putting together welcome baskets for her guests. When her best friend, Lindsay Bissell, asked her “what the one thing was that I would have changed about my wedding,” Slater immediately responded: the welcome gifts. “They were time-consuming, and the process of putting them together was kind of unorganized. It quickly turned into an idea, and we got to work on a business plan.” In the spring of 2014, Slater and Bissell launched A Signature Welcome, their Charleston-based custom gift basket company. The two put together personalized gift packages, full of goodies like local snacks, monogrammed bottled water, and muslin-bagged “revelry remedy” kits with chapstick, advil, breath mints, and even bug wipes and sunscreen for destination weddings. “Details are part of the overall wedding design now. We pay attention to what the bride’s dress looks like and what the color scheme is; we can add the couple’s crest or monogram to many of our items. We want the gift to really reflect the couple and the wedding.” Bissell mans the official HQ in Charleston while Slater is based here in Raleigh; and they both travel frequently to clients throughout the Southeast. Since so much of the packaging can be personalized, A Signature Welcome has organically grown to include corporate events, including past season kick-off gifts to the Carolina Panthers players’ wives. They’ve put together everything from luxe baskets for Martha Stewart’s niece’s wedding in 2015 to elegant, simple party favors for the opening of the new Eatman’s Carpets and Interiors showroom in Raleigh this spring. No matter the occasion, “we work closely with clients and wedding planners throughout the process … the end result is a cohesive, beautiful, and thoughtful gift. It doesn’t look like something that’s just thrown together.” –J.A.




New Life Camp hopes to breathe new life into its facilities


he intersection of Falls of Neuse and Durant roads in North Raleigh is a typical suburban business area: There’s a Kohl’s and Harris Teeter, and across the street, a Walgreens; WakeMed North’s women’s and family hospital anchors the northeast corner. Then there’s the strikingly verdant northwest quadrant with its stone-flanked sign: New Life Camp. Since 1950, thousands of Raleigh area youth have flocked here for summer camp and idyllic fun on 72 wooded acres with a natural lake, zip line,


all photos courtesy New Life Camp

OUR Town

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water slide, pool, trails, go-kart track, frisbee-golf course, basketball courts, soccer field, climbing wall, low ropes course, craft cabin, and snack shack. Since 1950, those amenities have hardly changed. “It’s charming, basic, dormitory-style camping,” says executive director Greg Burton. “Kids absolutely love it,” but Burton knows the 67-year-old buildings are nearing the end of their lifespan. It’s why he and the camp’s board of directors launched a first-ever capital campaign in March. They aim to raise $3 million by August and almost $8 million total for new cabins and facilities. “This isn’t a want as much as it’s a desire to steward the camp into the next generation.” Demand remains high, and he wants to keep it that way: Overnight sessions fill up months in advance and run all summer long.

‘Get away from the noise’ Through the generations, the Christian camp has grown its mission as the city has grown around it. Counselors and staff are quick to share their non-denominational faith, but camp at New Life is less about religion and more about simple opportunities to play and for fellowship. “Not many


kids get to run around in the woods and play in lakes around here anymore,” Burton says. “We want to give kids that experience. This is a place to get away from the noise in a fun, safe environment. A place to hear and think and listen.” Over the years, the camp has gradually added play facilities: an indoor basketball gym in 1999, a pool in 2009, soccer fields in 2010, and another basketball gym along the way. “We believe that young men and women need Christ, but they also just need a place to get away. … No matter what they believe, these tools and these spaces give us opportunities to build great relationships with kids. To play basketball with kids. To

hang out with kids. That’s all we want.” Kids ages 8 - 18 are the primary focus, but Burton says the need for a place to escape to nature in North Raleigh is evident. “Camp used to be way out in the sticks and it’s just not anymore.” The surrounding community eagerly takes advantage of its nearby beauty: Local bible studies meet in the dining hall, area homeschool sports leagues use the gyms, and nonprofits use the cabins and the outdoor spaces. “We want to love any and everybody well, and we can do that using the tools we have.” This is where the capital campaign comes in: cabins without air conditioning are charming but impractical, and the worship/community center is so old that the cost of renovating it exceeds that of replacing it. Basic modern construction would be a game-changer. It would include air conditioning, bathrooms in every building (right now campers share one bathroom cabin), maybe even a

few “bells and whistles” like a good ’ol screened porch. “We’ll be able to use the new cabins year-round, and that is going to allow us to say yes to our community. We’re saying no right now to lots of groups that could be here.” As of press time, New Life Camp has raised $1 million plus a $400,000 matching donation pledge, which means it’s on its way to the $3 million August goal. Burton is optimistic because he believes his request is not on his behalf, not even on his camp’s behalf, but rather on behalf of the larger community and its future. “Why would I want buildings sitting when I could be using them? Everything is spiritual for us, but to take the spiritual side out of it, we want to serve our community. For us to invite a nonprofit to use our space is a blessing. We want more and more of that.” –Jessie Ammons

“This is a place to get away from the noise in a fun, safe environment. A place to hear and think and listen.”

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WALTER profile




Phil Freelon builds inspired communities


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Lissa Gotwals (this page and previous page)

PLACES WITH PURPOSE Above: Models on display at Perkins+Will offices in Research Triangle Park. Opposite: The facade of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C.


DURHAM-BASED ARCHITECT PHIL FREELON’S LIFE STORY HAS PLAYED OUT as one of victory, tragedy, and grace under pressure. His career – perhaps unrivalled by any North Carolina architect, past or present – has blazed an ever-ascending arc across the national stage. Freelon’s most significant contributions include the 2009 Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture in Charlotte and the 2014 Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. But the 2016 Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington D.C., for which he is architect of record, ranks as his crowning professional achievement to date. The Washington Post noted in March that in its first six months, the $540 million, 400,000-square-foot structure had welcomed more than 1,200,000 visitors, placing it among the four most popular Smithsonian museums.


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Alan Karchmer/ NMAAHC

Becky Kirkland/N.C. State University

Groundbreaking took place in November 2012; four years of construction followed. By September 2016, the museum that The Architect’s Newspaper was calling “the most important American building of the 21st century” opened to international fanfare. But for Freelon, 65, it was a bittersweet moment. Six months earlier, he’d been diagnosed with ALS, a debilitating disease that could leave him paralyzed in five years. Still, with four major civic projects currently underway in Detroit, Houston, Miami, and Jackson, Miss., ALS has not slowed the pace of his work. His path to a museum on the Mall seems, in retrospect, almost predetermined. In fact, it is the result of hard work and vision. The grandson of Harlem Renaissance artist Allan Randall Freelon, Sr., he graduated from Philadelphia’s elite Central High School, which also counts modern architecture master Louis Kahn among its alumni. He earned an undergraduate degree in architecture from N.C. State and a graduate degree from M.I.T. A Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, he’s also served on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. In 1990, Freelon launched The Freelon Group, and in 2014 joined forces with international powerhouse Perkins+Will, where he is now a leader in the firm’s cultural and civic practice, serves on its board of directors, and is design director of its North Carolina practice. Along the way, Freelon and his colleagues have designed some of the nation’s most prestigious civic buildings of the past two decades. 66 | WALTER

“When you see his work, the thread that ties them all together is that they’re always places with social purposes,” says Zena Howard, managing director at Perkins+Will. “They serve the community long after the designers are gone – his buildings engage with the community, because he starts the design process with the community.”

Decades in the making The concept of an African-American museum on the Mall was 30 years in the making for Georgia congressman John Lewis, who worked tirelessly to pass its enabling legislation. As he did, Freelon tracked his efforts closely – and when H.R. 3491 was signed into law in 2003, he stepped up. “Phil knew he wanted to be a part of this,” says Howard, who worked on the museum with him for seven years. “He looked at Senator Lewis’s push, and when George W. Bush signed the legislation, he was ahead of the game.” Freelon knew what he wanted: “He says museums are the best projects you can get – and not everybody gets them,” says Lew Myers, former director of business development at The Freelon Group. Anticipating a design competition and determined to win it, Freelon called New York architect J. Max Bond in 2006. “We were the hot young firm and Max was the leader of black architects,” Myers says. “We needed the juice, so we flew to D.C. and Max came down from New York. We talked about who to have on our team, who to stroke to get influence, and then we put together a great

Lissa Gotwals (top two photographs); Alan Karchmer/ NMAAHC (bottom right);

ENGAGING WITH THE COMMUNITY Clockwise from top left: Two views of the Perkins+Will offices in Research Triangle Park; A view of the Washington Monument as seen from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture; Design team members David Adjaye, Max Bond, and Phil Freelon during a working session for the museum. Opposite: Phil Freelon and Zena Howard, managing director at Perkins+Will, who worked closely with Freelon on the Smithsonian museum project.

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renderings courtesy Perkins + Will

game plan and executed it to perfection. No one thought we had a chance in hell.” But they did. In 2008, the Smithsonian announced its competition, attracting 22 entries from rock stars like Norman Foster, Pei Cobb Freed, and Moshe Safdie. Soon after, Bond got a call from British architect David Adjaye. A young and rapidly rising star, Adjaye expressed a desire to join them, so Bond asked Freelon to fly to New York to meet him. “Phil came back and said: ‘I was hoping he was going to be a son of a &*%$#, but he wasn’t – he’s a great guy, and he’s going to be the designer,’” Myers says. “It took me a while to come to grips with that, but that’s an example of how he put the project and the client first.” The plan was for Bond to guarantee the design, Adjaye to serve as the lead architect, and Freelon the architect of record – while the SmithGroup handled construction documents. “Right away, there was a sense of magic between the three of us – it clicked,” Adjaye says. “There was a palpable sense that we’d struck the right balance.” The year – 2009 – proved to be an emotional roller-coaster. In January, their entry made the final round of six, thanks to Bond’s thoroughly researched, well-written program. But in February, Bond succumbed to cancer, and Freelon took on the role of guarantor. By midApril, the Smithsonian would name their entry its winner. Their team, Adjaye says, was one that Bond had referred to as a jazz ensemble – each player focusing on his own strengths 68 | WALTER

in a way that would form an improvisational harmony. “I felt that with Phil from very early on, it was clear he had the expertise to manage the contracts and oversee the complex delivery process,” he says. “This gave me the confidence that I could really focus in on designing the building, and the rest would be in safe hands.” After the building opened, Freelon was working hard even as he was coming to terms with his own devastating diagnosis. He and his wife, six-time Grammy-winning jazz musician Nnenna Freelon, researched ALS, came face-to-face with it, and began to turn a medical negative into a positive. They formed The Freelon Foundation and launched a campaign called Design a World without ALS to raise money for research. A benefit concert at Durham’s Carolina Theatre on April 20 – starring Nnenna Freelon

Alan Karchmer/ NMAAHC © James West / (Durham bus station)

and friends – raised $160,000. Freelon declined to look back on his work for this article; instead, typically, he chose to focus on the future. He continues to design some of the most interesting, consciousnessraising civic projects in the nation, each a singular response to his client’s mission. In Jackson, Miss., for instance, Freelon is designing the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, dedicated to civil rights and the history of Mississippi. In Houston, he’s at work on Emancipation Park, a combination of new construction, renovation, landscape architecture, site development, and commemorative sculpture in the heart of the African-American community. In Detroit, he’s working with Berry Gordy to expand the Motown Museum by 40,000 square feet. And in Miami, he’s doing preliminary work on the Miami Museum of Contemporary Art of the African Diaspora. Asked about his legacy, Freelon is succinct: “I can say we’re on to the next project

and I’m not finished,” he says. “That is yet to be written – and I expect there will be many more chapters.” Courage, Ernest Hemingway once said, is defined as grace under pressure. But in the world of civic architecture, it might be defined best by the life and work of Phil Freelon.

PORTFOLIO Opposite: Renderings of current projects include the expansion of the Motown Museum in Detroit and Emancipation Park in Houston. This page: The Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Closer to home, Perkins+Will worked on the Durham Bus Station.

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AT THE table


stuff Cheetie Kumar’s creative combinations by JESSIE AMMONS


“GARLANDS ARE A VERY TRADITIONAL INDIAN CELEBRATORY SYMBOL. They’re reverent, they tie in different elements.” On a recent afternoon, chef Cheetie Kumar sat in Garland, the downtown Raleigh restaurant she co-founded, co-owns, and operates, reflecting on the inspiration behind its name. Clearly, it comes from everywhere: Silvery spindly tree branches painted on the wall behind her extend up and onto the ceiling; the floor is made of wood salvaged from an old YMCA basketball court; midcentury modern globe lights hang from above.


photographs by JULI LEONARD

‘WE SPEND OUR LIVES IN THIS BUILDING’ Above: A mainstay on the Garland menu is the local catch: a freshly caught N.C. fish of the day in a savory broth with greens, shiitake mushrooms, puffed rice salad, chili oil, and an edible flower garnish. Below: The Garland building trifecta on West Martin Street, at center. The top floor houses King’s; the main floor is Garland; and the subterranean terrain is Neptune’s. Chef Cheetie Kumar and her husband Paul Siler own and operate all three: “We spend our lives in this building,” she says.

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DYNAMIC DUO Paul Siler and Cheetie Kumar at King’s, a longtime music venue that moved to its current space in 2010, when Neptune’s also opened. Garland followed in 2013. The three seemingly diverse business concepts suit the couple. They have also formed two bands together (they still play in Birds of Avalon) in addition to working jointly at the restaurant.


The warm spices of the Asian-meets-Southern cuisine that made her a semifinalist for the revered James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast in February waft from the kitchen. The flavor mashups – ghee-griddled corn cakes and greens with tandoor onion vinaigrette, lamian noodles with local ribeye and local greens in lemongrass-chili broth, macaroons with a savory cardamom kick – embody her ethos. If anything, Kumar, who is also a professional musician, is multi-faceted. Beneath her restaurant, she and her husband Paul Siler own and operate Neptune’s, a bar known for its local DJ cast and wee-hours dancing; above it, they run a live music venue, King’s, which hosts a diverse nightly lineup. Long hailed by a music-savvy cult following, the night spots have succeeded independently. When she and Siler decided four years ago to put Garland in the middle, it tied the building together. “A string of three different places,” Kumar says, “functioning as one.” So far – until the James Beard nomination came along, anyway – the restaurant has been the most underrated of the three. But while indie rock fans have flocked to King’s and twentysomething revelers to Neptune’s, Kumar has been perfecting an approachable, unusual fine dining menu. So these days, the foodies flock, too. Garland has become a downtown destination in and of itself, a permanent spicy fixture in Raleigh’s award-winning restaurant scene. Siler, who is also Kumar’s bandmate (more on that later), says a quiet buzz has been building for years, as Garland earned praise from Southern Living and Saveur magazines, among others. When Kumar became a semifinalist for the James Beard award, it cemented things. She didn’t progress to the next round, which didn’t dampen the recognition one bit. “I feel a sense of validation, a sense of gratitude. And also, it’s really energizing. We’re on the right track.”

‘The little dance’ Kumar’s track to the kitchen began early, as a young girl in Chandigarh, India, watching her grandmother and mother cook together multiple times each day. When she was 8, her family moved to the Bronx and Kumar became her mom’s sous chef. “My mom would call me after school and say, ‘Soak the lentils, salt the eggplant, soak the rice.’ I started doing the very basic prep. After a few years, I learned things I could make for dinner.” While cooking remained a constant presence in her life, it was placed on a back burner when Kumar went to college in Massachusetts and then worked in music management. On a road trip through Raleigh in the early ’90s, she fell in love with the city – its midcentury modern architecture reminded her of her Indian hometown – and stayed. Soon after, she met Siler; before long, the two married; and a few years later, the couple co-founded rock band The Cherry Valence (and later, in 2004, Birds of Avalon). Kumar plays guitar and bass, two other lifelong interests she gradually taught herself. Food came back to the forefront thanks to relentless band touring. “I kept reading about food and kind of obsessing about it. Not having good food when you’re on tour makes you food-centric. Then I would come home and cook my a** off.” Kumar says that her two passions, music and food, don’t inspire one another as much as they coexist and help her stay the course. “It’s like the little dance: two steps forward on one, then two steps forward in the other. They help me balance creativity. It’s nice to have an affair with the other one when one becomes too much like a job. Playing a show or working on a new song, even after a long day in the restaurant, can reset my brain in a way that taking a day off and just sleeping all day can’t.”

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Harmony Lately, Garland has been Kumar’s featured track. After parting ways with other co-founding partners, she and Siler now solely own and manage King’s, Neptune’s, and Garland together. They’ve allowed each spot to find its own footing, and they’re finally making long-envisioned improvements to cultivate “a symbiotic relationship. The original intent of this building was to be one animal with different heads.” So Neptune’s received a facelift with a new floor mural and a rearranged bar and seating area. Behind the scenes, an expanded kitchen now allows it to open earlier, around happy hour, offer a simple bar menu, and become “a cocktail waiting room for Garland, that place you can go before or after dinner. We’ll have snacks, so you can go and have some masala popcorn down there.” King’s got a freshening, too – “some paint. A new door. An upfitted stairwell and lobby. Little details that have always bugged us and now we’re doing it all at once” – to add small private events to its venue capabilities. Those events, too, will benefit from Garland’s dishes and drinks: Complementing the food menu are separate lunch and dinner cocktail menus, which rotate seasonally. The heart of it all is Garland, and behind it, the tireless, precise, mellow Kumar. Four years in to the adventure, she says there’s finally a harmony between space and food. “There are things that you understand when you walk into a place, in how it feels. There are subtleties that convey messages.” The restaurant is eclectic, dimly lit, packed with per-


sonal touches; likewise, the food is complex, piquant, inspired by both pan-Asian flavors and nearby farmers’ markets. “When I came to the South for the first time, I realized, this place has a microculture. Americans have an identity first, but then the South has its own thing going on … there’s a culinary identity here. The food here (at Garland) is a bunch of different influences and perspectives tied together by us being able to source locally. I think the same palate would – and does – like all of these cuisines. It’s just tying different elements together.” As befits her, and the place she’s created here in Raleigh.

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paste forms. Remove to a bowl and fold in yogurt. Combine well. Makes 1 quart of marinade.

SNACKS WITH SPICE Recipes inspired by the Garland menu and the Neptune’s bar bites

For the chicken: Set 1/2 cup of the marinade aside. Pour marinade over the chicken until well coated (as much as necessary, there is no exact measurement). Marinate for at least 2 hours; 6-8 hours is best. Remove chicken from marinade and spread onto a cookie sheet. Season all sides with salt and drizzle canola oil all over.

“Don’t even think about using curry powder in any Indian recipe,” chef Cheetie Kumar says, explaining that it’s a “British concoction, a second-generation blend of spices that no true Indian cook would ever throw together in the same dish or even at the same time. If there is one central spice blend in Indian food – particularly Northern Indian food, it is garam masala. This versatile blend becomes an ingredient in its own right.” You can see what she means with two of the recipes below: toasted peanuts and grilled chicken, both with Garland flair. There’s also a refreshing seasonal raita, or yogurt-y condiment.

You can cook this chicken on a sheet pan under the broiler, turning once and basting with reserved marinade. Or grill the chicken. Serve with lemon wedges and tomato raita (recipe below). Serves 6 - 8

GARAM MASALA A masala is usually defined as a mixture of spices. “There are as many variations of this blend of spices as there are families in India,” Kumar says. “One thing everyone agrees on: Toast and grind your own whole spices, and don’t keep ground spices around too long. Once you make your own, you will think twice about buying it ready-made.” And tweaks are welcomed: “Add chile powder, or any other spices that you favor. Just be careful with cinnamon, as it can quickly take over!” Kumar says to buy small bags of whole spices at a local Indian store, and grind as needed. She recommends Patel Brothers in Cary. 1/4 cup cumin seeds, toasted and ground (measure spices after grinding) 1/2 cup coriander seeds, toasted and ground 2 tablespoons black pepper, freshly ground 1 tablespoon cloves, ground

1/2 cup grapeseed or good-quality canola oil zest and juice of 1/2 lime Mix the first 5 ingredients (garam masala through cayenne pepper) and set aside. Heat oil in a wok or deep skillet until shimmering but not smoking. Add half of the peanuts and cook over medium heat, stirring until toasted and golden, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon or mesh spider and transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate or cookie sheet. Repeat with the other half of the peanuts. Put the hot peanuts in a bowl and toss in the spices, stirring to coat the peanuts evenly. Taste for salt and add more if you like. Sprinkle on lime zest and juice before serving. If you can’t find amchur, increase the amount of lime juice and zest to your liking. Yields 2 cups YOGURT-MARINATED GRILLED CHICKEN

1 tablespoon green cardamom seeds, ground

1 cup cilantro tops, roughly chopped

1 large or 2 small pods black cardamom, ground (grind whole including pod)

1 cup yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 stick medium-sized cinnamon 1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground Grind spices separately in a spice-dedicated coffee grinder or blender. Measure each one and mix all together in a small bowl. This yields about 1 cup and will keep for 2-3 weeks in a tightly sealed container away from direct heat. “HOT HOT” PEANUTS

1/4 cup fresh ginger, roughly chopped (unpeeled is OK if skin is shiny and smooth, wash thoroughly)

1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise (look for these at the local farmers market) Season the tomatoes with a little salt and pepper. In a bowl, fold remaining ingredients (cumin, remaining salt, and remaining pepper) into yogurt. Taste, and add more salt if you like. Just before serving, gently fold in tomatoes. You can omit tomatoes and serve raita with crudite: Substitute grated and drained cucumber, daikon radish, or any other mild, crunchy vegetable that’s in season. Serves 6 - 8

(optional) 2 teaspoons ginger powder, ground (optional) pinch of cayenne or chile powder 4-5 pounds boneless chicken, whichever parts you favor

2 cups N.C. peanuts, shelled

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon coriander seed, toasted and ground

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, ground

2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground

½ cup garam masala (see recipe above left)

3 cups good-quality plain, whole fat yogurt

1 tablespoon amchur (dry raw mango) powder (can be found at Indian markets)

1 quart plain, whole milk yogurt (look for a brand with no thickeners like cornstarch, pectin, guar gum, etc.; only whole milk and live active cultures)

2 tablespoons garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

2 1/2 tablespoons garam masala (see recipe above) 1 tablespoon granulated cane sugar


1/4 cup canola oil salt, to taste Make the marinade: Puree first 8 ingredients (cilantro tops through chile powder) in a food processor or powerful blender until a smooth

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TOP NOTCH Level 7 rooftop bar



EXIT THE ELEVATOR AT THE TOP FLOOR OF NORTH HILLS’ NEW AC Hotel Raleigh and you’ll enter a sleek lounge that feels a world away. Level 7 is a rooftop bar designed to cater not just to hotel guests, but to Raleigh. “We have more regulars than anything else, which is what we want,” says general manager Anthony Zinani. Since its early April opening, those regulars include midtown workers in search of a convenient happy hour spot and nearby residents glad to have a hip watering hole close to home. Zinani says the city’s growth provides new opportunities in all directions. He gestures to the breezy rooftop patio and sweeping cityscape views. The setting sells itself. Bar manager Peter Horak complements the scene with drinks inspired by the season and the region. Glass cabinets suspended from the ceiling are heavy on spirits made in the Triangle and in North Carolina: TOPO vodka, Defiant whisky, Raleigh Rum Company, Durham Distillery gin. photographs by KEITH ISAACS


SUMMER SANGRIA “This is a white sangria that appears red,” bar manager Peter Horak says. The white wine base gets a rosy hue from freshly muddled berries. 1 bottle (750ml) tempranillo blanco wine 8 ounces Bombay Sapphire gin 4 ounces elderflower liqueur (such as St. Germain) 4 ounces peach schnapps Up to 4 ounces simple syrup, depending on preference 1-3 cups seasonal berries (Horak recommends blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries)

To welcome summer, Horak mixed up a sangria. Although he skipped the local ingredients, he combined gin with freshly muddled berries, elderflower liqueur, and a white tempranillo wine, inspired by Level 7’s other occasional muse: Spain. There’s a small tapas menu and mostly Spanish wine list, which adds up to a vibe that encourages lingering, relaxing, enjoying. “We want people to sit down and have a full experience,” Horak says.

Muddle the berries. Use a fine strainer to strain berry juice into a pitcher or punch bowl. Add wine, gin, elderflower liquer, and peach schnapps. Stir well, and add simple syrup to taste (if you want). Add a few fresh berries and let sit in refrigerator for 2 hours. Serve over ice. Serves 6 - 8

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AT THE table



OYSTERS St. Roch Fine Oysters + Bar debuts by DEAN MCCORD


St. Roch Fine Oysters + Bar, which opened on Wilmington Street in April, isn’t a typical New Orleans Creole or Cajun restaurant, with a faux French Quarter theme. “I wanted the place to reflect a more contemporary vision of New Orleans, with influences from the large immigrant population there,” says Sunny Gerhart, the chef and owner, whose Louisiana roots run deep. He has done that with a menu that incorporates Vietnamese and Asian influences, using ingredients like coconut and miso alongside more traditional fare such as andouille and house-made boudin.


photographs by KEITH ISAACS

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“The restaurant reflects his family’s history, but in the present,” says Gerhart’s longtime friend, mentor, and former boss, Ashley Christensen, who handed over the site of Joule, her former coffee shop and restaurant, so that Gerhart could create a place of his own. He’s created a newly vibrant and fun eatery, with a strong sense of community. He’s made it his own with new booths, local art, and a bar made from old church pews, which are a nod to St. Roch, the Catholic patron saint of good health, bachelors, and dogs (it’s also the name of the neighborhood in New Orleans’ Bywater area where Gerhart’s extended family lives). His St. Roch is more than a sum of its parts, more than just a place to get good oysters, red beans and rice, and booze. It’s also a reflection of Gerhart, his family, his upbringing, and the individual champions who have kept him going over the years. It may sound unlikely that a restaurant could act as a stabilizing force in a person’s life, but St. Roch is one for Gerhart. It is his rock, or rather, with apologies, his Roch. Gerhart is a quiet and undemonstrative man, so it’s a surprise to learn that his father, Tiburtius Gerhart, Jr., was a hard-edged, brazen Marine, tasked with excoriating fuzzyfaced enlistees in boot camp. His father’s military career meant Gerhart never lived in any one place for more than three years. But he was always home in New Orleans, where his parents had their roots, where he lived as a young child and again as a young teenager, and where he returned regularly for holidays with his extended family.


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Life’s work Gerhart may have learned to love food in New Orleans, but he learned to make it his life’s work in North Carolina. During his high school years, his family moved to Jacksonville, North Carolina, where his father was stationed at Camp Lejeune. Gerhart went to college at East Carolina University, “but I didn’t have any idea of what I wanted to do.” It was in Greenville where his attraction to food and wine began, first in a local wine store (where Humble Pie chef Josh Young also worked). “I quickly became more interested in the wine than I was in going to school. I also learned how much I loved sharing wine with people.” Gerhart began to explore the country. He worked in a winery in northern California; moved up to Baltimore where his parents moved after his dad retired; and waited tables and sold wine in Wilmington, where he lived on a sailboat. And then, on April Fool’s day in 2004, Gerhart’s father, 46, died suddenly of a heart attack. Bubby, as his friends and family called him, was gone. So Sunny, an only child, moved to Baltimore to take care of his mother, Shawn. He worked in a wine shop to keep himself connected to the food world, but he was restless. Shawn knew that he was interested in going to culinary school, so she told him, “If it’s what you want to do, do it. It’s just money.” Gerhart followed his mother’s advice. “As soon as I was at cooking school, I knew this is what I wanted to do, and I worked hard at it.” With an hour-and-a-half commute each


way to school and long hours at the wine shop, Gerhart rarely got more than five hours of sleep. But he persisted, and landed in Raleigh after graduation, working beside Ashley Christensen at critically acclaimed Enoteca Vin, where she first made her name. When Christensen opened Poole’s Diner in December 2007, Gerhart was at her side. Several years later, after Gerhart had left Poole’s to work at other places, Christensen tapped him to open her new coffee shop/restaurant concept, Joule. But after dinner service was dropped and Joule became more of a coffee shop and lunch place, Gerhart got antsy. “I was tired of making &*^%$@! sandwiches.” He wanted to do something new, something on his own, something that reminded him of home. So in October 2015, Gerhart started talking with friends and looked at spaces and concepts. He gave Christensen a year’s notice that he would be moving on. And then Christensen herself came up with an idea. She realized Joule wasn’t going to become the place she wanted it to be, and offered the space to Gerhart. “I always loved the Joule space,” Gerhart says. And so, on New Year’s Eve 2016, Joule served its last meal – fittingly, the brunch menu from Poole’s Diner. And just four months later, on April 28, St. Roch opened its doors. Now it’s Gerhart’s new home, a place where he has honored his family, friends, and others who have supported him over the years, but most importantly, Bubby and Shawn. And where the rest of us are welcomed as his new family, his Raleigh family, enjoying roasted oysters, a muffaletta salad, and a Sazerac – with a twist. Just like home.

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of a house





WHEN AMANDA MAY AND HER FAMILY MOVED TO THE TRIANGLE FROM Italy three years ago, they had a bit of cultural adjustment to do. They’d left a beloved, tiny farmhouse nestled among Tuscan hills for a newly built, 4,000 square-foot house in a subdivision outside of Durham. Its vast rooms felt blank and empty. As an integrative health coach, Kundalini yoga teacher, and Reiki Master, May wanted to create a space that was sacred and inviting, so she enlisted the help of interior designer Lauren Burns, whose specialty is to incorporate what’s important to her clients. “I always ask my clients: ‘Does this have meaning to you?’ ” says Burns. Trained at the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design in Washington D.C., Burns realized early on that the Mays’ eclectic style told a larger story – “where they’ve lived, where they came from,” and tried to tell that story through interior design. “Everything in here is from someone,” May says. “Lauren knows a lot of my stuff is not fancy, but most is meaningful.” There are books from her adventurous grandmother who lived in Hollywood and traveled the world as a single woman in the ’40s; a mandala that her husband brought back from Nepal; a collage of a Madonna and child by her JUNE 2017 | 87


RHAPSODY IN GREEN Opposite top: “I’m not a decorator but I know what evokes that sacred space for me. This house is my sacred space. This property is my sacred space. This room is where I do my (yoga) practice,” says May. May transports her gong, which weighs almost 90 pounds, with her to the yoga classes she teaches in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. The Kundalini-certified teacher has taught all over the world, including at the U.S. Consulate in Italy, and in businesses throughout Europe. This page: In the family room, designer Lauren Burns added texture and earthy warmth with fur, hide, and wood. With guidance from Burns, May found the fabric for the drapery panels in Italy, bringing it back in a “body-size bag” on a return flight home. The generous kitchen island features a pair of quilted banquettes selected by Burns. The deer antlers above the cooktop belonged to May’s father. Previous page: A wooden Buddha hangs on a wall by the front door. The Madonna and child collage is by May’s friend, the artist Susi Bellamy.

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British friend and artist Susi Bellamy; and deer antlers that once belonged to her father. Burns found a place for all of them, and created rooms that are ethereal, magnetic, and inviting at the same time. The house also has plenty of modern touches. In the former dining room, now a minimalist “lounge,” Burns installed a funky blown-glass bubble chandelier. It’s the place where May does energy and healing work with clients, including gong bathing, a form of sound therapy. On the wall hangs an abstract piece called Surface Beneath, by Taos artist K.C. Tebbutt. This page: Amanda May relaxes in the lounge Painted with oils, mineral pigments, and ink on rice paper, its mandala dewith her dog Eddie, aka Edamame. sign glows like a kaleidoscope as an LED light behind it changes color. Its “breathing light” is meant to bring focus and clarity to the viewer. “Nothing is here by accident,” says May. “Everything is intentional.” That’s true throughout the house. “When you move and move and move,” May says, your home has to “come from within.” That, she says, is “how you make a house a home. When people walk in, I want them to be greeted with compassion and protection. They don’t have to buy-in or agree. It doesn’t matter to me, but there are some things that are universal – the cycle of life, compassion, and love, and where we find home – in our heart.” Opposite page: Built as a dining room, May and Burns transformed the space into a lounge. It’s where May works on clients as a Reiki practitioner, and also where she teaches private yoga sessions that include gong bathing, a form of sound therapy. The kitchen nook is flooded with light. Some of the meaningful objects that May has collected are arranged on a side table.

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SJOELIN Bringing beauty and dignity to kids in crisis photographs by MISSY MCLAMB




WHEN A CHILD ARRIVES AT WRENN HOUSE, THE TRIANGLE’S ONLY homeless, runaway, and crisis intervention shelter for kids ages 10 – 17, it could be any hour of any day. But no matter when a young person arrives, he or she is welcomed into a place not only of help and safety, but also one of calm and dignity, with clean and beautiful furnishings, a freshly made bed, and a sense of order. For 30 years, Wrenn House, a program of Haven House Services, has been serving local youth in need of safety, counseling, and temporary shelter nonstop, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. But it wasn’t until this year that the home looked and felt as good as the work that it does. “It has been an amazing transformation,” says Lotta Sjoelin, founder of the nonprofit A Lotta Love, which recently refurbished and redecorated the house from top to bottom with a fleet of volunteers, a $30,000 grant from the Women’s Giving Network of Wake County, and thousands of dollars of donated goods and services. Painters, floor installers, electricians, and tilers all chipped in: “When they see what the work is for, they say ‘I’m not going to send you a bill,’” says Sjoelin, who is an interior decorator by trade. The contractors, like her volunteers, were inspired by Wrenn House’s mission and a sobering understanding of its need. “There are very few places like this,” she says. And none, it’s safe to say, that look like it. Wrenn House serves eight kids at a time who stay anywhere from one night to three weeks; the typical stay is about a week long. Kids come because they are homeless, because their family is in crisis, because they are unsafe, because they’ve run away. Parents living in their cars sometimes drop kids off at Wrenn House at night so that they can sleep in a bed. “There are 2,700 homeless kids in Wake County,” Sjoelin says.

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“The poverty in Wake County is incredible. One in four kids go to school hungry. It’s heartbreaking. And it’s not getting better, it’s getting worse.” Kids at Wrenn House are provided with counseling, case management, referrals, and an education in life skills. Social services workers facilitate their return to relatives, friends, or someone they trust. Thanks to Sjoelin, these kids are able to weather the storm in physical surroundings that also address their psychological and emotional needs.

Creating a home Sjoelin transformed Wrenn House with a combination of scrappy ingenuity, professional know-how, penny-pinching, and an occasional splurge. The dining room table, for instance, is a one-of-akind creation made from a single slab by a woodworker in the mountains (“I got a very good price for it”); original oil paintings donated by the Durham Arts Council bring serenity to several rooms. “That painting was commissioned,” Sjoelin says of the geometric canvas on the living room wall. “I wanted color. I wanted this to be an energetic room.” She chose furniture in practical materials that wear well like leather and wicker; many rugs are sturdy indoor/outdoor types. At every turn, she tried to make Wrenn House feel like a home, not an institution, even putting picture frames on the requisite documents on the walls – fire routes, house rules – and turning them into graphic works of art. When she finished transforming the dining room, her first room at the house, the kids in residence walked in and their jaws dropped. “They said: ‘This is for us?’” Sjoelin recalls. “They didn’t understand. We told them yes, it is for them. They deserve it.” Much of the elbow grease that went into the clean-out, clean-up, painting and installing was done by groups of 20, or more volunteers Sjoelin gathered for what she calls “D-Day” blasts. “It’s so much fun,” she says.


She knows how to plan and execute a project like this because she’s done it before. She started in late 2014, when a friend told her that the HomeStart shelter for homeless women and children in Chapel Hill could use some pillows. When Sjoelin arrived with her arms full, she was dismayed to find the shelter spare, depressing, “bleak.” She immediately decided to gather resources, volunteers, and furnishings to transform it room by room. Former HomeStart resident Mimi Lubin says she was amazed when she saw what Sjoelin had done. “I thought, who would come and decorate my room?” The impact, she says, was huge: “It made me feel like life was going to get better. It really gave me energy. It brought me to life.” A mission and a nonprofit – A Lotta Love – was born. Sjoelin has since transformed environments in five other Triangle shelters, including Wrenn House, and spawned two A Lotta Love chapters. “I’ve found my passion,” Sjoelin says. “I’m so fortunate.”

Powerful advocate Sjoelin’s enthusiasm, expertise, and concern for the people whose living environments she transforms make her a powerful advocate. “I got $3,000 worth of Pottery Barn Teen things today,” she says, “Bedding, accessories, backpacks … I ask everywhere. You can only get ‘no.’” She also asks everyone, especially kids, to get involved. Sjoelin requests that donors consider raising enough money to donate a room (about $700); she then designs rooms for maximum style, efficiency, and durability. Finally, she asks volunteers to pitch in to paint, hang curtains, and move furniture. She’s got teams of students who help her. Students at Durham Academy, for instance, have founded an A Lotta Love club that raises money with bake sales to refurbish rooms at Durham shelters. And the Alpha Chi Omega sorority at UNC-Chapel Hill has raised as much as $10,000 for HomeStart renovations and put on Christmas parties for its residents. “My goal is not to raise as much money as possible, but to raise aware-

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ness,” Sjoelin says. Awareness of the problems that contribute to homelessness, especially in young people, will bring change, she believes. “If we can expose them, they can change it.” So lately, when people ask how they can get involved, she urges them to follow her lead: “Just start with a room,” she says. “If I can do it, anyone can do it … My goal is to see this in Greensboro and Charlotte.”;

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Greg Montgomery





“WE REALLY ARE SPOILED,” ONE OF MY NORTH CAROLINA FRIENDS SAYS. “THE ancient curves of the Blue Ridge to the west, the blue-green rise and fall of the Atlantic to the east. How could you go wrong?” Summer in North Carolina is, without question, wonderful. Sure, fall is lovely, full of football games, Indian summer days, and trips to the farmers market. Winter is a breeze compared to what our friends up North have to deal with. And spring, with its fragile fullness and budding green, is a hint at the best to come. Because summer beats them all. Whenever I tell out-of-staters I’m from North Carolina, they’re always excited to tell me about the time their grandmother rented a beach house in the Outer Banks, or they went to Asheville over Labor Day. We really are spoiled. The ancient curves of the Blue Ridge to the west, the blue-green rise


and fall of the Atlantic to the east. How could you go wrong? Of course, there are some heretics that maintain the beaches of that other Carolina are better. On this assertion, I politely decline to comment. I will say, however, that I spent far too many hours of my college career watching people eat fried turkey legs and dance in nightclub cages on the cheery shores of Myrtle Beach. In the words of Forrest Gump: “That’s all I have to say about that.” Living in Raleigh, North Carolina, our state’s beaches become a second living room during the summer. On Friday afternoons, you can dip out of work a bit early and be on the beach in time

for a cocktail before dinner. I’ve made that drive on I-40 so many times it’s like a second heartbeat – the peach stands and boiled-peanut cardboard signs, the terrain growing flatter and flatter and more swamp-like with tall pines; that first breath of salt breeze curling in toward you. It’s the best welcome of all. My grandparents have owned a home in Wrightsville Beach since before I was alive, so I’m a bit biased. We have pictures of my grandfather holding me there as a newborn, and I learned how to ride my bike on sizzling black asphalt along Wrightsville marshes that rose and fell with the tide. My grandmother passed away three years ago, but nothing in the house has changed. The red and white couch is still by the bay window, bleached from years of sun; the rug in the living room hides a dark brown stain where I spilled Cheerwine as a kid; the plastic crab figurines I played with still abound with nautical enthusiasm (much to my mother’s chagrin). Everything I remember from my life at the beach is tinged with a bright fondness. My dad, dork emeritus, was the Frank Lloyd Wright of sandcastle architecture. While other dads hauled out flimsy plastic buckets and good-naturedly packed sand into them, my dad believed each sand construction was his very own Fallingwater. He brought an actual metal shovel and wagon to the beach, and probably would have rented a backhoe if my mother had allowed it. He dug holes wide enough to fit a small cocktail party; holes that veered precipitously down to the earth’s molten core. Beside these holes, he made sandcastles that rivaled the Mall of America. No grain of sand, shell, or bit of sea grass within a five-mile radius was safe. He used everything. None of this stopped even after my brother and I became lazy, angsty teen-

agers, preferring to ride our bikes into town rather than act as his work crew. But his imagination didn’t end there. He knew that tidal pools can hold a hypnotic captivation over little kids, and he used this to his advantage. A nefarious creature called “The Lizard Lazala” slithered along shallow tidal pools and feasted on the legs of small children, according to him. Coincidentally, the Lizard Lazala looked a lot like a middle-aged man in oversized goggles floundering about in two-feet-deep puddles. Who could have foreseen that his goggly eyes would mistake a neighboring group of kids for my

the entire trip convinced that any bearded dude we passed was somehow Blackbeard’s ghost, walking unrecognized among modern-day mortals. Our dad and our uncle also used to take us to what they called “pirate camp,” which I have only recently realized wasn’t an actual, registered summer camp, but rather an excuse for the guys to escape the house and drink. “Pirate camp” was held multiple times a week at a pirate-themed bar on Wrightsville, which had dark wood paneling, pirate flags, and a ring-hook game. I’m a little uncertain as to how they managed to smuggle a herd of six-year-olds into a bar, but it was awesome. Our dads would drink beer and hang out, and my cousins and I would get to order unlimited cherry Cokes, french fries, and play whatever we wanted on the jukebox. I miss pirate camp. I miss the days when my family would pack up and move to the beach for three weeks, my mom holding me down to dump a bucket of sunscreen over my head as I wriggled and screamed. Life has gotten a bit busier, filled with obligations and meetings and grown-up things, but in so many ways, I still feel like that kid with the pudgy belly and saggy bathing suit at the beach. Maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to the ocean. It has a way of simplifying things. I never feel more myself than when I’m by the water, when I can be reminded of how small and finite my body is. The ocean is simultaneously unknowable and familiar; vast and intimate. Even when I’m far away from North Carolina, from the coast that’s been home above anywhere else, it’s still comforting to know it’s there waiting. Just a drive away, down those North Carolina roads that wind through fields of green tobacco and sleepy little towns, stretching out toward you from a horizon that’s always there, just out of sight.

Of course, there are some heretics that maintain the beaches of that other Carolina are better. On this assertion, I politely decline to comment. brother and me? Their parents, I’m sure, were delighted to witness a complete stranger attempting to bite their children’s legs underwater, coming up for air to scream: “Lizard Lazala!”

Piratical Don’t even get me started on the pirates. Nothing captivated my brother and me more than stories of Edward Teach and Blackbeard. To my six-year-old self (and let’s be honest, even my current 25-year-old self ), piracy is the ultimate dream job. You get to be outside, on the water all day, you don’t have to bathe, and no one makes you do boring stuff like fill out W-9 forms for your gold doubloons or pay insurance on your ship. I mean, there’s the whole scurvy and marauding outlaw thing, but nothing’s perfect, right? Our love for those swashbucklers who sailed up and down the North Carolina coast ran deep: Our parents took us to Ocracoke one summer and we got to stay at the Blackbeard Inn, which was basically our version of nirvana. We spent

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CULTIVATOR N.C. Theatre’s new CEO

photographs by ELIZABETH GALECKE

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Elizabeth Doran is not from around here, and she thinks that’s a good thing. “There’s value in remembering what the outside world is saying about your community,” she says. It’s late March, and Doran is a few weeks into her new role as CEO of North Carolina Theatre. Already, “I dig it.”

But she knew she would: The outside world is impressed with Raleigh’s arts scene, and Doran is ready to dive in. With both business savvy and theater chops, Doran says she hopes to honor tradition and shake things up at NCT. “I’ve found that you are makers here: There’s a lot of homebrewing, from scientific research, biotech, data, and then beers, honey, coffee. … I would like our audiences to understand that N.C. Theatre is valuable in ways outside of just being a Broadway touring home. We are a maker, too.” What Doran didn’t expect, she says, was the diversity of creativity in Raleigh, and she thinks that’s another good thing. The New York native most recently hails from Southern California, which she calls “a big melting pot,” many cultures interwoven and combined so that it’s easy to forget where one stops and the next begins. In the Triangle, however, “a lot of work has been done to protect heritage and to protect the root of art forms. There’s an abundance of very well-developed but distinct cultures.” Rather than a melting pot, she likens our region to a “botanical garden,” where each plant flourishes alongside another to create a sea of beautiful different blooms: music, pottery, dance, theatre. “It’s all very positive. There’s distinction but there’s also admiration.” An early seed planted in the figurative Raleigh botanical garden was the nonprofit NCT. Founded in 1983 to produce Broadway musicals, NCT has since become a respected pipeline between local talent and the national stage. By tapping local and regional performers in recognizable big-name playbills, budding actors and actresses can gain a foothold in the big-league acting scene. Clay Aiken, Lauren Kennedy, and Beth Leavel have appeared on both NCT and Broadway stages in the past decade, as has beloved local actor and show creator Ira David Wood III. The organization’s legacy is not lost on its new leader. “There’s a beautiful, shameless love of the arts in a lot of people in this town. People can – people are – making a living in the arts here…The quality is already very high.” Doran hopes to take a really good thing and make it great; she says that’s the best way to reflect the community and momentum she sees. NCT board of directors

member Su Shearin says the organization sees a bright future with its new CEO. “With her creativity, vision, and nationwide theatre connections, I’m convinced Elizabeth will take NCT to a new level.” What Doran says she wants to do differently is focus on the audience. Her background is in the theatre, both as an actress and as a producer and developer, and she, too, has a shameless love of the arts. As she talks about the power of live theater, her tone takes on the cadence of a stage actress delivering a monologue. “We are born compassionate, and the theatre emphasizes it. It makes you sit in a room, feeling. … The arts is this place to just lay it all out, and have fun, and be our compassionate selves.” She’s learned, she says, that the best way to ensure both a packed house and an affected audience is by adopting an attitude of service. “Our job – my mission – is to serve the community by doing theatre that reflects the community, and helps the community to examine its questions.”

Nonprofit mentality How might an outsider, a newcomer to Raleigh, lead the charge to produce theater reflective of the community? “With a nonprofit thought process,” she says, informed by business savvy. Along with decades in the theater, Doran has an MBA: “I felt like there were systemic issues in arts organizations that somehow our arts-focused training programs were not, at the time, solving.” An MBA and postgrad stint abroad working in international marketing added strategic perspective to her arts leadership approach. “We were looking for a high level of business and theatre experience,” board member Shearin says of the CEO search. “We assumed we’d have trade-offs, to varying degrees. We’re delighted that with Elizabeth we have the best of both.”

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GIGS Since Doran’s arrival to Raleigh in March, she’s been culling data: census demographics, retail statistics, past ticket sales. She’s also been engaging in her favorite form of research: attending arts festivals and meet-and-greets. “I really want to meet hundreds and hundreds of people and talk to them. What are the things in our collective consciousness right now?” With an idea of her audience in mind, Doran says her NCT will carefully cultivate partnerships, programs, and incentives. If an avant-garde performance ends up on the season docket, then “we’ll work for nine months before the show to educate the community about it.” If it’s a taboo topic, she says, NCT education programs will take it apart, break it down, and engage with relevant groups throughout the city to bring the topic to the forefront of public conversation. Which is not to say the feel-good musicals will fall by the wayside (see below for the upcoming season). Doran already knows her audience better than that. “Every performance has the underlying goal of talking about core values,” and often, lighthearted song and dance is the best way to bring people together. “Our feelings can be protected, in a way, from the onslaught of bad news. You sit in a dark room, and the world quiets, and you feel.” She’s also committed to NCT’s foundational pillars of youth education and civic engagement. “We put these Broadway people next to these local Broadway-type people next to these kids, and it feels really good.”



he’s performed as an 1850s immigrant, greeting visitors to the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island museum in New York (“I’d choose an accent for the day”), and she’s worked with big names throughout her career. They include Academy

Award winner Tim Robbins, Grammy winner Sheryl Crow, and Pulitzer Prize winner William Kennedy. Here are a few of the collaborations in her repertoire: - Partnered with Tim Robbins to lead a theatre troupe, the Actors’ Gang, in Los Angeles for five years; among its alumni are Jack Black and his band Tenacious D. -With Robbins, produced a music and culture festival featuring Gore Vidal, Harry Bellefonte, and comedian Sarah Silverman, among others. - Produced a show in Pasadena, CA starring actress Taraji P. Henson.

- Produced Broadwaybound musicals including A Night with Janis Joplin and Sleepless in Seattle. - Curated a film series in San Diego with rotating relevant presenting partners, such as Monty Python producer John Goldstone. - Sought to blend theatre, music, and film through series at San Diego Theatres that included hosting a talk by TONY-nominated Emmy-winning Jeff Jampol and a screening of rare classic concert films like Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense. - Managed the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, where gala performers and supporters included architect Cesar Pelli, opera singer Placido Domingo, and musician Sheryl Crow.

UP NEXT Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, July 25 - 30

Bright Star, April 17 - 22

Gypsy, Nov. 14 - 19

The Wonder Years, The Musical, May 4 - 13

Love Letters, Jan. 12 - 21

Disney’s Newsies, July 24 - 29

The Wizard of Oz, March 13 - 18



Newlyweds Marco Levati and Elise Dorsett Levati in the garden of her family’s historic Raleigh home.

An old Raleigh family celebrates a wedding with worldly flair by LIZA ROBERTS


WYNN AND JIM DORSETT WERE NEWLYWEDS IN 1985 WHEN THEY MOVED to MidOaks, the beautiful Raleigh home that had already been in the Dorsett family for two generations. Thirty-two years and four grown children later, the house, in its expansive, leafy setting on Wake Drive, is much the same. Many of the heirloom furnishings, books, and art that have filled its stately rooms for decades are still in place; the gracious oaks that shade its gardens remain.

photographs by GRAHAM TERHUNE

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The family who lives there, meanwhile, has grown and expanded alongside an increasingly cosmopolitan Raleigh. In April, when the Dorsett’s daughter Elise celebrated her marriage to Milan native Marco Levati with a wedding reception in the garden, the historic homeplace – which turns 100 this year – got a festive dose of Raleigh’s contemporary international flair. Guests hailed from 10 countries. The previous night, they’d shared a dinner that combined cuisines from countries where the couple has spent time, including Switzerland, Thailand, Argentina, Spain, Italy, and the U.S. The groom – an Italian engineer who moved to Raleigh for a job at Zurich-based technology giant ABB – and the bride, a world traveler and a brand director at Raleigh marketing firm New Kind – didn’t foxtrot, they tangoed. Impressively. The tango is how they met here in Raleigh in 2013, and it’s now a dance they teach together at Cirque de Vol on Hargett Street, not far from their home in Boylan Heights. “When I moved away from Raleigh, (it was) because I was so bored,” says Elise. “When I moved back, everything had grown so much. It’s so international. There is so much energy and so much life. And I was really surprised to learn about the tango community here.” At the reception, the couple performed their syncopated steps in the garden. They barrida-ed past a robust, 29-year-old pink azalea bush that was a baby shower gift for

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The bride descends the stairs after changing into her tango dress.

Wynn and Jim Dorsett, parents of the bride, in the living room.

Elise’s parents before she was born; they boleo-ed among mature hydrangeas that grew from table centerpieces at Wynn’s sister’s bridal luncheon in 1993; they gancho-ed in the same spot that has hosted innumerable family gatherings, Raleigh fundraisers, church picnics, and school events. The couple’s friends and family from all over the world conversed in several languages. “It’s the nature of the world we live in, and the world that Raleigh has become,” says the mother of the bride, who is learning Italian so that she can better communicate with the family of the groom. Elise says her parents’ hospitality was vital to the wedding’s success. “Having it at home was really important to me,” says Elise. “Not only is it beautiful, but my parents have put their heart and soul into that house and the garden. To bring Marco’s family there seemed like a really special opportunity. Also to have friends from Argentina, and Marco’s friends … the whole combination was very special.” The worldly scene might have been hard for Jim’s grandfather, U.S. Senator Willis Smith, to envision when he bought MidOaks in what was then the countryside, on the

“Having it at home was really important to me,” says Elise Dorsett Levati. “To bring Marco’s family there was a really special opportunity.”

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outskirts of what was then a small Southern city. But maybe not. Smith’s outlook and experience were notably expansive. From this quintessential Southern homestead, he built a career that helped to grow Raleigh and the region, founding the leading law firm Smith Anderson in 1912, and presiding over the N.C. House of Representatives as Speaker. His expertise also took him far afield: He served as president of the American Bar Association; was a U.S. observer at the Nuremburg Trials; was the chair of the American delegation of the InterParliamentary Union in Switzerland; and served his country and state as a U.S. Senator. Smith’s law books are still in place in the bookshelves of his corner home office, which hasn’t changed at all since he worked in it more than 60 years ago. “Most of what is here was already here,” Wynn Dorsett says of the house as a whole. That’s true for the furnishings, and it’s also true for the family’s long-lived appreciation of tradition and home, coupled with an enthusiastic, celebratory engagement with the world beyond. But at the end of the day, what mattered most at the multicultural wedding was universal: “The love of this bride and groom was reflected back to them by the community of friends and family from near and far who gathered to celebrate,” says Wynn Dorsett. “It was a joyful occasion for all of us.”

“They are deliriously happy,” says Wynn Dorsett, the mother of the bride. The bride agrees, and credits her mother for making the wedding come together magically: “I felt like I was floating.”

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Marco Levati and Elise Dorsett Levati dance the tango at their wedding reception in the garden of the historic Dorsett family home.

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THE WRITER BELLE BOGGS SHOWED A ROOM FULL OF READERS WHY JILL MCCORKLE calls her “nothing short of brilliant” at WALTER’S Book Club at the Umstead May 7. The author of the celebrated short story collection Mattaponi Queen and the Oprah-selected memoir The Art of Waiting spoke with humor and compassion about motherhood, families, and the writing life. She read a new short story as well as an essay from The Art of Waiting, and conversed at length with a savvy audience. Guests were interested to hear how the winner of the prestigious Bakeless Prize and finalist for a PEN award finds her inspiration, structures 108 | WALTER

photographs by MISSY McLAMB

“I hadn’t read about my community before. I wanted to write a book that represented my people and the place I had come from.” – Belle Boggs on the inspiration for Mattaponi Queen

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“The opportunity to get away from my desk and to be out in the world was really exciting to me.” – Belle Boggs on putting fiction writing to the side for a time to make way for the journalism that bolsters The Art of Waiting.

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her work, and teaches her N.C. State writing students. Boggs also talked about her struggle with infertility (the subject of The Art of Waiting) and about her upbringing in King William County, Virginia. She told stories about her hometown of Walkerton, population 50 (75 on the weekend) that despite its small size boasted its very own poet who walked a donkey named Don Quixote on a leash. Boggs’s fiction is filled with the kinds of people she grew up with and around, both the eccentric and everyday. In honor of Mother’s Day, Boggs read two pieces inspired by her own mother. A funny and poignant short story featured a protagonist who is scratched by one of her 17 feral cats. The essay, about helping her mother through an “old lady” surgery that her mother won’t name, is moving. “Childness bound me to my mother in a strange way,” Boggs read. “Other than my husband, she was the person I knew best. The person I imagined there with me through all of the biggest moments of my life … She took care of me. And I took care of her.”

RECEPTION Cava Truffled white bean hummus on a rosemary sea salt cracker Fresh mozzarella with marinated tomato and arugula pesto LUNCHEON Montevina Independence Point cabernet sauvignon, California Dunnigan Hills Matchbook chardonnay, California SALAD Butter lettuce, citrus, radish, pine nuts, basil dressing ENTREE Short ribs and shrimp; creamy grits, summer vegetables, rosemary jus DESSERT Black forest cake freshly brewed Larry’s Coffee

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ANS AND FRIENDS OF P. GAYE TAPP, THE INTERIOR DESIGNER, BLOGGER, AND WALTER contributor, gathered at Eatman’s Carpets & Interiors April 28 to share lunch and hear Tapp read from How They Decorated, her new book published in April by Rizzoli. The book, which features a foreward by celebrated designer Charlotte Moss, showcases the memorable rooms and homes of 16 influential women including Babe Paley, Georgia O’Keeffe, Evangeline Bruce, and Bunny Mellon. A delicious buffet lunch was provided by event co-sponsor Irregardless Cafe & Catering, and Eatman’s airy new showroom provided a suitably stylish setting. WALTER creative director Jesma Reynolds introduced the author, a longtime friend, and Betty Eatman Nelson and her mother Gay Eatman told the group about the history of their third-generation family business. Tapp took questions from the audience, signed books, and lingered to chat with several friends who’d traveled to honor her. How They Decorated:; P. Gaye Tapp: Eatman’s Carpets & Interiors new showroom: 2641 Noblin Rd.; Irregardless Cafe & Catering:

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courtesy Kane Realty

A Hollywood film director recalls his movie-loving Raleigh roots


AS A YOUNG BOY, I WOULD STARE AT THE BRONZE PLAQUE CEMENTED IN the sidewalk at North Hills. At the top, in all caps, it read: TIME CAPSULE. Time capsule! What did this mean? “PLACED HERE JUNE 8, 1967 A.D.,” it continued. What was placed here? What exactly was inside this capsule? And finally, the most mysterious line of all: “TO BE OPENED JUNE 8, 2017 A.D.” 2017. The distant future. What would that world look like? Would we have flying cars? Mars colonies? And what about me? Who would I be then and what would I be doing with my life? One thing was for sure: I would be old. (52, to be exact.)

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I made a pact with myself that no matter where I was or what I was doing, I would be there on that day in 2017 to see the time capsule opened. I’m certain I am not the only person to have made such a pact. For many of us who grew up here in the ’70s and ’80s, this was the great unsolved mystery in Raleigh. A buried treasure, the contents of which were unknown to all but a privileged few. Now, the future has arrived. On June 8, 2017 A.D., at 10 a.m, the mystery will be solved. And I will be there.

Why is this important to me? The revelation of the capsule’s contents is almost certainly fated to be anticlimactic. It most likely contains pop culture artifacts from the era, items of local and national significance, personal missives about life in 1967 – not much you couldn’t find on eBay. It’s only been there for 50 years, after all. By comparison, the Westinghouse Time Capsules buried in Flushing Meadows for the New York World’s Fairs of 1939 and 1964 won’t be opened until the year 6939 – 5,000 years after the first one was sealed!

Honoring my dojo Don’t get me wrong: I’m excited to see what’s in the North Hills time capsule. For me, however, it’s about honoring the real reason the time capsule exists: to commemorate the opening of the Cardinal Theatre. The Cardinal is no longer there, of course. The space where it stood is now a Bonefish Grill. But for a majority of my young life, the Cardinal Theatre was my dojo. From 1967 to the late ’80s, the Cardinal was the absolute best place to see a movie in Raleigh. The auditorium sat 750 people and was equipped to project film in both 35mm and 70mm formats. The screen was enormous. In 1977, a second auditorium was constructed. That auditorium sat 625. It was a gathering place for kids from schools and neighborhoods all over Raleigh. I have vivid memories of almost every movie I saw there, and there were many. I can remember who I saw them with, and what kids from school were in the audience. The Cardinal helped shape my creative sensibilities and fostered my reverence for the ritual of moviegoing. It was where the seeds were planted for the idea that movies could be transcendent, even holy, experiences. I was a good, churchgoing kid. We went to St. Michael’s every Sunday. But no sermon ever reached me or transported me the way movies did. I can proudly say that I was religious, even fanatical, in my moviegoing habits. The Cardinal wasn’t just a theater to me. It was where I started to develop my critical faculties – to discover what made me laugh, what filled me with awe, what disappointed me. It’s where I learned the language of visual storytelling. It introduced to me the idea of standards not only of filmmaking, but also of film exhibition. Today, as a feature film director, I still think of the Cardinal when I’m working. A big part of my creative process is being able to tap into that childlike part of myself that spent many afternoons and evenings there. I remember the way I felt. I remember the communal experience. To this day, it is a great source of inspiration.

It was always there I first set foot in the Cardinal in early 1970. It had only been open for two-and-a-half years, but in my 5-year-old mind, it had always been there. I saw The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes starring Kurt Russell. It was the first of his “Dexter Reilly” comedies for Disney. I loved it. (I should mention that early in my directing career, I remade The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes as a TV movie for Disney and ABC. It was a big break for me. I should also mention that my eldest son’s name is Dexter.) Family films were a big part of my early moviegoing at the Cardinal, especially the morning matinee series in the summer. I devoured movies: Born Free, My Side of the Mountain, The Boatniks, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I saw my first superhero movie there: the 1966 Batman with Adam West. (It’s still my favorite Batman movie.) It went on. I saw so many seminal films of the ’70s and ’80s there: Grease, The Spy Who Loved Me, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, Alien, Kramer vs. Kramer, The Empire Strikes Back, The Shining, Scarface, E.T., Tootsie – the list goes on and on. The Cardinal was formative for me. It was magical. I’m sure the theater was meant to outlast the time capsule, but it didn’t work out that way. The Cardinal went out of business in 1990 at the tender age of 23. It fell victim to high overhead and the rise of VHS and cable viewing habits. I was devastated when it happened. And I was furious when, adding insult to injury, it was replaced by a Blockbuster Video that same year. I’ll admit to a feeling of glee when Blockbuster went bankrupt years later. Now, the time capsule is the last remaining evidence of the Cardinal Theatre’s existence, and I have found myself wondering what will happen once it’s opened. Will the plaque remain? Will a new plaque replace it? If not, will there be no trace of the Cardinal whatsoever? That would be unfortunate. Whatever happens now, the Cardinal Theatre has left its mark on me. I start shooting my new movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp, in a few weeks. And I will be thinking about the Cardinal. And I will be inspired. (Editor’s note: This issue of WALTER will be placed in a new time capsule that will replace the one to be unearthed on June 8. Peyton Reed says he is thrilled to become a part of a mystery that has so long enchanted him. Please see his bio on p. 18) The public is invited to the unearthing of the 1967 time capsule at 10 a.m. outside Bonefish Grill on June 8. Its contents will be on display that evening at North HIlls’ Midtown Beach Music Series concert at 6 p.m. After that, the City of Raleigh Museum will display the time capsule’s contents.

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NANCY HIGHT HAS BEEN DRESSING A BRONZE chicken statue at the foot of her Raleigh driveway every morning for more than 10 years. She can’t tell you the date it all began, but she does remember why. She was preparing her home for a wedding shower, and wanted guests to be able to easily identify her driveway. Already a collector of whimsical yard art, Hight knew when she spotted the chicken that it would do the trick. She fashioned some wedding attire for the bird, dressed it for the shower, and a tradition was born. If you have met Nancy, this would not strike you as unusual. Nor would the variety of costumes she makes for her chicken, which change with the day, season, and weather, and often respond to current events. The chicken regularly dons sundresses and prom dresses, rain slickers and graduation gowns, Santa

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outfits and Easter bonnets, Hawaiian shirts and straw hats. Her chicken followed the candidacy and election of Donald Trump; is a major Wolfpack fan; and honors local heroes, like the firefighters who kept downtown from burning in March’s massive blaze. When a prankster stole her chicken recently, she found an “emergency backup chicken” immediately, and didn’t miss a beat. An animal-lover since birth, Nancy has rescued and raised a multitude of live creatures, including dogs, a wolf that thought he was a dog, horses, goats, and even a donkey. As a child in elementary school, she says she was a repository for all manner of unwanted animals – a convenient adopter of ferrets and hamsters whose owners were not up to the task of daily pet care. Nancy has always lived with love and energy to spare. She has served on the boards of directors for the SPCA and the N.C. State College of Veterinary Medicine, and volunteered perpetually for Love Wins Ministries.

photos by Brantley Atkinson



She brought her generous spirit back home to Raleigh about a decade ago, after more than twenty years of rural life with her menagerie on farmland near Wake Forest. When she saw a house for sale on Lake Boone Trail, she bought it the same day, putting her back in the same neighborhood where she’d grown up. These days, Hight’s menagerie is much smaller, but her sense of what is important in life has not changed one bit. It’s embodied in her dressy statute. “I guess Chicken’s motto is to have fun and be kind,” she says. When a special occasion or holiday arises, Nancy’s artistic side rises to the occasion. The U.K.’s royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton inspired an elaborate tableau and became a huge crowd pleaser. Some of her more memorable chicken vignettes include those she’s

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made to commemorate Broughton High School reunions and Mardi Gras, but there are countless others. “Really, the scenes I enjoy most are when the chicken dons formal attire,” Hight says. That’s when she pulls out all the stops, even hanging a dollsized chandelier from the tree above the chicken. Periodically, the chicken is compelled to suspend its happygo-lucky temperament in order to make a thoughtful statement about the issues of the day, or to mourn a loss. On several occasions, the Lake Boone Trail Chicken has even been featured on the local news, most recently to protest HB2. Because the chicken sometimes feels like a hen, and other times a rooster, the chicken felt obligated to speak up. But it’s on the ordinary days that the chicken serves most as a reminder that there is still much good in this imperfect world, that Raleigh is the kind of place where a small bronze chicken believes it’s important to get dressed up to greet every single day; where Hight’s message to “have fun and be kind” resonates with all.

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Debbie Aiken, Rebecca Brock Sandy Sully, John Kennedy, CeCe Kennedy FRIENDS OF NOTE More than 350 supporters of the N.C. Symphony gathered at the Angus Barn May 2 for Friends of Note, the Symphony’s annual fundraising luncheon. The event raises money for the Symphony’s music education program, which serves more than 55,000 students across the state every year.

Melanie Dubis, Debbie Aiken, Donna Rhode, Christiaan Heijmen, Patty Briguglio, Doug Warf, and Wendy Burden

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ON THE FRONT PORCH WITH KIDZNOTES Kidznotes, a nonprofit that uses music for social change, welcomed 275 supporters to Marbles Kids Museum for its annual gala April 21. The event, known as On the Front Porch, featured music by Kidznotes students and a performance by the Bloombsbury Band; a catered dinner from Bare Bones; and wine from Giorgios Group. Kidznotes engages students in grades K-8 in an intense musical program that includes instrumental instruction, choir, music theory, general music, orchestra, and band.

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2017 Divas RALEIGH LITTLE THEATRE’S DIVAS Raleigh Little Theatre’s annual fundraiser returned March 25 with an evening of entertainment that was part gala cabaret performance, part fundraising competition. Performers competed with show-stopping songs from some of Broadway’s most popular musicals, and audience members voted for their favorite “Diva” with their wallets. The performer who raised the most money was crowned RLT Diva 2017: This year’s winning Diva was Jess Barbour.







THOMAS SAYRE OPENING AT CHERYL HAZAN NYC Raleigh artist Thomas Sayre says he was surprised and touched by the number of hometown friends and supporters who made the trip to New York for a reception to open his show at the prestigious Cheryl Hazan gallery in SoHo April 20. The show is up until May 20.



June 28

Counted Out: Giving bright, low-income N.C. students an equal chance. Discuss North Carolina’s unequal treatment of students based on family income, and how we can do better. 7:00 - 8:30 pm at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library


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BRUMLEY NATURE PRESERVE OPENING The Triangle Land Conservancy (TLC) celebrated the opening of the new 613-acre George and Julia Brumley Family Nature Preserve in Orange County April 21 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Brumley Nature Preserve is the region’s newest public access park and forest preserve.

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The ribbon cutting

Frances Mayes (second from left) with friends

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JOHN BEERMAN EXHIBIT AT THE HOME OF FRANCES MAYES Frances and Ed Mayes welcomed friends and art lovers to a plein air exhibit of paintings by John Beerman April 22 at their beautiful Hillsborough home, Chatwood.

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MARTA’S GRAND OPENING On March 23, Brenda Gibson cut the ribbon on Marta’s, her new designer women’s boutique in North Hills. Named for Gibson’s business partner, retail veteran Marta Dziekanowska, the shop – which has already hosted several fundraising events for local charities – welcomed friends and clients for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

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INSPIRED FUTURES The St. David’s School community gathered March 15 to celebrate the school with a dinner party known as Inspired Futures. Alumni, students, family members, and other supporters honored the school’s past and present, celebrated successes, and talked about the future. Evening speakers included Headmaster Dr. Jonathon Yonan and current students.


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DJF BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS SHOWHOUSE The Scout Guide hosted an opening party March 23 for the DJF Designer Showhouse, which raised money for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wake County. The cocktail party unveiled the work of 20 local interior designers and landscapers.

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COCOON GALLERY GRAND OPENING The Cocoon Gallery in Historic Downtown Apex had its grand opening April 8. Cocoon features more than 30 Carolina artists who make ceramics, jewelry, wood, glass, metal, and textiles. 919-424-7245 900 Ridgefield Dr., Suite 170, Raleigh


The WALTER Scribo The answers to the following clues are in this issue. Happy reading! ACROSS 4. The menu star at St. Roch’s 5. Nancy Hight dolls up bronze versions of this animal every day 7. Amanda May teaches this kind of practice 9. Cheetie Kumar’s restaurant 10. This will be opened at North Hills June 8 DOWN 1. Deac and Ashlyn McCaskill race these 2. One of Phil Freelon’s highest-profile museum projects is in this city 3. Lotta Sjoelin refurbished and redecorated this Raleigh Youth Shelter 6. In this issue’s featured wedding, the bride and groom bonded over a love of this dance 8. Durham’s minor-league baseball team

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a little prayer


he hopes and dreams of Raleighites who would like the Dalai Lama to visit our capital city made their way to Dharamsala, India last month via Mayor Nancy MacFarlane. About a year ago, a “Dalai Lama Initiative Committee” was formed by Raleigh citizens and the mayor in an effort to bring the 14th Dalai Lama to Raleigh. The group’s initial proposal was well-received, and warranted an invitation for the mayor and other committee members to meet with the monk to discuss it in person in Dharamsala. Inspired by the cause, Vansana Nolintha of Bida Manda restaurant

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and Sarah Yarborough and Victor Lytvinenko of Raleigh Denim hosted a prayer flag signing afternoon at Dix Park April 30. With the Raleigh skyline as a backdrop, Raleghites were invited to write their thoughts and prayers on the Tibetanstyle prayer flags, which Mayor MacFarlane carried with her on her trip. “Our goal is that the garland of flags will serve as our collective prayer to the Dalai Lama,” Nolintha says, “expressing our aspirations, as a gift from our community, and as a physical invitation to His Holiness to make a visit to our beloved city.” –J.A.

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